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User Journal

Journal Journal: Cringley's scarying me 3

This isn't supposed to happen. I read Cringley to laugh or think about technology, not imagine thousands of unarmed Iranian kids charging a heavily armed Iraqi line in an attempt to demoralize the Iraqi's.

If you haven't read it, look it over. It will give you a new perspective on the Iran nuke situation.

Now, I know Cringley probably isn't the best source of news like this and his report on a single incident during a war over a decade ago can be called propaganda by some, but do you really think he made this up? I don't. And it scares the hell out of me because thousands of kids charging an American line would be demoralizing. And any nation with families willing to sacrifice their children's lifes for religion is not going to react well to an Evangelical American government telling it where it should stuff its nukes.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Mr. president, Steps to unify: 6

Dear president,

I did not vote for you, but realize that you are now going to be running the USA for four more years. Please listen to this advice, and consider it a minimum amount of effort needed to truly unify and heal this country.

1) Fire the vp and appoint Powell as you new VP. Ask for Powell's advice, and listen to his advice.

2) Appoint John McCain to the now open Sec of State position. You've used this man shamelessly after abusing him horribly. He deserves this position, is well respected by most moderates and some liberals, and would be a great man for the job.

3) Allow Ashcroft to retire (the sooner the better), and replace him with John Edwards. Edwards is unemployed now, and this would be a bold move that would gain you tremendous respect as a leader of the country as opposed to a leader of your party.

4) Appoint Ralph Reed to your chief of staff. The christian coalition got you re-elected, and Reed was fundamental in this movement. Plus, its better to know that he is busy working for you than not knowing what the heck he is up to now.

5) Forget your promise about not having a litmus tests for the Supreme court and balance the court evenly. Put one more conservative judge there as this is how the country is leaning but don't stack it. And don't pretend not to use a litmus test, we know better.

6) Allow dissention and opposing views in your cabinet. Choose the best course of action amoung all those views. Widen your view of the world, and maybe travel a little. See how we are seen by the others of this world that we share.

7) Just friggen admit that you made mistakes, tell us what they were, and how you plan on fixing them. No more of your "I'm human and know I've made mistakes, just can't think of any specifics right now" crap. You don't need to be re-elected anymore, so just tell us the truth.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Family Values? 13

I go to church every Sunday with my family. I am a liberal Democrat. The church is a Chinese evangelical church that my wife and her family are strong members of. I disagree with a few minor preachings of the church (gay rights, abortion), but generally think the values of family they "preach" are consist with mine. That was until this past Sunday, October 31st

It is not the church I would chose for my family to attend, but it is more important for my wife to go there than me to go to my church. So each Sunday I go, with my family. But last Sunday, with the election heavily weighing on my mind, something horrible happened. While I was hoping that politics would not be a main topic in church (and it was not), my sons (7 and 5) attended Sunday school. After church, we joined the others in the reception area, mingled, let the kids play and went home.

When we got home, my oldest son promptly announced that Halloween was evil and that he would not be participating, and asked me for confirmation of Halloween's evilness. I was taken by surprise, and shocked, and after discussing it with him, determined that the Sunday school lesson that day had been on the evilness Halloween. As a family, we always have celebrated Halloween. Many of my ancestors are Irish, and my great grandfather was one of the many that left Ireland during the potato famine and brought the traditions of the "Old Country", including Halloween, to America. As a kid, this was my favorite holiday, and as an adult, it is great to see the joy in all the children that are trick-or-treating. On this day, I have never seen, felt, or feared "evil". I've read stories of cults that have twisted the holiday to their needs, but that sure doesn't turn Halloween evil.

I had a fairly good understanding of the origins of Halloween. At the least, the holiday's origin's included practices promoted by christians (soul cake, Jack and the devil). At worst it was an event to ward of the spirit of the dead from taking over a non-dead persons, started over 4,000 years ago, that might have included burning a victim at the stake (also a christian practice, just not a good one). I talked to my son about the orgins of Halloween, and about good and evil. At seven we had not yet started an evil/good, black/white discussions with our oldest child. He is a very good kid, never in trouble, great grades at school. He is a model student, and has never "turned a card" in 4 years of grade school. He is very intelligent and is gifted in his logic/math talents and skills. And he was much too young to be discussing evil/good and why what some say is evil others say is not. After this open, lengthy discussion, he still declined to participate - and I supported him in this. My youngest and I carved the pumpkin and went trick-or-treating. My wife took the oldest to the church for pizza and games. The church's family values had split up my family on my favorite holliday.

So now I question the value of the values taught at this church. The concepts of evil and good are understood by my seven year old son, but being able to understand the facts and truly judge the nuances of evil and good are not. Brain washing is not a value that I consider good, and in no way was the information provided by the church either accurate or open for discussion. What type of values is this teaching?

So, if you have made it this far, I would really appreciate advise. I've considered all of the following, and don't know which to do:

Personally abstain from this church so that my children understand that I do not support all of the teachings at this church?

Force the whole family to go to another church?

Express my views to the church and provide information on the history of Halloween?

