Monday, January 29, 2007

Driving with fish

A major realization hit me about a year ago. People drive on the freeway in a fashion that is similar to schooling fish in the ocean. People tend to try to drive in packs. I think these packs naturally form as a result of our schooling/herding instinct that still lies deep in ourselves. Even in driver's ed, I learned that people will tend to try to drive in packs. I've heard these packs referred to by a variety of names, but ultimately, I think the herding instinct is a holdover when we where fish living in schools, hundreds of millions of years ago. This instinct was almost completely dorminate until billions of us got behind the wheel of a car during the 20th Century.
For example, when you pull up on someone's side in the next lane at about 5 mph faster, there is a pretty high chance of that person slightly speeding up to match your speed. And the same is true in the opposite. If you are ahead of someone that is slowing pulling up on you in the next lane, there is a high chance of that person slowing down to match your speed, usually in your blind spot. Of course, this usually occurs when you need to get into the land into that space they occupy.
I've learned to work around this and use my knowledge to my advantage. I know that powering ahead instead of just cruising ahead will actually cause most others to ignore me instead of trying to join me.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

SolidWorks Yahoo! Group revival

The story of the SolidWorks Yahoo! Group revival begins way back in Feb 2006. I was looking for new macros that I would use to improve work flow on SolidWorks at my company. I looked everywhere online. One of the places I found was the SolidWorks Yahoo! Group. It was fairly active, with professional participation in discussions about SolidWorks. There was a problem, however.

I tried to contact the group owner, but never got a reply. Eventually, I started looking into why the group was unmoderated. The owner had disappeared; bouncy, bouncy. No one else was assigned to run the group, so the group was left to the elements, those dreaded spammers. Well, the rule with Yahoo! Groups is ownership cannot be transferred except by the owner. Since the owner was bouncy, there was no hope. I forget about the group for awhile. Then, in November, I checked it on a whim. It appeared that SolidWorks users where still actively using the group to post questions and answers.

It got me thinking that maybe, just maybe I could take ownership of this group to revive it. So, I contacted Yahoo! Groups with the following feedback comment:

Are you a... Member

Subject: Other

Type your feedback here: The moderator of SolidWorks yahoo group is not maintaining it, and has a bouncy email address. How does one claim control over a group that is experiencing this kind of neglect by still has large potential value to its members?



I waited for a few days before receiving this boiler plate response:

In a message dated 11/28/2006 11:49:36 P.M.
Pacific Standard Time,
egroups-feedback@cc.yahoo-inc.com
writes:

Hello,

Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Groups.

I have received your email and you are asking on how does one claim control over a group. I appreciate you contacting us and I'll be glad to assist you on this matter. I have checked the Yahoo! Group "solidworks", and it shows that the owner's account was bouncing. However, in as much as I would like to accommodate your request, I cannot appoint a new owner or moderator to the group as specified in the terms of our Privacy Policy. What I usually suggest is for you to contact the Group owner regarding this issue of handing over group's ownership. You may send an email to:
SolidWorks-owner@yahoogroups.com In the event that the owner can no longer be contacted, one alternative is for you to create your own group and send out invitations to those people who you would like to join your new group. I appreciate your utmost patience and understanding with regard to this matter. If you have any other concerns, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.

Regards,

Shelley, Yahoo! Customer Care


Well, the bureaucratic wheels are churning. There was even double-speak that was self-referencial. At this point, I know I have one chance at getting what I want. My reply will have to be forceful and direct, with points with which cannot be argued. Here's my Hail Mary:

Yahoo,

Thank you for your reply.

I do realize that there is a Yahoo policy against the transfer of ownership
for yahoo groups. However, in light of this situation with SolidWorks yahoo group, I (as a Yahoo customer) feel that such a rigid and absolute rule on the matter is counter productive to members of Yahoo Groups in general (not just in regards to SolidWorks yahoo group). Though I don't speak for the SolidWorks Corporation, the name "SolidWorks" is a trademarked name whose customers would benefit from having the only Yahoo Group that bares that exact name being made active again. Customers are users that are working, educated professions that seek convenient interaction with other customers of SolidWorks. A new group creates confusion and increases the lack of interest in using Yahoo Groups at all for this purpose.

