Monday, February 28, 2005

Outsourcing and globalization

As I'm a software engineer, outsourcing of software projects to India and China is a hot issue to me. I like cheap goods too though, so I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. Our capitalistic system should work this out in time, though--hopefully sooner than later. Eventually, outsourcing software development to India and China is not going to be profitable when their currencies start increasing in value. If the developers are not longer working for dirt cheap, then why take the expense of outsourcing? Check out this article.

I also think that the current state of world affairs is going to make some corporations rethink their globalization strategy. There is quite a bit of risk in globalization. China could seize the assets there and nationalize the business. On the other hand, China is such a huge potential market that to ignore it could cripple a business as well. Perhaps the wealth of the capitalistic system will push China into a democratic government--greed vs. power will be an interesting struggle. I would just like to comment that history shows very few bloodless, radical changes of government. People don’t give up absolute power easily…

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Lawyer jokes...

My dad is a lawyer, so these were always fun as a kid.

What do you call 25 skydiving lawyers?

What kind of lure must you use if you want to attract lawyers so as to shoot them?
You may use any as long as it yells every once in a while, "I'm gonna sue!!"

Some good witness questioning:
Q: She had three children, right?
A: Yes.
Q: How many were boys?
A: None.
Q: Were there any girls?
Q: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
A: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
Q: And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?
A: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy.
Q: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?
Q: Were you present when your picture was taken?
Q: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
A: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for breathing?
A: No.
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
A: No.
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
A: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.

Taken from various places and various emails...

Illegal downloading

As a college student, it is quite tempting to download music from the peer-to-peer systems. It seems that it is as easy today as it ever was--except for maybe when everyone used Napster. From a Christian prospective, this is a relatively easy issue to me. I did the Napster thing for a while and even used the more modern networks recently. Unfortunately, I can no longer reconcile this as a Christian. This is the artists’ intellectual property, and they have a right to make money off of it (even if it is large amounts).

The best description/interpretation I could find of the Fair Use Act and such under U.S. Law was here at the University of Georgia.

My opinion is that "personal use" is a very broad term. It allows you to pretty much copy the music for your own use as you see fit. Copying it to distribute it publicly would be a violation of copyright law. Because Peer-to-Peer systems are so public, sharing copyrighted material on them is about like giving away CDs on the street.

Check out the World Magazine article on this issue.

Here is a decent article that presents the idea that the recording artists and companies already make too much--just so I'm not accused of being too one sided ;-).

Friday, February 18, 2005

From the "you might be a liberal if..." section

-You don't think it's right to kill rapists and murderers, but do think it's right to kill babies
-You've stood for animal rights, but wear leather belts and sandals
And my addition:
-You have a "Save the Planet" bumper sticker on your Expedition.
(taken from here)

France...from a right wing prospective of course

OK, every once in a while I hear a good quote that I have to research. It usually is semi-relevant to current news, but not always.

These words are better than I could ever retell them:
(from here)
"In addition to leaving NATO, de Gaulle announced that all American troops on French soil must be evacuated. He wanted no trace of America's military presence in France, even if those soldiers served as part of a NATO force.
This, of course, is the same de Gaulle and the same France that had been liberated during the war by a similar force of American soldiers, many thousands of whom died in the fighting. Which is why when Johnson's secretary of state, Dean Rusk, briefed the president on the plan he would present to de Gaulle - a plan that spelled out how we would move NATO headquarters from Paris to Brussels and remove all American soldiers from France - Johnson had only one comment.
'Ask him about the cemeteries, Dean,' Johnson said to Rusk.
Quickly grasping the meaning of Johnson's request, Rusk tried to talk him out of it but Johnson was insistent.
'Ask him about the cemeteries, Dean!' he repeated, turning the request into a presidential command.
And so Rusk did. At the end of his meeting with de Gaulle, in which he explained how America would comply with de Gaulle's orders, Rusk asked him whether his demand that all American soldiers be removed from French soil included those thousands of GIs still buried in French cemeteries - GIs who had given their lives so France could once again live as a free and sovereign nation.
In his autobiography, Rusk records that de Gaulle, embarrassed, did not reply."

People don't readily learn that there are times when action is required. I don't love war, but it is necessary at times.

This is an article from way back in June of 2004 entitled "France, the great American Migraine" also mentions the event. I just like the title ;-)

On a lighter note--vulgar but funny (imo): here

Friday, February 11, 2005

Giving up privacy

Why are people so eager to give up privacy? I understand a little bit of this in terms of privacy vs. security, but this recent discussion in my "Issues in Software Engineering" class is over the top. Below are the two posts (the original and the response); the names have been removed to protect their privacy ;-). The last line of the response is of concern to me.
An author you all might like to check out is David Brin. He is an SF author, but has written extensively on these issues, including a book - "The Transparent Society". One of his basic points is that the lack of privacy in society can also serve to our benefit, in that it lets us "watch the watchers". His point is that corruption and self-serving activities among our business and political leaders can be enabled by privacy, while held accountable in a "transparent" society. An interesting point of view. You can find his stuff here:
I follow you. This societal transparency is as appealing to me as the clearly visible gearing of a bicycle and the source code to a Perl script. I am not comfortable with black boxes, secret societies, handshakes, or, for that matter, any one special interest group that holds information as power, in secret, over or at the expense of another. The internet has a potential that is yet untapped to promote a truly democratic, transparent society where individuals are perhaps not living in complete privacy but finally, able to have an equal and compelling opportunity to cooperate in myriad ways with their fellow human being.
At the risk of being a bit too far afield and feeling the effects of too late an hour, I will say human society needs to take a drastic quantum leap into this transparency or something similar in order to in turn make the corresponding technical leap to a new age where the survival of human beings on our own planet will depend on a certain clarity of interdependence.
Buckminister Fuller said some 30 years ago that we are on Spaceship Earth. I think he meant that our survival depends on our leaving privacy and self-interest behind to go into the future as a society of communal technical collaborators with the common goal of ensuring our survival as a species. At about the same time, the Fabulous Thunderbirds came out with the hit We Gotta Work Together. That song seemed to me to be an attempt to make privacy loss a positive thing. Perhaps our loss of privacy will be the lever to help make our world a more cooperative place.