Showing posts with label good news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label good news. Show all posts

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Happiness is a New Version of Linux OS

Today I'm happy, because SolydX laid its golden egg for April the 15th, and I made pudding with it, updating two of my computers to the latest and greatest that Linux has to offer.

I don't know whether Windows users can grasp the happiness I feel. A new version of the SolydX OS is like a new version of Windows, except I don't have to reinstall or reconfigure anything. Imagine going from Windows XP to Windows 7, while keeping all of your configuration. Nice, eh? Now imagine you do it for free and legally. Get the picture? Linux is nice. Just--nice.

My other favorite operating system, Xubuntu, is due to lay a new golden egg today. I'm watching that hen with eagle eyes, waiting for the egg to pop out, so I can crack it open and make omelettes on two of my computers.

Come on, chicken. I just checked DistroWatch--no dice. Come onnnn! Lay that egg!

What's nice about Xubuntu's upcoming release is that it will be an LTS, a Long-Term Support release, good for many years to come. That makes it even more special than usual. Anyone who is curious about Linux should definitely choose this moment to make a leap of faith into the wonderful world of free operating systems. The payoff will be even greater than usual.

If you're a Linux neophyte, then begin your journey with Xubuntu. I like Xubuntu's "keep it simple, stupid" philosophy. Through their relationship with Canonical, they access timely security updates that make the paranoid less so. Also, Xubuntu holds hands during installation and updates, and even though I know a thing or two in my advanced wizardry, I do appreciate the hand-holding, because it saves me time and bother. The only downside to Xubuntu is the unfortunate choice of the two-panel approach, which SolydX avoids. I don't really grasp the need for a panel at the top and a panel at the bottom of the desktop, but this can be tweaked away. Canonical's feverish innovations in their Software Manager have also caused new bugs, but there is always Synaptic Package Manager to fall back on if the Software Manager misbehaves.

If you're a computer wiz, give SolydX or SolydK a spin. Try SolydX if you have old hardware or SolydK if you have newer hardware. My rule of thumb is that if you have 4 gigs of RAM, give SolydK a try, because you might like it and certainly you have more than enough memory. If you have less than 4 gigs of RAM, go with SolydX. You may prefer its agility and solidity. I chose SolydX mainly because I prefer a conservative, solid desktop with few issues. KDE tends to be more cutting-edge and enterprising, aggressive in developing new features.

04/18/2014 Update:

My Xubuntu upgrade from version 13.10 to version 14.04 functioned flawlessly and with minimal user interaction, making for a stress-free, calm and relaxing evening! In-place upgrade of an existing version is an awesome feature that makes the Ubuntu family more competitive against other Linux distributions. Never before have I seen as effortless an upgrade as tonight--certainly not in the Windows world, but not in the Linux world either.

On my second Xubuntu computer, I left the updater running overnight. When I checked on it the next morning, xscreensaver had frozen on a particular picture, and the computer was unresponsive. I powered the machine off, rebooted, and ran the updater again, and it picked up just where it had left off. Impressive! That shows that a significant amount of testing and refinement has gone into the installation and update process and reaffirms my confidence in Xubuntu.

I recommend Xubuntu to users fleeing the realm of Windows. Xubuntu is easy to use--no degree in computer science required! As a matter of fact, I maintain that Xubuntu is easier to use than Windows, because there is far, far less probability of picking up a malware infection in Xubuntu, for a lot of different reasons. Avoid the trojan-infested pirated copies of Windows and install a free, legal and open-source Linux distro instead.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Good Guys

One thing we can be thankful for in the U.S. is that our police tend to be "the good guys" protecting us from "the bad guys," crazy criminals that commit every manner of mayhem. In other countries, such as China, the police are "the bad guys," controlled by corrupt politicians. I like the fact that I can rest at night without worrying about a home invasion, burglary or other crime visiting my household. There's always a slight chance, of course, but the odds are slim in this country that one will be the victim of a violent crime or even a property crime, and property crimes tend to be minor for the most part. The most I've ever lost to crime has been a bicycle. I lost two or three bicycles, as a matter of fact, but one was recovered by the police after the perpetrator was arrested on other charges.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Castro Meets the Pope

