Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
User Journal

Journal Journal: More of the new book 11

As soon as I get an ISBN I'll publish the finished version of "Nobots". Meanwhile, I'm working on a new one. Here is the first crude draft of the beginning. This crude draft continues. I have no idea what will happen after this chapter, suggestions are of course welcomed. Like the last, this is a slashdot book.

What got me interested was the fact that they were whores! I was going to have a boatload of horny whores!
                See, I'm not good with women. What I mean by that is women use me and I'm too damned stupid to see it. And I was too damned stupid to realize that whores are women.
                What happened earlier, you know, led to my stupidity. Well, except the stupidity of not realizing whores are women, that was incredibly stupid.
                Did I tell you about women? They've made my life hell. Look at the week before they handed that Mars assignment, for instance. No, never mind, you don't want to hear it.
                Most of what I learned about women I learned from the powers of Evil. What I mean is, women taught me about women.
                For instance:

  • The one thing that will attract a woman, more than any other thing, is another woman on your arm
  • A woman doesn't want you unless she can take you away from another woman
  • A woman isn't impressed by a big dick, but if you have one she'll brag about it to her friends and if you don't she'll make fun of it
  • A woman is incapable of putting anything back where she found it.
  • Women will bitch about the very aspects of their men that attracted them in the first place
  • Most women prefer the sexual vibrators manufactured by the Harley-Davidson corporation
  • A woman will throw the things you want to keep away, and keep the things you want to throw away. She'll throw out the "useless junk" your late great grandfather left you but leave the ball of lint and empty soap box on the dryer.
  • A woman will rearrange your shit so she can bitch about your asking where it is. "Well LOOK for it!"
  • A woman can never get enough sex, but she can get too much sex
  • There is no good answer to the question "is my ass too big?"
  • You're most attractive to any woman right after you've had sex with a different one

                Being stupid, I was happy. I guess that's the secret to happiness - Be stupid. But stupid pays later.
                I went home, took a shower, and checked out Ol' Miss before I went out single party partying.


                I woke up sitting on the couch with the doorbell screaming at me, a full whole warm beer on the table. What damned time is it? Five? In the morning? What the hell. I picked up my tablet. "Who is it and what in the hell do you want at this ungodly hour?" I growled.
                "Tamatha Winters, who are you?" the woman pictured on the tablet said.
                "I'm the captain of this damned boat. What in the hell do you want?"
                "I'm part of your cargo."
                "Christ, woman," I said, still irritated but noting that she wasn't bad looking. "We don't leave until Monday and it's only Saturday. At five o'clock in the God damned morning! Damn it, woman, I wanted to sleep late!"
                "I'm sorry, but I don't have anywhere else to go," she said.
                So I'm perplexed again. Or still. Or something. No place to go? A decent looking hooker? "So why not?"
                "Shit, an addict?"
                "Yeah," the picture of the woman on the tablet said. "I heard there ain't no drops on Mars and I'm sick of the life. You think I like sucking dicks for... well, it ain't a living. More like a dying. I can't seem to stop on Earth, and they want women on Mars so I'm going."
                "They don't want women, they want whores. You'll still be a whore."
                "Maybe," she said. "We'll see. Are you going to let me in?"
                "I have to check the roster to see if you're authorized."
                "Why? Isn't it your ship?"
                "Look, lady," I said, "it's the company's ship. I just live here and drive it where they tell me to. I can't let you on unless I have you on the manifest. Let me look." I looked, there wasn't any Tamatha Winters or record of her face. "Sorry, lady, you ain't on the list."
                "What?!" She said. "Of course I am! Here's my papers," she said, holding out a fone.
                "Sorry, lady," I said. "You'll have to straighten it out with the company. Bye."
                "Wait!" the tablet exclaimed. "I can't go home! There's drops there and I won't make the liftoff!"
                "Sorry, lady, I ain't gonna screw up a good job. I can actually buy shit instead of having crappy printed out shit and I ain't gonna mess it up. GoodBYE!" I said, disconnected, and went to bed. At least the cunt had me in more comfortable sleep, my couch sucks to sleep on.

