An occasional outlet for my thoughts on life, technology, motorcycles, backpacking, kayaking, skydiving...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Don’t just grumble. Do something about it.

I had an experience with E*TRADE where their site was experiencing a problem at the moment when I received my ESPP shares. I wanted to immediately sell them, but the ESPP site was unavailable. I am in the web application development business and understand very well that these things happen (almost always at the worst times) and take time to fix. The problem was that I was trying to sell at a high point in the day, and by the time I got the sell to go through, I had lost $0.38 per share.

I was disappointed, but realized that I could not expect to be compensated for the difference in sell price. This is just one of those things that happen. However, when the sell was executed I was also charged the standard commission fee for ESPP transactions of $24.95. I felt that the commission was unearned and email customer care to let them know of my disappointment, my expected resolution, and thanked them in advance for resolving this issue to my satisfaction.

Today I received this response:
Dear Mr. Bronosky,

Thank you for your email in regards to the commission and fees applied to your order number 1 for the sale of YHOO shares on 11/1/05. I sincerely apologize for the delay in our response and any frustration experienced in regards to this matter. I have submitted a credit to your account in the amount of $30 to accommodate the commission and fees that were assessed for this trade. Please allow 3-5 business days for the credit to post to your account. You can watch for the transaction by logging into your account and clicking on the Transaction History under the Trading & Portfolios tab. Thank you for your patience in regards to this matter. Please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns.

I hope this information has been helpful. Please let us know if we've addressed your questions and concerns satisfactorily by clicking the link below and taking a 30-second survey.


As always, thank you for choosing E*TRADE FINANCIAL. If you have additional questions or need assistance, visit our Help Center at, or give us a call at 1-800-ETRADE-1 (1-800-387-2331) between 7 a.m. and midnight ET, seven days a week. From outside the U.S., please call +1-916-636-2510. We look forward to serving your investing, banking, and lending needs for many years to come.


M-F 9:30am-6:00pm P.T.
Financial Services Representative
E*TRADE Securities LLC

The point here is that you must let these large companies know what the customer expectations are. Capitalism is great, but it only works when the market is effective at influencing the marketeers. If you want the goods and services that you consume to continually improve, you must be a positive force in this change. This often comes in the form of negative feedback. When delivered with tact and void of emotion, this can lead to an outcome that benefits yourself and others. So don't just grumble. Do something about it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Home remodel pictures now online at

You can see them at I hope find it interesting. I sure have! Please forgive the appearant random order of the photos. I haven't found a way to reorder the photos. truly is the easiest way of publishing photos, short of going out and buying a Apple computer. If you haven't tried it, you must. It simply is amazing to be able to function that easily within a web app.

If your company prohibit access to, you can try this link which is graciously powered by PROFIXY. If you get an error message like this "Couldn't connect to No route to host" just refresh the page a few times. It's not perfect, but it is better than being blocked by a firewall.

Monday, October 24, 2005

SMS from a Hurricane

My Mother lives in West Palm Beach, FL and has experienced many hurricanes. She has however never seen a hurricane during daylight hours. They have always hit around 9pm-4am. Hurricane Wilma is the first exception to this coincidence.

She has been sending me periodic SMS messages (AKA: texting, or text messaging) from her cellphone. She does not get good enough reception to actually place voice calls, but she is able to keep the family up to date with this simple little miracle of modern technology.

Here are the messages as she has sent them: (Keep in mind that they are typed on a number pad not a keyboard.)

9:55 am
Hi honey hurricane is here. We are in the eye now.
10:17 am
We are in the calm of the storm now.

10:20 am
Screens down. Shed gone. (Her swimming pool is inside a screen room. They had a small shed where they kept lawn & garden tools and Mom's abundant supply of Christmas decorations.)

11:26 am
Backside of hurricane now.

11:27 am (voice call)
Tom (her husband) ran out during the calm and collected as much of the goods from the shed as possible. They gathered the screen frames for repair. The avocado tree has been stripped of it's fruit. They have a small generator that is running the refrigerator, coffee pot, TV/Digital Satellite, and a few small fans. She's really glad that she hasn't had to see this during the day every time. It's really amazing to see a 360 well lit view of what she normally only hears through the walls, or sees on TV.

