Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Like Frankenstein, the case of the curious charge from Enterprise is back alive....

A couple of months ago, I wrote about a curious charge of $40 from Enterprise (read the post for background). The gist of it is Enterprise Rental Car stuck me with a fee that they could not substantiate. They claimed I ran a toll while driving one of their cars and that they've:

  • decided to pay the fine for me
  • decided to charge me a 33% "admin fee" for that privilege
  • decided to wait several months before notifying 
  • decided to charge the fine + admin fee to my credit card.
So I did what anyone should: I called them to dispute it. Didn't get anywhere with them so I filed a dispute with American Express. After a couple of disputed charges, Amex ruled in my favor and I thought all was done. Well, guess what? It's not! Apparently, Enterprise really wants their money. So they've
  • decided to send me another notice (with no mention of our prior entanglement)
  • decided to change the fine from $30 to $25 (no reason given)
  • decided to call it a "parking fee" (that's what their customer service rep told me. When I told her that E-ZPass Maryland doesn't do parking, she didn't have a good explanation).
Anyway, I just called up Amex and explained the situation. They cancelled my card and another is in the e-mail. So now that Enterprise can't put unauthorized charges on my credit card, I would like to see what they do next. If it takes going to small claims court...well I have some vacation time saved up.

Yeah I know I've spent way more than $40 (in terms of time) on this case, but it's the principle (not principal) of the matter. 

BTW, someone from Enterprise apparently read my initial blog and got in contact with me. I have contacted him since I got the new letter and he's looking into the issue. So score 1 for their web "social network monitoring" group.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Ink jet printers for home use or spawn of Satan?

If there is one piece of electronics that I absolutely hate, it's home printers. In my experience, they just don't work. Every single one of them that I have bought (HP, Lexmark etc) have all been crap. They never work when you need them to. The worst, I think, is HP. First, the POS takes 2 cartridges and HP, in their bureaucratic fashion, have made it so the printer doesn't even print if you don't have both cartridges in place. Really? How deliberately diabolical is that? Imagine, it's late on a saturday night and you really need to print a black-and-white document and the printer says "Sorry, you don't have color ink so I won't print your black-and-white document!" I mean really? What jerk came up with this innovative way to piss off consumers? Why should a printer refuse to work because 1 of 2 cartridges is empty? I remember in the old days, if your printer took both color and black cartridges, it'll use the color to print black documents and the black cartridge to print color documents (in grayscale mode). So why the heck does HP think they ought to set the printer industry back several years? It's just incomprehensible to me how companies make such shitty decisions. And don't even get me started about how expensive the ink is for these POS.

Anyway, I am packing up the POS and returning it to Costco. Thank God for a reasonable company.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My gameday experience at FedEx Field

After going to FedEx Field to watch the Redskins 2 Sundays ago, I have to say I don't know what all the fuss is about with the gameday experience at FedEx Field. Every year, Sports Illustrated ranks FedEx Field amongst the bottom in terms of gameday experience. And anecdotal evidence, from radio talk shows, seems to suggest that going to watch a game at FedEx Field is akin to sadomasochism. And even I have wondered about the sanity of the 90,000 fans that pack the stadium every Sunday. So this Sunday, I decided to try it for myself. See how bad it is. Worst case scenario, I'll have 1 more reason to hate Dan Snyder.

So first things first, knowing that I hate traffic, we decided to take the Metro. I figured that'll be better than paying $30-40 to park and sitting in traffic after the game. Unfortunately, even though the stadium is only 12 miles away from my house, it takes 1 hour by Metro on a Sunday afternoon. Can't really blame that on Snyder but will it kill Metro to run more trains on game days?

After getting to the destination metro, there was a dedicated walkway right into the stadium, with police directing traffic and guiding pedestrians. I wondered who pay for the cops' overtime. Redskins? County? Whatever, give FedEx Field an A in terms of getting to the stadium by Metro. I did notice that there were a lot of stadium employees directing parking lot traffic once we got closer to the stadium. And with kickoff 2 hours away, there was surprising not much traffic. So far, not so bad. Oh I also noticed lots of portable toilets even before getting into the parking lots (where people were tailgating). Again, I wondered who pays for those toilets.

Upon getting to the stadium proper, getting in was a breeze. A quick pat down and an electronic scan of our tickets and we were in the belly of the beast. We walked around for a bit, took pictures with Captain Morgan, saw the Redskins Cheerleaders performing on a stage. Finally, we decided to go find our seats. We were allowed to get really really close to the field to take pictures (and we took full advantage of it).

