Articles, Uncategorized

Flakey MacBook Wifi Finally Resolved for Local Writer

A local man, whose MacBook Pro had, for over a year, been subject to repeated random drops of internet connection, has reported today that he is finally free from the tyranny of bad WiFi.

Patrick Hammond, 29, and a self described “comic books and other stuff writer, gave a candid interview on his elation upon fixing the problem with a simple software update. “When I first got my MacBook it worked fine, across a few different Access Points. I had gone through a few different routers with my internet provider. My first issues began after the “Mavericks” update, which seemed to be influenced by the use of Bluetooth devices. after banishing all Bluetooth, the problem hadn’t resolved itself.”

At this point he began smiling manically, like a man delirious with the exhilaration of new-found freedom.

“I wrote a bash script, and subsequently a cron job, with the specific purposes of doing one simple thing. Pinging my access point. It was shocking to me that this, not inexpensive, machine needed a fix that amounted to constantly keeping some kind of connection alive to the router for any hope of stable WiFi.”

 

This worked, for a while, but after moving to another country, the new router seemed to throw out all the old rules.

“Now a ping would see 5 or 6 packets drop in succession and all internet activity would randomly cease. Sometimes it…it was worse…” Hammond stifled a tear, and looked off wistufully. “I tried everything, resetting the router, completely clearing any WiFi passwords, any saved access points, creating new WiFi locations, turning off airdrop services. Writing more scripts just to try and turn off any similar services that randomly start, because that’s a thing apparently. I fiddled with DNS settings, DHCP leases. Renewing the DHCP lease seemed to work…I…I forced IPv6 into link-local mode…  To try and bypass the DHCP problem, but…it was all for naught… ”

Any imagined success in these efforts was the cruel demons of technology sending out a mirthful false positive, and sure enough, the problem would rear it’s ugly head again.

However, on Saturday evening, Hammond installed Mac OS Sierra, the latest update from Apple inc. Upon install, he gingerly ran a ping, tentatively waiting for the dropped packets. They did not arrive. Or, rather, they did arrive, at his access point. Consistently.

Footage of celebrations on the street emerged after the software update fix was confirmed. Hammond was quoted as saying “I’m as happy as I’ll ever be now!” with a weary smile that betrayed a broken man.

Standard
Articles, Non-Fiction

Refugees

Does the dole really drive someone to cross the mediterranean in a tiny boat, as the right-wingers suggest? Would you do it? Leave your job, home, life, get on a small boat, bound for another country in the hopes of not working and receiving benefits? It’s just more logical to assume that the motivation isn’t economic, as the right-wing rhetoric implies, but out of necessity as every humanitarian group involved has agreed.

The critics also ask why these uppity refugees want to move from where they’ve landed to other countries. Would you stay in a country where you aren’t welcome? Even if it meant you might be stuck in an unknown land illegally? Or worse, be sent back to the war zone? If I were in that situation I would look to go to a country that would be more likely to accept my application and is more welcoming to asylum seekers in general. It is simply common sense for an asylum seeker to look to go to somewhere like Germany, who approve more asylum applications than anyone else. It ignores the many who are settling in other countries, and instead looks to again paint the refugees as sponges. These people were not calling them sponges in 2012 of course, they probably didn’t even know they existed in 2012. They only got interested in global politics when they felt that they might be losing something to the refugees.

“Why are we not giving the money to the homeless, the hungry?” they cry, having suddenly developed a heart for people they most likely didn’t acknowledge until, again, they felt that they might be losing something to the refugees. Lets set aside the fact that this ignores the €19.519.077,00 we received as part of the AMIF, and approx 1m we received as part of the ERF this year alone; if we gave those funds to the homeless, these same people would simply cry out that it should have been put into education, or the water services, or some other place. And, if they are seriously suggesting we appropriate EU funds for our own needs — Since when are we allowed to do what we want with Refugee and Asylum seeker grants? Wouldn’t we then be breaking the law?

As we all know the refugees are all young men intent on causing trouble right? Wrong. According to the UNHCR, about 40% of the refugees are under 11 years old, and the gender split is very close to equal. Images and videos are easy to take out of context and twist, for either left wing or right wing views on this. It’s easy to get a group video of a load of young men, because groups of young men band together, like anywhere else in the world. It is as easy to take a photo that implies that 100% of the people arriving or dying are children.