The maid woke me up about noon. I hate that damned thing, always noisy as hell. Why does it have to clean at noon?
                "Coffee," I growled. A couple of minutes later a table with a cup of coffee on it rolled to me. Why are those damned things so slow? Anyway, I don't know why I'm putting this in my report except I don't want to get in trouble for leaving anything out.
                I took a shit and drank another cup of coffee.
                I switched on the video and turned to the news. Tornadoes, floods, fires, shootings, robberies, political corruption... Why do they call it "news"? It's never new, it's the same shit all the time. Bored, I switched through the channels. Shit, all boring. I'll get a beer. So I locked up the boat and hailed a taxi with my fone and went to the nearest bar, which was five miles away. Why ain't there no bars near spaceports, I wondered. It was like that everywhere.
                I sat down and ordered a beer. "I'm sorry, sir," the bartender said, "but this says you're underage."
                "What? Christ, lady, I'm forty five!"
                "Well, this says 'underage', no ID carried."
                "Shit," I said, and got out my fone and turned on GPSID. "Try it again."
                "OK," she said, "It worked that time." I checked my balance - wow, beer wasn't cheap here.
                "Hi, Captain."
                "Huh," I said, startled. "Oh," I said, seeing who it was. "The woman that wanted on my boat. Gonna buy me a drink, lady?"
                "The name's Tamitha. You can call me Tammy. If I buy you a drink are you going to let me on?"
                "Buy your own booze, loser."
                "Fuck you," I retorted. "I ain't cheap like you droppers."
                "I told you, I want to get away from that shit. That's why I haven't gone home, even though I really, really want to. Come on, please, I'll fuck you all the way to Mars!"
                I laughed. "Yeah, you and two hundred other hookers."
                "You're an asshole," she said.
                "So what, cunt," I replied. "Get outta my face."
                "What did you call me?" she demanded.
                "Are you good for anything but putting a dick in?" I asked.
                "OOOOH!!" She shouted, and stomped off. I got another expensive beer. Damn, I should have had the taxi take me to a cheaper part of town, even if the fare would have been more. I guess I could have took the bus, but hell, I got money, I don't need no bus.
                A blonde sat down next to me. "Hi," she said. "I overheard, why did she call you captain? Are you on the Mars boat?"
                "Yeah," I said. "Why?"
                "I'm going to Mars."
                "Yeah? That's what she said. She's not on the manifest."
                "I am."
                "Yeah?" I said, pulling out my phone and checking out the manifest. Of course, as soon as I activated it her face and information was shown. "Why, pleased to meet you, uh..." I glanced at the manifest, "Destiny. Is that your real name?"
                She giggled. "Yeah, it is. Buy you a drink, Captain?"
                "Call me John," I said, shaking her extended hand. "So why do you want to go to Mars?"
                "I want to see what it's like to be a hooker."
                I choked on my beer; women kind of fuck my brain up sometimes. "Huh?"
                "I want to experience everything!"
                She grabbed my crotch. "No charge for you," she said before locking lips with me.
                Wow. I was really looking forward to this trip!

                We shared a taxi to the boat, and there were twenty women waiting when we got there. I had to check them all. "Sorry, Destiny," I said. "You can drop by my quarters when I'm done here."
                "No," she said, and winked. "You can come to mine."
                The fucking women just wouldn't stop coming, and most of them acted horny, a sure sign they were high on drops. Most of them hit on me, none too subtly.
                This was going to be a good trip! At least, if I could get all those whores inside the boat. No sooner than I'd start walking to Destiny's quarters the damned bell rang. It kept up all weekend. Finally, maybe midnight Sunday, I got what I thought was going to be eight hours sleep. I'd had maybe four all weekend.
                I got two more before the doorbell rang. It was that damned Tammy. "You ain't getting' in. Now go away before I call the cops" I said.
                "Check your manifest."
                I checked it. "You aren't on it."
                "Look at the passengers list."
                Passengers? Huh? Ok, I checked. Damn, she was there. I unlocked the airlock. "17 C", I said, and went to Destiny's cabin.
                I got some sleep, finally... an hour later.
                I think I like Destiny.


