Thursday, December 31, 2009

happy new year

Dick Clark is friggin' scary. Every year it gets better and better. That guy is a Zombie.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

power and communications


i take pictures of power poles. I think they are awesome.

new year, new site

I've killed danmanning.com and I'm sending it here. (i'm keeping the domain name) It was a hobby site that no one ever went to anywhoo.

Monday, December 21, 2009

# WHAT I LEARNED IN THE DECADE OF BROADBAND

– by Dan Manning

(Warning: The following Rant contains bitter cynicism and foul language. If you have already quaffed the Kool-Aid, some comments may offend the eye.)

Everyone these days has high-speed Internet. We as a species have gathered online to share our thoughts and feelings, our videos and pictures and comments, and this is what I, Dan Manning, learned from this first decade of widespread broadband Internet access, this age of instant communications:

I learned that dial-up is an unacceptable way to get online. Dial-up sucks ass. If you are reading this via dial-up connection, I'm sorry.

I learned that some cops (but not all) love to electrocute people with Tasers, and seem oblivious to the dashboard video cameras that capture their abuses of power. Tasering handcuffed suspects, grandmothers, children and pregnant women are acceptable ways to keep the peace and make sure the civilians respect authority and know their place.

I learned Iraq had no WMDs, but once you deploy troops, the nation goes into a blind nationalism conniption fit. Once the troops are deployed, they are there to stay.

I learned that beheading a hostage in a terrorist video would probably go smoother with a sharp knife.

I learned that Dick Cheney is Satan. George Bush was his useful idiot.

I learned that "our" religion is good (despite colonialism; the genocide against Native Americans; slavery; Jim Crow laws; corporate greed; illegal, unprovoked wars; corporate world-wide exploitation of indigenous populations; the operation of sweatshops; unchecked materialism; the worship of the all-mighty dollar; our high crime rate; racism; narcissism; massive military spending; etc) but "their" religion is bad. (Actually, I learned that I dislike religion in all forms, and I feel that all flavors of this poisonous superstition give people excuses to do horrible things to each other.)

I learned that some Americans are capable of torture, and many Americans are capable of rationalizing torture. This made me sad.

I learned that the government tracks our phone calls, emails, Internet activity and purchases, compliments of the corporations that are enablers of this foul, unconstitutional domestic spying program. I learned that in times of "national emergency" (one terrorist attack in a decade) our "elected" officials wipe their asses with the Constitution, the very document that is supposed to protect our rights during times of crisis or national emergency. Way to panic America, take off your shoes before you step on the plane you spineless sheeple.

In 2008 I learned that Sarah Palin is as vile and vacuous as she is photogenic, and that John McCain will abandon all principles to get elected. John Kerry is an insufferable blowhard who should have his larynx removed, surgically or otherwise. I learned that Barack Obama was elected as a liberal and turned into a conservative as soon as he took office. As far as I'm concerned, this is Bush's third term.

I learned that both the Democrats and Republicans have sold themselves to special interests, and we are lost. The Corporate Overlords have triumphed. Barcode tattoos for all!

I learned about credit default swaps, Henry Paulson, Goldman Sacs, Ben Bernanke, AIG, sub-prime lending, housing bubbles, Ponzi schemes, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and ... oh hell, all I know is, when douchbags in thousand-dollar suits turn our money into imaginary coins, lose everything, and end up running the Federal Reserve and Department of the Treasury, we are totally, irrevocably, fucked. Why are we not dragging these bankers into the streets and beating them with baseball bats? I'm just asking. How's everybody enjoying living under a Kleptocracy?

I learned that most governments are in league with corporations and banks and plotting to take all of our money and turn us into an under-class of Morlocks, able to operate only the simplest of machines, to serve our Corporate Overlords.

