Uh, so Atheism+ is actually a thing?
OK, so I had taken my eye off the skeptical scene of late, having felt a bit put off by the whole “elevatorgate” thing (man do I hate the appending of gate to incidents which generate scandal), I kept my subscription to skeptics guide but simply stopped listening to it, though kept on listening to skeptics with a k… those guys are fun and a riot to listen to and occasionally coming back for a little before drifting away again.
It didn’t help that the back end of 2012 I was somewhat busy with arranging a move to the other end of the UK so I was somewhat distracted, time seeming to run away from you at ever greater speeds as you get older I thought I would catch up with the videos I had missed out on by Thunderf00t, when I watched this series of videos
This is where I hear about Atheism+ for the first time and my initial thought was “well, this is startlingly familiar to how religious schisms occur creating a new offshoot” and watching more of Thunderf00t’s videos on this particular subject it appears I’m not the only one to see this. What further worries me is that atheism is being branded as a movement, I always thought the movement was the skeptical one – you know, critical free thinking.
Atheism is just an aspect of many of us as a result of critical thinking, not the whole thing and I fear that it does nothing but give credence to the positions offered by those of a religious bent that atheism is a religion too, with the addition of a plus to the name and an attempt to craft a moral code around it you are turning it into such a thing. They’re even taking on board the denouncing of unbelievers stance common amongst the most virulent of religions as a means of keeping people in line! Don’t want to become a pariah within your community? Then do as we say.
I’ve long thought that religions using god as an answer to things they didn’t understand was just a small component of the overall beast and that the main purpose was a means of someone getting those around them to behave in a way they think is correct. Go and look at the diktats issued out by A+’ers and you will notice it is all about behavioural control, coincidence? Roll the clock back a couple thousand years and you could almost see these moral pluses being referred to a commandments.
It almost reminds me of the future shown in the Demolition Man, as much as that movie was a parody it is also a good example of how the desire to control the behaviour and thoughts of society can stem from good intentions (that they would directly profit from it as the head of that movement would be a happy coincidence, I’m sure).
You can see that it isn’t power crazed and that they likely think they are doing it for the greater good, but the way they are going about it is not only concerning but goes against the very concepts held dear in the hearts of skeptics. Shutting down differing and opposing viewpoints is a dangerous precedent and not one I would like to see enter any community I feel a part of, shunning those who won’t follow your preset views and creating an “us vs them” dichotomy where one didn’t exist before should never be a part of a critical thinking community. I feel quite proud that I have never put a person on ignore in any social platform even when I have fundamentally disagreed with their beliefs because I still think it is valuable to have their input, no matter how wrong or disturbing I find it.
Gathering around you only those who think and act the exact same way you do, blocking differing opinions, leads to nothing but a stagnant echo chamber and the promotion of arguments over trivial things.
My curiosity will not allow me to ignore the A+ “movement” nor would it keep me from attending any of their conferences because I like to know what others are doing, but I sure as hell can’t identify with them and what is an antithetical movement to the values of free and critical thinking.
It has taken me some time to put the bits together (2 years in fact), but I have finally pensioned off my old server and ushered in the era of teletran2… my new VMWare Server and TVPC; cobbling together old CPU, mobo, RAM and PSU from work and a new 3TB HDD within my old LianLi case circa 2001.
Now that I have a server with more than 2GB of RAM, I can run multiple virtual machines at the same time and begin the journey of retiring the old Exchange 2003 mail server and bring my personal email into the modern world!
To do this, I am switching away from a Windows based world to a Linux one by using the open source version of Zimbra. This will give me a modern webmail interface plus carddav, caldav and IMAP working across all of my devices rather than a broken IMAP service that has no issues but just won’t work no matter what I do.
It also means I will need to move alphaxion.com over to a new webserver and DHCP/DNS services for my internal network when my old Windows server is shut down for the last time. As all of this is planned to be running on Linux, it will completely remove any licensing needs and the fear of having to spend in order to keep up with developing technologies.
I won’t be stopping at replacing already existing services, with the additional resources provided by a beefed up server, I plan on introducing new ones to the house such as a wiki for shared information like our LoveFilm account, wifi passwords, network configuration details, software licensing and utility accounts/bills so they’re not stored in old documents or physical bits of paper and can be accessed regardless of method because they are all web based.
Why don’t I just use a cloud based service and save myself the time and money? After the many instances of services shutting down and hacks/leaks/sales/snoops of data on cloud servers, I want to know I can put my hand on my data and not have some hidden back door into it. If it’s on my network, it’s not immediately viewable to the outside world. Besides, why would I deny myself the fun of figuring this all out, setting it up and deploying it?
