Cowards with guns

So this kid was shot by his classmates in Delhi. That’s funny, I can’t recall the last time anyone used a gun on someone else in India, let alone in a school. The only people who use guns are the cops and the naxalites, even the local goons prefer an aruval or whatever, and lopping people’s body parts off is the preferred way. I can just imagine the chaos if getting guns was easier. But parents, parents, what are you thinking? If your 14-year old kid can get your gun it’s just as likely that the criminal entering your house can find it and use it. That safety that you long for, you’ve gone and lost it because you have no brains. Let the cops do what is their’s to do.

Now, the kids, they’re stupid really. They have no brains. Listen, when I was in St. Campion’s we used to get caned and I’ve heard rumours of people being benched. But listen, we never went around looking for weapons to dish it out, and we never went around throwing rocks at each other even though there were rocks all over the place. We handled it the old fashioned kid way, we fought it out in the dust. When you’re ten years old there’s not much difference between a friend and you and so the fight could go either way. Heck, trial by combat was the way to settle disputes. We didn’t go get a stick or anything, kids these days, soft mostly and lumpy in the head.

Then I moved to St. Michael’s where the preferred weapon was cutting sarcasm. I remember losing quite a few such battles, such wit not being my strength. Unfortunately, by the time you’re 14, some of you are obviously lanky and some of you are obviously strong so fighting wouldn’t have solved anything. I swear the last thing on my mind was finding a weapon to finish these guys off even then. I’ve often wanted a handgun afterward, but only because they look so cool in the movies. If anyone would make me a realistic toy that would only create appropriate muzzle flashes, I would be the happiest guy in the world. But I wouldn’t shoot anyone, that’s uncool, and a victory not worth it because you can’t even brag. I mean, imagine: “Dude, I shot that guy like through the ribs” – “Wow, awesome, too fast for him to draw, eh?” – “Well, no, he wasn’t armed, and it was in the back, you see.” And the only purpose of winning a classroom fight is to brag, it’s an extension of the 5 year old playground fight. Lots of people continue in this vein and end up having cubicle fights where the weapon of choice is the memo and the victor gets a raise by misappropriating the loser’s work.

But two fellows attacking one? That would’ve made you the object of scorn back when I was still in the 4th standard. And using a weapon? That would make you a pariah. Kids these days.

EDIT: You know what? I need a good night’s sleep.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

You know, we take risks every day, we trust that the auto driver won’t cut in front of the bus too fine, that the EMU wire won’t get cut and short through the train, or that a branch would fall down on our brain in such a way as to disable it and yet all these things happen. We gamble away things that are so important, our lives, and yet we’re thrifty with our money. Or rather, we think we’re thrifty with our money.

Some people splurge on fancy clothes and jewellery, and think that’s not a gamble. Heck, it is, you’re hoping for attention, aren’t you? When we were kids, we used to have bets on all sorts of things, on whether or not a band would play or whether a particular model of bike would ever be released here or any of a hundred things. But the perennial favourite was sports betting, nothing like gambling on whether or not a certain score would be reached, instant results, almost. Then I read all those tricks in all those books and moved on to try some of the best online casinos and let me tell you, even if you don’t win you’ve paid for the thrill and boy is it worth it. And anyway, if you use money earned on the internet, you can only win more. Interestingly, most of the 20 best online casinos are US based, and that’s pretty cool because the only problem the US has is with non US casinos. That’s strange really, and looks like protectionism but I’ll let that pass because it’s so much fun.

Presentation Software – Powerpoint, Impress, whatever

Presentation software is retarded. Deep down inside, each of those coders is a psychotic killer on the verge of flipping out and going on a massacre. To keep these unstable people in a sort of happy state, they are allowed to write software that will cause mayhem all across the globe. It’s no surprise that they get paid for it, after all, isn’t that what life is all about?
Impress - Not

Impress:

OO:Writer is good, it does all I need and is generally predictable and doesn’t do weird stuff. But Impress, what a disaster. This is something that wouldn’t compare favourably to a broken gutter, there are options that don’t get enabled, rectangles that disappear only in slideshow view and if you create a new master slide and modify it, even by selecting the relevant portions, the first master gets modified and the second doesn’t. I’ll give OO.org the benefit of the doubt here, because the rounded rectangle thing atleast is something that arises from Ubuntu modifying stock OO, or so I’m told. I’ll go report the bugs after I’m finished typing this. Now this is just awful, stuff that works completely contrary to how it should work. To make that rounded rectangle you have to copy a rectangle from OO:Writer and paste it in OO:Impress because the rectangle in OO:Impress is ‘Shape’ not a ‘Rectangle’. Wow, thanks.

