Friday, August 25, 2006


The only real nudity here is the experiment to get my ranking higher in google.

Here's my current Ubuntu Linux Screenshot:

Some of my friends and family ask, "Why are you on such an Ubuntu kick?" To answer truthfully;
I'm not on an Ubuntu kick. I'm on a FREE, Virus Free, Adware Free, easy-t0-use, keep old computers working operating system kick.

If Windows did it, I'd be on a Windows kick. If Mac OS X did get the idea.

As far as Ubuntu goes, it's just the current easiest to install and use. It's not without it's problems. This week, in fact, Ubuntu has a serious bug in an update which caused thousands, if not millions, of users to not be able to get their computer working. Some computer complusive/obsessive types, like me, worked for hours to get it working again. Ubuntu had a fix up in a few hours, but not before many people reformatted their system, and possibly lost data. Luckily, I had to visit with family, so I wasn't at home to obsess over a fix. I got home in time for the official fix to work.

No operating system is without it's bugs, Linux included. But, try to get OS X working on an old iMac G3, 333 Mhz, or Windows XP on a Compaq 400 Mhz computer. It might get on there, but go eat dinner while your programs boot up. With Xubuntu (the XFCE version of Ubuntu) the work, faster than the did with Windows98, or Mac OS 8-9.

Soon enough, another Linux distribution will out-do Ubuntu. I'll probably use that one. Right now, Mark Shuttleworth has Ubuntu on top of the world. It comes on one CD. That's a big reason its so popular.

Tomorrow, I'll have some family pics up. Maybe ya'll will tell me which you like better; family pics or tech talk.

Monday, August 21, 2006


"I don't like organized religion."

How many times have you heard that statement? I've heard too many times. Obviously, the people who say such nonsense didn't listen up in English class. Is there a religion that isn't organized? What would a disorganized religion be like? My guess; it would probably resemble something like a corporation.

I'm sure many of my readers are religious, and others had religion class in college. Some of you might even be part of an organized religion. Personally, I've got no problem with organized religion. What I have a problem with is; scripture.

To the non-religious type, that may seem obvious. "It's all stupid anyway," is something you'd hear them say. To be accurate, I actually never get to the part of distrusting scripture.

I distrust anyone who tells me any writing is the word of God. How do they know this? Because they heard if from another man? Who did that man hear it from? How far back of a chain of trust do we go on that? How many people have to be trusted when I'm told, this is Gods words.

People of various faiths are true believers. We see that, and how it can create problem in todays world. Not much different that 1000 years ago. (Thank again, Pope Urban!).

Why should I believe the words of man, when he tells me, "This is the word of God!"? Why should I believe man when he tells others what God wants, or what God says, or God's plan. When he tells me these things, why should I believe him? Which of these men would God have me trust? And why would he have me trust them?

Some people treat scientist as a religion. Interestingly enough, most scientist don't treat it like that. But for some, science is their religion. It seems that the people who understand the least about a particular science -physics, for instance- place complete trust in it's principles, or Laws. They give it absolution -and some even give absolution itself religious respect. It's interesting to watch these people as their own priests -scientists- prove the laws wrong. The scientist merely take note of it on their way to discovery, while the followers argue the findings.

In the United States of American, we have our own organized religion. It's called The Law. We have our High Priests and Priestesses -Supreme Court Justices. We have lower Priests- District Courts, Federal Courts, State and County Court Judges. We have our local Priests, and thousands of monks. Just like all the religions that came before the, they speak the language of the ruling class; Legalese. We have to have them translate legalese for us. We must give offering to The Law for the priviledge of tranlation. And, just like in all old religions, the wealth hobnobbed with the and most renouned monks and priests. Not much has changed. It just looks and sounds different. Sure, the rules are different, but the format rarely changes much.

I'm not against religion -organized or disorganized. And I don't really distrust scripture, no matter what book it comes from.

