Saturday, January 31, 2009

Let me re-introduce myself: I'm a poisonous character spreading false rumours.

Went looking for Boycott Novell tonight to see what Libelous Ranger Roy Schestowitz was writing about and found this when I hit the URL:


Technical difficulties? Really?!?!? Who'd of thought such a blazing beacon of truth would be taken down by something as mundane as "technical difficulties"?

It appears that the hosting site, Net-Profits.com, is still up and running with a three-month-old site status posting:
The website is under development for the New Net-Prophets.com, focusing on being an incubator for Open Source and Free Software projects and websites.
Whatever that means.

The only decent live link seems to be to EDU-Nix.org, the open source educational distro produced and managed by Shane Coyle. That's right, the same Shane Coyle who helped to co-found Boycott Novell, and whose name was taken off the Boycott Novell masthead leaving just Little Roy Schestowitz and his venomous hate-filled screed against anyone and anything that crossed his path or dared to speak out against him and his personal crusade.

I hope it's gone. But I'm afraid it isn't, and that it'll just turn up somewhere else in an even more poisonous and virulent form.

Update

No sooner did I post this and check yet again just to make absolutely sure BN was gone, than the site re-appeared in all it's fabulous glory. Little Roy Schestowitz is back as you can see below.



Oh well.

Update 2 (Feb 1)

More "technical difficulties" for Boycott Novell. Apparently someone is trying to migrate to Wordpress. And left the front door unlocked, so to speak. Lets have some fun, shall we?







Ah. Database connectivity issues. Too bad, so sad. Well, here's hoping that whomever is responsible for this most-public mess can clean it up. Wouldn't want to deprive the world of the glorious truths unearthed by the tireless investigative efforts of Boycott Novell, now would we?

Update 3

We still have our little database issues, don't we?


Perhaps this might help?



Update 4

I changed the title of the post based on this little nugget buried in Little Roy Schestowitz's blog [sic]:
We were not able to cope with the load yesterday and the server/account needed to be downed for several hours. We did use distributed cache, but this was not enough. The server received more requests than it could cope with.

This is worth pointing out because poisonous characters spread false rumours and accusations w.r.t. reasons of downtime.
I guess his hand-me-down Speccy finally broke down for good. Or maybe it's just good old fashioned operator incompetence. You know, the kind that produces outrageously false reporting and libelous editorializing.

Update 5 (Feb 2, As Our Melodrama Unfolds...)

As we return to Boycott Novell, we find Little Roy Schestowitz lamenting his Job-like trials at the hands of the cruel Internets Fates. Shane Coyle, original co-founder and former masthead resident, deigns to drop a few pearls of wisdom into the midst of Schestowitz's suffering and lamentations. Oh, how delightfully catty!
(SHANE - since I can’t comment)

Well, I have reseller-level access, so if there is something you cannot do in your login, let me know. As far as a solution, besides caching and taking the load off of mysql to serve the same page over and over again during a slashdotting, if you want to move the site to another host it’s fine by me - that would solve the whole ads problem, too.
Yes Little Roy Schestowitz, don't let the door hit you on your fanny on the way out.

Final Update (Feb 2)

I guess I should have grabbed a screen capture and posted it here. Little Roy has managed to clean off all comments regarding his upgrade, including Shane's. The only record of Little Roy's debacle is what's here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Before Palin there was Quayle

My eldest wrote an interesting post about Sarah Palin (a link to her blog is to the right). Dan Quayle was George H. W. Bush's VP from 1989 to 1993, back when Lauran was just a wee tot. During that period he became known more for his speaking gaffs than for just about anything else.

Snopes has an interesting collection of some of his more notable and interesting sayings, while trying to weed out the inaccurate cruft attributed to him. I'll let you follow the link to read some of them.

If there is one moment for which Dan Quayle will be remembered, it has to be the vice presidential debate with a rather senior Lloyd Bentsen, in which Dan Quayle was trying to make the point that he had as much Congressional experience at the time as John Kennedy when JFK ran for president. In rebuttal Lloyd Bentsen replied "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

Which, depending on your political bent, you can consider as either an asset or a liability.

American politics have moved beyond the current Republican zeitgeist . In fact an argument could be made that American politics have simultaneously moved beyond the current Democratic zeitgeist as well, Barack Obama not withstanding. Whether the Democrats remain in power remains to be seen; it's their game to loose. And we Democrats have a nasty habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Watching Orlando Unravel 4

Circuit City Going Out Of BusinessI lead off this time with the sign of the times, a going-out-of-business sign for Circuit City. I shot this on the way home from the airport on MLK Day. It's now been a week since they declared liquidation, and during that period I've managed to visit the three remaining locations in Orlando that I'm aware of (downtown Colonial Drive, Mall at Millenia, and across from Florida Mall, where this was taken).