12:26 pm
This is really bad. Avocado tree is now on my car.

12:30 pm
Scary. This is far worse than ever before.

1:06 pm (my reply)
I've been posting your msgs to my website.

1:11 pm (my reply)
I am surprised that this one is so bad. On satellite it doesn't look as bad as last year.

1:32 pm
Sustained winds are down now, but gusts are still quite strong.

1:44 pm
Newscasters are saying that the severity of the backside of this storm was a surprise.


Friday, October 21, 2005

Private: Again, thinking about the fair tax

The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law. -- Aristotle

Tax Fairly or die. -- Richard Bronosky

Thursday, October 13, 2005

One more post to the Tax Reform Panel

I posted this one to the "General Comments" category. The last post went to the "Request for Comments #3 (Benefits and problems with various tax reform proposals)" category.

Subject: Support for the FairTax will be the only issue I consider when voting in 06 & 08

Since 9/11/01 protecting America from terrorism has been my greatest concern and all political decisions have been based on this issue.

My new stand is that I will vote for anyone who supports H.R. 25 (The FairTax Proposal) regardless of their stand on any other issue. If a FairTax supporter is not an option, I will vote against the incumbent. If there is no incumbent, I will vote against the "Republican" or the "conservative".

One of the core values of Republicans and conservatives is the desire for smaller government. If you oppose H.R. 25 you are neither a Republican or conservative and will be punished.

I'm considering drafting a formal statement very similar to this and allowing people to "sign" it digitally. I would post this on a site where people could lookup the official position of their representatives at all levels of government. Is this a good idea?

Let the Federal Tax Reform Advisory Panel know how you feel!!!

I just visited the comments area of were you can read comments from others and post comments about the ridiculous recommendation that came out this week.

I am a big fan of The FairTax Proposal (H.R. 25), so I decided to make my voice be heard.

I hope it appears here soon. (Update: It's there now.)

In case it gets lost I'm posting it here too.

It is obvious that you are speculating about the contents of the FairTax. The opinions stated about the FairTax by members of this panel cannot be justified to those of us who have read the proposal or "The FairTax Book". A reasonable and educated person could easily have these opinions if they had only heard of the FairTax, but not if they had read it.

I am sick of trying to file my taxes every year. I get so angry at how complicated it is that I want to just give up and not file. As a 20-something American who hopes that my hard work and good decisions make me rich someday, I beg you "don't punish success with an oppressive tax code." I grew up on welfare, in subsidized housing. I decided that I was going to escape. I chose to learn to speak respectably, to get all the education and marketable skills I could, and to NOT GET ANYONE PREGNANT. Using this simple plan I have bettered myself and my family. I deserve equal treatment under the law whether I succeed in building wealth, or if I remain of humble means.

This is America, where we dream big. We should not be punished for reaching for those dreams.

When marketing people try to reach out to programmers

goto = ...  What?!?

For those of you who aren't programmers:
"goto" was a concept that was defunct in the 70's. I used goto's when programming in "basica" and on an Apple IIe. But even then you never used "goto =" for anything.

... this is just sad. Dice ought to offer employers the option to filter out people who click on this ad.

Friday, October 7, 2005

I've wanted to get this out for a long time, and have often done so verbally. I figured it was time to get it out in text.

I wrote the follow in response to the article: Marriage and Government Need a Divorce

If two people wish to consider themselves married, it is not the government's proper business to deprive them of that choice.

But the government should also avoid defining marriage in a way offensive to traditionalists - or to those who would like to see the custom made more inclusive. People should be free to associate as they please and to regard others as married or not, depending on their own conscience. The political controversy only exists because the state has butted in where it doesn't belong.

First of all I want to make clear that I realize that bigots exist. I'm not going to take them into consideration because they, by definition (See: bigot, obstinate), are in error, cannot be reasoned with, and are irrelevant.

