“It’s awesome. We’re rebels!”

A pay-walled article in the Columbus Dispatch this morning described a stand-off between students and the Ohio State University Police who had expressed a desire to exclude non-OSU students from taking part in the annual plunge on the eve of the Ohio State v. Michigan rivalry football game

Fortunately, The Lantern, OSU’s newspaper also offers a detailed account.

Credit:  The Lantern, Kristen Mitchell / Editor-in-chief

Reddit users offered a summary of events, along with commentary:

Some random dude gave the Braveheart speech to approximately 50 students and then we all pretty much walked/ran in. (and then someone pushed down the fence too) The cops didn’t do anything. – /u/ffball/

Rather than subject themselves to arbitrary authority, students moved the Tuesday jump to Monday.  It’s unclear if there will be a second jump tonight for people who missed the first jump and would like to do so cattle-style with tacit, wrist-banded, fenced-in approval of the police.

As Redditor /u/werd713/ put it, “Go Bucks! Beat Pneumonia!

Columbus Law Overlooked in Criticism of Despotic Foreign Regimes

On the drive in this morning, I heard that Egypt is cracking down on protesting again. By reporting on the story, it seems that the local and national media view such laws as violations of human rights. That’s heartening, because they are. Here’s how the Los Angeles Times summarized the new law:

Egypt’s interim president on Sunday banned public gatherings of more than 10 people without prior government approval

It went on to explain:

Rights groups and activists immediately denounced it, saying it aims to stifle opposition, allow repressive police practices and keep security officials largely unaccountable for possible abuses.

“The law is giving a cover to justify repression by all means,” said Bahy Eddin Hassan, head of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, one of the local groups that had campaigned against the law.

The thing that puzzles me though is that we have the same kind of law right here in Columbus, Ohio.

Here’s the law right out of the Columbus City Code:

919.06 Permits.
(A) No person, in any park, shall participate in any meeting, parade or other organized activity involving more than ten (10) persons without a permit issued by tile director.
(B) No person shall fail to comply with the fee requirements or other terms and conditions of any such permit issued under the provisions of this chapter.
(C) All permits issued by the director must be exhibited in a clear and conspicuous location and produced upon the demand of any law enforcement officer.
(Ord. 1648-91.)

Go ahead, check out the source link. I’ll wait while you verify that this is actually the law in Columbus, Ohio.

The fact is that in Columbus you can’t play baseball – you can’t play football – you can’t play basketball – without a permit.

No exception is made for political protest in these public spaces.

Why do we have this law?

Same reason the tyrants in Egypt have theirs.

The law is giving a cover to justify repression by all means,

It’s great that the media think that this kind of law deserves attention. But how about we focus some of that attention at ourselves?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had freedom in the land of the free?

And by letting such laws stand here, don’t we give backward foreign regimes cover?

Quizzing the Candidates 2013

Each year as election time nears, I take some time to research the candidates. There are a number of great resources – probably one of the most detailed is the candidate questionnaire provided in the county League of Women Voters Voter Information Bulletin.

The LWV survey asks a few specific questions and I encourage you to review their responses, but I wanted to get a more general feel for their overarching mindset – a better glimpse into how they are likely to make decisions as they serve.

This is the list of questions I posed to each of them:

Personal Issues

  1. Government should not censor speech, press, media, or internet.
  2. Military service should be voluntary. There should be no draft.
  3. There should be no laws regarding sex for consenting adults.
  4. Repeal laws prohibiting adult possession and use of drugs.
  5. There should be no National ID card.

Economic Issues

  1. End “corporate welfare.” No government handouts to business.
  2. End government barriers to international free trade.
  3. Let people control their own retirement; privatize Social Security.
  4. Replace government welfare with private charity.
  5. Cut taxes and government spending by 50% or more.

You may recognize the questions from the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, which I recommend taking yourself so you can see how similar your views are to those of the candidates.

So, over the next few weeks, as the responses trickle in, I’m going to try to share their results with you – to help you inform your own decisions with regard to these candidates. It will also serve as a bit of an archive since candidates views change. If I ask them again in a later election it will be interesting to see how their views changed on these key issues.

If a candidate doesn’t specifically say whether they agree or disagree with one of the questions, I’ll be treating those as “Maybe” responses.

Here’s a list of the offices and candidates I emailed the survey to on 10/2/2013 (I’ll be linking the names to their responses as I receive them – no link means no response):

