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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bandwidth Usage

I had already been restrained in posting here by the need to do something about my firewood collecting, resuming my work on my big stained glass Iris Window project, and the several other things.   But a week or two ago an especially powerful inhibitor set in over our heads, when Wildblue, our wireless server, accused us of using too much bandwidth.

They had given us two weeks notice, but my wife had assumed the guise of being our e-mail monitor, because she hears a lot from her friends by that means though I almost never do, and I don't have nearly as many friends anyway, at least not any that use the Internet or that I have heard from by any other means lately, and she sometimes tends to overlook things (more often than she likes to think or wants to hear from me), and she thought that notice was something too arcane or something for her to have to worry about, and she summarily tossed it.   So two weeks later Wildblue summarily (from my point of view) slowed down our internet access to almost unusable, claiming that we, or somebody, had downloaded too much, to the tune of 14,000 mb's during the past 30 days or 122 percent of what was allowable in the package we were paying for, the least expensive.

It was true that, unaware that we had been threatened, I, at long last, after avoiding the thought for a long time, had been checking into the Steam online game system and had downloaded several large games just out of curiosity,  and I theorized that that had put us over the edge, though I couldn't see how it could have been that much.   But my wife, who spends a good deal of the morning reading the NY times and her messages online, couldn't stand being so restrained, and she upped our level, at extra cost, with the idea of dropping back to our usual level of Wildblue, as soon as enough time had passed with little downloading to get that 122% business down to a much better number.  But no sooner had she done that when Wildblue, after having sped things up for a couple of days with the new package, hit us again with another "abuse" penalty, saying that with even the new allowance of 12,000 mb's in place of the former 7,500 per each 30 “rolling” days, we were still in "violation" with that usage of 14,600 during the past 30 days.

They didn't say it exactly that way, at least the way my wife reported it, but that is what it works out to, to my thinking, and now, after the additional $20 she had arranged to pay per month to upgrade to the second level, she is thinking of paying another $10 to get to the top level, temporarily,  which would allow for 17,000 mb’s, and that should get us far enough up above that violation level.  Meanwhile, I think that our very low upload usage, about 4% of what is allowed,. ought to count for something, though I don't know how they arrived at even that low a number, over any 30 days.

I am not sure, though, that even that will do the job, because something about all this strikes me as being a ruse to extract more money from us.  For instance, Wildblue said that we might be the victim of a virus, so I downloaded AVG, which is thought to be one of the best antivirus programs, and I successfully installed it on two of the three computers we use in our tiny home network,  but unsuccessfully on the third, due to a previous AVG instalment that I had let lapse after the free trial period some months ago, and, as AVG, judging by the time it took,  was a pretty big download for each computer, that must’ve gotten us in position for that second violation.   That strikes me as being too much of  a Catch 22 situation, and I’m afraid the same thing will happen when I try to get AVG finally installed on the third machine.

I suppose it could be said that three computers is too much to keep going, though I strongly doubt that we use all three together, online, as much as a lot of people use only one.

Meanwhile I’m glad I have written this post.   I believe the exertion has made the whole thing a little clearer to me.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Reconciling Eras

I often have to wonder, in the event that their family and national fortunes would've enabled them to be slaveowners right on up into the present century, whether numerous Virginians, South Carolinians, Texans, and many others all through this  country would've been able to reconcile that with the Age of Automobiles, Telephones, and Computers. and if so, how would they have done it?   Yet it's all too easy to hear such a longing resonating behind all the ravings of  the teapartiers, the Repubs, and the like, especially during their screams about their great, overriding desire to "take the country back."

Thursday, September 09, 2010

BIG RETRACTION!! -- Cost of Rabies Test

In a post a few weeks ago about my wife's friend who was attacked by a gray fox and had to take rabies shots, I wrote that, as per what my wife thought she had been told, the tests that the state makes to establish whether or not the shots are necessary cost $375,000.

I strongly questioned that figure, but at the time my wife firmly stood by it, because it was what she thought she had heard, and so I trustingly had gone along with it.   But just a moment ago I found that I had been badly tripped up by a failure to communicate, which is not uncommon when you have two or more women, both of whom have been known to get a little over-exuberant in their volubility, talking with each other, and now K. says that she never said the test cost that incredible amount.   Instead K. insists that she said $375, which she, however, still thought was exorbitant, for in some states it (apparently) is less than $100.
Now my wife is very embarrassed and so am I.  At the time I had thought about going on the Internet and checking on what that cost is in various states, but the many issues that keep me from doing a huge number of things also withheld doing that from my mind, though now that I've been told how utterly wrong that figure was, I've cut that little tidbit out of that post.

