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Microsoft uses patents to add t the cost of Android devices November 15, 2011

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This is unbelievable. Microsoft by buying up patents, is getting anywhere from $5 to $15 from every Android device sold. They are putting the squeeze on them, so to speak.

So now we know why Google bought Motorola Mobility. It’s a great big form of not just defense for Google but offense as well. For example, I wonder how many patents Motorola Mobility had that can be used to put a big dent in Nokia’s Windows phone plans. That should be VERY interesting to watch as it plays out.

With any luck, Google can extract a little payback from Microsoft!

I’ve been resisting upgrading my computer since XP is stable, I don’t like what they did with Windows 7, and now hearing this, I like the company even less. I may just wipe XP on this machine, throw Ubuntu and Libre Office on it and be done with Microsoft for good.

RI DMV improves but is still slower November 14, 2011

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So today I had to renew my drivers license. I had heard horror stories about the wait at the new DMV facility in Cranston, RI.

I get there at just before 9AM. I go to the info desk to get my ticket, I got number 4052. I noticed, they run several queues and some move faster than others.

The 4 series seemed to be all renewals, while the 5 series seems to be new license exams and so on.

In total it took an hour to renew my license until 2016. Compared to my last renewal five years ago, it took forty more minutes under the new system.

The new system is comprised of two LED boards that indicate the ticket number and what lane is serving them. As each number is updated a voice announcement is made. For example “Now serving number four zero five two at counter 15.” And the called counter lights up a bright flashing light to guide you to it.

Quite nice.

In other notes, I see they’re still on the old Data General Clarion system and all the desktops are Windows XP. I believe they were using PacerTerm. And all the desks still have those Okidata 184 dot matrix printers.

Big old security flaws in those systems.

And they’ve finally integrated voter registration with licenses. About damned time.

But they don’t accept credit/debit cards yet. The clerk did tell me that they were working on that. So I told her we’ll see in five years when I have to renew again.

In which Robert Reich lays it down November 13, 2011

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You have to watch this. Reich does a very good job of taking down the most common lies of the Repugs and the corporate plutocracy.

Reich is an interesting guy. He’s served three U.S. Presidents, most recently as President Clinton’s Secretary of Labor.

But every point he makes is on the money. What we have seen over the last few years is the largest looting of the middle class to have every occured.

Bachmann thinks we should be more like China November 13, 2011

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The obstinacy and idiocy of this woman never ceases to amaze me. I know she’s trying to play to a constituency but seriously Mrs. Bachmann, could you be any more of a stuck up, ignorant clod?

If you watch any of the Republican candidates, they all have serious flaws. Some of those flaws stray into extreme idiocy, such as Rick Perry not being able to name the third thing he’d cut, or Herman Cain now saying God told him to run.

I hate tell Cain that wasn’t God, it was more likely your own demented mind/advisors/Koch Brothers.

And that Cain allegedly collected more money from his donors AFTER the allegations of sexual harassment became public? Either you’ve got a segment of the population that thinks sexual harassment is acceptable, or Cain is fibbing. I’ll go with the latter.

But we’ve heard very little from Mitt Romney. I wonder why? Could it be that his waffling in the past is catching up to him? After all he did support health care reform in Massachusetts that was the basis of the Obama health care plan. And if I’m not mistaken, didn’t MA get marriage equality while Romney was governor?

Ever since the Tea Baggers have won a FEW seats you see the Republicans becoming even more of a laughing stock when they spout their drivel. I think a lot of it is an act, because politics has become about acting more than substance as of late.

Meanwhile if you look at President Obama’s campaign promises, I’ll be damned if he hasn’t delivered on a majority of them.

And he’s painting the Republicans and Tea Baggers into a corner with the jobs bill. It’s going to be an interesting election season for all of about a month. Because I already know how I’m voting in 2012.

Another reason to hate Silverlight: Trying to watch A Film Unfinished November 13, 2011

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I note a movie called “A Film Unfinished”, it uncovered a Nazi propaganda film about the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw.

But god damned Silverlight is just a stuttering wonder. It memory leaks like crazy. I mean really Microsoft, now I understand why you’re backing away from it. But is it too late for Netflix to re-implement flash player?

Because due to Silverlight’s ‘issues’ it truly is a Film Unfinished!

Music: When the music you love is on Muzak November 12, 2011

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So we were in Trader Joe’s in Warwick, RI today.

And as we’re gathering items I note the music playing in the background. It’s Abbey Lincoln’s “Throw it Away”.

I wonder where I get my love of jazz tunes. I believe that would be my grandfather. Plus the fact that the music I listen to always tended more toward the jazzy (and the funk) than anything else.

But it was just such a surprise to hear that Abbey Lincoln tune on the Muzak at a Trader Joe’s.

Nice isn’t it?

Here’s just a little more with “First Song”

And yet another by Abbey Lincoln, “Nature Boy”

Which brings me to the Phillip Bailey cover of the same exact track:

Music gets recycled, that’s one thing I’ve noticed.

Some other jazz I like, more jazz fusion but I seriously dig George Duke’s music, for example, here’s “Chillin”

Come on, if that one doesn’t put a smile on your face then you should check your heart. You’re probably dead if it doesn’t.

“No Rhyme, No Reason”

Something a little more mainstream, Quincy Jones “The Dude”

Then there’s Ramsey Lewis with “Brazillica”

You may recognize the sound, Earth Wind and Fire did a lot of work with Ramsey Lewis back in the day and the above song shows it.