Powerpoint:

< See, I use free software all the time. So it's a big thing that I actually restart to Windows to use Powerpoint (I don't like Wine, doesn't integrate with the desktop so only useful for games). I thought, this is paid-for software, it better be good. But my god, it was anything but. See, Bikram sent me this presentation and I looked at it, and all the text had freaking shadow. Why?! Why is this default on that goddamn machine? Okay, that may be someone mucking about, but let's see how to fix this. Select text, Font Properties... Okay, shadow is unchecked. That's strange. Something to do with the Slide Master? Check there, sure enough all text has shadow. Okay Font Properties, remove all that shadow. Shadow is now gone. Return to slide, shadow is still there. What's going on? Go back to Master, no shadow, go to slide, shadow. That's weird. After more trouble, notice there's a separate shadow button for turning off shadows. Retardedness. Masters work well here. This is better software, but by no means good. I can't believe these people are so careless! I'll cut MS some slack because I'm using Office 2003, but Impress has no excuse, it’s the latest. Very well, no point complaining alone, so bug report time.

As for why? Needed to make presentation for college, and even the simplest things are so much trouble to make.

Bug report: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/openoffice.org2/+bug/175311
I sort of figured out that Master bug. It’s non-obvious, but it happens. I think the rounded one is already reported.

Buncha links – November 07 07

  • Damnatus cancelled:They took so much trouble over it, but the copyright system in Germany says that they can’t sign their rights to the company and also that if the company allows them to show the movie they lose power over their copyright, or something like that.
  • Retarded laws: Yeah, you’ve read a bunch of retarded laws. These are as amusing as any others you’ve read.
  • A DIY CPU [/.] :Pretty impressive. Though the first few comments are hackneyed jokes, the ones following are good. Also, the moderation on some of those comments is pretty funny by itself.
  • Mechanical Turk:No FF characters here, the site is touted as ‘Artificial Artifical Intelligence’, and is a decent idea if it weren’t for those few tasks that make it look like another PayPerPost thing. Of course they did look through hundreds of pictures searching for Steve Fossett. I can just imagine a SETI@Turk.
  • The DARPA Urban Challenge:Robotic SUVs racing. ‘Nuff said.

And since no post should be imageless:

. I forget where I saw that.

Extra crap:
Interesting /. comment.

Online quizzes

I like online quizzes, they reinforce your inflated opinion of yourself :) It was Marc’s smart-ass idea to start with. Well, here are my results, like:

  • online dating. I’ve got to admit I have no clue who started Myspace. Heck, I can’t even visit it, I seem to be in a banned ip range :D

  • . Yeah, I got confused somewhere. Embarrassing. But I swear occurrence is occurrence and not occurence or whatever. I think


  • 68% Geek. This was rigged, I use a Unix-like system by default, and I also broke a laptop trying to fix something else. I’ll try fixing the broke part again in a couple of days. :D

  • 31%. No weapons, no nothing, but I swear the power-drill will help. That and, apparently sticking to a leader helps :) I have to admit, you’re tempted to say you wouldn’t drive across town to your loved ones. I think I would, but I answered yes anyway and also swore to shoot them right in the forehead if they turn into a zombie. Nah, can’t do that either. So revised down from 41% to 31%.

  • JustSayHi - Science Quiz. Okay, this is real sad. Eight Grade Science?! I’m almost ashamed to show this. So it isn’t sedimentary rock, fine.

My favourites are the IQ tests which give you super high scores, and also the other ones that don’t even ask for your age. Those are crazy. I must find those sometime, sure cure for despondency.

The Day The Music Died

Sometimes I get in that mood. You know, where you go dig up the old tape cassettes of Rainbow, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, and just for the heck of it, Don McLean. There’s so much brilliance in those years, the riffs tug at you and the wailing solos scream at your soul. Ah, did the Golden Age of Rock pass without anyone noticing?