Random Access Memories

October 25, 2008

Madelyn Dunham

by @ 6:50 am. Filed under Politics

I feel that Madelyn Dunham is one of the most important names in current US politics.

I know, I can hear the responses now, “Who?”, “She’s not even running”, “She’s just an old woman”, etc.

But what is truly amazing and different, is that this woman who turns 86 tomorrow has for two days become the single most important thing in the mind of Barack Obama.

2 weeks before election day, in the middle of a close presidential race, Obama is dropping out of his campaign and flying home to be with his sick grandmother that raised him.

Show me something that shows more “Family Values” than that.

It’s uncertain if it will cost him the election (some polls show the race extremely tight, some show it 10 points in Obama’s favor) and i’m sure some will say it’s a calculated ploy, but we have to stand and appreciate the fact that he’s doing it.

If I had to make a choice between a ploy to get votes of smearing my opponent or visiting a sick family member there would be no debate, i’d go do the visit. I feel people have a responsibility to live the values they try and tell others about, not just talk the talk.

I hope at some later day a politician looks back on this move by Obama and says, “Let’s be more friendly, more positive”, because our country badly needs that restraint.

October 24, 2008

When Patients Demand Pills

by @ 8:37 am. Filed under Medicine

I ran across this in a recent article:

Dr. Barbara Yawn, director of research at the Olmsted Medical Center, University of Minnesota said: “Visits are now so short and for primary care … that there is not time to spend the five, 10, 15 or 20 minutes that are required to explain why an antibiotic is not a good treatment for a viral respiratory infection”

I find this highly disturbing.

If I see a doctor i’m paying for time. The idea that I cannot get a doctor to explain something to me for 10-20 minutes means that I am overpaying for my doctors time.

I think Healthcare has turned completely to maximizing profits, rather than quality of care and educating the patient on what is good for them.

October 23, 2008

“Yes your honor, I deleted him in cold blood”

by @ 6:39 pm. Filed under Crime & Justice, Secondlife, Technology

Online murder, well it was bound to happen sometime.

Online divorcee jailed after killing virtual hubby

By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press Writer Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press Writer – Thu Oct 23, 3:48 pm ET

TOKYO – A 43-year-old Japanese woman whose sudden divorce in a virtual game world made her so angry that she killed her online husband’s digital persona has been arrested on suspicion of hacking, police said Thursday.

The woman, who is jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his identification and password to log onto popular interactive game “Maple Story” to carry out the virtual murder in mid-May, a police official in northern Sapporo said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

“I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry,” the official quoted her as telling investigators and admitting the allegations.

The woman had not plotted any revenge in the real world, the official said.

She has not yet been formally charged, but if convicted could face a prison term of up to five years or a fine up to $5,000.

Players in “Maple Story” raise and manipulate digital images called “avatars” that represent themselves, while engaging in relationships, social activities and fighting against monsters and other obstacles.

The woman used login information she got from the 33-year-old office worker when their characters were happily married, and killed the character. The man complained to police when he discovered that his beloved online avatar was dead.

The woman was arrested Wednesday and was taken across the country, traveling 620 miles from her home in southern Miyazaki to be detained in Sappporo, where the man lives, the official said.

The police official said he did not know if she was married in the real world.

In recent years, virtual lives have had consequences in the real world. In August, a woman was charged in Delaware with plotting the real-life abduction of a boyfriend she met through “Second Life,” another virtual interactive world.

In Tokyo, police arrested a 16-year-old boy on charges of swindling virtual currency worth $360,000 in an interactive role playing game by manipulating another player’s portfolio using a stolen ID and password.

Virtual games are popular in Japan, and “Second Life” has drawn a fair number of Japanese participants. They rank third by nationality among users, after Americans and Brazilians.

October 22, 2008

The changes, they are coming.

by @ 8:09 pm. Filed under Personal, Politics

What does the future of politics (the next 40 years) hold? Let’s look into the magical crystal ball of current events and history and see if we can pull out any tidbits.

#1 The debate over gay marriage will die. Just like segregation died out as younger people grow up without considering that it’s a big deal it stops being a big deal. Many young people view this as silly as if you are saying a black man and a white woman have no right to marry.

#2 Religion will eventually move out of politics. As above young people are not turning to religion like previous generations. http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2007-08-06-church-dropouts_N.htm (One story of hundreds)

#3 Abortion will stop being a major issue. Once again, younger people do not consider this to be such a black/white moral topic the way older generations do. Hence it will stop being a divisive issue in politics as time goes on.

#4 The USA will have socialized medicine. The number of younger workers (18-35) in the US without healthcare keeps steadily growing, employers are not offering it like in the old days, and employment is not as stable as it has been in the past. Eventually as this issue grows it will reach a head and something will be done about it.

#5 Islam and Muslims will not be considered “evil”. Just like the Japanese were hated during WWII and the Soviets during the cold war this too shall pass. They are not the inherently evil group that current thinking has painted them out to be.

#6 Gasoline will be 5$ or more per gallon. Don’t expect OPEC to play nicely now that it’s seen demand stays high with 100$ per barrel oil. Even if we start drilling everywhere in the USA younger folks are more willing to look for alternatives, they are also more willing to accept taxes in order to help the environment.

