I am Jack's Smirking Revenge

little, yappy dogs

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Truth, part 2

On my last post, my good friend speecialpants left an interesting comment, which I have been pondering, and will attempt to run with.

"You should go further with this in terms of what you think the internet's role is in all this..."

The internet is replacing the traditional method that the writing of history has followed. Video, audio, scanned documents, e-mail are all regularly leaked to expose events- and once they are on the internet, by and large they are there ad aeternum. Nearly any event worthy of note that happens within range of a person with a blog gets documented there. If you want to find the information on something, you can. And the people who are not tuned into this idea- they are the older generations. We're raising children in an age where any information they might need to know is just a click away.

How is the internet then going to subvert religion and destroy us?

Well, simply, religion cannot survive analysis in the harsh light of a scientific lab, and, when the evidence reducing the matter to an issue of pure faith is viewed from a logical and rational perspective, a lot of less-than solid believers will be shaken.

What is an issue of pure faith? By that I mean, when it comes down to it, you should believe in your religion purely because you choose to and despite any evidence for or against it. If you are going to be swayed by some recently unearthed artifact, then just how faithful were you anyway?

"Meanwhile! I kept thinking of the issue of meaning when I read your post. Society endeavors to create meaning - "truth" is invested in power - they'r nearly synonymous..."

Ah, the 'meaning' conundrum.

As humans, we have the burden (should we so choose to recognize it) of dealing with the fact that we are thinking animals. Incorporated in that are a great deal of paradoxes- for example, the disdain for killing, but the need to kill to survive. One of the other more distrubing issues we deal with as thinking animals is the issue of reality/our own delusion. I see reality and meaning as the same thing explained in different ways. Some of the greatest philosophers have wrestled with 'meaning' and from their wrestlings I can conclude: when you get to that level of granularity, it's a lot like saying a word so many times it starts to sound nonsensical.

So, what is our own delusion?

Our delusion is that thing we generate to make it all OK. If you stop a person on the street and ask them to define a bunch of words, they will likely find they are unable to explain some words which they are completely comfortable using. Also, if you ask ten people at a crime scene what they saw, you get ten stories with varying contradictions. Just like the blind spot in our vision which is covered by our brains, just like many other less familiar instances of our brains filling in details which we take for granted... we do a good job of ignoring the gaps in instances where we have learned that: the end result seemed ok, so, noneed to pay attention to the gaps. Our delusion is that we don't have the gaps, that we aren't flawed in many ways.

We all hone our own delusions.

Now, I know you meant a different kind of 'meaning'- but I needed to go here first.

Society is an odd creature. It's a projection of that Jungian thing, the collective unconcious, but then again, it's also a bastard child of television, advertising, and many others. We can look up 'society' in books and read confidently what other people tell us it is. What is the society of the USA? Not one person can answer that condifently, or give an answer which is that same as someone else's- not an answer which isn't canned, anyway.

It would be a difficult thing to tear meaning away from society, but how I percieve them makes the connection less powerful.

Our powers of perception are tied to our needs. Our innate abilities of pattern recognition work constantly to amaze and also confuse us. See also: superstition. The word 'society' is used to describe a complex pattern, much like 'meteorology' is used to describe another complex pattern. Some very focused individuals can tell us fascinating facts about these complex systems, but in truth, nobody can tell for sure what they will do besides prance around within a certain range.

The meaning we see emanating from society is just a form of pattern recognition, but in any case, it's a no-win situation.

"Fact is that science and religion go hand in hand with the state and the truth-production you speak of. In terms of power one isn't necessarily better than other."

Definitely. I do think one is better than the other, though. Science, while not always kind, is always altruistic. Of course, corporations can do science in the name of their own interests, but as a whole, the outcome of the contributions to scientific knowledge benefits all. Religion (organized) pretends to be altruistic, but in truth it is wholly selfish. "If you do not believe as we do, then you will not receive all the benefits of being part of our group. In fact, believe opposite of us and we will work against you." - wad all religions together, and this is their effective mission statement. Science is there for all to benefit from no matter what you believe, organized religion does PR work, but definitely isn't there for you regardless of your beliefs.

"Why not venture beyond the notion, the statement of "The Truth" and bring it down to the level of a supposition hamstringed by the interests of power through the way you talk. And do it on the internet, too!"

