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A ramble about good and evil, or NYT and Net Neutrality August 5, 2010 at 9:05 pm

My opinion of the New York Times hangs in the balance of the Google-Verizon [anti-]Net Neutrality clusterf**k. Maybe I’m just a Google (and Verizon, to a lesser degree) fanboy (guilty as charged, fandom is good), but after reading the NYT’s entire article it doesn’t all stack up in my mind. Again, maybe I’m just slow to condemn Google because I’m blind to it or something, but I just don’t see how the company of “Do No Evil” (and yes, I remember China) and open source and green energy and everything else, could in a matter of weeks turn completely around on an issue they themselves helped bring to the public’s attention 4 years ago (sidenote: seems they first posted that page on the EXACT SAME DAY as the famous Daily Show “series of tubes” clip, not really sure if that tells us anything (maybe Google’s words (and $4.6 BILLION?) have been empty for 4 years?)). Verizon I can totally see. I may find them to be my “favorite” cell phone carrier at this point, but that doesn’t mean I trust them any farther than I can toss my phone. That “odd couple” pairing of these supposed talks is what smells the fishiest to me. NYT also seems to have a LOT of “response” quotes they went out and found from FCC spokespeople and various advocacy groups, but that level of detailed reporting highlights, in my mind, how little information they’re reporting about what Verizon and Google are actually, you know, saying. They seem to be implying that Google is somehow the regulator of the Internet, and to abolish the practice of net neutrality on their network Verizon would somehow need permission from Google. I know Google is huge and has 90% of the search market share and all that, but with that size comes a lot of close inspection from, well, everyone, and if they did something really, really f*cking stupid (like decide to start acting as regulator of the Internet to the likes of ISPs) they would not only have a huge sh*tstorm on their ass, they’d lose millions of customers to Bing, and probably get the FCC, FTC and DoJ all suddenly looking into them. It’s only because they’re such a nice company that people put up with them being so f’ing huge and having so many fingers in so many pies.

OK, HUGE fanboy moment here, but what I can see as likely is that Google has been having talks with Verizon for “11 months” to try to convince them NOT to start charging for faster content delivery. THAT’S what the Google I know would do.

Maybe I just don’t know Google like the NY Times is implying they do. But if it turns out the NYT is wrong, I will not only be very mad at them for inciting a huge and far-reaching sh*tstorm today, I will also be very sad because I’m one of those people who’s very scared of a future devoid of real fearless journalists who aren’t driven by pageviews (something newspaper journalists of old had no concept of). But if NYT turns out to be wrong, this whole thing will have proven, to me, that all they care about is pageviews, as well.

In fact, even if they’re right I think this has proven that to me.

RIP NYT.

Coming soon May 3, 2010 at 4:10 am

…this is still a work in progress. Nothing to see here. Move it along.

(But do come back soon. I really hope and plan to have this blog fully up and running within a few days. *fingers crossed* In the meantime check out my Twitter and The Stream.)

The Sarah Palin files: week 1 September 1, 2008 at 11:59 pm

Well folks, round one of the “discredit Sarah Palin” game is done and it would appear the conservatives have won it fair and square. Can’t say I’m too distressed either, since any mark against DailyKos is fine by me these days.

Oh, you actually want to know what I’m talking about? I think you should just believe me. (Please take that as a mock on partisans everywhere.)

It started with a post on DailyKos “proving” that Sarah Palin Is NOT The Mother of Trig, her 4-month-old fifth child who was born in April, evidence to back up this claim came in the form of photos of Sarah and Bristol showing Bristol with a belly bump and Sarah without one and a story detailing Sarah’s strange behavior just prior to baby Trig’s birth in April.

