Dave The Web Guy

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My (Dream of A) Near Death Experience

11/02/2022

"Near Death Experiences" refers to a loose contingent of perspectives that are had while someone is either (medically defined as) clinically dead or in some cases have a brush with most certain death. Some people also include experiences while in a coma, or while under the influence of certain drugs such as DMT.

I first became of aware of these by reading one of Raymond Moody's books way back in the 70s, and was drawn to the mystical yet somewhat logical premise that our consciousness likely "has no end". Something I remain self-convinced of on the obvious demonstration that we are cognizant of the present.

Being cognizant of the present means, to me, that we never enter a devoid state of non-consciousness. Self-awareness itself is evidence of access to our information or experience of ourselves, for all eternity somehow. In this way, the specific construct of the afterlife is unimportant to me.  Whether it has a theological basis or a chaotically natural one, the point is that there is an afterlife.

For all my belief that there's "something to them", I take people who experience and then convey their stories of NDEs with a grain of salt. I put more legitimacy in the stories of people who told their tales prior to the money-minting of doing so (meaning, basically any story pre-70s). And I definitely scrutinize the stories of people in the age of social media and in particular YouTube. There, some of the people strike me as overly-eager "storytellers". I immediately click back from such videos that open up with someone declaring "I've had five near death experiences!", or who seem to affirm a particular theological perspective with it, or who allude to having picked up "mystical psychic" powers afterwards.

To my mother's tale, I myself died twice within 24 hours of my premature birth.  I have nothing notable to report, but, then, how much of one could the brain of an hours-old infant delineate and build in the first place.  Perhaps I did then, but nothing lasting in any intellectual sense.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Lettuce Embrace Webcam Fun

10/20/2022

The Brits love their satire.  But this is what happens when satire leaps to life.  

Liz Truss was very recently elected (on September 6) the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and, I guess there was enough opposition contrition to predict that she wouldn't last long in office.  In fact, a head of lettuce was figured to last longer.

To make the point, one of the newspapers set up a "Lettuce Cam" streamed via YouTube to compare the relative decay of a fresh head of lettuce against Truss's tenure in office. 

I don't suppose anyone really believed that the lettuce would outlast the prime minister, but alas, it did.

And now, the "Lettuce Cam" be rockin'.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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My Beef With The Times Leader Newspaper

08/27/2022

Note, the "deemed as spam" posting that triggered me this morning, is posted here on the good old open web.  You won't get what the comment is about if you're not familiar with Wilkes-Barre, but if you are, here's a chance to see the posting that the Times Leader muted under the guise of possibly being spam.  Maybe you will find it spammy, I dunno, but I'm giving it its daylight notwithstanding.  That's whatcha' can do with the open web.

Web capture of part of my posting at the Times Leader.

I, on ocassion, write long comments at the newspaper website local to my birth town of Wilkes-Barre PA, The Times Leader.  Consistently, however, they remove my posts typically without reason.  They just suddenly find themselves "under review by moderator" or as in today's case, now, the "blame the bot", "Detected as spam" tagline.  

The blocked postings always have some note appended about how someone will ultimately review the posting, which by my assessment, if they did so, would eventually result in it being immediately unblocked.  But only if they actually did so. 

In actual reality, the messages about "being under review" are perpetual, and last, well, seemingly forever.  Having a post put under moderated review is basically a death sentence for that posting.  Understandably nobody in the "industry-itself-is-dying" pressroom is wasting time bleeding more money than they have by having someone take time to review comments by the whacky open community, weigh them, then toggle them back to public view. 

That just isn't happening.

Now let's be clear, I don't know that my writings are are really that great.  In their own way they probably amount to the same stupid level of analysis and commentary as anyone eles's.  But, I do take time to craft each posting, so, they take a while and for better or worse, I am proud of each one.  To most people a web comment is a web comment.  To me, it's how people write their books and novels, one web place at a time, cumulatively.

I'm also a narcissist, and fairly open about it.  It's a character flaw, rooted in deep insecurity, yada yada, among a few other character flaws.  But it's also benign and has only ever bothered people for with which I am in some power struggle with, or, who feel threatened by my "power" -- if you can believe that I have any.  

I have no power, except to the people who know that I do.

When I have written something that hits a pitch-perfect balance while making a point, nothing makes me more happy to see a like or better, a string of likes, follow. 

It's not because I think it adds social proof or validation to my point;  validation is established the moment that I so make the post.  Rather, it's that it encourages me to do it again and again and again - to keep writing.  You know, that thing when an artist, singer, or YouTuber says "Your love keeps me going".  That thing.

Putting postings that are actually not offensive or mean, or if they are coming off that way somehow, are not unreasonably so with all due process toward empathy and compassion, into permanent "moderation review", is simply pure censorship.  

In making this point, I don't pretend that anyone cares.  Crying about online censorship boo-hoo-hoo (damn people, learn to put up your own websites already) in forums or on social media platforms is the stuff of right-wing nuts these days.  They actually have a case from time to time, but nobody cares.  And even prior to digital civilization, people really didn't care then either.  Censorship is a thing to scream because it feels good excusing your theories about Jewish laser stations in space by high-minded principles like freedom of speech, but it rarely gets the person screaming about it anyplace gratifying otherwise.

Coming back to earth about my purged posts though, even if there were a review that actually took place, and said review actually resulted in my posts being re-approved -- by then, interest in the topic matter and the fresh eyeballs have all moved on.  One could totally see a smart anti-Dave-gets-to-keep-his-post-on-my-fancy-pantsy-newspaper-website-but-only-after-nobody-cares clearing a moderation flag days or weeks later, just to say a fair review was given.  But now nobody's going to see it, and Dave ain't getting his likes or his exposure.  And Mister or Miss "mustache-twirler" would be right.  It's very deflating.  



  By Dave for for WBRAIL.

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Greenwood Good Samaritan Adds Nothing to Gun Debate

07/21/2022

Screen capture of good Samaritan who shot mass shooter.

Look, it's not interesting that someone shot a would-be mass shooter.  Many, maybe even most, mass shooters get shot.  They are either shot by police, though, a fair number also wind up actually shooting themselves.   Mass shooters get shot, and they die -- it doesn't matter who shot them. 

Because of this, examples of good Samaritans like Elisjsha Dicken taking out a mass shooter before he can inflict more carnage do not strengthen the gun advocate's argument.

Innocent people still died and that number of similarly innocent people adds up when multiplied over all the cases of people dying before mass or piecemeal shooters are shot themselves.  Those who advocate for the elimination of gun rights to reduce the circulation of firearms, to reduce shootings, have a better case out of this incident than gun right advocates do in trying to make theirs.  So any narrative to the contrary is pretty ironic.

The reasons are pretty simple:  Mass shooters typically get the drop on everyone with respect to their intent, and some such as the Buffalo Tops shooter, even wear body armor.  A good man with a gun doesn't resolve things like that.  In the Tops shooting a "good man with a gun" was annihilated in seconds thanks to the latter circumstance. He died shooting and said shooting made no difference.  

Note I am not taking up sides here, I tend to favor handgun ownership these days, in fact.  But that doesn't mean that I am not bothered by people sipping up instances of drama stupidly making arguments for their cause.  The best and only good argument gun right advocates have is that it appears to be a Constitutional right, so if we care about that, we have to adjust as a society.  People who advocate against the elimination of guns (of which I have no example to provide since just about everyone who argues against guns is really arguing for sensible gun control -- gun 'nutters just "hear" something else in their delusional foaming) would be logically correct that eliminating all guns would obviously frustrate their circulation, and gun deaths and mass shootings would eventually fall to near nil.  A moot point considering that, again, Americans have this right to bear arms.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Random Life Update 1

06/12/2022

Here's what's been going on with my life for the past few months.

First, my friend Jim and I have ventured forth and started a podcast.  It's called the Low Barrier Podcast which is titled to parody the reality that everyone is starting one.  I mean, podcasts have been a thing for at least 10 years in general, but as of late, a lot of people are firing up microphones to join the fun

To me, as saturated as the craft is, it's a lot like a more formalized and technically savvy version of 1970s CB radio fad.  About 90 percent of the people, like Jim and I, talk about nothing with any kind of gravity.  We are trying, like everyone else of course, to move into a sphere above by improving show quality and maintaining a consistency.  We are now 11 episodes in and with much room for improvement in future episodes.

I'm also moving soon.  It's to a new neighborhood literally blocks away from the Canadian border, so for the next two months or so I'm going to be engaged in box moves, some house repairs, and all the usual hassles, stress, and frustrations that come with it. 

I am anguished about leaving the trendy neighborhood I've lived in for the past 3 years, but alas, most of the potential good time in it was ruined by the pandemic.  Though, in any event, it became pretty clear to me that living in stairs-distance to all the area bars was leaving me nothing more than at risk of being arrested every weekend. 

Originally I imagined myself as some sort of artisan joining the most eclectic neighborhood in Buffalo.  In reality, I wound up the annoying drunk barfly even steep tips couldn't abate the bar tenders who had to deal with me.  

I gave being hip at 50+ a chance and we'll just say, it didn't work out.

Now I'll have a chance to focus on supporting a home with someone I love and want to be there for, making up for some lost time I hope.  Not to mention, all while enjoying my hobby of over-securing a large property with webcams.   Because, yeah, I have that obsession and my new flat gives me a platform to express it with.

In fact, my move will require me to bring down the Buffcam overlooking Allen Street and Delaware Avenue.  If you are someone with an interesting vantage point in the Allentown neighborhood, reach out to me to discuss how you can continue hosting the camera and keeping the view alive.

And, it looks changes may be in store on the work front, too, but it's too soon to tell how and in what capacity.   Recent events there have expanded my range of support expertise and value, and I think it's going to lead to greater things if not more challenging ones. 



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Sensible Death Won't Stop Senseless Death

05/18/2022

Looking over the streams of narratives coming out in wake of the mass shooting here in Buffalo, I encountered this one about a candidate for governor capitalizing on the tragedy for visceral "string'em up and hang'em" votes (or just dumbly offering solutions).

Capture of news headline about governor looking to re-institute the death penalty.

It's not that I don't think the death penalty is worthy justice for the victims; it's just that knowing the ultimate penalty might be death doesn't actually deter enough people from doing whatever heinous thing they might, to make me think politicians who champion it are on the up and up level with voters.

The way we, if you'll pardon the pun - execute - the death penalty in America doesn't work to deter criminals enough to tolerate the immorality and penchant for errors of process it incurs.

In the first place most people doing horrible things are acting at some level, irrationally in the first place. Crazy doesn't consider its future. And to those who might, they know the death "system" can be gamed and dragged on for years.  In fact, you don't even have to "game" it; by default it just is a slow multi-decade process. 

As we know the process to take, it would never effectively deter anyone in their 40s or older from acting out who would sooner die of old age waiting for their turn in the chamber.

The death penalty also doesn't deter the "dry suicides". People who have killed themselves spiritually ages ago yet still walk physically among us hurting others and committing crimes, indifferent to their life status or to that of others.  Our consumer winner-lose society breeds these dark souls to no end.

And scrupulous politicians know it. It's just more "Rush Limbaugh Profit Hour" nonsense designed to illicit more votes from people who have an over-idealized idea of what the death penalty on the books actually accomplishes.

I have always been more for keeping people locked up without parole. Sometime after the fifth year or so of hardcore incarceration they truly begin to feel the torture of consequence for what they've done as the world forgets about them and whatever stupid cause they acted in the name of.

Plus, if there has been a mistaken conviction, which is far more common than people think, it's a safeguard that they can be still be rescued.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Facebook as the Murderer of TikTok Found in the Parlor

03/30/2022

Boom yah!

My hunch that news stories on the negative effects of social media on teens or anyone are astro-turfed has  proven largely correct in this Washington Post piece, Facebook paid GOP firm to malign TikTok.

Specifically prescient to the news above I wrote last December:

I'm surprised by none of it of course.  I'll just fall back on my mantra that this happens because the more social media is discredited, the more value old school media retains. Important because the value and authority of mainstream media are deflating at an unbelievable rate.

There's just one twist to the specifics of my conspiracy theory, though -- it wasn't the legacy mainstream media doing the turfing.  It turns out, at least according to the story linked above, that it was Facebook that was secretly pushing the narrative.  A social media competitor

Or so it seems.  As we consider the story we must also consider that the revelation is being brought to my attention from an entity of the legacy mainstream media itself, The Washington Post.  And, I was tipped off by an old-fashioned TV station's tweet. 

So, is it really Facebook, or is this an example of legacy mainstream media cleverly attempting to conquer social media by dividing its industry players?

Folks, this thing may run deeper than any of us imagine. 



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

deauthorizethemedia

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Buffalo Police Takedown With Officers Shot

03/29/2022

Dramatic radio traffic capture of Buffalo Police chase on early evening of 3/29/22 that begins with Buffalo Police attempting to engage a Jeep Cherokee in a traffic stop.  Three police officers and one suspect are ultimately shot during course of.

The first recording begins at 5:56 PM EST and includes chatter until 7:59 PM EST.  The recording was non-managed and covered several agencies (BPD, NFTA Transit police, Buffalo fire, and others), so some key recordings were eclipsed by others as the mayhem unfolded. 

For a complete inquiry you should be sure to check out other recordings that emerge online (Tonawanda Fire Alert has posted a YouTube of audio which includes other dramatic facets BuffScan's misses).

At entry time the three officers were said to be doing well.  Suspects, including one of the shooters who evidently experienced an "emotional reaction" to being pulled over (sarcasm), are said to be in custody.



  By Dave for for BuffScan.

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New URL and Name for A Place to Paste

03/07/2022

The former "A Place to Paste" is now "A Tab to Paste".

The renaming has a bit to do with clumsiness in keeping up with my web domain registrations, but, it's all good.  

It made me think about a better name that incorporates the best way to use the utility, which has always been to use it in a persistently open browser tab.

You can read the specific details about how to use this Dave the Web Guy utility here.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Adulting The Snow

01/17/2022

Snow scene in the parking lot

Just went out to "dig my car out" but with no place I had to be. I just have to face the fact that I actually went to play in the snow -- with adult rationalizing.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Is Restorative Justice About Being Broke?

01/08/2022

I keep thinking that during the famously safe years in New York City which I loosely define as between the mid-90s to as recently as only a few years ago, a lot of money was being spent on policing, investigation, and incarceration. 

Maybe too much.

Recently elected NYC DA won't prosecute certain low-level crimes.

Confronting and arresting fare beaters turned out to be unbelievably effective at curbing the circulatory system of people so inclined to do so, who tended to be the same people inclined to do worse.  The Broken Windows thing and all that.  

But it must have been expensive to catch those people, to paint over all emergent graffiti, and to fix every broken window.  So much so, I suspect, that finding ways to justify giving up doing these things has become the imperative.

I am beginning to think that the concept of restorative justice is being allowed to win at the policy level because just maybe we can't afford the level of safety we enjoyed with "intercept, confront, arrest." 

Notice I phrase myself with "allowed to win" because certainly there is nothing wrong with the elements of restorative justice or fair and more compassionate policing.  We would agree any and all of those things are important.  But the fact that these concepts are being allowed to dominate both the process and the outcome as total solutions, is a bit telling.   

No DA can politically tell people the money to aggressively fight crime just isn't there, so adopting noble narratives to explain why that won't be done moving forward might just be the shrewd move.  

Now, I can't tell you that I've dug into the data -- I haven't.    You're only reading this on your screen because any moog with a keyboard can post shit to the interwebs.  But that being said, something has to explain the national trend for ducking confrontations with bad guys.  That we can't afford to seems to fit the bill. 

What I really hope is that I and most people completely misunderstand what the game of pursuing low level crimes is actually all about.  Maybe we as moogs only think that no longer pursuing low level crimes is any different than when we did -- somehow -- and all that's happening here is that some political-minded DA is attempting to solidify his voter base by minting the right words and actions in the media's face.

Linkage:

 



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Yes, Your Blog Can be Censored, But...

01/02/2022

I happened upon:

Snippet from Reddit forum.

Reddit discussion.

Yes, a web hosting provider can "censor" you as much as Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media forum might.  A web hosting provider might decide to take you offline at any time.  So why do I offer up "running your own blog" and "hosting your own site", like yours truly, as some sort of panacea for avoiding it?

It's because it's more a question of resiliency and the culture of web hosting providers.  Twitter and Facebook have decided to become moderators.  Chances are your web hosting provider of choice, such as GoDaddy, has not.

