Does this sound familiar?

October 9, 2019

imageHere’s 6 character types that might ring some bells:

  1. “My family has voted Republican all our lives.  Our family’s party can’t possibly be in the wrong & our personal need to be “right” is more important than anything.”
  2. “I dislike minorities & believe they’re somehow the cause of all that ails me.”
    1. [Corollary] “I’m a white male & I believe everyone has exactly the same opportunities & are treated equally to me in America, but those ‘other people’ always get more money & stuff – all because of the liberals.  The scales are always weighted against me – when am I gonna get “mine”?”
  3. “I’m a god-fearing Christian & the only policy that I’m concerned with is abortion. I’ll stand with anyone that echoes the same. Or whatever it is that my evangelical preacher tells me is right.”
  4. “I’m wealthy, competitive, & my entire value system is built around money & getting more money.  The fact that I’m a millionaire many times over is irrelevant: I’m tired of you poor people taking my money from me. Taxes are my enemy & anyone raising them is my enemy as well.”
  5. “I’m poor & either lost my job or have a bad job & the only thing that matters to me is getting enough money to stay afloat or getting a better job.. I don’t care how I get it – subsidies, another job, whatever.”
  6. “I love guns. And I’ve convinced myself that “personal security” is the most important thing in the world & thus fighting anything that might restrict my access to the guns of my choice is the centerpiece of my value system.”

Recognizing these character types is important. What to do with them… that’s another story.

AUDIOBOOK: Free recording of The Whistle-Blower Complaint Released by the House Intelligence Committee, 9/26/2019

September 26, 2019

imageA few hours ago, Penguin Audio published a professional audiobook reading of the “Whistle-Blower Complaint” against Donald Trump.

The audio is streamable from Soundcloud and downloadable from there as well.  It is 30min long and the .MP3 is 40MB in size.

COMMENTARY: Verizon Message+ for Windows not working as of 8/31/19

September 11, 2019

UPDATE 9/20/19:
Today, I noticed that the sync started working again for both Verizon Messages (Windows UWP/Microsoft Store app) as well as VZW Message+. (The legacy Win32 app installable that’s no longer available from VZW’s web site.)

There’s been no explanation as to what went wrong but it was clearly a backend service issue because nothing changed on my or anyone else’s computer at all.

(What I’m saying is that the VZW Support’s explanation that “Message+… is not compatible with Windows 10” was & remains totally wrong. If you’re reading this, blaming Windows 10 “compatibility” was a really silly & annoying tactic, Verizon.)

BTW: Props to DavidR_VZW from Verizon Support.  His explanation on the community boards was the most accurate in all the other responses, I’d seen:

We apologize for the issues experienced when using the Message+ Verizon Messages – Windows Desktop application, JoEbY-X. We always want to make sure you’re able to use any available service, and you can rest assured our Message+ team is working on a resolution. DavidR_VZW

UPDATE 9/13/19:
VZW Support chimed in. You can see in the Support forum below, they have spammed the forum with the same canned answer over and over and over again:

The Message+ application is not compatible with Windows 10 computers. The Windows messaging client for Verizon messages is being temporarily removed to prevent syncing issues. I’m sorry for the inconvenience. You can utilize the messaging web client as a windows alternative by following the steps in this link below .

I got the same from @vzwsupport on Twitter. Virtually the exact same wording.  No update, no ETA, no commitment that the matter will be fixed.

The fact that they feel it’s better that their customers are ignorant or dissatisfied with their support response tells me something is likely afoot here. 


imageOne of the critical apps I install on my PC is called “Verizon Message+”.  It’s a simple Win32 app that allows me to text using my Verizon Wireless account from my desktop as if I were using my phone.  It keeps synced with my phone so I can seamless text from my desktop and continue when I leave with my phone.

On August 31st, the Verizon Message+ apps for Windows & Mac stopped working and the community isn’t very happy about it… to the tune of 35 pages of “feedback” on the VZW community site:

I have the same problems as everyone else.  I suspect they have recently started to have service failures with the Internet gateway they have that connects the SMS text messaging service with user’s Win32 Message+ apps. (Modern App from the Microsoft Store & the old Desktop app that we all love & saved the installers for, amirite?)