There is something poignant and meaningful about Castro meeting the Pope and speaking in civil and cordial terms. Their friendly meeting shows that killing off one's enemies is not the best way to go about things. Far better to show patience and understanding and to wait for the imperial court of the world & the times to settle the great Questions. I can remember when some Republicans were calling for the assassination of Castro. It is probably better that he lived without undue interference. If nothing else, a superb accomplishment of Castro is the free public health care system in place in Cuba, as well as the Cuban doctors and nurses that are exported throughout the third world. I believe that the sanctions in place against Castro's regime should be lifted. His regime is not as bad as others that we do business with.

In truth, Castro and the Pope have much in common. While inhabiting different sides of the political spectrum, they are both representatives of declining ideologies.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Good News out of Russia

About the only good news out of Russia these days concerns its continuing scientific research. At least Russia has not abandoned science altogether, unlike Iran, which only has an interest in weapons.

These scientists had better be careful, though, because they could revive a super-bug that might spread into the human population.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Sunday, February 19, 2012

We're Lucky to be Human

I look at my cat sometimes and think that I read envy. We are so powerful, compared to them. The things that we do, such as having mastery over sound, images, smells, light and darkness, often seem like magic to their eyes. In some ways, we seem god-like.

I think every human is lucky to be human, because humans rule the Earth. We are even seeking to acquire the Moon and the other planets. Unsatisfied with our blessed estate, we even seek to conquer mortality itself and live forever. Humans have always been unsatisfied. That may be the one curse to intelligence. We always crave more. We always seek to modify our environment in order to enjoy a better standard of living. Cats don't strive. They may seek a more comfortable cushion, but they build nothing and they gather nothing except the occasional toy.

So the human being is fortunate, but does not know that he is fortunate. He is the luckiest form of life, enjoying a self-awareness greater than any other life form. He is the flower of creation. It should be our lot to create beautiful things with art and music. I think that is the ultimate direction. There are more beautiful things as the human race matures and grows more powerful. There are more possibilities.

Our existence is changing, our environment is changing far faster than our genes. We have left behind the conditions that made our physical traits expedient. Modern people spend hours in a seated position. Little musculature is required in today's world. The car takes us places, not the feet. Almost all but the easiest physical labor is performed by machines. Even talking is often unnecessary due to electronic communication. The body is really more of a hindrance than an aid. We would be better-suited to the modern world without a body. It is unnecessary; we could be happier and more permanent as a collection of bits and bytes within a computer.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Another Great SEAL Team Rescue

The real deal is much better than a Hollywood movie. I'd like to see a documentary with interviews with each hero of the SEAL team.

Note that even on an important article like this one, and even with computerized spell-checkers, the mainstream media could not avoid grammatical errors.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Monday, January 9, 2012

Our Heroine

Gabby Giffords is a real American heroine.

Nobody can write off politicians when there is one that is so true to the American ideal as she is. She sacrificed a great deal in service to this country.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Poetic Irony

I love this story. What's not to like? Black church becomes legal owner of KKK store.

That would be like PFLAG becoming legal owner of Michele Bachmann's husband's psychotherapy practice.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Doctors, and in particular surgeons, are sometimes truly amazing people, to be able to open up a living human body and fix what's broken. If I had my life to do over again, I'd have applied myself to the study of medicine, no question about it. There can be no greater purpose than saving lives. Of course, it may seem like doctors are overpaid, but they should be paid at least as much as the typical CEO, because unlike CEO's, doctors actually perform useful work. The fortunes of the average corporation would improve greatly without the useless bloat at the top. Most CEO's do not know their hind end from their head.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Friday, December 16, 2011

Oil Changes

Finally, the world is waking up to the fact that cars don't need oil changes every 3,000 miles.

