What to Expect From Various Drivers

You can almost immediately identify the behavior of most drivers by the logo (or lack of) on the back of their car.

BMW

BMW drivers feel that they own the road and other people on the road are pests. A BMW driver will cut you off. They will go out of their way to cut you off. They will start from behind you, pull up next to you, then whip into the lane to cut you off. If you see a BMW, prepare to be cut off.

Lexus

Lexus drivers will cut you off, then slow down. Lexus drivers don’t want other people driving on the road and are happy to demonstrate it by inconveniencing them as often as possible. If a Lexus driver sees you waiting on a parking spot, they will crowd the car pulling out to make sure you don’t get it. Their behavior fluctuates between actively making sure other drivers have a bad time to actively ignoring other cars on the road. Their perspective: “I own a Lexus. If it gets damaged I can just get it fixed tomorrow. You, on the other hand, in your Honda Civic. You’ll move out of the way.”

Toyota Corolla

Drivers of Toyota Corollas view their cars the same way they view a dish washer or a refrigerator. This may have something to do with why the Corolla’s near indistinguishable from an actual refrigerator.

Corolla drivers view their cars as appliances, and that is what Toyota designs the Carolla to be. They are reliable. They are efficient. They are cheap to insure. And they drive like refrigerators. Carolla drivers are cautious and watch other cars on the road because they want to protect their investment.

Any Large SUV

Lets face it, SUV’s on the large are neither sporty nor utilitarian. Anyone who would buy an SUV for either sport or utility would buy either a sporty wagon or a pickup. Originally designed to provide the versatility of sporty handling and utilitarian cargo room, SUVs ultimately became the replacement for the American-steel forged land barge, and it serves the same purpose: It’s for people who are afraid of getting hit. The SUV is a vehicle for the person who shops for a car with the assumption that one day they will get into an accident, and that when that day comes they want to feel a slight nudge while the person in the other car should be totally obliterated. As a result, they drive as if any accident they could get into could only have that one possible outcome. Get out of the way.

smart fortwo

Yes, the capitalization is correct. On the other end of the vehicle size scale you have the smart fortwo. It and the Scion iqScion iq comprise the two smallest production cars you can legally drive in the US. What these two cars say about their drivers is “I have never shaken an egg aggressively and then poured out the contents.” Because while the smart fortwo is built around a specialized cage that protects the driver from impacts, it does not protect the driver from being shaken into a coma. The fortwo is also not particularly fuel efficient, with an average fuel mileage of 30 to 35 miles per gallon (in the 4 years that I owned and drove one) given its size and anemic acceleration. Purchasing a smart fortwo somehow manages to make Mustang owners look like thrifty shoppers.

Ford Mustang

And speaking of which. Purchasing a Mustang says one thing: “Daddy drove a Mustang. Daddy’s daddy drove a mustang. If it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for me. I will blindly walk onto a lot, point at one, and say ‘I will buy that one.’” It is fuel inefficient, it falls apart, it is expensive to insure and maintain and it does not provide any characteristics that are in any way superior to other cars in its class. Some of these competing Tap-out shir tmemecars are so vastly less expensive while so vastly superior in every way that you would have to intentionally ignore all available information to make a purchase. The Mustang is a car for people with poor decision making skills. It shows with the way they ferry the car down the road as if it were a TapOut T-shirt.

Lotus Elise

The Lotus Elise says one thing about its driver: I’m here to drive. I love to drive. I think about driving all day at work. I drive on my lunch break just so I have an excuse to drive. This car, I bought it to drive it. I am a superior driver. There is nothing to this car, inside or out, that is designed or implemented for anything other than making it a driver’s car. The Lotus Elise does not care. The Lotus Elise does not help you drive. If you don’t respect the Lotus Elise, the Lotus Elise will kill you. If you see a Lotus Elise that is more than a year old, expect to see it going fast, safely, because the driver of that car has learned to respect it.

Any De-badged Factory Tuner

A factory tuner is where you take a grocery getter, tighten the suspension, put a turbo charger on it, fit some grippy brakes and red brake calipers, make the wheels a little bigger and wider, then sell it as a sports car. Factory tuners are for the guy who needs a family car, yet doesn’t want to give up the delight of forced induction. The factory tuner is a way to say you’re willing to take away this year’s trip to Disney from your children so you can go faster. After all, it’s just one vacation. De-badging is where you remove the logos from the body panels of your car so no one can see what sort of car you’re driving. Because this is a popular behavior among buyers of factory tuners, the badges on these cars are usually stuck on with weak rubber cement, making them easy to pull off with just a spudger. But what does de-badging a factory tuner say about the driver? It says I drive too fast, I don’t care about endangering my family and I realize that cops are often too lazy to pull over a car with no badges because they have to get out and ask the driver what kind of car it is before they can look it up in their computer and verify the right plates are on the right car. It also says that if you’re driving a sports car too, they’re probably going to whip around you just to show you how much sportsier their sports car is. Especially if you happen to downshift in their presence and accelerate to change lanes.

A “classic car”

Classic cars are usually still old enough that they don’t have much or any means of reducing carbon emissions or fuel fumes from the exhaust. They’re also usually so inefficient at burning fuel that a lot of the fuel comes out of the exhaust in the form of fumes. Driving a classic car says you don’t care about the person driving behind you enough to bother with driving a car that doesn’t constantly smell of gas fumes. It also says “fuck the system,” because you have classic car plates and you’ll drive this car into the ground, because you spent twenty grand on it once and by god it’s still a perfectly good car. And don’t even go trying to use the excuse that it’s cheaper than buying a new car, because owning a new economy car will actually cost you less than driving an old beater.