                I woke up to the smell of bacon and coffee and the sound of a woman saying "Good morning, Johnnie."
                It took me a second or two to figure out who was talking. I was a little hungover. "Mmmh," I said. "Mornin', Destiny." I got lucky, I usually suck at remembering names but hers was so different it was easy.
                "Come have some eggs before they get cold, John."
                "You made breakfast? Damn, I think I'm in love!"
                She laughed. "Slow down, cowboy."
                I laughed. "Don't worry, I'm a snail. I thought you liked me too?
                She grinned sheepishly. "I do. That's the problem. I didn't want to like you, I wanted to use you. But I can't, I like you.
                "I might even be falling in love, damn it. Shit, I shouldn't have said that."
                I was glad she did. I thought I was falling in love, too. Never happened before, I don't know why I married my ex. But I might be...
                My brain exploded again.
                It was a little awkward but I had a way out. I sighed. "Time to secure passengers and cargo for liftoff. I guess you're first, lover."
                Her eye twinkled. "Lover?"
                She smiled. "Yeah."
                I strapped her in and started on the other two hundred women.


                "Ten... Nine... Eight... Seven... Six... Five... Four... Three... Two..."
                I braced myself for the Gs. "One. Ignition. Liftoff."
                God but I hate liftoff. Hey, you wanted this report to complete, didn't you? Then shut up and let me talk. Jesus, guys.
                Anyway, after we were in orbit I unleashed Destiny, and she helped me unleash the rest. In fact, most helped unleash the rest. I was impressed, maybe the whores weren't as depraved as I thought?
                It turned out that that was completely wrong.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Now, this is strange... 5

I woke up early this morning, poured a cup of coffee and opened slashdot on the notebook and made a few comments in this thread. The laptop's 3 years old and the battery dies after an hour, so I plugged it in and turned on the TV, still sipping coffee. Nothing on but infomercials and rasslin' so I turned on the big computer, started MP3s up and got back on slashdot on my phone without logging in -- I'm not going to try commenting on a phone, and the batteries in the big computer's keyboard are dead.

The bank robbery thread didn't have many comments when I'd read it, so I popped that one back up to read more coments.

The comments I'd posted all had my name in orange with an orange star next to them. Only my comments, and I wasn't logged in although I would have still had the same IP, since the phone was on my network.

Does anybody know what's up with that? My curiosity has been piqued.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Left served own dog food, not sure to which end it pertained 28

There is an unspoken sub-text at play here: what President Putin said in his column is pretty much what American liberals and leftists have been saying about the United States since the 1960s. From the standpoint of American liberals, there is nothing the least bit new or controversial in anything Mr. Putin wrote in his column. He is merely hoisting President Obama and his liberal friends by their own ideological petard.

I find the last couple of weeks a total belly laugh, modulo the slain Syrians.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Verbiage: Line from book (From India to the Planet Mars)

One thing i enjoy when reading psychological books, is the authors' tendency to wax poetic. It may be an uncommon occurrence, but they are oh so much appreciated.

Here's one i recently came accross in From India to the Planet Mars, Page 293 (Appendix Two, P. 72)

I avow that I really regret a little the day when I would have to see in the mediumship of Mlle. Smith the authentic revelation of real experiences, rather than the beautiful subliminal poem that I have admired up to now.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Chronical: Bike fixing and parts

Some years ago, perhaps 6 or 7, after deliberating building or buying, i bought a bike. I ride it for pleasure and to keep in shape. While i don't ride too much due to minor arthritis, i have managed to ride over 2500 miles according to the odometer.

I went to the local Trek Store, American Cycle & Fitness, and asked for a cleaning. When i had been there a week or two prior to purchase toe grips, he oiled my chain and mentioned that i could use a cleaning. When he told me that were out of grips but might have them soon, i left with intention to get them when they called me.

They never called. So, i came back and asked again. The grips, as before, are only available pre-attached to pedals, which i did not need. So, i asked about the cleaning, for $49.99, he looked and said i needed the $89.99 service: the spokes needed tightening, the brakes were loose, the flywheel needed to be replaced, and i needed a new chain. I was able to verify the wheel not being straight, which he said the spoke tightening fixes; i couldn't tell the difference between the new and old flywheel, but i knew the bike wasn't always shifting (down two, up one, to go down one); and the brakes were indeed loose. Why i needed a chain, i don't know. I mentioned to him my need to conserve cash as i have no job, and he found a cheaper chain in the back saving me about 10 bucks.

