Opinions

Blame school shootings on media glorification and other outside forces. Please, don’t blame them on firearms.

If a musician produces horrible music, do you blame the instrument?

If an idiot looses their hand due to an improperly used firework, do you blame the firework?

If someone downloads porn from shady sites and infects their computer with a virus, do you blame the computer?

No.

Any misused tool is the fault of the human user. Misusing tools is a problem. An inability to realize or admit to this, is also a problem. We are an imperfect species, and I think we’d be better off if this realization spread.

Those who kill innocent people do so for a reason. Whether they wish to become famous,  feel powerful for once in their lives or some other goal, I fail to see how “gun control” of any sort is the solution. The media cover these events tirelessly; they interview people who should be left alone and show what it takes to be famous. Having skill, or winning a contest is hard.. but targeting a defenseless group of people is really easy. All you have to do is sacrifice your life for it, which these assailants seem to have no problem with. The message is out, and you can see how many have heard it. Want to be on every news channel for a week? Kill a group of innocent people.

I believe that some school shootings could be avoided if more people carried sidearms and were properly trained. Were more people carrying a pistol in that NIU lecture hall, the threat could have been neutralized with a few well-placed bullets. I’m not saying that were a well-trained individual carrying a sidearm, the entire situation would have been avoided,  I’m thinking any assailant would take that into account. The possibility of someone in the crowd with the ability to foil the entire plot would be a deterrent.

“Lone gunman shot dead, avoiding potential massacre” probably doesn’t achieve the outcome they desire. He was the only one hurt, and the media would most certainly cover either person equally. These sorts of things seem to be premeditated, and a school MANDATED TO BE A GUN FREE ZONE is a pretty juicy target. I don’t think people are going to realize this, and I don’t believe the media will reach this conclusion either.

The news networks’ glorification is a problem. Defenseless people are a problem. So you can see, the contributing factors are compounded. People are told they want to be famous. The urge to never be forgotten is innate. People are shown an alternative way to become famous. See a group of defenseless people who, by law, can’t have firearms to fight back. Last step, reach what’s probably an easy conclusion…

You don’t have to agree with me, but I hope there are more people out there who think like me. The media need to stop publicizing these shootings as much as they are.

This is the one where I complain

Windows is evil

I used to like OS X. I don’t know if I still do because the last version I used, is now superseded by several releases. My next computer may very well be whatever the Mac Pro becomes, because I want to move away from Windows very much. I would move over to Linux, but I can’t play a few of the games I enjoy. If I quit using games, the barriers to me moving are mostly gone. I didn’t pay for Windows 7, I got it free through the student developer program. I don’t write programs for the platform, but it has been helpful =D see, there are other perks to being a computer science student. That paragraph was poorly worded, but no one comments on my blog so I’m not sure I have any readers anyway.

“The Cloud”

Ugh, this term annoys me. “Let’s put it in the cloud”  or “What’s our cloud solution?” are not helpful ways of speaking. This term removes the service from the hardware and people who support it. I assume that because the concept of a data center with a web facing client access method is too complex or abstract for normal people to understand, the term was invented. “The Cloud” only serves to perpetuate that technology is magic and it need not be understood to be used.

The dumbing down of society is everywhere. Cars are shiny metal boxes which go because I stick a tube in it when the gauge says to and make the gauge go back up to F. The mainstream media tells you what you want to hear, as opposed to what needs to be said. Technology progresses ever further, and only serves to distract the population from how much life sucks. Furthermore, websites are magic and everything I post somehow shows up on other people’s Facebook feeds. I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point.

Nexus 10 Resolution

Okay, so there’s a 10 inch tablet with a higher resolution screen than a television. At 2560 x 1600 the resolution is higher than the iPad and the same as the 13″ MacBook (which shouldn’t be called the pro but Apple is stupid so I’m going to not call it that). The only computing device I know of with a higher resolution is the 15″ MacBook at 2880 x 1800. In my mind, there should be no arguing that the Nexus 10 is the ultimate computing device. Pair it with a keyboard and mouse, you have a fully functioning computing platform. I’m sure someone could even get it to run Linux.

Because the resolution of TVs suck so much, (1920 x 1080, the same as my 23 inch IPS display probably manufactured by LG) I refuse to buy one until 4k is standard. This term meaning the resolution is roughly 4,000 pixels wide (it’s very possible the standard ends up being double the dimensions of a current television 3840 x 2160)

Sprint’s Mobile Bandwidth

Another complaint! I like to stream music at work, and since I’m not supposed to do it on my laptop I use my phone. At times there’s enough bandwidth to stream music and everything is hunky dory. Other times, I wonder what Sprint is doing with their towers. At what I assume are peak usage times, I get less than a tenth of a megabit either way. This is barely enough bandwidth to browse the web, let alone stream music. For comparison, .1megabit is roughly twice the theoretical maximum of dial up.

