Monday, August 31, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #109: Recovery Is Imminent; Coupon Codes, TuneUp Are Awesome

I am now a few hours into the third day of this cold. I don't know if I'm getting any better, or if I'm turning into Eddie Vedder. I don't know if I can enunciate both terms as differently as possible. Maybe after a good night's sleep and one more dose of my triple punch of over-the-counters, I'll be good to go for the workweek.

Here are a couple of quick tip musings before I call it a day and hit the hay:

Remember to check for any available coupon codes whenever you shop online. Suffixing your Google search with the terms "coupon codes" should suffice. RetailMeNot.com is by far my favorite go-to site for coupon codes.

An iTunes companion app called TuneUp is both awesome and possibly creepy. It will clean up your non-ID-tagged mp3s and add needed album covers (when the iTunes album cover service doesn't cut it...which is often). There are a few minor bugs when it comes to finding possible albums covers (TuneUp gives a maximum choice of four possible candidates from which to choose), but the app scours the web for possible covers. It even found reasonable album covers for my own band's mp3s - pretty spot on, too! TuneUp will surf the Web for related videos and music for every song you play from iTunes, and it will tell you of upcoming concerts in your specific locality. It's very neat, and possibly pretty scary if one overthinks about the app (in the distant ballpark of HAL 9000, in terms of creepy).

Anyhow, there's a coupon code for TuneUp that expires at the beginning of September (Google it, as I have advised!), which pretty much makes a lifetime license the same price as an annual license (without a coupon code). Kudos to super-blogger and tweeter extraordinaire Antonio Lupetti for the TuneUp hat tip a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #108: Sick Continues; "The Constant"

This is day two and a half of what I'm self-diagnosing as the common cold. Knock on wood. At WebMD, my symptoms are more in line with the common cold than a nasty flu bug. As a silver lining, this slight feverish feeling I'm having (i.e., hot inside) coupled with the summer heat wave (i.e., hot outside) kind of creates a balance in that it's not really hot anymore. Hmm...

OK, that's enough personal trivia that borders on too much information.

If you've never watched LOST, and don't have the time to watch the show from the beginning, check out this one episode called "The Constant." There's no "Previously on LOST..." prologue, and you really don't need much context to enjoy this episode for what it is: A 40-minute movie. On-screen context provides this detail, but in case you missed it: The helicopter at the beginning needs to follow a specific course from the Island to the freighter, and things may go awry if it doesn't. A man named Desmond is affected by this slight diversion from the course:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #107: Sick Happens

Sick happens.

This is probably a case of the common cold, that I probably caught whilst out and about on Wednesday. The virus probably incubated during the past couple of days, and now my upper respirator system is on fire! Luckily, I have a lot of water flowing through my plumbing, so to speak. And I'm starting my trifecta of separate drugs - a decongestant, an expectorant, and a painkiller - to ease the recovery process.

And if this is the flu, or a variant thereof (oink, oink!) - whatever happens, happens. If this is a case of the H1N1, I'm sure I'll be able to see a doctor under my horror movie monsters health plan. A horror movie monsters health plan? What's that? I probably wrote this here before, but if you're a vampire non-fatally impaled by a stake, then you'll be able to see a doctor. If you're a werewolf grazed by a silver bullet, then you'll be able to see a doctor. If you're a zombie with a bump to the head, then you'll be able to see a doctor. I'm pretty sure there's a human condition that warrants similar care. (Of course, if you're a vampire impaled through the heart, a werewolf shot through a vital organ/major artery, or a zombie without a head, then you're screwed!)

In any case, lots of drinking water, some decent over-the-counter medication, some good tunes, and lots of laughter should do the trick (knock on wood!). I recently bought a couple of vinyl LPs, so I look forward to giving those albums a spin or two over the weekend. There are also a lot of old photos to scan, old videos to watch, and unplayed mp3s to play. If this minor illness and related medication will cause delirium, maybe I'll be able to time travel.

That would be awesome. Cough, cough...sniffle, sniffle...cheers!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #106: Pearl Jam "The Fixer" b/w "Supersonic" Quasi-Review

On Monday, I received in the mail a vinyl 45 of the first single from the upcoming Pearl Jam album Backspacer: "The Fixer" (b/w "Supersonic"). I might as well do a biased quasi-review of both songs.

Music on vinyl is more, often than not, awesome. It has a kind of vibe of "special occasion recorded music" that can't be matched by its digital counterparts. So to have the single pressed on white vinyl feels a bit more special, due to this aesthetic rarity.

OK, I'll stop gushing about vinyl.

The A-side, "The Fixer," is an upbeat rocker with some odd time signatures. It seems like Matt Cameron's experience in Soundgarden is finally being matriculated into the Pearl Jam fold - after 11 years in the band. The rest of the band is great on this track, too. It is available for download at iTunes, and until Monday, the live music video is a free download.

You can check out the music video below, but this is a live recording of the song, with crowd noises and not much recording studio gloss:



But let's talk about Eddie Vedder here.

Like young Elvis and old Elvis, there's angry young Ed and mellow aged Ed. Up until Yield, I'd say, existed angry Ed. This Ed was pissed because he was young and pissed off as some young people are. We'll say that Yield's Ed was an intermediate step like how black leather jumpsuit Elvis was an intermediate step before donning the white rhinestone jumpsuit. So to reiterate:

From Ten to No Code, Eddie Vedder was Angry Ed;
Yield rocks.

Binaural fully featured a Mellow Ed. Ed and other bandmembers share the songwriting duties in each album, so lyrically the band would be at its most mellow for Binaural. At this point in history, Angry Ed no longer existed and the spirit of the time wasn't so bad. The most they could rally against at the point in time are the corporate fatcats they would "Soon Forget."

Enter the George W. Bush Administration and the Iraq War. While Mellow Ed still existed during this time, lyrically, Pearl Jam was back to being pissed off. This is reflected in the anger of Riot Act and the "Avocado" self-titled album.

Exit Dubya. With Ed being Mellow Ed and the spirit of the time being more optimistic (from Pearl Jam's political point of view), the lyrical content of "The Fixer" is pretty optimistic. And so this is what I expect as far as lyrical content for most, if not all, of Backspacer. The words probably won't be not about sunshine and roses, but a determination and optimism of getting things back to good.

Anyhow, the B-side "Supersonic" is also slated to be on the forthcoming album. At first listen, it sounds like a combination of old school rock 'n roll swagger, punk rock (especially the Ramones tracks with the rock 'n roll swagger), and a bit of Van Halen. Presumably it's guitarist Mike McCready who's playing some very un-Mike (and un-Stone) guitar licks that are closer to Van Halen I/II-type patterns than bluesy Hendrix-influenced scales that we all know and love. It's exciting and different. From the credits, "Supersonic" was co-written by Ed and Stone Gossard, and parts of the song do hearken back to the No Code track "Mankind," one of the couple of Pearl Jam songs with Stone on lead vocals.

