Category: Personal Updates

End of the Silence / NSA

I’ve been silent for a few months. Not really what I wanted, but circumstances dictated it. You’ll also notice that my “real” name has been removed throughout the site. This is not because I’m ashamed of anything I write or because I wouldn’t stand by it if questioned. It’s simply because I’ve started a business 7 years ago that’s finally about to release products and some of our partners and potential customers might think I suck if they read my blog. Even though I don’t suck. It’s a scientific fact.

Those of you who know who I am, I am happy that you do. I write lots of annoying, controversial, and truculent crap on here, so hopefully as a result you don’t want to see me die a slow death.

Today I’d like to talk about the NSA, Obama, and why we should all be very afraid.

The NSA has been collecting data from all of us, without warrants, without corporate assistance, and completely in violation of our Constitution and everything we believe in. They’ve also been tapping phones of world leaders who happen to be our allies.

But even with all of that, that’s not what scares me.

What scares me is we have a president trying to distance himself from the NSA’s activities, and the NSA saying “NO WAY, YOU AUTHORIZED THIS, DUDE!” When the intelligence community is openly outing the president and his plausible deniability, we are just completely screwed.

Obama could have gotten up and done several things: He could have said “YES, we are tapping everyone and everything, and here are the compelling reasons it’s necessary even though it’s illegal.” He could have said “Yes, we are tapping everyone and everything, I had no idea it was going on, and I will get to the bottom of it and fire everyone that knew anything.” He could have said “No, we aren’t doing that, Snowden is forging documents.”

Instead he took his own path. Denies knowing about it. Defends it (sort of). Says “everyone else does it.” Basically looks like an impotent power hungry idiot to the rest of the world, not to mention the citizens of the United States.

The idea of the NSA decrypting Google’s main fiber channels between data centers and making themselves a copy of everything should send shivers down your spine. This is America, dammit. Privacy and personal freedom are among our most deeply held values. Heck, privacy is the main argument used to defend ABORTION. So if privacy is so important, why are we not outraged? Why are we not leading a revolt, burning Washington to the ground (metaphorically), starting from scratch with a new congress and a new president?

Any idiot that supports what the NSA is doing, and any idiot that is involved in balancing our country’s budget, need to be fired as soon as possible.

Ah. That feels better.

Don’t even get me started on the shutdown.

Zimmerman

I’ve been silent on this topic for a while now. Time to stir the soup.

Trayvon Martin was not the saint he was made out to be in the media. George Zimmerman was not the baby-killing psycho that the media made him out to be.

First off, Trayvon was not a child by any metric except that of legal age of majority. He was for all intents and purposes a man, and was quite the large man at that. He was more than capable of kicking Zimmerman’s butt.

Even the FBI stated that they did not believe the incident was racially motivated. There was clearly profiling, but the FBI’s investigation revealed that it was the attire and activities of Trayvon that attracted Zimmerman’s attention, not his race. Indeed, it has been revealed that Zimmerman’s own prom date was African American, and that he mentored underprivileged black kids in his neighborhood. And let’s also point out the incident in which a police officer beat a black homeless man, and Zimmerman went all the way to the chief of police and then blew the whistle on him for failing to act.

Zimmerman was, on the other hand, a bit of a “hero” complex. Should have let it go and let the cops handle it.

Trayvon meanwhile, was suspended from his high school for fighting and was attempting to get a gun from a buddy.

Initially, the police weren’t even going to charge Zimmerman until the media got involved. That in itself should tell you something.

With regard to “stand your ground” laws, it’s important to note that those laws did not apply to this case, nor did Zimmerman’s defense ever use stand your ground as a defense. That was 100% media manufactured. Once fists were flying, if Zimmerman believed his life was in danger as his head was being smashed off the pavement, the law says meeting that with lethal force is legal.

Picture this scenario: You START a verbal argument with a stranger, say, over a parking space. They tell you to go F yourself and then come at you. At first, you’d maybe try to run away, or maybe you’d fight back. But at some point, maybe your attacker has you down on the ground and he’s beating your face in. You have a gun in your pocket. You shoot him. Well, you started the argument, but legally you have just used justifiable lethal force in self defense. It’s not about who said what to who. It’s about who felt their life was in danger.

The reason the jury acquitted Zimmerman is that the state simply couldn’t make a LEGAL case against him. He will have rough life as a result either way.

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Open Letter to Casual (Sometimes) Readers

I’ve written nearly 1,000 posts on this blog over the years. More than 10 million folks have read a post here. Somewhere between 6 and 8 thousand people read every day. I’d imagine most of those people are regular readers, since it’s highly unlikely that many people stumbled along here.

One of the reasons people like to read and keep coming back is that I take a stick and poke it in your eye every time I write. That’s really my entire goal. Sure, I write sappy posts about being in love, and sometimes I write tech reviews, but the vast majority of my posts are intended to rile people up.

