Monday, September 12, 2011

Why I'm voting for Otis

I'm probably a little late to the party with this endorsement, but I thought I'd throw it out there.  

In the long run we need to move our city to a fairer election system.  For one opinion on how to do this, read an op-ed by my friend Tracy Gosson and her republican friend Richard J. Cross.

Until that happens, I decided to vote for Otis this week for a few reasons:

  1. Otis' property tax reduction plan is workable.  Solving the size of our tax base is a critical step in the success of our city.  This can be funded a number of ways.  City government is still staffed for a population that was 30,000 greater a decade ago. 
  2. Stephanie Rawlings Blake has blocked the release of police and budget data for 15 days prior to the election.  There was an 80% increase in police overtime last year and nobody at her office over the last 10 days will answer a Baltimore Sun reporter's questions.  "Police overtime data stats I've obtained from source show 80 percent increase from FY 2010 to FY 2011."!/justin_fenton The press has decreasing power as the media industry changes.  It is critical that our elected representatives are responsive to citizen and media requests for systems we fund.  How is withholding this information for about 15 days prior to an election less destructive to our society than perjury?
  3. The incumbent owes too many favors into the world of big developers.  Lots of shady contributions have occured.  See this Baltimore Brew article and Baltileaks crowd sourced data document on her funding. It's too bad the Baltimore Sun can't fund investigative reporting like this. 
  4. I have a few friends that support and have spent a lot of time with Otis. They have no vested interest in Otis being elected other than improving the value of the city and their homes. 
  5. Just out of curiosity, I examined one of the names on Baltileaks' crowd sourced funding document.   It just so happens that the one person I looked at, Jennifer McComas, owner of Ryleigh's Oyster Bar, donated $1,000 to the incumbent's campaign 1 month prior to her bar's liquor license termination hearing.  Coincidence?  I think not. I'm not sure what impact the mayor has over these hearings, but this certainly doesn't look good considering Jennifer lives in the county and has no obvious vested interested in the city other than her expiring liquor license. 
It's time for a change. Otis for Mayor!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My iPhone Apps List

Some friends of mine just bought iPhones and they wanted to know what apps to get.  Other than the built in apps, below are the apps I use on my phone.   For a list of hacked apps, see my pervious post.  

Apps I'm currently using: 
  • Facebook - Free.
  • Google Voice – Free. Ring multiple phones, find me features, txting on your desktop, Call Screening, voicemail to email, voicemail transcription
  • Navigon $60.  I happen to use this for navigation, but any nav app will do
  • Drop box – Free App.  Click the link to get a free account first. Great for file syncing. 
  • Chipoltle – Free.  I mainly have this because they just built a location below my office but their iphone app rocks.  It's great being able to jump the line with a prepaid to-go order.   
  • Google Search App - Free.
  • Flashlight - $1. You can probably hunt for an ad supported free one.
  • Epicurious Free. iphone/ipad for cooking recipes
  • Twitter –Free
  • Free. For personal finance tracking.
  • Airfoil speakers Free with purchase of desktop/laptop software.  (Turns my iphone into an airfoil /Airplay location) 
  • NY Times – 20 articles a month are free.
  • Instapper – $5.  Great way to store articles to read stuff later
  • Dragon Dictation – Free.  Your voice to Text for SMS or e-mail. 
  • Pandora - Free.
  • Go DC Metro- Free.  Great map with metro times for Washington, DC
  • Google's Latitude Free. If you want to share your location or find where your friends are, consider this tool.
  • Paypal – Free.  I don't use this very often but it is nice to have.
  • Zillow – Free. Look up how much surrounding houses around my current position are selling for. 
  • Foursquare - Free.  This is a huge waste of time but I still use it. 
  • Itap Remote control - $ If I need to remotely control a computer, these suite of apps are nice to have. 
Must have apps when traveling
Kindle Free. I used it for e-travel books and this allowed me to carry only one device.
zGPS - Free. Only for hacked iphones allows you to cache gooogle maps when traveling. 
City maps to go Paid. Gives you cached maps when international roaming is expensive or not available.

Apps I'm trying that I like so far
Cardmunch.  Free. Scan and OCR your cards with a photo.  Just got bought by LinkedIn.
Day one– $2 - A daily journal tool.

Apps I used in the past. 
Slacker – I switched to pandora.  I like Pandora's randomized music selection better but really miss slacker's caching feature.
Worldcard – If all goes well with cardmunch I'm switching to that app. Card munch is free and uses real humans for the OCR.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Independence or Addicted? Thoughts for Independence day.

Did you see Exxon spilled 40,000 gallons of oil at Yellowstone today? Do you think Americans have independence?  Maybe so, but certainly not from oil and that is killing our economy and our environment.  Out of all the oil produced in the world, US cars burn 1 out of 9 barrels. Americans are pushing $1billion a day of wealth out of the country on oil imports.  This is exacerbated by US inflation and the declining value of the dollar. If you want to read more about the dizzying array of factors that impact oil prices check out this article from the Washington Post, The unpredictable forces behind oil prices. The Economist also wrote a relevant piece on our crippled transportation infrastructure

Just for kicks let's try swapping the Mayo Clinic's drug addiction symptoms list with oil.

Drug addiction symptoms or behaviors include:
  • Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly — this can be daily or even several times a day
  • Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug
  • Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug
  • Spending money on the drug even though you can't afford it
  • Doing things to obtain the drug that you normally wouldn't do, such as stealing
  • Feeling that you need the drug to deal with your problems
  • Driving or doing other risky activities when you're under the influence of the drug
  • Focusing more and more time and energy on getting and using the drug

Friday, June 10, 2011

Jim Gilliam - The Internet is My Religion

An interesting story told by Jim Gilliam, a cancer survivor and his journey from extreme christianity to believing in the connected power of humanity.   A few quotes I found worthwhile. 

"God is just what happens when humanity is connected.  Humanity connected is god. Each one of us is a creator but, together, we are THE creator.”

"...Then one day my dad brought home this funny looking phone and plugged it into his computer It made this sound  bizarre screeching noise like it was trying to mate with a rhinoceros.  Instead it attracted me.    That's when I found out computers could talk to each other…(I would go online and meet people all over the world) .I was judged by my brain not discounted by my age. "  

Thanks to What Weekly for sharing in this week's news letter.  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Don't be like American Express

The wrong way to spend millions of ad dollars:  Are you familiar with Firesheep and Facebook security threats when browsing facebook without security?  If not, read about it in the international news magazine of your choice.   After firesheep hit the press shortly after the October 2010 release, Facebook quickly allowed users to switch browsing to the more secure https in Late January 2011.

Fast forward to 10 months later.  American Express is doing an international marketing push to get small businesses to do online advertising through their new ad platform branded American Express Open.  I've been tracking them since I saw their booth in January at CES, Las Vegas.  One of their ads on Facebook was targeted at small business owners.  The ad probably hit me due to the my Facebook showing "Owner at" or some other keyword I have in my profile.    Amex is spending tens if not hundreds of millions on digitally marketing AMEX Open to small businesses.  Where do they drive their traffic?  To this page: