Month: December 2012

Gun Violence in Newtown, CT

The current toll is 27 dead, 20 of whom were children. While this is very sad news I have something else to write about.

Facebook and social media sites are loaded with posts supporting the removal of the 2nd Amendment. I completely disagree – the forefathers put that in for a very specific reason. They knew that governments got despotic over time and a little blood of patriots was necessary to keep things in check.

Now – keep this in mind because I’m only going to ask once. Why do you think the U.S. has more guns per capita than any other nation?

I’ll tell you why – it’s because gun and armament manufacturers are corporations and they feel they can do anything to make a buck.  So they flood the market with inexpensive guns.

If you really want to fix the problems in this country I suggest we start at the 14th Amendment – the equal protection amendment if you wish. We need to insert language that specifically EXCLUDES corporations from any notion that they have the same rights as a flesh and blood human. Then we can see what happens.

Facbook Android App Saga and other news

So I noticed this past weekend that the Facebook app for Android was clunky. As in the news feed wouldn’t load. I’d get notifications but clicking got the little spinning icon and no update.

So I did what I normally do with tech that doesn’t work.  I bitched – I googled the issue and found a forum for Facebook. I told them that they didn’t UAT their latest Android app or that they were having problems because I could access via web browser but not their app. For those unfamiliar with SDLC and PM (Ok – UAT == User Acceptance Testing, SDLC = Software Development Life Cycle, and PM = Project Management) it’s a big no-no in project management or PM not to build in an acceptance phase.

So today I fired up the app and wonder of wonders, it worked. I’m know I wasn’t the only one having the issue, as the Google search had yielded a ton of people complaining about it.

And in other news – I hear Google has just released a new maps update that will work on IOS-6. Now all Apple has to do is fix the cluster fuck in IOS 6 that lets it work with other peripheral docks.

TMI Thursday: The War on Christmas

THE WAR ON CHRISTMAS

First attributions: Via Patently Queer who got it from Just a Jeep Guy

Which religion or faith do you belong to, if any?
Firmly atheist. I don’t believe in any of it.

What is your opinion of seasonal greetings and salutations?
I really don’t care one way or the other.

Holiday music on the radio?
I absolutely abhor holiday music. I’ve pretty much heard it all before and there’s really nothing new. Plus it comes off as a bit too preachy sometimes.

What is your policy for exchanging gifts?
Exchange away!

Gift cards are…
The best shopping for the lazy.

Bonus Questions

Christmas cards/family update letters are…
Gave up on cards a long, long time ago.  The only ‘card’ per se is my facebook Saturnalia greeting now.

Snow is…
Something that is getting a might bit scarce here in southern New England.

Have you been a good little boy or girl?

I’ve had my evil moments but then the election happened and all is well.

RAPID FIRE FAVORITES

Food: Crown Roast!
Dessert: Banana Pudding
Song: A little jazz fusion
Movie: Scrooged
Tradition: Not talking to family. I’ve now managed to piss off the prior generation in my family to the point where they banned me on Facebook. Great fun! But then the elder generation of my family, they sort of went a little bit nuts when they got older.

This weekend: Triangles Cafe in Danbury, CT

So I got to go to Triangles Cafe in Danbury, CT with friends this weekend.

I noticed it wasn’t as frenetic as the last time we went which was Halloween.

One thing I did note – we got there earlier this time. Much nicer.

However I need to rant. Danbury, CT is 68 miles from NYC. Yet the whole town seems to roll up it’s roadways after 10PM. Super Stop & Shop, Super Wally-World, etc. Around here the Super anythings are open 24/7. But in Danbury the only thing open late is McDonalds.

Kind of surprising.

What was not surprising was the crowd. Some of those transgender M2F women looked pretty hard. And I might add, when you’re over six feet tall heels are purely a gilding of the lily.

And then I believe I’ve said it before about clothing choice. Those transgender folks seem to pattern the way they dress on their mom.

They need some help. I can refer them to someone who’ll make them look like a million bucks, but it’s going to cost them some hard cash.

U.S. Supreme Court to take up Prop 8 case

This is interesting news.