In conclusion, Pearl Jam's live performance of "Got Some," the special release of the "Speed of Sound" demo, and the release of "The Fixer" single (with the B-side "Supersonic") have all gotten me excited about the rest of the album. I'll guess I have to wait a month. I can't wait to put the LP on my turntable. (I'll also rip the CD, but when an album ends up on iTunes and my iPod Shuffle, it ceases being a complete work but becomes scattered, random songs on a playlist.)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #105: Loud Classic Rock Is Better Than Loudmouth Partisan Hacks

Jeff Beck is better than Glenn Beck. Plus, Jeff Beck has good taste in bass players. Take that, Glenn Beck!:



Rush - with their libertarian ideals - are better than Limbaugh, with his fake conservative Republican dittoheadism:



Heart. "Barracuda." The reference has already been said and done:



The Doobie Brothers are better than Dobbs:



Who needs Bill O RLY? when you can have "Baba O'Riley"?:



Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" > Dick Cheney:



Taking into account the usual play-on-name against her, Ann Coulter is no match against Manfred Mann:



And so on, and so forth. In other words: Instead of agreeing with whatever a talking head says the moment he/she says it, do your own research afterward.

As you can see, today's too warm on the outside to be heated on the inside. Days like this...with temperatures as such...call for knocking down one or more cold ones while listening to the music of your choice. The aforemtioned classic rock icons that will, in the long run, be remembered more fondly than ideologues and demagogues with similar names and nicknames.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #104: Of Kennedys and Wikis

Rest in Peace, Senator Ted Kennedy. Of the Kennedy siblings, only Jean survives. Now is not the time to politicize death, but so let us remember the man with a sense of gratitude for his service to America. Ultimately, despite our diverging political ideologies - extremist elements essentially excluded - Americans are Americans. And as Americans, we may differ in the means and the route to prosperity - and we will debate every turn and direction - but more often than not, the goals of peace and prosperity are the same.

In other news, Wikipedia changes.

LibriVox is still awesome.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #103: You Are a Ship of Theseus in the Fourth Dimension

Yesterday's rant (the one before my photo blog) had me thinking about linking. (Appropriately enough, my example in yesterday's entry involved linking Lincoln.) If some sort of fifth dimensional "soul" ties all the yous across all time possibilities, then a fourth dimensional "soul" ties all the yous across all space possibilities, that is to say, along a single line of time.

This pretty much answers the Ship of Theseus paradox, and who we are in relation to that. As time goes on, a body will replace its cells, and yet, an individual remains that same individual. A "soul" (for lack of a better word) - or better yet, a life - exists for a certain length along the line of fourth dimensional time. That life is the link that connects all possible body formations (old and new cells alike) as one individual.

Quoting Wikipedia:

The Ship of Theseus, also known as Theseus's paradox, is a paradox that raises the question of whether an object which has had all its component parts replaced remains fundamentally the same object.
And apparently, I am not alone in this line of thinking about linking:
One solution to this paradox may come from the concept of four dimensionalism. Ted Sider and others have proposed that these problems can be solved by considering all things as 4-dimensional objects. An object is a spatially extended three-dimensional thing that also extends across the 4th dimension of time. This 4-dimensional object is made up of 3-dimensional time-slices. These are spatially extended things that exist only at individual points in time. An object is made up of a series of causally related time-slices. All time-slices are numerically identical to themselves. And the whole aggregate of time-slices, namely the 4-dimensional object, is also numerically identical with itself. But the individual time-slices can have qualities that differ from each other.
A life in the fourth dimension links all versions of a body as one individual; a soul (for lack of a more coherent term) in the fifth dimension hypothetically links all possible diverging lives of the same individual. In the sixth (or higher!) dimension, does something or someone link all persons, places, things, and ideas - and all possibilities thereof - as one? Is this the realm of the supernatural, the realm of the divine, and the realm of forms?

No one (who's stuck in the fourth dimension) truly knows.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Viva la Vinyl Blanca

Pearl Jam "The Fixer" / "Supersonic" 45.

Posted via email from DeRamos' Clipboard

Waiting for 2010 #102: The Fifth Dimension and the Soul

Now that we've all had our dose of real expert scientific insight from yesterday's videos, let's get back into the realm of quasi-philosophical pseudoscience. And I mean that in a good way; after all, I'm writing this tripe.

I've rambled without end concerning time, time travel, fate, and free will, so let's talk about one degree higher: The fifth dimension. Please read the pop culture section in the Wikipedia article for this subject, since the scholarly stuff will make my head explode.

Okay, now that we've all read the easy stuff, let me assert the following:

1. We are fourth dimensional creatures, in that we have a physical choice to go forward and backward, left and right, and up and down, and that we are only physically allowed to go one direction in time.
2. A fifth dimensional being, therefore, can physically go forward and backward in a time, but this being is limited by the consequences of changing the course of time, if that is even possible.
(3. A sixth dimensional being is not limited by the possibilities of branching time lines, but let's not get into that here.)

I think that is in line with what a certain philosophical hypothesist (hey, a neologism!) says on the topic. Quoting the Wikipedia article linked above:

Rob Bryanton's book and animation Imagining the Tenth Dimension proposes that the 4-dimensional spacetime in the universe is being created one Planck length at a time from the available probabilistic branches in the fifth dimension.
As I spin it, a fifth dimensional being is not subject to the arrow of time, but he/she is subject to the cause and effect - the branches of probability - available to the fifth dimensional plane that contains our fourth dimensional time line (if that even makes sense).

OK, let's move on, shall we? All I wanted to say is that this hypothetical fifth dimension contains all the more-or-less realistic what-ifs? relevant to our history. There might be a branch of time in "our" fifth dimension in which Abraham Lincoln never entered politics, but there is likely no branch of time in which sapient hamburgers lived among the dinosaurs (because that would be silly for our Universe).

If you were somehow blessed to go back in time to save Abraham Lincoln from being assassinated, some will argue that you saved someone else's Abraham Lincoln, and not your Abraham Lincoln. For, if you saved your Abraham Lincoln, you would never be motivated to save a fallen Abraham Lincoln, in which case, you would never travel back to save Abraham Lincoln, thus letting your Abraham Lincoln get assassinated in the first place - so creating a bizarre loop. The easiest way to unloop ourselves is to say that your hypothetical rescue of the President created a new branch of history - a new time line in a fifth dimensional plane.