Also, if the current state of SolidWorks yahoo group is an indicator, with so many groups without reachable owners or moderators, Yahoo Groups appears to be cluttered which makes the over all Yahoo Groups less valuable as a service, in general. As a matter of customer service, I request that you reconsider your policy in regards to the transfer of ownership for groups whose owners are bouncy for more than six months. Moderators should be able to claim a group at that time. If no moderators exist, members should be able to petition for ownership directly to Yahoo. To avoid spammers from taking charge of groups for professional purposes, set criteria for the approval of those petitions.

Matthew Lorono
Santa Clara, CA


The reply I think got surprized me. Yahoo! Groups staff stepped up the plate.



Hello Matthew,

Thank you for
writing to Yahoo! Groups.

We appreciate your comments on this matter and can understand your concerns.

Because your group is not currently moderated, we may be able to appoint a new moderator for the group. If you would like a new moderator for the group, please start a poll using the group's polls feature and list the member names of a few members, who would like to be a moderator, as choices for the poll. Please announce the poll to your group and ask the members to vote on who they would like to be moderator. Once the poll has closed, please email me back and I will appoint the "elected" moderator. I do apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.


Regards,
Gidget, Yahoo! Customer Care

The squeaky wheel gets the grease! This is how we do it! And I even got a reply from some girl with an overly cute name.

So, I left a message on the group asking for volunteers. Two people piped up. Of those two, only one had a history of contributing to the site. So, I put that person up, and myself as the two options in the poll. A month later, I closed the poll and notified Yahoo! Groups staff. I wondered if I would hear from this "Gidget" again?


Gidget (Customer Care),

Per your requirements (see Customer Care email below), I have run a poll for the SolidWorks Yahoo Group to determine a new "elected" group moderator, because the group is not currently being moderated. Two individuals with a history of contributing to the site were self-nominated for this poll. The person with yahoo id maccormackc (Chris MacCormack, who is cc:'d on this email) won the poll results. Please appoint maccormackc as the new group moderator for the Yahoo! Group SolidWorks as soon as possible.

Thank you for your prompt action in advance.

Matthew Lorono


Well, Gidget did not respond back. However, Derek did respond back with the happy news.


Hello Matthew,

Thank you for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.

The situation you describe has been completed.

We apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused you. Please be ssured that we'll do our best to prevent such problems in the future. If you continue to experience the problem, or if we can be of assistance in another matter, please let us know by replying to this email. If you can describe in as much detail as possible the problem you are having, any steps you take leading up to it, how frequently it ccurs, and the exact text of any error messages you receive, it will help us to provide a solution more quickly.

Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.

Regards,

Derek, Yahoo! Customer Care


Derek was no Gidget, and his response didn't make much sense, but he gave me what I wanted, and that's all that mattered! ;) After a couple of days, Chris and I began to revive the group, adding content, removing spam, banning spammers, approving new members, etc. And
it now appears to be getting the attention it deserves! The main guy at the SolidWorks corporation that manages user groups has just joined and may contribute to the site as well! Kudos!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Looking forward

I'm looking forward to the weekend. Time to just relax. The week has been a bit more stressful than normal, so..yeah..yuk. Time to have some fun.

In other news, my blog is back up (obviously). Yeah. Only took a month for Blogger to fix the issue. But now that I am back up, I'm able to use Blogger's new functions. I don't blog abou blog too often, so yeah, that's enough of that.

Remind me to write about the microwave. arg

Monday, January 15, 2007

Waiting

I'm waiting, waiting, waiting here at the dealership for my car's oil change.

Yup, waiting. ::yawn::