Twitter and Facebook have hired teams of people looking for things to act against.  A wise move considering that the top energy of these places involves people pumping in ground-level content, at what must be millions of interactions per minute. 

On the other hand, a crank like me pushing out a blog post maybe once every few weeks, and then having that blog post generate enough interest to push people over the friction barrier to comment back, hardly merits a single intern doing the same.

But of course there are "high velocity" personal blogs out there, so even if there is a temptation to monitor activity with an eye to zap any hint of non-conformity, the impulse goes against the early-established ethos of web hosting which is something along the lines of "we just give you the space to rant, the consequences are on you".

Those dynamics do not make for bulletproof protection of course, which is the basis for my overall philosophy that no forum, analog or digital, is ever going to be completely free of the risk.  In fact the Wikipedia article for internet censorship currently breaks down 7 control points that can be exploited in a way that either knocks you offline completely or severely diminishes your reach and influence.

But look:  Having your own hosted blog or website drops you much farther away from the frontline debate and all of its component triggers.  You are protected much better in cases where you are making a strong statement with perhaps ambiguous clauses, than you are on social media where there is less tolerance for either, particularly in the accumulation dimension.

The snippet from a Reddit thread above about Marjorie Greene's Twitter account being suspended over Covid misinformation posts, which prompted me to make this entry, is ironically itself a reminder why you can't even rely on the conduits of discussion on these matters to take place.  If you visit the thread now, you'll find that it has been locked by the moderators.

So yeah, if you want greater resilience against censorship, and certainly more direct control, you need to get back to blogging and web hosting.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Working on RSS

01/02/2022

Sorry for any RSS noise.  I am working on an enhanced RSS process that allows me to update any given entry and have it reflect as an update there.  No more sinking feelings fearing that important edits are not seen.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Blog Locked and Loaded for 2022

12/31/2021

2022 Happy New Years postcard.

Well here it is 2022!  Or it will be by the time you make your way to these words.  You will notice the site is now hosted by "dwghoster.com", and that I've tweaked the blog's presentation a bit. 

Behind the scenes I also updated the SQL code which consumed a good many of my days off from work to do so. 

This is a big year for me because all the work I put into this blogging system last year will now allow me to focus more on the craft, content, and the encouragement of others to join me in rebuilding an ad-free blogging network (see my post on Reddit looking for local bloggers to help get the ball rolling).

Decentralization and direct control over data are going to be my key digital strategies in 2022.  I'm putting more operational mechanics and power back onto the PC where things are responsive, and most of all, private.

It turns out that this impulse is in complete alignment with something called Web 3.0, of which a key theme is decentralization

And here is the lame first-hit when Googling that, and what they say:

Web 3.0 is anticipated to help overcome this problem as it is expected to be a decentralized version of the Internet where people have control over their data. The third version of the internet will have more transparency and boast massive content that will be accessible to all.

What's Old is Artificially New Again

As far as the digital industry and pundits are concerned this goes hand in hand with blockchain stuff, which is fine.  But the fact is, the internet and world wide web are decentralized by their very nature.  When people talk about decentralizing, they're literally talking about going back to the way things once were in habit and process.

People need things to happen as a paradigm shift  in order to validate, I dunno, whatever riches their punditry and professional reputations get them.

It's too soon to say if the forces and institutions that are invested in centralization and all of the control and monetization that go along with it will successfully mount a counter-revolution  (e.g., perhaps making sure they are secretly the de-centralizers, if they can pull that off without anyone noticing).  But at least the mantra and spirit are spot on.

Either Way...I'm Decentralizing

No matter what ultimately comes to be, I myself am taking control of my digital property, data, and identity.  I've moved most of my accumulated data off the cloud, thanks to a NAS system, and I've gone back to the Microsoft ecosystem where files can still be generated using client-side applications. 

I can anticipate the collective gasps that I would consider Microsoft to be an instrument of decentralization, them being one of the evil tech empires and all.  But in the very specific context I just described, they are. 

Microsoft as a company sells software and solutions first, and (seems) to dabble in advertising and search second.  For me, that matters. 

Of course, the distinction doesn't change the fact that they have an inferior cloud product when compared to Google, a situation that in my opinion arises from failing to create their own "device-in-hand" hardware; smart device home line; or any real auto solution.  Not to mention that to offer any cloud ecosystem at all, they have to retrofit their legacy product line to work with one.  To me the latter still seems to walk with all the elegance of Frankenstein, though I do believe they will get it together one day.  

Google by contrast was able to design from the ground up with only the cloud in mind, and now their universe is just so much more effectively all-encompassing.

Ducking the big tech cloud as the point, however, means I am uncaring of the quality of their cloud success.  It's how I can still use their programs in my space that is the issue.

Should Microsoft ever abandon its PC-line of software and force everyone to use their products as a web service for good, I'd probably move on to any number of freeware software to continue.  But, let's hope Microsoft sees the ironic wisdom in giving consumers the option of de-clouding, and continues to provide the professional service-approach ecosystem to pull that off.

I'm Bringing You Along

I'm going to decentralize you too this year by being more vocal about blogging (getting off social media, or, perhaps more like me, at least maintaining a blog), and, believe it or not, I have my eye on getting people back to Usenet with contemporary arguments for doing so.  More on that coming up.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Website Turbulence Ahead

12/28/2021

Update:  The bulk of the transition is complete.  At this point it's me fixing bugs and such that crop up during use only.  All the known proactive stuff is complete!  (Though I am working on enriching RSS more, sorry for any RSS noise).

It's a good thing I don't have steady visitors to this website to pick up on the instability wrought by my numerous web hosting manuevers of late. 

But, should you notice, be aware that for the remainder of this week, 12/28 through 1/2, the website will be up, down, and all around, as I work to resituate it with a new hosting service.

Short story is, I tried to serve the site on the cheap through shared hosting.  I try this every couple of years thinking for sure that shared hosting as a methodology must surely have evolved new management processes to ensure speed and stability.  The dream of saving money for what stands as little more than a personal hobby is too alluring, and I take the bait.  

Then, after a few weeks or months, the brick walls I hit while the shared resources of the not-actually-anymore-evolved-than-the-last-time-I-tried, choke and sputter, chases me back to a VPS.  Overhead of the actual monies and the time involved in setting everything back up -- again --, included.

The only upshot of this reckless nonsense I put myself through is that, it's just plain old fun.  Plus, the reset is a chance to weed out and tighten up things in the process.

Ah well, so, if you land here and the page doesn't load or something, try again later.  The URLs are going to change a little too.  Good thing I don't monetize anything. 



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Planets Without Houses

12/27/2021

This would completely screw up astrology.

"What house is your Widget in?"

"I dunno man, it's just way out there!"

Actually, since "houses" are really just imaginary dissections from the perspective of Earth, I guess they'd be someplace on the wheel, but I just find this a fascinating read.



  By Dave for for Earl Pin Astrology.

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Best Buffalo Webcams for Wind Storm

12/11/2021

There's a major wind storm whipping through Buffalo this moment, and it's expected to continue until 10 PM or so.

Here's a collection of the best live (or, almost live) online web cams you can use to scout the city proper and beyond for damage and conditions.

Traffic 511 Webcams

Once you land on the site, scroll in to Buffalo.  You'll see a dozen and more camera links mounted across the interstate highway system.  Pick one by clicking the camera and assuming the camera is working (some are not) you'll first be presented with a static image, but if it's available, you can click the "video" link for live video.

The "Mr. Pizza" Webcam

Offered up by BuffaloWebcam.com, Mr. Pizza is a smooth look at this entire sordid affair from the pedestrian level as the neighborhood goes on as close to normal as it can.

The same website offers a view North on Elmwood.

Screenshot of Mr. Pizza webcam.

The Peace Bridge Authority Webcams

The Peace Bridge Authority apparently hosts a series of live webcams via YouTube Live.  Awesome.  They have 4 operating webcams, all crystal clear.

Screenshot of Peace Bridge Authority's YouTube channel.

BuffCam - Delaware Avenue and Allen St.

This isn't a live camera but if you click the remote viewing box you'll get a self-refreshing updated image every minute (remember to allow pop-ups for this site in your web browser).  The camera overlooks the intersection of Delaware Avenue and Allen Street.

Screenshot from Buffcam website.

We might as well keep this list growing for tonight, and beyond!  If you know of another operating webcam, be sure to contact me.



  By Dave for for BuffScan.

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Full Instagram Previews are Back on Twitter

11/05/2021

This is great news:  Instagram posts are now going to show up on Twitter feeds as real pictures again.  As it is/was, sharability from Instagram to Twitter was limited to a link reference.  Post a picture of your pie, and a boring old hyperlink to that picture would show up in Twitter -- assuming you opted to share at all.

But, the Verge account of why the one-time behavior was ever changed in the first place, and the somewhat random meandering way it came back, exemplifies the disturbing capriciousness resulting from all these private enterprises bonking no-brainer easy solutions back and forth like gods, while we the digital consumers exist as mere pawns.

I for sure as a 55-year-old guy with zero social capital, or "synergy" if you will, should not be caring about this as much as I do,  but I believe in the digital revolution and really hate when we have examples of getting less usability, or a gain, by power broker whims.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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The Email Advantage is Gone

11/02/2021

Image capture of email from Amazon announcing end of email support through Alexa.

Ouch!  For the longest time it was only Alexa that could access my Workgroup (GSUITE) email and calendar info when Google Home itself still couldn't. 

For real:  For the longest time GSUITE account holders could not use a Google device, like a Google Mini, to play back their email or calendar information. 

But, if you had an Alexa, you could.  It really made no sense. 

Eventually Google caught up with its own product line, and finally you could ask questions like "What's on my calendar today" or "What's in my inbox".

That the news now is that that Alexa will no longer access email or calendars for Google or Microsoft is ironic.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Deli Firebombed, Hero Most Certainly Saves the Day

11/01/2021

Welp, here's a firebomb attack on a deli.

The first lob was devastating enough, but the second would have surely been fatal.  Fortunately an apparent hero emerges to prevent that. Let's hope they find and credit that guy.

The bomber, Joel Mangal, was arrested.  Of course one can't be sure it's the same "Joel Mangal", but there's a name and locale match on LinkedIn where a one Joel Mangal professes "experience in heating and air conditioning".  If it's the same guy, he sure did heat things up, and, he's surely now cooling down in jail.

Linkage



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Voting for the Extremely Moderate

10/31/2021

Picture of Buffalo voting ballot.

In a few minutes I'll be headed over a few blocks to participate in early voting for some of the local offices. 

After a very conflicted contemplation, I have settled on:

Byron Brown for Mayor - (D) - All the evidence I've seen is that he's done good work and is very astute as a person, politician, and moderate.  I'm balking at extremism for the next few elections, and while I sympathize with India Walton's ideals, and could tolerate a possible Walton win, I feel it's more important to restore sanity to politics and public policy, and reward effective moderates like Byron Brown.  So, I'm "writing down Byron Brown".  I wouldn't vote for Trump if I were Republican either.

I would vote for Indian Walton under a different configuration.  If the mayorship of the past years had been horrible, demonstrably corrupt, were against a Trump conservative, etc., I would totally contribute to the on-ramping of a socialist mayor in this country.  But as I will say below, hopefully if she does somehow lose, she will nonetheless become a major seat in the table of the direction of this city and of its social policies. 

As it is, I see her primary win as merely the result of inaction by Mayor Brown at the time, and a flooding of a niche social segment into the voting, in the first place.

John Garcia for Sheriff - (R) - In general I am a strong supporter of law enforcement and social civil control.  While I think more needs to be done at the human level to prevent crime and civil decay, that should little involve police or law enforcement arms who I admit would stand to benefit from a gain in broader socialist agendas.  It would mean they could actually focus on criminal intercept and investigation, much to the dismay of robbers and scofflaws. 

Garcia is a Republican candidate who supports a more technically advanced and strong modern police force without going Trump in the process.   

Kimberly Beaty would be fine for many political offices and should probably try for another one not so vertically involving the logistics of a working law enforcement agency, fully acknowledging that that is her skillset and profession.  Her compassion and ideals need to be in the fabric of said logistics, and to be sure, she would not be the worst candidate to win if she does. 

Speaking of the worst candidate though, the less said about Trump-aligner Karen L. Healy-Case, the better.  The Trump win of 5 years ago is going to spell many election cycles of this kind of vermin showing up as legitimate candidates.

The other offices cited on the ballot are not elections that I have been focused on, nor do I even necessarily understand the very offices they pertain to.  So I'll probably do a quick cursory sweep of Trump-supporting names and make sure to vote for anyone not, or, just skip them outright. 



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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No, The Sun Sign Is Not Why You Serial Kill

10/23/2021

Just surfing the web this morning and happened upon this.  A vapid pop-astrology attempt to correlate Sun sign positions with serial killing.

I first encountered a mention of this article by a mayonnaise news spread article in the New York Daily News, and just assumed that they had deliberately over-simplified the connection between Sun signs and serial killers because of course people think of astrology in no more complex terms than the Sun's position at birth.  They were keeping it simple to keep it readable.  Surely the actual astrology of the study took into account other elements of birth charts, right?

That gracious assumption was dashed when I clicked through to the study and determined that, horrifically, the authors were in fact talking only about Sun sign positions.  Facepalm.

Running into this article invoked a reaction from me for three reasons.  First, as an advocate of real astrology, vapid references to merely the Sun's position for any substantial analysis is wrenching. 

Second, as a holder of a Bachelor's Degree in Criminology I'm 'apposed to know something or at least be keen on the basic factors involved with criminality.  Which, since I am to at least that very basic level, I better understand facets of criminal behavior and am more qualified to map them to appropriate planetary influences if I'm also going to be an astrologer.

Finally, as a (cough) "practicing astrologer" -- to the degree that I actually am -- I have a specific interest in reverse engineering common outcomes to their astrological basis.  

For example, marital infidelity is far from uncommon, but this does not mean that the millions if not billions of untold cheaters in civilization's entire history all have some clear marker in their respective birth charts.  They don't, they couldn't.  But looking at the birth chart of a cheater you can decipher the very unique motivations to the very non-unique act.

While serial killing is clearly not "common", it happens relatively frequent enough to assure that the actual birth charts between individual perpetrators are likely vastly different. 

There are a lot of pop buzzwords that make up the continent of most people's understanding of serial killers, most of which are accented by the media culture eager to feed people's appetite for real crime drama. 

If you want to even attempt pairing these buzzwords to the planets you'd be looking at things like a chart's integration of personal planets to Mars (violence and lust, or, perhaps more Pluto for sexual sadism), Virgo for compartmentalizers and highly intelligent systematizers, of which many serial killers are reputed as. 

If you believe the trope that serial killers are always somehow more charming than the average bear (the Ted Bundy ethos), you'd be looking at Venus or the Sun itself, with expected emphasis in Libra or any of the communicator signs. 

But above all, you'd be looking for strong personal touches such as the Moon to Neptune or Pisces, since most serial killers, despite their attempts to intellectually explain their behavior, a thing they do for interviewers and jail guards, are likely most motivated by a general compulsion that they themselves do not understand. 

Compulsions and addictions and the ability to self-deny and be "dark" are all Neptune/Pisces things.  Throw in a little Mars, a little of that Virgo, a little Sun, and a conflicted Moon, well, if among these types of configurations you found any sort of a pattern, I'd believe it far more than the mere degree of one's Sun on the wheel.

I completely get that the study's authors aren't making a declaration about such deep astrological factors -- they speak in the tongue of "Entertainment Astrology" of which to that degree there's really no harm, no foul.  Anybody talking about just Sun signs, that website's apparent audience, probably isn't interested in the rest of it.



  By Dave for for Earl Pin Astrology.

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Ported Earl Pin Astrology

10/09/2021

I seem to recall about a year ago I was on track to become a highly regarded astrologer under the persona of Earl Pin Astrology.

I wonder whatever happened to that.

Well, in any event, as with my the other WWW properties that I am consolidating into this one, I just ported and merged all content from Earl Pin Astrology to this blog. 

You can now continue to enjoy my apparently yearly astrologically-themed postings under the category tag of EarlPinAstrology.

As well, I have a dedicated "page" at this website which links out to the other channels and kind of sort of replaces the WWW dedicated website once associated with Earl Pin.

The consolidation project continues as I will now focus on Tampa Rail and Wilkes-Barre Rail.



  By Dave for for Earl Pin Astrology.

