Las Vegas shooting – what could possibly have been the motive?

Like millions of other people, I wonder what could have compelled Steven Paddock to do what he did. In 1966, Charles Whitman did something similar when he took over the tower at the University of Texas and opened fire. In Whitman’s autopsy, they found he had a brain tumor and it’s been speculated that that may have had something to do with his actions. People high on drugs, alcohol or medication also do crazy things.

However, given the planning that went into the Las Vegas massacre, I’m leaning more to thinking this was some kind act of revenge and not the act of a “crazed individual.” Perhaps Paddock was angry at America for it’s foreign military policies both past and present? For example, maybe Paddock was trying to give Americans a taste of their own medicine for the tens of thousands of civilian deaths in Vietnam, Iraq, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and other places. America has a lot of blood on it’s hands, perhaps payback was Paddock’s motive? Maybe we’ll never know — “Dead men tell no tales.”

Piracy is anarchy

One of the interesting things about cleaning up your life, both in the external world and the internal, is that you may gain an insight into something unexpected. For example, transactions.

Successful transactions are where the customer gets what he paid for. As long as that trust is maintained, things are cool. I pay PG&E, they keep the lights on. So the inclusion of known piracy sites in the search engine indices is a problem, not just in the ethical aspect of ripping off other people’s work, but also that it undermines basic fundamental tenets of trade. Either you have law or you don’t.

Imagine a world where you can walk into one supermarket and pay for your groceries and another supermarket located right next to it that has nothing but stolen inventory from the first supermarket where you can just take your groceries and walk out the door. That scenario would never fly, yet that’s a microcosm of the search engine internet today. Legit businesses and illegitimate businesses are all in the same index. You search for a movie and up comes legit places like Amazon where you can buy it, but also right along with it are other sites where you can just download a pirated copy for free. The search engines could do a lot more to reduce the visibility of pirate sites but oddly enough, they don’t. Why? I think it’s simply a matter of money. As far as they’re concerned, traffic is traffic. The more sites the better. They monetize both, so why would they give up a income stream when it’s not in their best interest?

Flute amplification

Seeing Hubert Laws perform in the mid to late 1970s was probably my first recollection of a flute being played through some kind of amplification. I can’t recall if he was using a headset then, or playing into a stand mic. Another flutist around that time, Tim Weisberg, used a Barcus Berry mic that replaced the headjoint cork and so I remember buying one of those. Unfortunately, I hated all the key noise it captured and wound up not using it.

For a few years, I dabbled in my own headset microphone setups, using different brands of lavalier mics attached to a telephone operator’s headset that positioned the mic near the flute embouchure hole. This then plugged into a Mesa Boogie Mark 1 guitar amp. That arrangement worked well for low to medium volume level gigs (loved the spring reverb on the Mark 1!), but as soon as the volume level of the band got loud, I would have feedback problems. Then one day (circa 1987), I went to go see Dave Valentin play at Kimball’s in San Francisco.

Dave sounded fantastic just playing through the house PA. So I asked him at the end of the gig why he didn’t play with a headset, and he said it was because he couldn’t back off the mic. That was enough of a reason for me. Shortly afterwards I went and bought a Shure SM-58, a Boss digital delay pedal and a PA system (and sold my Muramatsu flute and the Mesa Boogie to pay for it!). Been playing through a SM-58 either into PA (or guitar amp) ever since.

Alcohol and bad decisions

When I think back to my bad decisions (and I’ve made plenty!), most had alcohol in the mix. What seems perfectly reasonable when you’re “under the influence” looks positively insane sober. Drinking is dangerous. You can kill yourself or worse, someone else, if you get behind the wheel of a car and have an accident. You can destroy relationships simply by saying or doing the wrong thing when you’re impaired. You can cause damage to your liver and other organs. The risks are huge. I’m lucky I’ve survived as long as I have. Putting what’s left of my life in jeopardy by drink is not a street I want to go down.

Lost my iPhone

Don’t know how or where, but my iPhone is gone. I asked the three places I was at, nobody had my phone. Went to the Apple Store to see what they could do, no luck as I had “Find My iPhone” turned off. 🙁

The guy at the Apple Store set the phone to erase upon activation, so that hopefully that will thwart any BS. This sucks.

Note to Self: Turn on Find My iPhone!

9/27 5:36AM – iPhone still shows that it hasn’t been erased, eight hours later (I’m supposed to get an email alert anyway from Apple when it does). I guess that’s a good sign – that maybe the phone is simply lost, not stolen. However, my bank shows that there are two pending charges for $0.00 from Apple iTunes that posted around 11:30pm – three hours after I reported the phone to Apple. I contacted the bank and asked about the charges and if Apple made these or a stranger did. He didn’t know, thought maybe it could be part of Apple’s security. Hope so!

I have this nagging suspicion the phone is wedged between the seats at the movie theater. I’ll go over there as well as the other two places this morning.
Guess I can take some comfort in knowing the phone has pin number login – that much at least, I got right.

9/27 1:15PM – Found it! 🎉😎

Had to search the movie theater twice, couldn’t remember what seat I was in – phone was face down under the chair. Headed immediately to Apple Store, signed into iCloud and cancelled the erase request. Everything just as it was, yay! Turned on “Find My iPhone” 

Change lends a new perspective and a chance to test

As computer systems and computer languages get more complex with each new update, inevitably one day a script’s PHP or JavaScript version will suddenly no longer be compatible and it’ll stop working. This puts pressure on system admins and the like to either keep their scripts up to date, making whatever code changes are necessary or finding alternate scripts to do those tasks.

Recently one of the scripts I use started not to work in Firefox and Chrome, but still was OK in Safari. Here then is a situation where browsers are updating and causing the scripts to fail. I’m currently looking for a new script.

With the old script dead and a new one still on it’s way, the website has temporarily lost some of it’s functionality. As the saying goes, “When one door closes, another opens.” rings true. Though it’s only been a couple of days, so far it doesn’t appear that people are missing it. I should know more in a week or two whether or not the website even needs a new script – maybe it’ll turn out just as strong or stronger without it.

Facebook Addicted

Among my Facebook “friends,” I don’t participate on the platform very much. Certainly nowhere near as much as some people I know. People who seem to be spending most of their waking hours “sharing” everything they can think of on Facebook! The utility of Facebook is a fact of life today. It wasn’t always like that, I joined when Facebook had only around 10 million members. Now they’re at 1.5 billion! That’s a utility. 

Unlike other utilities (such as PG&E or AT&T, for example), Facebook is interactive and invasive – it’s roots buried deep into the psyches of its customers. The more Facebook grows, it’s user base becomes just that much more varied and multinational, giving the “powers at be” tremendous data to be mined and marketed to.

Predictions that iPhone X will be a huge hit? I have my doubts.

I just read a post called Here’s a big clue that Apple will continue to dominate with the iPhone X on Yahoo! Finance. Sorry, but that’s not what I’m seeing at all. In fact, just the opposite. I find very few people saying they’re excited in any way whatsoever on post after post about the iPhone X, the vast majority of respondents are thumbs down. I’ll believe the hype when I see it.

Knowing your going to die is uniquely human

Maybe I’m wrong about this, but as far as I know, humans are the only ones that know they’re going to die. As consequence of this knowledge, many choose to become artists or musicians (+1) and just run out the clock that way. Others try to improve mankind through politics or social programs. Others go to war. Whatever the choice, we’re all going to die.