Sunday, January 31, 2010

Active Words for free

Great news! ActiveWords now has a free version. Just what we all needed in this economy-- a free tool to increase our productivity. Do yourself a favor on this snowbound weekend and download ActiveWords Free. You'll probably end up going ahead and buying the plus version but even the Free version will be so useful you'll not regret taking the time to discover how much more you can do with this great tool. I've been using ActiveWords since 2005. I've gotten so used to the convenience of a few keystrokes doing so much that I find myself a bit frustrated when using other computers. Why isn't this standard in operating systems? The customization is addicting and so helpful. The license allows installation on your desktop and laptop.  Wanna know how this mother of four manages to get so much done? Here's one part of the answer: ActiveWords.

I type "ronramsey" and double space to get the html code: A HREF="">Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville)  and get a hyperlinked Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville)  automatically.

Misspellings are automatically corrected--recieve automatically becomes receive.

When someone emails asking for the council rep's contact info I type "contactbennett" and  her contact info is printed out:

Council Lady Karen Bennett
Council District 8
Home (615) 228-8107
Office (615) 291-6708
106 Alhambra Circle
Nashville, TN 37207 

I can type in a few letters and open web pages, start programs, plug in stock paragraphs when answering email. l don't retype long URL's anymore I type "start" and send folks to and I'm not using half of its features and the ActiveWords community creates useful add-ins, makes them available and lets you know when via Twitter.

They've also got an Enterprise version for entire companies to utilize.

Check it out:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bonuses: Not for thee but for me

Ummm...can someone explain to me how the Democrats can be so against Wall Street incentive bonuses but back their own bonus plan for winning back the Tennessee House and Senate?

iPad thoughts

Well, the big announcement was yesterday. Apple introduced it's new tablet PC called the iPad. It's a big iPod Touch but it's NEW! and IMPROVED! and 'truly magical'.  Sounds like they've stolen from the Obama campaign. Steve Jobs was happy to compare his tablet with God's. No problem with pride there. Of course, when Moses came down from the mountain with the tablets he found his market had moved on to something else while he was gone.

Watching the Apple promotional videos let me know pretty quickly it's not something I'll be hankering for anytime soon. My Palm T|X and my Toshiba laptop are a better combination for my life. The big downside to the iPad is you HAVE to hold it. No kickstand of any kind to let it sit on the table so you can read and eat breakfast or type with both hands. Not one woman in the promo videos. Maybe these geeks don't know any and that may explain why no one clued them into the fact that women have an alternative definition for 'pads'.*

I'll admit I didn't watch the entire more than one hour keynote speech by Jobs but scrolling through didn't reveal anyone dropping the iPad from the table top to show 'it keeps on ticking', demonstrating its scratch resistance or showing how it'll survive spilled lattes or Apple Kool-aid but then maybe I missed its auto hovering capability and force field defense.

The fact that they seem to think that iPad users will be reading the NY Times, Time Magazine and Ted Kennedy's autobiography seems just the icing on the 'PASS' cake.

Hat tip: Julie

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Free in Tennessee

German homeschoolers recently won a huge court battle and have been granted asylum here in Tennessee. See the Forbes AP coverage and HSLDA's version.

When a culture demands uniformity from its citizens what options do nonconformists have? In Germany...none. And so the citizen, after fighting all the way to the top of the legal chain, has no choice but to flee. The German government's concern wasn't the actual education of the children. Their concern was that this family--homeschoolers generally--was creating a 'parallel society' and that could not be tolerated. Consider how that cultural uniformity turned out 60 years ago and thank these folks for the reminder of what free should mean.

Memphis judge Lawrence O. Burman wrote:  “Homeschoolers are a particular social group that the German government is trying to suppress. This family has a well-founded fear of persecution…therefore, they are eligible for asylum…and the court will grant asylum.”

The lesson we need to take from their plight is to take a serious look at our own education system's death grip on education choices. Oh sure, you have all sorts of 'choices' but all of them are controlled in some form or fashion by the secular, union run/bought, 'we credential our own' system. If we're a free society...where's our education freedom? What is our government run system trying to suppress?

Photo from Commercial Appeal which only has a footnote about this decision. Here's their previous coverage.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Marriage of State and Union

The Heritage Foundation crunches the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics info on unions in the US.

