Thursday, December 22, 2011

Time Machine Ghosts

Whenever I consider the nature of Time I am confronted with all the same troubles that physicists and cosmologists have. Even speaking of Time without using embedded concepts of Time in our language and thoughts seems impossible.

There are very few concepts of Time that are purely objective. Often times the speed of light is used as a constant, from which a clock might be possible to derive. Yet a clock traveling at the speed of light would suffer a malfunction (from at least one point of view), and a clock traveling at any slower speed only suffers the malfunction in lesser degrees. This is because velocity of masses distorts the duration of Time experienced by those masses.
There are concepts such as Planck's Length, and thus Planck's Tick being the smallest unit of Time possible to measure when traveling exactly 1 Planck's Length. Planck's Length, however, is so very tiny that such a unit of space-time has nearly 0 value, composed of so many decimal places after the decimal point. Nothing so large as the atoms we are made from can deal with such tiny ticks.
Mechanically then, before dealing with issues of origin or disposition, Time is difficult enough to work with. We have radios, oscilloscopes, computer chips, lasers and many other devices that depend on timing or frequency to function, and the tinier the wavelength, the more difficult the achievement. Also, there are great dangers when working with energies and temperatures necessary to create the highest frequency radiation. We name those things super gamma x-rays and such, and any noticeable amount of such high frequency radiation effects nearly everything on this planet, including our own evolution.
So, whereas understanding Time as a modulation of frequencies, or a count of ticks (each tick having a discrete and immutable span of "Time" until the next), is almost but not quite possible for human brains to handle, even so there is still the Origin of this concept of Time to ponder.
When speaking with others about the origins of anything, whether Time, space, species or what have you, there is always the danger of sacred cows being gored. If one has a religious belief that their God was the creator of all things, including Time, then there is little good in arguing otherwise. For one thing, I can't really come up with a good substitute. Problems with the "belief" method of solving the origin of Time always involve the possibility that a God must have a preexisting span of Time in which to do all that creating.
Likewise, when the Big Bangists invoke the beginning of Time and Space simultaneously from some singularity as tiny as above mentioned Planck's Length (or even as Zero Length), there are so many unanswered questions. In this banging creation, there is in one moment nothing, and then the next moment (constituting the creation of the first passing "moment of Time") there is Everything, bursting into existence from Nothingness. The God which can create itself, or that which is beyond question -- invoked by all the kinds of theorists, whether theists, atheists, agnostics or just plain antagonists.
Notice that I must use words such as "bursting into existence" or "invoked", which in themselves imply that some kind of action takes place in Time, either in the present or in the past. "He might be going to war" is a sentence that implies a future in Time, so that the dimensions of Time are integrated into our language. We have a past, a now, and a future -- all which occupy different points in one dimension of time. Time may have other dimensions, just like space, but I am unable to portray any examples in real physics. In imaginary physics I can conjure the image of time wrapped around a pole, thus flowing in multiple directions at once. But that only makes things less clear.
So far as the creation of Time is concerned, I do not have a clever solution to such problems. Certainly in mathematics one can arbitrarily place a big fat Zero in the middle of Everything That Ever Was and Ever Will Be, and there are an almost infinite number of equations which can produce Zero. The only equation which can produce something from nothing, evidently, is that zero raised to the zero power ( 00 ) = 1. So we have mathematically created something from nothing.
But I do not like tricks of mathematics, any more than defaulting to some symbol as the result of the square root of minus one, such that (-1.5) = i. 

But a physicist will attempt to answer the enigma of Time and its spontaneous existence in the same way that certain particles can "pop" into existence, and then back out of existence -- virtual particles, thus conserving the balance of mass and energy, at least after some span of "Time". Perhaps the virtual particles bring a little packet of virtual Time with them, so that when they pop back out of existence that amount of Time is also extinguished -- all accounts have been settled.
It only makes matters worse when multiple dimensions and parallel universes are conjured. Certainly it helps to theorize how black holes can exist the way they do, with all matter sucked away into another universe, but all the gravity still effecting everything left behind in this one. But that Time would seem to be universal in such a case where events in this universe's black holes would correspond to events in the parallel universe's white holes -- synchronized like Tango dancers.