I also needed a bike lock. I seem to lose those, but after having two bikes stolen in the past (one from the shed, the other, i don't remember), i am weary of being with a lock as a deterrent. Combination is preferred so i don't lose the key, but thickness of the cable is irrelevant, as if someone can break one lock, he can probably break any. The lock is just a deterrent.

He helped me find a lock and suggested the stronger one. They only sell Kryptonite locks. Previously they had Trek locks, but he explained they were just made by Kryptonite anyway. Or so i think he said. I went for the cheaper, thinner one, but it would not fit in my previous holder. I do not remember if the new one came with one. So, i took the more expensive lock, which looked like it would fit. It didn't, so they went to install it.

The lock holster comes with a strap, and a screw, and a confusing instruction sheet written in 14,000 languages. I asked them to install it. They had a hard time doing it, he asked him, then asked him back, until finally it was installed. Laurel and Hardy could have done no better.

My erstwhile lock's holster was situated near the handlebar, as no other place could hold it comfortably. The new guy didn't like that, so he put it under the seat (on the upright middle bar). Of course, there was little room, so he had to lower the holster, then explained that the lock was too large so i would have to twist it when taking it out. /me wonders if he realized his stupidity in rejecting the position near the handlebar. Oh well, it does work with a minor fidget now and then to keep the cable from hitting my legs.

Then comes the light. I have a CatEye, it has two levels of brightness, which makes little difference, but it illuminates well. I just go back and forth between having it shine right in front of the wheel and further ahead. The former is for immediate safety, though considering i am moving, the latter seems more useful. So, i figured why not have two lights.

First he told me the my model wasn't available any more, then went on to sell the most expensive model, it was a $45 LED, USB rechargeable, bright light. Indeed it was bright. The lady nearby explained it was diffused widely too. After wavering with the cheaper models, i decided on this one because i wanted the brighter wider light for my safety.

He took the display model because it was the last one, and when i asked for a floor-model discount, he declined, saying it was just a few days old and the package was in the back. Arg. He installed it very easily on the fork.

When paying, i heard the people next to me getting a card with "points" from another worker. When i asked about it, the told me i was eligible and i needed to speak to her (they were closing, and his computer was off), and then send an email to get the current purchase added. I asked her and she just took care of everything. It was nice, other than the fact that i had to ask.

Riding home was amazing. The smooth riding, shifting, and breaking made it all seem worth it. That night, however, i found the light to be utterly useless. Not only was the beam so diffused as to illuminate very little, being he put it on the fork, it was pointing upward, not downward! I tried other places, but they were either impractical places, or the wheel block their effectivity. Checking Amazon, comments mentioned it's excellent use as a marker. Also, while the list price was $45, Amazon had it for about half that.

I wiped it clean from some minor dust with water, put it back in it's package, and brought it back two days later. He took it back without a hassle. I now intend to purchase one on Amazon, together with the toe clips.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Looking for Galen's De Temperamentis in English

While researching for a personal project I wanted to look at Galen's De Temperamentis. The book talks about temperaments and is referred to near the beginning of Galen's own On the Natural Faculties.

Keirsey and others quote Galen. Some challenge this understanding saying he got Phlegmatics and Cholerics backwards. For this and other reasons i wanted to read the book myself. Alas, i do not read Ancient Greek.

Galen wrote his works in Greek. Some are extant, some are not. Some in Greek, some in Arabic, some in Latin, and not always via one translation. Greek->Arabic->Latin is found, and in some works Greek is not the original source language, that is, the original Greek text is lost, but some ancient scholar translated another version back to Greek.

But it's all available in English, right? No, it is not. :( It is surprising to many that there are very few works of Galen available in English, at least in the public domain. This is somewhat unbelievable; Galen, an important, famous, and prolific author of antiquity, doctor and philosopher, praised both then and now, who, even after a fire destroyed many of his works still has a immense anthology in his name, whose works are in the public domain, are simply unavailable to those of us who do not read ancient Greek, Arabic, and Latin. At first this sounds ok, but with all the information people like, want, and have today, to have such an author of antiquity to be beyond the reach of most people, is indeed hard to believe.

A bit more searching found that Internet Archive via its own efforts and those of Google Books has 8 copies of De Temperamentis online.

