Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Summer slowdown?

I was hoping that I could keep up a fairly decent volume of posts over the summer, but that is starting to look unlikely. There's of course the normal "lots of things to do", plus some added extra activities this year.

I'm going to try to keep up posting as often as I can, but some days it just isn't going to happen. So if I go missing for a few days, keep checking--I'll be back soon enough.

Remember your first BBS?

Because I'm a computer geek by profession, I tend to remember all things silicon quite well.

In 1985, I had just went back to college for the third time. This time, I was deadly serious about it. I'd tried it twice before, and really didn't care for it at all. This time, I was tired of working crappy jobs, and I wanted to go to work wearing a suit.

I started out as an English major. (Yes, I know it doesn't show. Thank you.) However, I was smart enough to figure out that computers were going to be a big thing, and thought I'd better learn something about them. So I picked 2 courses out of the catalog, pretty much at random. The first turned out to be a Pascal programming class and the second a BASIC programming class.

Well, that was a mistake. I got hooked and started taking more computer-type classes. My advisor was not happy. He really wasn't happy when I changed my major to Business so that I could get a concentration in Information Technology. "You'll regret narrowing yourself like this" was his parting comment. (That hasn't happened, cap'n.)

Shortly after, I took out a loan against my car to buy my first computer, Morrow Designs MD-3, along with a Star printer and a smokin' 1200 baud modem. I thought I was somebody.

A guy I knew started teaching me all the things I needed to know, like bulletin boards. I can't remember the names now, but I had a blast. It was a new world.

After college, I, along with a borrowed clone IBM PC, moved to a larger area. I quickly hooked into the local BBS scene, becoming a regular on several boards. It was a lot larger than where I'd came from, to the point of having actual get-togethers on Saturday mornings for breakfast and actual face-to-face conversation.

Eventually, I moved back closer to home. But by 1991, the BBS scene was starting to fade, at least where I lived.The last local BBS folded up shop shortly after my arrival. By 1994, I had tried a succession of on-line services, such as Genie, Compuserve and AOL (at 2400 baud, no less!) and never liked any of them.

Luckily, the Internet, which I was familiar with from college, finally came to town, and of course I hooked up as soon as I could get an account. Of course, so did many people, a lot of whom had been BBS regulars. The BBS scene continued to wither, and eventually pretty much petered out completely. Of course, I didn't notice, being so absorbed in the WWW by then.

Now, I can look back at those days of ASCII text on an amber screen, and remember the Fidonet echos on survival and firearms with more than a little fondness. Of course, at the time we all bitched how slow it was, and about the flame wars, and about the Sysops. Now, we bitch about how slow the Internet is because the kid down the street is downloading movies again, we've given up on Usenet newsgroups because of the off-topic posts, and how sick we are of the latest porn spam.

Some things never change.

(This semi-historical post brought to you courtesy of Wired Magazine and their article on How Humble BBS Begat Wired World. And yes, I've already ordered the DVD set.)

Excellent news

You may remember my post about going to the range with an Old Friend. Well, Old Friend's Older Brother now wants in on the act. He called last night to tell me he has bought a pistol for himself, and one for his Lady Friend, and he wants to go to the range Saturday.

Well now, just how can you turn down an invitation like that? First box of ammo is on me!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A resolution for Lt. Pantano

(I missed the fact that there was news again. Caught a pointer on TV *ack* while visiting my dad.)

The Good News is that charges against 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano, USMC have been dropped (registration required; BugMeNot works). We should all be thankful that someone in authority had the courage to see this for what it was--trumped up, political and in general, sour grapes.

Maj. Gen. Richard A. Huck, commander of the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, decided to drop the case. Huck reviewed the evidence along with a report by the presiding officer, Lt. Col. Mark E. Winn, who had recommended that the prosecution end.

Both Huck and a Marine prosecutor declined through a spokesman to comment. A Marine Corps news release said "the best interests of 2nd Lt. Pantano and the government have been served."


Well, we could argue that "best interests" part, but we won't. Let's just be thankful Gen. Huck acted as he did.

The Bad News is that Lt. Pantano has resigned from the USMC.

Pantano said Friday that he feared that if he did not resign, he could be redeployed to the Middle East, where he thinks he remains a high-profile target for terrorists and could be a danger to the Marines in his command. Death threats are still being made against his family, Pantano said, and his name is still circulating on a Pakistani Web site.

...

If Pantano had to return to Iraq, Stackhouse said, he would face again all the questions that have surrounded him in the past year, including being second-guessed about his actions in combat.

"It's sad, but it's understandable," Stackhouse said. "Ultimately it's best for both sides."

No one will say it in public, but I'd lay money that Lt. Pantano also couldn't help thinking that his "reputation" would follow him, and that every move he made as a combat commander would be examined under several microscopes.

That's the damn shame of this sort of thing. That, and the fact that we do more damage to ourselves that those who are fighting us can do.

