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Showing posts from 2008

something....anything

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Frakking DO something

New Found WWII footage.

Some newly found/never before seen WWII footage discovered in Denver recently. It's Black and White.. no sound, but still interesting. I've always loved old movie reels and this feels like the raw material before it's cut down to 3 minutes for the reel they used to show before feature films in theatres (before that new fangled thing had come into being... TV). It's a little like having one of those old C dish's (10 feet across) that got the full raw news feeds from around the world.. but over half a century ago.



My Dad was in WWII (barely... he was 17 when he joined and it was the last year of the war) and he's got some pretty interesting stories about Japan after the surrender. I think this was the last time the world, as a whole, had to sacrifice and work together.

Medioh Logo (Pixar style)

Thanks to Bryan!

Fox News Exec. VP calls the election for Obama! (well, sort of).

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My Wordle...

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My Del.icio.us wordle:



Thanks to Brad and Amy. I didn't know there was such a thing as a Wordle before.

Powell and Obama (video)

Well done video on Powell's endorsement of Obama and well worth the slightly over Five minutes of your life it'll take to watch.



I can't say I love Colin, not after his show at the UN claiming 'Iraq has WMD's', But this helps. And, he is definitely a Republican that other Republicans and conservative independents listen to.

I also think his statement that Obama's a Christian, has always been a Christian but, what if he wasn't? Why would it matter... is so dead on, so obvious and so the right thing, I have to say: hats off to the man. It's about time someone stood up for what America really stands for.

Oil Prices vs. Gas Prices

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Light sweet crude ($/barrel) 72.70
as of 10/16/08.




So...

If Crude Oil is $148.00 a barrel, and Gas Prices are around $3.95 a gallon,

Wouldn't it make sense that when Crude Oil get's down to $72.70 a barrel, that Gas Prices would be around $1.98 a gallon?

$1.98

Makes sense eh?

I'm seeing...... $3.09 (lowest price) here in Boulder.

When Crude Oil prices go up, the price at the pump goes up, next day at the latest.

How much is gas at your gas station?

What does an 83 IQ score mean to you?

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The average IQ for an American Citizen is slightly over 100.

Apparently, this is Sarah Palin's IQ as a high school student.

The original is here. It's a background report on Sarah Palin.

Her SAT scores are bottom of page 3. IQ scores top of page 4.

Just sayin....

Warren and Charlie mix it up

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There's an excellent interview with Warren Buffet up on Charlie Rose's site.

This is the full interview (almost an hour) but worth it. He isn't called the Sage of Omaha for nothing.

How to pitch to a VC: High speed compressed version by David S. Rose

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There's a great TED video by David S. Rose, startup guy and now a VC on how to pitch to a VC. There's lots of these out there but this is an amazingly well done, compacted and fast paced version well worth watching.

They invest in people.

You have at most 18 minutes to get the idea across.

First, You have to get across Integrity (straight shooter).
Second, Passion for what you're doing.
Third, Experience. Serial entrepreneurs are favored.
Forth, Knowledge and domain expertise.
Fifth, Skills to get a company going.
Sixth, Leadership, to get the full set of skills in place to run the company
Seventh, Commitment, to stay to the very end.
Eighth, Vision.
Ninth, Realism.
Tenth, Coachable.



Start like a rocket. 10 seconds to grab them.

From there, a solid steady upward graph that gets better and better that knocks it out of the park at the end. Never skip a step or go backwards. think "Logical Progression".

Provide touchstones like referencing companies the Angel or VC might know…

There's No Arguing With Conservatives ... No, Seriously, Scientific Studies Prove It

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<--giuliani in dragA new study out of Yale University confirms what argumentative liberals have long-known: Offering reality-based rebuttals to conservative lies only makes conservatives cling to those lies even harder. In essence, schooling See the report from the Washington Post article on the study, which came out yesterday


Can't say I'm surprised.
I suppose this means the whole 'trying to reason' with conservatives is just moot. I've experienced it (many times) first hand with my conservative friends, but now I know for certain what I've always suspected... it's just how their brains seem to work.
I always said it was genetic. I was kidding, but, turns out, it was a little bit true.