The texts are as follows:

Ancient Greek


In the Latin, the first two are the same edition, and the last three are the same edition. I ignored the first three because of the Ancient Greek, and tried the Latin editions. The OCR supplied text is mostly garbled. Saving a page and using an online OCR service also returns mostly nonsense. Ostensibly, the older unclear fonts, the "f" looking like an "s", and not-well-recognized Latin add up to a real problem. Further, the first Latin edition listed above has interspersed commentary. Even if the OCR did work, the commentary would pose a bit of an issue.

Well then, maybe i should try it myself. I took two copies which looked clearest to me, one from each edition: Hieremiae Thriveri... Commentarii in omnes Galeni libros De temperamentis (1547) and Galeni Pergamensis De temperamentis : et De inaequali intemperie libri tres, Thomas Linacro Anglo interprete. Opus non medicis modo, sed et philosophis oppido q[uam] necessariu[m] nunc primum prodit in lucem cum gratia & priuilegio. Impressum apud praeclaram Cantabrigiam per Joannem Siberch, anno MDXXI (1881).

The texts seem fraught with errors. To illustrate, here are the first two sentences from the each edition, with base letters, separate ae into two letters, fixing s/f problems, and adjoining words that are brought together with a hyphen over two lines. Other issues, such as broken words, misplaced punctuation, are left in place.

First edition (Google Translate):

Constare animalium corpora ex calidi, frigidi, sicci, humidiq; temperatura, nec effe horum omnium parem in temperatura portionem, demostratum antiquis abunde eft, tum philofophorum, tum medicorum praecipuis. Diximus autem & nos de ijs , ea quae probabilia suntuisa,alio opere:in quo de ijs, que Hippocrates constituit, elemetis egimus.

Second edition (Google Translate):

Constare animalru corpora ex calidi, frigidi, sicci, humidique mixtura , nec effe horu omniu pare in temperatura portione , demonstratum antiquis abunde eft,tum philofophorum, tu medicorum precipuis. Diximus autem & nos de ijs,ea quae .pbablia sunt uisa alio opere . In quo de ijs,quae Hyppocrates costituit elemetis , egimus.

Correcting the two editions based on each other, and using Google Translate from English back to Latin where neither is translated well, here's what it should read (Google Translate)

Constare animalum corpora ex calidi, frigidi, sicci, humida mixtura, nec effe horu omniu parem in temperies portione, demonstratum antiquis abunde eft, tum philofophorum, tu medicorum praecipuis. Diximus autem & nos de ijs, ea quae probabilia sunt uisa alio opere in quo de ijs, que Hippocrates constituit, elementis egimus.

Note the differences in spelling:

  1. animilium/animalru/animilum (both)
  2. humidiq;/humidique/humida (both)
  3. temperatura/mixtura/mixtura (first)
  4. horum/horu/horu (first)
  5. omnium/omniu/omniu (first)
  6. parem/pare/parem (second)
  7. temperatura/temperatura/temperies (both)
  8. portionem/portione/portione (first)
  9. demostratum/demonstratum/demonstratum (first)
  10. tum/tu/tu (first)
  11. praecipuis/precipuis/praecipuis (second)
  12. que/quae/que (second)
  13. Hippocrates/Hyppocrates/Hippocrates (second!)
  14. constituit/costituit/constituit (second)
  15. elemetis/elemetis/elementis (both)

The first was corrected 10 times, the second, 9 times. Regarding spacing and punctuation, which, admittedly, is mildly arbitrary, the former seems better:


  1. humidiq; (extra semicolon)
  2. ijs , (extra space)
  3. suntuisa,alio (missing space)
  4. suntuisa,alio (comma instead of space)
  5. opere:in (colon instead of space)


  1. mixtura , (extra space)
  2. portione , (extra space)
  3. eft,tum (missing space)
  4. ijs,ea (missing space)
  5. .pbablia (extra period, comma, or something)
  6. opere . (extra period)
  7. ijs,quae (missing space)
  8. elemetis , (extra comma)

This is all from my typing it in and comparing, then going back and "showing the work" for the JE. Note, the f/s difference is not always obvious, and sometimes may also be incorrect. I am not listing those, because i simply can't tell what which one each is supposed to be.

