Ask your Senator to support our troops and the brave animals that serve alongside them.

May 28, 2015

Taken from the Best Friends mailer from Memorial Day:

National alertDear Members and Friends:

Memorial Day is the time for us all to give thanks to the brave men and women who serve our country. Our service members risk their lives every day to protect the land they love, the family members and friends who love them, and the animals they care for. And standing right beside these warriors are the military animals who are helping to protect our country at home and overseas.

The military puts these animals to use in a variety of ways, but whatever the job, they all serve their country with dignity and pride. That’s why we think it’s so important to honor these veterans both during their working lives and later, when it’s time to retire. Just like the men and women in uniform, these veterans deserve every chance to have peaceful and enjoyable post-service lives, and they deserve our support.

The 2016 fiscal year military appropriations bill recently passed the House of Representatives and included a provision that mandates that all suitable military animals be made available for adoption. It also says that each animal’s handler – the person who these veterans most trust and rely on – shall be given priority when it’s time to adopt. We can’t think of any better way to say thank you to our human service members or the animals that serve alongside them.

The bill is making its way to the Senate and we want to let Washington lawmakers know that we think this special provision should stay in the final version. I’m asking you to help us right now. We’ve made it easy for you to ask your U.S. senators to support section 594. We all know that politics isn’t a spectator sport, so now is the time for us to stand up for our service members (human and animal alike) and show that we’re behind them.

I know that you’ll help us in this effort like you’ve helped so many times before. Please click here to take action. With your continued support and effort we will truly be able to Save Them All®.

Thank you,

Gregory Castle, CEO

Best Friends Animal Society

This is what computers are made for.

May 5, 2015

Wanna see a picture of sheer joy?

Derby the dog: Running on 3D Printed Prosthetics

As found at:

Google automatically inserts tracking IDs into PDF documents you download

April 30, 2015

imageAre you a Google Docs user?  Do you create PDFs of your content?  Hope you like spyware. 

When you create a PDF from Google Docs, all links in the document will be automatically changed – without notifying you – to include a Google tracking ID.

Now Google will undoubtedly feign ignorance, disable this at some point later in the future, & promise to never do it again….

  • Just as Google did when they were caught stealing & aggregating the public’s Wifi passwords…
  • Just as Google did after the Entertainment industry filed suit again them for turning a blind eye & allowing stolen IP to be posted to YouTube…
  • Just as Google did after being caught indexing every student & teachers documents…
  • Just as Google is doing now after being caught giving their properties preferential treatment in their search engine as a monopoly…

This is Google, folks. ‪



Link Tracking Warning!
This document was first authored in Google Docs, then Downloaded as a PDF. So, Google has thoughtfully (ha!) added “tracking” redirections to all of the links here. (I have no idea why, but that’s Google.) If that bothers you, simply copy the text of the link into your browser’s URL field.

Stories from the field

April 30, 2015

Someday, I’m going to write a book about my time with my employer.  My role has given me some amazing opportunities to work with customers that y’all would be really surprised to hear about.  Each of these lines represent stories that I’m gonna write about some day.  I’m gonna keep this as a running list for the day I decide to start really writing this stuff down.

  • “Pirate away”
  • JCB
  • Writing a check for 95
  • “Cows”
  • DMS – Messaging
  • Scientology
  • Vertex Ball
  • IndyMac Waiting
  • John Tesh
  • Salma Hayek
  • Trader Joes
  • Ralphs
  • DirectAccess Palms Springs/Bakersfield
  • Technet Saturday
  • “I make no margin.”
  • Nissan in Denver
  • Barbara & Bill
  • Steve & Wynn
  • “Your mike is on”
  • Brad & Hughes
  • Aerogel
  • Mac User Group – Apple vs Microsoft
  • Bill @ UCLA
  • Bill @ Four Seasons BH
  • Brian & uBid
  • KROQ
  • Kinko’s Picnic
  • Donuts
  • “Don’t go there, Bill”
  • The Chicago shoe incident
  • Tap dancing on stage in San Diego

HOWTO: Fix the “blank notification” problem on your Microsoft Band

April 12, 2015

There’s a niche scenario in which you may start to see blank notifications – notifications on your Band that have no content in them, even though there should be information about an appointment or something.

I have heard (not for certain) that this is caused by a relatively rare memory condition that may be resolved in an update.  (Don’t hold me to this)

I’ve encountered this once & according to what I’ve read, the way to fix this may be one of two ways:

    Go to Settings & the Power symbol, then “Turn off” your Band, then turn it back on again.
    Allow the Band to run until the battery runs out completely.  Then recharge it and start it again.

The ROI of Amazon Prime: Is $99 worth it?

April 12, 2015

imageThe ROI breakeven point for Amazon Prime at the new $99 subscription rate is essentially “10-20 items purchased throughout the year”. (Breakeven is closer to 10 if you value 2-day shipping & closer to 20 if you value standard shipping) Alternatively, if you actually use Amazon Video for entertainment displacing Netflix & you order at least one item, you break even.

It may very well pay for itself fairly quickly depending on how much you order from them. Cost of shipping 2-day is $8-$15 depending on the size/weight of the item(s). Hence the “10 items at 2-day shipping” breakeven threshold. Standard shipping is $4-$8 for items under $35, hence the “20 items…” logic. (Caveat with this is that the items need to be cheap, otherwise shipping would be free & you have to be okay with 7-10 day shipping) Netflix for a year is $79, hence the Amazon Video breakeven logic. Technically, there’s alternative uses that could possibly help validate the $99 spend such as Amazon Kindle lending library or Amazon’s new storage service but I don’t know anyone that finds value in these compared to other services or purchases and it’s consequently hard to establish a concrete value of these benefits.

LA TIMES: The Disneyland measles crisis: how to make negligent parents pay

April 12, 2015

imageI generally dislike resorting to government intervention. And I really dislike the LA Times for its one-track, myopic editors. So you can only imagine how important I believe this subject is, that I’d post this article from the LA Times about reinstituting government-mandated vaccinations in school – no exceptions. While you may think it’s a “choice”, this is life & death & your choice affects everyone else’s most helpless citizens, our children. ‪#‎wheatonslaw

The continuing and spreading outbreak of measles traced originally to visitors to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure park revives the questions of who should be held responsible, and how they should be made to pay for the injury and illness they’ve caused.

Here’s one suggestion, offered Thursday by science writer Alex Berezow in a USA Today op-ed: “Parents who do not vaccinate their children should go to jail.” That may be an extreme remedy, but Berezow’s notion that non-vaccinating parents should shoulder the responsibility for their actions is widely shared among legal experts and bioethicists.

Liability could certainly exist if a parent simply chose not to vaccinate his child and a death results.- Bioethicist Arthur L. Caplan

As the Los Angeles Times has documented, California has experienced an alarming increase in “personal belief” exemptions allowing unvaccinated children to attend public and private schools, and a parallel decrease in immunization rates among kindergartners in many communities.

Most alarmingly, the trends often are associated not with low-income neighborhoods, where the cost of a vaccine might be an issue (though less so since the Affordable Care Act mandated that preventive treatments such as vaccines be provided without cost-sharing), but in affluent communities, among ostensibly well-educated parents.


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