From NES to Internet: How I transitioned from video game nerd to internet obsessed

When I was a little kid, around 7 years old if I recall correctly, my mother bought a Commodore 64.

She got it to play games on for herself, but she also let my brother and I play with it. It had a cartridge slot and a tape drive. We couldn’t afford a floppy drive.

When I showed interested, my mother would let me play with the C64 after she was done.

The first computer program I ever used was a C64 cartridge called Music Machine.

I was fascinated that I could push various buttons on the computer and get predictable sounds. At the time I had no idea what a synthesizer was, but I knew there was something significant about this machine. It wasn’t long before playing with the computer after my mom was done with it wasn’t enough. I decided to figure out how to hook up the computer and use it on my own.

Even as an eight-year-old kid I found hooking up the C64 and turning it on, and even using it, to be surprisingly intuitive. My brother, who watched, was baffled.

It was shortly after I discovered I could set up and use the computer on my own that we moved house, and for years after that I wouldn’t have access to another computer or video game console, until I was in junior high school.

My first video game console was a NES, which was given to me by one of my mom’s boyfriends. I think it was a birthday gift. It was a used console with one game (Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt), one controller and a zapper.

NES with Super Mario Bros / Duck Hunt cartridge and one controller

NES with Super Mario Bros / Duck Hunt cartridge and one controller

I played Super Mario Bros every day, over and over, for months. I could beat the game in just a few minutes using warp zones. Then, one day while browsing VHS tapes for rent at the local grocery store, I noticed something. Stuffed in between some of the VHS tapes, toward the end of the shelf was… was that a Nintendo game?

I’m sure this would seem mundane to any kid today, given that video game rentals have been a thing since the nineties, but to a poor, early nineties kid in a small town grocery store, the possibility that there could be video games to rent was mind blowing. It was game changing. I had to make sure.

I picked up the one game on the shelf and took it up to the counter to ask if someone had left it there by mistake. No, the counter attendant said, the store had just started renting out video games and that was the first one they got in. I don’t remember which game it was, but I remember my nervous excitement when I went to ask my mother if I could rent it. The idea of renting a game from a store was foreign to me, and probably to most people at the time.

So there I was, $4.50 of my $5 allowance spent, and I had 3 days to play a game that previously I would have had to save up two months to buy.

My mother could see that I was clearly obsessed, and that I would be renting video games every week when I got my allowance; and that there was no way I could afford both the Electronic Gaming Monthly and Gamepro magazines I would read front to back, ads included, at the same time. She generously increased my allowance to $10/week.

From this point forward my video game obsession blossomed.

When Super Mario World for the SNES began to appear in grainy, leaked screen shots in EGM, I cut them out and pasted them into a binder, and tried making up my own storyline to see how it would compare to the actual plot of the game once it was released.

Gamepro Magazine

Gamepro Magazine

Every birthday and Christmas gift from that point forward was either a video game, a peripheral or a console. I spent hours playing and re-playing every game on the shelves at the local grocery store and Moviestars, a rental shack in the next town over. I would play for a couple of hours, take a break for food and cartoons, then resume playing.

When Sonic the Hedgehog for the Genesis came out, I was instantly a fan. Then when issue 0 of the Sonic Archie comic was bundled with EGM, I began buying every issue of the comic at the local grocery store every month. I learned to read while walking so I could read it while walking the mile home from the grocery store. I learned to draw Sonic and Tails and I spent hours doodling on school-lined paper while making up alternate stories in my head.

Change of Heart

As a guy who was as obsessed with video games as I was, why did I stop playing? There was a time in my life where I thought that everything about my adult life would somehow be related to video games. I wanted to be a video game designer and get involved in the video game community. I wanted it all. Well, this is what happened.

1. I was very poor

When I graduated high school my parents were very poor, and so was I. I was told outright by my father’s wife that they couldn’t afford to support me anymore and I had to leave. Since I had to go find a job to support myself, I didn’t have the capacity to go to college. And when I was just out of high school, financial aid wasn’t as readily available as it is now. Add to that, going to college wasn’t considered as essential back then as it is now. These days it’s assumed you’ll get some kind of degree, but back then it was considered optional. Instead of going to college I went out and got a job in a factory. Once I had saved up enough money to move out of my parents’ house into an apartment in the next town over, my two pieces of furniture were a mattress on the floor and my computer. I don’t even remember what happened to my game consoles. I was so busy working and sleeping that I didn’t have much time for video games, and I definitely could not afford them.

2. Games went 3D

I’ve never been particularly good at 3D games. I loved platformers like Sonic and Mario. I also really liked scrolling shooters like R-type and Abadox. But when the N64 was released a majority of the games were first person 3D, which I found very difficult to play.

3. The online world happened

I started out with local BBS’s.

A BBS was a computer you would connect your computer to over a phone line which would send text to your computer. There were no graphics, just text. You could read bulletin boards and post to them, and later multi-line BBS’s became available where you could chat with as many people as your system operator (sysop) had phone lines for.

When I discovered BBS’s I almost abruptly stopped playing video games and began spending my time on BBS’s. What I found fascinating about BBS’s is that if I was chatting with someone and I didn’t like the conversation, I could either close the chat or just unplug the phone cable and pretend I’d lost connection accidentally. This was a dramatic change from all the face-to-face conversations I’d had all my life where I’d had no choice but to defend myself with “cut downs.”

