All that is wrong with the world…

February 4, 2014

Thoughts on the shooting of Trayvon Martin

Filed under: Issues...the world...etc.. — Tags: , , , , — allthatiswrong @ 12:52 pm

I’m writing this almost 2 years after the event happened, and about six months after the trial. Now that things have finally cooled down, I’d like to write my thoughts on the matter so they are just not lost in the noise. My view on this is simple…Zimmerman is completely innocent. It was not a hate crime. The people upset he walked away are a fantastic example of why democracy is such a horrible idea.

So, let me expand on that and look at what actually happened. A half-white Hispanic man killed a black teen at night, while he saw someone he saw as suspicious after the neighborhood had had a string of robberies. There were no witnesses, so we have to take the evidence we have available including Zimmerman’s statement, 911 calls, character references and whatever else may help. Zimmerman’s story was that he acted in self defense, which is something that the courts found to be consistent with evidence.

That’s pretty much why he walked. We won’t ever truly know what happened and if he is innocent or not. But in the American justice system, you have to prove a crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt. There is a very good reason for that and a lot of history leading up to that principle being a cornerstone of the justice system. Sadly, it is something most Americans and even most of the world don’t understand.

Zimmerman walked because the evidence was consistent with his account of what happened, and because murder could not be proved. That’s it. That’s a good thing because it means the justice system is working as it was intended to. Is it a shame Trayvon Martin died? Undoubtedly. It’s very sad and the case brought a lot of attention, hopefully things will improve because of it and his death was not for anything.

But just because it was a tragic death does not mean someone should necessarily pay for it, and certainly not someone who *may* have been guilty of murder but we can’t prove. That equates to putting an innocent man in jail to satisfy the emotions of everyone affected by Trayvon Martin’s death, and I personally think that is far, far worse than the killing of Trayvon Martin. For those reasons, I’m glad Zimmerman got off and I’m glad the mob didn’t get their say.

February 3, 2014

Thoughts on support for the military

This is a pretty short post, but the idea is interesting enough to me that I may grow it into something larger. Essentially, I don’t understand why the public has seemingly unconditional support for members of the military in many countries. I am well aware that many members of the public can oppose actions to go to war or similar actions, but when it comes to individuals wearing the uniform, no one seems to say anything bad about them and often gives thanks.

This is what I do not understand. Let’s use the US military as an example, since they are the most well known. Members of the US military (as well as members of militaries from countries that support the US) made a decision to join the military for various reasons. Perhaps due to life circumstances, perhaps simply due to career, or perhaps because they genuinely believed they were serving their country. The thing is though, the US was not under threat of invasion, they were in a war they instigated and could have ended at any time. There is a huge difference between military men who were called to action to defend their country, and by extension friends and families from invasion in times of war and the military and many of the military men today who are simply doing their countries bidding because they believe it is the right thing to do.

Outside of there actually being a legitimate reason to go to war and defend your country….being a member of the military signifies to me a lack of free well and critical thinking. These people are giving up their free lives, being with their families, putting themselves in live threatening situations…for what? For misguided reasons? Was the US really any safer because of the 8 year war in Iraq? How many civilians lives were destroyed by members of the US military who believed they were doing the right thing?

For that reason, in general, when I see a member of the military in modern day, I simply can’t respect them.

January 11, 2014

Homophobia is an inaccurate, loaded term and should be discontinued

Filed under: Issues...the world...etc.. — Tags: , , — allthatiswrong @ 1:55 pm

The term homophobia continually frustrates me. Specifically the phobia suffix. Taken literally it would mean a fear of men, however it is in essence a shortened version of homosexual-phobia. The problem is that this is a loaded word. Not everyone who thinks being homosexual is wrong thinks so due to fear. It’s entirely possible to have no fear of gay people and to simply think it is wrong, because your religion says so is just one example.

Using the term homophobia is equivalent to anti-abortionists calling themselves pro-life, implying abortionists are supportive of murder. The queer community tends to be progressive(also a loaded term) and having had to deal with these types of tactics, should understand the problem with using them. Anti-gay or some such is a far more accurate term, without having to resort to trying to frame or characterize opponents of homosexuality.