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

National Get In Matt's Way Day 2006

Today must be National Get In Matt's Way Day 2006. For me to declare such a day nowadays is amazing, since my commute is so short now.
On my way to work today, I got into a Left Turn lane with a few cars ahead of me and a green light. Well, this one work truck from the lane next to us decides to cut into our turn lane, stopping everyone beyond his merge. He pulled up to the light and stopped just as it turned yellow. Had he just waited, the turn lane would've been clear, and he'd still be in front of the lane on that yellow light.
So, I make a quick action to get out of the turn lane and precede on the straight ahead green to make a U-Turn just past the divider island on the other side. Well, just as I get to the U-Turn point, this truck is in the land fast lane. I wait for him to pass before I turn. I pull around into the slow lane ready to make my right turn on green. Well, just as I am pulling up to the intersection, that truck decides to pull right in front of me to make a right turn. Of course, he does this and practically stops at a green, waiting for it to turn yellow. It does. Then he waits more until the traffic in an unrelated direction starts to go. So, we both make our right turn, but just 100' down the road, the Train Xing bars lower, again, as he pulls up to them. ARG!
Anyways, I finally get through this maze of stupidity and get to work.
Home the way home for lunch, I enter onto the freeway behind this other car, within All of a sudden, this this big mover truck makes an abrupt move in front of the car in front of me into our lane! So, the car in front of me gets over, but then goes the same slow-ass speed as the truck. My problem is that I need to be in the lane because it becomes an exit only lane and I take that very next exit.
No, it doesn't end there. He exits, and so do I. I decide to turn in the opposite direction as he, because both directions can take me to where I want to go in about the same time. Right turn is more direct, but with less cooperative traffic lights. The Left turn is longer, but with less traffic control. He turns right, so I get into the left lane at the light. As soon as it turns green, I head off! ...only to run into another Train at that same Xing! This train blocks all the roads leading to where I'm going. The end result, that stupid-ass truck ends up a couple blocks ahead of me in the direction I'm going.
So far, that's the extent of thangs today. I hope National Get In Matt's Way Day 2006 doesn't become National Get In Matt's Way Week 2006. I did have some trouble with trucks yesterday too, now that I think about it. ARGGGGG!!!

My perspective, not well explained

My experiences have taught me about many facets of this Universe and life of which I previously stood in complete denial. These lessons have not been someone saying that I should believe one thing or another. I believed a great many things in my youth because I was told so. Without realizing, I had been raised to adopt certain metaphors and took them as reality.
Here are examples.
• God is a divine individual with a distinct personality and particular methods of communication.
• God created the Earth and Universe as they are now.
• There are rules that people are given by God which we must strife to obey.
• Adam and Eve where the first two people. We die because Adam sinned (broke the rules) and by him, we all sin.
• There is no continued existence once one dies.
• Christ was God’s first creation and come down to Earth in human form to die to pay for all of mankind’s sins. One perfect man’s death corrected another’s corruption.
• The world will end soon. In fact, by my old beliefs, the world should’ve ended by now.

My experiences now stand in complete opposition to those original beliefs.
• God is a metaphor for the unknowable or hidden workings of the Universe. I do not have any particular beliefs about God.
• Earth and the Universe have come into existence by particular and knowable processes.
• All life is governed by Karma.
• Our existence on Earth and our death are necessary components of Karma.
• All life lives through cycles of reincarnation. These cycles are closely linked to Karma.
• Everyone is responsible for their own actions. No one can remove responsibility for someone else’s actions.
• Old systems within this world will end and new ones will replace them, but the world itself will not end suddenly as the result of divine interference. Earth is and will always be governed by the same processes as it was when it first came into being. It is those processes that will eventually destroy it, in like a billion years.

Of course, some people who have not shared in the kind of experiences I have may say that I’m replacing one set of metaphors for another. I would agree with them. I understand that the concept of Karma is a metaphor. I have adopted it, not because I’ve been told it is the truth, but because specific events in my life have served as my teacher. The Karma metaphor is simply a better metaphor than old metaphors of organized religion.
Why do I need a metaphor? Well, those same events in my life which freed me from my old metaphors also presented no solution in the reality of science. Someone that has turned their back on the old metaphors of organized religion for different reasons than mine may find it hard to accept any other metaphors. They may gravitate towards factually verifiable truths. “There is no God because I see no verifiable evidence of such a being.” But for my experiences, science only forms part of the solution.
Science makes it easier to understand the physical world around me, and it is adding many conveniences in my life. Science doesn’t explain the spiritual aspect of our existence. It’s direct observation of this spiritual aspect that has forced me along a path where I accept both scientific facts and spiritual events, though I’m responsibly critical. I’ve come to the point where I am curious about nature and the supernatural, but I don’t hold firmly to beliefs about either. I continue to search for more understanding. However, I’m not frustrated by what I don’t know.
So, what are these events which changed my perspective about life, the Universe and everything? I’ve come to the conclusion that each person must experience these types of things for themselves, and they will when the time is right (no matter how much they believe they won’t…hehe).

Monday, December 04, 2006

Alcatraz by phone camera photos

Alcatraz Island is interesting to read about and makes for entertaining ghost hunting documents. Actually visiting is more of a novelty than an actual adventure. Allie and I went cuz we haven't been. It would be just a little funny having lived in the area and never seeing it.