For decades, I read that cars need an oil change every 3,500 miles, and each time, I thought to myself, "What a great lie those oil companies are spinning--how profitable!" And think of all the Jiffy Lube's that benefited from the pile of horse crap.

How'd I know? I read the manual for my 1982 Honda Civic. It said change the oil every 7,500 miles. The manufacturer would not have put that information in the manual if he thought it would make his product less reliable. So I always changed my oil after a year or two or 7,500 miles, whichever came first. In cases where the engine is old and burns oil or where the oil turns pitch black, I change sooner.

Apparently, high oil prices are the reason for the increased publicity counteracting the marvelous profit-making lie that extracted $20-$50 every 3,000 miles from legions of gullible car owners.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Curbing Animal Research

I applaud these efforts to curb animal research in laboratories. Especially in cases where the only thing at stake is mere profit, animals should not be considered for painful or harmful laboratory experiments. Where human lives are at stake, then animal research may be alright, if necessary in order to proceed with discovery. I think a judge should be the arbitrator, a judge armed with a law that expresses a general philosophy with guidelines rather than a thousand-page law of specific rules for every conceivable case (inevitably there will be cases that would fall outside any such law).
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Understanding Technology

Qubits are being studied in research into quantum computing.

I can't help but think of Q-bert, a popular video game from the 1980's.

I have only a vague notion of what the research really means or how it works, but it does sound most impressive. I have difficulty understanding what is meant by a bit that can be both zero and one at the same time. Does that mean it has three possible values, rather than two, and the speed increase derives from increased capacity or bandwidth? Or would there be five possibilities: 1, 0, 00, 10, or 01? I don't really understand a single thing about quantum mechanics, insofar as why it works. I can almost grasp how it works, but not why.

As far as I'm concerned, electricity is magic. I've never understood electricity in a proper way. The inner workings of personal computers also seem like magic.

I suppose it is possible, if written and recorded documents were lost in an Apocalypse, such as after a nuke attack or comet strike, that much technology could also disappear, because many people don't really have a good idea as to how their gadgets work and could not begin to recreate them, especially without preexisting tools and other supplies. It is easy to understand and recreate such things as a cart, a wagon, and even a saddle from easily obtained natural resources, but to build a car and the infrastructure to support it and its fuel, that would be quite a trick for an ordinary person left to his own devices. The only guarantee we have is about the Renaissance level of technology. Hopefully, though, there will always be a cache of technological information stored somewhere in a computer disk or a book.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Good Judgment

In life, one has disappointments, such as not being the smartest, the tallest, the handsomest, the wisest, the most eloquent, the most charming, or the richest. Our qualities serve to counterbalance these things. We should recognize our qualities. It is not fair to find only fault in one's self. What is that cliched saying? Be good to yourself. Often a clause is added: because/if/when nobody else will. Everyone has certain aspects about themselves that are admirable when placed in contrast to a less fortunate soul. We should all count our blessings.

I'm pleased about my good judgment in regards to people and animals. I am surrounded by good, kind and polite beings. I drew them to me and keep them about me. They are valuable. One of the purposes of life is to cultivate and nourish such a circle of friends. There is a kind of power and goodness in that. Each friend is a resource with strengths and abilities of their own, and they offer advice, insight, and companionship. It is far better to be together than alone.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hail the Hero

There was a hero in the recent Norwegian massacre, a German man, Marcel Gleffe, who risked his life to save others.

The villain, whose name is not worthy of any mention, had the mindset of an insect, with retarded social, if adequate operational intelligence. The net outcome of his dark deed is that his ilk will continue to be despised throughout the world. It was a miserable failure in public relations, an atrocity that will provide grist for myriad conversations and publications. An insect such as he that conceives of human society as consisting only of cold numbers cannot be expected to grasp the full magnitude of his error.

