Category Archives: It seems to me…

Is being a ‘straight talker’ good, or bad?

I recognize that I’ve been posting exclusively about FrameAlbum here recently but the title of the blog is ‘Stream of Consciousness‘ so you can’t say I didn’t warn you. ūüėČ

I received a comment today where the person thanked me for being a ‘straight talker’. ¬†I took it as a complement.

I’m an engineer; in my world there is ‘the truth’ and then “that thing that isn’t the truth”. ¬†If something is ‘red’ then tell me it’s ‘red’; don’t tell me “it’s a very dark, complex shade of pink with overtones of blue but if you see it in just the right light it’s orange” because you think I don’t like red. ¬†Frankly, I can’t bring myself to say ‘something is x‘ when clearly the opposite is true, regardless of the audience.

Unfortunately in today’s political arena ‘straight talk‘ has come to mean ‘dumbing it down for consumption by the masses so that it appeals to their emotions rather than thoughtful reasoning‘.

Most every sound bite I’ve heard that was labeled as an example of ‘straight talk’ was such a brain-numbingly obvious platitude that I couldn’t help myself from throwing up in my mouth a little bit.

I’ll make¬†Government¬†more efficient!” – Really? ¬†Do you honestly believe that in ~235 years of having a go at this democracy thing that we haven’t reached some sort of efficiency equilibrium? ¬†No, really, I prefer¬†inefficiency and would vote against anyone who supports increased¬†efficiency

We will take Our Government back!” – Back from whom, exactly? ¬†Last time I read the Constitution it said that ours was a government of ‘We the People’. ¬†One must be a citizen, therefore an American, to vote. ¬†So we’re taking it back from the American People to give to… the American People? ¬†I’m confused…

I’ll make the tax code simple!” – I don’t even know where to begin on this one.

In every case the candidate is simply saying what the audience of the moment wants to hear. Have we, as a Nation, become so afraid of the truth that we’ll vote for no one that dare speak it? When a candidate does dare veer off message and a bit of truth leaks out it’s labelled¬†a gaff and the blathering Punditry¬†goes into high-gear claiming that the candidate just¬†committed¬†political suicide.

No, I fear that something even more distressing is true; that we are not willing to vote for someone who is not 100% in agreement with our views. I don’t think (most) politicians are stupid; in fact I believe most of them are quite intelligent. ¬†So intelligent in fact that they have figured out that to get/stay elected they can’t¬†possibly¬†take a solid position on anything as it would give some group a reason to vote for ‘anyone else’. ¬†Have you ever tried to get a Yes/No answer from a politician? ¬†I have — I believe that if you look in the dictionary under ‘futility’ the entry reads ‘that overwhelming urge you get to smack something when you ask a politician a Yes/No question.’

If you want to earn my vote give direct, clear, unequivocal¬†answers to questions. ¬†When someone asks you “Which part of an Oreo is you favorite?” ¬†You had better say “I love the rich creamy filling!” or “I love the crispy chocolate wafers!“. ¬†If you respond “I like them both equally and here are 4,000 words about why you are an idiot if you don’t agree with me.” you are dead to me.

Give me the straight facts about what you believe — I will not agree with you 100% of the time but at least I’ll respect you and I might even vote for you.

Netflix, or, “How not to change your business model.”

TechCrunch published a piece yesterday about the backlash to Netflix’s recent pricing changes. ¬†This chart really brought it home for me.

With that single act, Netfix’s management brought the public’s¬†perception¬†of their company from rating higher than the next two competitors combined down to parity with the lowest sludge filled sub-basement level occupied by DirecTV. ¬†DirecTV was formally owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation; <cough> a model of management¬†efficiency¬†and ethics if ever there was one <cough>.

Personally, Netflix is hanging by a thread in our household. ¬†Their support for Windows Media Center, tenuous as it may be, is enough for me to keep the service for now. ¬†If they should ever drop support for MCE I would drop Netflix quicker than you can say ‘cracked DVD’.

RIAA moves out of the dorm — and doesn’t get it’s security deposit back.

Evidence that the RIAA is winding down it’s pointless lawsuits against alleged file-sharers is most evident on campus.  The RIAA have dropped three oustanding (and by ‘outstanding’ I mean ‘unresolved’ rather than ‘really good’) John Doe cases involving students.

I’ve always found the RIAA’s idea that you could identify the perps via IP addresses rather humourous.  In a network environment strewn with dynamic IP assignments (DHCP), network adress translating firewalls and various anonymous proxy arrangements it’s pratically impossible to prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ who ‘owns’ a particular IP address at any given time.  Of course, this also assumes that the IP address in question, and the computer to which it is assigned, is controled by a single person.  How many households do you know where there is a ‘family PC’ that is used by many members of the family throughout the day?  Absurd.

