Politics – Stay N Alive

The Solution to Offshore Manufacturing is Technology, Not Politics

In The Biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, it talked about a meeting Steve Jobs had with President Obama. Jobs was quoted saying, ‘“You’re headed for a one-term presidency,” Jobs told Obama at the outset. To prevent that, he said, the administration needed to be a lot more business-friendly. He described how easy it was to build a factory in China, and said that it was almost impossible to do so these days in America, largely because of regulations and unnecessary costs.’ 

It was clear in tonight’s State of the Union address that this particular conversation weighed on President Obama’s mind, as he addressed it directly. In the Address, President Obama talked about solutions to fix our current American manufacturing processes. He mentioned possibilities such as reducing taxes for companies willing to manufacture in America, and making it more expensive for companies that chose to manufacture overseas. I argue that this is not enough though, perhaps not even necessary, as in an era of technology and brilliant minds technology itself will replace the need for offshore manufacturing.

Silicon Angle has a great post about “The Era of the Physible”, a take on a new category of the file sharing website, Pirate Bay, that shares 3D designs for printers that can print objects in 3D. In it they discuss the future of 3D printing, and how we are getting near the real possibility of Star Trek-like “replicators”, which can manufacture just about anything you can imagine.

I believe the future of manufacturing is in these devices. I think we are just years away from replacing entire factory lines with simple, polymer ink-based printers not much bigger than the printer that prints on paper in your own house. Here’s the best part: each of these “factory-in-a-box” devices will be in every home in America. (They’re already on their way in simple forms – see Cubify for example)

I predict, in the not too distant future, not only will you be able to shop, buy, and order phones, devices, and gadgets online (most likely through a mobile device if current trends have their way), but you’ll also be able to print those devices out, right in your home, just like you do a piece of paper right now. That’s right – the future of manufacturing exists in the homes of every single American, and every person in the world. We won’t need those offshore factories in the future! It’s an industry that, just like the automotive industry, just like just about any mechanical, human-powered industry, is quickly being replaced by computers!

Apple’s meticulous about its manufacturing processes. Steve Jobs instilled a culture where even the factories of Apple themselves were decorated in pristine white design, beautiful, well-functioning processes that got things out quick. With Apple’s focus on end-to-end solutions and control over the entire process, Apple could very well move in this direction.

Imagine a world where Apple, like their current factories, made beautiful 3D printers that created their devices in the homes of every customer, instead of building expensive factories in China. Imagine if Apple could reduce that cost, and give complete, full control to the manufacturing process of their phones in the homes of their customers. What if they put one of these in each Apple Store for customers that couldn’t buy their own 3D printers?  And guess what? Government doesn’t have to do anything to make this happen (other than making it cheaper and easier for businesses to do this). Because it’s a cheaper, more efficient process, businesses will do this for Government.
I truly believe this is the future of manufacturing, not factories and jobs of blue-collar workers. We need to be preparing for this, rather than worrying where our manufacturing is taking place. The next President’s 4 year term will start to see this major shift in manufacturing, and if they’re not prepared it’s going to hurt the American economy.
I’m concerned that we’re focusing too much on where our factories are located, and finding ways to hire more blue collar workers, when we should instead be finding more ways to get those blue collar workers interested in more white collar jobs, giving them the education they need to do them. In the future, we won’t have a need for blue collar factory jobs, period – the trends are showing that. We’ll have a need for white collar engineers, software developers, and those that can design the devices, yes, devices, that will manufacture every product created by corporate America.
In an era of the computer, internet, and mobile device, my kids aren’t even getting simple computer classes in their schools. Many children aren’t even learning how to type. I learned how to program when I was 10, in elementary school (part of this was due to lack of laws such as COPA) – I fear we’re losing this focus in America, and that’s why we’re seeing a severe shortage in high knowledge engineering talent. Kids simply aren’t seeing the importance or value of this stuff, so they don’t want to learn it.
My hope is the next President of the United States can keep this in mind as they plan their job creation strategy. Instill a love of computers and engineering in our kids. Get rid of laws like COPA that prevent kids from looking things up on their own and take the power away from parents. Bring computer and engineering education back into our school system, from elementary school age! This is a huge wick that has been lit and is heading towards a big stick of dynamite waiting to blow up. Once it does, this whole offshore factory problem won’t be an issue any more. I’m afraid none of the current USA Presidential candidates realize this.
See the above video for an example of Cubify at CES this year