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The Cusp Question

10/09/2021

In general, there are two schools of thought when it comes to luminaries as they may exist on the "cusp".  For purposes of this entry I'll go along with the pedestrian flow and use the Sun sign in discussing them, along with my revelation about which seems to hold more true in practice.

I assume everyone landing on this article gets the concept of a cusp.  It's not an astrological term after all but a bona-fide open entity in the world of linguistics and literature.  If I Google the definition of "cusp", which I just did, the top result explains it as the period of transition between two states.

It's just so associated with astrology because, well, damn -- in astrology there are so many changes between "states".  Planets cross the borders of houses and signs, and even aspects can have cusps.

People who talk and learn casually about astrology who are cusp-born typically know it.  They are honed to learn this over time when, using their birth date, they come to realize that every astrological profile they set down to absorb differs on whether they are "in" one sign or the next. 

It would certainly breed a sort of skepticism about astrology if nobody could tell you which g--damned sign you actually were.   Though perhaps you should be tortured if you're taking anything from knowing your "Sun sign" anyway -- though I digress.

Then, such a person meets a schlub like me in a bar, someone trying in the most unimaginative and outdated of ways to procreate through drinking among random strangers with "What's your sign" pickup lines to anyone dumb enough to seat themselves partnerless in my proximity (we'll have to assume the person is a woman, but then, have I ever really disclosed my sexuality?  This is 2020 people, get with it!), which then leads to a discussion of astrology way beyond what that person may have been expecting -- or wanted.  

Assuming I don't get the turn-and-shoulder block at this point, or my prospect doesn't manage to send the secret "bartender I gotta creepo here'" signal, I can get down to the nitty gritty.  In a rare moon, a fellow bar patron in this context is genuinely interested.

In most cases, I explain, you don't have to tell people you are born on the cusp of anything.  You actually are one sign or the other, if we even agree the Sun sign means jack-widdly anyway.  But yes, you have to determine what that "one thing or another" actually is by having a bona-fide birth chart done, based on the best birth time you have available.  

The Two Schools

As I mentioned, there are two schools of thought among astrologers once the question is sorted out by a real chart calculation.

The first school says to you something like, as the Sun moves toward one sign and wanes from the other, it transfers the energy gradually, so you in fact could be factored by both signs while this occurs.

I like that idea the most because when you step back from the entirety of the zodiac,  consider that a "sign" or a "house" is actually just a collection of degrees.

Any degree of a point on the chart should be defined by its distinction from the 359 other degrees around it.  So, Aries is only Aries because it subtracts and adds the influence of the 11 other signs such that, in that circle, it has its own expressive energy.   In short, Aries is Aries because it is Taurus, but since Taurus lacks some attribute of Aries while adding others, it can't really be Aries.  Moving on,  Aries is Gemini, except Gemini can't really be Aries because Gemini lacks, or adds, some attribute of Aries.  And so on.

If the energy of a degree on the zodiac wheel exists because it is the sum of all energy it couldn't be among the other 359 degrees, which themselves exist in influence for the same reason, it only makes sense that the weight of a sign's influence evenly and poetically passes off in these incremental changes as it moves through the wheel.  Hence, an Aries born on the cusp of Taurus might well appreciate that they have the weakest Aries qualities along with the strengthening Taurus ones, because that makes the most sense.

But, then there is the other school of thought -- and keep in mind that I have not yet revealed my own experience or preference in this question.

The other school looks at the beginning of each sign as a "reset" of the former influence.  You simply cannot be an Aries if your Sun is at 1 degree Taurus.  Or even zero dot half a degree.  Once the Sun leaves the previous sign, the influences of that sign evaporate.  You are left a weak child of the new sign's influences which in a way have not yet coalesced into the attributes and personality traits so commonly associated with it.

I hate that vision of how it works because it tosses out the symmetrical uniform beauty of zodiac degrees all existing as the total sum of what all the other degrees have and don't have.  And, dammit, I am a systems person.  Signs that mysteriously drop their influence at fixed points on the zodiac wheel then "magically" acquire a new one, is just too much a process to wrap my head around. 

But (sigh) as much as I cringe to say it, over time, I've come to find more in truth with the latter school of thinking than the former.

The Reality is a Scream

Of course I have my usual twist on the why, which is that while I don't so much find a weak influence of the sign being transitioned into, I do consistently find that a planetary or astrological sign is a sign no more certainly that sign than when it is in the final degrees of it

Absolutely, hands down, no foolin'.

A Leo personality is no greater a Leo personality than when the Sun (or, let's get real, Moon) is in the final degrees of Leo.  A Sagittarian is no more expressive as a Sagittarian than when it is in the final degrees of Sagittarius. 

I suppose if you wanted to look at this way, the early degrees of a sign seem to be tepid expressions of it.  Then, as the degrees gain strength in that 30-mark window, they mature and take on more visible and absolute traits long associated with that sign, until finally they reach the end -- the 28/29 degree mark -- where they are fully developed and, morbidly facing their demise as they prepare to transition into the next sign, begin to scream loudest.  When you think about it, ain't that how people behave?

If we wanted to "prove" astrology and needed a dynamic to rely on, we could start with this concept, because in my experience, it is that reliable.  But assuming my experience is correct, why do cusp people believe they are blended personalities?

We're all just speculating here but I'll offer up that at the most fundamental level, for the very reasons I banged out above, it's just easier to believe that blending is a real thing.  I sure as hell wanted to believe that's how things work. 

As well, there is confirmation bias at an astrological level.  You see, the location of the Sun at birth effectively places the location of Mercury and Venus.  These planets will either exist in the sign just before, in the same, or just after, whatever the Sun is in.  These two planets are relatively speaking very personal (though, nowhere near as much as the Moon or rising sign), and go a long way to developing a certain personality.  A good body of people, let's just say half, will have their Mercury or Venus in the preceding sign (Aries if it is someone born on the Aries/Taurus cusp, but on fine analysis of the chart shows they are Taurus), so will have very key Aries qualities to their personalities.  Someone with the Sun at 29 degrees of Aries but with a Taurus Mercury could be forgiven for thinking themselves genuinely blended with Taurus stuff due to the cusp.

And then of course, there is the rest of the chart.  Most births occur in the morning, just after sunrise in fact.  This means people of a given Sun sign will have rising signs that are next in line of it.  So, yes, for sure, a Cancer Sun sign person is very likely to have a Leo rising sign (statistically speaking only) which would lead anyone born on the end cusp of Cancer to logically conclude they are simply blending their Cancer farts with Leo farts.  And as well of course, there are other more random placements such as the Moon or other aspects, that could similarly fuel the belief.

Leave your questions as comments for a response here or on the YouTube channel (which I'll beg you to subscribe to).



  By Dave for for Earl Pin Astrology.

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Uranus Was On Display This Weekend

10/09/2021

Uranus was visible to the naked eye this weekend, and might still be depending on where you are.  I try to avoid mixing astronomy and astrology topics when talking about the latter; I've noticed over the years it just irks the scientific community -- astronomers, physicists (in particular Brian Greene who once snarked against it on Twitter).  However there is a notable reason to bring it up nonetheless. 

In most of the reporting for this event you'll notice that articles mention it being in Aries.  That's true from an astronomical perspective where the observable sky is mapped in part by taking advantage of the placement of constellations.  "Uranus is in Aries" because looking at the sky it's currently located in the constellation of Aries.

But astrologically, it's in Taurus.  

Again it's the whole Sidereal versus Tropical thing.  You can read the Wiki for the details on how they differ as systems, but it's a good time to clarify for sake of the astrology discussed at this blog and indeed most of Westernized astrological practice, that it's Tropical that counts.  

The positioning of planets in the constellations used to match up while the earliest astrological concepts were being sorted out.  But due to centuries of drift -- the movement of constellations from our Earthly perspective -- they don't now.  For purposes of influence, this backdrop of the literal stars is unimportant.  While the stars have moved on, the working dynamics have not. 

To use an analogy, say that a person learns to become a plumber in a building called "The Plumber Building".  So everyone agrees to call the guy a "plumber" -- and we of course need to pretend that the title did not previously exist. 

Later, the "Plumber Building" burns down or is razed (or magically drifts 20-some-odd degrees to the empty lot next door) and a new building goes up in its place called the "Florist Building". 

The plumber does not magically become a florist in the process.  The plumber learned the tradecraft necessary to be a plumber so that's what he does and that's what he is.  The building he happened to learn and apprentice in just happened to be an address at the place and time that he did.

You'll see this topic come up from time to time.  Especially during the approximate two-or-so-year pop news cycle where the headlines like "You Have Your Birth Sign Wrong" crop up.

Uranus in Taurus

I didn't mean to bleed into an analytical point in raising this issue, but as long as we're discussing the placement of Uranus, I thought it worth mentioning how said placement fits in today's world of polarized cultures and politics.

Uranus is the up-ender, sometimes criminal (in the name of freedom and independence -- not like in the name of impulsive murder like Mars or maybe Pluto). 

In Taurus, where it's been lingering now for quite some time, and which it squares as ruler of Aquarius by rights, suggests one reason we as an international species are feeling the extremes between conservatism and liberal ideals. 

Uranus is a slow-mover so it is near generational in its scope.  People all over the world are feeling the vibe of ideological upset.  People with a Moon or rising sign in aspect to this conjunction might even become notable personalities in the struggle.  

It's as if the "revolution" moved into the house of long standing values to turn that house as much on its side as Uranus itself rotates (yeah, Uranus physically rotates side to side).  

The combination of this planet with that sign, in this astrologer's view, does not force a take of sides.  It's not about "liberals" owning the virtue to knock out the evil status quo, or about the "conservatives" virtuously exterminating the radicalism that undercuts their comfortable patch.  It isn't hippies versus gun nuts although these are perhaps the most convenient expressory conduits (at least among us Americans) people may find to argue through.

Rather, this era is forcing an examination of something far more fundamental, which would be the spiritual prioritization of the indidvidual over longstanding material values that have been comfortably adopted for a period just shy of a century or so. 

In my view, two of the most underrated extremes in astrology come from the accented relationship between Aquarius and Taurus because one insists on its shaking of the Earth (Aquarius/Uranus), while the other is Earth (Taurus/Venus).  Between them, dogma doth tend to find a perverse home.



  By Dave for for Earl Pin Astrology.

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It's Time to Give Up On Birth Times

10/09/2021

Image of neoclassical clock face.

Like Sun Sign Astrology, Birth Times are Too Convenient.

Any astrologer worth their salt will try to wrangle a birth time out of you.  Rightfully from a motivational standpoint, too.  Whatever I am about to poo-poo against regarding the role of birth times in astrological calculations, using them as a centerpoint has never resulted in anything ever totally sucking when it comes to building someone's astrological profile.

Something at scale works when a chart is calculated around the time of birth, which is lucky considering birth is for all human material purposes, a symbolic start to life.  Let's agree that it's what probably attracted astrologers to it in the first place.  The physical birth is convenient, dramatic, and, well, you certainly don't have a person to analyze until one can be held in another person's hands.  It kind of works at multiple levels.

Birth times give classical psychologically-centerd astrological practices a solid handle, but establishing one is frought with the potential for error, as is, as you may be forgiven to wonder, any agreement on the very definition for the start of life -- the thing that a birth chart is supposed to well reflect in said analysis. 

Over the decades I have come to care less and less for a concrete declaration of the birth time.  Taking my very own self as an example, I am all too aware of how easy it is for bad birth times to circulate as quickly as fake news by the supposed authorities.  Doctors and nurses might as well be the CNN and FOX News of political commentary.

It's Like Day and Night

I am the perfect example.

I was "born" at 8:30 AM June 5, 1966.  This time is the clear recounting of my mother who gave the blow by blow of the event on that glorious (cough) morning.  But, if you had listened to the stupid-head doctors and nurses who stamped the head of my incubator with a birth card, I was born at 8:30 PM.  

Here's the very card, complete with a pitch for me to purchase Pet Milk, (welcome to your new earthly capitalist culture you lucky bastard!).  

Picture of cardboard signage showing off wrong birth time.

Mom said day, docs wrote night.  It's a contradiction.  Now go buy some Pet Milk!

You can click on the picture to really see the contradiction I've highlighted. 

Let's hope they at least noted which meds I required accurately between themselves, although it might explain a lot of things about myself if not.

Thus the implication for my own astrology chart is a whopping 180 degrees depending on who I believe.  I am either the eccentric non-affiliating crank which I conclude myself to be (11th House Sun), or the football-loving hedonistic lover of followers and tribal inclusion the PM version of chart renders (5th House Sun).

I will say that while it was the lifetime corroboration by other relatives who remember, the personality outcome alone rather settles it.  The person who drew up that Pet Milk card was either up too late or just plain hoped that a change of record might amount to a last-ditch effort to avoid me turning into the Uranian 11th house weirdo I would go on to be. 

But let's say that it's the attending medical staff who were right and my mother and everyone else who were somehow wrong.  In interpreting my own chart, which could be the chart of any subject for any astrologer, the amount of contorting it would take to make the noted energies fit my very learned understanding of the adjectives, would be astronomical.  Astrologically speaking my red and blues would look different than any other astrologer's red and blues.

Which unfortunately is an outcome that our obsession with birth times as astrologers rather leaves us with.

Isn't Everyone's Birth Time the Time of the Big Bang Anyway?

Human error not withstanding, maybe it doesn't even matter.  And again, I throw myself out as the perfect example.

I was a premature birth by approximately 2 months.  I was a serious medical case.  My very survival was so questionable that the traditional birth announcement in any of the local newspapers was skipped out of what I assume was sensitivity (I looked for it once and after scouring all the editions of the day using one of those microfilm machines at the local library, nada - not on the day, week, or month after).

And in lore, yes, I in fact did die before the next day.  Twice.  Granted we are talking about the same docs who believed I was born at night who reported this grim news to my mother the next morning ("Janet, we managed to save him!" was mom's remembered quote), or, the word of my mother, who on her own tended to be a sort of exaggerationist throughout her life, what with her Sagittarius Moon and all.  But even with that accounted for, then, I probably at least died once.  And okay, if not at all physically, look, there's a birth card stuck to my cradle imploring me to buy Pet Milk, so if nothing else, I probably died at least a little on the inside.

The question begged by the apparent battle I waged against the universe on whether to exist or not, and which I clearly lost -- fucking universe -- is what actually counts as "birth" anyway?  Was I born the first time that I was born, or was it one of the two other times that I found life? 

And I suppose to avoid driving my readers crazy, no, you don't even need the weird story of my particular birth to have long established this question in your own noggin'.  If you're a thinker of any sort at all, this question of what constitutes a birth should have bothered you at the outset.

Astrologers you will find upon the Googling or Quora of it generally take astrological birth to begin at the time of the first breath.  But you don't have to roam far to find those who figure it's the time that the head crowns, or, believe it or not in a strange application of horary astrology, whatever time everyone first agrees on (so my errant doctor really could have called the shot if I bought into that).

But whatever basis an astrologer chooses to settle on, it's all really just folly anyway right?  Remember, we don't undertand the mechanics of astrology so we can't say for sure what correlates the position of the planets to the creation of a unique personality.  As I said at the beginning of this entry, we only know that the given birth time works well enough

The truth is that there may not even be a uniform application of astrological traits confined to any single event at all.  Rather, they may soft-sink over a period of a few minutes or hours or maybe even days (though in a second I'll tell you why I personally dismiss days). 

And some astrologers feel we are looking at it wrong to being with:  It's the astrology that sparks the push from the womb in the first place, jarring mommy's inner guts to act, so the influences aren't there to "bind to".  The birth itself is the byproduct that they have kicked in already.  Let that one sink in for a minute.  It's a neat idea until you consider Cesareans.

One thing that I personally can say for sure, the human/astrology merge occurs at a pace no faster than the motion of the Moon through its degrees.  I say this because I believe the Moon sign to be so potent -- the most important unique personality indicator for anyone -- that any contradiction of the observed personality between the position of the Moon and that which would be established by a recorded birth time, would be too obvious in cases where a cusp is crossed or in consideration of aspects to other planets. 

Very roughly speaking the Moon crosses a single sign (30 degrees) every 2 days or 48 hours.  About a half a degree a minute but not quite, and not quite always 2 days.  There is some serious variance here buddy.

Astrologers themselves wouldn't believe in astrology if that gap were very wide over the observable history of the craft since patterns in the personalities most of us have come to agree on wouldn't be visible.  So, as I see it, we can pretty much bet that however the mechanics work, the "influences of the stars" occur readily within 1 or 2 hours of whichever marker you choose.  And this means that the "birth time", which encompasses that complex series of events, fits, most of the time.  

