...but there is no danger of people participating in a democracy

by Terry 1/6/2010 1:29:00 PM

Apparently how a person might have been incarcerated is more important than the fact that a person managed to act in ways to become incarcerated in the first place.

“Washington state felons should have voting rights, federal court rules”
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2010708869_felons06m.html

<snip>Ryan Haygood of the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund said such cases are "very hard to win." But he described voting by incarcerated felons as the "best tool to re-integrate them into society."

"There is this view that there is reason to be fearful, but there is no danger of people participating in a democracy," said Haygood, who worked as co-counsel with Weiser on the case. "You don't lose when people participate in a democracy. That's especially true of people who are incarcerated."</snip>

I am skeptical that voting has been scientifically validated as the best means of integrating a felon into society. I would venture there are more effective re-socialization methods than allowing people demonstrably socially-shunned a way to vote change in the society that shuns them. Not everyone deserves the privilege to vote themselves back on the island.

If the means of incarceration are suspect, address that directly. The State declared rights to protect its own social stability. Indirectly addressing a law enforcement process of possible wrong-doing does not protect the underlying principles being altered. It neither protects the social contract the State was given to enforce nor does it address the rights of prisoners who may be improperly incarcerated.

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Head Down in Cloth Wraps

by Terry 11/13/2009 12:06:00 PM

I have been working head-down with Karen to get http://www.clothwraps.com/ up and running. Karen picked up the first production run of wraps last night and I shipped the first order this morning. Okay, technically I bought the first online order and shipped it to myself, but it is a real order in every sense. I had to do the process from start to finish at least once. Karen and I have never had an e-commerce business before, so testing the system is not a bad plan.

Visit the site at http://www.clothwraps.com/ and see the wraps. We also have other accessories in the works coming soon, so check back from time-to-time.

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Keeping it in the Cloud, a Cloudy issue

by Terry 10/15/2009 8:49:00 AM

With the recent T-Mobile and Microsoft Sidekick data loss incident, it is clear Cloud Computing is often mischaracterized as a safe means of data access, storage and application access. Take this quote from this report on the Sidekick issue.

“The Sidekick service, run by Microsoft unit Danger, is supposed to be more secure in storing data because it is kept in the "cloud," which involves storing information on the Internet and not one physically vulnerable location, making the temporary loss of data striking.”

What strikes me is the misconception in the statement. The data loss is striking because it is believed that cloud computing is secure and safe. Sadly, just because data is available on the internet does not make the data safe or secure. Just because an application is on the internet does not guarantee its availability, longevity or protability.

Take for example a service like Shutterfly, or Costco’s online print services. Karen, my wife, has made some fantastic albums using these services. The costs are reasonable, the quality is great. I have no complaint with the outcome (with one exception with Shutterfly sending invitations which had no printed text, but this ultimately had a good outcome).

Once I upload data, pictures and text, to a cloud application, there is no magical invincibility cloak surrounding my data. The service can be hacked, suffer from espionage, have a server fail, go out of business, and so on. Additionally, while the raw data may be mine, the formatted data that the service uses to provide its output is owned by the service itself. I may have my own personal copies of the picture and text, even the printed album in my hands, but the data to generate the album, calendar or greeting card I purchase is not transferable to another service. I cannot, in most cases, get the output of the first service in a generic, openly transferable bit of data to use in another service. In this sense, I do not own all the data that I may have purchased.

This is a common open source argument with proprietary data formats. If I do not have a copy of Wiget’s WordSmithe 1.0, I may not be able to read a document written with that tool. Cloud computing does not make this any less true and carries the additional risk of possessing the raw data to boot.

I will keep my data on my own storage and backup systems. I will even continue to use services like Shutterfly. I will always do so with a bit of caution in mind, asking myself, “if this service is gone in a year, how will I reproduce my work”?

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It’s a Pirate Ship! Damn the Rules!

by Terry 10/8/2009 12:24:00 PM

State's 'Pirates' ship too dirty for Calif.

“Washington's official state ship, the venerable Lady Washington, is no longer welcome in California.

The 112-foot square-rigger, perhaps best-known as the ship hijacked by Jack Sparrow in the Disney film "Pirates of the Caribbean," normally spends its winters in California waters. Last winter, it hosted more than 70,000 visitors and took more than 7,000 California school kids sailing from California ports.

But not this year.”

The ship is banned because it uses an old engine.

Would not a better alternative be to use processed cooking oil? Consider, a local law is changing the use and public access to a ship with some educational and public value in service for years. The change is forcing a non-government sponsored program to incur $100,000 of refit expenses, putting the program at risk.

I call this a symptom of unintended consequences. I would prefer to have rules imposed which only apply to new ships instead of forcing costly retrofitting. What are the costs of this required retrofit? It goes beyond the cost of replacing an engine. It includes the energy to produce a new engine, dispose of the old engine, transportation, and so on.

I could see a simple possible ‘eco-friendly’ work-around. Why not require the vessel use a bio-diesel alternative? I suppose the argument is that the emissions are unsavory with the current engine. How about the cannons? Are these emissions regulated too?

Damn the rules! It is a Pirate Ship! Who’s to say nay to their coastal passage!

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Another Way to Profit from Global Warming!

by Terry 9/22/2009 11:33:00 AM

Melting Ice Caps Expose Hundreds Of Secret Arctic Lairs

“ZACKENBERG RESEARCH STATION, GREENLAND—Claiming it to be one of the most dramatic and visible signs of climate change to date, researchers said Monday that receding polar ice caps have revealed nearly 200 clandestine lairs once buried deep beneath hundreds of feet of Arctic ice.”

