Gray Flannel Dwarf

3/31/2004

Oops

I’d like a nucular double-skim latte with confidential strategery notes, please.


cswiii @ 10:38 pm

A Question of Intent


Initially, the administration said an invasion was necessary to find and destroy weapons of mass destruction that Iraq possessed and was prepared to use. With none uncovered, the White House now says the war, in which more than 500 U.S. troops and thousands of Iraqis have died, was justified by Saddam’s alleged intent to build and use such weaponry.

“We are looking for weapons, we’re looking for production equipment, we’re looking for the decisions by the regime to sustain a capability … but we have not found existing stocks of weapons as some had expected,” Duelfer said.

Duelfer, appointed by the CIA in January, guides the on-the-ground hunt by the Defense Department’s Iraq Survey Group of about 1,300 personnel. He said they regularly receive reports of hidden weapons which are then checked out, “but we haven’t found any at this point in time.”

It’s been said from the beginning that the US was making Saddam prove a negative, prove that there were no WMDs… and now they’ve all but admitted there are none, so they’re now backpedalling and using the term ‘intent’.

Ergo, the criteria for initiating war was not met, and did not exist.
Ergo, Bush’s war cannot be considered bellum justum

This war was never a “zero-sum game”. It came at the expense of the Iraqi people and lives of American soldiers, and will have repercussions for decades.


Tags: , , , , , — cswiii @ 11:21 am

3/25/2004

The Verizon Battle is ON!

“You do realize, of course, that this means war!” — Looney Tunes

I called Verizon today to get the address for their customer relations department. I got it, and the woman asked if she could help me with anything. As far as I was concerned, this was their last chance. I talked with her for a few minutes about the situation.

Well, she was nice enough… and at least she tried.


Corey Welton
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Potomac Falls, Virginia
20165

25 March 2004

Verizon Customer Relations
8149 Walnut Grove Rd
Mechanicsville, Virginia
23111

To Whom it may Concern:

My name is Corey Welton, and I am a current customer of Verizon for my local telephone services. As it stands, I would like to get DSL on my home phone line, as well, but for seemingly unknown business policy decisions at Verizon, I am currently unable.

This is not a technological issue. I understand the issue behind DSL technology. Historically, the area in which I live has been unable to get DSL, due to fibre on the phone loop, en route to the Central Office (CO). For some, this has recently been resolved by the installation of Remote Terminals (RTs) in the area to bypass the aforementioned fibre. Customers have been specifically told that the reason for these RT installs is to resolve the DSL issue.

I recently moved from one location in Sterling, Virginia, to another, while keeping the same phone number. The former location had no remote terminals nearby; the latter is in an area where these terminals are being built. Upon moving to the new location, I talked with Verizon DSL, and was told that there was an RT within proximity to my house, but that my address was not updated in the records. They said to call back in a few weeks. Continued attempts thereafter to qualify continue to show DSL was unavailable. It quickly became very obvious to me that, after moving, Verizon did not route my number through the remote terminal associated with this neighbourhood. Rather, they took the (most likely simpler) route of just reconnecting my phone line with the new address. A few weeks later, upon calling, this theory was all but confirmed for me, when I was told that I still had fibre on the loop and was further told that there was no record of any remote terminal in my area.

This seemed strange, but the story didn’t end there.

Indeed, the location of the RT was confirmed while talking to a Verizon engineer who was in my neighbourhood a few weekends ago; he pointed about 200 yards up the street, to an RT that had been installed. When asked if it would be possible to get my line routed through this RT, so that I could get DSL, he said it was possible, by talking to the local office.

Upon talking to the local office, the woman told me that she had heard of this situation before, that she could empathise, but that it would be very unlikely that I could get the number rerouted through the RT. She then forwarded me to the Repairs department, which she said would be the only group who would be able to do this.

Repairs, in turn, said there was no way it would be done, but that they would double-check with the Business Office. After putting me on hold to talk with the Business Office, it was confirmed that, indeed, under no circumstances would it be possible to get my number rerouted through the RT. Incredulously, even offering to pay to have the service done was to no avail.