Let's Just Deal With It

But finally, let's just say that the whole question introduces too much speculation for anyone to be comfortable with.  In your possible individual case, maybe you're even one of those people born through events and circumstances too traumatic for anecdotal or formal birth time recording.  You don't get served your plate of astrology.  Or, if you think it's all bunk, this hazy foundation should be the nail in the advocate's coffin.

Not quite.  As I said early on, being one of those astrologers bothered so much by the ambiguity, I've weaned off insisting knowledge of the birth time for meaningful analysis.  How do I and so many other astrologers who have come to feel the same way get away with it?  It's easy, we rely on astrology.  Duuuuh.

In my variant case, I center the Moon as the most important influence.  Knowledge of its precise location can be off at least far more liberally for general personality analysis, though if it's off too much, I'm going to take a hand to rectification and suggest a different time to my subject.  Others might try the same or use the same trick using the rising sign (which moves through entire signs in only two hours), but in my world the Moon is even more important than the rising sign and far more tangible.  If someone put a gun to your head and demanded the astrology from you, you'll be able to spew enough of it out to save your life.

And then there is the ever finer solution of incorporating synastry.  Normally you want birth times when comparing the charts between people every bit as much as you might want them for the individual.  But the interaction of individual birth charts creates such unique patterns of influences you don't need that precision.  What might be lost in clarity by not having a birth time is well made up for by the careful consideration of how one's general planets (and most crucially that Moon!) mesh with those of their parents, teachers, colleagues, supervisors, lovers, children, and so on and so on. 

As an example, a dominant father whose Mars conjoins the soft-spoken Virgo Moon of his daughter is going to create a daughter over the period of developmental relevance who is far more energized and aggressive (in a Virgo Moon sort of way to be sure) than the same woman who lacks that persistent influence in her life.  To have spotted this dynamic, you don't need anyone's precise time.

Astrologers can, and perhaps should, I can see many argue, rely on those sorts of analytical inputs over one's birth time and hence birth chart anyway

None of this is to say that by dismissing the importance of an accurate birth time or tossing out the birth chart altogether, something huge and signficant isn't being lost in the process.  Indeed, the richest astrological interpretations actually are.  What I'm telling you is that an accurate birth time is mostly inaccurately believed of anyone, kind of irrelevant (to within 2 hours anyway) until we know why astrology works; and, perhaps eclipsed by the forces of other astrological perspectives such as those existing in our day to day relationships with others.

You can still have great if not greater astrology without it.



  By Dave for for Earl Pin Astrology.

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Let's Talk Astrology

10/09/2021

Two of my biggest passions in life are blogging and astrology. At long, long, long last I am able to marry these interests into a single presentation and bring the online world to my perspective and footnotes on real astrology.

I'm in the process of setting things up and pulling off that neat plastic skin you find on things like new smartphone screens and other gizmos. But you are free to create an account which is tantamount to "subscribing", or actually subscribing at the Earl Pin Astrology N' Such YouTube Channel.



  By Dave for for Earl Pin Astrology.

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The War Between Mainstream and Social Media

10/05/2021

I was a little incensed by the topic of a 60 Minutes episode which featured a "Facebook whistleblower" who breathlessly reports that Facebook promotes divisive policies to make money. 

It's not that I think Facebook is being falsely accused of dividing people or harming the psyche of low self-esteem people; it's that CBS and all the other networks and profit-media organizations do exactly the same thing.

It's so damn hypocritical.

It's not only hypocritical, it's telling.  I have this belief in a war of sorts between classical "mainstream" media and social media platforms, with the former engaged in a life-and-death attack on the latter for control.  

Social media as a general concept demonstrates that we don't need a few concentrated outlets feeding us news with a few "authoritative faces and voices".  In terrifying realization of this, that's why the mainstream media is eager to underscore the lack of integrity in, and overstate the danger of, social media - even to said hypocritical levels. 

The CBSs of the world won't be happy until nobody trusts social media (or by another perspective, people freely talking to each other), and, in fact, come to fear it.  The old media must retain its power.

The kicker here as that I personally don't respect either institution's platforms because they are both fighting for dominant control over our minds. 

I say this of mainstream media for the reason I just outlined above, but in the case of social media platforms I say this because they maliciously eclipse the power of the core web, the original and pure form of "social media",  where people can really post anything they want.  Social media platforms draw people away from this power and wind up resetting "digital freedom" in their monetizing operational  image. 

This should be a world by now of a million independent blogs on the world wide web, but instead, we have a few big tech social media platforms with "feeds".

Set up a blog?  You'd be lucky today to find anyone born after 1995 who even knows the difference between the web and Facebook, let alone knows how to use Microsoft Notepad and an FTP client to post an image to the world.

I have no love lost for Trump supporters, but at least they got kicked in the teeth by social media enough that they became "woke" to this danger.  At long last, a large and meaningful (if not deranged) segment of the population was reminded of the social media company dominance that has way too much control over their expressions.

People:  Learn to host a blog on the actual World Wide Web (like the blog you're looking at now).  It's vulnerable to de-platforming, yes, but you retain that "last mile" freedom such that a stronger case is required as is a more complex initiation.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Dead Body in Allentown Parking Lot

10/02/2021

[ Note this event occurred earlier than the entry date stamp.  It is a blog post ported from another hosting arrangement. ]

I want to say up front that there is nothing particularly newsworthy about a dead body turning up in a city parking lot.  Sadly with the drug situation being what it is, I don't guess this is as uncommon or shocking as it probably should be.

However, I am posting this to BuffScan because this dead body turned up in my neighborhood and I just happened to drive through the incident scene, granting me the "content".  This is a BuffScan posting of principle whereby if you are there, you are the reporter.

Make no mistake  though, this is not to trivialize the death of what the MSM channels have so far been calling a male victim.  A victim of what, the police are not yet saying.  It could be natural causes as much as anything nefarious.  

Otherwise the facts are simple.  Police were contacted about a man down at approximately 7:20 AM in a Franklin Street parking lot.  Over the course of the next few hours, according to recorded radio traffic, they called for evidence and photos as part of their addressment.



  By Dave for for BuffScan.

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Video of Buffalo Police Cruiser Crash, Arrest TikTokked

10/02/2021

[ Note this event occurred earlier than the entry date stamp.  It is a blog post ported from another hosting arrangement. ]

I guess TikTok is increasingly gaining credibility as a citizen journalism tool, or tool of serendipitous witness as may really be the case here.

TikToker SarahMarie716 captured this takedown of an apparent police suspect, which also includes a Buffalo police cruiser inadvertently ramming the back of another, while arriving to help.  All in all, "I got this on video gold!" type of situation.

The picture below links to the video, but if you prefer now, here's the link too.

Scene of Buffalo Police takedown

It's not clear exactly what the suspect in this video was wanted for, but he knew he was in trouble, since, as police caught up to him he immediately got on the ground and assumed an arrest position.   

He is subsequently cuffed and the arrest is complete.

There is a lot of "inert" negative commentary on the TikTok's thread for this video about how many police had to run over to the already complying suspect, but the arrest itself looks clean and routine.  

But that crash?  It was probably minor in police terms, but it sure sounded hard!  I am sure the actual ouch to BPD ego will be on the Dukes of Hazzardness flavor this whoopsie endears.



  By Dave for for BuffScan.

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If There Has To Be A Line

09/19/2021

First, the video:

Now my commentary...

I don't know that the OP's take on the tiny home solution is really fair. People who fall into homelessness aren't chiefly looking for community; they're looking for safety and stability.

When you ask the homeless -- not the anti-rule homeless this video largely orbits, but the layer above that -- a top reason cited for not using existing homeless shelters is personal safety. A cop at the head of a field of cots is not "safety" in those places.  That rudimentary approach just doesn't cut it for too many.  

The intense security of these tiny home lots, which the video's producer finds so dismaying, is likely an attempt to address that very issue.

Also, I believe research has shown that the instability of moving from homeless shelter to homeless shelter or otherwise coping with homelessness creates its own problem since there can be no stable interface to a job. That interwound insecurity just perpetuates the crisis.

The idea of the tiny home community is to remove that instability and provide a strong integral platform for people to begin clawing themselves out successfully -- something I imagine takes years, not the mere length of time granted by an analytical eye.

Getting the tiny home concept actualized is monumental enough but to suddenly step back and "move the goal post" by declaring that, oh, now it needs to also be a place of community and of more discretionary security or something, is just so unfair. I actually think that a sense of community can in fact emerge anyway, and where the security is concerned, it is needed for good honest homeless people to thrive again.

There should be nobody on the streets, but if there has to be a line, yes, it can be at where the people decide that the "rules" are too much for them. Romanticizing tent encampments as places that should not be touched to honor the anti-rule homeless just so isn't helping anything. :/



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Actual Data Analyst Spells Out Common Excel Support Challenge

08/11/2021

I sometimes get called up to fix issues with Excel running too slow or throwing cryptic error messages that not only confound my local user base, but, in checking, the entire Googlesphere of users which never arrives at a consistent definite resolution.  The rate of resolving these issues by simply manhandling the local PC or instance of MS Office is something like zero percent.

If an Excel instance is generally running fine, as is the OS as a whole, more often than not I wind up with the sense that whatever is being "Excel-processed" probably shouldn't be, or, if ever should have been and was, is beginning to reach its implied level of non-suitability for the task.   It's either beginning to work with a dataset that is increasingly too large for stability, or there has been an increase in the inter-dependencies of the specific worksheet as a whole -- usually both.  The issues sometimes affect just one user, a small subset, or everyone using the same "data solution" called Excel.

It's not my place to play role of "data analyst" in these situations, but, just in knowing how these things work over 20 or so years, my guess is always that an "Excel-centered solution" that at a lower scale was just fine, is being applied without check or re-analysis, as the larger scale use case begins to unfold.

Direct link to video if it doesn't play right here, is here instead.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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James W. Ricketts, Banker and Barber, Molested Me in 1979

08/08/2021

A one James W. Ricketts molested me for about a year in 1979-80 or so.  Not necessarily you, if you happened to be named James W. Ricketts, and not necessarily a James W. Ricketts that you may know.  There could be several James W. Ricketts.  

Family Guy's Herbert

Some 40 years later, yes, he probably looks exactly like this guy.

The James W. Ricketts I am outing today lived in Ft. Lauderdale Florida in the cited time period, on Southwest 19th Street, just ajacent to I-95.  For a year, he would pick me up from my then-home in the city, and take me to his house (and once his mother's) where he would go free, following a classical grooming process.  This guy from my perspective of him in this world, was a classical textbook pedophile.  

I believe I have a rich file on this guy chronicling a period from which he apparently left the VP bank position he held at the time, to opening and operating a barber shop in Dania Beach, Florida.  From there it's a little ambiguous what he might have been doing with his time but following what I suspect  to be the matched online records, he's done pretty well for himself financially. 

He married his husband, who I suspect is his one-time roommate from the period I knew him, but which is speculation and irrelevant.  I could reasonably assume the worst about him too since, while "sleeping over", I was in Mr. Rickett's bed while the roommate slept in the next room several instances over, but there's nothing to indicate in my mind he tangibly knew what was going on.  A different time that it was, one might believe it to be innocuous.  But of course, I'm probably being generous.

I believe my James W. Ricketts was the same person once criminally processed in North Carolina, and if so, I can certainly guess the nature of the crime.  North Carolina doesn't provide as many details online as so many other jurisdictions do, so I can only guess.  On the whole though, it is worth noting, he appears to have avoided any sex offender registry I've so far checked. 

This James W. Ricketts came into my (our) life following the very disorganized period following my mother's divorce during those years.  My mother had outreached to the Big Brother, Big Sisters program and tried to match us.  It was an  honorable and no doubt a fruitful move for millions of kids in equal situations, but in this case, it took a pretty dark and horrific turn.

The  organization could not match us immediately, so there was a waiting list.  Someone representing the program came to our home and interviewed each of us (meaning, my brother and my sister).  I remember being walked around the block by this person being asked and answering all types of questions designed to help the matching process.  Then he left and that was it.

While on the waiting list, however, the organization apparently ran intermediate outings and get-togethers such as cookouts and the like, and they sent invitations to myself and my siblings.  On the day "of" one of the people who was not "exactly" a participating "Big Brother" per se, but, was apparently helping to chaperone everyone, was James W. Ricketts.  We called him Jim.

Jim handled the day's events, but after, kept in touch.  Keeping in touch led to him developing a relationship further, that included taking me out on weekends.  That keeping in touch led to him getting physical, ever gradually, until all that keeping in touch led to touch, touch, touch.  

It was awkward, weird, uncomfortable, and I took evasive action every Saturday to avoid it.  He would try to schedule our outings or sleepovers together on that day of each week, but if I successfully managed to avoid doing that somehow, I might just as easily come home any given Saturday evening and find his car idling in our driveway, waiting ambush-style.  

Uck.  And as a 12-year-old (maybe 11) kid with the cordial blessing of the friendly interactions he had with my mother through his open car window, naive and blind to such audacious evil herself, I would go.

No I did not "tell" anyone then.  And through most of my early to mid adulthood I did not tell anyone in authority.  It was not until 2006 that I tried a round of calls starting with FDLE (the Florida Department of Law Enforcement), the Ft. Lauderdale Police, and the Broward County Sherriff's Office.  I was inspired to finally act because at the time there was a political scandal involving a Senator I believe, and the details were jostling enough to make me realize how overdue for something so serious, and so potentially lethal to the well-being of another child, was. 

And, probably part more true-crime-story fantasy than pertinent, James W. Ricketts once showed me a pair of little boy underwear belonging to someone much younger than me at the time.  The thought crossed my mind while making these calls that this guy could be the Adam Walsh killer.  Same era, same place, same sick behavior, and apparently off anyone's radar, so, maybe.  Of course today they believe they have that guy, but, in 2006 I suggested it to one of the parties I had called. 

I sounded a little over the top to myself at the time, so I didn't press that angle, but I did want to let police know this guy existed.  I was a little over the top in suspecting an Adam Walsh tie-in, granted, but here's the thing: I remember the last day he picked me up from the hotel my family had temporarily moved into, just before we moved to Houston, Texas.  

He picked me up and he just drove.  None of the usual pedo-warmth, none of the engagement, just me sitting in the passenger's seat and him driving around the city to no place in particular.  He was thinking, and, looking back, to me, it seems clear about what:  It was the last time he would have access to and control over me.  Could he live the rest of his life knowing I was out there with the truth, or could something else happen to prevent that?  

Decisions, decisions.

So for me, the Adam Walsh potential connection wasn't entirely crazy, but I didn't want to eclipse the more actual and certain report I was making with a fantastical add-on.  What I know is this guy likes to play with kids, and only maybe thinks about murdering them.

The problem with action turned out to be that I would have to prove locations and times etc., and properly report to the right jurisdiction.  One particular deputy officer who I seemed to have noted as "Nitello" in my notes, invited me to call him back if I wasn't getting anywhere, and I am ashamed to say for all the time and focus it would have taken to do anything with, I did not accept that invitation when as it would prove to be, I didn't get anywhere.  

And so, while freely discussing it to my friends and family since that limp report effort, I decided it was otherwise best to avoid the work of it,  the legal trouble, and the risk of retribution that some upper middle class rich guy might decide to launch.

I still must feel that way because I am not waging a "campaign" against James W. Ricketts, even now in making this post.  Rather, I am taking note that a man of his age must be ready to check out soon.  At last check, yes, the guy is pushing his early-80s.  There's data lag of course, he might even be dead today for all I know, having checked out before the "BeenVerifieds" of the web have had a chance to update their records. 

I am taking note and just letting him know, or his legacy, that he didn't get away with it for all eternity, to the ignorance of everyone.  In his final years on earth let him deal with the potential for people to match this post specifically to him.  I might have just kept the lid on this, I am certainly not angry, and I don't feel "scarred" or permanently destroyed by him.  Not sure what's up with that, I always feel like I should have been shooting up with drugs of the heroin sort by now, or having long since committed suicide because something bad happened to me of such scale, but I don't.  

In making this post, I guess I just agree that I can't share the ambivalence to his favor.  Doing that somehow marginalizes me and makes me impotent for the real things we have to stand up against in this world, in the time we have.  I have to face the rest of my life knowing I matter and his crime selfish, and I have to advance the charge, risk and all.  Should I fall back and live blissfully shrugging as I have, or should I do my part to re-balance the universe, possibly even to my darkest peril. 