The way that gays went from being persecuted to becoming members of the Establishment was not by killing, not by harming, and not by doing evil unto anyone, but by speaking out, listening, sharing, befriending, and forming alliances with others. It is through cooperation and hard work, not bloody violence, that an idea or a group earns acceptance. Those who commit violence receive the opposite of their goal.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Park Named After Harvey Milk

The Long Island City Council has recommended naming a park after Harvey Milk, a man I admire. He was the first gay mayor of San Francisco, assassinated by a homophobe, a failed candidate who had run against him, lost, and in a fit of vindictiveness, murdered him, shooting him point blank with a handgun like the coward he was. The assassin was arrested and convicted, but only served a paltry four years in prison, when he should have received life in prison or else the death penalty. But that was a more primitive time, an era of widespread right-wing brutality and violence that spawned a successful and victorious Liberal movement. Although he did not pay the full price of his crime, his dark deed had unexpected consequences that, perhaps, he would not have liked. It is often thus, with the violent cowards who think they can get their way with the gun. They manufacture martyrs. Indeed, I'd be happy to die if it meant the furtherance of the greater good. After all, what is life, this bag of bones and blood, next to the millions who will profit from a sacrifice, today and tomorrow? I do not think Harvey Milk would have regretted his life, even if he had foreseen the early end. To die in such a manner--noble, upright, heroic, standing for what one believes in, and killed by a coward--what could be a more beautiful death?

"Schipske, the Council's only other openly gay member, is against the naming because she believes the park should bear the name of a local gay rights advocate."

Harvey Milk's martyrdom transcends local sensibilities; I would like to ask whether the local advocate sacrificed his life for the movement. It is improper to name a physical structure after the living, because there is a possibility their name may be tarnished by a discreditable deed. Preferable is the policy of naming things after the dead, whose legacy is better assured. I'm unacquainted with the local situation, however.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Egypt, WikiLeaks, and Western Justice

I am pleased the tyrant Mubarak has been evicted from his palace, although he should not be granted a permanent refuge in Egypt. His crimes against his people cannot be overlooked. It is likely that at the present time, he is liquidating much of his fortune and attempting to spirit it out of Egypt, foreseeing his dim future in that country. I suspect he will eventually emerge in Saudi Arabia.

I hope that Egypt evolves into a multiparty republic similar to the European republics. There may be a place for the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt's equivalent to our Christian Right. Ignorance and evil are no disqualifications to voting, for better or worse. Indeed the Christian Right has access to the very highest levels of government, including the offices of our Senators, Representatives, Governors, and even our generals. It can be argued that the Christian Right is responsible in large part for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They wish to bring about the end times to fulfill the fantasy drama in their heads. To this end, they are willing to wage war and commit any act which serves to revert the modern world to the world of Biblical times.

If WikiLeaks made any small contribution to the current turn of events in the Middle East, then it must be allowed that Julian may be smarter and better than he at first appeared. I do believe all charges against him in the sex case in Sweden should be dropped. It is probably true that the prosecutor in that case is a man-hater. It is also probably true that the Swedish government is persecuting him for political reasons.

Western law in general has moved to a position that is anti-male. Today, few would dispute that women have a distinct advantage in most areas of legal justice. Divorces deprive men of half their life earnings as well as their children, even in cases where the woman was only married for a few years and only married for money to begin with. For biological reasons, it is easier for women to remain monogamous than men. Sexual mischief is punished severely in civil and criminal cases, even in instances where the harm was negligible. Harm should be evaluated carefully and punishment doled out in proper measure to it.

There needs to be an accommodation made for the male of the species. On the other hand, if men are not a desirable counterpart in our species, then society should eliminate the Y chromosome and switch from natural reproduction to cloning. This would incur certain risks. It is interesting that almost all the leaders, inventors and discoverers in history are male. We can argue about the reasons why this might be so, such as the patriarchal social structure of earlier times, but it does not change the fact. If our species were all women, perhaps we would be more at peace, but still huddled around a fire.

On the other hand, the Islamic world tends to be anti-female, another extreme, and even more anti-female than Western society is anti-male. The Islamic world seems preoccupied by excessive concern over female sexuality. I believe women should have the right to fraternize with whomever they choose, and their fashion is not an issue for the police. I would not be offended even by nakedness, although I wouldn't recommend it. Women should have free access to education, birth control, and the same occupations as men. Iran may be the most anti-female country in the world at this time. I don't know why the Iranian regime despises women, but they despise homosexuals as well. I can't think of anything more tedious than to live in such a repressive and ignorant society. My hopes for regime change in Iran have not died, but been delayed.

