capnbuckle: (Default)
SOPA and PIPA essentially create a "guilty until proven innocent" reality, by which you can only prove your innocence if you can out-spend your accusers. And it's not just "piracy" that is under attack...it's also any mention of "Anti-DRM" tools. While that may seem OK, that also is an assault on fair use, which include:

- commenting on or criticizing copyrighted works without license,
- "time-shifting" streamed or broadcast performances for more convenient viewing
- reproducing copyrighted works for personal use (media/format conversion for other devices, etc.)
- archival copies for personal use.
- "quoting a line from The Simpsons in an email to a coworker (reproduction)" (from EFF.org page, linked, below.)

(I would have linked Wikipedia...but...you know...)

http://w2.eff.org/IP/DRM/fair_use_and_drm.html
capnbuckle: (Default)
(Standard disclaimer: I am not an expert. I am not a political scientist. And I couldn't be happier about that.)

And by "farce", I mean the 112th Congress. Republicans and TP-ers aren't happy that the President "failed to take the lead" on proposing entitlement reform.

“With regard to our long-term unfunded liabilities – the entitlements – we are waiting for presidential leadership,” the Senate's top Republican Mitch McConnell said. “We know and we'll say again that entitlement reform will not be done except on a bipartisan basis with presidential leadership.” (link)


Really? Sorry, but I'm not buying it. They didn't need presidential leadership for their health-care repeal. When they want the spotlight, they sure seem to be able to take the lead, themselves. But now they don't want to. They want to play political games to turn the liberal supporters of the Democratic party against each other as much as possible before 2012.

What they really want is for the President to choose between his supporters. They want to divide his camp against him. They have no real interest in cutting the federal deficit, or else they wouldn't be fighting so hard against tax increases for the American aristocracy. (And don't kid yourself: We damn sure do have an American aristocracy. Granted, a handful of serfs per decade manage to carve out new peerages for themselves, but not without the blessings, and venture capital, of the current aristocracy.)

What I fully expect from the 112th Congress is for the GOP to use its control of the House agenda not for the benefit of the American people, but for the benefit of the GOP: To deliberately game the agenda to force Democrats and the President to "take sides" on issues that are controversial among liberal supporters. If there is any real benefit to anyone other than the American aristocracy, it will only be secondary...or accidental.

“The one person who can make a difference is the president and there are plenty of us on both sides of the aisle who are ready to work with him when he steps forward,” Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-TN, said. (link)


Translation: "The one person who can make a difference toward our goal of making Obama a one-term President, is Obama himself...if he'll just be kind enough to make the no-win choices we offer him so that we can add that to our talking points when we tell all of his supporters how he cheated them. We really want him to take the lead so that we can more easily turn his supporters against each other and against him before 2012."

This is just more of the same crap, just from new faces. And in my opinion, any one of the TP-ers that says different is lying. Not that my opinion has ever mattered.

Dilemma

Jan. 23rd, 2011 10:04 pm
capnbuckle: (Default)
"It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shaking, the shaking becomes a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion."


After 20 years of wanting to have my teeth straightened, I've finally started the process. I chose to use Invisalign, mainly for hygienic reasons: I can remove them, eat, and then properly brush and floss with no obstruction...then put them back in.

But now I have a problem: My preferred sources of caffeine are coffee (espresso if it's available), and Dr. Pepper. Tea would probably be the closest third option. However, with the aligners, I am not supposed to eat or drink hot or sugary beverages with the aligners in my mouth.

So, expanding on that, I need a new caffeine source that meets the following criteria:

  • Not hot. (It could be cold, or room temperature, or whatever.)

  • Not sugary.

  • Not eaten. (No espresso brownies, caffeinated mints, etc.)

  • Not acidic. (I'm assuming this one. Seems like it would be a bad thing to potentially have an acid trapped directly against the enamel of one's teeth.)

  • Not an "energy drink". (Red Bull, Monster Energy, Bawls, Sum Poosie[1], or 5 Hour Energy. It's my own bias, but I simply don't trust them. Besides, a lot of them probably have sugar or are acidic.


I suppose I could...you know...sleep more. If I have to. I guess.

But aside from that, the only options I can really find are time-release caffeine capsules, but those won't allow me to meditate over a cup of steaming brew as I plot the evil exploits of the day; and there is also caffeinated soap, which would be great if I can take 4 to 8 showers at the office, each day. (Yes, my coffee intake might seem excessive, to some.)

I suppose I could try popping out the aligners, chugging a cup of joe (esophageal lining be damned!), brushing my teeth and popping the aligners back in...

...but that just doesn't seem like a sustainable schedule.


[1] I mention this one only to say: Oh my GOD this stuff is horrid! A bit like...I dunno...sweetened antifreeze? (...Or at least what I imagine sweetened antifreeze might taste like.) Imagine if a bubble-gum-flavored cream soda could go stale...or rancid...or both. Yuck.
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This past year, I have been thinking quite a bit about how "programmers" and "system administrators" are viewed in an organization (at least in my experience). Regardless of which group of professionals are more valued by an organization, they are nevertheless often viewed differently.

Philip Kizer, president of the League of Professional System Administrators, noted that programmers may well be included in the umbrella of system administrators. Conversely, I believe system administration could be viewed as a specialized type of programming.