Now onto the food. Well they were seriously overpriced. Chicken tenders and fries: $10. Cup of soda: $5. But what else do you expect at a stadium. So still not too bad. Lines at the restroom? Before the game, none. At halftime, never seen such long lines for men's urinals. But again, I think that's par for the course.

Now for the negatives:
  • Sure the giant HD scoreboards are great but will it kill Snyder to replace all the smaller TVs with HD TVs? I mean come on!
  • Can you please refill the paper towels in the restrooms or install air dryers? In fact, all public restrooms should just do away with paper towels and go to air dryers. 
  • Why can't the PA guy inform us of injured players? I swear, there was no announcement of injured players throughout the game.
  • In fact, would it have killed the PA guy to "announce" the game? Instead of just announcing all the product placements. If I had to hear that $1000 is donated for every touchdown by the Redskins... 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The curious case of the $40 charge from Enterprise

Occasionally when we have to travel to NJ, we rent a car from Enterprise. Their closest location is within walking distance of our house and their rates are so cheap even having to keep the car for a couple extra days (since they do not open on Sundays) doesn't make it as expensive as renting from Avis (which tries harder by opening on Sundays and costing almost twice as much).

Anyway, Lara rented a car from them in March. Put the EZ Pass on the dash and drove the car to and from NJ. Fast forward almost a month later, I get a letter from Enterprise. The gist of it was "Hello, the car you rented 4 weeks ago got a citation from NJ transit for $30 for running a toll. We have done you the favor of paying the citation for you and have billed you an additional $10 for that pleasure. Please visit our fancy schmancy website to automatically pay with your credit card. Or we will bill it to the credit card you paid with."

That's $10 for a $30 "charge" (I'll get to why charge is in quote shortly). That alone is so ridiculous I almost laughed. Why would I want you to pay a citation on my behalf for a 30% charge.

Now to make matters worse, they (Enterprise) provided no proof that they did receive a citation from NJ Transit. So I called NJ Transit and they said "Ask Enterprise to send you the citation, then call us to discuss why your ez pass transponder didn't work". So I called Enterprise and the customer service rep said "we don't keep records of the citations we receive. We just get them electronically, pay them and charge you $10 for the courtesy. I can waive the $10 charge".

Now most people would have taken this as a victory and gladly paid the $30. But I said "hell no!" You want to bill me for a phantom citation, you have to provide proof of it. Not my problem you receive them electronically. She wouldn't budge so I said "whatever, charge it to my Amex. I'll dispute it and you can deal with the might of Amex".

I watched my Amex and sure enough the charge came through a few days later. I immediately disputed it and asked for "proof of the citation". Today, after some push back on my part, Amex filed in my favor.

Lessons:

  • Always pay with a credit card
  • When a company pays a citation and then bills you, don't be afraid to ask for proof
  • If a company fails to see reason, use the might of your credit card company to your advantage
Oh btw, since then I have rented from Enterprise and I'll rent from them in the future. And if they bill me again for spurious charges, I'll sic Amex on them :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

WalMart, is this really necessary?

On most login screens on the web, what are the 3 form elements you typically see:

  • username
  • password
  • checkbox so the site can "remember" me
Right? These 3 things are virtually synonymous with login. So much so that you can tab from one field to the other without using the mouse (at least I can). Anyway, so I ordered something from Walmart and to pay, I was required to sign into my Walmart account. Here's Walmart version of the universal login dialog. See if you can spot the odd item and the piece of switchroo that'll make the North Korean soccer team proud:


"Sign me up for Email Savings and Updates"....Really Walmart? You think people want to think about subscribing to mailing lists when entering their username/passwords? How many people have accidentally clicked the button hoping to make the website "remember" them only to find themselves receiving junk from Walmart?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Testing vs Testing

What's wrong with this menu control:














You've probably seen it a few times. You hold down Ctrl and select all the choices you want. Simple, right? Sure it is. But what happens when the menu has over 1300 options? Imagine trying to select Barrow, Alaska and 3 counties within MD. It's a nightmare.

But the funny thing is the developer probably doesn't see anything wrong. Why? Because 
  • he tested the site using a much smaller dataset
  • he just picked from the first few options to test his query
  • he lives in Anchorage, Alaska :)
I doubt that he went through a test case that included picking multiple choices from different sections of the dataset. 

yes this is a blog without babies or politics :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Does SharePoint 2010 run on Vista?