So what we have here is a very obvious business decision to not reroute existing phone services through the RTs. I am not alone in coming to this conclusion; there are several documented cases of people in this area being unable to get their existing phone numbers routed through the RT and thus being unable to get DSL while at the same time, new neighbours move in, get new Verizon service, and their new lines are routed through, thus qualifying them for DSL. Indeed, it seems that if I wanted to simply get a new phone number, that the new number itself would be correctly routed, and I could get DSL on that line. I do not wish to get a new number, however, and the only constraints on my ability to get DSL are procedural, rather than technical.

This simply does not make sense to me, from a business perspective. Verizon installed the RTs primarily to overcome technical limitations in this area for providing DSL, and yet Verizon will only route new local phone services through these RTs. The only options in this area for broadband is a very unsatisfactory cable-modem provider, and thus it beguiles the mind, quite frankly, to think that Verizon is willing to pass up an easy, constant $50 a month from potential Verizon DSL customers simply because the company does not wish to reroute said potential customers’ phone lines. Does it not seem that if customers call in to specifically request this action, that they desire to pay for a service that would be very easy for Verizon to provide? I simply can’t understand the logic at hand.

As it stands, Verizon is currently getting $30 a month from me for providing local phone service. Why Verizon would not want to get an additional $50 for providing me with DSL, when it is technically feasible, is beyond me, but that is Verizon’s decision. Meanwhile, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has allowed customers to make decisions of their own as well, specifically in choosing their local phone service provider. This said, I see little reason to remain with Verizon when it provides service that is unresponsive and inadequate to the needs of its customers. Switching providers will not provide me with DSL, as the lines are leased from Verizon, but it would at least provide satisfaction in knowing I am getting the best my service money can buy.

Please note that I am not alone in this consideration, as much of my neighbourhood is similarly-aware of the situation at hand. Verizon’s inability and/or unwillingness to roll-out DSL to this area has been widely documented in published letters to the local Loudoun Easterner and the Washington Post newspapers over the past few years we now feel it is only right to take the necessary financial steps, unless appropriate measures are taken, or at very least, a reasonable explanation is given.

A response to these issues is requested. If necessary, I can be reached by mobile phone at 202.xxx.xxxx, but not in lieu of an expedient, written response to these issues. Failure to respond in a timely and/or satisfactory manner will accelerate the cancellation of my existing Verizon services and my subsequent boycott of services the company provides, not to mention the possibility of similar actions by others in my community, as well.

Thank you very much for your time I look forward to reading your response.

Sincerely,

(signed)

Corey Welton.


cswiii @ 4:19 pm

3/23/2004

Kids these days…

…are Hooked on P^HChronic.


cswiii @ 3:08 pm

Letter to Vasque

Corey Welton
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Potomac Falls, VA 20165

23 March 2004

Vasque
314 Main Street
Red Wing, MN 55066

To whom it may concern:

My name is Corey Welton, and have had a pair of Vasque Sundowners for about the past two to three years. I got these boots at the recommendation and observation of old college acquaintances, all of whom have been very loyal to the Vasque brand for many years now.

I too, have been generally happy with my pair � until the last few months, that is. In recent months, I noticed that my right boot started to make a strange �clicking� sound. At first I thought it was just something stuck to the bottom of my boot, which was sticking to the tile floor at my office � but then I noticed the sound was occurring everywhere � asphalt, concrete, and on soft ground.

It was not long after this that I realised it was coming from inside my boot. Perhaps it is part of the shank coming loose, I am not sure. In any case, I didn’t let it bother me too much � that is, until my left boot started doing the same thing, and is now much louder than the first.

