Media These Days

While watching the television series ‘Arrow’ I’m regularly confronted by Microsoft product placement. I supposed I wouldn’t be as perturbed, if the machines behaved in a normal fashion. All monitors are overlain with digitally reproduced estimations of an operating system. Everything beeps or boops, something I would like to point out, doesn’t actually happen. There’s a vast chasm between the way technology is presented to us in media, and the way it manifests physically. Are these television shows and movies intentionally set in a parallel universe? Pretending technology is magic may be more convenient, but I refuse to respect the hand waving and botched logic.

‘Hacking’ into various ‘databases’ is becoming a regularly deployed plot device on Arrow. Racks full of blinking lights are called a ‘mainframe’ and storage capacity is measured in ‘teraflops’ (a unit for measuring compute power, not amount of data stored). The faster one types, the easier it is to gain private or restricted information, never mind that these systems probably aren’t connected to the internet in the first place. Tablets store infinite amounts of data, and everything is instantly transferred to where it’s needed without data caps or overage charges.

I find myself increasingly annoyed when technology is treated as magic, and technological sounding jargon is spread liberally about dialogue. Too few people understand technology, and this saddens me. I imagine no one bothers,because understanding the things we use on a daily basis, isn’t necessary any more. The experience has to be made to work for the lowest common denominator, so as to expand market-share to profitable levels. Simply selling a phone or car that require time investment, won’t sell well.

I recently finished watching Iron Man 3. It’s an okay movie, very pretty, but special effects can only go so far. Product placement is rampant in this movie. There are non-stop references to Sun Microsystems, I’m sure they contributed a sizable amount of money to the production. Not to be out done, there are also products by HTC (pretty sure there was an HTC One used at some point) and Audi. Verizon’s FiOS branded fiber optic network even gets a nice big ad when the kid returns to his garage to find it has been ‘upgraded’.

I’m among a small group of people who are annoyed by this, and have nothing better to do than write about it on the internet for free.

More of The Same

The human race is not what it once was, I assume. With the advent of medicine, we have saved the few, at the detriment of the whole. 

Glasses correct poor eyesight, hospitals save the reckless, pills aid the masses and our species is going down the drain. What will our race be like in 1000 years? Will we still be around? What happens when congenital defects and stayed culling become too much…

We are a decaying people, destroying this planet. With the universe as the scope, we’re a speck of nothing on an insignificant dot. A smudge on the incomprehensible timeline of all things is not strictly something that matters. What will become of us in the future?

Once upon a time, people lived with the land, not on top of it.

Companies can’t invest in solar and wind power technologies, because the ‘economics’ don’t make sense. We’d rather poison our environment, than make the right choices. I like to think that I’m the kind of person who makes the right choices, but within reason. I walk to work every day, I chose my apartment specifically because it is close to work. (That and fiber optic based internet was available) I take no part in the daily commute, and don’t care much about gas prices. I fill my car every other month, with typical usage.

Most weeks my car doesn’t move more than twice. Once to get groceries, and maybe once more to see friends who live across town.

I remember reading an article about how there are no places, common areas, where people can go and meet each other. We’re canned up, stuck inside our boxes, living sedentary lives. Common areas are nearly all but gone, and our society seems to have become one giant patchwork quilt of isolated individuals. This doesn’t seem to have happened recently, but gradually over time.

I’d like to believe that once, we were a people who lived in groups, lived off the land and life was okay. We didn’t have shiny things to poke at or sophisticated farming techniques. I know I don’t live my life fully. What the heck is there to do but wait until tomorrow? If I had a way of creating a sufficient supply of food for myself, and lived near a clean source of water, I wouldn’t need to go shopping or have a ‘job’.

I feel like I’m living in a shirt, one size too small. There’s no way to get the shirt off, and upon it is written the words ‘corporate slave’. I give my time to a large organization, to help it continue making (essentially) unnecessary things people don’t need. But I play along. What else can I do? I’m trapped in the machine, and see no other alternative.

