More predicitions

First, he did a review of his predictions from last year.  Now, he’s written his predictions for the coming year.  Ed Felton is a sharp cookie (is that mixing metaphors too much there?), and his stuff is always good reading.  I’ll admit that I don’t find many of these predictions hard to see, so it’s not like this is a radically forward-thinking list.  Still, it’s thoughtful and there are a few especially interesting predictions there.

I especially like

(16) Broadcasters will move toward Internet simulcasting of free TV channels. Other efforts to distribute authorized video over the net will disappoint.

(17) HD-DVD and Blu-ray, touted as the second coming of the DVD, will look increasingly like the second coming of the Laserdisc.

Also, it might just happen, but I’m skeptical of

(23) There will be a felony conviction in the U.S. for a crime committed entirely in a virtual world.

Cell phone records for sale

Hope you’re not making any calls you’d hope no one ever knows about.  Turns out that currently, it’s not too hard to get someone’s phone records.  Cost is just a bit over $100 for one month’s worth of calls, if I’m reading the article right.  Ouch.

On anonymity

Head first to Bruce Schneier’s brief article, which links to and reproduces a short Kevin Kelly (from Wired magazine) article about why anonymity is bad.  Mr. Schneier then writes why he disagrees.  These men are both smarter than I am, and writing about something that matters and needs to be discussed.  Take 5 minutes to see what this is about.

Things that matter

I dislike most politicians. In general, I think they are corrupt people, and mostly liars. Sure, there are some good ones, but my guess is that there are more not-so-good ones. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the things some of our great “leaders” have done to further convince me they are criminals and not worthy of the offices where they are.

First, hit Salon for an interesting story on Jack Abramoff. To read the whole article, you have to subscribeto Salon. Alternatively, you can get a one-day subscription by watching a short advertisement. I’ve done this before. It is simple, and for this story, worth doing. Then, further up the political food chain we find this story of investigations into recent leaks of classified information. I believe you need a membership to this site (the New York Times in this case) to read the article, but you can get one for free just by signing up.

The first story above shows a large spread of corruption at a high level in congress. The second shows our executive branch trying to distract Americans from the real issue of illegal happenings in that branch by focusing on the illegal, but less serious, leaks regarding the wrong-doings. We, as Americans who want our government to do right by and for us, should be angered by the current administration’s attempt to remove attention from the real issue of executive abuse and disregard for the law. I’m not saying that finding the source of the leak is unimportant. I’m just pointing out that seeing how far this dictatorial activity by the current administration went and removing an individual who is clearly not fit for office is more important.

Patrick Henry said “Give me liberty or give me death.” Simple, to the point. He did not say “Give me liberty, unless, you know, you think you might save me a little inconvenience if you take some of it away.” As Benjamin Franklin put it, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Allowing the current administration to take away our rights and legal protections under the veil of protecting us from some nebulous threat is tantamount to saying we’ll give up liberty for temporary safety. I won’t agree to that, and I hope more people who read this feel the same.

By the way, don’t think this article means I only dislike the conservatives – I have no qualms pointing out the bad the liberals do, as well. Any politician, really. We are obligated to keep up with what they are doing wrong, to encourage them to do what is right. I just happen to see more wrongs being committed by the conservatives at this point in time.

On rejection

I randomly discovered this site today, which has a very interesting article on rejection.  I aspire to write, but have a bit of an issue with focusing on the task at hand.  So an article on rejections from publishers is interesting to me, even if it is brief.  Just for a preview bit, check this article ending bit:

•  I feel you may lay it on a bit thick with the dying donkey.
• My response: What dying donkey?

Write or play?

For either of you that read my absurdly long post this morning that I worked on when I couldn’t sleep, let me just say that writing didn’t help me get to sleep.  I ended up staying awake until I took my older son to school.  When I got home, my (almost) 3 year old was still asleep, so I went to bed and managed to sleep until 1:30 when my wife called to make sure I was up and getting ready for work.  She took the younger one to school and then went to work.  That means I got some rest, but I didn’t get to see the youngest one at all today.  I’ll hope for a more restful night tonight so I can see both boys in the morning.

