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Ratha's interview - Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.
September 7th, 2004
10:32 pm
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Ratha's interview
1. What was your favorite thing to do when you were in high school? Do you see yourself as having changed a lot between then and now?

Well, I can't really give an unequivocal answer. The answer that I would want to give is “playing Final Fantasy”, the answer that might have given me the most pleasure per unit of time is “masturbating”, and surely the answer which I spent the greatest number of hours on would be “websurfing”.

I do see myself as having changed greatly since then. For one thing, the level of my participation in video games has dropped dramatically enough (and I lag enough in playing the ones I do get around to) that I can no longer make an even semi-plausible claim that that's my favorite thing. However, I think the change has mostly consisted more in a broadening of my horizons to encompass new things than in a loss of the old ones. (In fact, every year or two I do still play a video game, and I do still enjoy it.)

2. If you could pick 3 changes to make to the government or law, but only 3 (fairly specific) adjustments, and those changes would immediately be proposed and would magically fly through congress with everyone in a trance voting "yes", what would you choose?

They have to be specific, but I'm assuming that doesn't mean they can't be large in magnitude. Also, I'm assuming the lawmakers don't just awaken from their trance and repeal everything they passed.

  1. Repeal the income tax. I'd prefer to do this by repealing the 16th Amendment, but it would take more than Congress to do that, so I'm assuming that isn't allowed. (Actually, even better would be an amendment declaring it a fundamental human right to keep all of one's income, and thus banning all smaller governmental units from the use of income taxes as well … )
  2. Pass a law requiring all physically able citizens who do not apply for conscientious-objector status to be trained in the use of firearms and to own one. This seems like the only simple way to shore up what should be perfectly adequate protections for firearm rights in the US (the 2nd Amendment) but which have sadly been misinterpreted or outright ignored.
  3. Reduce the term of copyright back to 14 years renewable once. Unfortunately, this might be difficult to implement due to our obligations vis-a-vis treaties, in which case I would abolish software and business-method patents. (I would say abolish all non-medical patents, but I'm not aware enough of the details to be sure that's a good idea. Software and business-method patents are an almost totally unmitigated harm.)
3. How long do you think it will take for Linux and OSS-in-general to "catch on" for the mainstream user? How much impact do you see the various factors having on that outcome (FUD, antitrust legistlation, media exposure, etc.) ?

Linux—well, that pretty much depends on big corporations or governmental divisions adopting Linux as a standard desktop. They could do it now, and I believe some of them are. As for what the pace of adoption will be, I think the larger the organization the sooner they can consider it, because Linux requires doing more support work in-house (often cheaper than outsourcing, but requiring more internal expertise).

I don't think large businesses can really be fooled by FUD, at least not for that long—their eye is on the bottom line too much. Smaller business can perhaps be fooled into thinking that OSS is unreliable, etc.—until they see larger businesses using it perfectly fine. Anyone who thought a large-scale application couldn't be run on an OSS platform has been proved an idiot by Google.

The biggest threat to OSS, as far as I can see, is software patents. I have a perfect idea how to solve this—OSS authors need to accumulate patents equally stupid as the ones big businesses have, and then offer to either cross-license, or drive those companies out of business. They don't seem to be doing this much yet, though. Perhaps IBM can stand in as a proxy—they have a huge patent portfolio, and their current business model seems to depend on Linux pretty heavily.

OSS will never take over vertical markets (unless non-OSS software is legislated out of existence—now there's a concept), but I wouldn't be surprised if it's captured most of the horizontal ones in 5 years, and I would be surprised if it hasn't in 15.

4. What is the first kind of gun you plan to buy? Do you have a plan for how to learn to use it - are you looking into classes, etc.? How often do you plan to actually carry it?

Well, I plan to do a lot of research and testing. Preston Covey (the professor at CMU who made me decide that I like guns, and with whom I have recently re-struck-up an email correspondence) suggested a revolver for a first gun, and I think I am going to seriously investigate this because I think I'm probably inclined to unfairly write off revolvers due to the way they look. He also said that semi-autos are good, though, and gave me his full history of carry guns. (I do intend for my first gun to be a carry gun, even though I'll want a .22 for target practice and they are a lot cheaper, because carrying a gun is the reason I want a gun in the first place.)

I haven't specifically looked into classes yet, though Preston did recommend another firing range in addition to Bullseye. I had been sort of thinking that taking a class would be very difficult or impossible due to planning to travel every other weekend, but I recently realized that 1) I was never planning to travel every weekend, only every 4th weekend, and there's no reason I couldn't go when you're visiting, 2) it looks like it may actually be closer to every 3rd weekend that we'll see each other, and 3) there might be an evening class I could take instead. So yeah, looking into that is on the list. I do think I can teach myself if need be, though.

I plan to carry a gun at all times except when going someplace where it's disallowed (CMU, a bar) or when travelling out-of-state either by plane (it is actually possible to bring a gun in checked baggage, but I'm too worried about being hassled) or through any state that doesn't respect a PA CCW. Though Florida does have reciprocity with Pennsylvania, so if you got two guns I could borrow one when I visit. :-)

5. Do you dream in color?

I grepped the dream log I kept for a while for color words and didn't find anything, so it's possible that I don't. But I've certainly never had the experience of specifically realizing that I was dreaming in black and white—it seems like that would be quite jarring. So, my answer is a definite maybe.

Current Mood: immersed

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From:aletea
Date:September 7th, 2004 08:41 pm (UTC)

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As per my style lately, this has nothing to do with your entry, but I am really happy you're posting on lj now, cause I get to read about your life though, well, sheer untypeyness kept me from that before. :)
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