I find myself wondering what this planet would be like if there were less humans or if we didn’t exist at all. I’m well behind the opinion that we are a disease, spreading across this land with our roads, and houses, and shopping malls. Spend money, make money, spend money, make money. The ‘economy’ is such a disgusting concept to me. Pillage the planet, pull out the bits and pieces, recombine them into something people think they need in return for some yummy fiat currency.

I spend my life interacting with artificial things, in a fabricated reality, because it’s clearly the path of least resistance.

Reports of great swaths of this nation contracting sedentary lifestyle diseases seem warranted to me. What else do we have to do but work, eat, distract ourselves and wait to die?

Wooooo

Sometimes I wish I was naive enough to believe more things, like religion or terrorism.

I wish there was another country I could move to, and get away from corruption, greed, lies and selfishness. But from what I can tell, there is not. These seem to be guiding principles for those who run (read: want to run) our society. I imagine these groups or people enjoy the lives they lead, because with enough money, anything is possible.

An alternative thought was also posed to me from somewhere on the internet. What if no one’s running this country, but everyone thinks ‘someone’ is. People follow the established rules and norms, while not actually having a plan for the country. This seems plausible because to have a comprehensive plan for the country is probably overly complex.

The government is slowly erasing our guiding principles, namely the constitution. The constitution was set forth to restrict the powers of government. Unfortunately this document is not immovable, and the government has been eroding the rules written on it for many years now. Seems to me, there are few rules left which the government cannot break. Our armed forces kill people with robots, while making us pay for it.

The CIA runs drugs into the country while charging us to do it.

The government ‘bails out’ banks, with our money. Well, I’m not sure it ALL came from tax payers. The (privately owned and operated) Federal Reserve Bank probably ‘printed’ most of this money.

Hackintosh

I was going to toot a blurb about this but my thoughts seem to expand beyond 140 characters.

I have reasoned that I’m worth buying something that’s the best, instead of buying technology that looks like a good deal. I originally latched onto the idea of buying an Intel Xeon 1230V2. This CPU has four cores and comes with hyperthreading enabled, but over-clocking the chip is disabled. I’ve since decided that I’d rather have a chip I can overclock as well as have these features. The only option therefore, is the i7 3770K, which is Intel’s highest priced 4 core chip. If I were more into cliches, I would call it a top of the line 4-core chip. Since it has a built in graphics (a reason I originally picked the 1230, which doesn’t have one) I don’t have to buy a GPU right away, which may be beneficial because of the graphics card I want.

After some reading, I have decided I would really really love a GK110 based nVidia card. At this point, this limits me to the $1000 Titan or the $650 GTX 780. Neither option is a great value, but the 780 is about 90% the gaming performance of Titan at an easily calculable 65% price. While this looks like a good deal, I believe the 780 is $100 more than it needs to be, because AMD has nothing to compete with it.  I’m inclined to wait for AMD to come out with a card to compete, driving the price down.

The good news here is that, I believe I can get a hackintosh running with the XFX 6850 I currently own. Due to all this mind changing and planned purchase staggering, I may end up with an amazing computer eventually, but now it seems I don’t have to buy all three (CPU, GPU and motherboard) at the same time to have one. If you follow my toots, you may have noticed my increasing impatience with Windows…

Also, I would like to add how great these DT770′s are when I’m able to turn them up and not have to worry about trying to hear someone coming into my cubicle and starting to talk to me. I should have brought the 1/8th” adapter so I could listen to them attached to my parent’s tuner.

Self

What is required to understand oneself?

I suppose effort is part of it.

I have a few thoughts on trying to flesh out an argument via a text based medium. This is especially difficult when the other party refuses to communicate in proper English, or is still “plugged into the matrix”. My problem is that I hope people can see the truth, but many are dependent on the system of  dis-information streaming out of the news machine in this country. Unfortunately not everyone can be saved, and I have to accept this.

