Archive for the ‘Political Underground’ Category

The Freedom-Software Community is more powerfull than Linux Haters!

Friday, July 18th, 2008

By Justin Breithaupt.

Recently I’ve been talking with Richard Stallman for 2 – 3 weeks on the subject of running free-software. ( Richard Stallman is the president and founder of the FSF or Free Software Foundation. ) What I got out of reading Richard Stallman’s writings and e-mails was that free-software as in freedom is software that has it’s source code released to the public and the public is allowed to modify and redistribute that software as well. This does not necessarily mean free as in cost. This includes drivers and firmware as well.

If your running hardware that has non-free software / firmware in it you can’t use it because that’s against the FSF and if that hardware requires non-free drivers you can’t use it according to the FSF.

I did research to find hardware that supported a modern PCI Express video card with 3D that would work with the free drivers. I also looked for motherboards.

What I did find was obsolete and would require me to spend more money to aquire. At the time I was trying to start a business charging kids to play games on my computers. (playing just free-software games would have been ok).

So now we have rulled out free-software only GNU/Linux distributions and hardware out of the picture. What is the alternitive?

Open Source / FOSS is the alternative. Businesses and countless others such as Ubuntu have went to Open Source / FOSS which is the idea that non-free software and free-software can coexist. This sounds great doesn’t it? The problem is that these people get lazy and don’t try to make free-software and become independent of non-free software any more. Instead they get money from big companies like DELL, IBM, HP, ect. to put non-free drivers in their kernels so that the vendor’s hardware will be supported with Ubuntu’s kernel even though it has non-free software in it and it will work on almost any computer. Sounds great Right? But how does this help make us independent from Corporate America and all the non-free software? It doesn’t.

The other problem is companies like NVIDIA are making it harder to use their proprietary drivers. ATI however has the respect of the FSF for now. NVIDIA drivers for newer cards and chipsets don’t seem to play friendly with GNU/Linux distributions unless you download Ubuntu’s latest kernel. Why? Why are all the rest of us left in the dark? Why must we become dependent on Ubuntu and Corporate America?

A perfect example of this is Ubuntu 8.04. It’s kernel is not even up to date enough to support the newest NVIDIA drivers that are out there and in some instances you can’t install it. I based the latest version of Ultumix TM off of Ubuntu. I updated the kernel and guess what it works! But why should you have to update the kernel every month. Any GNU/Linux hardcore hacker will tell you that’s a bad idea and will make your programs and system unstable.

The thing is whenever it’s possible to use free software to do your work you should but you should not be limited to just using free-software all together. Likewise the developers should work harder to create free-software, drivers, firmware, ect. We also need hardware made by companies that support the free-software idea that the drivers and frimware should be free-software.

The other major problem in FOSS is that the different distros and communities fight with each other to get to the top of distrowatch.com and say they are the best.  I’ve heard officials from the Ubuntu community say to me that they believe that their distro is the best one out there and that users should only be presented with Ubuntu. Why I asked? Because of the confusion of choice they answered. Free-software is all about freedom of choice and not a one world takeover. Lets get back to the GPL guys. And worst of all the people who are really in charge of these projects have lost control. Their moderators go wild in the forums and make people angry and ban people for nothing.

So now that that’s all clearly spelled out to you take two tablets of Tylenol as we discuss the solution.

The Freedom-Software Community TM or FSC can and will solve all of these problems if Linux distributions join in. The FSC has not officially or publicly announced it’s presence before. That’s because they are still working on writing it’s philosophy for people to follow.

Here is the basic idea:

You are expected to use free software when:

1. There is hardware that is supported by free-software and the hardware is in no way more restricted than when it’s using non-free software.
2. The abilities of the non-free software that are needed are not met by the free software.
3. When the expenses of using free-software are affordable. Example of when this would not be the case: You want to run the hardware that supports free-software and has all the abilities of similar hardware that only supports non-free software but the hardware that supports the free-software is either obsolete or too expensive for the average consumer.

At any other time you are expected to try and use free-software and even if these conditions above don’t exist you are expected to try to support free-software in whatever way you can.

There are more aspects to the Freedom-Software Community that prevent fighting and arguing and promote unity and community. You will have to wait for the announcement in the news to hear that unless your an active member of the Ultumix TM Project.

The FSC TM is a Trademark of Justin Breithaupt.

Forget Where I’m Going. Here’s Where I’m Coming From.

