Neither flame nor smoke

The Amazing folks unveiled their new tablet the ‘Kindle Fire’ yesterday and the grrr brrr has been heavy on this device including an article [Link] entitled “Amazon Just Won The Android Tablet Wars With The $199 Kindle Fire”.

Someone has been imbibing their own urine. I am underwhelmed. A better appellation might be the ‘Kindle Wisp’ because saying this is the winner in the Android tablet competition is rather like saying the motorcar wars were won by the Yugo. If this is the iPod killer there has to be a nuke hidden somewhere to take out Apple headquarters. I rather suspect right now that place is quiet and tattered from all the celebration of the season’s second big IT stupid thing done. This one may not be as big as HP’s but it is certainly big enough.

One of the articles I saw was entitled something like “n thing Kindle Fire has that iPad doesn’t”. Don;t recall the URL, nor the value of n because the list was bogus. n-1 of the items were so contrived and measureless that they slipped through the cracks in space-time down at the Planck level. The only thing that can be said that Kindle Wisp  has that iPad doesn’t is Flash and that is hardly a strong discriminator. A forming acne bump would laugh at its magnitude, much less any rational consumer comparison.

The fact is that Kindle Wisp is spayed (or neutered, not sure which is the appropriate term) and lobotomized. The only positive thing that can be said of it is that it has a webkit browser.[Link] It lacks eMail and calendaring, and lacks an app store. It is rather apparent that this Amazing fork of Android has been pruned harshly.

And then there’s the price. $200? For a tenth to hundredth of an HP touchpad? That price might have flown back when the product development was initiated but now it is way too much for way too little. HP’s earlier great stupid thing has polluted the tablet marketplace for years to come.

Of course the demographic for this is predominantly bogs, mainly urban drone commuter bogs. In that population Amazing is assured of selling a few just from fashionista delusions. But to real rational humans? Doubtful. And do we really want to enserf our minds to Amazing as a savior from Apple? Especially an Amazing that is going to be in continual conflict with Gooey over the abused and disemboweled OS.

If this is war it is fascist Germany versus communist Russia circa 1940. Best avoided by those who actually don’t want to throw away money. If you just have to blow it, give the money to the Salvation Army to buy donuts for the troops. They bought you the freedom to avoid this stercus.

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Health Hibernation

On my return this morning from gym, I observed a skunk about to cross what would have been my path down the street if I were not about to turn into my driveway. Both of us stopped and waited on the other. Finally, entertaining the hypothesis that my headlamps were deterring the beast from continuing, and wishing it no ill will, I turned in and observed a hasty progress past the edges of my visual solid angle of sensitivity.

For some reason this put me in mind of the podcast episode I had been listening to at gym, an episode of the Full Circle podcast dealing with the events at a recent ogg camp in England. The themes I had obtained from the podcast was (a) the desktop is dead so Linux desktop is now irrelevant; and (b) organizations are trying to over-control us and free software must be protected. The latter seemed rather out of character as a message from the land of tyranny and oppression.

I do recall however, one of the epiphanies I had obtained, that

modern medicine is at the heart of consumerism.

The idea is that the hallmark of modern medicine is chemical compounds and physical/chemical testing that is obscured from the scrutiny of the laity. The medicalist apparat has always been a bit of a priesthood but that has intensified over the years as its barriers have firmed up. Back when medicine were compounded of naturally available materials and testing was blatant, it was possible for the discerning to be aware of what was about. But increasingly that discernment has been abridged.

Yes, medicines do come with little sheets of Yankee government mandated gobbledygook but no actual information about mechanics or shut-outs. And less information is available about the tests that are performed. Yes, there is the internet where supposedly information is available, but again Sturgeon’s Rule applies and there is the problem of discriminating the accurate tenth.

So the laity, often even the non-specialist, are reduced to becoming undiscriminating, asentient, unintelligent users of treatments. This is the panorama of modern consumerism where the product quality is irrelevant, only the recognition and adulation of the organization is significant. The problem is that it is also the only game in town so the validity and integrity are also irrelevant.

So it strikes me that the issue of free software is also irrelevant, at least in this instance. Only in the context of all aspects of our lives does it truly matter and then we have to realize that the fight is probably foredoomed. After all, the bogs will do nothing; they like the velvet glove. So we are left with only the geeks and nerds to fight for the freedom of spirit and action of the species.

