The West Virginia Optimist

WV’s Housing Market Appears To Be Strong
March 29, 2008, 4:11 pm
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According to the state housing fund’s executive director, Joe Hatfield, West Virginia’s housing market does not seem to be impacted much by the housing crisis.

“West Virginia has not had the level of foreclosures that we have seen in other states,” Hatfield said Thursday. “We have seen some foreclosures in state’s Eastern Panhandle region, but overall the state has not had any increase in the number of foreclosures during the national slowdown in the housing market.”

I’m sure there are many factors at play here, but the first that comes to mind is housing prices. Housing, in my limited knowledge, appears to be relatively low when compared to other markets. Our house in the downtown ZIP code of a state capitol would have been probably been over twice the selling price. To me, it makes sense that since housing prices aren’t inflated, people can actually afford their mortgage. I do wonder about the relation of housing prices to income levels in this state…rather, if the value of homes are within a more attainable reach to folks with the incomes of buyers in this state when compared to other locations. Most of foreclosures in the eastern panhandle of the state, where housing prices are going up. I wonder about the income levels in that area.

Urban Oasis
March 28, 2008, 7:05 am
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An update on the park to be built at the intersection of Leon Sullivan & Washington.
As a resident of this neighborhood, this makes me smile. I’ve always thought that intersection coming off of I-64 was one of the most unsightly parts of Charleston…especially as nice as the Clay Center is. Now, if we can just get the Post Office to get rid of that ugly chain link fence, we’ll be set.

WV given nod for it’s use of tech in schools.
March 28, 2008, 6:59 am
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This is great news!

West Virginia’s school technology policies and implementation strategies are among the best in the nation, according to a report titled, “Technology Counts 2008: STEM, The Push to Improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.”

The state received an overall score of 95.3 on the report, which ranks West Virginia at the top of the class for its use of technology.


where is the love?
March 27, 2008, 9:37 pm
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after today’s utterly astounding absurdity, i’m not sure what to think. as I walked home, this song was on loop in my head.

where it counts
March 21, 2008, 8:18 pm
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I’m voting for Obama. Most people that know me know that I’m nuts about this guy…often to the point where it seriously annoys some of my friends. I’m just very excited about the possibility of this man becoming president. Especially when he comes to Beckley, West Virginia and says this:

For instance, when Nelson Staples of Beckley asked him how he planned to lower the cost of gasoline in the United States, Obama responded with an answer that included investing in alternative fuel research, investing in refinery capacities, having a more sensible policy in the Middle East, strengthening the value of the dollar by improving the economy, charging polluters and creating more fuel-efficient vehicles in the United States.

“But the hard truth is, the only way to, in the long term, reduce gas prices is to reduce demand,” Obama said.
“ … So, in the meantime, what kind of car do you drive?” he asked Staples.
The laughter from those sitting around the Beckley resident gave him away even before he answered: “An Escalade.”

Obama shrugged his shoulders and widened his eyes.
“I’m sorry,” Obama said, “but this is what I’m talking about right here.”
from the Register-Herald

Oh. My. God. Elect this man immediately.

FCC Finally Updates Broadband tracking policy
March 20, 2008, 5:39 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


Here’s the skinny. In the past, ISPs had it easy. For tracking broadband deployment in the US, IPSs could report any ZIP as Broadband if one person that ZIP code had broadband. Essentially, if you were on the outside edge of your ZIP code, neighboring to a highly developed ZIP code, and you had Internet service above 200kbps(HA!), your ENTIRE ZIP code was considered to be broadband. This of course is absurd and in places like West Virginia, it highly skewed the statistics.

The report (PDF), which covers the first half of 2007, concluded that “broadband services are currently being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.”

High-speed lines–meaning, mind you, capable of 200Kbps or greater data transfer speeds–grew from 82 million to 100 million lines during that time, the FCC said. Its report also found that an Internet service provider reported having at least one connection in 99 percent of the country’s ZIP codes, and that 99 percent of the American population lives in those ZIP codes.

