Paul Murray's weblog, with news you may have missed and my $0.02 worth on a number of topics.

"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it."
- Art Buchwald

I bet you don't have a friend who's an acupuncturist

E-mail me: pmurray63 [at] (Be patient, I don't check it often.)

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Saturday, January 24, 2009
A passing (?) of note.
Q: What's the oldest software Microsoft still produces and sells?

A: Flight Simulator -- although that may be changing, as PC Magazine reports.
Microsoft confirmed Friday that the software giant has shuttered ACES Studios, the developer of the Flight Simulator series of games, whose latest incarnation is Flight Simulator X. The simulation is considered Microsoft's oldest product, whose original version first shipped in 1982.

However, a Microsoft spokeswoman said that while the studio has been closed, the software company remains committed to the Flight Simulator franchise, without explaining how future products can be launched without a dedicated software development team backing them.

James Fallows bemoans the (apparent) loss. More information than you may want at the MS Flight Simulator Wikipedia entry.

I fondly recall wasting time with Flight Simulator is my early computing days (although SimCity and Harpoon were my real addictions). I haven't touched it in years.


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Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Inauguration Day.

A few days ago, they sent out an e-mail at work that the inauguration would be playing in the boardroom for anyone who would like to watch it. I thought about going down to watch it. Then I decided I would simply listen online. Then I changed my mind again and decided I wanted to watch it, being a historic occasion and all. After wasting several minutes trying to find a good online stream, I headed down to the boardroom, which is located on the first floor of our building, on one side of the main lobby.

I'd heard that the swearing-in was scheduled for 11:57 am, so I headed down at 11:55 ... to find people overflowing into the lobby. So I watched it while standing just outside the doorway of our boardroom, and stayed for the speech.

Immediately afterward, I headed upstairs to a conference room for a 12:30 meeting ... where I discovered they had it on a projection screen. This room even had a couch (I'm still getting used to being in "the other building" since our December move).

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Sunday, January 04, 2009
From their lips to -- well, some people's ears.
Last Wednesday I was saying good riddance to 2008, due in part to the atrocious economy, and hoping (but doubting) that things will get better in 2009. Now I read that some people think that might happen sooner than you might expect (albeit with a big "if"):
In the midst of the deepest recession in the experience of most Americans, many professional forecasters are optimistically heading into the new year declaring that the worst may soon be over.

For this rosy picture to play out, they are counting on the Obama administration and Congress to come through with a substantial stimulus package, at least $675 billion over two years.

They say that will get the economy moving again in the face of persistently weak spending by consumers and businesses, not to mention banks that are reluctant to extend credit.

If the dominoes fall the right way, the economy should bottom out and start growing again in small steps by July, according to the December survey of 50 professional forecasters by Blue Chip Economic Indicators. Investors seemed to be in a similarly optimistic mood on Friday, bidding up stocks by about 3 percent.

But in the absence of that government stimulus, the grim economic headlines of 2008 will probably continue for some time, these forecasters acknowledge.

Before you get too excited, the article goes on to point out how these same forecasters didn't foresee how bad things were going to get. And there's a strain of "neo-Hooverites" in the Republican Party who argue that government should be slashing spending to balance budgets, instead of spending more to help the economy recover. (This is the exact opposite of what most economists would recommend.) So don't spend that emergency fund yet.