Archive for July, 2010

Anyone But the Lawyer

Friday, July 9th, 2010

I was reading an article about Bill Gates (The New Bill Gates, Philosopher-King of the Nerds) which spent some time talking about the differences between scientists and engineers. And brought up that most of the government leaders in the US are lawyers. China is lead mostly by engineers. This hit home because I think we have too many lawyers in the US. Plus being a lawyer and being in the government, especially in the legislature, has always struck me as an obvious conflict of interest.

Now sure we have had some good presidents who were  lawyers. Not sure I can name one during my life time though. I think the nature of the law has changed in the last 200 years though. And not always in a good way. But lawyers do a lot of good – we need them. I even have friends who are lawyers who I respect.  I’m just not sure they (for the most part) are the problem solving, clear talking, make is simple and make it work sort of people we really need in office. Engineers on the other hand are.

In any case, I have decided that if an engineer runs for office I will vote for them. When the choice is between a lawyer and someone else I will vote for someone else. When the only choice is between lawyers I may sit it out.

Usual caveat – I may change my mind on a case by case basis. But I think as a general principle this may be a sound idea.

Everyone is an idiot

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

It seems like every day I read or hear multiple stories of how different very successful, highly paid individuals are basically idiots. They run their companies wrong. They run their government offices wrong. It seems like everyone in the world is an idiot in someone’s eyes.

The questions abound here. Obviously one has to wonder how such idiots were elected president, Senator or were promoted to CEO or CVP or what ever. What were people thinking when they gave such idiots such responsibility? Is everyone an idiot?

The other question is why are these critics not using their clearly (at least in their own minds) superior intelligence and wisdom to do a better job? I mean really, why be a reporter/blogger when you clearly have the smarts to run a Fortune 50 company or perhaps the US of A? Yes, if you are so smart why aren’t you rich?

Now I’m not saying that all criticism is wrong. Mine is of course right on. Smile But seriously when people act outside of their areas of expertise (Bill Gates on education, Congressmen on just about anything) they are wide open to criticism from people with actual legitimate expertise. And a lot of criticism is hindsight and anyone can appear smart by looking at the results and saying “oh yeah I see it now.” The old “Monday morning quarterback” seems to occur in every field.

So you have to wonder, where were these geniuses before things fell apart? Would they really have made different decisions had they had the opportunity? And if they had would things really have turned out better? Somehow I doubt it. But it is so easy to be critical and so much harder to have to actually make the initial decisions.

I want to hear from people who are doing better. I’m not so interested in people who think they could do better or who have good vision in hindsight. I want to hear from people who have demonstrated that they know what they are doing and who have gotten results.

Google Frustration

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

A couple of years ago I needed to open a Google account so that I could reply to some Blogspot blogs in the comments section. So I did. This created the possibility for a blog so I created one of those as well. A couple of reasons. One was to try different blog engines – I have several on several different sites. And one was to post the occasional post that I didn’t want to post elsewhere and also to cross post from my other blogs. I toy with the idea of consolidating some where not specifically work related and this seemed like a good place to save some of my better posts.

Well two days ago I was trying to post there and got a message that my blog was disabled. What? I was confused and annoyed but filled out the form requesting assistance.  This blog has been around for a couple of years, usage hasn’t changed so I saw no reason to seriously think that it could have been tagged as spam. Something else must have happened.

Finally, 48 hours or so later, I got a reply from Google saying that the problem I described was resolved. Yeah! So I try to open my blog and get "The blog you were looking for was not found." Doesn’t sound resolved to me. But I can get to my profile which I had not been able to get to before.

Google says the blog was marked as spam by a robot and to fill out a request to get it back. Several steps later (enter a phone number so I can get a text message, enter the code in another form and pass a captcha)  that is done and they say "We have received your request for a review to verify that your blog is not a spam blog. Someone will look over your blog and respond "

I’m sort of used to email from help desks that like this one clearly are not responding to the problem I am asking about. They usually show some the entry I made or refer to the problem they think they fixed so you can see right away if they understood your issue or not. So this was well below my already low expectations. I mean once 24 hours passed without a response expectations dropped very low.

What I don’t understand is the lack of notice to me. I use my Google account for several things. For example Feedburner (which I was using long before Google bought them) and I have played with Analytics. So they have good reason to believe that the email address is a good one. It would not take a very smart robot to send an email with the process for getting a human review. With a tiny bit of effort they could explain what set off the robot to its conclusion.

And why didn’t the robot notice that I regularly delete spam comments? Do span blogs do that? I doubt it!

Well now I await the next reply from Google. Am I optimistic? Not really. A low level of expectation has been set. This time next week I will be at Google HQ. If it is not resolved by then maybe I’ll ask someone about it.