What if this special dimension (or another higher dimension) linked all possible Abraham Lincolns - the one who never got into politics, the one who was never assassinated, our martyred President, et cetera, ad infinitum? Quoting again from the same Wikipedia article:
In Hindu philosophy, the fifth dimension of love of the Divine is termed by the Gaudiya Vaisnavas as turyatita, the dimension of the soul's Soul.
I am definitely taking this religious concept out of context, so I must apologize for my deep ignorance, but I like the idea of a soul's soul in this new sense: Perhaps in a fifth dimensional hyperspace, all the possible life-timelines of Abraham Lincoln (as well all your possibilities, my possibilities, and everyone's individual possibilities) are linked together by a fifth dimensional soul. This could be a philosophical compromise concerning the Abraham Lincoln you've hypothetically saved earlier: You might have created a new branch of time by your actions, but Abraham Lincoln is still Abraham Lincoln, linked together by Abraham Lincoln's fifth-dimensional soul.

Since we're talking about possibilities and branched time lines, we can get into the thought experiment of quantum immortality, but let's save that for another time. It would be a bit odd for there to exist a 200 year old, Highlander-esque Abraham Lincoln in some branches of time.

Several days ago, I posed the question whether time or some sort of other hyperspace was the dimension above (folded into, perpendicular to, etc.) the third dimension. Quoting Wikipedia again:
The characters in Madeleine L'Engle's novel A Wrinkle In Time use the fifth dimension as a "dimensional shortcut" to travel through space.
I read that book in high school. If we take all these hypotheses together, the fifth dimension possibly serves several functions, like a Swiss Army Knife of hyperspace:

1. The medium for multi-directional time travel;
2. The plane of all possibilities relevant to our history of time;
3. The connector of all bodies to claim one soul - the version of you who turned left and the version of you who turned right are both you and not something less you (like a clone). Both - and all possible historical versions of you - are you;
4. If the fourth dimension won't let you teleport from one part of space to another, then maybe the fifth dimension will.

The soul-connector concept hit me with yet another borderline sane thought: Subjectively, we feel free will. Objectively, in the big picture of a single fourth dimensional timeline, everything is subject to fate, and whatever happens, happens. In the bigger picture of multiple branches of time in the fifth dimension - guess what? - free will is back.

(I think I might have my copy of A Wrinkle in Time somewhere. I might as well re-read the book, if I ever make the time to do so.)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #101: Real Scientists Discuss Cosmology and String Theory

While I wrap my head around some concepts, or unwrap my head so I can wrap it better (or crazier!), here is a video of two scientists, Anthony Aguirre and Clifford Johnson, who probably know what they're saying when they say it. Earlier today, William Dipini (@williamdipini) sent me the link to this video via Twitter:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #100: How to Be the Chrononaut, and Not the Time Traveler's Spouse

This is the 100th installment of our daily "Waiting for 2010" series. This explanation really doesn't benefit you, but it helps me jog my own faulty memory why I've prefixed these 1oo entries as such: I'm waiting for next year, and more specifically, I'm waiting for the final season premiere of the TV show LOST. Whew! That was a relief; I thought I couldn't remember things well again.

In any case, let us continue these ravings of an undereducated madman (yours truly), who incidentally, wrote about such quasi-science years before this pop cultural, television renaissance of all things science fiction. Yes, I even put forward this craziness while taking an online college course. For credit. I passed with flying colors, so that could either mean: 1. I did well in the real stuff, or 2. What were they thinking?

OK, a handful of days ago, I mentioned an article by a physicist critiquing the logistics of the recent film The Time Traveler's Wife. Having not watched the movie, nor read the book from which it was adapted, I will discuss the rules the physicist listed in the article:

1) This is the only universe you've got.
2) You can't visit any time before your time machine was built.
3) You can't kill your own grandfather.
4) You don't have nearly as much free will as you think you do.
In other words (as spinned, spindled, and mutilated from my point of view):

1. There is only one course of history, and no diverging, parallel, or otherwise alternative timelines.
2. You can only travel within your own timeline - from when you first received consciousness (and arguably, sentience or even sapience) to when you finally lose it.
3. You can't prevent your own conception (see number my spin on number two, above).
4. I covered how free will is subjective, fate is objective, and both are valid realities yesterday.

Using today's technology, and following the above rules, how can one time travel?

Short of being irradiated by electromagnetic energy like the LOST fictional character Desmond Hume (and short of television writers gifting electromagnetic energy with paranormal qualities), the best hope for time travel to your past is through one's memories. I'm not talking about tender reminiscence or post-traumatic nostalgia, where you still know that you are in the present while thinking of the past. I'm talking about full-blown immersion in the past in terms of time and space.

The House episodes "House's Head" and "Wilson's Heart" provide some hints of possible, feasible techniques:

1. Hypnosis
2. Drugs
3. Simulated location

Once immerse in the past, you might possibly lose any sense of deja vu, or even a remembrance of the present, in that you would do the same things you did originally. Being immersed in the past in this way follows the rules set by our aforementioned physicist (I've neglected to mention his name earlier: Dave Goldberg):

1. You will be immersed in the past as it happened when you lived through it before.
2. You are limited by your own body's presence (and mind's presence) in space-time when traveling to the past; this is consciousness time travel.
3. Duh, you can't prevent your own conception or even your own birth through this method; you'd be as powerless as the newborn baby you are if you travel to the day of your birth.
4. Whatever happened, happened. You'd do the same things you did, while believing that you're making these decisions as originally and freely as possible.

Using today's technology, how can one travel forward in time to the limits of one's own existence?

Unlike past memory/consciousness time travel, this journey might be a bit crude: You'll have to get yourself in some sort of suspended animation, and hope-against-hope that future technology will be able to revive you to see the future. You'll have to contact a cryogenics lab, and it's not a very feasible option for curious people in good health. However, if you manage to freeze yourself, you'd still follow the physicist's rules (at least how I redefined them):

1. You're not going to change the future by freezing yourself.
2. If you're still around when they revive you, then you're still in your own timeline.
3. This point, relating to your own origins, is pretty irrelevant if you're traveling to the future.
4. You're still subjectively perceiving free will while doing what you're supposed to do in the objective big picture, even though freezing yourself was a pretty silly act.

Having traveled to the future via cryogenics - which takes no time at all to an ultra-comatose point of view - you can still travel to the past, using today's technology (in case the future doesn't invent anything better). Unfortunately, you can only travel back to the moments of consciousness during your hibernation (if any) and during the live you've lived before then. Again, this will follow the four rules:

1. You will be immersed in the past as it happened when you lived through it before.
2. You are limited by your own body's presence (and mind's presence - moments of blacking out don't count because how would you know?) in space-time when traveling to the past; this is consciousness time travel.
3. Duh, you can't prevent your own conception or even your own birth through this method; you'd be as powerless as the newborn baby you are if you travel to the day of your birth.
4. Whatever happened, happened. You'd do the same things you did, while believing that you're making these decisions as originally and freely as possible.

