Month: September 2013

And Marriage Equality inches forward in the U.S. again

With a lawsuit in Virginia finally being joined by the team at AFER with the star attorneys Olson and Boies to challenge their ban on same sex marriage. And now I hear there’s even a suit in West Virginia to overturn their ban is ongoing too.

It’s a piecemeal approach. But eventually here’s how I see it playing out.

First let me state that the judicial process – the arguments presented by the anti-equality crowd have NO basis at all in reality. They’re all predicated upon a religious argument which don’t play well in the judiciary circles. Put it this way, every marriage case brought before the courts in recent memory, the bigots have lost and we have won.

So I give Virginia and West Virginia a  high probability of overturning the bans and instituted equality.

And if they go I suspect North Carolina and even Kentucky might go right after that.

We’re now at a tipping point when you consider that almost the entirety of the west coast, the northeast U.S., New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland – it’s moving down the eastern seaboard at quite a rapid clip.

Not much going on

Well – there’s the face to face on Tuesday this coming week for a job that could be quite lucrative.

And yesterday it was the DC401 Fallsgiving celebration. DC401 for the uninformed is the local Defcon group.

Then Thursday go meet with a client. A little more work on that contract.

And Tuesday is also the day the Health Care Reform Act or ObamaCare takes effect for enrollment. And of course there is all sorts of bullshit floating around out there and moves to delay, defund, etc. especially by Tea Bagger himself Sen. Ted Cruz. Actually saw a clip of Cruz trying to act as though he’s defending the people of the U.S. It was pretty appalling.

Raspberry Pi Notes

Some time ago I had written about how to setup the image on an SD card. The steps required are:
1) Erase the card and don’t leave a file system on it.

2) Write the Debian Weezy image onto the now cleared card.

In a prior post I had said:

flashnul F -L L:\2012-09-18-wheezy-raspbian\2012-09-18-wheezy-raspbian.img And off you go. Mine is flashing it onto the SD card now. Taking awhile but it works! The -L option means LOAD. So I told it flashnul F – that’s the drive I want the image loaded onto, in this case F: in windows parlance. That path that starts with L:\  – that’s where my source file lives.


It still applies – except somtimes you have to type the drive as F: – it’s a Windows relic.

I also found out yanking the power cord on the RasPi corrupts the image. So that’s not cute. But it does mean my RasPi went from 8GB to 32GB.

So the MetroPCS issue automagically fixed itself

The other phone started working so I figured I’d try mine. It worked! Now I don’t know if this was a result of:

a) MetroPCS doing maintenance (Hint guys – you don’t do maintenance during prime time!)

b) MetroPCS took my complaint and fixed the issue

or and highly likely

c) The fact I filed yet another FCC complaint against them.

or it could be a combination of a, b and c!

MetroPCS Service outage again

This is getting to be a recurrent theme with MetroPCS.

This morning Keyron asked me to call his phone because he didn’t think it was working. Lo and behold mine wasn’t either.

The funny part – last time it was voice and net that went out but SMS worked. Now voice and SMS are out but on my phone net service works just fine. I can access the web, facebook, etc. without issues.

I’ve gone through the rigamarole with their tech support – But like it or not, this now impacts both their 4G and 1X networks in Providence. None of this happened before they got bought out by T-Mobil. Once that happened they got to do network upgrades except that it breaks some older firmware on phones.

I think my next action is to file TWO FCC complaints – one for each phone that lacks any voice service. That seems to have lit the proverbial fire under their posterior last time. While there’s not much regulation on mobile phones, there are still fines if one cannot access E-911 services.

What each state stands out for in the U.S.

ImageNotice Rhode Island – Lowest Sulfur Dioxide emissions. There are a few reasons for that. Let me explain:

1) Most of our electric generation is fired by natural gas, not coal or oil.

2) Our public transit infrastructure uses low sulfur diesel fuel.

2a) Since it makes no sense for oil companies to deliver low sulfur fuel to just public transit it’s likely that the stations that sell diesel are also using low sulfur fuel.

3) We have had and probably still do good representation for environmental law in the state. So that likely had an impact.

Now if we could only do something about the gasoline powered vehicles. I keep saying, if you can get the range of electric vehicles up to 200 miles, quick re-charge on the order of 10 to 15 minutes and a price under $20K you could replace EVERY SINGLE gasoline powered passenger car within 5 to 7 years. And even though the cars allegedly only contribute 38% of the greenhouse gases it’s still a significant reduction in carbon dioxide, benzene etc. if we went pure electric.

