• Blog Categories

  • del.icio.us links

Dear Verizon…

I received one of your glossy advertisements in the mail today, asking me to “Come Back To Verizon Wireless BroadbandAccess”. As this flier indicates, I used to subscribe to Verizon’s EVDO service and do not anymore. What this flier does not indicate is that I did not willfully drop this service, you dropped it for me without warning or prior notice. Apparently I was guilty of using going over the bandwidth limit on my unlimited bandwidth account. I’m sure you remember how that ended. Oh yeah I forgot, thanks for that refund check!

Not to rehash old arguments; but the fact that you are trying to get all nicey nicey about this service again really ticks me off. So I decided to send you a letter, and at least opt-out of your junk mail cluttering up my mailbox. (Just so you know, I never opt-in willfully, but I probably missed a TINY little check box with TINY little words next to them, so my bad for not being careful/paranoid)

But instead of providing a convenient email address to contact you at, you forced me to fill out this long webform, and you required that I fill in personal data that I had to look up. And then your crappy Javascript validation puked and crashed the page, forcing me to start over. (perhaps you didn’t test with Firefox? Hmmm…did you test your EVDO with Firefox?) So at that point I decided to write to you in this blog instead.

You know what what would work a lot better than advertisements? Not treating your customer’s like shit…that would work really well. Due to entropy I never bothered to get a new cell phone service, so I am still a monthly custie. I never received an apology for what happened when I called in because me internet had stopped working. Not that I expected one, and I don’t blame your customer service rep; you’re the ones forcing him to claim that a 5 gig a month limit is “unlimited”, and that it’s perfectly acceptable to have a modern internet service that doesn’t allow multimedia.

No apology necessary, but don’t try to sell me your stupid freakin’ internet service. I don’t know why I’d trust you with my internet service anyway, I’m sure you’d love to turn my browsing habits over to Big Brother’s data miners.

Can you hear me now? Go screw yourself.

Your humble servant,

Calvin Lawson

verizon_wireless_sucks.jpg

Advertisements

Puppygate 2008

Saw this on digg yesterday, looks like it’s been picked up by mainstream news. 429 hits on google news (for puppy + marine), probably going to be three times as many tomorrow. While the jury is still out on whether this was a stunt or not, It appears to be quite real; a US Marine tossing casually tossing a living puppy off a cliff.

Netizens quickly identified the alleged perp (from Monroe, WA!), posting his bobo site and personal contact information all over the internet. Death threats started rolling in; Anon does not take kindly to bullies. It’s not that the puppy’s life is more important than even a depraved person’s life, it’s that this man hurt something smaller and weaker than him just to appear macho to his friends. I have a feeling he’s regretting it now….

That sort of behavior drives the kiddies mad; probably because they’ve all had personal experiences with people like this. I realize that most of our Marines are good discipled soldiers; it is unfortunate that a unstable minority makes them all look bad. And it seems a whole lot of bother over one animal (last year PETA put down 97% of the animals in their care).

The things that horrifies us the most is 1) the innocents of the victim and it’s terrified screams, 2) the senselessness of the violence, and 3) the act was committed by a warrior who’s nominal purpose is to protect the US people and their interests.

The powers that be should be warned; you do not control media distribution anymore! The Internets is Serious Business. Traditionally we have not see these images in mainstream news; even today YouTube pulled the video for “violations of terms and services”.  So that particular battle is certainly not over, but the blatant, moralistic, and politically convenient suppression of the truth will not succeed.

The Natural Philosophy of Scientology

xenu-pam.jpg

Someone went way overboard, and mailed packets of suspicious white powder to a number of Scientology offices. Fail; it terrified a bunch of people and wasted time and resources better utilized keeping the peace and tracking down Osama. This act has been vilified in the blogosphere, and Anonymous has condemned it and declared itself innocent of provoking this sort of behavior. Many have commented that this would make a good form of black propaganda, noting the many misdeeds of major and minor Scientologists.

If this was a Scientology operation, then it was done by a squirrel. Ditto if it was an Anon op. Not standard tech! The more I study these guys the less I believe that your average Scientologist is crazy or immoral; they are sane, rational, and follow the same basic code of ethics that the rest of us do. Good, solid citizens that you want for next door neighbors. They might try to give you a copy of Dianetics, but as long as you respect their beliefs they’ll respect theirs.

But if you are hostile to their beliefs, there is a good chance they’ll label you a suppressive person and consider you fair game. This is unfortunate and all to common in CoS, anybody who openly disagrees with their view of the world is persecuted to the fullest extent allowed by law, and sometimes beyond. This meme has been very damaging and is leading to a public relations nightmare that the church might not ever recover from.

