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Men, Freedom and Happiness

Growing up and seeing different social, political and geographical environments, never mind travelling all over, have been a great learning experience. For a young boy the world can be a huge adventure waiting for him to conquer it.

In my case I grew a certain moral aptitude and ineptness at the same time. Maybe it’s a normal thing with youth to feel superior to the foolish older generation, whom I felt were responsible for all the wrongs not yet resolved. Which, much to my surprise, few really seemed to care about. Maybe because they appeared stagnated due to no longer reaching to right the world, or whatnot. For me that brought the urge to go out and face the unknown and improve conditions.

Time does offer the opportunity to see the errors of ones way, if one is willing to look, and see the steadfast viewpoint which in the long run turned out not to be pro-survival. And if one, like me, had grown up with the certainty that I was mostly right in my decisions, I could easily afford seeing when I was wrong and adopt a new view.

In my mind the greatest lesson have been realizing that we are all here together on this small planet and most of us want to do right but sometimes lack the proper know how. We all have, at least at some point, dreams we wish to fulfill. One of them is to right the wrongs in the world.

The methods of how to go about righting the wrongs of the world varies drastically. For some individuals it means ample use of force. As in genocide, or just making others know how powerful you are by placing as many barriers for others as is possible.

For some it means suppressing the views of others as they might bring change, not caring what change it is, just to ensure no change is approaching. The fear of facing the unknown is just too much in a world where you are mostly a victim.

Regardless of what we dream of, big or small, we have this dream of pursuing what makes us happy. It just should not be at the expense of others. Yet how do we accomplish our goals in a world where others dream of the opposite?

I found some basic ideas that serve me well:

  • Do not create an effect on others that you are not willing to experience yourself
  • Take actions that help as many as possible and hurt as few as possible
  • Consider the effects of your action into the future
  • Be responsible for your immediate environment, which is limited to what you feel is Your environment

The latter part about responsibility I know is a no-no. The R word is a huge mistake and should be removed. But the fact of the matter is that one is actually only as successful as one assumes responsibility. And the success only lasts as long as it is helping as many as possible and hurt as few as possible.

Responsibility means that one does not wait for that unknown person to set things right, one does it simply because one knows about it, or suspects it and investigates and acts accordingly.

There seldom is someone else who will correct the thing you see wrong in life. If I’ve learned one thing in life that is that most wrong things are wrong because of that assumption. Oh, I know! It’s not always pleasant, in fact it can be a huge interruption to your lifestyle!

But that’s no valid excuse to let things stay wrong! Get off your butt and do something about it!

Oh, once you start putting in order in your environment the first thing that will happen is that all those things which run counter to your order will make themselves known. Screaming and crying, those who oppose order will complain. Often loudly!

That then is a good sign that you are putting in order. Because if there is no noise after a while, you are not putting in much order.

Whatever you do, don’t stop, simply continue putting in order and sooner or later you will see how things calm down.

When you put in that order make sure you consider what is helping as many as possible and stopping as few as possible.

The best decisions comes from a mind that is at great peace. One filled with compassion for his fellow man. A man at war is not compassionate, or he’s a fool thinking that violence solves anything. It never has. Education is the greatest tool ever to walk this earth. Always be of a mindset to learn every day. Allocate time to learn about your fellow man. Discover the real why someone is fiercely disagreeing or opposes you.

In all of that discover who you really are and be true to yourself, and you will find that personal freedom and happiness is possible.

The right to work and school shootings

What I find interesting is that in ancient Rome a child between 12 and 14 would get some sort of position that they could hold and in effect were made part of society as an active contributor. What is more interesting is that they did not have any juvenile delinquency.

If you look back, or look at a young person, they are quite able at that age. Now we have labor laws that forbid the same young person from holding a position. You apprenticed under someone. Today you are not allowed to partake in society even though you are quite able to. What’s a person to do who is not allowed to be part of the group? They create their own group with their own ideas, which often becomes a nuisance or menace to themselves and others.

To top it off, we have psychotropic drugs being handed out as some sort of solution to this inhibition placed on young people. And normal symptoms from restlessness and desire to create and produce is now considered a mental disease and treated with psychotropic drugs that carry black label warnings because it makes people suicidal.

