Patrick's Rants


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12/10/2007

Code Pink

Filed under: Geek News and Stuff — site admin @ 10:33 pm

It’s been snowing all day and the snow warning level has been raised to “code pink”. This is not some “official” warning level, it’s the color that glows behind the blinds. Orange means that we are going to get somewhere around 4″ of snow by morning. I’m not sure what pink means; I’ve never seen it. The color coded warning levels are based upon the glow of the sodium vapor street lamps against the clouds and the falling snow. Orange is the most prevalent usually indicating that school will be canceled in the morning. I think pink means, “put some brandy in the hot chocolate, you aint goin nowhere”.

Since there has been around 4″ so far, I think the 12″ is not too far fetched… cue Jimmy Buffet’s cabin fever 😉

Filed under: Bumper Sticker,Seen on a — site admin @ 10:28 pm

We Vote Pro Life

Oh really? You mean you vote for medical advances (stem cell research) that extends the lifespan of sick people and for gun control (which reduces the number of murders due to errant guns)? Or do you mean that you value life only in the unborn while supporting the death penalty despite the large numbers of people on death row who are exonerated each year?
Yeah, I trust your judgment.

12/4/2007

That’s Why I Don’t Use Wireless

Filed under: Geek News and Stuff — site admin @ 9:16 am

I’ve posted before about how I don’t like wireless devices due to their inherent insecurity. Cars and cell phones trying to infect other (and don’t get me started on the new Sync technology that’s being touted on Ford cars), wireless networks being “broken into” to hide other criminal activity, etc. Now you have to watch out for your wireless mouse and keyboard. It takes next to nothing to snoop on your keystrokes. Next time you log into your bank and credit card accounts, remember to do it with a wired keyboard. (and check from time to time that no one has placed a keylogger on your computer. No I’m not paranoid, why do you ask? 😉 )

12/3/2007

Reign Over Me

Filed under: On video,Reviews — site admin @ 10:36 am

– Raw emotion.
Alan Johnson, played by Don Cheadle, thinks he sees his college roommate, Charlie Fineman, played by Adam Sandler, riding a scooter through the streets of New York. Once he catches up with him he finds a man troubled with post-traumatic stress disorder following the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11; his wife and children were aboard one of the planes that was flown into the towers. Alan is struggling to reclaim his own sense of self while attempting to help out Charlie whose mental state causes him to be paranoid about everyones’ intentions.

This film makes no attempt to theorize about the motives of 9/11 or to make any kind of political statement. Instead it is a dark look into the life of two men, if you count Cheadle’s character, who are only trying to get by. There is some humor but, like the pause on a roller coaster at the top of a rise in the tracks, it only serves to heighten the twist of the emotional knife that is thrust into the viewer. The moments of laughter are brutally followed by additional pain from the characters.

There must be something in the makeup of comedy players – of which Sandler certainly belongs – that allows them to play emotionally disturbed individuals so convincingly.

At Least I Won’t Mess Up The Work Schedule

Filed under: General — site admin @ 9:42 am

I just finished making an appointment for my daughter. Normally this would not be something to write about. However, the date and time of the appointment is heavily influenced by my cow worker’s “work” schedule. Yes, lovely #3. There was an appointment available this Thursday at 4:30. That would require me to leave work sometime around 4:00 to get home and pick up the girl. Since we have someone on shift (normally me) until 7:00pm, I would have to make sure that someone could cover it. Unfortunately, with this cow worker, no such guarantee is available. She has physical therapy two days a week – so she leaves around 3:30. She also has a second job so most of the time she has to leave early for that – by 10 or 15 minutes. Since she only works until 5:00pm on a good day, there is no way can I count on her to cover until 6:00pm. So I have to take my kid out of school early (which counts against her) so that I don’t mess up #3’s precious schedule. This isn’t an office type job where you can just pop out for a little while and come back and finish later – this is a time table oriented position – but that’s how it seems to be treated from my perspective.

This is Why Religion Must Die

Filed under: Religion — site admin @ 9:21 am

There is no excuse for the idiotic behavior over the naming of a teddy bear in Sudan. Mohammed bear. This teacher was sentenced to 15 days in jail and (some) protesters were demanded that she be put to death over the name Mohammed. This is not rational thought, it is extreme xenophobia. Perhaps all the children named Mohammed or their parents should be put to death as well? What about all those hispanic kids named Jesús? Or maybe a good old fashioned book burning: King James, the Torah, the Koran. Reasonable and rational people do not get their panties in a wad over the name of a bear, but when it comes to religion, there is no such thing as reasonable or rational.

