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New/Old music September 26, 2009

Posted by truthspew in Uncategorized.
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So I’ve found myself perusing all these top-100 lists for the various decades. It caused me to add the following to my library.
Recently Added Tracks Sept 09 <—- Click to read the PDF file.

Lots of notable stuff in there. Spans 1960's to the current decade.

The 5th Dimension – Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars… the actual age of Aquarius is some years off btw.)

Archie Bell and the Drells – Tighten Up (Just a funky little tune)

The Brothers Johnson – Right on Time (Again, some serious string work!)

A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (Gotta have some synth pop!)

Zager and Evans – In the Year 2525 (Some prognosticating on the future. Now it's been 10,000 years…)

Orgone – Duck and Cover (Funky tune – my friend Beth says it sounds like porno music)

And Squirrel Nut Zippers – I like gypsy jazz, if you don't you're missing out on something.

BTW, this is my Entire iTunes Library. Yes I know, at 1,735 songs or 5.6 days of play it’s a little light. But I’m kind of selective that way.

Geek Stuff: Why VoIP Rocks September 26, 2009

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I’m a big believer in VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephony services.

The home line is provided by Vonage. The business line by MagicJack, and my mischief line via Skype.

But here’s one of those things about VoIP that you cannot deny. It knocks down barriers.

When I first signed up for Vonage it was the U.S. and Canada. Then it jumped to six countries. Now it’s jumped to 60 countries spanning the entire globe and every continent. I mean, if I want I can call China, Japan, Saipan or Guam and not ring up any extra charges I can do so. Or I can call Italy, France, Germany, Spain and more without ringing a toll either.

But it goes without saying, VoIP is what you would term a disruptive technology. It piggy backed on a ubiquitous net connection and took over the last mile of telephone services. I know for example that in my area just the competition from Cox and VoIP has knocked Verizon down to a little less than a 40% market here in RI. No wonder Verizon went bonkers stringing fiber.

Verizon Fiber Cabinet

Verizon Fiber Cabinet

But when Ma Bell still had a monopoly one of her prime goals was to reduce costs in order to increase profits. As a result they developed a completely digital toll switching network that decreased the cost of maintenance, traffic management, etc. The computer could figure out alternate routing faster than a human could. That was the AT&T 4ESS (Doh, 4A was an electromechanical switch) toll switch.

4ESS Toll Switch

4ESS Toll Switch

Just for comparison, here’s the first concentrator/distribution network for the Morris, NJ Electronic Switch test.

Morris Exciters

Morris Exciters

But it wasn’t just the switching that became less expensive.

Policy had something to do with that in in the mid 1950’s Bell started rolling out Direct Distance Dialing (DDD). This allowed bell to reduce the amount of operator staff required to handle calls. They also improved the Traffic Service and Position System (TSPS) too, meaning fewer operators could handle more services.

But the real cost reducer was data circuits. Telephones use trunks and they come in various types such as analog and digital. At first a DS1 had to be provided on two pairs of wires and amplifiers were necessary every so many hundreds of feet. Most people don’t realize it but order DS1 now and it’s delivered via HDSL. Fewer amps, less specialized circuits.

And there was the fiber explosion. Back between the late 1980’s and now they pretty much laid tons of multi-strand fiber optic cables from coast to coast and under the oceans too.

For a point of comparison a 2,500 pair cable was very thick, about the diameter of a 45RMP record. Now a single fiber can carry hundreds of calls and it doesn’t cost nearly as much as it used to because the fiber uses solid state components that don’t burn out after a short lifespan.

Not to mention the proliferation of satellite systems. There are a number of carriers that have orbiting platforms though even the necessity of that has pretty much been relegated to TV remotes.

And it’s going to keep getting more interesting. For example, I found an application from my iPod Touch called Fring. Fring lets you connect to a VoIP provider like Skype for example. Apple has tacitly acknowledged this by turning on Bluetooth on the Touch. So I can get a Bluetooth headset, or earphones for that matter and use them with my iPod Touch.

And wherever there’s Wi-Fi, I can call to my hearts content. And there is a shitload of Wi-Fi in my city.

Fring on the iPod Touch

Fring on the iPod Touch

New Rule: If America Can’t Get it Together, We Lose the Bald Eagle September 25, 2009

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Very good analysis of what is going on in the United States at the moment. I want the Democratic party to slide left and stop trying to be just like the Republicans.

But I know that will never happen. Or at least it won’t happen until we assert ourselves as citizens and once and for all tell the corporations that we are not theirs to control.

You really want to modify a constitution, insert these words in the 14th Amendment “These rights do not apply to corporations.” Seven simple words but it would change the whole political environment.

We can do it, the Obama camp showed us how with one of the best fund raising machines ever. Except we the people do our own, and get our own people obligated to us alone into office. We can do it, and we’ll have to pay for it but the payoff is immeasurable.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Providence is getting streetcars again September 23, 2009

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They were ripped out in 1948 but a streetcar line is coming back to Providence. I was trolling the RIPTA meeting notes and I saw that they’ve now obtained $75 million to begin on a new streetcar line.

Streetcars are low speed, 8-12MPH. But they get people around.

Portland Street Car

Portland Street Car

RIPTA is also planning out a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route or three. That would be great too. The below is an example of Boston’s BRT, the Silver Line:

BRT Silver Line

BRT Silver Line

They’re doing a lot of this with stimulus money btw. So the stimulus is working despite what the naysayers might say.

