Zoo Station

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Archive for May, 2007

For you computer nerds: Windows vs. Linux

Posted by Chance on May 31, 2007

I don’t know how many of you out there use operating systems other than Microsoft Windows. For personal use, I use a Windows machine like most everyone else, but for work, I use Linux, since that is the platform on which our application runs.

It’s interesting to compare the 2 systems because they seem to come from different cultures. The Windows environment is created by a large corporation in a proprietary format, whereas Linux is “one of the most prominent examples of free software and open source development; its underlying source code can be modified, used, and redistributed by anyone, freely.”

I’m not a computer expert, but my smart computer friends tell me that Linux is more stable than Windows. That seems to be the case, as we can leave Linux running for days and weeks on end. Personally, I really like the Unix-ish command line interface, that makes it easier to move around in a file system, if I know what I’m doing. I also like the window management system better, as I can type on a window, even if it is partially covered by other windows, a major downfall of Windows.

The disadvantages is that, in many cases, you get what you pay for. With a Linux release, it’s not uncommon to have parts of the OS that simply don’t work. With SuSE 10.1, the update system was broken, along with several other bugs. Granted, they do have an Enterprise version that is supposed to be more tight. Windows is not free from bugs, but surface-level flaws are much more rare. Bugs found using some Linux versions would not make the first version of Windows software.

Also, Windows has been much easier for the common person to use. Programs internal and external to windows are installed with a few clicks of a mouse. Linux, however, is mostly designed by computer geeks for the computer geek. For many distributions, a Linux user needs to use the command line interface and deal with “tarballs” and “makefiles.”

Some may look at the battle between Windows and Open Source as a microcosm of capitalism vs. say, socialism, but I don’t know if the analogy is apt. Microsoft is, no doubt, an example of capitalism, but open source is not exactly a parallel to socialism, primarily because of its voluntary nature, although many advocate for open source to be the universal standard.

But perhaps, open source software may show why, in life, voluntary acts are better than coerced ones. I think open source software is great, but I would not want it to be the only thing out there. I would not want an environment void of any intellectual property or where the only software available was developed by unpaid programmers. But perhaps I am just attacking a strawman, as I am not completely familiar with all the objectives of the open source community. And maybe the lesson cannot be extrapolated so easily.

I can get on board with open source as long as the community respects the rights of other people to sell their software if they wish. If someone wants to offer their software for free, great, but don’t feel like having a free operating system on your computer is a right. I suppose this matches with my life philosophy. I believe in generosity and not always being guided by a profit motive, but at the same time, we should not feel entitled to the work of others.

To me, open source software just shows that people can do creative work without being paid for it. Some people enjoy programming just like some enjoy building a table from scratch (and usually these two groups do not overlap). Like one must consider if they want a table a friend built or one from a store, they should consider operating systems.

By the way, here is an article comparing Ubuntu Linux to Windows Vista.

And yes, I also know that Macs exist, I just haven’t used one enough to know anything about them.


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Cheers and Jeers

Posted by Chance on May 30, 2007

Cheers to Boston Legal for only doing a 1 hour Season Finale. I don’t know why, but it bugs me that every show feels that they have to do a 2 hour Season Finale Spectacular where something really special happens. Part of me feels like a 2 hour episode should be reserved for only special events. Maybe this is a holdover of my comic book days, where every 5 issues they felt they had to do a super-duper special issue (that also happened to cost twice as much).

Cheers to Lost for the twist they threw right in the end, and the manner in which they did it, and they did so without even throwing in yet another special character to advance the storyline. The last 2 minutes really left me waiting for the next season, as all good season finales do.

Jeers to American Idol. I like the show, and I’m okay with it taking 2 hours to announce the winner. After all, they have special guests and musical performances that entertain. I’m okay with 2 hours. But c’mon, 2 hours and 7 minutes! I don’t know why, but the extra minutes really bug me. Can’t you fit the show within 2 hours?

Jeers to On the Lot for trying to be like every other single reality show. On the whole, I think it is a great, original reality show. However, why does every reality show feel like they have to follow suit and take 5 minutes and a commercial break to announce who is going off the show? And, it’s not really that suspenseful when you have 18 people on the show and are booting off 3. You don’t need a whole hour, especially since we are not that far in the show anyway.

Posted in TV | 1 Comment »

A short summary of my beliefs

Posted by Chance on May 29, 2007

As I said in the last post, I’m evaluating where I want to take my blog. I want to post more on areas other than politics, but as a last hurrah, I wanted to do one short statement of my beliefs, which is definitely not all-encompassing, but summarize what I have talked about the past year and a half.

