Thursday, September 27, 2007
A very good article discussing the Evangelist Air Force, and why it might not be a good idea to be so well prepared and so dedicated to the proposition of conversion by the sword.
And upon that thread was bestowed what may be the Best Comment Ever about such things.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The customer is always right!
The customer... ah nonsense. The customer doesn't know who reads this blog, and I do. And that's why I get paid the small, but welcome bucks.
The customer wants me to tell you about the benefits of the benefits of the Scan2Contacts business card reader and software offering direct porting to a Microsoft Outlook database.
Ok, yawn - but there were a lot of other applications, so I poked around.
Once I realized this tiny, lightweight, high-resolution scanner could talk to MANY different database and image management packages, my ears perked up.
IF Microsoft Outlook is the application your job requires you to use, the fact that this product can take a business card and turn it into a fully populated database record in one step IS good news for a lot of people. But it's not the most interesting potential application, and certainly not one I could speak about.
They have solutions for many applications, with complementary peripherals and developer support for those who have thought of applications they have not.
(I have not overlooked some of the more Orwellian potentials - but I'm looking at positive applications of these technologies.)
The key technology is this small, USB-powered portable scanner which can integrate with many different software packages, so when you get it, realize this is not a "one trick pony." There is no "dedicated" hardware-software match-up, though they bundle many common solutions together, and it will work with any TWAIN-compliant software.
For a modest additional investment, you can get a package that allows you to do several things - scan business cards, ID cards and driver's licenses, checks, coupons and gift certificates, even capture images of embossed plastic cards, such as credit cards.
This is ideal for many sorts of niche businesses, where a clear, unassailable and complete record of every individual contact is either required or damn prudent; In particular, this means professional photographers, law firms, Realtors, medical clinics, defense and other federal contractors, even schools. And yes, you can integrate signature support.
A few weeks creating specialized databases, and this company could make my wife's life as a special educator enormously easier, by making it possible to create, store and retrieve IDEA-compatible records that while electronic, will have legally binding signatures. With the right database plugins, it would be possible for these records to be encrypted and accessed either through mag-stripe, barcode or even embedded Digimarc(TM) digital watermarking.
But let's get to me, and why I'm spending time on this. I'm a graphic artist, and image management is the one big nightmare thing that I don't wanna do. I want a simple way to manage images and ideas that is no more difficult than saving it to some random directory.
I have databases that don't smoothly handle images, and image management software that doesn't manage associated information in any useful way. As a result I generally don't bother with either, resorting to the electronic version of heap-depth oriented random relational pile management.
An organizational scheme needs to be easier to navigate than the chaos it's intended to replace, while being as usefully flexible and intuitive as my creative chaos.
I sometimes need to scan things, I often need to relate images together. I'd love to be able to connect both with a particular client with the ability to export data to billing and time management software. I was able to download a software package from them (scanshell.net) and it gave me a good idea of their user interface design. I like it, it's intuitive and, as far as I can tell, I would probably be able to create a personally tailored database with all the modules I need in just a minute or two.
I can't think of the number of times when I've been handed a business card, letterhead or even an old ad clipped from a newspaper as the only source a client has for a logo or graphic. Sometimes it's even a scribble on the back of a business or index card. So while I could sure use a pure business card system it would be a partial, rather than a total solution.
Businesspeople who use the Levenger system of index-card management really need to have this brought to their attention. And as a note for future development - handwriting recognition would be a very helpful addition to the SnapShell repertoire.
Being able to scan checks, invoices and receipts for accounting is a very impressive bonus.
And this little dingus does all these things out of the box - including scanning both sides of a card directly to my TWAIN-Compliant software. (Photoshop, that is.)
Now, sometimes I need to scan something bigger than a card - but I have a full-sized scanner. However, if I wanted to go totally portable, I'd go for this bad boy:
Scanshell 3000DN is a high-speed duplex scanner which offers simultaneous high image quality capture of both sides of the scanned document.
