April 16, 2007: Flooding

The rain continues unabated this morning. It has been raining since Friday night and everything is underwater in the New York metro area. The radio this morning was either discussing DJs who were unable to make it to work today or regions around the city that are underwater.

Slashdot reports that several new Sony DVDs may not work in your DVD player because Sony has released a new copy-protection scheme on them and that Sony has no plans to fix the broken discs but instead requires that DVD player makers update their firmware (read: consumer have to buy machines that Sony has allowed to view the DVDs.) Is this an attempt to thwart legal DVD archiving or, more likely, is Sony attempting to cripple the DVD market to promote its higher profit margin BluRay business? More importantly Sony has declared that Sony’s “DVD Video” mark worn by countless devices is not a mark of compatibility but just a marketing badge and nothing more. There is no guarantee that DVD equipment and DVD discs will work together. Caveat emptor. This could sting Sony in other areas, though, as people will have concerns as to whether BluRay players will be able to play BluRay discs. I guess Sony won’t be willing to make any such claims. It is the willingness to make intentional deceptive products like this on the part of companies like Sony that will destroy the “media based” entertainment industry and drive products onto the Internet. But in the mean time only pirated media is likely to work for everyone. When companies like Sony are intentionally making products not work as stated to effectively steal from their customers it is difficult to argue against piracy when only pirates have any concern for their customers and when customers of pirated products get better products.

In positive news the Norwegian government is proposing a ban on DRM which would make products like Sony’s disabled DVDs overtly illegal instead of putting them into the murky waters of “intentionally misleading customers.” DRM does not exist in the public interest and is enhanced through complicated and ever changing laws that use DRM as the bases for removing fair use rights from consumers who generally are not informed about the DRM or the removal of fair use rights until after a purchase has been made.

Scott Adams has a great article this morning (actually I expect that it was from over the weekend but I am too lazy to spend time reading blogs when I am not in the office) about how people are completely unable to make logical arguments. In this particular blog post he mentions, yet again, how people are completely drawn to arguing with his beliefs in things that he doesn’t believe in. Anyone who reads him with any regularity has a pretty good feel for when he believes something (not very often) or when he is making a point about the average person who believes in something picked at random (pretty often.) Everyone then imagines that he believes the opposite point of the people that he is talking about and write complex arguments stating how he is stupid for believing whatever they imagine he believes. Here is a tip from me on making a good argument: argue against a stated position – not for an imaginary one. No matter how good you logic may be if you argue against an imaginary position it actually sounds like a case for it. For example, if you argue vehemently against the supposition that the offspring of a unicycle and an ear of corn being a unicorn when no one has made the supposition it starts to make the idea sound somewhat logical just because raving lunatics are so opposed to the idea!

Trogdor made of post-its.

My drive in this morning was fine even with the bad rain. It didn’t even take me one extra minute to get in. Twenty-six minutes as usual. Dominica had to change her route to get to the office though because of flooding in the Rutherford area and route 3 being closed in places. I drive on route 78 which is significantly elevated along most of its length so flooding isn’t too much of an issue.

I did some catching up on my blog reading this morning and noticed that Bob Crissman hasn’t posted anything in a week and a half. This isn’t like him.

The thing that I love most about working the early morning shift is how quickly time flies. The first two hours of the morning are past before I even have time to even think about it.

Today is the feast day of Saint Drogo – the patron saint of coffee house owners. And my archaic English word of the day is Zarf. A zarf is a holder for a coffee cup. They are not very common today but I definitely see them from time to time.

It is going to be a lonely day in the office. By eight this morning a lot of people were beginning to call off. I presume because of the flooding. Everyone calling off for the day are people located in bad flooding areas. This is definitely a vote of confidence for Newark. Even situated right on the Passaic River it did well in the flood.

We have not heard anything about our house in Geneseo in a week. I suppose that that is a bad sign. Everything has gone silent. The window to close on the house is beginning to close – there is very little time left. We have past the ides of April and the contingencies on the house are no longer available after this weekend. Since no one has scheduled a closing and since no one has coordinated anything with us I am assuming that the idea of selling it is just being dropped.

My big project this morning is paperwork. So much paperwork to do. At least it appears that it will be a quiet Monday. It is weeks like this one that give me the chance to get caught up on this stuff.

Dominica’s drive wasn’t too bad but the roads were flooded. She got into the office and not a single one of her regular coworkers had made it in yet. Some had called off and many had not contacted the office at all. There was one person there to help out because they were expected to have a higher than usual workload this week and that person arrived early and was alone for a long time this morning. So she is having a crazy day as she is covering the phones for several people. She was going to have a really busy day even before she has to deal with large numbers of people suddenly working from home because of the weather.

I found out today that South Bound Brook got hit hard from the flooding because the canal that envelopes the village flowed its banks. That means that the condo that Dominica and I were seriously considering buying there – where they swore up and down could never flood and didn’t require flood insurance – is now underwater. The Lord was really watching over us on that deal. The flood insurance aspect bothered us but it was them lying about the wiring in the house and refusing to do anything custom after claiming to be a high-end builder that set off the “greasy car salesman” alarms and caused us to walk away before we even got started. We didn’t feel that we could trust them at all and it definitely worked out in our favour.

The entire place was so quiet today.  It was great.  One of my coworkers and I decided to go out for some Indian for lunch since they were not able to open our cafeteria today.  I decided to head out a little early in an attempt to avoid traffic.  I was able to leave just a little after half past three.  I love the early shift.

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