In a spiritual sense, I am a Christian. I try to align my Christianity as close as I can to the Bible, but I don’t think many people get it perfect.

In a political sense, I am pro-life. I won’t go into this too much, except that I don’t think there is a morally significant difference between a fetus and a born person. Therefore, I believe a fetus deserves equal protection under the law.

I am also free market. Now, I haven’t worked out the finer points of where government should get involved, but for the most part, I believe this. If I have a product, I should choose the price for which I sell. If I am a laborer, I should be able to negotiate my terms without interference of a third party. I, as a consumer, should not be able to dictate the terms of a business. I can influence it by my consumer choices, however. For instance, if I don’t like the fact that Apple produces their music in a certain format, I don’t buy it. If I don’t like the fact that a restaurant allows smoking, I don’t go there. If I don’t like the fact that a cable company sells channels in bundles, well, I’m really not entitled to cable. I know there are other issues involved, such as worker safety, and pollution. These should all be factored in, but I strongly believe that the government shouldn’t dictate prices/wages and shouldn’t dictate things that the consumers can.

I believe in school choice and decentralization of school curricula. I think parents should have flexibility in choosing schools for their children. Whether this is through tax credits or more privatization or whatever, I think we need school choice. We don’t like monopolies in other areas, and we shouldn’t want them when it comes to educating our children. I disagree with Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, because I don’t think the federal government should dictate what every single school should teach/test. Colleges already have their own recommended high school courses for students that may or may not match what is necessary for a degree. Necessary coursework would be established by the workplace after school or the desired college.

When it comes to religion, I tend to follow the wording of the First Amendment, rather than the clause “Separation of Church and State.” If one takes the latter without regard to the First Amendment, I believe the government can “prohibit the free exercise” of religion in the interest of keeping things separate. Schools should take extra care not to discriminate on clubs and/or extracurricular activities solely because of religious content.

Those are just a few things, but I just wanted to provide a short summary of the political issues I have focused on over the past year and a half.

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments »

At a crossroads…

Posted by Chance on May 29, 2007

I’m at a bit of a crossroads with my blog. I’m not sure how much more political posting I want to do. I feel that I’ve said just about everything I can say in the year and a half I’ve done my blogging. In a way, blogging about politics all the time is like talking about politics all the time with a close friend or wife with whom you disagree. If you do so, conversations tend to get heated, and you start to be annoyed with that person and not have pleasant conversations about things you have in common. I enjoy discussing movies and music and not arguing about politics all the time. This is not intended to offend those who do focus on politics, it’s just an issue of my personality.

In a way though, this makes the blogging more challenging. By nature, I am a very analytical thinker. Instead of writing stories, I right about issues. Politics involves reasoning, and I’m better at logic than creativity. If I had chosen a path of ministry or such, I would probably specialize in the fine points of theology or apologetics.

So, I will probably post on politics from time to time, but I’m going to try to focus more on theological/philosophical issues somewhat removed from the realm of politics. Also, I will try to comment more on media, such as movies and music. The frustrating thing is, I state what I’m going to do, but may find myself doing the opposite. In the past I have announced a break from politics, but then an issue piques my interest.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Here’s a pic of the little guy

Posted by Chance on May 23, 2007

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Big Surprise

Posted by Chance on May 15, 2007

Okay, so my “little girl” came with a couple extra parts. His name is Levi. More later…

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Changes about to come

Posted by Chance on May 3, 2007

As some of you know, I am going to be a father to a baby girl soon. It could happen anytime, and once it does, I probably will not be posting for a while. I will try to fit in a few posts before then when I can.

I also want to congratulate Josh on graduating from college. Way to go Josh!

With the responsibility of raising a child comes the realization that I am nowhere near the person I need to be. In some ways, I feel like I myself am still a child. Self-absorbed, focusing on what I need and want, easily frustrated at small inconveniences, to name a few. And I suppose that’s the way it is for everyone to some degree. No one is perfect; nevertheless, we are given the duty to raise someone the best way we know how.

I think there is also some implied expectation that we, as adults, have all the answers, or that we will at some point. We will have it all figured out, and all our kids need to do is ask. But I guess that is part of growing up; at some point, we thought we knew everything; now we realize how little we know. Okay, this sounds too much like a high school graduation speech.

Anyway, I am really excited and honored by the awesome responsibility God has given my wife and I. I guess, at the risk of turning this into a cheesy spiritual/inspirational message, is to realize I don’t have all the answers, and that is why I have to, at some degree, take myself out of the process. I am not perfect, but I think I will be successful as a parent if I point them to someone who is.

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »