Crime Doesn't Pay

Apparently this lady bought a lottery ticket with a stolen credit card, I presume to pretend like she made out even better, by getting something for nothing, plus winning and getting even more. The only problem? She won. $1 million. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem. But because she bought that ticket with that credit card, she can’t collect. Woops.

Now I can certainly understand not paying her. But what about her mother-in-law (the owner of said credit card)? Well, in this case, the owner is deceased. So she won’t enjoy it much. But I think that would be sweet – steal a credit card, win the lottery, you get to deliver the winnings that you can’t have to your victim.

Politics and Money

Politics and money shouldn’t go together. I think that a large part of the problem is that the politicians spend money like it isn’t theirs. And a huge percentage of it isn’t. But the even larger problem is that people don’t seem to get that. They want the government to do this or build that and all the while, they are the ones who have to fund those payments.

I don’t understand that disconnect, or how to get that message across to those who don’t understand that the government is not a money-printing machine. It’s a money-recyclying machine, and the money being recycled is ours. Sure, we are “paid” a certain amount of money, but a large part of that paycheck will never be seen by us.

In another strange occurence, when the big oil companies rake in large profits, they have somehow done something wrong. When companies are referred to as “business”, there is a reason for doing so. No one is in the business of going broke (except perhaps the US government).

Yet when GM loses $1.5 billion, no one is crying out for them, and demanding that they be paid money so they don’t go broke. You figure it out.

PHP Image Rotation

While trying to hastily assemble a Javascript image rotation script, it occured to me that you could probably do the same thing with PHP – and it would not only be easier, but more reliable, since PHP happens on the server-side, independent of the browser someone is using. Sure enough, a short search resulted in an easy-to-use image rotation script written in PHP.

Keep the Change

In an interesting move, Bank of America has implemented a new program for debit card holders, dubbed Keep the Change, where you can “round up” debit card purchases, and this rounded portion goes into your savings account.

Since I’ve seen many people who have jars and jars of spare change (mostly pennies) sitting around their house, you have to think that this program will make some sense to some people. But as a savings vehicle? That’s probably pushing it just a bit.

Voice Recognition Stinks

For the second time in as many days, I find myself going around and around with a telephone menu that’s run by voice recognition software, and unable to get anywhere. I’m all for making improvements, and the telephone menu is a great place to start – but those who set up these voice menus apparently think they can address every single problem, and for some strange reason I seem completely unable to find anything – even more so than the typical “press 1 for…” type of menu.

What’s worse is that the actual recognition stinks. It can’t even recognize “yes” and “no”, much less more complex phrases. While most thinks show incremental improvements and become worthy over time (look at cell phones), this sort of thing has absolutely no promise at this point. I’ve had problems with Cingular, PayPal and Sprint PCS.

I understand they don’t want to talk to people. I understand that some people get tired and hang up, so they don’t have to deal with it. I understand that such a system could be used to funnel callers to the right department. But it doesn’t work! Most of the time these menus either take you to a general mailbox, or they collect all sorts of information, which the operator then has to collect again. Is it any wonder that I don’t like the telephone?

Bloglines Toolkit 1.6.0

Version 1.6.0 of the Bloglines Toolkit is now available for download. The toolkit currently supports 8 languages out-of-the-box (contact me if you want to add more) and has been configured to be compatible with the 1.5 beta version of Firefox. Those of you with automatic update checking should be getting an update notice in the near future. Enjoy.

Indiana and Reproduction

Apparently a draft version of a law in Indiana will require you to file a petition for parentage if you can’t become a parent, uh, the old-fashioned way and if the person helping you (we’ll call them the donor) is not your spouse.

Interesting. Even though they may be well-intentioned by trying to make sure that only your standard husband-and-wife arrangements may have kids, I have to think that the government in Indiana has finally found that point where they just don’t have anything else to do.

Come on. Maybe if you can’t think of any other laws to create, you should just go home and not make any more. Or maybe you should clear some off the books. It’s obvious that the government spends far too much time now trying to intrude on our lives. Let’s head the other direction.

Another Camera Moment

And again, I was without mine. I’m going to have to start carrying that thing around with me. Ever since I switched phones and no longer have one with me almost constantly, I seem to be missing all the fun stuff.

In any case, this was on the way to pick up our car this morning at the shop. We noticed a car pulled into one of the bus lanes on Independence on the way into town. This itself isn’t so much surprising, but this one was stopped. Next to a portalet.

No confirmation if there was anyone inside (either in the car or the portalet), but it struck me as very funny at the time.