Saturday, October 9, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
|Token White Guy|
(probably famous, but I don't recognize him)
What makes it all so inevitable and predictable? Ignorance. The professionally-outraged earn their sheckles by being outraged. The commenters are generally people seeking to be outraged so that they can vent their righteous indignation and bile. None are really seeking to think or do anything beyond feeling a knee-jerk emotion. And, invariably, the articles and commentary are based on a very limited view of the outrageous situation.
Life in unencorporated areas carries risks. Heavy on the risks are lack of proximity to EMS. Often times, what EMS there is is either purely voluntary or, as in this case, "subscription" based. Again, that's if there's any EMS to be had, at all. It's been this way since before the founding of the country. What works in cities, suburbs and commuter-communities "in the country" just doesn't work in areas of extremely low population densities. It works even less well as the cost of providing EMS goes ever skyward.
Firetrucks and ambulances typically cost six-figures for used equipment. Training for staffs can only be ammortized over a small groups of citizens. Insurance costs, which our litigious society has made increasingly necessary and ever more costly, have to be born by a much smaller pool of contributors.
And, speaking of the issue of insurance, providing service to people who haven't paid their "subscription" can be grounds for an EMS unit losing their insurance coverage - either by straight-up revocation or because their rates became untenable after doing so. So, yeah, it was "heartless" of those mean firemen to standby and do nothing. However, it would have been even more "heartless" for them to have done something that would have cost their entire services-subscribing community from losing their fire services.
Do I think Glen Beck & Co. are utter douchebags for kicking the Cranicks while they are down? Yup, sure do. Do I think the fire department did wrong? Nope: not under the conditions they have to operate under.
Less than five minutes into the game, play had to be stopped. The Thrashers' goaltender, Ondrej Pavelec, collapsed away from the play. When they finally got the camera on him, his eyes were closed and he was scary-still. Watching it play out, all I could think was "aneurysm" (or, that it had to have been some kind of neurological or cardio/pulmonary event). None of the things that sprang immediately to mind to explain the bizarre situation were good. That he appeared to not move, not even a twitch, between when he collapsed and they gurneyed him off the ice, only reinforced that. About the only (potentially) good sign was that they'd not given him CPR. So, either he wasn't in that level of distress or he'd died on the ice and was obviously not savable (even then, I think they'd have rendered CPR just to show that "they tried").
Hopefully, he recovers. Hopefully, he's not another Jiri Fisher situation.
At any rate, Posterous is a fairly decent service. It allows me to easily accomplish my goal of providing redundancy for my content and it offers me two main avenues for doing so: web-based and email-based submission.
I generally do web-based submission rather than email-based. Both methods have their shortcomings. The web-based submission lacks any kind of "draft" or "preview" functionality. So, once you hit that "post" button, it's sent out to all the sites you've designated for replication. If, after doing so, you notice an error, you have to go track down all the scattered posts and manually correct each.
The email-based submission isn't a much better proposition. Posterous's email-submission engine pretty much sucks ass. It sometimes seems to do really random parsing/formatting of long posts. Worse, just because things look perfect in your mail client doesn't mean they'll look anything like that at the various sites the posts get sent to.
As a "ferinstance", a post I submitted this morning had the entire first three paragraph's worth of text was randomly set to a different color and font. on several sites, it made the text invisible as that randomly-set color was the background color used on the destination-site. Even more fun, when you italicizes some text, it will take what should be a simple i-tagWORDi-tag sequence and converts it to a SPAN sequence. Worse, it will sometime embed a line-break before or after the SPAN sequence (I'd have better represented what I meant, but, BlogSpot's editor is kind of rubbish with forcibly exposing tagging).
Oh well, the price of automated formatting is that it gets botched. Even Google fucks it up, at times.
Dunno why it took three trips to fix, though. Numerous breakdowns in the customer service process...
When I originally reported problems in late August/early September, it was because I had no connectivity at all (and, trying to use my cell phone's browser to find the FiOS tech support number was a rather painful experience). Internal networking was fine and I still had video service. Unfortunately, the FiOS WiFi router wasn't able to pull an IP from its upstream router at the PoP. Once I finally got a VZ tech on the phone, he had me run through the usual script. Wasn't until he discovered that he couldn't remotely reach my ONT that it became evident they'd need to send someone out to address it. Unfortunately, as part of the troubleshooting, they'd had me fully de-power the ONT since they couldn't remote-reboot it. This action not only hadn't fixed the problem, but resulted in me losing video. The ONT eventually reset itself five hours later, but, as of bedtime, that night, it was still offline. Worse, VZ couldn't get a tech to my house for two days.