There you have it: Crude time traveling for time tourists who don't want to change anything anyway (which is a moot point because they can't). Tomorrow (or the next day or later), we'll see what we can do about the fifth dimension - and I don't mean the band The 5th Dimension.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #99: Losing Perspective of Time and Being Fated to Choose Free Will

It's Friday! For many it is the end of their week, but for me, it feels like the end of a very long day. What if our perception of time changed, so that -

One real minute feels like one perceived second;
One real hour feels like one perceived minute;
One real day feels like one perceived hour;
One real week feels like one perceived day (as I had mentioned previously);
One real month feels like one perceived week;
One real year feels like one perceived month;
One real decade feels like one perceived year;
And so on, and so forth?

If our perception of time changed in this manner, would we have more or less (or the same!) time to do the things we want to do, or more importantly, the things we are supposed to do?

Of course, no matter what you choose to do, that is what you're supposed to do in the grand scheme of time. At least that's my opinion in the matter. However, it is good to maintain, nourish, and encourage the perception of free will, in that you feel that you have control over your destiny. To have the freedom of choice is a good fate to endure. There are few worse fates than being a defeatist, because that means that you were meant to be indifferent all along! So believe in your own free will, and encourage others to believe in theirs, so that maybe in the grand scheme of things, you (and others) were meant to be in control of your own life.

With apologies to the band Rush (and their video I embedded a few days ago), I will choose free will because, paradoxically, I was supposed to choose it. It may not be a paradox after all, since free will is a subjective perception, and fate/destiny/determinism is objectively part of the big picture. Possibly fate is the big picture, in at least the first four dimensions of the Universe.

I will neither confirm nor deny a fifth or higher dimension, at least for now.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #98: Timeline or Hyperspace?

Here are some more unscientific ramblings about science, since writing is fun but research is not. In any case, this is one marginally (in-)sane* person's blog and not an academic journal. (*Admitting to a possibility of insanity means that I am probably sane, since the truly insane believe they are truly sane.)

If you haven't seen the video I embedded from two days ago, check it out, as Rob Bryanton explains his philosophical hypotheses (some with which I agree) more clearly than I can. In any case, Bryanton essentially reviews the book Flatland and high school geometry at the beginning of the video:

0. A point has no dimensions.
1. The first dimension is the line between two points.
2. The second dimension is the plane made by two perpendicular lines.
3a. The third dimension is the space made by two perpendicular planes.

(Or something like that.)

To explain his (and others') hypothesis of the fourth dimension, Bryanton changes the scope of the third dimension:

3b. The length, width, and breadth of space is now represented by a single point.
4. If that is the case, then the fourth dimension is like a line made by two (third-dimensional) points.

Bryanton (and others) identify this line as time. I tend to agree with this view, as all space changes into a different space as it travels forward and backward through the timeline. (I also tend to believe that there is only one timeline, but let's leave that rant for, appropriately enough, another time.)

A two-dimensional Flatlander, who's been given access to the third dimension, could feasibly not only pop in and out of his plane using the third dimension, but he could also appear at various points in the plane because of the third dimension. Let me phrase it this way: Our Flatlander goes up into the third dimension (drugs'll do that, perhaps). Since a two-dimensional plane has no up or down, his Flatland neighbors will see him vanish from the plane. Upon re-entry into his plane, our Flatlander has the option of appearing where he disappeared, or he has the option of appearing wherever he wants in his plane. To his neighbors, our Flatlander would seem to have been teleporting from point to point.

A three-dimensional Spaceman, who's been given access to move about in a higher dimension, could try one of two things:

1. He could go back and forth along the timeline of history and appear at different moments of time, which are in and of themselves, discrete snapshots of three-dimensional space. If this is the case, I would say that he could only appear in the space he occupied now and then (i.e., consciousness time travel like Desmond in "The Constant"), but that fully-fledged rant is for another time (ha-ha) and space (in this blog).

2. Alternatively, from his neighbors' points of view, our Spaceman could disappear from the third dimension and use the fourth dimension to reappear elsewhere in the third dimension, like teleportation. We'll call this hyperspace traveling. The closest widely-recognized analogue to this concept would be The Millennium Falcon (from Star Wars, of course) jumping into hyperdrive to go from one point of the Galaxy to another in a matter of seconds.

That bring me to my questions: What is the fourth dimension? Is it time, or is it hyperspace? Are both time and hyperspace equal dimensions, and if so, how is that even possible? Are hyperspace(s) subject to time, making time the fifth dimension, or are time(s) subject to hyperpace, making hyperspace the fifth dimension?

I'd like to think that time is the fourth dimension, and, if possible, another dimension is greater than time. I think Bryanton puts it this way (maybe I'm misrepresenting what he's saying by my paraphrase):

0. Point
1. Line
2. Plane
3. Space (as a point in time)
4. Time (as a line throughout spaces)
5. Timeline Probabilities (as a plane of time lines)
6. A Universe of Parallel Timelines (as a space of diverging and discrete probabilities) [as a point of Infinity]
7. Separate Universes [as a line between Infinities]
8. Branching Universe Lines [as a plane among Inifinities] ???
9. Jumping From Universe Line to Universe Line [as a space among Infinities] ??? [as a point of Everything] ???
10. Everything is but a point in the 10th dimension. Since Everything is encapsulated in the ninth dimensional point, you can't draw a line in the 10th dimension from one 9D Everything to another 9D Everything...but wouldn't that mean that the Everything is only in nine dimensions?

I think I've confused myself in this issue. Needless to say, I probably won't go past the sixth dimension for this series of speculative rants. The "whatever happens, happens" fatalist in me won't go beyond the fourth.

Months ago, I added a book by physicist Michio Kaku called Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension to my Amazon wish list. It would be little problem to order the book myself or purchase it at a bookstore or borrow it at my local library, but - again, in all appropriateness - I have to make the time to read it. I think if I can wrap my head around Kaku's text, then I might get a better handle on this issue.

I could always go to related Wikipedia articles for some insight, but my head might explode in the process. Class dismissed.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #97: More Pop Science and Subpar Philosophy

Yesterday, I embedded a quasi-scientific (some would say pseudo-scientific), philosophical video about how our dimensions (and upper dimensions) fold upon themselves and what they mean (at least to the author Rob Bryanton). I think I'll ramble more about pop science in the coming days, if there isn't any interesting (i.e., rant worthy) news in the world of politics (especially the health care debate) or technology in the days to come.

Prerequisites to my upcoming series of weird rants include (but are not limited to):

1. Yesterday's video from the guy who wrote Imagining the Tenth Dimension: A New Way of Thinking About Time and Space. (I'm still trying to wrap my head around the ninth dimension, or at least the one according to Bryanton.)

2. A physicist's review of the recent movie (and recent novel) The Time Traveler's Wife. (Tangentially speaking, I personally would like to see a movie called The Dark Knight's Butler, which would be about Alfred, of course.)

3. What I think is the best episode of LOST thus far, and up there amongst the best of TV - "The Constant." The beauty of this particular episode is that it is essentially one stand-alone, harrowing movie about consciousness time travel. If you're not a fan of LOST, but just want to check out one episode, "The Constant" is the one. You really don't need to know the character backgrounds of Desmond, Sayid, Faraday, et al., to get the main point of the episode.

