Sirius Satellite Radio

For Christmas, I bought my wife an Xact Stream Jockey which came with a boom box and a car adapter. My daughter got an Xact Stream Jockey II, which is black and looks like an iPod. The main question about satellite radio for me to answer is “Why did you pick Sirius instead of XM?” Well, that’s simple. My wife likes to listen to Christmas music throughout December and Sirius Radio had nothing but Christmas music on two of their channels. One of them was “Country Christmas Music” which didn’t sound like our cup of tea; then again, who knows what we missed? Did XM have a Christmas channel? Probably but we have to address the other 11 months of the year, when my wife can listen the Elvis channel or any of the other 100+ channels. So since XM lacked an Elvis channel, plus I bought my daughter a Sirius radio as well, and she likes Howard Stern in addition to music, Sirius was the winner.
Satellite radios themselves are about $50+. The real expense is the service at about $150 (including tax) a year for the first radio subscription and $90 for the second. As a subscriber, you also can listen to some (not all) of the stations over the Internet as well.
I’m willing to bet that the demographic for purchasing satellite radio falls squarely in the Baby Boomer area, of which I am an AARP card carrying member. So! Where’s the BEATLES channel on Sirius or XM? Huh?
Here’s the lesson I learned about satellite radio:
1. Satellites are in space.
2. Space is above the sky.
3. The sky is outside.
4. To get satellite radio in your home, you need an outside antenna.
No problem, I bought an additional 50 feet of Sirius antenna cable at Best Buy, drilled a small hole in the living room wall, ran the antenna out, checked its positioning for signal strength (that is built into the radio) duct taped the antenna into position, and filled the drilled out hole with some weather sealant. That took care of the boom box for receiving satellite radio at home.
Car installation is pretty simple. The car antenna has an ultra strong magnet to hold it to the car roof. You then run the antenna wire into your car, tucking it up under the rug or the side panels as well as you can. The radios have an FM transmitter in them so that you simply find an unused FM channel on your regular car radio, set the Sirius radio to transmit on that channel and you have close to CD quality sound coming through your car radio in no time. The only hookups in your car are the power cord from your car’s cigarette lighter and the antenna. All units have an earphone jack too.
I have to admit it’s pretty nice to listen to commercial free radio. The other plus is being able to drive across the country (or in my case from Sacramento to San Francisco) and hear your favorite channels without interruption.

5 Things Wrong With Microsoft In 2005

1. In the browser market, Internet Explorer still lags behind Opera and Firefox. One could suppose that Microsoft is continually hiring little Dutch boys to stick their thumbs in the dike holes of Internet Explorer’s security instead of actually having a thought and adding features to IE. Unfortunately the company that in the late 80s and early 90s that could rapidly respond to the market as opposed to their competitors, (like the ever lethargic IBM), has now turned into IBM themselves.

2. Everyone at Microsoft literally sat on their hands throughout 2005 for a wide variety of reasons, most notably the shipment of SQL Server 2005 and the future shipment of Windows Vista aka Windows Katrina. Product managers seem to have sat around and said “we can’t ship ours until they ship theirs first.” Let’s face it folks: 2005 sucked for new product releases from Microsoft, with the exception of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005, both of which have a scarcity instead of a robustness of new features.

3. Microsoft purchases Groove. SharePoint, despite having the worst product team at Microsoft, has become the de facto collaboration server for the Department of Homeland Security at both the Federal and state levels as well as for the Ministry of Defense in the UK. The other piece of software found in that same market is Groove. For Microsoft to get 100 percent of the pork barrel money spent in this market they needed to acquire Groove. Now they need to hire someone to actually make SharePoint and Groove work together. Ray Ozzie appears to have been hired to keep from having to pay him unemployment benefits and to incorporate him into the Department of Propaganda to write the fluffy, phony “Internet Services” memo which was “leaked” to the press.

4. The entire concept of ERP still escapes Microsoft. Instead of consolidating their enterprise products such as Axapta, CRM, Great Plains into a deliverable ERP product, Microsoft takes the low road and renames all of their business products under the moniker of “Dynamics”. Obviously the clue train has never stopped at the Microsoft ERP station.

5. Google. Enough said there. Does anyone at Microsoft actually have Internet access? Is it possible that there will come a day when Microsoft hires some visionaries that can conceive and deliver innovative products? Or shall we just see the end of 2006 arrive as another year when nothing happened, as Microsoft maintained its own status quo?

Bah. Humbug.
Happy New Year!
P.S. This will be moved to the BizTalkWorld site soon. It just isn't as simple to post there as here when one is away from the office.

2005 Christmas Swag

Well, I am more of a giver than a receiver, so I don't ask for much of anything and am usually surprised at what actually shows up. So despite the fact that Santa once again ignored my letter requesting a Toshiba Qosmio, here is what I ended up with:

1. Beer: A case of Pilsner Urquell, my favorite Czech beer. This one was from me to me just to be on the safe side. No sense leaving beer purchases in the hands of amateurs.

