Why I’m a Writer, Not a “Blogger”

So I finally finished reading Andrew Sullivan’s piece on “Why I Blog” (available here, as a four page blog post).  He hits the nail on the head on why I’m not a blogger with this paragraph (and a half).

If all this sounds postmodern, that’s because it is. And blogging suffers from the same flaws as postmodernism: a failure to provide stable truth or a permanent perspective. A traditional writer is valued by readers precisely because they trust him to have thought long and hard about a subject, given it time to evolve in his head, and composed a piece of writing that is worth their time to read at length and to ponder. Bloggers don’t do this and cannot do this—and that limits them far more than it does traditional long-form writing.

A blogger will air a variety of thoughts or facts on any subject in no particular order other than that dictated by the passing of time. A writer will instead use time, synthesizing these thoughts, ordering them, weighing which points count more than others, seeing how his views evolved in the writing process itself, and responding to an editor’s perusal of a draft or two. The result is almost always more measured, more satisfying, and more enduring than a blizzard of posts.

So yea…I’m not really a “blogger”.  I’m just an idiot who writes for free.  My bad.

I should have stuck with the inane bullshit approach.  “Superficial bullshit” as some close friends would call it.

Oh well…someday people will realize I’m a writer, and a pretty solid one, at that.  A, as the gay guy said, “traditional writer [who] is valued by readers precisely because they trust him to have thought long and hard about a subject, given it time to evolve in his head, and composed a piece of writing that is worth their time to read at length and to ponder.”

Yea, that’s how I blog…for the most part.  I do the inane shit too, sometimes, but really when it’s time for me to write, I freakin’ write.

Now….if only I can figure out this business model thing…capitalism is a right bastard sometimes.  😉

[on a sidenote…”blogging” is a strange term that came of age before it became of age.  That, in essense, is what “postmodernism” is…stuff that people know before they know it.  Yea…I just gave you a real, hard, short definition of ‘postermodernism’.  Hey, it’s what I do.  🙂 ]

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In Defense of Love : Summation

You can begin to catch up here.

I would HIGHLY recommend you catch up before joining in, this is a conversation that had been going on for a while, and it would behoove one to read up before joining in.

Thanks.

I’m Still Trying to Come Up With a Title for My Book

I just thought of another good one, “Philosophy is an Action.”

If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.  I’ve already written down some predictions of what people will think of it, and I want to check my work.

Joel, you first.  🙂

The XBox 360 3.0 Legal Experience

This is a short video of the very fun time I had playing the new game that comes with every XBox 360 upgrade, “Legal Agreement”.

Its a pretty basic down-scroller, build old-school text-only style.   I liked a lot of games like Zork and Hithchikers Guide to the Galaxy back in the day, but I figured with the upgrade you would get some cool new stuff.

Anyway, here’s a video of the gameplay.

The Earth in a Phone

Amidst the launch of Google’s own Android mobile operating system, the company is bringing its Google Earth software to the iPhone App Store. As reported by our sister site News.com, the iPhone version replciates much of the desktop application’s core experience, downloading imagery from Google’s servers as the perspective shifts and dotting the map with landmarks, photos, and other information.

via Google Earth Comes to the iPhone – iPhone Atlas

Just saw this was out this morning. Should have a quick review up in a bit.

Umm….wow.  For a version 1.0.0 app, this is pretty solid.  It might be a bit sensitive to quick movements, but the potential for having a 3-d gps in your pocket ain’t too shabby.

And yes, it’s really pretty close to being a 3-d gps.  One that you can tilt and turn to change the angle on.

The speed over the EDGE network leaves a bit to be desired (I have a pre-3G version) but performance wasn’t too far off from the regular google maps apps, which I have found extremely useful while traveling.

How To Lock Up the Geeks

A Whole Lotta Nothing: How to get my nerd vote
How to get my nerd vote

I’ve been thinking lately about a dream candidate for my nerd habits, my nerdy business, and the way I live my nerdy life. Regardless of party affiliation, if you’re running for an office from as small as city council all the way up to president, if you hit on any/all of these things, you just might get my vote.