Well, a bit of research produces a couple of different posts refuting the claim of the DailyKos post. First is a post on a blog called StopTheACLU (can’t say I agree with their main mission, but I agree with this post) that points out that [one of] the photos supposedly showing Bristol being pregnant with Trig is in fact from 2006, which is of course way before Trig was conceived.
(Side note: DailyKos actually presents another photo claiming to show Bristol as pregnant, this one dated “late 2007″ according to DailyKos, having no evidence to the contrary I won’t refute the time frame, but I will try to pin down an exact date based on the fact that the background and name of the photo on the State of Alaska’s website (PalinFamily_Outside_v01.jpg) both put the photo outside. Now, since I am a weather geek, I went and looked up the weather records for Juneau, Alaska last fall, and found out that the temperature never went above 38 during the entire month of December. Given that the two teenage daughters are wearing only half sleeves and don’t look the least bit cold, that rules out December as a possible time that this photo could’ve been taken outside. Likewise, the temperature in November never went above 45. Am I reaching yet? Or is this making sense? My point is, if the photo was taken outside, which it seems it was based on the name of it and the fact that if a studio were to put a nice mountain backdrop behind a family photo I don’t think it would have a balcony railing in it, it was most likely taken in September or October when temperatures were in the 50s (October) and near 70 (September). Based on his birth date and the fact that he was born a month prematurely Trig was most likely conceived in late August 2007, meaning that Bristol would be, at very most, 9 weeks pregnant in these photos. And given that what they’re wearing looks more like summer wear, this photo was probably taken in September, when Trig’s pregnancy would be next to impossible to see.)
Second, is a post from All American Blogger who authors a post called “Photos of a Pregnant Palin” where he lines up half a dozen photos of Sarah Palin pregnant with Trig.

I will probably have more on my personal thoughts about Palin as McCain’s VP pick later. For now, I need to, like, do homework and go to bed and stuff as tomorrow is school again! Ug.

-j

Music August 6, 2008 at 5:21 am

Reading Questionable Content (I’ve now read 1151 of the 1202 comics in the archive! I am a true geek who has had absolutely nothing better to do for the last 5 days!) has made me think more about the types/genres of music that I listen to. It might seem kind of odd, but I’ve only recently begun to really try and figure out what types of music I like in order to seek out more music in that genre. The way that I usually get new music is via chance encounter or when a family member hits on a cool band and I like it, too. But it’s kind of hard to read 1150 comics that very often geek about music and not begin to analyze your own tastes.

One thing I’ve found in my exploration of my music tastes over the last few months is that I like metal music from Europe, such as Nightwish (both before and after lead singer Tarja Turunen left the group) Within Temptation and Epica, but I also like more indie-type rock and pop from the US but I haven’t truely explored those genres as much.

I guess I’m just wanting to organize my thoughts a little on this issue since QC put it in my mind (QC is all about the indie rock and as I was reading it this evening night a Death Cab for Cutie song came on in my iTunes rotation and it suddenly all became very obvious to me) over the last few days. It’s not like I want to become the kind of Indie Rock geek that some of the characters in QC are, but I would like to know a little bit more of what I like so that I can more easily find music that I like (and be able more easily ID music that I won’t like)…OK, maybe I am saying that I’d like to become the type of Indie Rock music geek that the characters in QC are. There are worse things in life than being a music geek (plus it might be good in my future career goal of being an indie movie maker).

Hmm.

I have to go do the dishes and clean the kitchen now (why I waited until 5:14am to do my chores nobody will ever know, but it’s possible that it had something to do with the awful bad mood that I had to nurse myself out of with lots of QC and Nightwish for the last 3+ hours) so I’ll pop on my iPod and turn on my favorite podcast (The Bugle – Audio Newspaper for a Visual World, the best liberal cross-Atlantic news satire I’ve ever heard) and quickly do that before going to bed.

Tomorrow is shopping! Yays! New clothes! New sunglasses! (if I can find any suitable ones that is, I don’t need new ones but I want new ones!) New organic food! (little old Fort Wayne, IN has one of the best Food Co-ops in the country, it’s quite impressive.) No sleep tonight because I’m still awake!

Um. OK. Goodnights.

-jbh

Lisp by xkcd July 31, 2008 at 5:46 pm

I got 4 hours and 20 minutes of sleep last night (give or take 5 minutes), so I’m content to sit and read the archives of xkcd all day, maybe I should say “I’m too tired to do anything else”, rather than “content to”.

At any rate, I thought this comic was funny enough to post. Background: the idea is that sometime early in everyone’s programming career the young new programmer should learn Lisp just for the great feeling that you get when you finally figure it out. Of course this doesn’t inspire much confidence in the time before you figure it out that you spend tearing your hair out (at least not in me, although I will try to learn it at some point), but ah well.