Decisions, decisions.  *click*



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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I'm Lounging Around a Few Days Off Work

08/08/2021

I'm on vacation this week but it's a pretty dry one.  I've not arranged any trips, and I certainly wouldn't have the cash for anything too exotic in the first place.  

I go into this peeved because a presentation at work I was responsible for blew up just before I left.  I had spent weeks preparing for it, complete with redundancies, but in the end the technical gods had their say.  The key bomb was that the presentation computer rebooted on its own (peeling back this onion, I learned that the computer was inadvertently classified as one that should reboot, versus what I specifically coded it not to do because, hey, presentation machine), sending everything else careening.  There was a last minute requirement change that fell outside the recovery dry-runs as well that exasperated the situation, though fortunately there was enough of said dry runs that in fact I could recover and at least the presentation could continue in a general sense.  But, it was clumsy and we lost our remote audience.  Argh!  There were subsequent presentations which went smoothly but I didn't want to go into these days off grumbling over any of them, but here we are.  Grumble grumble.

 I'm on day 2 of the "days off" and so far I've spent most of the non-roosting time (read: sleeping, lounging, drinking coffee), coding improvements to how my One Minute Webcams refresh.  

Previously, my camera self-refreshing pop-out pages did a complete reload about once a minute.  I literally mean the whole box and its content refreshed.  That's fine but kind of cheap.  I wanted a cleaner more professional way.  

What I wound up doing was simply dropping in some JavaScript to only update the current snapshot by literally dropping in the latest image over the old one.  Now, if you're staring at the window (you sick bastard), every 60 seconds or so, the image itself changes, which is in fact much, much better.

I'm not a professional coder and the new process initially did not work.  I tested and proved that, mechanically insofar as the code was behaving, it was doing its thing.   But the image itself was not changing from the current to the new.  And there was nothing to explain it.

Something from my deep past in doing real JavaScript work nudged me from the bottom of the neuron pile and suggested it was because the two image file calls I was attempting, involved exactly the same file name.  And as such, in mysterious JavaScript land, the difference were thus not being detected.  To prove my theory I needed to somehow change the file names to make them different, yet, without actually changing the file names -- because the current image and the new image were in fact sourced from the same file name.  And further, the differences in the file name needed to persist; I couldn't just change the file name once, I had to change them every single time the image updated.  Yikes!

It actually was not difficult to do though.  I simply used a JavaScript Math.random(); function to give me a random number, then appeneded that random number to the updated image file name as a query parameter.  I realized that the addition of the query parameter to the file name would "change" the file name of the base image file, but the base image file name itself would stay the same.  When the routine hit the part of the code that placed the updated image, the query parameter information would simply be ignored but it will still be "seen" by my code as a valid change, and hence, a valid update action to fire.

The hunch was spot on and the trick worked.  You can see the results yourself by opening the Allen Street and Delaware Avenue One Minute Webcam pop-up refresh box at Buffcam, (or my own Live Webcam).  The process is much cleaner now. 

If this were a popular commenting forum with real exposure, chances are a lot of coders would jump in and try to point out a better, smarter, way.  I get it. But the fact is I gotta make do on the limited smarts I got, and this solution worked.  

Other than that gratifying evolution of one of my coding projects, I hit the bar downstairs for some social roosting.  I am "practicing", and with success, trying to moderate my behavior in bars while drinking.  This is to say, I am actually moderating any drinking that I do because what I have a tendency to do is to pick up drinking, or "binge drinking", the buzzier and more intoxicated that I get.  This leads to so many problems, starting with I hate being "that guy" in the bar, the spending that gets out of control, and a few other tawdry things which I am not compelled to willfully confess to a public blog, but yeah. 

Moderation is key because I so firmly believe in bar and "night life " culture, and it is something I deeply enjoy.  It fits with my social worldview and, no, the fact that I am an unappealing 55-year-old dude who traverses alone, usually, does not dissuade me in the least.  I enjoy the process as a tourist mining for serendipitous contact with people and bar-side friends.  It can be risky, but that risk can also be managed, and I know that I can, and seem to be proving it.

I'm also using the time to tighten up some organizational issues, personally, financially, household, and with Dave the Web Guy Innovations, LLC.  Organizing is also a cheap soothing fun it turns out, I just never get the real opportunity to do it.  Me organizing things with the sun beaming in and smooth jazz in the background is pretty nice.

And then, finally, I think there is the blogging.  I relaunched Wilkes-Barre Rail about two weeks ago and it, as well as Tampa Rail, need some serious updating.  Both websites deal with transit rail evolutions in the regions they cover, and there have been a lot of developments in wake of Biden's infrastructure plan, as well with private high speed rail connecting to Tampa via Brightline.  I suspect there have to be people in both areas wondering where I am with all those incredible developments, but unfortunately the challenge of not only monitoring all that stuff, simply finding the energy to write about any of it, is daunting.  I have picked up too much with too much youthful optimism regarding my ability to contribute to the "feed", and it's forcing me to either consider giving it up or doing it more efficiently and doing it. 

If you know me, one of my driving mantras is, I'm always the programmer, never the programmed.  In the end I will not be dictated by conventional weights.  If they exist, I will refactor them to my time advantage.  That being said then, which do you think I will do? ;) 



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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One Minute Webcam is Alive!

07/31/2021

A few months ago I contemplated how to pursue my passion for dotting the world with webcams. My first problem, aside from absolutely no-one demanding, if not avoiding, this sort of thing on the face of it, was how to package such a product. Turns out the tech community solved that problem with Rasberry Pi barebone computers, and specialized software.

This is a fresh static image from Allen Street and Delaware Avenue, in Buffalo, NY.

So I ordered one and went through the relatively simple assembly and configuration for use as a webcam, then began looking around for a place to not so much pilot the the unremarkable tech, but rather the concept.

It took a few months after the assembly before I lucked into a situation that enabled me to deploy the first pilot camera which overlooks my own eclectic neighborhood, the Allentown district. It's the perfect place to start!

If you are interested in a similar camera in your home so that anyone in the world can click in and watch you and your family, or if you have a business or venue of any sort for the same, review my pitch page at One Minute Webcam and get in touch. I am looking to launch a second as quickly as I can!



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Handing Police a Reason

07/26/2021

It's been years and years since I've had anything to grumble about regarding open police systems -- police radio systems that are left un-encrypted for the benefits of public consumption.  I was a lone nut back in the 90s crying online about the trend of trunking and digitalization, and advocating a movement against it, but these days, it's finally a big question given the demand for police transparency. 

My favorite perspective today is how anyone against the concept then must feel today when the actual debate has become about sticking cameras on the physical body of police officers.  If people were worried about a progression of my cause in the 90s, how do they feel now?

Many police officers themselves want the increased transparency given the campaign of backlash against their practices. Body cameras have protected them from false accusations.

But I took a stance of persecution assuming the "body" of law enforcement would be alarmed by my efforts.  I feared it would be nothing for police to begin taking note of any negative example of police scanner usage, no matter how rare, as ammunition to refute the cause.

And, in that department, this example takes the cake.  A guy regularly used a police scanner to patrol for incidents he could show up at (not bad itself under proper conditions and is something journalists have been doing forever) in order to "audit" situations. 

He did this in various other capacities outside things you might pick up on a scanner, but he really made a show of it on YouTube in his interactions with police and court officers under that guise of "public auditing".  Another weird concept not bad in principle, by the way, but alas, not with how this guy went about it.  In my view his point was to be obnoxious for clicks.

Anthony Michael Wicklace finally cracked, or finally showed his true colors -- when he showed up post-incident while following police calls, and picked up a female victim still in the vortex of some duress that had the police there in the first place, and then tried to engage in sex stuff with her.

Holy mother of Jesus.  She escaped the assault but Wicklace apparently allegedly tazed her when she was out of the car, seemingly angry at the rejection of his sexual proposition or advances.  Conveniently, a patrol car rolled up on the situation and found the tazer darts still in her.

Great. 



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Let's Kick This Off

07/23/2021

I have a couple major fronts in my life I can talk about:  Work (largely talk-constrained because it's a corporation, but if I were free to, would dominate the blog with chatter about my daily strife, as just about anyone would);  my love life, in which I celebrate my singledom as victory, and otherwise tend to spend a lot of "fantasy time", mixed with indecision about the rightness of having destroyed my previous relationship;  and finally, my various "projects" which are more like little periods of episodic obsessions that quickly dissipate.

I am also very interested in the story leading up to me being here and now, and there are many aspects of that to share.  One would need a blog to do it, so... ;)



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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The Tulsa Race Tragedy, A Media Race

05/31/2021

First, it's long overdue that the Tulsa Race Massacre come to light.  I was shocked when I first heard about it just days ago.  I literally wondered how I hadn't heard about it before.  There it is however, a tragedy and a stark warning about how even if racism is allowed to circulate in the vernacular and worldview of the ignorant, it can spread and ignite through all.

Now, as a sudden media concentration and focus, though, it's also a pretty weird demonstration of mainstream "cognizant activation".  

Just wonder:  What after all this time made this story-that-should-have-always-been-a-story for decades over decades, so sexy in the scope of just a single weekend in 2021?  In such a lockstep and such a quality-of-presentation launch no less.

You can't deny uniform mechanisms and influences in an institution like mainstream media when something like this happens.   And if you can't deny it, you can begin to question everything with more confidence.   You're allowed.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Policing the Non-Vaccinated

05/18/2021

Now that New York has dropped the mask requirement for vaccinated people, the obvious question becomes how are we practically going to distinguish the vaccinated from the non-vaccinated?

There's been some thought to enforcing a "proof of" approach where people need to present proof of vaccination as they enter venues and certain gatherings, but to me this is highly resource-intensive and easily gamed.

The real answer is to let Darwinism take over now.  If there is ideological or other irrational cause to not get vaccinated, let the ideological circulate society at their own peril. 



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Great Blogs - The Geek Stuff

05/16/2021

I like to think that I patronize other blogs because I'm engaged by good writing and insight.  But that's not really true.  Sometimes I'm only moderately engaged or interested but I stay in the audience because I like the producer's approach and style insofar as the presentation goes.  If they're doing all the things right such as tastefully embedding non-obtrusive ads or even better not advertising at all, and take pains to keep the visual balanced, I am enamored enough to keep coming back.  

I guess I owe this dynamic more to a love of the craft and a hope that people will re-discover HTTP as a valid method of exchanging information as authors of their own publishing world.

My last incarnation of this blog included a section of blogs that struck me with this sort of happiness, and I am going to restore it.  Probably before I leave for the gym today.   I often find it hard to articulate why I think a blog is a good blog but by maintaining such an index here, I can at least present the pattern, which is probably more telling.

For the second though, here is The Geek Stuff.  You see everything as it should be in blogging world.

I should disclaim that I run an ad blocker so my perspective of a "clean presenting" blog is somewhat mitigated.   I've had to acquiesce to the fact that even if a blog producer still uses ads, they remain exceptional if they don't challenge the blocker or beg to be "unblocked".  It's just the way it is. :(



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Googling From the Command Line

05/16/2021

I did not know this existed.  You can use Google as a command line search tool using Google Shell, or "Goosh". 

So, if you're a command line/Unix freak, as I have been lately, you can still do meaningful Google searches sans the crapitilstic web experience they  throw at you.  

Screen capture of Goosh.

Sample output of a Goosh search.

This seems to be a non-profit arm of Google operations something ran by a guy in Germany, so that probably explains why I only learned of it by -- Googling -- command line search options for the web.  They sure aren't going to be flouting it.  

It's neat and I'm using it, but there's probably no future in it if there is no $$$ in it.  If anyone knows of any other interesting command-line web search tools I'd be interested in hearing about them.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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I Should Go Linux All the Way

05/14/2021

Working with a recent project has had me wading around in Linux more intimately than I ever have.  The experience is pushing me into leaving the large commercial-slanted Microsoft and Google ecosystems entirely (and by insinuation of this, Apple's too, though I barely touch it) .  

The fresh air of commercial-free computing is liberating.  Executing commands and running through processes without the artifical injection of "crapitilasm" is putting power back into my hands.  I can program and configure at my old-days "hacker speed", and nothing drags on me as I go.

Except of course for the drag of proficiency.  And, the drag of failed interfacing to the more ubiqutious world of device drivers designed for people who don't leap from the ship.

Those are real problems.  Proficiency is the lesser issue since you learn as you go, and with the fluidity of processing, I'd probably be one of those wicked command-line tackers that bothered me so much working at Rakuten (great guys the Unix people were, but non-stop clackity clackity clackity in an open floor plan - I suspect I have a case of Misophonia) in no time.

But bringing home new tech appliances and toys, or suddenly needing to rely on a productivity or content generation apps for which no Linux native or port equivalent exists.  That would be a buzz kill.

Still, I eye this potential strongly.  When I am reminded of how  empowering computing is supposed to be as my recent foray has, I am all the more resentful that the evolved form of computing is wrong at a fundamental level.  It is a perverse model consisting of convenient information gathering, advertising, and fabricated depedencies for sake of profit only.  And worse, it may all be designed to make people consumer processors of digital output, while exactly straining away the empowerment.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Have Something to Say

05/08/2021

The new first rules of blogging are to be sure to have something to say.  That means, establish that your message has these attributes:

  • Conviction/Passion 
  • Facts, Good Data (even if an opinion blog - support your position!)
  • Unique Perspective

Mind you, not having those qualifiers does not mean that your viewpoint or information is worthless in the grand scheme of things;  just that it may not contribute to the digital sphere.

Today's web is not the 2002 web.  

Let me explain.  Stream of conscious blogging centering around the events of your day or weigh-in in on national economic policy was and has "tried and died".  It died because millions of people deciding to give themselves the daily "homework" of self-reporting their day to an electronic diary could only end the way that it clearly did.  Until we're all forced to live our days hiding in attics, most of what we experience is mundane and in need of serious primping in order to properly storify.  It takes serious work, and that's after the work of maintaining the blog engine itself.

It's not that people lost the impulse to digitally share themselves.  As blogging limped through its lifecycle, services like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter showed up to the party.  And they offered ways, powerful and easy ways, to satiate this impulse.  Social media trimmed down the expectation for long form presentation into blurbs -- or -- quite literally "Tweets", if you will. 

Sure, it's all something you could be forgiven for, for still calling it "blogging", but these expression conduits are more in the moment and thus held to less an integral intellectual or grammatical standard.  My label for this kind of online writing is "bullet prose form" and in 2021 it's about the only thing people posting online at all anymore, know.

Personally, I am sure that I discounted how things would turn out way back before all this noise and sludge took over online.  I just assumed everyone's lives were fascinating if articulated and storified properly and that blogging would never die accordingly.  But the barrier to online publishing is now too low and the noise too great.  If you have a blog and bother to mention it, people have zero curiosity, sans other agendas, for checking it out. 

The attributes I list above will beat the assumptions and leave people interested in what you have to say, if you are consistent about applying them.  If it means you say things less often because the criteria just isn't there, that's fine.  Your social media blurbs, wherever you are making them, are probably ideal for the point.

My own custom engine, Battle Blog, includes a feature that actually accounts for posting lulls -- de-stigma-fying lulls in the process.  If you don't post in 10 days, no problem, the blog engine replaces the front page which normally contains your stream of blog postings, with a kind note that you are living life and building up to your next post.  It then offers to show you the blog anyway and gives other options to explore.  So far as I know, my clunky homebrew engine is the only blogging platform that does this, although I prodded the real blog engine makers to follow suit.

Someone landing on this text might wonder if as a whole my personal blog meets any of these criteria on a consistent basis.  Look it over, does it seem to?  Probably not.  But that's because my motivations have less to do with building an audience and more to do with keeping the craft alive personally and as a whole.  It's a living experiment in online publishing and as all experiments go may or may not prove to be anything of tangible value in the end.  Put another way, even though I do have other blogs and online efforts I do in fact care about, here at this blog, I may not add anything to the digital sphere in this specific effort and that doesn't bother me. 



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Alerts Are Fake Ads Now

05/08/2021

The latest trend in obtrusive "advertising" (if it really is something "new", maybe not) is sending you alerts.  These alerts actually contain no pitch or ad copy whatsoever, they're actual alerts about a scan on your computer completing or "Your statement is ready" from your bank.  

Here's an example from Malwarebytes, an alert that I receive in the lower right of my computer waking up the PC each morning.  You might think maybe it disappears after a few seconds but it doesn't.  You have to manually click the X to close it.  And no, you can't turn this off.

