It’s been 5 years since my last post. I have a few things to say. Stay tuned.
May 19, 2014
February 2, 2009
A dozen years ago I worked for Hyundai Semiconductor America (now Hynix) as a Process Integration Engineer. I was the token American in our department of 4, put in charge of Parametric Testing in a brand new facility in Oregon where I managed all the equipment installation, programming, and the day-to-day operations and troubleshooting for the testing of the company’s product. Another guy in our department managed the product introduction (although I did all the training though for the new operators for the factory). I have no idea what the other 2 guys did except for stare at excel spreadsheets to look busy. It was an interesting experience, on many levels. The company was run as a Korean company, so there were a tremendous number of nuances within the business that were completely new to me.
It was a challenge. It was a challenge for all of the Americans engineers there. When I started (as the facility was being built) I made many friends both American and Korean but after 4 years nearly all of the Americans had left (except in the QA department, who was run by an American woman, which was so potentially litigious and personally frightening for them that they bent over backwards to make it worth her while to stay). I kept on far longer than most of my fellow-countrymen hoping that the management be true to their word and Americanize, but it was not to be. In the end I ended up also leaving a company that started out with 60% American engineering and management, and ended up with around 20% American participation in those roles due solely to attrition.
As a sign off I sent out an email to many people I knew there, which I regret a little bit now in retrospect because it was perhaps unnecessary and because there there was a few who still believed the dream … that one day you could advance in that company without having to participate in some of the Korean traditions which were incompatible with my personal values and are just plain bad for business. But it was an honest message coming from one who’d made a huge contribution and who felt very dissatisfied with the reaction. It really burned me out and I started my next job exhausted, very disillusioned and quite unhappy with my career. I sent this:
“It’s been real, and it’s been fun …. and well, you know the rest”
The traditional adage, of course, is “It’s been real, and it’s been fun … but it hasn’t been real fun”.
That’s kind of how my blog has been. It started out many years ago as an effort to express some ideas in a more cogent manner than speaking with friends and family who couldn’t care less or might be offended by an opinion different than their own, that perhaps it might find an audience that could build on those ideas or at least appreciate some part of them.
That’s different than what most blogs tend to be today, and that’s okay. I really didn’t intend this blog to be a reflection on me … rather just a very small collection of some of my observations, but as I’ve come to learn ’tis human to classify others, and as a result perhaps this effort has made me even less understood by my peers though I don’t really know.
I like what blogs have become though … no longer someone’s effort to forward or support some political, social or scientific ideas, but rather a means for family members and close friends to interact about their personal lives. It evolution has allowed me to participate more in some way with the lives of my family and friends from far away, or nearby.
I still also like to read the blogs that strive to be a lone voice speaking up against an unending torrent of heavily biased popular media with it’s all-too-simplistic and predictable portrayal of world events. I guess I’m just a little tired of doing it myself and with the mass proliferation of blogs now such an effort almost seems completely wasted and ignored unless combined with the efforts of other bloggers into something with a daily punch. It wasn’t always that way.
I, in fact deeply respect and applaud those who use their blog for such purposes. We humans are after-all far more than just a collections of cliques floating through space sharing all the gooey goodness that makes our unique clique so good and comfortable, while ignoring the inter-clique problems or letting others with other visions or ideals shape the future of our own world. Blogs that try to understand and solve the bigger picture problems tell me that the author is totally sincere about their own life and that they’re honestly concerned about their fellowman and the world around them, regardless of what their actual opinion is.
I hope they carry on the torch … and especially those who don’t tout the party line of the mainstream media since we live in such a lopsided world today. I thought the internet was supposed to fix that. Well, it hasn’t and in some ways has made it worse … the commercialization of the net has drowned out those voices with big money and powerful news and opinion oriented portals, increasingly visited by gullible net-surfers who are increasingly lazy with their news gathering efforts, while the movement of dissenting opinions from traditional news sources have left those sources bereft of any sense of balance.
