Oct 23

It’s a pirate’s life for me

Why you should pirate absolutely everything.

Contrary to this story, it’s not clear that Amazon actually wiped her Kindle (it might have been broken) – however, they did delete her account and left her with no recourse, and no books.

You know what? Pirates don’t have to put up with this shit. Ever.

The only sane, rational choice until companies stop being so asinine is to pirate everything, all the time.

Why would you ever do anything else?

Oct 23

Lance it

I guess writing about it indicates that I care a little, but Lance Armstrong losing his Tour de France titles? Who gives a crap.

Everyone who has won that race in the last 35 years has probably been on some form of drug or another. At that level of competition, when everyone else is already doping, it is the only way to win.

That does not justify or excuse it. It’s just reality.

Oct 21

Unfucking 8

If you are interested in using Windows 8 but want to unfuck it, there are many methods.

I will stick with Windows 7 until Windows 9 or 10, and then see where Microsoft stands.

I would use Linux, but the fonts are too terrible. If high-res large LCDs come out in the meantime, this will become a non-issue.

But for now, Windows 7 for me.

Oct 18

Res

What a load of mendacious bullshit from Microsoft.

Not only is the Surface tablet cursed with Windows 8, its display has the resolution of a broken Etch-a-Sketch.

Microsoft claims that users can’t tell the difference. And I think of some people – perhaps even the majority – that is actually true. I am constantly amazed by how unaware of brain-shatteringly low resolution and eye-terrorizing fonts most people can be.

I remember walking into an acquisition only a few years ago where people were still using CRT monitors from the mid-90s that had aged so poorly that I literally could not read their screens, and they barely noticed. We’re not talking here about the fonts just being unpleasant but readable. From normal viewing distance, the screens were so blurry that I had absolutely no idea what more than 50% of the words on the screen were – but they were so used to the bespoke system, they didn’t really need to read much.

These people are the Surface tablet’s ideal market, I guess.

For me, I could no more use the Surface tablet than I’d go back to a mid-90s Packard Bell cheapo CRT.

1366*768? You have got to be fucking kidding me.

When the Nexus 10 with 2560*1600 comes out, I’ll have to think about that. That should be gorgeous.

Oct 18

Bad idea trap

This will be completely useless, and as one of the commenters points out, instead of preventing piracy it will just make Jane Consumer smarter about proxies, VPNs and the like.

Funny it’s easier in the minds of the entertainment industry to waste so much money on something so useless that is so easily circumventable and which will make piracy effectively worse and more difficult to stop, rather than just giving people the content they want when they want it.

Best thing they could do is buy The Pirate Bay, improve it a bit (parts of it are quite clunky) and charge people $30 a month for it. Which is the same thing the music industry should’ve done with the original Napster.

I would sign up for that so fast, even at $50 a month. Millions more would, too. And the entertainment execs would be rolling around in piles of $100 bills.

But no. And it amazes me that people like Matt Maroon can argue that what the entertainment industry does is rational. This only make sense if you believe that there are no other possible business models they could pursue that are less risky than what they are doing now.

But that’s really dead wrong. The most risky business model is their current one, as it is doomed to failure.

Most people can only conceive of the world as it is, though, and not as it could be, and soon will be.

Oct 18

This other Eden, demi-paradise

Few know about them outside of the state, but some of the most beautiful places on earth are in North and North Central Florida. And I say this not just because I grew up there, but as someone who has traveled much of the world and knows it to be true.

Fern Hammock Springs, Ocala National Forest, Florida:

juniper

This photo in no way – not even minimally close, not even an iota – does the place justice. In person, it is heart-stoppingly beautiful.

I’ve been to a lot of springs in North Florida. Hundreds of them. First time I’ve ever been to this one, and when I turned the corner and saw it, I was gaping in awe.

The water is so clear that it looks what, maybe a few inches deep? Try 6-8 feet.

Even with the best medium format camera in the world with the ideal lighting, I couldn’t convey 1/1000 of what it’s like to turn the corner of the trail and see this before you in the forest. And sorry for the crappiness of the picture. I was using my little camera, in poor lighting for good photography.