It is the perfect solution for scanning insurance cards, driver licenses, ID cards, photos, business cards, bank checks, full letter, legal sized documents and even embossed cards.
The Scanshell 3000DN is equipped with high speed USB 2.0 standard interface and requires no external power supply. It is TWAIN and WIA compatible.
With its light weight, small footprint and simple connection, the Scanshell 3000DN is a unique and convenient solution for simultaneous double side scanning for both desktop and mobile use.
This one allows me to scan a head-shot or a photo with notes on the back into my database in ONE pass, without fiddling or futzing about. And it's so small that paired with a laptop, there's still room in a backpack for camera gear.
For my particular needs, I often do a quick manual sketch which I then refine in Photoshop, or take a photo and elaborate upon it. I often think it would be nice to have a simple way of documenting and annotating the entire process. It would be particularly useful for documenting the time taken on each major step, as well as variants and different paths toward an outcome. And it would be very nice to be able to do all this sitting under a shade tree with a sketchbook and a laptop.
Did I mention Digimarc recognition? Now, as it happens, there are plug-ins for various image creation and management packages using Digimarc and it's widely used by graphic artists, photographers and resellers to keep track of and defend their intellectual property rights. Imagine being able to just automatically extract that information to a database. Imagine knowing for sure where you got an image, who it was shot by, when it was shot, and what it's usage permissions are, and who you need to contact to negotiate usage.
Suddenly, you realize that every photo-editor in the universe needs this, and the smaller the publication, the more they need it. Most don't KNOW they do, yet, but trust me, they do. This goes double and triple if adult images or product shots are involved. Images of particular naked people and particular, identifiable products have oddly similar legal issues and indexing requirements. Make of that what you will.
So, guys, you REALLY need to book a booth at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo 2008.
Thanks to some particularly onerous record-keeping requirements for the adult industry, something exactly like this is an absolute requirement to avoid business-killing fines. You have out-of-the box solutions already - as others do, I'm sure - but with the developer tools packages and enough lead time, you could have a specialized compliance package ready to go, while the flexibility, portability and price-point of your gear will appeal to other developers and people who already have systems in place.
And of course, while you are doing a ton of business, you are at the Sands Expo center, in Las Vegas, with plausible deniability - and it's a business deduction!
Now, aren't you glad I didn't just do the minimum post?
tag: Adult Industry, photography, image management software, relational database, identity cards, medical record-keeping, legal compliance, paperless office, freelance photographers, graphic artists, digital rights management, intellectual property
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
An op-ed in the LA Times notes "it's amazing that MoveOn would try to squelch
political speech." One of the designers withdrew her T-shirt because she didn't want to fight "a large group with the money to run ads in the NY Times demeaning a four star general."
And The LA Times supplies the punchline to this whole sorry mess with the last 'graph:
Perhaps the most delicious irony here is that MoveOn hasn't exactly been scrupulous in its regard to other people's intellectual property. After all, it seems to have borrowed the Petraeus/Betray Us rhyme from a familiar radio host -- without crediting him, of course.
Now THERE'S the humorless, irony impaired Left Wing I remember from my youth! This demands WIDESPREAD bi-partisan blogmockery - and T-shirts! Until we get a rueful admission of stupidity on Colbert's show, I shall taunt you!
read more | digg story
UPDATE: T-Shirt Created, on Zazzle. Why? Well, I kinda think it's their turn for some huge free publicity. C'mon, MoveOn, don't stop NOW!
Note: I have "Blogmockery" as a category. Click it and see how often I get a chance to mock the LEFT wing. I try to be an equal-opportunity offender, but the pickings are slim on the left. For the most part, I think that's because the targets on the right are SO obvious that you don't have to be all that clever or take many risks to launch a devastating counter attack.