However, even Time and the rules of velocities are broken in the bizarre centers of black holes, in which the escape velocity is faster than light, yet the gravity is so intense that matter falling into one would disobey the speed limit and travel faster than light -- or travel inward to some other world's Time and Space, where such laws of physics do not exactly apply. If this is so, then it doesn't really matter to us, and any foolish nonsense imaginable is possible somewhere in the Great Ball of Universes.
Anyway, I haven't helped any. But like Alice Through The Looking Glass, it seems that scientists can only keep up with Time if they run as fast as they can, and to get anywhere at all, they must run twice as fast.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Another App Maker

Although I prefer just using the Android SDK directly (via Eclipse) for writing Android apps, regardless of the brand, the writing of iPhone apps is much different and (so far) not very impressive. So far it has cost me $25 to join the Google App store, and nothing for the development tools, since I use Linux for that.

I don't have any Apple machines to write software with, only the iPhone as a target device, but I do have lots of PCs, with lots of Microsoft running them. There is a product called DragonFireSDK which supposedly makes iPhone apps from Vs2005 written C programs, so I'll give that a try. The minimum cost so far is $250, without having written a single line of code yet.

Anyway, I have a program for my work that operates on their website directly, and then turns over stuff to the Android Web Browser (or whichever one you got installed.) I don't see a way to do that in quite the same way with iPhone yet, so that will be a puzzle.

Anyway, I've got most of the same functionality on iPhone as on Android, minus the Voice feature, and perhaps that can be arranged later, using iOS5.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Making Apps

I am doing OK, but not wonderfully, so far as my work with Android Apps is concerned. I didn't really expect too much more than that, although I was hoping I could jump in and build something unique before somebody else did. That is always a foolish hope, yet I did at least make some popular Apps (all the free ones do well).

I found a program library for Android/iPhone/WebOs/Blackberry called "PhoneGap" which purports to build apps for any environment, mostly using some Java or other lower level code in a library and HTML5 as the programming language for the designer.

This is somewhat OK, although since I know Android enough to directly code in the Java or C layers, it can be a RAD (rapid app development) tool for getting things out the door and then improving them for speed or fine touches later.

Since I only have a Droid (Droid 1, in fact, although sometimes I can use my wife's Droid X) there is not much I can do with the tools for testing in the other phones. It seems very bureaucratic to make iPhone apps, even if you have one. I can't speak for the others at all, but hopefully they would work at least as well.

To find this TOOL

Making apps with a RAD tool might work for you too.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Something Is Very Wrong

In my life there have been many times when I lost faith. I long ago lost faith in religions -- of any kind. Believing in things became a kind of game of tricking fools out of their money. So many people believed the world would end nearly every other day for that last 2000 years, with the attendent arrival of their favorite Messiah. Never happened.

There are various political parties throughout the Earth. There are many within my home country. They are busy trying to make everyone nationalists, communists, socialists, liberals, conservatives, militants and whatever else they can turn us into. I don't feel like it.

There are signs in the skies, there are calamities befalling all our homes in so many ways, whether imaginary or real, from weather or industry, caused by the Sun or caused by some asshole down the street with a machine gun. All the efforts our mothers made to raise their children right, all lost in the haze of smog, all flushed down the drain with the broken teeth and broken hearts.

The sciences can find the quadrillionth of a nanoseconds worth of energy in the hair on the nose of a flea living on a planet inside an electron. But here in the world we really live, their efforts are like wisps of cobwebs against the mindless propaganda of a thousand politicians. They shout at the top of their lungs all the lies that have always been shouted for thousands of years by power hungry nitwits that reduce our lives to ruin as soon as they possibly can.

There are those who would live forever, forgetting that there are already too many of us now, and that if they live even twice as long there can only be half as many children survive at all. There is no use in fighting this. It is like a tsunami of stupidity. Lunacy of magnitude 10.1 pervades our lives on every level of abstraction. And when the oceans sweep us away, we will be staring at the blank screens of our cell phones to reassure us that it was real.

I do not wish to die, to leave the world and the wonders of the Universe. Yet it is the destiny of everything and I cannot be special and avoid Death's touch. There is no use in hurrying, the touch will come soon enough. And then, when my lights have gone off, I will no longer know that there is anything wrong.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sword Fighting With Flame Throwers

There is the image of two men in a swimming pool filled with gasoline, each threatening the other to light a match. This was the analogy of the Cold War, with our nuclear arsenals more of a threat to all of us at once than anyone alone.