This was put together by mathaughey who runs Meta Filter and is a generally known geek dog (for the dyslexics).

It’s a simple and straightforward list, I’m all for it.  Particularly this one.

  1. Broadband Everywhere. I want crazy South Korea/Japan style broadband I’ve heard about for years: 100Mbps (upload and download) fiber connections for less than $50/month with unlimited bandwidth and the ability to run your own servers. I know the US is a big spread out country and it makes this stuff somewhat difficult/costly, but it’s an ambitious goal with a ton of payoff. We don’t have manufacturing jobs in the US anymore: we don’t make things, we don’t build things, we don’t sew things here, but we do have lots of ideas and inventions.The economy of the future in the US is going to be intertwined with the internet and if every man, woman, and child in America has all the internet access they could ever need and could quickly program, build, and deploy their own stuff on their own mega-fast lines, we’d have a million and one programmers and designers and crafters and more contributing to a new vibrant future economy. If fiber everywhere is too much, at least get 3G coverage in more places.
  2. Universal Healthcare. Everyone I know that freelances or works a day job and wishes they could quit and follow their dreams of launching a company complains about the lack of healthcare. Whenever I used to talk about freelancing at tech conferences, the first question was always about healthcare coverage. I’ve heard that in places like Berlin where you don’t have to worry about where your healthcare is coming from or how much it costs, up to 35% of working age adults are freelancers. It may sound crazy and anti-capitalist to consider healthcare for all, but if we flipped a switch tomorrow and everyone had health coverage I swear a million small businesses would launch overnight. I know lots of people that keep a job just to get healthcare that are wasting their creative talents because they had a cancer scare or were born with a defect or otherwise are deemed uninsurable on their own.
  3. No federal taxes on internet purchases. It’s worked out well for over a decade, let’s just stick with not charging tax on online shopping.
  4. Renew a commitment to Education. Yes, we already spend a lot on education, but it’s nothing compared to what we spend on defense. There are loads of possibilities to reform education at all levels with the goals being well-informed kids that love learning in a safe environment and can grow up to attend any college they want to (hopefully cheap or free of charge).
  5. Renew a commitment to Science. Bring back NASA and let’s really fly to The Moon and Mars again. Don’t let local school boards dictate that it’s ok to prevent teaching proper biology (yes, the scientific method and evolution) to students. The US spent the last hundred years being at the forefront of science only to begin abandoning it as we passed into the 21st century. Engineers and scientists will continue to lead innovation in America and it seems silly in this day and age that we even have to defend the basic tenets of science from constant attack.
  6. Real changes to transportation. Increase MPG requirements for all carmakers selling vehicles in the US. Engineers love a design challenge and making a Chevy Suburban get 25mpg may seem impossible today but I’m confident a design team could develop one quickly if given the proper resources. We flew to the freakin’ moon 40 years ago on the computing power of today’s $5 solar calculators — we can make cars burn fuel more efficiently.Regarding alternate fuels, stay away from net-zero energy fuels like Hydrogen and corn-based Ethanol (for now, keep researching them though) and instead focus on what works today using existing technology. Biodiesel could work in many cities and in many cars today given the proper tax incentives to car owners and fuel station owners. Keep researching other fuels (switchgrass ethanol sure would be nice) but it feels like we’re ignoring the low-hanging fruit that is biodiesel.

    Decrease foreign oil use by giving tax incentives to people that work at home, to people that ride a bicycle or walk to work, and to those using public transportation. Want to move to be closer to work? Get rid of capital gains taxes on homes sold less than two years after you take up residence if you can cut your commute in half or more.

