Back in the (Somewhat Random) Saddle

I have been slack­ing.  I even have sev­er­al posts pret­ty much ready and I’ve been slack­ing.  To be com­plete­ly hon­est with myself, I think my father’s death last year affect­ed my desire to express myself more than I thought.  He and I often had pro­tract­ed dis­cus­sions on top­ics very sim­i­lar to those I pub­lish on this site.

But I have come to real­ize that there is worth in this writ­ing.  It’s not just the com­ments … of which a very few have slow­ly appeared above the gen­er­al noise of SPAM.  It’s also not just the read­just­ing of rela­tion­ships with my fam­i­ly … who are equal­ly sound­ing boards for my notions.  It’s worth­while because I have some­thing to say.

With that, I sup­pose I intro­duce the new “sea­son” of Ran­dom Scrib­blings.  I’ve got some thoughts on Tele­vi­sion fic­tion com­ing up as well as some refined thoughts on Video Games.   My favorite store for Ran­dom stuff (Lab Safe­ty) has been bought out — and the new own­er (Granger) is bor­ing beyond belief — but maybe I’ll write more about that, too.

Con­sult­ing Gilbert’s Law of Oppo­sites, things must have stayed the same since they also seem so com­plete­ly and utter­ly dif­fer­ent.

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I Have NOT Been Slashdotted

The rumors of my being slash­dot­ted are great­ly exag­ger­at­ed — or at least per­pet­u­at­ed in denial by me.  Imag­ine my sur­prise when I noticed this arti­cle on Slash­dot.  It men­tions a “tech writer” named “David Gilbert.”  This might be one of the few times I direct­ly men­tion my name on the blog … but it’s impor­tant here.  David, it seems writes for the Inter­na­tion­al Busi­ness Times.

I can’t get an exact bead on the orga­ni­za­tion.  It claims to have “inter­na­tion­al news­rooms” all over the world, but their address­es could eas­i­ly be sim­ply some reporter’s house.  I strong­ly sus­pect it’s a UK orga­ni­za­tion since my Fire­fox plu­g­in that pre­vents scripts from run­ning expos­es the default for the edi­tion selec­tion wid­get is “UK.”

I don’t ter­ri­bly often Google myself.  If I do, I usu­al­ly crack out a secure brows­er or even TORJust because you’re para­noid doesn’t meant they’re not after you

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Happy New Year: The Year of Windows FAIL?

It’s dif­fi­cult to avoid a lit­tle schaden­freude, espe­cial­ly when you feel the vic­tim is wor­thy.  I’ve already said some of what I feel about Win­dows 8.  So it is with a lit­tle glee that I read on Slashot that Win­dows 8 sales are below the low bar set by the sales of Win­dows Vista.  We’re set­ting up for a Win­dows Fail.

Maybe there is a lim­it to the bull-hock­ey that you can shov­el at peo­ple.  Maybe peo­ple can real­ize exact­ly what it is that is being done to them.

Hey… there’s still hope… Hap­py New Year!

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Christmas Trees and the Need for Less Speed

Fresh in from the “We Can’t Make This Stuff Up” Depart­ment, we have two news sto­ries to share.  From some­where ran­dom in the US, we have two guys try­ing to launch their Christ­mas Tree with Rock­ets and from Can­more Alber­ta (home of “Mike, from Can­more”) we have the local R.C.M.P reward­ing dri­vers caught on cam­era doing the speed lim­it with a lot­tery for a (we’re assum­ing Tim’s) gift card.  Both sto­ries deal vague­ly with “speed” … so I even have a focus key­word!  Hit “more” to get to a video of a Christ­mas Tree Rock­et!   Con­tin­ue read­ing

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FSF/GNU Petition against UEFI Secure Boot

Secure Boot should be Restricted Boot

Secure Boot should be Restrict­ed Boot

The folks over at GNU have a peti­tion up regard­ing UEFI Secure Boot.  Before those of you who don’t read my com­put­er tech­ni­cal arti­cles flip away: con­sid­er that this is very impor­tant and that I will try to min­i­mize the tech­ni­cal details.  At the very least, please go sign the peti­tion which states, in part, that you will not buy or rec­om­mend buy­ing any com­put­er that incor­po­rates this tech­nol­o­gy. Con­tin­ue read­ing

Posted in FreeBSD Tech, Life, Rant, Tech | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is Advertising Really Necessary?