Image of Malwarebytes needless alert.

These are needless "alerts" because everything could just as easily work transparently in the background, doing their jobs and letting you focus as needed on whatever they are alerting you about.  But every alert sends along a brand name and getting that brand name in front of you in the form of a subject line in your inbox, or a push notification on your phone, as often as possible, is crucial.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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The Importance of the Digestible Blog

04/09/2021

One of the most energetic blogs on today's web is something I hold as a beloved example of what blogging should be.  Streetsblog USA has all this going for it:

  • It is a grass-roots publishing effort (or at least appears to be)
  • It covers transportation, and advocates car-free living - it aligns with my interests
  • It doesn't muck up its desktop presentation (too much)
  • It's updated regularly 
  • It has RSS available

And yet, I don't read it.  Or at least most of it.

I subscribe to its RSS feed but inevitably when I land on its daily-refreshed article list in my RSS reader, I only pick through but a few of the articles at most, skimming for the gist, then moving on to someone else's content.  

So, what's happening here?  What is the seemingly perfect blog in my eyes doing wrong such that while I certainly appreciate and advocate its content, I keep it outside of my thorough field of daily online consumption?

We're supposed to respect blogs that build up their content engine as aggressively as Streetsblog USA.  Even more so when that volume of output doesn't result in the diluting of the substance of that content, again as we can observe of Streetsblog USA.  

Something just doesn't jive.  I should really be eating Streetsblog USA up.

After some mulling I came to realize that, for a blog, it actually publishes too much for the moniker of "blog"

It's a firehose, and that's a problem.  It seems to produce at least three articles a day, and when you factor in a missed day or two of purusing the RSS reader, this results in a wall of articles to wade through.

You might think I'm (Pea) Nuts

Pretend that it's 1975.  You subscribe to a newspaper and inside the folds of its many sections back then, you open up to the daily funnies and look for your favorite strip.  Peanuts by Charles M. Schultz was my favorite as a kid, so we'll pick that strip for this example.

What if on that funnies page there were not just one clean four-panel row of a Peanuts gag, but, say, there were 30 of them.  30 rows of different Peanuts strips taking up virtually the entire page. 

You might read the first two before realizing that there isn't enough coffee in your cup to read all 30 separate cartoon strips of the same title, not to mention consume your other favorite strips and newspaper sections.  I mean, you do have to be at work in an hour.

So, it's a great cartoon strip and you love it -- but even though you mechanically have all the capability in the world to indulge it, you simply don't have the luxury of that much time to do so.  You didn't wake up looking to read a book.  And that means you don't read most of what you love.

That would be comic strip fail.  And in the same way, it's blog fail for publishing entities who crank out articles every 5 minutes.  I should pause to mention it's not as if Streetsblog USA is the only example.

So, now, as far as I am concerned, blogs that do this, worthy as they are as conduits of information and viewpoints for niche subjects, are not actually consumable as blogs.  They can be something else, "news sites" maybe, "repositories of data and commentary" about a topic, perhaps; but not a blog as long as we add the additional criterion for blogs as something that produces pointed content that can be digested in a single breezy pass.  This pacing attribute turns out to be crucial.

My thinking here is certainly open to critique because of its subjective assertion.  Maybe some people don't pan a list of blogs each day.  Maybe some people are hardwired to consume more, faster, and might feel cheated not having a buffet of articles waiting for them each morning. 

Many blogs are deemed failures when their producers under-produce and "wane away".  But not much attention is given to the other extreme.  To me, the blogging form feels most right when, whether weak or strong, a single impression is left before turning the page of a day to consume the next.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Murder for Inspire

03/07/2021

[ Putting on my Criminologist hat ]

Teaser image for the ABC story about woman who hired a hit man.

How Dalia Dippolito is managing prison life and her legal team's hope for a new trial (Click for ABC News Story).

I am dubious about Dalia Dippolito's claim of a "Bible life" in prison.  Sociopaths and narcissists (the REAL kind, not the kind you classify your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend as, though, I suppose, in this story she operates in both contexts) can't feel the *substance* of "good" when feeling empathy.  They can only read it as perhaps a blind person can learn to feel his way around his static environment.  They learn to "read, reflect, and adjust" accordingly so that they can pass as trustworthy and committed to "good" which out of hand is not actually bad for someone struck with the condition because, hey, it's effort right?  

But, in doing so, these people clutch on to the symbols of good, and most notably religious piety, because at a distance from feelings of actual empathy, bonding loud to convenient social symbols seems just as good. 

An authentic path to redemption might be religion and "finding God", but a more authentic path would reflect something on the order of most people's usual half-assed commitment to God and all things good.  But sociopaths exaggerate in their inherent blindness and they overshoot. 

Finding religious sanctuary if you have been selfish enough to do something prison-worthy is not nor should be a bad thing, but when it's just a script, as I suspect it is in this case (when you read the full case), it just makes that person look silly.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Revolt Against the Ruinous Commercial Web

03/04/2021

Enough said here by the man in the video sayin' it - though I been sayin' it forever. The revolution against the ruinous "commercial web" is winding up. The YouTuber here is being kind however. He clinically refers to developers who partake in this as being "SoyDevs" at the mercy of clients. But the actual word in my book is "talentless". You don't take one of the greatest innovations of humankind and get to wreck it under guise of needing a paycheck. No. You're participating in the wrecking of it because you never "got it" in the first place.

The bloated world wide web.

Note, the YouTuber Luke Smith has release a follow-up to the video.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Giuliani Screwed

01/26/2021

Giuliani is being held accountable for a wide open campaign of misinformation.

So all Giuliani has to say is "It's a misunderstanding, here's the evidence."  

But guess if that will happen.

Or, maybe he can simply admit to Trump's base he was exploiting them with nonsense all along.  Also not going to happen.

This is a lot like that commercial where the shop-owner woman dances among Disney-like characters singing back responses aflutter.  Until someone in her shop slips on a pool of water and breaks a leg, and suddenly, life and lawsuits get real.  

Except, here, it's Giuliani sprinkler-heading lies and propaganda unbelievably forgetting that a real business was being affected in a bad, bad way, and that that business would naturally sue him into a life of misery.  

He's not going to win this lawsuit and whether through the cost of the settlement or the spend of the fight, he's financially ruined.  

Giuliani, a man I once heralded for his ability to tackle New York City crime, can't even abandon his delusion long enough to realistically defend himself, insisting that the process will actually EXPOSE Dominion's evilness. 

As if Dominion and its attorneys know nothing about the risk of "discovery".  The fact they are bringing the hammer down means that they ain't worried about being pummeled by right-wing fantasies and that Giuliani better snap out of it fast.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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POP Email - Because, Privacy

01/23/2021

This is a protest post of sort because when I search online for "why should I use POP email" nobody gives the correct answer.

My "pop-culture" settings.  Heh.

The answers usually given are "use it if you want to access email on your device while offline", as if being offline is a serious problem anymore.  Or, "use it to free up storage on your server", which is not a bad answer because eventually you will have to do something with all your cloud-based email, however off in the future.  But for most people that's a specific operation if and when that day of objective arrives and it may not be the only real solution if we are exclusively talking about preservation.  It probably isn't or won't be.

The Actual Answer

The top and actually real answer to use POP email is to keep email moving such that it passes through to you, but is not stored with your email provider on the way.  Bearing in mind of course that your specific configuration can and likely would allow it to pool up online with your provider for awhile, it would nonetheless not stay.  

To put it succinctly you would use POP for off-cloud privacy.  A second best answer is that you might prefer it for control.

POP email is excellent for off-cloud personal computing but it does require more attention and, as with all off-cloud computing, may concentrate your digital habits to periods when you can access certain devices where you are pulling data to.  In a rare tight application of this method, for example, you might only be able to review and respond to email when you get home for the day and can settle in with your computer - though again your specific configuration would never likely be that strict.

The control I mention comes from relying on the traditional email clients to access and pull email because they include many granular features relating to how email is handled, displayed, and archived.   The classic MS Office Outlook is probably the pinnacle example of a feature-rich client, though there are competitors that are fresh and contemporary.   

Here are two (non-sponsored):

Oh the Inconvenience!

I am experimenting with exclusive reliance on POP and in the process, trying to mitigate some of the loss of cloud benefits.  This turns out not to be an alien exercise because before the days of web-first email services like GMAIL, most of the mitigations I have come up with were day-to-day standard practice back then.  I'm really doing nothing more than pretending web-based email never happened.

People will be quick to remind you that unlike IMAP or web mail you can't access your messages from anywhere or anytime.  But that's not really true.  As a critical point consistently omitted in all the "should I use POP or IMAP" online articles, you can in fact configure your POP behavior to leave messages on the server for a reasonable period of time.  This means that all your other devices and email apps, including the basic GMAIL app on your Android phone, have time to access and pull the data.  Day-to-day you do in fact have universal access to recent messages for as long as you want to define "recent". 

In my case I have Outlook on my desktop as my primary device and it will leave messages on the server for my other devices for approximately 3 days.  If there's any situation, such as needing to receive and immediately respond to an email on the fly, I still can just fine.  And by the way, guess often that turns out to be?  So far never.  In case you haven't noticed in the past 15 years, email as a thing for person-to-person communication has all but dried up except in the commercial job sphere.  The entire ability to access email via my phone is really more about just keeping tabs on things than actually firing off responses.

Where POP Email Life Really Hurts

The actual downshot of putting yourself back on POP is the initial technical tending and time for it, as with all off-cloud maneuvers.  But this would only be considered an obstacle for "Facebook" or "mobile-only" digital consumers with no thirst or understanding of the freedom they actually have. 

Also a bummer (but not without solutions; I have implemented them) is that "email" these days tends to be part of a larger personal information management suite or ecosystem that includes your contact database and calendar.  Pushing your email to a POP client moves your email management outside of these other critical workflows you have probably gotten used to.  Some people can live with that, but others will naturally try to port contacts and calendars too so that they all remain in sync and portable which drastically complicates the manuever.

For me the question boiled down to a simple problem.  Assuming I use Outlook for contacts and calendar, how best to simply sync such data to my Android phone?  And it was a problem because in 2021 the personal computing application market doesn't "see" people who want to work off the cloud. 

The actual solution, which is working well, involves available and modern, but niche applications, on the PC and on the phone.  I have to install CompanionLink for Outlook, and on my phone, I have to install something called "DejaOffice".  All these things up and running reliably, so far, keep my contacts and calendar synced to Google Contacts (which becomes just another contact account you can add to your contacts view then focus on), and Google Calendar.  Because everything: email, contacts, and calendar stuff, can all be accessed by the Google GMAIL app on Anroid, it feels like I'm still using their web service.  There's no real loss of familiarity yet none of this data is held in perpetual by Google.

In short, long term privacy and control are the reasons to "pick POP", but as with every effort to keep your computing local and within control, you will spend time you have probably forgot you needed to when you became gradually consumed and assimilated by Google and Microsoft. 



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Trump's Little Shop of Parlers (I)

01/13/2021

Okay let's cut into my annoyingly nuanced position on the events of the past 72 hours.  You really need to know where I stand.  I'll start here with this post and bang out a few others, just to make it all digestible.

The Capitol Siege

The issue is the breach, period.  We need not wonder whether the specific terminology in Trump's speeches actually caused the "siege", and we can only choose, but not necessitate, to engage in an examination of every individual who participated for purposes of prosecution. 

But let's be honest:  Nothing Trump said that day directed a small group of buffoons in particular to storm the Capitol and begin taking selfies.  Yes, he did lay the foundation of unwarranted mantra against the United States with his election fraud campaign that was easy to pick up and run with, if some people were so inclined, which of course some buffoons were. 

Not to let him off the hook.  We know Trump is guilty of something in all of this.  We know he is at the center.  Trump legitimized juvenile anger and the result was of course an explosion of it under the stress test of an election and Senate control loss.   

Through his years-long vitriol and celebration of "mean" he and his followers who equated his bullying with being strong and relatable, lost an opportunity to sell genuinely great merits of conservative principles to moderates and independents to a level needed to win continued control.

Trump created a culture similar to the common prison yard where high level politics and gestures of reason are conducted by a hundred men stuck with a 5th grade intellectual ruleset.  You can tell them that an entire week's of debate and contemplation over the insult of a shove or the wearing of certain colors that ultimately results in a shanking, is ridiculous and small-minded, but they wouldn't get it.  They think everyone thinks the way they do.

What Actually Happened

What in fact happened at the Capitol was that, as is atypical of any mass gathering protest a small number of people got aggressive and somehow (cough) breached the line of security which then allowed a swell of people to pour into a place that they should not have been, and probably never expected to be. 

In a BLM protest "a place" has often been something like a big box store -- whatever is easily accessible.  In this politically-geographed protest, it was the Capitol, its notable symbolism as a logical focal point, over a random shoe store, recognized.  

I will be honest, I am absolutely positive had I spotted a stream inlet into a building like the Capitol, with no-one apparently stopping me or anyone else, I would have gone in too.  Obviously not because I am pro-Trump -- I'd be livestreaming or taking a bunch of selfies.

Which brings me back to my opening point.  The issue was the breach.  How did that happen?  

The Right Wing Did It

The right-wing-did-it "conspiracy" is that the small number of people who were too aggressive and managed to get in were actually part of a radical group that had planned it.  After all, one guy was photographed with zip ties, and another guy was found with explosives in the car he brought.  Seems like a real possibility.  To know for sure, these people are going to have to be confronted, as they are, and their activities and communications scrutinized.

If they were in fact tightly associated with each other, and in fact were planning on something more serious than an elaborate tresspass, Trump still had nothing to do with it if only out of his sheer ignorance of his own power of words and status.  That someone could be that dumb is a reason we hope an intelligent voting body can spot someone like that and not let it happen in the first place.  But here we are.

But, let's not get crazy without getting crazier.

The Left Wing Did It

The breach might have been a convenient happenstance of the left.  I can knit this conspiracy too.  We can assume that everyone knew how charged pro-Trumpers were, as the threats and dangerous insinuations by enough of them circulated in plain sight for months and years (Twitter, Parler, wherever -- plain sight).

So, if you know wagons of dynamite are headed to a protest, it might be all too easy to thin out the security and "allow" a breach so that the predictable bad actors get in.  The value would simply be to garner the CNN loop coverage (to use them as the usual example; understand that I mean the MSM in general) to cement Trump in the brilliant storification of a man at the helm, out of control.  

Or, let's get even crazier.

The Corporate Government of the United States Did It

What if it was the left and right working together, agreeing to pass the ball back and forth in post-calamity wrangling, but out of the public eye, tapping glasses with each other over a job well done? 

Trump usurped everyone negatively, but "negatively" isn't the active ingredient.  Trump usurped.  And politically that's what gets you killed, figuratively or otherwise.

Personally, I would love to know the absolute anatomy of the breach at all levels, and will be looking forward to learn.  Those details are the key to understanding everything.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Let it Go Already

01/05/2021

It looks like Julian Assange isn't going to be extradited to the U.S. any time soon, apparently on the basis that he is is too depressed, and, our penal system, when it really hates a particular prisoner, is a bit too obvious about torturing them under the guise of enhanced security and suicide prevention measures.  

Ripping from the Guardian:

But turning to evidence by medical experts about Assange’s precarious mental health, she said: “The overall impression is of a depressed and sometimes despairing man, who is genuinely fearful about his future. I find that the mental condition of Mr Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America,” she concluded.

...

In her ruling, the judge accepted that Assange was likely to be held in conditions of isolation in a so-called supermax prison and that he would find a way to take his own life with the “single-minded determination” of the Autism spectrum disorder he had been diagnosed with.

[ Full Guardian Article ]

Seems like a lot of presumptions are being made all the way around here, but the convenient end result for the UK is that they won't be sending him.  The U.S. can continue to scrabble by appeal, and will, but at this point it just seems they are beating a dead horse with a stretched whip of reason for doing so in the first place.

The guy was holed up for years in the Ecuadorian embassy to duck what was, in my opinon, a CIA-engineered rape charge, or a CIA-amplified prosecution of an actual rape (high profile agitator pro-tip # 1:  Don't mingle with cute women who show up at your weird activist conference and quickly bond to you.  Particularly when they float with organization names like "Christian Association of Social Democrats" - which is just about the most C-I-A-iest name for a front group of as-needed traveling women poised to sting on official launch notice, that I can imagine).  But I digress.

