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Journal: Happy New Year: Resolutions and Predictions.

Journal by windcask

My predictions:

1. Sarah Palin will remain the likely GOP nominee, much to the chagrin of intelligent conservatives everywhere
2. Apple will declare external media dead
3. Wireless monitors will finally gain popularity after being available for years
4. Patent trolling will become more widespread and big media will continue to cross international boundaries with force of law to bring the 50-lb shithammer on its customers
5. Oracle will kill MySQL, GNOME, OpenSolaris (you could say that's already dead), VirtualBox, and significantly lock down Java
5. Video calling will finally be made practical and usable (at least to big city-dwellers) via wider adoption of 4G and more powerful integrated processing
6. Rush will finally say something so far off the deep end he'll be forced into retirement. His recent flirts with race-baiting will finally explode into full-on racism and he'll say "nigger" on the air
7. Congress will be gridlocked, leaving us free to obsess over the beginnings of the new presidential race

My resolutions:

1. Switch from Notepad++ to Vim as my primary text editor
2. Stop using my mouse (this won't completely happen as I need it to use GIMP and layout mode of Filemaker)
3. Drop 20 lbs, start running again, start lifting weights or at least doing pushups/situps
4. Be able to play and enjoy Nethack in ASCII mode
5. Learn how to write Android programs (oh, excuse me, *ahem* "widgets")
6. Bring highbias.org back from the grave

Pretty modest goals, but I've never been known for being overly ambitious. Probably the main reason I'm still single. Happy new year, everybody.

User Journal

Journal: Radiohead - Meeting People Is Easy

Journal by windcask

If you're going to do a tour documentary, do a tour documentary. Don't attempt to ape the band's style by nonsensical layering and effecting of video and audio, drowning out meaningful tidbits of context in an ocean of irrelevancy. A documentary should simply present the facts. I know it's 12 years late, but still...I just got the DVD for Christmas.

I was disappointed simply because I wanted a fuller overview of the band, rather than just OK Computer tour, but I'll take what I can get, I suppose. It was quite a treat hearing "Nude" live almost a decade before it was recorded, though.

User Journal

Journal: Me vs Fox News. (For Countertrolling, et. al.) 8

Journal by windcask

One of the most common arguments ("cop-outs" is more like it) against my views is that I am a servile tool of Fox News. While I don't deny that many of my views line up with that News TV/Radio station's more conservative hosts (I only know of them via Wikipedia, the occasional radio program, and YouTube clips...I have literally never watched Fox News live in my life), let me outline the more prominent differences between my views and the Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh/Bill O'Reilly trifecta:

1. Government is not the enemy. Do I think government should be smaller and more accountable? Yes. But I'm not on some crusade fueled by a deep-seated hatred and mistrust of government. There are some things that the private sector cannot and should not handle, and I'm okay with that. I believe that the role of government's social safety net should be enough to keep people from starving or dying, not to correct all the ills of society.

2. Barack Obama is not a socialist. He is a middle-left liberal. Moreover, he has proven that when it comes right down to it, he is capable of acting with a degree of responsibility and is willing to flout his party to that end (Afghanistan). That being said, I am no fan of most of his policies.

3. Taxes can and should go up. The scales of power tip favorably to those with the most economic clout, and our debts should take precedence over anything else. Raising taxes and cutting spending will provided the biggest help to that end. There's no guarantee that government intervention will pull us out of recession faster, and I'm wondering if it's not entirely counterproductive. China can get away with its humanitarian violations because the world will not bite the hand that feeds them.

4. Global warming is real and I oppose the politicization of science. Why is it that global warming was never called into question until it was decided to be politicized? That doesn't mean I'm driving a Prius or using reusable grocery bags; it simply means I acknowledge humans have played a role in the warming of the planet.

5. Liberal media bias is not a conspiracy, it's merely a reality caused by personality types. Certain occupations generally attract certain kinds of people. Investment bankers, Marines, and CEOs tend to hold conservative views; artists, writers, musicians, and reporters tend to hold liberal views. That being said, there's obviously a strong niche for spinning the news to the right; just look at Fox News. However, I believe that bias in the news is not as pervasive a problem as it seems and outside of commentators hired to give their opinions, is only perpetrated by a few bloated egos (Dan Rather, Barbra Walters, Katie Couric, et. al.).

6. Christianity and conservatism are not inextricable. One could make the case that Jesus was a liberal. You could certainly say that the culture of callousness and hostility towards foreigners, minorities, and the poor fostered by certain corners of the conservative movement are antithetical to Christianity. I don't think that government or business are by nature good or evil; they can both be made to serve a higher purpose.

7. Attitudes on Bush. Most of the Fox News ilk have low regard for GW Bush as a traitor to conservatism and see him as little more than a big-government neo-con. I view him as a fine man and I could've asked for no better leader to guide us through one of the most tumultuous periods of American history.