The same drugs that are found in more than a dozen of the school shooters…

Behind Most School Shootings

What have 12 school shooters going back to 1998 have in common?
They Were Under The Influence Of Psychiatric Drugs!

Stats:

Wounded: 109
Dead: 57

1. Kauhajoki, Finland — September 23, 2008: 22-year-old culinary student Matti Saari shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine.

2. Dekalb, Illinois — February 14, 2008: 27-year-old Steven Kazmierczak shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium.

According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amount of Xanax in his system.

3. Jokela, Finland — November 7, 2007: 18-year-old Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School in southern Finland, then committed suicide.

4. Cleveland, Ohio — October 10, 2007: 14-year-old Asa Coon stormed through his school with a gun in each hand, shooting and wounding four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon had been placed on the antidepressant Trazodone.

5. Red Lake, Minnesota — March 2005: 16-year-old Jeff Weise, on Prozac, shot and killed his grandparents, then went to his school on the Red Lake Indian Reservation where he shot dead 7 students and a teacher, and wounded 7 before killing himself.

6. Greenbush, New York — February 2004: 16-year-old Jon Romano strolled into his high school in east Greenbush and opened fire with a shotgun. Special education teacher Michael Bennett was hit in the leg. Romano had been taking “medication for depression”.

7. El Cajon, California — March 22, 2001: 18-year-old Jason Hoffman, on the antidepressants Celexa and Effexor, opened fire on his classmates, wounding three students and two teachers at Granite Hills High School.

8. Williamsport, Pennsylvania — March 7, 2001: 14-year-old Elizabeth Bush was taking the antidepressant Prozac when she shot at fellow students, wounding one.

9. Conyers, Georgia — May 20, 1999: 15-year-old T.J. Solomon was being treated with antidepressants when he opened fire on and wounded six of his classmates.

10. Columbine, Colorado — April 20, 1999: 18-year-old Eric Harris and his accomplice, Dylan Klebold, killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 26 others before killing themselves. Harris was on the antidepressant Luvox. Klebold’s medical records remain sealed.

11. Notus, Idaho — April 16, 1999: 15-year-old Shawn Cooper fired two shotgun rounds in his school, narrowly missing students. He was taking a prescribed SSRI antidepressant and Ritalin.

12. Springfield, Oregon — May 21, 1998: 15-year-old Kip Kinkel murdered his parents and then proceeded to school where he opened fire on students in the cafeteria, killing two and wounding 25. Kinkel had been taking the antidepressant Prozac.

Confirmed German Shooter on Anti-Depressants

Force, Politics and War

Why do we appear so willing to go to war with Iran and other countries?

I was watching the presidential debate and each time I do I’m struck by the amount of war mongering. Does not help that I think it’s largely done to get votes. And listening to the responses does not make me feel any safer.

The big why appear to be the fear of them setting off a nuclear bomb or something on US soil. Personally I think it’s to a large extent being afraid of the unknown, and of course the love mainstream media has for articles that scare people into buying their copy, accurate or not.

Foreign politics appear very mysterious so much so that it appears that the common man could not possibly understand it. (Of course there are a LOT of vested interests involved which tend to have the muscle to get their spin published. Which adds to the confusion.)

Looks like a recipe for war.

Have you ever had views of someone who you did not actually know, that changed once you got to know them? Once you spoke with them you discovered that they were very similar to you. Not to say that you had to agree with everything, but you now understood them and misconceptions that you had were corrected?

It happens to most of us. The interesting thing is that people are all the same when it comes to basic things. We love our family, group and country. We dislike being oppressed and made to do things against our will. We are willing to fight, and taking the risk to die, for freedom.

Having been fortunate to have visited several continents and met with people from literally all across the world, these are basics that have been shared by all. It did not matter what their politics were, what social, or educational, or any background they had.

The US constitution is unique. In fact every foreigner I’ve ever discussed it with wished they had it. Again, regardless of political views, etc.

Because in the end we are all people.

So why are we so willing to go to war? I’m not talking about vested interests which cook up some story so that they can invade someone and retrieve oil, or whatever. I’m talking about every day citizens.

