Posted by: Frank | September 17, 2021

Frank blogged on September 17, 2021 at 11:19AM

British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair died yesterday, September 16. I, of course, never met this man who had an impact on the direction of my life.

My chosen field of study in college, computer science, lead to the career that caused me to move to metropolitan Detroit, ultimately meet and marry my wife, and have the life I now live. How I came to chose to study computer science was influenced by three events during my high school years: the arrival of the Apple II in my high school, taking an after school BASIC programming class, and being gifted the Timex Sinclair 1000. Sir Sinclair invented the ZX80, the predecessor to the ZX8, in Britian, and that same computer was later sold as the Timex Sinclair 1000 in the United States.

I was raised by my grandmother and we lived off social security along with some savings. The personal computers sold at the time cost well beyond our means, but the Timex Sinclair only cost $100, though you needed the nearly $40 additional cost of the 16 KB storage for it to be useful. The nearly $150 total cost made it the most expensive gift my grandmother ever bought me, and I don’t doubt she made sacrifices to buy it, but she felt it important for my future. Turns out my grandmother was right.

Even by the standards of the time, the Timex Sinclair was a bit of a joke for a computer. Frogger was one of the games available for the Timex Sinclair that my friend called “woodtick” because of how the large block pixel graphics of the frog took over the entire TV screen when it got run over by a car.

Back then the common display for personal computers were TV screens. Programs were stored on cassete tapes. As I said, the Timex Sinclair only had 16 kilobytes of RAM. It had a membrane keyboard rather than a real keyboard that had most of the BASIC functions assigned. When writing a program you “typed” PRINT by pressing a combination of a function key and they key that had the command printed on it. I don’t recall whether I ever connected the Timex Sinclair to a printer or did anything like word processing.

Despite the limits Sinclair’s invention made a brand new world of personal computing accessible to me in the comfort of my bedroom floor. Hours of typing in pre-printed programs from magazines and hours of experimenting with little BASIC programs sparked the interest that as I said led to the life I now have.

Reading tributes and stories of Sinclair, I know that I am just one of hundreds of thousands of people around the world that share the same story. What a wonderful legacy. Thank you Sir Sinclair, rest in peace.

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Posted by: Frank | September 17, 2021

Frank blogged on September 17, 2021 at 10:25AM

It seems to me that the real argument occuring in the United States is between when one’s rights affect the rights of others, which one is given priority? If you look at every problem in the U.S. it comes back to a belief that what matters most is individual rights, even when the exercise thereof impedes upon that same right of another.

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Posted by: Frank | September 15, 2021

Frank blogged on September 15, 2021 at 10:47AM

Twenty years ago today, a Sikh father was murdered in front of his gas station in Mesa, Arizona by a man who called himself a patriot. Balbir Singh Sodhi was the first person killed in thousands of acts of hate in the aftermath of 9/11. Since his murder, countless lives have been lost or shattered by the way our nation responded to 9/11 — in decades of war, torture, surveillance, deportations, detentions, and hate violence that continues today.

Balbir Singh Sodhi was a kind-hearted and generous man, whom many called “Uncle.” He would give candy to children who came to his gas station as if they were his own children. He let people who didn’t have money for gas fill up and go. His brothers would shake their heads in disbelief. Was he a saint or a fool? But Balbir Uncle would just smile, saying God wants us to serve all. He and his brothers had come to America to escape religious persecution against Sikhs in India. He was planting flowers in front of his gas station when he was shot in the back, targeted for his turban.

Balbir Uncle wore his turban as part of his faith — his commitment to love all of humanity. What if we made the vision that he died for our North Star? What would the world look like if we valued human dignity above all? What if we chose, like Balbir Uncle, to treat all as family, to see no stranger? How would we be remembered 20 years from now? #BalbirSodhi #20YearsSince

Original artwork by Sunroop Kaur, @loquacious_lines

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Posted by: Frank | September 13, 2021

Frank blogged on September 13, 2021 at 02:04PM

I’ve listened to Andrew Sullivan’s interview with Michael Wolff, who has written three books about the Trump presidency. Wolff’s assessment of Trump is straightforward, he believes Trump is crazy and thus not competent to be a real threat to Democracy. I think Wolff is being too myopic in his assessment, a Trump presidency is not the same as Trump the man. Trump the man is a mark for those in power and that makes a Trump presidency dangerous. Another Trump presidency is dangerous for how it will be used by those who Trump thinks is an ally.

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Posted by: Frank | September 13, 2021

Frank blogged on September 13, 2021 at 01:47PM

You can rage against the man, or you can enable people to access your applications and sites. Or write a web browser for them to access your site.

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Posted by: Frank | September 13, 2021

Frank blogged on September 13, 2021 at 10:24AM

What if COVID-19 lead to better treatments for, dare I dream a cure for, cancer?

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Posted by: Frank | September 11, 2021

Frank blogged on September 11, 2021 at 11:28AM

In my feeds this morning are some statements recalling how united they thought we were on 9/12/2001 and wishing that was the same today. A deeper, perhaps more meaningful question might be, why is it that the United States can only unite around hatred for an external enemy?

Some thought, many hoped, back then that the event would be a catalyst for change. Of course change is always happening, transformation is what is really desired. The difference is between what naturally happens and intent. Transformation requires true understanding of from what to what, which in turn requires a desire to look within.

Take for example the pandemic. Much of the struggle amongst ourselves is superficial. Wear a mask, don’t wear a mask. Get the vaccine, I’ll never get the vaccine. Our attention is on these arguments with little thought about why the arguments are even happening.

For me what the pandemic exposes, and what has existed from well before 9/11, is a majority of people stuck within the basic animal instinct to view everything and everyone by comparison. Either you’re or with me or you’re against me is one of our most basic survival instincts. While this instinct keeps us alive in a moment of crisis, living constantly in this mode prevents one from growing and usually makes us vulnerable to being manipulated in to decisions not in our long term best interests.

The transformation some of us desired after 9/11 that would have resulted in more unity did not happen because there was no intention for it to happen. Change, yes, that has happened, we have evolved to a more fractured not united state than before, and will apparently continue to do so unless we intentionally chose a different path.

The United States of America is only 245 years old. In comparison to the world, the U.S. is a toddler, to the universe, an infant. Our growth (transformation) relies in embracing the seemingly conflicting values of liberty and unity, by transformation from an either/or worldview to a both/and worldview. The transformation will not be easy because everything we know and see around us is built on and reinforces either/or. Either/or keeps power in power. Take the red pill

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Posted by: Frank | September 9, 2021

Frank blogged on September 09, 2021 at 09:51AM

I think When Society Becomes an Addict by Anne Wilson Schaef provides much insight in to why the United States is stuck. 📚

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Posted by: Frank | September 9, 2021

Frank blogged on September 09, 2021 at 09:47AM

I think the hyper-individualistic mode that pervades the United States is as much a product of the neoliberal reaction the New Deal. Ever since they were enacted we have been stuck in a war over the New Deal laws and philosophy that put constraints the capitalist/wealthy class of the United States. Underlying all of that is the class warfare that drove the finding of the New World and is implicit in the founding of the United States. We won’t achieve anything that we want until we become honest about our beginnings.

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Posted by: Frank | September 7, 2021

Frank blogged on September 07, 2021 at 10:49AM

“Climate policy is ultimately an economic question.” – John Cochrane

This is ultimately our societal problem, viewing everything only in terms of market value and economists thinking they have solutions to every problem. Economists are today’s clerics.

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