Nationalizing the US Financial system

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Think we're not?

Freddie and Fannie= Owned by the government. Controls over 1/2 of the mortgages in America.

A.I.G.= Owned by the government. Insures a huge percentage (globally) of all the 'mortgage debt instruments'.

And we're being dumb about it.

Dumbness example:

Sunday- A.I.G. asks for a $40Billion loan to stave off a change in it's credit rating.
Monday- Fed's say no. Monday night: Credit agencies lower A.I.G.'s credit rating
Tuesday- A.I.G. says it may have to liquidate. Tuesday night: Fed says, no no.. here's $85 Billion

$85 Billion vs. $40 Billion.

Why did it happen? The short answer appears to be the Fed's tried to scare the existing players (Goldmans, etc.) into funding A.I.G. and lost the stare down.

The cost to you and me? $45 billion.

Dumness galore.

E.T. and I.T.

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For decades the US has been on the leading edge of information technology (I.T.) and this has driven our economy (and the worlds) to new heights of prosperity, but it's soon to be the 2nd most important industry.

Energy is where it's at this century. The age of cheap energy is over and finding, developing and deploying (mostly) renewable energy sources is where the action will be. Thomas Friedman (NYT columnist and book author) calls this Energy Technology or E.T.

The railroads lost the battle to the auto/truck makers in the middle of the last century by thinking of their business as 'trains' and not 'transportation'.

The Oil companies of today are doing the same exact thing (and recruiting the politicians, like McCain's VP pick: Palen).

It's about ENERGY, not Oil. Investing only in an energy source with a finite supply is a waste of investment.

It's too bad today's Big Oil guys don't get that they're in the Energy business... not, just, t…

Godin and Interns

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Create a facebook group to recruit and filter interns.

Brilliant! Simple! Obvious! Why the hell didn't I think of this?

Seth Godin, a guy who really gets the world in ways many don't, recently needed some interns (paid...so he was hoping for a good response) and boy did he get that response. Over 150+ applied from around the world. Then, he tried something clever, and very obvious, but to my knowledge not done before, to help filter them down to the 5 he'd actually hire: He started a facebook group.
Unable to just pick a PDF or two, I invited the applicants to join a Facebook group I had set up. Then I let them meet each other and hang out online.

It was absolutely fascinating. Within a day, the group had divided into four camps:

* The game-show contestants, quick on the trigger, who were searching for a quick yes or no. Most of them left.
* The lurkers. They were there, but we couldn't tell.
* The followers. They waited for someone to tell them what to do.
* …

Is the smallness of Web 2.0 killing the big wins?

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Great story from the New York Times.
Judy Estrin, who has built several Silicon Valley companies and was the chief technology officer of Cisco Systems, says Silicon Valley is in trouble. In a new book, “Closing the Innovation Gap,” which will be in bookstores Tuesday, she writes that the valley’s problems are symptomatic of a crisis in innovation facing the country as a whole.I have to agree, but it's not just Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, I'm learning this from direct personal experience with my own startup.

We started as ClickCaster, a podcasting platform that was veryy good at making it simple to create and publish an audio or video podcast. We built a great product and great team. We did everything 'right', but podcasting, so far, hasn't become a business. So, about 6 months ago, we sold it to a company down in Texas (the URL, userbase and a license for the software). We kept the software and intellectual property as well as the team that built it and brou…

Boulder Parking: A Sort Of Protection Racket?

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I've heard of this, but I just experienced it directly today.

Boulder is running a scam on it's citizens and as far as I'm concerned it's a form of parking ticket enforcementfraud.

Know what this feels like? It feels like a revenue generating operation that's a tiny bit like a protection racket.

In an approx. 30 day period from mid June to mid July, the meter maids gave me three $15 tickets, and within 45 days of the last ticket, turned it into $180 in fines and booted my car (another $40 charge). $220.00.

Not a bad hall for 3 slips of paper and 6 minutes of meter maid time. How many times does this happen in a day? How much revenue does this generate for the city?

What' the ROI for the city? I'm betting: really really good.

Interestingly, this was all with zero warning. No letters (at least none that I got), no warning stickers on the car, nothing.

Apparently, Boulder enforces the 'laws of the state' around parking much more stringently than it d…

Is Apple a Republican?

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I don't mean this in the political sense, I mean it in the 'how we do business' sense.

I've noticed that Apple simply never, ever, says it's sorry. It also never admits it's wrong without being called on it, repeatedly, by many sources, over days or weeks (sometimes months). The latest example being the 3G phones unreliability and the MobileMe online service outages and outright failures.

Apple is also the most secretive company in the business. everything is a secret, even inside the company with product teams working on the same product. It's compartmentalized and everyone is isolated from everyone else (outside of their immediate group). Sound a bit like our current administration? Just a little?

I've also noticed that all the latest "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads, although cute, funny and fluffy, are negative ads. Negative in the sense of attack ads, similar to what the Republican's do so very well.

I know.. it's a stretch, bu…

Ultimate Geek Out

It doesn't get much better (or more geeky) than this.

Presenting the Large Hadron Rap:



White female science writer turned rapper Katherine McAlpine knocks it out of the irony park.

You have no choice but to love it.

Google Kills Feedburner

This is sad, and I have to wonder what the motivations behind it might have been.



About a year ago, Google bought Feedburner, an RSS tracking system that did a very nice job of creating advertising revenue for RSS powered content. Google announced they'd shut it down a few days ago.

Why would Google spend a reported $100M on a company and then, a year later, shut it down? I don't think they transferred that business to their adsense network (Allen Stern, in the video above, agrees with me here).

I suspect this was an example of a big company seeing that a small company had something very innovative, were first movers and were creating an 'alternative' ad network to adsense on Google.

Having worked in some really big companies I've seen this kind of behavior over and over so it's possible I'm being overly cynical ... Maybe I'm giving Google too much credit for thinking into the future and being a little bit evil here. But, maybe not.

I'm effectively sa…

Librarians as Free Speech Shock Troops

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Every so often, I read a blog post that makes me go 'wow' and sticks with me long and hard. Posts like that are rare so when I run across them I believe it's important others have the opportunity to read them as well.

Jamie Larue just wrote such a post called "Uncle Bobby's Wedding".

The subject matter is a childrens book about gay marriage, but it could be about any idea that one person or group of persons disagrees with and doesn't feel should be made available to another group (in this case, children aged 2-7). It addresses the importance of free speech and open thought. He's addressing libraries, but it extends well beyond that to any free speech be it in a library, or on the internet.
"Our whole system of government was based on the idea that the purpose of the state was to preserve individual liberties, not to dictate them. The founders uniformly despised many practices in England that compromised matters of individual conscience by restric…

Benevolent Dictators and Cross Pollination in Boulder

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Rebecca McKinnon did a great post on Silicon Valley's benevolent dictatorship. Personally, I think she nailed it. To a large degree, she exposed how a large number of high tech people tend to think about this space. Benevolent Dictatorships are, indeed, largely what creates great companies in Silicon Valley. I won't go into her take on the downside of that, read her post. It's worth it.

The guys over at Techdirt, not to be outdone, write a post about Rebecca's post that adds an important additional side note in the last couple of paragraphs about the cross pollination of people and ideas is one main reason Silicon Valley tends to be so successful. These two things, based on my 20 plus years of observing it and 10 years actually living there, make up a large part of why Silicon Valley succeeds beyond the obvious things talked about and copied by other areas many times before (money from VC's and Angels, access to universities, quality of life, etc.).

So....Benev…

The Main Stream Media (MSM) is Trying Really Hard To Commit Suicide

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I can't really think of any other explaination for what happened at CBS.

Apparently, McCain pulled a blooper during a CBS news interview by mixing up his timelines around 'The Surge' in Iraq which is actually a big story in itself (since he seems to be basing all his credibility on it) but the real story, for me, was how CBS, effectively, covered up the mistake.