This ought to be a simple Yes/No question. Either it runs on Vista or it doesn't. If it doesn't, that's just in line with what we have with SharePoint 2007. You need a server OS to run it. The twist is SharePoint 2010 is 64-bit only. So to even evaluate it (which you certainly ought to before you recommend it over the 2007 version), you need Windows 2008 64-bit server with Hyper-V. Yikes!

Anyway, prior to this week I had accepted this fact and also that I'll probably not get an evaluation copy anytime soon (since I don't have the server OS or Hyper-V). Anyway, I found out this week that the RTM version of SharePoint actually supports Windows Vista and Windows 7. Imagine my joy. So today, I tried to install it on my 64-bit Vista laptop and the instructions I found are on this page: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee554869(office.14).aspx

Take a minute to open that link and just peruse the instructions. I'll wait....You back? Can you believe that? Microsoft really expects people to jump through all those hoops just to install SharePoint 2010 on Windows 7/Vista? Wow! How hard would it be for them to create a OS specific installer? Instead they want us to extract the installer, change a config file, install 5-6 separate components, turn on a bunch of features in IIS and then run the setup file.

BTW, I went through the steps, install all those components and the end result? The freaking installer is asking for a product key and there isn't one for the trial (not beta) software. What a waste of time.

Simple solution to immigration???

I wrote this awhile ago but never posted it. In light of the Arizona immigration law...


What's the maximum occupancy of the United States? I am sure you can't answer that because the question doesn't even make sense. There's no such thing as the maximum occupancy for geographical areas. So why is it that when it comes to immigration, some people act as if there's a maximum occupancy for the country.

I am not saying let's throw the border gates wide open and let everyone in. But you only have to go to Tijuana to see why immigration can never ever ever be enforced. If you live in abject poverty and you know that a better life is just minutes away (in fact, you can see that life outside your window), will anything prevent you from trying to make it across? Even if the penalty for illegal immigration is death, it'll still be more profitable to try. Because there's a chance, no matter how minuscule, that you will make it across. So spending billions of money on trying to keep people back is just an expensive exercise in futility. Building a fence would be laughable if it wasn't already been done with our tax money.

If we can't force them to stay out, what can we do? We do the same thing we normally do when govt wants to prop up an industry: we make illegal immigration unprofitable. If govt wants to stop people from smoking, they jack up the taxes on tobacco products. If govt wants to entice a developer to build, they give out tax breaks. You want people to invest, allow them to claim investment loses as tax deductions.

Alright fine, we get that but how do we do it? It's very simple: let everybody (except criminals) in! Let them in, remove the threats of illegality and put everything in the open. Right now it's profitable for companies to hire illegals because they can pay them less. What's the illegal going to do: complain to the authorities? No! So they get paid less; they mostly don't pay taxes and Uncle Sam doesn't get a cut. If you let everyone in (aka Guest Worker Program) and make it all legal, no illegal immigrant will work for peanuts. Uncle Sam can collect taxes from them and they are allowed to buy health insurance.

Talking about health insurance, unless we are prepared to allow people to die in the streets, we have to pay for health insurance for illegals. The question is do we pay on the cheap for prevention or pay dearly when people go to the ER for routine stuff. And if we decide to let them die in the streets, well you still gotta pick up the rotting bodies, don't ya? So one way or the way, people will get healthcare. So why not let them pay for it themselves by relaxing our immigration laws?


BTW, when I say "let them all in" I don't mean make them all citizens. You can be in this country legally and work without being on the "path to citizenship".

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Status Bar in Chrome

I switched to chrome a long time ago but for a while I've noticed that the status bar on my laptop never shows. It's been bothering for a few months but never really found the solution. I google'd it but no quick solution came up. Today, I stumbled on the solution. If you have the same problem, just press F11 (switches to full screen mode). You should now see the status bar. Press F11 again to switch out of full screen mode. Don't know how long it's been broken since I installed chrome about 2-3 versions ago (have since been upgrading instead of full installs).

Monday, April 12, 2010

Repeated sex abuse by priests: Help me understand

I don't understand it. I know there's probably no grand conspiracy by the Catholic Church to abuse kids but what I don't get is how the Church did not immediately defrock accused priests and remove them from the Church? How can they allow these guys to be transferred from one parish to another where they are guaranteed to be in contact with innocent children? I understand that organizations don't like bad publicity or exposure to lawsuits. So even if you didn't want to hand accused priest over to the police, I get it. I don't condone it but I understand how someone might think dealing with the issue quietly is the way to go. But why not defrock these priests? Why allow them to keep working for the Church and keep exposing the Church to future legal problems?

