Mitt Romney Wants To Re-Tool Washington

Apparently Mitt Romney Wants To Re-Tool Washington, according to a Mike Wallace interview with the contender for the GOP presidential nomination. (That page also has links to several video interviews with Romney).

Now, a lot of people would agree that DC needs a good re-tooling. But I don't think Romney is the person to do it. It's not just that I rarely vote Republican and has nothing to do with the fact that he is a Mormon (dare I say "some of my best friends are Mormons"?). And I don't have a problem with politicians changing their stand on issues. How else are we going to get change? If we insist that every politician who changes his or her mind be discarded because of it, we are not going to have a democracy for very long. A free and open society must leave room for criticism and change. I just happen to disagree with him. Consider:
"Among the things he wants to do as president is increase U.S. troop strength overall by at least 100,000 and modernize military equipment."
We need less military, not more. We have more better equipment than any other standing army of comparable size. We just use the stuff wrong. No equipment overhaul or troop increase is going to put a stop to terrorism. You defeat terrorism with humint and diplomacy. Not laser guided bullets.
"He wants to secure the Mexican border and decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil."
Well actually you can't secure the Mexican border (or the Canadian). Immigration is a problem best solved with economic policy not unworkable gestures like fences. But besides that, no politician is actually against securing the border, so you are hardly standing out by saying that. And most people on the planet want America to decrease its dependence on foreign oil. It is a position so obvious that it wins Romney no points with me.
"He’s against gay marriage and civil unions..."
Sorry, a politician holding that view has to be very special in every other department before they get my vote.
"...and says that he'll hold the line on taxes."
That strikes me as code for leaving in place the tax breaks for big business and the super-rich. Not something I agree with. Some of those businesses are oil companies--whose interests are not the same as those of the American people. It is we the people who will win the energy war, not politicians or oil companies.

Can You Believe Your Own Google?

Do you Google yourself? It sounds like rather a personal question so let me break the ice here: I Google myself, about once a week. In other words, I enter my name into the Google search box to see what comes up. Why? Because I can. Because I'm a techie. And because my ability to get new and interesting consulting assignments depends, to some admittedly unquantifiable extent, on those Google results.

But lately I've become concerned that results you get IF you are logged into Google when you Google yourself are different from those that a stranger would get.

In other, hopefully less clumsy, words: the results that Google returns about you could be different on a stranger's computer from those you get on your own computer (if you are logged into Google on that computer).

I don't know this for a fact and it is a hard fact to check because the results that Google returns can change each time you plug in the same search term (at least that is my experience). So, does anyone know the answer to this one? Does Google slant the results to you if you are logged in? This is not a trivial question and in my next post I will explain why.

P.S. My hat, indeed all three of my hats, is off to Stephen Euin Cobb who often tops me in the Stephen Cobb results. Nicely done Sir! Valuation Backed by Domain Name Expert

Interesting article came out in print on Friday, now online under headline " domain name worth at least $45K, experts say." [Sorry, subscription required.]

The writer of the article spoke to Ron Jackson, publisher of Domain Name Journal who had this to say: "As difficult as it is to quantify the industry, so too is appraising a name's value. Like real estate, its value often depends on someone's imagination for how it can be used. But unlike appraising real estate, it's often difficult to base estimates on comparable sales."
"Still, Jackson said could reasonably bring $50,000 to $150,000. "It could go for more.""

Here's hoping...I don't have many finger nails left!

Religious Groups Granted Millions for Pet Projects

An interesting story about how churches are employing lobbyists in DC to obtain "ear-marked" appropriations appeared in the New York Times but alas won't be freely readable for long due to the new archive policy.

Blair to Leave in June: Too late for some

According to the BBC Blair will stand down on 27 June. Here's what Socialism's greatest traitor had to say:
"I came into office with high hopes for Britain's future, and, you know, I leave it with even higher hopes for Britain's future."
Yeah, right. Off to a cushy overpaid consulting job, no doubt. Leaving Gordon Brown to deal with the aftermath of the worst foreign policy blunder in modern British history: Defying the will of the British people and dragging the country into Iraq, thereby pissing off a. 80 percent of the country, b. a large and growing Muslim population.

VW Jet: Cool project, hot subject

I mentioned this amazing VW jet project recently, in a completely different context, over on my information security blog. as something of a joke.

The joke was NOT about the street legal JET-IN-A-VW project (I think there's an old proverb that goes something like "Jest not about a man who can fit a jet engine into car and live to drive it about"). Indeed, I urge you to read Ron Patrick's account of the project--it's fascinating stuff, especially the matter-of-fact manner in which he says things like "The first thing I did when I got the car was to cut the hole in the back for the engine. Made a fancy jig out of a tripod, a rod, and a lawnmower wheel to mark out the cut and went at it with a pneumatic saw" and "Air for the jet enters the car through the two side windows and the sunroof. It's a little windy inside but not unbearable." Amazing!