I learned that the planet is going to burn up, and although the "science is in" we as a species are too stupid to do anything about it. I also learned that the planet is not going to burn up, and Al Gore and a cabal of liberals are plotting to make money on a made-up crisis and use cap-and-trade to create a one-world government. Actually, I learned that I'm pretty confused about this issue. I decided there are three possibilities; all of them are no problem:
(1)If climate change is man-made, we deserve to be wiped out, no problem.

(2)If climate change is natural, there is nothing we can do, no problem.

(3)If climate change is not real, there is no problem.
That's how I deal with the climate issue. Not very good way to look at it I suppose, but I learned that I don't know everything.

I learned that as a nation we are too stupid to care for our sick and that insurance companies are evil. While I know the system is broken, I'm not sure if government is the answer. Can't we find one country that is doing healthcare correctly and copy whatever magic formula they have conjured up? What is stopping us from fixing this bullshit? Oh yeah, greedy bastards in expensive suits. (Sometimes I wish there WAS a fiery hell for these motherfucking insurance executives to go to after they die, but alas, they will die happy, rich men with no regrets, and they will never answer for their capitalist crimes.)

I learned to fix computers.

I learned to level a warrior to 80, that I suck at PVP, and that I can't hold aggro during instances. I learned that voice chat ruined Second Life. I learned that ThinkTanks is an awesome online game.

I learned to update my Facebook status, tweet my goings-on, upload video, download music, stream audio and make web pages (sort of).

Because of comment sections on many sites and blogs, I learned that through the magic of anonymity, we can grief, mock, hate each other, and say the most vile, racist, sexist, vicious things possible, all from the safety and comfort of our homes, all in complete anonymity. (Anonymous except of course, to ISPs and through them, the government. George Orwell, George Orwell, what have we wrought?)

I learned that while we are able say anything and instantly communicate our thoughts with the entire world, most of us have nothing to say.

I learned that all debates online eventually lead to someone comparing someone else to Hitler or the Nazis. This applies to all subjects, from heated political debates to disagreements about cookie recipes.

By reading the honest opinions of others in comment sections around the Internet, I learned that by and large, human beings are loudmouth, illiterate, small-minded morons. I exclude myself of course because I learned that I am a narcissist. And of course, I do not include you, gentle reader, in my criticism.

I learned that as unemployment rises, parking spaces at the public library disappear because apparently unemployed people who don't have high-speed internet need to go to the library to play flash video games, tweet about how the don't have jobs, and update their Facebook status. "I'm unemployed and I'm at the library not reading books! LOL".

I learned recently that Tiger Woods is a man-whore who does not understand technology. Madonna doesn't know when to quit. In 2006 I learned that "Macaca" is not an acceptable thing to say on video, especially if you have a political career to think about.

I learned that every woman in or on any magazine is Photoshopped beyond all recognition.

I learned that no matter how wide the screens or highly defined the resolution, network and cable television, for the most part, suck ass.

I learned that as movie CGI makes effects more "special" and "real", the real-life modern experience has become more generic, banal, artificial and boring. Corporations have homogenized the American landscape. A Chili's next to an Applebee's next to a Starbucks in Michigan is exactly like a Chili's, Applebee's and Starbucks in Alabama, except that the wage-slave restaurant workers in Alabama talk funny, have football-shaped heads, and have sex with their cousins. As long as I get my sampler platter, I don't care.

Through the miracle of YouTube I confirmed that kittens are cute and nut-shots look painful from all angles. Though meticulous investigation, I learned that gravity, skateboards and concrete stairs are dangerous combinations, and that many skateboard enthusiasts don't understand physics, and their friends need to hold the damn video camera still because when one of these "extreme" idiots face-plants into concrete, it is hilarious.

Through Facebook I learned that lots of people hate Mondays, give pet names to Wednesdays, and love Fridays. Their kids have school activities and occasionally they go on vacation. They love games about imaginary farms and the mafia.

I learned that there are many creative people out there who can do amazing things with video, prose, music and animation.