I distrust MAN! Somehow, I don't think God would have a problem with that.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Swimming Chili

Watch the dog swim.
Swim, dog. Swim!

Good Dog, Chili.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Managing Management

Today, I rested. I've needed it for some reason. I think I'm not getting enough sleep in general, and it built up today.

This is what I worked on today:
Not the computer, but the sticker on it. I saw some on the Ubuntuforums site, and decided to make my own. It came out better than I thought it would. I need some practice at cutting them out, but it's good enough.
I started with this image:
Then I:
  1. Printed out a sheet of them on photo paper. I printed lines of ten, three different versions, just in case.
  2. Covered the image on the paper with clear packing tape.
  3. Cut out the image with scissors (need to get better at that, or get better glasses)
  4. Use the XYRON Create-a-sticker maker, and that put the sticky backing on to make it a sticker.
It came out okay. Nancy's came out better, but the flash was so bright on the picture, it drowned it out. I know this wasn't anything technical, but it was craft-like, and it was fun. I could have sent a return envelop to System76 and asked for the free stickers, but I decided to try it myself.

Nevermind that the computer in the picture is actually using Xubuntu, the XFCE version of Ubuntu. The computer is a 400 Mhz, 360 Meg memory, 8 gig harddrive I bought in 1998. It was super fast back then. It's old enough that Compaq doesn't keep specific information about it on it's website. It's super fast again. Xubuntu gave it new life, and hopefully, someone will get use from it.

In Other News
I've done pretty well at managing management. I should; I've studied Dilbert long enough. I use three main principles I learned from Wally:
  1. Strategic Incompetence
  2. Procedural Insistence
  3. And do avoid actual work, random OCD focus
With Strategic Incompetence, you randomly portray yourself as incompetent at specific activities. Some of these may actually be honest incompetencies, but consider this: Is management ever actually honest with you?? For instance, I don't see colors well, especially in florescent light. In sunlight, I'm fine. The strategic incompentence part here is that I'm not able to do some work because of the handcap. I could never really work well in the clothing department. A customer comes up to me and asked, "Does this come in red?" My reply is, "You mean, does it come in darker grey?" After the strange look they give me I say, "What color is that? I can't see colors well." The hyperfocused customer usually says, "Nevermind", and walks away. To be completely honest, it seems that my color problem applies mostly to dies in clothing, and some cheap dies on cardboard. I can see most colors on plastics and metals. I have no idea why is works like that. It does seem to get worse as I get older.

I also have a condition called "Dysnomia". It's kind of like dyslexia, except it's specific to numbers. When I try to write a 6, I might write a six or a nine. I struggle greatly to tell the difference, but only when I'm writing it by hand. The transfer of the image from my eyes to my brain works fine. I know the difference from 6 and 9 when I see it. But, when I try to write it, the motorskill gets confused somehow. This is how it was explained to me at the learning center at University of Georgia. It's caused by anxiety.

Now, can you get how to turn this honest condition into a strategic incompetence?

That's right; Anything to do with numbers. Nevermind that I do just fine on a keyboard, or a tenkey pad. The positions of 6 and 9 are easy to remember (hope I got it right that time). But, after pricing things at $66.66, when they should have been $99.99, do you think they make you do any more tedious pricing of merchandise? Especially when you insist it actually is $99.99, and they are being mean by making fun of you!

The key to Strategic Incompetence is that is has to be based somewhat on an honest problem. But, since management tends to overemphasis the importance of things, you can too.

Procedural Insistence can only be applied for specific jobs, or low paying jobs. The basic idea here is that You're getting paid to follow procedure, not to think. You may have actually been told that at one time. Or, if you're like me, you arrange for them to say that at one time, and continously remind them of that.
The key to making procedural insistence pay off is; If you do something wrong, it's management's fault, not yours! THEY didn't teach you the correct procedure, or their procedural teaching methods where faulty or incomplete.
Chain and/or franchise stores depend on systems and procedures. As a worker, USE THAT FACT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE! Be careful, though. They might decide to make you part of management.

