Jason's Blog

I’ve got shivers down my spine

by on Apr.11, 2007, under General

I'll admit,there are two reasons for the shivers.  First, it could be in anticipation of what looks really impressive both visually, and from the bits I've seen, story line as well.  On the other hand, there's a part of me that shivers in terror at would could be yet another movie that destroys a book (Eragon is an exemplary example of such movies).  Still, I have high hopes based upon what I've seen, and the simple fact that Gaiman seems to be somewhat involved (if not heavily, I can't tell, but he has talked about the movie on his blog).

SO, go check out the trailer for "Stardust" and then do yourself a favor – head over to Amazon or Barnes & Noble and read his books.  Though unusual, he writes stories that are phenomenal in quality and depth.  And, definite kudos to Christian who got me onto him soooo long ago.  *grin* I still remember randomly, on a Friday afternoon with about 5 minutes warning, hopping in a car to go to St. Louis to have Gaiman sign some of our books smile 

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No Freudian references please

by on Apr.07, 2007, under General

New truck SO, I splurged.  I mean, I ROYALLY splurged.  But, it's also something I've been wanting for about 3 or 4 years.  It's absolutely beautiful too smile  It's an F-250 Crew Cab, Lariat, FX4 4×4, Diesel, power EVERYTHING truck.  I'm finally able to have people comfortably ride along with me, and I can pull a trailer without any concerns regarding weight (well, up to like 10k lbs or so).  

I decided upon this truck rather suddenly, although I'd been planning on something similar for years.  When I got my F-150 way back, I'd really wanted something with more room for people.  In the intervening years, it's been an issue anytime I've wanted to go someplace and have someone along.  At least, anytime I wanted to go someplace comfortably.  

Thus, Friday I went to look at this truck.  I'd originally planned to only look, as I was going to wait a while.  My old truck was paid off, and running ok.  I was planning on waiting a while to see if I wanted to buy a laptop first.  Eventually, after seeing the truck, reading more about it, figuring financing and other related issues, I couldn't resist.  It's something I've wanted for a long time, I had the money set aside, no significant debt, and well, for a lot of reasons, I decided to move on the "black beauty".  All said and done, this truck should last me for years to come, and be a great vehicle overall.  Yes, it's big, but I wanted something big and reliable.  SO, please, no Freudian references please? 

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Quote of the day :)

by on Apr.04, 2007, under General, Humor

Well I don’t have daily quotes, but this at least is one that hit me today!  I’d sent the link to James a long while back, and probably have posted it previously, but hey, it’s worth reposting!  *grin* It’s of course oriented to those who’ve ready the Harry Potter series!

“Oooh, I tink I taw a bid bad Moldiemort!
I DiD, I DiD
I Did tee a bid bad Moldiemort”

Go check it out from the beginning and get a few laughs!

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A year and a half of work

by on Mar.21, 2007, under General

It's released!  It's out the door!  I'm not sleeping!  All of those and so many more phrases I've used over the last few days, if not few weeks.  A program I've been developing over the last year and a half went live over the weekend.  This is a fairly major application that has been completely rewritten, both interface wise and database wise to be entirely web based.  It uses a technology called AJAX to allow rapid interface updates, has attachments for associating spreadsheets to things like payments or change orders, a large number of web reports that go straight to PDF files, and a ton of other features through-out the system.   This has been a MAJOR stress in my life, as well as a major sink of time and energy.  And, over the last weekend, Projex 3 was finally released.  Now of course comes all the bug requests and fixes as people start to use the system heavily. Thankfully though, thus far, there haven't been too many major issues.  There are a number of things people have asked for, but nothing hugely problematic at this point.

SO, perhaps in a few months, I'll actually be able to take some time off.  Hrmmmm, *pray* I REALLY hope so, as I've not had a serious vacation now in two years.  But, despite distant thoughts of vacation, the primary thought that has been going through my head recently is "It's DONE!"  If I can later, I'll post a screenshot or two to give everyone an idea upon what I've been working.

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Personal Politics

by on Mar.14, 2007, under General

I was watching a movie this weekend, "Man of the Year" and it got me thinking about what do I think on a number of major political issues.  Specifically, I was thinking I'd like to post my views on a number of issues, and why I think as I do on those issues.