The guy has suffered enough, and I say that as one who would not disagree that he crossed a technical line in achieving "leaks".  His "leaks" in fact were more like information suctioned out of a pipe, a characterization that says nothing about the rightness of the act, criminal as it was.  That argument is not settled with me personally, or many others.  But the point is, he's done enough time for actions not universally regarded as wrong.  Let's let this one go.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Blogging Like It's 1999

12/31/2020

For 2021 I want (am?) to experiment blogging as if it were 1999.  That means, blog "stream of consciousness", and without the usual barriers or filters. 

I've pointed out repeatedly over the years how people first discovered self-expression online, then, rapidly chilled as they came to realize how much of what we would now call "over sharing", might grind up against their interests in the real world.

Chilling factors are why plates of food and videos of attractive women dancing, flow abundantly online but not stuff that would persistently and effectively offend a corporation or an entrenched political body, or any entity of power and profit.  Nobody, including yours truly (let's be clear), wants to take the chance they'll figuratively or literally be left dead in a ditch like Carmine Pecorelli because of what they write and expose.  

What the corporate-consumer oriented web wants from you is your money, not your revolutions.  And this is fine with most people.  Revolutionaries have to eventually appreciate that an overwhelming number of people just want to respectably live in the world, not rock it.  At least too violently.  They and the "money world wide web" comprise the biggest stakeholder in our digital culture for better or for worse.

Intimates might be offended, career chains might be shaken, local personalities so commented upon outside their usual control they might seek to "fix a wagon", and so on and so on.  

So I'd like 2021 to be an expose' of sorts on where exactly the interests of the real world and the idealism of a single unimportant person collide.  I'd like to blog in the uncomfortable space that existed in that era of "why would anyone care about what I write" nativity, somewhere in the late 90s and mid-2000s.

In doing so, I consider a number of different spaces I have to really be careful to achieve that balance. 

Work/Job/Career

The worst thing that can happen to someone who craves blabbing and being the overall "information maverick" is to be employed by anything even remotely touching a Microsoft Excel quarterly report.  What you do and say is of vital interest to the employing agency because, especially now with advanced social media platforms, you represent a possible apologetic PR campaign to the media in the event that you screw it up by such examples as preaching proudly the tenets of racist principles or becoming a highly regarded online BSDM expert.  You wouldn't want a racist out there representing you, after all, and neither does your company or employer in general.  

I of course am not a "racist" -- and know nothing about "BSDM", but nowadays it seems, simply being brave enough to carry an esteemed (if not idiotic) principle of any sort is, alone, enough to represent risk.  Strong opinions and thought leadership beyond such matters as earning your paycheck or football games are sedation targets for their veracity, not necessarily their content.  

In blogging, people today are more jolted and alarmed by the fact that a person has one, than what a person says on one.  

Vice: Porn and Boozing

If I really want to get down to the nitty-gritty and detail everything that I do, as an example, does that mean talking about my digital love life or the copious amounts of whisky I might drink?  Or all the other troubles that a perfectly well-adjusted and happy person might otherwise find easy to avoid. 

How to tastefully and acceptably write about "just being human" is a real stickler because to skip vice and pretend it isn't there deflates the authenticity of the entire genre.  I don't want a blog that just highlights my donations to the United Way or "plates of food" pictures ala Instagram.  But at the same time I don't want to amplify myself as a creep merely for having the honesty to suggest that, at some level, I might be a creep, however non-exceptionally. 

The biggest fear I have with this is not some condemnation of my character, which, were I actually engaging of any of vice activity (none of this should be construed as an admission to anything!), would certainly be shameful and uncomfortable.  Rather, it's the envy of the audacity that I claim for respect while concurrently dumping my dirty laundry over the heads of my subscribers.  What sort of narcissistic ego-driven ass admits to their stink so freely and is offended then by blowback?  We can't do that, some audience members would say.  And rest assured, accordingly, they could become angry and resentful.

Personal Relationships

It's no secret to anyone that I have very few "relationships" outside of work -- and even there I tend to be "greyrocked" or I merely interact as a customer service rep to the higher IT process.  There's nothing substantial enough to deem personal.

Growing up to the point I am at now I simply did not invest enough in personal relationship development or, perhaps more crucially, negotiation, though there may or may not be good reasons for that - let's not assume that this is not just and right. Weakness and fear are maybe just two reasons, but I'm also just pretty good at weeding out "deep nonsense" in order for me to survive, progress, and be happy. 

While most may hold me to some deficiency for this stance, I feel some people are just born this way and feel stronger and more empowered by social solitude.  My favorite fantasies involve manning an arctic science lab for years, or, doing a stint on the space station.  Go figure.  Were it not for my need and willingness to help people and mean something to their happiness and development - not to mention repair a .PST for them or two as needed, things that require I stay on the grid, I really would be a woodsy hermit.

As such, as incredible as it sounds, this is one area likely immune from potential damage.  There will be little that I post that will offend anyone or push them away more than they already are.  The open expression might only improve my personal relationships in fact.

Non-Digital 2021 Goals

I have some other ideas for 2021.  I am seriously contemplating a new car, and, for sure, am finally getting some damn artwork on the walls of my apartment.  As the COVID vaccine begins to reinvigorate the world again, I'll do what I can to support some of these local art studios as a patron.  The neighborhood I live in is renowned for these but my enrollment has been seriously hampered by the pandemic.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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America Did Not 'Win' the Election

12/19/2020

It's been over a month (or so) now since the U.S. Presidential election secured Joe Biden as our next president, and I have yet to make my open WWW assessment, which of course is so very important.  Your eyes may roll.

A darkness looms over USA-style democracy.

I was not happy with the outcome of this election.  Yes, I was of course happy that Trump lost -- if we can all agree that actually happened.  What I am not happy with is that he didn't lose by enough. 

I wanted this election to be a repudiation of the reckless sentiments passed around in a circle on right-wing radio or general conservative media.  Trump was never the election target because to me he never mattered.  What does matter is is the source-fuel sewage basin from which Trump and likely future candidates of his ilk draw from. 

I had hoped that Trump's failed presidency would have been enough to diminish the messaging of people like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity which exploit angry people looking for simple answers to big problems, and, which massage a national paranoia against government or any institution that doesn't agree with their limited idea of a working democracy.

Biden's win was not by a wide enough margin on election night to convince me people are learning -- though the total ~80 million in his favor was quite impressive, suggesting America tried.  And of course, we know that outside the presidential race, Trumplicans or classic republicans too fearful to contest them, actually did quite well. 

The democrats lost seats in the House, and they didn't win any in the Senate -- though there is a runoff election in Georgia coming up that might change that.  Nobody is holding their breath and the campaigns there resonate to me as if the democrats are just going through the obligatory motions; a process by which does not negate the bigger disappoint that there has to be a runoff race in the first place.

The United States of America is still in grave danger as long as we consider the Trumplican sharks that circle our boat a rationale legitimacy of any political process.  By whose hand, we'll never know where these people came from, but I don't believe it is organic or by accident.  We best brace ourselves because someone's plan is working.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Speed Camera Ticket

11/27/2020

Video demonstration of the speed camera ticket and its website. It's better full-screened. 

I'm going to guess that most people here in Buffalo have yet to be issued a speeding ticket resulting from a violation caught by one of the city's new speed cameras. 

I am ashamed to admit that I was negligent and reckless enough to be someone  that was.

If eventually you do yourself, this video shows off the ticket that you can expect to receive, and a quick walk through of the website where you will be allowed to view your violation and either pay the fine, or initiate the process of contesting it.  

As it appears, I apparently triggered the camera exactly one minute and 46 seconds into the control period (meaning, the 15 MPH speed limit I violated had just kicked in at 7:30 whereas I caught at 7:31) sooo, yay for my timing.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

interesting video

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Not How You Do It

10/26/2020

On Friday I had to use an Uber to go to the eye doctor's where I knew my pupils would be dilated.  I paged the Uber through the app, then added a "note" saying I was wearing a blue jacket.

Grid of IT's relationship to ticketing process.

When the guy rolled up I hopped in and the first thing out of this old crank's mouth was, "Did you try to send me a message".  I said yep, just trying to make it easier for you to spot me.  He shot back, angrily, "That's now how you do it!".  He then proceeded to lecture me on some distinction between whatever tool within the app makes the difference between my "note" and whatever equals a valid text message -- but I was too dumbfounded to absorb it, finding myself being greeted by a yell-at from my Uber driver as was the case.  WTF?

Anyway, I think God was giving me a lesson or something as I've always been hard on people using the ticket system in all my years of IT supporting - to the point of making it the lead conversation.  Well, THAT is going to change starting now.  #SlappedInTheFace



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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In the Interim, I am Not A Crook

09/26/2020

Picture of PeopleFinders screenshot

Fake news - I am not a crook.

For those who have followed me on social media or through this personal website, through my many iterations of accounts, de-friend sweeps, and feed resets, you know that each year I post a statement of identity correction in an effort to assuage concerns of incidents and criminal history that have attached to my name thanks to a persistent imposter in Florida.  

Since many employers and dating candidates, and landlords, first bee-line to things like Facebook to check out a prospect (an understandable universal practice, especially among you ladies, but, which for some bizarre reason can turn a guy into a creep if he confesses to doing the same), I see this tactic as a last line of defense in people erroneously harboring those concerns.

If this practice of mine is not actually helping, at least it psychologically puts me at ease.  If people continue to believe or suspect negative search findings despite the clear case and evidence of judicial correction, chances are it's probably an irreversible political position meaning that it's "important that I be bad" --  not a genuine one based on a tangible relationship.   No public disclosure is going to clear that up, but I feel I've done the best I can to put them into a position of clinging to a fallacy, which does make me feel better.

I usually post/circulate that disclaimer in January of each year, but today I am posting a variant of this before then, for two reasons.  One, I completely re-did this personal website and have not yet concocted a disclaimer page.  It's kind of low priority and is a bit of work, though I will eventually do it.  Posting it as an entry here at my blog and on my Facebook's reset feed will do the trick until then.  

Second, I realize that even that disclaimer fails to take into account the phenomenon of the "records echo" that rings through services like MyLife and PeopleFinders like, forever.

My records have been successfully tackled and eliminated in the courts, sadly after too much damage, but better late than never.   But they STILL exist in all the little background check services any employer or person cares to utilize.  Even after all the work to mop up that mess, the slow burning disaster continues on.  Gads.

So, ahead of January, I am posting this now.  If you see crap like the above screenshot (an actual run of my name in PeopleFinders), none of it is real.  It's fake news.  Yes, it's true that if you follow me around with a camera and notebook you won't prove I'm a saint, which is true of anyone - and god knows I've stoked many an investigatory trajectory by nature of my unique wonderful being and saber rattling against strong institutions (particularly in Florida), which I would never trade away to be someone different.  BUT I have never been arrested nor have I ever even approached such an event horizon in the crimes listed in the example.

I'll post my disclaimer in January which discusses and "proves" what I'm typing, but for now, here is the nonsense in background check services you may use that is not actually me that will tell you it is me.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Have a BLM Bumper Sticker? Get an American Flag One Too

09/07/2020

I have had this question for a long time.  Why do leftists let conservatives "own" nationalism or Americanism?  It shouldn't be "owned" either way, but if there has to be one it should be the liberals who do, for all the reasons outlined in this piece

Question to my leftist/progressive friends:  If you have a BLM or other progressive bumper sticker, would you be willing to slap on an American flag one right next to it?  That's what needs to happen in order to dilute out the false ownership taken on by the right.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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I Swear, I'm Not Building a Cop Car

09/06/2020

I made a few tweaks to my personal vehicle.

In a Facebook video I posted I talked about how I was not gradually turning my car into a fantasy cop car.  Well, this weekend I added a few things and tweaked the exterior a little, as you can see. 

But I promise, I still deny turning my vehicle into any such thing.

And since you dared "go beyond the Twitter", I'll confess:  This is an actual law enforcement vehicle who I surmised belonged to a plain-clothes officer I spotted while in the Walgreens.  He was conspicuously packing his firearm above a loose fitting shirt, which suggested to me he was probably a peripheral officer of some sort (say, a probation officer, fire investigator -- in Tampa, the transportation code enforcement officers even carried guns).  So, in a way, you could say the actual officer was likely doing some fantasizing...kind of hamming himself up needlessly (dude, like, for the sake of the kids that might be in the store, put the shirt over the gun, please).



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

goofing photo

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Get Me To One Hundred On Earl Pin

08/30/2020

I am in the final stages of launching Earl Pin Astrology.  It's the first online theater expansion of my Battle Blog 3.0 project.  I have several that will launch over 2020 and 2021 utilizing the new mobile-friendly platform, but Earl Pin Astrology has been one of the most important to me now for several months.

I am adding a YouTube component to it which is not something I do with all my blogs but in this case I believe it fits naturally and has productive value. 

Here's the thing though, I want a custom YouTube URL instead of the weird numerically cryptic one they give you by default when you first set up a channel.  But apparently, to get it, you need to qualify in a number of different ways.  This must be a new requirement or something because I was able to get one for my personal channel which I don't even think has five, let alone one hundred, subscribers.

Here those requirements are in a paste:

Paste of YouTube requirements for a custom URL.

YouTube Requirements for a custom URL.

Here Is Where I Need Your Help

Some of those requirements will take place over time naturally and others I can mitigate through production.  But the one that I need the most help with is the first one requiring 100 subscribers.

I need the help because I need that fast.

That one is going to take a very, very, long time, left to its own devices.  Yet, I need a custom URL the most quickly because the good ones are up for being sniped away.  As well, its value at the start of my production is far more potent than later.  

You'd be doing me a great solid if you could join the Earl Pin Astrology conversation immediately by subscribing to the channel.  If you're interested in the craft, even if as a staunch skeptic and critic, I am promising to make it one of the most interesting subscriptions in your YouTube feed.

If you're not interested in astrology, then hopefully I can count on you to subscribe simply as a matter of friendly support.  Maybe you'll wind up more engaged with the topic than you think!

The blog I mentioned at the outset is online but I am not yet sharing that URL while I complete its configuration.  If you want to be added to that mailing list use my contact page to shoot me that email.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Here's My Deal About the Deal

08/29/2020

I'm causing a ruckus all over town.  Let me explain what happened....



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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A Jaunt to the (New) Exchange Street Train Station

08/23/2020

As may have been hinted at by about 15 years of websites and the occasional mention at this blog, I have a fascination with transit rail systems.  Subway systems, light rail, high speed rail -- and to a lesser degree, conventional commuter rail.  Don't ask me to explain the intense specificity (why not freight rail or Amtrak?), I can't.  

Video Pan of Progress on the Exchange Street Station, with Commentary.

Buffalo is building a new train station for its Amtrak NYC cross-feeder called the Exchange Street Station, which is a replacement for the old standing one of several decades, and which goes by the same name.  Today was sunny and warm and, shoot, I showered, so I indulged in some ground footage on how the construction is going, including this video pan with some pretty limp commentary.  

You can check out Buffalo Rising's June 2020 post on the progress for some more insightful exhibition, and its Exchange Street tag for even more.  Tasting this project for content has excited me for its future.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

Buffalo video

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Ye Olde Computer Support Website

08/21/2020

I never went on to develop web pages or to code at professional grade levels, but for as long as the web has been a thing I have always developed web pages and coded.  Here are two videos (you'll need to full-screen these bitches to see them completely) showing off some work I did for the computer support department that I worked for from the mid-90s to about 2006.  

Ye Olde Computer Support Website Nostalgia 1 (Watch full-screen).

Ye Olde Computer Support Website Nostalgia 2 (Watch full screen).

I worked at the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute at the University of South Florida, which at the time had an independent (versus campus-centralized), computer support center.  There was a small crew of us supporting maybe 200 users or up to 500 PCs in that specific research building.

Back then formal lines between technical roles were not as defined or regulated, or, at least weren't for our small shop, yet.  A system administrator might just as easily be called on to install MS Office on a user's PC, as they might to add a printer to a server -- and vice versa.  Roles solidified in my 5 or 6 years there, but early on, anything was on the table in your role as a "PC tech".

If you could log into it, you were the dude doing it.

Under this liberal arrangement I at some point picked up the role as webmaster of the departmental website.  It was a natural for me because it did in fact involve coding (HTML and the old "Cold Fusion", AKA, the language of MySpace - fun fact), and it allowed me to craft in departmental service structure directly to the interface that people would be using to call upon it.  The website, to the extent I had control, was in effect support policy and procedure.  For years this worked out well. 

