Has This Happened To You?

This morning, I wake up, look at my clock, and it says 9:00 AM. I figure, I'm not getting into work anytime soon, so I call out. After I call out, I try to think back on if I had slept at all that night. I really don't remember. I head downstairs to brew up a pot of coffee. Kodie is barking at me and trying to bite my hand, but I don't remember letting her out of her cage. Jeff always puts her in her cage when he leaves for work. My coffee is ready. It was super quick. Way faster than normal. I start to pet Kodie when I hear something downstairs. It sounds like scratching. I go down to check it out. The clothes dryer is on, but it didn't sound like the clothes dryer at first. I head back upstairs and check my email with my freshly made cup of coffee. My air conditioner is off. I didn't turn it off! Something's going on here. I have tons of emails from people who I haven't seen in years trying to sell me Viagra. This is crazy. My curiosity got the best of me. I went into the gaming room, opened the window, and decided to take the 20 foot plunge! Yup, I was still sleeping, I woke up and it was 4:49 AM. Stupid dreams.

Operation Yellow Elephant

If you visit my site, you've never heard even the implications of the term above mentioned by me. I'm no politician. I am something that begins with a 'P', though, and it's not a curse word. I'm a philosopher. Well, I don't know who determines that, but I like to think. That's why I'm here. The term above implies "Republican", or "GOP", the Grand Olde Party. Yellow infers the old western term of the same name, spelling, etc. That they are cowards. Operation means that they are doing something. Read this post for a proper introduction, I'm afraid my words are weakening their cause.

Alright, a little briefer on liberal vs. conservative. As far as I can tell, conservatives take over the world and liberals complain all the time ;-) I'm just kidding. So, conservative, by its dictionary definition, means a person that likes things the way they are. Liberal means a person who likes things to be changed. Regardless of what tags and stereotypes these people are given, these are the definitions we'll use. There is definitely more to it, but my argument doesn't require much info on either of them. Just that they think differently.

So, this site posts a contest. A contest to make a sign and hang it somewhere. Specifically:

Create signs relating to Operation Yellow Elephant's mission to expose the hypocrisy of hawkish College Republicans and other young conservatives who are too cowardly to fight in the war they demanded.

That can arguably be ruled "harassment" right off the bat. But, I don't like to assume anything. Philosophy does require assumptions, but based on past arguments. So, I'll make it quick.

Suppose you're walking by on campus, and some dude comes up and calls you a coward. Or a hypocrit? I would consider that harassment. What if these words were on signs? Signs are a form of communication, so transmitting harassing words through any medium of communication can be considered harassment. How about if someone gives you the finger? You would feel pretty offended by any of these forms, I would think. I will assume that the act of calling someone a coward and a hypocrit is not widely considered to be a compliment, and that will make my assumption true, that it is also considered harassment. Or, at a bare minimum, unfriendly or unkind, maybe even mean. This is a basis for my argument, along with the fact that liberals and conservatives think differently.

Using these two assumptions, I can move on with the argument. I have to come up with analogies, of course.

One commenter on that thread mentioned this:

Your actions are the same as giving prizes to people for putting up posters to harrass Blacks, Gays, Women, etc.

Ooh, he was SO close. In these examples, these groups of people are different from, well, from me anyway, in the following ways.

Blacks - Skin color obviously.
Gays - Sexual orientation obviously.
Women - Umm, I'm not a woman.

You can argue that 'gays' can think the same as us in every way fathomable except of their sexual orientation. This was the closest example to my point that this commenter came up with. I'm not about to prove, however, that gays only think differently from us in sexual orientation, assuming that it's a thought process that goes on where they eventually determine that they "want" to be gay, that it's a choice at all, or a fate. Since I can't make an argument either way on this matter, I have to throw it away, and come up with something else. I haven't studied sexual orientation, I'm sorry to say. I say this because you can also say that there are no differences between me (or us) and blacks (unless you are black) other than our skin color, and no differences in us and women (unless you are a woman) other than our sex. There may be differences between one person of each group, but overall, I'll say that these physical characteristics are the only differences.

One group of people that this commenter missed is "people of different faiths". This is incredibly similar to politics. We are born with no knowledge of God or any superior being. We are taught, by our parents and churches, about God and religion as we grow up. Therefore, this is not an inherited trait. Once we believe, we can't be budged, however.