Humans tend to stand on the edges of apocalypses most of their lives. As children we play in a world designed by chemical engineers for whom safety was a laughable afterthought. I myself, hidden with my little friends in a bathroom, poured together whatever chemicals I could find -- chlorine bleach, lye, lime, and cleaning agents of many kinds, just to see what kinds of bubble or odors they would make.
I think that society as a whole is doing exactly that, and just as in this picture, a firestorm could erupt at any moment, as fools abound. As a young person, I would fill my car with gas, puffing a cigarette -- a complete fool -- even though there were many instances of filling stations lighting on fire because of that very thing. Eventually the business and communities got wise and most gas stations post "no smoking" signs, which I guess some number of people probably obey.

Wars are now fought between countries that threaten each other with weapons somewhat less frightening than nuclear ones, but nevertheless, no matter how technologically advanced or backward the combatants might be, they will each employ whatever tactics can achieve some semblance of a balance of power.

We, the US, have weapons that most countries cannot even imagine, and similarly we cannot imagine using them. The age of firebombing cities is hopefully in the past, so our daisy cutters and various massive bombs and missiles are probably not much use these days. However, if an enemy amassed itself in such a way that we could use them without destroying a nearby city, then they are still on the table. However it is not these weapons that are so frightening.

We also have biochemical weapons. We do not promote their use, and for the most part they are reserved for some ultimate future conflagration where all holds are not barred. The problem with biochems are that anyone, of any level of sophistication, is able to produce them fairly easily. Our advanced chemical skills might make the most deadly and insidious of those kinds of weaponized materials, but snakes, spiders, fish, plants, and microbes of all kinds are also very skilled in the production of toxins. 

Simply getting hold of pure elements, especially certain metals, can provide for very insidious and effective toxins that can be secretly and undetectably placed in food or water. But there are so many toxins available from natural ingredients, from man made sources and from accidental industrial activities -- it is a wonder we are still alive at all. Even natural disease organisms are continuously threatening us, with no enemy action whatsoever.

We have electronics, but as we can see in the ancient medieval lands like Afghanistan, electronics can be employed even by the seemingly illiterate mountain men of the nearly uninhabitable lands they call home. But regardless, the electronics we are so proud of are mostly manufactured in Asia -- not in the USA. We might reserve the most advanced stuff for ourselves, but we are not so ahead of that curve. Whatever fancy guided missiles, sensors, jammers, encryptors and so forth that we can build can be built by many others throughout the world.

The one thing we have that a primitive country does not is a fleet of satellites. We have the ability to peer down on just about anyone at any time, any place, day or night, clouds or clear. This gives us a lot of information so that all the warfare happens where the bad guys live, and not where we live. The bad guys cannot see us as well as we can see them. But, instead of surrendering in the face of overwhelming odds, they cover themselves with women and children.

So, even though we know where to bomb, we cannot do so. At least not if we are reluctant to "inflict collateral damage". I, myself, loathe the killing of noncombatants in any war. It seems like a form of cowardice to use any tactics that endangers the innocents, whether as an offensive or defensive posture, yet it goes on continuously in all the current battles, by all sides.

We have a few tricks that might sway the battles of those kinds in our favor. If we can make our stand-off weapons smarter -- the Predator drone weapons, cruise missiles, smart bombs, etc. --  and smaller, miniaturized to the size of beer cans instead of oil drums or Volkswagens -- then we can minimize the collateral damage. Extreme accuracy in every situation, such as being able to strike only the bad guys even in a crowded area filled with women and children, can also be achieved using some of our most sophisticated technology, smart bullets, special marking subtances, laser pointers and so on.

Yet, even then, should we be able to perfectly kill only the "armed combatants" in a mixed crowd, you can be certain that the enemy will consist of women and children, armed to the teeth. I can't imagine what we will become if we are still involved in these wars for very much longer. The game of measures and counter-measures between life forms has been going on for billions of years, and for humanity it will become far more grotesque should it continue for even a few more years. Not even technology can erase the horror of wars.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Another Unexplained Religious Day

Those who know me must also know that religion has always eluded me. Some might say that I eluded religion, instead. Whichever it is, the ideas that so many religious people consider sacred do not strike me as such.

There is nothing I can say to change their minds, nor anything anyone can say to change my mind. It is too late in my life to take on a new brain. My old brain has grown the way it has grown, and nothing can be done about it now. And I am not looking to change anyone else.