Google Has Large Company Syndrome

I’ve worked for various companies over my career.  Some of those very small (including my current startup), and some very large, international and public corporations.  I currently work with similar clients of various sizes and types.  Each and every one of them shared characteristics that come with the turf in managing a large or a small company.  In a small company, you’re dealing with issues like how to grow, how do you start to deal with a growing employee base, and how do you handle all the workload in front of you on such a limited budget.  Yet you have much more flexibility to get things done and build for the whole of the company.  With large corporations you’re dealing with politics, and budgets, and individual departments all fighting for control.  It’s common amongst every single organization I have come in contact with, and I believe that is starting to include Google, which we’re seeing evident in many of their new Social products.

Let me preface with the fact that I love the concept of Buzz.  As an avid FriendFeed user and Social Media addict, Buzz hits many points that are just sweet in my eyes.  I love that they’re embracing open technologies to build it, and working hard to empower individuals and even (soon) developers to have control over their own experiences on the platform.  With the size of Google, this will bring much more attention to these types of technologies, so what they are doing is a good thing.  I don’t think they needed to reinvent the wheel to do it though, and I think the reason they did it may be in part due to the size and politics of the company.

Enter Google Reader.  I’ve complained many times that I don’t think Reader needed to focus on Social.  I don’t think it needed to re-build your Social Graph all over again.  Now, with Buzz in the mix they are trying to cross-integrate the two, and I think it’s really the wrong approach.

What I think is happening is departments at Google aren’t working close enough together to make things work properly.  For instance, Orkut already has the strength of building social connections.  Its strength is in building Social Graphs and empowering users to share with their close friends and family.  They already have the tools to do it, and, in some countries this has proved to be quite successful.  I think the Orkut team knows that.

In the case of Reader, what I think is happening is in the product development cycle they realized they needed social features.  The Orkut team wasn’t available, or one of the two teams didn’t have the budget to cross-integrate, or perhaps politics got in the way, so Reader reinvented the wheel to do Social in the Reader environment.  They could have rather done something similar to Facebook Connect, and enabled users to connect to their Orkut Social Graph and brought in shares via that means.  Then Orkut continues to own the Social Graph, social interactions continue to happen through Orkut, and people can continue to build connections with Orkut as the main hub for Social interactivity.  My guess is that the Orkut team was too booked to create such a tool just for the Reader team.  Someone up the line said no to it, so the Reader team built their own tools to accomplish the task.

I think we’re seeing the same with Buzz, and many more tools like Friend Connect and OpenSocial and others at Google.  Sergey most likely assigned a team at Google with the task of building a FriendFeed or Twitter-like product that enabled people to communicate better.  Orkut does not yet have such functionality, and it made sense to do it as a separate product.  They decided to integrate it into Gmail, where your contacts are.  Rather than utilize the strengths of Orkut for organizing these contacts, it was probably easier due to the size of Google to utilize Gmail’s contact manager to do so, which Google Reader just so happens to also use.  The cross-integration with Reader just happened naturally, but thanks to the lack of expertise in Social Graph management, it was done poorly, now making it extremely hard for Google Reader users to manage their stream.

In large companies it’s very hard to cross-integrate.  I think had Google from the get-go started to find ways to build a Facebook Connect-like interface for Orkut, they could have very well created more activity in Orkut itself, while cross-integrating all their other products into the Social Graphs built on Orkut.  Now Google is stuck with an unorganized mush of multiple social graphs, multiple streams, and messaging and content going all over the place within those streams with little regard to privacy.

It may be too late, but if I were Google, I would look at taking a step back, focusing on Orkut, and building out from there before continuing further on any Social Graph-based products.  These social products Google is building should all be relying on Orkut for that social data and then they would have a true Social Network to build from.  They shouldn’t be reinventing the Social Graph every time they build a new service.  This is why Facebook has had such success in the social space – they’ve focused on the one product as the source for all their Social releases.  Google really needs to do the same, and they can still do it with open standards, but this time starting from the Orkut environment and building out.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff Has 8,000 Twitter Followers. And?

Screen shot 2009-09-25 at 12.12.16 PMToday Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, our favorite Twitter political celebrity and Senate candidate who DM Failed his Senate campaign announcement, made another announcement on Twitter (at the same time calling all of us “Twitophiles”) I just had to share with you – yes, (gasp!) he has more than 8,000 Twitter followers.  That’s right my friends – the candidate set to take on Senator Bob Bennett for his Senate seat is “Taking Back America” one Twitter follower at a time until he’s taken them all and he owns Utah on Twitter.  Or is he?

