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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why you should vote for Martha Coakley

Are you thinking of voting for another candidate because you dislike Martha Coakley? Here's a reason to vote for Martha.

Vote for Martha because you want to give Barak Obama as much of a chance as possible to lead. The fact is that although there are many opinions, no one knows for sure how to fix the economy; how to fix healthcare; how to defeat terrorists; how best to get aid to Haiti. Healthy debate is fine and is supposedly the hallmark of our system of government. But all too often our system of checks and balances results in paralysis. Problems are solved by strong leaders. So whether you think Barak Obama is right or wrong. Whether you think he's a strong leader or ineffectual. Give Barak Obama every opportunity to lead. Give Barak Obama the opportunity to see his agenda to its conclusion, regardless of whether the result is success or failure. Because no one knows at this point which way it will go.

Bipartisanship is nice, but the cost more often than not is compromise for the sake of compromise. This solves no problems. Scott Brown appears to be well-meaning and honest. But although he would have you believe that voting for him will tip the scales in favor of the Republican agenda, it will not. It will only add to the stagnation to which our government seems so susceptible.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Singing the JetBlue not-so-TrueBlue Blues

Maybe this will serve as a cautionary tale for those who are considering enrolling in an airline frequent-flyer and affinity credit card program. In my case, it's JetBlue's TrueBlue program and the American Express JetBlue Card.

I originally enrolled in TrueBlue because JetBlue had direct flights from Boston to Phoenix (where my family now lives) and admittedly, because my family and I really liked the airline. I also got a American Express JetBlue card in order to increase the number of points in my account. One of main selling points of the card was that the points would never expire or so I thought...

I turns out that the terms of the card were very misleading--whether purposely misleading or not I can't say. You see, my TrueBlue account was credited with points when I paid for items using the card. When the account reached 100 points, the points were automatically converted to TruePasses. Each TruePass can be used to purchase a one-way flight on JetBlue. And there's the rub. It turns out that although the points don't expire, the TruePasses expire after 1 year! There was no mention of this when I signed up for the card. This made no sense. If the points automatically convert to passes (there's no way to opt out of this) and the passes expire, then how can they say that the points never expire? It seems to me that the passes are just another way to represent a certain number of points in the same way that a $20 bill represents the same amount as twenty $1 bills. Naturally, I contacted JetBlue. But, as you can see from this email thread with their customer service department, they weren't interested in the concerns of a loyal customer. You'll also see from the email thread that I am not the first to run into this problem.

In my opinion, the terms of the TrueBlue program (recently changed, perhaps because of similar complaints) and the JetBlue American Express Card are misleading. Whether or not they were purposely structured that way really doesn't matter. So, as promised, I am going to file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Department of the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.

I'll keep you all apprised.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

IBM Automates Outsourcing

IBM has found a way to rub salt in the wounds of all those losing their jobs to outsourcing. In fact, in true IBM fashion, they've patented it. What's next, "A Method And System For Laying Off Employees"?

The question is, if computers started laying people off rather than IBM managers, would anyone notice the difference?

Monday, December 22, 2008

My product on Engadget

Mail on Ovi is the project I've been working on for the past 6 months or so. It was just mentioned on Engadget Mobile. Cool!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Still Life with Carrot (courtesy of Lucas Levine)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Our Excellent Home Remodeling Adventure

A few months ago, my family embarked upon a journey guaranteed to strike fear into the hearts of most suburbanites--the home remodeling project. This was actually 3 projects rolled into one: a full bathroom gut and remodel, turning a breezeway into a four-season sunroom, and constructing a deck off the back of the sunroom.

The project was completed about a month ago and thanks to Darrell McCrensky and the rest of the crew from Hancock Building Associates, it all went off flawlessly and with surprisingly little pain. Everything came out exactly as we had envisioned it and in some cases even better than we had originally planned. Hancock's thoughtfulness , respect for our home (they always cleaned up at the end of the day), and attention to detail were superb.

As part of the sunroom remodel, we used a new bamboo product from CaliBamboo on the ceiling and received 1st place project of the month as a result!

Click here to see a Flickr stream featuring photos taken by Darrell McCrensky.

My family and I would like to thank everyone who worked on this project:

Valcourt Electric:
American Air:
Kitchen Associates:
Touch of Tile:
Bailey Plumbing:
Scott Cormier (tile installer)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Creative freedom in software engineering

I've been looking at the Google App Engine a bit lately. Pretty cool stuff. One thing I was wondering about is why they chose Python as the sole programming language. There's nothing wrong with Python and I'm sure they'll add support for additional languages in the future. But why Python as the first language? I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing the answer is pretty simple. Maybe it's just because that's what the engineer(s) working on App Engine felt like doing.

Amazing the creative freedom that ensues when there is no pressure to immediately make money from your technology.

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