Over the years, I’ve gotten hate mail, death threats, I’ve gotten cookies in the mail I’m sure were laced with cyanide. I have truly enjoyed the trolls that come through and engage me in arguments. They get furious and argue with me for days and the entire time, they are arguing MY point of view. They just don’t know it.

I’ve lost friends over my writing, because they took something personally that I wrote in general and the shoe, sadly, fit them. It’s a chance you take when you put yourself out in the public eye. I’ve always been shocked by the things people will say to me anonymously via the Internet that they’d never say to my face. But the Internet is what the Internet is. You simply can’t take it seriously. I don’t even take my own blogging seriously.

Since I refuse to give up my First Amendment right to say what I want, and since this is the number one most important part of dealing with my anxiety, I will NOT be deleting my blog or any post contained therein. If I write something you may find unsavory, please do me a favor and shove it where the sun don’t shine. I. Don’t. Care.

Apologies to Apple

When Apple released Final Cut Pro X, I crushed them. In fact, most of the universe crushed them. It was a gigantic departure from the previous suite of video editing tools, FCP 7. I spent a lot of time, money, and courses learning FCP 7 and I was very familiar with the workflow. At first look, blowing up that well-established workflow and replacing it with what I thought was an amateurish, iMovie Pro, seemed like a demented business decision.

I pay attention to what Apple does. Some argue they are all hype, behind the technology, or too big brother. But listen. You absolutely have to give them credit for the iPhone, which was the first commercially successful touch screen phone. You have to give them credit for the iPod, the first commercially successful MP3 player (and the success of the iTunes store). You have to give them credit for the original Mac computers, that put a GUI out there for the non-geek. And you have to give them credit for having the first commercially successful tablet.

When you think of the technology you use very day, chances are Apple was the first company to make it or something like it. Many have copied their work. Many also argue they copy other people. Here’s the thing though, they have been wildly successful at creating very stable, very attractive, very useable products that people want to buy.

So when they announce a new Mac Pro coming this year (much awaited I might add) that has limited internal expandability (PCIe, 2.5 or 3.5 ssds, etc.), my first reaction is “WTF, APPLE!!!”. But then I think back to Final Cut Pro X. I absolutely hated it when it was released. But one thing it did was utilize every ounce of computing power. So I kept at it. And what I’ve found is that Apple was absolutely brilliant in their design and development of FCP X.

So I look at the new Mac Pro through that lens. It is a ridiculously fast platform right out of the box. It’s married with an OS that was written for the hardware. Native applications like FCP and Logic (which are the two most resource intensive programs I use) were designed for the hardware and will continue to be updated to work seamlessly.

Apple has started trends for decades. Many of those things were ideas others had tried and flopped at. We have touch phones, tablets, and some would argue personal computers because of Apple’s ability to make tech accessible. I have no doubt that the smart people in Cupertino are 10 steps ahead of their critics on this new Mac Pro.

I spent most of my life using PCs simply because I couldn’t afford Apple products. But you truly do get what you pay for. The highest end Alienware Dell I ever owned was a glitchy, laggy, fiesty piece of crap compared to any Mac or Macbook currently on the market.

This isn’t an ad for Apple. If you want to add bizarre hardware to your computer or modify system components in your OS, Mac probably isn’t for you. But if you’re a software USER, I just can’t imagine why anyone would want to use anything Microsoft puts out over what Apple has to offer.

Losing Your Liberty

We can really look back to September 11th, 2001 when George W. Bush pushed through the Patriot Act, a sweeping pile of liberty-stealing crap that had more unintended consequences than anyone could have imagined. But the greatest of those was opening the door for government overreaching and corruption of the highest degree.

Obama’s 5 1/2 years have shown just how badly things can go when the government is left unchecked. This week it was revealed that the IRS has been politically targeting conservative groups and Jews. All by itself, that should make you sick to your stomach. Nothing should make you more certain that your 2nd Amendment rights are important more than this story.

The Justice Department (irony noted) has now been caught wiretapping THE ASSOCIATED FRIGGIN PRESS. Potentially revealing and compromising the identities of confidential sources, perhaps endangering lives, and without any question whatsoever, completely crapping all over the 1st Amendment.

Those in power in America are using the Constitution as toilet paper while giving themselves raises and benefits.

You should be horrified to know that the Obama administration helped to cover up the Benghazi attack that cost American lives, then when called on it, accused the Republicans of politicizing! The timeline for Benghazi has been clearly documented down to the minute. Obama has flat out lied directly to the camera, and we just sit in our apathy and say “Well, politicians lie” or worse “Obama is a victim of politicizing.”

Perhaps if there was an isolated incidence of cloak and dagger targeting of American citizens where the government actively violated their Constitutional rights, we could say “eh, someone screwed up… crap happens.” But that’s not what is happening here. We literally have widespread corruption bent on increasing power on the backs of conservatives.

There is a time when political games go too far, the corruption runs too deep, and the victims are the American people. If real change doesn’t happen, I fully expect there will be an armed uprising within my lifetime.

This country cannot survive if we fail to follow our own chartering documents, that were put in place by folks who knew what it meant to be stripped of their liberties.