It appears the government took a little too much tax off of me in the financial year of 2010 to 2011 and decided to drop a surprising cheque through our letterbox.
As any good geek does, I set about planning how to spend that money!
Yes, there were too many options running through my head – do I build a new system, since I’ve had my current one since 2008. Or how about a new monitor to replace my good old 2005 vintage Dell ultrasharp 24″?
Then I remembered how disgruntled I have been with my old Canon HF100 camcorder of late and how I’d love to have my own DSLR to not only up my video production game (and get back to doing so once again) but also to have a kick arse camera by my side after only ever owning point and shoots.
It was decided then and there, I’d treat myself to my first ever DSLR…
Learning how to manually control a camera has been quite an eye opener after years of only knowing automatics – and is so much fun.
Here’s some example photo’s I have taken so far with the beast:
As you can see, I’m just having a play around right now and finding out how to use the various options and more importantly when to use them. When it comes to the video capabilities, that I’m also working on and have a fun idea on how I can mix both playing around with the camera and creating content. Expect to see more in the future!
In the mean time, you can see my latest pictures over on Flickr.
As mentioned in my mini-post recently, I am currently rebuilding the verticalslice.tv website with a view to converting it into an Internet TV portal, rather than the single show, blog-style it is currently sporting.
This gives me the chance to really play with CSS, PHP and (attempt) SQL in ways that I never have before. It’s not gonna be pretty and I may still end up in a huff at not being able to get the job done >.<
During the arduous task of designing and building the new site, I will be recording a sort of comedy diary-type affair titled “We Can Rebuild Her”, where I will chronicle my hap-hazard attempts to put the site together with almost no knowledge on what I’m doing! I plan on dragging you guys into the
hell-hole nightmare fun with me!
After a bunch of screaming at the monitor as if I were lost in a creative tundra, I now have the basics of a layout for the index page… it needs a few items adding to it, such as the itunes, youtube and plex (yeah, I’m going to be publishing to plex once this is off the ground) logos to the blurb under the highlights carousel and the Latest section needs filling in.
I think it’s getting there as a design, still needs a bit doing to it but it’s certainly workable as a landing page. Eventually I’ll be carving out the show pages and getting the backend working… but this will do for now. I worry at the SQL component needed for that *shudder*
To turn the layout into HTML, I have built up a map using the <DIV> tag. Doing it this way allows me to see just where I can split the page up into logical units and where I can push certain aspects into being includes. It also means I’m not staring blankly at the layout crafted in Photoshop, confused as to where I need to start.
That’s everything for this short update, as I build up the HTML it is being uploaded to http://www.verticalslice.tv/revamp and, after some tweaks to the layout, I will be recording episode one of We Can Rebuild Her… the fun has begun
Quite a few changes since my last post.
- Got a new job, starting next month
- Started a short acting course
- Became one of those annoying people on the train, prodding their iPad
I have also spent a bit of time plotting and scheming about how to turn verticalslice.tv into an Internet TV network. I’m sketching out a new site design and coming up with a collection of shows to record and put up. Press To Continue will be one of them, there will be a new tech show and an internet/current events news show.
Then there’s an idea for a show where people will submit movie scenes and I will try to re-enact them. It sounds a bit lame with just that small description, but I’ll be doing it while showing how I did the re-enactment plus I hope to inject a little strangeness into them too.
Trying to sync my iPad with the iTunes library I have running in a VirtualBox virtual machine kept failing. I’d get spurious “error -5000″ messages or simply that it had failed to start. Further investigation brought to light the strange fact that I couldn’t even play any files and podcasts would download but fail to be added to the library. Trying to play the files using the built in network sharing to other iTunes clients would fail too.
What could be causing it?
End tasking and even a reboot didn’t cure things. I began to wonder if it was a change in iTunes itself, maybe Apple had disabled the use of a mapped drive for your library. Can’t be, things stopped working some days after I had updated iTunes. I then thought about the fact that the drive mapping was via the shared folders within VirtualBox rather than a straight up CIFS mapping. More recently, I had updated VirtualBox itself, maybe I forgot to update the virtual tools too? Could that be causing it?
One install and reboot later and iTunes is behaving itself! So, if you have the same problem I’d recommend ensuring your version of the virtual tools installed in the guest OS matches the version of VirtualBox you are powering it with.
Problem solved, podcasts synced and a smile brought back to my face
I thought I’d repost some of the various videos I have created over the years. This one got me an honorable mention in the 2010 Escapist Film Festival. Still think it should have won me a contract to produce them!