Friday, February 29, 2008

Computer Services Tax in Maryland

In our state, we are wrestling with the new computer services tax that is going into effect July 1, 2008. This tax essentially treats most computer services as a traditional retail sales item and imposes a 6% sales tax. Being in a small state with several bordering states with good economies, it is pretty easy for a lot of organizations to simply move across the line to the District of Columbia, Delaware, or Pennsylvania, or across the Potomac River to Virginia. This is a short-sighted effort to bridge the state's budget deficit in the near term while driving away long term security by driving the business out of state. A similar tax has been imposed, and eventually repealed, by other states.

Seen at the anti-Computer Services Tax rally

The Tech Council of Maryland is one of many groups leading the charge to repeal the tax before it's too late. An event was held in Annapolis for the press and state legislature to call attention to the problem. There was a lot of lip-service paid, but the real test will be to see what actions are taken.

Here is a YouTube video of my brief speech at a recent rally.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Microsoft WorldWide Telescope Debuts

Microsoft Research's WorldWide Telescope made it public debut at TED this week. The project has taken the best images from telescopes all over the world and perfectly stitched them together to create a holistic view of the cosmos. Watch the video of the presentation to see how cool it really is.

Indiana Jones Trailer released

I've been a big fan of the series ever since I saw < italic;">Raiders of the Lost Ark on its opening day. May 22nd can't come soon enough, but I was delighted when this new trailer showed up on Yahoo. It looks like they are playing on some of the same "antics" that were popular in the past movies, but wit more panache.

<//d.yimg.com/static.video.yahoo.com/yep/YV_YEP.swf?ver=2.0.41" /> <//d.yimg.com/static.video.yahoo.com/yep/YV_YEP.swf?ver=2.0.41" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="512" height="323" allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="id=6444508&vid=2031178&lang=en-US&intl=us&thumbUrl=" />

Friday, February 22, 2008

Moleskine Convert

I often carry small notebooks with me to take notes. As much of a techie as I am, I still find it convenient and fast to just write some things down on paper. I do later transcribe many of my notes into Microsoft OneNote though. These notebooks are typically the small spiral-bound type and have served me well. I recently bit the bullet and plunked down some cash for a Moleskine Pocket edition with squared pages.

I love it.

At 192 pages, it is barely any thicker than the 50-page books I am using now. There is no wire spiral to get caught on things (including my clothes), and the leather cover keeps it from getting bent out of shape. It also has a small pocket inside the back cover where I can keep small scraps of paper. I used to lose a lot of these with my old books.

squared.gif

According to the website:

MOLESKINE IS THE LEGENDARY NOTEBOOK,

USED BY EUROPEAN ARTISTS AND THINKERS FOR THE PAST TWO CENTURIES.

THIS SILENT AND DISCREET KEEPER OF AN EXTRAORDINARY TRADITION, WHICH HAS BEEN MISSING FOR YEARS, HAS BEEN REPRODUCED BY THE ITALIAN COMPANY MODO & MODO SINCE 1998. WITH ITS VARIOUS DIFFERENT PAGE STYLES IT ACCOMPANIES THE CREATIVE PROFESSIONS AND HAS BECOME A SYMBOL OF CONTEMPORARY NOMADISM.

MOLESKINE IS A FAMILY OF NOTEBOOKS FOR DIFFERENT FUNCTIONS, ACCORDING WITH A FREE MINDSTYLE, BOTH BASIC AND EMOTIONAL.

For more information, check out http://www.moleskine.com.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Photos in Schmap

I recently had two photos selected to appear in the newly released fourth edition of the Schmap San Francisco Guide:

John's Grill
www.schmap.com/sanfrancisco/toppicks_restaurants/p=86271/i=86271_4.jpg
Lou's Pier 47

www.schmap.com/sanfrancisco/entertainment_fishermanswharf/p=8964/i=8964.jpg

No I realize that this is merely a way for them to get their photos for the guide at little or no cost and to also spread the word through the photographers linking to them, but I don't care. I think its a bit cool.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Southwest rant

I hate the fact that Southwest is not only my best option to Florida, but that they offer the best service. That isn't necessarily a compliment. Now, the service out of Baltimore is okay and, in fact, on a par or above other airlines. It's in Orlando where hey fall down. Take today for instance. They push you to be there two hours before your flight, but the counters aren't open that early. There is a sign saying they open at 4:30, but at 4:45 there was still no sign of anyone. Then its all self-service from there. You must use a kiosk. You must drag your bags over to the TSA area. Humbug.

SW 73 RAIN

When you pay to fly, there is a minimum level of service that should be provided by all carriers. This includes timely check-in, open and staffed counters, on-time promises, and handling your details once you check-in (sic: baggage).

Friday, February 8, 2008

She is a real peach, isn't she?

Ella, a sculpture of a reclining woman almost 20 feet tall and about 35 feet long has been unveiled in Sydney, Australia. The sculpture is made entirely of peaches, about 24,000 of them, though we aren't sure if the peaches are real. Sponsored by Ella Baché, a skin care and cosmetics company, the sculpture took about 6 months to create. It will be on display through Feb 10. For more information on the display and a background, follow the link below. Thanks to Boing-Boing for bringing this to my attention.

Amazing all peach sculpture

[From The Ella Installations // Ella will be unveiled soon // 1-10 February 2008 // First Fleet Park, Sydney]

ella bache peaches
Originally uploaded by bluemedia1

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ustream.tv - Leo Laporte Live

The problem wit watching Leo Laporte record TWiT NetCasts live on Ustream, like this weeks MacBreak Weekly, is that I run out of things to listen to while driving home from work.