Ow. Yeah. This is usually where I go from talking about thoughts and ideas, the camera pans way out and I jump straight to the misanthropic conclusion. There is one way to assure that a perfectly planned and logical system will fail- let a human run it. We are feeble and delusionary, not very much in control of ourselves, and we are the ruling power on the planet, just below mother nature. There is not much we fear but death or torture, and that's certainly an excellent method of controlling us.

I may have to make a part three to this after I think on it some more.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Truth: You Can't Handle The Truth

I've come to the conclusion that The Truth, the internet, and our modern times, will be our own downfall.

That is, our need to find The Truth, coupled with our own desire put it on the internet, and the near permanence of things placed there will be detrimental to us, overall.

For example, take my favorite subject, religion.

Many people simply cannot accept the idea of a world where there wasn't a big powerful god and a cookie for being good at the end of the rainbow- their worlds collapse when the burden of governing their own actions is left to them alone.

The Truth, in this case, is that by nature humans have an intense need to believe such things, and, in most cases, have the further risk when abandoning their beliefs- it would ostracize them from their families, friends, the whole town, etc.

And, again, The Truth is that there is not a single shred of proof that any religion's gods exist. None. Zero. Belief and books and relics are proof of nothing. There may or may not be a god out there somewhere, but there is no proof that they exist.

So. Proving this point to the world may have the effect of, over time, debasing the presence of religion in society. Religion is one of the few cohesive elements joining regular Joe in the world. While we'll finally get religion off of science and history's backs, our people will be more divided than ever before.

As if we weren't already easy enough prey for lawyers, advertisers, and loan sharks. Less cohesion is bad.

So do we accept that the for-show PR battle between science and religion is a fair price to pay for cohesion, or do we risk that something better will rise up and save us when we drift into that era?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Little Tiny Cars

In Japan there is a class of vehicle called 'kei'- I don't think it has any relation to the Chrysler 'K' cars...

The Kei cars are a special, smaller, lighter, less expensive (to buy and also to license) kind of car. The specifications go something like this- no larger than a certain dimension, no heavier than a certain weight, and an engine no larger than a certain size- which seems to be about 660cc, or the same as a medium motorcycle.

At some point in the last few years sea-freight contianers of them began arriving here for sale.

For sale as off-road and non-street vehicles.


So, it turns out there are several obstacles between these cars and 'legal' streetworthiness here in the states.

1. 'safety' issues. apparently they are little more than tin cans with an engine. I can abide that they do not meet our 'car' safety requirements, but I think then they should be allowable as motorcycles. After all, if a motorcycle is street legal and has NO safety features, then these little cars should fall into that class.

2. emissions issues. I can't really address this, but I must say, if I can legally buy a vehicle which gets less than 5 MPG, then a tiny car which gets 50 but runs a little less clean still wins out in the long run emissions-wise. And after all, if it's a motorcycle, it's free from emissions, as there's no way to test them or regulate them.

3. some nonsense about title/paperwork. I guess the VIN is only 12 or so digits, where it needs to bew 15 or something. I am pretty sure there is a way around that, too.

Really, the only thing preventing these cars from being on the streets is the fear that they will actually get good mileage.

Again, if I can legally buy a 5MPG Hummer or Ferarri, then I think I should be able to buy a 55MPG tin can.

For a good overview of Kei cars, see also:


Monday, March 12, 2007

Worthy of Note



"The REAL ID act"

Some politicians need to be spanked and have a time out.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Belkin Support: Lacking

As I have pointed out previously, corporations often choose to address known issues by further wasting customers' time rather than actually helping them.

For example, take a device with a known issue and no known solution. In my situation, that would be a bluetooth adapter (model F8T003 version 2 ) which lacks certain security capabilities, and, which when installed, returns:

"Your bluetooth license does not include use with this bluetooth device.[6]"

If you google that phrase, you will find A LOT of people have a similar issue, even with the specific model of adapter I have.

Windows XP service pack 2 came with 'security upgrades' which prevent certain things. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure they block this device from working properly- it works fine on my other service pack 1 computer.

So, to say this wasn't a known issue would be a stretch.

I contact Belkin directly addressing the issue, and they send me instructions.

The instructions don't work- I get the same error.

Back. And forth.


So, here's my transcript of 'support' from Belkin, which concludes with them telling me to call their 1-800 number, and me telling them they suck. That, I'd imagine, is where the discussion will end.


Customer Call Details Feb 23 2007 05:25
from Will
Downloaded most recent drivers. Software which is linked to the F8T003
on your website returns "Your bluetooth license does not include use
with this bluetooth device.[6]". I think this is because windows XP
SP2 has a security requirement for an embedded 'security code'- please
send me instructions for overriding that.
Belkin Response Feb 27 2007 00:12

Using Widcomm Bluetooth Software under Windows XP SP2

Windows XP Service Pack 2 includes its own Bluetooth stack software.
This does not actually conflict with Widcomm and both stacks can
co-exist on the same system. However, the Microsoft driver is
digitally signed while the Widcomm driver is not. Therefore, Windows
will pick the SP2 driver over the Widcomm driver, thus disabling

from Bryan:

The following are instructions for switching over to Widcomm:

1. If you have not already, install the Widcomm software.
2. Bring up the device manager (go to control panel, double-click
"System", click the "Hardware" tab and click "Device Manager").
3. Find an entry named "Bluetooth Radios" or "Bluetooth Devices" and
click the "+" next to it to show the sub-entries.
4. There should be a sub-entry named " Bluetooth Adapter"; Right-click
this and select "Update Driver" to bring up the Hardware Update
5. If you are asked if Windows can connect to Windows Update, select
"No, not this time" and click "Next".
6. Select "Install from a list or specific location" and click "Next".
7. Select "Don't search, I will choose the driver to install" and click "Next".
8. You should now see a list of two drivers, " Bluetooth Adapter"
(highlighted) and " Bluetooth Device". Select the "Device" (you will
see a warning that the driver is not signed) and click "Next".
9. You will now see a message that the Wizard has finished installing
the software; click "Finish" and then close the device manager, system
properties and control panel windows.

That specific Bluetooth dongle is now associated with Widcomm instead
of the Microsoft stack on this system. If you switch to a different
dongle (even of the same brand and model), the new dongle will
associate with Microsoft and you will need to repeat these steps to
re-associate the dongle. If for some reason, you wanted to use both
stacks simultaneously, you could attach two dongles and associate one
with each stack.



Customer Call Details Feb 27 2007 00:19
from Will
Ok, great. That`s useful info.

However, is the Widcomm file the `driver` file associated with my
bluetooth adapter on your website, or is it something I have to
download from somewhere else? You didn`t mention that part.



Belkin Response Feb 27 2007 00:26
from Bryan


It is associated with the file.



Customer Call Details Mar 2 2007 04:44
from Will

I did what you said, and I am still getting the same message I
mentioned before, that "Your bluetooth software license does not
include use with this bluetooth device." The widcomm files I installed
ARE the ones on the page for my device, and what I suspect is that
this device cannot be used under Windows XP SP2. How can I fix this,
or can you send me the "license.dat" file it is asking for?


from bryan:


Please contact our technical support department directly so that we
may further troubleshoot the issue. Ultimately if it is defective we
can replace it under warranty.
Phone: (800) 223-5546 ext. 2263
Phone: (310) 898-1100 ext. 2263
Fax: (310) 604-2089
Business Hours:
Mon-Fri 6am-5:00pm
Pacific Standard Time



from Will:

Bryan, I paid somewhere around $40 for this item, it works FINE on my
old XP SP1 machine, and I doubt it is still under warranty.

I can replace it for less then $40 now. My time is worth more to me
than the hassle and wait of dealing with someone on the phone.

I know this is a known issue with your hardware as, if you google
"Your bluetooth license does not include use
with this bluetooth device.[6]", you will find MANY entries for not
just bluetooth but Belkin and even this specific device.

If you DON'T know about this issue, then you should learn. Whether you
give me a useful answer or not, I'll be posting this entire discussion
in my blog soon for everyone else to see (as I had already tried all
of the help you've sent me so far and knew that was not the answer),
so you can begin to actually help me or you can become bad PR.

I want Belkin to spend their time on this, not me. It's a known issue.
Address it, escalate it to someone who can, or admit that your
hardware will not work under SP2. The time for run-around is over.


from Bryan


Thanks for contacting Belkin. Please contact our technical support
department directly so that we may further troubleshoot the issue.
Ultimately if it is defective we can replace it under warranty.
Phone: (800) 223-5546 ext. 2263
Phone: (310) 898-1100 ext. 2263
Fax: (310) 604-2089
Business Hours:
Mon-Fri 6am-5:00pm
Pacific Standard Time



from Will:

NO. I will not call and waste my time with your phone support. I will
buy a replacement model by a different maker and avoid Belkin in the

Phone support is going to waste my time just like you have- if you
can't send me an answer for 'will this device work in windows XP
service pack 2?', they won't be able to answer that, either. You
completely failed to address that question, which translates to: I am
ignoring your inquiry, and instead sending you this useless fix.

You failed to address any of my questions excpet for when I asked if
the file I needed was the one on the download page. I'm not going to
humor you with any more of my time- except to add this little bit to
my weblog. Thanks for next-to-nothing.

///update: a reply from the support system Belkin uses://///

iOpus Software Gmbh to me
show details 2:09 pm (9 hours ago)

This message is regarding your Ticket ID ########. We are changing the status of this ticket to 'Closed' as we have not received a response from you in 96 hours.

Subject: [Support] will
Department: iMacros Tech Support
Priority: Medium
Status: Closed

If you have any further questions then do let us know.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ha Ha! Open Source WINS!

Well, after I complained again about Sony/Sonicstage, I decided to search some more and see if there was an alternative.

And viola, wikipedia's entry on sonicstage contains a link to an alternate sourceforge free project which does exactly what their 30 megabyte junk application does in a mere 246 kilobytes... a size difference of roughly 40 times. Oh yeah- and the app is a platform-independent .jar file which lives ON THE PLAYER- so you can plug it in and go, wherever you are.

But wait, there's more!

Sony/SonicStage has built in security, so you can't do things like copy music onto the player on one pc and copy it off the player on another- never mind whether you own both of them or not.

"NW-E00x Mp3 File Manager", as it is called on sourceforge, lets you do whatever you want with the $100 player you purchased.

S/Ss makes you manage your CD info through their partner site, a site you have to sign up for to use.

S/Ss 'gives' you 5 free downloads with your player, but in order to get them you have to sign up for an account and supply them with your billing information.

S/Ss makes you register your device with them online if you would like to have the honor of connecting to more than one computer and accessing files.

S/Ss, for the honor of giving them your money, has you sign a contract in your own blood and you also 'owe them one' in that mafioso kind of way. Ok, I made that part up.

The "NW-E00x Mp3 File Manager" just works. Here's the link to wikipedia (scroll to the bottom) and also to the sourceforge page.

I knew the little guy would win in the end.

SonicStage for Sony digital media players: SUCKS

Thanks Sony.

As I mentioned in my previous post on the Sony MP3 player I purchased, the software that comes with it is a steaming pile of what corporations call 'software'. It is supposed to 'support' your device, but the truth is your device is worthless without this software (unless, in my case, you can use the FM radio, too), and by that I mean, there is no alternative to this software (yet).

SonicStage is a good example of moronic design.

First and foremost, most people ALREADY HAD their music in a folder heirarchy before they bought their player. Does sonicstage care? No. It reads the folders and indexes them for its own purposes, and pulls all your storage structure and 'sorts' it by what color the album art is, or by nose-hair length of the drummer, and your third alternative is to sort by number of syllables in the 'thank you' section of the liner notes.


So, perhaps, you say, this wouldn't be so bad to use. Maybe there's a way to find your music. It removes all your sorting and seems to sort it by how it thinks the music is identified... well... your options are:

View by:
dynamic playlist
all tracks

Sort by:
date imported

and then, an extra detail in the menu,

icons (all categories)
icons (single category)
details (all categories)
details (single category)

And of course, rather than just keep the display simple and straighforward, it's all prettied up, which litreally translates as "lots of wasted space".

I would imagine that if you had compiled your entire MP3 library from scratch using their software, it might almost be bearable. Take a cue from winamp, Sony. The for-free, extremely popular MP3 player which has minimal and easy-to-understand interface.

Thanks for calling in Dilbert's boss to re-invent the wheel. We're all so glad to have to act retarded for 20 minutess in order to get our music onto your player. I drag my player around way longer than I normally would without changing it out because your software makes my blood boil.