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Journal: favorite sigs

Journal by bmac

I gotta do it, `cause I really dig some of them:

Numeric (22250):
-- ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space!

stefanlasiewski (63134):
"Can of worms? The can is open... the worms are everywhere."

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510)
Newton, Galileo, Kepler, Dirac, Faraday, Planck, Kelvin, Maxwell and Einstein believed in God. So do I.
*bonus points for user name :-)

Chinju (662523):
"Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes." -Edsger W. Dijkstra

netsharc (195805):
Somewhere in Texas, there's a village missing its idiot.
*would be funnier if it wasn't true

Peace & Blessings To You

User Journal

Journal: neuromancer audiobook

Journal by bmac

FYI, I am hosting the William Gibson-read Neuromancer audiobook on the "warez" p2p net. The Edge (from U2) did the excellent techno-ish soundtrack. Plus, having Gibson himself do the reading gives it a nice flavor. It consists of eight 45min segments.

AFAIK, this is in the public domain; if anyone knows otherwise, please let me know.

Enjoy!

Peace & Blessings

User Journal

Journal: open question #1

Journal by bmac

If I was home-brewing a cellphone app to prioritize my contacts, does anyone out there know if I can send personalized info in the cellphone call header? I know that there is a std packet of info that gets sent (which includes caller id info), but I'd like to add an "urgency" code. Of course, only users of my software could send such a code to my app, but I'm imagining having both ends running this software.

Thanks in advance.

User Journal

Journal: sufism (1) 6

Journal by bmac

You know the idea that there are angels sitting on our shoulders, one good and one bad, each making its case in the attempt to convince us to do their bidding? Well, it's true, though they are not angels.

The poet Rumi entitled an entire volume of poems "We Are Three". That three consists of:

1) The physical body.
2) The soul.
3) The spirit.

The free will (connected with the mind) is unique to the human race. It is what separates us from the animals in that we get to choose what to do (animals are simply compelled by necessity/opportunity). What the free will commands is the first body: the physical body. The free will uses the mind to choose between the options given it from the soul and the spirit.

The spirit is of divine origin and relays commands to us that will lead not only to our own personal happiness, but to the happiness of the people around us. Its source is the Divine Will and it is incapable of relaying any negative suggestion to us.

The soul is capable of relaying both vice and virtue. At first, in *all* human beings, the soul is tuned to relay only the commands that will lead us away from happiness. "As you sow, so shall you reap" is quite true, and, in order to create unhappiness in us, the soul relays commands that create unhappiness for others, through the 19 different vices (such as anger, hatred, enmity, rebellion, assumption, ignorance, addiction, impatience, overbearance). When a human being chooses to act upon the soul's negative suggestions, it creates unhappiness for others and, subsequently through the Law of Karma, for themself.

Within our Creator's grand design there is a process that a human being can (and should!) go through to replace all the vices in the soul with their corresponding virtue (e.g. replacing hatred with love). This is called "cleansing the soul" in Sufi parlance and leads, if successfully completed, to the soul also relaying only the Divine Will.

At that point, all strife has ended for the person because, for one, there is no more conflict between the commands coming from the spirit and soul, and, two, all the Divine commands only lead to happiness. When Jesus said "I and the Father are one", this is exactly what he was referring to; namely, that he was completly harmonized with the Divine Will.

The most important piece of information related to this *most* important of all human endeavors is this: to begin the process of soul cleansing, one must make the following wish/prayer:

"Lord/God/Allah/Jehovah/..., please take my spirit into Yourself in my lifetime that I will do your Divine Will."

Once this wish to reach God is made from deep within your heart, your very being undergoes certain changes. As well, you begin the journey to submission to the Divine Will, which is the road to happiness, for one's self and for everyone around you.

May all the peace, prosperity and happiness of this world and the next be with you and our entire human family.

More later, insha'Allah.

User Journal

Journal: for the record (1)

Journal by bmac

If you download *and keep* a song, movie of software and have no intention of paying for it, then you ARE STEALING. Yeah, I know, copyright infringement, blah, blah, blah. In my book, it's called stealing.

I spent a significant amount of years in Charlotesville, VA in the years when Dave Matthews et al were coming up. I only saw a few shows (one particularly amazing outdoor one where Boyd Tinsley played his fiddle a la Hendrix on _All_Along_the_Watchtower_ through a Wah-Wah pedal - friggin amazing, but that's another story :-), but I do know this: if they hadn't made enough money by selling tshirts and cds at their shows, we wouldn't be seeing them today.

Those guys were scraping by and every dollar they made went into funding tours and studio time and whatnot. If it wasn't for those dollars we wouldn't be blessed with DMB, a band that is actually completely and totally full of real musicians.

Some, come on, people, if you like the product, ante up! I have a deep suspicion that all these people who "share" files haven't ever - and probably won't ever - create anything themselves. Software, music, movies, whatever. Write `em a check, jackass, even if the evil RIAA is making most of it. And don't worry, the days of those leaches are numbered. See my previous journal entry and extrapolate about what's going to happen to those sobs as the information devaluation freefall continues.

User Journal

Journal: value of information (1)

Journal by bmac

With Moore's Law plugging away for some 30+ years now, we are seeing a severe devaluation of information. Now that we have 200+ gig hard drives and ~5 gig writable dvd-roms, the amount of information that you can *personally* own is absurdly large.

People have already started suggesting systems being capable of storing a person's entire personal experience. Beyond the absurdity of such a self-important endeavor, this is actually pointing towards a completely new value of information.

The use of mass media 100 yrs ago entailed the use of the newspaper to imprint upon the informationless masses what, to a more cynical eye, amounts to propaganda. Of course, sometimes altruism prevailed and an objective truth was attempted to be conveyed.

Then came radio, then live video via tv, then recorded analog video, now digital video.

This entire path was forged by the actual invention of written language which, as an information spreading medium, was hampered by the need to manually copy texts. Of course Guttenburg changed all of that, yet the information was still very expensive and with high levels of illiteracy still constituted very much a secret society.

Now? We could, on just a handful of dvd's, store all the texts on science and math such that with a careful study guide, PhD level competetancy could be achieved at one's own pace.

Distributed education, anyone? Sounds like a wiki path to me.

After a few more cycles of Moore's Law we will be approaching, should it continue, Terabyte capacity. Sure the bandwith-to-storage rate might lag behind, but I reckon it'll still be good enough for access.

I *love* M-W.COM, good old Merrium-Webster (the dictionary). One nextgen dvd will be able to contain an absurdly complete unabridged dictionary.

A couple of generations later a small stack of dvd's is the nextgen encyclopedia. And this ain't no Britanica, at least not as I knew it as a kid. What would have been a five page precis of a topic will be a hierarchically organized window that goes from precis on the surface to organized course itinerary to achieve competance or even mastery, complete with *full* reference material.

Now, the effects of devaluation? We have already been experiencing the effects of its beginnings in that jobs from 15-20 yrs ago that were pure information processing jobs have disappeared. No more middle managers, because *software* and their data goes directly from lowest tier to management. No more pencil pushers. This is *not* good news for the economy (in the short term), yet we are perhaps only mid-way through the cycle, a cycle that is exponential in its progress, though.

What's next? Entire types of businesses are going to disappear due to the relentless, reckless and uncaring forces of capitalism. Amazon is destroying local bookstores and record shops. Add to this the formation of new and for-free efforts of civicly-minded groups of individuals aggregating information for use by the net and we are slip-sliding *down* the exponential curve of the devaluation of information.

User Journal

Journal: RealPlayerOne

Journal by bmac

Never have I been so disgusted with a piece of software. I paid the $30 thinking I would get a better version of RealPlayer. I could not have been more wrong. What I got was a jumble of difficult-to-use crap, but that's not the problem, because most software is that way. It's the fact that they pop up ridiculous ads at their discretion that pisses me off. It is unethical and, to compound stupid upon stupid, it makes me say the following:

To any one at the RealPlayer company who may care, because of RealOne's spyware and unauthorized ads, I will *NEVER* buy another piece of your software again. Furthermore, if/when I get into a position where I may be dictating digital A/V formats for use by a company, I will *NEVER*, under any circumstances, use any of your products.

May your file formats, software and company disappear off the face of the earth.

User Journal

Journal: Another slashdot effect

Journal by bmac

Slashdot proves everyday that the more people are gathered in a public forum, the lower the quality of majority opinion.

Futher, it is quite possible that a threshold has been reached and exceeded which all but guarantees 99% worthlessness.

The only solution that comes to mind is to have a selection process to allow posting. Of course, that opens up a whole other can of worms (multiple cans, really) that can take worthlessness to a whole *other* level.

For now, it's just "let everyone in and sift for the worthy pieces". But, man, it's getting hard to find quality opinion here.

User Journal

Journal: 1st Law of Computer Programming

Journal by bmac

"Any design that does not contain contradictory specs can be implemented perfectly (meaning without bugs)."

First off, if you don't believe this, don't even bother. And this doesn't pertain just to programming.

Second, contradictory specs can be irrational timing requirements or logical inconsistencies. Even most relatively competant PHB's can be coaxed into asking for a contradiction-free design due to the fact that most business logic is free of such, seeing as how most of it (that I've ever dealt with) was at one time implemented by human beings.

User Journal

Journal: I have a feeling...

Journal by bmac

that if you don't care enough to learn how to spell, you're never gonna make bug-free code.

I can just hear it:

"Oh, that combination will never occur."
"Oh, the user won't ever hit that key."

See the "3rd Law of Computer Programming"

User Journal

Journal: 1st Law of Computer Use

Journal by bmac

There is *absolutely* no reason, whatsoever, that you should touch a monitor. Unless, of course, it's a touch-screen.

Sub-clause a: My monitor is *not* a touch-screen.

User Journal

Journal: 1st Law of Slashdot

Journal by bmac

Any sufficiently revolutionary concept will get modded troll on slashdot. It could also be called the "Law of Majority Mediocrity".

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