Monthly Archives: May 2008

More on our complex world…

Yesterday I wrote a blog about how our country is too complex.  Then I found that one of the blogs I read often wrote a blog on the same subject, only he did a better job about it than I did.   Read his blog here. As it turns out he is quoting from a book about the same subject, called The Collapse of Complex Societies.  I guess many people are coming to the same conclusion.  Too bad for them they see it as only the fault of the Republicans, when there is much more at fault than just that.   This must be much more important that I thought.

Our world is too complex and getting worse…please help.

Many people have jobs, where your job is to make something better.  In order to keep your job you need to show results.  Now a problem happens, many companies make their product just about as good as it can get.  In the real world of products they just move on to the next thing, but in software they keep adding features well beyond what is useful.

There are many examples of this. Winamp was perfect 8 years ago, it played music well, it had good skins and an equalizer.  Then they started adding stuff, and adding and adding.  They put in a video player, but it sucks.  They put in a browser, what is the point in that?  Adobe Acrobat is a program that never really worked well.  And every update just makes it slower.  There are third party ones that are much faster and better.  There are many other examples.

So companies that make programs have figured out that most people don’t need their updates, but if people don’t get their updates they can’t push future changes on them, that may include more advertising, or toolbars on your browser, and these companies love to do that.  So they have made their programs “phone home” each time they load, and if the company decided they want to send an update they will do so.  This makes these programs slower, and many of them gripe if you are not online when you load the software.  At least 20 programs I know of now try to push the Yahoo toolbar on their customers each time you update and unless you are very careful and unselect a box hidden somewhere you get it.  And it is hard to remove and almost totally useless.  There is really a battle going on for your attention, and these companies are trying more and more intrusive things to make you use their software, even though most of it is free.  The other day I noticed that if you update java, it tries to install download and install open office, a almost 180MB download.  Java is just a programming language, why should they push an entire office suite on users.  Most users are not smart enough to catch this stuff, then they call me when they see stuff they don’t understand, and these calls are increasing.  (As a note I love open office, I suggest it to many people and install it on all systems we sell.)

Now in the world of software this is a minor annoyance. You can run older versions, or usually disable all updates. But this is also done in many other areas, it is human nature that once something is very good you will keep changing it, even if the change is bad, simply to look like you are doing something.  One area where this is VERY costly and actually dangerous is in the area of Government.  The government keeps adding rules, and regulations in areas where none really is needed.  Many people running for office brag about the number of bills they introduced, and the number of laws they passed.  All of this makes life more complex.  Do we really need such a complex tax system that you have to call an expert for help and even the experts don’t know half the time.  Do we really need over 20,000 classifications for imported items.  Do we really need to have so many regulations on hiring employees, increasing complexity and costs so much that companies get fed up with it and simply hire people in other nations.  Should it really take over a year for a citizen to bring his wife to the US legally?  Do we really need the government to tell us what food is safe, to tell us that we need to give our babies over 20 shots, many of which cause more harm than good?  Should it be so complex to get a Federal grant that Matthew Lesko has become famous for his awesome 3000+ page book with over 15,000 DIFFERENT programs listed (BTW read his blog).  Do we really need a government with 1000’s of different divisions?

This has cost our country a huge price.  Our power has allowed us to survive for a while but now a crisis is coming. It is so hard to appease the government regulations that no nuclear power plant or oil refinery has been built here in over 30 years.  Most factories are built overseas simply because lack of regulations make them much more profitable.  Why would you want to build you widget here, and deal with the EPA the IRS and OSHA when you can built it overseas and import it for less.  This is why our balance of trade is so bad, this is why are money is flowing out of this country and we are all in debt, as a nation we are living well beyond our means.  This has been a problem for many years, but just recently it has gotten so bad that people have stopped lending to us, whole nations are writing down our debt, and this is causing problems for millions of Americans.  This is a problem, created by our own government decades ago, the symptoms were hidden for years, the official government report showed almost no inflation from 1997 until 2005 while the average person saw huge inflation.  Now it is all catching up, and millions of people are SHOCKED by it.  It will ruin the lives of millions, it will also improve the lives of millions.  I have written many times about this subject, see here or here.