In summary, i tried typing in two sentences. There were 10 spelling errors and 5 punctuation errors in the first edition, and 9 spelling errors and 8 punctuation errors in the second, for a total of 15 or 17 typographical errors, using Google Translate with Latin, and not counting f/s confusion. Most likely, the plate workers did not understand Latin, which would add to the usual mistakes in daily, manual labor. It certainly makes one appreciate modern day word processors.

Typing, correcting, and identifying which word is correct is time consuming. I don't know how long those two sentences took, but even if i would ramp up the speed with familiarity, the ~140 pages would take quite a bit of time. And doing it alone, usually means a less thorough proofreading. This would require some effort.

So, i searched some more, and found a project funded by the Wellcome Trust and supervised by Professor Philip van der Eijk to translate Galen into English, properly. This is an immense effort, as they are using older manuscripts, that is in ancient Greek, where available, and trying to be true to the text.

The funding was awarded in 2009, and the first volumes were set to appear in 2011. Looking on Amazon, however, shows the still unpublished first book with a release date of December 31, 2013. My guess is that is a placeholder for unfinished work. It is also a bit expensive and, ostensibly, not going to be in the public domain.

With all this i sent Professor van der Eijk an email asking about the text. Not that i know how such emails are sent, but nonetheless:

Professor van der Eijk,

  I am interested in Galen's De Temperamentis for research in a personal project, and have been looking online for an English translation. Google and the Internet Archive have a couple Latin translations, but they seem to be of poor quality and the text via OCR is garbled. I even typed in the first two sentences but had to correct a number of words for it to make any sense, at least as is seemed when using Google Translate Latin to English.

I then found your project of translating Galen. I wish to ask, is a translation of De Temperamentis being prepared?

I sent that, yesterday, September 9th. It is far to early to expect a reply.

This leads me to the following conclusion. Galen's works will likely be available in a number of years for purchase, but nothing free online, and certainly not soon.

With this realization i wondered if Kickstarter could be used for a community funded project to make De Temperamentis available in English, for free, online. Galen's other works could also be done, providing there is interest and, of course, source material in the public domain. Such a project would not be a best solution, such as the project funded by the Wellcome Trust. However, it would likely give people what they need, being mostly correct, similar to Wikipedia.

When i mentioned this to a friend of mine, he said he recently saw posting on Slashdot, a Kickstarter project to make Chopin's music available online for free. His former project was very successful ($68,359 pledged of $11,000 goal), and the current campaign seems well on its way to success ($46,562 pledged of $75,000 goal, five days in with 40 days to go). While in some ways his project is different, in others is is similar, that is, to make the old available online for free.

At this point i'm not sure what to do. Try doing some more sentences, make a kickstarter project, search online some more, or give it up. As might be imagined, my mind has been jumping here and there on what to do, wondering if it is even worth the effort, or if it is, what to do next. At least posting this JE makes me a bit more relaxed, having put a lot of this down, finally, in writing.

First Person Shooters (Games)

Journal Journal: Bad Gun Owner of the Week 54

Will we see slashdot (and other) conservatives describe this one as a suicide as well?

Yellowstone National Park officials are investigating after an Idaho woman reported her 3-year-old daughter shot herself with a handgun in a campground.

So which backwoods state did these shithead gun owners come from?

He said he didn't know how many family members were camping or where they are from in Idaho. Names haven't been released.

Apparently they weren't far from home, then. Most likely they will receive no punishment whatsoever for their wanton irresponsibility. In a sane country we would be asking whether they would face more or less prosecution for leaving a loaded unlocked weapon sitting around in a public campground.


A federal law went into effect Feb. 22, 2010, allowing visitors to possess firearms in the park.

That doesn't mean that people have the right to be so utterly careless with them.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The phone

About a year ago Amy drunkenly and absentmindedly walked off with my phone. She gave it back with the screen broken off. Which meant no internet, texts, voicemail, pictures, nothing left but speakerphone, which mean it could no longer live in my pocket. It was in essence a 1970s landline.

I went to one of the local Boost stores for a replacement. I liked that phone and wanted another just like it. No such luck -- they'd stopped making it. I'd have to buy a stripped down dumbphone or carry a purse or holster because all the new non-dumb phones were way too big to fit comfortably in a jeans pocket.

