Lately I've received a number of emails containing those lists of things grandma/pa did without and how wonderful life was back in their golden age. Somehow these lists just don't ring true for me. There is always a fly in the ointment, some aspect of those days that seem tarnished: you know - wars, disease, depressions, prohibitions, not to mention the missing appliances that had actually been around but not noticed by the list makers. This topic arose on Anthro-L, one of those email lists I subscribe to in an attempt to retain some ability for critical thinking.
I subscribe to a number of academically oriented e-mail lists mostly as an attempt to retain some analytical abilities. My survival job in a local big-box hardware store provides few opportunities in this regard. I do, however, need to exercise some creative thinking to solve the problems presented by some customers.
I'm not at all satisfied with the thumbnails exhibited for my Mark Twain chapters. My preference would be to use the opening frames of the videos but that is not how things are done. I did run across what looked like a very hopeful calculation. It reportedly tells you exactly which frames are used, you have a selection of three. The calculations work as this: Obtain the length of the video in seconds (X); the first thumbnail should be located at X/4 (Y) or at exactly one fourth of the video; the second frame at Y*2 or X/2, or at the midway point of the video; and the third at Y*3.
This idea has resurfaced in my mind after reading about the DeVos family's attempts to do away with public education. Possibly the most important element of maintaining a feudal society is to limit the flow of ideas. The easiest way to do this is to limit education. In the case of our society's wealthy elite, this means limiting education to themselves and essentially leaving the rest to be indoctrinated or given enough training to do the bidding of the wealthy elite. Some weeks back, this idea of an emerging feudalism occurred to me while talking with a craftsman, a cabinet maker.
It's been many years since I cared much about professional baseball but when I was a kid I was a Dodger fan. Not just the Dodgers but Duke Snider in particular, not to take away from Koufax or Drysdale. I can even boast of going to the LA Coliseum with my Cub Scout Pack and watching them play. Actually, I really could not see them as I had yet to get my first pair of glasses and most everything on the field was a blur.
I spend a lot of time googling around for information on how to do stuff in Second Life, building and scripting. In doing so I run into critiques and prognostications about this virtual world. I currently have multiple tracks going on in my mind about what I have been reading, the viability of the SL scripting language and general programmability; and indications that SL will try to emerge from it's virtual existence into the "real world" of the internet. There are already hooks into Facebook and PayPal. At this point there are a number of problems.
I've been an active visitor to Second Life for only a couple of weeks now but I've noticed a few disquieting points in regards to the avatars. In conversations I've had I've used the phrase "monsters from the id". It should be recognizable to fans of old science fictions films. All the avatars running around SL are the creation of someones imagination. How closely they resemble their creators is the question. I'm not speaking of physical resemblance but of their behaviour. I'm also concerned with the difficulties some people seem to have in keeping SL distinct from RL (Real Life).
I'm not sure how I was finally able to enable streaming audio for Second Life, but I was. I'm glad I did because this virtual world offers a very rich selection of venues, sound tracks and live music. One of my favorites so far is Cafe Casablanca, inspired by the movie. The cafe does not actually resemble Rick's but given the possiblities in SL, it could. If you have a Second Life account you can get there with this URL http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Dating/217/218/23
This is from their profile:
Well, so far I have not been able to get it to work on my Ubuntu (lucid) box. I've tried both the stable release as well as the beta versions from Linden Labs. I've tried the Phoenix version and Snowglobe 1 and 2. I know that my computer is capable of processing streaming audio as such programs as Rhythmbox and Totem process streams effectively. I can't afford to spend too much more time fooling with this but it seems a shame because the platform has potential for being an effective environment for communication.
I had heard that there was legitimate academic interest in the online virtual world of SecondLife. I had previously downloaded a copy of the program but found my system to be inadequate. I now have a newer box running Ubuntu 10.04 (lucid) with a NVIDIA accelerated graphics driver (version 173). There was no installation required, I simply down loaded the latest version of SecondLife for Linux and unpacked the bundle in a Desktop directory. The executable is already there.