There is a thing which people across the world are afraid of. The great unknown.

It can be the person next door, the people in the other part of town. Certainly people who live and speak differently and maybe live across the world. Because if there is unrest in Syria, or some other country, then we should just remover the “noise” by bombing or nuking them, according to some. Besides the obvious wrong, many people are way too eager to cause harm to others without having ascertained the correctness of their desired actions and proper use of force.

Sure we’ve been upset by someone and “wished they were dead!” But it’s simply an expression over how upset we were. Once calm and collected again we would not cause that harm.

Let’s switch it around a bit.

Let’s for arguments sake say that some countries did not like that we, oh lets say something very fictional such as, “drive too many cars”. Our use is threatening their way of life. Could be the extra gas consumption, how it ruins the air quality.

In this scenario most of the world is upset with us. Tourism drops as it’s seen by them as being supportive of our irrational ways. And we must be monsters for putting out all these fumes, threatening the ozone layer and so on. Indeed they all realize that they did not really know us after all. Because nobody they know would cause such harm.

(Similar to how people realize that they obviously did not know their spouse after all, after he or she did something, or was believed to have done something terrible or unreal.)

OK, so here we are. Countries around us start to move military closer to our borders because they know we can be a big threat, and clearly we don’t care about them. They decide to boycott us. Place sanctions to make us lower the number of cars we make and drive.

We are becoming more isolated, China wants to be paid for all the money we borrowed, and are now having harder and harder time paying back as other countries no longer want to buy our products.

In this scenario the world is no longer looking up to us, and indeed are heavily against us. Our neighboring countries are scared and putting up armies facing our borders to defend themselves from the fascist who are poisoning the planet.

Imagine what your response would be. You might would want to put up armed forces around OUR borders because they are so upset and might invade us! Let’s say a coalition of countries in Europe and Russia are year in and year out demanding we stop using cars. Talks about bombing the USA floats around in the media and the internet forums across the world.

You would feel threatened and uncertain about what would come next. Just look at the Cuban missile crises to see a real example. 

If it was your neighbor next door who talked about taking your car away you might just tell them that you will kill them if they touch your car! You would poster up in an attempt to scare the person from touching your car. Never mind if they said that about your kids. You would be talking WAR!

The simplicity of it is that in order to know people and actually understand them, you need to communicate with them. Find out what their considerations are. Why they said what they said.

We already insulate ourselves from each other in cities because we “know” there are a bunch of scary people so we attempt to isolate ourselves. Build fences and if possible use barbwire around our homes. Resulting in less and less communication. And what we do get is from the media so we get even more scared and communicate even less.

The way out of that fearful and horrible life is to be in more communication with the environment. I’ve been a bouncer at disco’s and restaurants. Not because I’m this big guy, which I’m not, but because I can handle the situation verbally. When the other big bouncers could not handle a situation I was called in. OK, so I practiced martial arts for years and I have a certain confidence that goes with it. But I never threatened the “bad” guys. Typically I simply showed them how their behavior scared the other guys. By consulting their understanding I never had to result to force and always resolved the situation. (I’ve been face to face with cop killers, gang members etc. When we part ways we are best friends. Even though I did not in any way support their criminal activities as solutions to their problems. But I can communicate with anyone on any subject without getting antagonistic or copping an attitude. And I’m willing to understand others. See it from their point of view. Which, by the way, being a friend makes it much easier to point someone in more positive direction.)

The simplicity of foreign policy is that you need to treat others the way you want to be treated. Show others respect and you’d be surprised how much respect you would get back.

If you have done something wrong you don’t actually mind being corrected if you can’t figure out how yourself. It’s how you are being handled, and spoken to, that make the difference.

We as a country need to treat others the way we want to be treated. You don’t start a fight unless they throw one first. Which means if a drunk comes and assaults you, you don’t immediately start beating him/her up. You simply step aside or handle the immediate danger by holding them down so that they cannot hurt anyone. You don’t hit them. They are obviously not operating at full capacity. Posturing is a sign that you are weak and insecure. If you are strong and secure you don’t bother posturing. You simply handle things as they come up.