Cut downs were a fundamental component of adolescent conversation in the 90s. You’d exchange insults rapid fire and the one who came up with the most clever insults was the winner. But on a BBS I could talk to adults. There was no need for cutdowns. I could have intellectual conversations and learn things from people who had much more experience with the world than I had. It was like an alternate world; one I would spend more and more time in until my mother became so angry about my tying up the phone line that she would pack the computer and all its peripherals into the trunk of her car and take the whole thing to work with her.

But I complained a lot. I convinced my mom to give up on the phone line issue by justifying my BBS time. She was a single mother. She spent most of her time at work, working two jobs, and I was at home alone. The only way I could interact with people outside the house was via the BBS’s, otherwise I was completely alone. Now, my mom was a little crazy in the head. She had a problem I didn’t know about until just a few years ago when my dad explained it to me.

Mom had a bruise on her brain that she knew some day would rupture, and that it would kill her. The bruise also caused her to become more and more emotionally irritable over the years, gradually enough that, as a kid, I didn’t realize anything significant was going on. I did notice my mom was growing more and more short tempered though, and around my sophomore year of high school it got bad enough that I moved out of her house and went to live with my father.

At my father’s house I was not able to reach any BBS’s. Every call outside the town was long distance, and inconveniently, right about the time I moved, AOL discontinued their toll-free dial-up line. I had no BBS access, and as a technophile in a cowboy town, I was utterly alone. I spent most of my time listening to my portable FM/tape player and just walking. Walking for hours and hours. Up and down the country roads, all day, into the night. It wasn’t until a free, dial-up email service called Juno came in the mail on a free floppy disk one day that I was able to get back in contact with the rest of the world.

Juno. Free email service. I stuck the disk into the drive, ran the installer and prayed for an 800 number to be available for access. I had to make one long-distance call to update the software and download the list of access numbers. And… YES. There it was. An 800 number for access. The world was accessible to me again, even if it was in limited, synchronous form.

Juno Logo

Juno Logo

I don’t remember how I did it, but I eventually found the email address for AOL’s list server. This was a mail server that you could send commands to in the body of an email that would allow you to subscribe to and participate in mailing lists. This became my new obsession.

There was a mailing list for vampire roleplaying. I wasn’t much into vampires, but I thought werewolves were pretty cool. Most of my time became devoted to writing long, detailed roleplays to exchange with people on the mailing list. There was also a general chatter list that I participated in, and I spent about half my time on each list. There were dozens of other available lists for things like motorcycle repair, cooking and various hobbies, but none of them had the volume of the RP list and the chat list, and most of the posts were, to my teenage brain, basic and bland.

For a long time I walked and emailed, walked and emailed. It seemed like forever, but it was only about a year between my junior and senior years of high school. Then one day, like AOL had done, Juno’s 800 number went away and I was left with nothing. I had to move on to something else.

Flipping through a computer magazine while my parents shopped one day I saw a number I could call to order a free Compuserv CD. So I called, and a few days later the disk arrived. I put it into my computer and did the praying-for-an-800-number dance. Jackpot. There was an 800 number. But signing up for a free trial required a credit card and a social security number. I was desperate, so I got into my step mother’s purse and took out her bank card and social security card, and signed up.

Hello, online world.

Compuserv didn’t have as rich of a social connection as the BBS’s, but it entertained me enough for a big update to happen: The World Wide Web.

One day an update downloaded automatically and I was taken to a screen that introduced MCSA Mosaic, one of the first web browsers, that let me browse the web. Though I had lost

NCSA Mosaic screen shot

NCSA Mosaic

interest in video games, I was still obsessed with Sonic the Hedgehog, and so one of my first web searches was for Sonic the Hedgehog. This search yielded a link to some fan art on Lycosuction, the furry image archive. Oh look, art. How interesting.

I found the art to be really interesting, and so I looked around for more of these “furry” websites. From there, I discovered MUCKs, IRC, instant messaging, and so on and so forth, and my social obsession with furries and my utter loss of interest in video games expanded from there.

From then on and for the rest of my life, and even today, the majority of my communication with people would be online.

My progression was: Sonic games -> BBS’s -> AOL -> Dial-up email -> Compuserv -> Internet

Things That Suck About Google Glass

I’ve had Google Glass for one day and I’ve found a number of glaring issues with it, some of which don’t even make any sense. Here’s a list of the problems I’ve found so far:

