Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Samsung Omnia GPS

I'm impressed with my new phone but one thing still annoys me about it. Verizon has locked out the GPS so it can only be used by their VZNavigator software which is an additional 10$ per month. Verizon blames Samsung for not meeting "standards" or they state they have it disabled to "protect the network". Of course plenty of other carriers have opened their phones but not Verizon. I'll follow this thread and hopefully Verizon will enable GPS if they get enough complaints.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Calling Congress

I have taken the iniative and am calling Congress and Senate on behalf of the Military Spouses Residency Relief Coalition. This bill would allow military spouses to declare a home state of residency. It would amend the Soldiers' and Saliors' Civil Relief Act to also allow military spouses to declare a home state of residency.

As a military spouse moves with their military spouse they have to re-register their vehicle, re-register to vote, declare the new state as their place of residence, change their state of residence on their W-2, and find their new representatives. This makes it difficult when doing annual taxes because of two states of residence and is a waste of time and money dealing with the DMV to re-register a vehicle.

Some military spouses don't vote. I can tell you I don't because it is too much of a hassle.

Our vehicles were in both of our names until we moved to Virginia. Our plates expired so we went to DMV to get new ones. This took hours and was a major hassle. We found out after this waste of time that in VA they charge personal property tax on vehicles. Military are exempt but since my name was on the title too we were not. So we went back to the DMV and remove MY NAME from both the vehicles!

Some military spouses find it difficult to continue their education because of their current state of residency. They often can't get in-state tuition for the university they want to enroll in.

Some military spouses find it difficult to find a job as they move because they require certifications or they have a technical degree. I happen to have a technical degree and the consistent working for near minimum wage finally gave me the idea to start my own business.

The list just goes on. If you talk with any military spouse I am sure they will have some great stories to share with you.

So for the last two weeks I have been keeping track in a spreadsheet of who I call, who I actually reach, who I have to call back and who has signed as co-sponsor of the bill. I am also the admin for the Facebook page. Please join us to get updated information.

If you are a military spouse please call your representative and senator. The bill in the house is HR 1182 and the bill in the Senate is SB 475. Once you make your calls let me know what happens. I want to share your stories.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Shamrock 1/2 Marathon

I took a chance on this marathon by running in my 2 yr old pair of shoes since my newly purchased shoes were still giving me blisters (I will never go to a retail store and ask for professional advice again). Luckily my old shoes did fine, not a single blister though my feet did ache a bit.

Rikki and I arrived about 45 minutes early and did not make it to the start line on time. I started 3 minutes late, but it didn't really matter since there were still 1000's of people who were still waiting to cross the start line. This is the first race I've done with the new D-TAG RFID, no more chips just a small plastic strip you lace into your shoe strings, pretty cool.

My Garmin watch had a problem during the run so it did not record everything properly but most of the race can be viewed on my Garmin webpage.

2008 1:55:22
2009 1:55:38

I ran 16 seconds slower this year! But my only goal was to keep it under 2 hours. I really should start training regularly and then maybe I can try some more full marathons.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Family Cruise 2010

We are beginning to plan next years cruise. It will be our first family cruise and the first cruise for many of those going. We've picked a Bermuda cruise the week of 25 June on the Norwegian Spirit out of Boston. Here is the itinerary.

If anyone else wants to join us feel free to drop us an email. The more the merrier (and bigger discount).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I rarely post email forwards but this is a good one and I verified it is not an urban legend.

There are two letters below. One from General Motors President to all employees and all of their suppliers. The other from the President of a supplier to the auto industry. His letter is an awesome letter that tells it like it is.

Every manager in Detroit and ALL politicians should read this along with the union members. This is one of the greatest responses to the requests for bailout
money I have seen thus far. As a supplier for the Big 3 this man received a letter from the President of GM North America requesting support for the bail out program. His response is classic, and has to make you proud of a local guy who tells it like it really is.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dear Employees & Suppliers,

Congress and the current Administration will soon determine whether to provide immediate support to the domestic auto industry to help it through one of the most difficult economic times in our nation's history. Your elected officials must hear from all of us now on why this support is critical to our continuing the progress we began prior to the global financial crisis. As an employee or supplier, you have a lot at stake and continue to be one of our most effective and passionate voices. I know GM can count on you to have your voice heard. Thank you for your urgent action and ongoing support.

Troy Clarke
President General Motors North America

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Response from:
Gregory Knox, Pres.
Knox Machinery Company
Franklin, Ohio

Gentlemen:
In response to your request to contact legislators and ask for a bailout for the Big Three automakers please consider the following, and please pass my thoughts on to Troy Clarke, President of General Motors North America.

Politicians and Management of the Big 3 are both infected with the same entitlement mentality that has spread like cancerous germs in UAW halls for the last countless decades, and whose plague is now sweeping this nation, awaiting our new , Pres- Obama, to wave his magic wand and make all our problems go away, while at the same time allowing our once great nation to keep "living the dream" Believe me folks, The dream is over!

This dream where we can ignore the consumer for years while management myopically focuses on its personal rewards packages at the same time that our factories have been filled with the worlds most overpaid, arrogant, ignorant and laziest entitlement minded "laborers" without paying the price for these atrocities this dream where you still think the masses will line up to buy our products for ever and ever.

