Mind Killers

They say fear is the mind killer, and it’s true, but at least fear is a quick and merciful killer, a skilled assassin. Boredom is a bloody butcher of the mind, slowly hacking it, piece by piece, while it remains fully conscious of what is happening. Boredom is a real bastard.


Me time

Attending the SCA event, “Vikings Come Home” this weekend. Just past Boyne, across the road from Lake Charlevoix. It’s a longer drive than I’ve made in recent history, and I wound up flying solo for the weekend. At first I was disappointed to be alone (still am, really), but it was kind of nice to just spend five hours with no company except my own thoughts and some good music. The trees are mostly still green, and just starting to turn. Saw three deer in an open field in a residential area. Should be fantastic bonfire weather if the rain holds off. Got my hammock set up with a rain fly and sleeping bag for tonight, and 41 gallons of beer to get my friends and I (and friends I haven’t met yet) through the weekend. Prost!

Enemies no more

“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” Or vice versa. We should never stop chasing perfection, nor should we allow perfectionism to paralyze us from producing anything at all. Keep doing “good enough”, and keep raising the bar for what is “enough”, and some day we will achieve – well, not perfection, that’s for damn sure. πŸ™‚ But something close to it, which is the best we can realistically hope for.

Which I guess is my way of saying, “I’m blogging again.” Not that I expect very many people are still paying attention after all these years off.

Who to blame?

I’ve been using WinAmp on my Android phone as my main source of music in the car. I really enjoy it, but since I’ve taken to having my playlist be “all the music on my phone” in shuffle mode, I’ve noticed one thing. Shuffle really sucks. I understand that the heart of the problem is going to be the pseudo-random number generation, but who is to blame for the crappy implementation? The hardware vendor? The OS? The programming language? The WinAmp devs? I need to know who to write a nastygram to, and if it’s even possible to find a better app for randomizing my playlist.


P.S. WordPress still works, right? I haven’t used this thing in over a year. :-p

My thoughts on The Vibrator Incident

The internet (or at least my small corner of it) is buzzing (and tweeting, and probably plussing) today about a “personal” note left by a TSA screener who found a woman’s vibrator during a standard luggage screening and handwrote a note on the official screening slip. If you haven’t heard about it yet, I think the BoingBoing article covers it pretty well.

This brought several thoughts to my mind:

  1. “Violation of privacy”? No more so than any other baggage screenings, which have been going on for far longer than the PATRIOT ACT has been around. It’s just one of those things you implicitly consent to when you fly. If there’s something you don’t want seen, don’t fly with it.
  2. “Wildly inappropriate”? Let’s just go with “horribly unprofessional”.
  3. I really think the note was rather positive, or at least intended in a positive manner, as misguided as the impulse to leave any sort of personal note was.
  4. I think it’s shameful that in modern society we still treat sex toys, or any acknowledgement of their existence, as taboo. This should not have been note-leaving-worthy, nor should the note be generating as much shock and rage as it is.
  5. While I acknowledge the leaving of a personal note is horribly unprofessional, I also think it’s sad that we really detest personal contact. Wouldn’t it be nicer if we didn’t think it was “creepy”, but rather thought it was nice that somebody made some effort to be human and personable? TSA employees have certainly committed far worse offenses, such as theft.
  6. She’s “retiring” it because she’s uncertain if they handled it… Would she retire it if there was just the official form and not the note? If not, why not? The same level of uncertainty would be there. Perhaps they should leave additional documentation certifying that nothing has been handled without gloves on. Also, can’t the toy be sterilized? Or is this more about the emotional baggage?

Conspiracy theorists should be smarter

It’s downright shameful for a respectable (more or less) news source like BoingBoing to get a story so blatantly wrong. The name of the post is Densely-linked cluster of 147 companies control 40% of world’s total wealth, but even a casual read of the material quoted by the article shows that’s completely wrong.

If you read it through, it says that 1,318 companies control 20% of global revenue, right up front. Waitaminute… the headline said that far less control more. What gives? Oh, here it is down below. They found that 147 companies that all own pieces of each other control “40 per cent of the total wealth in the network”. Which is to say, they control 40% of the 20% that the network of 1,318, NOT 40% of global wealth.

Come on, guys. I support Occupy Wall Street too, but you’re not helping them out my misrepresenting the facts. Isn’t it just as damning to say that one small group of rich people control 147 companies that control 8% of all the wealth in the world? Well, no, that’s not as impressive I guess.

