It’s been ungodly hot in my little house the last couple of days. For the most part, I’m at work, enjoying the A/C they provide to keep us productive. The Pups, on the other hand, don’t have access to that modern convience. Aggie, can handle it by taking a quick dip in the kiddie pool out back. Dash meanwhile likes to lounge around in front of the fan.
Archive for July, 2003
That said, I thought it was interesting that the article said that the election was decided by the Supreme Court. Actually, the election was decided by the people. The Supreme Court said that the Gore committee didn’t have the justification to force a recount in Florida. Gotta love (revisionist) history.
One of the things I’ve always thought is that technology will destroy capitalism as it’s known today. Given the advancement of technology, it seems inevitable that jobs will be lost as more and more machines take them over. Case in point, the kiosks at McDonalds that don’t require humans to take peoples orders are popping up all over the country. Each one of these kiosks eliminates a job. At a local grocer, a dozen self-serve checkout stands are monitored by a single employee. What happens to the other 11 people who used to man these stations? Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against technology doing jobs for us, I’m more concerned with how it will affect how people are employed in the future and how that employment will affect capitalism.
In theory, I am a believer in a socialist type of government. I believe that the old adage “work hard and you’ll succeed” is only held up as true by those who succeed. A more truthful statement would be “if you’re lucky, you’ll succeed”. Just like evolution, it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. That said, I don’t think a socialist economy is possible because of human greed and laziness (and general stupidity), which leaves us with capitalism. But what happens when the factory owners, the people who employee millions suddenly don’t have to employee millions? Can capitalism continue to work in that environment? I don’t know, but times are a changing and we are about to find out. Read more here.
Yea, sometimes they look really cute, but experience has shown that leaving them out of the kitchen without supervision can lead to damaged furnature. Now I just gotta figure out what I did wrong the last time I upgraded the Gallery.
This is one of the coolest tree houses I’ve seen. My parents were to lazy to build me anything like this, even though I drew up plans for my underground layer where I would plot the downfall of the bullies who beat me up. Okay, whey weren’t lazy, they were realistic and not willing to plunk down a hound of grand to fulfill my dreams of a multi-level underground maze of rooms and traps.
1000221…1000222….1000223….1000…Damn it! 1…2…3…
Their is now an estimate of the number of stars out there, putting the number at greater then 70,000 million million million. That’s a lot of stars. Of course, what scientist in their right mind would say there is an “infinite number of stars”. Obviously the number has to be finite. That or there’s be a lot more starts visible.
Apple has a good idea with the iTunes Music Store. Giving a person the option to buy a single track for $.99 allows people to customize their music selection and do so legally. Apple also has it right by not enabling digital rights management (DRM) on each track. The biggest disadvantage (currently) is that it is only available on the Mac platform. Okay, that’s only a disadvantage to non-Mac users, like myself.
So, when a company like buymusic.com pops up offering the equivalent for the Windows world, I get excited. I went over to the music site and searched around. I decided to buy one Oingo Boingo album and the single Christina Aguilera song I like for a total of $10.98. Overall, buymusic.com offered a good mainstream selection of tunes and at a reasonable price.
Then I got to the three biggest disadvantages of the site (ignoring the fact that they only allow Internet Explorer into their site and support only Windows). First, each track is encoded in WMA with DRM. I despise DRM, mostly because I think it eliminates fair use. It also becomes a useless protection device with a few short steps. Second, they have you sign a long contract that basically says you are only allowed to listen to the songs on approved devices, again a meaningless protection. Second, you can only download individual tracks, not entire albums. So, even though I bought the Oingo Boingo album, I had to download 30 tracks (it was a 2 CD set). This was just downright annoying and time consuming. The third problem with the service is that of the 31 tracks I got, 6 of the tracks didn’t work. I could not burn them to a CD and if I tried to play them, I would be prompted with a message to enter my user name and password, after which it would say I didn’t have a license to download the tracks. buymusic.com tech support has escalated it to their second level support automatically, but I haven’t heard back from them. Over all, I’m a disappointed by the service and probably won’t be buying from them again.
As for their DRM method, it’s pretty much a joke. Given that buymusic.com allows a person to burn the music to CD, there is absolutely nothing preventing someone from re-encoding that CD into an MP3 or OGG format. Yes, a person has to sign a contract when they buy the music from buymusic.com that says that you won’t do so, but people essentially sign a contact that says they won’t port the tracks on the net when they buy a CD from the store. It doesn’t stop pirates and neither will buymusic.com’s protection. There will always be people who steal music and services like this only hamper those of us who don’t.
Update: I recieved an e-mail today (Jul 25th) from buymusic.com. They are going to refund me $5.94. Not the best solution (I’d rather have the tracks), but at least they responded with an option.
In general, I have a problem with technology that allows others to track me. As an adult, I should be able to move freely about without worrying if my travels are being recorded to a central database someplace. I also believe if I were a parent, that such technology would be a good thing. Finally, I believe that technology like this one could prove useful if it were an entirely passive means of identification, in other words, storing potentially life-saving data on the chip, but not being able to track a person. Of course the implementation of this would be difficult.
I have a basic belief: do what you want to a man, just don’t hurt the man’s dog. Dogs are, for the most part, loving animals that wouldn’t hurt anyone except if provoked (though that provocation can be at many levels). I agree with leash laws. Recently, one of my pups got off leash and immediately ran towards a mom and her kids. Even though I knew she would just bark, the mom didn’t, causing her to pull her kid back and get upset. We put our dog on-leash and left. Since then I don’t let the dogs off-leash unless it’s in a confined area or no one is around. That said, I find that anyone who would poison a dog because they are off-leash about as evil as a person can be. If a person is letting their dog off-leash, take a picture and turn the owner in; a couple hundred dollar fines will remind them to keep the dog on leash.