Don't even think about telling me I'm wrong. Don't accuse me of not knowing of what I speak. I have called on Ford, GM, Chrysler, TRW, Delphi, Kelsey Hayes, American Axle and countless other automotive OEM's throughout the Midwest during the past 30 years and what I've seen over those years in these union shops can only be described as disgusting.

Troy Clarke, President of General Motors North America, states: "There is widespread sentiment throughout this country, and our government, and especially via the news media, that the current crisis is completely the result of bad management which it certainly is not."

You're right Mr. Clarke, it's not JUST management ..how about the union electricians who walk around the plants like lords in feudal times, making people wait on them for countless hours while they drag ass, so they can come in on the weekend and make double and triple time for a job they easily could have done within their normal 40 hour work week.

How about the union line workers who threaten newbies with all kinds of scare
tactics for putting out too many parts on a shift and for being too productive (We certainly must not expose those lazy bums who have been getting overpaid for decades for their horrific underproduction, must we??!

Do you folks really not know about this stuff? How about this great sentiment abridged from Mr. Clarke's sad plea: "over the last few years we have closed the quality and efficiency gaps with our competitors." What the hell has Detroit been doing for the last 40 years?! Did we really JUST wake up to the gaps in quality and efficiency between us and them? The K car vs. the Accord? The Pinto vs. the Civic?!? Do I need to go on? What a joke!

We are living through the inevitable outcome of the actions of the United States auto industry for decades. It's time to pay for your sins, Detroit. I attended an economic summit last week where brilliant economist, Alan Beaulieu, from the Institute of Trend Research , surprised the crowd when he said he would not have given the banks a penny of "bailout money". "Yes, he said, this would cause short term problems," but despite what people like politicians and corporate magnates would have us believe, the sun would in fact rise the next day and the following very important thing would happen.. where there had been greedy and sloppy banks, new efficient ones would pop up. That is how a free market system works. It does work, if we would only let it work"

But for some nondescript reason we are now deciding that the rest of the world is right and that capitalism doesn't work - that we need the government to step in and "save us" Save us my ass, Hell - we're nationalizing and unfortunately too many of our once fine nation's citizens don't even have a clue that this is what is really happening. But, they sure can tell you the stats on their favorite sports teams..yeah - THAT'S really important, isn't it.!

Does it ever occur to ANYONE that the "competition" has been producing vehicles, EXTREMELY PROFITABLY, for decades in this country?... How can that be??? Let's see. Fuel efficient. Listening to customers.. Investing in the proper tooling and automation for the long haul..

Not being too complacent or arrogant to listen to Dr. W. Edwards Deming four decades ago when he taught that by adopting appropriate principles of management, organizations could increase quality and simultaneously reduce costs. Ever increased productivity through quality and intelligent planning. Treating vendors like strategic partners, rather than like "the enemy" Efficient front and back offices.. Non union environment..!

Again, I could go on and on, but I really wouldn't be telling anyone anything they really don't already know down deep in their hearts.

I have six children, so I am not unfamiliar with the concept of wanting someone to bail you out of a mess that you have gotten yourself into - my children do this on a weekly, if not daily basis, as I did when I was their age. I do for them what my parents did for me (one of their greatest gifts, by the way) - I make them stand on their own two feet and accept the consequences of their act ions and work through it.
Radical concept, huh..? Am I there for them in the wings? Of course - but only until such time as they need to be fully on their own as adults.

I don't want to oversimplify a complex situation, but there certainly are unmistakable parallels here between the proper role of parenting and government. Detroit and the United States need to pay for their sins. Bad news people - it's coming whether we like it or not. The newly elected Messiah really doesn't have a magic wand big enough to "make it all go away." I laughed as I heard Obama "reeling it back in" almost immediately after the final vote count was tallied. "we really might not do it in a year or in four" Where the Hell was that kind of talk when he was RUNNING for office?

Stop trying to put off the inevitable folks.! That house in Florida really isn't worth $750,000.. People who illegally jump across a border really don't deserve free health care benefits..! That job driving that forklift for the Big 3 really isn't worth $85,000 a year.. We really shouldn't allow Wal-Mart to stock their shelves with products acquired from a country that unfairly manipulates their currency and has the most atrocious human rights infractions on the face of the globe..!

That couple whose combined income is less than $50,000 really shouldn't be living in that $485,000 home..! Let the market correct itself folks - it will. Yes it will be painful, but it's gonna' be painful either way, and the bright side of my proposal is that on the other side of it all, is a nation that appreciates what it has and doesn't live beyond its means and gets back to basics..and redevelops the patriotic work ethic that made itthe greatest nation in the history of the world.

Sorry - don't cut my head off, I'm just the messenger sharing with you the "bad news". I hope you take it to heart.

Gregory J. Knox, President
Knox Machinery, Inc.
Franklin, Ohio 45005

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Spring Cleaning on Ebay

That time of year again when we sell our old electronics on ebay. We recently purchased new cell phones so I need to get rid of my old Palm Treo and our old digital camera with underwater case. I'm posting the pictures here and linking to them via ebay vice paying 15 cents per photo upload.