This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper
— T. S. Eliot
And, likewise, this blog.
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper
— T. S. Eliot
And, likewise, this blog.
Effective at the stroke of midnight, January 1 I will no longer be blogging here. I will also disable comments on existing articles on that date.
I’ve been thinking about this for some time now. The reason for disabling comments is primarily because of the increased amount of “comment spam” and the inability to deal with it effectively using the controls WordPress offers (allowing the URL field to be disabled would stop 99% of it dead in its tracks). Once I stop posting here, I don’t want to have to deal with comments.
Tonight was the final straw. I posted a how-to article (which I have since removed) and the comments I received so angered me that I took it as a sign that it’s really time for me to quit. They were not personally insulting, but rather just demonstrated to me how fucked up things are in the United States nowadays (due to the influence large corporations hold over our government), and how blogging is not nearly as rewarding as it used to be. Again, I took this as a sign — sometimes things happen for a reason, and I think those particular comments reminded me of why it’s time for me to bow out.
I’ve been threatening to quit blogging for some time, and I have always come back, but not this time. If, for some reason, I feel I absolutely, positively must continue to write, it will be in a different forum with a different name (and no, I will not post that information here). But frankly, I’m just tired of dealing with assholes, and even some formerly reasonable people seem to be turning into assholes lately. And even technology is not nearly as much fun to work with as it used to be, and I simply don’t enjoy working with it or writing about it anymore.
Plus, I am getting old. Imagine your parents or grandparents trying to write about technology. At some point you fall out of the mainstream. There are probably people one quarter my age that are writing better blogs than this one. My day in the sun was during the days of the TRS-80, and while it hasn’t been completely downhill since, I do think that in some respects technology has started into a downward spiral, in that you can’t depend on anything working as it should anymore, nor that the developers will give a damn when it doesn’t.
The only thing I had been looking forward to writing about, MAYBE, was the new version of the blue.box PBX software that is supposed to come out in the first quarter of 2013. So I will just say that it is coming and when it arrives you may want to check it out.
I ask you to please respect my decision here. Please do not write and ask me to change my mind; I REALLY need to do this. Please do not try to guilt me or flatter me into writing more. Let someone younger than I have a chance to do this. It is their world now, and I’m very sorry it’s in this shape.
To those who have followed this blog for a long time, thank you for putting up with me. I hope you can find peace and happiness in the new year, just as I intend to try to do. If you need a blog to read, I once again recommend Stop the Cap — he’s doing what I used to do, and he does it better than I ever did!
This falls into the category of “I wonder why no one ever thought of this before” — it seems to me that since OS X and Linux are both based on Unix (more or less), it would be easier to make OS X software run under Linux than Windows software.
While there is the Wine project to run native Windows binaries on Linux (and other platforms), there’s a new open-source project that’s emerging for running Apple OS X binaries on Linux in a seamless manner.
It is The Darling Project that’s set out to achieve binary compatible support for Apple OS X / Darwin applications on Linux. …
By the way, I think they need a logo. I suggest Tux the penguin hugging a heart with an apple stem coming out of the top. I would suggest Tux hugging an actual apple, but you-know-who would probably sue.
Has the tipping point finally been reached for the demise of landline telephones?
If you have parents or grandparents that just can’t give up their old wired telephone, and if they have Internet access you can always get them an Obihai device and set them up with Google Voice. The only thing that stops a lot of people from doing that is that Google Voice won’t port an existing landline number to Google Voice. It is possible to do a two-step process, where you port the landline number to a “throwaway” prepaid cellular phone account, then port it from there to Google Voice, but that doesn’t always work. Still, with the cost of landline service nowadays, that’s kind of a hefty price to pay just so you don’t have to change your existing phone number. In the old days the phone company would give you a new number every time you moved (unless you were moving within the same telephone exchange area), whether you liked it or not, yet nowadays people act as though they simply must keep their existing phone number no matter what the cost, and no matter how many telemarketers have it and use it to harass them at dinnertime. I really don’t get the irrational attachment to a phone number, but it seems that’s what keeps a lot of people on landlines.
Another possibility for a landline alternative is that if you have an Obihai OBi202 with the OBiBT add-on USB device, you can use it with a cell phone so your parents or elderly relatives can still use their existing phones, but the calls will actually go over their cell phone service. You will need to have it connected to a computer to do the configuration, but I think in actual day-to-day use it could work with just the BlueTooth connection to the cell phone (I don’t have an OBiBT nor a phone that has BlueTooth capability, so I can’t say for sure). Most cell providers can port landline numbers, though not in all cases.
