Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Radical Idea

UPDATE: Brennan placed on IR today. So as Rosanne Rosannadanna would say, never mind.

I hope Colt Brennan gets cut today. For his sake.

After his injury on Thursday’s preseason loss to the Jaguars, the rumors have been flying around that in order to save face and keep four quarterbacks on their roster, the Redskins might keep Colt Brennan but place him on injured reserve, leaving Chase “don’t call him Daniels” Daniel as the #3. That would be the end of Brennan’s season, before it even begins.

If Todd Collins is truly solid as the #2 quarterback (which I think is a huge mistake, but then again, Vinny didn’t ask me), then either Colt or Chase has to go today, unless the ‘Skins really do pull off this IR move. But for what purpose? To have this same debate this time next year, plus any other QB they draft next April? A further lag on Brennan’s career, to be sure, made worse if he doesn’t get any playing exposure this year.

Better solution: cut him, trade him, whatever, so he can go to a team that needs him more. If he really is the Hawaiian wunderkind everyone thought he was last year, then surely three or four teams would be happy to snap him up and put him in their #2 spot, with a shot of taking real game snaps by November.

Washington is a town that likes to speed-date it’s quarterbacks. If you haven’t shown by your third game that you’re going to take this team to a Super Bowl, then we’re off to find our next true love. Campbell is the longest relationship we’ve had in a long time, and his future, at least right now, seems pretty solid here. So, Colt, if you’re looking for a meaningful, long-term relationship, it’s probably time you asked to see other teams.

Why I Haven’t Been Twittering Much Lately

You may have noticed, fellow tweeps, that I’ve been kinda quiet on the twitters lately. It’s because I’m still annoyed, at both @twitter and myself, for losing the first 500 posts of my twittering life.

twitter-logoYou see, I knew, albeit in the back of my mind, about Twitter’s arbitrary 3,200 tweet history rule. That’s the rule that says no application that taps into the Twitter API, including the twitter.com website itself, will let you go back any further than 3,200 posts. I’d heard that that was the limit, but somehow it didn’t really register with me and before I knew it, I was at just over 3,700 tweets.

So what happened to the first 500? Hell if I know. I’ve seen other blog posts that say they exist. Even Twitter’s own documentation supports this:

Clients may request up to 3,200 statuses via the page and count parameters for timeline REST API methods. Requests for more than the limit will result in a reply with a status code of 200 and an empty result in the format requested. Twitter still maintains a database of all the tweets sent by a user. However, to ensure performance of the site, this artificial limit is temporarily in place.

(While writing this blog post, I checked my Twitter page and now it claims I have 3,861 tweets. Except that I know for a fact that it was at 3,708 over the weekend. And I’ve only tweeted a handful of times this week. So what the hell is going on over there?)

Twitter needs to get its act together. Maybe if they hadn’t spurned Facebook, they could afford servers that weren’t held together by chicken wire and duct tape. If being able to request more than 3,200 posts (which, at 140 characters apiece, amounts to LESS THAN 1 whole megabyte) could potentially crash the system, than a DoS attack should be the least of their worries.

So getting back to what I knew and when I knew it…

There was a point in time that I could retrieve all my tweets. I paged backward through the site and got back to tweet #1. But did I do anything about it? Make any attempt to save them? Of course not. I figured they were there in the cloud for whenever I needed them. I didn’t realize that that wasn’t quite true.

And so we’re here today, with Twitter’s self-described “artificial limit” of 3,200 lousy tweets. Hey, I really can live without all the live-tweeting I did of Redskins games. But I’m missing most of last year, the year my daughter was born and all the firsts that go along with that. These are my memories, and I’d really like them back.

Sure, I have the photos, and a few blog posts from here of the things I’ve done with my kids, but I’m really a short-form type of person. I don’t keep journals, diaries or blogs up very well as my friends can attest to. But Twitter has been so convenient for me, always at hand on my iPhone, that I’ve used it to keep a de facto log of my life.

I’m pissed at Twitter for holding those memories hostage, and I’m pissed at myself for not taking action before it was too late to save those first 500 (600?) tweets.

So that’s why I’ve been down on Twitter lately. I’m not going to stop tweeting, but I am going to be a little bitter about all this until it’s rectified. And I’m taking steps to get my intellectual property from this point on onto my own equipment as well and not rely anymore on Twitter’s cloud.

An Open Response to Lowell McAdam’s Open Response

Recently, New York Times technology columnist David Pogue wrote a blog article (and made, with help from his Twitter followers, a video) highlighting just some of the many, many things wrong with the cell phone industry beyond just the exclusivity contracts currently being investigated by Congress.