(Click for full size version.)

Of course, I’m still holding on to the possibility that it’s all just a big plot to get young, eager programmers to torture themselves trying to figure out something that’s needlessly complex, but perhaps that’s good for young, eager programmers, in a “you must learn early the hard ways of life” sort of way. (He says. Acting like he’s not also a young, eager programmer.) Of course, knowing what I know about the hacker culture, I’m not sure this is very likely.

I think I’m probably in a very cynical mood today.

-jimmy

Also… July 30, 2008 at 5:28 am

How much of what I write do people actually understand? Sometimes I take a step back and read something I’ve written and realize that it’s random and/or I’ve left huge connections unsaid and simply assumed, but then I wonder if I’m assuming too much? Should I make those connections rather leaving huge holes in my stories? Or is the level of unreadable-randomness just right?

I should REALLY go to bed.

I’m kinda looking forward to school starting again in 3.5 weeks, if only to get me on a sane schedule again. (OK, semi-sane schedule. The problem with the school year is that I usually sleep about 5-6 hours a night because I continue to go to bed at 2am or later.)

Hmm.

-jimmy

BSOD and my computing needs July 28, 2008 at 2:36 am

The serial-to-USB adapter that I use to connect my weather station to my laptop has caused two Blue Screens of Death in the last few weeks, reminding me that when I installed the adapter Windows XP yelled at me and told me it wasn’t a supported device (or something along those lines) and that it might damage my computer. I’ve been using this thing without problems for several years, but I think two BSOD in as many weeks shouldn’t be ignored, even if I’m considering getting a new computer soon and have all my files backed up. Four weeks to the beginning of the new school year is not the time to be taking chances with one’s computer when it’s not a sure thing that I’d be able to replace it ASAP. Plus there’d be a small lose of data even if I did nightly backups.

I’m kind of annoyed at myself for my somewhat cavalier attitude about computers. I tend to think that I’ll be able to pull them back from the brink of disaster, or at least not lose any data if I do have a serious error. And so far I’ve been lucky, but this is the fourth time I’ve gotten a BSOD/”stop error” on this laptop in the less than 3 years that I’ve owned it. And second in the last month. I have the feeling that if things go wrong on this computer, they’ll go really, really wrong. And it kinda seems that things are getting close to that point.

I push my computers way too hard in general. Right now, just having started back up after the crash, I already have half a dozen high-memory programs open: the aforementioned weather station program, which pulls data from my weather station every 5 minutes; FireFox with a dozen tabs open, ThunderBird with 3 e-mail accounts that automatically check for new messages anywhere between every 3 minutes and every 15 minutes; and BitTorrent, which is currently downloading at a speed of 35k/second and pushing the data out onto my external hard drive. And this is a low amount of stuff open for me. I also use this machine for hours and hours every day.

I think it’s time I seriously think about my computing needs and make sure I get not just more memory than “normal”, but a faster processor and better OS, as well. I’m totally going to get a MacBook when I next upgrade, and I need to figure out some way to get Linux running on something newer than 7 years old so I can actually learn how to use it, since I think it may be the answer to a lot of my issues.

For now I’ve just ordered a new serial-to-USB adapter that gets 5-stars from 21 reviewers on Amazon that should work better than my current one, and I guess I’ll make sure to keep my back-ups current and work hard to get a new computer sooner rather than later. Because if it’s just a fact of life that I need a new computer every 2.5 years, I guess that’s just that.

-jimmy

A journal comic July 27, 2008 at 9:38 pm

I posted last night about how I’d made a page for the “Journal Comic” of my life that I drew a dozen strips for last fall in my Storyboard and Concept class, but I wanted to share my favorite strip with you all here on the front page, both because I think it’s funny and hope you will too and because I wanted you all to see what you’re missing if you haven’t clicked on the “Journal Comic” link and gone to the page yet.

-jimmy

Snapshot: night of July 25th July 26, 2008 at 4:44 am

So, I said I was going to do a “Daily Links” feature, but I thought that (at least sometimes) I’d expand that to include a look at everything currently going on in my life, not just the currently open tabs on FireFox.