Belief is a very broad term. If I believe that the Eagles are going to win the Super Bowl this year, wouldn't you also agree that "I think the Eagles are going to win the Super Bowl this year." Thinking and believing go hand in hand. "Thinking certainly" is believing.

With politics, liberals believe something, conservatives believe something. They have ingrained in their minds so firmly that they are correct. Would you question someone else's religion? In this country, it is a constitutional right that you have to practice whatever religion you believe in. It is also a constitutional obligation, implied by that constitutional right, to respect someone else's religion. At the very base, isn't religion just thoughts? Thoughts taught to us by our parents and churches? Why wouldn't it also be a constitutional obligation to respect someone else's political alignment?

Holy F@#%@#$! S#@$%, it's Friday again!!

Here's something most of you will never do: Eat free pizza on the 19th floor in my building on the 15th Anniversary of Stevie Ray Vaughan's tragic death. My department is not currently hiring "Jason Connell website readers" for immediate openings, so that's a safe bet.

This Friday is particularly sweet because it's the last day of the El Shuttle train substitution pain in the F#@$@#$# ASS. Today, in the extra 20 minutes or so it takes the shuttle to get me to work, I listened to most of Mitch Hedberg's "Mitch All Together" CD again. What makes it funnier is the fact that people will think I'm insane if I just bust out cracking up. I remember in Computer Science II, in Dr. Wynters' lab, I grabbed a stack of printer paper, since we were conveniently sitting right next to the printers, and threw it in my school bag since I needed paper and figured there was no way in hell I was going to pay for that S@#%@# when I could just "borrow" the school's paper. I determined that it was already paid for, since, on more than one occassion, I had gone to a class, any class, only to realize that the professor (not Dr. Wynters, he was always there) was sick, ripping me off of a percentage of that semester's tuition. Anyway, where the F@#%@# was I heading with this story.......... oh yeah. So, my friend Pete is sitting next to me in class and sees me do this. He just loses it! But it's one of those silent losing it bits. Our computer monitors block the teacher's vision of us, so it's like he's teaching to a bunch of backs of monitors with legs. He can't see Pete turning purple. I begin to realize that what I did wasn't that funny, but Pete trying to hold back a tidal outburst of laughter is unbelievably funny, so now I lose it. This went on for like 15 minutes before class ended. What was odd is that Pete nor I ever talked about it. It was funnier left back in the lab, because talking about it really isn't funny at all. All you can say about it is stuff like "You were laughing, so I was laughing, then you noticed me laughing again, and started laughing harder, then I noticed and started laughing harder..." That 's F!^#$ing boring. Another time is when Jeff or Pat insert words into certain prayers at church that are hilarious, but more funny because you can't laugh like you want to. Man, them's are some good times.

Holy crap, I really went astray on that one. Yes, listening to Mitch Hedberg on the bus is a good time :) Enjoy your weekend. The pizza was delicious.

15 Years Ago Today

Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash on August 26th, 1990. He was the most passionate guitar player ever. Just watch him play, you'll see what I mean. Watch the "Live at the El Mocambo" DVD, specifically watch him play "Lenny", a song he wrote his wife, sitting down, smoking a cigarette, whailing away. He could dress too! :) Read this story about his life, too.

Website Woes

So, I'm trying to get my laptop ready for more development. As you may have read, I've installed Gentoo Linux on my laptop recently. This has turned out to be quite a learning experience. Gentoo is no self-installer. You end up learning a TON about Linux, boot loaders, file system, device drivers, configuring a kernel, compiling a kernel, setting up partitions for boot, swap, and system, mounting the system, and just about everything you can imagine. There is one thing I can't figure out though. Laptops have a touchpad for a mouse. Most of these touchpads are one brand, and that's Synaptics. Gentoo has drivers for these devices, and there are other drivers out there. I can't get it to work. The mouse part of it works, like basic movement and clicking, but mine also has a scroll "wheel", which is actually a touch scroller, and I can't get it to work. The thing is, when my system boots up, I can see that Linux has found the Synaptics touchpad, however, the drivers don't recognize it. It sucks because the reason I was so fast at working on that computer is because of the mouse setup. So that's keeping me from working on my website. I can work as it is, but I want my mouse damnit.