A final note, the word is different from hydrophobia, which has a similar misuse. Hydrophobia is a word that evolved naturally as our language changed. Homophobia was deliberately chosen as a weapon. I would think such tactics are beneath the queer community. At least, they should be.

Lena Dunham and Body Shaming

Filed under: Entertainment, Issues...the world...etc.. — Tags: , , — allthatiswrong @ 1:48 pm

I’ve seen a lot of accusations that a reporter that asked Lena Dunham why she was nude so much in her show Girls was body shaming, that the question was rude and misogynistic and all manner of negative things. The thing is, the reporter asked a completely reasonable question. He noted that on the show Game of Thrones the nudity is to titillate, while the nudity on Girls serves no purpose.

This is a completely reasonable question. It isn’t misogynistic or rude and it makes no implication or commentary on Lena Dunham’s body. The point is that Game of Thrones is essentially soft porn, while Girls is not. Lena answered the question by saying that it is a realistic expression of what it is like to be alive. That’s all that was needed to answer the question, as it clarifies that in her opinion, the nudity does indeed serve a purpose.

There was no need to be so defensive or to label false accusations of misogyny or body shaming. Doing so only lessens the claims of actual misogyny and body-shaming. Of course, if I am not understanding the issue and have missed something, I would love for somebody to clarify.

Thoughts on being possibly transgendered

Filed under: Issues...the world...etc.. — Tags: , , , , , — allthatiswrong @ 10:20 am

I’m writing this article because most of my life I have felt that I am transgendered, and yet I still have doubts that this is the case. I have a lot of fears and doubts about confronting my identity, embracing it and taking the steps I think it would take to feel whole. I don’t think what I am writing will help anyone, but I hope that people may find it interesting and that perhaps I will benefit from the feedback. If nothing else, it is cathartic to write it all out.

So, I’m male and since I was a child I’ve felt that I wanted to be female. I remember being fascinated with children’s books such as Animorphs which allowed people to transform their bodies and wishing I could have that power to transform myself female, seeing girls and wanting to be like them and being attracted to stereotypically girly things.

Never dresses or dolls but certainly more shows and books such as Little House on the Prairie, Black Beauty, Nancy Drew, The Babysitters Club, flowers, mermaids and the like. I remember being very sensitive and caring…to a point that this characteristic was remarked and commented upon as abnormal. I also remember being teased a lot because of these attributes, being considered a sissy or other pejorative terms.
I grew up with a lot of abuse and family drama, and aside from feeling that way; I didn’t have time to think much about it. I didn’t understand my feelings and didn’t know that it was a thing, and thought there was something wrong with me. I didn’t have so much time to examine my feelings due to dealing with other more pressing issues.

It wasn’t until I reached my early teens that I started to read about these issues and realize that I was probably transgender. The more I read about it, I identified with it and it was terrifying. There was no way I could tell my family and I had no friends to speak of that I could confide in. I was awarded a sum of money when I turned 18 and my plan since about 14 was to run away and get all the surgeries to transition, perhaps helpfully developing amnesia along the way so I wouldn’t feel guilty about abandoning my family. It didn’t occur to me to try and seek free counseling or something like that.

Instead…I just detached from my body as much as was possible, even to this day as I approach my 30s, I’ve dealt with this issue by focusing on my mind. I’m fairly intelligent, so I’ve tried to use that to define myself as much as possible. Learning and reading as much as I can, getting degrees, formulating arguments, doing whatever I can to grow my mind, and distance my body. This also could have been a reaction to physical abuse.
My plan for a long time was just to get my PhD at a young age after contributing some groundbreaking research, and then peacefully commit suicide not something I think I was ever really going to do, but it was a way to distract and try and drive myself. Yet if I felt so wrong that that seemed like the best solution…surely transitioning is the better option?

