Today is the day: businesses that buy their Microsoft operating system licenses in bulk can put Vista, the latest of the Windows line, on their PC’s starting right now. But while there are stories popping up to discuss the rollout, every one of them in the MSM that I’ve read seems to be missing something rather obvious.
When talking about expected adoption rates, each of the stories has mentioned that businesses will delay installing Vista due to the cost or complexity of the migration. None have actually mentioned the very first thing I always hear when the subject comes up: no one wants to be the guinea pig. Talk with any seasoned IT manager or administrator and you’ll hear the real reason there’s reluctance to jump on the newest Windows bandwagon. There’s very little faith in Microsoft’s ability to put out stable operating systems on the first go. Literally every one of the admins I’ve spoken with come out saying something to the effect of “I’ll wait for 6 months to a year so the horrific flaws that they haven’t discovered don’t take my network down for a couple of days.”
I’d like to think this time will be different, but early indicators aren’t promising. Like my fellow IT professionals, I’ll be taking a wait-and-see approach.
In my post yesterday about the ruling that the printing of money the way we’ve been doing it is discriminatory, I made some statements that apparently need clarification. I’ve also had a few more thoughts on the matter that I feel like expounding upon, so… here goes.
Jason commented on my post yesterday and took gentle issue with my being “completely disinterested” in why other nations do what they do. His comment is what leads me to want to make a clarification. I said this yesterday but I probably didn’t emphasize enough what my specific point was. I am completely disinterested in the “why’s” of another nation’s decisions as regards their money only insofar as an American judge’s rulings on an American case are concerned. By that I mean that the American judge should be relying on American law to rule in a case heard in an American court and on nothing else. Why a given foreign power pursues a given course of action or passes a given law is certainly of interest, politically. It should not, however, have any weight in an American court when a decision on whether American government practice or law is proper.
Should American legislators look into those reasons? Sure! That’s just fine. Then they can get input from their constituents, debate the issue, and pass laws here to mimic laws and practices there. But a judge’s job is to make rulings on the basis of the US laws that those legislators have passed not to look to another political system for guidance on how to proceed in court. That’s my point as regards the judge.
As for me ,personally, looking at the money of foreign countries, that would be a valid exercise and likely very illuminating. That way I can enter into the public debate here on the matter with a fuller education.
Jason also comments that the cost difference would likely not be significant. I don’t know; he could be right. He might be dead wrong. We need some hard figures on the matter. Moreover, he suggests – just off the cuff, I’d imagine – that an approach would be to “mak[e] 20s a little shorter than 50s.” That’s a thought but I think it would be insufficient to the need. I mean, if I have a 50 and a 20, I can certainly determine which one’s shorter and make the call. But what if I don’t know that I’ve got a 50 and a 20 in my hands? What if it were a 20 and a 10? If we follow the same notion, then the 10 would be shorter than the 20 and then I’d never know if it were a 50/20 or a 20/10 situation. More to the problem, what if I only have 1 bill in my hand? I mean, I can tell the difference between a 6-inch long bill and a 3-inch but will that solution scale for all the different bills we have? And if the difference in length isn’t significant, I won’t be able to tell the difference with nothing to make a comparison.
I think the only realistic method is to make a raised part of the bill with some unique indicator so someone can ID the bill even when it’s only 1 in their possession. The raised portion couldn’t be too thick or it would hamper stacking of the bills and increase the storage area requirements. (This says nothing about the various vending and ATM machines’ abilities to handle the thicker bills without jamming or significant redesign.) Since the blind have been using braille for printed information for years, we should just leverage that system for our new problem. Putting the bill’s denomination in braille at the 4 corners (or at least 2 of them) in some kind of raised ink should do the job while letting us keep the size and color of the print the way it is. The experimentation that needs to begin is into 1) how thick those dots need to be and 2) how we can put them on the money so they stay as long as possible.
Anyone else have thoughts on how to do this?
Update: Ed Morrissey over at Captain’s Quarters has a different take on the matter, concluding this issue is another example of judicial activism. I’m afraid I can’t agree with him on this one.
First, the judge didn’t find a Constitutional issue with the currency, he ruled on the basis of the Rehabilitation Act. Second, while I would strongly contend that the Treasury Department had no malice in its heart in making the money the way it is, I can’t say the judge ever claimed it did. There was no malice when buildings didn’t have ramps and elevators, either, but the decision was made to change it. I agree with Captain Ed on the notion that this issue should have been handled in Congress but they didn’t seem keen on addressing it.
I’d also point out that the judge, whatever other problems I might have with him, did not simply pop up from his bench and make this ruling in a vacuum. Someone brought this case before him. That means someone was contending that there was a real problem. I note a quote from the National Federation for the Blind over at CQ saying they don’t believe the blind were being discriminated against. Perhaps they’d like to join the government on an appeal?