Anyway this was suppose to be a simple post about how everything is getting more complex simply because people want to keep their job and have nothing better to do.  Please comment on what you think about all of this.

OK, I admit it, I was wrong. My OS Choice.

As most of you know my main business is Emerald Computers, a computer company, where I sell computers and give advise.  Many people look to me as their computer expert.

Well for the first year of Vista being out I was negative on it, right when vista came out I was in my Ubuntu phase.  I was trying to use linux as much as I could to see if it really could replace everything that I did.  Because of this I did not personally use Vista, I used it on the computers I was fixing but not on my main computer.

After 6 months of trying Ubuntu I decided that, for me, a power user there were too many things that just did not work yet.  There were MANY things that were much better, than the Microsoft world, but lack of support for my games, QuickBooks, Photoshop and yahoo chat with webcam were the things I could no longer live without.  I went back to XP, and I was happy.  Well in late April XP crashed on me for the 3rd time.  I needed to reload so I decided to take a gamble and install vista.  I figured my computer is VERY fast so even if vista is crappy slow it will still not be that bad.  I have used vista on about 50 or so customers computers, and mostly disliked it due to the fact that most things were moved around.

Well vista loaded, it did it faster than XP, and almost all of my hardware was detected.  It was great.  Next I loaded my software, and I load a lot of things, I have checklist of about 30 things that I load on every new computer.  Almost everything I had worked right away, the ones that did not were fixed by upgrading to the newest version.  Even when you are an Administrator you don’t have real administrator rights, this is just like Ubuntu.  In Ubuntu you just put sudo in front of anything you want to run as an admin.  In Vista you do sort of the same, you just right click on it and click on “Run as Administrator”.  It was a very easy.  As a computer geek there were about 20-30 things I changed to make it easier to use, such as network settings, sharing settings, and all the programs I run.

So now I have been using it for a month, I wanted to wait a month before I wrote this blog so that I had a more expert opinion.  I run Vista SP1 Ultimate.  I have found it to be better than XP in almost every area, and in the areas it is not better it is exactly the same as XP.  I was surprised how many small programs are basically exactly the same as XP was.  I thought they would rework everything, but there are major things the left the same, even though the XP version was bad (Such as how fonts are loaded,

Now many people have said that Vista is slower.  I have seen many customers that have 4-5 year old computers and they load vista and YES it is slower.  My computer is 3 years old but it was a top of the line computer when it was built and it is still faster than 90% of the computers our company makes, it is a 4.9 on Vistas performance scale of 1-5.  So on my computer it runs great, it is MUCH faster than XP, and almost as fast as Ubuntu.

So if you have at least 1GB of ram and a Dual Core CPU Vista is great for you.  If you have a single core CPU or 512MB of RAM stick with XP.  Basically if your computer is over 2 years old and you want vista just get a new computer.  I can help you with that if you leave a comment, I can tell you want you need for your usage model.

So my OS of choice is now Vista.  It runs all the stuff I need and is fast.  There are many good ideas and features in Ubuntu that Vista could easily put in.  I don’t agree with some of the philosophy behind Vista, about making closed source drivers, and pushing towards trusted computing, for this reason I hope Ubuntu will soon be able to run, with ease, all of the things I need, and then I hope it starts to gain popularity.  Until then I will use Vista, or the next thing that MS creates.

The 7m7y contest.

One thing that I have been looking at is a mentorship program, offered by a guy who is a millionaire many times over. His name is Adrian J Cartwood. He has the mindset that I want to have.  He is looking for 7 people to teach how to be a millionaire. He is writing a book and is using this as more material. I applied, here is my profile on the page, with typos and all. From there you can find out much more about the program, and you can also apply.  It looks really exciting, I hope I am selected.