That said, if I did do another blog entry I’d call it Faux Hunting, exploring how popular it has become to foolishly deride and despise the only professional dissenting voice among public media despite what you might think about it (or maybe I’d call it “shooting the messenger”), with the very president of our United States stooping to new lows of immaturity and insecurity to become one of the worst offenders in this arena. Whatever happened to the good-natured adage past presidents had of their detractors when they said “Thank heavens for free speech”? Instead our executive government is rallying up an invisible force of anonymous supporters to make a list of critics under the misleading banner of “identifying misinformation” … a euphemistically put tactic employed by community activists to dignify their otherwise dubious credentials while debasing their detractors. But I’ll leave that issue for others to tackle. I’m disgusted and I’m done until I can figure out a more effective way to dissent.
Maybe someday I’ll join the corps of dissenting voices again, though I doubt it any time soon. Or … maybe I’ll start up another blog at some time with a different audience in mind … like my family and personal friends, sharing stuff I really value on a very personal level but that would probably be password protected.
Thanks so much to those who’ve commented and taken the time to let my blatherings bounce off you. You’ve been too kind.
For more blogging goodness, please check out my wife’s excellent blog: Sunshiney Soul (which is geared more toward our family which friends and family will enjoy more anyway) or the fantastic blog done by her and my sisters: Bossy.
January 29, 2009
I’m always out there thinking of the little guy and trying to help him save a little money, especially in these hard times. Today is about how to get your car a new paint job and getting the insurance company to pay for it for you. It’s easily done … it’s called vandalism, and you can encourage it as simply as putting one of the following bumper stickers on your car:
“BBB: Bring Bush Back!”
“Blagojevich for President”
“Earth schmerth. Who needs it?”
“Yippee! We won in Iraq!”
“I sold short on America and got rich!”
“Hope ain’t just a word … it’s a cliche’.”
“I [heart] OPEC.”
“Healthcare, NO!” (or “Heathcare” with a NOT sign)
“Impeach Obama” (note, use only if you need an entirely new car)
“I [heart] [Hannity or Limbaugh or Coulter]“
Best of luck! Park it down by a University, or Starbucks, or anywhere else where people generally tend to look angry or depressed and speak in condescending tones. Soon your car will get keyed, or even better : bashed beyond recognition. Next step: file your insurance claim along with 3 of the most expensive bids you can find. I hope you enjoy your new free paint job.
January 7, 2009
Sometimes you think you have a great website design, and well … a couple tweaks from an outside opinion can make a world of difference.
Take this website for example: www.probertson.com
For demonstration purposes I hope the author hasn’t changed it (I told him it was problematic, and he said he was too busy to take 60 seconds to modify his CSS file to fix it).
The website looks great really from a formalist standpoint. From a purely aesthetic perspective I love his rich invigorating blue background (color: #000044) . From a functionalist standpoint I find it painful.
Fully saturated backgrounds are just plain bad despite how beautiful and invigorating they may be, unless they’re very very dark (#000027) or very very light (#FFFFE3). Saturated colors are indeed beautiful and invigorating but when entire backgrounds are beautiful and invigorating they distract from the content. Don’t get me wrong here. I’m all for fully saturated colors in sidebars, icons, borders, titles, Header images, Header backgrounds, etc, but it’s hard to read content when it’s smothered in an invigorating background color. When it comes to text backgrounds dull is good, interesting (saturated or any texture beyond barely perceptible) is bad. Of course, there’s an exception (isn’t there always) if the text background is in a small windowed box … but never for large amounts of text … the main course of a typical website.
Add to that his gray text color … and again it looks attractive but after reading his content for a minute (and he has great content) well … I want to claw my eyes out.
A couple tweaks in Paint Shop Pro and this is what I get:
Which image is more aesthetically pleasing is a matter of opinion. I think most web designers would agree however that interesting backgrounds (color-wise or texture wise), while attractive, give websites an amateur look and feel. You’ll never see professional websites where content competes with the background it overlays. That”s why the version on the right intuitively looks more professional to most people. That’s not to say professional websites have to look boring (take the americanexpress website – both attractive and professional and one of the best looking websites in existence imho) … but if you want to add pizazz, don’t do it with a distracting text background for large amounts of text (again -small text-boxes are an exception becuase there is less text to focus on, whereas when there is a lot of text to focus on the reader must be able to have no underlaying distractions).