I will have to alter my plans and build my secret hideout in the desert. I think I should contact a real estate broker in the Gobi desert and buy some large tracks of dead, arid land with my shell company. If I act now, I will be strategically poised to resell to the evildoers relocating from the arctic.

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A silly article to make you feel guilty

by Terry 9/2/2009 3:02:00 PM

I must be feeling snippy. I cannot resist taking this silly article apart.

Apparently, as this article (from Fox news of all places) implies, if you don’t move with the Chosen One, whose advisor says is “not an asshole”, than you must be an asshole. I say ‘Chosen One’ because of the attitude in the article and the advisor mentioned in the article. To imply that the leader of the nation is infallible is silly. To claim that argument or dissent from his view is stonewalling is equally silly. Politics are about dissident and compromise. Specifically, government is a generalized embodiment of the will of the people, and politics are the tools people use to influence this embodiment. As much as I don’t like a political ass, does not mean the ass is wrong.

Personally, I think being an asshole is a required personal trait for any politician. By definition, a politican is going to offend someone, probably a significant minority of people, in even the best of times. I am trying to see what is even newsworthy in this article. It serves no value than to say you should feel bad about yourself if you disagree with the ideas of the most powerful non-asshole on Earth. That is B.S.

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The Absence of Tyler

by Terry 9/1/2009 3:43:00 PM

Last week, shortly after I returned from Hawaii, Karen, Kaitlin and I made the hard decision to give up Tyler. We returned him to the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society where we found him and were contractually obligated to bring him if we found he did not work for our family.

The choice to give Tyler up was difficult. Tyler is a great dog. Unfortunately he nips and bites at smaller kids. Despite efforts to train him otherwise, we could not break this aggressive trait. One of our friends, somewhat jokingly, offered to let us borrow his child to let us train Tyler, but we could not take the risk. As a family, with our involvement in martial arts in the community, we are constantly around little children. Managing Tyler around the regular flow of children in our lives was too stressful. We cannot afford the risk of one child being injured. Regrettably, we gave Tyler up.

In every other way, Tyler is a wonderful dog. We miss him. Giving him up was a painful difficult act. We hope his new home is a better match for him.

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An Emotional Week

by Terry 8/12/2009 11:18:00 AM

Dieter Losansky, April 27, 1936 – August 10, 2009, Rest in Peace

My father died this week from complications from Mantel Cell Lymphoma, a form of cancer. He passed away on Monday morning with me, my sister and my step-mother at his side. After the months of suffering and the last week of rapid deterioration, being with dad as he slipped away was lifting; sad but relieving, tragic but not traumatic.

 I arrived last week, with my family, in Hawaii to spend a week with my dad, believing I would return to see him again in another two to four months. By the third day of my visit, I realized I would be staying to say goodbye to my father. He and I never were much for words with each other, particularly over the last ten years. Nevertheless, we had our moments in his last week and were able to be at peace.

I will miss my dad. He was a grand adventurer.

Karen, Kaitlin and Tyler are all back at home. I am staying longer in Hawaii. I now have somewhat reasonable high-speed internet access. I will try to balance work and responsibility while I am here.

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My Excuse is, Well, Lame

by Terry 7/23/2009 8:48:00 AM

My excuse is, well, lame. I have not posted anything because I am busy. It is lame as an excuse because my job has me sitting at a computer all day, I can make time to write something. I have avoided posting anything because anything I started to write sounded like whining about how much I have to do, which is meaningless and not worth posting. It would make more sense to post about what I am doing in a constructive way.

By constructive I mean I must change my mindset as of late. I have been deterministic. I have tasks, I do them, I do not multi-task, I set my work pace and muster through. This is all well and good if you are on a mission, bad for familial and social bonds, and terrible for strengthening relations. Rather than say, “I have nothing to say because I have too much to do”, I should be saying, “I am doing so much and here is what is worth sharing”. I am certain Karen would appreciate that approach. It also falls in line with my general principle; if you have nothing to say, don’t say it. Said another way; say it if it is worth saying.

So, I must say things worth saying.

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Up to my Eyeballs in Work

by Terry 6/15/2009 3:33:00 PM

I had not posted in awhile. A friend and former co-worker just returned from a lengthy trip. Now he has the onerous task of looking for work soon. This prompted a reply, which I thought I would add here, in edited form, as a general commentary.

I have been up to my eyeballs in new work and a bit of old. The new HP tools I have been working with come with a steep learning curve. It is not that the tools are hard to use; there are just so many new things to sort out and document. It never is simply plugging in the new software; it is actually making it work within the company and figuring out the exceptions from the expected. The products I continue to support keep chugging along, with some periodic updates. I am thankful I have work.

I have not heard much about the job market lately in software development; perhaps that is good news by itself. In general, news bulletins on layoffs have been absent as of late, so while jobs may not be in great abundance, the market may not be as flooded with job hunters. Think of it this way, anyone who has not yet found work may not be skilled or qualified enough. Any job openings that are available are looking for talent, and that talent has been skimmed off the top already

I think this will mean putting a name in the hat with dozens of other people for any given job. The greatest challenge for those who are most qualified will be getting a potential employer to see who is actually qualified and worth hiring. It is not like the dot-com days when anyone who could type could get a software job.

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About Terry Losansky

Terry Dee Losansky

I am a software architect, actively practice and teach martial arts and live in Snoqualmie, Washington. I have an amazing daughter who is the jewel of my life.

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