Tuesday, June 26, 2012

fax, fax, who's got the fax?

Had to send a fax today. Remember those? I had to think for a minute to remember how to do it. I remember 1976 (might have been 1977) and my first fax machine. It was amazing.

At the time I was working with offices all over the world in many different time zones and communication was hard. I’d often stay late or get up really early to make phone calls.

The new fax – facsimile back then – was made by Qwip, at the time a subsidiary of Exxon I think (go figure) and it worked on the same principal as drum scanners. I’ve never been in the printing business but in the olden days (I guess) there were these big drum scanners that spun and allowed documents to be copied electronically.

Our little fax machine worked the same way. We wrapped the document face out around the drum, set the quality level for either 3 minutes (which was considered a fast fax but at lower quality) or 6 minutes (considered higher quality) then dialed the number and waited for a connection. After it made the sounds like modems used to do (any one remember modems and dial-up?) so you knew you were connected, you pressed another button and voila! Fax underway!

The only problem I remember was – maybe two problems – the machine had to be turned on overseas to receive and sometimes international connections weren’t always clean and noise or static could end the call and the fax might only make it half-way.

But it was still so much better than early morning or late night phone calls just to share information.

Isn’t (wasn’t) technology grand!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Since Pres. Obama announced his executive action to stop deporting children (approx. 800,000) of illegal immigrants who meet certain criteria, and allow them work permits, there has been plenty of media discussion.

At first hearing I thought two things: yes, this is a political move to shore up support with Latinos and 2) it sounded OK on its face (albeit somewhat complex.)

How can you be against children (many who are now adults) that ended up here (illegally) through no fault or action of their own and likely have no “home” to go back to in another country?

My 3rd (really my first but I started counting at the wrong place) was: Really? We have plans to deport 800,000 people? I can’t imagine INS having the staff to be able to do that. But then I read that 1.2 million people were deported last year.

So someone has the staff and means to “remove” (Janet Napolitano’s word when discussing this last week) that many people. That’s a lot a taxpayer funded tickets back home too.

I’m not quite ready to take sides on this issue.

But I did read an interview that indicated that allowing these 800,000 to get work permits will only hurt many already un- (or under-) employed lower income folks with whom these “to-be” legal workers will be competing for jobs within an economy of already high (at least 7% or more almost anywhere) rate of unemployment.

All Obama is doing is nibbling around the edges because it is an election year. But this is NOT one of those elephants that you can (or should) eat one bite at a time. If you wonder about this just look at our tax code.

Our elected officials on both sides of the aisle need to step up and develop a comprehensive policy on immigration that takes into account the realities of the 21st century, our world-wide economy and why even with our high unemployment and anything else you might find wrong with our country, for some reason, many people still want to live here – so badly that they will spend thousands of dollars and risk their lives to get here.

I’m also asking myself the clichéd WWJD but that’s going to take a little more time.

Monday, June 18, 2012

the future of news?

Tried to look something up on a local TV station’s website today and found:

Entire top half of the page was commercial except for one video window with three stories.

URL does NOT contain the station’s call letters.

Was looking for staff information and had to drill down to find it and when I got there it was not up to date.

I have a friend and former co-worker who is a consultant mostly trying to help TV stations move (kicking and screaming) into the web world. I may pass his contact information along.

A few months ago I went to another local station’s website to look for a story and was confused by various words that were underlined indicating a link to other content. I recall how disappointed I was when every one of those “links” took me to a sponsored page and not more or related content to the page/story I was reading.

Not exactly sure what I’d call my source for local news but these are not likely to be the places.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

If they lie ...

Listening to radio on the way home and one story was about Roger Clemens who (for you who don't know or care) was and to some degree still is a famous pitcher in baseball.

I did not follow his earlier trials or testimony closely but was interested in this particular part of it all: he is being tried or will be tried or was tried on whether he lied to Congress. Really? We've spent countless hours and who knows how many millions on that? Stick around to the end for my actual point - I'll get there eventually.

To some degree the Edwards trial falls in the same category - spending millions and countless on whether he misused and lied about misuse of campaign funds. This isn't about whether the sleaze-ball who ran for Prez. slept around on his cancer-stricken wife and that he came close to being one missed heartbeat away from the White House. It's just about money and rules about campaign financing. And most of the money being spent on Clemens and Edwards is probably ours.

Yet across the country a Vegas billionaire gives Romney $10 million. Some people don't seem to care. Not sure why but I was reminded of Oral Roberts back when he claimed he was going to die or be taken by God if he didn't raise some enormous amount of money. Then some guy who was (I think) into Greyhound racing, bailed him out. I digress but I am disappointed in Romney if he takes the guys' money. I don't think Mormons support gambling. Adelson admits he is pro-choice. Where do he and Romney agree exactly? I digress some more.

My initial theme and point here was supposed to be this. Clemens is in trouble because he may have lied to Congress. What are we supposed to do when Congress lies to us?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Who from the late 60s/early70s doesn’t remember this seminal album?

My daughter got it for me (again, I had an original vinyl) on CD not too long ago. I still pop it into the car player occasionally.

So when I heard that Carole King was publishing a memoir, I put my name on the library’s hold list (sorry but I can’t remember the last time I bought an actual book.)

I got it a few weeks ago and just finished it last night.

I wish she had done it in two parts; kind of like the old 45s with a b-side.

I found myself really enjoying the early years – working in NY, writing hits for people like Aretha Franklin. Then of course the Tapestry, James Taylor et al years.

But when she moved into the 70s after Tapestry, I sort of lost interest. I kept reading, she kept writing and recording but much like I can only remember one song – Jazz Man – after her hugeness, the 2nd part of the book was not too memorable.

I did learn she has acted on Broadway, been married 4 times, did NOT have an affair with James Taylor, lived (and maybe still does) in Idaho as a sort of back-to-nature, mother-earthy kind of woman and get ready – she’s more than 70s years old!

I will say I did enjoy her Troubadour Concert with James Taylor and most of the original bandmates/sidemen on PBS last year.

So if you are waxing (get the vinyl record pun?) nostalgic, by all means get the book but if you are like me, just read up until Tapestry is out there.