Takei it or Leave it – My Final Offer

“Defense of Marriage Act.”

Under DOMA, passed 17 years ago, same-sex couples who are legally married in their home states are denied federal benefits offered to opposite-sex married couples.

There are over 1,000 such benefits, such as tax savings, Social Security payments and medical and family leave.

America is better than that.  We must change.  Now.

Use this image anywhere – ( Creative Commons Share Alike License ), and support equality in America.

You don’t have to be gay – you don’t even have like gay people – you just have to like America.


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Bill Gates – mortal enemy of FSF and SC, but he’s got a Good Point


We don’t like Bill Gates – shocking, isn’t it?  Anyway, a man doesn’t become a ba-jillion-aire entrepreneur by being an idiot.  He’s far from it.  We disagree wholly with his concept of deployment, intended use, creating lock-in, and code distribution; however, freely acknowledge that he’s one of the most intelligent and straightforward individuals on the planet.

That said, here’s an excerpt from a commencement speech he gave at a recent High School Graduation Ceremony, last Spring…


… 11 things they did not (and will not) learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it! 

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes; learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

* image copyright Time Magazine, 1984.
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GNU GPL Ethics – An analysis of the use of Open Source Software


The question of “can I use an Open Source application, or just a piece of one, in my closed source / proprietary application” has been a one sided debate for several years.  Those who have actually read the various GPL versions, read compatible licenses (such as the MIT and Creative Commons licences), understand clearly the spirit and intent of these works.  Those who haven’t, often are appalled and even offended when they are first brought up to speed on what the answer really is.

So, let’s take a look…

The Free Software Foundation (contributors to the authoring of modern GPL licenses) states:

“[P]eople have been wondering what the rules are when you link to some GPLv3-covered code. They’re the same as they were under GPLv2: the combined work you create needs to be GPLed as well.”

Reference – http://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/2007-10-18-gplv3-fud

What is “linking”, or what does it mean to “link to” covered code.  Linking is the direct use of, inclusion by means of programmatic call (such as a php ‘include’ or ‘require’ statement) , or any like means of integration.

This is the answer to the age old argument, “the original work was Open Source, but our implementation of that – to make it a working system – is not”.  Clearly, that is a false argument.  An implementation is, by definition, a linking.  The combined work must be GPL’d in one form or another, or issued and made available under a compatible license.

Here’s the word of ‘God’… Richard Stallman – he founded the GNU Project in 1984. He is the principal or initial author of GNU Emacs, the GNU C Compiler, the GNU Debugger GDB and parts of other packages. He is the President of the Free Software Foundation (FSF).

“I once found out about a non-free program which was designed to use Readline [a library covered by GPL], and told the developer this was not allowed. He could have taken command-line editing out of the program, but what he actually did was rerelease it under the GPL.”

Reference – http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/pragmatic.html

This represents public precedence.  Stallman effectively enforced his right as the author or co-author of a piece of GPL licensed software, and the offending party conceded the point by releasing the entire new work under the GPL.

Lastly, the modern GNU states, directly:

“You cannot incorporate GPL-covered software in a proprietary system…. A system incorporating a GPL-covered program is an extended version of that program…. [and] must be released under the GPL.”

Reference – http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLInProprietarySystem

This has been explained in detail, to the extent that using GPL-covered code in so much as a plugin of a massive proprietary system, now makes the entire proprietary system GPL-covered.

Why bother using anything GPL-covered then?  Doesn’t it weaken your financial foothold in the software industry?  Doesn’t it take away your opportunities?

Quite the opposite.

GPL-covered code makes your financial foothold stronger by creating more and more opportunities for growth and profit.  The modern software model is one of labor and support, not product.  For years, consumers have asked for easy-to-use, robust software.  Out of fear of competition, and in an attempt to lock customers into a single solution, proprietary code was create in such a manner as to not allow anyone else to understand the inner workings of existing systems.  An Open Source software author’s single goal is to provide robust solutions – and by satisfying the customer’s original need, they inherently build trust and loyalty, bringing the customer back again and again.  Profit is generated by support, and by project.  When the customer desires new functionality, or different solutions, they will come to their trusted software provider for these things, generating cash flow and happiness for both parties.

GPL-covered code also opens the door for new opportunities.  Using existing, known working, and well supported GPL-covered code for your projects eliminates the need to duplicate work.  Software providers and authors can now generate projects for clients much more quickly in the past, and with greater confidence.  A faster turn around time results in a faster return on investment for your clients, which will make them far more likely to choose your firm for their software needs!

