Friday, December 30, 2005

Vid Review: This is the most disturbing thing I've ever seen....

You need to see this video! It has been around for a year or so and has been rated by CNN as the #1 funniest video clip in 2005. The main character: Gary Brolsma. He lives in New Jersey and when he is bored, he likes to dance...and on this video, dance he did.

Thanks Anderson Cooper for showing this on CNN. It made my day, I couldn't stop laughing.

Click here to access it:

Thursday, December 29, 2005

I can see you...

Have you ever typed your name on Google and just see what comes up? Try it. You'll be surprised of what you find online. What might also be surprising is how many people are looking you up! This month, I had a higher than usual number of people looking for me on the Internet. Yes, I know who you are...

Surprise surprise, I can see you and your Internet activity...and you thought I was just watching you at work. []
Date/Time: Dec 29th, 2005, 10:57:18 AM EST
Type of Computer: Apple, Mac OS X, Safari browser
Comments: During my tenure at CallTech, I've set a no surfing policy for large projects. Stop surfing! I'm surprised you got through without being seen by a supervisor on Remote Desktop. []
Date/Time: Dec 27th, 2005 6:29:04 PM EST
Type of Computer: Apple, Mac OS X, Safari browser
Comments: Same guy, different day. []
Date/Time: Dec 24th, 2005 7:51:13 PM EST
Type of Computer: Windows XP/2000, Internet Explorer 6.0
Comments: Probably old CallTech pals that's now working for Sony. []
Date/Time: Dec 22th, 2005 9:28:40 PM EST
Type of Computer: Apple, Mac OS X, Safari browser
Comments: Now am I really that interesting? This is the second time in one day. []
Date/Time: Dec 22th, 2005 6:12:12 PM EST
Type of Computer: Apple, Mac OS X, Safari browser
Comments: First time this guy searched me on Google was on Dec 22nd. Looked at other sites too. []
Date/Time: Dec 11th, 2005, 9:23:59 AM EST
Type of Computer: Windows XP, Firefox browser
Comments: An acquintance from Tallahassee, FL. Probably bored on a Sunday morning...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Artist Review: Black Eyed Peas

Have you ever heard of Black Eyed Peas (BEP)? I haven't either until my wife introduced me to it tonight. She let me listen to "the APL Song" from their Elephunk album (ASIN: B00029LNHS). A great song based on the true life story of Allan Pineda Lindo, one of the main singers for BEP.

The song hit home because some of the themes were strikingly similar to my childhood story. Read the San Francisco Chronicle's take on the song and try to figure out how it relates to me:

1988. Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines. On a sultry summer day typical of the tropical Philippines, Allan Pineda Lindo [APL] left his rural home to join his new adoptive family in the United States.

He was just 14 years old then, the half-black, half-Filipino son of a U.S. soldier who had returned home before he was born, a teen making a solo journey from Angeles City to the City of Angels in California. He remembers his pangs of loneliness at leaving behind his mother and brother, and his stark terror at going from an environment he calls "very country -- all farms and water buffaloes" to the smog-filled streets of Los Angeles......He'd written that song from the heart. It was about his home, and it was dedicated to his brother, who'd committed suicide just two years ago."

The song reminded me of my past

I moved from the Philippines to the US in the early 90's and felt the same awkwardness and culture shock as described in the lyrics. The difference was incredible, in my old country, everyone helped each other out, everyone knew each other in the neighborhood and then some. There were no class differences because almost everyone was poor! When we celebrated holidays, everyone shared food and opened their homes, and people were constantly singing. Despite the financial difficulties families were facing -- people were happy and content. This is largely due to the families that helped each other and formed a real community.

The poor who are happy

It is a great paradox, that people who are poor can be very joyful. In 2003, I went with my best friend Howard and we toured my home country. He almost was brought to tears as he saw the rural areas of the Philippines. Houses made out of straws and wood, with kids having barely anything -- yet out of it all, they were all smiling and playing games, and singing songs.

Without further adue

So here's the lyrics, check out and if you like it, buy it. You can hear part of the song through for free (ASIN: B00029LNHS).

[Chorus in Tagalog]
Lapit mga kaibigan at makinig kayo
Ako'y may dala-dalang, balita galing sa bayan ko
Nais kong ipamahagi ang mga kwento
Ang mga pangyayaring nagaganap
Sa lupang pinangako

[English Translation:]
(Come closer my friends and everyone listen
I brought news from my homeland
I'll tell you how we live and what goes on
From my beloved homeland.)