First, what I have open in FireFox, with plans to read or at least skim or close after I’ve ignored for several days:

  • My usual suspects of tabs that I always have open: my LJ friends page; the local NWS forecast together on a page with several local weather maps; a page with several national weather maps, Google Calendar; my TiddlyWiki where I organize such things as my to-do list, exam schedules and grades and the plot/scene outline of my latest movie
  • I’ve also had the Facebook Mob Wars application open for a while, it’s kind of a boring game but oddly addictive
  • I have a couple of pages from HuntingtonDMA.com open to remind me that I have several things I should be doing there, like editing a page to reflect a change we made in a posting policy, as well as creating a page for a user/classmate to post some videos from an animation workshop
  • An article on the California Progress Report website about the planned High-Speed Rail system in that state (I have a Google Alert for “high-speed rail,” so I read/skim a fair number of HSR stories a day, probably making me one of the more informed citizens on this issue)
  • A story on the Variety website called “Screenwriters Strike Back” about how some screenwriters are going straight to the web and skipping dealing with the studios
  • AskaNinja.com, seriously funny, and wicked good editing skillz, too
  • Several pages I’ve been meaning to glance through about backing up WordPress databases plus pages of different WordPress themes
  • An article on The Independent website entitled “Music industry to tax downloaders
  • An article on sfgate.com called “California high-speed rail builders should learn French
  • Another article from The Independent called “Riches in the Arctic: the new oil race” (a prospect I find sickening and hugely ironic: global warming caused by the burning of CO2 melts the Ice Cap and we move in and drill for the oil that we couldn’t get to before! Does anyone else see a little bit of an issue with this possibility?)
  • A The Independent article called “Obama comes to Europe
  • Several pages to do with this blog and my search for fixes to a few of the errors I’ve been encountering
  • A blog post titled “The enemy of my enemy is Light Rail on a blog that advocates for Personal Rapid Transit

I don’t usually have this many FireFox tabs open, but it happens sometimes. Now, I am going to quickly run through the other “snapshot” items in my life right now, as it’s late and I want to watch an ep of 24 before I hit the sack for the night:
Current music: “Recent Favorites (last 3 months)” iTunes playlist, current song: Schism by Tool.
Last activity: watched the movie Say Anything followed by laughing about life until 3:38am with my wonderful family.
Next activity: watching Season 3, Episode 2 of 24 my new favorite TV show.
Current mood: happy about life. I was feeling sick and therefore kinda down the last couple of days, but this evening I began to feel much better. Let’s hear it for family movie time and nearly a gallon of water drunk today.

Love and peace,

-jimmy

Um, hi July 24, 2008 at 9:39 pm

So after trying to set this up all day, I think I’ve finally achieved it. Turns out I don’t know jack about MySQL databases or how to configure them so I ended up just using the handy link on the Yahoo! Webhosting Control Panel that said “set up WordPress blog”. I kinda wanted to conqueror it on my own, but I guess there’s a time and place for everything and when you can’t figure out how to connect to the database it’s probably a time to get your head back above the water and use the handy flotation device that’s been bobbing there in the water the whole time.

So. About this blog. I’ve been journaling/blogging at LiveJournal.com for three and a half years, but suddenly this summer I decided that LJ was too constrained and that I really needed my own blog on my own site that I could have ultimate control over (that would be the reason I was ignoring the Yahoo! Webhosting Flotation Device…) and that would be more visible on the world stage than my Friends Locked LJ. Now, I could always un-Friends Lock my LJ, but since I’ve been using WordPress this summer as the supreme ruler and God, I mean, humble student admin of the website HuntingtonDMA.com and since my family has had Bouma-Holtrop.com for 6 years and never really put it to any use, I thought that I’d put at least a sub-domain to use as my primary blogging site from here on.

I suppose I could’ve just left the post that came with the installation of WordPress that said “hello, world”, since that’s really all I’m saying anyway, but that would just be boring.

So, welcome one and all, and stay tuned for lots of fun features to come very soon, including, for the next month, daily postings of a cartoon that I drew when I was younger about a male cow with a duck’s bill. Don’t ask. You’ll see tomorrow.

-jimmy