Political Donaldism

We worry about people who take Scripture too literally, but what about those who take Disney comics too literally? (Picture from Wikipedia.)

Looking at political debate these days, I wonder how much of it is based on the Disney universe and its character Scrooge McDuck, whose most famous attribute is the giant Money Bin, in which coins and banknotes are stored like grain in a silo.

The things we pick up when we are children tend to stay with us through life, if we don’t actively reflect on ourselves and change our perceptions. Even then they continue to influence us subconsciously for a while.

In the real world, the “super rich” don’t actually store their money that way. The money is, except for that used in personal consumption, invested in various ways. The super rich may own entire businesses, which they have either founded or bought out later. They may own property which they rent out either to businesses or housing. They may have money in various financial institutions. But mostly their capital is invested in the stock market and in bonds.

The difference between the money bin and the stock market is pretty clear when we come to the effect of taxation. If the government were to somehow manage to siphon some money off from Scrooge’s money bin, chances are that they would put it to better use than being used for a rick man to dive in.  But if the government withdraw the same amount of money from the stock market or bond market, they better have a VERY good reason, as they are undercutting the future production of society.

This aside from the question of “whose money is it anyway”, which is a separate problem.

Not saying it can’t be done, but let’s just realize what is going on. You are not taking “passive” capital and injecting it in the economy. You are drawing money out of the productive economy because you have some purpose you think is more important. This has always been the case, of course. Even a very conservative nation would have a military, police and probably public roads. There are certainly various purposes that tax money can be used for.  But it is not true that this money is just lying around now. It is currently being invested in various of the things we like, and these will become scarcer – and therefore more expensive – as we withdraw resources from production.

So just keep that in mind, and try to consciously correct for the subconscious influence of Scrooge McDuck.

Ironically, Carl Barks who invented this character and his money bin, was himself pro-capitalist. “I feel that everybody should be able to rise as high as they can or want to, provided they don’t kill anybody or actually oppress other people on the way up.”

Ah, the marvels of unintended consequences.

Google 2-step verification

Some of you may remember that my Google account was hacked some months ago. I am still not sure how. I did suspect an app on my Android phone, where I typed in my password out of habit since it was associated with Google – but actually only displayed Google News, which don’t need the password. However, I am not sure that was the reason, or even that it was my password it asked for – there was just an input box that displayed over the screen.

Another possibility is that the thieves simply assumed that I used the same password on Google as I used everywhere else on the Internet. They were right – at the time I did use the same password pretty much everywhere. Then again I did not register at naughty places, having no need for that. The most dubious were probably the message boards for web comics, and those were already getting old at the time. I am not the kind of user who signs up for free gifts at random places. I am not exactly paranoid, obviously, but generally cautious.  Maybe one of those sites were hacked. I run various anti-spyware program on my Windows machines – Linux don’t need those, and that’s a fact for now at least.

In any case, back then I was lucky: The thieves only sent spam to everyone in my rather small contact list, and mostly just random letters at that. But there is now a more cruel and insidious hacker league on the warpath. Once they have control of your Google account – or Yahoo for those who use that – they send mail telling your friends that you have met some dramatic misfortune abroad and need money to get home, could they please lend you some. They also obtain enough information from your mails to answer any simple request from the cautious friend, rather than relying on a fire and forget approach. Mail the stolen account and they will pretend to be you, to the best of their limited abilities.

I am making it quite a bit harder for them, I think, by enabling the fairly new feature of 2-step verification. There are a couple ways of doing the extra verification, but as I have a smartphone, I downloaded the Google Authenticator. It is a small app that is only used for this purpose, to generate a random 6-digit code that is used in a separate screen after mail address and password.

In other words, after logging in normally to Google, you have to supply this pass code. During setup, the account is tied to this particular phone, so the thief also need your phone in addition to your password, to hack your account. Now I just need to not lose my phone!  People do that a lot, I hear.  I lost a mobile phone some years ago, during a train ride.

However, you don’t need to use this code generator every time you want to check your mail. You do it when you would normally need to sign in: When you start using a new computer, or when you have not used this one for a while, especially if you have used another computer in the meantime. For me, logging on seems to be needed mostly after power outages but otherwise a couple times a week.