My response:

You are partially correct. But their is a problem. Your idea of "People should be free to associate as they please" is good, but "and to regard others as married or not, depending on their own conscience" does not work. Then all you have is, "Well, if you don't consider us married, we don't consider you married either." What then have you solved? Nothing.

You are on the right track, but are trying to solve the wrong problem. Marriage has a definition. It is a religious activity. No one (excluding bigots, see notes above) wants to deny Americans rights based on race, sexual preference, or anything else. What people fear is being told that their churches must accept and perform marriages that contradict the religion itself.

The problem here is that the government its extending legal considerations to people based on their participation in a religious activity. Out of ignorance or laziness the issue has been addressed as a need to redefine the religious activity. What needs to happen is an exercise in humility. The government needs to accept that it has been wrong for a very long time and needs create a new _term_ and a new _procedure_ for legally yoking two consenting individuals.

I realize that this is a big shift in culture but so was the civil rights movement. It was a difficult undertaking, but we got through it. We can get through this too. However, I can assure you that we will not have peace involving the issue of "gay marriage" ever. You will sooner see peace between the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael.

Imagine if the government extended certain rights only to people who have been "saved". Would the solution be to modify the definition of being "saved"? No. That's silly. Marriage has, and has always had a definition. There have been later attempts to modify the definition. However, by it's original definition, no gay person wants to be married. What the gay community wants is the rights and respect given to married people. I for one say it's high time we give it to them.

Thursday, September 1, 2005

I’m a Flickr!

I had something important to say, so I converted my Yahoo! ID to a ID. See my first Flicker Post here.

Friday, August 12, 2005

MythTV Step 1

Well, after doing 3 weeks worth of research, I decided to take the plunge. I've ordered and received the hardware for my 1st MythTV system.
Note: Many of the links below go to the original NewEgg product listings. If the items are no longer offered, will not see what I have but instead it returns a list of modern alternatives. I am slowly updating the links to the manufacturers pages. This is the nature of hyperlinks, they change.

COOLER MASTER CAV-T04-UWA Silver/Blue Aluminum/Steel ATX Desktop Computer Case 300W Power Supply - Retail
MSI K7N2 Delta2 Platinum Socket A (Socket 462) NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
AMD Athlon XP 2600+ Barton 333MHz FSB Socket A Processor Model AXDA2600DKV4D - OEM
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
MASSCOOL 5F394B1L3G 80mm Ball Cooling Fan - Retail
Kingston ValueRAM 512MB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered System Memory Model KVR400X64C3A/512 - Retail
Maxtor DiamondMax 10 6L200R0 200GB 7200 RPM IDE Ultra ATA133 Hard Drive - OEM
CHAINTECH VGA128-SHMX4000D Geforce MX4000 128MB DDR AGP 4X/8X Video Card - Retail
Hauppauge WinTV-PVR 500 MCE White box PCI Interface WinTV-PVR-500MCE Windows XP Media Center Edition - Retail
NEC Silver IDE DVD Burner Model ND-3540A - OEM
AMC AICR-01-SL 6-in-1 USB 2.0 Silver Internal USB Digital Card Reader/Writer - OEM

So yesterday I put the hardware together on my lunch break... This morning, before leaving for work, I sanded the surface of the CPU heat sink, and mounted it to the CPU on the motherboard... Tomorrow I will begin installing KnoppMyth...

This project is one that I must do while my wife is not around. If I want to achieve a high WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) on the finished product, I must not allow this to take time away from her.

My next post updating the results could be 6 months away.

Monday, May 16, 2005

In case this ever comes into question, I want my opinion to be known

This is real simple. As a devout Christian, I want the Bible to be consulted in all questions regarding my wishes if I cannot speak for myself.