Which would make sense, yet I’ve had so many doubts about what I’ve read, I’ve read so much literature that makes me doubt if I even am transgender, despite what I feel. For example, I’ve never tried to mutilate my genitals or even thought about it, which is apparently a very common occurrence. Then again that may seem expected if I simply detached from my body.

To this day…I don’t know that I am actually transgendered or not. As much as I feel like I should be female, how can I possibly know? The few female friends I came out to have tended to tell me that I’m not female at all and they could not see me as such. This fills me with further doubt…I only know how I feel. I can’t say with certainty that I feel (aside from feeling that my body is wrong) like a woman or think like a woman…all I know is that I feel and think like me.

I’ve read a lot about brain scans done on transgender people before exposure to hormones…I wish I could have one of these scans for myself, to know, to get some sort of closure, although I don’t know what I would do with such information or if anything would change for me.

I have tried dressing up in women’s clothes only twice…both times with a female friend to help me. Both times I felt very depressed because what I saw looked nothing like a woman. I looked like a man in bad drag. It seemed to reinforce that there was no way for me to transition and pass…I would always just look like a man in drag. Wearing clothes, the weight of fake breasts, having longer hair…it all felt right to me, yet it continues to seem out of reach.

I know consciously that my worries of passing including but not limited too big hands, big feet, height, my face or the combination of these things are irrational as there are many women with similar sized body parts to me yet somehow put together…it reinforces my belief that I wouldn’t pass. There is also the factor that I find the surgeries and transitioning process terrifying. Being dependent on hormones for the rest of my life…having to dilate regularly (I know less over time) because my vagina would be treated as an open wound. It makes me think of the South Park episode addressing this, where the message was maybe to learn to be comfortable with my body as it is or at least wait until technology is more advanced to transition.

Perhaps my biggest concern is that people would always know…and I would always be ostracized and humiliated and pitied because of it…which I don’t know if that is worth the price of transitioning. Reading some of the things on this list seems to reaffirm my fears. Having seen the way transwomen transitioning are treated. Having to live as a woman for a year before hormones or surgery…I don’t know that I could face that. It took me a very, very long time to overcome bullying and abuse as a child and young adult, and I don’t know that I could go back to that. It would seem to be trading one hurt for another, potentially worse hurt. I don’t know that I could go back to that; or more accurately, based on my problems with depression and a lack of supportive friends and family…I don’t know that I would survive that.

Transitioning would also mean identifying as gay, which isn’t by any means a deterrent, but I do feel intimidated by that….by experiencing the double pressure of trying to be accepted as a woman and facing the harassment gay people do while learning a new culture and dating scene. Not to mention the idea of dating as a transwoman is a frightening prospect to me, given the amount of lesbian women who seem to be anti-transgender.
Aside from all of those concerns, as misplaced as some of them may be, perhaps the major thing that deters me from transitioning would be a member of my family who is in poor health and needs constant care. My parents look after her, and if they were to cut me out of their lives, I would also lose access to this person, which would be very hard for me to deal with. Realistically, she will likely die in the next few years and then I would not have a reason not to come out to my family.

There is no doubt that I have male attributes although exactly what they are I am not sure. Perhaps preferring to repress emotions and issues instead of deal with them? I don’t know to what extent these male attributes are a part of me, of to what extent they are an act of sorts that I have adopted to make things easier.

Traveling alone for many years, being extremely broke and being in many dangerous areas/situations I felt I had to be tough. I think this was reflected in my appearance for most of the time which was a leather jacket, long hair and beard. The purpose being to try and cultivate an attitude and image that was seen as at least to some extent as threatening – to reduce my risk of being a victim.

I know that I don’t appear feminine at all…I have no idea if my thoughts or thinking process is female. After a lifetime of repressing what I feel and using being male as an advantage to appear intimidating or at least ever so slightly threatening while traveling it make senses to me that I wouldn’t appear female. Now at this point however, I have no way to determine to what extent I am female.