As for the phone itself, I had to write in a lengthy one-time password. For good measure, the phone was about to run out of power at the time, after only 17 hours of mostly non-use. If I ever go on a long trip again, I should probably have an extra battery. A bit inconvenient to not be able to access my mail because my phone is out of power.

There are a couple back-up measures. The setup generates a handful of pre-defined codes for your account, that can be used instead of those from the authenticator. So you can print those out and put them in your wallet or purse or shirt pocket for when the smartphone app is not available.

Another option is to get them via text or voicemail to a secondary phone, such as work phone or landline. I don’t have a landline anymore, and to my surprise I had a hard time remembering my work phone number, even though I remember it effortlessly when at work. (I have to enter it daily in a program.) I am also wary because I had my mobile phone as backup last time, when my account was hacked, and they never sent the new password even though the number was right. They said they did, but it never arrived. So I might have lost my account for good, had I thrown away the old computer which I used when I first got my Google account. Luckily I had it, and with it all details of when it was first set up. This convinced Google to give me back my account.  But if I had not descended from packrats, I would have been in trouble.

Anyway, I am not sure I have less chance of losing access to my account now. But I have less chance of sending y’all spam if it happens, and that is good.

To do this yourself, open Gmail and choose Settings (at the top). There, choose Accounts and import, and Other Google account settings. A new page opens, which includes “Using 2-step verification”. Or that’s where I did it.


My job is not secret in the “secret agent” sense, but we are asked to not tell on the Internet where we work, or use the work computers to post on the Internet. As if I would! Even my father and my brothers don’t know exactly where I work.

(Yes, you guys who like to post on social sites from work: All large workplaces have their own IP addresses, so the admins (at the very least) can trace back to see where you post from. And the network admin at your workplace can see what you are doing with their computer network as well.)

Anyway, when I talk about work, it will only be in the most generic sense. And in the generic sense, I just the other day asked my boss to find more work for me. I have held only 90% work hours for about a decade now, but even then I have felt that there is little suitable work.  I can physically not speak more than a few minutes a day, so that excludes working phone support.  (We do generally give various IT related support to a large organization.) I cannot travel easily, either. So that limits what I can do somewhat.  My boss is however confident that she can find more work for me without inventing anything unnecessary. In other words, I want to work more so others can go home with a good conscience, rather than having to sit an hour or two extra each day.

So starting May, I will try to work full hours. Obviously it also pays a little more, but that is not my motivation. Despite the high rent, I am doing well enough. And I don’t expect 10%, reduced with around 1/3 in tax, to noticeably affect my budget. I guess if a man can buy a new smartphone every year and a half, he is pretty well off by global standards.  Of course, here in the zeroeth world, people are constantly driven by raging desires for things that cost money. I keep getting amazed and amused by the things people think they need, and the self-made desperation by which they seek what is actually mere luxury.

The reason why I want to work more is that work is love. Not having an ordinary family life, work is my main way of giving back my love to the world, the society and the civilization without which I could not even today survive for long, and on which I was a parasite for so long.  Almost everything I am, is in some way a gift from other people. Even the words with which we think are formed by poets and farmers and mothers singing to their children (and occasionally by carpenters when they hit their thumb) over thousands of years.

Even in the unlikely case that I should manage to pay off my debt to the world in my lifetime, I should still try to help people, because it is the right thing to do. Never mind that giving happiness to others is the fastest way to become happy ourselves. I am usually happy already.

I would definitely work even if I got the same pay without it. Well, unless I could find a more effective way to help people. But I am not gifted with social skills, so having other people find ways for me to help is not only easier, it is probably more effective.

Here in Norway, there are actually people who could get MORE money if they did not work.  The unemployment and disability pensions are so generous to people with children, that if they take a low-paying job, they will have less money for their family. And some of them still take the job. Now that is worthy of respect. Although their kids may think differently.


The Candle of God is awesome, but it is quite religious in nature, and I think I may already be over-representing that part of my life here, compared to in practice. It is easy to write about spiritual things because the ever helpful fountain in my mind could probably feed me stuff to write for a thousand years, if I were worthy to write it all. I am not, so let us ration it for realism.

I still managed to complete one Incarnate trial in City of Heroes, and do a couple rounds in Mission Architect with two Masterminds.  Technically they are in City of Villains, but they stay in the Architect building and only do heroic missions, waiting to become old enough to move over to “blueside”, as we call the Hero part of the game. The other part is of course “redside”.