Like everyone here, Message+ (Win32 desktop install) stopped working on my workstation on 9/1/19.  I’ve installed the “newer” Modern App version from the Microsoft Store and it suffers from the exact same problem.

The web app at times out and doesn’t seem to be able to maintain a dormant HTTPS: connection so that fails somewhat regularly.   My Android device however works with it’s Verizon Message+ (or whatever it’s called on Android) just fine – but I strongly suspect the connectivity is done over their cellular network and not over the Internet, hence it doesn’t use the same gateway that the Win32/Modern App clients use.

I’m a little surprised that they don’t appear to have this as a high priority (Service down???) being that SMS text messages are a revenue-generating service.  But then again, maybe many VZW customers have Unlimited SMS text msg plans and thus this is not a big deal to them.

Its’ September 11th, 2019 now and it’s still not working.  I really do hope they get this resolved.  Based on the thread it appears to have failed before but subsequently resolved  but I guess an issue has reared it’s head on 8/31/19 all over again.

For those interested in the app for Windows – assuming it gets fixed – there are 3 options:

1) Message+ for Win32:
This is the old desktop app that VZW no longer makes available sadly.  This is the app that long time users have depended on for more than a decade and it has run on everything from Windows Vista on up to Windows 10.  VZW removed the app from their site but the installer is still downloadable from the link below:

2) Message+ for Windows 10
This is the new “Modern App” that only works on Windows 10 available for download via the Microsoft Store in Windows that apparently VZW doesn’t advertise either.  Its similar to the Win32 app but requires that you download it from the Store.  It’s downloadable from the link below:

3) Message+ Web Client
This is the web page you can sign into that provides similar, but lesser functionality through a web browser.  All you have to do is sign into the link below:


Note: I’ve started pinging @VZWsupport on Twitter and referencing the Community forums thread referred to above, in the hopes of getting a status or even a resolution. 

VZW’s been radio silent on the matter.  I have yet to receive a response either on the community forums or on Twitter.

Thank You Chef Nobi

August 6, 2019

Today, I received a terribly sad email.


imageIt is with deep regret that we inform you of the passing of Chef Nobi Kusuhara. Chef Nobi came to the United States in 1971, a few days after graduating high school with a dream to be a successful American businessman. At that time, he did not know the passion and love he would have for the sushi business. Nobi struggled, and his life’s journey was filled with peaks and valleys, but he always moved through life with a smile and obstinate optimism. When he said “I want to make you the best sushi”, he really meant it. To his dying day, he loved finding the best fish and serving it the best way possible. He was a few weeks from retirement and was planning to spend his time with his wife that he had been with for 49 years by moving back to Japan. Though he had countless offers over the years to sell his businesses to various large corporations, Nobi always believed it was more important to stay true to his craft and honor the creation of authentic sushi. In the end, he turned the path away from becoming a businessman and found his true passion in becoming a master craftsman in the art of sushi. Chef Nobi decided to pass down his restaurants to the chefs who studied under him. He said, “I want to pass down to my chefs, so the customers can keep eating the same sushi I made. I do not want to inconvenience my loyal customers.” To honor Chef Nobi, we hope you will continue to eat at any and all of the Sasabune locations located in the United States. There are 4 locations in California at West LA, Beverly Hills, Glendale, & Pacific Palisades, also in New York City, & Honolulu.

Though we will not be having a formal memorial service, there will be an informal viewing scheduled on August 11th, 2019 at 4pm. Please feel free to join the Sasabune Family.

August 11th, 2019
Fukui Mortuary
707 E. Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Most Sincerely,

Sasabune Family

I’ve been eating at Sasabune since the mid-90’s when the restaurant had just 2 chefs & was located on Sawtelle Blvd and filled with day traders with hot stock tips and “big market swing” stories. (Those of you who were there know what I’m talking about)

I have a few stories of my own but I’m going to save those for later once I collect myself.

Godspeed Nobi.

It’s not just you: Today’s work environment is getting extreme

May 30, 2019

imageORIGINAL POST 5/30/19:
Seeing more an more of this in just the Twitter posts I read… which is really unsettling.

UPDATE 6/16/19:
Margaret Price, Principal Researcher and Design Strategist at Microsoft, wrote an article on this topic & how to bounce back from burnout.