So, even as I criticize, I forgive. Goddes knows, my beloved and often silly lefties, it's not surprising your hunting skills are rusty. It's what you might call a "target-rich environment" on the right. It's like trying to shoot a jackrabbit, just for fun, after spending years clubbing them to death with your rifle butt just to keep from nibbling your personal carrot. You ARE gonna miss - especially seeing as you are still up to your ass in carrot-obsessed jackrabbits.
Anyway, admit it, get over it, laugh ruefully and MoveOn. It was wrong, it was stupid, and it's kinda nice to know that you are just as human as the rest of us. Get over yourselves and remember there are more important things going on than ensuring there's a particular ideological outcome, other than a future without a recreational nuclear encounter.
Shopping for the men in your life or composing a wish list? How many places offer you astonishing deals from Armani Exhange and K-Mart on the same page? It's a little surreal, truth be told.
But as the power shopper in the family, I'm starting to think I need to visit regularly. We have an increasing need for a new computer - and I can choose between retailers offering me serious discounts like Circuit City discounts and PC Connection's special promotions.
But my personal wishlist always starts with kitchen gadgetry. this is where I'll be spending some "discretionary funds" as soon as possible. Foodsaver.com Coupons and Deals
I lost my last Foodsaver in a move six years ago and I have missed it every day. Well, it looks like it may just be within my budget, if I get it here with the coupons, I may even get an upgraded version.
Of course, that means a Costco run for food to save. Sigh - saving money CAN be awfully expensive at times!
Bad News: It seems as likely as ever that we may destroy us - and Mom already has contingency plans for our replacements.
But the idea is so inherently fascinating - an integration of schooling, business and small business incubation - with such apparent potential, that I cannot possibly do it justice for a five dollar paid post. I find it easy to forgive them for getting all excited and going public before they are quite entirely dressed.
So, rather than do a once-over-lightly, I'm going to ask that you click the link, check out the idea yourself and see what you make of it with as few preconceptions as possible.
But thanks for the fiver, guys! And I will be investigating the whole concept in as great a depth as I can manage, once I'm a little more caffeinated and I'm not at all restricted by a quid-pro-quo.
Monday, September 24, 2007
There's a famous unattributed quotation from WWII, alleged to be uttered by a Peer of the Realm: "This Hitler fellow makes it impossible for a gentleman to be an Anti-Semite."
That quotation leaped to mind as I read the reactions of socially-conservative voters to the news of San Diego's Mayor Jerry Sanders' tearful reversal of his stance on Gay Marriage.
He began by explaining his refusal to veto the council's decision, saying his beliefs had “evolved significantly” since 2005, when he established his stance on civil unions during his first mayoral campaign.
In the time since, he said he realized he could not accept “the concept of a separate-but-equal institution.” Because of that, he continued, he was unwilling to send the message to anyone that “they were less important, less worthy or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage.”
The mayor, now crying openly, noted that he has close family members and friends in the gay and lesbian community, including staff members and “my daughter Lisa.”
“In the end, I couldn't look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships, their very lives, were any less meaningful than the marriage I share with my wife, Rana,” said Sanders, who quickly thanked reporters and dashed from the room.
Now, as an Aspie/autistic, I have the unusual tendancy to take statements such as this at face value. I even take the emotional context at face value. If an issue causes a bluff old conservative police chief to break down in tears over what he plainly states to be a crisis of concience, I'm inclined to take him at his word, and indulge in the delusional procedure of supposed mind-reading about his "real" motivations.
But the comments on this article reveal that that is one of the most common - and possibly least offensive - assumptions made about him and the "gay agenda" he has "betrayed" the people in "condoning."
But the overwhelming majority of the outrage reveals a depth of hatred, bigotry and ignorance about law, constitution, spelling, grammar, logical construction, evidence, rational argument, ethics, reason and most especially the Bible that I suspect that the supporters for his former stance were as persuasive to him as those he'd been arguing against.
Here is one such argument, actually, one of the more articulate ones; penned by one "Faithful on 09/20/2007 at 8:51 a.m.
"I don't know where, in our constitution, it says marriage is a "right".