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

Thomas Holbrook II | *NIXEDBLOG

There are times when opinions are stated and thoughts are provoked. Danijel Orsolic stirred up a bit of controversy when helios was attempting to bring up a point that I was trying to earlier.  An interesting discussion ensued on LXer as well.  I figured I would take time out to explain where I am coming from philosophy-wise myself.  It is of course subject to change given time and availability of new information.

You see, I have nationalistic leanings…. to a point.  I do not believe that Government should be putting flashlights in the orifices of their people if you catch my drift.  In that sense, I have Libertarian leanings as well.  When I kept reading the argument of nationalism being a bad thing, I realized there was a bit of confusion.  Before going any further, allow me to clear up said confusion.

Nationalism vs Jingoism

Yes, there is a difference.  Nationalism involves being proud of having a unique identity of sorts.  For example, someone living in France can identify themselves as part of that country by declaring that they are French.   This does not mean they are better than everyone else.  It simply means that their home means something to them.  I identify myself as an American.  I love my country, even now, due to many of the opportunities that it holds (at the moment).  I also liked the concept of the Founding Fathers, who deliberately set up the governmental system so that those in Congress would spend more time debating than anything (that is how it was supposed to work) so that those in all the individual states could go on with their lives as they saw fit.

Jingoism on the other hand is the real danger.  It is what I refer to as blind patriotism.  Just because I still like my home does not mean I will not criticize it or think of ways it could improve.  Jingoists on the other hand believe in aggressive foreign policies in the name of “national security.”  Most Neo-Conservatives could in a sense be considered jingoists.  I consider myself an American patriot, not an American jingoist.  Keep in mind there is a big difference.

Now allow me to continue.

My Philosophy

I personally believe in freedom of choice.  For instance, I myself do not own a single firearm.  I do not mind seeing guns in videos and such, but I would rather not be near them if I can help it.  I made this decision myself, and I am not going to take such a decision away from everyone else, which is why I support the 2nd Amendment in the Bill of Rights.  I also believe that if one strongly believes in something, they should have the right to stand up for their beliefs, no matter how controversial it may seem.  Remember that speech may be countered by speech.

I am a strong believer in the liberty of the individual and that infringe upon those liberties is wrong.  However, I am not a one-worlder.  I can see all sorts of problems if there was indeed a world government enacted, and the thought of such a thing at present absolutely frightens me.  We can not have a one world government, because it would not work, period.  Think of how many regions have corrupt regimes already.  If one expects a one world government to solve the “evils” of smaller nation-states, I have some bad news…. it will only result in a very negative worldwide form of tyranny.

Again, while I do love the country I am in, that does not mean that I am a blind patriot.  I do see some things that are very wrong, and on a very broad spectrum.  For starters, the USA Patriot Act troubles me deeply to this day, especially section 802.  To give you a hint, let us take a pot smoker having a joint.  Since they could be endangering a human life, are they a terrorist?  Think about that one for a moment, and while doing that, check this out as well.  An American citizen was taken away by the military because they were deemed an “enemy combatant.”

I also do not agree with what is being done in the Middle East, particularly Iraq.  While some would believe that Saddam did have WMDs, one also needs to be reminded of the following:

  1. It was thanks to members of the U.S. Federal Government that he was in power in the first place.
  2. Of course he had WMDs at one point.  Where do you think he got them from?  Hint: Remember Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam?

Now mind you I also do not think in the confines of left-wing/right-wing as I see it as a false paradigm.  In other words, left and right is a false choice pertaining to politics.  I also do not subscribe to the theory of two party politics either.  I do not see Democrats and Republicans as the end all to the political system in the country I am in, and I find it very sad that both major parties have such a dislike for third parties that they will do anything to prevent their recognition.

Like Danijel, I too worry about a North American Union, especially since nobody in Congress debated any of it.  Want proof?  Take a look for yourself:



Yes, I do fear these things coming to pass, which is why I do what I do everyday.  However, I have also come to a very profound conclusion.  If we are to improve ourselves and hopefully make our positive mark on this world, we need to be able to work on what we do agree on and argue about the small details later.  Yes, I do see problems in this country, and I see that corporations such as Microsoft are a part of these problems.*  Free and Open Source Software, or Freedomware, is something that I know a bit about and that is where a good portion of my specialty lies.

It was not a very well organized blog entry, and for that, I do apologize.  Fighting through a headache while writing this was not an easy task.  Therefore, I shall now end this blog by saying the three things that I started out saying, but need to say more often and more than ever before.

  • Entertain Yourself
  • Education Yourself
  • Empower Yourself

*Note that there will be a future blog post about Microsoft.  It is a series of patterns that I have noticed within the last several months.  Stay tuned…..