Off of this site, there’s actually a long series of articles addressing ‘burnout’ in two hashtags:

What’s up?

January 27, 2019

This is a test post.  Please disregard.





Interesting videos to play for an audience before a large tech presentation (Part 3)

July 27, 2018


The Expert (Short Comedy Sketch)
Lego Antikythera Mechanism
We’re Gonna Build a Framework!
On The Turing Completeness of PowerPoint (SIGBOVIK)

Interesting videos to play for an audience before a large tech presentation (Part 2)

July 27, 2018


Adam Savage’s One Day Builds: 1000 Shot NERF Blaster!
The Infinadeck Omnidirectional Treadmill – Smarter Every Day 192 (VR Series)
How Computers Compress Text: Huffman Coding and Huffman Trees
World’s Fastest Rapper on Windows Azure Cloud
Steve Ballmer Developers Music Video

Interesting videos to play for an audience before a large tech presentation (Part 1)

July 27, 2018


Use Flatscreens
“Turbo Encabulator” the Original
You Give REST a Bad Name

The Mathematics of Winning Monopoly
Metal Refining & Recovery, Episode 22: 15,500$ in Gold?

A story about Rocky & the Benihana chain

June 15, 2018

[Note: This post was originally written November 1st, 2006 for a blog I used to write focused on Japanese sake. I’m reposting it here because I thought it was worth copying to my personal blog]

My wife and I had the opportunity to go to Tokyo with Rocky Aoki and his wife Keiko.  Rocky as some of you may know is the founder of the famous Benihana of Tokyo chains.  Benihana is so successful and so well run, it is one of two Business Administration case studies that almost every MBA student studies.  (The other being Fred Smith & the story of the rise of FedEx.) 

To give you an idea of what makes Benihana of Tokyo so unique, it is considered to be the most efficient restaurant chain in the US, with higher “revenues per square foot” than anywhere else.  This is because Benihana doesn’t have kitchen – meals are prepared in front of customers. 

In addition, everything about the restaurant is designed to get you in, get you served, and get you out.  For example, serving areas are in broad horseshoe shapes – this prevents too much conversational intimacy resulting in prolonged stays by starry-eyed couples or business partners.  You’ll never find people lingering around after dinner at the tables much.  If anything, there is a bar at the restaurant that serves this purpose better – with much higher profit margins as well.  Even things as simple as the ice cream are designed to minimize people’s stay.  The “green tea ice cream” melts faster than most ice creams to encourage faster consumption.

A word about Keiko, Rocky’s wife
Now for the record, I got the chance to spend a good week with Keiko Ono, Rocky’s wife while on the tour to Japan, and watch her ‘operate’.  Being that very few of the folks reading this will ever get this opportunity, I will sum up my opinion about Keiko in just a few words:  Keiko is a self-made success, a shrewd business woman, a lady that really does love Rocky, and a symbol of the evolution of the modern Japanese woman. 

And even as fairly powerful woman, she’s still very nice and very level-headed.

Keiko was Miss Tokyo some 30 years ago which was amazing in it of itself, however she wasn’t a beauty pageant bubblehead.  To the contrary she was involved with various import businesses, not the least of which was her notoriety for being the first person to import and market the push-up bra to women in Japan.  Even more impressively, she founded and built up her own business consultancy, which specialized in helping to optimize and tune operational process.

Huh?  Why’d you write all of that?
I’m wrote the last few paragraphs because there was an article about Rocky Aoki in New York Magazine recently.  A fellow co-worker emailed it to me and I started reading the article and before I read the first 3 paragraphs, the article started talking about the “family war” going on between his children and himself, in great deal, centered around his interaction with Keiko.

The phrase that caught my eye was, “”My daughter Grace is telling me, Daddy, your wife is going to poison you to death. Be careful what you eat…. basically, they think my wife is, like, gold digger.”

WOW.  You see, Rocky is suing a good part of his family – 3 kids including the aforementioned Grace – for trying to gain control over the Benihana empire he created.  And part of their strategy is slandering Keiko by saying she’s taking advantage of an older man and only after her money…

Keiko is VERY COOL.
…which is where I call, ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT.  Keiko is a really cool lady.  Keiko was doing just fine before she met Rocky.  In fact, the way Rocky tells it, if anything, he needed her initially more than she needed him.  Recall that I said that Keiko’s company was basically a right-sizing shop that optimized business process.  Rocky got together with Keiko to help FIX Benihana – which she did.  Only later did they get married.