4. Two House episodes - "House's Head" and "Wilson's Heart" - which involve the eponymous Dr. House's quest to remember what he's forgotten via hypnosis, psychotropic drugs, and all manner of House-style trial and error. House is essentially trying to time travel (though he probably wouldn't admit to those terms), by the way.

5. "Free Will" by Rush:



I contradict the lyrical sentiment by asserting this: Subjectively, you are supposed to choose (free will), but objectively, you're going to do what you're supposed to do (fate).

That's enough homework. Class dismissed!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #96: The Universe in 10 Dimensions

The rant I was alluding to yesterday involved some of my ramblings about time travel, pop culture's recent depiction of it in fiction, fate, and free will. I might get around to this rant later, but this video goes beyond my previous understanding:



I'm glad I read Flatland about 15+ years ago.

Video hat tip by @Woork (Antonio Lupetti) via Twitter.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #95: Short Making of "Backspacer" Documentary

I had a rant topic for today outlined in my composition notebook, but I can't take the time to type it out today. If there is no other news tomorrow to ramble on about, I might get to it. In the meanwhile, here's a short video about the making of Pearl Jam's upcoming album Backspacer. This is probably part of their electronic press kit, but since they're an established band with no need for a major label contract, they can do whatever they want with their EPK:

Pearl Jam - Backspacer Short

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #94: Of Boycotts, Capitalism, and Groceries

The freedom of speech is a right in the United States of America. However, this Constitutionally-guaranteed right doesn't necessarily protect the speaker from certain consequences that usually involve others' right to freely express themselves, too.

Recently, Whole Foods Market co-founder/CEO John Mackey wrote an opinion article for The Wall Street Journal against President Obama's health care reform proposals. While Mackey used some obvious partisan weasel words (granted, ObamaCare is less malicious than death panels, in terms of weasel words), I applaud him for positing some alternative solutions. I hope that voices of opposition like Mackey's will raise the quality of the debate, so that we're talking about the issues at hand - and not death panel bogey men, Stalinist dystopian futures, and other paranoid slippery slopes.

Unfortunately for Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI), their CEO's published and publicized opinions apparently offended a major consumer demographic for the company, namely, pro-Obama liberals who shop at Whole Foods. Many of these once-faithful customers are now boycotting the organic foods supermarket. Appropriately enough, this is the often elusive free market in action: Company figurehead offends customers; customers stop patronizing company; one or more competing companies gain new customers. One slippery slope possibility from this (of many): Company loses money; frightened shareholders dump stock; angry shareholders shake up board of directors; frazzled board shakes up management; former company figurehead gets to do something else full-time. Alternatively, Whole Foods might adapt to balance the needs of their remaining customers, while trying to bring in new customers.

Similarly, at some point, market forces will pick up where the initial reform leaves off. Whether it is reform solution X, Y, or Z, the hope is that health insurance prices will become more affordable for more Americans, and that the overall quality of health care will increase for more Americans. As is, without reforms, that ain't happenin' anytime soon.

All in all (so far), everyone's right to speak freely, without fear of imprisonment or even civil lawsuit, remains: Mackey was able to chime in on the health care reform debate, his company's former customers get to make a big non-violent stink over their former grocer, and I get to say that it's okay and just part of the process.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #93: Faint Zombie Sounds in Stereo

LibriVox 4th Anniversary In Stereo by Ryan DeRamos
Download now or listen on posterous
lv4stereo.mp3 (7269 KB)

Five days ago, LibriVox celebrated its fourth anniversary and released a community podcast to commemorate the occasion. Embedded above is the stereo mix of my contribution to the worldwide celebration of LibriVox volunteers (since LibriVox usually deals with mono audio). It's not much different than the mono mix: My voice is slightly to the left, the guest speaker's voice is slightly to the right, and the zombie noises are panned here and there. The audio still clips at times due to my hurried use of a compressor and EQ in mixing, and a limiter during mastering. In any case, just download the entire 50-minute program, filled with heartfelt - whether serious or silly - messages by my fellow volunteers.

By the way, the LibriVox catalogue database includes my slowly-growing, public domain, audiobook discography. I am slowly learning that my decade-plus experience in multitrack music production (in other words: an oftentimes slow recording/editing/mixing/mastering process) actually hinders an effective LibriVox experience (in other words: recording/editing/mastering/uploading longer works as cleanly and as quickly as possible). There are volumes and volumes of the written word in the public domain, and we're trying to produce audiobooks for as many of them as possible.

I've probably written this before about LibriVox: If you like to read out loud and/or you enjoy listening to audiobooks, please consider volunteering some of your time as either a reader or a proof-listener (or both). LibriVox is one of the last flamewar-free, and tyranny-free, environments on the Internet. This is remarkable, due to the fact that our volunteers are diverse in virtually every way possible: Region, dialect, accent, language, nationality, culture, gender, age, vocation, religion, political ideology, computer platform, etc. The LibriVox forum's prime directive of "Be nice" essentially prevents our volunteers from sullying themselves with squabbles over trivial (but significant elsewhere!) differences. The rare and anomalous appearance of a Web-troll is usually handled with effective kindness. Besides, all of our volunteers are united in the task of producing public domain audiobook gifts to the world (at least for those who can understand human language), and possibly to the universe (if we can only figure out how to broadcast beyond the stars!).

In other words, it's Utopia.

Posted via email from DeRamos' Clipboard

Friday, August 14, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #92: Death Panels! Dun, Dun, DUN!

If you follow an ideology that uses fear-based tactics to counter your opponent's proposals, then you might want to rethink what you're following. Fear-mongering solves nothing, but delays real progress. Yes, I know that this (hopefully short) rant is full of generalities and truisms.

Whatever the outcome of the health care debate or the cash-for-clunkers program or anything proposed by the Federal Government, in all likelihood, the United States of America will not "descend" into a "Marxist dystopia." Rather, the simplest possibility is also the likeliest: The economic downturn will fully recover (as it is recovering currently for many, at least anecdotally); the recovery will become a prosperity in at least one industry sector (maybe in new sources of energy, perhaps); the prosperity will become a greedy cash grab; the cash grab will become a burst bubble; the burst bubble will become a mild to severe downturn; the Administration and/or majority party in power will be blamed for the downturn; voters will vote another party into office with their perceptively "different" ideas; the cycle begins again in America but with different details. That's what happened before, what's happening now, and what will likely happen in the future.

Why am I saying this? Remember that Dick Cheney (or at least our perception of the former V.P.) never fully implemented a totalitarian government in the U.S.A., nor did his alleged shadow government extend the Bush Administration for a third term. Instead, the man has written a book that reportedly throws his old "boss" Bush under the bus. Don't worry; as the cycle goes around again, the American people will see more Cheney-types in the future.

