This one is for all those who feel like they are banging their heads against a brick wall trying to make a new work computer do what you had finally managed to work around effectively in the old system.  First off, I work for a company that seems to think technology will solve their problems.  About three or four years ago they decided to do a major roll-out of laptops to us and even brought us in for training.  Should be smooth sailing right?  Wrong, bugs kept occurring using the old system programs that we used to do our work.  The people who send us information still did a lousy job of back checking what they sent or did not send it at all.  None of them used the same program when creating the information and lots of times, I did not have the program or version necessary to open or manipulate the file as I needed.  Finally, they would update our systems and programs periodically without informing us.  I would go looking for a button I used a hundred times and it wasn’t their.

Now, about a month ago, we were issued new Samsung Galaxy tablets.  These were to solve a lot of our problems my boss said; the people who send our information out will be forced by the physical and programmed limits of the new system to learn one way of doing things.  You can imagine my enthusiastic response.  Of course, it wasn’t long before the problems I expected to see started cropping up.  The best one; however, is that a lot of the help desk personnel were trained on dealing with issues on the old system and were literally thrown into the new system.  Another fun issue is that you can’t hover a pointer over an icon to find out what it is and with all my programs changed to work on the tablet, I have to poke and hope I don’t mess myself up to badly.  Several programs will say I am not authorized to use them when I touch them the first time, but let me in when I touch them again.  Many of the human resource activities I have to do were done on websites designed for full featured computers that are not apparently compatible with the watered down systems of the tablet and are thus a nightmare to work with now.  Another funny issue occurred with a new program we had to train for from an outside company.  The training could not be viewed on our tablet so they put a halt on our returning the old computers so we could use them for the training.  Basically, the tested system was not really tested; I would like to see the people who tested these things.  In the end, we are still not getting all the information we need, the information is still be sent in ways that were supposed to disappear and when I point these out to my boss, he gives me pat, good-sounding answers that sometimes contradict the very things he promoted.

The whole point of this post is to tell all these over optimistic, technology loving wunderkinds that utopia cannot come from a computer.  Technology will never fix our problems.  Yes, they can help and be fun, but the factors that make utopia will not be found in a computer because it has to come from within us.  Because we do not all have the same views of utopia or know how to achieve them, a computer will not know either since we are the ones to program and design them.  Also, computers will continue to under achieve our expectations because they cannot fix stupid and humans are choke full of all kinds of stupid (stupid from greed, arrogance, pride, ignorance, inexperience, religion, politics, etc.).  We are affected by all of these things and, thus, so will be the things we make.  The old computer adage will always apply no matter how much we improve a system, garbage in equals garbage out, ’nuff said.

On the Shores of the Infinite

Courtesy of Image Shack

Woke up with this thought in my head about computer animation in games and movies.  People have  stated the impossibility of creating computer characters and worlds that are as believable as the real world we look at everyday, while I may be treading in waters swum in by others, here are my thoughts on the reason why this is the truth.

Computer animated characters and worlds will always give themselves away no matter how good they get because of one reason.  Our world and our perceptions are created from an infinite well.  We may be consciously fooled by our desire to live extraordinary lives of fantasy in immersive computer generated worlds, but our subconscious will always know the difference.  Our minds are designed to perceive the world around us, which is made of infinite layers of matter and interactions and was laid down long before computers came along.  In other words, the computer generated worlds will always be lagging behind in depth compared to the world we can physically perceive.

Yes, computer simulations can and will improve vastly, but they will always lag behind what was created before.  Yes, we can be consciously fooled, in some ways, because we will never be truly able grasp the entirety of the world around us.  This is because no human that has lived so far has lived long enough to experience every facet of the infinite ocean we live near.  We stand on the shore of infinity and wade into the shallows then try to make a copy with our computers.  Think of the lessons learned from fractal geometry with its infinitely repeating patterns, can we truly capture every nuance of the world we live within?

Interesting addendum, even though computers will never be able to make worlds as realistic as our own, the worlds they create will carry the infinite nature of our world in them through the infinite interactions of the materials and programs the computer is made of.  In other words, they are infinite because they are made from our reality.

These damn minorities are sucking this country dry.

Courtesy of Image Shack

Let me preface this post by saying that I am going to write a lot of stereotypical bigotry about minorities in America, not as a supporter, but as a means to an end.  I hope you are willing to wade through the slander to reach an ending  I hope explains and enlightens.  To those who have read many of my previous posts, you will know that these venomous sentences do not represent my way of thinking; however, I will not lie and say that the thoughts have never crossed my mind.  I am human after all.

Let’s begin.  Those lazy blacks are nothing but criminals and welfare suckers who never do a descent days work.  They live for the government handout, screwing hardworking citizens out of their money by living off the our taxes.  They ruin the areas they live in and expect taxpayers to pick up the tab.  Mexicans, on the other hand, steal jobs from honest Americans and bring their families along to overrun our great democracy.  They are good for nothing criminals grabbing government benefits without paying taxes.  The Chinese are taking all of the good high-tech jobs and manufacturing so that honest Americans have to survive on the scraps.  White people are getting screwed by these minorities leaching all the money out of our economy and expecting the government to subsidize their extravagant lifestyles.  They are sucking this country dry and we shouldn’t put up with it anymore.  How dare they?

Oh, wait a minute,  I think I forgot a minority.  One that is a small percentage of America’s population yet wields an extremely loud voice within the halls of government.  They cry foul whenever anyone demands they give up their government dole or are asked to contribute more and take less.  They constantly rally to create legislation favorable to themselves no matter the cost to other taxpayers and when it results in a big corrupt fiasco, they blame others and act like the wounded party.   They demand that the rest of us owe them the lifestyles they have.