PediaOpeness.org is now open.

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

By Justin Breithaupt. 05/11/2008

PediaOpeness.org

If you remember a little while ago the Wikipedia informed me that I had no freedom of speech there. After that I started www.OpenWikipedia.org. Then I got a phone call from a Wikipedia attorney that informed me that I needed to change my name.

So I sat up a new site at WetPaint.com called PediaOpeness.org. I was searching for a logo similar to the Wikipeida‘s Puzzle sphere except that I wanted it to be more open. I found a logo I could use on DeviantArt.com.

I decided that I would not put down the Wikipedia but rather allow other sites to do that for me. I also allowed the Wikipedia to state it’s own definition of what it was by quoting them.

I got several responses to this post and even though the responses were negative it’s still site content which means my site is growing.

From i’mnothere:

“I’m sorry you haven’t learned anything, but I do have a suggestion. I sometimes follow the nixedreport, and I recall your friend asking posters to put in a certain format for their name as the author. You haven’t been doing that. Maybe it is ok with him, I don’t know, but I sure would want to not be associated with the posts you put there.”

Last night I submitted my Wikipedia alternative to several groups looking for a Wikipedia alternitive. Hopefully this will spark some interest and get the thing going.

To join go to www.pediaopeness.org and click Join this wiki.

A list of links to other sites that have the same problems with the Wikipedia:

http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2006/12/knowledge_and_u.php
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/06/04/who-gets-a-wikipedia-entry/
http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/archives/cat_wikipedia.html
http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=4&mode=threaded
http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showforum=28
http://www.wikitruth.info/index.php?title=Main_Page
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Wikipedia_Problems/
How to search Google.com without using the Wikipedia in Firefox! http://www.distilled.co.uk/blog/seo/search-google-without-wikipedia-a-firefox-search-plugin/

Also if you are having any problems in the Wikipedia excluding you at all or posting something that is wrong just put “TELL THE WIKITRUTH” in your message without the “” and with the capitals and it will have these people looking at your page in no time.

Jack Blood In Need of Assistance.

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Thomas Holbrook II | *NIXEDBLOG

Jack Blood, the host of Deadline Live on Genesis Communications Network is in need of assistance. He recently suffered a broken leg and currently has no insurance. Those who are interested in helping may donate through the widget below. Another alternative involves copying and pasting this widget to other sites and blogs.

Revere Radio Becoming an FM Station?

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Thomas Holbrook II | *NIXEDBLOG

Robb Revere has announced that Revere Radio Network is in the process of becoming a Low Power FM Station.

“We will be able to do so much more with LPFM then ever before. As we have witnessed in towns and communities all across the United States, LPFM intercepts the daily messages brought to you by the mainstream gurus and replaces it with alternative information like you currently hear on Revere Radio Network. It brings people together. It gives people purpose and a sense of inspiration to put down the remote control and pick up a sign saying whatever it is they have to say, and hold it on the street corner for everyone to hear and see.”

The cost for the license is $7,000 and the deadline for completing all of the pertinent paperwork is October 8, 2008. Those who are interested in alternative media, especially Internet radio, that talks about things not commonly discussed on major media outlets, whether or not there is agreement on the subjects covered, may assist Robb Revere in the process by donating to him through their ChipIn widget shown below.

WA State will not represent you against PayPal.com

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

From: “ATG MI Seattle CRC” <SeaCRC@atg.wa.gov>
To: admin@mindblowingidea.com
Date: 14 Feb 2008 10:31:11 -0800
Subject: A notice from the Washington State Attorney General’s Office

2/14/2008

Justin — Breithaupt
PO Box 485
Pomeroy, WA 99347

RE: PayPal
File #: 304741

Dear Justin —- Breithaupt:

As you will note in the attached copy of the response we received,
PayPal declines to make full adjustment of your complaint for the reasons
outlined.

We realize you may disagree with the firm’s position, but our office
does not have the authority under the law to force a resolution on the
parties. We regret that we are unable to provide further assistance to
you in this situation.

We do not have the authority to represent individuals as their
attorney, nor may we act as a judge or arbiter in individual disputes. You may
want to contact an attorney if you wish to pursue this matter. If you
do not have an attorney, there are six county bar associations that
will provide lawyer referral services.

For referrals to attorneys in:

Snohomish County: (425) 388-3018
King County: (206) 623-2551
Pierce County: (253) 383-3432
Lewis County: (360) 748-0430
Clark County: (360) 695-5313
Thurston County: (360) 705-8194

We appreciate your bringing this matter to our attention. Your
complaint will remain a part of our record of this firm’s business practices.

