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User Journal

Journal Journal: we must study it first (perpetually) 11

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/chris-christie-calls-donald-trumps-immigration-plan-too-simplistic/

"The idea of, you know, building a wall, kicking everybody out, and ending birthright citizenship all sounds appealing in some respects to some folks. But I just think it's a very complicated problem. And it needs someone who understands how to do a complicated and nuanced solution to that problem," Christie said [...]

Fuck nuance. And fuck those who are relativists and excuse-makers who try to use the concept to moderate on what is unequivocal. dam_reservoirs and fussycrackwitch are obviously commies. ISIS is obviously an Islamic terrorist organization. We obviously can build a fucking wall. Trump is popular right now because about a sixth of us in this country are tired of mealy-mouthed pussies.

"Appealing in *some* respects"?!? In what respects is it *not* appealing, to build a wall, kick out the illegals, and stop the madness? Presumably he means such things are unappealing to Leftie Republicans.

"Now what I said was if we wanted to have comprehensive immigration reform, I'd be willing to listen to anything. But the truth of the matter is that that's not something we should be being focused on. That's an applause line," he added.

When two paragraphs up he said:

And I think the difference here in my approach is they know that I'm a guy who knows how to enforce the law," he said.

Umm, what good is it to us that you know how to enforce the law, when you think it's not something worth focusing on?

And everybody knows by now that "comprehensive" reform is code for shifting the policy Leftward. In this case, an all-of-the-above approach of giving us both amnesty and not securing the border.

Why is Christie running? (Or Jeb for that matter? Or fucking Lindsey Graham?) Why is he even in the GOP? Mark Steyn said something to the effect that Republican establishment candidates are good choices because they give such great concession speeches. So Christie's big plan is to alienate the Conservative base and appeal to the big donations class of the party? I.e. raise a lot of money and get no general election votes? I guess how that strategy and inevitable outcome is a good thing is "nuanced".

p.s. Megan Kelly *is* a bimbo. I saw (part of) some segment when Dinesh D'Souza was on, talking about some of the very real shit that was happening to him. That guy has been watching and writing about Leftie trends in America going back to at least the 90's "Illiberal Education". As I recall he basically said what everyone knows, that amounted to saying that Obama is basically an American communist. And then Miss "hee hee look at me I have my own TV show!" immediately laughs and says that's crazy. Dinesh was floored. He's a (admittedly biased) researcher, she's a fake-blonde airhead "TV personality". I guess Roger bumped mutt-faced Greta out of prime time because she's not a breezy enough blonde. Next he should ditch the ditz and put Shannon Bream in that spot. She's guest-hosted the Brett Bair nee Brit Hume news hour and done so credibly.

p.p.s. I got side-tracked there. What I want is someone who'll forget about how "complicated" or "nuanced" a problem is and just start doing the obvious things to address it. And it's 2015 in America, Constitutionality is no longer a problem, when we have assholes like Roberts and Kennedy who'll lick their fingers and stick them in the wind to decide what would be best for whichever way the country is veering at the time.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Edge kinda sucks 2

From a tablet user's perspective, Windows 8.1 had a pretty good version of IE. It was full screen (to see the URL bar/tabs/bookmarks, you had to actually affirmatively ask for them by swiping from the bottom), they made good use of gestures (swipe left and right to move through history, etc), and the browser was... well, IE, not the world's best, but it's fairly efficient, fast, and compatible.

They removed that IE interface in Windows 10 (only the desktop IE remains.) The alternative is supposed to be Edge, but it has no gestures, and is never full screen in the same way.

Worse, Edge seems to kill performance on my tablet. The browser itself only ever seems to take up single digit percentages of CPU but regardless when I start it or have it running the entire tablet grinds to a halt. Close it, and performance goes back to normal. I have no idea why. Given the low CPU usage I wonder if it's just the way it uses the graphics drivers or something similar, but it makes it unusable.

I've switched to Chrome in the meantime, which contrary to early reports and Mozilla's outburst, is actually very easy. Chrome also has the same problems as Edge in terms of not being really full screen, but it doesn't have the performance issues, and it does have the intuitive (and better than trying to hit buttons with a finger) gesture based UI that IE had.

Tablet mode in general seems a step down in Windows 10 from the Windows 8.1 approach. Oh well.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Bernie Sanders 48

Not feeling it. Deeply suspicious. That doesn't mean I'll vote for Hillary - who has electability problems given the vast hoards of people who loath her - but I'm...