Can’t slow the brain down (looooong)

So, here I sit at 4:43 AM, working on the computer because I still can’t sleep. After turning off the lights and trying to get to sleep, I couldn’t. It’s one of those nights where I just can’t shut my brain down. I’m not really that tired right now, and that’s the times I have the greatest trouble sleeping. I put my head down, pull up the covers, and wait for sleep. Instead, I get my brain kicking in to high gear…

I could never fall in love with a girl like you…

Castle, tall central tower, flag pole on fire…

I really need to get back to that book on assembly language programming…

Do, do, duh-doo, doot, duh-doo, doot, duh-doo…

I haven’t updated that system I’m running under VMWare in a few days. I need to check on that…

If I don’t get to sleep soon, I can probably fix my boys something decent for breakfast…

I could never fall in love with a girl like you…

Did I save that blog update I was working on Thursday night?

I’d like to buy that book on building a game console. But I really need to learn to program better…

Castle, tall central tower, door opens to a library, some lightly armored man climbing the outer walls…

I need to get back to that book on assembly language programming. I guess I should update that VMWare session and use that as my work environment for learning…

I wonder if I can get my wife to buy me an XGameStation so I can work on it?

Well, there’s that whole assembly language book thing again…

That’s just 3-4 minutes of thought for my poor brain. I can’t slow it down. I can’t focus on a single topic and consider it and wrap my mind around it. I can’t get my body to relax, because my brain is just pumping out thoughts. It even gets my heart rate up just a bit. Not enough to compensate in any way for a missed workout, but enough that I can feel it. Which makes me more aware of how awake I am. Which gets me thinking about sleep. Which starts the whole rapid-fire brain thought bursts all over again. After 20 minutes of this, I’m too wired to sleep. Soooooo, I get up, come downstairs for breakfast, and sit down to blog.

And then that gets me thinking of my inability to sustain a blog. I’ve tried about 20 times over the past 4-5 years to get a website up and running. I lose steam each time, typically in just a few weeks. I want to be better. But the whole issue of focus and attention creeps up and bites my ass again, and again, and again, and again.

I take medicine for my ADD. Unfortunately, the one that works best scares me off. Concerta is like magic in a pill. I feel too good when I take it. And I’ve read up a bit on the pharmacology of the drug. Sounds to me like prescription crack in a slow release form. When I take it, I can focus on things, the stray thoughts I usually have fade out, and I can really get work done. But I’m also awake, whether or not I’d like to get some rest. I’m more jittery than usual. I can get so much done, that my normal feeling that everyone else is moving in slow-motion is amplified. I get more impatient than usual, because it seems that everyone is working themselves out of a tar pit while I’m trying to get things done. And I’m even more hyper than most folks are accustomed to seeing me. So, Concerta, for all it’s up sides, is one I’ve decided to avoid. I worry about getting hooked on it for the good feelings I get from it and the good effects it provides while also worrying about the negatives and the extra hyperactivity I go through while on it.

Now, I’m taking Strattera.  It works, but not nearly as well as Concerta.  Day to day, I tend to focus a bit better while on Strattera than when not taking anything.  But I still get distracted, still lose focus on things I want or need to work on, and still have some nights where I just can’t sleep because my brain won’t rest.  Usually, when that happens, I end up playing games.  Of course, this is terribly counter-productive, because the games end up making me wake up more, rather than helping me relax more.  But, sometimes the games distract my brain enough that I stop thinking of 173 new things every second.  And when that happens, I can finally sleep.

Tonight, I chose writing over gaming.  We’ll see how that pans out once the kids are in school and I try again to sleep.  Will I be able to wake up in time to get to work (hint: probably not, unless I can get family members to call and make sure I’m up)?  Will I get a good breakfast made for the kids (no idea – haven’t checked yet to see what’s available that they would think was something special)?  Will I try working on one of my other web sites that I’d like to get active and running (probably not, but I’m considering it)?  I don’t know.  I just know I’d like to sleep, and after a couple of hours in bed, I haven’t been able to.

I want to learn how to stop my brain when this happens.  My wife suggests yoga might help.  A former co-worker said meditation.  I’ve long been a skeptic of those things, but at this point, I have to come up with something.  I’m getting too old to be up all night like this.

To those that read everything to the end, I apologize.  That’s far more writing than I sat down to do.  But thank you for reading.

Braking at green lights?

Anyone care to explain to me why so many people brake just as the enter an intersection when the light is green and there is no traffic in front of them? I could almost understand if they did this before getting to the intersection, when they might possibly be able to stop if someone suddenly ran the red light, but I’m seeing people do it as they enter the intersection, or from 15-20 feet away from the intersection. Seems a bit late to do any good, and is a bit annoying.

Hello world!

Welcome to the relaunched Blah, Blah, Blahg.  After losing the previous site to a dead hosting company, I’m trying again.  Posts will be random and infrequent, but are sure to be of interest to me.