If you don’t know how to tweak colors like this or don’t have the tools, and don’t know how to change the colors on your website either don’t fret. Irfanview is a free program that allows you to easily tweak the colors of an image. Print-screen your website (you probably have a key that says PrtScr), paste the contents into irfanview (start Irfanview and then click CTRL-V) and then click Shift-G to tweak the colors. When you get the image the colors you like save it and send the image to your website designer (or your neighborhood geek) and they’ll match or help you match the new colors.
January 2, 2009
How do you keep a goal forefront in your mind so you’re always motivated to work on it? I’ve tried all kinds of things in the past … as I’m sure most people have. Quotes and reminders seem great, but they eventually seem to become lost in the noise and get ignored. I also don’t like parading my goals around for everyone to see – goals are personal. The idea should rather be to keep goals where they’re most visible to the goal-setter and not to everyone else … and to make it move, shake, or shimmy around and continually remind the goal-setter of the vision that motivates them.
So this last year I came up with something that does that. It’s a little program that scrolls through a list of text and images that motivate me to achieve my goals. It automatically boots up and sits on top of all other programs in the top of my computer where the title-bar usually goes (it can also be dragged around my desktop). It also flashes at various times of the day to remind me to work on certain things. It also gauges how much time I have left in the day (starts out green, turns peach). Below is a screenshot.
If anyone else is interested let me know. I’ve been thinking about making a version where the content can be added on the fly (currently I have to recompile it with each change).
December 29, 2008
I saw Barney Frank on TV last night … yeah, it was a channel-surfing accident where I carelessly paused on MSNBC thinking that the mindless hate-fest going on there was a comedy central skit one channel over (note to self: channel surfing is hazardous to your intelligence). He was ranting on about how GM’s demise was largely the public’s fault because the public kept buying GM’s gas-guzzlers until the oil spiked, leaving GM with a glut of undesirable cars and no desirable manufacturing lines.
Yeah. Apparently their downfall had nothing to do with their lack of planning (despite years of obvious warning signs), nor did it have anything to do with their relatively atrocious corporate structure (compared to the competition) and higher than average wages. While their competitors were building more efficient cars and trucks he somehow feels it was the public’s fault that GM executives focused only on the present and didn’t prepare for the future despite the warning signs.
So America, it’s your fault that GM executives are complete idiots. Shame on you. You can only redeem yourself by bailing out GM with flimsy contingencies they can easily bypass, allowing them to maintain what got them into this mess. Otherwise a bankruptcy would force the restructuring and wages they need to become viable and competitive, and we don’t want that because that’s not the Barney way.
However Barney’s take should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with his part in the sub-prime disaster that he also blamed on private enterprise and a lack of socialist oversight. Never mind that the bulk of GM’s problems came from their socialist-ingrained anti-competitive corporate infrastructure that stinks remarkably like a federal government entity. No wonder Barney doesn’t want that to change – GM is his kind of company.
It takes a special kind of person to think like Barney thinks. A special piece of work that only Massachusetts could put into congress …. again … and again … and again … and again.
December 1, 2008
I read somethings today that the Dalai Lama said that really highlighted what a clueless mindset comes from living like a hermit-king. I’m not quite sure why the Dalai Lama is regarded as a great sage of wisdom but I wonder if another reason the media worships him (while disparaging the original pacifist, Jesus Christ) is because of his anti-marriage and anti-family message.
The only people I know who honestly think [celibacy] is “better” than marriage because marriage involves sex, are embittered losers who have a purely self-gratifying interpretation of human sexuality.
Similarly, only self-absorbed people who are clueless about human intimacy would think that “[attachment] towards your children, towards your partner,” is “one of the obstacle or hindrance of peace of mind”.
The Dalai Lama said both of these things though … and nonetheless it seems he gets more respect and reverence today than any other religious leader dead or alive.
Now, I’ll admit when you have kids that seem to be doing everything you’ve taught them not to do, including screaming and crying over practically nothing while in your face is anything but peaceful, but “peaceful surroundings” is entirely different than “peace of mind”.