Another thing that's keeping me from working on my website is that my website isn't working on my computer. I set up MySQL and configured it, so that's not the problem. I can compile it in Eclipse, so that's not the problem. And Tomcat works fine. The problem is, Tomcat stopped development on the 5.0.x version and is only working on 5.5.x. The new version of Tomcat only works with the new version of Java, Java 5. I got all that to work fine. The thing is a software problem. When I run my website, the thing tells me it can't find this one function in this one Apache class. I know the problem, the new version of Tomcat uses new versions of Apache classes, and JavaServer Faces apparently uses an old, deprecated version. Or they're just completely different. For a new version of software to not support the old version is practically a bad enough crime to seek the death penalty. Apache knows this, so it leads me to believe that they are just different. I have the old version that JSF used to reference, and references for compiling, but I'm not about to overwrite the newer Tomcat's version with it. That screams bad news.

One last reason that I can't work on my website is because of video games. They're too fun.

A prediction

I predict a huge upsurge in satellite radio sales. I don't know what makes me so sure (registration required).

"[Howard] Stern is due to move next year to Sirius Satellite Radio, which is free of FCC policing."

I don't listen to the guy, but I know at least 3 of my brothers do. Even if I had the opportunity to listen to radio, I just listened to WMMR. I can't stand Stern, honestly. But I know he's loved by millions. Everyone will have satellite radio.

This reminds me of a joke by the late, great Mitch Hedburg, talking about doing an interview on satellite radio.

"... The host told me you can curse on satellite radio. I said 'Of course you can curse, cause no one is there to hear it! You can curse in the woods too.'"

This will no longer be the case, millions will hear, and will be free of FCC policing.

Google Talk

Download Google Talk. If you don't have an account, you can email me at jasontconnell [the AT sign] gmail [the dot] com and I'll gladly hook a brotha or sista up. Apparently they are opening gmail soon though, or it is open, I can't tell. I have six accounts, I have no need nor desire to find out. :) It's a clean interface, no ads, no nothing. Just a list of contacts. Click a contact and you can type to them, or click the "call" button, and start talking through a microphone and they will hear it on their end. That's really all there is to report.

I'm glad it's simple. Everyone else tries to get everyone to use their IM client by packing it with webcam stuff, extra toolbars and everything (I'm looking at you MSN Messenger), popping up windows to a "Today" page with news, crap, junk, garbage, and email alerts. Google's philosophy (which has worked wonders for them, cripes, look at their corporate website for Pete's sake... nothing but an image, a textbox and a few buttons and some links below all that, and then some company info), is make S@#%#@$ simple. This philosophy is shared among many many companies, but only Google manages to excel at it.

Google is not a mini-OS

I ran across an article that called Google's new "Desktop Search" for Windows a "Mini Operating System". I posted a reply. When I think "Mini-OS", I certainly don't think of a program written to run on an operating system. When I think "Mini-OS", I'll tell you what I think: Embedded Linux. That's "mini" and that's an "OS".

So what does an operating system do exactly? The first and foremost job of an OS is to interface with the hardware; let you save files on disk, use your monitor, your modem, your attached peripherals like printers, digital cameras, webcams, and anything else. This includes interfacing with your network card and implementing the TCP/IP stack so you can connect to the internet. Also, it includes a "platform" for writing software, an Application Programming Interface (API). Lately, operating systems have included all types of goodies, like integrated search (Mac OS X) and widgets (Mac OS X). This is simply "value added" stuff. Since an operating system might come with these things built into them, it does not change the definition of an operating system. Even if adding "Mini" to the front of it makes your observations less serious, you still have "OS" at the end, invalidating your generalization. How about call it a "program". That's what I call it. A program that happens to search your files and have plugins for stuff like weather. I don't even use it and I know that it's not an operating system.

One comment came from Google.

--- "We're really trying to make this into a platform"
---- Nikhil Bhatla, product manager for Google Desktop.

That can be confusing. I'll have you know that Eclipse is called a platform. I don't boot my computer into the "Eclipse" OS, though. It's a Java editor. A very great one. What this person means is that they will be developing programs on top of it. Which is why Eclipse is called a platform, you can write PLUG-INS. Technology is so misunderstood.