Programmers produce a system by writing code in one or more languages, which interact with users, operating systems and other applications through clearly defined protocols. (An example: coding an application that interacts with databases through API library calls, or code that interacts with a display and human interface through other API library calls, etc.)

System administrators produce systems by writing "code" to configure one or more component applications which interact with users, operating systems and other component applications, again through clearly defined protocols. (An example: configuring a service to authenticate users via SASL accessing an LDAP directory that stores user data in a database replicated across a network...etc., etc.)

If you abstract both of these roles away from the specific technologies involved, and agree to view configuration files and source code files as a similar expression of directives to the system, I believe the two roles will match at least 90%.

Thus, I propose that system administration _is_ programming, but the "languages" are just abstracted one level higher than what is commonly accepted as a "programming language".

It could be said that system administrators do not require the knowledge of algorithms or complex data structures that a programmer might routinely need. But I think that would be a misconception. A system administrator _could_ produce a system without some algorithmic knowledge or experience, but even dealing only with configuration files (many of which support abstract data structures), knowledge of data structures or algorithms vastly improves the flexibility and efficiency in producing a desired system.

Also, the basic cycle for either role to produce a system is also the same, approximating the following: collect requirements for, design, prototype, develop, test, deploy and support the system, optionally leading into the requirements for the next "version" of the system.

(In truth, you could widen the net much more than just this, as one example: electricians and electrical engineers working with banks of relays or other forms of "programmable logic controllers".)
capnbuckle: (bad day)
EDIT: Please note that I am not an economist/expert.

(Perhaps I've been listening to too much NPR, lately...)

Sara Palin, the Tea Party, and the rest of the Republicans are insisting that we have to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich. They claim that the rich Americans are predominantly small business owners, and "increasing" their tax burden will stunt job creation and choke off the economic recovery. I'm having difficulty believing that.

Even with almost a decade of the Bush tax cuts, there was no increase to median income, even "during all those years when the U.S. economy was growing and top earners were seeing their incomes rise."[1]

The Republicans and the Tea Party[2] expect us to believe that allowing the rich to keep more of "their money"[3] will result in more jobs being created. If that were the case, then it seems to me we shouldn't have had a recession, at all! "...Despite these economically rough times, the rich got 8 percent richer." If the rich got 8 percent richer, then where is the supposed 8 percent job growth that should have coincided?[4] Instead, unemployment essentially remains stuck at 10 percent.

"Wall Street caused this recession and yet Wall Street recovered from it while the rest of the country is suffering..."[5]


The Tea Party and Republican supposition, that the Bush tax cuts will create jobs, looks even more suspect when you examine the the numbers. During the eight years of the Bush administration, during most of which the Bush tax cuts were in effect, 1.8 million jobs were created. But remember that the expiration of these tax cuts for the rich returns their tax rates to those in effect during the Clinton administration. During the Clinton administration, on average, 2.9 million jobs were created every year. Each year during the Clinton administration[6] saw more jobs created than during the entire Bush presidency. In relation to the total (nonfarm) labor force, there was an average of 2.4 percent increase per year during the Clinton administration. During the Bush administration, the era of the Bush tax cuts, the average increase was only 0.2 percent per year.

The Bush tax cuts have provided little benefit to anyone other than the rich. The gains by the rich have simply not materialized into greater prosperity for the rest of us. In fact if any conclusion can be drawn from the facts at hand, it's that the Bush tax cuts, themselves, have stunted job creation.

It's time for the rich to pay the bill for the mess from which they profited. It's time for the American aristocracy to shoulder their share of the burden. It's time for the Bush tax cuts to expire.


[1] "Income Was Stagnant Way Before The Recession Started", Jacob Goldstein, NPR. And yes, I do realize that median income is not the same thing as employment. But the flat median income mirrors the chronically anemic job growth during the Bush administration.

[2] Really, can we go ahead and drop the pretense and just call them the "Me" Party? ...as in: "What's in it for me?" or "I don't want to pay for it if I don't see anything in it for me."

[3] I really hate the argument that tax is "the government taking _my_ money". Our local, state and federal government provide services from which, by and large, we all benefit whether directly or indirectly. It's not your money. It's owed for services rendered. Now quit whining and pay the bill.

[4] Yes, I realize that only a portion of that increase in wealth should impact jobs. But presumably only a portion of the prior wealth actually provided jobs, in the first place. It's quite simple...if only a slice of that pie went toward jobs, however small...then if the whole pie increased by 8 percent, then that slice of the pie also should have increased by 8 percent. If the slice doesn't increase, then that just demonstrates the inherent lie in the Tea Party and Republican position on the Bush tax cuts.

[5] Timothy Noah, author of a 10 part series on Slate Magazine, "The United States of Inequality", as quoted in "Superrich Americans Driving Income Inequality", on NPR.

[6] I did not say that the Clinton administration created jobs. I only said that jobs were created during the Clinton administration. Put down your pitchforks.
capnbuckle: (Default)
In the last couple of years, my grandmother was a prisoner within her own flesh due to the condition of her mind and body. Today, she was released from her bonds.

I cannot count the many things she did for me when I was a child, things far beyond the responsibility of any grandparent. I will miss her, and I will _dearly_ miss the woman she once was.
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