Just caught a breaking news item over at FoxNews.com that a federal judge has ruled that American paper money is unfair to blind people. Un-freakin’ believable. Details to follow.
Addendum: Here’s the story.
By keeping all U.S. currency the same size and texture, the government has denied blind people meaningful access to money, a federal judge said Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge James Robertson said the Treasury Department has violated the law, and he ordered the government to come up with ways for the blind to tell bills apart.
He said he wouldn’t tell officials how to fix the problem, but he ordered them to begin working on it within 10 days. The American Council of the Blind has proposed several options, including printing bills of differing sizes, adding embossed dots or foil to the paper or using raised ink.
“Of the more than 180 countries that issue paper currency, only the United States prints bills that are identical in size and color in all their denominations,” Robertson wrote. “More than 100 of the other issuers vary their bills in size according to denomination, and every other issuer includes at least some features that help the visually impaired.”
Once again, I’m disappointed in a federal judge that makes use of the laws, regulations, and practices of foreign nations in producing his ruling as opposed to applying US law. I am completely disinterested in why Mexico or Germany or Latvia produces their money in the way they do and I would be willing to bet a plain old US buck that their money was designed the way it is for artistic or economic purposes, not to follow their own version of the ADA.
I’d suggest to the judge that there are all manner of things other countries are doing out there that he would not find “reasonable” regardless of how many of them are engaging in the practices.
His argument that the printing of money of all the same size and color (why would color be of issue to blind people?) represents a violation of the Rehabilitation Act warrants examination. That’s a US law and would be a proper basis for such a ruling. But is it really discriminating against people to provide them the same access to the same money as everyone else?
There’s an argument that it is. For example, it’s considered discriminatory for a government building to not have ramps and
stairs elevators (ed.: whoops) to accommodate people in wheelchairs. To say that the building’s stairs are provided equally to all citizens is insufficient. So, in that light I can see making this ruling as the judge did. I understand the government’s position. Tooling up to print different sized bills or bills with raised features will be expensive and will remain expensive as operations continue. I am not against putting some features in place to allow these changes but I’m not willing to consent that at any cost. It has to be reasonable, so I’d like to hear more about those costs and the options we have in what to do.
I caught wind of this while away for the holiday and thought I’d wait until I got home and was able to peruse the local papers for details. The large north-south connector road in this neck of the woods is Route 28, a.k.a. Sully Road. Not to sound ancient, but when I arrived here back in 1987, this road was a 2-lane deal with a few stoplights and a few more stop signs. Today, it’s a 6-lane divided highway being transformed from a traffic nightmare of badly-timed lights to a true highway with interchanges. On the northernmost part, between Dulles International Airport and the terminus of 28 up at Route 7 near the Virginia line, there’s an intersection with another area traffic artery known as Sterling Boulevard. It is the last intersection being changed to an interchange under phase 1 of the “Route 28 Freeway” project and it needs it. It needs it very, very badly. It is ready to be opened for traffic even though there are still parts of it needing completion but there appears to be a snag.
The new interchange had been scheduled to open, and the old intersection and traffic light taken out of operation, on Tuesday. Instead, Loudoun County Supervisors and VDOT officials exchanged heated words during the Board meeting in Leesburg, and the Supervisors passed a resolution which one VDOT official said was a request for VDOT to do what it had planned to do anyway.
“What we have here is a failure to communicate, it’s as simple as that” said Vice Chairman Bruce Tulloch (R-Potomac).
Supervisors approved a resolution asking that phase one of the interchange be opened to traffic in approximately one week, leaving nearby Cedar Green Rd. open for the time being, by an 8-0-1 vote, with Lori Waters (R-Broad Run) absent. A motion by Delgaudio to leave Cedar Green open for emergency purposes only failed 2-6-1, with Delgaudio and Mick Staton (R-Sugarland Run) voting for the motion and Waters absent.
According to Dennis Morrison, Northern Virginia District administrator for VDOT, work on the Rt. 28/Sterling Blvd. project is ahead of schedule and phase one of the project is ready to open. A portion of the interchange would have opened next week regardless of the Board’s vote Tuesday, Morrison said. Susan Shaw, VDOT’s Rt. 28 project manager, said VDOT plans to partially open the interchange next week, with the speed limit on Rt. 28 reduced to 50 mph in the construction area. VDOT awaits the results of a study which will indicate whether allowing right-in, right-out access to Cedar Green from Rt. 28 is a safe alternative to closing that intersection.
For the record, I travel on this section of road every work day, to and from work, as does my wife. I most definitely have a vested interest in this Godforsaken pit of a traffic snarl being fixed and the sooner, the better. I could not care less that the project is ahead of schedule. (Aside from being very happy with the construction manager and crew, of course. They’ve done an incredible job and I am all for extending their contracts to work on the next 2 intersections that need upgrading.) What I care about is untangling the traffic snafu that this intersection has caused for these past several years. If the project has reached a point where traffic can be permitted on the interchange, then it should be opened, period.