SANDRA M. HATCHER
Customer Services Specialist 3

Consumer Protection Division
(206) 389-2743

Enclosure

—————————————————

Now if this was not bad enough the attachment they sent was in Microsoft’s new Office 2007

format that you can’t open in anything else. I believe after reading this that the WA

State Attorney’s Office has been bought off by PayPal.com. It’s their job to protect you.

So why would they deny this protection to PayPal customers? “our office
does not have the authority under the law to force a resolution on the
parties.” They don’t have permission to go against PayPal. WOW!

I can’t tell you what is in the Word 2007 file they sent me and I can’t upload it because

I don’t know what is in it. What I can tell you is Office 2003 told me I had to download

a converter from Microsoft and I did. However the converter was unable to open the file

as well. Sad Our US Government has major computer issues.

FOSS Blogging Has its Perils

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Oh yeah.  This post is going to be biggie.  Not as in a big deal, but as in the size of said post.  I will not be talking of blogging alone, but blogging FOSS.  FOSS blogging can be quite fun.  Sharing the excitement of having tested another distribution of *nix (or sharing disappointment of wasting said time… depends on the experience) or sharing an opinion on the happenings of FOSS today can be an interesting experience to say the least.  However, blogging is not always without peril.

In the past, I stated how I would not promote my own writings on LXer due to being ripped to pieces over an entry that I eventually wound up deleting.  So why did I come out of my exile of sorts with a blog post that made the front page of that news site?  It was inspiration of sorts, which I will go into first.  The second part of this post will take into account Bruce Byfield’s follow up entry to his prior writing on his blog.  Shall we begin?

Flushing Fear Down the Toilet

I will be the first to admit that I do not like being told when I am wrong in any way shape or form.  Who does?  When I spewed a few choice words out of my keyboard concerning James Burgett and the trouble he was having with a state organization, even he criticized me in his own blog over my entry, and rightly so.  Not only that, but I was slammed pretty hard by another reader on LXer.  Then I read the comments concerning Justin Briethaupt’s follow-up on the situation with Newegg…

Before I go on any further, you may want to read this first.  It explains how this blog has multiple authors.  Each author will of course have a different style.  As of right now, there are two active authors: Justin and myself.

I read the comments concerning his newegg.com consumer report, and my mind began to race.  Then I read this entry from Bruce Byefield that I wholeheartedly disagreed with, which resulted in my previous entry.  I began to think to myself, “You know…. it takes courage to endure all those comments against what was posted.”  It was those two moments combined that caused me to realize what an intellectual coward I have been.  Scott Ruecker of LXer said it best concerning Justin’s newegg.com follow-up…

“In order to think critically about something and stand a chance of coming to a accurate decision or stance on an issue or issues you have to be presented with and have access to information that you agree and disagree with.”

I could not have said it better myself.  After all, Justin was trying to do something that I myself was only willing to dream up and talk about for eternity and getting reamed over and over again by the same people, and yet I was too scared to expose myself to criticism from a few readers who can have a different mood at different times?  Intellectual cowardice indeed….

So yes, I am coming out of exile of sorts concerning LXer.  I am limiting myself if I choose not to do so at this point.  The time to hide from everybody’s criticism is over.  Even if I only posted on this blog, it is one thing I will not be able to escape, because unlike other bloggers out there, I don’t axe legitimate comments (ones that are spam however are treated appropriately).   So next up is my response to Byfield’s follow-up post in response to the feedback that others have provided to his writing concerning conspiracy theorists in FOSS.  Prepare to be surprised.

Open Hand to Bruce Byfield

 ”With all the people baying for my blood – some of whom, frankly, sound disingenuous in their demands for proof – the entry could easily take over my life, so in the last couple of days, I’ve withdrawn from active discussion of it.”

Bruce,  I certainly hope that you did not perceive me as wanting your hide or anything of that nature.  I was confused when you were making the broad statements in your previous blog entry.  To me, it was like lighting a barn on fire and walking away from it, thus forcing everyone else to deal with said fire.  Perhaps my humor was misplaced or of the wrong variety when I asked those two very sarcastic questions of mine earlier.  Perhaps it was nothing more than an insult.  Either way, my apologies.

Now let us take a look at another tidbit of what Byfield wrote.

“To start with, I notice that Brian Profitt’s suggestion that I was lashing out at some negative criticism I received has been seized on by some commenters as a reason to dismiss what I said.”

