Month: May 2014

Women’s Fund Gubernatorial Debate in RI

So this evening I attended the Women’s Fund Gubernatorial Debate along with candidate Todd Giroux.

All the candidates were there both Democrat and Republican. Now for my observations:

Todd Giroux (D) – He does need to smooth the act out a little bit. It’s why I recorded all his answers so we can post mortem again. But he is still in my opinion the only gubernatorial candidate with a plan.

Ken Block (R) – if he wasn’t a Republican I’d likely be in his camp. We’re both I.T. guys and he is a pretty good story teller.

Gina Raimondo (D) – he staff must be telling her to stop using the emphatic hands bit. Almost though I saw her sitting on her hands for a moment there.

Allan Fung (R)- current mayor of Cranston, RI. And I thought his name rang a bell. He and I both served at the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General at the same time. Didn’t strike me as a remarkable prosecutor.

Angel Taveras (D) – current mayor of Providence, RI. He and Fung attended the same high school which I suspect was Classical. I almost made a comment vis a vis that oh you Classical people, can’t hold a candle to we LaSalle boys.

Herbert ‘Clay’ Pell – He gave the most bizarre parting remarks about he LGBT community, etc. It was the WTF moment of the evening.

Did get to meet Ernie Almonte who is running for treasurer too.

Come to think of it the only one whose hand I didn’t get to shake was Gina Raimondo. She arrived late – that’s probably why. But I am a firm believer in the idea that politics should in fact be a contact sport. Wherever I go – one of the first things I do is get to know the politicians. Hell, might as well know the lay of the land so to speak.

First real test of the Baofeng B580T

I realize – I took it off the charger on Friday afternoon, had it on and listening most of Saturday and Sunday. Transmitted a few times. Now here it is Monday evening and it’s still going. Pretty good battery performance. 

Now the Yaesu – that one pretty much lives in the charger these days. 

Dell Studio 15xx series random shutdowns

I’ve had this happen on the Studio 1535 I’m using. I had a suspicion it was heat related. Because anytime one of the vents was even partially blocked it’d randomly shut down. 

Now here’s another thing – this machine has the Nvidia video card in it. That baby consumes a fair amount of power plus it generates a pretty good amount of heat. 

Block any of the vents and poof – power off. I even watch the logs on the system and I see the CPU’s throttle back if they get a little too hot. 

So it’s a feature – not a bug per se. Yeah and I’ve seen this behavior in any system that runs hot. Got to keep the vents free from obstruction if you want a reliable system – keep those vents clear! 


When information technology even scares me

So I’m sure you all know about IBM’s Watson project and how the first iteration took a room full of servers where now it fits in a server approximately the size of a pizza box. But all Watson did was relate information – it had basic algorithms to make decisions upon but not so advanced. 

And now there’s The Debater. I joking said this computer better have a big red off switch and/or a large axe next to it in case they needed to reprogram the beast. That latter is a reference to something Zaphod Beeblebrox said to the ship board computer in the book the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. 

Now I can sort of prognosticate here and show you what The Debater as they call it will be capable of doing. Kiss attorneys and judges goodbye. Kiss doctors goodbye. Kiss pretty much all knowledge workers goodbye. It’s scary as hell. Something approximately the size of a pizza box will be more capable than a human.

You have to wonder what is going to happen to humanity when whole swaths of the economy get wiped out in a single pass. But then it reminds me of yet another movie – Colossus: The Forbin Project. An intelligent and self aware super computer decides that humanity is the problem in that one. Gets control of the nuclear arsenal and well at the end is the stunning phrase “Never!”

So it could go either way – an intelligent and logical debater could use it’s capacity for the betterment of mankind or threaten to wipe US off the planet a la Terminators and SkyNet. Only time will tell.  

Thursday: What I did today

I met with the Chairman of the Rhode Island Democratic Party David Caprio, along with representatives from the other Democratic candidates for Governor. 

Getting ready for the big event – the event that throws the Democratic party’s endorsement to the candidate of their choosing. 

BTW, I don’t know if you’ve noted it yet but I’m the Data Analyst/Advisor for the Todd Giroux for Governor 2014 campaign. And I’m now wearing multiple hats – for example I’m now point of contact between the campaign and the Democratic Party. Oh my. 

And I even offered my I.T. services to the state Democratic party today. I heard their director lamenting that every time they print to their Ricoh printer it kicks the whole office off the internet. I’ll probably go and run Wireshark and see what is actually going on. It could be as simple a recommendation as putting in a new network switch. We’ll see.