Coping: “Messin’ with Authority”

I have (like I need it) another new hobby.

OMG, what now?

Turns out on eBay, there are all kinds of now-defunct magazines available on CD and DVDs for a reasonable price.  I think in the last month I’ve picked up $150 worth of such collections.  Great sources of ideas and in-depth knowledge lost on the digital mob.

A few articles are just great information.  Others are downright thought-provoking.

Among the “best of class” is the collection of ham radio magazine 73 – founded by the legendary Wayne Green.  If you don’t know about him, this little snip from Wikipedia will get you started.

Green was formerly editor of CQ magazine before he went on to found 73, 80 Micro, Byte, CD Review, Cold Fusion, Kilobaud Microcomputing, RUN, InCider, and Pico, as well as publishing books and running a software company. In the early 1980s, he assisted in the creation of the Brazilian microcomputing magazine, Micro Sistemas (in Portuguese).[4] He sold five of his magazines to CW Communications in 1983, and his publishing company subsequently merged with them.

Besides starting…indeed defining the PC magazine market – and lake the Pico market (which eventually led to phones and people giving up reading because it’s easier to join digital mobs and just roll with the flow), Green’s publication for Hams – launched in 1960 – was inspired.

One article in particular from 73‘s first issue – dealing with how many of us over-achievers in electronica (with zero tolerance for bullshit from know-nothings) summed up the world we lived in at the time and it’s only gotten worse: An article by John W. Campbell says this:

“There’s a lot of government-sponsored research being done today; Commissions, Authorities, Departments and Divisions of the government set up boards, committees, and Agencies to assign research projects. Let’s imagine that government-sponsored research had been common throughout the history of the United States, and consider the probability that a government agency would have made the actually-correct assignment. The boards must, of course, act logically” with careful consideration of the opinions of the authorities in the field. Project assignments must be allotted fai ly, logically, on the basis of the best available theoretical knowledge. Would they, then, have assigned:

1. Development of a rapid, long-distance communication technique to a second-rank portrait painter by the name of Sam Morse?

2. Development of a technique for voice communication to an obscure teacher of the deaf in the Boston area, Alex Bell?

3. Development of a heavier-than-air flying machine to a two-man bicycle shop in Ohio?

That was the tone around here this weekend.  As the late publisher Wayne Green had written as his business policies, the #1 point was “We aren’t mad at anyone.”

Ure’s corollary to that it “But we won’t be walked on, or let our wallet be taken for a ride, either.”

There’s a lot of down-home, practical knowledge to be gained from reading old magazine collections.  for one, there’s a general lack of hysteria in them.  People wrote sensibly and there was useful product and subject knowledge to be gleaned.  Nowadays, you get a QR code to a video and that’s not exactly useful.  And for those of us moving into the “Large Print Editions” part of life, the PDFs of sold magazine collections can be easily magnified with a few clicks.

We had a renewal come through recently for one of the magazines we like – Popular Science  I think it was  – and we didn’t renew.  It wasn’t the PRICE that turned us off.  It was the fact that the print sizes in vogue in the tech world are down in the same font-range as medical package inserts.  We have 18-kinds of magnifiers including several USB magnifiers for the computers around here and STILL it’s too much work.

Authority seems like an unassailable position to people to those “in charge.”  But when comes down to it, when ANY company stops being responsive to its market  it’s just a matter of time until they fail.

Hence, the first lesson of the week:  When dealing with “authority” (people not responding to wee lil peeps”) the best way to get their attention is to slap them upside the head with an empty wallet.  In time after a lot of market research…maybe they will figure out who’s really in charge.

Satellite Roulette

As you know we’re putting in the “latest and greatest” satellite link here at Uretopia Golf and Country Club.  Our tech was out here (Second trip) for 6-hours (!) Friday and replaced every component in the system.  New Dish, new radio, new antenna arm, new cable, new modem, new tast cable to the RJ-45 – everything.  Even the ground wire…

While the new system works swell from 2 AM until a couple of hours after  dawn, as soon as “normal” people get up, the throughput drops from the advertised  “Speeds up to 12 MB” (and a promise of 25 MB later in the year) to IRL 1.7-2.5 mb.  Which would be fine if we had unlimited amounts of money to piss away – and even though we do on deductible expenses,  we don’t care to do.  (As Elaine says “You see stupid written on our foreheads?”)

I’m feeling swindled.  the HDSL: from Century late is better than this  – except in the predawn hours.

I will keep you posted on how the dance with what fore now is labeled the clown posse from space works out.  We don’t hold our local utility to count.. they’re just wholesaling satellite internet from the NRTC.  It reveals what looks like bad marketing decisions – reminiscent of the early Windows adopter experiences. If you’ve forgotten, the joke in my “software forest” days was that Microsoft would “release beta candidates” and see if any of them could be salvaged well enough to be sold.”

I don’t mind paying to be at the front of the “bleeding edge” as long as it’s not too much of my bleeding.  But it doesn’t work and a patch is over a month and no promises even then?  Ure’s patience wears thin.  He commiserates here and seeks your good counsel.

That’s going on with satellite in selected areas right now.  (Here that we know of…) – that’s 100% of the known users to us.