Hopefully, I was not one of those individuals who was perceived as having said that.  Also, in my opinion, to suggest that Profitt of linuxtoday.com was suggesting that you were lashing out goes a bit far.  Here is a sample from what Profitt wrote:

“Byfield, who I think is an excellent writer, by the way, may be projecting a little bit of his own defensiveness in this entry. I know he’s been on the receiving end of some harsh criticisms in the past, and I know from personal experience it’s pretty disheartening.”

I know the feeling to a degree myself.  I believe there is a difference between lashing out and being defensive, since lashing out implies (to me) that one is on the offensive.

That’s not to say that I don’t find people’s reactions fascinating – and more than a little intellectually distressing, since I’m an ex-university instructor who once spend his days trying to help people develop their abilities to argue coherently.

Here is another tidbit of opinion from me on the subject of debate and arguing.  There are traditional academic methods and methods that are considered unorthodox and unacceptable.  It reminds me of the beginnings of the Revolutionary War in America, in which the standard rules of war was not followed by the Minutemen who would pick off soldiers from the British army one by one while hiding behind rocks and trees.  During that time, it was considered inappropriate and uncivilized to fight in such a manner.  Suffice it to say that declaring that a position of prestige was once held is not going to sway me very much.  Read on further to understand why.

“But I think my favorite response was from a commenter who assumed the responsibility of giving me elementary advice about how to write. I’m always willing to learn, but, considering that last year I sold roughly a quarter million words about free software, now I know the spirit in which Lauren Bacall responded a few years ago on hearing that she had been voted one of the sexiest elderly women in film. ‘That will certainly pep up my career,’ she said (or something to that effect). ‘I can’t wait to tell my agent.’”

Look man, I could care less if you were on the New York Times best seller list.  When it comes to blogging about anything, including FOSS and discussion of technology in general, all the titles of prestige, all the accomplishments of the past, no matter how great, are stripped away.  At that point, the only thing left is people talking to one another (and in some cases, at another).

“No more working out of ideas publicly for me – from now on, I need to make sure that I state my assumptions clearly, and address opposing views in more detail, and not publish on certain subjects until my ideas are fully developed.”

On the other half, it would help.  However, not working out an idea publicly is something I disagree with to a degree.  While Justin Breithaupt’s consistent stream of criticism was the ignition switch for my mind, it was your situation that cranked my mind over, thus causing me to realize that I should not be so afraid of criticism from others.  Listen.  There is a way to work out ideas publicly.  In the title or at the beginning of a blog entry, indicate that it is a rough draft of sorts (or a brainstorming session).  I believe that WordPress also allows the creation of categories, so things can be tagged under something such as “brain storms” or “sand box.”  Whatever tag labels you want are up to you.   Of course what I am saying are merely suggestions as well.

I disagree with closing things down in a sense.  Why not open up a bit more instead?  To me, that is an excellent way of learning from each other, and if there is that constant nagging person who constantly annoys the dickens out of you, then you always have the option to ignore them at that point.

Overall, I would like to thank you for acknowledging a lesson that I am still learning today.  When it comes to blogging, you are never going to be without feedback, even if it comes in the form of a spam-bot or an individual who vehemently  disagrees with you.  I know that I do not know enough about you, but I still want to share my views with you.  So please, keep sharing yours with me and everyone else.

Opinion: FOSS Supporters Need to Think for Themselves.

Monday, January 7th, 2008

I’m sure everyone who is reading this is quite curious by the title of this blog post.  Don’t FOSS users already think for themselves?  After all, they use operating systems that utilize some variation of the Linux kernel.  Many utilize Firefox (or Iceweasel) and OpenOffice.org (or Abiword and Gnumeric).  Many of those who utilize free and open source software read related news sites and blogs pertaining to events, news, opinions, and more.  As of late, I have become slightly disappointed to say the least.

Half of the disappointment concerns a popular FOSS news site, and the other is an individual who believes that Microsoft bashing needs to come to a halt and that anyone who essentially disagrees will be seen as nothing more than a conspiracy theorist.  So, who is up first?

A Portion of the LXer Readership

Yes, I am somewhat disappointed by some of the LXer readership, particularly after reading this forum post here.  For starters, an assumption is made that Justin Breithaupt was angry with Newegg.  That is not the case.  He was simply asked to post any updates with interactions with the Newegg representative.  Nothing more, nothing less.  But this tidbit by remi troubled me…

We get that you’re upset, but please respect the LXer readers and calm down and try to make better distinctions between what is and is not news worthy. I’ve read the blog posts. I’ve read the comments here and there. There’s nothing news worthy about any of it. This belongs on a personal blog, not on the front page for all to see. Yeah, I’m sure you’ll rant on about free speech or something and that’s wonderful … that’s not what I’m saying. You can speak freely, but are you responsible enough to be given the power to speak at a pulpit that all the world hears *without* abusing that power by announcing your *personal* troubles to the world?