I'm a stickler for technological phrases used in the right way. I'm sure doctors, architects, lawyers, and every other profession will get just as upset if you butcher their terminology. Like, if a man finds a person murdered in the alley, and calls the police and says "We have a grand theft auto here." I'm not the only one :)

Here's another thing about it. That site, "paidcontent.org", is apparently a pretty highly visited site, and one that is as qualified to interpret that Google quote as I am to interpret Shakespeare. They call Google Desktop a mini-OS. People who read that are going to just go ahead and agree, usually. Unless they study. And they'll make posts on their websites, and it's like that game we would play in 2nd grade. One person starts the chain by thinking of something to whisper, and it goes around til the last person, and the last person says what the message is. I don't care if it starts out as "An apple a day keeps the doctor away", it'll turn into something like "A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." Somehow. Let's just call into question every term that every past computer scientist has defined. I've run across at least 3 sites that refer to that post, and also call it a "Mini-OS".

This is another problem with the internet. If the facts are right, it's a beautiful filtering process, eventually making its way to everyone. But if it's wrong, it's like cancer.

The Internet Lies!

If all you ever knew about me, you read from this website, then you would be shocked. You would probably think I'm some loud-mouthed kid, talking all the time, squeezing in a joke here and there, and sometimes keeping quiet to get some programming done. This is almost completely opposite from the truth. See, I'm as quiet as the next deaf-mute. I listen a lot. But when I do want to say something, I get impatient if you talk all the time. All the sudden, some people are like 5 topics ahead before I have a chance to add my wisdom, and this makes me look stupid. Rarely have I ever seriously considered myself to be stupid. Then if I do just blurt out what I'm thinking, I'm all of the sudden rude :) That's why I have this place on the web. People can be like "Hmmm, I wonder what Jason has to say...", and hop on in and leave completely disappointed or with a chuckle, and maybe a gold nugget of wisdom. The thing that I do a lot though, which is why this site ever even came to be in the first place, is think. I'd say 99% of the day I'm thinking about stuff that is important to me. I like to think, it makes my day. And it makes it go faster :)

Israel vs. Palestine: Part II

As you may have heard, the Israeli Gaza pullout happened over the weekend. The last of the Israelis left in an armored bus with bulletproof windows and Stars of David (the Israeli flag) hanging out the windows. This is a beautiful act, giving people some land after you had rightfully claimed it through victory in war. So, some Palestinian says this : "We will not close our eyes, we will not rest until they leave all our land." Believe me, I have no hard feelings against any party involved, but this statement brings me to enough discomfort to post this entry. It is only by good deed and respect for a land's previous occupiers that a land is given back to them.

Let's rewind back to 1967. Well, before that, 1938. The good Jewish people are systematically hunted down and brought to Nazi Concentration camps from mainly Germany, Austria and Poland. 1945, after the war, the survivors flee to countries along the Mediterranean as well as their homes. 1967, a large group of people just decides to F@#%@#$ing invade Palestine, since the Bible said that area of the world was the Promised Land, their land. I remember learning about it in school. There was practically no resistence. The group, probably numbering around ten thousand, just marched through, taking city after city, until Palestine was theirs. That's bad-ASS.

Again, I stress I am not one sided in this manner, but, man, those Jewish settlers are AWESOME. So, now these other people... what're they called again.. oh yeah, the Palestinians (which is an awkward name, that would imply that they are from a land called Palestine, yet, there is no Palestine, because of some kickass Jews like The Hebrew Hammer on Comedy Central). I don't like calling "Jewish People" Jews. Yell at me if you're offended. Until they took over Palestine, they were probably called that, but now, the ones that live in Israel are called Israelis, which is definitely a lot cooler, and I can say without feeling like I'm being a giant A@#@hole.

Anyway, back to the story. Now, Palestinians suicide bomb Israel and just expect that they'll leave. As explained in the first paragraph, they took it over, forcefully, they now own it. They govern it, they have their leaders in place, etc. They aren't going anywhere, and I don't blame them. Just face it, "Palestinians", you got your asses WHOOPED back in 1967. Either make due with what the extremely nice and peace-seeking Israelis gave you, or STFU and form an army and try to take it back using real war tactics, not this stupid suicide bomb tactics. Oh, right, you know you'll get ROMPED again if you try to fight a real fight.