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Behind the Scenes with GailLA

Gail Allinson, gail@oncomputers.info

31 August 2003

The Jury is Still Out (Warranty)

I won't mention the company name until I reach the last chapter of the saga, but the jury is still out on this one.  Last week I gave kudos to Kodak for their excellent warranty service.  This week I'm dealing with another warranty problem. The service is not bad, so maybe it's just by comparison that I'm feeling disgruntled. I will say that I have some pre-defined negative feelings in this case because I traded in a perfectly working unit for a refurbished intermittently working unit in a recall. That refurbished unit finally went belly up and I'm now waiting and praying for the replacement to arrive. Wish me luck and I'll let you know what happens.

If What Jack Said... (Security)

.. About erasing sensitive data on today's tips segment didn't convince you, read this article: Wired News BlackBerry Reveals Bank's Secrets. While I hate to spread paranoia, the next time you read how an institution "values your privacy" remember that their trustworthiness is only as strong as their weakest link.

Interesting Times (Democracy)

As many of you know I'm very much on the inside of the California recall and gubernatorial election. I'm not at liberty to say much about it because we are running a fair and balanced operation here. But I do want to share a little of what is taking copious amounts of my time an energy these days.

I will say that it is both work and fun (most of the time).  It has given me a taste of what it is like to run for statewide office.  Heretofore, I had only ever been intimately involved in local campaigns, and then not as a central player. In this one, I'm a campaign staff of one. I can report that having met a number of the gubernatorial hopefuls, this election is not a joke to those lesser-known candidates. But at the same time, most of them that I have met are having some fun with it and are enjoying their moment on the soapbox.

As part of the gubernatorial experience,  I have met one well-known name from the computer world, Ken Hamidi. Sadly, I had no chance to talk to him about his famous tussle with Intel (see http://www.eff.org/Cases/Intel_v_Hamidi/ for more about the case).  Still, it was interesting to connect the person with the name.  If you didn't already know it, Ken is one of the field of 133 still in the running (135 names will be on the ballot but 2 have withdrawn).

Also, on the computer front, Gateway has jumped in with a project that I'm enjoying called Candidate Camera (get it Candidate Camera).  The site debuted last Friday, and is still ramping up. The candidates who I have met seem to be having a lot of fun with this project. I enjoy selecting our photo each day and writing the text file to go with it. I'm looking forward to seeing the photo albums grow.

One issue that has come up, that is general enough and computer related enough to mention here,  is Internet voting.  I'm against it and many of the other new voting schemes; but my reasons and concerns will wait for another week. Our county uses what I'll call "Scantron" style sheets -- the kind where you blacken the bubble with a pencil though I have no idea who actually makes the equipment.  They are very easy to use.  Having used the old levered voting machines and the punch cards back in Cook County, I do think marking the bubbles on the sheet is the best system I've used.  

Next Week (Matrimony)

Next week will be Jack and Jayna's wedding.  It will be the first time ever that Jack, Joe, Deepak and I will be in the same place for the show, too.  Congratulations to the happy couple!

Cya from Dallas!


© 2003 Gail Allinson

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