  1. Doesn’t work with prescription glasses in any way (not a problem for me, but it is for my partner).
  2. You cannot access any of your stored contacts in your Android address book, your SIM contacts, your Google Voice account or your Google+ account. You have to type every contact in manually one at a time.
  3. You can store a total of ten contacts. That’s it. Ten. I had PDA’s in the 90′s that could store thousands of contacts. What the actual fuck.
  4. You can’t post a message on Twitter unless someone has mentioned or DM’d you. Only then can you post, and you can only reply. You can’t start a conversation.
  5. Every time you post a picture or video the hashtag “#sentthroughglass” is added. You are not allowed to edit the description before sending. You are not allowed to caption your pictures in any way. Fuck context, just through it right out the window. With the XE10 firmware update you can now add captions.
  6. Every time you send a text message the phrase “| Sent through Glass” is appended to the end.
  7. If you have a Google Voice account and it is active on your phone you are forced to send all of your messages through Google Voice. There is no option to use the native texting app.
  8. There is no way to adjust the vertical or horizontal position of the display. You can swing it in or out, that’s it.  You can adjust the vertical position by bending the nose pad supports.
  9. The display only stays on for four seconds unless you perform an action. Trying to a text message? Fuck you. Screen go off now. Of course, there’s a gesture that you can use to turn the screen on. You elevate your chin 30 degrees up. Which leaves you jerking your head up and down like a dog trying to grab for a bone just to keep the screen on long enough to finish reading your message.
  10. The documentation is incredibly limited and exposes only a small subset of what the device can do. To find its full functionality you’ll spend hours poring over obscure blog posts all over the Internet.
  11. There’s no way to go back to the previous screen without touching the device. This seems like a significant oversight. How hard would it be to have the device recognize the phrase “go back”?
  12. There is no way to dismiss or archive messages you’ve read, so if you’re having an active conversation with several people you’ll be sitting there jerking off the touch pad incessantly to switch conversations.
  13. If you thought wearing headphones with glasses was bad try doing it with a computer tucked behind your ear.
  14. The display washes out really badly in sunlight, which I guess makes sense when you consider the demographic of the people who designed it.
  15. Some of the videos I “shared” to Facebook or Google+ just vanished. They weren’t posted to either site and they aren’t available on the device.
  16. You can’t start a video conference with just one person, you can only select a “circle”. So if you want to be able to have a conversation with just one person you have to either start it with an entire circle and kick everyone else out or create a circle with just one person in it. You can start a video conference with a single person if they are one of your ten contacts. 

11/9/2013

  1. If Google Glass is paired using the Bluetooth settings on your phone, the MyGlass app can’t find it and most of the functionality won’t work. You have to unpair the device in Bluetooth settings and then let the app pair it. This means if the Bluetooth connection is lost and the phone automatically re-connects to the device, you have to manually unpair it and then pair it again with the app.

I could go on and on with stupid limitations that just make absolutely no sense. And what really pisses me off is that they’re limitations that you obviously would have to actively work to program in because the functionality would have been inherent to the application if you hadn’t intentionally revoked it.

The only reason I’m stopping now is my fingers are tired.

I am no longer using instant messaging

As of today I am no longer using instant messaging.

This means I will no longer answer messages on these networks:

  • ICQ
  • AOL Instant Messenger
  • Yahoo IM
  • Google Talk
  • Skype

A background client will run for a while redirecting contacts to send text messages instead.

After that I will sign off of all IM networks permanently.

If you’re interested in my reasoning, please keep reading.

I have been using instant messaging since the 90s to chat with people. Back then instant messaging was the only free way to communicate in semi-realtime with other people using just text. Back then cell phones were rare and expensive and text messages cost between 5 and 10 cents apiece, if texting was available at all (most phones didn’t support text messaging) and sending text messages required using a complicated and error prone method using only the number pad on the phone.

There were times in my life where I had many crucial conversations over instant messages. There were messages about living situations, paying rent, building romantic relationships, dealing with grief and loss. All of the important parts of life that are made easier for people who are shy or socially uncomfortable by the cushion of typing instead of talking. Myself, my friends and my lovers. There were times when I had no transportation and no phone and did almost all of my communication exclusively over instant messages because that’s what all my friends used. I used instant messaging to isolate those who were important from those who didn’t care enough to sit down at a computer and sign onto an IM network to talk to me.

However, over the years text messaging has become less expensive and almost all phones now have onscreen qwerty keyboards. As Facebook, Twitter and other social mediums became available and widely used my friends started to depend less on instant messaging and chat rooms for social interaction and more on less-quasi-realtime platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to feed the need for human interaction. These platforms allow them to place a social interaction and harvest responses at intervals that are convenient for them without the worry that if their client crashes or their computer hangs or reboots they might lose an important message.

Most of them also switched to text messaging.

For the last couple of years none of my conversations of any substance have taken place over instant message networks. The majority of messages are small talk, and those messages come maybe once a week. The people I care about in my life (and/or who care about me) have switched to text messaging and have invited me into their list of contacts. It’s not worth staying signed on to all the IM networks just in case someone wants to send me a random greeting. It’s possible that I will lose some friends by no longer signing onto instant messaging networks anymore. The way I see it, if they don’t have any other method to contact me by now their friendship probably isn’t solid enough to bother salvaging. To all of you who decide not to switch to text messaging with me, it’s been good knowing you and chatting with you over the years.

We have all grown up and so has technology. We don’t have to sit in front of our gigantic CRT monitors staring at a tiny flickering box waiting for responses. And I don’t have the time or patience for friends whose only contact is random small talk through instant messages.

Text messages are not charged for by the message, so I am switching to using text messaging exclusively to keep all communications in one place.

408-459-8036

Use the above number to send me text messages. If you aren’t already in my contacts please identify yourself in the first message so I don’t have to play the who-is-this game.

This number is for text messages only: the devices they go to are configured to ignore voice calls to this number.

I Don’t Understand How The New Health Plan Benefits Poor People

I don’t get it.

According to this cost calculator for Californians, if you’re single and don’t have a job you have to buy private health insurance; your premium will be about $150/month if you are single and the head of your household.

And if you don’t buy private insurance you will be punished with tax penalties.

So you’re going from maybe needing health care and having a somewhat large debt if you are sick or injured to being required to pay $150/month that you don’t have because you’re unemployed to avoid tax penalties.

I can see exactly where this is going. People won’t buy the insurance with the $150 they don’t have and they’ll be assessed tax penalties, then when the penalties add up the IRS will be a’comin’ for them, and they’ll be marched off to prison.

If you are employed and you’re an average American who earns about $25,000 per year but your employer doesn’t provide health insurance (temps, contractors, retail workers) this will effectively reduce your net income by 13%.

