May I let my voice be a clarion call. I will use these words for justice. I will use these words for truth. And humour.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


So sick of computers and networking... (and the bene's of community)

Hi Friends-

In our household, I am the IT guy, in charge of helping our computers work as a workgroup, and to each see the Internet through the router and cable modem. I am not a computer expert, so I do a lot of tinkering to hold things together. I am supposed to be working on homework, and writing applications for chaplaincy residency at hospitals, but computer woes have been sidetracking me mightily.

Yesterday evening, our Internet connection completely bit it (the workgroup still could all see each other through the router (when the wireless aspect was actually working--it's always been spotty even though our apartment is only about 20x20)) and I called our ISP and after an hour or two we got it to a point where now everything could see each other and the Internet.

Now today, when I booted up my audio computer, it failed to recognize the external USB/Firewire hard drive. After unplugging and replugging and rebooting FOUR times, I finally got it working by just hooking up the drive through USB only which is significantly slower, but worked. Then when iTunes fired up, it played, but I got no sound. Checked the Control Panel, and the only option is "Bluetooth Audio"... What's frustrating about that is that I have a perfectly good Firewire soundcard that wasn't being recognized. I tried in vain for two hours to get it to work, reinstalling drivers, checking in the Hardware Device Manager, unplugging and replugging, and nothing works. Windows says everything's working fine of course.

I used to work for a company that made audio software, and they made it for Windows only. That's why I've been sticking with Microsoft, but now Windows Vista's kernel plays poorly with the software that had worked nicely on Win2k, Win98, and WinXP. I *might* buy a Windows XP computer and keep it completely clean. But then again, I might be done with Microsoft. Their OS is turning into such a morass of difficulty for me that I can't see sticking with them much longer.

So, do I switch to Linux or Mac? Well, there is now FINALLY multitrack audio software (Ardour) for Linux, so maybe that if there are drivers for my audio device. Doing a google search for "linux firepod drivers" brought me to this forum, and this advice, which is bafflingly complex for a person like me. I'm computer literate, even computer savvy, but not that much of a geek to compile and build my own Linux distro, compile audio drivers, and then tweak them as this person does (though I am certainly envious of his skills). I really wish that the Linux community could find a way to make one or more installable highly stable versions of the OS that are inviting for people who know how to use computers AND have a straightforward way for people to install drivers and software using compiled executables, not requiring them to compile from source, seeking out special libraries and adding compile-time switches.

Switching to Mac might not be a bad idea, but then I need to find, pay for, and learn some alternate software. I'm not against that, as long as it's less frustrating and limited than the version of Garageband I used last year on my boss' Mac mini. Ugh.

What I really would love to see would be living communities develop with specialists in them. Imagine if you lived in an apartment building (or similar multi-unit domicile) with 40 people, one (or more) of whom was a computer specialist, one (or more...) who loved to cook, one who could repair guitars and electronic equipment, one who would take care of the garbage, one to keep the bathroom clean, one to be the treasurer, one who works the garden, one who does the political advocating, one to take care of the pets, several to work at jobs for pay, etc. As it is, with a family of two (as we are), it gets to the point where we're doing all of the jobs above, plus much more. Keeping the living rooms and bedrooms in separated quarters might be nice, but having a common dining area and kitchen would help make the community more efficient. Perhaps the dining area could double as a meeting space and movie theater. I think if human families were to try that on for size, it could make our way of life much better overall, as we'd be able to share 2 or 3 hammers between 10-15 families, cook large-scale meals and keep fresh foods and leftovers from going bad with a dedicated cook on staff. I still think having restaurants and individual family (and individual person) meals would be a good idea as well, of course. To think otherwise, IMO, would be a little myopic and confining.

Every time I bring this up to someone, they always talk about why it wouldn't work. I loathe that attitude. Its the attitude of "haters" as in, "why you gotta be all up and hatin' in my business?" What I want to hear from people is how it could work. What WOULD it take for humanity to develop more communal and cooperative lifestyles? What impediments are there, other than the same old examples shown to us in popular media, and dictated by the Defense of Marriage Act? I'm sure that if the government, and the people who elect their government, wanted to, they could provide incentives for people to live cooperatively. And for corporations to be more cooperative as well. (Oh I have a big long thing to write about corporate cooperativity, but that's for another day.)

OK, I got the computer exasperation whining off my chest for now, and have since digressed into a community-sharing tirade, so I guess I'll sign off. Thanks for reading. Love yr neighbor.

pax hominibus,
agape to everyone,

"Strephon kissed me in the spring, Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me And never kissed at all.
Strephon's kiss was lost in jest, Robin's lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin's eyes Haunts me night and day."
-Sara Teasdale

Once in a while, the time will come
To surrender everything you have to give
Once in a while, the time will come
To surrender everything you have to give
-Flaming Lips, "Superhumans"

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I love your idea, actually, and I'm the misanthrope. But if I could cook and garden and work at my job, and have the pleasure of cooking for lots of people (my only nurturing cells are geared toward food) that would rule - especially if I got a housekeeper out of the deal. I would LOVE that. I'm sure doug would too, since he's pretty much the housekeeper. Plus all those experts around to share ideas - it would be great. The thing about intentional communities I always cringe at is all the meetings and rules. But if it were a looseknit community of folks sharing their skills, and bartering with each other, that would be really awesome. end of comment hijacking. :)
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