8. Partisan puritanism is self-righteous and solves nothing. We need to work together and compromise in order to serve the common good. Principles are worthless unless they lead to action. Standing your ground and refusing to budge because of your quest for ideological purity may feel good but does nothing for those that demand change in policy to meet their needs.

Anyways, short answer: Fox News = Conservative Libertarian Puritans, Me = Mainstream Republican.

User Journal

Journal: The future of "Cloud Computing" as I see it. 2

Journal by windcask

Okay, so I know that my ideas with regard to technology tend to be a bit naive and simple-minded (compared to those with degrees and years of industry experience, i.e. 90% of Slashdot users). Bear that in mind as you read this.

Let's not think in terms of "Cloud Computing" so much as "Cloud Processing." Forget storing your documents on a server somewhere and accessing them via your web browser; let's talk about sheer CPU and memory use. I've read articles before on Amazon's EC2 Cloud where you can rent out a server for x number of hours and use the processing in whatever way you want, such as to crack a password. Now, this idea would only work on a practical level with highly cpu-intensive activities, such as video encoding, program compilation, password cracking, ad infinitum; but, rather than having to upload program and data, run the process, then grab the output and bring it back home, what if you could produce a simple front-end for the system which could run on your home desktop and would act as little more than a convenient means of transmitting the input, automate the whole I/O from server back to desktop, and then set up some sort of billing system for its usage? There could be pre-configured programs to run the tasks I mentioned before with options that could be selected via the client interface, and then developers could come up with more applications using a simple API that would let them do basically whatever they wanted using the same system.

I'm not sure I explained that very well but hopefully someone will know what I'm talking about.

User Journal

Journal: Republican Fiscal Hypocrisy 6

Journal by windcask

How in the hell can you campaign on debt and deficit reduction, and before the current session of congress is even over, propose a $900 billion tax cut extension? It's utterly ridiculous. The people gave you a mandate: PAY FOR SHIT. I know that the Republican party line is 'never raise taxes ever, under any circumstances,' but this is not a tax hike. This is an extension you can choose not to renew. There can be no sacred cows in the months to come, and we need to cut everything. (My 'sacred cow' is defense spending, but I know even that will need to be cut as well.)

Here's the thing, though: You don't need to give into the Democrats' class warfare $250k-and-under bill. You don't even have to do anything. Just let them expire, and put us on the right path to fiscal solvency. If the past year has taught us anything, it's that power is concentrated in the hands of the fiscally sound (Germany, China), and it is fleeting in the hands of the reckless and imprudent (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain).

User Journal

Journal: David Brooks vs. Paul Ryan 11

Journal by windcask

I know when I comment on here I tend to come off as dogmatic and reactionary, but the truth is at heart I'm really more centrist than I let on. It's just the relentless onslaught of hateful, jealous bile that comes out of liberals on this site brings out my most knee-jerk reactions. The people I really admire are more towards the center, those who are principled, but also pragmatic when the need arises; those who prefer to work towards the common good rather than forget the interests of the people in the name of ideological puritanism. In other words, 'establishment' republicans. People like David Brooks. This video, where I admit he's clearly not in his element and sounds very nervous, really shows his best side and provides a fresh, prudent take on the false dichotomy of limited government versus big government.

http://www.aei.org/video/101354

User Journal

Journal: Don't Ask Don't Tell, Don't Make It An Issue. 6

Journal by windcask

There are different kinds of people in the world. Those in the arts are allowed to express their fascination with culture and diversity its fullest extent, and contribute their unique perspectives to the canon of whatever their particular racial/ethnic/countercultural/regional group has to offer. Politicians can do the same by doing much the same with their ideas to influence the world. Engineers can express unique solutions to age-old problems. There are many, many groups of people which serve as an outlet of creativity, personal expression, and individuality.

The military is not such a place. People in uniform are brought together by a simpleness of purpose: love of country and dedication to its service. Personal expression is simply a distraction from the larger goals of the mission. While those distractions, when they define one to the core and cannot be repressed, can be tolerated in certain service environments, they have no business in open combat. The kind of person we need on the front lines is the kind of person that does not provide a distraction to those who would serve beside them. We need people of faith, and those who can bond with others who share that faith as they endure the hell that they must be subjected to. Whatever your personal opinions of faith, there is NOTHING more important when you're faced with your own mortality than to believe that you'll be with your brothers in arms on the other side should you fall. What if a person was introduced into that situation who existentially demeans your faith? What if a fellow service member heckled you about your dedication to your God or your country, explicitly or implicitly? Open homosexuality drives a wedge between service members, and let's not forget that it flies in the face of every major faith in the world, not just Christianity. If a soldier keeps quiet about his orientation, then he can go about his task with those bonds intact.

So what's my solution? We don't put women in open combat situations. Extend that to open homosexuals as well. If a homosexual decides to keep quiet about his orientation, let him serve in combat until he decides to come out. Homosexuals can serve their country admirably in a way that doesn't serve as a distraction to those who are putting their lives on the line for our freedom.

"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)

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