I’m probably misunderstanding this whole thing. I hope so.

How to configure Block Erupters with cgminer in Windows

This blog post describes how to set up several Block Erupters in cgminer on Windows.

First here are the ingredients:

* Block Erupters.
* A powered USB hub with multiple USB ports. I had problems with random disconnecting and devices not being detected when I plugged more than 7 devices into one hub.
* A computer to plug them into and Windows 7 or 8 or something like that.
* A hashing pool account.
* The latest version of cgminer.
* Zadig ( https://github.com/pbatard/libwdi/wiki/Zadig )
* CGWatcher (optional)

To start mining, follow these instructions:

1. Plug in your USB hub.

2. Create a shortcut or batch file to cgminer like this:

C:\tools\cgminer-3.3.1-windows\cgminer-nogpu.exe -o [pool hostname]:[port] -u username.workername -p [password] –icarus-options 115200:1:1 –icarus-timing 3.0=100

Note; Previous versions of cgminer required you to specify the com port for the USB devices individually on the command line, but newer versions now detect the devices automatically.

3. Plug in all of your Block Erupters into the USB hub(s).

4. Start Zadig.

5. Go to Options > List All Devices.

6. Select the first instance of “CP2102 USB to Uart Bridge Controller”.

7. Click the Reinstall Driver button.

This will re-install the driver for the first Block Erupter (WinUSB).

8. Select the next USB to Uart Bridge Controller in the list.

9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 until each instance of the USB to Uart Bridge Controller is using the WinUSB driver.

Note: You must install the driver for each device individually.

Note: If you unplug one of the Block Erupters and plug it into a different USB port you have to install the driver again using Zadig.

10. When all of the Block Erupters are plugged in and all of them have the WinUSB driver installed, start cgminer using the shortcut or batch file you created.

cgminer will authenticate with the mining pool and then begin hotplugging devices and assigning work to them.

You will see cgminer enumerate each device as it detects it.

You can install CGWatcher (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=185553.0) to get a GUI on top of cgminer. Be sure to read the instructions.

Once you have CGWatcher running you can easily see which devices are functional under Devices > FPGA.

CGMiner reports one device for every time you plug something in and keeps those device numbers for the entire session, so if you unplug a device and plug it into another USB port you’ll create one ghost FPGA slot in CGMiner and in CGWatcher.

If you see some devices that do not have any hashes in blue (not hashing), try unplugging that device and plugging it into another port.

If you get an error from cgminer about an invalid device, remember to use Zadig to re-install the USB driver for that device. You can find the one with the bad driver by scrolling through the devices in the list of All Devices in Zadig until you see the one with a different driver.

After you install the driver for a device that is plugged in you’ll be prompted to restart your computer, but you don’t really have to — you can just unplug the device and plug it back in.

If you install the driver for a device that is plugged in it will take longer but it will succeed.

Notes:

* cgminer takes a long time to initialize the Block Erupter devices.
* cgminer will output that it is hotplugging each device one at a time.
* If all the devices are plugged in when cgminer is started cgminer will only show status information for the first USB device AMU0.
* You can see log information for all the devices by going into [D]isplay settings and toggling [P]er-device. However, you’ll still see only one AMU listed.
* The current total hashrate will fluctuate a LOT because cgminer seems to calculate the hash rate based on the amount of work returned by the attached hardware devices rather than the actual rate at which hashes are computed, so if several devices are returning work at the same time it artificially inflates the hash rate. The average is more reliable.
* I have discovered that of the USB hubs that had a lot of connectors, several of them had one or two bad ports, or they cannot actually support the number of devices they have ports for. It’s probably a good idea to test if there are any bad ports. If I were smarter I’d use a voltage tester to see if the ports were undervolting when I plug in X number of devices, but I’m not that sharp. I suspect the problem is bad ports because when I move one of the Erupters from one port to another it starts working.

10 Erupters should get you about 3 Average Gh/s.

If you find this tutorial useful please send a small tip to 1LJU4GnHSM4ovdLNfaz4CmsacuznJewDh3

Assessing my weaknesses in conversation

Recently I have been reading a book about how to have conversations. My initial reason for reading this book is because I feel nervous starting conversations with people at parties and local events. But the same book has also helped me to identify a number of other possible causes for my shyness.

Recently, since I began reading this book, I have begun to watch how I talk with people and how people talk to me. By observing my own actions and those of others I am learning how I communicate and ways I can improve conversations in which I participate.

1. I tend to dominate conversations, and drive the conversation back to me. This makes people less likely to want to participate in a conversation with me.

2. I often imply or state that my view is the only valid one when the other person’s point of view is equally valid.

3. I babble when I get nervous.

4. If I don’t know enough to contribute to the topic at hand I try to fill in with stuff I made up or steer the conversation to a topic I am more knowledgeable about rather than letting the other party talk more about the topic.

These behaviors have made me notice that I am more insecure and self centered than I should be when having conversations, and that the negative reactions I often get are my own fault, and that I can change how I participate in conversations to improve my experience and have more rewarding relationships with my friends and acquaintances.

How I Choose Books to Read

I am usually reading three to four books at any one time. I categorize them this way.

I usually have:

One “challenge” book. This is a book that is hard to read, but intensely rewarding. Some examples of past challenge books include Gravity’s Rainbow, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Ulysses. Sometimes it takes me a year or two to get through one of these. I got into this habit when I was broke and spent a lot of time on the bus. I could buy one book and spend six months to a year reading it and following all the literary references, so I was always entertained for very little money.

