January 9, 2007: Ramjollock?

I have noticed now that I have the Forgotten English Word a Day calendar from Jeffrey Kacirk that if I do a search on the word of the day (day, for example, is ramjollock – I will let you do your own search for the meaning) that I will find, each and every day, a large number of people talking about their new calendars and the words that they are learning. I wonder how many people will be doing this every day by the end of the year? It is pretty funny how Jeffrey’s calendar is now the largest reference, possibly ever, to many of these forgotten words.

I slept in a bit this morning not getting out of bed until Dominica was almost ready to head to the office. I woke up earlier but Oreo decided that he was cold and moved over to lay with his back right against mine and I couldn’t just leave him there to be all cold all by himself so I stayed in bed for an extra hour. I had a crash at work last night that left me unable to work from home until I got into the office today so I didn’t need to get up extra early anyway. Tomorrow I hope to be into the office on the early side as I hope to not be staying too late before driving out to Scranton and out to Geneseo.

DRM (Digital Rights Management – a clever term meaning digital consumer rights removal) rears its ugly head today as Microsoft is forced to admit that because of DRM built into BluRay and HD-DVD discs that a large number of Vista users will be unable to watch the high definition discs. This is because most new computers and most high end consumers are using digital connections (generally DVI) to connect to their monitors for the best image quality. These connections are forbidden by the DRM in the new high quality discs. Old, low quality analogue connections will be allowed, we hear, as will content protected HDCP connections that a few computers today have – but very few. So few, in fact, that even as an IT consultant who constantly buys the latest and greatest I have never seen one nor heard of any person having used one or seen a monitor that connects to it!! Now this is not Microsoft’s fault. They are caught in the middle. Disc player makers face the same dilemma as do other operating sytems like Linux and MacOS. The real issue here is DRM and the US laws that allow content providers to dictate the way in which a consumer is allowed to use content which they have all ready purchased – and worse yet to determine AFTER the purchase has been made. In reality, it has made it that consumers no longer purchase anything except the plastic disc and everything else is at the whim of the content provider.

So what are our options? Well, unfortunately, the iPod crowd has pretty much established the fact that Americans are too uneducated about their own freedoms and so little concerned with them that they are willing to give away unlimited amounts of money to the iTunes store for music that they don’t even get to own because they don’t consider what will happen six months in the future let alone ten years. So the content makers are very well aware that Americans won’t band together to fight DRM or to fight for their fair use rights. They will just buy whatever junk is advertised on television and never consider the long term consequences of their actions. My only hope is that underground media – Internet television and the like – will create some good content and that people will decide that that is so much better and that the ability to do useful things with their content is so much more important than being able to get Mel Gibson in ANOTHER cop movie blowing things up from Best Buy that they are only allowed to watch on their expensive HDCP gear and only once a month without paying an extra fee and only for three years before the discs self destructs and that they weren’t allowed to back up anyway and if they did i they might have gone to jail for five years. Once they decide that – then the movie studios will start losing money and will eventually go away – replaced by companies that make content that makes sense and deliver it in the way that people actually want. But Americans don’t value freedom so good luck.

I have been picking out the classes and concentrations that I will be doing at RIT (assuming that everything goes to plan.) I am definitely planning on doing concentrations in Software Project Management and Application Development and I think that I will most likely choose my third concentration (you are supposed to have three) in Health Systems Administration which applies well to my career thus far. I really wish that I could take classes from the school of business but they are apparently not at the same level as the IT and hospitality schools and do not have their classes online. By not having their classes online they are guaranteeing that the best and the brightest have gone elsewhere so these classes must be just for the leftovers which is not how I want to do my degree although MBA cross-over classes would be awfully handy.

I did some playing with Google’s online Writer today. This is my first time really playing with it. It occurred to me – because normally I only think of tools such as this in terms of their usefulness to businesses – that with a word processor and spreadsheet available online with simple collaboration and storage Google has effectively removed the need for ninety percent or more of all home users to ever need to install office suites at home. Some power users will continue to need the power of locally installed OpenOffice, KOffice or Microsoft Office but for your average casual user the Google tools are more than adequate. In fact with Google taking care of storage using the Google tools is often the better option just because home users don’t have to worry about where they are going to store their files, file formats, backups, etc. Plus without any installation there is no need to worry about versions, licenses, etc. And you can automatically work from any Internet connected computer anywhere even if you don’t have your own personal account there. Having grown up using productivity suites on computers for so long I often forget how little most people need from an office suite and, in fact, how few people even have one. If you haven’t checked out Google’s online office products be sure to do so. They will be sure to impress. If you need a real, locally installed and feature filled office suite and don’t have one yet go to www.OpenOffice.org and download one that is completely legal for free.

Dominica found an awesome “Old West Shootout” video on YouTube that is short and well worth watching for a chuckle (notice: no animals were harmed in the making of this film.)

I had to stay late in the office tonight. Not too late but there was some work that couldn’t be done until after six. I have been out early quite a bit though so I figure that I have it coming by this point. It was close to seven by the time I was able to head for home. This is my last night in Newark until Monday night.

I got home around seven and we decided to just take it easy and to order in a pizza.  We ordered from Steakhouse 1 and, of course, it took just under two hours for the food to arrive.  While I was waiting for the food I managed to almost completely read “Extreme Programming for Web Development” that I got from Amazon yesterday.  I want to get through it quickly because a new box of books arrived today.

The pizza finally arrived and we ate and watched some Are You Being Served? and then were off to bed.  It was a really short night.

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