Let’s look at his follower numbers – there’s something fishy here.  While he has 8,063 followers, he’s following 8,743.  From my experience of running an auto-follow service (which he’s not using – buy Utah!), generally when the numbers of people you are following is higher than those that are following you, it generally means a) you are running an auto-follow tool, and b) probably about half of those followers are spam bots, porn accounts, and not even real people.  And sure enough, going through his list of followers I’m seeing names like “PronDb”, “InstantBizHelp”, “QuitYourJob2Day”, and “PokerSSpace”.  Let’s just assume those are real people with real interest in him though.

Assuming all those followers are real, how many are actually listening to him?  How many of them are using “search for followers” services like Twollo and just followed him because they have it set to automatically follow anybody that says “Utah”?  Here’s my point: Twitter follower numbers mean nothing and I certainly hope someone doesn’t win a political campaign because they have more Twitter followers than their other opponents.  As I’ve said before, having a large following on Twitter only means you have to shout louder for everyone to hear.

Rather than focusing on followers, Mr. Shurtleff should instead be focusing on engaging each of his followers – building relationships with them.  Twitter’s a very difficult place to do that.  He could be setting up forums on Facebook where he actively participates and engages his audience in discussion.  He could be blogging, and interacting with his readers in the comments.  He could be responding, in short form on Twitter, while not as effective, to those responding to him on Twitter.  He could be over here, engaging with us in the comments of this blog and other Utah-based blogs.  Looking over his Tweet stream I see a lot of “talking at me”.  Instead he should be “talking with me” – this is a 2-way conversation Mr. Shurtleff, and the fact that you’re bragging about your Twitter followers as a political crutch against your opponents shows to me that you, possibly more than them, still don’t understand these tools.

Based on the way he’s using these tools, I would find it very hard to believe that even a majority of his audience is actually listening to Mark Shurtleff.  Post a link in your Twitter profile through bit.ly – I think you’d be very surprised how many people of those 8,000 actually click on that link.  Now go over to your blog and post that same link.  I think you’ll see a much greater response.  Twitter has its purpose, but I’m afraid Mark Shurtleff seems clueless when it comes to Social Media.  Of course, it should be noted that his opponent only has 7 Tweets referencing himself in the third person with only 101 followers.  Maybe Utah politicians are just clueless – I’ll vote for that.

Editor’s Note: I neither endorse, nor am I against Mark Shurtleff. Heck, I may even vote for him – I post this only hoping to educate Utah politicians and others in whatever manner possible – this is embarrassing!

A Man Without a Party

Political Diagram-1

I’m going to stray from tech for just a post here and vent a little.  I’m going to bring up a word I warn some may find offensive.  I am not a profane man. I simply do not use profanity as I feel it degrades who we are and distracts from plain English.  This word is the best term to describe the situation I am in politically though: Bastard. I’m a man without a party.  I didn’t go anywhere I don’t think.  I’m pretty sure my party left me.

I grew up in a conservative home where I was taught values of respect for our nation, honor for our liberty and this nation’s values.  I grew up in a home where we uplifted and supported and strengthened our President because he was our President, and politics aside, he was the one leading and representing our nation to the world.  I was taught faith in a supreme being, love for our troops, and gratitude to those that had served us before.

I was taught to pay my taxes, and to not be wasteful of the money I have.  I was taught not to go into debt.  I had trust in a government that would do the same.  I was taught to be self-sufficient, and at the same time give what I had left over to the poor.  A scripture I grew up with taught me to “succor those that stand in need of your succor”, and if I had not to give, “I [gave] not because I [had] not, but if I had I would give.” I was taught to participate in government, be a loyal citizen, to vote, and to volunteer where possible.

My parents taught me great values, and where they didn’t agree with a politician, they were careful to let me know why they didn’t agree, and let me make a decision based on that knowledge.  I don’t think I remember my parents ever admitting to loyalty to a single party of choice.  When we asked who they voted for, they would not tell us, because it was “none of our business”.  They wanted us to choose.  Their politics were individual decisions, and they wanted us to make our decisions based on values, not politics.