Donna was NOT happy at the prospect of no video or internet for two days.
As I noted, previously, it finally (sort of) fixed itself sometime in the five hours between going to bed and getting up for the day. We had TV back and basic internet. So, Donna wasn't quite so freaked about the two days to get someone out to look at it. I was relieved to not have to listen to bitching for two days.
Later that afternoon, VZ called to indicate they had a FiOS tech free that day and would I want him to come out. "Happily," I replied. Dude showed up and looked at things, but didn't have any parts to replace the faulty ONT, but did replace the coax-splitter. He indicated that he'd note the problem in the case and someone would be dispatched the next day with parts.
It was rolling up on 1600, the next day, and no techs had either called or arrived. So, I contacted VZ. Apparently, the ticket had been closed by the prior tech. WTF? I was still experiencing slowdowns on long downloads, so, I asked that they open a new case and send someone out to do the parts replacement work.
As with the first phone call, no techs were going to be available for the next day, so, I'd have to wait another day for a tech to come out. Whatever: video was working and internet was mostly working (I could send/receive email, just not download large files).
The tech came out two days later. I was expecting that he was going to replace the ONT that the first tech was supposed to have replaced. Instead, he noted there were problems on the coax line. So, he replaced the splitter (two in two visits). The connectivity was still weird, even though the line was showing "normal" on his diags. So, he replaced the router. He then rolled out.
At this point, we're two splitters and a router (and two tech-visits) into the fix process. Still, I'm having issues with long transfers and, since Halo: Reach came out, I noticed that I'm also having stability issues with XBox Live. Given that I was trying to make achievements in online multi-play, this kinda sucked.
So, this week, I called to see if, maybe, finally, we could get the ONT replaced as was originally expected with the first visit. As with prior calls, tech-dispatch was gonna take two days. Whatevs. So, I agreed to an appointment for Friday, October 8th, 2010 between 08:00 and 12:00. They indicated the tech would call when he was on his way.
It was rolling past 11:30 and I had yet to hear from the tech. So, I went online, found the FiOS tech support number, navigated the call tree and got in the hold-queue. Ten minutes into this process, I got a call from the tech. He was letting me know he'd be here in 15 minutes. So, I hung up on the lovely FiOS hold-music and waited for the tech to show up.
The tech was prompt. He said he'd be here in 10-15 minutes. He got here in 11 minutes. Given the vagaries of traffic in NoVA, I was just happy to see him within 30.
I described the problem and the ongoing issues with getting the device replaced. He asked to see the unit, so, I took him to the basement. He popped the case and noted, "wow, this is an old one". I was kinda like "*BOGGLE*" as it had just been installed in February or March. But, whatever: not really relevant. He asked if it was ok to pull the unit so he could replace it. I noted that I wasn't immediately using the connection and could get/send email from my phone if it was critical. He popped the unit, took it out to his truck, brought back a replacement and popped it in. He tried to do some remote-office work on his VZ laptop, but, the cellular-wireless card in his laptop wasn't getting good signal in our basement. So, he excused himself to his truck so he could take care of the administrative details to get the unit to come online.
He said it'd be about 10-15 minutes, so, I walked him to the door and sat in front of my blank TV and useless laptop and waited. About 9 minutes later, video signal came back on the TV. I then noticed that my laptop had just noted the arrival of new mail. So, I figured, cool, shit's back online. So, I hit up RHN to establish a test download. 2.2MB/s.
Tech came back in about five minutes later. I let him know that things were looking good. I had video and was running a download that was holding speed and had done so at a higher rate and for a longer time than any recent ones had since prior the ONT replacement. He gave me his contact info and headed off.
So, at this point we look good. Took a while, but, we got there.