I understand forgiveness but I also understand human nature.
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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Repeal & Replace; $2000 strip club expenses

Search the web for "repeal and replace" and you'll find that it's the GOP's latest mandate. They want to repeal and replace the healthcare bill. Ignore the merits or lack of merits of the law for a minute and think about this: there's no mathematical chance that the GOP can get the law reversed. They just don't and won't have the numbers. And that's not coming from me. That's from those who know. People like David Frum, a right-wing republican who has since been disowned by the right-wing movement. So why then are the GOP using that phrase as their rallying cry? Because people are inherently stupid and will believe anything. Provided you shout loudly enough. So yeah "Repeal & Replace" has no legislative legs but it'll get some republicans into office.

Second, recently GOP chairman Michael Steele came under fire for some spending by the GOP. Specifically, because the GOP paid out an expense claim for less than $2000. Turns out the money was spent at a strip club. Everybody (on the left) had a field day lambasting Mr Steele. Jay Leno did a joke about it for 3 days in a row. The Today Show had a segment on it. But what nobody stopped to think about was this: do you really expect someone in charge of millions of dollars to know that a junior staffer approved a $2000 expenditure? Come on, give me a break! I am a liberal and I think Steele is a moron but even I don't expect him to track every dollar spent by the GOP.

As to the claim that the GOP spent money on luxury hotels, private jets etc. So what? How else are they supposed to entice and attract big donors? Imagine someone is begging you to donate huge sums of money, the least you'll expect is to be wined and dined.
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The stupidity of systems

A couple of weeks ago, I called the customer service at PayFlex. PayFlex is the company used by my employer to manage our Flexible Spending account. Usually the threat of losing unused money kept me away from participating in the plan. But since I was gonna have kids last year, I participated. So on December 31st, I realized that I had some money ($43.34) left over in my account. Well it was 10pm and everywhere was closed on New Year's eve. So I went online to CVS and bought qualifying items using my PayFlex debit card. The receipt was time stamped 10:49pm. Boy was I lucky to have remembered before midnight.

Forward several weeks later and I get an e-mail from my company's HR person saying I still had $43.34 left over. After I got over the shock, I searched my hotmail account and luckily I still had the order confirmation from CVS. I pdf'ed it and uploaded it to PayFlex. Thinking that was the end of it, I checked this morning and low and behold I still had $43.34 left over. Turns out they paid the CVS claim from this year's plan.

I called their customer service said their system shows CVS processed the payment on 1/6/2010. I said that's great but I have a receipt that shows I bought the items on 12/31/2009. Anyway to cut a long story short, her position was this:
  • If I had used any other credit card, merely submitting a claim with my receipt showing 12/31/2009 would have been good enough to get the claim processed in the correct year
  • However, since I used my PayFlex MasterCard, they have to go by the processing date from CVS. So essentially, by using their debit card I am subject to the whims of CVS.
Took me a while to explain the absurdity of that point of view. Eventually, she left, consulted with others and came back with "You have to file an appeal by fax". Yes by fax. In 2010.

I understand the need for organizations to have systems but I hate that people seem to surrender their ability to think. At least in this case, they had a procedure, albeit one that relied on archaic technology, in place. The last time this happened to me, I spent an hour on the phone with VA's DMV trying to make the woman see that their system was wrong. In the end, I got a letter of apology, a free record of my driver's license history and a massive headache.
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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Retirement of the baby book

Several months ago, I wrote about the baby book and how it's become ubiquitous in our living room. What's the baby book? Read all about it. Anyway, a few weeks ago we decided to conduct an experiment (I suppose a hazard of having both parents with science background is being subjected to numerous "experiments") to see if we can go a day without using the baby book, keeping the babies alive and managing to remember who's pooped and who hasn't (seems like the first few months of parenthood is consumed with tracking your babies poop schedule. And of course taking photos). Well the experiment turned out to be a success for 3 reasons:
  • the babies are old enough now to convey hunger (the ceaseless crying is a big clue in figuring this out)
  • Toni is super regular with his #2 activities. Every morning after the first meal...let's just say Toni requires 2 diaper changes each morning
  • both babies have started switching from baby formula to craving for finger foods. In fact, Toni's sense of smell is so well developed all you have to do is bring food into the living room and he's on you like white on rice. And of course, where Toni goes, Dara follows. 
Since then we've stopped using the baby book. All in all, we went through about 4.5 notebooks and I am really glad we kept those records. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

To:, Cc: and Bcc:

Occasionally, I get an e-mail that makes me think people are confused by these 3 features of e-mail. For example, someone will send out an e-mail that clearly meant for a single person but they'll put everybody in the To: field. How do I know the e-mail is meant for that person...because the opening salutation ends in the person's name (for example: "Hello Kevin" or "hey John", or simply "Jack"). If the e-mail is meant solely for Kevin, why include everyone in the To field (unless you are trying to rat out the recipient)?

