Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Active shooter - travels in gun country

David Sedaris, bringing his dark humor with serious overtones, to his experience going to a shooting range with his sister.

Sedaris, as usual, is remarkable and writes in an amazingly captivating style.

No more secrets - the streamers who broadcast their lives online

Mostly a profile on the live streamers "Ice Poseidon". Strange and, in many ways, sad to me. 

A quote that captures some of the essence:
"The biggest problem was the swattings. People would call 911 with false reports of hostage situations or bomb threats, in order to get a swat team sent to Denino’s apartment. Swatting has its origins in the subculture of Internet trolls, where it is a favorite tactic for harassing and bullying people. Swatting has exploded in popularity in recent years, owing in part to the rise of live streaming. Previously, the hoaxer would have to imagine his target’s distress when a team of heavily armed police officers broke down his door. But, if the target is broadcasting himself live, the hoaxer can see his handiwork play out in real time. On YouTube, you can watch compilations of famous streamers being swatted. "

The Bullshit-Job Boom

The Bullshit-Job Boom
For more and more people, work appears to serve no purpose. Is there any good left in the grind?

Pretty interesting, not quite sure it was worthy of a post, but I found interesting. I don't buy into the full premise, but do absolutely agree that we have a problem with being so focused on job creation, with almost no care about what  the jobs are.

Classic example is the gas stations here in Oregon, where the law requires them to be full service (you can't pump your own gas, by law). Because we need jobs! And why don't we force companies to hire people that walk in circles, since that would also be a boon for job creation! We need to think about what increases the overall well-being of society, and focus on job-creation (or elimination in some cases) that improves our society...

Stop Pretending You’re Not Rich

Stop Pretending You’re Not Rich
Richard V. Reeves

A couple years old now, but solid article. I liked the comparisons with England, and think there are lessons there.

I'll just quote a couple good paragraphs:
"The rhetoric of “We are the 99 percent” has in fact been dangerously self-serving, allowing people with healthy six-figure incomes to convince themselves that they are somehow in the same economic boat as ordinary Americans, and that it is just the so-called super rich who are to blame for inequality."

And the idea of legacy:
"The United States is the only nation in the world, for example, where it is easier to get into college if one of your parents happened to go there. Oxford and Cambridge ditched legacy preferences in the middle of the last century. The existence of such an unfair hereditary practice in 21st-century America is startling in itself. But I have been more shocked by the way that even supposedly liberal members of the upper middle class seem to have no qualms about benefiting from it."

I don't recall it discussing how easy it is for rich folks to look at the super-rich and feel like they are the real problem, and how, as I've read in another article, even the rich feel their status is threatened due to growing inequality, but still plenty of food for thought.

Friday, January 25, 2019

The Sex Recession - why are young people having so little sex?

The Sex Recession
  Why are young people having so little sex?

Interesting article that evaluates a smorgasbord of ideas related to the changes occurring in sexual behavior in youth. I enjoyed the "shot-gun" approach to evaluate the many variables that have changed for youth today, and what factors may be playing the biggest role in changing behavior (and the risks these changes may have for the younger generations).  I'm always thinking about how best to raise Arthur when reading these, and if I were to summarize in a sentence: allow for plenty of free and unstructured play. Although after typing that, I can think of a multitude of other things to evaluate, but I think free play is possibly the most important.

A World of Woes - a global tae on a decade of financial crises

A great "book review" (but so much more) of Adam Tooze's "Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World", with an overview and summary of the standard narrative of the financial crises, versus the consequences (especially the political) of the actions taken to stabilize the economy in 2008 and 2009.

If I had had the time, I'm sure the Tooze's "tomb" (700-pages) would be an interesting read.

Digital Vigilantes - if your file's are stolen by hackers, why is it illegal to steal them back?

The story of Shawn Carpenter, a Sandia employee, "hacking back" is remarkable - finding F-22 Raptor and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter blueprints, and eventually linking the hackers using a gateway in Guangdong, China. All as a "citizen" hacker.

The article provides a measured view of the pros and cons of fighting back. As usual, it's a complex situation but hopefully some improvements are on the way.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Morsi the Cat - family life in Cairo during the Arab Spring

New Yorker, May 7th, 2018
Morsi the Cat - family life in Cairo during the Arab Spring
  Raising a family during a revolution
Peter Hessler writes about his twin girls growing up in Egypt. He keeps the writing light and humorous, despite the crazy events occurring.
I envy him and his wife's daringness and adventurousness. Great writing and inspirational. 

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Blog instead of facebook?

Well, I was thinking about where to post great or interesting articles that I read (mostly from the New Yorker, but sometimes elsewhere). Mostly, in order to log them for myself as I love to have a reference place to find ones I have started to forget.  Since I've fairly against facebook, I'll try blogger instead.