Anonther way to use procedural insistence is when a boss, foreman, or the like says something like, "What are/were you thinking?"
You should reply: "Hold on there! My payrate is for following procedures, not to think. If you want me to think, we can negotiate my payrate. If I've done something wrong here, it's because YOU didn't teach me the correct procedure."

Actually, it's not a good idea to blame the boss for the problem. It's always better to blame the procedure. Its an inanimate thing. It has no feelings. When the procedure is wrong, no one is to blame -except the person who designed the procedure, and they probably don't work there anymore. If anyone at present is to blame, it's the person who was suppose to teach you the procedure. In that case, use the government-speak, passive voice version: I wasn't taught the correct procedure. Blame is never placed.

Random OCD Focus is a difficult one, and can sometimes take more work than actual work. The payoff is that it's much more fun that real work.
The strategy here is to randomly focus on something pecular to the exclusion of anything else, even being able to hear your boss. For instance, if you work in clothing merchandise, you would obsess on making sure items were folded correctly. To make it really effective, focus on the same item, over and over. If the management attempts to get you to do something else, you insist on getting it right. At some point, they may actually ask you what wrong. You could simply say that your stressed, or you could say nothings wrong.

This strategy has to be one very infrequently. Once every three months is even a risk. The risk? Being marked by the management for 'encouragement to quit'. If your normally a hard worker, they'll overlook it a few times.

It amazes me how people actually let management manage them. The best employees know how to manage management.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Haunted Mansion

This is a full ride throught Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. It's a really well done video:

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

iPod, Music, and Podcasts

Take the iPod:

This little-one obviously likes it

iPods are incredibly popular devices. The dominate the market so much that you might hear monopoly applied to it. It's become the Kleenex, or the Xerox of digital media players. It doesn't matter that there are other manufacturers out there; everything's an iPod to the public. iPods are everywhere, so much so that most acccesories are manufactured only for the iPod. Many of the accessories will work with other players, but some won't.

The iPod is nice. The top model will hold more songs than most people will listen to in their lifetime. It will hold more audiobooks than you'll see on the shelves at any bookstore. The new ones will display pictures and play videos.

The only thing I don't like about iPods is the control Apple holds over them. You pretty much have to use iTunes to load them. Apple likes to have everything in their acc format. You can't use wma (Windows Media Audio), wmv (Windows Media Video), or ogg (Ogg Vorbis) formats. In my opinion, ogg is a superior sound quality, but the iPod won't play it.

There are other options. A new one is the Clix:
This little bugger will play more types of files than an iPod. It was announced today, so I'd wait to see what problems arise. iRiver has other players, but this one looks promising.

Creative has the Zen, and they have lots of different kinds:
I hear good things about the Zen. I'm not sure if it supports ogg format.

If you use, or want, and iPod, you'll have to use iTunes on Windows or Mac with it. You can use gtkpod for it on any Linux distribution. I'm not sure how the others link up, but I understand the Zen hooks up with Linux easily.

I get no ad money for these links. If I had an affiliation with any of them, I would. Mostly, I wanted you to know there are options for portable music.

I don't listen to music that much. Rarely in fact. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts.

What is a podcast?
A good explaination is on the page:

"Think of a podcast as a radio show. Each show consists of a series of individual episodes that you can listen to how you want — on your PC, using your MP3 player, or with just a web browser.

If you've never listened to podcasts, you're in for a treat. Sports, comedy, movies, food, politics, music, books, speeches, walking tours, whatever — you name the topic and you'll find podcasts about it. Not only do you have incredible choice, you can listen whenever and wherever you want.

You can listen to these episodes one at a time (say using your web browser) or you can 'subscribe' to the entire podcast series using software on your PC. When you subscribe to a podcast, all new shows will be automatically downloaded to your computer as they are published. And if you have an MP3 player, the next time you sync your device, your podcasts will be downloaded for listening on the go.

