I object

A young white Swedish male's ranting about anything that annoys, interests or speaks to him in interesting ways. Warning: I am trying to change your perceptions.

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Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Liberal skeptisk jämställdhetsivrare av alla de slag. Människor har olika förutsättningar och det är på samhällets ansvar att kompensera förutsättningarna för allas lika värde.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The HP2133 Mini-Notebook

I just came back home to Sweden after the stint in Peru for which I originally bought the HP 2133 Mini-Note. It's a model with 2GB of RAM, a 120GB 5400rpm drive and Windows Vista Home of all things. The part number on the box for this machine was FU346EA#AK8 where I believe the #AK8 is merely some batch number or even the local region of Sweden.

The machine has good sides and bad sides.

The display is amazing, with extreme brightness, color richness, sharpness and most impressive of all, the extreme observation angles. The keyboard too, very large keys for such a small machine, and with only a few exceptions, the keys are all the same size, which helps a lot with typing. Keys that are slightly smaller than full size include the keys 1, pause, scrill, insert, delete and the arrow keys. Also the key to the left of Z is somewhat smaller than usual, but not disturbingly so. I am also impressed by the machines graphical capabilities. Don't laugh - this is a superportable mini-notebook after all, it's not SUPPOSED to have ANY 3D capabilities, but it does. All simple games work without issue, including some with 3D components - I've played Ultra Assault, Star Monkey and Hurrican with no slowdowns. It's not much, but I'm surprised it was even possible. Mostly I just play Fallout 1, 2 and Tactics and run X-Com games in DOSBox emulation.

So the bad sides. I think number one would be the software package. This is a machine without an optical drive, yet there are two or three optical drive and burning utilities on the drive when you get the machine. There's a six or seven gigabyte large application folder, out of which two or three gigabytes is a folder with twenty-something different language versions of norton internet security or somesuch. If you use that, and you speak 25 languages, I suppose that's good. Otherwise, no. Even stranger is that many of the HP-specific tools on the hard drive REQUIRE a desktop resolution of 1024x768 in order to display all text on screen (such as the OK button, or the agreement you have to check). Now, the laptop CAN display that resolution, but if you didn't already change it, you will miss it. Just switching resolutions is easy though, the S3 tool does the job without issues.

And speaking of a software package, why HP decided to include Vista home basic on a mininotebook is beyond me, but as I understand it, it might not be as silly as it sounds. Sure Vista uses lots of RAM and sure the drive indexing feature makes your hard drive tick along all the time, but Vista also has more power saving options than XP does.

Another bad part: I've had freezing, where the machine stops responding. Sometimes several of them in a row. It could be because of heat - I was using the machine in Lima, the capital of Peru, a city built in a desert, and I had the machine on soft surfaces such as my hot and dusty bed, and it crashed. I'm not going to say for sure that the issue is with overheating though, there have been some software updates to the machine recently so it needs more testing before I can say for sure.

Overall impression: Best, cheapest notebook I ever bought.

(Also my first notebook, so salt lightly before consuming opinion).

/ Per

Friday, June 08, 2007

Logitech MX Revolution most expensive, not best

I wanted an MX Revolution for xmas, and I got it. A fine piece of machinery with the new evolution of the scroll wheel and buttons everywhere. Plus it looks good. Then the problems start.

Once I started using it, I was unaccustomed to it. Despite having used Logitech mice for possibly ten years, most recently an MX 1000 with the same laser engine as the MX, the MX Revolution just didn't feel right. Moving the cursor around, I didn't feel it responded the way I wanted it too, but I figured I would learn.

As weeks passed and I still didn't feel comfortable with the mouse, I tried switching cables, USB ports, drivers and even operating systems and computers and trying again. I tried using different surfaces like paper, leather, wood, cloth and various rubbery mouse pads. This is about when I discovered a way to test the nature of the problem.

If you move your mouse from side to side only, while keeping your arm mostly still, you expect the cursor to move side to side only. If you do this in a drawing program, you expect to have a very thick, very dark line drawn in the horizontal. Like this:

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The above image is taken from windows XP Paint using my wired MX510 mouse. I could repeat the same experiment with the wireless MX1000 and get the same result. The small loop in the upper left is all my fault, I moved my hand too much. When I try the same thing with my - second - MX Revolution, I get this:

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A definite downward tendecy and an occasional left or right outrider, resulting in sometimes severe anomalous cursor behavior. I mentioned that this is my second MX Revolution, because I already had it replaced once and now the second one gives me the same result.

