Archive for April, 2009

So I was listening to this broadcast called “geekshow” it’s done by several local personalities, they talk about well.. geek stuff. Comics, Movies, Games, toys, etc. They talked about something today that disturbed me. Apparently a mother somewhere in the U.S. sued her local School district for having Comics in the library. She said it was a waste of money for the school to spend money on comics. Honestly I think she needs to be slapped. I will that part of the reason why I can read at all is because I spent a lot of time reading comics. It’s something that will get kids interested. Let’s not forget that this Saturday (May 2nd) is Free comic day. It’s a nationwide event. You can go into any comic store and get free comics. I’m  certain that somewhere in this state there is at least 2 comic stores would allow any school system to go in the day before, and get age appropriate content appropriate comics for free for the schools. There is one local guy who home schools his kids, he called up a comic shop and asked about resources to get comics. The Owner of the store told him that he’s got a box of comics that he has multiple copies of, and he sold him to the guy for 10 cents a comic.

Why am I making a big deal about this?

Two reasons. Comics are not the root of all evil… it’ll happen, one day we’ll have the media going nuts “oh someone went on a killing spree because he thought it was better than letting humanity rot, and in his coat jacket was a comic of Watchmen.” This has happened with music, then movies, then games, now it’s certain fantasy fiction books written for teenage girls, and soon it will be comics. The fact of the matter is it’s a great way to get kids, boys especially to get interested in reading, Some of them are long the words get big and explanations get complicated, it will not only help them with their general reading but also their comprehension which is a big deal and being a father of 4 special needs children and being severe ADD myself, it’s a really big deal. Comprehending certain aspects of writing styles and certain words and their actual meanings gets to be really tough. But This is a great way to get it so kids get that exposure they need.

Secondarily, the Geek show broadcasters said that a comic sent as a care package to the soldiers in Iraq were some of the favorite things that they got. I confirmed this with a friend of mine who is an Iraq vet. “Nothing was better and more relaxing to me than sitting down and reading a comic.” This mirrors one of things said in the broadcast this week “There is very little that can mentally take you out of the horrible situation that you’re in like a couple of issues of the uncanny X-Men.” I would say it’s true. It’s a very great way to get your mind involved into a story, and out of a bad situation.

However it is the responsibility of the parent to know what their kids are reading, sit down and read the thing before they do so you know if it’s going to be too much for your kids or not. There are some that are definitely not appropriate for “all young ages.” But comics open the doorway to Mythology, Geography, history and chemical sciences. Most comics start with a basis of truth, and they maintain certain truths, There are aspects of most of comics that the ideology is based around truth, and a point of history. Captain America came out During WWII, he was the icon for freedom and fighting for it. He became a symbol for support for the troops overseas. Let’s not forget what made comics what they are, they are not evil. Suing a School system because your child brought home a copy of Spider man is stupid, it’s not only entertainment, but good reading for kids and adults alike.

Twilight Fans gone Rabid…

I’ve just flat out decided to distance myself from acknowledging people who have these books on them out in public. I’m sure that this is not what Stephanie Meyer had in mind when she wrote it. The books didn’t create a horrific cultic mindset it’s the unstable people who get obsessive about it that created this.

If you’ve not heard about this, and have no idea what I’m talking about. Check out this insane list.

Twilight fans have separated themselves into groups, there is the group called the “twihards” and the “antis” however if your somewhere in between (much like I am) You’re still likely to get attacked regardless. I showed this someone, they turned around and made the retort of “I’m sure every major story book line like Harry Potter, or Starwars, or Startrek has have people who have gotten violently into it.So I went out to either prove, or disprove this. I have spent much more time searching than I care to admit, the closest thing I found was in 1999. When Starwars Episode 1 was released a riot broke out at a movie theater because the person who was in line first bought 150 tickets, and therefore the theater ran out quick for the midnight showing. The guy in question then turned around and resold the tickets for 4 times the cost. This isn’t the fault of George Lucas, it is partially the fault of the theater for selling 150 tickets to one person. It was one guy who made an ass of himself, and he got beat up. That was the only event I found, of this magnitude. I’m not saying that there aren’t any others, only that I couldn’t find any others. The fact that people have had knives pulled on them, beaten with bats, flare guns shot at them, slapped, kicked, bricks thrown at head, and body parts mutilated because they expressed a personal opinion without provocation is absurd. It’s groupings of people who are mentally unstable to begin with and took it too far. Before I get chastised, yes my wife and I sat down and read the books together. She really liked them, they weren’t for me. Her writing is chaotic and hard to follow, it wasn’t that great, it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever read. (I’ll leave that to Stephen King.) But it wasn’t the phenomenon that it was made out to be.