Happy coding!

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Scavenger – Completed (none too soon)


A couple weeks of spurratic efforts (as various parts arrived – most late), and Scavenger is complete.  Actually, it was done Saturday, but oh-so-far from tuned.

The more dynamic (for lack of a better term: separately powered drivers) contained within a system, the more difficult it becomes to tune.  Specifically, active networks create a problem due to their inherent lack of prevision adjustment devices.  Unless there’s a Rockford 360 hiding underneath your seat, you’re likely to wind up with an oscilloscope perched gently upon the dash whilst trying to dial each device ‘in’.

Well… it’s been a few years, and access to a 15k USD Agilent instrumentation / small signal ‘scope is no longer an option.  Attempts with a Fluke power line / controls ‘scope proved pretty good.  Dare, I say, on point!  However, this requires that each measured point be driven under load, and generating a large enough waveform to minimize error (while under load) was beyond difficult.  A perfectly good set of tweeters sacrificed theirselves for the cause.

Having installed the last backup set on hand, I decided that it was time to either invest in an instrumentation ‘scope, or see what Steve Meade was up to… Are you curious?  His CC-1 and DD-1 prototypes are in full production now, and available to the general public at rock-bottom prices.  You can pick up both as a combo-pack for around $300 USD.  …beyond “well worth it”.  Within a fraction of a percent they enable crossover point selection, gain matching, and less than 1% THD detection for amplifier and source unit signal maximization.

And you can do it all -WITHOUT- a load present.  Unhook your drivers and tune ’till your heart is content.

Probably one of the finest tools I’ll ever own, if only for their raw simplicity and single purpose.  What took nearly 8 hours (with a ‘scope and repeated trials under load – and cigarette breaks) took less than 45 minutes with the SMD CC-1 and DD-1.

That said, let’s delay no longer…. Scavenger…

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With a little help from Johnny Turbo, a uniquely small yet wildly potent driver enclosure has been designed.

For your audio-bliss, here is Scavenger, a less than 1 cubic foot, port tuned, kilo-watt enclosure that will fit in a standard cab pickup truck.

Actually… you can fit two of them, and still have room for a power racking, processor racking, and amplifier racking.  Or just use one, and hide it stealthily under your old gym socks and nunchaku.

Linky linky…

[Click Me] audiobahn_retrofit_revision_3_fall_2012_-_scavenger

Creative Commons “CC BY-NC-ND” License (Attirbution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs).


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Cookie Monster Spinelli


… so there’s a new addition to the Spinelli Household – Cookie Monster, an 8 week old Jack Russel Terrier / Chihuahua mix.  It’s little – it was almost named ‘Flashlight’, and it’s got no idea the wack-a-mole life that it’s just gotten into.

Here’s 10 minutes of blissful stupidity…



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Bill Murray and Me

Every once-in-a-while, I’m known to go on a rant over at Facebook.  Typically, it’s the usual pointless exercise in vomiting-words-on-a-page; which is in one way or another directed at one or all of the electronic critters one calls a ‘friend’ on the site.  (( I’ve only got about 30 facebook ‘friends’ – all but a handful are people I actually know.  Wow – that means I actually use it the way it’s intended!  Go figure… ))

Anyway, Bill Murray and I have a lot in common. (( Random change of topic… ))

Let’s break it down, one item at a time:

  • Bill is a wise ass – I’m a wise ass.
  • Bill made a movie called ‘What about Bob’ – I have been known to repeatedly ask the question ‘What [the f***] about Bob?’
  • If you’re a mid-30′s, attractive woman, and you suspect that there are supernatural beings using your refrigerator as a portal to this Earth, Bill will come over your apartment and wind up having passionate sex with you. – I’m currently dating a mid-30′s, attractive woman, who is fairly certain that I’m not of this world; and the sex is yummy.
  • Pipe-bombs and chainsaws are Bill’s typical varmint-elimination tools – I put an oil pan drain plug in with a 650 pound impact wrench because it seemed convenient at the time.
  • Bill is not ageing well – nor am I.

The similarities are too many to ignore; I will suffer this man’s fate, no doubt.  Getting old, obviously, cannot be avoided.  But just because it’s a foregone conclusion doesn’t mean we should pay the process no respect.  The good, and the bad, sometimes are worth putting in a mental-frame, examining, and ‘juicing’ for every bit of life-enabling-wisdom they contain.