Rocky’s in his sunset years – let’s not kid ourselves.  He’s 68 and he tends to forget things.  He’s not at all the active guy he used to be – speedboating, hot air ballooning, race car driving, living the high life… all of that.  After recovering from a near fatal accident in a speedboat, and coming down with a illness contracted through a surgical blood transfusion that laid him up in the hospital for months, he’s not quite been the same active guy.  He told me he used to partake in all sort of activities that would make headlines or at least the Style section of the newspaper – anything for a photo stunt, anything to create publicity for his business.

Today, he’s basically a well-dressed, soft-spoken, kind-hearted man with a very specific vision.  During a dinner, he explained that his goal for the rest of the time he has is to help invigorate foreign interest in Japanese culture, language, and tourism.  He believes the Japanese have a lot to offer and by working through the government run Japanese Tourism group “Yokoso Japan!”, he thinks that he can help build bridges between the Japanese and other countries – not the least of which is America.


Keiko Ono & Rocky Aoki
(Photo by Kyoko Hamada, Rocky’s former personal assistant)

My quick story about Rocky
I’d heard about Rocky’s infamous kind heart before in other publications.  Others I’d talked to on the tour had mentioned it, but never actually gone into detail about why they believed it so.  I, for one, am one of those people that likes concrete definitions… quantification… precision…. and when someone makes a claim like “Rocky has a good heart”, I’d kind of like to understand the dimensions of the claim through simple examples.  For instance, is he the kind of guy that gives a dollar to the pan handler on the street?  Does he lend his image to good causes?  Does he sponsor and actively participate in children’s charities?  Well, I got my example first hand.  It took place at a dinner that was quite confusing in nature so I’ll try to shave off the details.  The following might be long but believe me – it’s the Cliff Notes version.

Shanghai-ed into dinner
During our tour of Tokyo, Rocky & Keiko through their politeness, got sort of suckered by a Japanese businessman into going to a dinner at a private restaurant in Roppongi that, little did we know, was to be a business proposal meeting.  In order to make the dinner happen, the businessman sponsoring the dinner invited everyone on the tour – all 24 of us. 

My wife and I, for whatever reason, was one of the first people in the restaurant.  While no one was present, the businessman insisted that my wife & I take the worst seat in the restaurant – after all, who was I next to business moguls like Rocky and others on the tour.  Now, I’ve been at my share of dinners where seating had been orchestrated for elbow rubbing purposes, so I said to myself, “Whatever” and let it go.

Now keep in mind that no one knew – including Rocky & Keiko – that this whole dinner was just a giant pitch for a business idea.  I thought the whole thing was just to do some serious ass-kissing. 

Rocky enters the picture
Rocky entered the restaurant and was immediately told by said businessman to sit at the center of the table.  Since I was the only other person in the restaurant, and had been shuffled off into the back corner, Rocky told my wife and I to come have a seat with him. 

The businessman turned red.  He immediately and sternly intervened and told me quite gruffly to go back to my table in the corner.  Rocky then quietly said, “No, no… come.  Sit with me.”  The businessman glared at me.  Uh….awkward?

I locked stares with Rocky and gestured with my eyes toward the businessman, shrugged, and glumly headed back to my table.  Satisfied with where I was sitting, the businessman backed off and went back toward the door.

Until Rocky got up from the center seat and sat down with me and my wife to start talking.  We chatted about Japan and what I thought of the trip so far, and my true interest in sake.  You see, of the people on the trip which was supposed to be oriented around sake appreciation, I think I was one of only a couple folks that actively was interested in sake production and sake consumption.  We talked about good sake and American tastes and bantered about quite normal things.

Oops… there goes the playbook!
Now what I didn’t know was that this completely screwed up the businessman’s plans.  He was livid that Rocky had chosen to sit down next to me… but what could he do?  You don’t tell the “man” that he sat in the wrong chair – especially the man that you’re trying to court for a business opportunity. (we didn’t know this at the time but we figured out everything that had been going on later that night)  He even went so far to try to get Rocky to move but Rocky said “No”.