The few people I’ve told seem to think I’m gay when this isn’t the case at all. It can be frustrating to try and convince a female friend or romantic interest that I have no interest in men, despite feeling female. I have a desire to act femininely…to wear skirts and dresses and to learn makeup. I don’t believe this is anything to do with reasons of gratification, but rather it’s how I feel I should be able to act and express myself but don’t feel that I can. I don’t think I would be overly femme if I were to transition, but I am drawn to overly feminine styles, partly because I have felt that anything feminine has been forbidden from me.

It’s an important point in considering transitioning. I have no idea how to “act” female, in terms of body language or behavior or anything related. I know that I could probably learn…but I have no idea how long that would take and it would worry me being not accepted for a number of years while I figure it out, primarily because I feel that I only developed social skills and came to be accepted in the last few years.

An issue I think that is perhaps related is my sexual development. It was very, very late. I believe that this was in part, due to being secluded from my peers at school and not interacting with people my own age. I had not realized I liked girls until quiet late, at 18 or 19. I remember when I realized this; it was like a bomb hit as I started noticing women’s breasts and curves and looking at women in a whole different way. Up until that point, I had been convinced I was asexual due to not seemingly being attracted to men or women. I do think now, looking back, that was due to the distance I put between myself and my body, which I see almost exclusively as a vessel for my mind.

Something that always made me pause was that many women seem to consider me a very attractive guy, wanting to talk or sleep with me on that basis alone. This always made me feel odd – I was convinced I was ugly up until maybe 24. If I couldn’t like how I looked, I found it hard to understand how anyone possibly could. Even now when women compliment me on my appearance…I don’t entirely like it. I’m being complimented for something I couldn’t help, for looking a way I don’t feel I should look.

Growing up, I never watched porn or had any desire to. The closest thing I did to that was read TG captions and stories…which I used as a method of escape, wishing some of those situations would happen to me. Of course, there was arousal from reading these stories which made me wonder…what if I’m just an autogynephiliac? I don’t feel that I am, as my desire to be female isn’t sexual, it isn’t a fetish, but I have to consider the possibility. Is it possible that I hate myself to that extent, that I just want to be someone else à la Buffalo Bill (without the women suit)? The idea scares me and is refuted by what I feel, yet it remains a fear.

To this day, I have continual problems with my sex drive for reasons I can’t understand. I’m not depressed, I’m in perfect health and yet I have a general lack of desire and performance issues. This was not always the case, although in the last few years nothing has even remotely happened unless I had an emotional connection to person I was sleeping with. Since all my experience comes from one night stands, this is something I am not familiar with and wonder if my body detachment is the issue.

I am filled with doubt about my identity and who I am. I don’t trust what I feel as it seems to contradict objective studies and experiences I have read. I don’t know if I am female on the inside I only know that I know I feel envious when I see women, that I feel that I could fit in and be seen that way and that it was acceptable for me to act how I sometimes feel.

I paid someone to Photoshop a picture of what I would look like had I been born female, which is something I hang on to convinced that is what I should have looked like. Having such strong conviction with how I feel it’s odd to be skeptical of it at the same time. It seems like an impossible task trying to weigh all my contradictory thoughts and fears and just figure out who I am and who I should be, at least in the context of gender.
There is so much I want to accomplish still that practically I could not do if I were to transition. The practicalities of surgery, hormones and passing would limit me in traveling for long periods of time, or starting a new business and getting investing due to discrimination, or any number of other issues. Perhaps some of my fears are misplaced, but certainly not all of them.

I’m not sure what my plans for the future are as far as pursuing this. I know this year I want to resume learning martial arts, work on writing inspiring and controversial articles, get my license, learn a new language…as I approach 30 I’m not sure it makes sense to throw my life into turmoil. Not only because of the fears I outlined above, as I truly believe I would get some level of peace from transitioning. I just don’t know if it is worth the cost.

At the end of it all I still feel trapped in my body. More than though, I feel ashamed and cowardly for not being able to face these issues; especially when I see so many positive transgender role models who do face their fears and overcome such high levels of adversity while fighting for basic rights and acceptance. It’s just not something I feel I have in me, to have to fight every day to be accepted. I don’t know that this will change anytime soon, and so I remain in the shadows, where it is safe and I am familiar with the problems I face and know how to conquer them.

