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Sunday, January 28, 2007

To Vista or not to Vista

My sister wants to buy me a new laptop computer. This would be nice.
Probably not a NEW new computer, but something newer from eBay, say.

I keep hearing about alla this DRM stuff built into Vista, and for a long
while I simply won't touch Vista. I have a feeling Vista will go the way
of Windows ME, and for that matter, that hardware structure IBM used in
the PS/2. It won't work properly, ever, and they'll have to come up with
"Vista SE" in relatively short order.

True, I like the sound of the security stuff they've added. But the best
parts are in hardware, and only need to be enabled in the software. And
the second best had already been done in other OSes before they were done
in Windows.

I suppose I'll have to give up on my three existing Win98SE machines. I
can't put a more powerful OS on them, because the hardware is too limited.
I still use Win98SE on my laptop, my primary day-to-day use machine,
because that's about all that will work. I could (probably) find some
Linux version that'd work. But having tried the latest Ubuntu LiveCD,
that wouldn't start up after an hour of grinding away.

This laptop just doesn't have the memory (128 Meg) or the speed (330 MHz
or so) for recent Linux. And the older I use, the more vulnerable I'd be
to exploits, and the less user-friendliness I could expect. And one of
the best features of Linux is ongoing development -- which I'd lose
because I'd be stuck with an older version. I'm also worried I'd try to
install Linux and then find it didn't have drivers for my Netgear wireless
network card, and without the network, I'd not be able to put back what
I'd taken off. Still, I might decide to go that route, if I can find a
viable option.

Anyway, I'm rambling. And it's just as well my blog isn't about anything
in particular, because neither is this. Wasn't it Theodore Sturgeon who said
"Ninety percent of everything is crap?"

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Note to Myself

I just deleted an extended rant written at a bad moment. Bad, bad blog post.

Notes to myself:

Don't post while drinking or immediately thereafter -- say two or three days thereafter.

Don't cuss on my blog. I don't want to see it on other folks' blogs, so I shouldn't do it on mine. If I can't say it without cussing, I probably don't need to say it.

Always post as Draft first, then Publish if it doesn't look stupid later.

Don't assume anyone will care about my opinion; they never have before, and there are billions of opinions on the Internet anyway.

More later, maybe. Sorry about that.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Autism, Asperger, Zen, And How Real Life Really Sucks

Well, gee, so people with autism spectrum disorders -don't- have the most education on autism???

If you want to understand any Spectrum, by definition you need to understand all the colors, and not just one color, one little piece through one filter that happens to be a pleasant "color" and is easy to deal with. Everybody likes blue, because it's a color frequency nobody can really see very clearly.

So, yeah, they get to deal with all of us -- all of our quirks and foibles and annoying habits -- because if they want to get autistic kids to the point where they become autistic adults, they really ought to know what autistic adults are like, and how we survived long enough to get to be Us.

I'm sure there are any number of fund-raising organizations who'd be more than glad to tell them a shortcut or an easy political effort formula they can follow. Usually involves beatings or locking kids in closets and whatnot, but hey, if that's their thing, they're asking in the wrong venue.

If they want autistic kids to get to where we are, they have to follow the narrow road and the straight gate. It isn't easy, it sure as hell isn't easy to explain, and if they think they can find an easy guide down the right path, they haven't been paying attention. There isn't one.

I sure as hell hope they figure that out, and are willing to pay the exhorbitant price to get here. And I'm not done yet. And I will probably never be done. But that's okay, because somebody was smart enough to make sure those tools were in the hands of the person who had to handle them.

That person was me. That person is the autistic person themselves. Parents get old and can't keep up. Parents die, as one of mine did. I can do what I've (barely) managed to do, because I had the tools to hand, and I did what was necessary to survive this long.

So if they want to live in the real world and deal with what it takes to get where we are, let them come here and ask specific questions. If they want magic, I'm sure the Amazing Lovass will be more than happy to wave some hands and show some smoke and mirrors.

They're asking the wrong questions, because they're afraid of the right answers.

And that makes me a pure, high-quality asshole, because nobody wants what I've said to be true, me included. "And yet it moves," as Galileo is supposed to have said. The truth has an annoying quality in the most demanding circumstances of remaining the truth.

Aversion Fads -- Smokers Are Scum!!!

If you'd missed it, cigarette smokers are scum!

You could ask the Governor of Wisconsin. He's decided recently, that:

Taxes should be increased on cigarettes, essentially doubling cigarette taxes for folks who buy cigarettes in Wisconsin, and

Smokers should be barred from bars and restaurants in Wisconsin -- but not exactly.Waitaminute, what do I mean not exactly, and wassup with the "aversion fad" in the Subect: line?

Well, first of all, a "fad" is a form of mass dementia. An Aversion Fad is a fad to hate a particular group of people or type of behavior. A victom of an Aversion Fad will hate, loathe, despise either people of that type, or people who behave in that particular way -- with no consideration of who they are or what they do otherwise. If one is a victim of an aversion fad toward the use of toothpicks, for example, and Mother Theresa used toothpicks, then Mother Theresa is the embodiment of evil, and must die, or at least suffer the worst punishment the aversionoiac (a word I just created) can accept without actually having to think about it. Aversion fads aren't about thought. They're about getting in line to accept hating whatever one needs to accept hating to get on the bandwagon and be accepted as part of the tribe.

