NPR : There is No God (a headline so provocative on so many levels that it can’t be intentional)

Penn Gillette on NPR’s This I Believe : There is No God:

I believe that there is no God. I’m beyond Atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy — you can’t prove a negative, so there’s no work to do. You can’t prove that there isn’t an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? Maybe he was just hiding before. Check again. Did I mention that my personal heartfelt definition of the word “elephant” includes mystery, order, goodness, love and a spare tire?

So, anyone with a love for truth outside of herself has to start with no belief in God and then look for evidence of God.

One of the best explanations of what I believe isn’t the case (think about it). Read the whole thing and then you can damn me point by point, if you believe that way….

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TiVoToGo hits strong double to center

WSJ.com – Article:

Shares of digital-video-recorder maker TiVo Inc. (TIVO) rose as much as 9% Monday after it unveiled a new service that would allow videos recorded using its product to work with Apple Computer Inc.’s (AAPL) iPod music player or Sony Corp.’s (SNE) PSP portable gaming device.

it’s not a home run, yet, but this is exactly the kind of deal that’s going to make Tivo relevant for a long time (if only as the noun to describe recording television for personal time- and place-shifted viewing). It’s also a big win for both the PSP and Video iPod, which become the leading competitors for “share of pocket” viewing. I have a PSP, which has an astonishing good screen, but having tried out downloading an episode of Lost last night, which looks great on the Mac, I am think the Video iPod is next. Still, the screen on the iPod strikes me as a little too small. Of course, it’s a one-hander, unlike the PSP, which really takes two hands to hold. The New York Times has this coverage, too.

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Paying for a piece of the pie that’s already been served

MediaPost Publications – WPP Courts Bollore, Frenchman Now Controls 12.7% Of World Media Market – 11/21/2005:

WITH WPP FACING A DEADLINE of Friday to make a formal bid to acquire Aegis Group, French financier Vincent Bollore had emerged as the new power broker in the media services world. At presstime, WPP Chairman-CEO Martin Sorrell and his partners at U.S. private equity firm Hellman & Friedman reportedly were in talks with Bollore to make a joint bid to acquire Aegis, the parent of Carat, Vizeum, Isobar and Posterscope, as well as some prized marketing research assets. Bollore already controls nearly 25 percent of Aegis shares, and has taken control of French rival Havas, and according to a new report now has interests representing 12.7 percent of the global media services marketplace.

Worldwide Media Network Market Shares 2005 Market Share Billings Vs. 2004

WPP (Group M) 22.3% +13.0%

Publicis (Publicis Groupe Media) 16.0% +11.0%

Omnicom (Omnicom Media Group) 11.7% +5.0%

Interpublic 10.9% -3.0%

Aegis 9.0% +5.0%

Havas 3.7% +2.4%

Bollore Group 12.7% +4.0%

Source: RECMA. Billings as of November 2005.

The interesting thing here is that there will be a premium price paid for a 12.7 percent share of the shrinking traditional media market. As more metrics become available, so that the nontraditional media can be counted and accounted for, this 12.7 percent is going to turn out to be one percent or so, maybe even less, of a radically expanded media environment.

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So this is Christmas and what have we done

GM to cut 30,000 jobs – Yahoo! News:

General Motors Corp. (NYSE:GM – news) said on Monday it will cut about 30,000 manufacturing jobs, close or reduce operations at 12 plants in North America and slash the number of vehicles it produces as the automaker struggles for survival.

Another year over, and the Bush disaster has only just begun…. Now more than ever we need greater investments in education and the American people, as I wrote the other day, not more tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent.

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The New Coke of the digital era

It’s Official: SBC Buys AT&T; Becomes “New” AT&T:

SBC Communications closed its deal to acquire AT&T Corp. today, waved a magic wand and became AT&T Inc. when California regulators delivered the last approval needed. Ed Whitacre, Jr. becomes chairman and CEO of the new company; trading under the “T” symbol begins Dec. 1.

The New AT&T tastes like Ma Bell’s old drawers, too.

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New rules for 21st century workers

The most important three rules for today’s workforce bar none: Tom Foremski of Silicon Valley Watcher has the following rules for today’s worker:

–Carry and use your own cell phone/number for business

The workforce now is mobile and temporary even if you have a salaried job. You need to be in control of the center of communications: you.

–Carry and use your own email address even at work

Otherwise your contacts and the relationships you build can be severed when you leave a job, and that is an investment that you have a right to maintain–as does your employer.

–Carry and use your own health insurance

Because otherwise, you will be stuck in a job that makes you sick just to keep the health insurance.

I’ve lived by these three rules for more than a decade. When I started using my own strange email address with the handle “godsdog” rather than the corporate one I’d been assigned, it made a huge difference to both my career (the CEO of Ziff-Davis sent me a note saying he’d decided to pay attention to my career—which, of course, is a mixed blessing) and to my long-term findability (people ask if I am still “at godsdog” when updating their contacts, there’s no question the address will still be there in their minds)

To Tom’s rules, I’d add:

Incorporate and work on contract rather than as an employee.