  • Universal Healthcare.  This is a big one for me, in that I've known too many friends who've not had any kind of health insurance, or for various reasons, health insurance is ungodly expensive for them.  Then, I think of tons of kids growing in poor areas who don't have any kind of health insurance.  There's a TON of other reasons I think this is a good idea, but a lot of it is for the basic health of everyone in society.  I DO think there needs to be some limits on the kind of healthcare provided.  For example, breast implant surgery isn't exactly something I think should be covered wink  I'm also of the opinion that you SHOULD be providing taxes or working in order to obtain health care benefits, unless you are for some reason unable to work.  This is a VERY complex issue, and I'm definitely open to suggestions on this concept.
  • Abortion.  Talk about a tough issue, and in many ways, one that sparks more debate than any others.  First, let me say I've seen a LOT of sides to this issue.  From friends who've had abortions to friends who've chosen to give up their children for adoption.  I've had a few friends raped, and seen the consequences of that.  When it comes down to it, I don't think abortion should be made illegal.  I DO think it should be difficult, requiring LOTS of counseling before and afterwards, as well as offers of financial support or adoption purposes.  And, definitely not after the 1st trimester unless there are major medical reasons.  Some other things – I think it needs to be a mutual decision to abort, not just the mother having full decision making, and for anyone under the age of 18, a parent/guardian MUST approve.  Additionally, I think the father must be included in the decision, for a number of reasons.  I also think of course, the Father MUST contribute, at least financially, unless specifically released by the mother.  These are just a few thoughts on this issue.
  • Gay Marriage.  Honestly, I'd be more worried about Christians married and getting divorces than gays getting married.  Let gays have all the rights to screw up a marriage the rest of us non-gays have.  Of course, this isn't by any means a popular view, but it is my view.
  • Military Spending.  My views here are fairly complex as well.  I am a HUGE supporter of the military, military spending, and what it does for this country.  I'd attempted to join the Air Force myself, and believe in defense strongly.  With that said, I think the amount we spend on things like hammers, toilet seats, and pens that write in space are very idiotic.  Instead of spending billions on technology that may never see the light of day because it's 20 years off, and takes 25 years to develop, I'd rather see money spent on technology that's usable today, and provide research money to companies working on technology that's 5 or 10 years away.  Basic things like armor for troops is far more important than spending 120 million on an airplane.  I'd say cut the budget back on things like far off research, spend more on eduction for the troops, more on basic gear and such.
  • Education – this is perhaps one of the areas needing the most help.  And, honestly, I don't know that I've got a good system for this.  I do know the "no child left behind" is pure idiocy.  Flat out, that's complete nonsense.  I WOULD like to see teachers paid a lot more.  I was thinking – if a person can't pass a number of basic requirements for their grade level, they shouldn't go up a grade, and should NOT be allowed to graduate.  From ANY grade level.  I've heard of teachers passing kids because they had no choice.  This seems like a major mistake.  I'd say add more schools, and if you keep failing, find out why, and find a solution.  Don't pass the buck onto the next teacher.  If it's bad teaching, then get a better teacher.  There's got to be some decent solution but as said, I don't know that I've got any answers on this point, other than what we've got is messed up in every way imaginable.  Eduction in this country is failing, and as a result, we're failing in the world.
  • Science.  Come on people – use some common sense here.  There's nothing intelligent about "intelligent design".  Keep intelligent design in philosophy courses, not in science courses.  Science is a MAJOR failing right now in the US for a ton of reasons, and it's something that drives me nuts – people trying to place religion into science. 
  • Iraq.  Huge mistake, danged stupid, but it's like a car wreck.  You can't suddenly reverse the damage done – the best you can do is try and fix it to a point where things run and deal with the situation.  We're in Iraq, we're not going to get out easily anytime soon without major chaos.  We need to back out slowly, in a way that we can still help if really called upon.  But, sudden pull out of all troops is suicide, and not even remotely possible.
  • The environment and global warming.  Yes, it's going on right now.  Too many people are complacent about it, which is why I'm not complaining against what is often sensationalism about the whole topic.  We DO need to work on recycling, renewable technologies, and a ton of other related issues.  Emissions control isn't just good for the environment, it's good for people.  Ask anyone who's got asthma, allergies, or lung problems what they think of smog.  Hell, look at the restrictions we have on smoking (GOOD) – we need as strict of restrictions on smog and emissions.  I think a major problem is oil companies, and the monopoly they have on resources.  I think we need to look at solar technologies, wind, ANY possible source of alternative energy. 
  • Space.  More than a few people could guess my views here.  I'm a huge space nut, for a number of reasons.  The simplest to me is this – in all of human history, we've never really achieved any major endeavor without something to spur the imagination.  Often, it's been exploration.  Other times it has been the fight against an evil power (WWII and the Nazi's), other times it's been for a concept such as freedom and emancipation.  Humans need a goal, an ideal that can be seen, can be fought for, and can be achieved.  Poverty?  it's a great thing to fight, and we'll be fighting it all of time – it's a human failing and condition.  It's a thing to fix, not a thing to reach for.  Space is the only true endeavor that can be reached for, seen, felt, and understood.  It's a dream that we could all share, if we truly worked for it.  Further, the benefits alone so vastly outweigh many possible risks.  Look at the technology that has come from the space program (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_technology for a few areas that it applies to).  Honestly, there's few things in my mind that can offer more benefits to humanity as a whole. 
  • The DMCA, fair use, digital rights, and related issues.  Almost anyone could guess my viewpoints here wink  I'm a strong supporter of basic rights for people, including fair use.  I think DRM is a stupid idea for a legacy time.  I think the whole extending and re-extending copyright and such is stupid.  I think the media industry is systematically trying to strip us of all of our rights to own music, but instead wants to rent us their stuff.  I think the Patriot Act was a huge mistake.  I think the freedoms that this country are founded upon are FAR more important than a false sense of security, and that the extra powers granted, particularly with a lack of oversight are an invitation to abuse of those powers.  "Power Corrupts" – and it's very true in this government.  A simple thing of the President saying he's exempt from any law passed by congress is a simple breach of everything this country was founded upon.  