I will comment on the absence of choice in modern politics later. Selah.

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Tax Tiff

The cat fight between Amazing and the Land of Golden Earthquakes continues. [Link] Seems that the state guvment has caved to the demands of the ‘Great Snake’ (with apologies to Harrison Ford) and agreed to back off on demanding the collection of state sales taxes until a year from now. Ostensibly this is to give the Yankee congress time to decide whether it is going to tax internet businesses or not.

Several question emerge on this, the first being whether any internet business should be taxed. If so, it is a clear indication that the glory days of Berbers-Lee’s marvelous invention are coming to a close. But I somehow doubt that this will be a cause for celebration, either at MalWart or at locally owned brick-and-mortars. Rather, the move seems more likely to drive business to Canadian and even European businesses. The sales tax may be small (?) but it is irritating, especially to those who think the internet should remain the last bastion of democratic Amerika.

I have to admit that I have changed vendors because of sales tax collection although not because of the mere fact. Rather, I find that too many internet vendors who do collect sales tax – read Sears, Land’s End, Barnes and Noble, and other such – collect too much. For some reason when sales tax is collected it is collected at the rate of the highest tax municipality in the state and not the actual rate for where I am located. So rather than pay an extra 2% on a few dollars I will expend my time and effort to find someone who charges accurately.

The fault here is not that of the state of Alibam, but of the vendor and nothing screams fraud and incompetence like this overage. So the idea that I should pay sales tax on goods that do not reside, at time of sale, in Alibam is exaggerated by the inability, ineptitude maybe, avarice likely of venial vendors.

This may all be irrelevant. Every government is avid for taxes and every vendor is avid for sales. Somehow I suspect that the internet vendors, lacking strong congress critter home interest, will not fare well. We can only hope that the congress critters put stern penalties in whatever they enact to assure some measure of fair gouging collection. But I do not abate my respiration.

The sad thing is that this will likely reduce tax revenues rather than increasing. Sales will be reduced. Indeed, the increases in transportation charges in the last few years have already reduced sales so added overhead charges will reduce even further, over and above the redirection to across border sources.

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Gut Bugs

Back to week in, back to gym. It was a bit of a tense weekend with little free energy of expression. Much of this is the variance in weather but is it all?

The folks at Columbia U and fair Hahvahd have found that the digestive genes of the autistic are different. [Link] Somehow this makes a kind of sense: if their mental metabolism is different why not other metabolisms? The question that arises is whether this is a clear cut difference or shades into ‘normalcy’? Are those afflicted with Asperger’s intermediary or pure?

Given that differences in digestive genetics translates into differences in digestion and the incidence of Asperger’s among nerds, does this offer some indication of their often strange dietary practices? Does this extend to other forms of brilliance and genius? Does digestion sort us?

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Tyranny of Ego

Sad to say in some ways the farther south you go in Alibam, the greater the whackedness. It seems that the town of Bay Minette has decided to force criminals to attend religionist services instead of incarceration. [Link] Rightly the Amerikan Civil Liberties Union has gotten on their case about this being an abridgement of separation of church and state. I rather suspect that the conscript parents of Bay Minette, in proper Alibam fashion, will protest that they are a municipality, not the state, and that this is not a constitutional violation. At which point the ACLU will have to do the litigation thing and the Yankee government will have to clout the community, exposing them for the bigoted social engineers that they are and overall embarrassing all of the rational folks in Alibam.

I suppose that’s better than waiting until they get some nice Jewish lad in their clutches and he sues them for religious discrimination and takes the operating budget of the town for ten years as punitive damages.

But why do I have to read about this stuff in furrin newspapers? Do we here in Alibam lack the courage of our misguided, bigoted, perverted convictions?

On a more positive note, the grrr brrr over the CERN neutrino experiments is becoming clearer. The data have been serious examined and plans are underway to reproduce the experiment at FermiLab. [Link][Link] So the right things are being done, as I knew by conditioning that would be.

I have to admit to being of divided opinion on this. Part of me wants Einstein’s postulate to hold up, an aversion to change, I suppose. But part of me also wants this to pan out. Too much of physics has become entirely too much like the conscript parents of Bay Minette lately and we need a good experimental shock to cure us of our misplaced awe of our own excellence.

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