I feel bad for Stephanie Meyer, This kind of crap isn’t what she intended, this is the result of unstable people taking it too far, and parents who don’t reign in an obsessive behavior before it gets out of control.

However, There is a positive side to this.

This introduces a whole set of generation of kids to the fantasy world. Vampires, werewolves, shape shifters. This will hopefully get some of them to look into the Buffy and Angel comics, as well as some of the other types of fantasy media which is intended for entertainment.

Swine flu?

The Whole Swing Flu thing has been blown completely out of proportion, but for good reason. In years past when we’ve had “Mad cow disease” and “Bird flu” The governments in question slaughtered all of the infected animals to remove the spread of the disease. In this particular case certain governments are not willing to take this step. Which isn’t a good thing, however people are taking it too far. There are people thousands of miles away from where the flu is being spread, in areas where there have been no outbreaks that are out driving their car with a gas mask, not just a standard face mask, but a gas mask. Is it a concern? Absolutely. Ignorance isn’t bliss… but paranoia isn’t either.

in the workforce

I found it amazing that while I was un-employed that I was busier than when I was working… what gives?

The sun is finally shining, the spring rains are here, the flowers are growing and spring has finally decided to show up, We’ve already pulled out the grill twice, the kids are outside nearly daily and the house is getting a thorough cleaning. With that comes out a whole new segments of thought processes.

I’m rather disgruntled with Internet broadband companies in the States lately. Many of them are putting on MAJOR Bandwidth caps. Comcast has a fairly reasonable 250g a month limit, and while I do not think I’ve EVER hit that much it still bothers me. The latest one that irritates the heck out of me is Time-Warner. (I.E. AOL) Recently instituted a 1 Gig Bandwidth cap. I looked at my routers usage numbers for a normal month for my family. We hit 90 gig playing an online game only. No downloads no erroneous torrents. Just a game. Granted you’re talking 3 pcs Running nearly 24×7 and playing a game that is fairly bandwidth intensive.

1 gig is unreasonable. If they continue this complete absurdity of methodological control they will lose subscribers like crazy. They need to wake up and smell their profits burning away.

Let’s take a look at the current state of the internet globally. In the U.S we have (to my knowledge) 5 major Pipelines., Berkley, University of Utah. University of Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Washington DC. The first major public Internet company was Prodigy, they did mostly news, newsgroups, (I.E. Usenet) and Sports and weather. It was a good 3 years before more companies jumped onto the internet bandwagon. I remember when Virgin Entertainment had purchased website and it took them 6 months to do development. (no one understood HTML back then and it wasn’t standardized like it is now.) I remember surfing through yahoo and after 3 months there wasn’t a search I couldn’t do that didn’t come up with links that I had not already visited. The screen was a gray background with no fancy buttons, it’s was a listing a links; It was physically possibly to “Complete the internet”. Now that term is just a joke. However, at first there wasn’t a limitation. You could use as much bandwidth as you could get through a 56k modem. A whole 5.6k per second of data. It was BLAZING SPEED. Then we got broadband – and a whole new world appeared. Hotmail was purchased by Microsoft and your in-box storage went from 100 meg to 25 meg to 10 meg..

Rocketmail was purchased by the same thing happened. Then the bandwidth caps came. At first it was 10 gigs a month, and after you hit that cap they just drop you to 56k modem speeds. Then Google showed up, And companies started to refuse to up their caps. Google started to purchase the Fiber line that covers the country, citing that the internet and information should be free. Caps started to increase. When Google came out with Gmail and had it had no cap, and it’s popularity for being a well developed site with no restrictions caused a chain reaction. The result was that over a number of years the caps placed on the public eventually they went away. Over the last year they started to come back. Their reasons are that people are being bandwidth hogs and providers are citing that “The internet isn’t free, bandwidth cost money”. AOL wanted to restrict what you could and could not visit while logged into their provider, citing it would save them bandwidth. Google objected and proceeded to purchase 300,000 miles of Fiber optics. (props to Google) While I can argue the absurdity of that statement, (made by AOL) it makes business sense to state such a thing. The internet is all being paid by someone. I pay for this Website who pays for the equipment to maintain it and they pay someone else.