Keiko came in at this point and Rocky whispered a few things in Japanese to Keiko and continued to talk to my wife and I this time about Japanese American tourism – having more “sansei” and “yonsei” revisit their heritage. (3rd & 4th generation Japanese American citizens)  People began filing in and I didn’t think much about what was going on at the time except that Rocky seemed very calm.

Keiko kicks ass
At this point, Keiko stood up and invited all 4 of us (there was a Yokoso Japan representative with us at the table, a very nice elderly man who had before he retired, been a Japanese Marketing executive) to the main table.  The businessman that had orchestrated the event said loudly, “Madam Keiko, we do not have the room” in reference to the places at the table, to which Keiko said, “Yes we do” and proceeded to instruct people to move more chairs to the main table and “squish” everyone in. 

Next thing we know, we’re sitting at the main table with everyone else in the group.  Now, during dinner, we had a very uncomfortable and awkward business proposal made between the businessman and Rocky & Keiko who graciously took the materials and made no commitment.  And that was the end of dinner. 

We couldn’t get out fast enough.

Revelations of that night
Later that night it dawned on us, after receiving some key information from various folks close to Rocky, that a giant mindgame was being played at dinner.  We’d just witnessed not only a shotgun business proposal by a rather rude businessman that Rocky & Keiko had no relationship whatsoever to, but Rocky had intentionally moved to our table to irritate the businessman.

Rocky Aoki is no dope, folks, and I’m here as a 1st hand witness to this.  You see, Japanese culture is one of subtleties.  For example, most people know that “yes” in Japanese is pronounced “Hai” (HA-ee), which is a positive affirmation.  Few people however know that “no” in Japanese is pronounced “Ie” (EE-yay), because saying “no” is considered rude – it’s just not done.  Instead, when you don’t want something or your response is negative, you say the Japanese equivalent of “Umm… it’s a little…” or “Uh… I’m uncertain…”  Get it?

Rocky & every man’s equality
In the case of the dinner, Rocky, in an effort to ensure everyone was treated with respect and equality, (unlike the businessman that had orchestrated this farce) decided that if I couldn’t come to him, instead of making a scene, he’d come to me and he’d make sure that the guy knew who was boss that night.

Meanwhile, he worked with Keiko to ensure that everyone would be treated nicely and not talked down to as the businessman had to me.  Keiko in turn laid down the law and served notice on everyone that she was orchestrating where people would be sitting.

Every person would be treated equally as Rocky & Keiko’s guests.  No one would have status above another no matter how rich or how successful.

The New York Magazine Article
Now isn’t that cool?  I mean in this day and age, where folks snub others for the social circles they consort in, Rocky & Keiko are different. 

I wrote the above to give people and idea of what what they’re like – an example if you will.  And it’s not the only one I might add.  It’s just the one that I remember most vividly because of the outrageous circumstances we were all in.

So when you read the article below, entitled, “Rocky’s Family Horror Show:  Rocky Aoki and his feuding heirs are bringing out the knives, to slice and dice his Benihana fortune.”  I hope you’ll get an idea of what the two of them are really like.  While the article describes his past as “flashy”, you have to understand that these were strategic moves to draw attention to his business – not unlike what Richard Branson does for Virgin Enterprises.  As for his past indiscretions, all I can vouch for is what he’s like now. 

And I really like the guy.

The article is here:

Ever wonder what that “13” on the left field wall of UCLA’s Jackie Robinson Stadium is?

May 25, 2018


There’s a retired number on the left field wall of UCLA’s Jackie Robinson Stadium.  I’ve searched quite a bit to verify who’s number this was and strangely, there’s not a whole lot specifically written about the “13” in left field.

…so I’m writing something.

imageNumber 13 is UCLA-great Kenny Washington’s number.  Nicknamed “The Kingfish”, Kenny was actually the first black player on the UCLA baseball team – even though many mistakenly believe it was Jackie Robinson. 

Washington hit .454 in 1937 and .350 in 1938 while at UCLA.  He went on to play professional football, despite his skills at baseball, but after his pro football career ended, signed on with the Angels in 1950 where he had a short stint playing integrated professional baseball.