So Once again with Microsoft Visual Studio

This time it’s Visual Studio 2012. Comes with C++, C# and VisualBASIC. Hmm – I had picked up a cheap learn C# book. I already have more than a passing familiarity with C++ and C and C# (Pronounced C Sharp) isn’t that much different except it’s Microsoft’s version of C++.

As such it has limitations. One of the best features of C++ is object oriented programming. Inherent in that is the fact that the object you create can have what is called polymorphism and inheritance and attendant overloading of methods.

In C++ you’re pretty much unlimited to overloaded methods. But in Microsoft’s fucking wisdom, you get by one in C#. One. Are they serious?

I can sort of understand why they’d do this, as overloading methods can get to be a little hairy with memory management but that’s always been the trade-off in higher level programming languages.

I should mention, most of the code base of Window 7 and Windows 8 are written in, you guessed it, C#.

But I do find it interesting that Microsoft still bundles C++ in there. As a reference point I believe Windows XP was written in C++ which may account for some of the limitations of the operating system and the lack of the new Windows filesystem. But there’s still a hell of a lot of XP machines out there. Particularly in government settings.

Police Brutality and why it happens

I hate to say this but at our root we humans are nasty beasts. I follow on rss and I’m always appalled by bad police behavior, the most recent being the young man who was in a car accident, and banged on a person’s door. That person was a woman who’d been abused by her husband so she called the police. When the young man approached the police they SHOT HIM TO DEATH. In this particular instance the cop who shot the guy is at least charged with manslaughter.

Now in the more egregious categories of police behavior I note a lot of it is black ‘perpetrator’ white cop. The one really irks me. We see it in the ridiculous stop & frisk program in NYC, or here in RI where if you’re driving while black you’re four times more likely to be pulled over.

But as to the why – there were two studies done between the 1960’s and 1970’s that peel away the veneer behind human behavior.

The first is that we humans are capable of some really sadistic and depraved acts. But we have to be given the AUTHORITY to commit those acts. We’ve seen this play out in our military misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So I’ll start with the Millgram study first performed in 1961. 

And the experiments have been repeated. Here’s the setup – a man in a lab coat or other symbol of authority has a man or woman seated before a console. The role of that person is to ask a man in a remote room a series of questions and when the man answers incorrectly the person at the console administers an electric shock, increasing the voltage as the number of incorrect answers is given. At some point the ‘man’ in the remote room cries out in pain.

A pretty good majority of the people just keep amping it up. What the videos don’t generally show though is some people WILL in fact question authority and refuse to administer the increasing voltage. I fall on that side of things. To me I understand that authority is a somewhat false notion and I understand the symbols and practices.

The other study is the Zimbardo Prison Experiment.

That one goes a little farther than the Millgram experiment. It removes the immediate authority.

Now you see how things like the atrocities of Nazi Germany could happen, or the police brutality and racism that is still as prevalent as it was in the 1960’s, in fact worse. It’s because part of the obedience that we use to keep society running also has a dark side. That dark side is practiced by military men, police and even con artists.

In essence our boys in blue are no better than the soldier of Nazi Germany. That’s a shocker but it’s evident in statements like “People don’t become cops because they are humanitarians.”. 

And think about the role of authority in your life. It is very evident in your education, and in the work place it’s even more so. It is sort of the glue that holds society together. But some of us, we question authority. Even in Nazi Germany you had the White Rose movement that KNEW what their brethren were doing was wrong and made and effort to knock it down. 

And here in the U.S. we do have some good cops. Recall Serpico, or Adrian Scowcraft or possibly Schoolcraft. The problem though is that those whistleblowers are ejected from the force post haste. You cannot have society realizing that authority is only a thin veneer of society.



Ruh Roh – Raspberry Pi doesn’t like being randomly non-gracefully rebooted

Accidentally power cycled my RasPi a few times too many and it corrupted something. It comes up in command line which I’m fine with except that the paths are all fubar and you have to absolute everything, e.g. /usr/bin/vim.tiny filename.  Plus it complains LOUDLY when it boots – something on the ext4 volume is corrupted but I cannot get fsck to fix it.

And I cannot mount the SD card on my computer – the system won’t even see it.

Now the card was the former 8GB card I’d gotten with my phone. But I ordered a 32GB card and I’ll just flash the raspi distro on it and start over.

And what a production getting it on HDMI. First off the HDMI1 port on my TV is recessed and then lateral so you have a very small space in which to plug in an HDMI cable. But I had to order a right angle HDMI male to female adapter. That solved the problem as it just fit in the cable head space.