I am in contact with Logitech Europe and I have asked them to forward the issue to headquarters. They asked if they could replace my mouse again, to which I asked them if they had any mouse better than the MX Revolution. They said no. So because they cannot replace my mouse with something better, and since the same mouse has already come back with the same problem once before, I would like the issue to be permanently resolved, rather than replaced in all eternity.

If you just googled in looking for "Logitech MX Revolution problems" or "cursor erratic behavior", please let me know of your experiences. Let's share and grow, shall we?

/ Per

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The family that plays together

My wife and I are both compulsive gamers. When I say compulsive I say it in the lightest possible meaning of the word, but we still tend to sit down in front of our two high-end computers and play computer games once we both get home from work. It is not the only thing we do, but it is the only thing that is relevant to this discussion, and your imaginations can fill in the blanks elsewhere - thank you.

I turned her almost accidentally to gaming and she only recently started a blog with the intent of chronicling her gaming, except she is too wrapped up in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind at the moment to actually make any updates to the blog. Go figure.

Our favorite genre is RPGs, for Role Playing Games. I prefer games with a deep, rich story and plenty of character development choices. She prefers games that are beautiful. Marriage is like that, you will like different things and you should just roll with it and get along on what you can get along on. That is also where it gets tricky.

Because we are both gamers, and because we love many of the same games we have tried to play them cooperatively. Here are the ones we have tried so far:

Neverwinter Nights
This was the game that really turned my wife onto gaming, and it was even her first ever contact with the "Dungeons and Dragons" franchise, imagine that. She has played this game and all of its expansions through at least twice, and four times for some. I have not even completed the original campaign. In this game, she is the master and I am the apprentice and my incessant questions about "Who was that?" and "Did you get that quest item?" or "Where does that road go?" became too much for her. We have completely different playing styles and couldn't cooperate.

System Shock 2
This futuristic first-person RPG has an atmosphere thicker than custard pie and the 2.09 patch introduces a cooperative campaign mode for up to four players. We both love it, we've both played it through, but when we tried to play it together, we ran in different directions. When she was ambushed by a Hybrid from an angle she thought I had covered, I had actually wandered off in search of upgrade modules. It is a tense experience, but it is probably best experienced on your lonesome in a darkened room.

Guild Wars
We had great expectations for the cooperative possibilities in this game, and played through the entire "pre-searing" part of the game together. In this game we did not have the problem of running in different directions, but we were two different player classes. I was the tank warrior and she was the bow-equipped ranger/elementalist mage. She hit targets from a distance while I had to run up to them to attack. This meant she stood still and I ran ahead, and though I never ran far she still got the impression that I was leading the way instead of the ranger.

Icewind Dale II
Another Dungeons and Dragons franchise RPG, but this one was still in 2D art. She liked the 2D art, but decided that the characters "look like LEGOs" and refused to play on account of their miniscule modular ugliness.

Civilization IV
My wife not only made first aquaintance with gaming since she met me, but after her introduction to Civilization III, she also made the aquaintance of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. CivIII was her drug of choice and the first time she kept me up all night with a game, it was CivIII. So naturally we were both excited and frightened of the CivIV release. Carpal is painful and fixing it is not exactly free or pleasant. But! The turn-based nature of Civilization IV made this game the best possible cooperative game we have ever tried. Regardless of whether you play simultaneous or individual turns, you always have time to do what you want to and if your partner is ready with his/her turn before you are, you can zoom around the cities you have for some micromanagement.

Just make sure you divide the world between each other before you start. You do not want to get into a diplomatic border dispute with your spouse. And send reinforcements!

/ Per

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Younger husband, older wife

I am a married man. When we married, my wife was twice my age. This is not the beginning of some obscure puzzle - I was 26 and she was 52. We had been more than dating for two-three years before we married and we are an established couple. I would call us social and we arrange at least one party every other month, sometimes more. This month we have had one glögg party and we will be arranging a New Year's celebration in our home. Most of our friends are between our two ages, in the 30-to-45 range.

Why do I bring our social sphere into this? Perhaps I want to point out that we are entirely normal and not some freak coupling living on the outskirts of normalcy, bordered by queer and anormal relations. Hell, I sometimes wish we had queerer friends than this, but I shall not complain about our choices in friends. We love you all, friends, do not change a bit unless you want to.

