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Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.



Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category

Claire Wolfe

Tuesday links

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
Claire Wolfe

Monday links

Monday, June 29th, 2015

I’ve been collecting links on the Confederate flag idiocy — collecting links and absurdities by the thousands, it seems — then closing the pages again and letting them go.

I hope to have something to say about this cultural cleansing and how rapidly it’s consumed the brains of heretofore sane individuals and corporate managers. But frankly, the whole business is so flabbergasting I haven’t yet thought of the right words.

Joel had some appropriate words about it of course. I’ll try to find some good words myself.

Claire Wolfe

Tuesday links

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015
Claire Wolfe

Thursday links

Thursday, June 18th, 2015
  • You thought maybe the TSA was the fedgov’s worst example of idiotic “security”? Hey, at least the TSA puts on an impressive pretense. OTOH, it appears that the Office of Personnel Management actually gave root access for all those now-hacked personnel files to contractors in Argentina and … yes, here it comes: China.
  • How Orange is the New Black misrepresents women’s federal prisons. Yes, but it’s a good show. And the memoir it’s based on is even better. More lesbian sex in the Netflix version, but the horror of petty people in power comes across even more strongly in the book.
  • What searching for Sasquatch can teach us about science.
  • Okay, time to have your little heart warmed courtesy of LarryA.
  • Yeah, I’m like this about dogs in movies, too. Never yet have been able to watch Old Yeller or Turner and Hooch. (NFI)
Claire Wolfe

More midweek links

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Yes, BHM was down

You may have noticed that BHM had problems yesterday. These were due to a major site overhaul and server move that should eventually produce good results (especially for mobile users).

But the upgrade was handled … um, gracelessly. We bloggers were caught by surprise (I was in the middle of posting at the moment things went unexpectedly haywire) and at least one reader reported getting a message that the site downage was due to a February 2010 upgrade. I gather there are still a few improvements to come, but things should be calmer today.

Claire Wolfe

Weekend links

Sunday, June 14th, 2015
  • Hastert may be a criminal. But other feds are worse. (Never mind that Hastert and his ilk made them worse.)
  • I admit it. Maeve Binchy, the mega-selling Irish author of simple domestic tales, is one of my guilty girly pleasures. Binchy died in 2012 of heart problems. While looking for something completely unrelated to her health, I stumbled upon this nice article about how she made the best of her initial diagnosis. Inspiring.
  • The fedgov has recently made it 5x more expensive to do. But Americans are again surrendering their citizenship in small but record-setting numbers. (Tip o’ hat to MJR)
  • “No cloud for me,” says security guru Bruce Schneier. And amen. (Via Brad at WendyMcElroy.com)
  • Okay, then, what exactly is the difference in principle between Caitlyn Jenner and Rachel Dolezal?
  • This Onion article’s been getting around, but once again it’s too funny not to link and too true to be really funny.
  • Can reading make you happier? Hm, dunno. Bibliotherapy??? (H/T PT)
  • Trees. Trained to grow into chairs. (H/T SC)
Claire Wolfe

The perplexity of complexity

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

Kind of strange. This whole business with the unfixable vehicle has got me feeling absurdly vulnerable.

Rationally, this makes no sense. Even with the car business coming on top of the broken ankle (and on top of $500 worth of car repairs in April), it doesn’t put me at any real risk. I’ve got neighbors who’ll pick up my mail or give me a lift to the post office. I’ve got friends who’ll get me to the grocery store. It’s not like I’m going to be stranded in a blizzard by the roadside and get eaten by passing Bengal tigers.

Yet I have to remind myself, “Calm down, Claire. You’re not doooooomed.” What’s really worrisome is the sensation of being lost in a strange world and helpless to do much about it. Of being out of control.

There was a time — not really that long ago — when an ordinary woman or man knew pretty much everything they needed to deal with an average day. Their lives might have been nasty, brutish, short, but they could fix a broken whatever or build a vital thig-a-ma-jig. If they couldn’t do it, their neighbors or tribespeople could, perhaps as a joint effort.

Oh yes, they lived in a world full of unsolved mysteries and random attacks by angry gods. But most could dismiss all that via a few rote rituals and accompanying mythology. No worries. An earthquake knocks the village down? God did it because … oh, you tolerated witches or something. Kill the witches, problem solved.

Okay, it wasn’t quite that easy. But ordinary people knew all the ins and outs of the technology (if you could call it that) that they lived with. Then they filled in the gaps in their knowledge of the wider world with beliefs and myths. Their answers may have been wrong, but they had confortable certainties in places where we have only questions. We know more but (except for the devoutly religious among us) we have no easy defenses against what we don’t know.