For example, the times I had the least peace of mind were times when I was most detached from commitments and relationships around me like when I was nearly 30, still single, and trying to figure out where I fit in the world. What’s more, I’ve never felt more peace of mind than when in a committed interdependent relationship with whom I could share everything, despite the fact that I was overwhelmed with far more commitments than I’d ever had. Peaceful surroundings is not peace of mind.
At first glance, this wouldn’t seem like an issue worth tackling: the fact that the Dalai Lama says marriages and family attachments prevent peace of mind, as I’m happy to leave people to believe anything so long as it leads them to do good (Matt 7:16), but I’m convinced this idea forwarded by the Dalai Lama is one of the most destructive ideas ever.
The mere idea that the family unit is bad, or at least the idea that it has some harmful effects for society, especially with regard to peace is ludicrous and should be loudly repudiated.
What’s even more disturbing to me is that this idea seems to be one of the fastest growing doctrines of men today. It’s growing quickly and becoming wildly popular to deride the traditional family unit and family oriented policies.
Calling family commitments the enemy to peace of mind and contributing elements to murder and suicide (both assertions of the Dalai Lama) is remarkably clueless. It’s akin to calling religion the root of all the atrocities of mankind.
You’ve heard that, we all have, that religion is bad because terrorists kill in the name of God, or that the “Holy Wars” were done in the name of Christianity. The argument is so absurd as to mock reason, and yet seemingly intelligent people make it, completely disregarding the fact that murder and violence is almost unanimously condemned in all mainstream religions, and that hypocrisy is a reflection on the soul of the hypocrite, not the religion which is corrupted in the process, and that people will justify the same atrocities by any vehicle they can find be it a tradition, political philosophy, or just plain old prejudice.
Now we see those same kinds of irrational arguments being promoted by the media to disparage traditional families and traditional marriage, with the Dalai Lama as thier prophet.
November 12, 2008
This is a bit of a belated followup to a post I did over a year ago: Congress’ Creative Corruption.
Well it’s taken a year to set things straight and it seems they (the Democrats) didn’t get away with the travesty. Crime never pays. See below:
November 8, 2008
At least in this one thing … the jury’s still out for what he may do in the future.
Thanks for my awesome cousin for nailing this one on the head … I just had to agree with her: There were far more powerful forces at work in defending traditional marriage in California than the simple 2% of the population comprised by Mormons. It seems we should be thanking the 70% of African Americans who voted this time for Prop 8 , 40% more than voted in 2004.
If you believe in the sanctity of marriage … that it’s far more than a social tool, but a sacred institution … and that it’s the only sacred institution that is and should continue to be promoted by the government of our nation, then you owe Obama a debt of gratitude.
Ironically, you can thank Slate (liberal rag) for originally pointing this out.
While violent same-sex proponents target LDS people and LDS buildings for hate speech and vandalism, LDS people only make up 2% of California, while 70% of all African Americans voted for the proposition. Slate does a bad job of showing just how much a difference Obama made so let me make it more clear: The black community swung the Prop 8 vote by 7% (10% of the vote was African American * 70% voted yes), 40% of that swing came from additional black voters over 2004 numbers as they were energized by Obama. That means Obama personally swung the vote by at least 2.8% (7% * 40%), or by 5.6 points (2.8% *2).
In other words, if Obama had not run for president and if he had not stood against same-sex marriage conservative estimates are that Prop 8 would have lost by a 1.6 point margin (4-5.6=1.6) if not more. Why do I say “if not more”? Because we don’t know how many of the other 60% of black voters were influenced by Barrack making a stand against same-sex marriage. The above number assumes that his position had no effect on the African Americans who voted in 2004, but it’s likely that it did. Say if only 30% were influenced by his anti-same-sex position that would have swung the vote by at least another 2 points (0.3*5.6/0.4).
And yet gay activists disparage and vandalize the property of LDS people and the LDS church who only make up 2% of the entirely California population. What’s more, there were quite a few LDS people against Prop 8 (our home-teacher, who used to be a bishop and is still a prominent authority in the church is one of them). In otherwords, all the LDS who voted for it would not have sufficiently swung the election.
