Placement.

If you own a vehicle and live in the City of Chicago you’re required to register your vehicle with the city. As proof of this registration, you’re required to put a registration sticker on the inside of your windshield on the passenger side of the vehicle. This sticker is identical in design as the DMV registration stickers we had back in New York; a laser printer prints the data on an exposed part of the sticker. You peel it off and put it on your windshield. Unlike New York stickers, these stickers stay in place quite well. Also like back in New York, the motorist is required to remove the old sticker and put the next year’s replacement sticker in its place.

A lot of folks in Chicago don’t do this. Instead the start a line of stickers up the windshield. I’d rarely see this in New York State, but it’s all over the place here in Chicago.

I don’t know if the practice warrants a ticket. I know that it drives me insane; it really trips off my OCD.

The sticker indicates where you’re allowed to park in the city, for example, if some streets have permit parking. I don’t know what the thought process is around keeping expired stickers on your windshield, but perhaps a $5 reminder ticket would help motorists follow the rule of sticker placement a little closer while increasing revenue for the city at the same time.

I know, it sounds petty, but with more and more drivers distracted on the roadway, the last thing they need is a row of stickers up the side of their windshield blocking their vision.

Cashless.

Gizmodo: Philadelphia Just Banned Most Cashless Stores, a First for a U.S. City

The city of Philadelphia just passed a ban on “cashless stores”. Retailers in the city must accept cash. Exceptions to this law include stores with a membership (i.e. Costco), parking areas, hotels and other venues which require a large deposit. While I don’t live in Philly, this law really rubs me the wrong way. NYC and NJ are looking at similar legislation.

  • We live in a free market society. If there’s a need for a store to accept cash, there’ll be a store that accepts cash. Let the market figure it out.
  • Handling cash increases labor and productivity costs for the retailer. How many stores have you seen lately that post signs “Does not accept bills larger than $20”? Balancing tills, monitoring employee theft, going to the bank, etc. costs extra money.
  • This law stifles innovation. Instead of just outright banning “cashless stores”, how about a requirement that retailers must have a “reverse ATM” out front? There’s a new market that could be farmed out to a third party. You can’t get on the L here in Chicago with cash, you have to buy a ticket or a Ventra card. Plus, what’s preventing anyone from buying a burner Visa card and putting cash on that?

Laws like this are part of the problem with our government, not the solution. Elected officials want to make shortsighted, grandstanding gestures to prove their worth. How about governing instead of grandstanding? /soapbox

Speculation.

Angela Ahrendts. Photo from The Verge, take by Nick Statt.

Apple announced this week that Angela Ahrendts, senior vice president, retail, would be leaving the company to pursue other personal and professional interests. She has been with the company and in the position for around five years.

I have been surprised by the number of people overjoyed with this announcement. Occasionally it has been Ms. Ahrendts enthusiasm and energy in the position that has kept me soldiering on through some of Apple’s rough spots over the past couple of years, and by “rough spots” I’m referring to security breaches and other particularly interesting bugs released to the wild.

As the leader of Apple’s retail ventures, Angela brought “Today At Apple” to their retail stores. Her vision of the Apple retail experience included transforming the Apple Store to “Town Squares”, where folks could hang out, learn about their Apple devices, chat with other Apple tech enthusiasts, and, if so inclined, buy something or get something fixed. The new Apple (I guess it’s no longer called Apple Store) on Michigan Avenue here in Chicago was a prime example of this. There’s lots of seating, I huge presentation area for “Today At Apple” seminars and, though I haven’t seen it in person, a conference area for business customers. I have occasionally seen folks out for a walk with Apple employees, taking photos along the Chicago River. Angela was very much a proponent of solidifying the human connection to Apple technology.

Many have been speculating as to why Angela is leaving the company. Is it because of the recent earnings announcement? Slowing iPhone sales? Is Tim Cook unhappy?

Honestly, even though Apple is a very public and publicly traded company, is it really our business as to why Angela is leaving? Apple retail has flourished for the past five years under her leadership. I often hear of folks complaining about wait times or stores being in disarray. Maybe I’ve been lucky to not have experienced this sort of thing. But truthfully I couldn’t care less as to why Angela is leaving. It’s really none of my business.

I’m sure there will be changes at Apple retail locations when Vice President of People Deirdre O’Brien takes over leadership for the division. I’m interested to see if the changes Angela made stay in place or if the locations go off in a new direction.

In the meanwhile, I wish Angela well in her new personal and professional endeavors.

1 Comment

Data.