Part of it is Obama. Sure, Obama's kinda, in the last few months, turned back into the guy who ran for President in 2008, but he's still not really that person. Obama's job as candidate and President was to teach those uppity liberals that they can whine and/or get as hopeful as they want, the next guy will always be as bad - as terrible even - as the last guy. He succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

Part of it is Ron Paul. Ron Paul - from the right- got the same kind of "genuine", "honest", "non-establishment", "heartfelt" plaudits as Sanders gets from the left. People supposedly knew him from the beginning, he's always been the real thing according to them. The Ron Paul Newsletter fiasco gave cause for concern on that. Then my professional life intersected with groups that Ron Paul is associated with indirectly, and in one case directly, and it became obvious the man's a huckster, someone who's very carefully cultivated an image designed to appeal to certain groups who'll donate money, subscribe to paid newsletters and podcasts, and so on en-mass. He's actually better at it than, say, Huckabee, who needed to run for President, or Limbaugh, who probably couldn't get it to work without the backing of a radio syndicate.

So I'm kinda cynical these days. He might get my vote in the end anyway, but it may well be a reluctant one, given on the day of the primaries and then forgotten about.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Democrat vs. socialist 46

Just saw the video clip on it last night. A short and sweet article on it:

On MSNBC's Hardball Thursday night, host Chris Matthews stumped DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) when he asked her what the difference is between a Democrat and a socialist.

"What is the difference between a Democrat and a socialist?" Matthews asked, leaving Wasserman Schultz at a loss for words.

"I used to think there is a big difference. What do you think it is?" Matthews tried again. "A Democrat like Hillary and a socialist like Bernie Sanders."

Wasserman Schultz again was unable to answer and instead tried to tell Matthews what the difference between a Democrat and a Republican is.

"The more important question is what is the difference between being a Democrat and being a Republican," she said.

"What's the big difference between a Democrat and a socialist?" Matthews again asked.

"You're chairman of the democratic [sic] party. Tell me the difference between you and a socialist," Matthews reminded her.

"The relevant debate that we'll be having this campaign is what's the difference between a Democrat and a Republican," Schultz said.

Schultz, however, was able to tell the difference between a Democrat and a Republican.

"The difference between a Democrat and Republican is that Democrats fight to make sure everybody has an opportunity to succeed and the Republicans are strangled by their right-wing extremists," she said.

While we're still before the primaries for each (major) party, that question is relevant; amongst Democrat voters, that's something they'd probably be interested in knowning, just like amongst Republican voters about how Conservative each candidate is.

A question I'd like to see posed to Prince Rebus or whatever his name is: What is the difference between a modern Republican and an old-school Democrat? As DWS alludes to, is the GOP a moderate party with a small minority of Right-wing members that's causing it trouble?

User Journal

Journal Journal: exactly why the debate sucked 9

I couldn't put my finger on it until now. I watched the varsity one live that evening, and then later that night the JV one that I had recorded while at work.

My thoughts 2/3rds into the varsity one were:
* Am I watching MSNBC?
* I'm not getting useful information.

I thought FNC was supposed to be a pro-Republican network. They seemed like all gotcha questions, having not thought much about it by then. Apparently the FNC "personalities" at least were all gushing in the days prior and following, thumping themselves on the back about what a fabulous job they did, and how carefully they came up with these perfected questions, and if we only knew how much went into it. And apparently the rest of the news media were ecstatic at the job FNC did. Now I know why.

And why I learned very little:

1) Part of it is that there were so many candidates, even with over 3 hours of time. That meant very limited time for each anyways. But the aggravating things are:
a) The candidates were limited to 30-second "answers", which is not enough time to explain anything, with any substance.
b) The moderators were not limited, and by far did more talking than any of the candidates.

Someone from another network kept track of candidate speaking time:

FINAL Talk Times:
1 Trump 10:30
2 Bush 8:33
3 Huck 6:32
4 Carsn/Crz 6:28
6 Kasch 6:25
7 Rubio 6:22
8 Chrste 6:03
9 Walkr 5:43
10 Paul 4:51

This totals just under 68 minutes of time. The show was 130 minutes long. With limited commercial breaks (thankfully). I found a report that the avg ad time per hour on cable for 2013 was 15 minutes and 38 seconds (up from 14 minutes and 27 seconds per hour in 2009). Let's say in the last two years it grew at double that rate, to 18:12 per hour, which would be almost 40 minutes in a 130 minute timespan.