  7. Allow early voting by mail. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love the way Oregon works with regards to voting in all elections. You get voter information packets about 4-6 weeks before an election, then your ballot arrives about 2-3 weeks before the deadline. You can vote at your leisure, using wikipedia, google, and anything else you need to research your vote as you cast your vote.
  8. Revamp Copyright/IP law. Using the internet means you are making a perfect digital copy of everything you ever read, see, and hear, and it doesn’t always jibe with existing copyright law. There is lots to say about this, but I wish we were a little more Lessig and a little less Disney when it comes to this realm.
  9. Fund the patent office so it can do a better job. Software patents almost universally suck and stifle innovation.
  10. Open government. Open source voting machines, xml data for every vote on every bill by every legislator. Public Domain dumps of every photograph, recording, film, and publication commissioned by the government in an easy to retrieve place.

And by “one”, I meant one “list.”

Pretty much nothing there at all I disagree with, and some of these I’m quite passionate about.

As a matter for fact, if there was going to be a geek political party, and I think there should be, this would serve as a good basic platform.

I hereby nominate Matt Haughey to draft a basic party platform.

Seconded.  Done.

Good work, Matt.

Obama and McCain Differ on Net Neutrality

Network neutrality has gathered enough political momentum for both candidates to take an official stand on it. Although the issue was debated furiously in both the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2006, neither side managed to produce a bill that could be signed into law. (The only lasting result of the efforts on Capitol Hill was an unintentionally comical bit of grandstanding by Alaska senator Ted Stevens, where he offered an analogy describing the Internet as a “series of tubes.”) In the absence of any clear legislation on the matter, the FCC has taken up the role of neutrality enforcer, forcing cable provider Comcast to stop restricting BitTorrent traffic earlier this year.

According to their position statements on the issues, John McCain is against Net neutrality and Barack Obama is for it. This makes it one of the few technology issues on which the candidates clearly disagree.

via Obama and McCain Differ on Net Neutrality – Internet Policy from McCain and Obama – Popular Mechanics

This article is an outstanding primer on the topic of “network neutrality”. They didn’t get specific responses from the campaigns (this issue is currently more of a nerd only thing), but the basic slant of each candidate is evident…

…the general philosophies of each side seem clear: McCain believes in a lightly regulated Internet, while Obama believes in more government involvement. But it gets a bit more complicated. When it comes to net neutrality, both sides can make a credible case that they’re the ones defending freedom of innovation and open communication.

The author then does an excellent job of defining the term…


One reason is that there’s no accepted definition of network neutrality itself. It is, in fact, more of a networking philosophy than a defined political position. A pure “neutral” network is one that would treat all content that traveled across it equally. No one data packet would be prioritized above another. Image files, audio files, a request from a consumer for a web page—all would be blindly routed from one location to another, and the network would neither know nor care what kind of data was encompassed in each packet.For most but not all kinds of files, that’s how it works now.

…and then talks about the literal “technical difficulties” that face the topic in the future.

Go read the article to get a better idea of what those are going to be. Feel free to suggest your own.

It’s an interesting question, as it gets directly at the question of the degree to which the government should regulate the market to protect rights of people, to protect rights of “property” ownership*, and how much we should let the market itself do both…or neither.

* This asterisk is for intellectual property and the whole copyright/internet question, which is of itself a stimulatingly difficult situation to resolve. It is tangential to the Internet as a whole, but also drives a lot of the demand for the bandwidth in question. Comcast got busted for making a decision along this axis.

That is, the copyright/internet question of what is in the dumptrucks. The network neutrality question is what information super-highway they can get on, and whether or not the telecom industry can set up toll booths in the fast lane…and harass the riff-raff.

The Xbox 360 and Media Center: A Series of HUGE Disappointments

You may have heard that your Xbox 360 can connect to your Media Center 2005 PC to experience a world of DVR-like goodness: pause live TV, listen to your music remotely, use cool programs, and much more. Windows Media Center coupled with your Xbox 360 presents a vista of potential that sparks the imagination.

Once you face the reality of Media Center though, it’s a god-awful mess, and no one seems to be talking about it. The problems that I’ve had with Media Center really boggle my mind. So, I wanted to talk about it – to open an Internet discussion. If you’re looking at putting your Xbox 360 in the mix with a Media Center PC, you should be aware of just how fickle the Media Center software is, especially when streaming TV or other video.

The Xbox 360 and Media Center: A Series of Disappointments.