Attend the children's sunday school class and discuss the history of Halloween?

Do nothing and accept the fact that there is one more issue that my personal beliefs do not match that of the church I attend (not really an option I'm willing to take. This was the straw for me?)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Jobs are not an issue! 4

Agggghhhhh!!!! Enough already! Fiscal policy does not create or destroy jobs in the course of a few years (in most cases), and is a giant, course knob for tuning the economy.

Don't blame the president for losing jobs! There was not much he could do. The closest you could come to blaming him and hold an ounce of credibility is to say that the consequences of the last election was the sharp pointy thing that burst the bubble. And I doubt anyone would buy that (that is part of the liberal third).

Claiming credit for creating jobs is slightly more justified. The few times that fiscal policy has proven effective in the short term are when the economy needs a little kick in the pants (FDR's New Deal, post 9/11). And his increased spending and tax breaks seems to have done just that. The problem is that sooner or later we need to pay the bill for this, and he doesn't seem to understand or at least admit it.

But, much like the burst, the increased spending and changed fiscal policy was a inevitable event, not planned leadership. (actually, I believe the reasons behind the increased spending were examples of extremely poor leadership, but that was a previous entry).

So get of of his back about the lost jobs and focus on something important like his awful leadership, or choice of single minded dictatorial neo-con advisors, or his lack of understanding of the world outside the US heartland. Unfortuanately, these are all things that the Nascar dads just don't care about.
User Journal

Journal Journal: RedSox win! - A Sad Day For Baseball

Yesterday, October 28th, 2004, during a lunar eclipse, the Boston Redsox won the world series. After eighty something years, they finally did won the series again.

No fans deserve the title more than the Redsox fans. The fans years of agony are over, at last. This Redsox team really seemed to be the best this post-season, and the players are now world champs.

But do you know what you did to baseball? Your curse was the last legacy of the games greatest player. His home run records surpassed by Hank Aaron and a bunch of chemically altered, drug enhanced cheaters. A game full of traditions, stories, and superstitions has lost its greatest tradition, story, and superstition. The Cubs' curse is pathetic, and the story lame, but it is the best that baseball has left now.

Congratulations, and thanks a lot for ruining it for the rest of us.

Journal Journal: You've lost my trust.

Change is a slow, natural progression that is often noticeable, but seldom seen. I don't know when I got my first wrinkles or my first gray hairs, but now I notice them. Every year, summer turns to fall, yet when that happens is hard to pinpoint. Rarely, a single event will create immense change. As an American, September 11, 2001 suddenly and forever changed me. With two children and a wife dependent on me (and too old and out of shape to be useful), I resisted the urge to join the military to fight the newly discovered enemies of the country. My hatred, fear, sadness, and patriotism were at all time highs. I decided to do what I could as a fat, out-of-shape, engineer. I left my well paying job at a still successful company (even after the burst) as a engineering manager, to join a defense contractor as a software engineer. I put my heart and soul into my work, and worked with many of my coworkers overtime, all the time, believing I was doing the best I could to protect my family, my children, and my country.

The war in Afghanistan went well. But the links to Iraq seem to be growing every day. Operation Iraqi Freedom started, I watched on TV every night. Fear of the WMDs, fear of the terrorists, fear, fear, fear.

Now, things have changed. Can't put my finger on when it changed, but it has. No WMDs. No credible connections between 9/11 and Iraq found. My enthusiasm, and patriotism, diminished. My hatred and fear, redirected; my sadness, widened. My trust of my president, gone. The chance of me ever voting for a Republican again, zero.

To our allies, I apologize. We were ignorant and leaderless. We cowboyed up, and I supported it. We were wrong.

To the people of Iraq. My heart cries for you. I don't know if your life is better now than it was a few years ago, but I do know that know you are now being suppressed by my country. A life of one of our professional soldiers is treated a more worthy than the lives of hundreds of your children. We let you down after the first Gulf war by not supporting your push for freedom. We killed your sons and friends and neighbors thinking that we were protecting ourselves, and now we occupy your country because we are lead by a selfish, self serving, ignorant, short sided, stubborn, man.

To the soldiers in Iraq. Thank you. You have made the ultimate sacrifice. Were I man enough to stand along side you, I would. You are protecting our nation, and ensuring that we are safe. You are an important part of rebuilding Iraq. You are unwanted policemen, giving your lives to make Iraq better, and some day you may be properly appreciated. More than anything, I want you home, but I know that we need to clean up the mess in Iraq, and you are the ones that are doing it. Thank you.

To Pres. W. Bush, VP Cheney, Rumsfield, Rice, Powell, Ashcroft, and Ridge. You've broken by trust, by heart, my soul. Someday God may forgive you all, and that is what you should be praying for, not re-election. Leading us after 9/11 is not a badge of your success, to be worn as proof of worthiness. This country and its people are great. Any fool could have rallied the country and brought the fight to the terrorist. We had the support of the whole world, and only a fool could have turned that into a coalition of the willing.

Now, when I look in the mirror in the morning I see gray hair. I see wrinkles. And I see a Democrat.

Journal Journal: GPL Monopoly?