(It is worth noticing that in Europe, and presumably the rest of the world outside the USA, red is the color of socialism and blue of conservatism, as is good and proper. That’s why China does not fly a blue flag, for instance.)

The weather is a bit chillier here again, but not anywhere near snowing. Today was overcast most of the way to work and all the way home, meaning I could read on the commute bus! I love the relatively few overcast days we have, since I get migraine if I read in direct sunshine. It is only a 5-point disadvantage, and well worth the extra points I got to spend on IQ. :p  But the south coast of Norway has a LOT of sunshine, not that this makes it warm except in the summer.  I love overcast days and the dark season because of the reading.  Of course, I can always meditate, but the commute is like my dedicated reading time, when the weather allows.

That should be enough! It is midnight. Oh, and in the programming language C, the expression ++ after  a variable means to increase that variable by one, which can be done in passing, so to say. Thus “day++” means we’ve added one more day. But unlike in programming, I can’t see how far this variable will go before it ends.

On the other hand, nobody knows how far the US DEBT CLOCK will go before it ends either. Feel free to stare at it for some hours and gain wisdom in the heart, or something.

Two books

“The Underworld seems like a rather intense establishment.” That, I would say, is rather an understatement.  Dante and Matheson have somewhat different takes on the afterlife, but I would definitely not want to spend a substantial time in the Lower Regions, for instance because of teaching things that are too big for me.

I have written a pretty strong religious entry, but I feel it is a bit above my praygrade, so I am uncertain about posting it. Perhaps I should wait a bit.

Finished reading Matheson’s book, What Dreams May Come. It really is similar to the fourth and fifth dimension in Okawa’s Laws of Eternity. Actually Matheson’s book is older, from 1978, but only by a few years. It seems unlikely that Okawa would base his worldview on it. On the other hand, both of them casually reference a certain Emanuel Swedenborg, acknowledging that he had a reasonable idea of what he was talking about. I would not know, having never had any dealing with the afterlife, to the best of my memory.

Having read the book, I found myself wishing it were longer, or that there were a sequel. Or that Master Okawa would write more books about the spirit world. It seems like a fascinating place. Of course, that would depend greatly on which part of it one landed in!


Begun on another e-book, The Candle of God by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. He is also the author of The Thirteen-petalled Rose, which I reviewed in February. I was quite impressed by that book, and so I have started reading this one, although it is not a sequel or prequel. The book is primarily written for fellow Jews, but not necessarily theologians, so it is fairly easy to read, at least for me.  I am not a Jew, of course, but has a passing knowledge of the Torah from reading the Christian Bible, which includes most of the Written Torah.

The fact that the Rabbi is so unabashedly Jewish gives a certain comfort: We know that he does not have a hidden agenda to prove the superiority of Judaism to a religious opponent or challenger. The primacy of Judaism is taken for granted, it is an axiom on which these books rest. So we get a peek into Jewish “mysticism light” as experienced by those who actually live in it.  It may be esoteric, but it is not obscure. There is no attempt to show off, just to show what he sees. This is an endearing trait in an author of religion or philosophy, where the temptation to add prestige to one’s words is strong and may camouflage itself as concern for the soul of the reader. Instead, his words convey an obvious enthusiasm.

Well, I should finish it before giving any kind of real review, but I find myself looking forward to more of it. But now I need sleep. There is work to do tomorrow, Light willing. And probably some City of Heroes, although if this book is as good as the Rose, I may be end up reading it at home and not only on the bus.

More fun with surveys

“You have to sit in a block of steel which moves at an unbelievable speed.” -This is actually pretty much how I feel about cars. You can probably not even imagine how I feel about TV.  Let us say that references to the Apocalypse come unbidden to my mind…

Synovate, my provider of Norwegian surveys, sent me another one. This time I may win an iPad! Somehow I don’t think that will happen. Actually I suspect all of my surveys are quietly filtered out at the very beginning of the processing. There is probably some algorithm that scans the results and rejects those that are obviously not made by a human. And that’s where I think mine go.

This time it was TV. I managed to answer the two first questions, which were about names of cable TV providers, of which I knew 3. It went downhill from there.
Do you have…
O – Digital TV
O – Analog TV
O – Don’t know
I don’t even have a TV, and I know that quite well! Still, my best hope for the iPad was to pick the least misleading. So from there on and out the survey it was “Don’t know”.