When you enter the world of podcasting, you're stepping into a realm where anyone and everyone can have a voice and broadcast their opinions and imagination to the world. Have fun exploring, and perhaps you too may feel the urge to become a podcaster. If you do, it's easy."

Apple's Garageband program comes with support for creating podcasts. I use's Juice to download all my podcasts. Most of them are tech based. You can use the Yahoo site too.

Okay, enough iPod stuff.

I register for classes yesterday. I'm taking A+ Software and Local Area Networks. Last semester, my class was only one day a week. I had to do something on the class website almost everyday, but we only did lab one day a week. This semester, I'll be in class four days a week. It'll be like real school. Almost.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Too Techy

I've probably lost some readers because my blog is getting too techy. It's getting too techy because I'm getting more techy. I think readers seem to be more interested in my personal life. Thing is, the technology part is my personal life, at least at the moment. Since I'm in school for technology, it comsumes a large part of my day, and my attention. I can't apologize for this. It's what it is. If my focus on technology turns you off, and makes you not want to read, all I can say is; "Go ahead. Be a fool and carelessly use Windows."

Opps. There I go again.

We had an Epson Printer go down on me, recently. No, not that kind of 'go down'. It's stopped working. It gave me a message say, "Go get this hulking machine serviced, you stupid idiot." Those weren't the exact words, but I'm sure that's what it was thinking. I emailed the Epson people, and they sent back a reply telling me to switch off and on a specific locking mechanism five times, then dance in a circle. I did, and it worked! I used the Highland Fling, just to be extra sure. Besides, it was the only dance I knew that actually went in a circle. Who knew the Epson guys were Scottish?

If Wal Mart opens in Norway, I'm not going there! It will simply become, USA, Part II. I don't dislike Wal Mart. I dislike the effect it has on the landscape of our country. And the effect it has on our country. Much like Sports Authority, much of the merchandise comes for China. They make the stuff, we sell it, and on occasion, service it. Everywhere we go looks like everywhere else, but with different weather. McDonalds, Wal Mart, KMart, etc. All the chain and franchise stores have little except help us part with more money. They have made less expenive merchandise, but at what costs?

It truly happened; We've become a consumer/service society. The United States of America actually DEPENDS on it's citizens overspending themselves. It depends on our hunger for stuff. It depends on us spending more than we have, or could ever actually make. It depends on our lack of self-discipline, and encourages over-consumption.

Conservative though says, "The rest of the world is jealous." Liberal though says, "The rest of the world despises us." Both extremes are wrong, and neither actually helps our image Worldwide. The rest of the world isn't jealous of us. They see us as self-important, over-consuming, close-minded, single languaged idiots. On that, they'd be right. What they see, and say, is that American's are nice, wonderful, and loving people, who have no clue of the gift and advantage we have by being born US citizens. They'd be right.

So, with that in mind, I'm for a new deportation program. Not the illegal aliens coming to the United States. They appreciate what we have. While they got here illegally, they follow the laws once they're here -generally. They don't want to be deported, especially back to their homelands.

We need to deport some of our own! We'll start with the hardened criminals. They're mostly mental cases anyway. Next, the sex offenders. People who mess with children should be offered the option of honorable suicide; the only current treatment plan available for them.

When we deport people, we'll put them on 'prison ships' and let them go where they are taken by the ship owners. As long as it's not the United States, it don't matter.

So, who should be deported? Instead of starting at the top of the list, lets make the list upside down. That way, we get rid of potential problems too.
  1. Traffic violators - This would cut auto insurance rates way down, or possibly even do away with the need for them at all.
  2. Shoplifters- They make prices go up on us all.
  3. Insurance Fraud gangs - The real reason insurance prices are high. Quit blaming the Lawyers. Put the blame where it really goes.
  4. Domestic Violence offenders - become safe, in your own home.
  5. Petty, repeat criminals - where most crime actually takes place on a daily basis
  6. Hardened Criminals - instead of deporting these people, they are inducted into the military, or FBI.
  7. Talented Criminals - Serial Killers, etc. These people have employable skills. Probably as subcontractors, of course. The United States would never actually hire a known serial killer as an employee.
  8. Women who wear too much makeup. Because, I don't like it! Thats why.
Enough commentary for tonight.