I know this article is disjointed, and I apologize for that. It is an honest account of my feelings and experiences while I try to understand myself and my situation. I hope that at the least, some people may find it interesting or relate to it. I also hope I did not offend anyone with what I wrote. If I have, I welcome the opportunity to be corrected in my knowledge or attitudes.

March 4, 2013

A comparison of books for learning assembly language.

Filed under: Tech — Tags: , , , , , — allthatiswrong @ 2:31 am

I had wanted to learn assembly for a very long time, at least a year but was very slow getting into it. Part of that, I think, was because I imagined it to be a lot more difficult than it was. The second issue was finding a good guide. Random tutorials I encountered on the internet seemed to jump in without much of an explanation and I was quickly lost. It wasn’t until I realized how easy it was to download eBooks that I started taking my goal more seriously.

There were many different assembly textbooks out there; it was just a matter of choosing the right one. My requirements were simple: Intel syntax, Linux and Windows compatible, not assuming too much prerequisite knowledge and exercises with solutions as a way to test knowledge.

I thought I would quickly write this for people who are in a similar position to what I was in, hopefully narrowing down the choices. All the title reviewed here were the latest editions as at the date of this post.

James T. Strieb – Guide to assembly language: A concise introduction
This is the book I found to be the perfect guide. It was exactly what I was looking for. The book assumes a basic knowledge of programming and doesn’t go over architecture at all. Or if it does, it does so briefly and only when pertinent. The book assumes knowledge of things like libraries, arrays and functions, nothing to complex.

The book shows concepts in C with code examples and then shows how they would be implemented in assembly. It uses Intel syntax with the MASM assembler. There seems to be some of the more complicated stuff left out, although I think it is a great starting point, making it much easier to pick up one of the other assembly textbooks. The book gives solutions to about half the exercises, which is significantly better than the rest I couldn’t recommend this book enough for someone looking to learn assembly. I found it very approachable and was able to learn the language in a short amount of time.

The Art of Assembly Language – Randall Hyde

This was the first book I tried for learning assembly, as I had heard good things about the publisher and this book in particular. It was disappointing to say the least. The biggest gripe I have with this book is that it teaches “High Level Assembly”, essentially an entirely different language from assembly, built using assembly macros. It’s great maybe if you have no programming experience what so ever…although even then I don’t know why you would learn HLA instead of a real language.

I have a good knowledge of concepts like OO and arrays and functions, although I’m not much of a developer. Randall’s book assumed no prior knowledge, which I thought was fine as it would give me a chance to brush up on what I already knew. Learning HLA instead of assembly just became frustrating, and I soon looked for a replacement. It’s hard to recommend this book at all, as well written as it is, unless you are OK with learning a different language to help learn assembly.

Assembly Language for x86 Processors – Kip Irvine

This seemed like a book high on everyone’s list and for good reason. It covers a lot of architecture and then gets into the programming. I didn’t find it as approachable as some of the other books, in particular the one by Streib. I was somewhat put off that he uses his own library for input and output, although looking at it now it seems OK. I was probably just put off from the HLA stuff. He still teaches without his library eventually, so it’s a minor point.

I would not recommend this for a beginner, as he delves into things like the EQU directive and symbols in the introductory chapter! The main reason I didn’t go for this was that it seemed a little too complex, and that there were no solutions made available for the exercises unless you are an instructor. I find that quite frustrating. Now that I’ve finished with the Streib book, I may choose this to augment my existing knowledge.

Introduction to Assembly Language Programming: From 8086 to Pentium Processors – Sivarama P. Dandamudi

This book is over complicated and I don’t think suitable for a beginner. In fact I’m not really sure where it would find a niche, given there seem to be better books out there. The book devotes quite a lot to architecture, focusing on the Intel Pentium and going into RISC architectures with the MIPS processor as well. The book uses the Nasm assembler which is nice, as it is Intel syntax and cross platform.