It is not the first time.
What brand of car does your household have? “I don’t know” (don’t have a car).
What part of the world did you go on vacation last year? “I don’t know” (don’t go on vacations).
Which radio programs do you listen to? “I don’t know” (don’t listen to radio).
Which newspapers do you subscribe to? “I don’t know” (none).
Which of the following movie ads have you seen? “I don’t know” (don’t go to the movies).
What do you think of the following soap operas (or something like that)? “I don’t know” (still don’t have a TV).
Which readymade dinner do prefer? “I don’t know” (don’t buy readymade dinner).
Which air plane company did you last use and why? “I don’t know” (it’s been 25 years after all).
And so on and so forth.

It isn’t exactly that I am dead to the world. If they asked me what mobile phones I used, I could answer them. They did in fact once ask me about web services, and I did answer. (But I did not win anything…) I could probably still say something about computers, unless they included the “last 12 months” as they sometimes do. I also once recognized some snacks! Admittedly most of them were familiar names from before the fat intolerance, but I still occasionally buy some small snack.  And I have pretty strong opinions on soda (Pepsi Raw / Natural is The Best!).

So I don’t subsist entirely on water, spiritual books and City of Heroes. But evidently I am still far from normal. I am not sure that is a bad thing, though.

New “raids” in City of Heroes

Screenshot from incarnate trial in City of Heroes/Villains, with new League overview on the left side of the screen.

Well, City of Heroes and Villains, I suppose, as these new “trials” are open for heroes and villains alike.  I am happy to say that the Hero half of the game remains the more popular, though. Despite a number of competitors in recent years, the old CoX (as the double hero/villain game is often called) remains the king of the hill, and a major reason for this is ever new content included in the subscription fee.

City of Heroes, when new, was among the very first to use instances – basically pocket universes where a quest takes place independently of the rest of the world. Nobody except your team can come into that warehouse while you bust the drug shipment, effectively eliminating the problem of “kill stealing” that has plagued online games since the dawn of the genre.  Today, instanced dungeons are taken for granted even in the sword & sorcery MMORPGs, but that was not usually the case.

Raids, on the other hand, have been around for a long time, and most other online RPGs have been more successful with them.  Despite the unique rewards, the Hamidon raids in CoX only appealed to the hardcore players, which were rather a minority in this game. Part of it was that CoX is graphically intensive, with all the special effects you would expect from superpowers. But it is also hard to organize a large crowd. Until now, the largest fighting unit was a team of 8 players (plus pets, if any).

With issue 20, Paragon Studios introduce leagues:  Basically teams of teams. You can have up to 48 players in a league, by filling up 6 teams of 8 players each. Teams retain the functions they have had before, but in addition you now get a league channel for discussing strategy, and a league display that shows the health and archetype of every member in the league, priceless for healers and useful for all. (Admittedly healers play a much lesser role in City than in traditional RPGs, but it is still nice to have them around, not least during extreme challenges such as these.)

The new trials are endgame content, and only available for those who have bought Going Rogue. (The expansion pack for City of Heroes, not the book by Sarah Palin, unfortunately. It would have been highly amusing if they had meant the latter.) Since this is only the second expansion pack in 7 years, the first being City of Villains, most players who stay around for a bit eventually buy it. There is a lot of content in the game after 7 years, and it is now possible to experience any and all of it through “flashbacks” even after you have reached the maximum level, so there is no pressure. It will probably take a year or two to get through it all, more if you have a job or a family or a religion or something.

Once you’re ready to take the next step, though, you need Going Rogue and a level 50 character.  (The highest level in the game.) There is a tab on the standard interface marked LFG, and here you can sign up for either the Behavioral Adjustment Facility or Lamda Sector, or just take the first one that comes up, regardless of which. The latter is a good option for the fresh level 50 who has not yet unlocked his Alpha slot, as either of the two will contribute to that.

(Or her Alpha slot, as more than a third of the players of CoX are “grl in RL”, as the saying goes. Not very helpful for the desperate dater, as most of them came to the game by playing together with their husband or boyfriend.)