I’m taking an informal poll to see “Where is the line between ‘new product introduction” bumps on the one hand bumps over into false advertising on the other?”  Perhaps the legions of legal beagles who visit could chime in…..

We’re down to a foot race as to which happens first:  My liver blowing-up having been driven to drink by faltering internet connectivity, or the problems being solved such that 12 MB happens somewhere between 8 AM and when the stock market close.  6 MB reliably would be ok..a full 50% discount from marketing hype.  .BUT THIS?

We live in hope…but our latest high-speed satellite experience is evolving that “Dropped the soap in the shower” kinda feel to it.  At some point, you get out of the shower and no, you don’t bend over.  Speaking of Bending things…

Bending Rules

Saturday afternoon, Elaine and I were having our adult beverage hour in the 180-degree room (which is more like 210-degrees of view) and watching the wildlife when an odd topic came up.

With all the “nu-speak touchy-feely of digital mobs” how soon before people will be able to claim additional tax deductions for their “other personas?”

Let me set it up this way:

Suppose you have a mental illness.  You go to the shrink and they test and sure-enough you have multiple personality disorder.  So far, so good.

Well, except the erudite PC medical mumbo jumblers will call it dissociative personality disorder or some such PC gobbledygook. God knows we can’t speak plainly, anymore.

Example:  Let’s say I go to the doc/shrink, shrinkette, or medical shaman and they give me a prescription.

“Here, Mr. Ure, is a Thora-Pen of thorazine to snap you out of these episodes.”

Doc also writes in my file that I have…oh, pick a number…12 personalities, say.

Now we get to the end of the year.

I expect to have massive taxable gains issue this year (as explained in the Peoplenomics article on my new trading tool over the weekend.)

I would call my consigliere and pose the tax question this way:

“Doctor says I have 13 personalities.  Since I have only one of them working right now, and one is on Social Security can I allocate the remaining income to the 11 others  as dependents for tax purposes?”


“Well, the farmer personality has some small distribution from the land bank.  The pilot personality sold the airplane but we didn’t do a single purpose LLc so no recapture there.  The radio operator personality is addicted to classic Hallicrafters equipment.  The woodworker/carpenter persona has been buying power tools for the fall-winter home construction season. Then there’s the gambler personality…and jeez, his losses alone this year could drop us down to the five-digit AGI level….;what do you think?”

I think his answer will be something like “I’m arguing a Supreme Court case tomorrow…;can you call me back when your economist personality shows up?”

“Uh, right…maybe he’ll be in tomorrow.  Depends on how the market falls today…”

Write when you get rich (or if you hear fromt a talkative Russian General who’s up for an interview with a whack-job in the East Texas Outback…dasvidaniya )

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George Ure
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7 thoughts on “Coping: “Messin’ with Authority””

  1. Another worthwhile mention of unlikely inventors, one who actually fell victim to the arrogance of those “in charge” is Hedy Lamarr. Her spread spectrum radio communication techniques were openly dismissed for no other reason than she was a Hollywood actress. Perhaps if she was a tenured professor, instead of an attractive woman, her invention would have been taken seriously during WWII.

  2. George,
    In answer to your question about government supported research the answer is probably a yes. In the 1920 the Smithsonian institution published a pamphlet about Robert Goddard research. He also received a small grant from the Smithsonian.

    Concerning government supported research, there is a publication “Government Reports Announcements and Index”. Back in the day I used to scan each issue as it came out. IMHO the government no longer supports research directly relating to its interests. Instead research is broken down and scattered across agencies and researchers. For instance, research on “insecticides”. I also looked for outliers like a major high energy physics lab publishing population studies. There was also the occasional report title that would rofl.

  3. Jeez, the thing with ‘multiple’vs ‘dissociative’ (sp?) is symptom vs possible cause . . . like ‘gas line break and explosion’ vs ‘idiot with digger misreading street plans’. To be sure, the first can not be ignored, but to figure out what happened and to fix it (maybe) you need the cause.

    On another note . . . some magazines publish a larger print version . . . :>

  4. Government sponsored research includes the vast majority of university based research. The research is published in “peer reviewed” publications, if approved of by a “peer” committee. Therefore, a lot of research doesn’t make it if it’s controversial.

    My pet peeve is that these journal articles, paid for by us, are available online for around $45.00 PER ARTICLE to read. This makes such info unavailable unless you have university library credentials or are a billionaire. I’m in favor of capitalism, but this stuff was paid for by citizens. IMHO, the government can and should easily make this stuff available copyright free online. It would be dirt cheap compared to the actual cost of the research. A $25.00 unlimited access annual subscription would easily cover that. To do good survey research, hundreds of articles may have to be read and understood.

    By choice, I’d see copyrights expire after 25 years, except for software at perhaps 7 years. Beyond that, copyrights are nothing more than an income stream and a disincentive to create.

  5. “As you know we’re putting in the “latest and greatest” satellite link here at Uretopia Golf and Country Club. Our tech was out here (Second trip) for 6-hours (!) Friday and replaced every component in the system. New Dish, new radio, new antenna arm, new cable, new modem, new tast cable to the RJ-45 – everything. ”

    Keep us informed as to how it turns out.
    I have been contemplating putting satellite internet up for while. The price is less only a small amount but every penny counts without breaking any of the services we are accustomed to..

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