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that a majority of American union members now work for the government. The pattern of unions adding members in government while losing members in the private sector accelerated during the recession. The typical union member now works in the Post Office, not on the assembly line.
 In fact 3 times the number of union workers are postal employees vs. auto workers.  
The average worker for a state or local government earns $39.83 an hour in wages and benefits compared to $27.49 an hour in the private sector.
 All of this leads to unions being HUGE supporters of bigger government and higher taxes to increase their share of the job market and union membership.  AND this is unsustainable when union membership gets you a free pass from Congressional tax increases because the union members are right there while the regulations and taxes are being written and the rest of us are at work trying to pay for it all. And it perpetuates a vicious and ugly cycle. The larger government gets the higher the taxes, which makes it harder on private business so they have to lay off employees, the less  private sector workers have to take care of their families the more they end up depending upon government the larger government gets...eventually we will run out of other people's money. This sort of relationship used to be called a conflict of interest. Now's it just par for the course.
If you want to keep more money in your family budget, it's even more important to look for the 'union label'.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tourists were turned away

This frigid week has resulted in four (4) water main breaks in downtown Nashville. There have been 50 across the county according to the Tennessean. WSMV tells us an event had to be moved from downtown because of flooding and sidewalk buckling. Dozens of downtown businesses were shuttered due to lack of water and electricity. The Hilton Hotel was without power also. Fox17 has the best pictures and quote "Tourists were turned away."

One station reports that this hasn't been this bad in 20 years. That's not really that long a period of time and our mains are only getting older. We cannot ignore the fact that our water mains are old and need to be repaired. No one really wants our infrastructure crews out in frigid weather which only compounds already dangerous and expensive work.

A conversation with an emergency worker causes me to ask why a billion dollars will be committed for the Music City Center when there may not be adequate water service for emergency services once it's built. And no one can sell a convention center if the big gamble will be if we can provide essential services reliably. What's the good of having a brand spanking new facility if we cannot fight a fire in the facility because our water delivery system is too old? What sort of liability will Nashville be put in when we chose to invite people here and failed to be good stewards of the water system to ensure they were safe? If we don't want to bite the bullet now and really fix things... when will we? And if there is no better time to build a convention center because borrowing and labor is relatively cheap why isn't this the best time to invest in our city's essential services instead?

UPDATE: A 5th main breaks downtown per NewsChannel 5.

"Things that have been frozen start to thaw out and shift again," said Sonia Harvat [Metro Water spokesman]. "You know, the water temperature is still very cold so we do expect to start to realize a lot more breaks as the temperatures rise."
(Emphasis added.)

UPDATE II: Does Nashville still have any of those wooden pipes carrying water?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Magic MCC numbers

Three minutes of 'magic' numbers on the Music City Center. The wording scrolls by pretty fast but that matches the warp speed at which we're expected to approve this debacle and it perfectly matches the "Whoa, wait a minute here" frustration of the community that is looking for council members to stop this freight train. I have a basic rule...the faster the salesman talks the more quickly I leave the deal in the dust.

Tuesday, January 19 the council votes on this. They need to hear from you. They need encouragement to stand against another instance of generational theft.

Email them:
Sign the petition, if you haven't already:
Attend a community meeting and ask them why we should spend a billion dollars on a convention center while we're stuck with a new sewer tax, schools are leaking, we have more homeless or whatever the issue is in your neighborhood.

Upcoming Community Meetings:
Jan. 6
Council members Anna Page and Sandra Moore host community meeting at Coleman Park, 734 Thompson Lane, 6 pm

Jan. 7 Council members Carl Burch, Phil Claiborne, Jim Gotto, Darren Jernigan, and Bruce Stanley host community meeting at Hermitage Police Precinct, 7-9 pm

Jan. 7 Council members Eric Crafton and Emily Evans host community meeting at Belleve Middle School, 6:30-8pm

Jan. 11 Metro Council holds special public hearing at Metro Courthouse. 6:30-8pm

Jan. 12 Council members Jason Holleman, Sean McGuire, and Kristine LaLonde host community meeting at West End Middle School, 7-8:30pm

Jan. 12 Council members Mike Jameson, Karen Bennett, Erik Cole, and Jamie Hollin host community meeting at East Police Precinct, 6-8pm