Monday, October 26, 2009

My detailed experience in switching to Kubuntu Karmic from 9.04

In case others find this useful, I wrote a report on installing Karmic (the RC, although it should be virtually the same for the final release). I chose not to upgrade my 9.04 and just do a new install, since it's quick to setup programs on Ubuntu and rsync to another computer works to backup my home directory so easily... For reference, I'm using a Dell 1420n laptop. Here's my experience.

Using Kubuntu Karmic Desktop 64bit version CD. Install paused at 80% while "configuring apt" for 5 minutes - I thought for a minute it had halted, but just needed to wait longer... But I consider this a bug, since an installer progress bar shouldn't stop for so long when it had been moving more rapidly before hitting this point...

Then near the very end, a "downloading language packs" message took ~25 minutes to download the packs (and probably will take more if the servers are being hammered later.) I'm not certain why it even needed more language packs (I chose no special language, just English.) I heard this didn't happen in the betas, hopefully it won't happen during installs of the final release... Additionally, after installing there were already a lot of package updates, hopefully the final release won't have so many package updates immediately after installing (some are expected with the fast pace of improvements on Ubuntu, but this early I had 105 updates, which seems excessive...)

After installation - "necessary" (IMO) configuration changes
The bottom panel by default in KDE 4 is tiny. I had to make it bigger.

Enable extra repositories... my sources.list is here
and the GPG key commands are right below each source. Obviously this is just my list, but Medibuntu is probably the most important to add...

Enable restricted-driver (nvidia 185) - I just used the restricted-driver icon on the system tray.

Install kubuntu-restricted-extras, firefox, chromium-browser (w/chromium-codecs-ffmpeg-nonfree).
Remove icedtea - the freer java that never works well for me and I find conflicts with Sun's java.

Configure firefox (xmarks, adblock) -> Xmarks was having trouble connection, adblock took forever to download. are these strange connection problems? internet is fast on other machines and web browsing is fine...unknown cause, eventually worked.

Install pulseaudio - do others "believe" in pulseaudio on KDE? I've found I like it a lot and it seems to fix various sound problems, but I'm not sure why it isn't installed by default.
Then configure pulseaudio in system settings->multimedia to make it default for all sounds.
But upon testing and it gives only popping noises... believe I needed to add myself to pulse and pulse-access groups (system settings->advances->user management->choose account and modify->priviledges and accounts tab->under groups add check by pulse and pulse-access), restart.
Tested sound again and got nothing, but checked sound volume on kmix (system tray) and PCM was set to 0 (Why?! i didn't do it). Raised volume and worked, all is well now. While in kmix, enable additional channels (just Master, PCM, headphone, need microphone).

Configure dolphin to default to detailed view with no preview (under general icon, use common view properties) and show filter bar (under startup icon). I just don't like the default dolphin view with previews and even though it is suppose to remember for each folder what you change it to, you have to change each folders view manually before it remembers, and it doesn't always work right on network shares.

Add desktop folder to "places" (right click Desktop and choose add to places in dolphin).

Add folder view of home directory to desktop.

Remaining questions:
What the world is the "indicator display" message thing on the bottom right now? All it says is "no applications running" and no way to configure...

bugs that still exist:
Full screen in flash, change volume with keyboard stroke and drops out of full-screen...

These stupid popup preview windows on folders that are super annoying, still no way to disable...many bugs filed on this already, they're working on it...

Above moving my Amarok2.1 collection database over, the collections works (after syncing music) but Amarok lost my statistics on my collection. If this also happens to people updating rather than moving a collection like I did, this could be a BIG deal for some. I've seen reports that make it sound like it does happen to upgraders, so be sure to backup your collection database before upgrading if you have a lot of ratings for songs that you care to keep. I have my songs/collectionDB backed up on a different computer, but unsure how to move the statistics at this time...

Bug fixes and nice improvements
Sound level is better for me (sound used to be quiet at 50% volume, and loud at 65%, now I actually can use full range and get better sensitivity).

Boot time for me is 36seconds. I think this is probably 10s faster than jaunty was, although i didn't record it w/jaunty...

Too many other bug fixes to mention and some I've already forgotten about since they're fixed!

Karmic has a whole bunch of improvements. KDE users are still feeling the last of the growing pains in the switch to KDE 4, but they're almost gone and this was generally a smoother and much more pleasant experience than 9.04 or prior releases. Flash on 64 bit works fine, Virtualbox works fine, all the apps I need work great on 64 bit now (at this point, I recommend the switch to 64 bit because there really isn't any reason not too, even if you don't have 4gb or more of memory, since we should move to the new standard and encourage developers to optimize the speed for 64 bit...which often has significant speed improvements.)