Vista vs Linux

I just listen to a Security Now podcast by Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte about Microsoft Vista. I highly suggest listening to it before getting excited about Windows VISTA .

Download the podcast by clicking here, then go back and download all the Security Now Podcasts.

While I appreciate the hard work Microsoft employees put into Vista, it's just not ready, and not going to be read. One thing I didn't know until after I listen to the podcast; WindowsXP is just Windows2000 Professional with eye candy. I recommend waiting at least a year, if not two, before upgrading your Windows machine to Vista. I'd recommend getting a Mac way before I'd recommend getting Windows, but I'd recommend getting a cheap desktop from Wal Mart, erase Windows, and put Linux on, especially Ubuntu Linux. At the very least, set up a dual boot system.

Speaking of dual boot, I set up my stepkids with dual boot machines. I recommend using Windows only for games to them. I futher recommend using XBox for games, and using Windows rarely. Hopefully, they'll post their experiences with dual boot machines here, and you'll get to hear the cheers or jeers for Linux.

In my opinion, Microsoft's not a fault here. Malicious users are (bad hackers). I know a lot of people out there don't like Microsoft's business tatics, and I'd have to agree with that, but they have worked hard for what they've built.

In other news: My dry period (exercise wise) is over, now that my class is complete. I do have another class coming up, but I feel much more prepared for it. Could be wrong, but I plan to keep training through it anyway. I don't have enough money to NOT exercise.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Portable Applications

Do you have one of those USB jumpdrives? You know; you can keep your files on it, and plug it into any computer. If you do, you might want to consider keeping some Portable Applications on it.

Portable Applications like:
Having portable Applications on a jumpdrive is like having a computer, without the computer.

These applications currently run on Windows. There's not yet a Mac version, and I doubt they'll ever be developed for Mac. They're just not needed on Mac systems. Most Linux systems come with these applications.

At the very least, you'll impress even techy friends with portable applications.

Oh, and they're FREE.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

House of Thompson

The supreme and kinda-sorta-powerful House of Thompson has posterity. This is Ben Thompson. He will soon be three. A wise and confident sort, he is. Good Scottish/Irish/Celtic stock there. When he's older, I'm sure that smile of his will insure the continuation of The House of Thompson. Ben's father, Mark Thompson, gave me permission to post Ben's picture. I need to get some pictures of Andy, my brother Brian's son. I'll see if I can get that in this week.

Get this: I'm the Patriarch of the House of Thompson! I'm the current oldest surviving HOT male (I just love writing it that way -HOT male). Me. My granddad and Dad had to pass on, and leave ME in charge! I'm just too lazy to control our familia secret society. Opps. Not suppose to talk about that. Nevermind.

Speaking of laziness, what if the Anti-Christ is already here, but he's too lazy to do the job? Or he's a meth-head, just looking for his next dose. The zealots assume he'll know better. They also assume he's a he. I think he's going to be a she. Maybe, the anti-christ is a crack-ho.

While the discussions of Global Warming are debated, at the very least, we need to figure what to do, just in case it might actually be real. Since global warming has occured before humans were around, and even when we wore animal skins, I could buy the argument that we're not the cause of it. That it's a natural phenomenon. But, that doesn't help with WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO? How are we going to respond to it. Survive? I think the weather is going to get pretty wacky over the next few years. Maybe even quicker.

Just in case, I'm going to buy a couple of inflatable Kayaks. A House of Thompson Ark.

Sometimes, Computer are like this

Things of beauty at the start, crumble to pieces. How you handle it makes all the difference