Safety is paramount, yes. But I travel on this road, remember? The impact of the right-turns-only interface between the main traffic on Route 28 and the very-little-used Cedar Green road just isn’t that significant. It is certainly not such a significant danger that the traffic should continue to be halted at that light and allowed to back up for over a mile during rush hours. I’d like the people concerned with such a matter to consider the free-for-all that occurs when the traffic is backed up to that extent and then released by the light. That’s way, way more dangerous than having to contend with the very occasional car coming in from Cedar Green.
I’ll take a moment to comment on the Sterling representative to the Board of Supervisors, one Eugene Delgaudio. Over at Too Conservative the discussion of this topic actually features a guest appearance by Supervisor Delgaudio and a few of his supporters. I’ll toss in my 2 cents’ worth right here.
Delgaudio is an irritating, embarrassing boil on the butt of local politics whose utter delight in being as huge an obnoxious jerk as is humanly possible far outweighs any value he brings to the political debate structure here in Loudoun. His invocation of the Pearl Harbor attack by way of describing this situation is just an example of his consistently over-the-top and out-of-touch approach to every issue that even remotely touches on Loudoun. He has a habit of attracting and motivating followers to perform the same always-frothing approach to public debate that winds up making Republicans in general look very bad in the public eye. And yes, for the record, I’ve met the man. Since I’m not one of those who condones his persistent air of “do it my way or **** off” I’m sure he doesn’t even recall, but I wasn’t impressed. His blaze-orange hat that appears to be part of his political persona only makes him look like a dweeb nutball and I was about 10 seconds from shoving that stupid whistle he insisted on blowing during the Republican Convention here a few years ago down his throat.
He’s a distraction, not an addition. Mere howling advocacy of an issue that so clearly would benefit all of Sterling – who doesn’t want the interchange to open at all? (No one.) – doesn’t make him an effective, valuable addition to our public debate. In fact, if my own Supervisor, Bruce Tulloch, is correct, then Degaudio has managed to create a tempest in a teapot and an unnecessary one at that.
I await further word and proof that VDOT was serious about their insistence that they were always going to open the interchange this week. If I make it to Friday and there’s still lights up, I will have to reluctantly join Delgaudio in condemning the move.
Funny that my travel to the Ohio valley has just come to a close today in that I see that the GOP has managed to get 1 re-elected in Ohio, albeit by a very small margin. Representative Deborah Pryce has been called the winner by 1055 votes, a margin that will trigger an automatic recount.
Unofficial results announced by Franklin County, the last to finish counting absentee and provisional ballots in central Ohio’s 15th District, showed Pryce led Democratic challenger Mary Jo Kilroy by 1,055 votes.
Pryce lost Franklin County, the district’s most populous, but she retained her lead thanks to votes she picked up in two other counties that announced results last week, Madison and Union.
The race was one of a handful that had remained unresolved across the country since Election Day, when Democrats took control of Congress.
Pryce ended up with 50.2 percent of the vote, compared with 49.8 percent for Kilroy in the unofficial totals.
An automatic recount is triggered if the difference between the two candidates is less than one-half of one percent.
To be honest, I was unaware there were still races in contention. If I hear of more, I’ll pass it along.
I’ve survived the busiest travel holiday of the year and we’re back home. I’ll be firing up the blogging again ’cause I’ve got some things to say. Later. Hope everyone enjoyed the holiday and returned home safely.
Here’s wishing all my fellow Americans celebrating Thanksgiving all the best this holiday. May you enjoy the company of family and friends and travel safely throughout!
One of the more important features of my political stance deals with securing our borders against illegal entry, mis-identified by the media as “illegal immigration.” I’ve written about the topic on many occasions and my stance is pretty clear: illegally entering this country is 1) not immigration, it’s criminal trespass and 2) it’s not fair to those who do follow the law. Twenty years ago Congress tried the whole amnesty thing, promising to secure the border against future illegals. At the time it was 500,000 illegals. Now it’s supposed to be over 12 million. The lesson is clear: if you offer amnesty while not also securing the border, you’ll get more illegals. That’s why the border fence is a serious issue and I seriously want it built as was promised.
Tony Snow was on the Hugh Hewitt show back toward the beginning of the month and got into a tiff with Hewitt over whether the fence would get built. He got a burr up his backside over Hugh’s report that there were people expressing concern to him, now that the Dems are going to be in charge, that the fence wasn’t going to actually be built. From the transcript of that show (HH is Hugh, TS is Tony Snow):
HH: All right, now, I want to talk about immigration, as obviously, the President is a pro-regularization Republican, as I am, once the fence got passed. Now, it’s all about regularization for me. However, a lot of conservatives are worried that he’s just waiting to do the deal with Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi, that is an amnesty deal, and that the fence will never get built. So question number one…
TS: No, the fence is going to be built. I mean, we’ve already made a committment to that.