I grew up with both my Grandfathers being former Colonels, one in the Army and one in the Air Force.  One of my Grandfathers, a Purple Heart-decorated Colonel with 12 kids and a very strong family, taught me at a young age to salute the flag when I wore the Boy Scout uniform, and to put my hand over my heart and stand when flags were presented other times.  He taught me to sing the national anthem when it was sung, and to learn the words.

My other Grandfather, also a World War II veteran and double-flying-cross decorated Colonel taught me the value of faith, and how it can carry you through the worst of times.  He taught me leadership, and regardless of political boundary, why remaining true to your values was more important than anything.  He served in the Pentagon, met various Presidents and dignitaries, but no matter what, he went to Church every Sunday, stuck to his values, and respected his Nation with all his heart.  He continued to teach these values to Cadets as he started the Air Force ROTC at Brigham Young University.  He lead a family of 7 children and continued teaching those values at home, instilling the same respect in my Father, who taught these things to me.

Values. Faith. Respect. Liberty. Justice.   Integrity. Honor. Charity.  E Pluribus Unum – “Out of many, one.” I’m saddened to see not a single party supporting all of these virtues.  I’m saddened that the what is supposed to be “the conservative party”, the Republican party, is ruining the image of our President’s office just as bad as the Democrats have previously. I’m saddened that our leaders have become corrupt, seeking popularity and politics instead of integrity, honesty, and virtue like my Grandfathers above.  I’m saddened that children now have to seek Permission slips to see their President speak this week.  I’m saddened that we’ve lost our core family values so much that parents can no longer teach their children values to learn on their own what’s right and what’s wrong.

The Republican party, whom I thought was my party growing up has deserted me.  The Democrats are too far in the other direction.  I’m saddened that I’m in actually what appears to be the majority of Conservatives at the moment. Where is our Party?  I’m afraid my friends, that I’ve joined the ranks of the many Conservatives who belong to a leaderless Bastard Party.  Maybe that is where I belong now, faith, values, virtue and all.

To the Whitehouse and President Obama: Thank you for this amazing opportunity to have my kids learn who their President is and what he wants them to hear.  Sure, we’ll be talking to them when they get home about your speech, but what an amazing opportunity this is!  Never in the history of this nation has the President had the technology available to do this, and this Conservative is grateful for it.

To the Republican party, my Republican party (or what I thought was mine): look at yourselves!  Here’s a great video by John Stewart that describes the perception (in the image of Fox News, in this case) which you’re becoming:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Fox News: The New Liberals
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Utah Republican DM Fails His Candidacy Announcement

Mark ShurtleffToday (about 2 hours ago), Utah Attorney General, and rumored Senate Candidate Mark Shurtleff, in an apparent “DM Fail” with what would appear to be Political Consultant Ben Cannatti, accidentally announced his candidacy for Senate. Attorney General Shurtleff has been rumored to be running against the current seated Senator Bob Bennett in the upcoming election, making this no surprise, but a solid confirmation it would seem.

Shurtleff recently appeared in a recent Fox 13 News segment on Facebook boasting his use of Social Media and its potential advantage it could give him in the pending run for Senate. Shurtleff ironically stated on Twitter his realization in what he thought was an SMS to Cannatti, “…I just realized that I was responding to a text from u. I’m going to pull it off immediately”. Other interesting Tweets, “…it will also be against Bennett and I’ll pick up his delegates when he drops off the first ballot. I’m announcing I’m running at 12”. He also shared he “would have no trouble raising up to $2 million”. The original Tweets have been removed but you can read the 140 character version of them (which is cut off) via Twitter search still.

It also comes on the heels of other mishaps by other Republicans. Just recently, Virginia State Senator Jeff Frederick posted on Twitter, “Big News coming out of Senate: Apparently one Dem is either switching or leaving the Dem caucus. Negotiations for power sharing underway.” The Virginia Senate Democrats saw the post and were able to secure their majority by closing the session early and convincing the State Senator Ralph Northam not to switch sides. The Republican party is no stranger to such mishaps.

In response to today’s Twitter DM failure by Shurtleff, he humorously responded, stating in a Tweet, “Thinking of “texting while drowsy” law after private 1AM tweet went public. Formal announcement on 5/20 about senate race and tweeting plans”. It will certainly be a lesson learned for him as he tries to obtain Bennet’s Senate seat through use of Social Media. Mark Shurtleff, contact me if you ever need help!

You can see the full conversation via Twitter search below:

Mark Shurtleff DM Fail

Finally, a Tactful Anti-Prop 8 Video!