Many commercial VoIP providers can port a number directly, though not in all cases (even today, not every phone number can be ported by every provider. You may find that only some providers can port a particular number, or more rarely, that none of them can). Nowadays there are many commercial VoIP providers that charge a lot less than what the phone companies charge.
Anyway there are a lot of ways to avoid landlines nowadays. What a change from even just ten years ago, when commercial VoIP was only starting to take hold! I have a feeling that ten years from now, the landline will be all but dead, except in those rural pockets where absolutely nothing else is available. The phone companies may still be around, if they can ever bring themselves to ditch their old copper and start converting to fiber only, but they’ll be providing primarily broadband service, not traditional phone service.
I know it’s very popular these days to think that people should be able to just put their past behind them and move on with their lives after something bad happens, but unfortunately it just doesn’t work that way, and when we try to pretend otherwise we do so at our peril. Read this, especially if you have children in your life:
The takeaway quote is this:
“Many people think that our genes are immutable; however this study suggests that environment, even the social environment, can affect their functioning. This is particularly the case for victimization experiences in childhood, which change not only our stress response but also the functioning of genes involved in mood regulation” — Isabelle Ouellet-Morin, lead author of the study.
Although I don’t talk about it a lot, I don’t try to hide the fact that I was bullied as a child, particularly in Junior High School (even lost part of a tooth to a bully, and as far as I know he suffered no consequences for his act). And I can tell you that it definitely had a long lasting effect, though unfortunately that wasn’t even the worst period of my life. I think schools and police should treat bullying for what it actually is, at least in most cases where males are involved — assault and/or battery. If they have zero tolerance when a kid brings a butter knife to school, why do they not treat it as something major when a kid is being physically bullied? I know they use the excuse that it’s hard to tell normal “horseplay” from bullying sometimes, but to my mind, if it looks like an altercation, then it needs to be investigated, and if one kid is seen getting involved in a lot of altercations, chances are he’s either a bully or a victim.
I don’t know that every school shooter or other demented person that fires into a crowd has been bullied, but I’d bet that some percentage were, and it’s probably a fairly significant percentage. When I was 11 years old and in Junior High, if I’d had access to a firearm there might have been a couple dead bullies — I certainly wished them dead about a hundred times a day. However, I would have never even thought about shooting any of the kids that hadn’t participated in tormenting me (nor any of my teachers, except maybe the one teacher that I’m convinced was either a pervert or a sadist, quite possibly both). To be honest, though, as much as I was tormented I don’t think I could have brought myself to actually shoot one of the bullies — it was just a very strong fantasy that played out over and over in my 11-year-old brain (and usually it didn’t involve me being the cause of their demise – I’d fantasize about them being run over by the school bus, or walking into the path of an oncoming train). However, I have to wonder what might have happened if I’d also been on some of the medication that they give out so freely to kids these days. That medication affects different people in different ways, and I know that it turns some people into much meaner versions of themselves, and I would imagine that’s true with kids also.
Back when I was a kid, bullies were hardly ever punished by the school administration (at least not where I went to school) but yet we never had mass school shootings like we have today. And, we also hardly ever had kids taking medication for mental or psychiatric conditions. And, we didn’t have automatic weapons and assault weapons freely available to anyone with the cash to buy one (unless you count a six-shooter). Somewhere along the line, our society went off the rails, and while I don’t know the exact cause I am pretty certain that if we had a zero-tolerance policy on bullying, the same way many of our schools have a policy on kids who bring butter knives and toy guns to school, it might save some kids from turning into monsters. I REALLY wish people would take bullying more seriously, and it honestly baffles me why they don’t.
By the way, as an aside, there are a few religious kooks that are trying to blame the recent shootings on abortion, or some other thing they perceive as a moral failing in our society. That, quite simply, is bullshit, and it’s the type of bullshit they put in fund-raising letters to their gullible followers. If you are really looking to find where things went off a cliff, I think that the pivotal event in American society was the Vietnam War, which taught a whole generation of young people that their government and many of their elders really didn’t give a damn about them. I think that scar, more than anything else, affected both my generation and the generations to follow. Of course, the preachers of morality never seem to see anything immoral about war, in fact their attitude is “Thank You God for Killing My Enemies’ Children“. Somehow I think the fact that we so easily go to war and kill actual living children could be much more easily cited as a reason that God might be judging us, if you’re prepared to go down that logical path (and I certainly am not, but I am just making the point that these attention-seeking religious kooks will use any “hook” they can find for fundraising purposes, no matter how ridiculous or mean-spirited it makes them appear).
This should make you think… be sure to read the fine print in the lower right corner (a sentiment with which I agree wholeheartedly!).
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