Office Municipality/District Name
City Attorney Columbus Richard C. Pfeiffer, Jr.
City Auditor Columbus Hugh J. Dorrian
City Auditor  Columbus  Igor Ternovsky
Member of Council Columbus Brian Bainbridge
Member of Council Columbus Greg Lawson
Member of Council Columbus A. Troy Miller
Member of Council Columbus Eileen Paley
Member of Council Columbus Nick Schneider
Member of Council Columbus Priscilla R. Tyson
Member Board of Education Columbus City School District Michael D. Cole
Member Board of Education Columbus City School District Beverly J. Corner
Member Board of Education Columbus City School District Hanifah Kambon
Member Board of Education Columbus City School District Dominic Paretti
Member Board of Education Columbus City School District Ramona R. Reyes
Member Board of Education Columbus City School District Mike Wiles
Municipal Court Judge (FTC 1‐1‐14) Franklin County Scott Van Der Karr
Municipal Court Judge (FTC 1‐2‐14) Franklin County Kristen McKinley
Municipal Court Judge (FTC 1‐2‐14) Franklin County Amy Salerno 
Municipal Court Judge (FTC 1‐3‐14) Franklin County Gwen Callender
Municipal Court Judge (FTC 1‐3‐14) Franklin County James E. Green
Municipal Court Judge (UTE 1‐7‐2016) Franklin County James W. Adair, III
Municipal Court Judge (UTE 1‐7‐2016) Franklin County Dan Hawkins
Municipal Court Judge (UTE 1‐7‐2016) Franklin County Frank Macke

AT&T Changes Policy to Increase Charges–Offers Nothing in Return

Thank you for choosing AT&T. A representative will be with you shortly.

You are now chatting with AT&T.

AT&T: Hello.

AT&T: How may I assist you today ?

Me: Hi. I was wondering why I’m suddenly being charged an equipment fee on my AT&T U-Verse Internet account.

Me: It is a *new* $2.00 charge per month – with tax on top of that.

AT&T: I would like to inform you that its the high speed equipment fee charged in every customer account as per the new price changes.

Me: Can I expect to be upgraded to the latest hardware?

Me: If I buy my own hardware, will AT&T remove this charge from my bill?

Me: Also, how long have I been a U-Verse customer?

AT&T: As you are a valuable customer to us. Please do not worry about the charges. Let me go ahead and adjust the charges for you.

AT&T: Its been almost four years.

AT&T: please bear with me while I adjust the charge in your account.

Me: Sure. :)

Me: I just looked it up and I can buy a used 3800HGV-B router on Amazon for $26. AT&T wishes to charge me $24/per year to rent one. Had this policy been in place for the past 4 years, I could have bought almost four of them. Does that sound like a fair deal for AT&T customers?

AT&T: I really apologize for this.

Me: It’s not your fault. :)

Me: It is Randal Stephenson’s fault. :) I’d like to pass along a message to him that while I thank him for allowing my bill to be adjusted, I think it’s a crummy way to treat customers – especially the ones who don’t know enough to contact the company and refuse the new charges. :)

AT&T: I would like to provide you the number of our customer relation center. So, that they can provide you with the best offers available to lower your bill.The number is 877-999-1083.

AT&T: Their hours of operations are Monday till Friday 8:00 AM till 7:00 PM EST and 8:00 AM till 5:00 PM every Saturday.

Me: Thank you very much. I’m already paying more money than I would for higher speed on RoadRunner – maybe they can do something about that.

Me: So to recap, I only owe $55 on my bill again?

AT&T: Yes, they surely will.

AT&T: You only owe $45.14. As I have adjusted $12.00 for you.

Me: Will that kind of adjustment be automatic going forward or do I have to contact the Customer Relation Center?

AT&T: You need to contact customer relation center. so, that your bill can be lowered for a longer time.

Me: Thank you for your help, AT&T. Goodnight.

AT&T: Thank you for being the best part of AT&T. We appreciate your valuable time & business with continued loyalty.

AT&T: Your feedback will be appreciated after this chat. You will receive the survey once you disconnect the chat.  Please click the RED X button at the right hand side of the chat window.

AT&T: Good night.

3/3/2013 7:00p AT&T U-Verse Billing Chat

Deal to get $200 Windows upgrade for $40 Expiring on Thursday

When Windows 8 launched, Microsoft wanted to encourage people to upgrade early so they offered a great incentive to existing Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 users. As a result, an upgrade that would normally cost $200, costs $40 (or if you bought a Windows 7 PC on or after June 2, 2012, you can get it for $15 here).

They can go to this website and download the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant which examines your PC for compatibility, gives you a list of hardware and applications that may have compatibility issues (for most machines I’ve seen the fixes have involved re-installing the software after the upgrade) and it gives you a list that you can save.

The upgrade preserves your files, but you may need to re-install desktop applications like Office, Photoshop, etc.

The 2GB installer download took about 4 hours on a relative’s low-end RoadRunner Lite connection (1 Mbit/s), so factor available broadband speeds into your upgrade plans.

If you have a Microsoft Account (an old Hotmail or Xbox Live account for example) that will make the process go faster.

Here’s what I recommend:

  1. In case anything goes really wrong, always backup your files before an operating system upgrade.
  2. To be extra sure, I recommend downloading the SkyDrive desktop app here and transferring any files you’d like to back-up on the cloud. SkyDrive offers 7GB of storage. Other offerings from competitors offer 5GB if you prefer using them.
  3. Install the Windows 8 Pro upgrade via the official Upgrade to Windows 8 website.
  4. Protect your user files with the new File History feature of Windows 8.
  5. Add Windows Media Center to Windows 8 Pro – this is a limited time offer that also expires on Thursday.
  6. After the Windows Store app tile has time to update (it should show 15 or so updates for built-in apps) click on it and in the upper-right-hand corner click the update link, then at the bottom of the page click to install all of them.
  7. Finally, Microsoft is migrating Windows Live Messenger users to Skype and shutting down the old Windows Live Messenger service on March 15th, 2013. I recommend downloading the Skype app from the Windows Store, and also the Skype desktop app. When you sign-in on the desktop app you’ll be given the chance to link your Microsoft accounts, and even connect so you can IM all of your friends on Facebook. This explains what happens when you merge your Skype and Microsoft accounts. I recommend it because for most people it helps simplify by getting all of their IM contacts in one well-organized place.

Remember, you can always get back to the old Windows 7 look and feel by holding-down the start button on your keyboard (the Windows flag logo) and pressing the letter “d” key at the same time.

I hope this helped. With this you should be able to save about $160 per PC – but only if you act before 1/31/2013.

Update: c|net posted a list of links to related articles. I’m including them here in case anyone would like to do some further reading:

Get your cheap Windows 8 upgrade now

Win 8 Pro upgrade jumps from $40 to $200 come February 1

Cheap Windows 8 upgrade may require your Windows 7 key

How to upgrade to Windows 8

Upgrading to Windows 8: What you need to know (FAQ)

Check your PC for Windows 8 readiness with upgrade assistant

Libertarians take note: Microsoft Listens to Feedback

While taking part in the public preview of Windows 8, I noticed that the default news app only included traditional statist news sources, so I put my 2¢ in and recommended the inclusion of the award-winning Reason Magazine.  It seems that Microsoft listened.

As you can see below, Reason is now a “Source” in the political news section (accessible by right-clicking in the app – or swiping from the top or bottom edges and clicking Sources).


Clicking on the source brings up the most recent Reason articles, and this page can be pinned to the Start menu for easy access.


Clicking the links opens the page in the news viewer, and from there it can be emailed to friends or opened in a browser for sharing to social networks.  Here’s hoping for improvement, but it’s nice to be on the menu. Especially when the menu will be seen by so many people.

Customer Service Review: Sails Marine, Monroe, CT

On October 15th, 2012 I placed an order with Sails Marine via their website (www.sailsmarine.com) which required me to create an account.

I received an order confirmation email listing the status as processing and the tracking number as pending.

Ten days later, having not received a tracking number, I used their site to track the order. It was showing a status of warehouse, still with a tracking number of pending.

Today, on October 29th, 2012 I returned to the site to find that my order status is now canceled.  At no point did they contact me to offer an explanation.

Based on this experience, I would not recommend ordering products from this company. The price was the best I could find online, but they don’t honor their contractual obligations as far as order fulfillment is concerned.

Rating: F

Contact info:

Sails Marine
105 Hillside Lane
Monroe, CT 06468
United States


How to Set Messenger to Auto Sign-In

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller (the round silver button with the green “x” on it) to bring up the Xbox Guide.
  2. Navigate to the Settings tab on the far right.
  3. Select the Profile option at the top of the list.
  4. Select Sign-in Preferences near the middle of the list.
  5. In the Messenger Auto Sign-In section, select either On or Off, then press the Xbox button to return to the screen you started from.

Using this method you can set your Profile Auto Sign-In as well as your Messenger sign-in status. The benefit of auto sign-on with messenger is that any friends with Messenger on their phones or computers will see that you are playing Xbox and be more inclined to join you for a gaming session. Smile

Sherrod Brown (D) vs. Josh Mandel (R) vs. Scott Rupert – US Senate

Scott Rupert responded on 10/6/2012. Answers were:

Personal score 100

  1. Agree
  2. Agree
  3. Agree
  4. Agree
  5. Agree

Economic score 100

  1. Agree
  2. Agree
  3. Agree
  4. Agree
  5. Agree

So his responses would be classified as Libertarian.


I’ll update Sherrod Brown and Josh Mandel’s answers for comparison when I receive their answers.

For background on this project, my original “Quizzing the Candidates” blog post here.

Pat Tiberi (R) vs. Jim Reese (D) – Representative to Congress (12th District)

Jim Reese responded on 10/8/2012. Answers were:

Personal score 60

  1. Agree
  2. Maybe
  3. Agree
  4. Disagree
  5. Maybe

Economic score 30

  1. Agree
  2. Disagree
  3. Disagree
  4. Disagree
  5. Maybe

So his responses would be classified as Centrist.


Pat Tiberi refused to answer the questions on 10/10/2012. Here’s what his campaign had to say:

Mr. Noble,

Thank you for contacting us and for your interest in Congressman Tiberi’s candidacy.  As you might imagine, with over 700,000 people residing in the 12th congressional district, it’s not possible for us to respond to individual surveys. We believe that Congressman Tiberi’s long voting record, the many media voter guides he has completed and the countless news and interest group resources, make information about his positions readily available to any interested voter.

Thanks again,

Kristen Frissora
Campaign Manager
Tiberi for Congress

For background on this project, my original “Quizzing the Candidates” blog post here.