For this reason, I want my Nexus 4 which Goolge has yet to ship, and use a different carrier.

Mobile Carriers  (/ Cell phone service providers)

I like T-Mobile more as a company than ATT, but I think ATT’s network is probably superior. The Nexus 4 I hope to receive some time before my birthday will work on both. I have the option of either through work, and neither will cost me a cent. As far as I know, I’m free to switch from one network to the other (as the Nexus 4 is unlocked and not tied to a contract with a company). This poses an interesting dilemma. Do I go with the company which probably has the better service, or do I support the company I want to survive longer by telling TI to pay them on my behalf?

I try not to think of myself as a selfish person, but as long as T-Mobile has enough bandwidth for me to stream music for the majority of a day, I may have to go with them. As such, I’ve decided I’ll have my phone with them at first, and if I hate it, I’ll move to ATT and complain about how evil they are occasionally and wish T-Mobile was a teensy bit bigger.

AMD vs Intel

I locked myself into using AMD processors with my motherboard choice, but the upgrade path they’ve provided me is lackluster. I want to try building myself a desktop which will also run OS X, but that requires purchasing a new motherboard(intel), cpu(intel) and gpu(nVidia). As the savvy consumer I am, I bought products which were the best price/performance ratio at the time. CPU sockets change so often that I’d probably be at an upgrade dead end either way, but I can’t help but feel that I’m on a slowly shrinking island with an AMD based machine.

Upgrading those three components to see a sizable increase in performance over my current machine (two years old at this point) cost around $750. That’s no chump change. The CPU / GPU / motherboard I have in there now probably cost around 600 something and aren’t much worse than the current stuff I need. 750 is a steep price for simply being able to run OS X on it, in addition to windows.

I wonder if I’d have purchased a Mac Pro if it was more current two years ago.

That’s probably enough complaining and postulation for now. Until next time internets!

Every day is “Today”

Today I was the recipient of a wishful comment about how most kids are not like me. While this is true, I’m sure there are many people who are not like you. If there were more people like me, they’d all want my job and drive more efficient cars.

Also the whole world would be dudes. No thanks.

I know what he meant though, more people should be responsible and sensible. More people should use their wits and think once in a while. This is the way of the Kevin, but it is not for everyone. Some people do not live this way and they are in different places. Either existentially or physically, I won’t be caught differentiating between the two.

You ever feel like using big words won’t hit the broadest market possible, but probably targets the optimal segment of the market regardless? I’ll probably never use my knowledge of marketing, but minoring in business was enlightening i.e. majoring in “business” alone is knowing how to fill oneself with nothing and be that nothing in a suit following flow charts and corporate guidelines in the pursuit of monetary wealth. Like Xbox live achievements, the corporate ladder is a meaningless way to gauge oneself against a multitude of others in a quantifiable manner.

I’d rather be the person I want to be, the free-form-fuck-you-status-quo kinda guy. Yeah.

I despise pop-quotes taken directly from the text. I end up reading the quote twice, or feeling bad for skipping them. This is my qualm of the moment with TheVerge.com and there are other issues but I will address this one for brevity. I’m not sure what they (the site) are trying to accomplish with them. Was the choice one of style? Do the articles look better with more white space? Is a wall of text too daunting for who they believe to be the average user?

I would rather see pictures or paragraphs, but I’m a minimalist and don’t like repeating a task I need only perform once to accomplish adequately.

Almost time to renew my automobile insurance, I’ll have been here six months come December 11th. -Insert cliche time simile- Yep.. 

I haven’t played Guild Wars 2 much lately. I don’t predict this changing, which is similar to me not enjoying Reddit as much either. There’s only so much good content online, and I’m beginning to know where it comes from. I’m eating higher up on the internet food chain and it starts with this guy’s website. I enjoy many things about the design and content of that one. Much thought has been put into it.

I find myself awash with desire for certain products in times of solace, only to be shaken by the need to think critically and logically. I don’t need a laptop now that school is over. Don’t waste your money on a 13″ MacBook Air, perfectly happy living somewhere in China.

Although, I have purchased myself some higher-end headphones for the purpose of explicitly advertising I’m listening to music and keeping myself from being distracted by others around me. My coworkers are most probably unable to tell I’m wearing ear buds and generally begin a conversation I miss the majority of. But no more! There shall be no mistake made that I’m not paying attention to anything other than what’s directly in my face.

I may need a mirror to see what’s behind me. 8×10 cubicles with work space and entrance opposite one another diagonally seems to be poor planning. I blame the 80’s. They didn’t call though, Emmett Brown didn’t have a kickstarter.

Maybe next time I’ll have a point when I write one of these.

The sun sets far too early now

I was getting used to driving to work in the dark, and now I get sunrise in my face at the tail end of my 15-minute commute. Sunrise is the worst, the sun couldn’t be in a less inopportune position than where I’m looking as I travel East.