To be clear, this is how you use these fields:
  • To: Include the primary recipient(s)
  • Cc: Include the secondary recipient(s). There's no expectation that these guys will respond. It's just a courtesy notification. Say you want to applaud a team member by writing an e-mail to his/her boss. You Cc him/her so he/she is aware but is not expected to respond.
  • Bcc: This should be obvious. If you are in the Bcc, you should never never hit "Reply All" since the other recipients don't know you got the e-mail in the first place. This is what you do when you want to CYA (perhaps you have a co-worker that lies about not receiving e-mail...send it and Bcc his/her boss).
BTW: Cc means Carbon Copy and Bcc means Blind Carbon Copy. Those terms are from the days of typewriters and carbon papers.

Got it now? Oh one last thing, when you are forwarding jokes to a bunch of people, most of whom don't know one another, do not put everyone's email address in the To field. That's just totally inappropriate.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Writing on the wall?

A few years ago, there was a remarkable show on NBC called "The West Wing". It was set in the white house and based around the presidency of a democrat. It was about national politics and all the machinations that go on in Washington DC. The show won 8 Emmy awards in its 7-year run so it wasn't that bad.

Anyway, this morning as I heard about the loss of Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts to a republican, I wondered how Jed Bartlet's staff would have handled the race. Knowing that the democrat's candidate in such a must-win election was running a lackluster campaign, I can just see Jed Bartlet dispatching Toby Ziegler and Josh Lyman to go to Massachusetts and straighten things out. I can see Josh moving in, taking over the campaign and telling the local people how stupid they've been. I know it was just a tv show but I can't imagine that Obama's people didn't see this coming from afar. If they didn't, that's just proof of their lack of understanding of the big picture. There's no way you lose in NJ and Massachusetts in the same election year and not know that it's referendum on your presidency. As it is, Obama is in grave danger of being known as a do-nothing president.

And if you think a president shouldn't concern himself with state politics, you are mistaken. With this loss, the democrats have lost their supermajority (i.e. filibuster-proof) in the senate. Good luck shoving that health care bill down the throat of the GOP without a supermajority.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why should homeschooled students participate in school activities?

If you decide to homeschool your child, should he/she be allowed to participate in school activities? I think the answer is no. Now I know there's a lot of reasons why a parent will decided he/she can do a better job than the school. But if you've made that decision, why should you be allowed to pick and choose which school activity you want your child to participate in? Specifically, I am talking about high school football players that are homeschooled and thus at a disadvantage when it comes to college recruiting. Well guess what? Tough luck. If the school isn't good enough for your child academically and your solution is to take him/her out of the school (instead of augmenting what the school does), why should there be a spot for you on the school football team, debate team or other extracurricular team? That's some other kid's spot you're taking up.

I especially like this parent's reason for homeschooling his children:
The Douglases, who are devout evangelical Christians, disapprove of some of the lessons taught in public schools. For example, Steve does not want his children to take science classes that teach evolution as fact. "The thing I was most concerned with was teaching from a Christian perspective," Steve said. "We teach science from a creation standpoint. The theory of evolution is just a theory, and not a very good one."

How can you teach science from a creation standpoint? While I agree that evolution is a theory, creationism doesn't even rise to the level of being a scientific theory. Don't get me wrong, I am a christian but I know creationism isn't science, it's faith. Which means it has no place in a science class. You may think evolution is not a very good theory but it's the prevailing one. So until it's debunked or another theory proven, it's the standard for science.

Anyway, the point is if you aren't part of the school, you aren't part of the school. You can't choose to be part of the football team but not show up in the classroom. Sure you pay taxes but since when did that become a mandate to subvert things? Our taxes foot the bill for the white house but unless your last name is Salahi, you can't exactly stroll in there anytime you like. Can you?

BTW, don't get me wrong. I am not against homeschooling. If you think you can do a better job, by all means go ahead. But just don't expect to get the benefits reserved for those in the school system. After all, the names on the front of the jerseys is usually the school's name.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Is Nigeria capable of democracy?