The article also mentions the federal DOMA is also being taken up but the court too! This is great news. It means that we gay people will finally be granted our full measure as citizens of the United States should the court rule in our favor once again. And I suspect that when looked at logically both Prop 8 and the DOMA law are blatantly unconstitutional.

I think the reason the courts took up these cases is due to the fact that overall support for marriage equality is rising rapidly. Plus you have, as NOM likes to issue their unctuous crow, 32 states that have state law or constitutional amendments that, again to paraphrase NOM “Unite only man and woman in marriage”.

That kind of thing never sits well with any court, let alone the United States Supreme Court. Courts get downright cranky when you start grouping people into distinct classes. It’s sort of why I say here in RI our right to marry is headed for the judiciary – as it stands there are three or more classes of people in RI now.

Here’s the release:

Supreme Court Order

I direct your attention to 12-144 and 12-307 – that former is the Prop 8 case, the latter the DOMA challenge.

This is a really exciting time to be alive!

Religious wing-nuttery over marriage equality

So I was reading this post on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters and this paragraph grabbed my attention:

He went on to maintain that same-sex unions are a “narcissistic parody” of opposite-sex relationships as “homosexual relationships do not represent an authentic intimacy, but rather involve mutual exploitation for the sake of satisfying an unnatural lust” and lead to suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, violence along with other “destructive consequences.” “Homosexuals themselves, who are the greatest victims of the ‘gay lifestyle,’ and are in desperate need of the truth,” he writes.

Let’s break this down, shall we?

“Do not represent authentic intimacy” – the definition:

Of undisputed origin; genuine: “authentic 14th-century furniture”.
Made or done in the traditional or original way: “authentic Italian meals”.

So they’re trying to say because they dispute it our relationships aren’t authentic? Try again! He’s trying to make the wrong-parts argument and failing miserably because we all know better.

…but rather involve mutual exploitation for the sake of satisfying an unnatural lust…

But lust in itself is an immoral thing. Or so says the church. The unnatural part comes from nature being a code word for God. The thing is, in the Bible the prohibitions of a man lying with a man aren’t the word of God per se, but part of the Levitical code of conduct. In other words, written by primitive tribal societies who saw non-reproduction as un-natural.

…lead to suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, violence along with other “destructive consequences.”

Funny, I can only speak from my perspective here. First of all I’ve never contemplated suicide, only drink moderate amounts of alcohol, never abused drugs, and never suffered any violence. Then of course the writer completely gives a pass with “destructive consequences”. This is code speak for “The wages of sin are death.”

This is not to say that alot of gay and bisexual people and even straight people haven’t succumbed to diseases like HIV/AIDS, Herpes, etc. But that’s just it, Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, of the three names doesn’t understand the nature of disease, it’s not so much due to actions per se, but because of bacteria and viruses. Modern science has figured that part out for at least a century now.

And the only reason I’m the ‘greatest victim’ of my ‘gay lifestyle’ is only because religious bigots like Hoffman keep railing on, all up in the Kool Aid, and don’t know the flavor.

Getting ready to laugh at the chicken littles

By Chicken Littles I mean the people who think that when the current Mayan Epoch ends on Dec. 21, 2012 that the world will also end.

I’ve written before about end times prophesy and how it’s always been wrong. Sure, some day it’ll be right because even a stopped clock is right twice a day, assuming you have an analog clock left in your home.

So come Dec. 22, 2012 when the Earth is still going about it’s business of spinning around on it’s axis, and gradually precessing so that we in the northern hemisphere enter Winter, while those in the southern hemisphere enter Summer! I want to make enough money so that I can constantly follow summer. Yes, that is how much I hate winter.  And the Earth will still be going about it’s cycle around the sun, much to the dismay of the Catholic Hierarchy back around the 16th Century.

And there will be a whole bunch of people with the proverbial egg on their face! And I shall preemptively laugh at them. Suckers!

The Evolution of the Telephone

A thought occurred to me. The evolution of the telephone is fascinating. It was established in 1876. By this point a hard waging battle over the type of current transmitted to homes would be, Direct Current favored by Thomas Edison, and Alternating Current favored by Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse.

The telephone system of course uses a 48V DC circuit.

But the phone started as an instrument first in a common area of the home, one where you had to stand in front of the device to speak to the distant party.