The problem is not so much the other comments, but the idea that somebody doesn’t like to see a company they like being criticized.  Alright.  I can understand that.  It’s easy to jump in when a popular distribution such as Ubuntu gets criticized because it happens to be a favorite of the one defending it against the criticism, even if said criticism was constructive, but the idea of blaming the editors for not preventing other readers from thinking for themselves goes a bit far in my view.  What happened to thinking and coming to one’s own conclusions?

Here’s an example.  Quite a while ago, I went on a big rant concerning James Burgett when he was having issues with state environmental regulations.  I let my emotions get the best of me.  Was I censored by the editors?  Oh no.  I was torn to shreds by the readers.  It caused me to change my position and rethink how I was going about with blog posting and writing a full-blown article.  Now that’s the type of thinking I’m looking for, not, “This is bad, so we shouldn’t have to see it.”  Well, don’t read it then.  It’s not that hard.  When reading FOSS-related sites/blogs, there is bound to be something that any reader is going to disagree with, and they said reader should simply get over it and move on (and of course voice their opinion, but expect a response countering what they are saying).

So here’s a few tips of my own, which are opinion based, so feel free to disagree:

  1. While it is understandable that a blog author may make assumptions based on opinions of other experts and/or other individuals, don’t counter with an assumption of your own.  This is the world wide web of course, and with such things, except with say, Skype and other programs, it is virtually impossible to interpret the true emotions of the person posting.
  2. It’s perfectly alright to disagree with a blog post or a website article.  A site and blog operate off of different principles (one being automated, and another not-so-automated).  However, don’t assume that something isn’t newsworthy.  As they say, one person’s junk is another’s treasure.  In other words, think for yourself and allow others to do the same.
  3. LXer wasn’t made for the editors: it was made for everyone who reads the site.  If something is commonly interpreted as completely garbage, and I dare say, insane, you bet there will be readers who will jump at the chance to prove the person wrong and come up with points of their own.

So in short, please don’t assume how a particular author of any article or blog post feels, and definitely allow others the opportunity to think for themselves.  The fact that editors offer the opportunity to other readers to decide for themselves what is deemed worthy of discussion is an indication that they may believe that the readers are intelligent.  Finally, don’t pretend to be speaking for an entire group.  No individual ever does.

Next Up, Bruce Byfield

Oh yes.  I put this off for quite some time, as LXer readers have commented on one of his articles in which he stated that it was time to get over Microsoft.  I read it.  I also read his blog post in which he suggests that not everyone who uses alternatives are Microsoft haters.  Such a blog post is certainly understandable.  After all, there are those who simply use the alternatives because they fit their needs better than Microsoft-based solutions.

However, when he posted his opinion on what he believed were the characteristics of conspiracy theorists, a couple of very important questions came to mind.  Bruce, what are you smoking, and more importantly, what are you snorting?  In other words, are you on drugs?

That was a bit of humor on my part, in which you stated that “Don’t expect a sense of humor, either – that’s usually lost with the self-reflection. If they call you a ‘Microsoft shill’ and you ask, ‘Where can I send an invoice?’ they’ll assume you’ve just revealed your true allegiance, not that you’re making a joke.”  Yes, so called conspiracy theorists do have a sense of humor and more than likely will know a joke when they see one, especially since they are capable of making jokes themselves.  Let us now examine a brief portion of his blog post concerning alleged conspiracy theorists:

However, you should also bear in mind that you can’t win. Try to refute a conspiracy theorist, and you simply prove to them that you’re the enemy. In the end, the best thing you can do for yourself – to say nothing of free software – is to stop responding to the conspiracy theorist as soon as you realize the type of person you’re dealing with. The time you spend dealing with a conspiracy theorist will be put to much better use writing code, persuading a friend to try free software or dealing with the real threats to the community instead of the imaginary ones.