There is a lot of info on debugging, interrupts and similar things which make it seem useful as a reference. Chapter 3 is devoted to explaining the Pentium Processor, with Chapter 4 starting to teach Assembly. If you just want to learn assembly and can go without deep explanations of processors mechanics, this probably isn’t the book for you. Also, no answers to exercises are provided.

Introduction to 80×86 Assembly Language and Computer Architecture – Richard C. Detmer

This book seems similar to Kip Irvine’s book in the sense that it covers a lot of architecture. There almost seems to be more about architecture than programming. As my goal was only to learn assembly and not architecture, I found this book too broad. When it gets into teaching assembly I thought it was too complex, introducing jmp in the same paragraph as add, for example.

It uses a special library for input and output similar to how Irvine does, but also seems to teach input and output sans library later on, which is fine. Staying consistent with the trend, solutions to exercises are not provided.

Programming from the Ground Up – John Bartlett

I think the main reason I didn’t use this book is because of the use of AT&T syntax. Intel is more popular and seems easier to pickup. It also uses Linux specific tool and since Windows is my everyday operating system, I didn’t want to reboot or use a VM just to learn assembly.

The book seems kind of odd to me…explaining basic architecture in the first 2 chapters but not getting deep into it. It starts off with some basic programs, but then gets into buffers and system calls very early on. This looks like a fine book if you were fine learning AT&T syntax in a Linux environment, and wanted a very gentle introduction to the concepts. There are no answers to exercises, which is frustrating.

February 13, 2013

Back to it

Filed under: Travel — Tags: , — allthatiswrong @ 7:06 pm

I had actually thought I posted this in January and just realized it was only saved as a draft. Oh Seeming as I have been show to stick to what I wrote, perhaps now is a better starting point.

Well, I’d like to apologize to my very small base of readers, if indeed I even have any regular readers, for the lack of activity on this blog.

I realize now in mid December that I have not written anything for my blog since February. When I originally started this I had plans to write something at least every week, and I certainly though the lengthier articles I plan to write on Scientology, democracy, piracy and the like would be written by now. Part of it is because I have been slack, choosing to play games and watch TV shows in stead of writing…but there are other factors as well.

So, I’m going to write a short review of this year, and hopefully this will be the commencement of a lot more regularity in my posting.

So, I started this year in New York City for NYE…which was lame without knowing any parties to go to. The lower east village and Williamsburg were dead…nothing going on. Looks like I’m going to be here again for this NYE as I don’t have money to make more of it, but hopefully it will be more interesting. After NYE in NYC, I went back to Montreal where I was living while waiting for my green card to process, which took forever! I managed to find an awesome IT Security job, I wish I had found it much earlier while I was in Montreal…being able to only work at the company for a few months was lame, but still rewarding with friends and contacts I have made.

My bed situation was interesting during this time, as I had been looking for an apartment with a friend of mine and as Montreal advertises in the retarded European way, where every room is listed as opposed to just bedrooms, we ended up sharing a studio with a separate kitchen. It worked surprisingly well, having the kitchen as a bedroom, although the lack of desk made it hard to do any writing. I also have an unhealthy addiction for sites like Slashdot which I need to stop reading.

I had gone back to the hostel I used to work at in Cancun which was a fun experience and I met a girl who ended up becoming one of my closest friends. I then went back about a month later with a girl I had met a year earlier in Cancun….a girl I’d tried to be friends with for a long time, then finally she wanted to go to Mexico with me. While there making it seem like I was trying to get with her when I didn’t hit on her once, and then ended up deserting me (just as a friend and travel companion) for an Israeli guy. Seriously, what a bitch.

On the 12th of July I had my green card interview, which was one of the most exciting times of my life. My documents from Australia had not arrived in time which was extremely frustrating, as was the ridiculous amount of time it took my country to get me a new passport. So, while approved I had to wait another month…it would have been nice to work for that month, although I think I burned a bridge by being unable to work my last shift.