So take a look at this… get past the joke, and look at the two photos as bookends of a man’s finest years.  Then ask yourself what parts of your life that you would hope may fill in that space between, when your time comes.


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Justice… what’s that?

Little snippet from the Huffington Post…

Sheriff’s deputies in Texas won’t file charges against a father who they say beat an acquaintance to death after allegedly catching him sexually abusing the man’s 4-year-old daughter.

– from The Huffington Post, 2012_0613


In a country that seems to have lost its ethics in favor of ‘touchy-feely-be-kind-to-everyone-ness’, it is refreshing to see someone actually do the right thing and not be put in prison for it.

On the flip side – if you’re a Doctor in Western New York, and you kill a teenager with your car while you’re legally intoxicated, then you get to walk free…

Dr. James G. Corasanti driving his 2010 BMW on his way home from a country club outing and teenager Alexandria “Alix” Rice skateboarding from her job at a pizzeria.

The impact threw the young woman 167 feet, more than half the length of a football field, fracturing her neck and causing other serious injuries.

He drove away. She was left unattended.

A motorist who had just driven past the young woman recalled being alarmed by a car speeding toward him and the skateboarder on the July 8, 2011, night because the approaching car was in the bike lane where she was riding her longboard.

The sound of the impact “was ungodly,” the motorist said, and he turned around to look for her. He found her on a lawn. The 911 call was made at 11:21 p.m. Alix Rice was pronounced dead 42 minutes later in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.

Corasanti, 56, drove to his Getzville home less than a mile away and parked his car in the garage.

His home’s security surveillance system showed him running away from his home 28 minutes after the hit-and-run. He eventually turned himself in to Amherst police at a Millersport Highway service station.

As he surrendered 91 minutes after the fatal hit-and-run incident, Corasanti asked, “How’s the girl? Is she dead?”

The case has prompted questions and outrage among people who ask how a doctor could leave an injured 18-year-old to die.

– from The Buffalo News, 2012_0613




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Better 18 years late than never, right?

Today’s history lesson:

  • Bell Labs (AT&T) introduced the Bourne Shell in 1977, authored by Stephen Bourne, closed source.
  • Brian Fox wrote the Bourne Again Shell (aka ‘Bash’) in 1989 as a compatible, free, open source replacement for the original Bourne Shell – he offered it to the world.
  • The Bourne Shell and / or Bourne Again Shell have been the defacto standard for power computing system shells in every operating system (from Mac OS, to Oracle, BSD, FreeBSD, Linux, and Unix) since the early 1980′s.

A little more background:

  • Microsoft Windows began development in 1985.  By the time Windows ’95 was released, the Bourne Again Shell had already been open source for over 5 years.
  • Microsoft has executed tunnel vision to perfection, relying upon their “DOS Prompt” aka “CMD” (command prompt) shell for over 20 years, in all its underpowered, feature-less (comparatively speaking), and aggravating (subjective) glory.

The story, you ask? … with the launch of Windows Vista in 2007, Microsoft released its new Power Shell system command shell.  The implementations / features it borrows from the Bourne Again Shell are frightening to say the least.  Imitation is the greatest form of flattery though, even if it is not the most accurate imitation.

One would argue that the similarities of the new Power Shell features to existing BASH features are simply a matter of evolution – that these features of common-sense computing that would have dawned upon any shell architect.  Well, we agree.  Seriously, we agree, and take no issue with it – rather, we simply wonder why it took Microsoft 18 years to catch up.

Here’s to winning second place boys; Redmond management must be proud.

For a brief, but rich comparison of the two shells, have a look at an article from way-back-when…



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Gimme Some Locker Love…


So, boredom struck – and a very heavy box full of parts from Randy’s Ring and Pinion later, we’ve got this…


4.56 gearset in a Chrysler Corporate 9 1/4″ rear, with a full blown Detroit Locker (not a True Trac, not a Trac Loc, an actual fully mechanical, clutchless, zero slip, Detroit Locker).

Part numbers for 2001 to 2009 2wd Dodge Ram’s…
– Gearset – Yukon # C9.25-456 (roughly $400)
– Locker – Eaton # 187C-172A (roughly $700)
– Bearing and Shim kit – Yukon # YK C9.25-R-B (roughly $200)
– Fill w/ 2.25 bottles of 75w140 of your favorite synthetic, and let it break in for 300 – 500 miles of steady driving before towing.



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