As it stands, I now have a pair of Sundowner Classics which are audibly apparent from anyone down the hall or within proximity of me. In addition to the noise, i can now feel various bits move beneath my feet. It is not the sound which bothers me so much, or really even the movement exhibited within the sole however � it’s the seemingly larger issue of a drop in manufacturing quality. I asked the aforementioned friends, all fiercely loyal to Vasque, and they said they’d never had the same issue, but most of them had boots from several years ago, before the construction was outsourced to China, and indeed, they made known their suspicions. While I don’t want to be so hasty as to pin the blame on that, I do nonetheless suspect a quality control issue with my boots, whether it has anything to do with outsourcing or not. If only one boot exhibited the aforementioned behaviour, I might think it a strange occurrence, but the fact that both now exhibit it points to a more serious issue in quality control.

My boots have, of course, long since surpassed their one-year warranty, but they are, by no stretch of the imagination. �worn out�. With the exception of a bit of foot pronation, I don’t walk abnormally; I take good care of these boots, and, as it stands, I haven’t been able to get in the woods much over the past couple years, so it is not as if they’ve gone through a lot of wear and tear. Aside the scuffs around the toes from some a bit of hiking, the boots are in great shape � except for this problem that I suspect with the shank or insole of the boot.

Thus, it is somewhat disheartening to see this happen to boots produced by a company known for its top-quality outdoor footwear. Upon the advice of my backpacking friends, and upon secondary research, I decided to purchase the Sundowners. I now feel, however, that the quality of these boots has fallen far short of the quality or lifecycle expected of them and the brand, regardless of warranty limitations. It is because of this situation that I was hoping there would be some sort of remedy or solution for issues at hand. In that Vasque is a trusted name, I am certain you will reply with an expedient and adequate response. If you need to contact me via telephone, my mobile number is 202-xxx-xxxx

Thank you very much for your time, and for your footwear products.

Sincerely,

(signed)

Corey Welton


Tags: , , — cswiii @ 12:34 pm

3/22/2004

More Fuel on the (Oil) Fire…

So in the past few months, we’ve been able to add quite a few names to the list of well known officials and figures who are seemingly more and more correct in their criticism of Bush’s handling of the Iraq situation, through its entire course. My “A-list” now currently consists of:

Brent Scowcroft
Gen. Anthony Zinni (Ret.)
Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf (Ret.)
Henry Kissinger
Scott Ritter
Hans Blix
Richard Holbrook
Paul O’Neill
Richard Clarke

That’s one hell of an all-star team, if you ask me. I just hope the combined force of these heavy-hitters can help rid the US of the current scourge of the Constitution that currently resides in the White House.

Added Bonus: White House Intimidation: A Brief History of Threats and Defamation

If you have any names that should be added to this list, feel free to recommend them below.


cswiii @ 11:05 am

Friend(ster)s in High Places

This turn of events raises myriad questions, but one jumps immediately to the top of the list. A year after making its public debut, Friendster has attracted, according to Abrams, a whopping 5 million users. At the same time, it has yet to generate a dime of revenue. Of all the lessons of the Internet bubble, maybe the most incontrovertible is that metrics such as site traffic and pageviews are meaningless in and of themselves; they matter only in conjunction with a credible plan for turning eyeballs into cash flow. So the question is, Does Friendster have a plan, or is this 1999 all over again?

I dunno why Business 2.0 needs to even ask that question. I’ve been saying for quite some time, when Friendster first came out (when it was still in Beta) that this had been done before. Remember Sixdegrees? We all know what happened to that.

By the spring of 2002, Abrams says, he was “unemployed, not doing well financially, and certainly not looking to do another startup.” Then he came up with the idea for Friendster, hacked up a prototype, and watched in amazement as the thing went viral.

“Came up with the idea”, eh. Because it was the first of its kind, more “revolutionary innovation”?

As for Friendster’s service, I took a look around, got bored, and deleted my account to avoid any of the inevitable politics that were coming down the pike regarding “friend networks”. I’ve signed up again to one of these things, Orkut this time, but again, it’s nothing fantastic.

Friend networking should work. It’s something people have talked about for years. It’s a natural progression of things. However, I don’t think it translates to business very well, and it’s certainly never been implemented very well, Friendster included. LiveJournal does it in a sort of different, low-level way that kind of works, but even then, it’s not the main focus of the site.