ABC News is reporting the Trump Administration is not sure if they separated thousands of more children from their families at the southern border. They’re not sure about this because they haven’t been keeping track. There’s little in the way of records of these separations.

Heartbreaking doesn’t even to begin to describe how I feel about this.

Even if you believe that it’s right for the United States to separate families trying to immigrate here, you have to admit that the United States Government should be responsible in keeping track of who belongs to whom. I can’t get my blood drawn in my doctor’s office without citing my birth date multiple times and confirming my identity, I can’t imagine why anyone in any position of authority wouldn’t implement some sort of tracking system for these children.

I mentioned on Twitter that I would write the web application needed to do this. Since the Trump Administration has claimed that the numbers aren’t that big, then it makes sense that the database to track these individuals wouldn’t need to be very large. I could write something in a weekend to accomplish this; I’m sure teams of government IT officials could write something better and faster in the same amount of time.

The process would be quite simple:

  1. A child must wear a wrist band, much like what we wear in the hospital, at all times. The wrist band has a unique identification number on it.
  2. All of the child’s data is stored in a simple database tracking their whereabouts. It could also be used to track food or medical allergies, medicinal needs, schedule information, and psychosocial notes on the child.
  3. The guardian’s information would be entered into the same database and tied to the child’s ID number. A photo of the guardian would be entered into the database as well.
  4. The guardian would be given an official certificate with the ID number on it. Without this certificate, the guardian would not have access to the child.
  5. To regain access after whatever bureaucratic red tape was cut through, the guardian would have to present the “completion report” and the certificate, with a photo match taking place as well, for the guardian to regain custody of their child.

It’s not hard. Not difficult at all. But the gross incompetence of Homeland Security and ICE has created a mess that really should be treated like a crime against humanity. What they’ve done is just inhumane.

No child should be separated from their guardian if the child is not in harm’s way. The United States should not be putting the guardian in harm’s way. I don’t care if they’re coming from Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, France, or Venus. What the U.S. is doing is wrong.

And with just a little bit of effort, it could be a little less wrong. But there’s no interest in that when you’re part of the puffed up chest party.

It is such a dark moment in the history of this once great nation. I really hope this nightmare ends soon.

Cold.

I snapped this photo during my walk this morning. It is currently a third of the temperature it was when this photo was taken and it was 15ºF during my walk. Right now it’s 5ºF. On the bright side, it’s above zero.

Wednesday is suppose to have a high of -5ºF.

Snow doesn’t bother me. I don’t mind snow all that much, even when we have feets and yards of it. But cold? Yeah, I’m not a fan. I don’t like the feeling of cold out there. It’s better than oppressively hot, but I’d be happy with a nice 68ºF year round. I guess I’m finicky.

With all the stuff going on during the Government Shutdown for a wall that no one wants, I really worry about the folks that are working their full-time job but will still get a paycheck of zero tomorrow because President Coulter dictated she wouldn’t support the idiot in the seat unless he got his wall built. I worry about the unpaid government working staying warm, I worry about them feeding their families, I worry about them having a roof over their head. Despite the fact that Trump thinks you can buy groceries on a line of credit, I’m pretty sure even Ike Godsey stopped that practice some time during World War II.

The United States of America is a very cold place right now. It’s a shame I’m not talking about the weather.

Quiet.

After a weekend of being relatively unplugged from the Internet, I shared this tweet this morning:

Please stop being outraged. Listen, consider, and breathe before you tweet. This is my new mantra.

Scanning through my Twitter timeline I realised that a good chunk of the content was people shouting. Now, some have good reason to shout, as I have several Twitter friends that work in some role with the U.S. Government and they’re going on nearly a month without a paycheck. That’s a really good reason to shout. They get a pass, and more.

Other than that, there were too many people shouting from their digital rooftops about how awful Trump is, how terrible the events in D.C. were this weekend, and how ridiculous Rudy Giuliani is.

I’ve been an avid tweeter since 2007, taking a few breaks here and there. At one time it was a good way to keep tabs on what was happening in the world.

These days it’s a bunch of noise.

Social Media may prove to be a failed experiment. There has to be a better way to connect with people.

I hope we find an answer soon. In the meanwhile, I may retreat to the quiet.

The Best Men Can Be.


Bullying. Harassment. Is this the best a man can get? It’s only by challenging ourselves to do more, that we can get closer to our best. To say the right thing, to act the right way. We are taking action at http://www.thebestmencanbe.org. Join us.

Yesterday, Gillette released a campaign called “The Best Men Can Be”. The campaign includes a short film showing the effects of bullying and other “boys will be boys” behavior and how we influence the next generation of men, and how we can help them become better.