There are so many religions. There is at least one for every computer brand. There are several for each God, including hundreds for just messengers of God, and many just for messengers of messengers. How many there are in total, formally, I'm not sure. At least 20 flavors, and sometimes hundreds of sects for some of those flavors. There are so many Christian religions I couldn't begin to list them, and even just the major division are too numerous to bother listing. This post is not about that. For that, look at Wikipedia's list of religions.

For my family, especially the grandparents and various aunts and uncles who grew up in the far more stringent religions of years past, I try to honor their traditions, whenever possible, and I do not like to ruffle so many feathers. But the whole problem with being polite in the midst of so many who are impolite regarding my beliefs, or lack thereof, is what makes me have to write this stuff. I just need to get it off my back once in a while.

When people ask me how I can prove that there is no "God"-- first of all I can no more prove such a statement than anyone else can prove that alien lifeforms do not live on distant stars. For all I know there are dozens of gods, or even billions of them. I just have no idea which ones are real or not. The main thing is that I can't believe in so many at once. For that reason I don't believe in any at all.

What if I am forbidden from entering Heaven when I die, merely for refusing to believe in "Him"? I don't refuse to believe anything. Belief is not something that someone "does". Instead, belief is something that is either supported by facts or it isn't. If I can just believe any old thing I want, then I'd just as soon believe that beautiful girls carrying bags of gold as gifts are gathering around my house. If that would make them poof into existence, then I'd believe it in a second.
But that is like asking the Genie to grant 3 wishes, and then using one of the wishes to wish for infinite Genies. It is silly to believe in magical things like that, although it is fun to imagine such scenarios. There are many legends and fairy tales like that, but no single story is believable enough for me to believe it on faith alone.

But what about my belief in science? Is that not a religion? In some instances there is a degree of "faith" in science, but not because faith alone is sufficient to prove something scientifically. There are many concepts for which we have examples, like Gravity, Quarks, Neutrinos and numerous other elusive substances, but for which we have no way of demonstrating their creation or holding them in tweezers. We know they exist because of definitions, and because they have effects on our lives.

But if I stop believing in Gravity, it still remains in effect. I can refuse to believe in it if I wish, but it will not save me from falling off a cliff should I be foolish enough to test my disbelief. Similarly, if there is a God, then whether I believe that or not is not going to change anything for the existence of the world. In fact, there are millions of people who believe in absolutely opposite "truths" which do not effect the existence of reality in the slightest. 

Water still rains from the sky, the Sun still heats our planet, and all the cycles of nature continue, with us or without us, and even in spite of us, regardless of our beliefs. But, our refusal to believe in keeping nature "natural" may eventually come around to bite us. We can only ruin our environment to such an extent before we are ruining our own selves.

Things somehow popped into existence. People can believe what they like, whether religious or materialist or whatever their epistemology may be, and they can never explain the ultimate mystery of creation. If you believe God created everything, then somehow you must explain how God could exist in the first place. If you believe the universe can spontaneously conjure itself from cosmic nothingness then that also requires an explanation how nothing can become something. 
So far, regardless of the beliefs, scientific, animistic, creationist or naturalist -- whatever -- those questions always remain unanswered, and always will. Unless, that is, you are satisfied by "just because" as an answer.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Death of One Laden

In perhaps the only good news I've heard in years, between stories of nuclear meltdowns and extensive deaths in Japan's earthquake, our southern states having record tornadoes, the economy screwing up with high gas and food prices, bad housing prices, and a host of other terrible things -- the was the successful killing of (Osama/Usama) bin Laden.

There are the naysayers, decrying that such a thing is possible without a complete republican-run operation; the disbelievers, thinking that President Obama is only tricking us in the same manner that he faked his birth certificate; the unbelievers, who believe nothing whatsoever, therefore also do not believe this; the snarksayers, such as Rush Limbaugh, who only believes what large, monstrous, cigar chomping hogs have to say (his own words); and a host of unhappy Islamists, who console themselves by pointing out that OBL was "martyred", thereby having had his holiness multiplied by 72, along with a adequate supply of virgins, or that he is not actually dead at all, but merely sleeping in late.

Also, unhappy, are those who will now "avenge" their great leader by simultaneously lighting their underpants on fire, or by detonating themselves in large crowds of innocent bystanders -- either of which will somehow translate into martyrdom and large numbers of virgins expended for their enjoyment.

There were, to be sure, those who gave President Obama some credit, reserving only the amount by which a black man can only be 2/3rds of a white man or some such racist attitude. And there is also the credit due to the actual members of the CIA and militaries responsible for being the point men in all of this. You have to give them 90% of the credit, for their lives were on the line. 

