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Tuesday, May 20, 2003


Every time we go see the folks they always argue. Mom says something, Dad disagrees "jeez", mom comes back. It gets old fast.

Speaking in a forceful voice was the norm in our family. Not the norm for some other families.

Just driving down the road, I get angry with other drivers, sometimes for no other reason than they are on the same road as me. I hate driving, and I think this is why. I am tired of being angry all the time.

I try and I try and I try, but things never go as well or as fast or are as rewarding as I like. So the either I or the world do not meet my expectations, so I am angry.

So I try to stay calm. At least outwardly. And especially around the house. It is difficult, but it becomes easier with practice. Staying away from sugar and getting enough sleep helps.

I try not to answer the phone at home. If someone else answers the phone and tells me I have a call, I do okay. I guess the few seconds of preparation I get are enough that I can prepare my mind.

Monday, May 19, 2003

Big Idea: Universal Car Computer

Nanotech is on the rise, I wouldn't be surprised to see pills with embedded stuff become common the next five or ten years.

We got a chip put in our cat. Perhaps this could be used for your secure cat door? You could probably use the same thing for humans, though it was stinking big needle they used to implant it.

Don't worry about car systems, ever year there is something new, the stuff that's ten years old becomes completely obsolete.

Current law requires automobile manufacturers to provide repair parts for their cars for ten years. After that you are on your own. I suspect this results in very high scrap rates for cars over ten years old. Computers are the problem. They are unique to make and year, no one but the manufacturer carries them. So here's another million dollar idea:

The universal replacement computer for older cars. It would take a substantial engineering effort, but there is probably lots of expertise available in this area. They've been putting computers in cars for how long now? Ten years? The basics are all the same, naturally there would be variations.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Cheery Stuff

These days I'm thinking there are only two forces at work: instinct, and diversion. Diversion is what you think of to keep you occupied when you aren't listening to your instincts. Sometimes diversions are "good": people build things. Sometimes diversions are "bad": people break things, start wars, torment other beings.

Andy was talking about Margie's deism versus his humanism. Going to church is a social thing. It doesn't make you more religious or a better person. It just makes you more social, whether you want to be or not. I believe in God the same way I believe in Santa Claus. ("Yes, Virgina, there is a Santa Claus"). It's a spiritual thing. I don't believe in an afterlife. Jesus Christ? He was a good example who lived a long time ago.

If there weren't any people, there wouldn't be any God. I look at God as kind of the collective subconscious of all the people in the world. Anything that furthers the human race is good, anything that harms people is bad. Each person contains a vast sea of information, emotions and instinct. Only a small fraction can be directly expressed. Much more is expressed indirectly through movement, expression and lack of expression/action.

People reinforce each other, if they have similar views. This is why we sometimes have these spontaneous uprisings.

Social interaction is a two edged sword. I often hear people extolling the virtues of small town communities, but I also hear about the negative aspects of small town communities: every knows everybody else's business. There are some people who thrive on this kind of social detail. Other people have little or no interest in it.

People can accomplish more if they can work with other people. It's called cooperation. It's a social thing. You can accomplish little or nothing by yourself. When I was a kid in school I remember them talking about the mountain men and explorers and how they were so wonderful and great. I never understood what the big deal was. I think that's the difference between the socialites (those doing the extolling) and the anti-social (who would rather just do it themselves). In any case the mountain men weren't true loners. Their lifestyle was made possible by the gun, a product of a socially cooperative civilization.

Wars get started because a large part of the young male population doesn't have anything else to do. No work, no prospects, no entertainment, just plain miserable dirt boredom. Someone comes along and says it's all the neighbors doing, let's go burn down their house, and lacking any other influences, off they go. One of the TV channels has been advertising a show about Hitler that will air Sunday night. It is probably drivel, but it might be interesting. The angle is how he got started and came to power.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Big Idea: Medical Diary Program for Palm Pilot

Here's a program that could make you a million. Or not.

There are a number of medical conditions where it is advisable to keep a diary of some sort. What you ate, what you drank, what pills you took, how do you feel, how well did you sleep, etc, etc.

Palm Pilots and their ilk are cheap enough to be used for something like that. I don't imagine a program to help you record information would be too difficult to write. There may already be a suitable program out there.

But the really useful part would be a program that could analyze this data and point out any correlations (every time you eat some of Aunt May's pudding) you always wake up three days later with a hangover).

So there's the big idea. Go run with it.

Friday, May 9, 2003

Disposable goods

The air compressor at work gave out today. Not a big piece of equipment, just a small one, about three feet long and a couple of feet high. Five horsepower though. It's about the same size the one I have at home, but mine is only like two HP. It hasn't given up completely, it still runs, but it won't develop enough pressure to trip the shut off switch, so it just runs and runs and runs. It's a noisy bugger, too. When we first got it, which was about five years ago, when we first moved in here, the guys in the shop built a big wood box with fiberglass insulation to contain the noise. Box wasn't big enough though, and it cooked itself. So then they built a "doghouse" so it could sit outside in the rain. So every morning when we open up, someone has to wheel the air compressor outside and turn it on, and every evening when we go home, someone has to turn it off and wheel it back inside. No one has stolen the dog house.

But after five years the compressor is worn out. We were thinking about repairing it, but a new one only costs two or three hundred dollars. We could fix it, but you add up the cost of the parts, the time we would spend fixing it, and the delay in obtaining parts and it is probably cheaper to buy a new one.

How much life is left in the old compressor? I suspect motor and/or switch would be next component to fail, and they should last another five or ten years being used as they are. For home use they would probably last forever. So is it worthwhile to fix it? We shall see.