The fact that you do not know something does not mean that that which you are ignorant of does not therefore exist.
US Constitution, Bill of Rights:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.Amendment X
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."
I highly doubt that the Founding Fathers were thinking about queer relationships when they penned it. That said, the same argument goes for heterosexual marriage. It is a privilege granted by the State.
More precisely, it is a right arrogated by the states; originally to deal with the "Plague" of interracial marriage. That's why "marriage licenses" were first issued by various States.
Then, of course, the advantage of it from revenue and record-keeping standpoints became obvious to cash-strapped states. But Constitutionally speaking, there's no argument that any form of permission for civil marriage is or should be required. Whether or not there is a compelling state interest in regulating marriage, much less giving substantial advantages to married people is a separate argument, but if such advantages do exist than the equal protection clause states that it should be given and withheld without arbitrary distinctions between persons over matters irrelevant to the goals of the state, or for goals that would be unconstitutional if they were admitted aloud.
In fact, the "granting of privilege" was one of the great issues for our founders and one thing they did their best to eradicate from and forbid to government. One expression of said intent was the so called "Equal Protection Clause -" which to paraphrase, states that all laws must apply equally to all, or be judged unconstitutional.
The term "marriage" is derived from the scramental institutution promoted by Judeo/Christian (and others) religion. I suppose one way to resolve the whole thing is for the State to quit calling it "marriage" and calling it "civil union" available to both heteros and homos, with only the individual religions permitting (or not) the sacramental term, marriage.Putting the hilarity of an argument based on the authoritative nature of English word derivation aside, so what? If anything, that is a persuasive argument, given the Constitutional protection of religious practices, to stay out of the matter entirely. In fact, legal recognition for marriage comes out of English Common Law, which addressed the rights and responsibilities of those who chose to live together "without benefit of clergy."
This is a simple issue of citizenship, inheritances and transmission of rights, privileges and duties, when said matters had not already been defined by church records.
Would this make gays happy? Probably not, because it is the word "marriage" that they want applied to them. They also want to force religion to accept their unions as godly and "normal". They want homosexuality promoted in the schools as "normal" and "healthy" and have succeeded to a great degree in the public school system. They have plans to extend this "education" to the private education system. This is what I object to.As the Mayor stated, any "separate but equal" solution has a particular stench of inequality to it in our culture.
By contrast, you want their relationships portrayed as "abnormal" and "unhealthy," and have up until now succeeded in that goal to a great degree in the public school system.
Personally, having for no other reason other than my appearance and personality been identified by my peers as "gay" in grade school, I think teaching acceptance of differences to be a good thing, and the rejection of persecution of others for transparently false religious rationalizations to be also a good thing.
So yes, there is a gay lobby. And no, one isn't a bigot because one doesn't accept homosexuality as "normal" and "healthy".No, one could merely be totally ignorant and willfully misinformed. But the venom in your tone strongly suggests bigotry, as well as a suspicious fixation upon the sexual practices of others that could be reasonably presumed to represent either repression or envy of the "sexual license" and "immoral lifestyle" you clearly presume all homosexual people practice. I presume neither, since I care nothing about why you would choose to act so intolerably toward others. I don't need to hear your excuses for evil thoughts and evil deeds, whatever they are, they will be neither original nor enlightening.
I've known a lot of Gay people - because gay people do accept differences, and so it's always been my practice to hang with the lesbigay crowd even though I prefer sex heterosexual style from an aesthetic perspective and in the "missionary position" for the sake of my dignity and my sadly defective joints.
To quote one strong advocate of what you would call the "gay agenda," "Don't call me a gay activist. I don't get laid that often." This is not a "gay" issue. It's a human rights issue on the most basic level - and you are presuming the "majority right" to decide who gets to be "human."
I assert the first and second amendment rights to contest the idiocies of the majority, with as much force as is needed to penetrate their skulls with a useful degree of enlightenment.
The fact is, the majority of gay people have as good moral character as any heterosexual; actually, they tend to have a better grasp of right and wrong. Being exposed on a regular basis to the evil of stark, evident hatred and persecution will tend to clarify your values big time.
"That which is hateful to you, do not do unto others."
Clearly, you find the "homosexual agenda" hateful... but yet you are perfectly comfortable forcing the "Right Wing Socially-Conservative Cultural Christian" agenda upon everyone. Furthermore, you claim a religious right to express this through force - state violence and even occasionally the justification of individual violence against gays and all sorts of other people you find "freaky" and "abnormal."
Me, for example. There are entire institutions devoted to eradicating the entire autistic spectrum, pre-birth, with no other justification than a parent's "right" to have a "normal" child. But we shall save the rest of this related rant about xenophobia for another day. Today, we are speaking of specific sins, not the more mental, moral and social failures our currently dominant social class are beset with.
In order to say that a certain behavior or attraction is "unnatural," you are absolutely stating that it doesn't occur outside of an artificial context, never occurs in nature, only occurs within the human species and as a result of deliberate, willful choice AFTER exposure to the behavior.
Provably and totally, the above assumptions are false. Homosexual preference occurs in many species, does occur outside of our society, in all cultures everywhere, regardless of social approval or moral stricture. It's recorded in history as far back as history occurs, both with and without exposure to "influence." And as far as we can tell, it was no MORE prevalent in societies that held it to be a virtue than in cultures that held it to be a vice. All it did was change who got to strut publicly.
Frankly, we are born attached to the parts that primarily influence us. All sexual morality and most reasoning is rationalization and regulation after the fact, in order to keep those parts from leading to do foolish, dangerous and evil things. I don't know about you, but in my experience, it is far, far more dangerous to pretend to be what I am not and try to apply moral standards which have no direct application to me or my needs, than to admit what I am and then try to act ethically towards others based in a sound and honest appreciation of what moral and ethical pitfalls exist for me.
I've found it quite dangerous to my safety, my mental health and my good self-opinion to pay much attention to what others think of as the "most important sins." I'm not particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation - I can wade through porn for days on end, with the greatest risk being either nausea or uncontrollable laughter. But I am daily beset by the temptation of arrogance. While self-righteousness is not my particular pitfall, it's a related failing, and clearly, that's your issue. It is also a sin your religious faith directly encourages you to indulge in the face of everything Jesus had to say about that particular vexation.
The bottom line is this: "Sin" is not about what other people do. It's about what YOU do to other people. By the tenants of your OWN faith, you will not be judged on what you prevented others from doing, or what you forced them to do, you will be judged on that which you did to others, and your rationalizations will not matter. For emphasis on the futility of human rationalizations, consult any dour Presbyterian you know.
As your religion clearly has not helped you identify and cope with your particular tendency toward the evil of self-righteousness, may I suggest your efforts might be better employed in finding a religion that emphasizes personal humility a bit more?
I'd also gently suggest that the besetting sin of Self-Righteousness is an even greater threat to Christianity itself, but that, my dear Faithful, is YOUR problem.
I've always felt that the question of what faith I have should come up in the context of "what is it you believe, to lead you to act as you do?"
Now, in your case, Faithful, that answer does not reflect well upon either Christianity - or your discernment of it's essential teachings.
tag: constitution, San Diego, Mayor, Mayor Jerry Sanders, Family Values, patriarchy, evolutionary biology, Religious Fundimentalism, Clash of Cultures, Conservatism, Christianists, religious persecution, defamation, liberty, California, critical thinking, ignorance, evil, Bizarre Sex Habits, Sexual Sins, Sublimation, Right-Wing Hypocrites, Individual Rights, Individual Liberty, Freedom of Choice, church-state, moralism, abuse of power, bullying, prejudice, christian fanatics, dominionists, theocracy, sexuality, public policy, Religious Ethics, Social Obligations, Smear Tactics, Right-Wing Propaganda, Religious Intolerance, Hate Speech., fundimendalism, oppression, Freudian References, Paranoid Fantasies, Right Wing Talk, blogmockery, Ridicule, ethics of government, Gay Marriage, gay agenda, gay rights
Sunday, September 23, 2007
The author speaks authoritatively why it could not possibly be a mistake. So why WERE six nukes flown to Barksdale AFB LA to join the other B52's already pre-positioned there for possible
middle-east missions? Oh, yeah, and what were the other B-52's loaded with when THEY arrived?