Speaking of Brazil, here’s another nice George Duke tune titled “Brazilian Love Affair”

But then I like the wild, experimental stuff. For example, recall Minnie Ripperton. Most of us know her from her song titled “Loving You”. But here’s something she did with a group called Rotary Connection, this one is called “I Am the Black Gold of the Sun”

Kind of jazz sliding into psychedelic. Which now loops us through to Funkadelic, and I present thee “Maggot Brain”

Yes, yes, I know, more funk but this borrows jazz elements and the psychedelic too!

And then there’s Funkadelic with “Cosmic Slop”

And on to the more funkalicious:

Parliament with “Not Just Knee Deep”

Funny what hearing a song on a music service in a commercial space will trigger.

The Story of Broke November 11, 2011

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First watch the video:

The video touches on a concept in economics called opportunity cost.

A good example in the video, $700 billion on the military. That’s $700 billion that could get us off oil, build new schools, hire new teachers. So that’s the cost component. I say shave 1/3 of the money off the military budget. That’s only $233 billion. It would leave them with $467 billion for military expenditure.

But that $233 billion, if apportioned evenly among all fifty states, would be a shot of $4.6 billion per state.

I can think of some public goods that could happen here in RI. Like a streetcar system for Providence, and light rail to communities around the city. Or how about we hire more teachers? Or maybe fix the roadways. The list is endless.

Remember, this would be an ANNUAL thing.

If you wonder why highways are going dark because states can’t afford to light them anymore, or why police are being laid off, and services to the unemployed and downtrodden are cut, then I can tell you.

If you recall we were pretty high on the hog in the 1990′s. That’s because the federal government was pushing money into the state budgets, the states pushed money to their cities and towns, and everybody was happy.

And then George W. Bush and the Republicans got control of the White House and the Legislature. They decided to get us into not one but two wars.

War is expensive, it costs money for all those trucks, tanks, and bullets. But this time around they did something unusual. They used a lot of contractors to provide security, mess functions, vehicle maintenance, etc. And who were those companies? They are Halliburton and Xe (Formerly known as Blackwater) to name a couple.

What we saw was a wholesale transfer of our tax dollars to corporations. I don’t mind that transfer when I control the purse strings to some degree, but what the Bush administration did was criminal.

So you see the great shell game. Just remember, you have a voice. Use it, register to vote, and stay in close touch with your elected representatives.

Uneven holiday policies in the U.S. November 11, 2011

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As you might be aware, today was Veterans Day. Yes, on a Friday.

And I noted city, state and federal offices were all closed. But I still had t go to work. But even there, several customers were “out of office”. Sure we got the obligatory “Honor a veteran” emails from our leadership, but really?

Now whenever city, state and federal are out so too is RIPTA, or they’re on a holiday schedule instead. And in general, the holiday schedules suck.

For example, I left a little early and the next bus was supposed to be there, on a holiday schedule, between 18 past and 23 past the hour.

Instead it got there at 37 past which means I’d not make my connection to the next bus which would be leaving at 45 past.

Well, I get to the transit hub and there’s my connecting bus. I try to squeeze through the crowd saying in a loud voice “Excuse me!” and nobody moves.

As I get older my patience for the lack of human manners gets on my nerves. So my next statement was a little louder “Get out of my fucking way.” and miraculously a hole opens up. But really, did I have to exert the effort to say that? I tried to be polite and you ignored it, so I had to get down in the gutter with you.

I get to the bus and he’s just pulling out. I flag him down, I know he saw me, and he continues on. Yes fuck you Mr. bus driver, fuck you very much.

But all of this could be avoided if for example all the soft federal holidays like Veterans, or MLK were mandatory shutdown days. Then we could avoid the general unpleasantness on my part.

Visibile in the night sky right now November 9, 2011

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If you look into the sky, around 5:20PM and you look just east to northeast you’ll get a treat.

In addition to the full moon, off to it’s lower right you’ll see Jupiter shining brightly in the sky.

Go back after a few hours and you’ll get to see the stars of Orion in about the same position. There’s Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, Mintaka, Alnilam, and Alnitak that are most visible even in heavily light polluted areas.

But get out and look as soon as you can. Because Jupiter moves from the lower right of the moon right now, into the upper right and off she goes.

Wherein NOM starts begging for money November 8, 2011

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So this was in my email today, I’ve excerpted it because we really don’t need the links to donate:

Dear Anthony,

I’m beginning to worry.

We have won victory after victory for marriage. California. Maine. Maryland. Rhode Island. Gay marriage is inevitable? Apparently, voters across America missed that memo.

But NOM is fighting on so many fronts right now our resources are being spread thin.

The same-sex marriage lobbyists rake in massive contributions from the usual Hollywood celebrities, huge foundations and wealthy billionaires.

What do we have? Millions of Americans just like you, Anthony. You have always been a steadfast leader in our effort to stop our opponents from redefining marriage.

But we simply must have your full support to defend marriage across the country.

It’s good that the bigots at NOM are being spread thin. After all, there are probably fewer than a dozen of them now, because thankfully one of their former acolytes, Louis Marinelli, spilled the beans that it really is just a small but vocal group of bigots!

And as to a ‘victory’ in Rhode Island, it’s a Pyrrhic victory because while we have a civil unions law that is pretty horrid for the exceptions carved out for the religious bigots, it’s not a solid victory for NOM. Why? Because sooner than later, someone is going to challenge their craptastic civil union as separate but equal, as creating two classes of people and how it violates certain provisions in the RI Constitution.

And I’m glad Brian is worrying. He should be worrying, because people are waking up to the duplicity invoked by NOM and their Ilk. On the one hand they’ll be all buddy buddy with LGBT folks but on the other they expose their animus toward us.

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