Friday, November 28, 2008

Is Walmart to blame for Black Friday death?

A Long Island Walmart worker was thrown to the ground and trampled when anxious shoppers tore the doors off their hinges in an effort to get into the store to shop the annual Black Friday sale. The unnamed worker dies a short while after at a local hospital and the store was closed for the rest of the day to deal with the tragedy.

Of course, it only took a few hours before the talking heads began searching for someone to blame and, as expected, that someone turned out the be Walmart. Why not? After all, Walmart has quickly become a popular whipping post that can be blamed for everything from sweatshops in China to killing our kids with lead laden toys.

It's easy to blame Walmart.
They're big. They're powerful. And, let's face it, they are a bit evil.

But I think to lay blame at the company's doorstep for this poor workers death would not only be premature but would also be wrong.

I've worked at Walmart during Black Friday. And, as anyone who's ever worked in retail during a mega-sale will tell you, you can only hold out anxious shoppers for so long before unrest settles in and problems start to rear their ugly head. These people are not going to a sale; they're going to war and they're prepared to fight their fellow shoppers - and even store staff if they need to - to save a few dollars.

This problem isn't Walmart's fault. There is no amount of security or crowd control that could have prevented this unfortunate incident. I've worked during many big product launches and, I can tell you firsthand, Walmart does an phenomenal job with crowd control. The fault lies solely with the uncontrolled masses that roam the streets on Black Friday searching for a deal.

On Black Friday, the rules of politeness are suspended by our entire society. If you dare to go out to shop, you should expect to be cursed, treated rudely, shoved about, and maybe even punched or bitten. It's become a free for all and people lose total control.

No, Walmart isn't to blame for this. It's the 'do whatever you need to do to get what you want' mentality that our society's developed. We're greedy and we're willing to treat our fellow people like trash for a $4.00 toy.

I've seen it happen.
It's disgusting.

Unfortunately, it's human nature.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oklahoma puppy mill rescue

NOTICE: This video has horrible quality because it was filmed by a video camera pointed at the television. Sorry, it was all I had at the moment.

Puppy mills are one of the worst things we offer to our beloved animal companions. Often, dogs are forced to live in filthy, unsanitary conditions and suffer from everything from untreated illnesses to living for extended amounts of time with other dogs dead in their cage.

Thankfully, the Humane Society of America is starting to take a stand for these defenseless animals and are closing down puppy mills around the country. This video is the story of one such puppy mill and the dogs rescued from it.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Want free books? I got ya free books!

If you'd like any of the books shown in this video, send an email to with the subject 'Books'. I'll give the books away but you pay shipping

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Are we pushing our kids over the edge?

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Microsoft porting Visual Studio to Linux

As a long time Windows developer, I've come to love Microsoft developer tools. Nothing is more satisfying that firing up a copy of Visual Studio and almost immediately being productive. The tool gets out of your way. It helps you where you need help and stays pretty silent and in the corner otherwise. Development tools like Visual Studio are definitely one of the many things Microsoft does very right.

There are times, like now for example, where I need to be cross-platform. I want to not only develop cross-platform code but I want the ability to work on any platform I choose: Windows now, Linux tonight. Unfortunately, the minute I step out of the Windows world, I wave a sad goodbye to my old friend Visual Studio and my productivity goes sharply down.

Don't get me wrong, I can code C# and VB.NET by hand if I have to as easily as I can hand code HTML when I have to so the problem isn't that I don't understand the technology. The problem is that Visual Studio takes the headache out of the trivial stuff like UI design, and allows the developer to focus on creating the solution and banging out the business logic.

Visual Studio has it.
MonoDevelop, SharpDevelop, etc don't.

I don't expect Microsoft to do a full port of Visual Studio complete with compilers, linkers, and all the bells and whistles to Linux. They don't have to. Mono provides all those things and they are just as easy to use. What I would like to see is Microsoft port the Visual Studio designer to Linux, thereby allowing developers to walk between both worlds with ease and no lost productivity.

Don't get me wrong, I understand their reasons for not doing this but I think it would not only be an incredible new revenue stream for the company but final proof that Microsoft really wants to change the tech landscape for the better, regardless of what your platform is. It would be a proverbial olive branch that would go a long way in uniting the Windows and Linux worlds under the common Microsoft flag.

It would totally kick ass too.


I'm just sayin'

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sometimes, cats are very odd

I don't have a cat. But this video definitely makes me want to get one. This car obviously has a problem with printers. Anyone out there ready to offer it help?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'm giving away $5,000. Want it?

About six months ago, my small team and I developed a technology that would allow retailers to serve their customers better, reduce staffing costs, and better control their inventory. We've tested it heavily and it works very well. We've even spoken to a few small local stores and they love it (though, because of the nature of their operations, can't use it).

Now, we believe that the technology is ready for the national scene; a big name retailer who really wants to throw down the gauntlet to the competition. Of course, my company is no focused on something totally different and our sales team doesn't have the experience with the product to properly push it.

So, I'm turning to you, the community, for help and I'm willing to pay for it. Here's the deal:

I need a meeting with someone who has the authority to buy or is one step removed from the buyer at one of the large big box chains in the USA. It can be Walmart, KMart, whatever, I don't care, I just want to get this technology into their hands.

Now, here's the $5k part: if this meeting results in a sale, I'll give you $5,000 to $7,000 as a way to say thank you. And I'm willing to do this for every single retailer you can bring to me that closes the sale.

All-in-all, it's a good deal. 15-30 minutes of your time for five to seven thousand dollars.

Now, I'm sure you'll want to know more before you jump in so please feel free to either contact me by email at or by phone at (918) 926-0139. I'll tell you more about what we've done. Also, if you're an investor, we are totally open to fully monetizing this project apart from OpenEMR.

Thanks guys!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Last night, our country changed

Last night, our country turned a corner. We came out of the darkness of hundreds of years of inequality and oppression and boldly and decisively stepped into a new world. One where fears, doubts, and half-truths no longer rule our collective psyche but rather one where hope for a better tomorrow has once again been ignited within Ronald Regan's "City on a Hill". Last night, almost 100 million people spoke with one voice, one will, and one purpose:

To elect Barack H. Obama the 44th President of the United States of America.

Those of you who've followed both this blog and my Twitter feed know I have not been a fan of Barack Obama. There are numerous reasons why I don't trust him at face value and I worry about what his election means for our country. But last night was special. Last night was our country moving forward. Last night was one of the most powerfully moving nights of my entire life.

Politics aside, President-Elect Obama has already delivered on his promise of change and hope. The very fact that an African-American man from humble beginnings could rise to take the most powerful office in the land is a testament to his own courage, the power of his message, and the hope of a country. It shows that America is capable of reinventing itself and growing. It shows that we are not the nation we once were. It shows that a single person acting with conviction, dedication, and purpose, can effect change on a global scale.

No, I don't agree with much of Barack Obama's politics. But, for this day, I don't care. Today is a day for celebration. Today is a day to heal our collective national wounds.

Today, by the sheer force of American will, our country changed.

And I find it hard, even with my opposing political views, to believe that the election of Sen. Barack Obama was in any way a bad thing.

Indeed, I refuse to believe it.

Congratulations Sen. Obama! You fought a long and honorable war and you've come out victorious. And I do believe that, because of you, this country will emerge victorious once again very soon.