First of all, it is not about winning.  It never is.  it is about learning from a different point of view.  If one can not read and understand a different point of view despite disagreement, then they have intellectual limitations.  Such a thing is true no matter what subject is discussed, whether it be software itself or religion.  Let us examine another tidbit from Byfield’s blog.

disregard for the rules of evidence: The wise pundit looks for evidence that would hold up in a court of law – that is, establish a point beyond a reasonable doubt. By contrast, conspiracy theorists have no such restraint. For instance, if a company has hired a former Microsoft executive, that is proof that the company is controlled by Microsoft. Never mind that Microsoft is so large that any North American company has a good chance of hiring a former Microsoft executive – the one tenuous connection is enough to establish proof for a conspiracy theorist. Key phrase: “Can it be coincidence that . . . ?” (Sometimes, yes)

Yes, Microsoft is a large corporation, which also has plenty of influence on U.S. politics, or have you forgotten about thatHow about the influence on world leaders?  Yes, the President of China visited Bill Gates himself way before giving George W. Bush the time of day.  Think about that for a moment.  Of course, other interesting tidbits can be picked up in an article that I wrote myself, but then again, I am quite certain that you know most of what I cite.  Additionally, I wrote about an individual who once worked for Microsoft.  In order to avoid retaliation of any sort, they chose not to have their name revealed.  So I suppose that not all former Microsoft employees are bent on “world domination.”

Of course when a group of concerned individuals begin voicing their views on Novell and Microsoft, can one blame them, especially after the other things that the Redmond Giant has pulled in the past?  I think “The Beez” had it right on this one. He said that, “If you do not win a discussion you may be defeated but that doesn’t mean you have to be a loser.”  Right on.

Who else has added to the discussion?  Why the Boycott Novell group of course.   They have also countered Byfield with this post as well.  Brian Proffitt of LinuxToday has also added a balanced perspective to this debate.  So what’s the point of all of this?

Returning to Byfield’s blog, I noticed a comment from Patrick, a reader of the blog.  He said, “Well, put your cards on the table. Where is the proof of your contentions. Who is showing the signs you are talking about? A few url’s please.”  It’s fair enough to ask for evidence as one reader of this blog has asked Justin to do in a prior post.  What does Byefield give to Patrick?  Here is his response to Patrick quoted below:

“I said at the start of the blog entry that I wasn’t going to specify who I was talking about. I won’t give them the attention, and I don’t have the time or inclination to start what seems likely to be an endless discussion.

And if that’s not good enough for you — well, you are reading a blog entry. It’s an expression of opinion.

However, if anyone else wants to suggest a candidate for discussion, please go ahead. But I’m not going to participate in the discussion much.”

So Bruce.  Why broach the subject in the first place if you are not going to offer information to support your claim.  I would certainly like to know who has been wild eyed lately, so that I can potentially learn from their mistakes.  However, you have opted not to do so.  You lit a fire and walked away.  This is but a blog, but I myself tend to link to plenty of other resources that support what I am saying.  Those resources also link to yet more resources that may have views that I do not agree with.  That is fine with me.

Conclusion

The whole point of this blog post is to argue one thing: think for yourself.  Even if it means you will read something you do not like.

To the readers of LXer, please keep thinking for yourselves.  If you want to shred what I wrote to pieces, feel free to do so.  In fact, I beg you to do so as I will learn from the end result of it.

Users of FOSS need to think for themselves, rather than be led by one person or another on the Internet.  That especially includes myself, the author of this blog post.  It is not about the freebie part of FOSS that is the most rewarding: it is the potential of raising the level of the mind.

No Refunds at newegg.com even under 30 days!

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

When buying certain items on Newegg.com like laptops you are signing an agreement that says that you can not return the item for a refund ever even if it’s damaged, under 30 days, is not as described, or whatever. You can however get a replacement item. In layman’s terms if you buy something under this agreement (I think it even applies to CPUs) you are married to that item for better or worse in sickness and in health tell life does you part. The only way you can get rid of it is to throw it away or sell it.

My uncle bought an ASUS laptop that had a non functioning Ethernet port. ASUS said that newegg.com would have to refund me because they would refund newegg.com. Still haven’t heard back from them yet. The laptop is now considered over priced at $1,200 when it’s ACER counter part is only $700.00. This is America and we have certain rights. These corporations have the right to take those rights away from us by getting us to sing agreements that we really don’t want to read.

The Pirate Responds.

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

I didn’t know if he would respond, but he did via e-mail.  Maddox, the owner of “The Best Page in the Universe,” had stated that there was no 9/11 conspiracy, when I had countered that no matter who did it, the attack had to have been a conspiracy due to the number of people (more than one) and that his argument concerning the ability to kill anyone who questions the official story had no strength to it.  His e-mail is split into block quotes with my response underneath each portion.

