It’s Happened

We have a system where everything, right down to the Start menu, is internet-enabled. I don’t think that’s a good thing.

Microsoft claims to protect users’ privacy, but basically everything in Windows 10 is geared towards collecting information and passing it along to MS-HQ. Just now I pulled up the sticky-note program (I refuse to call everything an app) and it wanted to know, would I like to add “insights” linked to Cortana and Bing? God forbid.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who give up a little liberty to obtain safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” In this case he might amend it to, “Those who give up a little privacy to obtain convenience deserve neither one.”

I like my games, my instant-messaging and so on, but I hate knowing anything I do may be reported to an uncaring, all-seeing corporation. We may or may not already be in a “Big Brother state”, but there’s definitely cause for concern. Oh, and guess what? Linux offers those IM apps and games that, while not as flashy, are as good as or better than their Windows counterparts.

I’m seriously thinking of ditching Windows and asking companies like Scarlet City (makers of a fun, kid-friendly online game, “The Aetherlight”) to support Linux and other free, open-source platforms.

P.S. I just did a search for “windows clipboard manager” and it returned no results. A feature I can add easily to my Linux system doesn’t exist in the closed-source world? What the heck.

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I wish

It’s never happened before- I actually wish a game were on Steam or Origin. That game is The Return of the King by E.A. Why do I wish it were available? Two reasons,  really:

I love fighting Sauron’s minions by using precise timing. It doesn’t matter how fast you press the buttons; what counts is pressing them in sequence. Some foes you can only hew down by blocking their attacks and then letting ’em have it!

My new computer has everything- except a DVD/CD drive. That’s reason number two: I know discs are going out of style and I want to play my game.

Of the Lord of the Rings tie-in games, only the first and third made it to PC. So if I had one gaming wish, it would be to have Return of the King available to download.

Sipaj!

Remember those books I told you about, from the library? One of them is a novel titled Children of God by Mary Doria Russel. Let me tell you about it.

Mankind’s first mission to the planet Rakhat ended in disaster. Only one man returned to tell the tale- Emilio, whose body and mind are ravaged and his faith sorely tested.

You might be wondering about the title of this post. “Sipaj” means “hear me”, and is used often by the Runa. I’d like to talk about them, if it’s all right with you.

The Runa, being herbivores, are subject to the meat-eating Jana’ata. They refer to themselves as “someone”, perhaps because of that status. When a good friend of theirs is threatened, they selflessly offer to let him stay in their village and eat the weaker tribe members. Talk about giving up one’s life for a friend.

I will caution you that Children of God is the sequel to  The Sparrow and thus you may want to read them in order. That said, so far I’ve had no trouble following the plot. If you’re interested in a thought-provoking, page-turning read, I encourage you to pick up either one.

The bane of my Internet existence

No, it’s not slow connections. It isn’t customer support people who act like robots (as annoying as that can be). My biggest Internet pet peeve is gray text on a white background.

I’m not sure what causes this phenomenon- colorblind site administrators? Believing certain information to be less important than the main post? If it’s the latter, why do most forum admins insist that one refrain from posting in threads beyond a certain age, yet the date and time info is in, you guessed it, light gray text?

I think everyone knows there are certain manners they should follow while online. Let me propose that, for coders and site staff, one of them be to match the background with a readable text color for *all* elements.

Why Not Florida?

That’s what I’ve been wondering for some time: Why must the greatest tales of our age be set in fantasy versions of England or Montana? There is something inspiring about the smell of detritus in the air, or the glint of a raccoon’s eyes in the night.

Here in the Sunshine State we have few mountains. There are no great savannas or prairies. What we have instead are slash-pine forests, sand dunes and mangrove swamps. Oh, and we have Carl Hiaasen, author of the well-known environmentalist tale Hoot. When you get right down to it, there’s a lot more to Florida than golf courses and old people. (No offense; you guys have earned your time in the sun.)

If you come to visit, I probably won’t take you to Disney World. Like “Mullet Fingers” from the aforesaid Hoot, I’ll show you the nature trails and watercourses of this state. These are not things most Americans delight in, perhaps, but it’s quite possible that I’m wrong.

Ordinary Miracles

It’s one thing to hear about God’s provision, but quite another to see it in action. Let me tell you about my day.

I was feeling frustrated with the pencils here at Grandma’s, and decided to go out and buy some new ones. Yet that small voice in my head kept telling me to visit the library bookshop first.

Wouldn’t you know, a book I’ve been wanting was one of the first to catch my eye- Homer’s Odyssey, a true story about a woman and her extraordinary cat. I bought it and two others, then proceeded to Walgreens.

There I found a treasure trove- fourteen pencils, rubber grips, erasers and a sharpener in one package. I brought it to the checkout and found I was a bit short- and my wallet now has two broken zippers. The good news is that the lady behind me made up the difference, so I now have three new (used) books, the aforesaid writing implements, and $0.84. Oh, and a story idea.

Out of the Dark

You awake in a strange place- a forest so dim, at first you think you’ve fallen into nothing. Before long you realize you’re here to atone for a crime you don’t recall- an impossible task, surely- but you won’t be going it alone.

There’s one more thing you should know. You’re dead.