Friday, July 19, 2013

Casual Fridays: Journalistic Conundrum

Before I begin, I would just like to state that the stuff you read on this blog doesn't remotely resemble journalism in any form. I try to keep people informed about Gigastrand stuff and share the things I like and care about. It is not journalism and neither are most blogs. Aslo, I have already used the work "journalism" 3 times in this paragraph so prepare yourself for a bit of over-use of this word. Let's begin....

I have recently began a journey to take it upon myself to learn more about current events. I am not sure where it stems from but it started with Jon Stewart.

Every once in a while I would watch the Daily Show after other shows I was actually watching on Comedy Central. Every once in a while it would be entertaining but I was rarely interested in the topics.

One day I discovered that talk radio keeps me interested and alert on the road and I continue to listen on the road today. NPR was doing a segment on journalistic integrity and mentioned Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert as having journalistic integrity despite the fact that they host comedy shows.

I never thought of either show having journalistic integrity and began watching both with more zeal. I was  looking for evidence of journalism in comedy. They quote sources, back their claims up with facts, and, sure enough, those shows had more journalistic integrity than most news I have seen. Even though The Daily Show is presented with a great deal of comedy and Colbert Report is very tongue-in-cheek. 

I began looking for more shows and I remembered HBO had Real Time with Bill Maher. I began watching that as well.

The problem with all three shows is that while they are all present serious issues and follow some of the rules of journalistic integrity, they are rather slanted liberally and are at least as much entertainment as news. If you can get past those issues you can see the journalism come through.

The problem I have always had with Real Time was how it seemed like the far left leaning Bill brings on what feels like the "token Republican" to the panel to try and bring some sort of balance to the show. He does seem genuinely interested in the journalistic process but it seemed that he only pays lip-service to fair and balanced reporting. 

But he is an entertainer and it is his show and he can do as he pleases.

Then I discovered Vice on HBO. Vice is a half-hour program with reporters who actually report stories from all corners of the world. A truly excellent program that reaffirms the premise that Bill Maher does care about real journalism as he is the executive producer of the show.

These are all can't miss shows. All of these shows are more entertainment than true journalism - though Vice is VERY close. So, to help me sort through the entertainment factor, I find and patronize respected sources of news. I listen to NPR and watch PBS. 

Then I got to thinking. I pay the cable company $70 a month for cable that includes Comedy Central. I pay an extra $15 a month for HBO. I don't give NPR or PBS a dime.

WTF? How can I justify paying HBO for occasional for quasi-current event coverage (well, and some other shows/movies as well) and NOT pay PBS for real coverage they do every day? I will be giving to SDPB because I do not think it fair to pay for HBO with its excellent programming and NOT pay at least that much a month for Public Broadcasting.

So do you patronize PBS / NPR and not give? 


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

PC or PoC: Memory Misperceptions

Recent projects have me thinking more about memory. How much do you really need? 

Many will see this and say "as much as you can possibly get." For large servers there is a certain truth to this however, most people use nowhere near the amount of memory they think they do.

On a typical Windows machine, you will use about 1 - 1.5Gb on average. The Gigastrand OS laptop I am on currently is using 1.2Gb out of 3Gb with a few apps open. When I start up a Virtual Box, I will usually reserve 1Gb for the Virtual Box for the limited amount I do. However, for the best results, I should really have enough reserve memory to dedicate 2-4Gb.

To check your memory usage in Gigastrand OS, go to Go>System>System Monitor. In Windows open the Task Manager and click the Resources tab.

The point is that for modern OSes (even Windows XP) 2Gb is the minimum, 4Gb is sufficient for most tasks, and 8Gb if you are gaming. This will change in time and there are exceptions to this, but this should be a good rule of thumb.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Casual Fridays: Rosebush

I gave this rosebush to my wife on my birthday to celebrate 1 year of being together. I gave her the same rosebush on my birthday shortly after we met just to do something different and out of the ordinary.

This rosebush was planted immediately and a few days later my daughter Serenity was born. This rosebush has been growing for the last 3 years.

In the next week, I will celebrate my 37th birthday, my second anniversary, and Serenity's 3rd birthday. (July 14th, 16th, and 18th). So, needless to say, I will be taking the week off.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

PC or PoC: Dell Laptop

This is a Dell Inspiron with Windows XP Media Center Edition, CD Burner / DVD ROM, 1Gb RAM, 60Gb hard drive, and WiFi-G.

After a hardware check and pulling old cat hair out of the heatsink, I loaded BETA 3 of the Gigastrand OS in one of the simplest and most uneventful load in the history of the Gigastrand OS. Everything works.

Now, I am not sure if I will use the Windows key or not. It is for Windows Media Center and not a standard  home or pro version of XP. It also only has 1Gb of memory and I would prefer 2-3Gb to run Windows in Virtual Box. This may just be a Gigastrand OS laptop.

Upgrade options are really limited. I might get a DVD burner and maybe more memory but I really can't justify it if I won't be loading a Virtual Box on it. I will be tweaking the video drivers and will be testing 3D capabilities. As for a use...still working on it.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Gigastrand OS: Reboot


It has come to my attention that Debian Squeeze has been outmoded as of June 15th 2013. This is the base system for the Gigastrand OS.

How is that you might ask? Wheezy is now listed as the stable version and attempts to update Google Chrome have failed because it no longer supports earlier versions of Debian.

Now, everything else in the OS works just fine. I continue to use an older version of Chrome included in BETA 3 and that all still works OK. Attempts to upgrade have failed, however.

Gigastrand now has to decide which way to go. First off, we are halting development of the Gigastrand OS. Next, we are releasing BETA 3 as a finished prototype. While it is not a final product, it is a usable system and will be distributed like a finished product. We will continue usability testing with it.

So, where do we go from there? We will keep you posted. Until then we welcome your thoughts.