Thank god for MSNBC madman (corporate newsroom speak for 'TruthSayer') Keith Oberman. He took the original footage, and the modified footage and played them side by side. Here's the Clip:



Of course, this is getting a much larger audience on the internet then when it was aired on MSNBC. If you want the facts, on demand, the internet is the place to go.

This isn't about McCain, I'm not picking on him.

What I'm astounded at is the CBS Evening News changing the content of an interview with a presidential candidate to make him look less foolish when he made a major mistake on camera.

So I have to as…

July 4th and the Declaration of Independence

Although, as Americans, you'd think we'd all have a copy of the Declaration of Independence around, chances are you don't. And if you did, would you read it?

Spend a little over 14 minutes then and at least listen to it.

Punk Capitalism (The Pirate's Dilemma)

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THIS is a book worth reading

The Pirates Dilemma
How Youth Culture is Reinventing Capitalism


Or put another way: much of the worlds innovation was created by Pirates.

You can download a copy of it here.

Did you know Jankes was the word for pirates back in the 18th and 19th century? Its where the work Yanks came from because Americans were considered the most piratical bootlegging nation on earth. They stole, copied and ignored copyrights and patents. They looked alot like China of the 1990s, and Japan of the 1970s.

Did you know Hollywood is a bunch of pirates? Yep. Edison invented filmmaking and demanded a licensing fee from anyone making movies with his tech. What happened? A band of filmmaking pirates, including one named William, left New York for the then still wild west where they thrived, unlicensed, until Edison's patents expired. Williams last name? Fox.

CableTV: Same beginnings. In 1948 when Cable TV started, cable companies refused to pay the networks for broadcasting…

Tornado's, Storm Chasing and Walk-Abouts

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Every so often, it's important that you get out from behind your keyboard and drop off your usual grid.

I like walk-Abouts. Actually, it's more the American version re: Drive-Abouts. It's something I've done periodically for years and it takes the place of a planned vacation very nicely for me. Solitary, mind clearing and life re-affirming. You get in your vehicle, with no clue where you're going to end up, and you drive. I've ended up in NYC, biker bars in CA., deep in Mississippi's swamps and in the middle of Death Valley.

I also like storm chasing. Tracking down heavy weather and tornadoes is invigorating in ways I suspect is similar to how big game photographers must feel when stalking rhino's or lion prides. So, this week I'm dropping off the grid and mixing the two up by heading to somewhere in center of the country with my trusty little AWD, some video and still camera's, a GPS, CB/weather radio, a laptop with Swift WX and GRLevel…

The BlackBerry vs. iPhone Experiment

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I managed to lose my iPhone for real this time. 4 days later, still missing. Since my life tends to revolve around my phone (I've been using smartphones for 10 years now), I needed to replace it.

So, Sat. I went down to my friendly AT&T store and tried to get a new iPhone.

Try and 'replace' an iPhone right now. Can't do it. None to be had. New iPhone coming out next week donchaknow.

So I decided to try an experiment. I know alot of people who swear by their Blackberry's. So, I picked up a $99 Blackberry Curve. The sales guy told me I had 30 days to return it for a different phone so I'm taking AT&T up on the test drive offer. If I hate it compared to my iPhone (which I spent the last year with, and greatly enjoyed), I'll trade it in for a new iPhone early next month.

In the meantime, we'll see how well this new phone stacks up against my experiences with a year old (feature and function wise) iPhone.

UPDATE: 7/11/08- Well, I couldn't ta…

Time Warner Caps Your Bandwidth

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Well, sort of.

In Beaumont, Tx. only, for now:
40GB For $55 per month: Time Warner Bandwidth Caps ArriveBy Ryan Paul | Published: June 03, 2008 - 09:18AM CT Time Warner Cable will launch a trial program on Thursday which will impose monthly Internet consumption caps on new subscribers in Beaumont, Texas. Following a two-month grace period, cable users will pay $1 for each additional gigabyte consumed beyond the cap.They claim 5% of the users are 'using up' 50% of the available bandwidth.