The store at Florida Mall is the oldest I know of. It was in business when I used to take the then-little girls to eat at Olive Garden, some 18 years ago. I remember the interior was low-key and aimed at selling luxury electronic systems at prices I could ill afford at the time. My taste in gear ran more towards what I could afford at Sears, K-Mart, and Walmart. Circut City was just way out of my league.

But as time passed I gained in earning power and Circuit City transformed itself from a high-end retailer to yet another big-box mover of electronic goods. That's when BestBuy began to move into Orlando, and my three low-end electronic retailers were moving up-scale to better quality gear.

And I think that's what really did Circuit City in. Some point to when Circuit City fired it's best-paid salespeople, and I'm sure that contributed to the decline and fall of Circuit City. But the growing competition and overall decline were already evident when that disastrous decision was made. Firing the really help only hastened the eventual demise of Circuit City.

Circuit City Florida Mall
Not much traffic fills the Florida Mall Circuit City parking lot. Probably because the prices within are a joke compared to what you can get elsewhere, even at 30% off.

As Judy and I drove through the parking lot I discovered more empty store fronts
Empty Store Fronts Florida Mall
A strip mall across the street from Florida Mall in the same complex with Circuit City. The store on the left was an Allstate. Whether it was for insurance or something else I don't know; the only reason I know it was an Allstate is because the company logo was still up on the wall inside. The store on the right was once a Big and Tall Men's shop.

Empty Store Front Florida Mall
Same strip mall, corner store. It was a former Chicken Kitchen.

Sound Advice Gone
This Sound Advice is empty and locked and also located across the street from Florida Mall. Sound Advice was once owned by the same owners of HiFi Buys, Tweeter Home Entertainment Group.

Volvo Truck Sales Gone
This was across the street from Sound Advice and next to Florida Mall. This former dealership covers 4.5 acres and was closed some time in July 2008.

17-92, where Florida Mall is located, runs parallel to John Young Parkway. These next few pictures are from John Young.
Another Empty Office Park
This office park was on John Young Parkway, across the street from a Super Walmart. I have no idea how long it's been finished and sitting empty, but it was started January 2008. This was the first of two. I choose not to shoot the second because it would be pointless.

And finally, something much closer to home. Located at the T-junction of Wallace Road and Turkey Lake, across from Universal Studios.

Sign of the times
Another empty office complex
An interior view on the first floor.

And then just down the road on Turkey Lake next to the latest Walmart to be thrown up.

More empty buildings
More empty buildings

I'll probably continue to document (shoot) and post on Flickr. But unless something really interesting/spectacularly horrible happens this will be the last of this type of article for a while. I need to focus on the bigger picture, the people. These out-of-business/empty buildings underscore all the people who don't have a job, or those particular jobs. What's happened to them? What are they doing? How are they making a living/

I ask this question because of the following personal observation from my daily work commute. To get to work I drive up I-4 and then take the 408 east to the UCF/Research Park area. I used to hate driving up I-4 because of the really heavy stop-and-go morning traffic. But since December, and especially since school started back, the traffic has been much thinner, and as a consequence, much faster. The only time in the past it got that thin was during holidays and the summer break. Where are the extra people now? Are they out of work and staying at home collecting unemployment? Or did they move out of Orlando? Or some combination there-of?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Honda Insight

Earlier in January I read an article about the upcoming re-launch of the Honda Insight on Wired. According to the article, the Insight turned in some pretty impressive mileage numbers in real world driving:
During a day behind the wheel last month, we managed an impressive 42.4 mpg without even trying. When we pushed the Econ Mode button and used Eco Assist to mind our hypermiling P's and Q's, the Insight returned an amazing 65.6 mpg. That's on par with the best figures we've seen from the Prius.
That's all I needed.

So the wife and I drove down to a local Honda dealership on Highway 50 and I put a deposit down on an Insight, even though they won't be released until late April at the earliest. That's due, in part, to Honda promising that a base-line Insight will cost $18,000, which in this day and time is actually pretty darn cheap for a hybrid, especially compared to the Toyota Prius. Of course, Toyota announced that the 2010 Prius, which will also be released in late April, will now get 50 miles/gallon. I have no idea about the price, except to say that it's probably as high as the earlier models, which in the Orlando area seems to run from $25,000 to $29,000. Ouch.