These are just a few of my basic major issues.  There are a ton of others, and I'm MORE than willing to add onto this list, if people wouldn't mind coming up with other "major issues".  SO, leave a comment, I encourage you.  I also ask that if you have views on the above, copy this list of major issues.  Post this on your page, and say what you think on all of the above – no side speak or double talk.  No "this is a complex issue that needs to be debated in a committee to find common ground and a viable solution" – that's not an answer.  What I'd love to have happen is everyone who's got a blog post these issues, let's see what we all think.  Let's come up with a simple multiple choice response (with comments allowed), on what we view, and see what people really and truly think.  I realize everyone will have slightly different view points, but it's so hard to find people who truly state their mind on even some of these topics.

Ok, enough preaching politics for now.  I will though leave off with this – there are definite days where I think about getting into politics, because I've met so few politicians I really like or admire, and who come out and say what they think, regardless of how it may be viewed.  I'd rather have an honest candidate who I disagree with on most points, than a dishonest candidate who seems to agree with most of my views. 

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This is Mondays normally for me

by on Mar.05, 2007, under General

UberSoft comic describing monday mornigns

Ubersoft is a great comic that is a parody of course of Microsoft.  I love the wry wit and humor in the comic, and how close he comes to real life (although sometimes TOO close).  Todays comic is a perfect example.  Of course, as I said in the title, todays comic isn't quite me as for some reason I've got massive amounts of energy smile

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Accidentally clicked on porn?  Go to jail for up to 40 years!

by on Feb.28, 2007, under General

I've gotta say this is perhaps THE MOST SCREWED UP story I've heard in a LONG while.   This lady is a teacher of 12-13 year olds, and I'm guessing was teaching a lecture on a projector.  Well, somehow or another she got a bunch of porn popups.  The kids mentioned it to their parents, parents threw a hissy fit, teacher was dismissed.  That wasn't enough, so the parents contacted the police and threw a bigger hissy fit, and the lady is now looking at 40 years possible jail time.  

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't know all the details of the case.  If there was actually intent, jail time is more understandable.  However, how many of us internet users have accidentally clicked on a link to discover lots and lots of pictures of naked women or men or other things that we really didn't want to see?  Come on, porn is a part of the internet (Avenue Q reference anyone?).  Putting someone in jail because she accidentally opened up porn and didn't know how to get rid of it is flat out stupid.  Yes, kids were involved and saw it.  However, let me ask you this – at what age did you first start learning about sex?  At what age did you first see any pictures related to it?  Hell, look on TV – there's been Skin-emax on for how long? Honestly, porn is NOT a big deal.  You click the close button, ignore it, move on with your life.  And grow up.

