Commentary – October 30, 2005

Star Trek’s George Takei came out. He has gone where at least some men have gone before, the fabulous frontier. I guess all those K/S books missed the mark.

Civil rights hero Rosa Parks is dead. Her body lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda. Can you imagine her sitting next to a surprised Strom Thurmond on the way to the pearly gates?

The Bush Administration’s Scooter Libby has been indicted. The rest of the Muppets are shocked.

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about peak oil. I am sure that in the 1850s there was a lot of talk about peak whale oil. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick could be interpreted as a story about a greedy pursuit of diminishing offshore source of energy. Then came the oil strike at Titusville. Let me know when we reach peak coal.

There’s so much to worry about it that Sanjay Khanna, author of Only The Paranoid Survive, is writing a new book about the increasing level of anxiety in society. His presentation at the Future Salon was impressive but caused more anxiety. This will explain my camera work of the event, which resembles a security camera at a convenience store. I look forward to his book.

Also on the anxiety list, it is Halloween. There has been a lot of talk about whether it is dangerous for kids getting into the Goth scene. I talked to some experts who said that there many factors contributing to something as terrible as defense attorney Daniel Horowitz’s tragedy. Alone they may mean nothing, together they raise a heavy mascara eyebrow:

  1. Death in the family, violent or even by grisly accident. Did they start dressing up after that incident?
  2. Drug or alcohol abuse, prescription or otherwise.
  3. A history of violence or abuse. Were the police called? Did they assault a police officer?
  4. Inability to sustain long-term relationships. Did the last partner move across state lines to a gated community in the desert?
  5. Violent video games. Do they earn top scores for shooting storm troopers?
  6. Weapons of any kind in the house. If they don’t have them, they can’t use them.
  7. Stunted emotional growth. Are they pushing forty and still walking around like an angry mime on a weeknight at 3:00 AM?
  8. Reactions to being raised in a strict belief system. Are they just doing it as an act of rebellion or is it something else?
  9. Deliberately misconstruing humorous comments. Can’t take a joke.
  10. Secretive behavior. Telling associates not to gossip about them.

On to other business

October’s SDForum Emerging Technology SIG talked about new business opportunities leveraging web APIs. Scott Irwin from El Dorado Ventures moderated the panel. It consisted of Adam Trachtenberg of E-Bay, Chris DiBona of Google APIs, Jeff Barr of Amazon Web Services, Robert Goldberg of IdeaLab, Toni Schneider of Yahoo APIs, John Rodkin, CEO of F2 (a new startup using Web APIs). One thing they could agree on was the coming November 8th meeting about Grease Monkey. When all these people agree about something it is worth looking into at

William H. Draper III, Managing Director of Draper Richards, L.P. talked about his experiences in venture capital in India. Draper chose to invest in India over China for its democracy and rule of law. English speaking India had an advantage in developing software. Draper then rounded up the funds and found local partners to run the business. After six years they were able to return 16 times their original investment. Amazing as that was, Draper regrets not investing more in Infosys, which performed even better. He thinks India’s long-term growth depends on new infrastructure funded by an income tax.

If you want to know more about high finance, STC has a workshop in Santa Clara on Saturday November 5, 2005 from 1- 5 PM. called What Technical Communicators Need To Know About Financial Accounting. Marie Highby, co-founder of 2Mules, former STC treasurer and chapter president, will talk about the language of business and how to interact with upper management on a professional level. To register, go to

DJ Cline Commentary 10-30-05
Copyright 2005 All rights reserved.