With all the attacks against Mormons and other groups, I have been wondering why anyone could be against Prop 8 and support the people behind the no campaign – I was actually somewhat a supporter of the anti-Prop 8 campaign until my faith began to be attacked for supposedly not allowing me to support what I was indeed supporting. As a Mormon, I just couldn’t stand for the attacks against my faith and videos like this one. Because of that I’ve been on the defensive, perhaps supporting more of the pro-8 campaign than I would have originally felt comfortable with doing. However, finally, perhaps the anti-prop 8 crowd is getting it as this awesomely tactful and funny Anti-Prop 8 video has surfaced on Funny-or-Die. Like it or hate it – you can’t go wrong with Jack Black or Mr. Doogie Howser himself!

I introduce to you, “Prop 8, The Musical”:

[swfobj width=”464″ height=”388″ classid=”clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000″ flashvars=”key=c0cf508ff8″ allowfullscreen=”true” quality=”high” src=”http://player.ordienetworks.com/flash/fodplayer.swf” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash”]

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

To the No on 8 campaign and all those protesting my church – Let’s find more positive ways of promoting this campaign. Hopefully we’ll see much more of this in the near future.

Chick Fil A Stores Miss Out on Very Important Opportunity

chickfila2-1.jpgI’m a sucker for a deal. Let’s just say I’m a cheapskate. That’s why I was excited when I heard that Chick-Fil-A stores were offering free chicken sandwiches nationwide today. So I went out and voted, excited to celebrate my vote with a nice chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A. Never mind the $5 in gas it cost me to drive there.

I get there after a long drive telling them about hearing online about them offering free sandwiches, showing my “I Voted Sticker”. They’re response was “Chick-Fil-A isn’t doing that – it was a ‘Media Error'”. I responded arguing it was all over the web, and all they could do is tell me their manager said they couldn’t give anything out.

So what did I do? I got on Twitter (well, actually FriendFeed, which goes to Twitter) and hashtagged it #ep and #votereport (as a joke), and shared with my 1400 or so friends on Twitter, along with anyone monitoring #votereport and #ep, not to mention the near 800 friends on Facebook and near 700 friends on FriendFeed how Chick-Fil-A had made this huge PR error. And now I’m blogging about it to at least 500 more people, and who knows if others share this with friends and how many more people end up seeing it.

Here’s the problem – I noted to them that I had heard the offer on the internet. That means I have reach. I most likely share things with my friends through this enormous, now social tool. This should signal that to them, regardless of who I am. I know not all their customers have heard of the offer, so therefore they aren’t going to go broke giving stuff away. However, if they would have just given away a free drink (which, from my fast food experience, costs practically nothing), or free fries, or even a coupon to come in next time for a free sandwich, they could have taken advantage of that reach. I would have been tweeting about my great experience getting free food at Chick-Fil-A, they would have gotten more customers and more people aware of their location, and this blog post would have been much more positive in their favor.

Social Media is powerful, people. Yes, I did end up buying my own sandwich and I still like their food, but they could have taken advantage of a much greater opportunity to spread the word about their brand and promote that particular location. Chick-Fil-A, and especially that particular location, missed out on a huge opportunity here.

Proposition 8 – It’s Not Exactly Cut and Dry

your_vote_counts_button_3.jpgI’ve been standing back for awhile listening to the various sides in the blogosphere on Proposition 8 in California. The proposition is in response to a Judge overturning proposition 22, a law which attempted to define marriage being between a man and a woman. The Judge declared the law unconstitutional, making Gay marriage legal in the State of California. Opponents against the Judge’s decision have organized Proposition 8 to amend the State Constitution, thereby making marriage between two of the same gender illegal. I thought that since many of my readers are in California I would chime in.

As a Mormon (aka, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), like Louis Gray, I’m very torn on this issue. I had several gay friends in High School, and while I wasn’t very close with them, they were some of the nicest people I knew. Frankly, I wish the world had more people as nice and genuine as many of the gay people I know. I know many of my gay friends would never be able to change even if they wanted to – it’s part of them. It’s something as natural to them as eating is to you and me.

At the same time, my religion teaches me “that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” To me, our church’s manifesto on this subject, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World“, is one of the most beautiful and divinely inspired pieces of writing in these modern times. It teaches me that “all human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” This includes those that are Gay – yes, we believe they have a part in God’s plan as well, and I believe this to be true. Unfortunately, in my religion it cannot include marriage.