In 1956, Kenny’s number was the first number retired in UCLA history.  That same year, he was inducted into the the College Football Hall of Fame.

For more information on Kenny Washington’s story, check out:


March 20, 2018

Trump is is so facepalmingly, headshakingly, mindblowingly stupid, there’s really only one way to get through his childish antics throughout the newscycle and that’s to GO EVEN MORE CHILDISH.

Presenting… SPACE FORCE!

Westfield Century City Smart Parking

January 26, 2018

imageI started using Westfield’s Smart Parking system at Century City (the only mall that supports it in the US as far as I know).

Here’s a description of how it works – it may require installing the Westfield app on your Android or iPhone device, although I’ve been told there’s a way to do this online as well.


Before your visit, create a Westfield account, add your vehicle’s license plate, and save your payment card details.


Our cameras will recognize your license plate when you arrive at the parking garage. Watch the gate open automatically. No ticket needed.


When you’re done, validate by scanning a QR code at a participating retailer or just drive out. We’ll bill your card directly and send you a receipt. Simple!

So I’ve actually used it, and it indeed works this way.  The cameras and the entrances & exits automatically recognize your car and let you in & out – automatically charging your credit card on file.  They have a description of the service online here:

WARNING: It appears based on the feedback that I’ve read, that despite the app having a QR code reader built into it to recognize & consume ‘validation’ tickets issued by the AMC Theatres and Guest Services, the validations feature doesn’t work on either iOS or Android so prepare to pay whatever non-discounted fee it is that Westfield charges & not be able to accept validations if you get them at the mall. 

You can download the apps here:

Stockman: ‘Calamity Don’ Has ‘No Idea He’s Presiding over the Biggest Fiscal Disaster in History’

December 22, 2017

David Stockman, former Budget Director for Ronald Reagan, has a whopper of a YouTube channel

Check out this video where he crushes Neil Cavuto on his understanding of the US economy, and it starts with this serve & volley:

Over the next 10 years, the government looks to take in $43 Trillion dollars in revenue & taxes.  That’s a lot of money.

Yeah, but it looks to put out $53 Trillion in spending!

Stockman: ‘Calamity Don’ Has ‘No Idea He’s Presiding over the Biggest Fiscal Disaster in History’

Stockman: Here’s Why Trump’s Tax Plan Won’t Stimulate the Economy Like Reagan’s

December 22, 2017

This video is a simple 10 minute explanation of why Trump’s tax plan won’t work, why reducing corporate taxes doesn’t stimulate job growth, and why our situation today is completely different from the Reagan era from David Stockman, RONALD REAGAN’S BUDGET DIRECTOR as broadcast on the FOX BUSINESS NETWORK.

(…and what should have been done instead.)

Money quote, speaking about Steve Mnuchin & the advocates of the GOP Tax Plan:

“These people are total fakes. I’ve never seen anything that was as content free, as substance-less, as this 9 pager that came out.”

Stockman: Here’s Why Trump’s Tax Plan Won’t Stimulate the Economy Like Reagan’s

“12 Months of Trump’s Mess” – The Parody Project

December 22, 2017

Holy cow, this is amazing.

12 MONTHS OF TRUMP’S MESS (Parody of 12 Days of Christmas)

“Annoyed photographer nearly ignores Mom who walks in at end of workday, then spots her daughter”

December 15, 2017

Wanna read something heartwarming?  I had a crap week and this was a very much needed read for me.  A little chicken soup for the soul, perhaps.


OMG. Omarosa got fired. MegaLOL.

December 13, 2017

Bye Felicia.

Omarosa Manigault dragged off of The White House grounds by security, “She’s Always Had Drama”

Jake Tapper fact checks Roy Moore spokesman

December 13, 2017

Watch Roy Moore’s spokesperson stare into the camera, unable to respond after being caught in his own ignorance.  This video is seriously the textbook definition of #rekt.

Watch the folks on MSNBC’s Morning Joe laugh so hard, they cry

December 13, 2017

This is seriously one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while. 

Watch Joe Scarborough and his panel laugh their collective tails off after hearing an obviously fake Robocall that Roy Moore claimed was Washington Post’s reporters soliciting people/paying people for claims against Roy Moore.

Apparently, the GOP’s perpetrators of fraud aren’t that sophisticated in Alabama.