Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Reversing the Polarity of the Money Flow

Mostly Gripes.

I bought earphones from Radio Shack. I got their optional warranty. Businesses survive by making it easy for money to flow from the consumer to them, not vice versa.. not unlike Maxwell's Demon. I am currently four phone calls into the mess. This is why I hate rebates, service plans, and similar. Fortunately, the guy at the store seems to actually be a decent sort, and is making the phone calls for me beyond this point. Normally, companies play a game of endurance between their various branches and the customer until somebody gives, I think. Neurotic people who never throw a single piece of paper away might fare better.

I got confused at last night's listing for Willy Wonka, thinking it was the original film. I showed up, sat there alone with some nice bread I brought, watched about 20 minutes of the recent remake and went home.

Web interfaces to servers really suck. I was trying to help someone by upgrading their MediaWiki install, but their hosting provider doesn't give shell access, instead providing this nice website interface that gives moderately decent control over the server. This control proved to be rather lacking when it comes to managing files -- while one can view the contents of any file on the filesystem, grabbing a tarball of a directory proved to be impossible.. as was viewing file contents in a way that one could easily download things in batch.. uploading files was also not particularly easy (I didn't see a good way to do it).. nor was .. let's just say that it was not powerful enough. Many years of evolution went into making the unix shell powerful. ISPs can provide web interfaces for clients -- that's fine, but they should also always provide shell access to clients who are doing more than serving up static webpages. As is, I give up on upgrading their MediaWiki.

I sometimes wonder how windows/mac users can deal with the lack of power inherent in a GUI (Mac users now have a unix shell, which is pretty cool). If, for example, they were to want to make a tarball of the current directory, or encrypt something, chances are they're going to need to open some giant application, browse back to where they are, dive through a menu to set their options, and wait for a progress bar to scoot across the screen. If I were doing this with any frequency, I would be very unhappy. As-is, when I'm doing something often enough, I often go to Perl and have it hide away as much repetitiveness as possible for me from whatever the task is. Using unix is like having a bunch of engineers with a production line and all the latest tools, all ready to help you with your task if you can give them specs. Using windows is like being given a catalogue of legos and being told that some parts are free, some are pay, and anything you want to build will be constructed for you by a morbidly obese dude in a suit who has asperger's. Arn't you lucky?

Speaking of which, apparently, yesterday was Autistic Pride Day. This kind of thing always reminds me of a group mentioned in one of the Women's studies classes I took in undergrad in which some prospective parents who were broken in some way (e.g. deafness) wrote that they intended to damage their child in the same way because there is nothing wrong with being deaf. This attitude is one of the things that inspires murderous rage in me. I try to be kind to people who are crippled or otherwise deficient. Life is hard, and people often are dealt a short stick through no action of their own. I believe that there's a certain dislike for nastily deformed people built into the biology of most reasonably advanced living things that protects the gene pool from too much divergence, and that perhaps human notions of aesthetics are the result of this. I don't think either are a thing to be ashamed of (I get queasy and disgusted when I see obscenely fat or deformed people, as do many people), although I try to be nice. When people try to take it beyond that, it becomes stupid -- there are good reasons we find these things disturbing, and the occurence of these things is a shame.

My favourite place in town to get tea (as in buying teabags and looseleaf, not to drink), Wicks and Beans, is moving a few blocks over. Everything in the store is 20% off (I got some looseleaf white tea last night which was among the best white tea I've ever had). Unfortunately, she's changing the name to something much less memorable at the same time. I wasn't sure if I should tell her that the new name is poor or not..

There's something bizarre about watching other people asking a lot of questions that seem to me to me to be based on an entire framework and perspective that's ill-founded. Watching discourse on it is interesting though.

This is going to be a week for nostalgia. A number of people I haven't seen in a long time are going to be in town, some from out of the country.

Someone needed to rename their lj account but didn't have the money, so I traded a drawing of me for the token. I like it.


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