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User Journal

Journal Journal: 1950s TV 1

If this won't render properly just go here

        A year or so ago, an executive from an electronics company (Apple, if I remember correctly) spoke of the lack of innovation in television sets since the 1950s, and my reaction was âoeHeâ(TM)s either stupid or thinks I am.â
        In the 1950s televisions had knobs on the set for changing channels. Remote controls were brand new, expensive, limited in capability, and used ultrasound rather than infra-red.
        The screens were vacuum tubes, and most were monochrome. Color television was brand new, and it was nearly 1960 before any stations started broadcasting in color. Rather than being rectangular, color sets were almost round; even black and white sets werenâ(TM)t true rectangles.
        They had no transistors, let alone integrated circuits; the IC had yet to be invented, and transistors were only used by the military. They were a brand-new invention. TVs didnâ(TM)t have the âoeno user-servicable partsâ warning on the back. When the TV wouldnâ(TM)t come on, as happened every year or three, the problem was almost always a burned out vacuum tube. One would open the back of the set and turn it on. Any tubes that werenâ(TM)t lit were pulled, taken to the drug store or dime store for replacement. If that didnâ(TM)t fix the problem you called an expert TV repairman.
        The signal was analog, and often or usually suffered from static in the sound, and ghosts and snow in the picture.
        There was no cable, and of course no satellite television since nothing built by humans had ever gone into space.
        However, there is one thing about television that hasnâ(TM)t changed a single iota: daytime TV programming.
        In the 1950s most folks were well paid, and a single paycheck could easily pay for a familyâ(TM)s expenses. Most women, especially mothers, stayed home. As a result, daytime TV was filled with female-centric programming like soap operas, game shows, and the like. Usually there were cartoons in the late afternoon for the kids.
        Today the rich have managed to get wages down so low that everyone has to have a job. The demographics of daytime television have radically changed as a result. Now, rather than housewives (of which few are left, and we now have house husbands), who can watch daytime TV? Folks home from work sick, both men and women, folks in the hospital, the unemployed, and retired people.
        Yet daytime TV is still as female centered as it was when I was five. Soap operas, talk shows with female hosts and female guests discussing topics that would only appeal to women, and game shows.
        Whatâ(TM)s wrong with the idiots running our corporations these days?

User Journal

Journal Journal: mostly hasta la pasta

Unfortunately the mix in the journal community long ago ceased being what it had been, so I've done the long-overdue thing and switched my new JE notification from web to email.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Astute Article on the Turkey/Russia Kerfuffle 22

A Necessary Conversation

The clash between the Turkish Air Force and Russia is dangerous because it violates the first rule of proxy warfare which is principals don't fight principals. The whole point of proxy warfare is that only the seconds are allowed to cross swords. The duelists are forbidden from engaging each other directly, a convention intended to limit the scope of war.

Read the whole thing.
We mostly discuss international politics as though it were chess, when it really tends more toward of a mafia-driven, mezcal-drenched poker match with arbitrary players every hand.
The ME isn't really "sides" as much as it's a garbled graph problem. Every node is connected, more or less, to every other.
Thus, the principles chosen as a framework for how to react to the current crisis are the least squishy conversation one can have.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Systemd 11 - Open Source Makes Things Better 2

In some ways, I think of Lennart Poettering as a product manager. He figures out what people want, then builds it. The architecture is not always the best, but 'customers' don't tend to care. The point here is that some people do want some of the features of systemd, and Lennart figured that out.

Lennart's system is sometimes laughably bad (for example, he'd prefer to get rid of BSD because he doesn't know how to write portable software), but he has done the community a service by bringing up the topic of system init. More and more, we are seeing thought provoking commentary, ideas on what a good init should be like. This wouldn't have happened if Lennart hadn't built systemd.

This is how the community should be. One person sees the problem, and tries to solve it. Other people come and say, "I can think of a way to improve that." Eventually we arrive at a solution that is elegant, and effective. Init systems have been controversial for decades, which is why BSD and SysVinit are different. Every major Unix vendor has tried to come up with a solution to that problem, and in each case come up with something rather mediocre. Until recently, the Linux and BSD communities have kept what they had, preferring not to change until something comes that is clearly better. When the better answer comes along, it will be obvious.

Systemd won't be here for the long term, but it's effects will be felt through spurring the community to solve this problem that has plagued the community for decades, again, analyzing the problem with things like this (I'd also like to think my own analysis is worth something).

I think a good start would be to add functions to POSIX like "daemonize()" and "start_dameonize()" "complete_daemonize()" but maybe I'm wrong.


Journal Journal: Conspiracy resets to ... conspiracy 29

It seems that some conservatives have finally looked at the calendar and realized that indeed the clock has run out on their previously strongly-held belief that President Barack "Lawnchair" Obama would institute single-payer health care during his administration. Now, some are taking that conspiracy and attaching it to their conspiracy about Hillary Clinton's campaign, claiming that she will implement what President Lawnchair was unwilling and unable to implement. This of course ignores the fact that Hillary has consistently been opposed to single payer, continues to oppose single payer, and is sponsored by Wall Street and the Insurance Industry (who also do better when single payer is repeatedly shot down).
User Journal

Journal Journal: circular economics, or sound 23

I haven't been regularly visiting /. these last several months. I got a dog, a 2 year old Golden Retriever, and have been breaking him in to life with me. That and I have to get up at a time in the morning that begins with a "4" lately, AKA "oh-dark-thirty", so I hardly ever even turn my computer on during the week. Pre-pooch, I must've just been doing it cuz I was bored. Okay, that didn't sound right. But then again, Slashdot really is mostly just people making faux-intellectual love to themselves.