One “candy” book. These are easy to read, blow through modern literature pieces such as The Help, The Fountainhead, The Life of Pie, etc. which may not be particularly intellectually rewarding, but which play the emotion organ well. I read this book when my brain is putty from challenge and education.

One “educational” book. I read these books to better understand the wavy hamburger meat inside my skull and how it bounces around in the environment my body drags my skull about. Some examples include Nietzsche: The Man and His Philosophy; Godel, Escher, Bach; The Design of Everyday Things and Flow. Although Flow crosses over into shitty modern literature as well.

One “naughty” book. These are books that serve zero intellectual purpose but make me giggle like a school girl. I’m not even going to list any of these, you would gain nothing from knowing.

How to Connect Surface Pro to iPhone Hotspot Using Wi-fi

The iPhone and the Surface Pro each have their own quirks that make connecting to the Internet using the iPhone as a hotspot problematic, but if you use this process you should have great success:

1. Open the Personal Hotspot settings panel on the iPhone and leave it open and keep the screen on. You have to leave it open with the screen on because as soon as you navigate away from the Personal Hotspot settings panel or turn off the screen the hotspot stops broadcasting the SSID of the iPhone, so your Surface tablet won’t be able to find it.

2. On the Surface Pro, swipe from the right side of the screen and touch Settings.

3. Touch the Wi-fi icon.

4. Turn Airplane mode on and then off. This causes the Surface Pro to search for hotspots right away. If you don’t do this you may have to wait several minutes for the Surface Pro to look for access points again before the iPhone will pop in the list of available access points.

5. Once the iPhone pops in the list of available access points, touch it and input your credentials.

Don’t bother checking Connect Automatically because the Surface Pro won’t be able to find your iPhone hotspot when it comes in range, because the iPhone won’t be broadcasting its SSID. You have to go through this process every time you want to tether the iPhone to your Surface Pro.

Alternatively you can install iTunes on the Surface Pro to get the USB tethering driver and then plug the iPhone into the Surface Pro’s USB port.

An Essay on Relationships and Depression

I’m one of those people who researches things instead of just complaining that I have a problem and chugging drugs. I like to try things until I find something that works. If the experiment doesn’t get you results research and conduct another experiment.

In my life I have found that there are some very important life skills that no one can teach you. Anyone can love someone, but to learn how to do so in a healthy way takes time and patience. Knowing when to leave and when to stay, how to give in a healthy way and how to take in a responsible manner are some of the building blocks to a healthy relationship. In an optimal relationship both parties are providers. There is no bread winner. There is no happy house wife.

As you read this guide keep in mind that I am not a doctor; you should talk to your doctor before you start any exercise program or change your medication or your dose of medication. Also keep in mind that these suggestions are based on my own experience and research. None of the suggestions are cited (except one) with references to empirical evidence. In other words, your mileage may vary.

These are the things I discovered about living with a companion who is depressed:

Don’t crowd them.
Give them enough space to deal with the problem.

Put yourself first.
Even though their life is on the rocks, yours doesn’t have to be. Don’t let them use you to relieve their own frustration. Keeping yourself happy is as important as keeping them happy because if you’re both depressed it’s miserable all around. Don’t go down with the ship.

Be ready to listen to the same problems incessantly.
People who are depressed aren’t magically depressed because of the depression fairy. They’re depressed because of life factors that they refuse to change or think they can’t change because they are settled into a comfortable depression zone. One of the ways depressed people deal with their problems is complaining about them. When you’re depressed everything you do is ten times harder and when you get frustrated it’s twice as frustrating and the resulting misery when you fail lasts five times as long. That’s a lot to complain about. Hear the complaints but don’t listen to them. After the second or third time just nod your head and move on. If they ask why you’re not listening to them, repeat the problem they’re complaining about back to them and ask them if the way you are explaining it is correct. This is the way to end irresponsible complaining.

Know when enough is enough.
If they tell you it’s your love and/or companionship that keeps him going it might be time to reconsider. Even if you want to help them more than anything else in the world you can’t carry them. Parasitic relationships eat away at your mind until you become depressed too. If you are noticing that people want to spend less time with you since you started living with your partner’s depression this might be why. If you’re living with your partner’s depression instead of your partner it might be time to break up with it.

Find out if you’re actually needed.
Sometimes no matter what you do you’re not going to help. Sometimes your partner doesn’t even want your help. It might be that he wants you to be there for him to use as a punching bag. If he’s not listening to your offers to help or he makes no effort or not enough effort to improve his condition you might be wasting your own happiness. There’s no point trying to help someone who won’t help themselves, or who is actively resistant to help.

Don’t promise your partner you’ll fix their problems.
You’re setting yourself up for taking the blame for his condition. Even if you could completely fix their problems, people who are depressed tend to relapse. If you’re in it together, you’re really in it together for a lifetime. They will go through periods of depression in the future. Healthy practices can reduce the weight and length of phases of depression over time.

Remember that depression is a medical condition.
Depression isn’t a matter of being “happy” or “sad.” You can’t just spring out of bed one day and “snap out of it.” Our bodies are made of squishy juices that mix together in different ways to make us feel one way or another, and those feelings often mix in confusing ways. You can’t just reach in and untangle them, you have to use tools from outside your body to gradually wiggle them into the right solutions.

Depression is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain and body that causes lethargy, mental confusion, physical pain and other symptoms. While depression can be fixed in most people with a combination of medication and lifestyle changes, you can’t just wake up one day and decide to be happy. It takes a lot of work. For others, depression is a natural disposition. If you’re unsure which is the case, ask yourself if you’ve ever known your partner to experience a period in their life when they were not depressed.