I don’t know if it has anything to do with the fact that the Gay community seems to focus more on liberal arts than in math and science, but it seems these criminals can’t do math when they decide whom they’ll attack to show their disatisfaction with democracy.
November 4, 2008
Along with McCain I think our Founding Fathers also would agree that Obama is a good man and a good father, and as another human being we need not fear the man (even though I’m less than thrilled with much of his platform and his voting record – that’s beside the point). Having an African American as president is an hallmark for equality that should be celebrated … and I’d have a much easier time doing that were it not for some elements of what Thomas Jefferson called mob-rule.
Before I go much further, I want to say that I believe it’s entirely possible that Obama would have been elected without the following elements in play and I fully support him like any president as if he would have been. My point is, that these elements were in play, and that’s a shame.
If our founding fathers were raised in the same cultural climate as all of us they’d be thrilled with an African American winning the election, assuming democracy worked like it was supposed to. That said, I think they’d be rolling in their graves if they saw the 3 powerful dynamics that have adversely affected the vote this year:
1) Two phrases I find disturbing are: “they [insert special interest group here] deserve it”, and “it’s about time”.
I can only hope for the sake of democracy that these phrases only are uttered in appreciation for the man that Obama is, not the office that he now holds as if he was entitled to it by virtue of his race. I hope that every vote cast for Obama was done with complete disregard to the body he was born into. Entitlement and preferential treatment based on someone’s color or sex in the election process seem at odds with the kind of democracy that our founding fathers envisioned.
In modern times most people seem unfazed, and even embrace entitlement as a viable reason to vote for someone based on whether they be female, a racial minority, ethnic minority, religious minority, physically handicapped, sexually-different or from any other historically disadvantaged group of people. It almost seems that if you do not embrace entitlement as a viable reason to vote for someone then you might be called a bigot.
It wasn’t always that way. Were our founding fathers bigots because they did not think that the body someone was born into entitled them to hold public office? They were trying to get away from just such a thing after dealing with the British monarchy.
2) I just can not envision our founding fathers targeting transient individuals who are usually just too lazy and/or too disinterested to get registered and go to vote. Tt seems our Founding Fathers were far more pragmatic and republican in nature than they were idealist and democratic. The government they formed was not a pure democracy but a constitutional republic with democratically elected representatives. Thomas Jefferson himself, along with most others of his day, called democracy “mob-rule” because he understood common man has neither the time, patience, or desire to really understand the dynamics of facilitating a free and thriving society. They understood that the nature of politics was very complex and thereby formed a government run entirely by representation of those who have the time, patience and diligence to study and understand the issues. I’m sure they’d expect voters to do the same and would never wholesale promote uneducated voting.
Tell me, when you vote and there are two names up there for school district administrator and you have no clue … do you guess? Or do you leave it blank? The more democratic thing to do is to leave it blank, yes? Then why would you encourage someone to vote who hasn’t studied nor has any intention to study about the characters and platforms of any of the candidates but simply wants to go with the flow? You might as well guess on those items and politicians you know nothing about … it’s the same thing.
3) Complete unmitigated and unabashed bias throughout the so-called “free” press. If you don’t have extended cable (basic cable only gives you the major networks), you are only served by the big 3: ABC, NBC, and CBS. According to the Center for Media and Public Affairs 10 times more people (composed equally of republicans and democrats) feel those networks have been biased toward Obama than those who feel it’s been biased toward McCain. In addition late night pundit and comedian jokes have been favoring Obama’s ticket by a factor of 7:1.
Item #3 would not be such a big issue were it not combined with item #2. It seems Thomas Jefferson was right … and those who’ve historically pretended to champion the causes of Thomas Jefferson may have been the very same who’ve fulfilled his prediction: that all democracy at one point or another will turn into mob-rule.
Having an African American for a president is cause for celebration for the hallmark of equality it represents, but I only wish it would have happened without these dynamics. I think it sure would have been possible, but then we’ll never know now will we?