I, Avatar

So, I performed an interesting experiment this week. I set up a Facebook account ... under my standard online alias (Rule Number One of online life is "Do NOT trust the internet"). The incongruity of it made me deactivate the account the very next day. One does not use a social networking site, which is a means of relation and communication, under an assumed name. It did lead to some interesting thought waves, on how much of an identity my online avatar, Bruce IV, really has. The entity that is Bruce IV has a body of opinion, beliefs, and opinions very similar (identical, in fact) to my own. That entity is also in my year at school, and lives in my town (although neither the tax agency, nor the university registrar would acknowledge it) (come to think of it, I must find Bruce IV's landlord - Bruce manages to get out of paying rent through the dastardly trick of having no physical presence). But, does Bruce IV really exist? He (Bruce is listed as male in a few spots, for purposes of context), for all intents and purposes, has all my memories, and a mind behind him - he could definitely pass a Turing test. However, Facebook provides a breaking point for his identity. While Bruce IV has all my memories, experiences, and opinions, he does not have my friends. He, in fact, lacks any sort of real relationship, having only an academic (if that) connection to the similar entities of "Mr. Fusion", "Uncle Dave", and their ilk in various blog-based debates. So, who or what is Bruce IV? He is an expression, a face I present to the online world - in short, a mask. Masks, though they have a distinct shape and appearance, have no life apart from the one that wears them. So, the moral of the story is: make your Facebook under your own name - you can lock down your personal information from the net at large well enough to protect it from unknown eyes. And a final incongruity - this post is signed Bruce IV - giving that avatar the human quality of introspection. Life's an irony.


Dell is selling Linux! Where? [UPDATED]

So, Dell is finally selling computers with Linux preloaded (Ubuntu, to be precise). The trick is finding them. (I'll give you a hint - www.dell.com/open). If you don't have that link ... well, on the American site (not the Canadian), you can find a site map, and one of the links on that sitemap brings you to the page I just linked to. There are three computers available to be customized, and they'll give you decent coverage of the broader spectrum of computers. Its a start, but there could be so, so much more ... Why aren't there options to set up a Windows dual boot in the factory, choices of filesystem, even extending the distro options to Kubuntu, and maybe Xubuntu - the GUI you use is important ... if someone is installing Linux, they'll know about these things, and care (though they'll likely be able to reinstall things and fix it - still, what's the point of factory installation if you have to change everything up right out of the box). And why bury it so deep - at least put some links from the main page (or even better, put the Linux systems in with the Windows ones in the main computer comparison windows - in all the country sites). Its a nice gesture, placating all the raving geeks on their Ideastorm site, but will ultimately end up letting a very few determined people avoid paying for a Windows license when they don't want it.

As one guy pointed out on the Ideastorm site, Dell isn't offering any Linux systems with AMD processors. As a lot of Linux people are AMD people as well (a root for the underdog type of thing), it would seem a logical move. Personally, right now, Intel has the better chips - however, AMD makes some very capable ones, and has a bit of an edge in prices. I'd like to see Dell selling some AMD Linux systems as well.

Gmail Theater: Why Use Gmail?

Ok, maybe this is misusing my newfound YouTube posting abilities, but this is geeky-cheezy-cool, so why not. (It also says a lot of stuff about what's great about gmail)

A Fair(y) Use Tale

Just a really sweet video I found online (Dvorak Uncensored pointed me its way). Kinda neat way to talk about copyright. (Hopefully the YouTube embed works right - this is the first time I've tried this)



I just remembered something weird from my childhood. I used to like cutting snowflakes out of folded paper - and then you'd unfold the paper, and it would have these lovely repeating patterns. I always wanted to understand how my cuts would affect the pattern, to be able to predict the result before I unfolded it. And also, which seems to me slightly a weird mix, I was always disappointed that I couldn't figure out how to fold the paper or cut the pattern so that my "snowflakes" would be six-sided, because all snowflakes in nature are six-sided. It just was a slightly odd contrast - the art of cutting the paper, and then trying to fit it to rigid science - they seem like two different beasts. But then again, perhaps, as Darth Vader would say, "There is no conflict". There is a certain unity to life, and to reality, and maybe what disturbed me about it was the contrast, not the attempt to reconcile it. Anyway, as I've thoroughly lost any point I may have been trying to make, I think I'll stop my rambling here. Thank you for your patience, and good day.


It shouldn't be that way ....

There's an article on IHT today about Pope Benedict visiting South America, and the challenges facing the Catholic church there. The article spends a good deal of time discussing the rising Protestant threat to Catholicism. It really shouldn't be that way. While there are some significant and important theological differences between the Protestant and Catholic views of Christianity, there's a lot that's the same too - the two groups should be natural allies, not competitors. Perhaps this is a special exempt case (as I said, there are some important divergences between Protestant and Catholic faith), but I still really don't like to see denominational infighting in the Christian church. When it comes down to it, we're aiming for the same goal, and our collective energies would be better spent in pursuit of that goal, rather than arguing among ourselves.



Its a ridiculous name. Period. It sounds like some lame ripoff of Apple, and the logo is ridiculous. I much prefer "Google Personalized Homepage" and that's a soulless corporate beast of a name. They could call it myGoogle, youGOOGLE, or Jimbo the Traveling Salesman, and it would still be better. I'm keeping my homepage, because I like the page, but the logo at the top of the site strikes me as ridiculous every time I see it. Which is often, seeing as its my homepage. Anyone interested in checking it out can point their browser to www.google.com/ig. Opinions?