They say democracy is the best form of government. And truly it is. But is there some level of maturity needed for it to work? Or do countries like Nigeria just have to work their way through the "growing pains" of early democracy? It's easy to look at America's democracy and wonder "why can't Nigeria just work like that?" Why can't there be respect for the rule of law? Why can't people just do things are logical?

Anyway, in today's Nigeria, the president (Yar'Adua) has not made a public appearance in 49 days! That's 49 days without anyone hearing from or seeing the president of a country of over 150 million. Even after the US puts Nigeria on a terrorist-prone country watch list. Even after armed gunmen attacked Togo's players en route to a country that Nigeria has sent its best 23 soccer players and officials. Even after there's public outcry for him to show his face.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't follow Nigerian politics (in fact, I don't follow anything but soccer-related news about Nigeria) but this just sounds fishy to me. I am forced to conclude that: Yar'Adua is dead or Yar'Adua is in a coma. Otherwise he would have come out with some sort of "proof of life" (sucks that a population would need proof of life from an elected president). Even crazy Fidel Castro knew to produce proof of life (a still photo) when there were rumors in America that he was dead. As it is no one knows where the president is; some are claiming to be in communication with him and others are disputing those claims. Our president is now like the sightings of Big Foot.

So here's my (probably well off the mark) analysis of the situation: if Yar'Adua is dead Nigeria is screwed. Why? The presidency is being rotated between the 3 parts of the country: North (Hausa), East (Ibo), West (Yoruba). The last president was from the West, the current on (Yar'Adua) is from the North...thus the next will be from the East. Sounds far fetched but welcome to Nigerian politics. So if Yar'Adua is dead and the North doesn't get to finish their term, where does the next president comes from? The East? The North? To make matters worse, the current VP is not from the north (I believe he's from the East). So if power is handed over to him as a result of the death of the president, does that mean the East have served their term...Going to be interesting.
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Monday, January 04, 2010

Odds and Ends

I haven't really been paying much attention to politics. So I can't really write a full post about that. Except to say that I am really disappointed in the democrats and their leader, Obama. Apart from giving a bunch of banks free money with no strings attached; spending oodles of money on vague recovery projects in imaginary districts; pushing through a non-reformative Health Care Reform and giving sub-par gifts to visiting heads of state, what exactly has Obama accomplished in 12 months in the white house? What have the democrats done with their majority if they still had to kowtow to Lieberman on the so-called health care reform bill? Where's the reform if all you've done is force everyone to buy insurance (hooray for insurance companies) or pay fines? If people's health care choices are still tied so strongly to their employers? Where's the reform without any sort of public option? Anyway, enough about politics.

In technology, Google, in a move to kneecap their Android partners, will be releasing the new "google phone" (i.e. Nexus One) tomorrow. Seriously, does anyone still think Google isn't bent on global domination? First they created Android supposedly to address the iPhone monopoly (i.e. Apple creates the OS, the hardware and approves all apps for the phone). Then they got major players to buy into Android and commit to it (HTC, Motorola etc). Then comes act 3: get into the phone market yourself. How diabolical is that? How pissed Motorola must be that Google is releasing their phone (with the latest Android version no less) just a few months after Droid. I am sure all these manufacturers will be thrilled to compete with Google to create the best hardware for the operating system that Google owns (Android).

In sports, the Redskins completed another woeful season. Cerrato is gone; Zorn was fired this morning; and Shanahan is the next great big thing coming to fix the Redskins. Nevermind that Shanahan hasn't won a single playoff game without John Elway. Oh well, another big off season looms.

On the flip side, watching college football is fun. Especially during the bowl season (late December till early January). Where else do you get to see such varied offenses as the wishbone, the pistol, the spread, the triple-read-option (more on this below)? Certainly not the NFL where the coaches are afraid of original thought (for example: God forbid a coach call anything but a draw play on 3rd-and-long).

Talking about the triple-read-option offense...did you see any of Navy's game this year? I saw a couple of their games and came away very very impressed. Not only do they tire our your defense by running the triple option so well, they also frustrate your offense because you simply can't get on the field when Navy keeps running 15-18 play drives. They beat Notre Dame 23-21 with Navy's QB attempting just 3 passes! I watched them in the 2009 Texas Bowl (against Missouri) and they did the same thing: run them to death with the triple option. And every time the camera panned to the Missouri sidelines, you could just see the frustration on the faces of their coaches, players and fans.