isn't quite ashamed enough to present

jr conlin's ink stained banana

:: Family History, Part 1

There's not a lot of us left in my family. Ok, that's not 100% true, but suffice to say that with my generation, the patriarchal legacy of my particular branch of the "Conlin" family is drawing to a close. While i'm fairly familiar that the surname of Conlin is neither rare nor carries any regal quality, the end of the branch is mildly notable, at least for personal reasons. With little shared history among the members of my family, for all i know, i come from a long line of pedophiles, axe murderers and investment bankers.

i have a cousin who is far more interested in the family legacy than most of us are. She is very interested in breaking the apparent wall that extends beyond my grandfather's generation. In fact, at the time of his passing (i was only around 8 or so), i had asked his surviving brother if there were any particular stories of note regarding the previous generations. We had lots of other stories of family members past to whet our appetites for more. Stories of Spanish War veteran uncles who met their fates leaping through windows after hearing cars back fire, others who had been run out of town for reasons that i was too young to know. "Son," the equally reclusive and religious gentleman asked in sonorous tones, "Do you love your Mother and Father?" Of course i did. If for no other reason than it would have been a very long walk back to the house for an eight year old. He smiled and replied "Then that is all that matters."

He never did tell us anything else.

It's both natural and alliterative that one does wonder about one's past, and since i am the uncle with a history minor, the crest of family history has undoubtedly fallen to me.

So i'm going to do the honorable thing, and make sh*t up.

You see, that's the glorious potential that i have. History is indeed written by the survivors, and if i've learned nothing from companies that sell family coats of arms and various online family research sites, every bloody one of us is descended from some drunken night of debauchery by an ancestor with a golden hat. Families, it would seem, often do not include a great deal of peasants and vagabonds.

This is why it is both my duty and obligation to ensure that my particular family branch be properly recorded so that when my time has come to pass this veil of tears, those that are curious can learn of our history.

And more importantly, we're all dead so they can't prove that we're lying.

Much like my great (fifteen times removed) grandfather Eric the Carnlyn. A great medium of a man who tilled his farm most days of the month, but when the moon was full and the mists rolled over the hills of the western tuath of Connachta, horror gripped his village. Terrible howls and screams would fill the night. The weathered farmers of the village told stories in cautious whispers. Tales of men who became like great wolves and murdered the sheep and oxen in the night. On those nights, mothers would call upon the gods and elves of the hills for protection of hearth and home. Strangely, while other homes would keep the peat fires burning though the night, Eric's small home would always be dark and empty. The screams would end by morning, but only a few knew the truth. The sun would greet Eric as he stood, fists upon his hips, a great smile upon his face, skin glinting in the dawn's light. He stood both equally defiant and pantless. No cow nor sheep murdered, and only blood drawn were from the scratches and bruises on his skin.

For he, Eric, had protected the tiny village in the manner that he found best. By having forced, carnal relations with the lycanthropes that roamed the hills.

That's right. He raped werewolves.

Of course, "Eric Carnal An Lycanthrope" was abbreviated to "Eric CarnLyn" (and eventually softened to "Conlin"), but that was mostly done to avoid the lingering lawsuits and demands for reparations.

:: MPAA Offsets

Let's be honest. Even though the MPAA and RIAA are out to destroy the internet at all costs, you're not going to stop listening to music or watching movies, or generally consuming the media they produce. The problem is, all that consumption still goes to them and they pump all that cash straight into the lobbying efforts to forcibly exert control over the web.

So what's a soul to do?

Turns out that a rather clever person came up with the idea of MPAA Offsets. They're like carbon offsets for the soul. What you do is match your media consumption with a donation to EFF. Spend a buck buying a track off iTunes? Send a buck to EFF. Got a Netflix subscription? Fork over $8 a month to keep the web open. This is particularly great if you've got cable or satellite, because those services aren't cheap.

Hopefully, this will have a two fold effect. One, you're going to be a bit more prudent about going with indie labels or direct to artist sales for media. You're probably also going to seek out what the web has to offer, like the various short form movies you can get off of Youtube. You'll also get a fairly sizable tax credit if you're a US citizen. (If you're not, i'm also fine with you supporting your local equivalent.)

This is about money, plain and simple. You're the one with money, so it really matters what you do with it. If this crap matters to you, vote with your wallet.

:: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SAN JOSE — The following is a statement by J R Conlin, Guy who understands the internet and how things actually work on the so-called statement regarding "Blackout Day" by the Chairman, CEO, Ex-Senator, and Mortgage expert, Chris Dodd.