There were also the interrogations of prisoners, whether we like those practices or not; the satellites and UAVs that fly overhead snapping their shutters to provide lots and lots of 4 dimensional pictures; the computers that enable all those sensors to see through walls and map the locations of people inside thick walls. Technology of all kinds has a say in these endeavors.

But, am I happy about this? You betcha. But not just to kill one terrorist asshole. It is because we can do this, and are willing to do this stuff that makes just a few of the terrorists have to work a little harder to get away with their murderous deeds. In fact, it makes a large number of those terrorists completely impotent.

There are, however, the supposed high tech terrorists, but if they could do that stuff they would already have done it. Or maybe they are saving it for one glorious "take everybody out, including themselves" evening of insanity.

Whatever. If I am going to die anyway, it matters very little what method is used, other than botched things that make you die slowly and painfully -- like nature intended. I don't want my children to suffer these fools, to be sure, but I don't think we need to be afraid of religious fanatics in other countries. We need to be afraid of our own religious fanatics.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Days Of Our Lies

Things have gotten quite rigid between all the various parties, regimes, camps, heads of states and wanna-be heads of states -- all over the world. In my life, in the lull between WWII and 2001/9/11, where only a few horrible wars like Vietnam, Iraq-Kuwait, Afghanistan, almost all of Africa and of course, Israel, it seemed almost like the American Dream might be real, and one could drive their 16 Cylinder Family Freight Hauler around the USA with cheap gas and cheap cigarettes forever.

Well, I guess those days were actually BEFORE Vietnam, because I remember the gas wars when they tried to undersell each other: 19 cents, 18 cents a gallon. And cigarettes cost 20 cents a pack in the machines, cokes cost a dime. The days after Vietnam, and especially during, were very tragic and confusing in my teenage days. I had to become a soldier before I was really prepared for that. At least the cigarettes on board ships or from the on base stores only cost 11 cents (no taxes).

And in those days a bag of half-way decent pot cost $10, $20 for real Panama Red or Acapulco Gold. And Vietnamese pot was pretty much free over there. I Think it was probably a mixture of pot, politics and heroin -- an epidemic in the ranks -- was partially to blame for our loss. However, the full blame can be shared amongst several presidents, several defense ministers and our numerous KGB-like enemies about the world.

Ah, the good old days.

Now, in the 20-teens, there are so many wars I can't name them all, most of them civil wars, most of them we are not directly involved in. Of course, Iraq is still smoldering, with bombing deaths still echoing about their cities. Afghanistan is always at war, it seems, with either their neighbors, or amongst themselves. Their experience with Islam mixed with a Mountain Man lifestyle mixed with insane Taliban extremists and Arab Islamic fundamentalists makes for an impossible situation --  one that we should not be trying to change. We might as well try to turn West Virginia into San Franscisco -- it ain't gonna happen.

It isn't to say that I think all of our guys die for nothing in these wars -- although it is obvious that many do die for nothing. If you die taking some mountain in Whateverstan and then abandon it and then more guys die taking it back again -- how is that different than the poorly planned situations in Vietnam? They died for nothing.

But maybe we taught the Taliban a lesson (ha -- a joke -- students) by showing them that we don't like guys shooting women through the head for having sex with some guy that's really to blame for her situation. Shoot the guy, if you need to shoot guilty people. Don't shoot women -- it pisses us off.

Maybe we taught the Al Qaida assholes a lesson? Sure, that we got really nice weapon systems that can pick them off like birds eating bugs. We can see for thousands of miles, wait for just the right second and -- kaboom. Off with their heads. Yes, I know they killed a lot of our people with their clever little tricks, suicide girls, jet planes into buildings and so forth. But the are so clumsy -- killing almost everyone who is innocent and almost no one who is guilty (of whatever we are guilty of -- infidels or imperialists, whatever.)

I would be happier about these wars if we:
  1. Got the main asshole we were trying to get.
  2. Got out of there immediately after that happened.
  3. Didn't spend a $Trillion on fighting Hillbillies with goats.

Anyway, we are still fighting these wars.

Congress is another kind of war. It also involves Hillbillies versus San Franciscans. It also involves liars and cheats and spending $Trillions of dollars on insane things like giving more money to rich people and taking money from old people and children. I know there are welfare cheats, driving their Cadillacs to the bank to cash their welfare checks. I know there are all kinds of lazy assholes that don't deserve a dime of our tax money.