This allows you to negotiate the same kind of stock compensation while allowing you to keep your business costs, even the ones you can’t get compensated for at work, on your own taxes while increasing the flexibility you have as a working person.

Carry and use your own hardware, building tech expenses into your compensation.

This prevents lock-in to a job through access to technology. Sure, you may have to work with a less impressive laptop, but you’re also forced to think more like the people who really buy computers, software, services and so forth.

UPDATE: Neville Hobson adds two more good rules (I slap my forehead and utter a “duh!” for having taken for granted and not listing what he suggests—it’s always a mistake to think everyone does what you do, when most people don’t, so good on Neville for thinking practically):

Create a blog and establish your personal presence in the new marketplace
In this new age of global inter-connectivity, linking and influence, a blog is a prerequisite if you want to build your own credibility, be found easily and connect with others. Forget the static website. Forget the fancy brochure. Do a blog. It works – I speak from personal experience.

Join a business network like LinkedIn or OpenBC
However you actively use these or not, they can help establish your individual credibility and provide avenues of contact with others for mutual benefit.

UPDATE2: The Geek Guy Rants » Blog Archive » The 21st Century marketplace, and the rules we follow:

About my second rule, carrying your own hardware costs, David Newberger says:

I do have one problem with the 2nd rule though. I am not to keen on the idea of building in the outside costs incurred. If you can keep your outside costs low then this is not an issue but if you can not then you may very well bid yourself out of the contract. With this said I do believe that some costs should be built in but not all. The goal with all projects is low cost for high returns. If I have to eat $2,000 on a first contract just to get the foot in the door I will. In each of the cases I have done something like this it has lead to more then I could have imagined in the long run. For example I took a hit on a first contract for a large company but after the hit I got 3 more projects that more then made up for that initial hit.

Yes, it is truly hard to go out on your own and requires you plan to absorb your costs in the short-term. It’s been a long time since I started being a free agent, but I still spend several thousand dollars a year on hardware and software. The benefit, however, is that I really feel that pain. Too many people at tech companies think everyone can get the latest technology when it comes out, which encourages misplaced expectations about what real customers can afford, too.

If you assume you need to spend $3,000 a year on hardware and software each year—that’s a new laptop or desktop, plus new phones and upgrades to essential software—and you have three to five clients a year, then the average cost you need to build into your engagements is easy to calculate. The reality is that you have to work to get the hardware paid for, it can’t be treated as an incremental cost to pass along to the client. But you end up not being forced from machine to machine as you switch jobs, like a nomad. The point is to create your technological home.

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So, just re-enlist already

Bush vows to ‘stay in the fight’ in Iraq – Yahoo! News:

U.S. President George W. Bush vowed on Saturday “we will stay in the fight” until victory in Iraq, rejected critics’ calls for a troop pullout timetable and insisted progress is being made in Baghdad.

If the President would commit to re-enlist in the Air Force after his term in office expires (better yet, just step down now and do it), this might be morally convincing and in some way a response to critics of his policy that demonstrates he really believes in his policy. But just saying “I’m going to commit to sending men and women to die as long as it takes” is hardly a viable response to criticism of the war.

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Cisco on your settop

FT.com / By industry / Media & internet – Cisco buys set-top box maker for $6.9bn

Cisco Systems, the networking equipment and technology group, said on Friday it would buy Scientific Atlanta, a maker of video and other content distribution technology for about $6.9bn in a bid to access the fast-growing market for converged television, telephone and internet services over broadband networks.

About time. But the big question is whether Cisco will go toward open IP to the settop or embrace the carriers’ agenda, who will be their “customer” (that is, they sell to the carriers, even if the device has to please people at home).

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Slash and burn neoconservatism

House passes $49.9 billion in spending cuts – Yahoo! News:

Democrats assailed the House legislation, complaining that it would hamper the federal government’s efforts to enforce child support payments and “allow dead-beat dads to walk away from their obligations,” said North Dakota Rep. Earl Pomeroy.

They also criticized the bill’s $12 billion cuts to Medicaid funding over five years and complained about more than $14 billion in student loan reductions at a time when college

costs are soaring. Republicans countered that with this legislation, they were beginning to reform programs so that they help those “truly in need,” said Rep. David Dreier of California.

What’s the best way to increase lifelong learning and earning? Send someone to college. If everyone benefits from having people go to college—the economy lives on increased educational capacity among citizens, not savings on education loans—what is the long-term benefit of cutting student loan funding? In the face of increased competition from overseas workers, it is like abandoning the middle class to the sharks, and all to pay for tax cuts to the rich.

If the rich have extra money to invest, will they put it in under-educated Americans out of a sense of obligation? Not likely.

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