2. Books: The Sword of Angels by John Marco. The third and final book in his trilogy. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. The third of four (so far) books in this series. Crossing the Rubicon by Michael Ruppert. A book alleging that Bush and his cronies were involved in orchestrating the events of 9/11. A $30 Borders card arrived as well to cover any other book purchases.

3. Software: Psychonauts for PC, from the same guy who did Grim Fandango.

4. A Logitech Mobile Freedom Bluetooth Headset for my cell phone so that I can look like either Mr. Spock or all those other morons who wear these things. I actually wanted it just to wear in my car as I drive a stick shift and although I can use a variety of body parts to steer, shift and hold both a cup of coffee and cell phone, this will come in quite handy.

5. A $10 Starbucks card, and a bunch of candy and nuts, including the seasonal Candy Cane Tootsie Roll Pops. I also found Hershey's Kisses with cordial cherries in the middle. Yum.

6. Clothes. I feel the same about getting clothes at Christmas as I did when I was six years old. Ick!

7. DVDs: No Direction Home, covering Bob Dylan's early years. Blade Runner, to replace my old VHS tape copy of the film.

The rest of the family got Sirius satellite radios, jewelry, clothing, books, DVDs and other frilly stuff. The dogs got treats and squeaky toys.

Three hours from now the relatives are arriving to exchange gifts, eat food and get into fights with each other. I can hardly wait. Whee!

I hope your holidays are/were wonderful.

2006 Olympics

In an extremely early attempt to prepare the general public for the lurching, zombie-like facade that American televison networks attempt to pass off as "coverage", I have reposted my blog about...

NBC's 2004 Olympic coverage

Is Helen Keller their video editor? Granted, they have a HUGE job to do in order to cover the Olympics. But for God’s Sake, NBC has boiled the Olympics down to these simple rules:

1. If there are no Americans competing, the event will not be covered.

2. Only three teams, counting the Americans, will be covered per event.

2a. If the Americans are leaders in the event, cover the Americans, the number two team, and a random third team.

2b. If the Americans don’t stand a chance in Hell of getting a medal keep repeating the mantra that the teams ahead of them “might make a mistake.” Be sure to mention any drug tests that competing teams have failed in the last 20 years, especially if it involved losing a medal.

3. Always refer to any Americans involved in a team sport as “the Dream Team”.

4. Never imply that any American athlete is less than a God, especially Keeth Smart who managed to lose both the Gold and Bronze medals in team fencing.

5. The first question to ask during any and all interviews is “How did it feel?” This can be switched or followed up with “What were you thinking?”

6. Don’t do any human interest stories on third world countries that were only able to send one athlete.

=====Minor Olympic Note=====

The national Greek beer, Mythos cannot be purchased on the Olympic site. The beer of the Olympics is Heineken, who paid to be an Olympic sponsor. I find it of interest that Budweiser ads run during the Olympic coverage, giving one the false impression that they are Olympic sponsors.

Here’s the link for the Official Grand Sponsors of the 2004 Olympics:

The only company you will see that does business in the USA is Hyundai. Yes Coca-Cola did support the Torch Relay, but despite all the hoopla about the Olympics and our American athletes, its obvious that American corporations were too cheap to actually support the Olympics.

The Books of Jasper Fforde

I was informed by, that based on my reading/purchasing habits, that I would enjoy reading the adventures of Thursday Next; a female literary detective in a world somewhat similar to our own, with a few differences such as Wales being a Socialist republic, pet Dodos being available from DNA reconstruction, time travel and other odd bits.
Amazon was right! I do like these books! However to have instant gratification for my reading fix I bought them all at Borders!


You have to be intelligent to read these books. Sorry if that spoils it for you. Before I forget: you MUST visit Jasper Fforde's web site at It is fabulous!

Mr. Fforde wrote four books covering the adventures of Thursday Next. I loved the first book, The Eyre Affair and the second book, Lost in a Good Book. I especially enjoyed the parts with Ms. Next's pet dodo, Pickwick.

His third book, The Well of Lost Plots, got to be a bit too blah-blah, as I found myself flipping forward in search of some dialogue to move the story along. Book three was OK, but not up to the same level as books one and two.

The final opus in the series, Something Rotten, turned out to be the best book in the series but unfortunatelyy wrapped up the series so that it is doubtful that a fifth book would be forthcoming. He's one of the few authors that I will buy in hardcover.

I highly recommend reading the entire series although you will have to patient with the third book.

2005 Comes To An End

It's been an odd year. In July I had an article published entitled "5 Things Wrong With SharePoint" which caused a world wide furor in the SharePoint community.
On the consultant front, I had six different contracts this year.
On the Microsoft front, they have screwed things up (as usual) by releasing Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 without releasing patches for many of their products to properly work together with them. Most notable is BizTalk Server 2004.
Of course in 2006 Microsoft promises to release BizTalk Server 2006, which has more bug fixes in it than new features, SharePoint 2006 which will continue the shoddy work of the present SharePoint management and team, and Windows Vista which promises to deliver a Katrina-like hurricane of hot air with some minor features packaged up to sound like something important.
I can't wait.