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Archive for April, 2009

Point State Park Fountain Face Lift and Museum

April 30, 2009 Leave a comment

sbwnewsitemBesides Kaufman’s, one of the biggest things I remember about going into Downtown Pittsburgh when I was a child was the fountain. It was always on, and swaying in the wind. Lately the colorful lighting has been flickering and it’s not even on yet.

The reason? The years old electrical systems are going bad, and need replaced … and it is scheduled for a face lift of sorts. Click Here to read the article by Don Hopey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. This will be a nice to see it working back in full force in a few years so future generations can enjoy it also.

Another thing I remember (more from school trips than my own) about the city and Point Park is The Fort Pitt Museum. It will close on June 30, 2009 if the decision is not reversed due to the state dropping funding. Please go to Save Fort Pitt NOW web site and read up. This is a major part of displaying the history of Pittsburgh, and very important at that. It’s also a major tourist attraction that brings visitors into the city. Do what you can to keep it open. There is a public hearing on May 14th.

-SWB

PS – We didn’t forget our fountain …. we don’t want to forget our history either.

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America’s Unsecure Security

April 29, 2009 Leave a comment

swbbreaking1After popping on BBC News Online and reading the latest article on America’s cyber-security, I now feel like my four year old Linksys cable router is light-years head of anything our federal government currently using. Remember, our government contains all of the organizations storing your deepest personal information logged. Even some you may not know about. Some of their security technology is years behind what even mom and pop shops are required by the same government to have in place now. I’m sensing irony here too.

That’s sad.

The SANS Institute referred to it as “embarrassing”.

Working for larger companies I can see how that happened (since our government tends to work as one). Cutting edge and the best is not always necessary, whatever has the most pizzaz and flair making the execs look cool is usually what is chosen.
Why has this never come to light? Mainly because major high profile breaches have only come to light presently. Anything in the last few years from information being stolen from government issued, but insecure laptops to plans being hacked for military designs have occurred.

Click Here for a detailed reference article by Maggie Shiels, Silicon Valley BBC reporter.

-SWB

PS – We’ve come along way from Wargames level hacking. Maybe the Feds should watch that 1980s movie again – what is happening today is like seeing a replay of that flick.

Alert – Swine Flu Scams

April 29, 2009 Leave a comment

sbwfyiseriousLike they say – “When opportunity knocks with sickness and despair, scam as many as you can”.

The Swine Flu came in quick, and the scammers will be right behind in preying on those that are scared and easily taken advantage of. Sadly, you no longer even have to wait for the headlines in the news media to know that the sick and twisted people that make up the scamming society will jump to full force in the situation the world is now experiencing with the outbreak.

Egypt had ordered all pigs slaughters, and other countries are taking anything from normal to extreme measures to protect themselves also.  That means there is going to be enough hurt going on give everyone a fill … and sadly the scammers will do their best to add more to it. So, take a few minutes to tell your elderly friends, parents, family members to be on the watch for fake scams concerning the Swine Flu.

Click Here for a good reference article as seen on WPXI Pittsburgh on the warning that the BBB has issued on the oncoming scams.  Click Here for a reference article from the Associated Press medical writer Lauran Neergaard as it appears on Yahoo!.

-SWB

PS – It’s amazing the resilience that scammers have … if business in general had half that resilience failure would probably never happen. Of course, then again you’d have to give up ethics, morals, etc … oh, wait .. I think that’s happening anyway.  Be careful, scammers have no worries as to who they hurt.

Defect! Defect! Specter Defect!

April 29, 2009 1 comment

sbwnewsitemWhat do you do when you are in a political party that is failing heavily in the “we like you polls”? The same thing citizens do from other countries do when their country is falling apart. Defect.

Specter will be running in 2010 as a Democrat.

Whether you agree with Senator Specter, think he is doing it to keep his career (think about how many times you’ve kissed the boss’s behind to keep your job before criticizing him on that one), or believe he is a traitor to his original party … you have to give him credit for at least following though. Think about it – high profile politicians usually don’t have the guts to do anything way off the standard from their current party for total fear of career suicide. If he is following through on this major event, he may actually follow through with other promises – something different in comparison to the “normal” American politician.

Is SWB a fan of Senator Specter … no. He hasn’t helped us get any of the “citizen reporter stimulus money” either. Our real point is with his positions on various political bullet points, it really doesn’t matter what party he is in. He doesn’t really 100% fit in with the republicans, nor the democrats, and he definitely isn’t an independent. I think sometimes he may end up being a little like the “Charlie Brown” of the political scene. If he isn’t now, he probably will be after the republicans are done with him.