Having more money is interesting. I decided to full my tank with mid-grade fuel to see if I get better mileage. Gas is $3.06 down here, and the mid-grade stuff jumps up to $3.21.

Doing something just because I want to is beginning to be less of a new concept.

Been calculating my average mpgs and my 2004 Jetta is sitting at 24.24, which is less than I’d like but the car is used and didn’t cost much. (although the repair bills are mounting) I’m almost positive the car was some kid’s because it doesn’t seem very well cared for or “gently” used. I would like it to last another five years, but I don’t know if I’m going to get tired of getting it fixed. First it was the vacuum hose at Firestone, then VW said it needed more vacuum hoses, a water pump, timing belt, valve gasket and an alignment. (It definitely needed the alignment) The oil change and tires I’ve had to buy don’t go in the same category though. By my count, I’ve spent more than 3/4 of what I paid for the car on repairs alone. That’s what I get for buying a used car that seems decent?

I found out yesterday that I don’t have to pay to break my contract with Sprint to get a corporate plan. I was going to buy the Nexus 4 to keep myself from paying more in the long run.. but now that I can simply switch my phone over and have TI pay for the whole thing.. I’m hesitant to pay for a new phone I’m not so sure I want anymore.

I’m very perturbed by the glass back. I’m against putting electronics in big bulky cases which is why I only have a clear scratch protector on my iPod classic and nothing on my Nexus S. I’ve dropped my phone a few times, and nothing bad has happened to it. The Nexus S was pretty much encased in nice, shock absorbing plastic which doesn’t shatter. While the frame has a small dent it it, the thing is barely noticeable because the whole thing is black. The glass back of the Nexus 4 is sure to shatter or acquire some funky spider-webby patterns about it at my hands. People drop things, gravity is unavoidable. Someone should make a phone as durable as my iPod. I’ve dropped that thing several times, and because it’s made entirely out of metal or plastic, nothing has broken. Thank goodness the hard drive still spins. That’s probably the most fragile part about it.

I’ll have to deal with Sprint’s shitty bandwidth, at least for now. I’m not a very on-the-go kind of guy, so the only thing I can’t do is stream music while at work, but there’s already a lot of it on my iPod.. and I’m only streaming the music I already own in my Google drive thing.

OOOOoooo, opened Miro and noticed a new Anandtech podcast is up. =D
One of the better tech-centric podcasts for nerdy people.

Been wanting a laptop, and I see my choices as being at two ends of the spectrum. Either I want the best laptop possible (which for me is probably the MacBook Air 13″) or the most cost effective model possible (which is the new chromebook). Both are either somewhat slim and light without sacrificing too much performance or what is probably the lightest / cheapest laptop, respectively. While I don’t need either, I envision myself sitting wherever I want and using a device to entertain myself. A tablet doesn’t do enough for me because they’re a bigger phone with less connectivity options. No need for one of those, because I don’t really use my phone for much as it is. Since I have Google voice, I could get away with not having a cell phone at all. I play a game on my phone once in a while, but I haven’t found many games I really enjoy. Most of them are some iteration on the tower/defense genre or by Rovio.

Off to do other things because this is already longer than most people will surely enjoy reading.

Guild Wars 2

The overall experience of playing Guild Wars 2 is less than enjoyable for me.

It could be that the story line is uninteresting and doesn’t pull me in. Or that the story line missions upset me more than I enjoy them. I find myself regularly engulfed in a mob of baddies, downed and sporting damaged armor. The NPC “help” along for the missions are never helpful and usually die quite quickly. Normally the missions take place in small or enclosed spaces, preventing me from maneuvering properly. Only having the forward/backward axis along which to travel means I hit the point at which the baddies are yanked back to starting positions and return to full health. As an elementalist, I usually have to run in a circle around my enemy in order to successfully defeat them. If prevented from doing this, there’s no good way to dodge attacks or extricate myself from the effect area for spells. Due to the combination of weak armor and a lack of sufficient self-healing capabilities while on the move, I have to concentrate more on not dying than I can on killing the enemy. I do not find this particularly amusing, as it alludes to my character being weak without a means of succeeding.

Not enjoying the game could also be to a lack of variety and the degree to which mechanics are repeated. All of the “side quests” are either mundane, take too long, frustrate the fuck out of me or aren’t interesting. Sometimes, it’s all three. The one aspect of the game I find pulls me toward it the most is map completion. Hearts are the worst part of attaining the goal.

My skills, are interchangeable between elements as an elementalist, but only in appearance and not mechanic. You get the primary shoot them with a wad of the element skill, create a ring of AoE on the ground skill, and other skills that really aren’t very useful. Water allows me to heal myself, but both of the skills which heal are stationary AoE, which means I’d have to stand in one place like an asshat taking damge, negating any healing. Great mechanic guys. The right side of the skill bar is full of what are mostly uninspired skills, with little to no appeal for the most part. Elite skills take so long to recharge, that I find myself saving instead of using them. By the time I realize I need to use one, it’s basically too late at that point and am already taking too much damage to win the battle.