I was able to take this trip down memory lane using a weird archive site I had not heard of before called oldweb.today .

Looking at this today it's stunning how static my web skills have stayed.  You'll notice that my preference for the clean uncluttered mechanical social path between the various pages is the same you'll find, say, here at my very blog.  I have always preferred that a website look and behave like a document.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

video WWW

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Predicting The Fall Of The Useful Web

07/19/2020

The world wide web might have been a way to share all kinds of information in a useful way that ecompassed the input of multiple presenters for every topic imaginable, sometimes for the same topic many times over.  

Malcolm Gladwell effectively predicts the 2020 web in 2002.

It was imagined by the still-living web founder as something that would be an indexed resource of a million perspectives, all able to interlink and evolve in infinite digital interplay.

And then, commercialism.

Now web page/site development can only be justified by the amount of money it might procure its producers.  Web pages that don't or can't take on the architecture of e-commerce equate to content that might be better moved to evolving social media platforms such as Facebook.  Places where any universal search mechanism breaks down.

Malcolm Gladwell made the prediction above in 2002 that seems to hold up well in the 2020 web.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

video WWW

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Goats

07/16/2020

My admiration for goats is something that has profoundly fascinated as well disturbed me for quite some time.

I mean, why goats?

They are beautiful animals where, in astrology for example, they are cast as ambitious rock and mountain climbers with a need to progress through turbulence and challenge.  To feel the rocks and the conquering of the mountain beneath their hooves.

My Moon is in Capricorn, so perhaps that explains my affinity.

Or perhaps, I just wanted a blog category called "goats" and thus made up this completely nonensical reasoning in which to do so.  If I did, I do not mean to cast aside the miracle of the graceful climbers for my own selfish gains.  But rather, I hope that in my choice of a mammal in which to fodder with, I honor the goat, while serving my own purposes.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Blogging Only Works, As Work

06/27/2020

As you know, I'm in the build phase of this blogging engine.  Though it looks completely functional there are major functions still a work in progress.  One of those is the archiving system.

To prep up with real content in which to actually test archiving with, and to keep up with a strategy of reflecting all of my online expressions synchronized between Twitter, Facebook, and this blog, I cross-posted most of my Facebook posts of recent months here.

The maneuver did help fill the tank for archive work, but I was surprised at what all that Facebook-ish inspired content wound up doing to the blog as a quality production stream.  Rather than give the audience a predictable rhythm of emotion and topic as they read through the posts, the disjointed and wayward thought processes between them were more likely to give them a headache.  Now, this blog has the production quality of bathroom graffiti.  What happened?

To understand, one has to compare how content as it is drip-dropped into a (personal) Facebook feed versus how it is dropped (more like a brick than a drip) onto a blog like this one.

Facebook posts are spurred by the moment, and like Twitter, are meant to draw your impulsive remarks and shares as captures of the second.  The resulting string of sentiments is an enjoyable cacophony of your mundane thoughts within a sophisticated framework where everyone is either doing, or at least knows that they can do, the same thing.  Whether they do or not, the random screeds and shares as disconnected intellectual matter are tolerated and appreciated thanks to compositional empathy.  Everyone gets that you might write about Aunt Maddie's tasteful potatoes in one post, then the impact of Trump's trade policies with China in the next.  

That empathy doesn't exist with longer form platforms, such as a blog.  Forget about the fact that a blog is not supposed to capture and cast impulsive thoughts in the first place, people can't relate to the process of feeding one as they do on a universal platform like Facebook.  Loosely they understand that, well, first you have to build or customize a blog, then you have to log into it, then you have to "build a post".  They imagine each post to be, what it is, which is work

So, when a reader encounters spotty point-making and flippant ideas one by one on a blog, as my Facebook dump renders, it looks and sounds bad.  It's just uncomfortable.

Hence, a consistent blog expression strategy will never be fulfilled by merely directly grafting content from your social media channels to your blog.  The blog is too much of a production channel, and the content that needs to be on display there needs to be a reflection of focus and work.  It has a voice to maintain, and it probably has a broader thesis to which each and every entry must be connected to.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

battleblogdev blogging

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Get Ready: Gun Rights Matter

06/24/2020

Unfortunately for the righties the new movement might well be a slow crawl toward more gun control, or even, outright gun law reform.  That's because at the very root of our need for exceptional police force compared to many developed countries, is the fact that anyone in our country, at any time, might be armed with a gun.   

Policing in America is far more dangerous, and while necessary to develop, soft-touch policing is therefore much more harder to achieve. 

If I cared a lot about guns, I'd hop on that social program investment bandwagon, or reasonable gun control measures, as fast as I could.

Link of Inspire



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

blm

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A Warning About Defunding As an Excuse

06/23/2020

As we demand that more $$$ go to social programs that improve the substantive conditions for all lower wealth, and more crucially, lower opportunity people, we have to be careful not to let police by wayward claim that they are merely bending to the public will and diminished resources, abandon law and order among the vulnerable.

Sensitive people, senior citizens, women open to exploitation, honest living people in public housing units, and many others, will all be subject to lives of terror and subjugation in a world where police leave them stranded with less presence and less assertion.

As it is, I have always felt as a way to cope with budget restrictions and the mere "work of it", police invent an inability to patrol or act in poor neighborhoods.  Police brutality, which you could look at as a twisted form of cost control, needs to be fixed.  But it can't be used as a convenient excuse to do the exact opposite where providing a baseline security is concerned. 

She has a  point.  And I would add, don't let everything that is happening become an exclamation point for those who believe that "minorities do it to themselves" so that walking away is that much more just.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

blm

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Buffalo's Mayor Brown Interview Does Not Disappoint

06/23/2020

Just watched the (Buffalo) Mayor Brown interview.  I have been impressed by this guy every single time I have heard him play out in the media for any reason, but more for this than any other.  

He is one the best mayors I've been a constituent of -- and is on par or maybe better than my other hero, Bloomberg.  As a ticket they would be a home run.   Balance is where the torturous victories lie, and these guys master it perfectly.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

blm video

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Defunding Police, An Explainer

06/23/2020

By the time I am posting this to my blog, it's a bit dated. I originally posted it to my Facebook feed before the tenant of "defund the police" was parsed more by the big media explainers.

If you're wondering, I'm just caching some of my social media posts here at the blog. Both to feed it so that I can continue developing (I need to hammer out an archiving architecture for example, so I need posts, lots of posts!), and also to solidify the principle that posts and feeds should exist on personal blogs first, not Facebook or Twitter. Though, clearly in playing catch up, I am doing the clear opposite.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

blm video

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From the Ground at Buffalo's George Floyd Protest

06/21/2020

I'm sort of a pragmatist when it comes to the Black Lives Matter movement. I'm not energized about participating in it, yet, am far from dismissing its premise or dissuading protests as they happen to erupt.

To paint the picture of where I seem to stand on all of this:

In the interest of cost control we have an unnecessarily violent police response to just about everything.  Violence keeps things moving and violence keeps police budgets manageable.  Who tastes that violence does seem to be a matter of society's marginalized.  "Police as the hammer for everything" is a reality that needs fixing through more reliance on technology and an investment in other social areas that stop putting people on a collision course with law enforcement in the first place.

On the other hand, I too readily understand the technique of hyperbole (the mainstream media promotes racial division because it is profitable), personal responsibility, and statistics.  I also fundamentally disbelieve police roam their ranks looking for people to deliberately kill and doubt anyone actually believes that they do; the noise of those who claim that they do believe, is by those willfully attempting to contribute to the hyperbole.  Whenever these things happen I am more quick to suspect an accident, the culpability of the individual's behavior, or some misunderstanding, however tragic the outcome. 

The end result here is that both sides have cause to hate me, so I won't soapbox too much, let alone rally.  But, one I thing I can't resist is the drama of a protest, so off I went to be where the action was.

That's what I did here in Buffalo when a series of peaceful protests, which turned aggressive, which then turned into national news, took place.  As a journalist tourist I hit the grounds and Periscoped during a relatively tame stage of one night's events.  It wasn't until after I turned off the camera and headed home that things got ugly.

Here is the full Periscope of my time there if you care to see it as I did, in crappy pixelated form.  However, at the top of this post is a condensed version available on YouTube.  The police scanner audio is not synchronous to the activity.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

blm

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It May Seem Like a Minor Thing But...

06/21/2020

Without diminishing the point of the protests (I was monitoring one in NYC via Periscope), I want to give an EXTRA shout out to all the horizontal smartphone cam videographers.  They are true gems in a sea of vertical holders who don't seem to get it.   I mean it's been almost 10 years now of smartphones to figure it out but alas.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

blm

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Please Don't Be Too Nice

06/21/2020

It wasn't too long ago President Trump quipped this sentiment to a bunch of police officers.  Some months later, an officer was "not too nice" to the point of choking a man to death.

No, President Trump probably did not mean that officers should seriously endanger suspects or, as in the case of George Floyd, assassainate them or manhandle them in such a way as to effectively murder. 

However, this kind of wink-and-nod banter is just yet another reason this guy shouldn't stay the President.  He doesn't appreciate the weight of his own words across the full spectrum of the population that he presides over.  

The apprehension of suspects and how they are treated while in custody is a serious matter, and is apparently an all-too-often breached protocol as it is, let alone when something an officer does, in fact kill someone.  The President should have the common sense that something like this will come back to haunt him sooner or later

He doesn't have that common sense, or respect.  So as far as I'm concerned, here is the haunt.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

blm

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TheOnionLike: I Like Your Hair

06/21/2020

Just a quick caching of my #TheOnioneLIke #HireMeTheOnion stuff.

❤️❤️❤️ROMANTIC!  With bars closed during quarantine, intoxicated unappealing 54-year-old Romeo bothers neighbor women from his rooftop!  💕💕💕💕❤️

Report:  Ring Doorbell Cameras Credited With 90 Percent Increase in Capture, Conviction, of Orbs. 



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

theonionlike

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Well Oiled Machine

06/21/2020

My car has this awesome advanced feature.  It just about self-changes the oil by automatically  draining it over the course of a few months thereby allowing me to fill it with new oil without going under it to loosen a pan or paying for an oil-change place to do it!



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Facebook As the Placebook

05/25/2020

I decided to click the little exclamation point for "More Website Information" that Facebook now includes with most feed posts, next to one of my own recent posts.

In the event you actually wonder if Hillary runs a pedophile ring, click the exclamation point.

The idea of this new information system is so that Facebook can give the average clicker an idea of a website's validity and integrity, a system largely developed in wake of attempts by foreign state competitors attempting to influence the outcome of elections by taking advantage our nation's low barrier information exchange systems (read: the web, social media).  You may recognize that effort covered in the mainstream media as "Russian Interference".

Why Facebook thinks that people who are actually brain-numb enough to believe Hillary Clinton runs a pedophila ring in the basement of pizza parlors would be inquisitive enough to try and understand the integrity of a given source publishing that information is beyond me.  People who "believe" and share that type of information are more than likely doing it out of personal satire, not because they actually believe it.

I actually think I do know:  Social media giants and the mainstream media both need you to believe that people are that stupid because it then permits them to introduce yet more controls and more instruments to track human inquisitiveness, while maybe driving a political or social agenda in the process.  Instruments such as the button under discussion that allows you to review "more information" about a given post, for example.

When I clicked on the one for my post, linking back to my website, I chuckled over the clinical assessment at first.  But gaffed when I saw this:

 

Dwghosting doesn't have a Facebook page, oh no!

Facebook, in the authorative presentation of a risk assessment agent, was pointing out that my hosting company, Dave the Web Guy Innovations, does not have a Facebook page.  The implication being that my content potentially threatens western democracy.

Holy smokes!  

Well I guess as owner operator of Dave the Web Guy Innovations and its functional subsidary Dave the Web Guy Hosting, I better start one up!  Get it going.  Get my presence branded and restore Facebook's version of "trust it" about me, to the world. 

If I really want to stand apart, to really show my authentic export to the world, I best also buy up some ad impressions and what not.  After all, if I'm not buying ad space, maybe I'm just a con going through the trouble to make a Facebook page to beat this incriminating designation as a "non-Facebook-page" owner.  Oh no!  Facebook:  Shutup and take my money!  Vindicate me!  Approve me!

So basically, Facebook, as part of its undeclared strategy to replace the World Wide Web with its own monetizing version of it, is casting fear and distrust of any digital stage built outside it.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Caught Flapping on My Webcam

05/17/2020

So now that I have my shiny new blogging platform at hand I find myself thirsty for unique me-oriented content.  Noting a lack of anything too special between watching bad sitcoms and chowing down on boxes of Lucky Charms, it occurs to me maybe now is time to update my explanation of this odd behavior, frequently caught on my webcam, and elsewhere:

Seriously, da F is that?

That is me "flapping".  It's technically not "flapping", it's more like a soothing tickling of the back of my neck.  I call it flapping because when I did this as a kid I did it full hand-hands-to-the-front which was by definition flapping.  I literally flapped my hands. 

Over time, this behavior was naturally admonished by my mom and dads, and subject to some degree of mocking from my dear siblings.  The resulting pressure between the compulsion to do it and the shame and ridicule to not, gradually morphed the act into the somewhat compact and concealable act of "neck tickling".  The vernacular of it as "flapping" nonetheless survived, as did the behavior itself, into modern adulthood.

I mostly do it while under stress, but I also do it while thinking rapidly about matters.  It's like a mental tell I suppose.  You can harmlessly refer to it as a "tic" if you like although I tend to think of tics as being more involuntary.  This is not involuntary by my standard of the word, I crave doing it!  I can get frustrated over time if I can't.

The medical genesis of this behavior is a wild card matter.  Sure, it's the stuff of autism if you turn down the squelch on the meaning of that word (and sure, my mother claims a doctor made just such that suggestion, just as that and "Asperger" were coming to the fore). 

My philosophy on the over-diagnosis of what is in my opinion, at some point of high functionality, a personality type, leads me to dismiss that.  I'd sooner blame chomping on lead paint chips and messing up the wiring somewhere during my neurological developmental years. 

I mean, okay, I happen to be great with computers and sure, there is that train thing I have going on, and maybe a few oddball obsessive fascinations here and there -- but, hey, like I said personality type

Some dudes get high jumping from bridges while strapped to rubber bands and we don't say they have a contemporary buzzword affliction, do we?  They're  just adrenaline junkies!  And for some reason, without a care for trains in the world, they are even admired.

So if you see me flapping on the webcam, or maybe roundabout at work or in the streets, do not be concerned.  It just means I'm letting off mental steam if not processing an internal algorithm of some sort.

Now if you'll excuse me, I notice the second of my thirteen spoons (from the bottom of the stack) is slightly shifted to the left in the utensil drawer, and I absolutely have to correct it or there's gonna be a lot of flappin' going on!



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Test of a Summary Entry

05/14/2020

This is the first test of a summary entry.  Such summaries will be included with most postings and will reflect in social media postings and the RSS feed.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Next Time, Just 'Share' On The Ring App

05/09/2020

Well let's face it, these two guys are fucked.

And with just cause.  

One problem that I have with the Ahmaud Arbery murder case is that I can see myself as someone who'd jaunt after a caught-on-camera trespasser.  I am "Mr. Security Cam" after all and intercepting creepers and thieves in the act is what I'm all about as a point of -- odd -- fascination.  I love when technology makes life tougher for that sort of riff-raff.

But would I be jaunting to confront one?  Let alone armed with a gun?  Hell no.  I'd be going to narrate to a 911 operator, or, to take closer-up phonecam pictures (from the safety of my passing vehicle) for breathless "enhanced distribution" on the NextDoor app. 

And, the majority of you would probably feel that I'd be stupid for even doing that.  

With their own stupid understanding of an appropriate response to a trespasser, whether one thought to be involved in previous burglaries or not, these guys escalated a situation better left to uniformed responding patrol officers.  As it is, even if they don't wind up in prison, and they most probably will, the rest of their lives are fucked.

There is the race question to be sure.  And there is definetely a "good ol' boys protecting good ol' boys" thing going on in any event, questions of racism notwithstanding.  The police report used every trick of sentence and slant construction to give the highly questionable series of events a period instead of its richly deserved question mark.

But to me, beyond the waxing social issues clearly at hand here, the proper response to spotting things happening on your survelliance systems is what this case really boils down to and is the relatively boring angle that will probably not get the discussion it deserves.  

Relevant Linkage



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

crime msmfocus

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