If what I felt when I saw this spring is close to what people term a religious experience, I can understand how that could be addictive.

Most of these springs will be gone in my lifetime due to climate change and water extraction. Some are already dying.

If you want to see them, come now. Soon they will be no more.

Oct 17

Diatomic

I’m curious if the sexual dimorphism of human females were genetically eliminated, how that would affect the likelihood or sexual harassment, rape and other similar crimes and insults.

Much of that behavior is caused by culture in the immediate sense, no doubt, but I wonder how much culture would shift if the greater physical threat were in principal more equalized.

Speaking from personal experience, I was raised in a culture where fighting for males was the norm and was widely accepted — expected, even. I grew up fighting because I had no choice — because I was male and a complete misfit growing up in the rural South. (On that note, really fucking funny how my dad thought I was effeminate and weak and not manly, when I got in a fistfight nearly every day at school for years*.)  I’m smaller than probably 65% of US males, but that size differential versus the cultural expectations under which I grew up — and my own nature — hasn’t prevented me from confronting harassers, bullies and other dregs of society when called to it, even when alone or sorely outmatched.

I’m not trying to glorify myself or to blame the victims for not fighting back. Mainly just thinking aloud. Anyway, there’s little glory in beating someone’s head in even if they are a bully and do very much deserve it. Most people haven’t fought much and aren’t very good at it, so it’s almost like taking advantage of them when they stroll in with such confidence — getting by on intimidating people with their size and bluster for years — and find someone who knows how to fight and better yet (but worse for them), enjoys it and likes bleeding and likes righteous pain and likes the red mist of hand-to-hand combat.

But enough about my mental problems.

I’m guessing over time if sexual dimorphism were genetically eliminated, the change would precipitate a cultural shift toward far less harassment and sexual violence. More men would be more afraid if Cassie from accounting could also bench 200 pounds, in other words.

I’m not saying that’s the only way to get there, but I like thinking about possibilities. I am also sure that this post will offend in some way nearly anyone who reads it — whether it’s the violence, the talk of monkeying with the human genome, or a million things I’ve not thought of. But so be it. I’m a die-hard liberal, but I’m a militant one, and I won’t be shoved into the milquetoast mode that most liberals seem to adore.

Liberals spend too much time worrying about hurting feelings, and not enough time out there offending sensibilities and breaking shit. Not gonna be me, sorry.

*I even had a pair of steel-toed boots that I wore for a year as they were really good for taking someone out at the knees — I mainly used these on a few really bad higher-grade bullies who were so much taller than me that I couldn’t even punch them in the face easily. Quite a bit easier to reach their faces when they are on the ground crying.

Oct 17

Spaceballs

Neil De Grasse Tyson, allegedly: "Asteroids are nature’s way of asking, ‘How’s that space program coming along?’"

For any wankers who think the space program is a waste of money, that should be pondered a bit.

Oct 16

No more Compy386

The future of general-purpose computing is pretty bleak, and what a great loss that will be.

Most people don’t care, even though the effect on their lives is immense. I used to hesitate (ok, not very much) to term these people stupid, but really they are. In practice, in the real world, when you care not a bit about something that will make your world very much worse, you are stupid. There is no other word for it.

Of course it is hard to fight against the propaganda and FUD foisted onto us by an increasingly corporation-dominated world.

General purpose computers will never go away, of course. They can’t – else no content could ever be created, no new programs could ever be written, etc.

However, I suspect they will be increasingly restricted legally, and eventually will require special, expensive licenses to operate.

Probably by 2025, if you are government-approved for a “general purpose computer” license, you will hand over your $10,000, all your activities will be monitored, and the license will require renewal every year.

That’s best guess.

Worst guess I don’t even want to think about.

Oct 16

Not mysterious

File sharers buy 30% more music than non-P2P peers.

Well, duh. Completely obvious. If it weren’t for file sharing the past decade, I’d probably have spent less than $50 on music of any sort, including concert tickets.

With file sharing, I’ve spent closer to $1,000.

The RIAA’s quest to stop file sharing has nothing to do with protecting artists or creating incentives to make more music – it’s all about protecting a business model that harms artists and fans.