Some of you might even have the experience of saying you were wrong in order to make it easier for the other party to be realize they were wrong. By showing that you could be a reasonable person others feel it’s OK to open up. And thus you can initiate positive relationships, or at least have respectful disagreements.

The same applies to groups. Treat other groups the way you want your group to be treated. Countries are big groups. Treat them the way you want them to treat your country.

That is the basics of any foreign policy regardless if that means your family, neighbors or other countries.

Sanctions are not necessarily very workable. If you have a democracy then the politicians can be voted out of office or forced to change their policy by popular vote. However, sanctions against countries that are not democratic only hurt the civilians. South Africa under apartheid became a strong and resourceful country after the sanctions were placed on them. That is to say that blacks, coloreds and Indians did not get better conditions. Because many of the whites were ignorant and thought lack of western education meant people were less than them. Sanctions in their mind were simply seen as ignorance of the South African “situation”.

When you are the little guy you handle yourself the best you can. However once you get in a position of power you immediately inherit big responsibilities. You now have to set a good example, or you will destabilize your zone or area. USA must be very gentle and safe in dealings with other nations, or we’ll become the massive bully others want to take down. Usually by covert means as they cannot win any other way.

That does not mean we give up our muscle. It means we strike fair and firm when needed to. The trick with force is to only use it to get someones attention. Once you got it you back off. Resume communication and resolve it without force. Try it next time you end up applying force to handle someone. And by the way, your voice can be very forceful as well.

Abandon IT Dept for the Cloud?

People have some interesting affinity for the latest and greatest solution, which gets applied to any and all problems. The grass is apparently so readily seen to be greener on the other side, that even common sense is left behind. I’m guessing there’s frustration afoot, which might be because of a slow or inept IT dept. But could also be because not enough funds are allocated to properly run the IT dept. Just saying.

This urge to always jump on the latest new technology is often done as if there’s a great emergency. The idea behind the Cloud is certainly interesting. But is moving your IT into the Cloud the right move, or are you asking for even more trouble?

Your IT dept has physical control, are motivated by how you run your business. In other words you can hire, fire and make demands to ensure they are aligned with supporting your business plan.

The Cloud however, is ENTIRELY out of your control.

In-house you can observe and handle security issues. On the Cloud you are hoping that they don’t have a staff failure, upsets, or whatever, which results in them not caring properly for your data/information.

In the Cloud which you are part of, you are part of many others, which certainly makes the Cloud a bigger target as far as, in the eyes of the criminal hacker, having higher potential payoff to hack. It’s more worthwhile to break into the Cloud.

When that happens, how do you act to protect your data?

There are many ways to “hack” into something. For example, in social engineering, where by pretending to be someone else, you talk people into giving you knowledge that opens the doors you want “unlocked” A simple phone call, or email, and someone might hand out the “keys”. It is very popular and easy to succeed with. It could also very well be that the people working the Cloud know better than Your average staff, than to fall pray for it.

Ultimately you need to look at your budget, evaluate the business impact of not having much of an internal IT dept, versus handing it out to someone else, and hope for the best.

True, you might already be hoping for the best. That your computers don’t get broken into, that IT knows what they are doing, etc. Data loss, for example, are more often caused by an upset employee, than some outside body. Making an argument for the Cloud. In theory it looks like the Cloud can be viable alternative.

I just don’t trust my business information, to be kept completely safe where things such as motivation, competence, reliability, etc. is not only unknown, but mostly unknowable. Where you can’t take advance action to ensure that the person being fired will not be able to cause you harm in a vengeful moment. Where, if the internet is down, you can’t do anything because all your data lives elsewhere.

Simply jumping on the Cloud because it is the hot thing that “everybody” is talking about, is not a very well evaluated reason. Most of the time common sense is the most reliable tool you have. Use it!

OSDial 2.3 Pre-Release

OSDial 2.3 is about to get released. While we wait for some purely visual changes to be completed we decided to ship 2.2.9, which is otherwise locked down and will become V2.3.

OSDial 2.3 brings a wealth of new features truly too long to list here, but you can see a copy on the feature page.

Amongst it you will notice that you can now upgrade automatically to the latest version from any previous version. The size of it has exceeded CD’s 700MB and at around 900MB now requires a DVD.

