The Sox

Reading The Slat Rat‘s posts of tonight’s Red Sox game was way more entertaining than reading any of the news releases out there. Damn – what a night to be in orchestra rehearsal when the Red Sox were busy spanking the Yankees in their home town.

Supply and Demand

Yingwen put out an ad yesterday to advertise piano lessons. In one day, her schedule is almost full. Amazing! She’s on the phone as I write this, setting up schedule details. The phone has been ringing off the hook.

Since suddenly we are getting very busy trying to keep track of appointments and taking care of the kids, we set up iCal to subscribe automatically to each others’ calendars. Pretty damn easy to set up, and effective. We can see each others’ schedules updated every hour on our iCal clients or over the web.

Fear of Change

Kerim made this post recently about the wealth of RSS news aggregators out there for Mac: Keywords » Mac vs. Windows

The poignant conclusion, regarding how some Windows users continue to put up with their problematic systems rather than trying out a Mac, is what had me on the floor:

I understand that change is traumatic and most people would rather live with an illness they know and understand than risk trying something new, even if they believe it might be better for them. From what I hear on the radio this is why so many people are voting for Bush.

Good one. That is my quote of the year candidate.

Photoshop vs. Fireworks on JPEG Compression

I was just working on a new website’s banner image. It is fairly large – about 760 x 200 pixels, and I wanted to give it a good crank on the JPEG compression. Uncompressed the image was just over 100K. A quick pass in the default Photoshop Save for Web feature on the High JPEG setting (60% compression) yielded a file about 45K in size, with lots of piexated artifacts around the text edges. Trying the same run in Fireworks at the default “High” setting gave me a very crisp image with little noise around the text and rich color variances at 33K. Just a quick and unscientific test, but Fireworks won this comparison hands down, with a better quality image and a smaller file size.

Flu Shot Crisis

Why did Chiron Flu Crisis Affect USA more than England?

Why did the British never allow themselves to become dependent on just two flu major flu vaccine suppliers like the Americans did? According to health experts, they did this in case the current Chiron flu vaccine crisis happened – to make sure the nation’s people were not left in a vulnerable position.

Last August UK officials, with the same information the US officials had, decided something had to be done in case the Chiron supplies, 14% of UK supplies, went belly up. The US officials decided to believe Chiron and gamble 48% of their supplies on an assurance that everything would turn out fine despite some worrying set backs.

When October 5th arrived, the British authorities pulled the plug on the Chiron, Liverpool, supplies. US authorities were caught out – nothing had been done in advance, the country had allowed itself to get into this situation.

Even without this crisis, the UK authorities have always had a situation where they can fall back on six or seven suppliers that have been pre-approved by UK authorities. The US, on the other hand, only has two – one of which has let them down. Had the US had more pre-approved suppliers, had the US started to do something about this problem last August when alarm bells were ringing, had the US……? This is what many Americans are now starting to ask.

The American Health Dept saw no reason last August to do anything, says their spokesman Tony Jewell. Americans hear him and ask, so why did the British have a reason, you both worked on the same information, didn’t you?

Well so much for my hope of obtaining a flu shot this year. This is so unacceptable. There are only so many times when an administration can claim that black is white before even the most die-hard partisans have to call them on it. To fail to diversify the flu vaccine sources (which is just plain common sense) and then to cover up the screw-up by claiming that they were blind to any evidence that there was a need to diversify, is yet another example of failure for this administration to stand for the American people or to own up to their mistakes. Luckily we got Max vaccinated before this all came about. Our goal was to try to protect our newborn son Dylan from getting in contact with the flu. Now Yingwen and I are going to have to just hope we don’t get it.