So, approximately, the moderators yapped for 130 - 68 - 40 = 22 minutes of the time. While it definitely felt like much longer, from watching it, that's still more than twice the time for the candidate who got the most time amongst the candidates, and either way it still means that there was only 52% candidate content in the program.

But it's not even that, because:
i) At the time limits per answer they were only soundbite-quality, and
ii) They didn't originate with what the candidates thought was important to convey (i.e. some of their time was wasted in their having to segue).

So this afternoon I saw a re-capped clip of one question from the debate, and hit me why exactly I learned very little, aside from the math on the time. They're weren't "tough questions" (like posing to each, how do we keep Iran from getting the bomb), or really even "gotcha questions" (designed to catch you unaware of the trick in the question, to get you to screw up), what they were were "negative spin". I.e. as misrepresenting of things as possible, customized for each candidate's circumstances.

That's why I learned basically nothing from the 3+ hours. Of course the candidates are going to try to misrepresent their weaknesses, spun positively. The way around that is for the moderators to stick on a candidate after their answer and grill them, not let it stand and move on to someone else, like Fox did.

So I got misrepresentation in the answers, and also (maybe even more) in the questions. And that's why the Left thought FNC did such a knock-up job this time. Because it's what they would've done.

But if FNC was really a network for Republicans, they would've picked topics important to Republicans, and sought to bring out the differences between the candidates on them, to inform. Instead we got crap about things like Trump's bankrupties. That'll all come out in the campaign, with all other news orgs being solid Left. My problem is that FNC now talks about income inequality and racist police etc. So their (news division) being moderate Left, is that what is defined as catering to Republicans nowadays? I fear maybe it is.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Belonging to a different era 2

Feeling a little nostalgic at the moment, but also beginning to sense a serious part of why I feel like a dunce today when it comes to computing when once I felt like a genius.

Quick wall of text on the Nostalgia bit

That article on Vector Graphics the other day reminded me a little of the S-100 bus, and the whole move to the PC ISA that came just before I really got into computing. The first computer I really touched was our school's RM 380Z, which was a proprietary CP/M based system, but exposure to that at school was mostly a "You can book 15 minutes to use it at lunchtime but otherwise the school maths teacher will use it to demonstrate things now and then." So the first computer I learned anything from was a friend's VIC 20. I then used a variety of cheap single-board-computers until my Amiga 500+, the most powerful of which was a Sinclair QL.

So... I never touched S-100. And I didn't really touch the PC until there was literally no other choice that was viable. S-100 was never an option for two major reasons: it was expensive, and it was crap. I mean, seriously, awful. S-100 survived because the home computing establishment's equivalent of the Very Serious People decreed it was Serious, and it was Serious because it was "standard".

A typical S-100 system consisted of the S-100 box itself - a dumb motherboard (very dumb, the only components on it were the edge connectors and a few capacitors and resistors to do all that magic EE specialists understand and I could never get my head around) enclosed in a card cage, plus a CPU card, a completely separate memory card or three, a completely separate disk controller, and a completely separate serial I/O card. The disk controller would be hooked up to a disk drive it was designed to control (yes, proprietary), which would be unlike around 90% of other disk drives out there - that is, if you were lucky. And the I/O card would be hooked up to a terminal that frequently was more powerful than the S-100 computer it was hooked up to..

Each combination of I/O and disk controller cards required a custom BIOS so you could run CP/M with it.

The bus itself was essentially the pins of an 8080 turned into a 100 line bus. So you were essentially wiring each card to an 8080, or something pretending to be an 8080, in parallel. This required quite a bit of hardware in each bus to make sure each didn't conflict with other S-100 cards.

Now, technically, you could get graphics (and maybe sound) cards, but that was unusual. Likewise, you could get more exotic CPUs - though getting software for them was a problem. But the typical S-100 system was text only with a Z80, and the typical S-100 system owner spent rather a lot of time trying to figure out how to order a "standard" CP/M application in a form that would run on their "standard" S-100 system, taking into account their disk drive that only 10% of the market used and their terminal that used VT-52 codes rather than VT-101 codes or (insert one of the other popular terminals here.)

Did I mention this is expensive? While the original Altair 8800 was $500 or so, it came with nothing but the card cage and motherboard, the CPU card, and a little bit of memory. And even on this, the makers barely broke even, expecting to make the profits on after sales. Useful memory, a terminal, an I/O card, a disk controller, and a disk drive, pushed up the prices considerably. Realistically, typical "useful" S-100 systems cost somewhere around $4,000.