With around 1200 changes almost every facet of the dialer has been touched in this upgrade.

As usual everything that is needed is included in the release, including Asterisk, Apache and MySQL. All you need are computers and phones for the agents, and a carrier.

Phones can be analog, digitial (such as VoIP) and soft-phones. When dealing with many agents it is generally cheaper to go with analog phones as they are cheap and easy to replace when they break, and does not require any tech to replace.

When it comes to carriers we recommend WSS Communications which we learned about from one of our (picky) international clients. People that use them are very happy! Let them know that I recommended you and ask for the special care they are famous for!

Is Bank Of America Not Above Extortion?

Today Bank Of America appears to try to loose as many customers as possible in one fell swoop. With no prior notice I found myself having no option but to either consent to a new disclosure, requiring me to hire an attorney on the spot, or loose online access to my accounts.

Their online service gives you one opportunity to continue to do online banking and from there on you are locked out, unless you agree! I cannot but wonder what kind of buffoon would resort to these kinds of tactics?

Is a corporation of the size of Bank Of America unable to give their customers enough time to properly review the changes to their Electronic Communications Disclosure? What would prompt them to take such drastic measure? Either they don’t care about customers, which I suppose would really would not be something new, or some amateur threw it together without any thought at all over how this will affect their customers.

It certainly CAN be a very benevolent change, but how can I, a mere layman, be expected to understand the legalese that I have to consent to? Words have different meanings in law than they do in plain English, potentially creating a minefield.

Bank Of America does offer me the opportunity for to withdraw my consent, but only after I give Bank Of America a “reasonable period of time to act upon my withdrawal”. Of course it’s good for Bank Of America to have the unspecified time to make their change, but we won’t have that courtesy of a couple of days.

The language used appear plain but again not being an attorney I have no idea what might mean something different than what I read in to it. Initially it seem to suggest that I need to be able to SUPPORT certain hardware and software requirements. However at the very end I need to confirm that I HAVE the required hardware and software. Sounds like an important switch to me, but then I’m not an attorney.

About the only thing good is that they support the Chrome browser from Google.
Other than that I’m left with the careless implementation of their updated Electronic Communication Disclosure, which supposedly is updated to better serve me. Guess they don’t really have a clue of what is better for me.

I wonder how many other people will say this is not how I want to be treated as a customer, and take their business elsewhere?

Microsoft intentions revealed in internal emails

Today I ran into a very interesting news site that has a section which contains a number of emails that were revealed in court. The message is clear as day. We don’t change, and, Open Source has to go.

A few excerpts from Bill Gates emails. You will see his inclination towards using patent as an anti competitive move. And how he completely distorts how the GPL works.

“This anti-trust thing will blow over. We haven’t changed our business practices at all. [May change e-mail retention policies]
– 1995

“One thing we have got to change in our strategy – allowing Office documents to be rendered very well by other peoples browsers in one of the most destructive things we could do to the company.

“We have to stop putting any effort into this and make sure that Office documents very well depends on PROPRIETARY IE capabilities.
Anything else is suicide for our platform.
– 1998 “Highly Confidental” Email

[On being told of the free Star Office]
“An interesting development…
At some point we will have to consider the patents they violate.
– 1998 Email

“One thing I find myself wondering about is whether we shouldn’t try to make the “ACPI” extensions somehow Windows specific.

“It seems unfortunate if we do this work and get our partners to do the work and the result is that Linux works great without having to do the work.

“Maybe there is no way to avoid this problem but it does bother me.
Maybe we could define the APIs so that they work well with NT and not the others even if they are open.

“Or maybe we could patent something related to this
– 1999 “Highly Confidental” Email

“Software written in universities should be free software. But it shouldn’t be GPL software. GPL software is like this thing called Linux, where you can never commercialize anything around it; that is, it always has to be free.
– Government Leader’s Conference, Seattle, 2002

A good selection of emails are listed here.

It is sad that an industry leader Like Microsoft does not have what it takes to operate with integrity and feel it has to be above the law.

Make no mistake about it, Gates knows exactly how the GPL works, but chooses to distort it to compete with us. Of course most of us never had any desire to compete with him, we just want to have a reliable product. One that one can rely on to be upgraded timely, have effective bug fixing that does not break other things and above all interoperability.