The FiOS experience has been interesting. Within the first month, I'd had to replace the HD-DVR set-top box. Then, this whole fiasco with an (apparently old yet newly installed) ONT failing that resulted in the replacement of two co-ax splitters and a WiFi router before finally replacing the faulting ONT. I've had FiOS for a little over half a year. That's a LOT of hardware death. Oh well. We're good, for now.
|Flipz Chocolate Pretzels|
Now, to start, I am not a fan of the government telling me how I should or am to live my life. So, I can understand people being against nutritional value-based taxation to encourage good eating habits. At the same time, the government of this country has been imposing "sin taxes" on things like alcohol, tobacco and other deleterious items pretty much since the founding of the country (hell, Kentucky bourbon might not have come into existence had it not been for such policies).
I get that people love their sodas, snack cakes, etc. However, much like cigarettes and other industrial consumables, these products have been optimized by their makers to make you crave more of them. So, of course if you eat or drink them you want to be able to continue to eat or drink them. But, whatever. More power to you if you want to eat or drink yourself into the grave.
At the same time, with what NYC is asking, it's not quite the same as seeking to tax bad nutrition out of existence. All it is is saying, "not on my dime". You, as a Food Stamp user are free to buy what you want ...with your own money.
People that have been on WIC have been faced with these restrictions throughout their participation period. It's part and parcel of the program's goals (to promote good nutrition).
People that are receiving Food Stamps are also almost exclusively receiving their medical care through government subsidized/paid medical programs. As such, nutritional choices they make that negatively impact their health directly increases their need for using that assistance. So, by allowing Food Stamps to pay for bad nutrition, tax-payers end up paying twice: first for the foods bought and again for the medical care used to treat food-related health problems (e.g., diabetes). And, if you want to be REALLY honest, tax-payers are getting hit three times when you factor in the farm subsidies allocated to the food industry to produce cheap, calorie-dense things like HFCS. But, I digress...
At any rate, it just "makes sense" to put conditions on "help". If my goals are to help you survive and/or thrive, I'm not going to want my help to be self-sabotaging. I don't want one helpful act I've undertaken to create a requirement for another helpful act. WIC is basically an example of how it can be (philosophically) "done right". Perhaps the Feds should just be consistent and put the same/similar restrictions on Food Stamps that they do on WIC.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
So, when he's done with hockey, maybe Tyler can cash-in and become a corrupt politician?
But then, the casting director for Caprica had to throw in
Any way, I'm not complaining.
The "no sin taxes" boat sailed DECADES ago. Much as you won't get any pity from the alcohol or tobacco industries, you won't get any from me, either.
Oh well: at least you used a .com domain for your astroturf site...
I mean, it's nice being on the side of law enforcement. The government has, essentially, unlimited resources to throw at getting a conviction. And, if the guys on your team do something sketchy (or downright wrong), they'll all cover for each other.
The guy on the other end of the criminal law apparatus? Well, he's ok if he's rich, famous or both.
But, in the end, how can you take an already stacked desk and demand that it be stacked further?
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
|Fat-Bob in the Middle|
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
I mean, for starters, it felt like they left out about four episodes between last season's last episode and this season's first episode. And, many of the "twists" felt rather forced and predictable. The only real "surprises" were how frayed the story lines were and how randomly some thing seemed to be popped in.
Oh well, assuming there's not a Flyers conflict and they don't move it into confilct NCIS (mmm.... Abby), I'll probably watch more episodes.
That reminds me: I've got several unwatched episodes of last season's Dr. Who to delete. That show left me saying, "meh," too.
The only thing more tragic than the Clementi case is the distortion of the law various groups want to perpetrate to "set an example".
Monday, October 4, 2010
I think part of why I always dreaded the inevitable showings of It's a Wonderful Life was that I took a completely different message from it than the one that everyone around me did. While many people simply grew tired of it from overexposure, they all seemed to take a positive message from it. Me? Not so much.
The message that It's a Wonderful Life seems to try to convey, at least as I interpret from the reactions of those around me, is that we're all unique and important; that we all make more important and positive impacts on our worlds than each of us may realize. And, well, I get that that may be the case. I get that each of us is frequently unaware or not fully aware of the impacts our lives have on others. I get that some, many or all of those unfelt/unnoticed impacts may be positive ones. There's also the not-so-subtle message that suicide, or even just the wish to have never existed, is "selfish". I don't know so much that I simply disagree with this view or don't care about it being selfish.
We're all selfish. In the end, everything we seek to do benefits us, in one form or another. Even "completely selfless" charity, isn't. Why? Because, even if, objectively, you receive no benefit or, indeed, cause yourself genuine hardship to accomplish it, you're still benefiting in some way. At the very least, you feel good about having done something. Yeah, you can't really put an objective pricetag on that good feeling, but, it may be worth more to the do-gooder than anything more tangible that they might receive for any other action they undertake. So, no, nothing's "selfless".