But there's still some good news remaining:

And when one well-wisher asked what he'll do now, Pantano said that he wasn't sure but that the family wanted to stay in Wilmington.

"We're going to take some time to catch our breath," he said.

He'll probably take a vacation and spend time with his sons and wife, a stay-at-home mom.

Pantano knows he wants to help veterans somehow.

"I want to put together a foundation for the injured men in my company," he said. "I want to make sure they're taken care of."

Lt., welcome to North Carolina. I hope you'll find it to be home. Look me up sometime, and I'll take you and your family out to supper--a small thank you from me to you--for service honorably rendered.

Monday, June 06, 2005

June 6

For a generation of Americans, June 6 is a day that they won't and can't forget. June 6, 1944 saw the largest amphibious landing in history (up to that time) take place at Normandy. Until that day, the term D-Day was the generic term for the beginning of any major military assault. It's still used that way, but mention D-Day to most people of a certain age and this is the one that comes to mind.

There are some good Internet resources on the story at the National D-Day Museum and the National D-Day Memorial. Heck, just put "d-day" in Google and you'll get 1,580,000 pages back.

The stories you'll read on those pages are simply staggering. Those of us who have never had the dubious privilege of fighting in a battle will never be able to understand what these men went through. (And no, watching Saving Pvt. Ryan 18 times most emphatically does not give you a good idea of what it was like. Idiot.)

If you know a WWII vet who was there, you owe him a handshake and a thank you. If you're really lucky, he might tell you a story or two in return.

Isn't this one of the seven signs of the Apocalypse?

Apple CEO promises two-year Intel conversion

Man, I bet some of the Mac faithful are just in a tizzy. This should be fun to watch.

But also, this is some welcome news. OS X is a pretty good OS--I've used it and I like it. It's definitely good enough to replace Windows (assuming you can find all your apps, which is a big assumption in some areas). And that should worry Microsoft no end.

I wonder if we'll see the good old days of falling OS and application prices again?

Indulging in a bit of metablogging

Kim du Toit has an excellent Nation of Riflemen Garand post. *drool*

Resistance is Futile is hosting the Carnival of Cordite this week. So many guns, so little time....

The Heartless Libertarian hates living in the South--it seems that's it too hot and humid for his taste. I hate to say it, but it hasn't gotten hot yet. Give it until the beginning of August. Now that's hot and humid!

The Smallest Minority has an excellent essay on the state of the US Constitution. It has a lot of quotes from various and sundry Constitutional thinkers, but I think he uses the most telling one, from Justice Antonin Scalia, early on: "It is literally true that the U.S. Supreme Court has entirely liberated itself from the text of the Constitution." Worth reading.

Stoney at Rebel Yell has had a run-in with his computer, and it cost him his Firefox bookmarks. For the benefit of my readers:
  • Open Firefox
  • Go to Bookmarks | Manage Bookmarks
  • On the File menu, select export.
  • Burn the resulting file on a CD, or find one of those "store so many megs of files free here" place on the Internet and park it there.
I do computers for a living, and I tell you--backups are your friend. Have lots of backups, and in lots of places.

And finally, Red6 has put up a bunch of new stuff at Ammor Geddon. Go read.

Don't you hope your kids turn out this well?

Jordan is the "“J"” and her 19-year-old sister, Kody Farrington, is the "K"” of Jamestown'’s K and J Bait and Tackle. The sisters are the shop'’s owners, with marginal help from their parents.

Oddly enough, these two young ladies have parents with an entrepreneural background and they've been home schooled. Furthermore, Kody has decided to take a "pass" on going to an approved 4-year college to further her business interests.

What will the professional education establishment be thinking when they read this? "Why, if we had more support from parents/unions/administrators/taxpayers/WTF-ever we could do this!" Yeah, and I'm working on a genetically engineered pig that will fly into the frying pan.

Good on you, girls, and good on your parents too.

Back from the weekend

And home from yet another Monday in the work world as well.

It was another good weekend at Camp Freehold, marred by a 5 hour call-in from work. Well, nothing for it--it's what pays the bills.

Summer has arrived in North Carolina. After an extended cool and wet spring, the heat and humidity of a Southern summer have arrived with a vengence. The temperature rose roughly 20o in a single day. Now if that was from 40o to 60o, that wouldn't be too bad. But go from 68o to 88o--all I can say is sweating season is here!

On the way home, I noted that the gas prices (see Greed or what?) have stabilized at $2.00/gal at most stations. Some stations are still charging $2.03-$2.05, and are not attracting much business. I'd like to get the back-story on this whole episode, but without any inside contacts, I'm betting I'll never hear it.

It seems that the news of the weekend, was pretty much in a "more of the same" vein. I don't really have much to add. Today's news, on the other hand, may get some attention in a bit.

I'll have another survivalism article ready to go later tonight. The text is written and the pictures taken, I just have to put it all together and upload it to the website.