Friday, November 28, 2008

Don't even bother with Search in Outlook

If you have Vista installed, download Windows Search 4.0 and use that. Outlook's built in search in 1997-2003 was notoriously awful, granted. Many people bought Lookout for that reason. 2007 was supposed to fix all of that, and they upgraded their search engine. Well, it turns out the upgrade wasn't that great. It still sucks, pretty much.

So try installing Windows Search, then doing a search in Outlook vs. a search in WS 4.0. It should take milliseconds in WS 4.0 and take minutes in Outlook.

VPN on a VM Rocks

My employer refuses to upgrade to Cisco's AnyConnect VPN server, so, like many out there, I've had no VPN for my Vista x64 machine at home. The other day, I bit the bullet and installed Virtual PC to run VPN in a virtual machine. I installed Vista x86 in the VM and away I went.

Let me just say that this is the way I should have been using VPN years ago. Not only can I use it on my big home computer monitor (as opposed to my small work laptop), but I can still use my normal cable modem and home network rather than routing everything through VPN.

So even if my employer buys the latest VPN software, chances are I'm going to continue using it inside of a VM. It's a great setup.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Ever wonder why the Detroit Lions always play on Thanksgiving?

Ok, maybe you haven't. But I have. They suck. They've sucked forever. The only reason they used to be acceptable to watch on Thanksgiving was because of Barry Sanders.

Anyway, here's why they're still included on Thanksgiving along with Dallas:

Yes, Ford motor company. They spend more money on advertising with the NFL than any other company. And, surprise! The Ford family also owns the Detroit Lions. Is it any mystery why the Detroit Lions somehow seem to have more of a say in this league than they should?

The NFL has recently introduced a third game on Thanksgiving. This year it looks like it will be the best game of the bunch: Arizona at Philly. It will only be on the NFL Network though, so most of the nation won't even be able to see it.... again. Lame.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The real person behind Prop 8's passage: Gavin Newsom

As the night wears on, it appears Prop 8, the "marriage is between a man and a woman" proposition, is going to pass. For the purposes of this post I'm going to assume it does, because I'm headed to bed.

I'd like to throw a shout out to the single man I think responsible for having such a thing added to the California Constitution: Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Mayor who blundered his way into setting back gay rights more than ever imaginable.

A proposition much like this one passed in 2000, called Prop 22. However Prop 22 established a California law to this effect. To challenge this law, in 2003 or 4, Newsom started issuing marriage licenses for gay couples. The validity of these was challenged and eventually, the case was taken to a court wherein the justices threw out Prop 22 as unconstitutional. Prop 8 now will add this same verbiage to the Constitution. Therefore it cannot be ruled unconstitutional (at least not within California courts... Federal Courts maybe).

As you probably know, local laws are usurped by State laws, and state laws by Federal Laws. So when Newsom began issuing these licenses, he was in violation of state law. Even at the time, though I agreed with the premise, I thought he had overstepped his bounds and was going to suffer a backlash. People do not like executives who break the law, especially a law approved state-wide. But it got worse. His challenge to this ended up in the hands of Courts. People do not like it when judges decide against a law they put in place. But the real kicker... when this decision came down, Newsom made his now infamous "whether you like it or not!" declaration. People in a Democracy will never stand for executives telling them that, oftentimes no matter how they think of the issue academically. The "Yes on Prop 8" campaign certainly used that one to their advantage.

Newsom's political acumen and foresight was incredibly off in every way possible. Maybe not in San Francisco, where he's been re-elected, but certainly almost everywhere else in this state and country.

It's very easy to amend the California Constitution, and that's where we are today. Instead of the progress towards rights for gay couples that has been steadily gaining steam for many years, the people of CA amended the constitution to forbid it. There goes that idea.

Furthermore--this is water under the bridge tonight of course--Newsom should be held at least partially responsible for the 2004 victory of George W Bush. His lack of foresight ended up making gay marriage a voting issue that year, and brought out a nationwide conservative push in a year where GWB should have certainly lost (in my opinion) due to the political and strategic blunders he had made in the two prior years in Iraq.

FWIW, I voted against Newsom in the last SF election... and probably could have just based on his lack of judgment on this issue alone. I'm somewhat surprised more people haven't woken up to the responsibility he should accept for this debacle. And that Heather Fong should be fired. We're again on track for more homicides in SF than the prior year.

In pretty much every way I can imagine, Newsom is one of the worst Mayors in any city I've ever lived in.