What's worse, to me, about the message of It's a Wonderful Life is that it tries to substitute others' selfishness for that of the protagonist. It tries to convince the protagonist that, without him, many other people - indeed, an entire town - would have been worse off. The message most people take away from it is "you should cherish your life because you're really important to the world." whereas, the message I take from it is one of being told, "you should live because, without you, my life would be less/worse." The message I take from it is is that your selfishness is worth more than mine is.
Other than because your selfishness is yours, in the end, why should it be more important than mine? Ultimately, why should I really give a flying fuck? Why shouldn't my selfishness be more important to me than anyone else's?
I admit, however, that, for a long time I've bought into the selfishness of others being more important than my own. Indeed, much of the life I've constructed has been geared towards ensuring that the needs of others outweigh my own. I've taken on obligations to anchor me. I've made it so that I can't, in good conscience (who knew I had one of those?), just disappear (either from my current life or the face of the earth) without there being repercussions for others. I took on a house. I took on pets. I took on a wife. Had the stars aligned, I'd probably even have taken on children.
Perhaps that they didn't align should be taken as a sign that it was a stupid strategy. I should take it as a sign of the Universe saying, "you need to come up with better crutches than that."
Perhaps I do need a better crutch. Or, perhaps, I need to just stop trying to anchor myself. Perhaps I need to let my underlying selfishness just shine fully through.
Those numbers aside, there are days when I just want to delete myself and all traces of my existence. However, I force myself not to because I know that I'd come to regret such a move. Part of what drives me to post is that I doubt my own execptional memory. I figure that, at least if I can go back to this (and other sites I've posted to), I can verify that my memories are genuine.
Why this concern? Well, I've always seemed to have a memory that far exceeds my peers - both in shear volume and level of detail. When things are that far from the norm, it creates doubt about how genuine things are.So, at least if I have my memories logged online, I can always go back and verify, "yes, that did happen and wasn't all just some kind of fabrication."
It probably doesn't help me that my mom's side of the family has a heavy incidence of dementia. So, I'm also sort of afraid that if I don't do this, eventually the vast memory-scape I have will go to nothing and I'll have no way of "getting it back".
Besides, if the whole whole Caprica thing about recomposing people from their online presences ever works out, I just might be one of the few immortals from my generation. ;)
Sunday, October 3, 2010
I noticed that my browsing speeds were slow and, at best, spotty. So, decided to hit SpeedTest.Net to see what's up. It looks like my connectivity to the (geographically) local test server.
This didn't look too awful for my service tier. So, I thought, "hmm... Might wanna check to see if there might be something NOT reflected in local tests." So, I tried tests to several different locations and got the following:
So, best I can guess is that there's a problem leaving the VZ networks (or at least their DC area links)
So, apparently, at some point in time, Verizon Wireless signed some kind of agreement with Facebook (as they have with other online "services") to automatically install an uninstallable application on your smartphone (I'm assuming all their smartphones and not just the BlackBerry Storms). This was probably a while ago, but, it wasn't until tonight, when I unistalled the FB app I'd installed several months ago, that I discovered it. You see, after I'd selected the FB application for deletion, upon reboot, there was a different FB app icon on my home screen of my Storm. WTF?
Unfortunately, whenever Verizon Wireless does this shit, they make it something that can't be deleted. All you can do is hide the application. Because VZW does this so frequently, I've created a "Junk VZ Apps" folder where I can move these unremoveable applications. I'm sure, once VZ figures this ploy out, they'll come up with some kind of countermeasure.
Shit like this makes me consider ending my plan with them. My BlackBerry is chronically short on memory, as is, and you can't offload apps to the SD card (where I have plenty of storage capacity). So, I don't install that much on it, to begin with. I've called VZW to complain about these unremoveable installs, before. They "helpful" techs inform me there's nothing that they can do but that it's just a stub. It's not really taking up device memory.
I find this somewhat hard to believe. Surely that image on my screen consumes some memory to render (etc.). Surely, even if it's just a stub for downloading the full app, it takes some device memory to put that stub on my phone. Stop eating my already chronically short device memory, fuckers.