Disney – where terrible ideas come to life!

I think it finally dawned on the geniuses at Disney that Walt is not coming back… at least any time soon, from his ice box! Well, what better time to screw up?

In an extremely dimwitted display of very poor understanding of how digital media dispersal works, Disney things that it can just be rid of Netflix, and can somehow get people to pony up hordes of cash to watch Bambi and people give each other brain injury at ESPN (courtesy, the apparently racist – ask Colin, NFL, which encourages people to throw an oblong object in a game with the perplexing appellation – Football!). This would be hordes of cash per month – besides you know, the bills they already pay Netflix, Amazon, HBO Now, HuluPlus and possibly, even Xfinity or Time-Warner Cable, every month.

Granted, they are not alone in this foolishness, and are probably following the lead of CBS, which besides having no creative people left (Exhibit No. 1: the “mid-prequel” called Star Trek Discovery, which is set on a timeline between the HORRENDOUS disaster called ST Enterprise and the erstwhile TOS, because, you know, once Katherine Janeway broke temporal rules bringing her crew back nearly intact, to the Alpha Quadrant, NOTHING important ever happened after), wants to try and force people to subscribe to the surprisingly misleading “CBS All Access” (yeah, that’s right, it is not truly ALL access at all, and CBS Some Access is probably not a great marketing deal), by dangling the previously, parenthetically mentioned Star Trek Disas..er Discovery.

Billing Problems

It is almost like Disney and CBS want to pave the way for the cord-cutting to turn into cord-mending. Say, you pay $75 or thereabouts for cable (you might be paying more to watch otherwise unemployable people hurt each other, many of us don’t). You decide you want to cut the cord. Fine: Netflix, HBO, Amazon and Hulu might get you there for what, say $40 or even $50. Well, now start tacking CBS, and then Disney (because you just love Minnie), and whatever other genius decides to fragment the streaming industry further – well, at the chance of saving only $5 or so with cord cutting as your bills creep up, you might as well just go back to EEK….Xfinity. Well then you can watch elliptoid balls being thrown, perhaps Bambi on some rotting back-alley rerun channel and even Negan imitating real life United Airlines Crew…

Well, let them have cake

Well, you might argue with me, we don’t do it linearly like you describe. I pay for HBO, my cousin pays for Amazon, the guy down the lane pays for Netflix and we all just pretend we are Joe the Plumber (well, no one is talking about him nowadays!) and share accounts.

Hey, I am not going to stop you. But, if you were a Disney Executive, does this actually make sense of any kind?

Fragmentation Hurts

Before Google went the way of being exclusive about hiring cave men who’d prefer to hit women on the heads, for coders (remember that 28 year old entitled brat that Google probably paid well over $100,000, fed him, clothed him and hopefully, stopped short of affording him hook…), they learned that fragmentation is a b*ch (and therefore, according to some of the Valley folks probably less biolo…okay, we are moving on).

The Android OS, the hardware and all of that stuff, well, it fragmented fast and loose, preventing Google from exercising any meaningful control and quality. As an Engineer, I love the freedom, and therefore will stay with Android for a long time to come, but it has not necessarily been good news for Google at all.

Now, why would that matter to the Digitial Media Streaming Industry? Well, consider the fact that people have to pay up, the streaming quality has to be good and on and on she goes. Eventually, people will eventually cut loose of some of the services, and that is just bad news.

But, shouldn’t we control our content and its delivery?

Well, did you start making your own TV sets? No, right? Would you? Wouldn’t that be insane? (If your answer is no, you need to find a line of employment that involves ZERO business decisions.)

Then, why do you think it is okay to control how your media is streamed? Yes, Disney acquired some baseball game streaming start-up, a part of the dime-a-dozen, entirely unoriginal, me-too-also-rans that is apparently going to serve the backbone of their own media streaming empire. Sound stupid to you? Good, you probably weren’t in the board room where this great idea was cooked up.

New Media, New Thinking

Yes, Disney is an entertainment company. They could deliver great content, build experiences and maybe stream Bambi-Baseball mash-ups to keep customers engaged. They could also, customers willing (or not), stick electrodes in people’s heads and give them a good buzz. But, they don’t pick the latter for a long time to come (hopefully never, but never say..).

Experiences, cartoons and hitting balls with stick are fine, but one would wish they would think the other stuff through clearly. Most people are already hooked into Netflix. And that is probably the best way to get the content to a large portion of customers. Sure, if Netflix can make content, why can’t content companies stream, you may ask. Well, Netflix is trying to create custom content, so it can own it, push it and cut costs. It makes sense, but also does not guarantee them any success past a point.