Nor do we strain in any attempt to "become" normal. This is how we are; this is how we want to be. When we are not arranging parties, my wife works and I tend the home. I wash the dishes, I do the cleaning, I buy groceries. Unemployment in Sweden is extremely high, and we cannot really survive on one salary alone, nor do we try. I work as a freelance technology writer from time to time and I am politically active in the national (classic) Liberal party and a few feminist organizations. No, I am not female, I am just a classic liberal (US: Libertarian). Apart from that, I live on savings from my short carreer as a computer game developer in level design.

My wife and I both enjoy playing computer games, though not together. We have tried, on several occasions and with several games. Civilization IV worked reasonably well because it plays much the same in single- and multiplayer, but in most other games our playing styles are different enough that it annoys us. My wife thinks I run ahead too much, while I like to "check the perimeter" or say "I am the close-quarters fighter in this party". It is not important why we cannot play together, and we are satisfied with playing side by side.

We enjoy movies - at home or in theatres - and walks throughout town - the commercial districts, anyway. She does not drag me unwilling into any shoe stores (unless we need new shoes) and I do not drag her unwilling into any department-store-sized tool shops (unless we need new toys). Computer equipment stores we both call "toy stores" and when we get back home with our shoes, tools and CD burners we always drink lots of tea. Lots of it.

Do we sound normal enough for you, or queer enough?

My wife found me, and I noticed her. She contacted me, I recieved her. She was interested before I was, but I was interested back. I quickly fell into love with her, and already on our first meeting I felt that there was something ahead of us. I did not know what it was, but it was solid enough that I remember speaking with distant friends about it. But my questions to myself and others revealed no reason for me not to go ahead with our relationship. I am enough of an iconoclast to pay social dogma no heed if it makes no sense to me.

Our only barrier is children. I want them, she does not. To be specific, she has already had children and does not want any more. Besides, she is post-menopausal and we do not have to worry about any "accidental" pregnancies any more, which is a relief. Also, neither one of us is interested in adoption. Again we are saved by our disregard for social conventions: My wife insists that I have children some day, with some other woman that I love. I see the logic in this, but I cannot see how I could possibly find another woman to love. Alternately we could find a lesbian couple in need of a male fenotype and donate one, if they would accept that I take active part in the rearing of the child.

What I desire is really a child of mine. I am the eldest of six children and I was raised in the company of all these younger siblings. In many cases, I did the raising as much as my parents did, and it left in me a yearning to be a father too. I can wait, though.

I mean no disrespect toward those who favor adoption, or who are adopted themselves. I want you to find children to love, and I want you adopted children to live with parents who love you, as I would love my child. So in return, I ask that you do not take offense that I do not want to adopt. This is not about you, it is about me.

It is yet early in our future life together, and there are many years ahead of us. There is time yet, and happiness.

/ Per

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Highly Sensitive Person?

Are you a highly sensitive person?

I am not. Neither am I surprised that some people are more or less sensitive than others. We are a species highly affected by biological diversity and that is one of our strong points. I hope you did not think we are different only on the outside.

Oh, as a classic liberal (US: "libertarian") I believe in every individual's power to do good and the equal value of every individual. Not in each and every situation, because we are all unique individuals with particular learned skills and innate abilities, but every human has some unquantifiable value in common.

That does not mean that every human being is the same though, and it does not mean that all differences must be skin deep and skin deep only. We, as individuals listen in different ways, see in different ways and feel in different ways and once these signals reach our magnificent brains we process information in different ways. We may all be created from a gaussian average mold, but we do not even tend toward a common standard.

The page linked above features a small self test. I consider myself a sensitive person, acutely aware of small sounds, drafts of wind, vibrations through materials et cetera and I am not shy to use all my senses, including the ability to listen remotely via vibrations related through bone structure. Did you know that our skin's sense of "touch" is actually composed of several different senses? One set of receptors trigger on cold beneath 10 centigrade, another triggers on heat above 42 centigrade, while yet another set of receptors responds to pressure, tickling, sharp objects and so on. We don't have five senses - we have at least four times that.

So it is no great surprise that we are also able to detect and interpret these different impressions in different ways depending on what we are as individuals. With so many variables, how could we all be the same? No, enjoy your abilities, and perhaps take tha time to find out what they are. I am certain that you can do something nobody else can. It is certainly a biological certainty.

/ Per

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Åke Green cleared

Swedish pentecoastal pastor Åke Green was cleared of charges by the Swedish Supreme Court this morning of November 29, 2005.

