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Archive for April, 2003

fading in and out

Monday, April 28th, 2003

[nb: continuation of previous post] Well, Jim’s dongle didn’t work. (Oh god that sounds dirty! Bad, Bad! Head out of the gutter!) His dongle was incomparable with my hardware. (Maybe I should just stop now! — No.) So in flusteration I started playing with my stuff. (This is getting worse and worse!) So after a few minutes and a little help from a very large Hinkle Chef’s Knife (Visions of Lorana!) My dongle works again — well kinda. You have to pull down on it (Mind in gutter again!) to get it to work so it will have to be replaced at some point since it keeps dropping the connection. (Hark! Is that King Missiles Detachable Penis I hear playing?) Bottom line: After much thrusting with my knife and pulling on my dongle the data is flowing in spurts for now…

mein Internet ist kaputt

Monday, April 28th, 2003

Yea, after all the trouble of setting up the network card last week I went and broke my Internet access this weekend. Somehow in all my gracefulness I ripped the dongle [info.astrian.net] (see definition #3) out of my PCMCIA card. Jetzt ist es kaputt! No work!

I borrowed an old dongle from Jim at work and will try it, but it’s not a 3Com dongle and I don’t know if it will work. I doubt it. If it does not work I will most likely go out and buy a wireless system which I have been eyeing any way. We’ll see.

An now I’m going to say dongle over and over. Why? Because it’s such a cool word! Just say it! Dongle. Feel the way if rolls off your tounge. Dongle. Much better than ‘little network cable connection connection thingie.’ Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. Dongle. DONGLE! (kinda like the Spam Spam song no?)

Mein Dongle ist kaputt. It even sounds good in German!

honesty and laziness

Saturday, April 26th, 2003

The other night I was out at a pub with a friend and at one point the conversation turned to music. We where talk about good CD’s to buy and at one point he mentioned Dido. He said he needed to go get her album ‘No Angel,’ that he had been listening to it for a year and it was so good that he needed to buy it.

Been listening to it for a year and it’s so good he needs to buy it. That’s where the RIAA is right. When the Napster case was big news all the ‘free the information’ people and the broke college students argued that when they downloaded music they would trash what they did not like and buy what they did like. The problem is that once you start downloading you find a lot of things you like and you cannot afford them all, or even the few you really mean to buy don’t get purchased because something comes up and you spend the money on something else. Over time you become lazy and complacent with the whole system, the idea of buying the music you are listening to either never occurs to you or you just shrug and say ‘but I have it and it was free.’

This laziness is what justifies the RIAA’s argument concerning the file sharing world. When I first got a high speed connection I downloaded programs and music left and right. Just like every other college student, it was the height of Napster. I did buy CD’s — a lot of CD’s as I have always done but I also downloaded a ton of mp3’s (and programs) which I did not own, I never payed for them. And while I am no friend of the RIAA or MPAA and do agree that CD’s are too expensive, the money goes to the big business not to the artists, etc, etc, etc. The bottom line is I did not pay for the music (or programs.)

After a while I stopped downloading everything but live techno — no copyrights, and even stopped that after a while (I stopped downloading non-free programs because I switched to Linux and they don’t work.) I don’t have any of the mp3’s from CD’s I don’t own, except for the un-copyrighted stuff today.

Music piracy has always happened — at least since tapes came into being. Albums, Tapes and CD’s have always been copied, but copies on tape ware out. Now downloading mp3’s or ripping a friends CD is easy and the quality is good. It’s easy and it’s cheep and in our ethnic vacuum we become lazy and disrespectful of the ideas of copyright. And while the implementation and execution of copyright and trademark law — of all intellectual property law, may have become a toy of large corporations and their lawyers. The ideas behind the laws are supposed to promote creativity and innovation. By not keeping the promise to buy the music we download and like we break the spirit of the laws.

dna

Friday, April 25th, 2003

Fifty years ago today James Watson and Francis Crick published the their famous paper on the “structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid (D.N.A.).” The anniversary will pass with little fan fair, no more than a few words on he news and a couple articles in the newspapers, at least if the lackluster reaction to the announcement that the Human Genome Project [www.ornl.gov] completed the sequencing of the Genome is any indication.

The impact that Watson and Crick’s paper had on the modern world is hard to overstate. In half a century it has gone from an obscure scientific idea to the fundamental everyday concept. DNA is everywhere. The speed at which DNA has permeated technology and the number of advanced it has produced in all fields is an excellent reminder of the speed at which the world has moved in the past century. From horse and buggy to moon landing and beyond.

The change that DNA and it’s role in life has brought to the world is staggering, but may be only the beginning of the slippery slope. Brave New World, GATTACA and even Star Trek in the form of Khan have, for years pointed out some of the dangers of understanding our genes and our desire to ‘play God’ with our children. The Village Voice [www.villagevoice.com] has an excellent article by Erik Baard about the social impact of Germ Line Gene manipulations with some interesting thoughts on who would repress who in the event that there was a ‘genetically modified’ or GM minority in the world. It’s easy to read and brings up a lot of good questions and examples. Check it out.

life swims along

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2003

Over the this last weekend I went home to my parents house in C’ville, On Saturday I went to town with my mom when she was going shopping. Along the way we decide to stop at Greenberry’s Coffee shop to feed my caffeine addiction. While I was waiting in line to order my coffee an old friend of mine walked in. I know Don through the Fish Store. He was somewhere between a customer and an employee. (Long story short: Don used to own a pet shop and while the shop had closed years ago he still took care of several very large and expensive fish tanks for some wealthy clients so he would come in to the store to order things and since he was a good friend we just let him order right off the list, we did not charge him anything extra — just wholesale.)

While I was talking to Don, I mentioned that I had not seen the other guys from the Fish Store for a while. I only get home to C’ville once in a while and when I do they either are not at the store or have plans for the weekend so we don’t get to hang out, just chat and say hello at the store. So I asked Don how John and Jason where doing. And somewhere along the way he stopped and said… John was in Richmond, signing a lease — he’s going to move the store to Richmond soon.

Hearing this kind of jarred me. The Fish Store is the last link to my former life in C’ville. John, Jason and Don are the only people from that life I still see. Knowing that the store is going to close is like finally realizing that not only is that chapter in my life over but even the bookmarks have been moved.

The time I spent at the Fish Store was one of the most influential in my life. The store opened just after Teresa left me, taking Micheal and all that mattered to me away. I was not in a very good place. Over the next two years I changed and matured and became most of who I am today. Somewhere between cleaning fish tanks and selling fish I had time to look inside myself and change the things I did not like. The thing that made the most difference in my life was deciding to apply the ethics and teachings I had read in my studies. I became a vegetarian, I stopped worrying about the things I could not change, and changing the things I worried about. Most of the changes where a direct result of John, who turned into one of the most influential people in my life, he is one of the most interesting, well rounded, intelligent, grounded, thoughtful persons I have ever met.

Even while I spent two years crucifying myself on my feelings for Megan as she tore my friendships apart and eventually drove me away from C’ville, John, Jason, Don and the whole Fish Store where my anchor. Without them and the things I learned, about life and about myself, I would not have had the strength and courage to walk away from Megan and to leave C’ville and get on with my life.

It will probably happen quietly and I won’t even know. One day when I am visiting my parents I will go to stop by the Fish Store and it will simply not be there, and I will walk away and never look back. That’s part of what I learned while I was cleaning those fish tanks — never to live in the past, life moves on.