If you want your partner to rise out of depression, find out what causes their depression and point it out to them. Ask them if they’re willing to take medication and make lifestyle changes to improve their depression. Make sure they’re aware that medication isn’t a magic bullet that fixes depression; that only with a combination of medication and lifestyle changes can you rise out of it. Also, for some people medications for treatment of depression are not meant to be taken forever.

Don’t let your dependency on your partner prevent you from saving yourself.
It is neither safe nor responsible to depend entirely on someone else to fulfill your financial, emotional or carnal needs if they are using your dependency to hurt you.

If you are depending on your partner for living space, financial security, sex or for any other reason, find alternative ways to fulfill those needs. Establish a firm backup plan. Once you’ve put that plan into place, tell your partner about it.

  • “I know you’re giving me money, but I’d rather default on my school loans than let you ruin my life.”
  • “I do enjoy having sex with you but if you’re going to use that to keep me here you should know that many other people find me attractive.”
  • “Even if you tell me to leave I have friends and family I can stay with.”

If your partner is using you, neither of you is any more or less guilty. You share the blame equally. His guilt is using you and your guilt is letting him.

Candid discussions with your partner are a very important life skill for both of you that you develop together. A discussion about the material components of your relationship is essential to preserving your relationship and helping your partner to recover. If you’ve never talked about why one of you is supporting the other financially, or why one of you is supporting the other emotionally, it is essential to do so as early in the relationship as possible. At first you may feel uncomfortable talking about things you’ve previously made assumptions about. It can feel wooden and awkward. But the more you do it the more natural it feels. In time you’ll wonder why you ever made assumptions instead of talking to one another.

Use remedial behavioral conditioning to get your partner to help himself. If he does something he’s supposed to do, reward him with something he wants. For example, if he takes his medication on time for a week, take him out to dinner at a restaurant he likes. If he does something he’s not supposed to, take something away. For example, if he accuses you of being responsible all or in part for his depression, don’t have sex with him and tell him that’s why he’s not getting any.

Do not use negative or accusing tones, posture or words to punish bad behavior. You are not responsible for punishing your partner. When you use reinforcement, do so matter-of-factedly and explain why.

  • “I don’t like it when you make me feel responsible for your anger or depression.”
  • “We’re not having sex today because of that.”
  • “I like it when you eat healthy because I think it helps you to be happier.”
  • “We’re making your favorite desert today because of that.”

It’s important to enforce verbally with your partner every time you use a remedy that you’re doing it to help him and to get verbal confirmation that he knows the specific behavior that you do or do not approve of each time.

  • You must be consistent in your behavior.
  • Every time there is a bad behavior, use negative enforcement.
  • Every time there is a good behavior, use positive enforcement.
  • Match the enforcement to the magnitude of the behavioral variation.
  • Positive enforcement can be something as simple as a smile and/or a hug.
  • Negative reinforcement can be something as simple as a stern look or walking away from him when he’s using attention getting behavior.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because the same operant conditioning strategies are used to treat behavioral problems in human children, human adults and pets (and this will be the only citation in this essay, G.S. Reynolds, “a primer of operant conditioning” 1975) because this type of conditioning works consistently for everyone. Conditioning is said to be effective only when the operant results in the same respondent consistently.

Reinforcers should consist of wants, not needs. For example, you can deny your boyfriend the right to a conversation with negative vibes but you shouldn’t tell him he can’t go to the bathroom.

The pattern of conditioning works like this:

1. Tell them what they did wrong/right. Explain if needed, repeat if needed.
2. Get verbal confirmation that your partner understands what they did wrong/right.
3. Use the reinforcement.
4. If the behavior recurs go to step 1.

Understanding Fields of Medicine Involved

Psychiatrist – Responsible for prescribing medication. Your psychiatrist and your psychologist should read the same medical records and they should interact with each other. If they don’t, tell them to. If they refuse, talk to their superior about the problem or see a different psychiatrist.

Psychologist – Responsible for providing applied mental health assessments. This doctor’s job is to help you find out what is wrong and recommend a course of treatment. If they tell you that you need to go get some drugs and then rush you out of their office, you’re seeing the wrong psychologist. You’ll encounter this problem with doctors provided by your health plan. It might be worth paying the fees to see an independent and noteworthy “pay for talk” psychologist.

Physician – A physician’s job is to diagnose your body. Make sure your partner’s physician understands that your partner is depressed. Depression can cause physical problems such as excessive stomach acid, lethargy and chronic pain. Talk to your partner’s physician and your physician before beginning any exercise program. If your partner is seeing a psychologist and/or psychiatrist make sure he tells his physician and discusses his treatment with them. If your partner’s physician is covered by an insurance plan and doesn’t seem to care about his condition, consider changing doctors or paying a doctor directly.

Course of action:

1. Discuss the material and emotional aspects of your relationship.

Tell your partner about the effect his behavior is having on your life. Enforce your independence. Make him aware that there’s nothing he can take away that will keep you there if he’s not willing to commit to a healthy life and a healthy relationship. Use your serious tone. Don’t use emotional words and reserve use of analogies. Listen and respond to everything your partner says. When the conversation is over, use major positive reinforcement.

It doesn’t have to be a hard conversation to have and it’s the first step toward recovery.

2. Re-assess your partner’s interactions with his psychiatrist to fit yourself into his improvement plan.

Go with your partner and talk to a psychiatrist about a course of medication suitable to your partner’s condition. If he’s already on medication, have them re-assess their condition in your presence.