Given all of that, it's not really surprising it got supplanted by the PC. Much is made of the fact IBM was taken more seriously by people outside of the personal computer industry in 1981, and that undoubtedly helped, but I can't help but feel that S-100 couldn't have survived for much longer regardless. You could buy a complete system from Commodore or Apple that was more capable for a third of the price even in 1981. The PC didn't need to be cheap, it had IBM's name behind it, but it was obviously more capable than S-100, and it was obvious that if the architecture was adopted by the industry, machines based upon it would be more standardized.

The "Feeling like a dunce" bit

So anyway, that was my train of thought. And it occurred to me that the fact I even have opinions on this suggests my mindset is still stuck there. Back then, even when you programmed in BASIC, you were exerting almost direct control over the hardware. You had a broad idea of what the machine did, what memory locations were mapped onto what functions, and every command you typed affected the computer in a predictable way. The computers themselves were (mostly) predictable too.

As time wore on, especially with the advent of multitasking (which I welcomed, don't get me wrong) you learned to understand your software would be only one party to how the computer behaved, but you understood that if you followed the rules, and the other programmers did too, you could kinda get your head around what was happening to it.

And you felt like a genius if you understood this. And I say "if", because it was possible.

At some point that stopped being possible. Part of it was the PC ISA, the fact an architecture from 1981 was still in use in the mid-nineties by which time it was long in the tooth and needed serious work. Its deficiencies were addressed in software and hardware. Intel essentially replaced the CPU, leaving a compatible stub there to start older applications, and the industry - after a few false starts - threw out most of the PC design and replaced it with the PCI architecture, again, like Intel leaving compatible stubs here and there to ensure older stuff would work. And Microsoft worked on making Windows the real interface software would use to access the hardware.

After a while, there were so many abstractions between your software and the underlying system, it really became hard to determine what was going on underneath. If I program, I now know there are rules I can follow that will reduce the chance of my application being a problem... today. But I don't know if that's the case for the next version of Windows, and all I know is how to reduce the chances, not how to eliminate them. I don't know if the Java I'm writing will generate a webpage that contains Javascript that will contain a memory leak that'll cause the part of the process managing the tab its in to bloat up an additional 100M or so. I can hope it won't, and use mitigation strategies to avoid things that might cause problems, but there are so many things outside of my control I have to trust now, it's just not practical.

Logically the right thing to do under the circumstances is to take back control, to use lower level APIs and simpler sets of rules, but in practice that's just not practical, and doing so means that my tools no longer fit inside the ecosystem with everyone else's. So it's not the right thing - it's actually the worst thing I can do, and if I tried to do it, I'd be shunned as a developer.

I was a genius once because I (mostly) understood the computers I was programming. I feel like a dunce today because that's just not possible any more.

User Journal

Journal Journal: whopper of the week 4

"Star Trek wasn't political." -- William Shatner

Back in the real world, ST is one of the most political TV shows of all time. It embodies multi-culturalism, feminism, passivism, anti-capitalism, and environmentalism, as those just off the top of my head. TFMSNBCA uses the term "progressive", which I would only nitpick at in the capitalization of the first letter.

I enjoyed the original series, less so the later ones, and most of the movies, but let's face it, ST is a communist institution in America. Beside there being a whole movie devoted to the old Leftie "save the whales" thing, we had the Ferengi for goodness sakes, an alien race developed to portray how ugly private enterprise makes us!

But aside from Mr. Shatner's farcical statement, I had been rooting for The Donald for prez, but I'm warming to Ted Cruz after this. He's right about how how in TNG they split Kirk up (and I would say later brought them back together into one in Voyager; which reminds me, include Native American/primitive (i.e. non-successful, non-Christian, non-Western Culture) cultures worship in the list) into the ass-kicker (Riker) and the pussy (Shjon-Luke).

See, they even gave them kick-ass and pussy-sounding names, respectively. And of course the Republican had to be subordinate to the Democrat, as it should be in any good, forward-thinking society amiright.

p.s. As an added extra bonus to this JE, there's also the most metal item of the week.

User Journal

Journal Journal: license plate frame of the week last week 11

"It takes a lot of balls"

"To play golf like me!"

p.s. WTF is up with Left's twinkie defense in the Planned "Get yer baby parts here!" Parenthood brouhaha? The argument seems to go that this pro-life group has been after them for so long, somehow that means this revelation shouldn't count! Like they should get a do-over. What was exposed doesn't count because it was no-fairzees. Because they've really been after us.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Hey, these retards are like the ones I work with 5

http://romancescams.org/ Scroll down to the quiz. The Yes/No choices are not represented by radio buttons (or some other single-selection-only UI element), but by checkboxes. So WTF does it mean if I check both Yes and No to a pretty much binary question.

