Random: Voting, Overclocking, Thin Clients

The Importance of Voting

It’s not that I’ve become politically active or anything, so when I start talking about the importance of voting, it’s not because I’m trying to advance some cause.

I’ve just been thinking about when I was in college and after college, talking to people who don’t believe in voting. They don’t believe that it makes a difference to submit a vote, particularly if it’s for someone they know won’t win. Oftentimes it’s just indifference towards politics, but sometimes it’s also a little to do with defeatism and alienation from the system.

If I remember correctly, the 2004 Presidential election brought out more voters than expected for both Bush and Kerry. People were less apathetic — the issues in recent years have had more of a direct impact on peoples’ lives. 2008 should draw even more people in light of crumbling American reputation and an endless Iraq war.

So I looked at CNN’s exit poll stats and saw a lot of stuff that probably isn’t mind-shattering to anyone but I want to talk about it.

Bush’s main constituency is the white male. White females also make up a large part, as Bush beat Kerry among their demographic, 55% to 44%. Bush was the winner among people over the age of 30. Bush does not start beating Kerry in votes from people of certain incomes until their income is over $50,000. Bush has more educated voter support unless, interestingly enough, the voter has post-graduate education, a stat Kerry won.

Non-whites (especially blacks) solidly supported Kerry.

Your typical Republican vs. Democrat statistics, I know…

Bush seemed to win on the basis of terrorism and moral values. However, Kerry had more influence on the issue of Iraq, and on the economy. These days, what Bush talks about most is Iraq and the economy. This dichotomy is interesting.

There were still a lot of people who didn’t vote. As a country we are apathetic when it comes to even the Presidential election. Personally I think it’s a result of geographic isolation and a decent economy. Unlike in Europe, an American can go to work and live his life and be blissfully unaware of what is going on everywhere else, even during a four year occupation of Iraq. Foreign policy issues just don’t impact peoples’ lives. They never will. Only during crises do people care. And only as long as it’s kept alive in the press.

I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing… I mean, it’s a biological trait to cull out that which doesn’t pertain to you. However, I do think that Americans pride themselves in being ever-vigilant of freedom, but they do not actually live this out. I think Americans do not take on the immense personal and committed responsibility towards understanding the issues that pertain to our country, like freedom of speech, separation of church and state, hindering the military-industrial complex, cherishing cultural diversity, having free markets, etc.

Americans voted Bush in. They voted the Republicans in. Others didn’t vote — they voted by not voting. By 2008 Americans need to come to terms with the fact that they wanted what happened in Iraq. They took action without assuming the responsibility of knowing the situation. They must live with their mistakes. They must try to fix them instead of making it worse. Our elected representatives may seem out of control to some people, running on their own agenda, but they will do what they are told. If an overwhelming majority of their constituents want something, then they will kowtow to those people because that’s what they’re supposed to and because they are asskissers at heart anyway.

People need to learn how to love to vote again. The urgency is gone. The responsibility, the pride, the duty is gone. It’s said that making a choice is the only freedom you really have in life, so any chance to do so should be cherished.

Buddhist protests Vietnam War

This is OUR country. The older people still remember. That’s why THEY vote more than everyone else.

Perhaps we’re getting there. GM and the UAW have recently realized what seemed obvious to everyoen else; they’re no longer competitive, and they’re too big to be effective. There’s a lot of discussion about how broken American foreign policy is. The U.S. is realizing it’s not the only game in town anymore, something Wall Street has known for ages. The market — money — knows what’s going on but the U.S. has been stubborn and has forgotten how to look outside itself.

I guess I’m getting off on a tangent but it just pisses me off. It pisses me off that we Americans are not as smart, innovative, and charitable as we should be. It pisses me off that we’re disgustingly fat, don’t vote, ignore everything else in the world. It pisses me off that we’re protectionist in our economic policy to the detriment of the most successful economic market to ever exist. It pisses me off that we have double standards in foreign policy.