Anyway, what’s with this unlocking of slots? Well, you see, the level cap is still 50. Instead of gaining more levels, the more ambitious heroes are gaining Incarnate abilities, which allows for even more specialization than the game already has. For instance, already in Issue 19 you could unlock the Alpha slot, which lets you select a boost for all your powers. It could be more damage, or more accuracy, or more defense, or speed, or endurance. But you can’t have them all at the same time. There are some combinations, but not of the main benefits, and the more you specialize in one benefit, the less there is for others.

Issue 20 offers a whopping 4 new incarnate slots.  One is a “proc”, a chance of adding extra effects to any of your attacks. One is an area damage that hurts your enemies, another is an area effect that strengthens your friends for a short time, and one is a controllable pet.  Like the Alpha slot, there are numerous different effects to choose from, but you can only have one at a time in each slot. There are also different strengths, from common to very rare. And all of these are built from components that you get mainly through these two trials. (You can convert shards that you find during other content, but it is a slow process indeed.)

In addition to giving you components for building the various abilities, you also have to unlock them, and the only way to do this for the fabulous four is to do these trials repeatedly. To the best of my knowledge, there is no way around it. Each of the two trials unlocks two of the powers, gradually by means of a special incarnate xp. So you have to do them both, several times each, if you want to be one of the top dogs.

Needless to say, some people are less than in love with the notion of mandatory “grinding”, as RPG players call it when you do the same thing over and over. I suppose if you are a housewife, you get enough of that in Real Life! Some jobs too, I guess. So why pay for doing it in a game?

Well, in this case, because it is fun.  If you use the game’s queue system, you will be thrown together with completely random heroes and villains in a fight to forestall an invasion of Earth. The only thing they have in common is that they are level 50. They will have very different powers, so you have to change your tactics for every time you do it.  While I won’t say it is infinitely replayable, it is definitely replayable.

Once you have opened one or more of the incarnate slots, you can do any content in the game (except the player-made Mission Architect content, I believe) and gain a modest amount of  “Incarnate shards”, which can be converted to “Incarnate threads” and used to build content for the new power slots. So it is not like you actually need to do these trials hundreds of times if you don’t want to. You may, however, either because you like them or because you want to want to be the best there is at what you do. If so, knock yourself out. Actually, most likely your opponents will do that for you. These are not called trials for nothing! But even if you lose, you still get various good stuff from them. So I expect them to remain popular for quite a while. They certainly are now.

An anti-dromedary??

An antidromedary? (Negative of picture from Wikipedia.)

Not quite. Enantiodromia is the tendency of the psyche to counteract change. Rather than passive resistance, enantiodromia implies an actual movement in the opposite direction of the recent changes.

A common phrase describing this is “two steps forward, one step back” (and sometimes, by the more exasperated, “one step forward, two steps back”.) Whenever a constant effort of change is put upon the psyche, there is a resistance. When one presses forward, it is a bit as if walking in a bubble of some invisible elastic material, which pulls one back as soon as one stops moving forward, or even if not. To make progress, one must drag this whole two-ton bubble forward with oneself.  This is because the conscious self is only a small part of the psyche, most of which is subconscious.

The lecher who gives his life over to sexual pleasures will after a while find that he no longer takes pleasure from them, even in quantities that he formerly found enjoyable. But at the same time, the monk who tries to devote himself to celibacy finds himself burning with unrequited lust.  (I am not talking here about the normal feeling of satisfaction or hunger in the short run, but over a longer span of time. As a tide compared to a wave, perhaps.)  Likewise the fervent believer will inevitably experience doubt, and a doubt that shakes his convictions to the core; but the ardent skeptic will suddenly be given to irrational superstition.

The greater the force by which one tries to move the psyche, the greater the force by which it strikes back. In many cases this has caused a whole new personality to emerge, one that is opposite to the personality one displayed before.  A revolution of the mind, as it were.

But reading about it, it seems to be another case of what Boris Mouravieff calls the “General Law”. Or in everyday speech: “Don’t rock the boat.” Don’t move too fast, don’t move too far, or the automatic mechanisms to stop insanity will kick in and drag you back. Or you could overcome, I suppose, with sufficient force.

