Thursday
Oct182007

An idea and an experiment

So, I've been mulling something over in my head for a little while. So far, most people think I'm crazy for even thinking of attempting what I'm about to describe. I want to try carefully controlling the news content I view.

First, let me talk about what my overall goal is here. I would like to find out what drives the horrible things we see on Television and hear on the radio every day. What causes news outlets to describe horrific crimes committed against innocent and undeserving victims. Is it conditioning, or do we have some voracious appetite for horrible images? What if we were to cut all of these scenes of senseless acts against humanity out of our lives? Would our outlook on life and humanity change? Would there be some paradigm shift?

My plan so far is to devise an experiment that will last for one full year. I have not nailed down the exact criteria, or even the exact parameters of the experiment. But, so far I've got the general idea pretty well fleshed out. Because I get almost all of my news from the Internet, I am able to easily filter out what sources I do and do not want to read. I can carefully craft my intake to the point where I no longer see the negative, graphic news from the popular outlets. In fact, I already do this on a simplified basis, and on several occasions I have not known about "popular" stories of the day.

While many people have argued it is not possible to prevent any "bad" news from entering someone's life, I would have to strongly disagree. I firmly believe that with a small amount of effort those that are interested can drastically alter the information they receive throughout the day. Again, using myself as an example- I prefer news about technology rather than news about celebrities. So, on most of of my news sources, I tell their RSS widget that I am uninterested in celebrity news. Thus far, it has worked great.

Hopefully this test will prove fruitful. I hope to not only prove that it is possible to completely dispose of the negative news in our lives, but I would also like to find more sources of more "mainstream" sources of filtered news feeds. Perhaps, if this experiment proves successful, others interested could learn how from me. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to say, "I'm tired of hearing about Britney, Paris, Lindsay, and the others", and then just remove their names from any news items you get in the future?

 

Friday
Oct122007

Stop. Now.

This entry goes out to everyone. Put your political views aside, shut up for five minutes, and read. If you don't like what I have to say here, don't talk to me until you come up with something good to say.

I have sat by for far too long listening to people turn completely normal conversations about completely normal topics into "The War" or "Bush" discussions. Stop. I don't give a damn about your insufferable opinion anymore, and I certainly don't need you to reiterate it for the 500th time today. Enough is enough. Besides, you sound like morons.

We can all agree that war is bad. We can also all pretty much agree that our current presidential cabinet is not up to par. Topic closed. Discussion ended. Let's move on to you pissing me off.

Scene: Walking into grocery store, I see a box of grape nuts.
Me: Oh! Grapenuts are my favorite!
You: Nuts like George Bush?
Me: Never speak to me again.

You see, it's grating and completely unnecessary to take a typical discussion about mundane topics and turn it into a political discussion. I don't care about your views, opinions, what political blogs you read, or who you are voting for. You see, it was a SECRET ballot so this kind of crap wouldn't happen. By trying to bully or strong-arm people into believing what you believe, you destroy the system. So, way to go democracy hater.

Seriously, though. If you're going to continue doing this kind of crap, please avoid talking to me. Avoid me at all costs, in fact. Because if you actually launch into your anti-war rhetoric near me, I will verbally assault you with the force of five Monty Python skits.

 

Wednesday
Sep262007

Many of you know that I run Ubuntu Linux as my primary operating system. As of a little more than a month ago, I have been running the latest test version (7.10), code named Gutsy Gibbon. Gutsy has proven to be extremely stable, reliable, and relatively quick. When you consider the fact that it isn't even considered to be beta quality, things look pretty bright.

Of course, there is a down side to all of this. Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon will be released on October 18, which means development work has kicked up to a frenzy. All of the different groups responsible for all of the different software that will make it into the latest release have to compile, test, and submit their software for final inclusion. This means most developers are going flat out, and not concerning themselves with what functionality they may be breaking. In the past few weeks, there have been several issues that I've experienced due to installing updates.

This may seem like a bad thing to most people, but in reality it isn't. Microsoft and Apple don't allow their users to interact with their products at such an early stage, which turns out to be a bad thing. What I have found is that with more people actually using and testing your software at a very early stage, you will receive better quality and more significant bug reports. Basically, that is to say if I change one piece of software out of 2500 and a bug crops up, my users can more readily identify what has caused the bug, and I can therefore fix it faster. If I were to just dump 2500 pieces of software onto someone's desk, it would potentially take them months to test every single one.

Anyway, I will be blogging more about Gutsy in the coming weeks leading up to its release. I will also most likely try to find ways to help developers better work with the Dell Vostro series of notebooks. Currently, I have a few issues when suspending and hibernating my new laptop. This is the first time I've had such issues on a Laptop with Linux, and I'd love to be able to assist in solving them.

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