Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

  • Music:

A better DOS than DOS, Operate at a Higher Level

Bad mood recently. One little part of it is city taxes, where they actually want physical copies of all the forms. Unfortunately, printing at CMU involves some arcane magic that I don't understand, meaning that I now typically scp my docs to a central server to have them printed (which is ok). It would be nice if the city would not require the physical copies so sending them in were not such a big deal. Or.. it'd be nice if all the places that sent 1099 and W2s would have sites to submit them to some central government site where I could finish up my taxes with as much as possible happening automatically. Some other countries have this, I understand. I'm sure the current system, with some things happening over the mail and others through some third-party gatekeeper (in my case, a company called taxact) is not as efficient as it could be and wastes money. That said, I don't mind paying my taxes, and would be happy to pay more if it resulted in better services for me and/or society at large (e.g. free bussing, smaller class sizes in public schools, maglevs to other cities, ...). Oh well, at least it's done.

Also, (and this may fill the requirement for geek-identity-mandated at-least-occasional technical trolling), tcl is a horrendous abomination. That language should never have been made. It's not big weird and lovable like Perl, it's not small fast and brain-damaged like C, it's not ok enough to be large-scale serious like Java, and it's not pretty and hypnotic if you stare at it the right way like Scheme/LISP. I am glad that I rarely have to touch tcl for my job, although I'll look forward to not touching it at all. On the other hand, most of my previous jobs had pieces of technology I wanted to touch even less. My first job had this oh-the-humanity-awful CRM package called GoldMine which was a horrible comprimise between the design goals of "try to do everything" and "make your brain bleed". My last job in psychology had this experimental software called E-Prime that waas a kind of programming language-tied-to-an-IDE-tied-to-a-runtime-tied-to-analysis-tools thing. It also was pretty lousy at everything it did, and the company(PST)'s lawyers, as I understand, stomped out efforts to replace parts of their awful toolchain with open replacements. Bleh. tcl, while sucky, is at least better than E-Prime and GoldMine. Anyhow, wandering back out of unsupported-opinion-land..

Memories of voice chat software on the internet..

Irritant: Skype, despite being a closed piece of software (so far), is so popular. Thinking about this brought back memories of my first experience with voice software, back in university. Just before I left, we ordered two new systems (due to the then-handy-and-huge 「Computer Shopper」 magazine), one for me and one for the family. Both of these were based on the recently-released Pentium Pro 200 (I was also bringing my own zoo of other systems with me to the dorm room, along with enough network cards, BNC converters, and cable to glue my little LAN onto campus internet). Awhile after getting used to being on the campus internet (which was a very welcome change from my dialup days before that, although I did miss having a BBS), my dad read about the ability to have voice chat on the internet, and wanted to give it a go. At the time, ancient FAQs like this reflected the current state-of-the-art, and both the home and my system were running OS/2, so we downloaded VoiceChat/2 and it worked. Kind-of - soundcards at the time were not good at transmitting and recieving at the same time (especially without wacky driver tinkering), so we used radio-style communication. The best thing that can be said since is that things have become a lot easier and more reliable (although I don't really skype anymore - lost touch with the people I used to talk to.. I guess I hardly IM anymore either).

Recently have been having one of my favourite exchanges from Cronenberg's adaptation of 「Naked Lunch」 pop into my head..

  • But you do consciously know it. You just said it. We're discussing it.
  • Not consciously. This is all happening telepathically. Nonconsciously.
  • What do you mean?
  • If you look carefully at my lips, you'll realize that I'm actually saying something else.

I might go to anti-protest the tea party protest gathering in Mellon Square. Anyone wanting to join me should let me know. I imagine I might make a sign saying one of the following:

  • apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans (strikeout) tax-supported government done for us? (This is obviously a movie quote)
  • See no society, hear no society, speak not of society
  • I live with a fantasized past, think paying maintenance on society and social justices are great evils, love to shout, and am a puppet of Rupert Murdoch.
  • Today I romanticised slavery, advocated treason, raged against people being treated for illness without losing everything, then returned to the suburbs and had some tea.

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