One theory I have is that no one has taken into account the inevitable conflicts that occur in real life. If Joe Bob is friends with Group A and Group B, but the two groups do not necessarily get along too well, Joe Bob can usually navigate his way between the two with only minor difficulty. With friend networks, you wear your decisions on your sleeve… and I have no doubt that this can only lead to antagonising situations.

I’m not talking “gang warfare” on the web, by any means, and am not saying that the politics that the hypothetical Joe Bob has to play in the above real-life is even the right way to handle things — but it’s nonetheless how things happen.

Friendster is just one of several examples of sites which show that, evidently, we never learned our history — because people and companies are obviously repeating it.


cswiii @ 10:01 am

3/19/2004

WWJD?

STATESBORO, “Georgia (AP) — A couple who got into a dispute over a theological point after watching “The Passion of the Christ” were arrested after the argument turned violent.”

These things just write themselves, folks.


cswiii @ 9:45 am

3/17/2004

As the Verizon World Turns

Here’s my latest soap opera/saga with Verizon.

To recap:
* A lot of people out here can’t get DSL because of fiber loops on the phone lines
* Verizon has been remedying this by installing Remote Terminals which bypass the fibre loops.
* When I moved, I did so to an area where I pretty much suspected that there are, or would be, remote terminals installed.

About 3 wknds ago, I happened to catch a VZ Tech outside in the neighborhood. I asked him about the remote terminal issues, asking if there were any plans to expand and install them out this way, and/or whether or not I would be able to use the RT out in the cascades area. He pointed about 200 yards down the street at the tan box, and said, “well, that’s your remote terminal right there”. He did mention that orders are going in fast, so that I had to keep trying to get an order. That’s fine. I expected that. I asked if, in the off-chance that my phone number was not routed through the RT, could I get it done. He said yeah, it could be done.

A few days later, I called Verizon. Sure enough, they told me I was on a fibre loop, and in something that sound familiar to an issue that I remember hearing someone else nearby had, my number was not routed through that RT… despite the fact that I am just down the street from it. I guess when I moved from Chatham Green to Potomac Falls, they just rerouted my number in the system, but didn’t route it through the RT — my guess is because the latter would take more effort; I can almost guarantee you that if I got a brand spanking new phone line, it would be routed through.

So of course, I asked if I could be routed through it. The woman gave me the number of the local engineering office. I talked with them, they told me that it probably couldn’t be done, but that they’d heard of the issue before, and that it would have to be handled through the repairs dept.

They patched me through to repairs, who pretty much said that under no uncertain terms, could they reroute me. I raised a bit of a stink — I said that it made no sense, that VZ would be guaranteed an easy $40/mo from me via DSL subscription, if they could make this change. The guy reiterated, but said I would have to take that up w/ the business office. He then put me on hold, apparently called up the Business Office, and confirmed that no, they still wouldn’t do it.

I’m sorry, but what a bunch of asshats!

So what am I gonna do? Well, I think I am gonna switch local service to CavTel. I only need local service on my land line anyway, and I figure I have no need to support a company so unresponsive to the needs of consumers out here; likewise, VZ is gonna get a nastygram from me regarding their incompentency. So instead of gaining an extra $40 from me each month, they’ll lose $30 that they’d normally be getting for local service coverage.

Meanwhile, I am hoping that CavTel, in the process of taking over my line, can properly route me through the RT. I will talk with them first about this to try and estimate the feasibility.

Verizon has ticked me off for the last time, as far as I’m concerned.


cswiii @ 7:54 pm

3/10/2004

A View from the Inside

“While this commandeering of a narrow segment of both intelligence production and American foreign policy matched closely with the well-published desires of the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, many of us in the Pentagon, conservatives and liberals alike, felt that this agenda, whatever its flaws or merits, had never been openly presented to the American people. Instead, the public story line was a fear-peddling and confusing set of messages, designed to take Congress and the country into a war of executive choice, a war based on false pretenses, and a war one year later Americans do not really understand. That is why I have gone public with my account.”


Tags: , , , , , , — cswiii @ 5:46 pm