Monday, November 11, 2019

Review: Stoner

Stoner Stoner by John Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First off, Stoner is the lead characters's name (William Stoner to be exact), and not something else! But getting by that, this was a wonderful read. I encountered a reference to it in The New Yorker from earlier this year, and my local library (yay) had a Kindle version. I was captivated by the life story of Stoner, and its timeline that starts in the very early 20th century and takes us into the 50's, offers a bit of a history lesson as well. The introduction in this version, btw, is very enlightening but is full of spoilers, so I am happy I read it last!

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Thursday, November 07, 2019

HP Inc to be acquired by Xerox?

To modify a favorite movie line, I picked a heck of a week to start blogging again!

The Wall Street Journal, followed by other outlets, reported on an offer by Xerox to acquire HP Inc, the printing and personal computing company that resulted from a split of the once mighty Hewlett Packard.

I am tracking the story and happy @rexcrum of the Mercury News is on top of it on Twitter!

Nearly 15 years after leaving HP, and a few years now no longer actively covering  the company and industry, I can only imagine. But I can bet that their (HP Inc's) world has been rocked!

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Our faithful technology servants...

My Archer Power Strip - working steadily for over four decades

It's not often we reflect on the long-lasting, steady performance of technology-based gadgets. More often, the steady drumbeat of obsolescence dominates that space, as we find ourselves lusting after the new with a little guilt on how we will responsibly dispose of the old.

However, today I am acknowledging a simple power strip that has been on duty for over 40 years! I believe the Archer 4-outlet Power Strip pictured here is one I acquired about 1978, part of my first purchase of a personal computer. That computer, some may know, was an early Radio Shack TRS80, and it served me admirably as well. It was disposed of, following a youth de-construction project, which hopefully offered a learning experience. (I am describing the time-honored tradition of youngsters taking apart "old crap" in the interest of seeing a bit more about how things work.)

Archer - a Tandy (Radio Shack) brand, along with Realistic and ...
Anyway, the related power strip has moved around but continued on in dependable service to this day, most recently powering our modest home entertainment setup. (I say modest but still a lot of plugs!) It is has been replaced by the "new and improved" 6-outlet strip that became surplus in some other tech setup.

So I encourage you to look around and show a little gratitude for the things in your life that work, and then work and work and work some more! 

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Review: Boston Blackie

Boston Blackie Boston Blackie by Jack Boyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OK - who didn't think first of "I wish I had a pencil-thin mustache..."? This has been a fun "slow read" written in very plain language, with lots of cigarettes, gold bars, capers, and prison breaks - what's not to like? (Adding - this is over 100 years old!)

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Thursday, October 31, 2019

HP's World Series TV Commercial - From their Get Real campaign "I Put a Spell on You" is captivating!!!

For those of you watching the World Series (yay, Nats, and great effort, Astros) an interesting and, for me at least, a very captivating ad came through the clutter. It features the mesmerizing "I Put a Spell on You" soundtrack over typical scenes from a digital lifestyle, with text that leads one to think that the purely screen-oriented culture is lacking. What we really need is physical world stuff, printed on HP printers of course, to go along with the lifestyle (important to remember it is our ever-present digital content is what feeds it.) 

I am mixed on this conclusion, but think the commercial itself really works in delivering the message. I dare readers to not find it captivating, as I did!


Saturday, October 19, 2019

Mark Hurd, former HP CEO, dies at age 62

Sad and shocking news that former HP CEO Mark Hurd has passed away! 

Hurd followed Carly Fiorina in that job, joining HP in 2005, and since our employment overlapped by a few months, I witnessed a couple of coffee talks featuring the former NCR chief. My fellow employees and I welcomed him with open arms, as he was enthusiastic and open-minded about our business, and signified a new era after the Fiorina period (which it is worth noting that started with high levels of employee support and enthusiasm).

I remember him being great with a flip chart, and also recall he liked that we (HP generally) were in the TV business, as that was a product he could relate to.  

It was a few years later, 2010 to be exact, that it all fell apart for Hurd, who had grown unpopular with the rank and file, partly for his penny-pinching ways, including a "two to a cube" policy. He was unceremoniously dumped by the HP Board on a perceived affair he was having on the company dime. Larry Ellison signed him on at Oracle, almost immediately, where he remained until his death, though he had taken medical leave last month.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Review: Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump

Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump by Rick Reilly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It seemed like time once again for a nonfiction sports book, and this one fit the bill, with the "bonus" of providing current commentary on our national leadership situation. Author Rick Reilly, a favorite of mine from way back, starts off the book with a dedication, "This book is dedicated to the truth. It’s still a thing." And I am glad it's still a thing, and I think the book's title regarding "how golf explains..." is spot on, especially with the impeachment sentiment growing fast and POTUS's ongoing dodge on the Ukrainian situation to say nothing about all the related matters that are coming out daily. The book includes lots I didn't know about golf as well - starting with handicaps and course ratings, and the delving into course ownership and architecture. But it's the Commander in Cheat's lack of character and continual boasting and lying is what the book centers on, and I salute the courageous author for documenting so much of it.

Summing it up, as Reilly writes, "'Everything he does to the country now, as president, he did to us beforehand, in golf,' says a then-high-ranking LPGA official who doesn’t particularly want the most powerful man in the world knowing who she is.

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