The Bible clearly states that a man, in this case I, will leave his father and mother to become married to his wife, and the two become one. That's it, end of story. My wife speaks for me in all matters, and vice versa. If a Christian is in a coma for a week and the spouse wants to end it and move on, so be it. If twenty years, so be it. If six months into it she is unsure of what I would want, but 12 years later claims she is confident that she knows I would not want to go on in that state — I chose her to complete me. My parents have no authority in this. Should she respectfully hear their opinions? Of course she should. But her opinion is not to be challenged. If foul play is suspected, pursue it, but if you can't prove it, so be it. I chose her. If it was a bad choice, it was still my choice. It is not a function of government to protect me from my choices.

I chose to devote my life to loving one woman with all of my ability. If that means being kept alive so that she can hold on to hope, it is my honor to do so. If that means being allowed to die so that she can move on, it is my honor to do so.

Thursday, May 5, 2005

One of those things you’ll always cherish

Today I visited my wife's 5th grade classroom. Since it was Cinco de Mayo I brought everything necessary to make pico de gillo, guacamole, and fried corn and flour tortilla chips. I spent about 2 hours and $40 preparing this snack for 18 "high risk" children. I tried to inform, entertain, and just make them all feel special. I wondered if I got through to any of them. I hoped that just one of the minority children would notice that I was treating them as an equal. Maybe one of the girls would notice how I treat my wife and decide that they are going to insist on be respected rather than doing anything boys expect in return for attention.

Near the end of my time with the class, while my hands were dripping with lime juice, a young girl came and put a folded piece of paper into my shirt pocket. I didn't realize it at the time, but that letter would be one of those things I'll always cherish.

One of those things I'll always cherish.

Just when I thought I had reached maximum geekness!

After being forced to use a Windows machine on the job, I decided to start developing my PHP directly on the server over an SSH connection using the Vim Editor. It's got a steep learning curve, but I will be a much better Unix Header for having learned. I definitely recommend that all Windows users start using Vim so that you won't be... well... a mere Windows person.

I've really gotten the hang of it after about 2 weeks. I no longer have times where I want to pull my hair out and scream "Why can't I use BBEdit!?" I've actually started posting tips on the SourceForge page. Here's my first one. I hope you like it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Searching for signs of intelligent life.

Well my new job requires me to dive back into the world of Microsoft. I haven't used Windows since 98SE. At the time I thought that stability aside, it was a pretty good operating system. I would have thought that things would be much better now. What I find, however, is that Microsoft has taken tasks that I once knew how to do and made them "simplified". There are setup wizards everywhere. They ask you a few questions and then change undeclared settings. These are setting that I used to know how to change myself. Now I have to learn how to get Windows to make the decisions I need.

Windows is full of "helpful new features" that a competent computer user will spend hours trying to disable or circumvent, but the issue that actually spawned this rant is not at all new to the MS world.
Insert your Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2 CD now.
I have a 250 Gigabyte hard drive in my computer. Why do I need to keep my Windows CD beside me at all times?!?!?! I didn't setup this machine! It was issued to me by the IT guy. He has all the CDs, and he doesn't come in until after noon. He did however copy the CD to C:\I386\, but this stupid popup won't let me navigate to that path. It wants the original CD.

What would you expect from an operating system that requires me to copy this blog post and paste it into Microsoft Word in order to spell check it?

(I don't have a "Computers" category on my blog, so should I put this in "Apple")

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Make more of your Smarty Templates

In a previous article I tried to teach you to make better use of Smarty. Today I would like to show you an exercise that may help you expand your possibilities even further. Many people limit there imagination to what can be done by the existing functions and modifiers that come with Smarty. Your possibilities become endless when you master custom functions and custom modifiers. This looks much more complicated that it is. You don't even have to have access to you Smarty plugins directory. I prefer to not clog my plugins directory with functions and modifiers that are specific to a single template. I recommend using $smarty->register_function() and $smarty->register_modifier(). This is easily and neatly achieved using the include technique described in the post referenced above.

On simple example of a custom function is:
// Register the function "smarty_function_binrand"
$smarty->register_function("binrand", "smarty_function_binrand");

// Return [length] number of random 1's and 0's
function smarty_function_binrand($params)
// Call the rand() function [length] number of times, concatenating the results
for($i = 0; $i < $params["length"]; $i++){
$out .= rand(0,1);
return $out;

I use this function plus two modifiers to create a radically different template I call BinaryGeek.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Many of you have never seen my wife.