[Verse one, Apl.De.Ap]
Every place got a ghetto this is my version
Check it out...
Listen closely yo, I got a story to tell
A version of my ghetto where life felt for real
Some would call it hell but to me it was heaven
God gave me the grace, amazin' ways of living
How would you feel if you had to catch your meal?
Build a hut to live and to eat and chill in.
Having to pump the water outta the ground
The way we put it down utilizing what is around
Like land for farming, river for fishing
Everyone helpin' each other whenever they can
We makin' it happen, from nothin' to somethin'
That's how we be survivin' back in my homeland


[Verse two, Apl.De.Ap]
Yo, its been a while but...
I been back home to my homeland, (check it out) to see what's going on
Man it feels good to be back at home
And it's been a decade, on the journey all alone
I was fourteen when I first left Philippines
I've been away half my life, but it felt like a day
To be next to my mom with her home cooked meal
Meant I felt complete, my emotions I feel!
Now life has changed for me in the U.S
But back at home man, life was a mess...
I guess sometimes life's stresses gets you down
On your knees, oh brother I wish I could have helped you out...


Monday, December 26, 2005

Stupid Question of the Day: How do you make propane?

Stupid Question of the Day is a new feature in this site. It's usually when I don't know an answer and I look it up or someone else asks me the question and I look it up for them.

QUESTION: Where does propane come from or do we make it?
ANSWER: It is both natural and manufactured. In the United States, 53% is from natural gas production and 47% is from refining crude oil. It is considered to be environmentally friendly and is naturally odorless; however, manufacturers add an odor so it can be easily detected.

A lesson to learn from Babe Ruth

In 1920, the Boston Red Sox traded Babe Ruth because the owner, Harry Frazee, needed the money to invest in a Broadway play for his girlfriend. Before the trade, they won four World Series with Babe Ruth but after the trade, it took them nearly 84 years before they could win again.

The new employer of Ruth were the Yankees, who has never won a single World Series championship before the trade. But after 1920, they hold a record 26 championships. This is why Sox fans call it the curse of the Bambino, because when they gave up a loyal player of the game, everything fell apart.

Far reaching than baseball games

The lesson to be learned here is to recognize the value of the employee and to recognize what they could be down the road. Trading employees for short term value to increase profits, or for political plays could end up being a disasterous decision. I'm not advocating keeping non-performers; Babe Ruth was certainly performing throughout his career with the Red Sox. But yet he was still traded for short term gain and his potential was not at all developed by the Sox organization.

Babe Ruth was a sleeping giant

As a pitcher for the Sox, Ruth was a good performer. But he is not known for pitching, he is known for home runs. The change of attitude, adaptation of skill and his continuous attempt to improve earned him a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame. I personally believe because he was rejected by the Sox, that he was further motivated to push harder and the silent skilled giant awoke. The Red Sox organization didn't recognize this, but you better bet, the Yankees definitely said thank you.

"Don't let the fear of striking out hold you back." --Babe Ruth

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas - and the reason why

Christ is the reason for Christmas. There is no if's and but's about it. Politically correct or not, culturally respectful or not, 96% of Americans celebrate Christmas in one form or another.

Christmas is the symbolic day that Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Messiah was born on earth. Some have highlighted the pagan origins of December holidays and that Christ was born probably more towards the spring time; however, recent theological work shows there's legitimate reasons for December 25th as the time to celebrate Christ's birthday.

Why should Christ's birth celebration be a controversy? Historically, Christ existed according to historians like Josephus. His themes of giving, self-sacrifice, and love transcends throughout any culture, race, religion, or barrier. He has influenced the world, dare I say, than anyone else.

Christianity recognizes Him as God. Islam recognizes Him as a prophet. Buddhist considers Him as a good teacher and the Jews consider Him a rabbi. It should be a compliment when I say Merry Christmas. That means I'm hoping that you and your family will enjoy a warm spirit of love, giving, and self-sacrifice this season. And these characteristics are definitely politically correct and culturally respected...