Kind of like the morons at my work that represent an action with a checkbox. A checkbox represents state, a pushbutton advertises an available action. So we have checkboxes that then visually (along with their label) signal a certain state, even when the application is no longer in that state.

When I brought this up, and said a pushbutton would be more appropriate, I was told that technically I have a point, but that they don't care.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Well if it's about health care, then it's okay 2

(Who could be against something that's just part of health care?)

In "health care", "patients" sometimes want to "donate" "tissue" to scientific research...

I used to think the death panels in our future would be just about controlling costs. But now I see that there'll also be the "humanitarian undertaking" part of it.

p.s. I'm not an "anti-vaxxer", but if the government can require you to put things in your body it means they own your body more than you do. They can decide it's time for you to give up your organs, because "medical breakthroughs".

User Journal

Journal Journal: yum, feet

So in Panera tonite I noticed they have a new kind of bakery dessert they're promoting. It's a flip-flop cookie.

You're supposed to pick up this day-glo green item that looks like some dirty open footwear that someone's skunky sweaty feet have been wearing, and stick it in your mouth and tell yourself you're enjoying eating such a thing.

Maybe it actually tastes pretty good, but it's a horrendous metaphor for something that's supposed to be edible(/palatable). What next, a dirty underwear cookie? With a cute little crotch stain made of fudge. How whimsically delicious!

p.s. And if you thought this JE was a waste of time, eat my shorts.

User Journal

Journal Journal: what I want in my next car 2

Remember the motorized retracting radio antenna option that some cars had back in the 70's/80's? Well I want something like that, only on the driver's side of the car. And I want it to be a pipe with an elbow that can be raised like a submarine periscope. Only instead of lenses, I want it to be hollow. And instead of being an air intake like those snorkels on Hummers and Jeeps, I want it to be connected to the exhaust system and have a valve that can be actuated from a control in the cabin.

This way when I'm stopped at a traffic light, and next to me on my left is a big-ass truck jacked up off the ground with its "tailpipe" aimed right at my driver side window, smogging me out, I can flip a switch and return the favor and redirect my noxious emissions into one of *his* windows. (Or even better, a rubber hose that can be extended out from the car sideways to slip over the offender's tail^Wsidepipe, and reroute their own exhaust back at them!)

p.s. Speaking of automotive "why is this shit even legal?", how come motorcycles don't have to have mufflers? I have to notice one coming up on me and quick stick a finger in the appropriate ear so that blood doesn't shoot out of it when the guy roars by. I can be just about to fall asleep and one will go by on the main street down the block from me.

So I guess I also could use a 125 dB loudspeaker, which is just the threshold of pain but no real damage, on a turret on the car's roof, that automatically tracks an above-average loud noisemaking object, and when in range delivers a massive sound pulse of this.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Catholics have jumped the shark 16

I'm not Catholic, but even if I was:

1) I do not recognize this ball of mud in space as "our Sister, Mother Earth". How long before Catholics, who already come dangerously close to or cross the line into worshipping false idols, refer to it as "the Blessed Holy Mother Earth"? Water is blessed to make "holy water", so when will dirt be? Say three Hail Gaia's and you're absolved of your sins against "her"? I'm envisioning a creepy earth cult a la the movie Avatar. Stop the madness. Stop making little godlets out of other people and mere things.

2) This "sister" is not now crying out to us nor never has, because it doesn't have vocal chords and it's not alive. It's a giant dirtclod that has living things on it, most of them soulless/not made in God's image and therefore as valuable as the rock they live on.

3) I will not say a prayer for "our Earth". I don't pray for inanimate objects. Nor do I deify them.

These are based on an article I read at lunch about it this week on ArsLeftica. I ignored what the author said about the Pope's writing, and refer only to the quotes. Which appalled me enough; I don't care to read the original source on this one. (I don't want to know fully how bad it is.)

p.s. Note that I consider Catholics to be my fellow brothers in Christ. Same with Mormons. I trust that our acceptance of Jesus will enable us to go to the place that's the best. (Where I guess it'll all be straightened out.)

[A computer is] like an Old Testament god, with a lot of rules and no mercy. -- Joseph Campbell

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