HH: When…that’s…I wanted to bore in on that. Who’s going to be the point person on that? Because if it is not built in two years, Tony Snow, we’ll get wiped out.
TS: Well, it’s Michael Chertoff, and no…look, it’s…some of these are going to take more than two years to build when you’re talking about 700 miles of fence. I think, Hugh, when people start seeing A) fences going up, and B) guess what? We’re going to provide plenty of metrics in terms of arrests, deportations, the kinds of legal activities that are going on, because we know a lot of people are watching.
HH: Tony, I’m going to bet you right now that it will be less than a hundred miles of fencing constructed by the time…
TS: No, I think…I don’t have the charts in front of me, but they’ve laid out what is sort of their ambitions on this, and you’re going to have, certainly, more than a hundred miles.
Later in the show, we see this:
TS: Well, I’m telling you. You know what? Let me put it this way, Hugh. Then they are calling their advocates of the fence, the people who put that legislation in, they’re calling Senator Sessions a liar. And they’re calling Tom Tancredo a liar. And I don’t think they want to say that.
HH: Did you see Mickey Kaus…Yeah, but no, the legislation is passed. It is up to the executive branch to get it built, and they’re not trusting the idea that it will show up. I want to move on, though, to the…
TS: Whoa, whoa, wait. I’m not letting you leave it at that, because what you do is you part by saying you guys are a bunch of liars, but I want to leave it at that.
HH: No, I’m not.
TS: Well, I’m not going to let you leave it at that. We’re going to get the fence built.
HH: I’m not calling you a liar at all. I’m saying that the public does not believe the fence is going to happen. In fact, the doubt is…
TS: Well, wait. Let me tell you something. The public needs to know, I’m telling you right now, the fence is going to be built. But I’m also telling you if you take a look, because we did a lot of work on this, too, the public also expects the rest of the stuff to get done.
I’d be curious to know how Tony would answer Hugh given this report I noted this weekend.
The House Homeland Security Committee’s top Democrats and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Tuesday they will look at alternatives to building more fencing along the nation’s borders, putting them at odds with the top Republican on the panel.
They also agreed that they will make a major push in the next Congress for legislation giving the department authority to distribute homeland security grants based on risk assessments.
Homeland Security ranking member Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. — who will become chairman in January — and Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee ranking member Bill Pascrell, D-N.J. met Chertoff and Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson for slightly over an hour on Capitol Hill.
Speaking to reporters afterward, they described the meeting as cordial and an opportunity to establish better communications heading into the new Congress.
They said they agree on several critical homeland security issues, including flexibility to use technology rather than physical fencing along the nation’s borders. They said they would support more “virtual fencing,” using technology such as cameras, sensors and communications equipment.
Congress passed a bill at the end of September giving the department authority to build a 700-mile double-layer fence along the border with Mexico. The legislation, which President Bush signed into law, was drafted by House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., who will become the panel’s ranking member.
Thompson has said he wants to “revisit” the legislation. But after Tuesday’s meeting, he gave no indication that he plans to push to repeal the authorization in the new Congress.
Does this sound like either the Dems or the Bush administration intend to build the fence as Tony Snow insisted? I’ve got news for Mr. Snow. Hugh was exactly correct in that the public will see the administration’s backing down off of building an actual, physical fence as reneging on an agreement. If the administration follows this path, you can kiss the White House goodbye so far as the Republicans are concerned.
Further on down in the story Chertoff brings up the “virtual fence” term again. The public understood what that meant when the fence was being debated the first time and they’ll understand it again. It means some motion sensors and – maybe – a camera or two out in the middle of the desert and a vague promise that border security agents will respond when the sensor reports possible illegals crossing. Chertoff invokes “look[ing] to 21st Century technology” in his attempts to lay out the groundwork for pulling back away from the fence but that’s just a smokescreen. Hi-tech isn’t necessarily the best approach to a solution. In this case, a good, old-fashioned fence would provide a wonderful deterrent that doesn’t require power and border agents to back up.
We’ll have to see if the Republicans in Congress have learned anything by their electoral loss this year. If they don’t fight the repeal of the fence tooth and nail and don’t pursue the actual building of the already passed fence with equal vigor, we’ll be looking at a worse loss in 2008 than 2006 showed us.
This just in: The UN has managed to discover the Sudanese government-sponsored terrorism against its own non-Muslim populace. And they managed to find it only a few years after it’s been splashed all over the blogosphere by hundreds, possibly thousands, of bloggers.
Nicely done. And this is the outfit we’re supposed to trust to fix all of the world’s ills.