Teepee and ruins This first photo was taken by Allie's phone camera. The tepee was put up by Native Americans who claimed the island as Indian Land for 19 months from 1969 to 1971. I'm not sure what the ruins above at the top of the cliff used to be. There is a lot of rubble left all over the island, with large sections closed off to the public. Some areas of the island appear to be a park of pills of down concrete structures, more than a famous prison or old fort.

Prison from lower level This photo cover more area of the island from the lower level looking up to where the prison stands. It's an interesting shot that reveals the contrasts that make the island what it is.

Allie took this third photo with her phone. Me in  Cell Block A I believe this is cell block A. She wanted me to pose for it, though I'm not exactly sure why she needed me in the shot. hehe

The infamous Solitary Confinement Cell 12 in Cell Block D A finally, this is the infamous solitary confinement cell #12 in cell block D. Some say #12 has a less than friendly ghost. I walked inside for a minute. I did get that feeling that I always get when "something" is present. I also stood in cell #10, and felt something there too, but the feeling wasn't too strong.

Overall, the place is a bit underwhelming. Allie and I did pass on the audio tour, so maybe that robbed us of some of the experience. :) It was interesting to see up close some of the artifacts that one hears about over the years. I saw the cells that were broken out of and the dummies used by the escapees to go undetected. They were crude, and even at night, I'm not sure how the guards where fooled. It almost makes me think that perhaps the whole story was never told.

I think I would have a lot of fun joining one of those night time ghost hunting shows at Alcatraz, if not for any other reason but to mess with the show's stars and crew. ::evil laugh::

Sunday, December 03, 2006

SF Alcatraz

Allie and I took Friday off. She needed a day away from work, and I needed to take time off cuz I'm at my limit of vacation time at my job. We drove up to SF. For the first time, I visited Alcatraz. The visit was underwelming, but I'm glad we did it. It was fun and interesting. It was amazing just how small the prison was. The individual cells where amazingly tiny. Ick.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Choreday In Progress

Welp, I got all of the errands done including a new item that popped up. I had to take my printer for warranty repair back to the store. Arg. So much for printing out directions this morning. Just had to wing it.

Now, just relaxing for a bit and then think about what I can do around the house this evening before I working on repairing my Xxxx.

Choreday

Ok, today's chores:
::sucking in a lung full of air::
Shave, shower, check directions to take my busted Xxxx to manufacturer, take my busted Xxxx to manufacturer thru late rush hour traffic, get back in time for my hair cut appointment, then off to lunch with my friend, the back home to call our microwave manufacturer to find out what's wrong with it, then housing cleaning and finally dinner.
::would let out the remaining air in my lungs, but just used it all on this list::

I guess I better get started. Oh, don't forget to check out my eBay auctions. lol


Check out my Auctions
Ok, ready, set, GOOO.....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More Shameless Promotion

Well, it's still a bit young, but I've launched a new content site for SolidWorks. If you don't know what SolidWorks is, don't go looking. hehe If you do know what it is, please check it out!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Shameless Promotion

Cheap cheap DVD's! hehe (Seriously, look!) Buy my stuff!

Check out my Auctions
Well, anyone with a couple of bucks can benefit from the fact that Allie and I have moved in together. Too many DVDs! :) Well, really it's just a few duplicates.
In other news, Thanksgiving turned out pretty laid back. We spent some time at my aunts, then the even with Allie's parents. Turkey turkey turkey. Friday was spent in recovery. hehe So, I know this is prolly what 99% of all American's experienced this week, so maybe this isn't "news" per se.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Bond, James Bond

Well, the new movie was good. I liked it. It is definately one of the better 007 movies. However, it prolly coulda been split into different movies (maybe part 1 and 2?). It coulda ended several times. But still, a good movie.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Star birth linked to waves of life on Earth

I found this interesting article that proposes a link between new star generation in our Milky Way galaxy with the waves of bacteria life in Earth's past.
Quick quote:

"Dr Svensmark noticed that the biggest fluctuations in [bacterial lifeform] productivity coincided with high star formation rates and cool periods in Earth's climate. Conversely, during a billion years when star formation was slow, cosmic rays were less intense and Earth's climate was warmer, the biosphere was almost unchanging in its productivity."
This idea is interesting because it demonstrates just how linked we are, not just to the Earth, but the cosmos as a whole.