Month: August 2015

Policing: It’s time to disarm all police in the United States

Ok, I’ve seen quite enough. Hundreds of people, both black and white have lost their lives because of what in the 1960’s and even today is known as trigger happy policing.

It all comes from two things. First it’s the use of the Wonderlich test to filter intelligent people out of police forces. The second is their training. They aren’t trained to de-escalate a situation, they’re taught to shoot first and ask questions later.

I say this as someone who has/had family members who were police officers and firefighters or were at one time or another.  The good ones, the intelligent ones leave the departments after a few years. Because they see what is wrong. I worked with and got to know several ex police during my time at the Attorney General’s office.

So maybe it’s time we all start lobbying to disarm all police in the United States. Make them use the most dangerous weapon available to man – the human mind instead. Teach them conflict de-escalation techniques.

And there’s another thing – I’m disturbed by police claiming they feared for their lives. Look, when you become police you have to put that bovine effluent aside. You have to know you life may be forfeit at some point. Accept that and stop with the bogus claims.

This only works if you live in the burbs

Click to embiggen. 

Around these parts we use huge barrels with covers so no visible garbage. And Since there is a lot of higher density housing in the city  a lot of it is private hauling so we don’t have to sort recyclables. And all you’d find is a lot of peelings from vegetables like beets, carrots, potatoes, etc. Or refuse from kale, broccoli and the like.

You’ll find quite a bit of Trader Joe’s packaging in our trash. That’s par for the course of modern life even If we do have to haul over 10 miles to get to the nearest Trader Joe’s. It’s funny – in the city proper we only get Stop & Shop, Aldi, Whole Foods and Price Rite. No big box stores other than Walmart. But go 10 miles south there’s Trader Joe’s, Target, Best Buy, etc. Heavy retail is all oriented toward the suburbs of the state.

I’ve noticed something else – we city folks don’t do shorts in the summer or at least without frequency. But go into the burbs and everyone is in shorts and sandals or flip flops. It’s like the suburban uniform.

Here in the city if you want to know more about the neighbors sure you can rifle through their trash but that’s tacky. You can tap their phone and network connections but that too walks the line. And for the more criminal among us just break on in, you can learn loads about people that way.

Well – that ends this post. Gotta head back to Newport. Been spending a lot of time down there.

Thoughts upon leaving a job

For one of the first times upon leaving a job I was thanked for what I’d done. That was pretty amazing.

Another thing struck me. One of my parting conversations with another at the job we were lamenting the dysfunctional nature of the place. It was I who accused them of not being able to see the forest for the trees. That was related to them paying $30K a month to a defense contractor when they could have shelled out 1/3 or less that and kept me on staff. But they are playing it safe – and contracting everything out.

But something else hit me – I was told they went through a ton of people they interviewed who were to put it gently, great on paper but horrible otherwise. But I was chosen for this position.

Sort of playing out the same on the new job. I guess I know Unix and Linux well enough now that it shows.

It’s funny – the company I worked for is trying to hire a devops type – which is sort of what I am. But the guy I was talking to on the job told me they can’t find anyone. They’re suffering the same thing – good on paper – not so good in real life. Me I’m good on both paper and in real life.

And after many years in the field I’m now know as a Linux guy. That’s interesting.

One of the things I liked about this last position was toward the latter half I was working with another Linux guy – both of us pretty up there skill wise. But the give and take was great. I picked up the skill of using cut -d and he got how to nice a process from me.

It wasn’t a bad job – the commute could be hellish on occasion. But all in all it was pretty good. Now onto bigger and better. Finally break the six figure barrier. That is something good.

Ordered: A pulse-oximeter

It was $13. Be interesting to mess around with it and maybe hack it a bit.

The tech behind it is cool. It’s essentially a light source that can detect the pulse and oxygen content of the blood in your finger.

I’ve had one attached to me twice in my life – once when I came down with strep throat, once when I had my wisdom teeth out.

I just think it’s fascinating that the technology is now available for $13 U.S. Amazing.

More on Windows 10

So the installer detects what was previously on that machine and installs the appropriate version. Hence when I looked at the properties it said Windows 10 Pro.

You can get to said properties bu clicking the start button and then right clicking on File Explorer and then clicking on Properties.

Win10-File-Explorer-Properties

And son of a bitch here it is, Windows 10 Pro: UntitledOne thing I notice about the windows in Windows 10 is that the minimize, maximize, close segment seems to be more separated. Makes for somewhat easier clicking. The style is interesting  as there’s no more gray border on windows. It’s just straight out white now.