Finally in August, I noticed I was able to go and pick it up. How unbelievably exciting it was. The next day I was on an early bus walking to the location, and then I spent the day packing and getting ready for my busride into the US. Crossing the border was no issue, and I finally had my green card. Such a good feeling. I’d wanted to live in NYC for the longest time, and now I was going to. In NYC for a weekend with my friend from Cancun, then back to her place in Connecticut until went to Vegas to see a friend. Vegas is such a fun town, but boring by yourself…really need money to make the most of it. Then to Portland to visit another friend….and then a long flight back home where I had not been in several years.

I was a bit worried about home due to certain potentially fraudulent acts I had committed in the past, yet nothing came of it. Safe for the moment. It was amazing to see my parents and meet my nieces and nephew. I severely underestimated how much I was missed and felt so bad for not calling more regularly. Still, I set up Skype video calling which makes my parents very happy. It was amazing to see my family again…although I realized I didn’t miss it at all, and was glad to be leaving. I couldn’t imagine having to be back there…it would be like a punishment. Furthermore many of the things I missed, like certain cola’s and food items no longer existed.

During this time I had been trying desperately to find an apartment as I knew I couldn’t stay with anyone, not really. I managed to find one room in Bushwick for only $450/month, including utilities! I was worried it was a scam but it was fine. The room is small, but I can fit a full size bed in there and other stuff. It’s amazing just to be able to have my own place that I can afford pretty easily. No room for a desk, which makes it hard to do writing, but as I write this I am in one of the fine libraries available in this city, something I plan to do regularly from now on. Not least because I have consistent fast internet, not broken WEP internet far away.

In October it was back to NYC, back to selling comedy tickets for income to live. I haven’t taken advantage of too much NYC stuff yet, but plan to go to a lot more bars as soon as money permits as well as the museums, restaurants, shows, parks…all of it. All the amazing stuff I now have at my hands. In the meanwhile…I’m now back to learning Spanish regularly… Rosetta Stone did nothing for me. Learning Assembly and trying to get a decent grasp of statistics. Perhaps most importantly I have regular meetings with someone to help me work on my business plan. I’m hoping to find a high paying job to help me start early next year…ideally a job allowing me a lot of time to write.

So, that’s it from me, for the moment.

tl;dr — I haven’t had constant internet or a desk so have found it hard to write, but plan to do a lot more from now on while living in NYC on the road to starting my new business.

Next week, perhaps an article on organic food.

Thoughts on Fedora 18

Filed under: Tech — Tags: , , — allthatiswrong @ 6:57 pm

Thoughts on Fedora 18

I recently decided to remove my long running Slackware install with Fluxbox and Tint2 and install Fedora 18. I chose Fedora because I know that is is well maintained and up to date, and I wanted to start delving deeper into SELinux . I thought it would be a good opportunity to see how Linux on the desktop has progressed.

I was sadly disappointed. Fedora may not be the first name people think of when they think of a polished desktop Linux experience, but it had to be better than the eternally buggy Ubuntu. I didn’t think it would be too different from Debian and so I had high expectations. I was very disappointed.

I should disclose that I may have been at a disadvantage as I did a full install from the 900mb live CD as opposed to the DVDs, however I noticed no warning that my experience would be hampered in any way if I installed this route.

The first thing I noticed was that there was no no easy way to minimize or close windows that was apparent, short of right clicking. This was quite frustrating, and did not seem to make much sense. I decided to install other desktops such as MATE and Cinnamon, to see how they were in comparison to the horrible Gnome 3.

The problems I had then were with the package manager. Using the package manager I thought I would search for the mate desktop, using mate as my search term. I found a bunch of packages, with it not being clear which ones I had to install or which dependencies were needed. After dealing with a lot of nonsense about waiting in a queue before I could actually install packages, it turns out I had not managed to install the MATE desktop.

I did manage to install cinnamon, although I had the same problem of trying to guess which packages were actually for the desktop environment. Isn’t package management on Linux now meant to be easy to use and intuitive? That is not all the experience I had. Compiling from source would have been significantly easier.