This is why I am always in a hurry to get home. This is my wife Christy. She is my best friend, and the reason I strive to be excellent at everything I do. We were married on July 13th of 2002. I married over my head, but am a much better man for it.

I think ski clothes are sexier than swim clothes!She was caught kissing that guy shortly after this photo was taken.

Attention fellow geeks! How to get your wife to talk about Linux daily.

Name your dog Linux.

No she's not a mutant, that's a Tongue Ball
No, she's not a mutant, that's her Tongue Ball that she got for Christmas.

Linux is a 2 year old Miniature American Eskimo dog. She is full grown but looks like a 15lb sled-dog puppy. She's a great lap dog, but sheds like it's nobody's business.

Do I Yahoo!? Of course!

"So do you Yahoo!?", he asked.

"Do I Yahoo!? Of course I do. Would I be applying for this job if I didn't?", I replied.

"How do you Yahoo!?", he challenged.

"Well today I used maps dot Yahoo! dot com to get directions to find this place. I like that it associates my search history with my Yahoo! ID so that I can access it from a computer that doesn't have my cookies in the cache and still get quick access to My Yahoo! Searches. And, the navigation algorithms are much more efficient than those of competing web sites. I have My Yahoo! customized with weather from Powder Springs where I live and Atlanta where I spend a lot of my time. I have show times from the movie theaters which I frequent, as well as the news categories that interest me. When I used to carry a PDA I would keep it synced with My Yahoo!. I use Yahoo messenger to chat with colleagues to maximize our programming efficiency. Yes, Yahoo! is a lifestyle and I Yahoo!", I confirmed.

In the next hour I did everything in my power to sell myself. Ten years of paid professional programming skills and business communication skills were my product. But were they buying? I did not have the luxury of time, and I made it clear that in the next 29 hours I had 4 more interviews. Each were followup interviews and I was told that 3 were going to present an offer. Yahoo! was not coy about it's interest in me, and I had received a phone call by the time I could make it to the interstate. They wanted me to put all offers on hold until my background check could clear, and they could make their offer which they were sure I would be pleased to accept.

Today I received the offer. I am pleased to say that I am the newest Technical Yahoo!, Senior in the organization. I am sure that I will bring value to the organization, and I will be challenged and educated greatly. If I'm going to work for a Dot Com company it's going to be Yahoo! If I'm going to work for a computer hardware or software company it's going to be Apple. I strive to be the best. But to be the best, you must serve the best. In context of God, Country, and Career this holds true. Today I have taken a very important step.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

My first day at Apple.

What drives a programmer who makes $45 per hour to leave the safety of his home office for a $10 per hour retail job in a mall? Passion! Those of you who haven't experienced OS X and the new Apple Computing Experience will never understand this. Unless of course you visit me at the Apple Store in Lenox Mall, Atlanta Georgia. Cause if you do, you will be walking out of that store with a Mac Mini and a new found respect for an old computer company.

I haven't gone completely crazy. I still consult and that is where I draw my primary income, but what I do for a living and what I do to live are very different. I will be working at the Apple Store evenings and weekends. So if you are in the area, come see me.
This is not the Active Uniform shirt, just a gift in my welcome packet.

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

You should be using Smarty Templates!

There are plenty of articles out there telling you why you should be using Smarty Templates. So go read one of those if you what to know why you need it. I'm going to use my time to tell you how to make the most of Smarty. This will need to be a series of articles if I am to help you make the most, so in this article I will try to help you make more of your Smarty.

First of all Smarty helps a developer eliminate redundant code related to HTML presentation. This is the simplest way I can think of to sum up what Smarty is about. But the code to instantiate Smarty, and to render the HTML with the Smarty object becomes redundant on every page. Most developers accept this since they still get the benefit of having one template to modify to update the HTML presentation of the dozens of pages that may use the template. This is a great benefit, but we want to take it a step farther.