While I’m grateful I don’t have to make the decision on whether I’m voting for or against this amendment, I do understand the great difficulty others are having showing love towards those with same-gender attraction, while at the same time following what their faith teaches them is sacred and true. Here are some of the major issues they are contemplating:

Natural/Human Rights

Those against the amendment say that Gay people are born gay. There are conclusive studies that show there could be genetic evidence of being gay in both gay and lesbian people.

At the same time the pro-8 supporters argue that despite some being born gay, regardless of whether it can be proven or not, that voting “no” on proposition 8 will encourage under-age “experimentation” for those that may not have been born with the trait. At the same time, some studies of a “gay gene” have been debunked as being biased and lacking concrete evidence, supposedly because the scientists themselves were homosexual.

The Human Rights issue simply isn’t clear enough yet to prove someone can be born gay or not to make it as clear as someone being black or white, or man or woman. And even if it were, there are other issues that come into play that add a whole lot more complexity to the legal definition of marriage and how that definition could affect society.

Parental Rights, Education About Homosexuality

This is one I can’t quite wrap my mind around (of course, I can’t quite wrap my mind around most of this). Those for voting “yes” on 8 argue that parents will lose power to control what their children are being taught in schools. In fact, there are cases in Massachusetts, where a Kindergartner was taught a story about 2 gay parents without notification of the parents. The “no” on 8 would argue that the parents were told about this in a letter sent out earlier in the school year. At the same time, in San Jose a professor was fired for quoting a textbook, stating that homosexual behavior could be influenced by “genres” and “environment”. There are also many other cases from Massachusetts legalizing Gay marriage listed here.

All this ends up sounding very bigoted however to the “no” on 8 supporters, if you can prove, and believe that homosexuality comes from birth. Based on the links above though, these are both highly contested viewpoints in the scientific community. I think you’ll find in the comments below that this continues to be contested (if I can predict correctly).

Church Rights / Freedom of Religion

If I were to have to vote, this is the main thing that would end up influencing me. To me this is the most convincing. The fact is, entire religious doctrines are at stake with this amendment. This is the main reason the LDS Church is involved (and just to set the record straight, it was the Catholic church, not the LDS church that instigated this).

If this amendment takes place, I predict there will come a time when all religions have to accept Gay marriage into their doctrines. Already, this has become an issue in Massachusetts where at least one religious faith is being sued for not allowing a Gay marriage to take place on their property. There are also other cases. This isn’t a matter of letting religions just do what they want to do and keeping the legal definition separate from the religious. Things all change when it becomes legal. I can’t have government forcing my religion to change its beliefs. That takes away from my right to worship. I’m very concerned about this one.

As you can see, the issue of Proposition 8 isn’t very cut and dry. There are many studies, and many issues, all conflicting with each other. The one fact I think we all agree on is that we want our Gay friends and neighbors to all have the best life they can possibly have – I think we all agree they have a right to that. I’m just glad I’m not the one having to make the decision to vote for or against Proposition 8. I hope I’ve presented at least some of the studies, on both sides, for you to make your own decision. Please feel free to discuss in the comments!

This Utah Texan’s Voting for Obama

election_2008.pngI rarely pipe in with Political rants here because well, it’s a tech blog. However, with the change in the economy and lead-in to an election, politics seems to be the only thing people talk about these days. I’m going to make an exception today because I think, as an Independant, I’ve made a decision that is quite significant for me. For the first time, ever, I’m voting Democrat this election. Yes, “my friends”, I’m voting for Obama.

I grew up in a very Republican and conservative family. I have extended family that are very Democrat and liberal, but for the most part, my Mom, Dad, brothers and sisters all seemed pretty conservative growing up. I married a conservative, my brothers, father, father-in-law, and now sister are all accountants and for the most part, pretty fiscally conservative. I grew up in Houston, TX, and I currently live in Utah, 2 of the most Red states in the nation. So I’ve had conservatism all around me. I’ve always been a very “independant” person though. I hate the two-party system. To me, picking a candidate is about picking the best person for the job, not picking a person just because they belong to one party or the other. If I ever run for politics, then I’ll pick a party and pick where I stand on things. As a normal citizen, I get to be a learner, not pick sides, and choose the side that will be best for this nation. Why Obama? Let’s pick a few issues that have convinced me:


This was a big one for me. I used to work at UnitedHealth Group, and learned a lot about how large HealthCare companies work, and what the problems are that face this nation in regards to HealthCare technology.