I also noticed that there was no way to easily disconnect from a wireless network. I had connected to the wrong network by mistake and when wanting to rectify this, I found no way in the GUI to disconnect from the current network.

Finally I decided to logoff to test out my newly installed Cinnamon (and I had thought MATE) environments. This was the kicker…there was no logoff option. Apparently this is a well known bug (feature?) with Fedora, in that if there is only one user account the logoff option is not displayed. Sigh. Even ctrl+alt+backspace didn’t work to restart the X server.

I still plan to use Fedora a lot more, but for my initial impressions I am not at all impressed. Year of the Linux Desktop? Not this year, or not with Fedora at least.

February 7, 2012

Spirit of the law Vs Letter of the law

Filed under: Issues...the world...etc.. — Tags: , , , , , — allthatiswrong @ 12:19 am

I have a big problem with keep a law vague and having people interpret it as they see fit, in accordance with the spirit of the law. This is dangerous as it allows for arbitrary, inconsistent interpretations which do little to ensure justice. Having a vaguely written law makes it hard to ensure the Rule of Law is enforced.

People are sometimes tempted to advocate a spirit of the law approach over a letter of the law approach because they think this can help to avoid loopholes in the law. This is true, technicalities cannot be exploited if the wording is not precise enough to allow for technicalities. However the potential cost of having the law open to interpretation outweighs the real benefits of having a precisely worded law.

Whatever the spirit of the law may be, it should be possible to articulate that as precisely as possible into clear and concise written law. Things may be missed and people may find ways to violate the spirit of the law, however this is when the law is revised and any such loopholes fixed to prevent the problem from occurring again in the future. Letting a few people get away with doing something reprehensible should be much preferred to allowing inconsistent interpretations of the law to be doled out and for justice to be doled out subjectively, based on the person doing the interpreting.

Allowing for a lot of interpretation so the spirit of the law is considered more important is nice in theory but it all it really accomplishes is ignoring the Rule of Law, denying justice to people and enabling mob rule. Juries will be free to find guilty those they dislike and let go those they do regardless of if the law was broken or not. Sticking to the letter of the law removes personal biases and should only allow for interpretation to the minimum required extent. It seems like this should be basic to anyone who has thought it out. Yet people still advocate vaguely written laws and adherence to the spirit of the law, without seemingly bothering to consider the consequences.

February 3, 2012

TV Licenses are not acceptable.

Filed under: Issues...the world...etc.., Travel — Tags: , , , , — allthatiswrong @ 3:11 pm

I find the very concept of a TV license offensive. The idea that you have to pay a license on private property that you own, based purely on the assumption that you will watch a free to air channel that the money from the license funds.

Many people defend the idea because they are thankful for unbiased quality journalism and don’t see any problem. The problem I have is that the license should simply be a tax. At the moment it is a license. Needing a license to operate a harmless and widely available electronic device is fundamentally flawed.

Another problem with this model is the assumption that you will watch the free to air channel that the license funds. Personally I don’t tend to watch free to air TV at all. If I purchased a TV it would be to play console games or perhaps to watch things from my laptop. I wouldn’t use it to watch free to air TV yet in some countries like the UK it is assumed that if you have a TV then you will watch free to air TV, or specifically the BBC. How is that a reasonable assumption.

Some people consider the use of the word license to be just semantics and that the fee is actually a tax. The reason you can’t consider a TV license fee a tax is for 2 reasons. 1) If it were a tax, people would be eligible to get the fee refunded if they could show it shouldn’t apply to them and 2) taxes for the most part don’t tend to be for owning private household items. Taxes go towards services or needs of the larger population. Charging people a fee for owning a TV based on assumed use is not a tax, nor should it be permitted at all.

If I buy something and use it within my home, I shouldn’t have to pay anything on top of that. Not when other people are not affected by my use of my possession. It might seem a trivial thing to write about but I think it indicates a slippery slope. If you allow governments to charge you a fee for owning a TV however it might be justified, how long until they start charging you for owning computers or phones or game consoles?

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