They’re also committed to buying 163 new hybrid buses. The thing that cracks me up is that a normal bus gets about 3MPG, the hybrid boosts that to 7MPG which still nets RITPA a significant fuel saving over the years.

And from what I hear, the predominant hybrid method isn’t the kludge they use on cars, but instead there are electric motors at the wheels, and a smaller diesel engine attached to a generator keeps a battery array charged. So it runs less overall. This is the system that trains use except they just skip the battery part and send the current right to the drive wheels.

That PersonalDNA thing September 22, 2009

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Here’s the full report.

Scroll toward the bottom. My empathy score is the lowest of all of them, a 2. I kind of had to learn to be empathic but it comes out in these tests. I just find it a waste of time to be honest.

I’m not a monster though, I can understand how other people might feel. It’s just that I can’t commiserate.

Iowa Same-Sex Marriage Poll: 92% Say It Hasn’t Impacted Their Lives September 22, 2009

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The boyfriend of a friend of mine thinks that allowing gay people to marry will make his taxes go up.

It’s that type of thinking that’s pushed by the religious wingnuts. That taxes will go up, that the children will be irreparably harmed if they find out it’s ok if two men or two women can marry, etc. The anti gay marriage bigots are harping on those issues alone.

The reality is, none of their straight constituency has felt any harm from gay people getting married.

And the anti-gay marriage bigots, it’s the religious crowd that pulls the strings. They’ll always complain about how it infringes their religious rights. The thing is every same sex marriage bill or judicial decision has carved out exclusions for religious institutions so that they won’t be getting hit with lawsuits if they refuse to marry a gay couple.

It’s all ridiculous because here’s what is happening. Little by little churches are learning that you attract more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. And the Catholic leadership needs to be particularly careful since they are very out of sync with much of their congregation.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Finally a good TMI Tuesday (TMI #205) September 22, 2009

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1. You can flip a switch that will wipe any band or musical artist out of existence. Which one will it be?

Amy Whinehouse. But then I might not have to flip the switch because she’s just a self destructive mess.

2. You seem to be having an excellent day because you just came across a hundred-dollar bill on the sidewalk. Holy crap, a hundred bucks! How are you gonna spend it?

Get a pair of blue-tooth earphones and a blue-tooth headset so I can use it with my iPod Touch which Apple has so graciously now turned on blue-tooth functionality.

3. Rufus appears out of nowhere with a time-traveling phone booth. You can go anytime in the PAST. What time are you traveling to and what are you going to do when you get there?

This is a tough one, do I go back about 2,042 and abscond with the baby Jesus, or do I go back to 570CE and get that little bastard Mohammed. One or the other.

4. What is your favorite curse word?

The word “fuck”. It can be used in so many different sentences.

5. You have the opportunity to sleep with the movie celebrity of your choice. We are talking no-strings-attached sex and it can only happen once. Who is the lucky celebrity of your choice?

None of them. Bunch of self entitled people. Ick!

Bonus (as in optional):You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what’s even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What’s it gonna be?

This is easy, I’d want invisibility. I’m a spy at heart and being invisible would be priceless.

The Return Of McCarthyism: Hysteria In Action On The Right (VIDEO) September 21, 2009

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My goodness, they’re all united on this front. And is it my imagination or does Bachmann look like a Stepford wife? She has that same deer in the headlights look to her.

These people will try anything to pain Obama as a commie. First they tried to paint him as a Muslim but that didn’t work. Tried tying him to Hitler, that didn’t work. So now it’s a Commie Pinko.

They’ll just try and try and try. And the czar thing, that comes from their patron saint Ronny Reagan who appointed the nations first Drug Czar.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

A new guilty pleasure September 21, 2009

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Whoa, I’ve seen clips but never known what it was from. It’s from a British show called “Mitchell and Webb Look”.

First up, we have the ultimate atheist discovery.

Next up we have a bit darker humor but funny just the same, the Vicar.

The Brain Surgeon (With a rocket scientist thrown in):

I get the impression they like to poke fun at religion. Here’s The Saintly Man:

Remain Indoors – This one makes me wonder. The world could crumble about and we’d still have horrible television.

Ok I have to admit, I adore British humor. I mean come on, Monty Python, Are You Being Served, Keeping up Appearances, Blackadder, and the list goes on.

The uselessness of germaphobia September 20, 2009

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I’ve run across a few germaphobes in my life. These are people who are serious disinfectant clean frIeaks.

I really hate to burst the bubble, but we are surrounded by bacteria and viruses. They’re in the air we breath, the water we drink, the food we eat and even inside our digestive tract.

That’s right, E. Coli or Escherichia coli lives in our lower gut (Pretty much from the caecum all the way to the sigmoid intestine). It attaches to intestinal mucosa and helps us break down certain sugars. It eats, we eat and everybody is happy.
The bacteria enter our bodies within 40 hours of birth, not only that they’re highly identifiable because of differences in region.

Then there’s the bacteria in the air. Leave a piece of cut fruit out for a few days and watch the bacteria multiply on it.

And then of course there’s the shower head. That’s got more little nasties in it than you’d care to shake a stick at. And lets not even talk about black mold.

So it’s useless to worry about it. Just give in.

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