—–

Commentariat old-timers bemoan the loss of the good old carbureted Chevy. But even in those days, we were already on our way to complexity beyond the capabilities of Ordinary Joe or Josephine.

It’s far, far, far from original to note that as life got better, individuals became more specialized and now we are to the point of being improved to where we often know nothing. Nothing about the technologies our lives depend on. That’s just a given.

What’s said less often is how alarming that lack of knowledge can be even without the proverbial S hitting the proverbial F.

Yet the alarm is still often nonsense. So my Plan A (vehicle) and my Plan B (walking if vehicle dies) both got knocked out at once. Big deal. I’ve got a Plan C and Plan D. C and D get me closer to my neighbors and friends, inconvenience me and them only slightly, and aren’t bad at all. You, the Commentariat, have already done your bit in Plan C, thank you.

And that’s usually the way life works. A lot of bad things are really no more than inconveniences, and a lot of “bad” things actually turn out to have great, creative aspects. (Also a given.)

I think the scariest thing is realizing how little even the supposed “specialists” know now. The times are beginning to remind me of C.M. Kornbluth’s classic story “The Little Black Bag.”

Claire Wolfe

“Improving” things to the point of brokenness

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

I’m still thinking of the deer-in-the-headlights stare of the mechanic who told me the Xterra needed a $1,100 computer replacement.

He was so obviously, blatantly just guessing. And so obviously dependent on whatever the diagnostic code said. “P1320? Not the distributor? Not wiring? Then it can only be the ECM. No other possibility.”

Horsefeathers.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Tuesday links

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015
Claire Wolfe

Thursday links

Thursday, May 21st, 2015
  • Another terrific one from Ken at Popehat. How to spot (and counter) covert advocacy of censorship.
  • I’ve never downloaded anything from a torrent site. I’m against any form of piracy that deprives creators of the rewards they’ve earned. Still … The Pirate Bay has panache.
  • The usual anti-gun and “hate group” suspects band together to promote ballots over bullets. Um, yeah. Good luck with those ballots when you’re being threatened by thug government.
  • The liberation of Dachau and the righteous rage of the liberators.
  • “Oh, my gold!” Yet another company tries to do what egold did. (The poster says BitGold isn’t available to U.S. residents; I poked around the BitGold site and didn’t see anything about that. But I don’t doubt that avoiding all U.S. entanglements is a good start on surviving in this kind of business. Never mind that it would take a huge chunk out of your market.) (H/T Y.B.)

If you’re not up on your Internet memes, this new Delta Airlines safety video will leave you going “HUH???” If you are a meme-ista, see how many you can spot. (Hint: They’re listed behind the “see more” link.)

Claire Wolfe

Thursday links

Thursday, May 14th, 2015
  • Find a hidden treasure at auction. Give it back. You’re a better man than I.
  • It’s a bad idea, but a provocative thought experiment. “What if, just for a change of pace, it was the opponents of free speech whose ideas were deemed hateful?”
  • Though the lede is about investing in the new cannabis industry, the most fascinatingly weird part is about the work being done in laboratories to isolate (then market) product with specific properties.
  • So we know birds came from dinosaurs. Now scientists have taken chicken embryos part of the way back. Honest, I thought it was The Onion at first and not the BBC. And no, that “photo” of a sharp-toothed chicken at the top isn’t real; the scientists aren’t hatching any of their embryos at present.
  • It’s a $9 chip. It’s a computer, complete with browser and apps. (H/T MJR)
  • Worker fired for disabling an app that let her boss track employees 24 hours a day. The creepitude just gets creepier all the time. (Via Jerry the Geek.)
Claire Wolfe

Midweek links

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015
  • The courts have been so all over the place on police search issues that it’s hard to say what impact this will have. But the Supremes just declared that cops cannot prolong a routine traffic stop even for a minute without legit cause.
  • Inside the strange and wonderful world of micronations.
  • Emphatically NSFW, but funny: company posts a … unique Craigslist ad for engineers.
  • Bet we’ve all wanted to do this at some time or another.
  • Looks like a must-see documentary (though the characterization of Tasers as “rifles” needs some explanation for sure).
  • Gradeschooler challenges school anti-pot propaganda. His activist mother may now face felony charges. Sick!
  • This sucks, too. I’m so glad the war on pot is ending, but it just can’t happen soon enough for some.
  • Whoof! Just look at all that assembled brainpower!
 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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