Some of this is perhaps American society – we're soooo worried about pornography and sex and nudity.  I'd personally be much more worried about violence, blood, and gore.  Video games often are worse than any level of porn.  Instead of hiding from stuff, pretending it doesn't exist, burrying heads in the sand, isn't it MUCH smarter to educate kids about stuff??  What the hell is the problem with the US today??

Ok, enough ranting, back to work.  I'll have more meaningful posts up soon, I hope (life is kinda nuts right now). 

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Singles Awareness Day

by on Feb.14, 2007, under General

Yes, it's that time of year again – the time when all of us single folk are reminded of our status in society.  We're told explicitly from every window that we're second class because we there isn't someone whom we can give flowers and chocolates.  For your intrepid blogger, this is a horrible day, as I think only once or twice in his entire life has there been someone with whom he could celebrate this holiday.

In other words, this day sucks for those who are single.  It's a painful reminder of that condition which many of us find ourselves – that of being without a significant other.  However, if we're all honest – it's not the holiday we hate.  It's not the people walking around with someone that we hate.  it's our singleness, it's the lack that we hate.  It's envy we feel towards others on this day.  It's regret?  loneliness?  whatever emotion which properly covers the gamut of a persons psyche on this day, that feeling really isn't one of hate.  

SO, let me say this to my future mate, whoever you are, where ever you may be, my heart yearns for you now.  I wish I had you here with me, and pray to God for assistance in finding you.  I pray that on this day that my prayers find you, and comfort you on some level that I'll be here waiting for you when God places you on my path.  Or me on yours.  Or something.  I just know that I anxiously am awaiting that day, with all of my being praying that God is making me ready for you, as well as you for me, and that God helps me to not look for what I want, but what God wants for me.  SO, my prayer ends thus – God, help me be a servant of your will, help me though to find that other half that you plan for me to be with, but only find her in your time and place, and most importantly, thank you God for all the gifts you've given and continue to give me in life.  I just pray that this one gift, that of my other half, may not be too far away wink 

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Steve Jobs and DRM

by on Feb.07, 2007, under General

By the time you've read this, it's more than likely you've already read Steve Jobs' post regarding DRM.  For more information on how DRM messes with your life read this entry in Wikipedia.   If you haven't read either the post or some of the relevant discussions, you can read through some of the news sites responses by doing a Google News search for "Steve Jobs DRM" .  I won't rehash a lot of his arguments, nor the arguments of many who've discussed the article.  I'll just say a few words on some things that really made me stop and think about the whole situation. 

First, F-ing BRILLIANT piece of work if from no other aspect than an amazing public relations move.  Also, some major BS too, but that's my opinion of the licensing FairPlay discussion, and despite that I still agree with the majority of his article.  Even disagreeing with his viewpoints on FairPlay, I can at least respect his views.  What's interesting though is a few points brought up on boingboing.net regarding selling music RIGHT NOW in a non-DRM format .  Basically, the argument is that a lot of independent labels already have said they'd be more than willing to have their music sold in a non-DRM format.  Now, the question becomes when will it be possible to purchase this music?  I know personally, I vowed not to buy anything off of iTunes because of DRM issues (when you replace machines regularly and have had as many issues as I've had transferring music from an old machine to a new one, you'd understand).  

SO, how about it?  Can I finally buy music through iTunes from independent labels without DRM?  If not now, when?  If this doesn't become an option after the furor his article has generated, I'd argue that the expose isn't so much about DRM, as it is about Apple trying to avoid litigation issues with the Norwegian Consumer Council .

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Harry Potter Book 7

by on Feb.01, 2007, under General

It's announced!  It's coming!  July 21st!  SOooo, time to go over to B&N and preorder a book wink  More info on the page for Book 7, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on the Barnes & Noble site .

SO, I gotta ask – who's dying this time?  Harry?  Ron?  Everyone? wink 

* EDIT* – sorry, I had to correct the date above, I'd originally said July 31st but it's really 21st, so 10 days sooner!  WOOT!  Also, isn't the cover kinda creepy?  I mean, I expect this to be one of the most disturbing Harry Potters, considering the last couple of books, but still….

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