But by the start of the 20th century – phones were rapidly evolving. It became readily apparent early on that you couldn’t hire enough switchboard operators to handle the rising call volumes seen by the early Bell System.

The dial telephone was invented by Almon Brown Strowger in 1891. But the Bell system didn’t fully adopt it until the late teens of the 20th century.

But adopt they did – using Strowgers Step by Step (SxS) system. You literally manipulated the switch train as you dialed. It was sort of a horribly inefficient system though.

SxS maintenance

Anyhow back to the 1920’s we started to see the phones with handsets and dials on them. But those phones required their network and ringing components to be located separately from the instrument itself.

Another development of the teens were the development of Panel switching. This was the very first of the common control types of switching equipment. In essence, everyone shared the same major elements in the switch train.

But Panel couldn’t keep up. In the mid 1920’s the started developing the #1 Crossbar. It was an ungainly beast of a switch but had capacities that far exceeded what Panel and Step by Step switches could handle. In addition, the #1 Crossbar introduced the element that you could use a specific switch element multiple times to complete calls.

By this point newer telephone with all components internal including network and ringer and handsets versus a separate ear piece and transmitter.

This is when you started seeing phones move from the common areas to the bedrooms, offices, etc.

And it carried on like this for another 50 years with moderate improvements in the telephone instrument. The 500 series represented the last great breakthrough in modern telephone service. And the Touch Tone derivative, the 2500 is still seen today.

And switching technology improved dramatically. The toll routing network was vastly improved in that time, to the point where it got so inexpensive that Bell couldn’t keep charging the exorbitant rates for long distance. This is what ultimately destroyed the Bell System. The MCI law suit challenged them on interconnection and they won.

Some of the notable switching improvements was the invention of the #5 Crossbar for local service, and the number 4A Crossbar for the toll network. Those increase the amount of common control and automation in the phone network.

But then, in the late 1950’s the Bell System started working with Electronic Switch Systems (ESS). The first ESS was a test in Morris, IL. They had to rework the whole system – the phones were different, the method of connection was different. But the key thing was, it proved advanced features like call waiting, Caller ID, three way calling, call forwarding, Centrex, etc.

But here’s where it gets interesting. The Bell System came up with the idea for cellular telephony back in the late 1930’s. They just lacked a critical element that we take for granted, widespread computing hardware in order to implement a cell system. It would take 40 years before they’d try again and this time with wild success.

Telephones then started moving from every room of the house to your cars and trucks.

But then micro-miniaturization gave us something luggable, then a brick, then a tiny brick, etc. so you could put the phone in your pocket.

But then the microprocessor revolution happened and now what we carry in our pockets has more computing power then some of the big main frame computers of the 1950’s and 1960’s. You most definitely have more computing power in your current phone than they did for the Apollo moon missions. In fact more than the computing power on the Space Shuttles.

Now we use our phones EVERYWHERE. We use them to talk to others and not just over the phone. I have an app called Echolink that lets me talk over amateur radio repeaters all over the world. And the phones have gained a measure of utility, like texting, web surfing, facebook, kindle and they’ve also become our music libraries.

So there has been progress made on the phone front. I suspect if A.G. Bell himself could see it he’d be astounded at what his simple invention has become.

Boycott the Boy Scouts

So I was reading this over on Laughing in Purgatory

So a December 1st challenge is to write about why you shouldn’t support the Boy Scouts of America.

A little disclaimer here – I was a half-hearted scout back in the 70’s. I was a member first of Troop 42 in Pawtucket, RI and lastly Troop 13 in Providence, RI.

I think the reason I was half-hearted was due to the fact that I knew eventually my disbelief would come out full force. Plus I was starting to realize I was gay, not the only one of course, but I knew that was extreme grounds.

I loved the camp outs. The rest of it, the merit badges, meh.

But I no longer support scouting. First of all because I’m gay and they have a horrid history of discrimination against gay people. Then because I’m an atheist and that runs smack into their little “You can’t be a good scout if you don’t believe in a sky fairy.”

That last part bothers me more than anything. Because the scouts bolster a belief that without God you cannot be moral. I can tell them beyond a shadow of doubt that my morality is probably much more developed than theirs. I don’t have to depend on ten commandments, or other ridiculous notions to inform my view of what is right and what is wrong.