Dec 15

Reality

I’m constantly surprised by the shitty experiences people will subject themselves to interface-wise for the sake of just a little more convenience or supposed (usually false) simplicity.

Convenience isn’t worth that much to me, and simplicity – even when it’s actual simplicity, not just making things ten times harder with a bubble gum interface – will never trump power for me.

Mainly now I am thinking about Windows 8, and all those who now use only their phones to browse the internet.

I cannot even imagine subjecting myself to such torture.

Well, as I’ve observed before, the advantage to me is that I will be vastly, vastly more productive than these people as I use real tools that are both configurable and powerful, and in a corporate environment these people who’ve never seen (as they get older) a real computer and have never typed with more than two fingers will be totally lost. And slow.

No competition? Works for me. Keep using shitty phones and  Windows 8. I’ll be using real tools to. Get. Shit. Done.

Dec 13

guaranteed

And another one!

Safety Not Guaranteed was also far better than I dared hope, and is I think likely to join the ranks of my favorite movies.

Aubrey Plaza was perfect as a cynical but fundamentally deeply kind-hearted woman who desperately wants to believe what she’s being told, but is also touchingly afraid of being duped, of having the magic just be prestidigitation and lies.

The film is sometimes corny but always shimmeringly alive with deep heart and affection for its characters – it never lets us believe that they are anything but just as lost as we are. There’s no fate – just feeling your way out and doing the best possible with bad information and hampered dreams.

Whatever you were expecting from this movie, you won’t get it. Whatever you were hoping for, you just might.

Dec 13

en pointe

I agree with this.

Gina Carano is indeed completely bad-ass in that movie. And it’s also a lot of fun.

What’s more, the fight scenes are realistic as she is a real fighter. In one confrontation, she’s fighting a guy who is both bigger and just as well-trained as she is. She’s losing; fighting well, but still losing, just like reality 90% of the time when you are in that situation.

It’s only when some civilian steps in and helps her for a moment does she get the upper hand. And boy does she ever. Damn.

And there are no quick cuts designed to conceal actors who aren’t in reality very physical. You can see everything, and it’s all amazing. Carano is a ballerina of violence and watching her is like watching ice and plasma meeting in slow motion.

The best movie that I didn’t think would be very good that I’ve seen in the past year.

Dec 11

but gramma likes cat food

I know that Democrats who voted for Obama won’t like to hear it but if Romney had won, it’s extremely unlikely that Social Security and Medicare would’ve experienced any cuts as they are very likely to under Obama.

The reason? The Democrats would’ve fought Romney’s administration harder to prevent any such reductions, while they are likely to be cozened by Obama.

That’s one of the main reasons I refused to cast a vote for Obama.

And now just what I knew was going to happen is about to happen.

Don’t get me wrong — under Romney, other bad things would’ve happened. So-called Obamacare would’ve likely been repealed. More rights would’ve been curtailed (but probably not substantially more than under Obama).

The problem is of course with the entire system, not who happens to be the head of it at the time. That said, Obama is about to get his granny starvin’ on, and it won’t be pretty.

Dec 10

Knowledge removal

Even though I did not grow up in Romania, this guy’s experience mirrors mine pretty well.

It reminds me also of the shutdown of library.nu. That site is where a lot of people in the developing world went to get textbooks and other study materials as they simply could not afford them in their home countries. Reading their agonized posts about how many of them would no longer be able to continue their scholarship due to lack of study materials really made me despise the copyright industry all the more.

It’s quite likely that the copyright hellhounds by blocking access to knowledge contained in library.nu delayed or completely prevented some Burundi-based Pasteur from curing cancer, or some Senegalese Einstein from in the future uniting gravity with quantum mechanics.

And no, I am not exaggerating. Artificially restricting knowledge will do that. And it’s all so some rich dude (or far less frequently, dudette) can get a little bit richer.

Dec 09

Rapped up

How I hate those who say, “I like all music except rap and country.”

Do you know how much music that is? And how extremely varied those genres are?

One of my favorite lines from any song ever recorded is from a rap song – The Game’s “Start from Scratch” specifically.

It is:

“You dead when that green line go flat
If you could start your life from scratch you couldn’t change that”

I like that line because reminds me of both the inevitability of death and all the dangerous, ill-advised things I’ve done in my life — how often I’ve tested fate and mostly by chance and some skill came out on top; of how I am still alive, though it could’ve easily gone the other way so very many times.

For that matter, two of my favorite songs are country songs. The first is Susan Tedeschi’s version of John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery.” The other is Patty Griffin’s version of John Hiatt’s “Take it Down.” I’m a Southerner, so I understand that song down to my very bones.

One of the primary tests if I will like someone or not is if I ask them what music they enjoy and they reply with the stock phrase, “I like all music except rap and country.” It’s possible that I might like them, but it’s statistically speaking not too likely.

Dec 08

new grammar

No matter how hard I try, I cannot understand Instagram or why anyone would use it. Why do you want to make your photos look worse? Just, why?

This past winter, during an especially large snowfall, my Facebook and Twitter streams became inundated with grainy photos that shared a similarity beyond depicting massive amounts of snow: many of them appeared to have been taken on cheap Polaroid or perhaps a film cameras 60 years prior.

The ubiquity of services like Instagram and my extreme aversion to claptrap like that really reinforces my severe disconnection from how most people perceive the world, and what they value.

What is interesting to me is that many of those producing faux-vintage photos are too young to ever have taken any photo with a poor-quality analog camera, nor have they ever waited the few minutes for a Polaroid photo to develop.

Baudrillard would love this – the simulation becoming the meaning; the symbol detached and representing only itself.

Dec 07

8 hate

I think the real dichotomy of computer users’ opinions on Windows 8 is that if you need to get real work done, you hate Windows 8, and if you like shiny playtoys and only need to click on Facebook links and type “LOL” every few minutes, you will probably like Windows 8.

What bothers me is that in the future it appears there will be no OS for expert users – even the Linux distributions are all moving to terrible, playtime UIs that make real work impossible.

What will expert and professional computer users do in the future?

Dec 06

Sites

If I were launching a meatspace business – not involved directly in any way with selling anything tech-related at all – you know what the first thing I’d do is?

I’d set up a website for it. It’s the best way to advertise, and it would help you get your most aware, most wealthy customers.  Apparently, most businesses are run by blundering idiots.

No matter the business, the first place people are going to go for more information is their favorite search engine… and when they search for you they better find your website. This is mostly true at any age, but it’s 100% true of your future clients and customers under say, 40.

Exactly. If you don’t have a website now and you run any sort of business, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?

I still go to a few businesses that have no sites, but I generally don’t even consider using an establishment with no web presence anymore unless there is no other alternative or they are truly excellent (not many of those). Hell, these days I even schedule my car to be serviced on-line.

Dec 06

Switching

This reminds me why I switched from Ubuntu.

The Ubuntu Forums were once great – excellent community with useful, non-condescending advice. Without those forums, it’s unlikely I would’ve stuck with Ubuntu for five years as my main desktop OS.

Now that is being further destroyed – moving all the tutorials, tips and tricks into a wiki makes it impersonal, not centralized and loses the community feel.

It seems as companies attempt to grow, they nearly always destroy everything that makes them worth a damn.

On our server, I still use an Ubuntu-derived binary-compatible distribution, but next time I update it, I won’t even do that as the removal of the most useful section of the Ubuntu forums has already made it noticeably harder to support.

I just updated the server recently and wasn’t able to find much useful on the forums any longer nor on any of the crappy new wiki pages. Too bad, as the forums were one of the main reasons to use Ubuntu or its derivations in the first place — you knew you could always get useful advice and tips.