SHAME! Veteran's Wiccan Religious Symbol Not Allowed on his Grave Marker

March 4, 2006 21:00 by keithkaragan
I found this article (via boing-boing) recanting the story of Nevada National Guard Sgt. Patrick Stewart whom died when he was in was shot down in Afghanistan in September. He's a Wiccan and although his dogtags stated this as his religion and contained a pentacle symbol, the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley, Nevada fails to recognize that American service personnel are as free as the public to practice any (or no) religion, and have that denoted on their tombstones - especially when they are killed and buried in a veterans' cemetery. This is truly a disgraceful act on the Veterans' Administration's part.
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Sequel to What the Bleep Coming Soon

February 22, 2006 21:00 by keithkaragan
Sequel to What the Bleep Coming Soon
Many of us have already watched and re-watched the first movie "What the bleep do we know"....Well now you have something to look forward to. "Down the Rabbit Hole" is to be released on Feb 17th Click here to check out video previews. What the bleep has really done an extraordinary job of bringing quantum theory into the livingrooms of the mainstream.
If you saw and enjoyed the 'What the Bleep...' movie an dug it, definately check out the trailers to the new one - looks really cool. There is significant debate over the legitimacy of the first movie based upon the participant and some of the claims. I really enjoyed the content of the movie, less the animation and all, and found it very interesting. I do have some concerns over the involvement of Ramtha Organization in the funding and support of the film (see wikipedia ).
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New Live Guitar Rig

February 22, 2006 04:00 by keithkaragan
New for 2006, I've re-vamped my 'live' rig to accommodate my newly evolved playing style. The only new gear is the Digitech Jamman stop box, which is really a very cool toy that allows looping of your playing. You can pre-load loops and samples onto the device if you want, and then overdub your licks over that, on and on until you run out of memory. It has a CF card, so you can have a significant amount of loops and overdubs before that happens.
I'm running my Ibanez 'Roland-Ready' guitar through the Roland GR-33, and looping in the Korg PX4 Pandora for guitar sound processing, and then this all goes into the Jamman. I've loaded the Jamman with loops of the rhythms I want to use and off I go.
A few complications include:
  • For different guitars (non-synth electrics and acoustics) I need to jack these into the PX4 which is in the effects loop of the GR-33, so I'll need to solve this soon.
  • Many loops are pretty short, and that's great for memory conservation, but for having enough canvas to have an interesting progression running over it it's limiting - and editing a ton of drum samples to extend them is a pretty mundane task ... I'll need to solve this too.
  • The Jamman wants to see  44kHz, Mono WAV samples and most of the ones I have are stereo, so they need this editing done too (I need to find / write a batch converter).
  • The Jamman tempo can be set in an XML file that is inserted into the CF card memory, and the LooperTools application handles this, but you still need to fish this meta-info out of the WAV file to enter it in the application ... it would be nice if it detected it (and did the mono conversion too? too much to ask? How about the extension of loops too while I'm at it? maybe in a future release) - anyway, this is more footwork to do to load it up.
  • The PX4's power adapter is not a standard size plug that I could find at Radio Shack, had to order the original - luckily it was only $10 ... cheaper than Radio Shack  - but have to wait for it.
  • Also had to order the Jamman footswitch, since navigating presets is near impossible while playing otherwise - another mail order Odyssey since the local shops didn;t have it in stock.
  • One main drawback is adding effects to the GR-33 and/or Jamman output ... I don't have another processor to do that with, so yet another loop edit to add ambiance if needed.

Thoughts for further expansion:
  • Scrap the loops on the Jamman and use it only for instrument loops and overdubs.
  • Get a decent PCMCIA pro sound card for my laptop.
  • Use Ableton LIVE for drum and supporting loops and run the rig through this for mixing.
    • Problem is I don't have a foot controller for this (LIVE) to make things smooth.
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Changes @ TechOui

February 22, 2006 03:30 by keithkaragan
TechOui Consulting will not be taking on new business for the foreseeable future. I've taken a full-time gig and will be focusing my efforts in that direction. So, the homepage has been changed to simply be the logo and link to this blog (which I hope to contribute more to from this point forward).
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Parallel Path Electromagnetic Motors

February 22, 2006 03:30 by keithkaragan
I can across this article (from slashdot, I think) on Parallel Path Electromagnetic Motors - interesting technology that could mean a lot ...
An excerpt:
“ Joe Flynn from Flynn Research is working on a new technology called "Parallel Path" with Boeing Phantom Works. The technology claims to be able to increase magnet motor efficiency substantially, even over the 100% barrier . They have received a US Patent.  ”.
check it out at opensourceenergy.org
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This is the Guitar I Want!

February 22, 2006 03:30 by keithkaragan
As a long-time Steinberger guitar owner and fan I was floored to discover that Martin Guitars produced a model in 2002 with Ned Steinberger called the DCRNS. Which incorporates a technology called TransAction, which allows on the fly neck action adjustments. This is the acoustic guitar I have to have. Unfortunately only about 200 were made, and it'll be difficult to find one.
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What Will It Take for Microsoft To Get It?