However, they can’t publish all forms of content, and they are good at streaming. Disney is good at creating content in certain verticals, and should expand on that. By focusing more on the content (and not on controlling it), they can make their movies, cartoons, sports and what not, irresistible, such that Netflix and the cable companies are tempted to come to the table with better contracts.

Because, there is no going around it. Disney and Netflix will have similar issues. Netflix cannot produce all the content all of its customer segments are going to want, and neither can Disney. Except, Netflix is already a general store, and can source content the best it can.

Why would NBC on the other hand, should it ever again produce a show worth watching, contract its content to be streamed out by Disney? (Especially, since NBC is owned by Xfinity, but you get the idea.)

This is some really bad expansion by Disney, into a market it has no experience or no chance of carving out, and by the time they are done licking their wounds and cutting their loses, to put forth a few cliches, there will be a big hole in their earnings.

And, if Walt should choose to be woken just about then…

Goodbye, my dear Samsung Galaxy S

You can ding me for loving things, especially one thing, my dear Samsung Galaxy S, which has now been retired (and I wont care). As my dearly beloved Samsung Galaxy S aged alongside me, I did not quickly part ways with it, nor I did not want to wait till the phone died, especially since I was slowly unable to use it for much else than calls, text, gmail and basic sites. Having won a Beta Contest in 2010, I bought a “smart” phone as a splurge and due to a hard failure, had it replaced with the current one in January 2011. Since then, we have been great companions, it being by my side for many a day and many a night (although mostly I forgot the phone and left it at work/home – where it didn’t belong right then, or in the car, another cherished companion!)

Many a drop and injury ensued, and yet the phone was working and working and working and working. Compare that to the blood phone (or iShit), that you can drop..once!

Well dear, you will be sorely missed, yet close, in that little box of things that cannot be parted with. Meanwhile, your role will be now assumed, by one of your own kind, the Samsung Galaxy S7. Such is life, or things…or thing..well!

Here is a memory, shot with, my beloved Bob, of course!


When you just HAVE to be sure…

Over the years, I have seen engineers do many funny things. Once, while cleaning up our extremely messy lab, we found a sizable hole drilled through a lab bench surface, with a quaint marking recognizing it as  a “calibration hole”. That is a story I still laugh at. But then today, looking for a beaker, I was awarded with this sight…


I guess someone just HAD to be sure! I know, I guess the original intent was for the label to be eventually removed, but who knows how long it has been left on…

Is it too crazy to celebrate your phone’s birthday?

First, how does a phone take a selfie?

Well, maybe if it controlled a robot and had that turn on a camera…or you just ask someone else with a phone to take a picture. That is how, this marvel is being presented to you….

Samsung Galaxy S

We live in a day and age where discarding things that are perfectly functional is fashionable. And then again, Apple phones like to remind us all of hell by spontaneously and prematurely combusting. Amidst all this, my phone and I have enjoyed companionship (meaningless, of course), growing old together, defying modern day traditions.

The History, should you care…

My original Samsung Galaxy S was purchased with the winnings of a Beta bug finding contest for SolidWorks in November 2010. My first choice to buy this was Costco, but they wanted to charge me an arm and a leg because of some AT&T contractual nonsense, so I returned the phone – the guy who tried hosing me for $50+ in unwanted expenses, apparently irritated that I was being frugal. Well, f* him.

I then went to Radioshack , the store no one can explain and told the guy, I was going to buy the phone only if I got it for the list price of $149. Despite my angered overtures, that guy worked his magic, charged me $169, worked out a $20 credit and though I paid for the higher price in taxes, I did leave wondering, if maybe the Universe did have something in mind keeping the company open….

The “incident”

One fine day in January 2011, that particular device did go off suddenly. I went to AT&T and they said in preference to fixing it, they would just give me a new phone if I didn’t care for the data. For all my literacy, love of technology and life in the SF Bay Area, I am remarkably Luddite in personal life. I had a few photos and some notes on a note taking app that I didn’t really care for. Yet, I was a bit shocked that they would just swap out a phone.

I did inquire what would happen if the new phone bricked. Of course they told me the warranty was not 12 months per bricked phone. So I thought I would take better care of the $160 beast…

Material Abuse

Of course, as many an acquaintance has heard me drone on, my phone suffered much more abuse than most people would willingly subject it to. If you think I am weird enough to write about a phone, you should see what I put the poor thing through. It has been repeatedly dropped, had things spilled on it, has been sat on by people, cats…the list is endless. And then, the phone has had to spend many a dark, cold night alone at the office or in the car, completely discharged and forgotten, for days on end. There was a time when, if I remembered carrying the phone with me, I dropped it almost by compulsion..and the thing still works! Like, to date!!!

Happy Birthday?