So I got out my older phone and tried to get it reconnected. Its battery had died which is why I'd replaced it, but the broken phone had an identical battery so it would be fine.

Again, no luck. The site informed me that the old phone wouldn't work on my "shrinkage" plan. Shit. So I haven't had a cell phone for a year now.

When Patty came to visit, I noticed that her iPhone wasn't humungous like the Androids, and it would actually fit in a pocket not too uncomfortably.

A couple of weeks later (last Saturday) when I went to pay the bill online, one of the usual ads for phones their site always has caught my eye -- they had a Kyocera Edge for what seemed like a ridiculously low price, just a little over a hundred dollars. I looked into it further. The same size as Patty's iPhone, gorilla glass, waterproof, GPS, wi-fi, Bluetooth, a CPU as fast as my three year old notebook, 2 gigs of memory (in the early eighties only mainframes sported so much memory), 5.5 megapixel camera, Android 4.4... I got out my credit card and ordered one, completely forgetting about my phone bill.

Sunday's email had a confirmation of the order. Two smartphones would be there in three working days. Two? God damn it, I'm trying to get my credit number higher and try not to use that card too much (high balances lower your score). I emailed them, and the response was that I'd have to call Monday.

This was the first time Boost had pissed me off. I credited the error to Murphy and Hanlon. I headed to Felbers for a beer. Mike asked how I was doing. "Except for the damned phone company, pretty good."

"Tell me about it," he said. Felbers hadn't had a phone, a working juke box, or wifi for weeks. Some long distance company he'd never heard of was tacking extra charges on his AT&T bill. Their customer support said after he paid the bill they'd refund the charges and he'd told them to fuck off. He'd gotten wifi and the jukebox back (maybe he switched to ComCast, he didn't say).

Monday the lady at the help desk said to just drop the unopened phone off at a FedEx office. Damn it, what's the point of internet shopping if you still have to drive?

Wednesday evening when I got home from work there was a box on my front porch. Yay! I had a phone again! The old Motorola was going to live in a drawer in the kitchen as a backup in case the Kyocera got broken or stolen.

I went online to activate it, and the site was clunky like it was being slashdotted or DOSed. It said that I would have to make a slight adjustment to my plan. I deselected the extra $5 per month international calling; never had it before and have no use for it now. When the process was done it still wouldn't activate. Damn! I'd forgotten to pay the bill. So I got out my credit card again.

It still wouldn't activate it, even though the site now said that my bill wasn't due until next month, because I'd just paid it. It also said I'd been charged that five dollar international calling fee.

Never attribute to stupidity when greedy self-interest explains.

The next morning I called Boost again, from work, because I didn't have a working phone at all. I was on the phone with the guy for two hours trying to get it to work, and he finally said that the phone must be defective. He at least got that extra fiver off my bill and credited to my account.

I went home on break to get the phone I was going to return. I opened it, swapped batteries with the defective phone and called Boost again. Ten minutes later I had a working phone.

That interface is going to take some getting used to, and although I've been thinking about getting a tablet, I changed my mind. Leila had wanted a tablet so I bought her an Android for her birthday. Typing on that flat screen is even harder than typing on the old phone's tiny qwerty keyboard. I'll stick to my old notebook.

I went to the Google Play store to get an app that would let me listen to KSHE on it, and gave up -- too much damned typing registering an account. I'll just have Leila download it for me when I see her tomorrow, she has an account already. So when I listen to KSHE I'll probably get ads for video games and anime.

Some of the settings are damned hard to find. What you get from "settings" varies according to where you are when you set it. Frustrating.

I'd liked how it gave the temperature as well as the time, except this morning I pulled it out before my break to see how warm it was getting. It said 88 degrees, which couldn't possibly be right -- that was the high temperature yesterday. So I pulled up the Weather Channel on the computer. It was 64.

I'd shut off the GPS, which it needed for the weather widget because I think Google stalking me is just spooky. Now I can't figure out how to turn it back on.

Oh, well, it's better than my old phone's interface, that I think was designed by a bunch of drunken thirteen year olds. Even Microsoft has better programmers than Motorola!

