Obamania

I liked Obama’s acceptance speech tonight. If you haven’t heard or seen it, it is worth listening to.

The Obama web site highlights this portion of the speech. I felt it was a powerful statement.

That promise is our greatest inheritance.  Itâ??s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours â?? a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincolnâ??s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there couldâ??ve heard many things.  They couldâ??ve heard words of anger and discord.  They couldâ??ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead â?? people of every creed and color, from every walk of life â?? is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked.  That together, our dreams can be one.

â??We cannot walk alone,â? the preacher cried.  â??And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.  We cannot turn back.â?

America, we cannot turn back.  Not with so much work to be done.  Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for.  Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save.  Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend.  America, we cannot turn back.  We cannot walk alone.  At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future.  Let us keep that promise â?? that American promise â?? and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

I liked the reference to Harlem (also known informally as Dream Deferred) by Langston Hughes, the poem that begins A Raisin in the Sun. Good poem.

Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

	-- Langston Hughes

One theme I picked up on and have heard him say before is that we must be the change we want to see. And, like his other references to famous but unnamed persons/events, he channeled the ideas of Gandhi without specifically calling him out.

Needless to say, I’ve made up my mind. I think Obama will make a better President, manage the government better, and he will put better and more competent people in charge than McCain will.

Even then, I don’t like how either canidate handles the subject of the budget deficit. A deficit today is a tax tomorrow. Deferred taxation is not good policy. But both argue for tax cuts. If you disagree and want a tax cut, see whether Obama or McCain will cut your taxes more. http://alchemytoday.com/obamataxcut/

keys in the trunk

Have you ever done this?

1) locked your keys in the trunk?

2) locked your keys in the trunk twice?

3) locked your keys in the trunk of two different cars on the same day?

Well, I fall into the last camp. How, I don’t know. But I did. I locked my keys in the trunk of my car this morning when getting something out. I then locked my keys in the trunk of my wife’s car when I got to work. This was the first time I’ve locked keys in the car in about 18 years so it all evens out in the end.

Even then, my day wasn’t half bad. A munchkin visited me at work (he enjoyed the visit), I had steelhead (nice dark pink, too), and wasn’t tired for class (tax policy will be an excellent class this semester).

the sharks are schooling

Now for the hard part. My semester begins Tuesday. I am taking Water Law, Tax Policy, and Negotiation.

Mark Twain comes to mind each time a semester begins: “I never let schooling interfere with my education.” It is something to live by, even in professional school.

btw: Happy b-day CS!

NBC has a good start at ruining the Olympic Games

NBC has decided that it is still 1950 and it is still in control. Back then there was very little competition for eyeballs and radio was the only real alternative to quickly get news.

So, as a result, NBC forced most US viewers to sit through more than 12 hours of news reports, photos, and video clips from the opening ceremony before they could actually watch it. While the rest of the world (and US locales, like Detroit, that also get Canadian CBC stations) watched it live, as it happened, most of the US was subject to a poorly executed ruse to make us think nothing had happened. No matter how much demand there was in the marketplace, NBC resisted and ignored the resentment it engendered with such a move.

But this is 2008, during the beginnings of the Internet Age. There are already several ways around blackouts and more will come. The New York Times wrote an article about some primitive attempts to get around NBC’s attempts at blacking out the US market but ignored a couple of other key technologies that will play a greater role in the future.

Tape Delay by NBC Faces End Run by Online Fans – NYTimes.com
NBCâ??s decision to delay broadcasting the opening ceremonies by 12 hours sent people across the country to their computers to poke holes in NBCâ??s technological wall â?? by finding newsfeeds on foreign broadcastersâ?? Web sites and by watching clips of the ceremonies on YouTube and other sites.

The NY Times article missed out on two very important technologies that worked effectively: proxies and torrents.

Proxies are computers set up to relay internet traffic through. By routing your Internet traffic through a proxy, the web site you’re visiting thinks you are the proxy. I was able to use a proxy based in the UK to watch some BBC coverage of the Olympics intended solely for a UK audience.

Torrent is a peer-to-peer (p2p) file sharing protocol. It is even more decentralized than other, previous p2p networks such as Napster. And, unlike Napster, the torrent technology is likely to not violate copyright laws. It has legitimate purposes and its use for copyright infringement is incidental to the technology.

A quick search with Y! Search found a few different torrents of the opening ceremony, including :

If the television industry does not change soon it will be hurting as much as the big music labels. Like the music labels, the television industry is no longer in control of the distribution. The Internet and other new technologies have disrupted that part of its business model. To survive, it must deliver on what people demand. Otherwise it will lose even more people to other media and distribution methods.

In four years, Olympic events will need to be broadcast in nearly real time. Otherwise, viewers will look elsewhere to satisfy their demands. Those who were foiled at watching on YouTube and other online video sites will prepare ahead of time and arrange for torrents from those viewing the events live. Technology will improve between now and then. I predict that an open source p2p streaming service will debut before then, intended to serve as an alternative broadcast outlet, but it will used to also share events with a friend in a blacked out area.

BTW: Beyond making viewers wait for old-news, NBC blew its actual coverage of the opening ceremonies in many ways, including its intense focus on getting close-ups of performers during a show meant for viewing from a distance, its badly executed cuts for commercials, its ridiculous and irrelevant color commentary throughout the show, and its lazy choice to paraphrase a speech at the end by the head of the Chinese Olympic committee instead of providing a translation (they had enough time and money to find an hire a real translator).