But through thick and thin, the phone and I stuck by, and the phone visited Washington, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, almost all the National Parks in California, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio…And even though I am not sure what day in January I got the thing, I think marking the anniversary or birthday for the phone can’t be such a bad deal, no?

The Serious Part

Despite all the bad humor, there is something serious. People ought not simply throw away stuff. I still have my phone of 5 years, my primary home computer, a Dell M4400 is going to be five years old this May if it doesn’t crap out by then. Maybe if people took the mundane things a tad bit more seriously, then they might take the more important things in life that much more seriously.

And more power to Samsung on making this sturdy beast!

So, no, I am seeking no one’s permission in marking the anniversary for the phone. The phone number by the way? Have had that, nigh on 15 years now!

May the Gardening Games Begin!


Each year, there is that turning point when I know I have begun gardening in earnest. Through the drought, I never stopped gardening, because it stayed so warm even in December and January. Of course, I had to stay away from Annuals, as the common ones were a water seeking luxury in a drought.

So this year, I got lucky in more ways than one. Towards the end of last year, someone let me have dozens of pots, but also a handful of beautiful retro galvanized iron  cans and one wide mouthed, shallow bucket (accepted with immense gratitude!). I took one look at it and knew it is special and it needed something interesting. Many times, when something special likes that come along, I set it in a visible spot in the backyard and mull over it for weeks or months. A few pots have been sitting there for years!

But then, tempted by this 15% discount coupon at OSH, I stopped by, cash strapped as I am, and even before I got in, I was invited by these Annuals, at 99c per quart planter! Oh what a deal, and what a bit of luck. This is after an El Niño year and it has been quite wet and promising. I picked up a bunch of primroses, a couple of petunias and violas!

Then, I brought the annuals home and I was wondering about how to plant them. Well, it didn’t take long to come up with a plan and that is what you see in the picture up there. I just have this feeling that this is going to be a great year for gardening!

Introducing Squeaky the 7th!

Since the last time I posted here, things went from regular crazy to extra special crazy. After Saxi, who was adopted the weekend she was dropped off (yes!), we were settling into a lull. Only, providence and the Humane Society Silicon Valley had other plans. The sly,  manipulative, clever and kind people had me foster three, yes, 3 or THREE kittens – whom I named Athos, Aramis and Pothos after The Three Musketeers. The lovebugs came and went like a storm and I will write about them soon.

This week, yes, in the middle of November, when kitten season should have been done and over with, we learned that the good folks at HSSV are still trying to help out and a call went out to foster parents to pick up some single kittens that were brought in from San Jose. We had done 5 kittens at that point – a personal record, so I wanted to stretch it to 6!

Plus, the enticement was, that an orange kitten had become available for fostering. Well, those who know me, know I have a big weakness for the orange kittens, and so I wrote back frantically, though I would have been okay with any of them.

Well then, in our great naming tradition, in honor of my first feline, Squeaky, I present you, the well mustachio-ed, feral, lovely, playful, Squeaky the 7th!!

Squeaky the 7th
Squeaky the 7th

Innocent as he seems, he had to be wrapped up in something so he may hold steady! Look at the moustache! Here is another seemingly somnambulist pose..


And here are a couple more. I am sure there will be more if he ever steadies enough to let me photograph!

Just Squeaky!

The world’s most docile, well behaved kitten…

Having been through just about half a dozen plus fosters, I have had kittens screaming, kicking, crying and one (Squeaky the 6th) who literally held the carrier door by his claws and rattled the cage.

And then there is Saxi, named after my dearly beloved Saxon. She is so quiet and well behaved, she didn’t make a sound, both ways. I found that amazing! She is also rapidly recovering from her neuter surgery, given how my other girl foster was so down after hers..really amazing!


Introducing my latest foster – Saxi!

After Squeaky the 6th was given up to the shelter to break my heart and melt someone else’s, I would have taken another foster, but Bob got really, really sick. HSSV kept calling me, allowing me to fulfill my dream of naming the second foster kitten after my dearly departed, beloved Saxon. Except she is a girl – so Saxi..and she fits the name. She is quiet, cuddly, loving and a very, very sexy, lightly tabbed grey cat. And, like Squeaky the 5th and 6th, she makes it really, really hard to photograph her..


The third and biggest harvest yet, of the year!

I did not post the second one, because I was too lazy to take a sharp photo, but this one is special. I am not sue I will have a harvest this big again this year – two giant cucumbers, tomatoes of many sizes, bell peppers, chili peppers – hidden from view, basil, Thai basil, Rosemary, thyme, mint, cilantro and dill!

I am encouraged to plant more next year, by which time I hope the drought is at least slightly alleviated..

Harvest #3, Summer 2015
Summer 2015