As I consider the whole notiong of suing your customers I’m reminded of the old adage; ‘If all you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail.’.  In this case all the RIAA had were laywers and no technologists nor creative business leaders who were capable of crafting a business model that embraced digital peer-to-peer distribution. I’ve known quite a few lawyers in my time; many of whom are quite smart but a precious few who could formulate a solution to a given problem that did not involve lawsuits.

I’m convinced that lawyers are a self-propagating sub-species of humans.  This leads me to my theory of ‘redundant occupations’ but that is a story for another day.

RIAA pulls out of John Doe cases involving college students

It Seems To Me. Are you a bigot?

A touch of gray…Do you like Garth Brooks?. I’m sure he’s a wonderful person, but I can’t stand his music. Would you guess from that information that I don’t care for Country Music? You could, and you would be right. What color is your hair? Mine is black with just a touch of gray. What color are your eyes? Mine are steel-blue. Are yours the same as mine? I doubt it. Would you make a judgment about my character from any of these traits? I doubt it.

I am descendant from Irish immigrants. Based on that would you guess from that I am cop from Boston that has red cheeks, red hair and enjoys a good Whiskey now and then? You might, but you would be wrong on all but one count. One out of five is a pretty low score.

“Can’t we all just get along?”

I want to share with you an exchange that occurred in the AOL Chat room: Town Square: Connecticut room back in mid-February. (ed: Ok, so this was back in 1998) What I have included here is an edited version. All the non-related chat has been removed. A copy of the complete text is available. I have left the names in to persecute the guilty. (ed: In this transcript my comments are identified by ‘Darkwolf’)

LinhPhung: any asian out there?
Aahhchoo: {S risnsun1.
LinhPhung: anyone mind for a chat?.
Aahhchoo: {S risnsun2.
LinhPhung: Any Asian Please…………………?.
Aahhchoo: {S risnsun3
RdHseBlues: No..sorry.no asian here
TimC934: Phung… Ching-Chong.
Marcy CT: ping pang poing.
Aahhchoo: {S risnsun4
TimC934: LOL marcy.
Marcy CT: thats how they sound at work
TimC934: heheheheh.
TimC934: You Work With The Orient Marcy ?
Aahhchoo: {S risnsun5.
Marcy CT: oooh i rike pork fwied wice
Aahhchoo: {S risnsun6.
Marcy CT: i think there chinese or somethin.
TimC934: Where do you work Marcy ?.
CtFifer97: that was really rude.
Marcy CT: um somewhere ūüôā
Earful: crazy crackers.aaaaaaaaaa
DarkWolf: I am embarassed for you people.
DarkWolf: This is exactly why I don’t come here. Christ…
TURBO TINA: hey dark whats wrong?
CtFifer97: I had to reread that whole thing to make sure I didnt miss something.
DarkWolf: Because you people are so tiny minded.
CtFifer97: that was freakin nasty.
TURBO TINA: <—————-big mind CtFifer97: how ignorant TURBO TINA: ūüôā
DarkWolf: You are so quick to dis someone different.
TURBO TINA: not me .
Marcy CT: darkwolf give it a rest crybaby
CtFifer97: it was a few
CtFifer97: seriously
DarkWolf: Marcy: Excuse me?
Marcy CT: were you talking to me?
DarkWolf: Were you talking to me?
CtFifer97: Tim….I dont think youre gonna get anywhere with this
DarkWolf: And you ask if I was talking to you, sheesh.
Marcy CT: me either trina.lets drop it tim
DarkWolf: Trina: Kinda like doin a Dr. King speech at a KKK rally.
CtFifer97: DoH CtFifer97: exactly Tim
Earful: LOL Tim
Marcy CT: exactly
DarkWolf: No, I think not. This is preciecly the problem with this room.
CtFifer97: I meant you werent gonna get what he was trying to tell you Marcy
TURBO TINA: this room sucks!
Marcy CT: yeah i know trina
CtFifer97: ok I just wanted to make sure
Marcy CT: thanks
DarkWolf: It’s the kinda thing that makes one want to write an editorial column
Earful: any other postings since last time, Tim?
DarkWolf: D: Nope, not a peep. Course I am assuming that this bunch can read.
Earful: Mm ASSuming
CtFifer97: LOL youre daring Tim !
DarkWolf: I calls em as I sees em.
CtFifer97: Tim?
EHebs13: hello
DarkWolf: Hey, I used big words. It was a stretch.
DarkWolf: yes?
CtFifer97: Im thinking chain wallets, velveeta, car on blocks on the lawn?
Earful: HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
TimC934: Dammit.. i think i have to leave this channel
DarkWolf: Woohoo! Two words: double wide!
CtFifer97: oh yahhhh and tractor pulls…cant forget that CtFifer97: LMAO Tim!
DarkWolf: And you know the sad part? They don’t even get that we are slaming them.
CtFifer97: I know tim
CtFifer97: Its sad
DarkWolf: Ok, I’m done ranting now.
CtFifer97: <—gets hot when Tim rants : )
DarkWolf: Oh my.
Marcy CT: hey earful dont be so small minded lol
Earful: Hey Marcy…you have no idea
CtFifer97: are we gonna bash lesbians now too????
Marcy CT: lol
CtFifer97: we just finsihed hackin up Asians