January 16, 2006 00:00 by keithkaragan
CNN has a story about the Microsoft URGE service they'll be launching, yet another attempt to take the music market from Apple and iTunes - fair enough ... But, according to the article, the service will not be compatible with iTunes, or iPods .... That's brilliant, isn't it? Since the iPod line is the hottest selling player, and is the gateway product for introducing consumers to legal online music - let's leave that market in tact for Apple.
I'm no marketing guru, but I would want to eat Apple's lunch if I was Microsoft.First off, you have this massive potential audience of iPod users - They may or may not buy music from Apple - but they probably do buy some, or have at least considered it. There isn't a subscription model service available from Apple with an All-You-Can-Eat model - so at very least some of these customers could still buy some music from Apple, and subscribe to the subscription service from Microsoft if given a chance. If they did, it wouldn't be long before they would buy songs and video from Microsoft if the prices and quality are good - why wouldn't they?
The technology for this is available, Audible has content that works in any player - with DRM intact. Microsoft has a Macintosh development team, and they are likely more than capable of writing an application for the mac to load music on the iPod, or a plug-in for iTunes ... can't be that complicated to a team that wrote Entourage and Office for mac - and with IE mac out of the picture, maybe they have some time on their hands, maybe.
Maybe it's just the thought of validating that the iPod is a great player that they're afraid of? Get over it, the money is in the content in the long run, and even a pretty iPod will eventually break. If they user has a broader perspective of the digital media player marketplace and formats, they're next player might just be something other than an iPod .... but not if their entire media buying experience is with iTunes .... Wake up guys.
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NYC Subway Strike

December 23, 2005 02:00 by keithkaragan
While my views on unions are no secret, and you may disagree with my pro-union slant, consider the following in light of the short TWU strike against the NY MTA:
  • The media blitz of by the NYC governement and NY State government was overwhelming. Every mainstream media outlet basically villified the TWU even before the strike occured. The only outlets from which a 'pro' stance was present in the media (that I heard or saw) were callers into WNYC and on WBAI (big surprise). Considering that I'm hardly the only one that supports labor, and their right to stike, in the greater NY tri-state area its pretty clear that there was no interest in a balanced discussion of the issue.
  • Although the strike has ended, the issues still remain. I hope that Mr. Toussaint's gusto hasn't wained in the character assasination and threats he faced. This episode will either be a small victory for labor or yet another labor union crushed by the union of big business and government in the US.
  • The roll of the worker (every type of collar) has significantly changed in today's employment market. Every worker can stand up and speak for themselves, and those who are in most demand may fare well in this climate - but who will stand for those who's effort has been commoditized in the workforce when all the unions are crushed? Do we want to re-live the formation of labor unions in the US all over again in 25 years time? What condition will the poor and working class be in by that time? Good paying jobs with benefits and security are needed to keep us afloat. If health care and pensions/retirement plans are the biggest issues business faces in this market, then why aren't they lobbying for reform that will solve the problem instead of bankrupting the workforce?
  • It takes two to tango, or so they say. So why wasn't the MTA held accountable for being flexible in the negotiations with the TWU. If both parties were held to the same level of economic incentives to come to an agreement, wouldn't this issue have been resolved and a contract put in place without the need for a strike, or within hours of it? What is those fines kicked in at the time the contract expired? Would a stike have happened at all?
  • Labor unions in the US have a MAJOR public relations problem. Through scandals and negative press many folks see them as corrupt and sometimes criminal. Majoor reforms in union leadership have happened, and the unions need to get the message of what they do and why they matter out to the public, not only to the congress via their lobbyists.
  • The NYC government may have made matters worse by enacting some of the plans they had put in play to combat chaos in transportation in the city. If nothing else, these measures surely made terriffic headlines with the previously mentioned media outlets, but were they necessary in the manner implemented or were they extreme?

I'd love to know how many of the people that are the most critical of unions and the TWU in particular are the offspring, brother, sister, mother, or father of a union member. How many went to college on the earnings of somone whose wages were of a livable wage because of a union. There is more to consider than just inconvienience during the strike.
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Labor matters

December 23, 2005 01:30 by keithkaragan

Labor matters, it matters more and more every time another union is broken. Every time another working class person is laid-off, has their salary cut, or health care costs increased, or hours cut. It matters every time another big box store has a shirt made by a child in a third world country. Every time a person takes a second job to make ends meet. Every time bankruptcy laws are changed. Every time credit card interest rates go up. Every time congress passes a bill that puts special interests ahead of the interests of the people.


 

Labor matters to truck your food, stop crime, teach your kids, deliver the mail, let the call go through, and transport you to your destination.


 

Labor matters for fair pay, the right to grow old without starvation, and fair treatment on the job. Labor matters because it unites the voices of the many against the profit of the few.

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Another Casualty in the Campaign of Fear and Repression?

December 9, 2005 00:30 by Admin
A 44 year old home center paint department worker returning home from a trip to Ecuador is gunned down in a Miami airport by Federal Air Marshals after having some kind of break down and mentioning he had a bomb in his backpack. We all saw this story all over the news. The man, Rigoberto Alpizar, was accompanied by his wife who apparently tried in vain to make it known that her husband suffered from mental illness and was off his medication. He never brandished a weapon, was off the plane when killed, and had passed though airport security and US customs prior to the incident.
The officer followed protocol, the administration is supporting his actions as such - but what of this protocol? What about reason entering the equation and making a judgment to not kill without justification? If Mr. Alpizar had a bomb, would his killing have prevented it from being detonated? If his intent was to blow up the plane, why would he have left the plane? and so on ...
Are we in such a state of perpetual terror that every mentally ill person, or anyone unable to communicate clearly will be in danger of being murdered if what they say appears to be threatening to someone else? This is a very disturbing situation. I have compassion for Mrs. Alpizar having to suffer the loss of her husband, and having to witness his demise, but my bigger concern is that this incident is an indication of a much more dangerous and serious cultural change in the way Americans live day to day. We submit to inspection on demand, show papers when ordered, are gunned down at will, and seem all too willing to do away with our remaining rights in order to 'feel' safer. In this zeal for safety we can't look past ourself to 'feel' what we're losing, what we've lost, and what we are giving away day by day. Where are the days where we, as a community, try to care and protect those who are suffering from mental distress from themselves and the wrath of others by making them safe.
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