In a huge group of people you will see crime. In a huge group of ruined, hungry, tired people I would expect to see even more crime. Expecting people to be saints ignores their humanity. It’s a testament to the fact that most are just regular people trying to survive that we haven’t seen more incidents. Either way, refusing to process them and shipping them off on trains, destination unknown, definitely doesn’t solve anything; it just moves the problem elsewhere. There will always be media manipulation from the right and the left, but the cold hard facts are that they’re coming, and they need to be dealt with in accordance with EU law.

Concerns are normal given the severity of the situation, and this is a crisis for all involved, make no mistake.  Yes, in a huge group we are going to get people who we don’t like, for whatever reason, but we still can’t turn our backs on that 40% under 11. There is a gaping chasm between “concerns” and “hatred”, with a certain class of person using the former to justify the latter. Have you noticed a tendency among people to categorise refugees and asylum seekers as migrants recently? All migrants are migrants of course, but it is a very handy rhetorical device designed to diminish the plight of suffering people.

The people who know most about this, like humanitarian groups who are involved, are calling it the biggest humanitarian crisis of the century so far. They are begging countries to take in refugees. I don’t think they’re doing it for the laugh. Maybe it is all some huge conspiracy, and the far right are correct, but I didn’t think it was for Darfur, or Ethiopia or any other crisis for that matter. I think history sides with giving refugees the benefit of the doubt.

Statements are uttered like “Arab countries should take them”, “‘many’ or ‘a lot’ of them are terrorists”, “Cowards! Why aren’t they fighting for their country?” and “why don’t they go back” or the more hilarious variant (given the complete ignorance it betrays) “why can’t they make them stay in their own country?” — These show a complete lack of understanding of both war in general, and the current situation in Syria, and the Middle East. They are also ignoring of course, the many millions of refugees currently in the middle east. Shh, don’t tell them, let them keep ranting on about the failures of other countries while doing nothing themselves. Ah but they’re all fundamentalist ISIS loving terrorists right? Or at least that’s a threat? Have ISIS been known to send members via boat on the worlds most dangerous sea journey? Wouldn’t it be a better idea to fake documents and fly, as they have done in the past? Also, even if every single ISIS member decided to mix with the refugees, it would make them 40’000 out of 4’000’000, 0.1%. Slogans like “Keep Europe Christian” ignore the Christian refugees. Simplifying the demographics of a region with that many different ethnic groups and religions is a recipe for disaster.

I don’t think anyone would do the Libya to Italy, or Turkey to Greece boat ride for the dole. To my mind, the only people willing to make such a journey would be very desperate indeed. There is a common thread on both sides to diminish the humanity of the refugees, by either painting them all as saints or as potential terrorists. In reality they are human, some will make mistakes, some will cause trouble. This is the same of any population, but it’s still not an excuse to let people die. It doesn’t stop us helping refugees currently, and I don’t want it to stop us in the future.

Standard
Articles

A Lovesong for Elliott Smith

I read the words on Elliott’s fan maintained but somewhat official website; “Memorial service to be held for Elliott Smith…” I was checking to see if he was going to be playing in Ireland, which he wasn’t. He wasn’t going to be playing anywhere, ever again.

I had been an Elliott Smith fan for about a year at that point. I was already aping his songs. I probably have been, to some extent, for the entirety of my “career” as a musician. I was young, only sixteen. I still am young I suppose, but it seems like a very long time ago. I feel like a different person, but still the same. I was always slightly melancholy, without even trying. I vomited effortless cynicism and sarcasm.

To that extent, I had found my music. I had found someone who had managed to do the “one guy with a guitar and the truth” thing, and do it sincerely, beautifully. It felt like a piece in a musical puzzle that was defining what I was supposed to do or be. It sounds delusional now. It probably was.

The day I read that he had died, I don’t believe I cried. I probably have done since. I did curse the world, and whatever fates had conspired to end his life. I listened to all of the songs I had downloaded. I had hunted for a year for his work in music shops nearby.

Of course, after he died, they stocked him, in a gesture of rock star myth perpetuation. Why the fuck are people suddenly interested in an artist when they die? All I see are lost albums. I see a man who was thirty six, only eight years older than I am currently, a man who was in the absolute prime of his musical life, despite extreme adversity that included a serious drug habit, and all of the demons that torment so many of us. A guy who could create the bones of what would become “From a Basement on a Hill”, which I would argue is the best posthumous release of all time.