Fear-based agendas (for those "in charge") and fear-based beliefs (for those who follow) will get you nowhere (at the very least) or take you and others in a bad, sad direction (at the very worst). If you come up with feasible solutions, and even if you're ultimately wrong or defeated, well, at least you contributed to progress.

So back to health care, and opponents of President Obama's health care reform plan (which I still support) who can come up with rational (or at least reasonable) counterarguments: Right now, private health insurers may ration benefits to cut costs. A future government-run option might do the same, for the same economic reason. The difference, according to a possible anti-Obama argument, is that you can sue a private insurer, but you can't sue the government. And I have to hand it to this hypothetical; it's a good point. (I credit ABC News reporter Jake Tapper via Twitter for this insight.)

And so it goes that there exists opponents who aren't "Deathers." The Deathers are just really loud. I ask the proponents to debate non-Deather opponents and to start ignoring the fear-based fringe (of whatever ideological wing). I implore everyone who wants wisdom, positivity, and prosperity to ignore the fearmongers. Here's to progress. Here's to solutions!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #91: R.I.P. Les Paul

Rest in Peace, Les Paul. This earth was supposed to have an innovator of the electric guitar, multitrack recording, and music itself. Many of us are glad that the innovator was Les Paul, and that his name is on many of our guitars:



I guess Les will be able to jam with Chet Atkins again, for an afterlife Chester & Lester reunion!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #90: Perseid Meteor Shower

Instead of staring at my monitor and trying to thing of today's rant (or non-rant), I might as well go outside and see if I'm far enough from the bright city lights to see the sky falling...err, the meteor shower:



Cheers!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #89: G.I. Joe Music Video

I don't feel like ranting about anything heavy today, so I'll just embed this video from Funny or Die:



Rama's Screen blogged about it yesterday. I think if I watch the above video 25-30 times, then that probably tops the poorly-reviewed, poorly-received, recently-released film of the same topic: That topic, of course, being my childhood toys.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #88: A Better Chance at Health for More Americans

This is not only yet another rant about health care reform, it is also a meta-rant about how the "debate" is no longer a civil debate, but a propaganda war (that could potentially and sadly escalate into another civil war of sorts). Please, pretty please, won't anyone - especially those in broadcast and Internet journalism - humor the American public with two special points? --

1. Clear facts about the President's health reform plans, unobstructed by partisan spin; and

2. Voices of rational opposition, with cogent alternative solutions, and not the loud and be-not-proud dittohead mob.

Yes, this is the umpteenth time I've blogged about this topic. I do not want to hear/read reports of Palin and/or Gingrich and/or any talk radio/FOX News demagogue continuing their strategy of fear-mongering to their equally belligerent fan(atic) base. Their slippery-slope, bogeyman charge of "Death Panels" misses the point about the current state of American health care and health insurance policies:

1. The uninsured (those who spend their hard-earned lower wages on food and shelter and not much else) have to face a passive death-panel-by-omission, if major illness or injury occur.

2. The under-insured may have to face a death-panel-by-lower-priority. Face it; a lot of these quasi-health care plans seem to only benefit horror movie monsters: You'll get to see a doctor if you're a zombie with a head injury, a werewolf with a silver bullet wound, or a vampire impaled by a wooden stake. The rest of you paying customers are SOL.

3. Even the well-insured have a chance at facing a death-panel-by-bottom-line. If a potential illness or injury causes a strain in the insurer's business plan, then you might be dropped altogether.

If as many people in America (I can't rant for the rest of the world, sadly) can have access to proper health care - whether by competitively priced private insurance or an affordable government option - then we'll have a fighting chance at a physically healthier nation. Yes, that's stating the obvious. And I've said this myriad times before, but it is worth mentioning again: Those opposed to the current proposed solution(s) need to propose their own viable solution(s), and stop being asshats. Seriously.

I'm sorry to say this (not really), but those who like to think of themselves as rational opponents of Obama's health care plans need to throw your irrational de facto teammates under the proverbial bus...or at least shout your solutions louder than their detractions.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #87: Woodstock Was Forty Years Ago?

My internal time machine won't let me travel back to 1969, so I will have to make due with ranting about the Woodstock Anniversaries of recent history:

As I recall, Woodstock's 25th Anniversary, in 1994, was pretty okay. While I wasn't there, I remember that it was raining there at the time, and virtually everyone had fun in the mud. I remember ABC's Nightline conflated that summer's Lollapalooza tour with the Woodstock revival and showed a clip of the Smashing Pumpkins (the Lollapalooza headliner that year) playing "Soma." Even though I already owned their Gish and Siamese Dream albums, watching the band shift from mellow to heavy in a live setting turned me into a believer.

As I recall, Woodstock's 30th Anniversary, in 1999, was totally lame. This was a total low point in the world of "alternative" rock music, and possibly commercialized music in general. If the festival five years previous was marred with a bit of commercialism (incongruous with the ideals of 1969's original), then Woodstock '99 jumped the shark. In contrast to the fun mudslinging (well, relatively speaking...) of '94, this event had a lot of summer heat, angry rioting yuppies, and Limp Bizkit.

Upon Googling "Woodstock 2009," I am happy to report that it (a potential 30th Anniversary festival) has been canceled. That just goes to show how commercial these commemorations have become: If there's not enough anticipated money to be made, then there will be no show. This is in diametric opposition to the ideal of: "If you build it (pull off the show), they will come." Good riddance, Woodstock 1999 + 10.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #86: The Players in the Health Care Reform Game

Here is a laundry list of rather uninformative generalizations that could be a starting point to do further research on the topic of health care reform and by no means condones the rampant parroting of talking points by ditto-heads of all political persuasions (all in one long run-on sentence punctuated with a colon):

1. The Obama Administration wants to have a government-run health insurance option for those who are either uninsured or under-insured.

2. The Democrats have a majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

3. Interestingly enough, the pharmaceutical companies are apparently on President Obama's side this time around.

4. Not surprisingly, so the anecdotal stereotype goes, your insurance company might not be on your side when you really need it (even though you were lead to believe that you paid for good coverage).

5. The ditto-head opposition is getting louder and slightly scarier as the shouting-match-sorry-excuse-for-a-debate rages on.

6. The rational opposition needs to speak up. I personally would like to hear all viable proposed solutions to health care reform. Also, being associated those described in number five is not a good thing.

7. Back to number five: Bullies often play ("pretend") the role of victim; actual victims try their best to become survivors. (I'm saying that the ditto-head opposition are a bunch of bullies, detracting from what could be a serious debate among rational, well-informed citizens.)

