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Showing posts from 2011

UPS/USPS "Coopetition"?

I've noticed this three times in the last two weeks: something I've ordered online was shipped from the seller with a UPS shipper number. Then, as the item arrived within the UPS system to my local hub area, it was "transferred" and delivered by USPS, the Postal Service. I think this is a FANTASTIC idea. I'd like to shake the hand of the person that came up with it. Think of it: UPS has the worldwide infrastructure to efficiently move large amounts of bulk cargo all over the place. But, their Achilles Hell is the lack of a widespread infrastructure at the end delivery point, especially to homes (which is why they charge more for single-box deliveries to homes versus bulk to commercial locations). By the same token, the Postal Service has the kick-ass infrastructure for delivery of small bulk to individual homes/locations (and, I believe it's mandated by law?) yet their Achilles Hell is the lack of a solid infrastructure for transfer of bulk carg


Ten years. Seems like forever. There are literally billions of stories out there about "where were you?"; we each have one. And these stories are important to us, but rarely interesting to others, yet we all feel compelled to share them with others. Here's mine. I recently watched a NatGeo story about George W. Bush's story and found it compelling; I simply can't imagine having been in his position of responsibility on that day. But he said something that struck me interesting: paraphrased, he said that "some day 9/11 will be a date on the calendar like Pearl Harbor, but for us today that lived though it there's our memories of that day". Here's mine. On Monday September 10, 2001 I was in Albany NY on business as an IT consultant, having flown myself there in my Grumman Tiger. I was supposed to be working with a state government agency in downtown Albany all week, but there was a problem with the contract when I arrived on Monday morning; e

Cleaning Out Old Bookmarks

If you've been around on the "Interwebz" as long as I have (from the beginning...hell, I was on CompuServ in the early 80's) then you no doubt have a large collection of bookmarked pages that you've been carrying forward over the years. You probably saved them from prior computers, and you definitely kept them as you upgraded to later versions of Internet Explorer. And, if you switched to Firefox like I did, probably the first thing you did after installing it was accept the "yes" when it asked you if you wanted to transfer over those bookmarks. And those bookmarks are probably all organized in separate folders under separate topics, all ready for you just "in case" you ever needed them again. But have you ever really needed them again? Go back and take a look at some of those bookmarks; do you even remember them? I'd wager a good quarter of them may not even be valid any more (do a search in there for GeoCities...) and when it comes righ

The Nürburgring Trip - Part One

Did reading Nürburgring just make you shiver? Yep, me too! I spent several days at this racetrack and thought you might find my musings interesting, maybe interesting enough so you make that jump, too (while you still can; more later). And you want to, trust me. If you’ve ever thought or even just fantasized about driving the Nürburgring,this story is for you...

Is It time for a Significant Fuel Tax...?

In January 2009, Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson gave a speech that, among other things, supported the idea of a carbon tax .  Has Rex suddenly "gotten religion" on this whole Anthropomorphic Global Warming? Hardly. Rex is a businessman, and he sees the train's headlights coming at him through the tunnel; he's just figured out that this is the lesser of the inevitable evils. President Obama, at a town hall meeting , said that "...[gas prices are] going to still fluctuate until we can start making these broader changes [toward renewable energy], and that's going to take a couple of years to have serious effect...If you're complaining about the price of gas and you're only getting 8 miles a gallon, you know, you might want to think about a trade-in." I also remember a Thomas Friedman op-ed piece some time in late ‘08, where good ole Tom was promoting the idea of a gasoline tax, something to keep the price of fuel at or above a specific price

Yeah, Money Can't Buy Happiness, But... can certainly make life a lot less stressful and enjoyable. But how much of it is really required? I got to thinking about this, given all the class-warfare-hand-wringing lately about the "rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer." Life's not only about money; after all, do you really think really rich people are "happier" than the rest of us? I don't think so. I believe the major difference in one's "happiness quotient" says more about one's ability to meet their basic needs. The problem - and the solution for those of us not "filthy rich" - is to avoid ratcheting up one's definition of "basic". Boyle's Law says that a gas will expand to fill its container. And while our finances are certainly not subject to this physical law, we certainly act like they are. How many times after getting a new job, a fat raise, and/or a nice bonus have we gone out and splurged, bought a new car, a new house, or e

On the movie "Senna"...

Go see it. Whether you're a fan or not, you'll enjoy it (and if you're not a fan now, you will be). I walked out of that movie speechless with a big lump in my throat; all I could say to those that went with me was, "I need a beer". Hair up on the neck during the Brazil GP win, heart pounding when they splashed "Imola 1994" on the screen, head in hands when "it" happened. Go see it.

DVD Collections

Remember the "video store"? You should, it's not been that long since you had two or three just around the corner. The VHS revolution started out as a simple time-shifting device along with replacing your 16mm camera for family stuff, then companies figured out you'd love stopping by on the way home from work to grab a VHS movie for watching that night. Didn't take too long for DVDs to supplant VHS tapes; probably the only reason you have a VHS player in your house right now is to transfer family stuff from VHS to DVD. Well, paradigms are a shiftin' again. Home "media centers" (or whatever the current marketing term is) are quickly replacing DVDs; I put together a system using a Western Digital Live Plus that combines access to a hard drive and to NetFlix. To get rid of all those DVDs on the shelf in the family room I "ripped" all the DVDs to that hard drive and now watch them through the WDTV device (I keep the physical DVDs as backups

On The Nürburgring

So, of the Nürburgring; or more accurately for this discussion, the Nordschleife ("Northern Loop"). Those of you that know it, need no further info; that of you that don't,'s hard to describe. You can "google" it to get the basic info, which really comes down to "'s an old race track in Germany, very long, many turns (most blind) and it winds through the Eifel mountains. It was built in the 1920's as a testing and race facility to showcase German engineering, and is itself a feat of civil engineering. It is such a difficult track to learn and drive well - and in the end, so unsafe by today's standards - that even Formula One chose to stop racing there after 1976. World-famous F1 driver Jackie Stewart dubbed it "The Green Hell"." But that's all facts and figures. Why would a race track in nowhere Germany deserve such fascination within the automotive world? Why are not other tracks as heralded a the 'R

Aren't blogs jumping the shark...?

So, I'm taking a trip to the Nürburgring late March. For those that don't recognize this name, "The Ring" is a race track in Germany, northwest of Frankfurt; mention this name to an automotive enthusiast and their eyes are sure to widen. To an enthusiast, it's automotive mecca...but more on The 'Ring later... I created this blog on the suggestion of my wife, Thea. Since she won't be accompanying with me on this trip (I'm going with some racer buddies) she thought it might be interesting for me to create a blog about his trip, to keep track of thoughts and experiences. And, I suspect, since she kinda wanted to go with me, with a blog she could be there vicariously (and it doesn't hurt to keep track of me, either ;)...) She also probably remembers that during our last trip to Germany and the 'Ring (January '99) I was consistently on my laptop writing down thoughts and observations (like the one time we were at a museum cafe and I wrote for