However False advertising is luring people into a false sense of security. Comcast by my house is STILL advertising “Unlimited internet!” Unlimited? Well, it’s unlimited as long as you don’t hit that 250g a month cap. If you hit the cap, you get shut off and you are NOT ALLOWED to have broadband access through them for a year. Comcast Said that they had to put some limit on it because of the nature of the usage in my state. Some people are breaking 1-5 Terabytes a MONTH in bandwidth usage. I’ve never broken 90gig… ever.

Wow.. that was ranty and longer than I expected. Let’s take a break , go ahead and get a drink and take a trip to the bathroom.

You back? Good?

Now let’s look at Europe. Europe was the first to remove Bandwidth cap citing that the internet is for everyone, and that information is free. The Public should be informed and educated of what is going on in their world.

What’s the difference here?

Mindset. The European people are enlightened to the fact that people should be well educated, and that by putting caps on people, you are giving a restriction to how much people can learn. However this also promotes piracy to a point. Thus enter the Geneva convention, but that’s for another blog for another day.
However Europe has LESS bandwidth usage than Americans do, They are statically healthier. Have a more outgoing and ambitious attitude.

As a friend of mine from Leipzig, Germany very profoundly stated yesterday. “you Americans are rare (In reference to my development team) most have no foot culture.”

Through his own broken English he illustrated a fabulous point. We live with all kinds of restrictions all kinds of things that are “Not okay to do.” and this isn’t secluded by legal restrictions but social and religious restrictions. We remove our own rights to freedom by our own inability to say “No!” There are people who go out and break the law because they can! Because it gives them a rush to do things that is “Not okay to do”. People in the U.S. do not get out, we do not exercise as we should, we are not as active as we should, We are not as social as we should, we live in this world of capitalistic corporate fear, we are a society of gluttony. We shove whatever we can in our face (wither or not it’s bad for us) we’ll consume it by the thousands. We are a nation of consumers not idealists. The percentage of people in this nation that fall into the healthy category is dwindling. As proof of this statement, did you know that hostess produces 500 million Twinkies a year. We consume 35 million pounds of Sugar and junk every year. Enough Twinkies are consumed on a daily basis that it averages out hat every man woman and child are eating 4 a day. I’ve not had a Twinkie in a couple of years, someone is eating my share.

So now I’m sure you’re trying to figure out what in the hell this has to do with bandwidth usage.

A lot actually once you think about it. Europe has unlimited bandwidth but they also have “foot culture” as my German friend so aptly put it. They aren’t a stagnate people, In Germany, they have events monthly they have culture and things in their society that gets them out, and around. They prefer live events to recorded ones. This isn’t to say that they don’t pirate software, this is to say that it’s not as important to them. They don’t have to be “The first” or the “The best” they aren’t so dependent on that social status symbol. However, Ironically, some of the world’s most profound advancements are done in other countries. Europe, and Japan cited for some of the world’s most noted achievements. Why? Because they have Foot Culture, They have fewer restrictions on their society. History comes from Europe, it is what is mandatory learning in schools, and as time continues History is STILL comes from Europe.

Germany and Japan have a particularly interesting work ethic. Companies in Japan give up to 6 weeks off PAID a year at a job. However, Many Americas business men view this as a waste of money and time. A lot of work can be done in 6 weeks. Americans businesses stress out our employees by overloading them. Stress can destroy a man, lowers your lifespan, and Lowers your immune system, it’s deathly. Other countries that many Americans view as “primitive” figured this out Decades ago.

I’ve worked in the tech sector for years, it is not an uncommon thing for someone to say “oh yeah my (insert title here) software is hacked I downloaded it” it’s also not terribly uncommon for nearly everyone in IT to be extremely overweight.

Me and my private development team have tackled an undertaking that is both suicidal and ambitious. We are pushing the boundaries of “what is not okay to do.” It was also noted by our European members that my group appears to be a rare breed. We all have jobs, families, and spent an insane amount of time on our PC’s however. We all have things we go and do, most of us work out. Two are into martial arts. One lifts weights. A few of them play sports weekly. There are only two of the 10 of us that are “slightly” overweight, both only about 20lbs over what would be listed as our ideal weight, and we both do regular work outs because we don’t want to be classified as “typical fat lazy Americans”

Would bandwidth caps do us some good? It’s hard to say. We’re often really demanding of our own self entitled “Rights”