 I guess I had also just lumped that in with the myriad other things that I hear about, mostly having to do with human behavior, that are much more inexplicable, and at times even more costly in many ways. 

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Lining up Puppies and Kittens

Ever since 1999 I've been downloading photos from Webshots, a big Internet photo site, till now I have a collection, on computer only, of close to 15,000 of their shots taken by professional photographers.  They are an admirable and absolute necessity on all my computers, as screensavers and wallpaper.  They take up over 3 gigs of space on my hard drives, but that's negligible in these days of hard drives with up to several terabytes of space pretty much dirt cheap.  The photos are of a huge number of subjects, but landscapes, my favorite genre, make up the lion's share.  I also like pictures with people in them, and in its first years Webshots would publish some of those now and then but not anymore.   I wonder why?   Legal problems?

In place of people now they offer a higher proportion than earlier of animal pictures, and scattered among those are a fair number showing puppies or kittens, three, four, and occasionally even five all placidly lined up in a row, as if young canine or feline vanity had driven them to wait for just this moment, when you know just as well that nothing could've been farther from the truth, so much so that I wonder how these shots could've possibly been made.

Click here to see just such a shot that I've been using for wallpaper for several weeks.

I have no experience with dogs, but I've had enough with multiple kittens and cats, and to get a really good shot of even just one that is awake is a major achievement, much less of a bunch of them lined up in a neat and orderly row.   And puppies, which I think of as being just as energetic and equally as wayward in their mindsets, must be just as bad.

How do the photographers do it?   Do they use restraints of some carefully hidden kind, or do they have to take hundreds of shots to get just a single good one, or what?

This is a matter of international importance, and as such, it is worthy of further investigation.

Curmudgeonly Joys

Steve Bates, the proprietor of the hopefully only temporarily suspended weblog, "The Yellow Something Something," took me to task for misspelling Britney Spears' first name in a post I put on here a few days ago, about the Spears-Lohan-Hilton media mystery.

While thinking of how I could respond, I was surprised to find myself coming up with more than one reason for my misstep.   I'm sure he will just see them as being lame excuses instead, but there they are.   And if I was going to list them, it would be too long for a comment, so I thought I'd just indulge myself in a regular post for today.

1.  Having read his weblog regularly for some years now, I would have thought Steve would have a good understanding of the joys and privileges of being a curmudgeon, since it is an activity that he is no stranger to, himself.  He might counter that, yes, but he curmudgeons on more important issues.   That, however, is in the eye of the beholder.   My theme was not about Ms Spears or her two contemporaries nearly as much as it was about media misbehavior.

2.   Though still only something of a young whippersnapper in his 50's, Steve likes to refer to himself as being "old,"  His physical being is giving him severe problems, but his brain is still intact and of the moment.   So, in the sphere in which we are communicating, which is that of the mind, being only one year short of 80 I have a lot of curmudgeonly seniority on him, and he should take that into account, even if I was not aware that I was being "discourteous" about the spelling of the lady's first name.

3.    In my world, Britney Spears never has been the goddess that at some point she may quite likely have been and might still be in the world of Steve and many others.

4.  Lately , as I mentioned in a post a few months ago, I have been trying to complete a novel that has been hanging over me for many years, and one of its important characters is a young lady named "Brittany."  So that spelling just came more naturally to my head and my fingers.

5.   Getting back to the curmudgeonly bit,  I never hesitate to take issue with how people misspell their own names or even have been given the wrong names by their parents or by themselves.   And I think "Brittany" is much cooler than "Britney."

I see no reason to apologize for saying such things, any more than I do for "slipping" on the name of someone who has seen her name spelled correctly in the news much more than any skilled surgeon, teacher, civil rights activist, or just about anyone else.   And that gets back to the whole point that I was trying to make in the post.

6.  Blogger's built-in spell checker placed no wavy red marks under the spelling I used.  (!)

So you could say I was just doing the lady a favor by using the classier spelling, for which I am sure that she is boundlessly grateful.