8. I forgot what 'eight' was for.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #85: Palin Creates Straw Man, Denounces Straw Man

These days people scream at each other without listening, and they call it a debate. Case in point: Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin denounced President Obama's health care reforms (as she spins it) as "downright evil." (Link hat tip: @teksquisite.) Here's my meta-rant about the wrongness of the current form of the debate:

1. The amount of weasel words, fear-mongering, and slippery slope logic (reflexively weasel words, too) used by Palin combine into an emotional appeal to a more susceptible audience (relative to all audiences, which are susceptible in varying degrees).

2. In other words, a lot of spin does nothing but scare those who don't want to do their own research. If that's your base, then the ideology itself isn't worth much anyhow.

3. In other words, if you are going to denounce a proposed plan - attack the actual plan and not some bogeyman plan you invented for convenience's sake. Use facts and figures, not fear.

4. There are better opponents who have argued against the President's proposals with more grace and nuance. I wish they'd get more coverage than Sarah Palin. (And yes, I support the President's plans so far.)

5. If you have a problem with any proposed solution, propose your own viable solution. Stop complaining and worrying.

6. If you already like what you have, especially in terms of health care, chances are that you'll continue to be able to have it no matter the outcome of the health care reform debate. So enjoy what you have, as quietly as possible, and let the rest of us (who have to deal with a broken health care and insurance system) debate for our current/future health and livelihoods.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #84: The Good, the Bad, and the Who Cares?

After several days of lengthy (long-winded) rants, I might as well try to be brief today. In recent news:

THE GOOD: Bill Clinton waltzed in to North Korea and rescued the two imprisoned American journalists, who work for Al Gore's Current TV. Kim Jong-Il was probably as excited as a teenage girl in line for the next Twilight movie when Bill entered the room. I'm pretty sure there are other details in the process, but that's how people tell the story right now. Good for Bill Clinton! I am no fan of George W. Bush's Administration, but somewhere down the years, Dubya might have an opportunity to do something post-presidentially good. (I'm just optimistic these days.)

THE BAD: What's up with the murderers who rip near-term babies from their pregnant mothers? There are legitimate ways to parenthood, but some sort of sick jealousy must have been involved. What's up with the sad, lonely guy who took out his frustrations by murdering innocent women at a health club? I read his blog (reposted at the ABC News website); he could have channeled this lifetime of negativity as a self-effacing stand-up comedian and brought joy to everyone who's ever been down and frustrated (i.e., everyone). Were these people meant to (fated to) make (freely choose) these evil decisions? If so, what can we do to make this right?

THE WHO CARES?: Paula Abdul quit American Idol. I should categorize Ms. Abdul's decision as good for her, and I mean "Who cares?" when referring to American Idol. Sure, millions of fans buy into the hype, but ultimately, AI represents the last limbs of success of a dying authoritarian recording industry. Buh-bye, Music Industry 1.0. Say hello to Music Industry 2.0 - democratized, independent recording artists and self-determining former 1.0 acts - and beyond!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #83: Supermassive Birther Implosion...?

Apparently I was fated to let my curiosity get the best of me regarding what the Birthers have to say about President Barack Obama. I chose to spend time reading the comments section of various news websites and blogs concerning the Birther conspiracy movement. I hadn't really delved into this fringe ideology (although some polls identify that a significant proportion of Republicans are Birthers, but I don't know about that...), so here's what I've found out:

1. One of the main Birthers is an attorney/this/that named Orly Taitz: O RLY?

2. Even though an abbreviated but state-approved Hawaii birth certificate had been released previously, many Birthers want the public release of President Obama's long-form birth certificate.

3. If such a document were to be released, many Birthers would doubt its authenticity. On the other hand, some Birthers instantly believe the recently-released, likely*-forged (due to several anachronistic errors) Kenyan birth certificate, only because it confirms their beliefs. (*By likely, I actually mean obviously.)

4. If such a document were to be released, some Birthers wouldn't care because they apparently believe that there are more types of American citizenship than just "natural born" and "naturalized." According to some Birthers, because Obama was born to a British-subject Kenyan father and an American mother, and/or rumored to have been later adopted by his Indonesian step-father, that disqualifies him from being a "natural born" citizen. Constitutionally, of course, only "natural born" citizens may assume the office of POTUS. Well, Obama was born in Hawaii to an American mother, and he never went through the naturalization process (complete with a citizenship test and swearing-in ceremony), so what kind of citizen does that make him? An Alpha Plus? A Beta Minus? A Delta? An Epsilon? (Sure, this and any issue can be as gray as you make it.)

5. As long as a long-form birth certificate is never released, the Birthers will probably increase their noise-mongering. At a certain point, guilt by association will have a large effect, further damaging the Republican party - stereotyping all active members as extremists. Eventually, the Birthers will likely implode, and possibly taking the Grand Old Party with it. Hopefully the new opposing party will have a base and leaders willing to deal with real issues, and debate the current Administration and majority in Congress with intelligence and civility.

In conclusion, I could care less about long-form birth certificates. In other words, don't release the long-form document, and let the Birthers self-implode. Then release the document (or not, for this issue has already been proven to the non-Birther majority). There are bigger issues to debate and real solutions to propose.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #82: Debating Health Care on the InterWebs

Happy Birthday, Mr. President! I can only imagine what the Birthers are saying right now about this day, forty-eight years ago. I could always venture via Google to various Birther-centric forums and blogs, but that's just a waste of my time.

Anyhow, speaking of President Obama, let's move on to his agenda to shake up the American health care system by trying to pass a government-run health insurance option. I'm not going to specifically rant about my views on the debate, but yet again, I will meta-rant about the face of the debate itself. We just need some ground rules so that understanding and progress can happen:

1. Get the facts straight.
2. Agree on the terminology: Are we talking about the health care system as a whole or the health insurance market?
3. If you are going to use a slippery slope argument, admit to it. On the one hand, a government-run insurance option could eventually descend into universally socialized health care. On the other hand, a government-run insurance option could shake up the private-insurance market, creating a vibrant and dynamic health care system, and leading to a more effective form of capitalism! Yes, both slippery slopes are just as valid as they are ridiculous.
4. No weasel words.
5. No bogeyman fear-mongering (see rule #1).
6. No personal attacks.
7. Keep the ditto-head talking points to a minimum, or at least explain the points with facts.
8. Proposed solutions are better than negativity, trolling, and complaints.