Besides reducing the incidence of madness, the General Law also helps avoid cultural flutter. You would not like to go on a vacation to Malaysia and come back a Muslim.  So we have a defense against changing far and fast.  Although it seems to me that people who fall in love can punch through this barrier. Then again they are, in my eyes at least, already insane. ^_^

It is extremely rare that a voice in my head says a word I don’t know, for the obvious reason that the voice is not actually a voice but more like a current of thought in my greater flood of thought (or perhaps it is the other way around). In fact, I would still not have known how to spell it if not for Google’s helpful “Did you mean to search for…” feature.

Stealing religious books

Yes you should! That’s what public libraries are for. And their modern equivalent, the Pirate Bay. For all the books you couldn’t buy anyway, either because you’re a broke high school student or because you are not part of the Chosen People according to B&N. Or at least if you do, I won’t be condemning you, since I just did the same thing…

On a list of most counter-productive things to do, stealing religious material must be somewhere close to the top! So how did I end up downloading this book about the afterlife from Pirate Bay?

It all started with my reading about Purgatory, a Catholic invention (except it also appears in other religions, just not in the Bible, probably not). Raised in a distinctly non-Catholic corner of Europe, I found the notion rather quaint until recently, when I actually came to that part in Dante’s Divine Comedy. I still doubt it happens after death, or at least if it does, it is probably only as a continuation of a process initiated in this life.

Be that as it may, Wikipedia somehow pointed me in the direction of this book, What Dreams May Come, by Matheson. Known as a horror writer until then, he had decided to write a fiction based on his own belief about the afterlife, the result of careful studies of a broad range of different sources.

Now, I could order the book in paperback and it would be here in a couple weeks, by which time I would have forgotten the whole thing. Or I could buy the ebook. I went to Amazon and tried to find the Kindle version, but there was none. Well, the book is not new by any means, and perhaps not all that popular despite there being made an inferior movie from it.

I did not give up that fast though. Further search on Google led me to Google ebooks, which had an Android readable version. Yay! But… pressing the button had no effect. Another Google search verified my suspicion: Only available in the United States. Well, that’s Google Books for you. Evidently this is a generic policy of theirs, due up for revision sometime this year.  Google is under the watchful eyes of governments and corporations all over the world hoping for them to make a misstep, so I can see why they would be cautious in the legal minefield that is copyright.

Barnes and Noble had the book in Nook version! Yay! I made a new B&N account. (My previous account there disappeared into the void when they decided to give up on ebooks some years ago and closed down their ebook store along with the books I had bought from them and which they had, at the time of sale, told me that they would keep in their “library” so that I could download it to whichever device I wanted. Now that they have the Nook, they are back, but my books are not.) I actually gave them my credit card details and some such, before they suddenly decided it was time to inform me that I needed a US billing address.

I spent another hour or two looking for any way of buying it the ebook. And then I downloaded it from Pirate Bay.

If B&N or Google wants the $9.99, they just have to write me and tell me how to pay them. You see, it was paying I spent more than two hours in vain trying to do. Getting the actual text to my computer screen takes about a minute, perhaps a little less.

This is not unique for this book, or even for books in general. The actual books, music, movies etc are readily available on Pirate Bay (Sweden) and other file sharing sites. Getting them takes minutes at most – usually only seconds with my fiber connection. Getting to pay for them is a nightmare. “No, we don’t want your dirty non-American money. Go away! If there is a world outside the US, we don’t want to know about it.”

While I could easily spend all my free time downloading books, music and movies from file sharing sites, I generally don’t. If there is someone, anyone, who sells the stuff I want legally, I’d rather buy it from them. Otherwise I usually skip it. After all, I have produced intellectual property myself for many years, as a software developer. If people had copied my programs when they were available for sale, I would have not lost any sleep about setting their house on fire while they slept. That’s how I felt about it back then. I have mellowed a bit since then. -_-  But generally I don’t like piracy.

There goes a line, however, and it seems to go with people who first steal my stuff and then refuse to trade with me. Hi B&N? I have upped my standards, now up yours!


In more pleasant memories, I actually first met the teachings of Master Ryuho Okawa when I downloaded an animated movie of his, The Laws of Eternity, from a fellow on the Internet who gave the impression that it was free.  When I learned that it was actually a professional movie that had made the rounds at the movie theaters in Japan, I wrote to the nearest Happy Science temple and asked how to buy this and other movies by Mr Okawa. They were quite helpful, although in this case they had to redirect me to an address in Japan, where IRH Press is located. I have since bought all the publicly available books in English by them, so it is rather a “Happy” ending for them, I would say.

