Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sedentary Times

Hello everyone!

I am sitting at home, feeling a little bit feverish and under the weather, so I decided to do a few updates.

I'm reading a book called "Small is Beautiful: Economics as If People Mattered" by E.F. Schumacher. It is very interesting, a perspective on economics influenced by Gandhi's Indian economic proposals. The main tenet that Schumacher espouses is permanance - sustainability and peace. It is a fascinating departure from the numerical, impersonal economic systems that are so familiar - capitalism, socialism, communism.
Its slow going, but I strongly recommend it.

Check out the most recent photos on my Flickr page
Most of the latest photos are from our annual Smith/Wilbert pilgrimage to a sandy beach on the peninsula.

o, did anyone else catch the Perseid Meteor Shower last Sunday? Clouds foiled our plans to get away from Seattle's light pollution, but they miraculously cleared over our heads at around 11pm. A few friends and I found our way to Seward Park (the darkest close spot), and saw a good number of meteors. Hope for a new moon and clear skies next year.

Windows/Microsoft is a terrible corporate monopoly that uses its market position to pass an inferior product on to consumers at a premium price. A few months after I got my new computer for school, I grew tired of the constant virus scanning, spyware, software updates, expiring product licenses, defragmenting, slower and slower operation, and general headaches. "Why am I paying for this?" I thought to myself. I searched around on the net, and it didn't take me long to come up with an alternative.

Its called Ubuntu. It is a South-African founded operating system that completely replaced Windows for me. It is based on the Swahili concept of Ubuntu, which translates loosely as 'Humaninty to Others.' Its based on Linux, and it has a long, long list of advantages over Windows. First, and perhaps largest, it is 100% free (as in speech and beer). You will never pay a penny. On top of this large incentive, we have these:

1. Ubuntu has a large upgrade every 6 months. Security upgrades occur more than once a week.
2. It is very solid operating system. No more crashes, freezes, or lagging at inopportune times. Just use your computer.
3. Its is far easier to find and install the thousands (100% free) programs than in windows. It usually takes typing a keyword and two mouse clicks. Done. Uninstalling programs is as simple. After installed, programs are automatically kept updated to the latest version, behind the scenes.
4. Security. The fundamental nature of Linux is far more secure than Windows, and this is why there are actually no known viruses for Linux. Spyware is virtually nonexistant as well.
5. Fast and simple. Ubuntu provides exactly what you need. Nothing bogs down your computer, and it will run much more smoothly and quickly.
6. Easy install and simple, customizable interface. I could set this up so that my 87 year old grandma could use it.
7. Nelson Madela is a fan!

To try it is simple. Go to, download the file, burn it onto a CD, and restart your computer with the CD inside and you can test it out with no obligation and no modification to your computer.

I'm just starting some photography using my Grandfathers TLR Rolleiflex made in Germany in 1934. The mechanical sophistication in it is amazing. 70 years old and in perfect condition. He used it to take a photo of Albert Einstein one day. Cool!

On a final note, I am usually not a campaigner for the Vegetarian eating habits that I follow, but after reading this article my opinion has changed somewhat. In brief, it states that dietary choices have as much of an impact on the environment as transportation and electricity use, and that vegan and vegetarian diets create incredibly low amounts of pollutants compared to meat and dairy heavy diets. Read it.