First, I'd ask: and how much capacity is actually still unused? If it's less than 100%, isn't that just efficient use of resources by your users? As long as it' not causing overcapacity issues (and they have never said that it is), why is this an issue?

Second, they imply that only the bad guys (those wretched Bittorrent users stealing music and movies) are the ones at fault.

Not so. The article goes on to say:
Time Warner's bandwidth caps might seem …

The Trouble with Venture Lawyers

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Jason Mendleson over at Foundry Partners (he's the guy on the far right) has an excellent post up on his frustration with venture lawyers.

His analysis is better given that, before he became a VC, he was a lawyer.

His two primary points are cost and execution.

The first point on cost resonated strongly. He compared the average VC deal in 1998 to 2008 and concluded that the amount of the deal had gone up about 11%. The salary of a starting venture lawyer, during that same time, went up 114%.

We've felt the pain. Before we call, or even email, our lawyer, we ask ourselves long and hard: do we really need this? The minimum billing for a startup lawyer is 1/6th of an hour. 10 minutes. At the low end, that's $50.

Fifty bucks to send an email asking them to change something on our yearly Delaware filing paperwork. Minimum. More likely $150. They have to read the email (10 min charge- 1 minute of reading time), go do something else, come back and make the changes to the docu…

Powers of Ten

I first saw this film in 1988 when I was working at Apple. It was supposed to knock out our assumptions about how to think of scale and how to 'think different' in addressing new problems.



I know this is old hat for many of you (it's been around forever), but it's still worth watching every year or two just to put things into perspective.

Interestingly, the version we saw didn't say anywhere that it was made for IBM. This is the first time I've seen that bit of info. I'm betting, back then, when IBM was still a real competitor to Apple, we'd have seen it was originally made for IBM and either ignored it, or it would have scared the hell out of us.

Sometimes it's just better not to know.

Selling Macintosh Trash

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I'm almost (but not quite) speechless.

Someone is actually selling empty Macintosh computer boxes on Craiglist.
We have fourteen 24" iMac boxes in like new condition with styrofoam inserts available.



Best offer...Only $100, or, as noted, 'best offer'. And styrofoam inserts 'available' (I wonder, is that extra?)

Can you imagine someone doing this with Dell boxes? I don't know what I find more outrageous, someone posting this or the thought that someone might actually buy these off of them.

No wonder Apple's so arrogant.

Fight Club in Silicon Valley

This is pretty amazing. A real fight club in Silicon Valley that pre-dated the movie.



Wonder if we'll get one of these in happening in politically correct Boulder.

My friend, Jon Henderson

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We lost a friend last night. Jon Henderson passed away after a 9 year battle with cancer.

I met Jon through boulder free radio where he and his brother David played some fantastic hippie shit music and blues. I saw him many times over the last several years playing gigs, at Conners and, the last time, with he and David at the Boulder Theater a few weeks ago.

He was happy, and he never ever complained, although we sometimes gave him a hard time about how his hair grew back all curly after particularly onerous cancer treatments.

The last thing he did on this earth was visit Conners for a few beers with friends, something he dearly loved to do.

These last words from Jon:

"Oh well, I was lucky to have made it this far. And, I put up a pretty damn good fight. No crying....."

And then in his own writing:

"Enjoy Life"

You will be sorely missed Jon.

OLPRC One Laptop Per (Rich) Child

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Hells Bells.

Saw this in today's The Inquirer (no, that not that one). Seems Negroponte, the visionary behind the One Laptop Per Child project is going Windows on the OLPC.
IN A SOMEWHAT shocking revelation, One Laptop Per Child has said that they might dump Linux from their XO laptops in favour of the Vole’s Windows XP. The seeming surrender to the evil corporate world comes just a day after the company’s president tendered his resignation.OLPC, the educational project which purportedly aims to provide small, cheap laptops for kids has, since its inception, been running its home-made Sugar application, run on Linux, but on Tuesday, OLPC chairman and founder, Nicholas Negroponte, told AP that this was all about to change.In an attack on pro open saucers, Negroponte slammed “the fundamentalism in some of the open-source community" and reckoned that by pushing the free, open-sauce software on OLPC XOs, the company was scaring people away. "One can be an open-source advocate…

The Beginning of the Chinese Century

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I think it's really happening now.