However, if you are going to give billions to your rich buddies and waste trillions on wars and nuclear weapons and space weapons and so forth, who cares if a few million gets wasted on welfare whores and beggars. Don't cheat the damn children, whatever you do, whatever you call it.

And forget it if you think there is any way that I will ever believe what any politician ever says about anything, whichever party they are in, from whatever country they are from, whether they are patricians or plebeians or Bible thumping fools or Nuclear Bomb scientists or drug dealers or whoever they are. I don't believe anything you got to say, politicians!!! I heard it all already.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

So many computers

When I was younger, unlike the opportunities of today's youth, I had never seen a computer except the phony ones in the movies. It was not until I was in the Navy and worked in a radio shack that I actually saw a real computer.

It is not to say that I didn't understand the concept -- I had already designed robots that could actually work in every way except for the brain and all the things that depend on brains, like eyes and ears and controling something so complex. As a child I drew all kinds of designs, in very fine detail, and in every way completely wrong.

When I did have the chance to learn about real computers, real robots and all the real problems that had never yet been solved, I dove in head first -- convinced that I could somehow solve those kinds of problems -- again, completely wrong.

I now have an infinite number of computers. Not in my house, of course, nor in my work, or even on the Earth, but in the virtual world. Every atom in the universe is a kind of little computer -- which reacts to the other atoms around it in some way that makes each atom unique. Such a large number of computers is useless, however, since there is no way I can program them all.

Even in my house, if I tried to count them all, I have literally dozens of computers. Some are like this one that I am typing on -- an old Dell that runs Linux but is attached via Ethernet to my Alienware machine that also runs Linux, and Windows7, and XP and several other Linux virtual machines. Why do I use this old Dell when I have so many others? Because it's the window I started typing in and it doesn't make any difference which one -- I can only type this fast.

But upstairs I have another laptop, and in my work backpack, another laptop, and my wife has another laptop, and my daughter has one, and her daughter has one -- all in this house. But beyond those there are even more. There are at least 3 working Android phones, several Blackberries, several LGs and even more that I'm not sure what brand they are. They are useless to anyone except for the grandkids to pretend they are using real phones and real computers, and in a way they really are. The batteries mostly still work, they can still take pictures and display things on their otherwise useless screens.

And, to connect all those things, I have an Internet connection via a cable modem, with 2 wireless routers hanging off it, an Internet phone hanging off of it, and yet more Ethernet routers hanging off that. All of those have little computers inside that are running some little form of Unix-like operating system.

Then there are the TVs, the MP3 players, the children's toys, the Wiis, Xboxes and other video games I'm not even sure what they are called.

Now, in order to use all this stuff, it has to all be connected properly, updated properly, supplied with electricity and batteries and wires and other gadgetry that makes my head spin, and my wallet sting.

So, I guess in the future some person will remember back to this time -- when computers were actually called computers, weren't just omnipresent patches of cloth in everything that is worn. When computers had to be told what to do by specialists like me who had to memorize vast numbers of infinitely petty languages written in arcane mathematical mazes by people who didn't realize what the future would really become.

In that future, not to far from now, it may even be that people forget how computers work, and that only computers will know, and only computers will know how to keep people alive -- because it is just to damn complicated for humans to do it anymore. Either that or there will be some kind of Skynet-like apocalypse that destroys our world in the singularity of cyber-consciousness.

Whatever, I have to write some code now.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Working like a fool

My job has indeed been taking my time, but that's what jobs do and why they have to pay you money to do them. The ironic things is, though, that I do the same things for money that I would do for free, except for the driving to some building where there are lots of phones, people and other distractions.

Still, I need to have people around for the most part, or go crazy. And if I stay at the house my daughter will have me changing diapers and other babysitting duties. I don't mind it too much, but the diaper part is getting a bit tiresome. So working at the office suits me OK.

My aunt just bought a new laptop to replace a dying old dinosaur of an XP system. She must learn Windows 7 and all that, but she is a smart old bird and shouldn't have that much problem. I think it is better for her anyway -- easier to keep safe from the viruses than the older systems, and it will make her use her brain, which is good for your brain.

Soon, though, I will need to give her a list of stuff that she should use instead of buying lots of junk or downloading a million things she doesn't need. In today's world it is really a lot cheaper to own computers and get software. This is fine for everybody except the people that make money selling that stuff -- like me.