Anyways, for some real intellectual stimulation, ponder the interesting notion ole Bernie (half-heartedly) offered in the last Dem debate: He was asked that wouldn't raising the minimum wage put some workers out of work. The interesting idea was, that the workers who got to keep their jobs would now have more disposable income, and buy goods and services that they are not now, that would then mean new jobs for those who lost them in the minimum wage hike.

I have absolutely no head/intuition for economics, and as such can't figure out for myself if there could be anything to that or if it's obvious (except to me) utter poop.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress while listening to Time by ELO 1

Don't know why - but I really like that combination.

I've gotten off my schedule of reading Starship Troopers and TMiaHM every year - but I did just reread The Moon is a Harsh Mistress last week-end. My wife was in Ukraine and I was kind of bored but not motivated enough to do something that took effort.

I've outgrown RAH's politics but I still love the story.


Journal Journal: GOP trolling succeeds again 14

When GWB was president, we were told that we could not reveal plans for defeating enemies because it would "embolden" them (we learned later on that the truth of the matter was that no actual plans existed). Now with very high probability of the GOP not winning the white house in 2016 either, they are - as they often do - pretending that such a restriction never existed before and demanding that the democratic candidates (and POTUS) immediately reveal their plans for defeating ISIS.

As usual, because the democrats are cowardly, they have already started to cave in to those demands. We can't possibly imagine what tack the republicans will take against that in the coming months...
User Journal

Journal Journal: Magnet Links from Chrome in Plasma 5 3

For some reason magnet links that I clicked in Chrome were opening the Transmission client instead of Ktorrent. I remember doing something in the past related to this - though I think the issue then was that chrome didn't know how to handle them at all.

So I started digging and founds all kinds of people who had the issue, different solutions and most of it was pretty old. The lowdown - as far as I can tell is that chrome uses xdg-open and I'm pretty sure that is what I set.

I looked in /usr/share/applications for ktorrent.desktop and it wasn't there. I did a bunch more digging, followed some rabbit trails and then finally got smart. ktorrent.desktop was in /usr/share/applications/kde4 and I copied it a directory up. Then all acted as expected.

I think in the upgrade this got borked.

Plasma 5 is mostly pretty much working for me now. I'd have rather stayed on 4 longer but I guess it is o.k. I really just need a new machine. They keep making stuff take more resources and my little Acer just can't keep up.


Journal Journal: The Kevlar Kandidate Sounds Off On ISIS 50

Scott "Kevlar" Walker has boldly taken a stance to discriminate against all Syrians .

"The state of Wisconsin will not accept new Syrian refugees"

He was interestingly (and not unusually) countered by reality in the article:

Walker's office didn't clarify what authority the State of Wisconsin would have to block the entry of a legal resident of the United States to the state or how state officials would even know if a refugee moved to Wisconsin

But he certainly won't let that get in the way.

There is also a handy running tally of which governors are stepping in this so far - a current total of 26, of which 25 are republicans and at least two are officially running for the presidential nomination. It almost seems like the kevlar kandidate is actually trying to make his neighbor from Minnesota look better

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ask Slashdot: What SF Magazines do you read? 2

I'm actually looking for two things: good magazines I haven't found, and good magazines to submit science fiction stories to. I also want to know where I can find your favorite magazines; I've been getting them at the Barnes&Noble in town, but they sell out quickly. Once all they had was three copies of F&SF, and I found it to be excellent. Another time I found five titles, but I haven't seen Asimov's there, and I always liked that one.

Analog was excellent as well, as they've always been. The British Interzone was very well designed, with excellent layout and large amounts of excellent artwork, but I didn't like any of the writing. It just didn't suit my taste.

I have yet to find any decent online mags, I'm sure you guys can supply me with that.

User Journal

Journal Journal: F21 - F22 Today 6

Support for Fedora 21 is coming to an end and so I decided to upgrade to Fedora 22.

I don't run the default Fedora install, I use the KDE spin. I realize KDE isn't the primary desktop for Fedora, but until now it's been alright. I use Fedora for a lot of reasons but mostly because it is the distro I know. I know it because it is the first distro I used on a regular basis for more than just messing around. I did that because at my work we got a new server running RedHat.

I've really been putting off this update. It's the move from KDE Plasma 4 to 5.

It's taken me all day but I think I have it working. I'm scared to reboot and the next time I have to run an update will probably suck. I had so many stupid things happen today trying to get this to work. The kicker is my second display. Everything is fine if I use the built-in intel graphics or my Nvidia card with one display. But as soon as I added the second everything went to crap.

There were times I could only log into KDE as root. Then - and I'm not sure how - I got it fixed. I mean there is still some weird stuff happening but it seems to mostly work. Both monitors are on and displaying at the resolution I want.

Maybe I can hang in there long enough for this stuff to get smoothed over. I made it through the jump from 3 to 4.

The kicker is though - if I log into Gnome it works without any issues. It's just that I hate Gnome.

I don't use RHEL any more - maybe I need to jump over to Suse or something.

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982