I am optimistic that a government-run insurance option, with the lightest touch, might stir up the market in a good way. That said, I've found an example of an opposing viewpoint, free of a lot of stereotypical anger and paranoia. The writer even proposes a solution, all the while avoiding outright ditto-head partisanship. Forum user "world" on the Pearl Jam off-topic/political forum (of all places) writes:

1. Let pharmacies, doctors, and hospitals to publish their prices for goods and services.
(let us shop around)

2. Let all Americans buy prescription drugs outside the United States.
(dude, Mexican drugs are like 80% cheaper)

3. Let all people buy medical insurance across state lines.
(expand our choices, 49 states worth of options)

4. Let doctors and patients negotiate discounts for paying cash.
(small stuff like simple visits would be dirt cheap)

5. Let patients, doctors, and hospitals enter into into legally binding, limited-liability contracts.
(reduce malpratice lawsuits to reasonable levels)

6. End all government mandates that require businesses or individuals to buy medical insurance.
(make the insurance companies earn our business, instead of forcing us to buy crap)

As of right now, the Government wont let us do any of these. Does this make sense? Too bad the insurance companies have bought almost every politician in DC and it will never happen.
Forum user "world" recognizes that the current system with insurance companies is less than ideal at best and broken at worse, and "world" also provides some reasonable solutions that differ from the President's proposed solutions. Even though the current avatar of "world" expresses a totalitarian paranoia about the Obama Administration (it is the word Orwell in the style of Obama's campaign logo), "world" gracefully contributed to the current health care debate.

Now is it too much for the rest of you, on all sides, to act similarly?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #81: Rant about Browser as OS as Browser

The more I think about it, the more I like the concept of the browser being the operating system...well, at least for travel computers, like my netbook and possibly a non-primary full-sized notebook.

On either my heavy-lifting desktop or my daily-use netbook, I only use a few separate applications on regular, if not daily, basis. While not a complete list of my app habits, these are the usual suspects:

1. A browser, like Firefox;
2. A media player, like iTunes;
3. A PDF reader, Adobe's Acrobat reader;
4. A word processing/spreadsheet suite, like either Open Office or MS Office;
5. A regular calculator because I can't do arithmetic anymore;
6. An FTP program;
7. A PDF printer (saves trees, you know);
8. A simple text editor, like Notepad;
9. A picture editor, like Photoshop or GIMP;
10. A digital audio workstation (DAW), like Pro Tools.

...not to mention all sorts of applications-taken-for-granted working in the background.

A cloud-based operating system like the anticipated Google Chrome OS could fulfill my personal simplistic daily computing needs for many of the above categories:

1. Chrome OS is the browser;
2. I'm not yet willing to exchange my local multimedia for a solely streaming experience, and maybe Apple might port iTunes to a Linux-kernel OS this time around (I'm not holding my breath, though);
3. Google has a PDF reader in Gmail;
4. Google Docs;
5. Javascript and Flash calculators are everywhere on the Web;
6. A browser add-on could do FTP;
7. If you can install a physical printer, then you can install a virtual one, theoretically;
8. I'm pretty sure Chrome OS will have a text app, and if not, a compose email window could suffice;
9. This task might be best left for a more powerful machine;
10. I should actually upgrade to a workstation-class PC to maximize my DAW experience.

...and I guess that the browser/OS will have all sorts of app-like add-ons that would be fun for some, but otherwise useless in the long run for others.

Other than the heavier - arguably artsier - tasks, a cloud-based operating system would be great to use on the go and for daily use. The biggest potential problem involves the security of saving your files on the Internet, as opposed to (or in addition to) saving it locally. I think I'd be okay if I could save a word processing file locally and an ultra-encrypted backup would be sent to the associated Google account for safe keeping. And the safe-keeping would work both ways, too, because who knows what might happen to Google's servers at any point in the future?

Anyhow, I can anticipate that I would be interested in trying Google's upcoming OS if and when it arrives. I spend most of my netbook experience with an open browser, typing away (like on this blog, right now) anyway. I don't really care about the OS, as long as it remains relatively stable, so that I can do the aforementioned InterWebs-related tasks.

In the meanwhile, I definitely have to check out Google's Chrome browser (which I must've said months ago but never made good on) and compare it with Firefox. And then compare potentials of the browser-as-OS with various OSes I've used (and liked!): XP, OS X, Ubuntu, and various lightweight flavors of Linux.

I really like how this rant has a relatively positive tone, and I totally forgot I've previously bought in to many of the aforementioned companies while writing the above paragraphs. Good vibes for all! Cheers!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #80: The FCC, the iPhone, and the Balance of Free and Fair Markets

Hmm...now the Federal government, in the form of the FCC, is trying to get to the bottom of this soon-to-be (if not already) Apple iPhone App Store/Google Voice/AT&T debacle. As of now, AT&T says that it is not responsible for the operations of Apple's App Store. Things the make you go hmm...

I hope that the end result of this episode involves a balance of freer and fairer markets, at least in the realm of wireless communication (if not everywhere else, too). If the Federal government plays this slightly trivial issue (relatively speaking...) right, then it is well on its way to show how it can affect markets for the better. That's one of the biggest issues in today's world of politics, especially American politics, and especially in relation to economics: How much should the Federal government affect the marketplace? This goes for not only wireless communication but also automobiles and health insurance, and markets beyond and in between, whether interstate or even international (but globalism is another issue for another time).

I believe a light, nuanced approach is necessary at most times, with aggressive action taken very rarely, if at all. A hands-free government and an unchecked marketplace will not work for sprawling nations with lots of people and lots of industries. If there is no occasional government intervention in a "free market," then there would be (and there are) generations' worth of colluded dynasties (which would ultimately lead to bad products and horrible customer service). It would be a "free" but not "fair" market. If there is too much government intervention, then a lack of adaptability would stifle the market itself (which would ultimately lead to bad products and horrible customer service).

If a professional sports metaphor is appropriate, here it is: Let the referees make sure the players play by the rules, punishing violations when necessary, but don't let the referees determine the outcome.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #79: "Summer Evening" by John Clare #LibriVox

Summer Evening - Read By Ryan DeRamos by John Clare
Download now or listen on posterous
summerevening_clare_deramos.mp3 (1159 KB)

Today's special blog entry has been redundantly posted at both Posterous and Blogger, as well as ridiculously linked to at both Facebook and Twitter.

The mp3 embedded above (hosted on Posterous' servers) is my recording of "Summer Evening" by John Clare, read for LibriVox, and in the public domain. It will be a part of this week's LibriVox Weekly Poetry, where several volunteer readers record the same poem. This collection will then be "published" together (hosted) at Archive.org and catalogued at LibriVox.

The frog half fearful jumps across the path,
And little mouse that leaves its hole at eve
Nimbles with timid dread beneath the swath;
My rustling steps awhile their joys deceive,
Till past,--and then the cricket sings more strong,
And grasshoppers in merry moods still wear
The short night weary with their fretting song.
Up from behind the molehill jumps the hare,
Cheat of his chosen bed, and from the bank
The yellowhammer flutters in short fears
From off its nest hid in the grasses rank,
And drops again when no more noise it hears.
Thus nature's human link and endless thrall,
Proud man, still seems the enemy of all.

I produced this recording on a summer's night, full of summertime crickets merrily chirping in the darkness. Ironically, of course, I used one of my SoundSoap plug-ins in Pro Tools to remove the crickets from the background. "Proud man, still seems the enemy of all," indeed.

Posted via email from DeRamos' Clipboard