Yes, yes, now I remember, they are the wealthiest 1%.  For a small minority, they have rigged our government to feed them money hand over fist and complain that we don’t do enough for them.  Their voice causes government officials to quake in fear of standing up to them or in exultation at the prospect of shadowy perks.  Their methods are so insidious that many of us give to them unquestioningly while we begrudge a poor person help with medical costs.  It amazes me how blind we can be to the abuses of this small minority just because it comes in a glitzy wrapper, which we sadly believe will be shared with us.  Wake up and see that the rich are scamming the system as much as any other person who doesn’t really need the help.  For every welfare queen there is a corrupt CEO looking for ways to get money for nothing and we are paying for both.

Hooray for the Shutdown

Believe it or not, I am not a Republican sympathizer, but I still want the shutdown to continue, not because I want to see people hurt, but that I want to open the eyes of the idiots who support the no government agenda.  It is always easier to say get rid of something when you assume it will have no effect on you.  Most of the non 1% people who side with the radical Tea Party Republican movement have absolutely no idea of how entwined the US Government is within their lives.

They take for granted services such as police forces, emergency services, food and health inspections, courts, laws, government paychecks, etc.  When more and more government employees are without pay and businesses are not making sales and begin lays as well, maybe they will see how much their job depends on the government.  When government activities that they did not know affected their lives begin to rear their heads, maybe they will learn.  When the 1% does nothing for them when the effects hit them, maybe they will understand that they are nothing but cannon fodder for the 1%.

I hate to see people suffer, which is why I made arguments for the bail out of Wall Street although it made me mad; however, I am now seeing that as a mistake.  Not because I agree with the Republican view that we should have stayed out and let the markets handle the problem, but because I believe people really needed to see the real results of the stupid improperly regulated economic system we created.  By easing the effects of the disastrous activities of the banking sector, people soon forgot the damage that was done and went back to doing business as usual, no lessons learned.  We are still following the same model that created the meltdown and will cause it again in the future.

I say make it hurt, even though it scares me.  If we don’t quit paying for our former prosperity and our current status-quo with the money of our children, they will have nothing.  This country needs severely shaken out of its comfortable illusions of superiority and security.  Again, I say hooray for the shutdown.

Money for Nothing

I had to laugh this morning when I saw the news blurb on my e-mail home page before I went to my mail.  It stated that the house had passed a bill assuring that furloughed government workers would receive back pay for their time off.  Really, fiscal conservatives?  This is how you show your superior governing abilities?  You hold our government hostage, by the way this means you are holding the country hostage as well, by saying you won’t make a budget until Obama care is repealed as a law since it will cost the country too much, then when the #$@%**! hits the fan you turn around and say we are taking you hostage, but we will pay for it.

First question, if Congress is so fiscally responsible, why are they still getting paid during all of this?  If their paychecks were on the line, I bet they would work a lot faster to resolve the issue.  Second question, again about fiscal responsibility, if the government and the country cannot afford Obama care, how can they afford to pay government workers for doing nothing?  Make no mistakes about it, that is exactly what the GOP and Tea Party Republican’s are trying to do with this bill.  They want to be able to have their cake and eat it too.  On one hand, they are showing the country how far they are willing to go to get their way, even endangering the safety of this country, which is another fact lost on these idiots.  By causing so much confusion and disruption publicly, they are tempting are enemies to take advantage of the situation.  On the other, they are attempting to mitigate some of the economic havoc they have created by paying government employees for staying home.  Basically, they are giving government employees free paid shutdown holidays.

This congress is like a spoiled brat who throws a tantrum because their friends didn’t give them all their attention and then when their parents reach out to spank them, they cower and promise to do all their homework, or take out the trash, or anything not to get spanked.  Well, you have thrown your tantrum at the cost of this countries safety and it is time to stand up and take your punishment like an adult.  If your reasons are as important to you as you are showing, then take your licks and stick to your guns.  If, however, you are realizing the mistake you made, then make a true amends and take you punishment.  Learn your lesson and move on, quit playing games.

For a solid write-up on the situation, go to Stonekettle Station by Jim Wright on facebook and look at the post titled “Deadlock”.  I would post a link, but that stuff is beyond me when it comes to facebook.

The Last Dark by Stephen R Donaldson

Here is the review I posted for the last Thomas Covenant book:

The Last Dark: The climax of the entire…

The pacing is strong and the hardships are many in this concluding book of the Thomas Covenant Chronicles.  While some of the revelations are enjoyable to read, they are somewhat telegraphed, which takes some of the oomph out of them.  There are two very noticeable missing elements at the end that I would have liked to see more writing given in explanation.  I won’t reveal them for spoiler reasons but the omissions spoke loudly to me.  Also, the ending did not strive very hard to wrap up a series of the this magnitude in my opinion.  In the end, while enjoyable, the book did not leave me with a sense of awe.  I have read several books where I was left in a happy daze after finishing the book, my mind constantly reaching back and savoring passages for days.  This was not one of those books.

Cross Your Fingers

Please cross your fingers for me because I have sent another story out to a magazine.  I e-mailed my story “Sanity” to Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds, which was not my first consideration for this story.  I had actually planned to give this one to Innsmouth Magazine because it is basically a horror story that I tried to aim for that venue, but they are currently closed to submissions so I looked for another home for “Sanity”.  That actually sounds appropriate given the status of American government.