My infosec joke was about VW, which used [allegedly] a VW corporate jet [aircraft] to steal a bunch of secret documents from GM. And herein lies the automotive angle, something I have not heard anyone speculate about before. As part of the settlement of the ensuing industrial espionage lawsuit, VW agreed to buy more than a billion dollars worth of parts from General Motors over 7 years. That agreement was around 1997. So we can assume VW used a lot of GM made parts in its vehicles between 1997 and 2004.

Now, have you experienced reliability problems with a VW during that time period? I know my daughter has, on two different vehicles (kid can be such slow learners sometimes). And I seem to recall that VW has consistently had at least one model in the Consumer Reports "least reliable" list every year during that time, and still does I need to connect the dots?

Let me drop another hint, outside the auto field. In the last year, Dell, Apple, IBM, Toshiba and others have all had to issue recalls on notebook computers with batteries made by Sony. All the numbers I have been able to find [as a blogger, not a paid journalist with a fact-checking department at my fingertips] seem to indicate that a smaller percentage of Sony Vaio computers shipped with the defective batteries than Toshibas, Dells, etc. Hmmmmmm....

Five Figures by Thursday

The bid price on passed the $10,000 mark some time on Thursday afternoon. Perhaps the PR is working, but I am still worried that the only bidders right now are domain name speculators, not serious end-users. Maybe the problem is that the various companies that identify themselves as "Cobb" are not Web 2.0 companies. I still believe that the one-time purchase of would do more for a 'cobb-related/named company' seeking web visibility than a one-time $100K print/media campaign. (Disclaimer: that's what they call a self-serving statement--albeit one that I believe in).

Auction Fun: In a nail biting, nerve-racking kind of way

So, the auctioning of got under way at noon on Monday. By Tuesday evening it had barely met the reserve price. This was set at $5,000 on the recommendations of Sedo, the auctioneers, whose position is as follows:
Our experience has shown that the more accessible you set the reserve, the greater the degree of competitive interest and the earlier bidding wars are likely to begin. I would strongly suggest setting the reserve as low as possible.

By Wednesday night the price had not budged from $5,000.00 and I was "too bummed to blog." (Anyone else out there ever get that feeling? You just can't find it in you to post something, even though part of you is itching to type?)

I had spent much of Tuesday emailing...

Countdown to Auction at

Just under an hour to go until the start of the auction, that is, the auctioning of the domain name "" to the highest bidder. It should show up here under Auction Listings.

Not sure if anyone has ever blogged the auctioning of their domain name before (although, given the size of the blogosphere today, it has probably been done many times already).

I did quite a bit of research ahead of time and found a great blog about domain names, Frank Schilling's Seven Mile. Here's an interesting discussion that took place there relative to the value of (And here's Frank's listing in Wikipedia, just in case you don't know who he is, and I admit I didn't until I started looking at the domain market.)

What prompted the discussion was a somewhat embarrassing lack of clarity on my part when I put out a press release about recent domain name values, like selling for $50,000 and going for $175,000. My intention had been to show the range of values for recent sales of 'last name' domains and perhaps my mistake was to list going for $1.5M. Some people took that to mean I was asking $1.5M for when I would be happy with something closer to or maybe even ($72K). The latter is a good example of a four-letter dot-com name. Even better might be which was purchased for $500K, but has a more generic appeal.

Anyway, as it turns out, the only reliable way to put a price on a domain name is to sell it. "As in real estate, so in virtual real estate." Even among experts there is a huge range of pre-sale valuations (e.g. I got responses ranging from $40K to $600K in the valuations I commissioned).

So, let the bidding begin. And stay tuned for my reports on how this kind of auction feels when you are on the 'receiving end' so to speak.

Pentagon to Merge Next-Gen Binoculars With Soldiers' Brains

Words fail me at this point...

Pentagon to Merge Next-Gen Binoculars With Soldiers' Brains

Are you someone like me who assumed [erroneously] that the military switched from Jeeps to Humvees because Humvees were armored [and that is why they cost so much more than Jeeps]? Then you probably think hooking binocs to brains should come somewhere after putting armor on the bottom of army vehicles. I mean, did nobody in America notice the way the British had modified their Land Rovers for anti-terrorist duty in the seventies?

Technologically this next-gen stuff is cool. But I vote not to fund it until someone in that great big five-sided building stands up and says "It's about the people, stupid!"