3. Enforce an iron-clad schedule of taking medication.

Make sure he takes the medication on schedule every day or as directed by the psychiatrist. Positive reinforcement when he takes his medication, negative when he doesn’t.

4. Go with your partner to see his psychologist, psychiatrist and physician.

Talk with them about the problems in your relationship and tell them about your plan of action. Ask them for help in reinforcing the plan.

5. Participate in and enforce a daily healthy diet.

Look at his diet and observe what he’s eating. People who are depressed are more affected by whether or not they eat a consistent, balanced diet than people who are not. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is the most important component of fixing the problem. Use the website choosemyplate.gov to choose a balanced diet. Prepare meals together as a relationship building tool. When possible, prepare healthy meals in advance. When he eats bad food, negative reinforcement. When he eats good food, positive reinforcement. Preparing food with and sharing meals with your partner is one of the oldest and best ways to build a healthy relationship. You also must eat a healthy diet every day. It’s not fair to expect him to eat a healthy diet when you’re not. If both of you are eating healthy foods on a daily basis it will be less expensive because you don’t have to buy separate foods.

Get a copy of Martha Stewart’s Cooking School. This book tells you everything you will ever need to know about cooking from boiling water to french cuisine. You don’t have to buy all of the utensils and dishes mentioned in the front of the book at once. You can gather them over time as you find that you need them, or use suitable replacements. For example, instead of buying a colander you can poke holes in a coffee can. Make learning to prepare food together a special occasion by planning to make and share a meal together when time allows.

Start off with little things. Make pancakes for breakfast (or dinner!) from pancake mix or stir fry some veggies. If you make mistakes use them as learning opportunities. Buy some food with the intent of using it to practice cooking so that if you ruin it you don’t feel as if you’ve lost anything, and if it comes out alright that’s a bonus.

6. Engage in healthy activity.

Get a physical and talk to your physician before starting an exercise routine. A healthy lifestyle that is two parts healthy eating and daily healthy activity not only builds a sound mind and a healthy body, it serves as a distraction from depression. When you’re depressed one of the worst things you can do is sit around all day thinking about it.

Getting active after being sedentary for years takes a lot of building up muscle mass and getting used to a more active life style, so do it at a healthy yet careful pace. Plan simple activities like walking to the store to buy groceries, picking up the mail together or going for a daily walk in the park. Once he’s used to that (give or take six weeks to two months), get him into a walk/run program and even if you hate running it make it look like you love it. If you can’t run because of a health condition, jog slowly. If you move to the next step of your walk/run program and you experience chronic symptoms of over-exertion, wait a couple of days and then move back to the previous step in the program. Positive reinforcement when he follows the schedule, negative reinforcement when he doesn’t. Exercising together with your partner is an excellent way to engage in positive interaction. You’re feeling the burn together. Talk up the positive aspects of exercising: It’s a distraction from being depressed for a while, it’s exhilarating, you can brag to your friends.

7. Practice mindfulness meditation with your partner.

Mindfulness meditation is the practice of learning to experience what is going on around you as it happens without any internal dialog. There are lots of books and videos available, but the activity itself is pretty simple. Sit in a quiet room in a comfortable position, close your eyes and pick one thing to focus on. You can focus on the air going in and out of your lungs, the light coming through your eyelids, or any other simple thing that is local to your body. Do not think at all. Turn off your brain. Allow what is happening around you to happen without questioning it. It’s okay to make mistakes. If your mind wanders and you find yourself thinking about what you’re going to do tomorrow, or something from your past, gently guide your focus back to your focal point. Don’t feel bad when it happens, let it happen and guide your mind back each time.

Start with just a few minutes and work your way up. Use a timer to help keep track. Mindfulness meditation does not support any goal. It doesn’t help you to achieve anything, but should be done simply for the act of meditating itself. You may experience positive side effects, but don’t make them a primary goal. Mindfulness meditation is for its own sake. But great minds and many doctors over the course of human existence have spoken of its benefits.

7. Help your partner to consider gradually stopping his medication over time.

Antidepressants do not work forever. They work for some time, but then their effectiveness wanes and their dosage has to be increased. Eventually the maximum therapeutic dose might not be effective. This causes the person taking the medication to have to switch between medications, looking for one that works. In some people antidepressants don’t work at all, and can make symptoms worse. Some people think they are depressed but actually have other conditions, and are being treated for the wrong condition. Only your partner and his doctors can determine the correct course of medication. But only your partner and his doctors can also decide when it’s time to stop them.

Some people require medication for most or all of their life. Only your partner with the help of his doctors can decide whether or not he needs medication forever. However, some people can stop taking antidepressants once they have built a healthy lifestyle. Once he has implemented diet and lifestyle changes, he can begin to reduce the medication dosage with the help of his psychiatrist. He should do this very gradually. Some people can stop taking medication in a few months. For others, it takes years. The change can be as tiny as shaving a little bit off of one pill or as big as cutting the dose by a third. Always talk to your doctors before changing your dosage and discuss your desire to move away from dependency on medication.

To summarize everything I’ve said here:

  • Have a conversation with your partner about the material and emotional aspects of your relationship.
  • Assess whether or not your partner is willing to be helped.
  • Use behavioral conditioning consistently to enforce correct behavior.
  • Assess your partner’s condition with his doctors.
  • Participate with your partner in healthy lifestyle changes.
  • Participate with your partner in a healthy diet.
  • Meditate.
  • Consider an assessment of the feasibility of reducing medication use over time.