I’m surprised, though I don’t know why I am, at some of the outrage expressed on Twitter about this campaign. There are so many people on Twitter proclaiming that they’re not going to be told how to act in public, accusations of SJW (Social Justice Warrior) activity, and declarations that they’re boycotting Gillette and buying something else.

Gillette is bringing awareness to their brand, I’ll give you that. But they’re urging us to be the best that we can be, and to help the next generation do the same.

Are guys at a construction site really at their best when they’re cat-calling women as they walk by. Are young men really being their best when they bully or beat up on a non-stereotypical classmate who may dress or act differently?

We don’t need the labels and declarations that “boys will be boys”. We need to become better as a society. And any message that encourages us to do so is a great message.

Be The Best You Can Be. Follow this link for further information.

Walls.

Photo courtesy of Fanpop.

So yesterday I had a little rant on Facebook about “The Wall”. Now, if you’ve been paying attention to anything in the United States since Flaming Cheeto starting running for office back in 2016, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s the big, beautiful, impenetrable wall that he’s been blowing hard about since his first campaign speech. You know, this wonderful wall that Mexico will pay for? The one that Mexico will pay for so we can keep the Mexicans out of the United States, because after all, God Wants Borders.

This ridiculous idea is stupid. The majority of Americans know this wall is stupid but the stupid people have learned how to share their opinions online and thereby have a voice so now we have to reduce our country to the absolute, lowest common denominator of human existence.

Flaming Cheeto wants $5 billion dollars to pay for this wall before he’ll sign a bill to end this government shutdown. It’s not really a government shutdown, because elected officials are still getting paid and protected by the Secret Service, Pumpkin Spice Mushroom Man still has aides and cooks and assistants, but “essential personnel” are expected to arrive at work and do a diligent job even though they have no idea when they’re getting their next paycheck.

Personally, I’d be looking for a new gig.

Back in the late 1990s I was able to find a photo of our cat Tom sitting in the driveway of our home online. This photo was taken from a satellite orbiting the Earth literally hundreds of miles in space. This was in the late 20th century. With all the advancement in technology in the 19 years since then, you’re telling me that we have to spend billions of dollars to build a concrete or steel physical barrier along 2,000 miles of a shared border with Mexico to keep folks out of the country?

Ladders? Tunnels? Airplanes? Boats? Anyone? How do you build a wall down the middle of a river?

The truth of the matter is, we have the technology to adequately patrol the border without building an actual wall. There’s no wall around Area 51, but I bet if I were to drive to Nevada and set foot onto the restricted area without permission I would be greeted by scary looking officials in less than five minutes. They would know that I’ve crossed into Area 51, they would greet me quickly, and I would be vacuumed off the face of the Earth for an indeterminate amount of time until I had been thoroughly questioned, detained, and if some porn videos are accurate, we all had a grand time with funky music in the background.

We don’t need a wall. We need border security funding. We need better immigration centers along the border. We need education. We need to fund proper staffing levels to process the requests for folks looking to find a better life in what we laughing call “The Greatest Country on Earth”.

$5 billion dollars is not chump change. There’s a lot of things we could do with $5 billion dollars. I tried to get this point across on Facebook yesterday, and I believe I did, but I also believe there’s a slim chance I’ll be invited to a reunion for that side of the family anytime soon.

The crisis that the Flea Dipped Orange One talks about is manufactured. There is no crisis. There is hysterics. That’s what sells, right? Hysterics. People like to clutch their pearls and fear that which is different from what they know. When someone challenges that only certain people have a right to live in the U.S.A. I ask the challenger what they did to become an American. I occasionally get a blank stare. They can’t comprehend the difference.

I’m all for improving immigration and securing our borders. But we absolutely do not need a physical wall to achieve that goal. The money could be spent for better technology, education, and controlled access.

Stop living in the Dark Ages.

Length.

I purchased two items at CVS today. You’ll see the receipt in the photo above.

Many, many years ago I wrote point of sale programs. At the time, when popping out a receipt, one of the goals was to conserve paper, as there was a time expense involved with changing receipt tape and there was also the expense of the actual paper. Programming guidance manuals advised, “print the header of the next customer’s receipt during the current transaction. This will eject receipt paper without using up blank space.”

Today’s modern point of sale programs spit out feet of paper for marketing purposes. I’ve turned off the “print my receipt” options in the app. I’ve modified my preferences on the marketing website, but here we are, still receiving over a yard of paper for the purchase of two items.

Is our technology really evolving in the proper direction?

Next time I go to our local CVS I’m going to shop anonymously to see how long the receipt is.