Scientology was nominally founded as a way to improve the human condition through Science and Dianetics. Find me one Scientologist that would disagree with this and I’ll give you a nickel. But in order to practice the Scientific Method, you must publicize your finding for peer review, allow people to disagree with your findings, and even attempt to discredit them. You must take people’s criticisms and address them, and even discredit your own findings if you become convinced by evidence that you were wrong.

Indeed, this is a very accurate representation of L Ron Hubbard’s earliest activities, although he was of the type to rarely be convinced he was wrong about anything. Still, he tried to answer every critic, and deal with every situation; obsessively detailing exactly how everything should be painstakingly interpreted and resolved in order to make the idea all hang together. In this he behaved almost exactly like a scientific revolutionary, in the Kuhnian sense.

THIS DID NOT CONTINUE. The organization became more and more insulated as the attacks on their belief system became more hostile. They were called a cult, and started to behave like one. LRH became more and more isolated, always surrounded by adoring believers who thought he was the best thetan incarnation to come around in trillions of years. By definition it is impossible to practice Good Science in that environment The system became extremely hierarchal and tightly secretive. These days, to openly disagree with the church became exactly the same as mocking someone’s religious faith, and it is not taken lightly.

This is a far cry from where Scientology began, and it’s my personal belief the young LRH would be heartbroken if he saw his legacy today. He got rich, yes, but he lost the very basis of scientific value along the way. I’m a big science fiction fan, and Hubbard was one of the founding members of this genre. Their views on religion were extremely influential, as were their views on science. These were unmistakable and obvious values of the science fiction of Hubbard’s early career, causing many a Christian to vilify scifi as atheistic and humanistic propaganda. I’ve read a ton of it, and I think that’s a pretty fair judgment. They convinced me!

Nowadays, both Science and Science Fiction have moved into new territory, while Scientology is stuck in the 1940s. We now understand that rigid and authoritarian tech guidelines can never accurately model robust complex behavior. We understand that electroshock therapy really F’s people up, as does giving kids a bunch of mood altering drugs. Complexity, decentralization, networks and computation are everywhere around us, yet were practically unknown in the golden age of scifi. We understand that the clockwork universe is a myth, as we stare into the throat of the Singularity.

Is Scientology a corporation or a religion? Is it a sociological cult or a personality cult? Are they Amway or Jonestown? A knowing fraud or an honest delusion? Maybe it’s all true and 100% correct and Scientific Rationalists are the crazy ones. Probably something in between. I’m still checking it out.

Word of God Copyrighted?

Original Posted Date: January 24, 2006 – Tuesday – 5:24 AM

Recently the Catholic Church has decided to impose copyright on all papal pronouncements.

Scary, huh?  Especially when you consider the dogma of Infallible Magisterium,which essentially says that the pope can speak for God..  Think about this for a moment; in a sense the Catholic Church has copyrighted the word of God.  Now try to tell me religion isn’t all about money and control.

Copyright is an extremely important issue right now, threatening many of our freedoms, free speech being the most important.  Here are some links that  provide more information:
EFF
Boing Boing
Corante

Update: Two years later and I’m reposting this on WordPress due to moving my blog.  These days copyrighting religion is a much more popular topic due to Scientology DMCA abuse.

Badly Rendered Pipes

Posted Date: November 8, 2007 – Thursday – 1:27 PM
“He argues that it’s merely symptomatic of a much larger problem in which the networks have been implemented in way that doesn’t ‘t taken into account the emergence of users as media distributors.” link

How to encrypt the bittorrent protocol. This only avoids packet filtering and traffic shaping, so remember Beowulf will get you 4 to 5. Years.

That crazy House. How DOES the hospital pay for all those medical malpractice suits!?

Hiro is my favorite…twee!

The iTunes Killer: Amazon MP3

Posted Date: September 25, 2007 – Tuesday – 2:55 PM
Amazon has announced the beta release of a massive online music store:

“Every song and album on Amazon MP3 is available exclusively in the MP3 format without digital rights management (DRM) software. This means that Amazon MP3 customers are free to enjoy their music downloads using any hardware device, including PCs, Macs, iPods, Zunes, Zens, iPhones, RAZRs, and BlackBerrys; organize their music using any music management application such as iTunes or Windows Media Player; and burn songs to CDs.”

I’d also add my new LG Chocolate cell phone to the list.  In fact, any electronic music player will work with mp3s.  This is to compare to iTunes music, which can only be played on the iPod.

For anybody who has read my blog with any regularity knows how I feel about DRM, so this is a huge win.  I’m already getting my indie music from emusic.com, and now I can get the mainstream stuff from Amazon.

Woot!  Now if only I can find some decent major label music…any suggestions?