Let's go to the horse's mouth:
Barksdale Air Force Base, La. Home to the 2nd Bomb Wing and the Mighty 8th Air Force, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana is situated on over 22,000 acres of land in the NW corner of Louisiana. Barksdale warriors and B-52s have a proud tradition serving both at home and abroad in support of the Global War on Terrorism; they have played vital roles in combat operations supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.Air Combat Command Mission
Air Combat Command is the primary force provider of combat airpower to America's warfighting commands. To support global implementation of national security strategy, ACC operates fighter, bomber, reconnaissance, battle-management and electronic-combat aircraft. It also provides command, control, communications and intelligence systems, and conducts global information operations.As a force provider, ACC organizes, trains, equips and maintains combat-ready forces for rapid deployment and employment while ensuring strategic air defense forces are ready to meet the challenges of peacetime air sovereignty and wartime air defense. ACC numbered air forces provide the air component to U.S. Central and Southern Commands with Headquarters ACC serving as the air component to U.S. Northern and Joint Forces Commands. ACC also augments forces to U.S. European, Pacific and Strategic Commands.
And in a serendipitous discovery, we learn that the 8th Air Force has an odd taste in heroes:
Barksdale AFB welcomes WWII pilot
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Joachim Hoehne, author of Glory Refused...The memoirs of a Teenage Rocket Pilot of the Third Reich, was the guest speaker for the local Claire Chennault Flight of the Order of Daedalians meeting Aug. 16 at the Barksdale Club.
But then, if and when the 2nd Bomber Wing of the 8th Air Force launches a first strike nuclear attack on - one supposes - Iran, they WILL "just be following orders," so perhaps that provides some insight as to why a former bomber-interceptor pilot would be addressing our Air Force Heroes.
After all, they were so woefully disappointed in their choice of inspirational religious leader, Ted Haggard, who's church was a stone's throw from the Air Force Acadamy. Who now will they turn to for a stiffening of resolve as they face the potential of being sent to rain hell upon the ungodly in their great Crusade (Bush's unfortunate choice of words) against the Terrorist State of Iran? Who might best personify the dutiful air-warrior, than a former ME-163 crotch rocketeer?
read more | digg story
tag: Air Force, Nuclear Weapons, Cruise Missiles, Fallout
The Daily Show really is becoming the way - one of the very few ways - that Americans get real news. It is to the 18 to 24 demographic what "Meet the Press" would have been (when it was relevant) if it had also been funny. I often did find it funny, but then I think watching a sitting member of congress sweating uncontrollably to be as funny as hell.
Well, Clinton didn't exactly sweat this interview - but we did see the famous duck and weave several more times than we would have on cable.
Oh, the other refreshing thing about the Daily Show - John Stewart never asks stupid questions. Outragious ones, funny ones, seemingly irrelevant ones - but never outright stupid questions. Don't expect that from Hannidy. Of course, this is the Faux News demographic.
Crooks and Liars reports:
This is just too funny - and Romney is just too vulnerable to it. But in all fairness, nobody on either side with a decent website could come out looking good, given this invitation for a sucker punch.
Mitt Romney’s campaign is running a contest asking people to create political ads using material found at his campaign website. Slate V took them up on the challenge, knocking one out of the park with their ad — Five Brothers. (short advertisement at the beginning) Poor Mitt will never live this one down…
I wonder who's bright idea this was? After the W sticker fiasco, and the widespread mockery Clinton got for putting the selection of her Campaign song up for public comment, you would think everyone would know better by now.
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