There are logical inconsistencies in the “official” opinions of our government and corrupt media outlets. I could keep my opinion to myself and not write anything out here, but I believe writing (as well as reading) keep a mind in better health. Being able to coherently express an opinion is important to me.

If you’re going to do something, do it right, and make sure it’s done well. I use this reason to justify some of the products I purchase. My next computer is most definitely going to be a “hackintosh” because I believe OS X 10.6 is superior to my current Windows 7 platform. I miss the underlying Unix foundation of Apple’s experience, and don’t mind their UI/UX as much as Windows 7. There are a few things the Microsoft filesystem explorer does that piss me off.

  • I do not enjoy the inability to color-code file names.
  • I despise the stagnation Microsoft is complacent with.
  • Moving from folder to folder is inefficient.
  • Search is terrible
  • The amount of usable information I can see at a glace is terrible
  • Shortcut functionality isn’t likable
    …and the list could go on.

Many people will not understand my desire to purchase a $700 task chair for my desk at home. I spend a good chunk of time in front of the thing, and if I work from home, I want the option of being comfortable. My outgoing office chair has never served me well, and I’m currently sitting on an exercise ball. While certainly usable, it’s anything but ergonomic over long periods of time. Sitting on a ball leads to some muscle fatigue and my posture inevitably suffers when I unconsciously adjust my posture to a more efficient one.

I always seem to end up with my heels dug into the carpet, the balls of my feet against the wall and my knees locked. This posture prevents me from rolling or being movable, but it’s probably bad for my back and other things. For these reasons and wanting to do something right the first time, I’m willing to spend some money on a good chair which will last me a long time (hopefully). John Gruber of daringfireball.com has suggested the Chadwick chair (http://www.knoll.com/product/chadwick) and I’m inclined to get one.

Again, get something good and get something that will last. If I’m going to be forced to live in a consumerist state, I’m going to buy things, but they won’t be disposable or cheap. The things I want to buy, need to be of high quality and keep working for a long time. I enjoy the idea of looking beyond my own short-term economic needs.

My love of efficiency has pushed me toward fawning over the VW Polo TDI (only sold in Europe) because it seems to clearly be the most ethical version of an environmentally destructive, unavoidably essential method of transportation. Cars suck, and they pollute but I may as well own something fun before oil is too expensive to refine anymore. I ran this idea by my mother, and she had some valuable insight. Super efficient cars are basically for people who drive a lot.

I am not one of these people.

I now walk to work, attempt to carpool everywhere, would much rather take public transit than drive somewhere and clearly I’m not the perfect candidate for a super-efficient vehicle. So I decided to change my mind. Shifting the proverbial needle towards fun, helped me land on the VW GTD which is also only sold in Europe at the moment, but hopefully coming to America soon! Possibly some time near the end of 2014, the GTD will be for sale and I’ll rub my hands together as the monies pile up in my bank account waiting to be spent.

I guess that’s long enough for now. I think I’ve run out of things I want to write about.

Spring Time in Texas

I wanted to share this reply I received to one of my Reddit comments.

“If you’re actually not happy that Bin Laden was killed you’re a moron. That has nothing to do with being pro or anti America. Oh unless you’re one of those few idiots who still actually believes that the US actively performed 9/11.

But I thought this was a subreddit for reasonable conspiracies not baby-time frolics fairytales like 9/11 being an inside job.”

-I believe someone, other than who we’re told, organized and profited from the WTC demolition. I say demolition because there is enough evidence to convince me it’s the truth. I have no proof the government was behind these demolitions, but a very powerful group organized them.
-I have no evidence that Osama Bin-Laden is actually dead. I’ve never met the man and for all I can prove, he doesn’t exist. Many base their belief on the existence and subsequent capture / murder of the individual on what other people have said. These other people are many times the media, and the media are largely a group of liars (again, opinions based solely on the information I currently hold)

The internet is a strange place, people.