We've seen it before, and the consequences have been uniformly, profoundly and frighteningly ugly.


It gets worse, pretty reliably.


Aversion fads are a common tool of politicians. This has been true at least as long as humans have had language. Get folks to hate a particular group, and if you aren't part of the Evil Group, you are by definition Good ("Either you're for us or against us") and can be completely trusted to speak the truth, even when you're obviously lying.

So, now the Governor of Wisconsin feels that (A) taxes have to be nearly doubled on cigarette smokers, many of whom are WWII war heroes, and (B) those smokers must be denied the freedom to act like smokers in public restaurants and bars.

You can't smoke in restaurants and bars, if the Gubinator prevails. BUT he wants to make sure to double the tax rate on cigarettes as part of the same process. His claim is that he wants to stop people from smoking -- but he's makiing very sure the state of Wisconsin doesn't stop getting the billions of dollars of tax money he gets from cigarette smokers. So even if he stops half the current smokers from smokiing, he still gets to spend the money.

Smokers are smokers, and we aren't going to stop being smokers. If young kids aren't fooled by the government, as I was, into becoming smokers, I'm all for that. But I'm a smoker.

Except now I get to be treated as a second- or third-class citizen, not worthy of eating in a restaurant or drinking in a Wisconsin bar, but I get to pay substantially more in taxes for the privilege.

Oh, HELL no. Trust a politician to find a way to abuse law-abiding (albeit spit-upon) citizens, but still make sure the billiions of dollars we produce still keep rolling in. Uh-huh.

This sucks. You can read this and know it sucks, smoker or non-smoker. You're gonna let Governor Beavis get away with this? Spitting on veterans?

It'd be easy, wouldn't it, though?? Everybody hates smokers, even though most smokers are from the Greatest Generation, right??

NOTE: I: refer to Him as Governor Beavis, because the only alternative would be Governor Butthead, and that would b e insulting. Even though he has insulted the intelligence of everyone who pays taxes in this state, calling him Governor Butthead would be an insult to the office, which deserves better treatment from me. And from him, for that matter.


And not all smokers are from the Greatest Generation. Not all are veterans, either -- though I started smoking seriously in basic training, and I am a peacetime veteran. And nobody ought to be treated like pond scum for becoming addicted to a substance that was promoted for a century and a half at least by most governments. (There are more smokers in China than people in the US.) My addictive behavior may be stupid. But I damn well earned it. If Governor Beavis wants to tell me I'm not worthy to be treated as a legitimate citizen and (heavily) tax paying citizen, he needs to do me and my fellow veterans the courtesy of saying so to our faces, rather than kicking us to the curb and dropping a doubled tax bill in the gutter -- where he assumes we live.

I'm going to skip the part where I start cursing vehemently. For the moment.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Audio Content and the Major Labels

I've taken a few minutes to think about presenting audio content on the
Web (as compared to the Internet, but that's another thread), and I've
come to some profound conclusions. I could, naturally, have spent years
on this -- I've had plenty of years -- but Moore's Law requires I spend an
ever diminishing time on ever-more-important questions. And if that's not
true, I can still blame him.

Presenting music on the web has some advantages. But it only has
advantages as long as the number of offerings on the Web is a whole lot
smaller than the number of offerings overall.

If you have a music file on the web, you're in a small pond. There have
been relatively few artists presenting content on the web. Those few have
snagged onto audiences who were looking for unique content -- and if it
was on the web, rare as it was, it was by definition unique content.

But after X time, a whole pisspot full of artists post content to the web.
A whole lot of those post crap. So once again, even having posted on the
web, you're floating once again in a sea of crap. Some of them are known
names on the web, and they'll still have their followers. But newer folks
are just more floaters in the septic tank that is the music industry, web-
based notwithstanding.

There are a great many things the studios do really badly, or really in an
evil way. But they're really pretty good at (and really forceful about)
promoting their content in whatever venue. If you want someone big and
scary making sure somebody hears your content, you want one of the big,
scary media companies.

On the web, they hear your content if they're caught by your filename, or
by your text content next to your link, or by your picture next to your
link. They don't necessarily judge your content by hearing your content.

If folks don't hear your content, the rest is just smoke and mirrors.
There is no reason whatsoever your existing content can't be backed up by
a promotional presence in other venues, and a big MEGARECORDING INC logo
on your webpage, too.

So I suspect that, just maybe, we're past the point where just being on
the web with content beats being with a Major Label. With the background
noise rising on the web, having an 800-pound gorilla behind you couldn't
hurt.

Clewless Newbie

Granted, that's what I am, a Clueless Newbie as regards blogs. I've tried it in the past, and found I had no idea what to say. This is just a space-filler. We'll see what else I have to say.

I actually started looking at blogs (this time) because I'm perseverating on podcasts lately. The word "perseverating" should tell you one bit of info you need to know about me, and if you know what that is, I won't bother to explain, and if you don't, maybe I'll rant about that later.

I am a thoroughly unpleasant individual, some of the time. The rest of the time, I appear to be such, to those who don't know me. My theme song is probably "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys," in particular the line, "Them that don't know him don't like him, and them that do sometimes don't know how to take him." BTW, that's from Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. I think I'm required to mention that.

That's where Grizzly's Growls comes from. Obviously. Oh, and I'm probably older than most bloggers, AFAIK. YMMV.

When I have more time, I'll have less to say.

Grizzly