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David E. Ross

Oak Park, California 91377


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The Editorial Page

Community service

My career

My hobbies

Quips and Jabs (see below for the two latest)

Odds and Ends

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Inflation: 1.4%

Change in browser user base for Internet Explorer since March 2003: −76.3%

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News reports of drive-by shootings, often refer to "innocent victims". Are there such things as "guilty victims"? If so, in which court of law were they declared "guilty"? And of what crime?

© 2014 by David Ross

Did you know that, every time you have your car serviced or repaired, a report is sent to CarFax? This happens whether you go to a franchised automobile dealer or to an independent service garage or body shop.

There are several problems with this practice:

How did I discover this? My automobile insurance company gives me a discount if I (1) report my current odometer reading prior to renewal and (2) my mileage remains low.

In advance of my latest insurance policy renewal, I received an E-mail message asking me to use the insurance company's Web site to report my mileage. When I reported 25,065 miles, the entry was rejected with a message indicating I could not report an odometer reading less than the prior reading. On the Web site, there was a link to view the mileage history for my car. The immediately prior entry was for 241,080 miles, reported by CarFax on the date of the last routine servicing of my car. I checked the invoice for that servicing; it indicated 24,108 miles. A zero had been added to the end of the mileage, either by the dealer's service department or by CarFax! Working with both the service manager at the dealer and the local agent for the automobile insurance company, it took several phone calls over a month to obtain a correction.

A report on what data CarFax has about your own car can cost you over $30 if you go through their <> Web page. However, there is an alternative Web site called MyCARFAX, where you can register and view your car's history for free. To correct an error in the history, you must select the link for "Help" and then scroll to the bottom of the page.

Note that the problems here are not primarily the fault of CarFax. The fault lies with with the dealers, garages, and body shops that fail to disclose that they are sending data to CarFax and that they might make mistakes in what data they send. CarFax, however, is at fault for earning a profit from data about something you and I own, data we should have the right to control.

© 2013 by David Ross

Anyone who thinks government owns a monopoly on inefficient, obstructive bureaucracy has obviously never worked for a large corporation.

Copyright © 1997 by David Ross

(or never tried to deal with a health insurance claims department)

Community Service


Computer software engineer specializing in requirements analysis and testing. Advocate of software life-cycle methods that minimize errors and prevent budget overruns, schedule slips, and dissatisfied end-users through up-front analysis, ongoing reviews, and formal verification. Proficient with software for platforms including stand-alone main-frames, desktop PCs, and client-server networks. Experienced in technical management and, for small organizations, top-level management.

Expertise includes:

Professional Activities

If you are an unemployed professional, OPEN is an effective government program that can truly help you.


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Stamp collecting


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Listening to classical music

Surfing the Internet

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When I turn on the faucet, water comes out. At night, the street lights come on. Our streets are swept, and our joint school and public library continues to operate. Both children and adults enjoy themselves in our community's parks. Our public schools are as good as any other schools — public or private — in California. Deputy Sheriffs patrolling our streets and judges in our courtrooms keep our community's crime rate very low in a county with one of the lowest crime rates in the nation. Mail is delivered six days each week. In Oak Park, government is working; it is not our enemy.

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Copyright © 1999-2010 by David Ross
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