(Incidentally, the afterlife described in What Dreams May Come is fairly similar to that of Laws of Eternity, except it does not move beyond the fourth or fifth dimension.)


Generally, I am not convinced that copying is theft. I suppose if Jesus had multiplied the loaves and fishes today, the bakeries and fisheries would have sued him, but I obviously disagree. (In fact, matter-structure multiplication may quite possibly become commonplace in the not too distant future, which will raise some interesting questions.)

I do however feel that people who give something of value to others should be compensated for it, and currently buying their stuff is the most convenient way of doing so, even though greedy middlemen run off with most of the profit. Hopefully in the future writers, musicians etc will be able to collect donations in a more direct way, but for now, buying is usually the best way.

And for the record, I do not expect or even accept any financial recompense for my own writing, thank you very much! ^_^

(In fact, while I would frown on putting your name under anything I write, it is quite fine to present it as “Some guy on the Internet once said…” Just don’t try to sell it.)

New mobile phone

Since none had any protests against me and the Huawei U8800 joining in a wholly matter-of-money, I brought this beauty home today. The picture does not really do justice to the crisp screen, but that’s because I suck at photography, or at least not have a tripod to place the camera on for long exposures.

The Titan is not that much larger than the Hero, the screen fills even more of the front but is only a diagonal 3.8″ rather than 3.2″ in the older phone. But the screen resolution is twice that of the Hero, and this is quite noticeable.  When viewing the Hungersite page in Opera, for instance, I can now clearly see the tabs on the top showing the other more or less worthy purposes that share its space, such as the Breast Cancer site and the Literacy site. On the old phone, I could only see smudges which I identified by their placement and shape; they were not actually readable.

Somehow it feels like I have passed an invisible threshold, and actually have moved from simply a “smart phone” to the long awaited Datapad, the handheld unit for interfacing with the world. Web browsing, mail and even moderate amounts of writing are only marginally harder than on a small computer.  Arguably, the thing is a small computer.  I suspect this is how iPhone owners have felt for a while, for one of the things that gadget actually did right was prioritize the screen resolution over pretty much everything else. It may seem overkill for such a small screen, but it is our window to the world (wide web) after all.

The problem of my manly sausage fingers remain, although it is slightly helped by the slightly larger screen estate. Seeing is one thing, hitting is another. For surfing, Opera’s latest mobile browser offers a help: If I hit more than one link at a time, the program automatically zooms in on the spot so the links become large, and waits for me to press again.  I have not needed it to repeat this procedure so far, so it works, and it works quickly.  Typing is another matter. Swiftkey does correct some errors, but I still notice that my right hand still has a tendency to hit the keys to the left of where I intended.

It took some time to download the apps I was used to from the Hero: Opera (the browser), and clients for my three types of blogs:  LiveJournal, Blogger and WordPress. Since my blogs have different purposes and audiences, I don’t particularly want one client app that can post to two or all three of them. That would just make it easier to confuse what I was doing, and I would probably miss out on some features.

Then there are media consumption apps,  Spotify (European music streaming service) and Amazon Kindle e-book reader.

Some apps were already loaded right out of the box: Twitter, Facebook and Gmail, a camera app, and the indispensable alarm clock.  The thing also comes with a text message app and even voice calls, whatever that may be good for…

One unpleasant surprise was that the Titan uses a microUSB instead of the more common mini USB contact for recharging and syncing to computers. I have plenty of the old ones, which fit a number of gadgets, including the Sony PSP. I habitually recharge the mobile phone off the PC when I am sitting at one, and even at night (I have a netbook beside me at night, connected to the stereo.) None of these work anymore. There was a cable in the box; but while the phone fits excellently in a shirt pocket, the cable does not.  So I bought an extra to bring with me home. It was rather expensive too. I distinctly remember putting it on my desk after testing it and deciding to put it in my bag after I had finished whatever it was doing. It is not in my bag though, so presumably I mistook planning to do for actually doing. A human trait, at least!

So now the weekend has begun, and my office is locked until Monday, and I have no way of recharging the new smartphone. I still have the old phone, though. Luckily it is not yet broken. Only outdated.