Can anyone imagine a western power, in this case France, trying to 'limit the damage' and reacting to China's pressure 20 years ago? 10 Years ago?

What's happening here is a test run on China's part to see how much influence and pressure it can exert to get it's way.
France Tries to Limit Olympics FalloutBy KATRIN BENNHOLD Published: April 22, 2008 PARIS — After a wave of anti-French protests in China, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France is sending three top officials there this week in a diplomatic charm offensive to limit the political and economic fallout from the controversy surrounding the preparations for the Beijing Olympic Games. Thousands of protesters targeted outlets of the French supermarket chain Carrefour in China over the weekend, demonstrating against what they see as France’s sympathetic support for pro-Tibet agitators.France has become the main focus of the protests in China, notably after footage of a Chine…

Fire On The Mountain (a few blocks from my house)

What's the burning wood smell? I step on on the porch and there it was: Fire on the mountain! Seems we had our own little wildfire on the West end of Pearl Street (I live two blocks up from Pearl Street Mall, about about 10 or 12 blocks from where the fire was). Here's a quick video:



They got it under control, luckily, but it's still smoldering away into the night.

Jason and Ryan on Boulder, CO.

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Jason Mendelson and Ryan McIntyre of the Foundry group have a great post up on why they're glad they live and work in Boulder, CO.

Ben Casnocha's comment on the post is golden and gives both an alternative view from Silicon Valley and shows some of the hubris (sorry Ben, but you do live inside the bubble) common among the digiteri from The Valley.

I'm from Colorado. I grew up in Boulder County. I always thought things moved a little slow for me and eventually got hired by Apple in Cupertino. I moved to Los Altos, dead in the center of The Valley from 87 to 96. I remember thinking the first year 'finally, a place going at the same speed I am'. Then, after a year of the that life, I spent the next 8 years trying to figure out a way to get back to Boulder. I finally made it back and I'm very glad I did it.

Some of what Ben says is true. There's no doubt that there's more money and more overall opportunity for entrepreneurs in The Valley. It is, as B…

More on non-compete agreements

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A few months ago, Bijan Sabet, a partner at Spark Capital blogged about how non-compete agreements, maybe, weren't such a good idea. It created a reasonable amount of gnashing of teeth in the blogosphere at the time. I agreed and relayed my own experience in a blog entry of my own here.

Apparently, Google just did a classic non-compete bait and switch on the Doubleclick folks they recently fired (about 300 of them) after acquiring the company.

Valleywag has the text of non-compete, which looks like this:
8. Covenant Regarding Competition. I agree that for a period of one (1) year after my employment with the Company terminates, I shall not (a) engage in any employment, business or activity that is competitive with the Company's businesses; or (b) solicit business from, do business with or render services to, in any capacity, directly or indirectly, any entity that is or was a Company client or customer within the last twelve months of my employment with the Company, for a pur…

My personal version of TV's future

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Soooo.... what is a home theater/video viewing system today anyway?

Is it a 27" Sony Trinitron with a a bulky 5 speaker surround sound system and a DVD player and a $79 a month cable bill?

I say: no more.

Here's my own personal version of the video future. I designed it just for me to be a sort of video cocoon.

The list of everything needed:

A dual core laptop ($600- Get an HP dv6000 at BestBuy)
A 2nd LCD screen -unnecessary, but I wanted it ($200- any will do, this is a 20" Samsung)
2 high quality studio monitors/speakers ($200- Mine ar Rokit5's by KRK from Guitar Center in Westminister, CO)
A projector ($650 for an Epson C77)
A USB 2 port mixer for the speakers ($100- Guitar Center)
Cables ($50)
Paint for the wall (Movie Screen) ($20 at Home Depot)
Comfy vibrating seat ($99 from Office Max)
3 Misc. tables to hold the gear ($50 at Target)

Total cost (for everything): $1969.00

What do I get? a 10 foot screen that looks pretty good during the day and is just short of mind blowing…