News Nybbles for July 1

Here are some things I’ve seen over the last few days, in no particular order.

  • Bill Gates officially curtails work at Microsoft. It’s not a withdrawal, but he will be spending the bulk of his time running the Gates Foundation.  Kudos to him, his wife and Warren Buffet.  The monies they’ve amassed and put into the foundation is staggering.  The work they will be able to do-and have already done-is nothing short of astounding.  Some still deride Gates for the way he amassed that fortune.  I call it sour grapes.  Yes, Microsoft was ruthless at times.  They were unfair at times.  They were also responsible for growing the industry.  By building a platform that was stable, reliable and worked, they created untold numbers of jobs, opportunities and fortunes for others.  Those that could not keep up, like Digital Research, were destined for the side lines or footnotes in computer history. Others who could keep up, became successes.  Others, like myself, gained a new profession (I was in retail management before becoming a professional developer.)  I wish Bill and his wife the best of luck.
  • Windows XP is kind of sort of put into retirement.  Good riddance.
  • AT&T announces pricing plans for iPhone 2.0.  It is not cheap, but really not any worse than any other phone. I don’t know what people were expecting.  If iPhone were on Sprint, I’d be in line to get one.
  • Starbucks announce the closure of 600 stores.  Wow.  SIX HUNDRED STORES.  Think about that.  That is more stores than many chains ever had. They say that existing employees will be provided positions at other stores, if possible. I commend them for that.  SIX HUNDRED STORES.  It still blows my mind.  They blame lower sales and the economy.  Until now, I thought the whole ‘economy in the tank’ story as bunk. I may just change my mind. SIX HUNDRED STORES.
  • Chip Ganassi closes down the Dario Franchitti NASCAR team due to lack of sponsorship.  Really?  This blows my mind almost as much as SIX HUNDRED STORES.  Dario Franchitti is the reigning Indy Racing League champion.  He is a former Indianapolis 500 winner. He is one of the best drivers in the world.  And no one wants to sponsor him? What the hell?  Ganassi says he wants to keep Franchitti in Cup racing and wants him to stay with the organization. Franchitti is still the driver of the #40 Fastenal Nationwide Series car.  I would really hate to see him leave NASCAR.  I think he is a terrific driver and an asset to NASCAR. Maybe he should go to Penske Racing South, I’m sure they would find him a decent sponsor.  Good heavens.
  • Apple patches for 25 flaws to it’s operating system.  There’s too much to mention. Go here to read about it.

And some sad news

A young boy was tragically killed at a Six Flags amusement park this past week.  The boy was part of a church group visiting the park for a day of fun.  The teenager, for reasons yet unknown, climb TWO six foot tall fences and entered a restricted area that was in the path of the Batman rollercoaster.  There are several stories that account for why he was there but, at this point, it makes little difference.  He was where he knew he should not be and in an area that was clearly marked as dangerous and that it was a restricted area. That he climbed TWO fences that were six feet tall showed how little he paid attention.  The boy was struck by the bottom of one of the coaster trains and flung into one of the support pylons.  He died instantly.  While this is a very tragic thing, one cannot blame this on the park or the ride itself (as the mainstream press has done.)  Those signs and fences are there for a reason.  It is very sad that he chose to ignore them.  Amusement parks are places that are meant to be fun while also being a bit scary.  The scare factor, for most, is a big part of the fun.  However, people, especially young ones, should have to worry if the ride they are on is going to kill someone.  In this case, the accident was avoidable.  The park did everything it should have and then some. Most parks I’ve been to only use one fence. There were two in this case.  The blame, sadly, lies solely on the young man.  My sympathies to boy’s family and friends. It was a needless and senseless death.

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