OK, Punish me, I have been bad.

I have been working on many things in the last few weeks.  I also had a few advances and setbacks in my goals.  Because of this I have gotten behind on my blog.  I am sorry to all of my readers, I was glad to notice that my readership levels went up while I was not writing.  Mostly due to searches.  Well I have a lot to write about and I will try to catch up a bit in the next few days.

A story from the heart, what drives me.

I often think about my dreams. To me almost all of my dreams have to do with my legacy, what I leave behind for future generations. For me there are a few things that really give me a great since of satisfaction. First, I really think that it is important to help out people who need help, and want the help. The think that I feel really made my life what it is the fact that I had access to education and tools to take advantage of that access. I started high school in 1989, and I was the only person I knew who had a computer at that time. I also spent a huge amount of time learning. By the end of high school I knew more about computers than any teacher there, same thing went when I was in college, almost all of this was self taught. (In high school I entered into a state competition, and got first place in the entire state for computer expertise) I only placed number 24 when I went to the national competition.

To everyone’s surprise computers turned out to be a huge industry, taking control of much of how the entire world works. I was given a huge advantage. Now we all know that computers are VERY important to success, so I have gone on a plan to give very poor children, access to computers, and access to quality education. These are kids that would not be able to get a good education or maybe even go to school. These are kids that will live a very poor life if we do not step in to help. This year we are looking to support 7 kids. The cost for one year is about $800 per kid. I am trying hard to raise this money now because it needs to be committed by the first of June. If you want to help out you can donate using PayPal. (Just send to my email [dragon(at)] as a donation) Anything you send will go directly to help these kids.  This photo is of the 4 kids we helped in 2007, before they met us they were living in a small shack, with a tarp as a roof, they never had been more than 10 miles from home, and never even seen a mall.  (I have before pictures also but they would break your heart.)  They were very smart but the schools they went to were very poor, and this kids were years behind the city kids, even though they were near the top of their class in their rural schools.  In one year they were able to catch up and pass the city kids, we gave them quality food, clothes, and housing.  This year I want to do even more.   My goal is to support 7 kids.  We will use these 4 and add 3 boys.  Without your help I don’t know if I can do it.

The next thing is a much larger thing. I really want to develop Real Estate. I have always been interested in architecture and large buildings. When you see a large building you know that someone designed it and also someone thought of it and paid for it to be built. To me this is the ultimate legacy. I want to build great unique buildings that will stand out. I decided to go a different path, and I went into computers and business. But now I want to go into. I firmly believe in the mixed use real estate concept. Basically building communities, of housing, work, and shopping all in the same mega complex. This is the way life used to be but, here in the southwest, the car made all of these things disperse. Most people travel many miles to work, and at least a mile to shop. There is no community left in many places and this lack of community is one of the major things destroying our country. Imagine if you lived on the 7th floor of the building, shopped on the first and second floor and worked in your office on the 15th floor. All the while you had many friends, and felt like you truly belonged. I don’t just want to do real estate; I want to do real estate with a purpose. I have a young son, only 9 months now, and I want to leave him a legacy he can be proud of, and one he can carry on.

I also want to provide quality housing to people in need. Imagine going to a city in Asia, where the people are poor, and getting the community to work together to build a massive complex, I would supply the materials and organization, the community would do most of the work, and we would own the building and charge a very low rent. People would have the ability to move up from the squalor to live in healthy and much higher quality housing. What is I can do that, and impact a thousand lives in a very profound way. This is the legacy that I want to leave.

Now I am only 32 now, I have decades to do this. I am looking for like minded people who will know more than me to advise on these projects. I don’t think I will have the resources for a few years to do such a thing, but once I do it will roll on and on.

This is my WHY, this is the reason I want to be hugely successful, this is the reason why I need to make the things I do work. It is much more than me I do this for.

If you know of ways to get this done faster or cheaper I would love to hear from you. Please email me or comment below. Thanks.