I have been going through the “blahs” lately. Some of it is rather deep-seated stuff that I’ve been struggling to understand. One thing I realized was that I’ve felt for years like I cheated myself by never completing a university degree. For the last four or five years I’ve subconsciously come to realize that it is too late- short of a massive life change like winning a million dollars, it is simply not feasible to take four or five years off to go and get a degree.
Today, though, as I contemplated the universe and my very limited place within it, I decided that what I really wanted was knowledge, not the piece of paper- although there are plenty of times I wish I had the paper as well, it isn’t my main regret. And so I’ve decided to take some more specific steps to educate myself. And of course, given my nature, that means a healthy dose of gadgetry.
One of the big news items during the past week has been the fact that Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, is taking a medical leave of absence for several months. The media has been frothing at the mouth over this: speculation regarding the death of Apple in the absence of this one man, guesses regarding the nature of Mr. Jobs’ illness, and even retrospectives of the man’s life as if he is already dead. Frankly, it is too much, and I personally think everyone, the media, the investors, and the public, should be ashamed. I also think that Steve’s leave will be a good thing for him and for the company itself.
SCO used to sell operating systems and related software based around Linux, Unix, and in their early years Xenix. A few years ago they decided to start suing everyone they could think of with the claim that companies like IBM, Novell, and RedHat had “stolen” their Unix intellectual property. You can read all about the legal history of it here at Groklaw. After years of losing every legal battle they started, facing counter-suits from the people who *really* own the Unix intellectual capital, and filing for bankruptcy, they are doing the only reasonable (at least in America) thing: they are selling all of their real assets so that they can continue the legal battle
The auto industry is suffering. The U.S. auto industry, all three main manufacturers, are all on the verge of bankruptcy. Sales have dropped 15% in 2008, and another 15-20% is expected in 2009. There is no doubt that the problems have been building for decades, with fat-cat auto executives selling Hummers and Quad cab pickups to the lazy and rather ignorant Joe Sixpack customer. Whatever the cause, the whole industry stands on the edge of the abyss: in a couple of years, there could be no “made in America” cars whatsoever.
A part of the conditions for the U.S. government bailout was that automakers have to reach agreements with their unions to cut wages and reduce staffing levels. Yet the unions say “we won’t take cuts!”
I seem to attract hardware failures like rotten meat attracts flies. Maybe it is because I sometimes run slightly “bleeding edge” gear, or perhaps it is something environmental (* /em looks accusingly at seven cats shedding hair into computer intakes*) Whatever the cause is, I take steps to make sure I have reasonably current backups of my systems. Unfortunately, that rarely seems to save me from frustration…