Monday, September 17, 2001

Mischief at disaster site

It's stunning how assholes come out of the woodwork so quickly after a tragedy to capitalize on the confusion and grief. It's a crying shame.

Thursday, September 13, 2001

Bid to Thwart Hijackers May Have Led to Pa. Crash (

If this is indeed how it happened, if a group of passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 got together and decided to take on the hijackers before they reached their target...

God, what courage. What selflessness. They would have known that their struggle would mean death for all of them. They would have known that they were sacrificing themselves to save God knows how many innocent people. I weep for these heroes, these great, incredible, marvelous human beings that stood up to terror and evil and did not blink. Somehow that plane ended up in a Pennsylvania field instead of the White House, or the Capitol Building, or whatever its final target would have been. If this group of passengers was responsible for that... kids, that's true heroism.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Plane Attacks Destroy World Trade Center, Hit Pentagon

Is this the first shot fired in a war that will engulf the globe? Or an act of barbarism perpetrated by a cowardly group of thugs that prefers to accomplish its ends by killing innocent civilians.

Either way, the world is a different place today. Only God knows how this will end.
British Firm Tests World's First Nicotine Vaccine

Wow. This would be so cool if it works. Can't quit smoking? A couple shots in the arm will take care of that for you. Wonder what the tobacco companies think about this?
Labels paid MTV for Britney, J.Lo, *NSync appearances

...Just like they paid MTV to play their videos in high rotation, right? Payola is alive and well, kids. Instead of radio DJs raking in the big bucks (and don't kid yourself, they get some decent swag, too), it's MTV and other music video channels that make out like bandits. This is another reason why artists get the short end of the stick. If labels didn't spend so much money paying off these channels for airplay, they could spare a few more dimes for the people that create the content in the first place.

Monday, September 10, 2001

Economists cut 2001, 2002 outlook: poll - Sep. 10, 2001

Quote: "The U.S. economy will grow at a slower pace than previously thought but a recovery from the yearlong slowdown is likely to come by the end of 2001, a panel of economists said Monday."

Well, even though their conclusion might actually be legitimate...

What the hell else are they going to say? That we're totally screwed? If they knew that the economy was going to crash and burn like the Hindenburg, do you really think that they would tell us? Seems to me that if that kind of news was released, that would cause a bit of a panic, huh? People cashing out mutual funds and stocks, consumer spending drops to a trickle, and tourists decide to stay home. Then the economy would really go to shit.

So it's nice of them to say that the economy will recover, but I hope they don't mind if I take their conclusion with a hefty grain of salt.

Thursday, September 06, 2001

Intel to offer mid-quarter business update - Sep. 6, 2001

Without Intel rival AMD, computer prices would be a lot higher. While AMD only has 20% of the market, it's enough to make Intel drop prices on their processors to keep pace. Since AMD's chips are just as fast, if not faster, than Intel's chips, in many cases it would be foolish to spend more money on an Intel-based computer when you get no performance gain. However, Intel has solid contract agreements with the big boys: Dell, Gateway 2000, Compaq, and IBM. This makes it harder for AMD to increase their foothold.

The other problem is that I think we're getting closer to reaching a plateau in computer sales. Most people who want a computer now have one, and unless you're playing the latest games, you don't need the latest hardware, so a two or three year old computer still has enough horsepower to accomplish the basics. It seems to me that Microsoft and Intel are working in parallel to create a need for new computers; Microsoft keeps churning out new operating systems, and Intel keeps churning out faster processors (with AMD running alongside). However, consumers are starting to realize that they don't necessarily need a new operating system or a faster processor, and so the habit of buying a new computer every three years is not as iron-clad as it used to be. With the amazing technological advances in game consoles, gamers are turning to Playstation 2 and the upcoming Nintendo Gamecube and Microsoft X-Box to satisfy their needs instead of buying the latest video cards and processors for their PC.

What this means is that the computer industry will continue to slow down, at least from a home PC perspective. In the corporate world, business will still be booming for some time, as many companies space out their purchases over several years, and so they're always buying to replace outdated equipment. For the consumer, the best deal is still an AMD-based system, and if you're thinking of snagging a new PC, give AMD a chance. I did, and I'm very happy.

Tuesday, September 04, 2001

HP to buy Compaq for $25B in stock - Sep. 4, 2001

This is the most important sentence in the whole story:

"The companies said the merger is expected to eventually save $2.5 billion a year, and an HP spokesman said that the merger will lead to the elimination of about 15,000 jobs."

That's 15,000 more people on the unemployment line. How much do you want to bet there aren't many management types in that group? The computer/tech industry is like the auto industry in the late seventies and early eighties - dropping workers like flies, increasing automation in the manufacturing process, and merging with other companies in a desperate attempt to stay afloat. I don't blame HP or Compaq for the lost jobs, because it's an industry-wide (and economy-wide) problem. It's funny how Alan Greenspan and his cronies at the Fed believe that if they keep lowering the prime rate a quarter-point every two weeks, the economy will turn around. Sorry, Alan, I ain't buying it.