My wife and I want to purchase a hybrid for the following reasons:
  • Gas last summer (2008) was above $4/gallon, and we firmly believe it will return to that same price if not higher in the very near future;
  • We both believe that foreign dependence on oil is crippling America economically and strategically;
  • We actually believe in global warming and want to do our part to help correct it.
I've owned Hondas in the past. My first was a silver 1978 Honda Civic CVCC and my second was a tan 1982 Honda Civic. I put 120,000 miles on both driving around the Atlanta metro area. When I got married we traded up our small cars (she had the very first Nissan Sentra, a 1982 model) for larger Nissan vans, and we haven't own Hondas since. I suppose I should perform the patriotic act and Buy American, but I can't wait until late 2010 for the Chevy Volt, and equivalent Fords are $9,000 (and more) higher than the Insight. And Chrysler... don't make me laugh. So I'll buy an import to get what I, this country, and the world needs at a price I can afford, and move on.

Of course, if we had a real mass-transit system in Orlando then I'd forgo another car and just ride it instead of communting, but our mass-transit plans are so bogged down in local and state politics that it's enough to make you cry.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

Call me sacrilegious, but today's swearing in was overdue and overblown. Yes, I voted for the man. I still have his fading bumper sticker on the back of my paid-for six-year-old Kia Sorento (my wife has that one and the even more faded Kerry/Edwards campaign bumper sticker on the back of her van, which she has refused to take off as long as Bush was in office).

My problem is over-exposure to Barack Obama. From the day he was elected there's been a steady drum-beat of Obama this and Obama that, from his cabinet appointees (six of which were confirmed today) to his evolving policies on the economy and the related stimulus package. I'm suffering from Obama Fatigue, and it's time to turn all of this off.

The best way to do that is for President Obama to hit the ground running and immediately start to work on the staggeringly difficult issues that former President Bush has left behind, both here and abroad. Lord knows the new President's got his hands full.

There will unfortunately be no gentle honeymoon with a new president this time. There's too much to do, too much to correct, too much at stake. I think President Obama certainly appreciates what he's inherited, but I don't think he will every fully appreciate the depth and breadth of the problems he's inherited. I don't think any of us do. I believe it's going to get a lot worse for a lot longer than any of us realize. It's going to take a lot of work, sacrifice, and prayer to solve our problems. It's going to have to start now.

Lord help us all.

Monday, January 19, 2009

You Really Can't Go Home Again

I traveled up to see my parents and family in Atlanta (north-east in Lilburn, actually) over the weekend. Sunday I went out to lunch with them at a Longhorn Steakhouse on Killian Hill Rd. On the way to the restaurant I noticed closed stores just like I'd noticed in Orlando. My family told me that there were empty stores all over the Atlanta area just like the Orlando area. After lunch we stopped off by a Barnes and Nobel on Pleasant Hill Road (we're a family of readers), and when we'd finished we went across the street to Gwinnett Station Shopping Center.

Starting from there and moving south-east towards I-85 I saw darkened store after store, as well as a number that were in the process of going out of business. Stores that ranged from Office Max, Kroger, and Circuit City to smaller businesses such as Sam Goodys and Hobby Lobby now stand closed and dark over empty parking lots. Only one former business, a CompUSA store, found new life as a Salvation Army.

Target (Pleasant Hill Road)
Main entrance into Gwinnett Station looking down towards the empty former Office Max.

Rio Bravo (Pleasant Hill Road)
Former Rio Bravo.

Kroger (Pleasant Hill Road)
Former Kroger.

CompUSA (Venture Pkwy)
Former CompUSA, now Salvation Army. A little bit of irony in that I suppose.

Another Dead Circuit Center (Venture Dr)
Yet another dead and empty Circuit City.

Rolling Sign of the Times (Venture Dr)
A rolling sign of the times.

Hobby Lobby (Venture Dr)
Former Hobby Lobby.

Barbecues Galore (Venture Dr)
Former Barbeques Galore.

HiFi Buys (Venture Dr)
Former HiFi Buys.

Sam Goodys (Venture Dr)
Former Sam Goodys.

All of these were shot in a 30 minute period. I could have go on and on, but got so depressed I stopped. All of this within five to ten minutes of Gwinnett Place. I suppose if I'd had the time and truly morbid curiosity I'd have walked through there just to check out its economic health. But it was growing late and I had better things to do with my limited time; I wanted to spend as much as I could with my family.

I moved to Florida in 1984 right after I got married and I've lived in Orlando ever since. I've been back to Atlanta far too infrequently, and every time I went back it was to see more and more suburban sprawl spreading over once wooded landscape, or old places I knew when I grew up in Atlanta torn down and built back over with 'something better'. Now it all is slowly dying during this particularly bad economic recession. And I can only see it get worse.