Advertising Overload

Adver­tis­ing Over­load

Do we real­ly need adver­tis­ing?  Put more point­ed­ly, do we real­ly need the por­tion of our indus­try that con­nives to con­vince us to buy things?  These ques­tions came to mind while lis­ten­ing to the CBC radio news sto­ry today decry­ing that for each dol­lar of income, Cana­di­ans spent $1.63 and that this fig­ure was per­ilous­ly close to the fig­ure for the US just before the most recent mort­gage cri­sis. Con­tin­ue read­ing

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Replacing the Steering Gear in My 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee – Part 2

The New Steering Gear

The New Steer­ing Gear

Before return­ing to the steps for the repair, this bit could be effec­tive­ly sub­ti­tled, “Repair failed, Pause for Christ­mas.”  At the very last step of the re-assem­bly, we stripped a fit­ting, so we’ll be re-remov­ing the Steer­ing Gear and re-installing anoth­er Steer­ing Gear.  We can’t even get start­ed on that, how­ev­er, until we talk to the parts peo­ple tomor­row.  You can see the first part of the repair here. Con­tin­ue read­ing

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LED Corncob FAIL.

LED Corncob Light

LED Corn­cob Light

I have final­ly exhaust­ed my sup­ply of incan­des­cent light bulbs and thus decid­ed to buy an LED corn­cob light.  I live in Cana­da and for the major­i­ty of the year, the heat from a light bulb is not wast­ed.  In addi­tion, when the heat of a light bulb would be wast­ed — in the sum­mer — light bulbs are used less as our days are long.

It could be said that I’m not a fan of flu­o­res­cent light bulbs.  It’s not just the years I spent in edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions under their light.  It’s not just that they cause com­put­er mon­i­tors to appear to flick­er (although that effect is near­ly gone with new tech­nol­o­gy).  Main­ly, it’s that I don’t like the light they give. Con­tin­ue read­ing

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Replacing the Steering Gear in My 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee — Part 1

Of course some­thing­has to go wrong with the truck in the few days before Christ­mas.  This is the first of two arti­cles that will deal with the replace­ment of the Steer­ing Gear in my 2000 Jeep Grand Chero­kee.  Here we’re going to deal with the diag­no­sis and the start of the repair.  A future arti­cle will fin­ish the repair (there’s real opti­mism for you).

I had been notic­ing some steer­ing noise that I had writ­ten off as rust or lack of lubri­ca­tion in the steer­ing col­umn (that is: the bit inside the car).  On the day this got real­ly bad, I was going to two a trail­er to pick up some com­put­er servers.  When I got to the U-Haul store, it was real­ly noisy, so I checked the pow­er steer­ing lev­el.  It was dry.

Since I fig­ured it was bad to go on emp­ty, I dashed over to the near­est Crap­py Tire (and that’s a Cana­di­an term of endear­ment, BTW), which was coin­ci­den­tal­ly prac­ti­cal­ly across the street and bought a liter of pow­er steer­ing flu­id (and topped it up in the CT park­ing lot — anoth­er Cana­di­an Tra­di­tion).  We had a good day fetch­ing the com­put­ers dur­ing which I per­formed sev­er­al nigh astound­ing trail­er back­ing maneu­vers.  Note that this prob­a­bly stressed the sys­tem a bit.

By the time we end­ed up back at the CT gas sta­tion (my part­ner has a CT gas card that gives 10 cents per liter), the pow­er steer­ing pump was dry again and I filled it again.  I returned the trail­er lat­er that night and pulled the truck into the garage.  There I found it again fair­ly low.  It appeared that I need­ed to do this job before Christ­mas; sigh. Con­tin­ue read­ing

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Star Trek and the New NCC-90210

A fair crit­i­cism of Star Trek the Motion Pic­ture (or Star Trek 1) is that it feels more like an over­long episode than a fea­ture movie.  The vis­tas are epic enough, but the plot is only deserv­ing of an episode.

I would apply the same crit­i­cism to the new reboot of Star Trek.  It deals heav­i­ly with the back sto­ry of the new cast, but as plots go, it is not epic.  It is not even grand — it main­ly occurs in the last thir­ty min­utes of the movie. But for new reboot of Star Trek, I would not stop the crit­i­cism there.

Giv­en the appar­ent age of the actors and the gist of the plot, the Enter­prise should bear the ser­i­al num­ber NCC-90210.  It’s a lit­tle beyond the pale (and labelled as absurd by oth­er review­ers) that 20-some­thing young adults would be giv­en com­mand of a star­ship for any rea­son, let alone the razor thin jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of the first movie.  Even giv­en that gift, the nar­ra­tive for the sec­ond movie fails because Kirk is still cap­tain — with any small amount of sober thought, a too-young field-pro­mot­ed cap­tain would be replaced by a more appro­pri­ate can­di­date at the ear­li­est oppor­tu­ni­ty. Con­tin­ue read­ing

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