After reading this article , I had to record some of my thoughts. Here a some basic assumptions I make:
1) A Monopoly is bad for innovation.
2) A free market is good for innovation.
3) Microsoft is a monopoly - both OS and office suite
4) Eventually, Linux and other "free" software will crush MS

The most controversial of these assumptions is that "free" software will crush MS, but I think unless something really big changes things, this will happen for many of the reasons that you state in your article. Plus, it is hard to compete as a business when your competitions is giving away an equivalent product for no cost.

My fear, however, is that "free" software winning is a VERY bad thing.

The foundations of our modern operating systems (and to an extent, our applications) have been based on code from an open "free" license (BSD Licenses) that liberal rights to the user of the code. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer of the open projects today are using such licenses, but instead are using the GPL. The GPL is a very restrictive "free" license that gives the user of a binary GPL application nearly unlimited rights, but the user of the GPL source very limited rights. Mainly, any application that uses code released under the GPL must also be released under the GPL. No exceptions. Don't like the GPL, don't use the code.

So given a trend towards "free" software, and a trend of "free" software towards the GPL, we are painting ourselves into a corner. The very nature of the GPL will create a virtual GPL monopoly on software. No new companies can enter the marketplace and compete because the cost of creating the software will never be returned when customers can get equivalent or better software for free. Eventually, the economic incentive to create software will disappear. The problem is that it is this economic incentive that is driving the volunteers of the free software movement. The volunteers are highly trained and experienced at creating software because they are able to make a living doing it, or, as in a students case, planning on making a living doing it. As the economic incentive dwindles, the number of volunteers, the volunteers experience and training also dwindle. The advantages of free software disappears, but the virtual monopoly is nearly unbreakable. Innovation slows, and we don't even notice.

I'm not Bill Gates, but this is what keeps me up at night.
User Journal

Journal Journal: "The Rules of Slashdot" by: MajorDongle

These rules, although tongue in check, should be the start of a discusion of what is wrong with the slashdot mentality.

originally posted as a response to an interesting article by Rob Enderle.
?Posted by: MajorDongle 2003-10-21 11:33:46 In reply to: Rob Enderle
I use Linux and I have a love/hate relationship with that "wretched hive of scum and villainy" known as Slashdot, so it is with great hesitation that I am posting the following:
The Rules of Slashdot
1) You can't talk about the rules of Slashdot.
2) Never read the article before commenting on it.
3) Anything proprietary is bad. Anything open-source/free-software is good.
4) Information wants to be free. So IP theft is OK and encouraged.
5) All patents are BAD and should be abolished.
6) Practicality is irrelevant. Running Linux on any piece of hardware that was not meant to run Linux such as a toaster, toilet, or toothbrush is considered uber cool and totally 133t.
7) If you have stolen source code from a previous employer (see Death Star) use the GPL to liberate and protect it, then post it anonymously on the Internet. Using a free hosting site like SourceForge(tm) works best.
8) Open-source/free-software really is communism but you can't admit this publicly. Flame into submission anyone that even hints at the communist connection.
9) Software licenses don't destroy jobs, CEO's do. It is OK for open-source/free-software to destroy domestic software jobs. It is BAD when domestic software jobs are sent overseas "off-shored" to countries with cheap labour rates such as India or China. Yes, hypocrisy is sweet.
10) Those who actually do the work don't waste their time posting on Slashdot.
11) Trolls that push the Slashdot agenda are GOOD. Trolls that offer a differing viewpoint are BAD. Yes, the hypocrisy is again sweet.
12) CmdrTaco can't speell correctly or form coherent sentences and neither should you or me.
13) Slashdot is the new world order and all your base are belong to us!
You might think the above 13 rules are a joke. They are not. Be afraid. Be very afraid. I know I am.
BTW, I really enjoyed Enderle's article. I thought his 3 rules were right on the money. I believe Linux's worst enemy isn't Microsoft or SCO but is in fact the Linux community, or at least the ones that post on Slashdot. To categorize myself I'd say that I am a Linux Zealot but I see the truth. Gates and Stallman are the extremes, the true path is somewhere in the middle. Maybe I am a BSD user and I just don't know it?
User Journal

Journal Journal: Why GPL licence won't work

how does a purly consumer product, say games, benefit from such a model? Would extremly talented unpaid groups of artists and programmers volunteer to create high quality games? It's not going to happen. Consumers are going to ALWAYS have to pay for high quality games. Consumers, as an aggregate, will have X amount to spend on games - and companies will be fighting to get that money. For those companies that are fighting for that money, GPL'd source is not a viable solution. ie, why would company A spend money to develop a cool game if it knew it could just wait till company B is done and releases its source? As a result, company A would need to earn far less money to cover its costs, so it could charge far less for the same thing -- company B, the innovators, are forced out of the market.

Take that same train of thought, and now apply it to a group of small businesses. There is software that small businesses need that is unique and would not be provided by the open software being created by big businesses. Who creates this? You're not going to get much of a consultant for that $200 bucks you want to spend on dental imagery software...

Now apply the model to medium sized business ...

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