Had Microsoft pursued a track where they made their O/S’s and applications work well with any other, had open standards as to how one can interact with them and so on, Linux might not have grown up to be this monster in their minds.

As it is, it is only going to get worse. Microsoft is “embracing” Open Source in one sentence and then out of the side of it’s mouth, directing it’s troops to infiltrate and cut down our popularity with imaginary patents. I say imaginary because they claim that we are in violation of a couple of hundred patents, but are yet to show a single one.

They know we will replace anything that is violating anyones intellectual property. There for it is a better scare tactic to just say we are in violation than actually getting anything resolved. See the court case involving SCO, and the license deal with Novell.

OSDial Ver2.2 Released

This release moves OSDial out of the now long since unsupported Asterisk 1.2 branch, and into the latest 1.6 branch. It also comes with our custom modifications of Asterisk which includes real time processing. A valuable feature when you process a lot of calls! 🙂

OSDial Ver. 2.2 also bring support for both 32 and 64bit processors. (As usual the 32bit version supports memory above the traditional 4G limit.) Both versions uses a kernel specifically optimized for OSDial.

During the last year we made over 600 improvements to OSDial, which includes cosmetic changes, bug fixes and new features. As is standard, for us, not all but most of the features we added are those requested, and paid for, by clients. Ensuring OSDial remain a practical product based on actual client needs.

At the same time OSDial has become compatible with a wide variety of industries. From industries such as automotive, banking, commercial collections, education, insurance to healthcare, religious, not for profit, time share utilities, and so on. More details at http://callcentersg.com/industry.php.

An Announce List has been added to keep you up to date on progress, available at http://callcentersg.com/updates.php.

How to Spam Facebook, or How to Protect Yourself

A fascinating and eye opening article on Tech Crunch (techcrunsh.com) about how spammers abuse Facebook and other social networking sites, ripping people off and making good money. Written by one of the top spammers himself.

An excerpt:

“Did you know how Mark Zuckerberg supported Facebook in the early days, before he got venture funding? Casino ads. And how about those advertisers who were making over $100,000 a day selling Acai Berry and other weight loss products – they are friends of mine, pioneers of new advertising channels. You see those ads saying “Inbox (5). Nick, someone in San Francisco has a crush on you!” (with your name, profile picture, and city in the ad). I generated millions of dollars from these offers on Facebook – I am not proud of it, but it was very lucrative.

“I will walk you through how these online scams work on Facebook and other social networks – the mechanics of how the money is made, some of the people involved, and who is actually clicking on ads. If you’re reading this article, there is a good chance that you are not the type of person actually clicking on these spam ads, but are you curious as to who actually is?

Here is the link for the whole article.

There is a long list of comments to which I thought it best to make some clarifications:

@James, Interesting how some people think that you can be honorable without being ethical.

Honor comes from being true to yourself, and last time I looked being true to yourself had nothing to do with what you feel like doing for the moment. You stand up for for right against wrong and do unselfish deeds.

Man is basically good and wants to help his fellow man, this is the area to look in when you search for being true to yourself. Justifying ones actions is only done because deep inside you want to like yourself and your actions.

Morals is limited to what is best for a specific group, may it be the mafia or police. Whilst ethics deals with best survival for all, where all win.

Fortunately you can do all sorts of bad things and change your mind and become a good honorable person. But it has to include this step of making up for the damage on the same order of magnitude as one has created.

A honorable person can make a mistake in the heat of things, committing some unethical action, but will have to figure out how to stop and make it right again. Or his actions will make him loose his honor in an instant.

Honor can be expensive to have. In a world where money is more important than honor, it’s challenging to interact with people without getting in trouble, honor wise.

The rewards for being honorable is mostly something that you know yourself, and maybe some people notice. The reward is how you feel about yourself, which interestingly makes for great internal peace where you really respect yourself. For some reason luck also seem to follow honor. 🙂

@Dennis, I don’t know you from a hole in the wall, or your motivations, but your action here certainly is giving people a chance to be more aware of what is really going on. Giving them a better chance to protect themselves. That sounds like a good start on making up for the damage. Keep it up!