In response, Mr. Lowell C. McAdam, the CEO of Verizon, sent Mr. Pogue’s boss, New York Times Chairman and Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, an open letter rebutting these complaints.  Except for the fact that he didn’t actually rebut any of Mr. Pogue’s complaints.  Instead, he made up his own “myths”, and debunked them with his own opinions.  Not exactly the same thing.  So I’ll give the same treatment to Mr. McAdam, except I will actually address the topics he brings up instead of conveniently ignoring them:

Myth #1: Americans pay more for wireless service.
Europeans don’t pay for calls or text messages that they receive.  Americans do.  So okay, I could choose to not answer a call from a number I don’t recognize, and then I wouldn’t be charged for it (except indirectly if I call into the voicemail to check any message left).  But text messages don’t give me that option.  If a spammer sends me a text message, and I don’t have one of those ludicrous text messaging “plans”, then I’m out 20 cents whether I like it or not.  This is patently unfair.

Myth #2: The Wireless sector of the technology industry is not competitive.
His answer to this is that Al Gore says it is.  Sorry, dude, that’s not an argument. Exclusivity deals keep consumers bound to a provider if that is the only provider offering a particular handset (yes, I’m talking about AT&T and the iPhone; isn’t everyone else?). 2 year contracts keep me tied to my provider if I want to switch for any reason, including needing to upgrade a broken or
lost phone with a different model not offered by my current carrier.  Lack of decent coverage by some of the smaller, hungrier carriers such as Cricket mean I’m tied to the big boys if I want to know my phone will work in a major urban area or a small rural area.  Just because Al says it’s competitive, doesn’t mean it’s so.

Myth #3: Wireless customers are treated badly.
An 84% approval rating may be stellar in politics, but in customer service it’s meh. At least, it should be. A company’s motto (coined by Scott Bourne) should not be “We’re not happy until you’re not happy.”
My own dealings with AT&T customer service have found them to be a massive monolith of corporate “We say so” bureacracy. Does that sound like I’m satisfied with them?

Myth #4: The big wireless companies don’t pay attention to rural America’s needs.
Here, Mr. McAdam touts Verizon’s dedication to expanding their network. In my pre-iPhone days, both I and my mother had Verizon and we could not use our cell phones inside her rural-ish-but-not-quite southern New Jersey house, and we’re not talking Timbuktu here, we’re talking 40 miles from Philadelphia! Cingular, AT&T’s predecessor, had ZERO coverage in Fremont, California, the fourth largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I understand the situation has not improved with their acquisition of AT&T’s network.  It’s a simple fact that wireless companies go where the money is, and the money is just not in areas with sparser populations even though they would benefit the most from having reliable wireless phone coverage.

None of this actually covers any of Mr. Pogue’s charges (outrageous pricing for text messages, the way phone subsidies work, etc.).  I’m still waiting to see answers to those issues.

Annie, Get Your Gun! (While You Still Can!)

Ah, it’s Virginia Gun Show time again. Time for the right-wing fearmongers to trot out the old mantra “Celebrate the second amendment and get your guns while you still can!”

That’s word for word from the advertisements that are currently on TV here in the D.C. area. Never mind that there is no legislation currently pending in Congress to tighten gun control laws. On the contrary, recent legislation allowing people to enter some national parks with guns and pending legislation that allows people to cross state lines carrying concealed weapons indicates that they’re trending the other way!

And never mind that the Supreme Court’s recent rulings have favored gun advocates over gun control supporters. The impending confirmation of Judge Sotomayor to the court won’t really have a substantial effect on the court in this regard because we’re just replacing one left-leaning justice with another.

No, it’s time to scare the people into rushing out and purchasing all the firearms they can so they can shoot the armored plated deer wandering into their backyards or whatever. And let’s use the second amendment to justify this. And let’s just conveniently ignore the first four words of it (which are “A well regulated militia”; is there any well regulated militia here? I don’t see it.).

I know the majority of inner-city crime committed with firearms are with illegally obtained guns, but really. Having more guns in the world does not make me feel safer. Never knowing which hot-tempered redneck sitting near me and my children may or may not have a concealed firearm is a cause of concern, not comfort. Would allowing students to carry guns to classes really have prevented the Virginia Tech massacre? I don’t think so. And every time I hear of yet another story of someone who has killed him or herself and his or her entire family with a legally purchased and registered gun makes me sick to my stomach, and there have been a lot of those stories in the D.C. area this year. (And I’m being politically correct here; it’s always the husband/father who does this.)

So, Annie, get your gun while you still can. Because you may only have fifty or sixty years left to do so.