99% certain…

When I first became aware of Occupy Wall Street, I thought it was laughable. A group of people with no clear common goal, staging a protest against anything and everything. How is that going to accomplish anything? But it’s not only lasting, it’s spreading. Contrary to my initial belief, maybe disorganized unfocused unhappiness with the status quo really is the one thing 99% of us can agree on. OK, there’s far less than a 99% approval rating of the protests, but I think there’s a broad base of sympathy.

Three things that I think need saying:

1) The 1% seem to not really be paying them any mind. I wonder if they’ll keep making light of the situation until the guillotines are constructed. Ah, but the protests will probably remain peaceful and ergo really not get very much serious attention.

2) The conservative talking heads are largely (all?) dragging out the very tired and very untrue “un-
American” argument. Give it a rest, guys. Nobody with half a brain believes that protesting is un-American. The United States of America was formed the day a bunch of protestors drew up the Declaration of Independence.

3) There seem to be a significant number of folks online sitting on their asses making fun of these people. These people who, I might point out, got off their asses to go do something in an effort to make the world a better place. Think about that before you say anything further. Get-off-your-ass activism > sit-on-your-ass derision.

G+ update

My petition failed. Google insists I use some name other than Wolfger to identify myself on my profile. I initially said that if I lost the appeal I would do so, but that is before I grasped the extent to which the Google Profile affects me. It would not only change my identity on G+, but also Google Talk, and I’m not even sure what else. I’ve decided, instead, to delete my profile, removed my G+ presence entirely, and keep on being Wolfger everywhere else. Despite Google’s pledge to “restore my other services to what they were before” upon disabling Plus, my Buzz and Reader remain crippled. I still can’t have a profile picture (as I have no profile, I suppose) and I imagine PicasaWeb is crippled as well, though I frankly don’t ever use it. I did, however, regain the ability to have a custom status message in Google Talk. “I am who I am. Google+ can suck it.” Edit: I apparently pissed off my Google overlords. I have again lost the ability to have a status message. Bite me, Google.


Before you ask her out…

…make sure she prefers croissants over bagels. πŸ™‚


Much ado has been made over the Google+ “real names policy” (as it is commonly referred to outside of Google), which does not, in fact, state anything about needing to use your “real” or legal name. The Names Policy (as Google calls it) states quite clearly that “it’s important to use your common name so that the people you want to connect with can find you”. This is what I did. The majority of the people I know and wish to connect with online know me simply as Wolfger. In fact, many people do not know my legal name at all, or would have to do some severe memory exercise to recall it.

Yesterday, Google determined in some way that I was in violation of the Names Policy. This clearly isn’t true, and I don’t know what method they used to determine this, but there it is. I immediately (prior to suspension) created a post asking people on G+ who had met me in real life to inform Google of my name. All the same, my account was suspended between the time I went to bed and the time I woke up.

What does suspension mean exactly? At first I just thought it meant I lost G+. No biggie. I’m not as active on social networks as I once was. Then I encountered problems on Buzz, where I could not “like” or comment on anything. I thought it was the workplace firewall catching up with the times, but when I got home the problem persisted. No message pops up to tell me why I can’t do these things, the action just fails and looks every bit like a bug. Google FAIL. Later I tried to change my status on Google Talk after I noticed my last custom status went away. The status appeared to be applied, but disappeared a second later. Two more attempts, same thing. So I’m not allowed to have a Google Talk status if Google doesn’t like my name? Come on. That’s just ridiculous. Who know what’s next… I’m afraid for my phone, which uses the Google Android operating system. If that stops working, I think I will have to see if there’s a lawyer willing to do some pro-bono work. Could be lucrative. (Update 1: Google has also removed my profile picture from chat. Apparently when they decide your name isn’t suitable, you’re no longer allowed to show your face, either.)

I’m in the appeals process, and hopefully some human with half a brain looks at my case and realizes that somebody or some script made a mistake, but in the mean time I’m looking for a replacement for all the Google things in my life. Recommendations (especially where e-mail is concerned) are welcome. Gmail will be the hardest thing to do without.

Note: I am not complaining about the Names Policy, nor am I refusing to comply with it. Facebook has an actual (and completely unenforced) real names policy, and I comply with that.Β  If Google determines, incorrectly, that Wolfger isn’t my common name, I’ll switch to my legal name, and immediately start eliminating Google from my life. I’ve worked hard for my name. I’m going to keep it.