Merry Christmas! -Don Sausa

Friday, December 23, 2005

Kids, if you're late to school - you & your parents go to court

Yes, that headline is correct! In Colorado's Pueblo county, a growing number of administrators and others in School District 60 is so fed up with students playing hooky, that they are requiring lazy students and their parents to go to court if they have more than four tardies in a month (or 10 in a school year).

District studies show that their efforts in getting their lazy students to class is paying off. Students have shown a remarkable improvement in grades from F's to C's in math and reading since this program was started.

Kudos to the school administrators! Let no child be left behind...otherwise, they'll bring you to court!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Is a 4 year college degree still important for a career?

Some have asked me in the past what is the purpose of a 4 year college education when you can find jobs without having a degree or with an associates. The true answer to this question is dependent on your career path.

For instance, all states require specific 4+ year degrees before you can become a doctor or a lawyer. In these cases, the answer is yes, you need a 4 year college degree and it is still relevant.

In industries and areas that are not under any state regulation or board licensing, there is a growing number of individuals landing medium-to-high paying salary jobs without college degrees. From customer service to computer science, more and more "degreeless" professionals are increasing in numbers. According to CareerJournal, an associates degree for registered nursing can earn you roughly $48k annually. Additionally, plumbers, sales reps, electricians, and law enforcement also are in the mid $40's.

Why are the national averages so high for these "degreeless" jobs? It's because the people that have bachelor's degrees above the age of 25 only account for 27% of Americans. That means there is still a tremendous opportunity to grow and definitely take advantage of the shortage of graduates.

Success can be found without a 4 year degree and it can be done through your work experience and your work ethic.

Some tips:
1. To gain experience, work for a company in your field and act as an intern or volunteer.
2. Beef up your resume.
3. Get good references.
4. Show a willingness to work.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

How a union shut down New York City

The Transport Workers Union in New York City has ordered a strike for a second day in a row causing havoc on the city's transportation system. The strike is leaving people stranded, having to fend for themselves for a way to work and to go back home. KRT Wire polled a few people regarding their feelings towards the strike. "I'm disgusted," said Sandra Picon, a hospital clerk from Queens. The union "used New York people as a pawn," Picon added.

Unions once had a great benefit to the average American worker when labor laws and protections weren't in place; however, now labor unions are starting to threaten the average American worker. Transportation strikes only cause more harm than good, with an estimated loss of revenue from businesses at a staggering $400 million/day. That's right, each and every day they are on strike, New York citizens and businesses are hurting financially.

Corporations, and organizations that have abusive union challenges are hurting. Take a look at Delta or GM, both companies have been considered market leaders in their specific sectors eons ago are now considered junk stocks or junk bonds due to partly their problems with their unions. While profits and margins continue to shrink due to external factors such as oil prices, the cost of pensions and other benefits continue to rise, which in turn brings a business on a road to bankruptcy. Businesses like GM or Delta can't change their policies to adjust for the costs because they have to negotiate each and every penny with the union.

Avoid job loss and avoid $400mil/day losses by avoiding abusive unions.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Governor Schwarzenegger - Tookie Williams Must Die!

On November 30th I sent Governor Schwarzenegger of CA my opinion regarding Tookie Williams. Because he stated he is innocent despite overwhelming evidence, and because he killed four people in cold blood even as they begged for their lives, I soundly believe Tookie should pay for his crimes. If he can resurrect the victims and repay the emotional toils of the family, then we can pardon him.

Governor -- Deliver a message to all criminals, Hollywood stars, gangsters, and rappers that want criminals to be free -- the transgression of the law has consequences, and the consequences of sin is death.

Thank you for your correspondence regarding Stanley Williams.

There is a court order currently in place that calls for Mr. Williams to be executed by the State of California on December 13, 2005, and Mr. Williams has, through his attorneys, expressed his desire for the Governor to grant him clemency in this matter.

Capital punishment is an issue about which many people hold strong and impassioned views, and Governor Schwarzenegger appreciates you taking the time to express yours with regard to Mr. Williams. Your correspondence will be given due consideration during the clemency process.

Thank you again for writing.


Legal Affairs Secretary

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Governor Blanco of Lousiana - The worst governor to handle a hurricane in history

The governor of Lousiana no doubt handled one of the worst natural disasters that has ever occurred in the United States. We know that the response of the local and the state government were inadequate, and the federal government's own emergency response agency was overwhelmed by the local and state's inadequacy. But what we truly didn't know is why the federal troops arrived so late to Lousiana...until now.