What convinced me on Healthcare is in the last debate when Obama talked about “digitizing medical records in Doctors offices”. Obama, more than anyone else gets technology. His campaign has done an excellent job targeting people on Facebook, Twitter, via Youtube, and other means that McCain I imagine simply hasn’t touched. (Don’t get me started on McCain’s “disability” – if McCain really knew technology he’d know there are very good accessibility option on most Operating Systems these days. I know blind people better at computers than McCain.)

One of the largest and costliest issues facing our nation right now are old insurance companies and old doctors still using paper for most of their record-keeping. These papers at some point have to be converted to digital format, which in many cases leads to errors and costly mistakes. The large insurance companies are making money off of this, creating systems around leaving a flawed system in place. It’s wrong, and Obama understands this. Our economy will be better because of this. (and no, Obama isn’t doing “true” universal healthcare – he’s just keeping the stupid from costing us money by not having healthcare)


As a fiscally conservative individual, this was a big issue for me. Frankly, neither McCain nor Obama have good plans. The fact of the matter is, when Bush leaves office, our taxes are going to go up. Both Obama and McCain have ways to give back to the citizens, but economically speaking, they’re both the same. McCain gives back to everyone, keeping corporations from being taxed, and giving money back to the rich that may not need it as much.

Obama wants to do a weight-distribution of the money. He’ll tax corporations, which in turn will pass that cost onto the consumer. At the same time, the middle-to-low income consumer will have more money due to tax cuts and rebates given back to them. In the end, the rich still get paid because the consumers, now with more money, can spend money on their products. It’s simple economics – the wealth gets distributed either way. Both plans are near identical if you ask me so this isn’t a huge issue for either.


As an Independant, I’m against the death penalty. I could never, in any way, imagine myself in a position to be responsible for someone else’s life, and for that reason I could never directly vote for it or agree with it. For that same reason, I’m against Abortion, except in the cases of rape or incest. I would never allow my daughter to have an abortion, would not support my wife in such a decision, except in very rare circumstances.

At the same time, it doesn’t affect me one way or another if you or your friend or your sister or mom get an abortion. That’s your business, not mine. Economically speaking, in Freakonomics it actually suggests that it is better for the nation to allow abortion – there has actually been less crime since Roe v. Wade than before. Allowing choice, statistically, has had an indirect affect on the crime-rate of this country. Again, I’m not saying I support it – I’m just saying it’s not that big of an issue for me.

For this reason, I don’t buy those that say bringing in a Liberal to lead the nation could enable the Supreme court to be tipped liberally, forcing Roe v. Wade to be enforced. One way or another, it’s your choice – we all have the responsibility to make that choice. IMO, this nation is not affected adversely by allowing it. So regardless of Obama’s stance, this is just a non-issue for me.

Foreign Policy

McCain scares the living daylights out of me in regards to Foreign Policy. ‘Nuf said.


Obama’s “Change” theme has annoyed the heck out of me. However, I think I finally got it after this last debate. We are in a circumstance in this nation right now that is unprecedented. All of those running were not living the last time this happened. We simply don’t know how to solve it. Therefore, it requires an adaptive President to manage the situation. It takes someone who is willing to change and adapt with the circumstances. Obama showed that this last debate with some of his change in position. McCain is still doing the same things he always did. For this reason above all, I’m implementing “change” in my life and voting for Obama this election.

(Note, it’s not too late to convince me otherwise – if you think I’m wrong, and have solid reasons to back that up, I’m all ears! Again, I’m in this to learn!)

Facebook DNS Blunders Take Down Obama App

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Just yesterday, I posted on how Facebook had seemed to deprecate the apps.new.facebook.com domain, the primary domain for all applications on the Facebook platform. I reported that it seemed to be up now, but some people are still not able to access the App according to reports in the Facebook developers forums. One such casualty is the Facebook Obama “Vote for Change” app, allowing users to register to vote, vote absentee, find polling locations, etc. With today being the deadline for Voter registration in many states, this doesn’t come as good news for the crucial Gen. Y crowd said to be much of the deciding factor for this election.

It appears that as I wrote earlier, the 20-50% reduction in app traffic may be due to a DNS issue. Some users are seeing the issue, and some aren’t. Where I’m seeing it now, it would appear that perhaps my DNS resolved, but others are still reporting it. After an entire weekend, there is still no word from Facebook on this issue.