I think everyone at this point knows what the word “conspiracy” means in  context of 9/11.  Obviously when someone mentions a conspiracy, they’re almost always talking about the controlled demolition/no missile/star wars laser program/pod theory that the “truthers” won’t shut up about.  Not the fact that 19 hijackers are literally conspirators.  But thanks for clarifying.

It may seem to be obvious, but one important point has been ignored: the use of the word conspiracy.  Conspiracy involves more than one person, period.  The question being asked is who was involved in the conspiracy, not if there was a conspiracy, so to say in the title there was no conspiracy is still incorrect, no matter what the context is.  The second error made is the lumping together of different theories.  Not everyone agrees with every theory.  Some advocate controlled demolition, while others talk about the no-plane theories (not to be confused with the hologram theory).

As for killing Dylan, you make a good point if you ignore the part of my argument where I said:

The US government has the capability to monitor every electronic communication made anywhere in the world, yet we’re expected to believe that they wouldn’t be able to nix this kid long before his video ever became popular?

The question isn’t whether they could kill him, but should they?  Assuming a crime is committed, do you kill anyone who may have discovered something that could link a criminal to a crime?  If it was small and private, such a thing could be possible, but where a large government and large event is concerned, would it be a wise thing?  Probably not, especially since there are those openly opposed to films such as Loose Change and who scrutinize the arguments that 9/11 was an inside job.

If you google all the materials that go into making a fertilizer bomb, and then you start googling blue prints for the Empire State Building, truck rental companies, etc, etc, you can bet your &#$ that you’ll have the NSA snooping your lines (if they aren’t already).  If you don’t believe that our government has this capability, do some research.  Read a book called “The Puzzle Palace.”  Don’t be so naive.

The assumption of being naive is not only silly, but absolutely false.  I am well aware of the NSA’s ability to wiretap and spy on multiple communication fronts, especially due to legislation such as the Patriot Act.

So presuming they have this capability, if there was a conspiracy (I’ll let you guess which conspiracy I’m talking about; here’s a hint: look up the word context), then as soon as Dylan started researching the type of engine at the Pentagon, or the PNAC commission statement, or controlled demolition information, it would have raised the same red flags it raises when you search for bomb-making materials in their intelligence systems and they could have offed him long before his video got popular. Even if they somehow fell asleep at the wheel and let his video slip through the cracks, they could have captured it as soon as a few hundred people saw it.  It wouldn’t be hard to contain or track down those people because they could have confiscated his server logs, reverse traced the IP addresses to the people who own them, and killed every single one of them too.

Now here is another problem I haven’t pointed out yet.  In order to possibly consider killing Avery, he would have to be the only one who questioned the official 9/11 story.  He wasn’t.  There are plenty of groups of people who question many different aspects of the story.  There’s even a group that apparently consists of architects and engineers.  These groups may have sprung up after Avery’s film, but there was also people before Avery who questioned the whole event.  There was even an individual who predicted that there would be an attack on July 25, 2001 just months before an attack took place.  Hijacked planes and Osama bin Laden’s name was dropped.  So before killing Avery, others before him would have to be killed too, right?

Sounds too far fetched?  Dylan’s arguing that the government killed at least 3,000 innocent Americans, and potentially hundreds of thousands more indirectly in Iraq, so what’s a few more to the government?

Wake up.  Stop defending this trashy amateur conspiracy $*#&@.

Asking what’s a few more is an old argument at best, and again, it’s not a matter of could it happen (from the perspective of those who believe that 9/11 was an inside job), but should it happen.  Just so you know, there are others formerly of highly respected positions in life who are also questioning the official 9/11 story, such as Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst during the Reagan and Senior Bush administrations.

Also, when we’re talking about the government, would it be the entire government, or a few inside the government betraying the country?  Many individuals who  ask these questions concerning 9/11 are doing so because they see it as the root cause for passage of the Patriot Act and the war in Iraq.  If the official story were to fall apart, then credibility for the war on terror itself would fall apart.  The last I checked, many of these individuals who are questioning the official story would hardly qualify as amateurs.  There are even family members of the victims of that fateful day who question how the attack took place and how the defense system of this country failed.  So here’s a hint or three:

  • Jim Hoffman’s response to Popular Mechanics:  Makes the same point concerning steel and jet fuel that I am going to make now. Steel can lose strength at certain temperatures, but we would need to know how long it takes for the transfer of energy to occur from a fire to the metal itself.  If there is only a small amount of fire, then it might be argued (from the alternative perspective) that it wouldn’t be enough to cause an entire building to not only collapse, but to turn to dust.
  • An odd statement from NIST itself.
  • New York City Activist: They often respond to Screw Loose Change directly.