Did I find his songs so sad before he died? Did the allusions to mortality ring so true? I’m not sure; it’s hard to remember. I definitely didn’t think “Needle in the Hay” was a happy song. All I knew was that it was the most beautiful music, not music, sound I had ever heard. It hurts that he will never compose another song, and that countless mediocre bands will live into their seventies. There is no justice in popular taste.

The new documentary, “Heaven Adores You”, will give you some insight into the man. It doesn’t bother with the myth, talks directly to the people who knew him best without becoming too gratuitous. Nobody wants the details on his addictions, bar tabloid trash websites. Find more information on http://www.heavenadoresyou.com.

Standard
Articles

Millennials, Kelly Blazek and Entitlement in the Early 21st Century

You may or may not have come across this gem of a viral story that was trending at the end of last month. Kelly Blazek, head of a Job Bank in Cleveland Ohio was caught rotten, having issued a stuffy and verbose rebuttal to a friend request on LinkedIn. Kelly sees herself as a desperately important woman, as evidenced by her words: “Wow, I cannot wait to let every 26-year-old jobseeker mine my top-tier marketing connections to help them land a job.” The response, which was lengthy and very aggressive was posted to Reddit, where the internet responded by, predictably, attacking.

While the words she used are over antagonistic, and a simple “I don’t know this person” would have sufficed, it does raise an interesting point that is oft-toted by the older generations. This new generation of “Millennials” (a throwaway term used to denigrate everyone from early teens to folk in their late twenties) are an entitled bunch, who expect everything handed to them on a plate. They want constant connection to everyone including their heroes, and seem to have some insane notion that they are deserving of praise and success with little effort. The blame of course is placed squarely at their own feet, without a moments thought as to the root cause of this attitude.

Here’s the facts: If you raise an entire generation with the message “You Are Special” being pummelled into their heads by a purple dinosaur, because you weren’t bothered actually raising your children, the result is a bratty bunch who believe they are unique and individual snowflakes. Couple this with the interconnected web, a network which allows for open contractibility and you end up with the situation that Kelly Blazek found herself in last February. A young, internet savvy person, used to connecting directly with peers and heroes online, used to grabbing the bull by the horns and reaching out, made the mistake of contacting her. And she let her know just how incorrect a move that was, oh boy did she what.

But was it really incorrect? What was wrong with what she did? Does Blazek really think that everyone starts from the bottom? That no-one reaches out to senior people in companies for advice and access to contacts. As far as I’m aware that is exactly how the business world has always worked, far before the advent of the “entitled ones”. Go getters have always been go getters, Blazek should be thinking about the amount of “entitled millennials” who NEVER contacted her. Who didn’t care either way. So what she has done in this instance is chastise someone for being proactive, one of the best qualities you can have in an employee.

Are you seeing how this is personal to me? I’ve been that person, passed over because he was young, hated for his self starter attitude. When someone did finally take the chance to give me a senior role, despite a relative lack of experience, based on my commitment to work hard I rewarded it in full, by being the best employee I could possibly be. If your boss has faith in you, and shows that they believe in you, it’s a lot easier to go that extra mile. I’ve no time for seniority masking itself as superiority. True seniority recognises the future as being in the hands of the youth, and change as an inevitability, something Blazek is extremely afraid of.

If you are unwilling to connect with someone because you feel they are beneath you, fine, don’t. Bear in mind that someone else will, and they will give that “green” and “tacky” young man or woman a chance. For that they will receive endless loyalty, appreciation and dedicated hard work. You just lost the future, you just threw the person who will take your job in 30 years under the bus. Given the attitude, and the spite in her reply it’s obvious that she feels threatened by a younger generation who expect communication. What’s hilarious about all this is that she was apparently awarded for her ability to communicate. Irony is a beautiful thing.

By the way, I once reached out to Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and general genius, to portray my respect and ask for any advice on a career as a tech-person. I was working in Apple at the time in a seriously junior position. Here’s a quote from his response: “We who are not that young can at least inspire and encourage other young people to go for their dreams. We can mentor them also”. Is there any more perfect a response for a young and naive “green” coder? Kelly Blazek could do with taking on board his words, as could many in the more senior generations.

Standard