I’m using the title and subject of this post almost verbatim from the link.

In addition, I’m going to add that so far I’ve had to….

add a completely new registry key

add and remove the software any number of times

…got way too close to uninstalling a service pack (death to installs)…

…and now I’m manually changing the size of RDP packets in a hope to make two *CORE* Microsoft products work together…

And now I need to restart…again…to hope the change takes hold. And yes, I’m still halfway through the software install that can’t finish when the XBOX crashes…which it has about 10 consecutive times now.

So I had to post this (and keep the links) without knowing if it will *finally* work. This seems to be on the right track, as it’s the kind of bad input that could cause a hard crash (networking hardware is usually very sensitive to crap data…for good reason), but we’ll only know for sure after I kill it all again.

It also makes sense this is an issue caused by .Net 3.0. After working with 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 and the core problems (changes) they created, I can certainly believe this is the problem here.

Wish me luck.

UPDATE: No luck so far. Now I’m going to try rolling back some drivers.

For some reason, I can almost assume as this point the *real* fix for this *problem* is to upgrade to Vista. Let’s see if I can’t get this shit fixed without *that* horrid step (which I’m not taking).

UPDATE2: Looks like it was the RDP problem, as detailed here.

This is the registry key you need to add. Start -> Run -> “Regedit”.  Then find [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management] and add the D-Word value and then modify it.

Registry Edit to Fix XBox 360 Media Center freeze

Registry Edit to Fix XBox 360 Media Center freeze

So, that’s ultimately what it took to get working. I had recently added a new hard drive (300gb) to my main machine (XP MCE ’05 SP3) and decided to use about 100gb of the new drive as DVR space. Since my TV has 15″ more diagonal screen space that my PC monitor, it would make sense to route the signal through that viewing device.

After much trial and tribulation, it now works great…again…like it used to…until the next round of Service Pack Madness.
BTW
UPDATE 1/6/09: I’m guessing that the new XBOX patch screwed this whole solution up.   Just guessing because I haven’t tried it yet and stuff started to crash on my WinBox after the new xBox software came out.  I’ll check mine tomorrow and see how broken it is.  And then see if I can’t fix it again.  Some of you might slightly recall Windows 95.  I’m old enough to have lived it, so I have no illusions about the “quality” of the code Microsoft will publish….

Welcome to the REALLY United States of America!!

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — President Bush asked Congress on Saturday for the authority to spend as much as $700 billion to purchase troubled mortgage assets and contain the financial crisis.

The legislative proposal – the centerpiece of what would be the most sweeping economic intervention by the government since the Great Depression – was sent by the White House overnight to lawmakers. (Read the text here.)

The plan matches the scope of the problem, Bush said.

“It is a big package because it’s a big problem,” Bush told reporters at a news conference. “The risk of doing nothing far outweighs the risk of the package.”

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, lawmakers and their aides are expected to work through the weekend in an effort to craft a bill swiftly. Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill said they expect the bill to go before a vote within days.

Bush wants OK to spend $700B – Sep. 20, 2008.

My socialist brothers and sisters!  Welcome to the future!!!

Now we own to means to capital. Together.  We share now *ALL* share ownership of the very foundations of our economy.

Rejoice!?

Right?!

Umm…what just happened?

testing the new iPhone interface.

I have to say, this is quite an improvement over the old one.

It looks to be about as simple as possible, which I like a great deal.

———

NOTE: This is a reference to this wordpress update.

Yes, I did find a bug in it.

Do you see it?

spoiler: I posted a comment about it in the thread.

———

One of the best things about being a robot is that I think like one. And one of the benefits of that trait, at least in the modern world, is that I can tell when another robot is lying.

Which is to say, when a robot of being logically invalid.

Which is how robots lie. Otherwise they are incapable of it.

Solution:

Note the “categories” attached to the post you are currently reading…

Then note the “tags” attached to the post you are reading (or lack thereof), which was originally posted via my iphone and later updated through my firefox.

Note the interface…

That’s a bug. Fellas.

But it still works great.