They say misery loves company, but this is far more chilling than comforting. And I can only see it getting worse.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Watching Orlando Unravel 3

We now move from the south-west side of Orlando to the east near the University of Central Florida. There are a lot of defense contractors in the area as well as the university.

The following group are located on University Blvd, the main drag leading to UCF.

Bennigan's Grill & Tavern UCF
One of the many corporate-owned Bennigan's stores (now empty) from the collapse of the company in June 2008.

Chicken Lickin's UCF
This used to be a Kentucky Fried Chicken until September 2008. Then it shut down and remained empty until late December. It's now 'evolved' into a Chicken Lickin's franchise store.

Krispy Kreme UCF 3
Shut down 2008. What is surprising about this (and others near UCF) is that they went out of business at all. This area also includes Research Park, and companies such as SAIC, Northrup Grumman, General Dynamics, PEO-STRI... In other words lots of students and lots of highly-paid engineers.

Fazoli's UCF
A dead Fazoli's. According to the sign on the window the store moved to a new site in Oviedo. This store closed sometime around mid-2008.

Chevron UCF
I have no idea when this store finally shut down, except it was some time in 2008. And then they came in and knocked everything down, leaving this lone sign to mark its passing. This is on the corner of University and North Alafaya, right across from the main entrance to the University of Central Florida (UCF).

This next group is back on my side of town near Millenia.

Millenia Plaza 1
An unknown store (i.e. I don't know what was there), now sitting empty. This is in the general area of the Mall of Millenia.

Linens 'n Things MP 1
A rather large former Linens 'n Things store standing empty in the same block as Millenia Plaza 1 and 2. Linens 'n Things declared bankruptcy in May 2008. This store was one of the first to be shut down around the country.

Another Dead Quiznos
Another dead Quiznos across the street from The Marketplace, on the east corner of Dr. Phillips Blvd and West Sandlake Road. I used to stop off here on the weekends when I was out running errands.

Realty Executives No More
Another dead realty office, another victim of the housing bubble bursting.

Whole Foods 1
They built a relatively small shopping center on the south-east corner of the intersection of Turkey Lake and West Sand Lake. The anchor store is a Whole Foods that opened June of 2008. These three store fronts are part that shopping center, at one of the entrances off of Turkey Lake. They remain unfinished and unfilled.

Whole Foods 2
At the same entrance but on the other side. This is actually the back side of this building. Walk around to the front and the only business in this block is a small sushi restaurant on one corner.

(Nearly) Empty Monument
The largest building I've found to date that is for the most part unoccupied. Built over a heavily wooded lot, it was finished mid-2008. Walk around the base of the building and nearly every window has a sign declaring space to rent. Located at the north-east corner of the intersection of Turkey Lake and Conroy Windermere.

Unaffordable Conspicuous Consumption
This lot of very expensive recreational vehicles used to be filled with plain old automobiles. I have no idea when it switched, but I believe it was within the last 12 months. I was completely blown away by the large number of very expensive RVs that now fill the lot. The sign on the front of the lot says "USED RV LIQUIDATORS - Retail RVs at Wholesale Prices."

If you say so.

If you have to ask how much...
This little number, originally priced at $537,900, has been marked down to the low, low price of $399,099! Take it home with you today! Or better yet, buy a real house with that much money.

And now, back to the east side of Orlando...

Big Empty Office Park
A Big Empty Office Park located right next to Lockheed Martin on Lake Underhill, between a high school and a Harley Davidson dealership. There appears to be just one 'major' tenant, an Elegance Salon and Spa, and one very little business tucked into a much smaller back corner office.

Another Dead Donatos
Another dead Donatos by the side of the road. This one is just a block down the street from the Big Empty Office Park. It's a matching bookend to the dead Donatos on my side of town.

Five Guys, formerly Johnny Rockets
Located at Waterford Lakes Town Center on North Alafaya Trail and the 408. This used to be a Johnny Rockets. Johnny Rockets is an "international" franchising chain of hamburger joints with a 50's styling that just sorta died. I'm not sure the economy did them in or if it was their bland food. In any event Five Guys, another up and coming hamburger chain selling heart-bursting cholesterol burgers moved in recently. If you go to www.johnnyrockets.com, you'll see an example eatery and note that all Five Guys did was slap their signage on the JR building.

Asphalt Wasteland UCF
An Asphalt Wasteland standing on the south-east corner of Corporate Blvd and North Alafaya Trail. It's little more than a large parking lot with shops on two sides where once a heavily wooded lot existed. There are very few tenants, such as a College Book and Supply and, oddly enough, a new Quizno's Subs.