On a side point: Do you think if the Republican Party stops the massive, ear splitting in-fighting, people might take them seriously again? People don’t take advice, nor follow leaders whose house is in greater disarray than theirs. Thus the saying, “Clean up your house before telling me how to clean up mine.” Senator Specter might be the sign of an exodus starting within the Republican party.

For those that want the story from the legitimate press, Click Here for a piece on Senator Specter by Mike Wereschagin of The Tribune-Review.

-SWB

PS – Quotes from Britney Spears always tend to make me think of the Republican Party. “Oops, I did it again” seems to apply here.

BTW – We are in no way against The Republic Party… actually if you look at some of the earlier history of the party, it tends to be pretty solid. SWB just feels the party needs a good soaking in Oxyclean at this time in their life.

NYC Photo Op Fly By

April 28, 2009 Leave a comment

cluelesstrophySo what do you to to push NYC residents already on edge when a plane flies lower than 30,000 feet?

You fly one very large plane below 2000 feet with an Air Force fighter in tow – and you only tell a few people, excluding the mayor (he’s not that important), and the actual residents of NYC.

It doesn’t take much common sense to figure out that even thought it has been over five years, New Yorkers are still going to be a little touchy when they see a low flying plane, even if it is Air Force One. Not telling the people of New York risked their safety by possibly triggering a mass exodus by the residents and workers. Why would you even chance that? In more one news report it was stated that the people that were informed were told to not notify the residents of NYC. I’m thinking Mr. Louis Caldera may not be having a job soon.

Anyway … Mr. Caldera gets the latest “Clueless” award, and Click Here to read The Oval’s take on it.

-SWB

PS – It’s a bird … it’s a plane … it’s and idiot doing a photo-op.

Coach Bylsma now on full time

April 28, 2009 1 comment

swbkudosKudos and congratulations to Coach Bylsma!

The Penguins moved Bylsma off the interim list and into full time. Considering how he has turned the team around in such a short time, he deserves it.

Click Here to read the Tribune-Review article on the announced upgrade for the coach. It also has some links to other Penguins articles. Although we originally posted concern about The Penguins rushing to switch coaches, we applaud Coach Bylsma for stepping up to the plate with his “A game” and moving forward proving his worth to the team. He gave a clear answer to the challenge he was given and didn’t step down nor stutter.

-SWB

PS – Maybe he can work with the Pirates in the off-season?

Typos In the Press

April 28, 2009 1 comment

swbtherantfilesI have to thank on of my readers for alerting my to typos in my review of Art All Night.  I actually have to thank him more for giving me a subject to rant about this morning.

Now, typos in blogs (unless it’s really extreme) I tend to blow off, simply because when I read a blog, I don’t want it to seem perfect and sanitary.  If I wanted that I’d read a newspaper … well, OK, maybe I would have read a newspaper a few years ago.  These days the press just isn’t the same.  When I used to read an article in a paper like The Pittsburgh Press (yes, I’m showing my age), no matter the writer or subject, you could tell the lengths they went through to “get it right” before going to press.  Things changed after  while, and content in newspapers went from award winning journalism to content based on gaining readership.  Today, with most papers online, it has more to do with how fast it can get to your screen or iPhone.

Thus, the typo is more prevalent than ever.  A few weeks ago when I caught five typos on simple words in an article I decided to go through a few of my articles.  I discovered that on average ten of my article had less typos than ten of the articles found in a major online newspaper.  Now, considering I only give my articles a quick once-over, I thought the fact that I did better on typos (I write mostly on a netbook, so consider that too) than a major paper where the journalists actually get paid was fairly sad.  Granted, you have technical issues with electronic publishing when you have hundreds of people editing and publishing at the same time.  The system can “burp” and not use the article you thought it did, etc.  That doesn’t excuse that you can now find more typos and grammatical errors (some of mine are done for effect … major newspapers usually don’t use that technique) in daily articles appearing in online and sometimes print publications.  I’m assuming journalism schools are now skipping spelling and keyboarding and have switched over to teaching texting and thumbing.
-SWB

PS – Paul, thanks for giving me the rant article idea for this morning … you deserve some credit for the contribution.  BTW … contrary to popular belief, I’m not picking on Paul, but actually thanking him. I think I left some typos in this article just so I can look as good a the paid writers 🙂