The memos that the governor recently released to Congress clearly shows what factors hindered the rescue effort and in the end helped in killing the thousands of residents in Lousiana:

1. The Fight for Control
Unlike the rest of the governors that federalize troops immediately in emergency disasters, the governor of Lousiana seems to have been inherently more concerned of who looks better on the press; hence, she refused to give command and control to the national military of all the National Guard in the state.

2. Pride Will Be Your Downfall
The amount of pride shown on the side of the Lousiana's governor confuses me. She wants to gain control of the National Guard in the type of disasters she has no experience with. She expects aid from the federal government when she gives no control of the resources. And if the documents are true, there were Democrat Congressmen already planning for a PR push against the Bush administration to blame shift the issue. This was DURING the tragedy. Wow.

3. Lack of Training for Governors
She apparently didn't know all of her options and those around her didn't either. This begs the question, are we electing and promoting officials to the highest offices of the land and not require them to go through Governor's Basics 101?

4. A tip for the governor and other governors
I've helped coordinate aid efforts during Hurricane Charley with charities and also aid programs through my own employer. There's one thing to always remember when you are conducting these types of operations: Have one command and control center, or in layman's terms -- federalize your troops ahead of time so there's no confusion!

I feel absolutely sad for the families that were affected in Katrina. The only thing we can do now is to finance the recovery efforts and hopefully learn for next year's hurricane season.

Just in case the rest of the governors didn't catch it...federalize your troops under one command when there's a natural disaster and let's not help kill anymore civilians through pride.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Why I quit Miva / FindWhat and Google advertising...

False clicks caused me to stop advertising on Google, and Miva / Findwhat.
Pay per click search engines were awesome advertising mediums 3-4 years ago. Now I have decided to remove my companies off from that medium because I've been seeing a lot more potential click fraud than usual. Even CNET posted an article last year about their concerns and their analysis on click fraud. In their 2004 article, they estimate 20% of the clicks are fraudulent. They also stated that:

"A growing alternative employs low-cost workers who are hired in China, India and other countries to click on text links and other ads. A third form of fraud takes place when employees of companies click on rivals' ads to deplete their marketing budgets and skew search results."

Who benefits from click fraud?
Simple! The hackers.

You see, third party web site owners are able to get paid for the clicks they receive on their web site. For instance, if you allow Google to put in advertising on your web site, they will pay you XX amount of cents for every click you receive on those advertisement links.

There are legitimate sites that have these advertisements; however, there is a growing number of web sites that's used simply as placeholders and hackers use "raw browsers" to create false clicks from different IP addresses.

Step by step illustration:
1. COMPANYDOE has paid for first position placement for the keyword "foobar" for $1.00 per click.

2. The hacker uses a tool to falsely take advantage of that first position placement. They have tools that allow them to falsely act like a customer and click on the first position advertising of COMPANYDOE.

3. The search engine records the click and charges COMPANYDOE for $1.00. They keep $0.90 cents and gives the web site owner $0.10 (hacker).

Is this extremely hard to detect?
There are several ways to detect these types of clicks automatically. Google and other pay for click companies use referers, a list of known bad IP addresses, and a variety of other methods to combat this problem. The true problem comes from an old peer-to-peer idea. When you have a group of Internet users allowing their browsers and connections to be used as zombies, then technically the clicks themselves are undetectable by normal fraud control.

There are peer-to-peer networks out there that is taking thousands of dollars from search engines totally based on false clicks. Some also use vulnerable servers on the Internet to launch false browser request and imitate Internet Explorer/Netscape headers.

How do I know this? Simple, in 1999, I worked as the Director of Operations for Team Asylum. We released an advisory about this problem. In fact, we were published in the Industry Standard about how we exposed the weaknesses of Microsoft LinkExchange, DoubleClick, and other banner advertisers. (The author of the article, Jacob Ward, wrote that we were the hackers that built the click fraud tool. Wrong! We were the security analysts hired to expose it.) We were also hired to do other fraud analysis for companies like (Teknosurf at the time) and Banner Brokers.

Click fraud is real, and unfortunately it is only growing worst as more ideas and technologies are developed to combat anti-fraud measures.

My only advice to Google, the Miva team, and whoever else is in the pay per click business is to follow my one rule about online security and anti-fraud measures:

Security requires manual vigilence --Don Sausa.