Your basic Smarty instantiation will look something like this:

require "Smarty.class.php";
$smarty = new Smarty;

$smarty->template_dir = $_SERVER["TEMPLATE_PATH"];
$smarty->compile_dir = $_SERVER["COMPILE_PATH"];
$smarty->compile_check = 1;
$smarty->debugging = 0;

$smarty->assign("images", "path/to/images");
$smarty->assign("pages", "path/to/pages");
$smarty->assign("css", "path/to/css");
$smarty->assign("js", "path/to/js");
$smarty->assign("content", "path/to/content");

You then have code for doing all of your PHP processing and assigning data into the Smarty object. To close you must call the display method. This may look like: (Don't let this code overwhelm you. I'm just trying to give a real-world example.)
$smarty->assign("subtitle", "Thermal / Ablative");
"label"=>"Corporate Overview",
"label"=>"Carbon Based Mtls",
"text"=> array(
"MTLS is now part of Science and Technology Objective (STO) Team at US Army's ERDC in Vicksburg",
"MTLS signs agreement with Masureel (Belgium) to serve as sole distributor for basalt fiber in the Americas",

This next line is the important part. It renders the HTML to the browser.

First of all, it should be instinctive for you to put that first section (lines 1-13) in an include file. If it wasn't, then you need to always be asking yourself "How can I clean and organize my code?" The tricky part is that last line (line 40). You can actually add it to the include file that you will require() at the beginning of each file. This is done with a "little known, even littler used" function called register_shutdown_function(). The purpose of this function is to tell your script to execute a given function as the last thing it does before terminating. The trick to it is that you can only specify a function, and not any parameters for the function. It is also not possible to call methods from an object reference. So you must use an even less known function called create_function(). This function creates an anonymous (lambda-style) function. You can combine them like this:

register_shutdown_function(create_function('','global $smarty; $smarty->display("template4.tpl");'));

Putting this line after the first 13 lines quoted above will make an include file that you can reference with one line at the beginning of all pages that use "template4.tpl" That gives you minimum redundancy, which is the reason for using SmartyTemplates in the first place. Want cleaner code? You should be using Smarty Templates!

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

A few pictures from my ski trip

It took me a while to post these because I had to tweak a few of them.

(Mouse over the image to see the description.)
Yes that's 3ft of snow plowed over the guard rail
An evening view from my window at the lodge.
The most beautiful girl I'm not married to stands with her father.
We've just completed our 4th and final day of skiing.
While cutting my own path through a dense forest, I found this shelter.
And, the Oscar for best 80's outfit in a ski film goes to...
Funky hats are definitely in, but you get no steez for that coat.

I’ve discovered

Years ago I thought about creating a site where programmers could post profiles and businesses could post service needs. In order to be a great site it would have to be free to use and be supported solely by advertising. Since I hate the cost-per-click/cost-per-view business, I had little motivation to start the project. But today I discover that someone else did, and it looks like the ideal site for people like me.

Today I created an account and have began bidding on jobs. As a new user I have no rating or job feedback. Because I've always worked on secured or internal projects, my portfolio is just a bunch of login screens. Getting started is going to be difficult. I will have to under sell myself a lot until I get a few jobs completed. Overall I'm very excited about the possibilities.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Ice storm in Atlanta

I was telling my wife how much I missed the snow from growing up in Kentucky. But this icing is not what I was hoping for. It's pretty in its own way, but it really makes for a miserable experience. Our driveway is at a slight incline exiting our garage, so you cannot get out to drive anywhere. Our dog loves snow, but refuses to walk on this crusty stuff.

I don't expect this cabbage to live.

This shot really shows off the detail of a good 5MP camera.

This is the heaviest icing you can expect to see in Atlanta.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Here’s Payton Miller…

I was feeling pretty good about my jump until my 11 year old niece came following behind me. She looks just as good as I do.

Check it out. She makes me look like a fool doesn't she?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Skiing in Colorado

I have a few more pictures to post, but here is a short film that I made while in Winter Park, Colorado over MLK weekend.

My 1st Run on Medium Jumps


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