OK, it's Sunday now. The phone thinks I'm Leila and I can't figure out how to change it, how to delete a bookmark, and it looks like Boost has really locked it down because they've removed the ability to sideload apps. I have a lot of learning to do, the skimpy manual is worthless, and the Android site will tell you what you can do with it but not how to. I'm still searching for a real manual.

After lunch yesterday I took Leila home, slipped the adaptor into the car's cassette player (it's 11 years old, no bluetooth or wifi, just radio, tape, and CD) and plugged it into the phone. KSHE sounded hollow and tinny, like an old Real Audio file played over good speakers and headed to Felbers, where Oakie was slated to be DJing.

I got a beer and went out to the beer garden; the weather was beautiful yesterday. The phone wasn't very loud so I got the little sound bomb out of the glove box.

PJ has no permanent home. He does construction work but spends all his money on booze and drugs. In the winter he usually works for landlords getting houses ready to rent and crashes there. He was hauling stuff out of the box trailer when Rachel showed up. She's Mike's daughter and part owner. "Rearranging the furniture in your house, PJ?" she said.

PJ laughed. "Nah, I'm cookin' for Mike today." The grills were stored in the shed-like trailer.

I got another beer and looked at the phone - the battery was holding up pretty good. About the time the grills stopped smelling like lighter fluid Oakie showed up, dragging another box trailer behind his giant Ford pickup truck and started hauling out equipment. Wow, that's a lot of amps and speakers for a DJ system; two racks of four amps each.

I finally figured it out when they started assembling the drum kit.

Oakie's band was pretty good. I videoed about three songs before completely filling up the phone. 720p video takes a lot of storage!

After I had a few cups of coffee this morning Kyocera's web site said that with Windows all I had to do to transfer files from the phone was to connect them with USP and it would show up as a drive, so I plugged the phone into the notebook. It saw that the phone was a drive, but it wanted me to insert a disk into the phone. Figures.

So I tried bluetooth. There's a bluetooth dongle in the Linux box and it had no trouble pairing with the old Motorola. It saw the phone just fine but tried to pair seemingly forever. I'll see if the tether works on the Linux box, but the tether is only a yard long so the phone will have to be on top of the computer.

I'll dig out that other dongle later and see if it will pair with the notebook. I'll try again with the Linux box, it's been a while since I used that feature.

I'm probably holding it wrong. Oh, wait, it's not an Apple...

United States

Journal Journal: USDA: US Rural Population Needed For Cannon Fodder 4

Why does he go to bed at night trying to figure out how to increase farmers? How do the President and other cabinet members view Vilsack's role as the nation's farming czar? What could be the most important contribution that increasing farmers could offer to the nation? Better food? Better soil development? Better care for animals? Better care for plants?

Are you ready? Here's his answer: although rural America only has 16 percent of the population, it gives 40 percent of the personnel to the military. Say what? You mean when it's all said and done, at the end of the day, the bottom line -- you know all the cliches -- the whole reason for increasing farms is to provide cannon fodder for American imperial might. He said rural kids grow up with a sense of wanting to give something back, and if we lose that value system, we'll lose our military might.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Like I was saying: 'Foot off the brake' 8

The August jobs numbers are disappointing. The economy gained 169,000 non-farm payroll jobs, below the estimated figure of 175,000. Much worse, however, were the downward revisions for past months. Julyâ(TM)s job numbers went down 58,000. The total revision for June and July is 74,000 less than previously expected. Then there is the labor participation rate: It dropped to 63.2 percent. It hasnâ(TM)t been this low since 1978. Because so many people have left the work force, the percent of unemployed (i.e. those who havenâ(TM)t checked out of the job market) went down to 7.3 percent.
It is long since past the time that we can attribute feeble job growth to the financial collapse in 2008. The âoerecoveryâ started in the second half of 2009. What we see now is the Obama economy â" more people out of the job market, minimal growth and tepid job creation. The president is right â" we are no longer in a tailspin. The TARP and other financial measures that President George W. Bush put in place and Obama continued staunched the bleeding long ago. But we have a listless economy, a function of combined tax, regulatory and budget policies.

But, hey: let's start a war in Syria now, and have ObamaCare kick in next month.
Because there is no point in putting a stake in the heart of the economy if you're not going to match it with one up the sphincter. Bonus points if you can get them to make contact.

Slashdot Top Deals

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.