I don’t have a television because I don’t want one. I don’t watch other people run around and throw things for lots of money, nor do I partake in the consumption of mainstream media fairy tales. The “news” appears, to me, one large soap opera. People die, the government is “in control” and the stock market is up. The two sides of our government argued about something and it’s all a pile of shit.

I consume some forms of passive entertainment I can obtain over the internet, but lately, that which isn’t on Netflix bores me. Community is starting to suck, Top Gear is over produced now, Doctor Who isn’t back yet, Sherlock isn’t back yet, Mad Men isn’t back on either. Suits ended a few weeks ago, and I’m sad about that, but hopeful the next season will be similarly pleasurable. I’ve even longer to wait for episodes of Hunted and Breaking Bad… I may have to look into Homeland to see what I think of that. If any readers have seen some episodes, feel free to tell me what you think of it.

In other news, my hiatus from the facebook is going well. I don’t miss it, fuck that, never going back, if you want my personal data that badly work for it. There are too many other legitimate forms of communication, like my damned phone. I have to take it upon myself to send people text messages to see if they still exist because no one contacts me out of the blue. Maybe I’m weird for being the only person who does that.

The weather here has finally gone and stayed nice. Sunny most days and temperatures most always in teh 60′s or 70′s lately. Talking about the weather is probably tacky, but I love it compared to what IL is like now. I can drive home with my windows open most every day and I can wear shorts to work. Also, I work at a place cool enough to let me wear shorts and a T-shirt while making quite a reasonable sum of money. My job is by no means easy, but it’s exactly what I want to be doing. =)

I think I’m finally fed up with being single. I’m not necessarily a fan of being single, but it’s time to dig myself out of this metaphorical hole and prove to some people that I’m worth something. While this task is generally not difficult, I do have to make an effort to get these interactions. An effort I have not given… ever. There are certain endeavors underway, but more time needs to elapse before I can gauge their level of success. I (per-say) have my foot in the door of opportunity, without an accurate sense of which way the events will play out.

I’m moving closer to work in a few months. I look forward to having the ability to walk from my apartment on workdays. Not having to deal with the other selfish people on the Plano roadways will be lovely (and much less stressful).

I tentatively plan on having my hair cut short so I can jog before dinner, shower and then not have to worry about that (or messed up long hair) in the morning. Of course, the whole plan hinges on getting my hair cut, which should happen sometime this week. I’m mostly waiting for a day where I can wake up early enough to still work 8 hours and not have to deal with much traffic after a post-work haircut.

I’m going to be a consumer whore here for a few minutes…

I keep telling myself that I’m not going to buy a TV until I can get one at a reasonable price with 4K resolution.

I also keep telling myself that I’m not going to get a receiver until my desktop speakers die. That last one I’m probably going to break on. I enjoy listening to music and would greatly enjoy a quality (at least stereo) setup. This setup described as: receiver, a couple floor-standing speakers and a subwoofer. This setup would eventually expand to be a complete 7.1 theater setup for watching passive entertainment and anything else I can get working through a computer at couch distance. Also, I would have to get a couch.

I have not purchased any of these items because I live in a stupid apartment that I don’t want to live in for much longer. I foresee myself staying in Texas, but buying a house is the final statement I’m making to the universe that I’ve given up on trying to find another job (if a better one exists) or that maybe Texas isn’t the place for me.

So. Do I get another apartment and continue to work on my loans, without having to maintain a physical structure myself? Or do I buy a house and stop throwing money down the drain on a structure which is not an asset? These are, probably, the more important questions to ask myself.

Since graduating from college and starting a full-time position, I’m slowly moving away from using monetary value as an indicator for an activity I want to do, and moving towards realizing I want to do it. Which is conclusively a more accurate measure of worth.

Texas is cool. Maybe I’m mincing words. I like Texas so far. I love the weather, I’d much rather be too warm than cold. I have friends and I don’t see why I shouldn’t stay here.