“… yearning to be free.”

Why is that some people find it necessary to ostracize those that are different from themselves? All of us, save for those precious few that are descendant from Native Americans, are immigrants to this country. Common sense would suggest to me that this would make us MORE sensitive to other immigrants when in fact, quite the opposite was experienced by the guest in the CONNECTICUT room.

By ostracizing others, does that not make us feel superior? Do we feel that little of ourselves that the only way we can feel good is to make others feel bad, small, insignificant? Are we afraid of those that are different? Why? Ignorance.

It is the behavior of ignorant troglodytes such as this that has so many saying “I waited 15mins to get into this room for THIS?”. I am about the most tolerant man outside of the clergy that any of you are likely to meet in your lifetime. But when someone exhibits such blatantly bigotry I feel compelled to speak. What saddened me even further, was that others in the room found this funny and even joined in the stupidity. I guess it took a few of them to come up with one good brain.

These traits, negative all, were blindingly obvious to me in this exchange. It seems to me that if we want AOL to become anything more than a text based Jerry Springer, that appeals only to the basest, common, knuckle dragging mouth breathers, we must demand more from our roomies. More character, more compassion, more intelligence.

Like noses, everyone has an opinion. The above are mine and I am soley responsbile for them.

It Seems To Me. Monica and Bill

Where’s the Beef?

Is it just me or has this Monica “in search of her 15 minutes. of fame” Lewinsky thing gotten WAY outta hand? (Please, no jokes about what she had IN her hand). The media feeding frenzy around this issue ran out of real news on the second day, now they are ‘reporting’ on how other reporters are reporting on reporters reporting on the “crisis”. These must be truly talented people, they are able to prattle on for 5 minutes in the complete absence of facts. All the while, not misplacing a single hair on their immaculately quaffed head.

This must be a definition of crisis that I was not familiar with. The media is telling it this way: Allegedly there are tapes of Monica telling friend Linda Tripp of her alleged relationship (allegedly sexual) with the Commander in Chief. And now, Monica is seeking immunity in return for testifying. Immunity from what? Last time I knew, being a name dropper wasn’t a crime. I don’t even want to start about the behavior of the Independent Counsel. But I digress.

Public Servant/Private Life?

But the real issue is not the morays of our President, that is between him and Hillary. Frankly I couldn’t care less if Billy-Joe-President liked to get naked, paint himself blue and run around the Oval Office hopping on one leg with an intern over each shoulder. What does matter is if he lies or encourages others to lie about it.

Every person is entitled to a private life (yes, even lawyers and politicians). To the extent that it does not effect their ability to perform their job, we have no right to pry into the details of another person’s life. Would your life survive such scrutiny? How would some of the things that you have done appear if presented in 30 second clips under the harsh TV lights? I thought so.

The check is in the mail…

But if a public servant (no jokes about that one either please) lies to the public to which he/she serves, they no longer deserve the job they hold. There are NO exceptions to this rule. If I can’t trust you to tell me the simple truth, how can I trust you to run our city/state/country/animal control district? If you lie to me about things I don’t give a rats anal pore about, you will lie to me about the things I do care about, and that is intolerable.

Bill, if you did it, be a man and fess up so we can get on with our lives; we’ve all got better things to do. If you didn’t, then defend yourself with all your energy and when you are vindicated, put the lawyers (and TV anchors) back under the rocks from whence they wriggled.

Monica, if it happened, proudly stand your ground and don’t let the lawyers’ shenanigans get you down. If it didn’t, then you deserve the wrath of the media circus that you have called down upon yourself.

Like noses, everyone has an opinion. The above are mine and I am solely responsible for them.