It pisses me off that we watch stupid nationalist propaganda like FOXNews while the rest of the world eats us for lunch through better business, using our military as a global security shield, more innovative and free-thinking government policy, and more interesting clinging to culture and family.

It pisses me off that I have no one in government who seems to represent me or step up for me. That doesn’t mean my vote is worthless — what it means that all the other 18-29 year old people with average incomes and ethnic backgrounds (for me, partially) are not voting with me.

And that makes me sad. Sadpanda.

Overclocking

I bought this desktop to overclock it, but I’ve been taking baby steps. I got a highly overclockable processor, the 3800+ X2 64. Yesterday I stepped up the FSB Front Side Bus to 230MHz, pushing the processor from 2GHz to 2.3GHz at 10x multiplier. It seemed a little less stable although I can’t verify that as Battlefield 2 and Windows Media Center are fickle. So I want to try upping the voltage but that’s not so clear on how to do it in the BIOS.

I tried changing my RAM timings but ended up locking my system so I had to reset the CMOS using jumpers. So right now I’m on hold.

The processor seems to run cool even at a higher speed but I need to tweak the system more. The problem is I don’t really know what I’m doing besides copying advice from people on overclocking forums.

It IS worth it though. You can get a huge performance boost off the 3800+ by overclocking it to its stable potentials.

Thin Clients

I believe in the web browser. I believe much of what we do in the future will be done through the web browser. I believe we will stop downloading bloated applications on to our computers which require software and security updates constantly. I believe interoperability will happen because we will connect to web sites for our applications, using a standard interface, the browser.

On this system, I no longer have Office software or an RSS reader or a mail client.

I use gmail for web-based e-mail. It’s fast, always up, and is easier for me to use between systems and locations. I don’t need to keep hard copies. I used it in Iraq to compensate for using public computers. The problem, of course, is that my data is stored for google or the government to exploit.

I use writely for a text editor although I use EditPlus on my own system when I need to. Writely lets you type up stuff in an application-like interface and save it, export it, even share it so other people can work on it too. Fuck Word.

Writely

I use iRows as a spreadsheet replacement for Excel. It lets you export to Excel or OpenOffice (the free office suite).

iRows

Still waiting for a PowerPoint replacement…

Bloglines serves as my RSS reader. It has a panel on the left with all my RSS feeds and can display the items on the right. Why download an RSS reader? The only problem I think is that I wish there were an easier way to access comments for articles. But I think this is a problem with how RSS is being used right now in general.

So what are the implications of all this? Well, it’s off-loading resources from our desktops to servers. It makes more sense that way. We’re only getting to the point now where desktops and even laptops easily handle the basic functions computers need. By that I mean having your usual applications open and still having a system that will run okay.

It’s stupid having to upgrade your software every so often for $200 like Adobe and Microsoft and whatever make us do. It’s stupid having to download or get a CD with a 100MB-1GB file on it. It’s stupid trying to get everyone to update their software to reflect the latest fix for a security bug. It’s stupid weighing down desktops with huge software.

Processing power is increasing faster at the server level than at the consumer level. All our data is easier stored somewhere else, by those dedicated to it. Thus we can also use that data from various points, reflecting our more mobile uses for our data as we have more powerful cellphones, PDAs, laptops combined with more public wifi clouds and public internet access.

The web browser is the unifying architecture that proponents of the metaverse are looking for.

It might not be Mozilla who creates the browser that will accomodate the future of the internet, but it will be SOME web browser. It’s just become so flexible and adaptable. I would bet on a web browser becoming the only integrated interface in the future more than I would a proprietary format.

So you can expect that the lingering problem right now, that of memory overhead on the browser (Opera, IE, and Firefox all consume massive amounts of RAM to cache pages and to display various multimedia), will get incredibly worse in the future. A side-effect of off-loading applications from the consumer’s side to the server’s side.

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