Regards security – I don’t have permissions to save into my pictures folder. That’s due to the fact it’s copied over from an old XP machine. I’ll fix that eventually.

Not as painful as I’d imagined it would be. Granted some features that I’d just gotten used to in XP and Windows 7 – Microsoft did their usual and shuffled it up a bit.

But if you want to know – the key differences between Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro – the latter can connect to Active Directory servers and domains. Home can’t. That’s really the big difference.

Uggh Opera

I know I’m going to offend a whole lot of people but I’ll go for it anyway.

Tonight I had the rare ‘treat’ to be in the company of a couple of Opera Queens. And so we watched La Traviata – or more like read it because it was in sung Italian which makes it doubly difficult to comprehend.

It’s a dead art form. Seriously – back in the mid 19th century when entertainment was shall we say tightly controlled I can see how Opera may have been an escape. But now we have a plethora of other entertainment options. I mean right at this moment I’m listening to Earth Wind & Fire’s “Saturday Night”. Good tune.

But we all have our thing – Me I like like a few different genres of music including Jazz, r&B, soul but even classic and progressive rock. Another of our friends can’t stand jazz.

But I rank opera right in the upper echelons of boring things like football and watching paint dry. Seriously.

I’ve never been one for read between the lines type of shit. I think they’re just trying to be clever. Note I said trying. And failing miserably.

Reading: Dealers of Lightning

So one thing about commuting into Cambridge every day is that I’ve become  once again a voracious reader. And I’m not talking what I consider the classics like Black Like Me, Brave New World, A Kiss Before Dying, The Greek Tragedies, etc.

No I’m talking books that delve into the psyche of the discoveries that have shaped the modern world. Be it one about Bell Labs in their heyday, MIT’s Rad Lab, DARPA, Xerox PARC, and the Manhattan Project.

The book is by Michael Hiltzik and titled “Dealers of Lightning”. A fascinating romp through the personalities that gave us modern technology. Everything we do on computers – it came out of someones mind. Think about that for a second. It’s fascinating.

I’ve just begun reading but am already notating the thing like crazy. The management style omnipresent in all those books – interdisciplinary teams but better yet, the men who built those teams. I suppose it interests me because i found out well over a decade ago that my management style is team builder.

But here’s the synopsis of the developments to come out of Xerox PARC:

  • Graphic User Interface
  • Ethernet – the predominant networking technology. Somewhere in your home if you have internet service there are Ethernet ports.
  • Laser Printers

And a brief view of how we got where we are today:

  • Bell Labs invents the transistor in the late 1940’s
  • Transistor is further developed in the 1950’s.
  • By the 1950’s computers start coming to the fore – but they’re basically calculating machines. Still are to some degree today.
  • By the 1960’s we start seeing people frustrated by the non-interactive nature of computing. I got exposed to this in the early 1980’s when I took a PL/I programming course. We had to use IBM Model 29 card punch machines to code up our programs and then submit a deck of cards to be processed. The book laments the pitfalls of such, like your 6000 line program craps at line 430 because you forgot a comma. So you fix the comma issue and re-submit the deck. Then you realize you somehow swapped the 0 and O characters on line 5400. It was frustrating and could take DAYS. For me it was particularly frustrating as I’d started the programming kick with an interactive time shared system call RSTS/E that ran on a DEC PDP-11/70.
  • But in the 1960’s men like Bob Taylor, and his crew plus the general area around Silicon Valley started bubbling with ideas from how to hook computers together, to time sharing, to early graphic user interfaces. Hell I’ve seen Spacewar on a DEC PDP-12 LINC. (LINC is Laboratory Instrument Computer)
  • And right now I’m posting this on a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) machine running Windows 10.
  • They also dreamed up small, portable computing. Sitting right next to me are my cell phone and my Amazon Fire HD6 tablet. Between them they represent the culmination of all of the above.
  • I’m waiting to see where the quantum world takes us. Imagine computing on such a massive parallel quantum system – this is at the level down below the atom which is where we are now.
  • I also see much more immersive systems coming with high quality 3D systems, etc.

Needless to say I’m tearing through the book rapidly. Because I also like knowing where we came from. I got to experience some of that. But by the time I’d gotten there a lot had been settled already. But then, who knows where I’ll end up.