On another topic, an argument has gained currency among the right bemoaning the popular uprising in Egypt on the grounds that transition into a free European-style republic is impossible in the Middle East. I am undecided. There is no example of a Middle Eastern country that has transitioned from dictatorship to republic, but that does not prevent Egypt or Tunisia from breaking new ground. In any case, I do not believe that fear of an Iranian-style Islamist regime should stand in the way of democratic change. Perhaps the people will succumb to ignorance and evil. Perhaps they will choose radical Islam over peace, freedom and prosperity. If so, it is their choice. Certainly our people have made their share of mistakes. Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II were all mistakes betraying poor judgment on the part of the electorate, and each mistake had consequences for poor citizens and for foreign people. The U.S. national debt is in large part the result of those mistakes. Most social ills in our country can be laid at the door of those Presidents, who preferred squandering vast sums of taxpayer money on foreign wars instead of investing in science, energy, infrastructure, or education. Those who would argue that Egypt is better off with a tyrant would also place a tyrant in our own country. They have declared themselves as enemies of freedom. Democracy, of course, is not without risk, even grave peril.

Mubarak is a fiend to argue Egypt is not ready for democracy. He had several decades to prepare Egypt for democracy. What was he doing all that time? He was stealing vast sums of money for himself and his own family, that's what. His manner of government involved equipping brutal thugs with policeman's uniforms and an array of weapons and torture devices and letting them do whatever they please against the working class. There are some on the right wing that believe this is fine and dandy, and they would like to have society ordered in a similar manner in the West. The evil of Nazism lingers on in various forms.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gays May Serve in the Military

At last. What I dreamed about at the age of twenty-two has become law in the United States: gay men and women may serve in our armed forces. I remember writing an impassioned letter to a local newspaper columnist in support of gays in the military. That letter was never published--although the columnist came out in favor of gays in the military ten years later. Whether I sowed a seed or whether another persuaded him, I have no clue.

Sexuality is not a relevant criterion for military service. Nothing more needs to be said in defense of a self-evident assertion.

HRC sent me an email that noted, in part, "Senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins have been our steadfast champions in this fight. Here's what Senator Lieberman said today that shows how your energy, your drive, your commitment and your focus have been behind every single step: 'This historic day has been seventeen years in the making and would not have happened without the leadership of Joe Solmonese and the Human Rights Campaign.'"

As far as I'm concerned, HRC is vindicated by this victory. I am glad that I have supported that organization.

Joe Lieberman, also, is somewhat redeemed by this in my eyes. He certainly has a new luster. I agree with Megan McCain that he would have been a far better choice for a running mate for John McCain than Sarah Palin. I probably would not have voted for them, but I would have studied the pair much more closely than I did McCain/Palin. Palin has but to speak for a minute in order to annihilate all interest.

The benefits of this prudent change in policy will be everyone in the United States, the allies of the United States, and everyone that will live in the United States or its allies in the future.

Perhaps gays may benefit, as well, although that is not at all clear to me. The military is about self-sacrifice. It is no picnic.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Good News for a Change

The media harps on bad news so much that it is refreshing to catch a thread of positive change on rare occasions.

I have become an admirer of our ambassador to the U.N., Susan E. Rice. The U.S. has introduced a U.N. resolution supporting LGBT rights. It is opposed chiefly by the savages from Africa and the Middle East, who wish to continue butchering their own citizens.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bravo for Zuckerberg

Bravo to Mark Zuckerberg for pledging $100 million dollars to the Newark public school system in New Jersey.

I don't care what the movie says about him. I think that with philanthropy, no one should look a gift horse in the mouth. It a fine thing when a wealthy person gives back to the community. I think it is a good way of polishing one's legacy.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments
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