Åke Green - also known as Ake Green och Aake Green - held a sermon in the town of Borgholm on the island of Öland in Sweden on July 20th, 2003, for which he was later indicted.

The accusation was that Åke Green's sermon constitutes hate speech against homosexuals. Sweden is in this case bound by its own laws, but has also bound itself to abide by the European Convention on Human Rights. Within the latter, article 9 refers to religious freedoms while article 10 refers to freedom of speech and expression.

I am unsure whether my English-speaking readers have even read the sermon in its entirety in English, so I will attempt to translate it. Not to worry, I am quite proficient in both languages and I have a passion for truth, accuracy and objectivity. The sermon was first transcribed from spoken Swedish, so some colloquial and spoken expressions are present in the original text, which I will also try to translate into appropriate expressions in English. Here goes nothing:

''By legalizing, well, partnerships between men and men and between woman and woman, that will create disasters, quite simply. Unmatched. We see the repercussions of this already. We see it in AIDS, spreading. Now, not everyone infected with AIDS is not homosexual, but it has started because of this once upon a time and then of course innocent people can be infected by this horrible disease without having anything to do with what is behind this, regarding homosexuality.''

''The bible here brings up and educates about these abnormities. And sexual abnormities are a deep cancerous growth on the entire societal body. The Lord knows that sexually deformed people will even rape the animals. Not even the animals go free of the human sexual needs, and the fire that is ignited in a human being. Even that, people can indulge in.''

''Pederasts(1). Even when the bible was written, the Lord knew what would happen. We have been experiencing this and experience it and we are horrified by it. And Paulus speaks in First Corithinthians one and ten about perverted people. And perverted people is a translation from the original which states 'one who lies with boys'. One who lies with boys are perverted people that the bible speaks of. Now I want to emphasize that all homosexuals are not pedophiles. And all homosexuals are not perverse. But you still open the gate to forbidden areas and let sin take root in your mind. And someone who is a pedophile today does not start out as such. No, started simply by changing their social circle. That was how it started. And to be faithful in a homosex relationship is in no way a better relationship than one where you change partners every day. It is not a better relationship. It is just as despicable in the eyes of God.''

''Of my own free will I leave purity and recieve impurity. Consciously they switched, Paulus says. Homosexuality, that is something sick. That is just a healthy and pure thought that has been switched for a tainted thought. Where a healthy heart which has been replaced for a sick heart. That is what they have done. Where a healthy body that has been laid waste to because of a switch, Paulus says... Is homosexuality something you choose, yes. You choose it. You are not born to it. You choose this, quite simply. You exchange it. It is absolutely that way because otherwise it would be treachery against mankind.''(2)

(1) Here Green uses an outdated term - "gosseskändare" - where the victim is a male child - "gosse" - and the action is said to be a desecration - "skändning". One who desecrates something is therefore a "-skändare", and that's the entire word. The choice of using such an old word is not related to any known Swedish bible translations.

(2) It is unclear whose this treachery would be, but as I do not have a continuation of this quite, I would suggest that if homosexuality is not a choice, then mankind has been betrayed by its creator.

The above quote is not the entire sermon, but it is the portion quoted in the case documents. The court has taken all this into consideration, along with the context in which it was spoken, what the apparent objective of the sermon was, and what the relevant Swedish and European articles state on the matter.

I cannot translate the entire 16-page document explaining the motivations behind the court's decision, it is just too much and too boring. Perhaps another time. However, I can outline the arguments:

No special consideration is taken to how the speech was delivered. There is no particular protection for holding a sermon from the pulpit compared to singing a song or handing out a pamplet.

Consideration was taken to Green's defense that he was paraphrasing religious text and that this is part of religious freedom.

The court acknowledges that the definition of hate speech does not change with religious context, but that special care must be taken to the possible effects of a conviction on religious freedom. In other words, while it is important to represent the letter of the law, the effects of the law must not be such that following one law constitutes a breach of another - as in acting prohibively on the freedom of religion.

No consideration was taken to whether or not Åke Green's religious convictions, arguments or source material were legitimate. It is understandable that a court cannot make legitimacy judgements on the religious beliefs of a defendant, but this also means that anyone can claim religious affiliation, and recieve the more careful judgement considerations mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Personally, I think Åke Green would have been convicted if he had not been a reverend, if he had been a plain heterosexual old man working in mechanics, speaking in a room full of colleagues.

And personally, I think that means some animals are more equal than others.

/ Per