Copps, for one, called the ZIP code methodology “stunningly meaningless.”


The FCC has added a few rules when reporting broadband deployment and the beefed up the criteria on what qualifies as such.

a) ‘Basic Broadband’ now requires that your service be rated at 768kbps at the low end, 1.5mbps on the high end. Before 200kbps was the criteria, which was a complete joke, but then again we were using old rules. Very much has changed in terms of broadband speeds in the last 10 years.

b) ISPs must report download AND upload speeds. This makes me happy since cable companies have been increasing the download speeds and leaving uploads alone (thats YOU Suddenlink. 256kbps up is inexcusable)

c) Broadband must be reported more specifically. For example: 1) 200Kbps to 768Kbps (“first generation data”); 2) 768Kbps to 1.5Mbps (“basic broadband”); 3) 1.5Mbps to 3Mbps; 4) 3Mbps to 6Mbps; and 5) 6Mbps and above.

d) ISPs will be required to count subscribers based upon ACTUAL numbers in addition to breaking it down by ZIP and speed tiers. This makes me very happy and should have happened years ago.

e) ISPs will not be required to report rates… yet. Democratic commissioners and consumer advocacy groups fought for this requirement as it would help subscribers understand just how much they are paying for their speed tier in relation to others in the country. In my opinion, this would force providers to reduce rates and open access for lower income subscribers…which is usually who needs help getting broadband in the first place.

This is a step in the right direction. Not allowing ISPs to get by with only pushing services to highly dense populations is very important if we’re going to compete in the global marketplace. Broadband in 2008 is a requirement to use the Internet effectively.

one down, six (or seven) to go.
March 10, 2008, 8:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Passed the first test of the MCSE certification. It’s long overdue and I know I could have done better, but I still passed. Onto the next one, 70-291, which should not be too difficult to prepare for considering I work with Windows Server 2003 daily. Depending on which track I go, it’s either six or seven more tests. woohoo.

I’ve also spent about 7-9 hours on these darn transom windows, glass and wood. The reasons that someone would paint the only light source (save the overhead hall light) for the hallway is beyond me. I’ve finally nailed down an effective method of stripping at least 6 layers of paint from glass and wood. A plastic scraper and Citristrip. Works like a champ, at much less messier than the goopey paste. Spray it on, leave it overnight and the paint layers peel off like plastic. Amazing.

Suddenlink Upgrade in Charleston?
March 6, 2008, 11:25 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

After nearly two years since the Suddenlink buyout of Charter in Charleston, I’ve noticed steady upgrades. First, they went from 3mbps up to 6mbps down, yet kept upload to 256kbps. With our increased need for higher upload speeds (remote work for the both of us), I called Suddenlink two weeks ago inquiring about the possibility of further upgrades. I was told that they now have a new package that was introduced last month for 12mbps/800kbps for $15 extra per month. Naturally, I requested the upgrade. Unfortunately, it requires a tech to install a new box outside, which I scheduled. So, I havent been upgraded yet. I was very surprised when I ran a speed test and I saw my upload speeds were higher. Skeptically, I’ve been testing it all night and I kept getting the same speeds.  So I’ve come to the conclusion that either Suddenlink upgraded it’s system or the Dark Lord Kromdor (check the graphic) granted my final wish.

Also, check out this sweet rack we installed in the basement!

March 4, 2008, 10:47 pm
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An R&B group, Morris Day and the Time, will open Regatta Thursday night, starting at about 9 p.m. on the main stage.

I will actually be attending Regatta this year, if only for Morris Day. This is exactly the thing I needed to hear in between MCSE practice tests and Democratic Primary coverage.

March 3, 2008, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve been darn busy.  Between painting, stripping paint off of glass and studying for some certification tests (of which Id like to take on Monday), I haven’t had time to breath, let alone post. Will return shortly.