Month: August 2011

How did Hewlett-Packard (HP) die so quickly?

It may not be totally dead yet, but I hear the death rattle. Once a powerhouse of innovative engineering, one wonders how HP blundered so badly with the tablet idea — the TouchPad — (proprietary WebOS operating system did not help), crater the PC division, and apparently come to have systemic problems company-wide. Well, I can count the ways in my own experience: A High-end laptop that not only was supposedly Vista-ready (little did I know at the time that I would not WANT Vista), but in fact did not comply with Vista specs; AND had a lid hinge break — rendering it useless — repairable only by replacing $400 worth of parts. A High-end netbook (yes, I always go for the gusto — an HP Mini 210 HD) for which it was important to be able to turn off wi-fi and still use the bluetooth mouse. The instructions and screens clearly demonstrate that such was the intent — but it won’t, and the endless calls with barely-English speaking tech support and emails with canned responses having nothing to do with my problem never fixed it. I even got the problem escalated and it just escalated the frustration and not the remedy.  Several driver updates later and that issue was never fixed. My sister has a multi-function HP printer/fax/scanner device and the arm to the scanner light simply broke....

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Hot ride on Fall Creek loop

Whether you call these the dog days of summer, the hot days, awful hot days … or whatever ….  A nice cycling trip through the Texas Hill Country makes everything be just alright!  You just have to start early and try to escape the main heat. I am fortunate to have a number of good cycling companions in the area.  I had the same good fortune with motorcycling, but there is something about sweating together that creates an extra-special bond.  And so it was that John Chalmers and I set out today to do a little sweating together.  We cranked at 7:42am and it was already 88 degrees! John has been showing me some routes that he has learned over the years, even some place that I had not been on even on the BMW R1100RT motorcycle.  I’ve now abandoned the 90 horsepower of the Beemer for the pedal power of the Scattante bicycle (on which I now have just over 2200 miles).  See the Cycling page for details. Naturally, most of these routes include hills and this one was no exception.  Serious hills! We parked just off of U.S. 281 on FM2147 and proceeded toward Spicewood via Burnet County Rd 404, then on CR408 to cross Texas 71.  It’s always dicey trying to cross two lanes each direction of 70 mph+ traffic.  But we made it, and then...

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Wal-mart as the new head of state

(Plucked out of an email.  I cleaned this up a bit, but the factual points are quite intriguing.) 1. Americans spend $36,000,000 at Wal-Mart every hour  of every day.   2. This works out to $20,928 profit every minute!  3. Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 to St..  Patrick’s Day (March 17th) than Target sells all year.   4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot + Kroger+  Target + Sears + Costco + K-Mart combined..   5.. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people, is the world’s  largest private employer, and most speakEnglish. 6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the world.   7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger and  Safeway combined, and keep in mind they did this in only fifteen years.   8. During this same period, 31 big supermarket chains  sought bankruptcy.   9. Wal-Mart now sells more food than any other store  in the world.   10.  Wal-Mart has approx 3,900 stores in the USAof  which 2,906 are Super Centers; this is 1,000 more than  it had five years ago..   11.  This year 7.2 billion different purchasing  experiences will occur at Wal-Mart stores.  (Earth’s population is  approximately 6.5 Billion.)   12. 90% of all Americans live within fifteen miles of  a Wal-Mart.   13. Wal-Mart has gross sales that total more than the  total revenue of all the countries in the world, except 6.   You may think that I am complaining, but I am really laying the ground work for suggesting that  MAYBE we should hire the  guys who run Wal-Mart to...

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