I learned that I'm probably wrong about most of the stuff I just wrote about, but I'm going to post it anyway, because I've learned that if it isn't online, it probably isn't worth doing at all.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

AVATAR

Go see this movie. Fantastic.


Monday, December 14, 2009

#64 A Collection of Fascinating Words:

Tantalus, Cadastral, Simularea, Effluvia,
Gewgaw, Duodenum, Sysyphian, Louche, 
Besmirched, Ephemera, Schadenfreude, Plateau,
Interlocutor, Carbuncle, Uvula, Remnant, 
Meed, Equivoque, Gregarious, Delineation, 
Saturnine, Chthonic, Nostrum, Extant,
Potemkin, Palaver, Phantasmagoria, 
Thalamus, Entelechy, Laburnum, 
Sanguinarium, Patagonia, Landanum, 
Detritus, Automata, Atelier, Circumlocution,
Aquitaine

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

zen stuff

The greatest achievement is selflessness.
The greatest worth is self-mastery.
The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
The greatest precept is continual awareness.
The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.
The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.
Atisha (11th century Tibetan Buddhist master)

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Why Does Honeywell Have My Child in a Database?

Why did my daughter's school give Honeywell, a huge corporation, her information to put into a database without letting me know first?

After the school announced a snow day Friday morning, I went to my daughter's school district website to see if I could get a text message for future snow days. That's a convenient feature.

I found a link on the school district website for an instant alert. I followed the link and found that they had outsourced the job to Honeywell.

Okay, I guess that's how we do things these days. Fine. Whatever.

I signed up for the service because I suppose like many people, I've been conditioned to accept this sort of thing, but afterward realized that I was required put my child's information into Honeywell's web page to VERIFY I was the parent.

I had mistyped the first time I filled out the form, and had received an error: this means they already had the correct information about my child in their database. Otherwise they wouldn't be able to use the information to VERIFY I had any business being there.

That's right; they already have the information even if you don't sign up for the alert service. Try putting a mistake into the website form and it returns an error message. That means they already have the CORRECT information on every child in our district. And check the drop-down to see the list of school districts all over America that have signed up. Some states do not use the service.

I believe many Americans today have been conditioned to accept this kind of casual treatment of their information, and the idea of "privacy" has become a joke, but this really hit home. Honeywell, which I have no problem with really (I haven't investigated enough...yet), is a very large company. And somewhere in their massive collection of servers (I assume) sits information on both of my children (when I verified one daughter, I had both of my daughters listed in my shiny new Honeywell Instant Alert account).

This is what bothers me most: why did the school district send this information to a huge private company without telling anyone? I found no "opt out" button anywhere on any of these sites.

Maybe the notice from the school about this program came in the mountain of papers they send home with our children every year. Maybe I missed it. Was the notice in some paragraph on their website I never read? Did we as parents have a chance to say, "no, don't send my child's information to this private company"?

And how much has the school paid for what is basically an email and text message service? I looked up a few news stories about Honeywell's Instant Alert service. Other districts around the country have paid between $1500.00 and $4000.00. I work with computers for a living and there are plenty of tech companies in our county that could have done this. Why not keep the money local?

Well, it is probable that no one will read this, and if they do, it is likely they won't care. I've done my part. This letter is the only stink I'm going to raise. Let us all go back to ignoring the Corporatization of every aspect of our lives. Happy Holidays everybody!


Extra Credit:

See if Honeywell, a giant corporation, has your child's information. Remember, the info is ALREADY in Honeywell's databases if your district signed up for this service:
https://instantalert.honeywell.com/ParentAuthentication.aspx

Friday, December 04, 2009

About Me

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I am the author of 8 books: Android Down, Firewood for Cannibals, Brain Giblets, The Cubicles of Madness, Booze and News, Get Your Zen On, Zen Happens, and most recently, Robot Stories. I live and write in Michigan. My website is at danmanning.com

this is my website:
danmanning.com

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