11/28/2007

I Missed It

Filed under: Geek News and Stuff — site admin @ 7:46 am

A coworker pointed out a surplus type sale that the city was conducting yesterday. The sale (I just noticed) took place just two streets from the bus barn. The listed items were Panasonic Toughbooks, PCs, computer monitors, etc. Interestingly, the sale is on a draw system where you get a ticket and get to buy something if your ticket gets drawn. The most interesting part is the description of the “used computer sets”

(30) used computer sets (monitor/keyboard/mouse) with MS Windows 2000 Professional & Open Office Suite…

With Open Office… wonder if they mean Open Office.org Now that would be cool if the city were using free alternatives to MS Office. Unfortunately, anyone who bought any of these machines would be required to remove the Operating System due to MS’ obnoxious “licensing”.

11/27/2007

CNet Posts the Top 10 Free Programs

Filed under: Geek News and Stuff,General — site admin @ 9:23 pm

Open-source software rated: Ten alternatives you need

BSA Cracks Down

Filed under: Copyright,Geek News and Stuff,Politics — site admin @ 8:52 am

The Associated Press has a story on the Bull Shit – er Business Software – Alliance and its bullying tactics titled, Software Group Targets Small Business. This again points out that the rules are terribly broken in favor of software companies. If you buy a music CD (another topic) then you own that music CD. You can sell it, give it away or burn it in protest when Garth Brooks decides to stop making CDs because they can be *gasp* sold to someone else in a second hand store – and poor Garth’s kids will have to go without dinner.

Here’s where it gets interesting. If you buy a box set of Microsoft’s latest operating system, XP (because who would want to buy that abomination Vista?) and install it on a computer that you have sitting around (another reason to not buy Vista – that thing’s a hog on computers older than three months) and then you forget about it. If that computer happens to be in a business setting you are at risk of being “audited” by the BS squad. They come in, look at your Certificate of Authenticity labels that you dutifully put on the outside of the computer case. They look at your hologram protected Microsoft CD and your faded Best Buy receipt and decide that you “stole” the software from Microsoft and now you have to pay up big. You were legal but your receipt faded so you couldn’t prove that you didn’t heist a case of CDs or that you didn’t buy the CD from someone else who stole it. So you must have broken the law, or someone else did in the process. There’s a name for people like you Captain Sparrow and that’s pirate. Don’t bother with innocent until proven guilty, this is the BS squad you’re dealing with. I did find it interesting that the money extorted by the BSA does not go to the companies that are allegedly wronged by your criminal activities, such as Microsoft in this case, it goes back into the BS squad’s budget. Like a rouge regime, the money is used to pay for more goons to extort more money.

I have a thought about keeping track of what you legally installed (and just who those disks belong to once you buy them in the store). How about use the unique serial number on the CD to track ownership? I mean, if you can only install software on one machine then the serial number issued by the company that produces the software should suffice right? How about the Certificate of Authenticity? That tells you that the software you are buying is genuine. It doesn’t tell the goon squad, but maybe it should. The other option is to never use software that comes from BS members. It’s a little tough in some cases, but it can be done. If you haven’t read them here are some stories of people who have jettisoned Microsoft from the pirate ship:
City of Largo Linux success
and a follow-up
Ernie Ball 2002 story
Ernie Ball, 2003 story
And there are plenty more… so back off goon squad. Treat your customers with respect instead of a small country that you can invade and pillage. Oh wait, you don’t know how to do that.

You Might Be a Copyright Violator

Filed under: Copyright,Politics — site admin @ 7:19 am

In an interesting, albeit extreme, view of copyright law, John Tehranian writes INFRINGEMENT NATION: COPYRIGHT REFORM AND THE LAW/NORM GAP. In the article he describes the typical day of mythical “John” who manages to rack up millions of dollars in potential penalties on a daily basis just by doing the little things that many of us do. While I don’t have a problem with anything that I write be copyrighted as soon as it’s in a “tangible form” (such as this blog) I do have a problem with copyright lasting for well over a hundred years. Does anyone really care enough about my opinions that they should be protected until I have great great grandchildren? And at that point, shouldn’t someone have just removed this blather from the web?

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