I do not see any reason at this time to predict that people born in the next 20 years will be any more conservative than the current 18-35 year old age group. Some massive world event might change this, but I can’t see what it could be. Along with the recent finding that people get more liberal as they age: http://www.livescience.com/health/080310-liberal-seniors.html

That’s as much as I can be certain of anyway (IE. *I* feel confident enough in the above to put money on it.)

October 15, 2008

Raid rage

by @ 9:50 am. Filed under Personal, Technology

So, I was going to add another disk into the raid-5 I run off of a Highpoint 2224 card.

No biggie I figured, just run the expansion tool.

But I goofed, and instead of expanding to raid-5 and just adding a disk I ended up adding a disk AND migrating to a raid-0. I then noticed there was no way to cancel the operation once started.

Bummer, but the drives were new, it should survive the migration and then i’ll go from there.

But I was wrong. The new drive failed during the migration.

So now i’m running on borrowed time with the migration on hold trying to backup all the data to the old disks and misc places in the rest of my network.

I’ve been doing this, for the last 3 days.

No, it has not been fun.

Once stuff is backed up i’ll try the raid tool that Highpoint sent me, and if that fails i’ll erase the entire array and build a new one (Not what I really want to do that)

We shall see how things go.

October 12, 2008

Tech Support

by @ 8:10 am. Filed under Business, Technology

So, who else is tired of having to deal with crappy tech support on the phone, in chat or via email?

You know, where they make you go over stupid things that you’ve already tried. “Please power-cycle the machine again sir, even tho we know you already did”.

Now i’m all in favor of going down the list of things to try since nobody is perfect, but it would be nice if support asked “So what have you already tried sir?” once in while.

Or perhaps when companies pay for support contracts they can have “levels” to them. “Oh, Hello Mr. Smith, I see your company paid for our “Guru-level” support contract, please let me know what you need. I see, you need a replacement power supply, we’ll send one out to you immediately.” rather than “Would you please try this, and this, and that”.

Admittedly sometimes the knowledgeable user is wrong about what is broken, but the extra cost of the contract could easily offset those costs.

The reason this comes to mind is because today we’re being told we have to wait 2 days to have someone in the data center call support for a product we know via remote monitor is dead and we cannot test because there is nobody at the data center where it failed. Not the best of situations.

Congress questions high cost of texting

by @ 7:01 am. Filed under Business, Personal, Politics, Technology

I know this is a tad old, but I wanted to to make mention of it nonetheless. So much for a free market spurring competition.

Congress questions high cost of texting

By Stephanie Condon
September 9, 2008 4:25 PM PDT

The price of text messaging has doubled industry-wide in the last three years, and Congress wants to know why.

Sen Herb Kohl, chair of the Antitrust Subcommittee in the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter Tuesday to the four major wireless carriers–AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile–asking them to explain the dramatic price increases for text messaging services.

“Some industry experts contend that these increased rates do not appear to be justified by any increases in the costs associated with text messaging services, but may instead be a reflection of a decrease in competition, and an increase in market power, among your four companies,” Kohl said in the letter.

The cost of text messaging since 2005 has increased 100 percent from 10 cents to 20 cents for all four providers. Mobile operators have reaped huge profits from the increased prices, CNET reported in July.

Also, the number of major carriers in the United States has shrunk from six to four in recent years, while the remaining carriers continue to acquire their regionally based competitors, Kohl said in the letter. He noted that the four carriers combined currently serve more than 90 percent of wireless subscribers in the U.S.

“I am concerned with whether this market consolidation, and increased market power by the major carriers, has contributed to this doubling of text messaging rates over the last three years,” Kohl said.

The senator from Wisconsin asked the companies to provide evidence of how their respective text messaging pricing structures differs from those of their competitors, along with evidence of what factors led to price increases. He also asked the wireless carriers to provide data on the utilization of text messaging from 2005 to 2008 and a price comparison of text messaging services to other services such as Internet access over wireless devices. Kohl asked for a response by October 6.

The similar price increases, coming at similar times, Kohl said, “is hardly consistent with the vigorous price competition we hope to see in a competitive marketplace.”

October 10, 2008

Bongo Board

by @ 10:47 am. Filed under Personal

So the place I work has alot of odd toys laying around, skateboards, scooters, etc. (Yes, it’s a small tech startup)

But one of them is truly sadistic.

Bongo Board

This is a version of the classic “board on the cylinder” balance item, and I fell on my ass trying to stand on it today.

It belongs in the category of dangerous toys with lawn darts and chemistry sets.

October 6, 2008

The Ribbon

by @ 7:01 am. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

Some of you will know what i’m talking about.

The Ribbon as it appears in MS Word 2007
(The Ribbon as it appears in MS Word 2007)

In the newest versions of MS Office there is the new “Ribbon”, rather than the normal toolbars.

For those of us familiar with the old style of such things we’re screwed:

“There is no way to delete or replace the Ribbon with the toolbars and menus from the earlier versions of Microsoft Office.”

And of course there is no way to complain to MS about it either. Figures eh?

I just love it when we get force-fed a new standard.


by @ 5:48 am. Filed under Personal

Bleah, I had a nice trip to AZ, except for the fact that i’m quite sick.

The flight back combined with a sinus headache was NOT fun.

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