"Only the day before Internet Blackout Day, after the White House, various Internet professionals, and pretty much the rest of the planet has stood up and say <expletive> NO! to a hastily cobbled together, slap dash, obvious power grab being rushed through congress from two fronts, Mr. Dodd and company are saying how this is unfair. Because they obviously know how to play fair.

Granted, the sites most prominently calling for citizens to come to their rescue are the sites that would be most directly effected by the bills that Mr. Dodd wants to rocket through our elected representatives so that they can shut down the phantasmal threats that they see, must like previous threats that needed immediate action lest his industry suffer forever.

Still, how does one react to the fact that Mr. Dodd's own reaction was a statement, dictated to a secretary, and drafted as a document "published" on the internet, without option for public comment or discussion? Quite possibly with the un-typed "Your's sincerely, yadda yadda, type that up and post it up for those low lifes will you sweetheart?". Maybe accented by the clatter of ice cubes in his glass as a subtle reminder that his gin also needs topping.

i think that description pretty much sums it up.

And frankly, he can go get stuffed."

About JR Conlin
He's just some guy, but one that bets he's done more for the benefit of society that Mr. Dodd.

# # #

For more information, contact:

Your Elected Representative
In Congress
And let them know that SOPA and PIPA are horrible.

:: Good Farming

Social sites (like facebook, twitter, google plus, yahoo mail, etc) want human beings. To ensure that human beings are there, they use CAPTCHAs. Since all that effort to determine squiggly letters was kind of being wasted, Luis von Ahn, figured it would be great to have people try to figure out words from scanned books that computers couldn't figure out, and thus ReCAPTCHA was born.

Of course, there are bad guys. These folks want to use social sites (like facebook, twitter, google plus, yahoo mail, etc. to send you a free ipad for filling out endless surveys that end in your checking account being emptied as you unbox your very own 241mm x 186mm slab of plywood. Since CAPTCHAs are hard for computers to figure out, they pay folks to guess CAPTCHAs for them. Thousands of them per day.

So, in some respects, the greater force for aiding in the digitizing of lost texts is probably some guy in a coffee shop being paid $.05 for every ten ReCAPTCHAs. Those endless ads for discount Canadian Viagra may have also helped immortalize Robert Guillaume's groundbreaking show.. Or Anne of Green Gables. Maybe we'll go with Anne of Green Gables.

That's fine and dandy for doing distributed OCR work, but what about the other big problems out there?

How about solving a little protein folding? How about matching chromosome sequences? Maybe record weather patterns from historical logs? Sites know "problem nets" and could simple toggle a switch to use the new system. Heck, folks from other countries might actually appreciate not having to deal with figuring out English words.

As long as spammers are paying keyboard monkeys, let's use the spammer's money to help society more than they're trying to ruin it.

:: Resolution Framework

As is the custom, i'm starting over fresh. Well, sort of.

More importantly, i've decided that i need to work on a few things in this new year:

1. Learn a new framework a month.
Anyone can learn a new programming language in a day or two. Honestly, they're mostly the same, just some of the words are different and some tweaky crap like how hashes and lists are handled. (Obviously, there are huge exceptions to this, as there always are, but on the whole, most heavily used languages descend from the ALGOL branch).

What really sets some languages apart is the meta-programming aspects of them. What are those? Meta-programming are the libraries and frameworks that people have added to the core language to do all the spiffy things that folks actually talk about. Some languages seem to acquire frameworks far faster and easier than others. Perl and PHP, for instance, don't really have the same level of meta-programming that Python or Java do.

So, i'm going to try to become reasonably well versed in the various major frameworks that are out there. Possibly giving myself a project to work on each month.

2. Be less hostile toward enemy technology.
First, let me be clear by what i mean as "enemy technology". Basically, it's anything from a service or company that i'm not very happy with. This means companies like Facebook, Apple and the like. Unless it's some element of core infrastructure that there's no way for the company to express direct control over (like Redis or ProtocolBuffers), i tend to view it with an absurd level of distrust and suspicion.

i need to back down from that a bit. The suspicion will still be there, but i can't figure out if the idea is valid if i shun it entirely. Plus, if it's really closed, that gives me the added incentive to create an open version. Time to make friends again with wireshark.

3. Be mobile.
Ok, this is something i've been working on for a while. In essence, i need to be able to move at a moments notice. That means being able to be effective anywhere. It also means being more active in the mobile space and building things that are scoped for that sort of environment. Much like fighting greenhouse gasses, even if it's not really needed in the future, it's going to make things better anyway. Perhaps, after nearly 10 years, i ought to consider updating the look of this blog.

Blogs of note
personal Christopher Conlin USMC memoirs of hydrogen guy rhapsodic.org Henriette's Herbal Blog
geek ultramookie

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