The respawn times on the creatures on maps is too short. If, while in the course of fighting my way towards a skill point in a cave, the enemies are respawning behind me and killing me.. perhaps they come back to life too quickly.

Not being able to sit on a different level vertically as your opponent and do damage to them pisses me off. This results in the enemy being “invulnerable” and combined with the random “obstructed” messages, there are times I’m doing no damange for periods they have no trouble taking out half of my life.

Other players being in the map is more often annoying than it is useful. They pull enemies into your face, which usually results in both of us being killed and tactics don’t work when I’m unable to communicate with this person, save map chat. Tactics are often required when attempting something, now that Henchmen and Heroes are gone, but it’s usually impossible to work with another person on the map.

The random events which happen are impossible by myself when other people aren’t in the map. It’s supid, and I find myself not doing the stupid things.

Teleporting between way-points shouldn’t cost money, especially when moving from within a capital city to another.

The crafting professions are mostly a waste of time because the discovery process isn’t fun and when I spend the time and money to make armor or weapons, I kind of expect it’ll be better than what I find laying on the ground. But it never is. I wish the crafting “levels” correlated to the player level at which the item becomes usable. If my character is experience level 40, and crafting levels increased by five every time the little bar fills up, I’d know that at crafting level 40 I’d be making myself the best armor I can wear. But that’s not how it works. And it’s usually not the best armor anyway. What’s the point of having a maximum level of 400 on a crafting profession?

Number inflation is everywhere… more levels, more health, more damage, more raw materials. More people in the map to be annoyed with because I can’t talk to them…

Maybe I liked Guild Wars 1 too much.

Texas

There are a lot of assholes on the road and few friends in my contact book, but that’s how it goes when moving to a strange foreign land. The not knowing a bunch of people part can be no one’s fault but my own. I’m very used to the always being around a bunch of people my own age thing. School is probably the easiest place to meet people, and I’ve had to resort to finding people on the internet and talking to people in HR things.

Met one person through a message I put up on the bulletin board near our mailboxes. Unfortunately, he’s probably always really busy.

Met a couple more people through a plea on Reddit for friends. Probably going to meet up with one tomorrow at a free conference he suggested and the other on Sunday for what I expect to be an evening of board game playing.

Met one person and more by proxy through being HR’s guinea pig for a motivational… class thing. Haven’t heard from them in a while, probably because I don’t organize any events for people to accompany me to. I should work on that. Reciprocation is the nice thing to do, right?

Been attending practices for a community band, paid dues, gonna probably be with the group until I’m unable to make Tuesday nights work in my schedule.

I’ve learned, grocery stores are very empty before noon on a Sunday in Texas. I can probably safely assume everyone is either in church or sleeping. Never wager someone isn’t going to merge onto a road, shoot every lane and then take a left in front of you. People like getting in front, especially if there’s no one behind for miles. Earning more money in one paycheck than was made in total the two years of being a Housing and Dining slave will numb one to the concept of money a bit. If I didn’t have to pay bills, rent, car maintenance, for groceries, or taxes.. I’d have already completely paid back my school loans.

Rent is expensive in the rich white-people part of town. Writing a check for over $800 a month would have been madness no more than six months ago.

Moving on to introspection.

Perhaps I’ll move away from Google Plus for “blogging” my thoughts / things I want to write. Here I go:

I’ve been wanting to dump my Sprint phone and get on a TI corporate plan. No charge to me, save the purchase of an unlocked phone (or one of the phones TI offers on their website, but all I want is a Nexus phone straight from Google). The Nexus 4 seems like a really nice phone, but I’m worried about the back being cracked if and when I drop my phone. The chance of Google deciding the back was a bad idea soon are slim, as estimated by my not inconsiderable amount of thinking power.

I ran out of willpower, until next time.

CSCI 467

I’m currently in a class, in which I can’t describe the subject matter nor can I tell you its use. This class could probably fall into the category of principle. The principle of something to do with gathering requirements for software. No matter actually writing the software, there will be no opportunities for writing code, we will instead use UML, MS Access, or MS Visio. I’ve never used any of these things, and I wonder how they might be useful in my desired line of work. In this final quest I expect to fail.

My professor keeps repeating, we need to train ourselves to think object-oriented. I’m not entirely sure what that means.

I miss coding. I need to go back over some Assembler and COBOL if I want to find a job in mainframes. It’s a shame there’s nothing online or in the way of open courseware in these subjects. I’m really interested in that sector of the software market..

My class smells like cigarette smoke, which is giving me a bit of a headache.