Monday, November 30, 2009


I've spent only a small amount of time today reading "The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film" by Michael Ondaatje and I find myself enthralled with it and angry that I didn't spend more time with it. I borrowed the book from my Film & Formal Analysis instructor, Dr. Heidi Kenaga, at Oakland University and I have to return it to her today.

It's really quite fascinating reading about Mr. Murch and his interactions and friendships with George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppula. It's even more interesting to put that into perspective with my friends, all of whom are creative, and most of which have inspired & pushed me.

Maxx and I have collaborated on many ideas, and I'm fairly sure there will be many more in the future. But it's fascinating to think that our friendship is of a similar nature, in some respects, as those of Murch, Lucas, and Coppula. Will there some day be a book chronicling our ventures, skills, and friendship?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Switched Hosting Providers... Again...

After putting some more thought into it, and finding out about A2 Hosting through an attempt to find a work around a full text search limitation that HostNine forced upon me, I cancelled the account with HostNine and opened one with A2 Hosting. It's not only cheaper, but it comes with a modern version of PostgreSQL, one that includes full text search right off the bat. Now, there is a new limitation that I'll have to deal with versus HostNine: I can't host any porn... Sigh... Oh well, it's not like I was hosting porn before...! So no big deal...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Switching Hosting Providers

For the last few years, I've run a number of web sites on West Host because they seemed to be stable, friendly, and offer a good deal considering the flexibility they offered. For instance, I was able to ssh into my VPS account and set up my preferred database system, PostgreSQL, and only use their supplied MySQL when I absolutely had to.

Well, earlier this year, West Host was purchased, and they began revising their plans on what features were offering to their customers. While I might be able to continue to ssh into the VPS in the near future, they're planning on eliminating the compiler and programming tools, which would mean that I would no longer be able to run PostgreSQL. As a result, I decided to switch to a different hosting provider.

After a few months of looking, evaluating, and flip-flopping, I opened an account with HostNine on Thursday. The reasons I chose HostNine are that they support and provide PostgreSQL right off the bat, and they're giving me unlimited disk space and bandwidth for a year for $20 more than I was paying per quarter for West Host. Needless to say, this is overall a much better deal.

That's not to say that my switch isn't going to be painful. After struggling to connect to my new server via ssh and sftp for hours, I filed a trouble ticket to figure out what's going on. It turns out that though these access methods are supported, I have to first fill out a form requesting secure access to the site via these methods. Fine. Moving on.

I then found that though I do have immediate PostgreSQL access, it's somewhat restricted. I don't have superuser access. Not really a huge deal. All of my database names and user-names are automatically prefixed by my account user name. Not a huge deal but kind of irritating that I'll have to go back through my various sites and update the database names and user-names. Something that I'll get over but again, it's irritating. Then there's the fact that it's an older version of PostgreSQL (8.1.8 instead of 8.3.x or 8.4.x) which combined with the lack of superuser access creates a whole world of hurt on recreating even one of my sites' databases. Oh, and I just had to file a trouble ticket to get full text search capabilities added to my database, and I suspect I'll have to file a new trouble ticket for every single database that I will need those features for. (Fortunately, not many at the moment.)

But the kicker for me was that last night, after several trouble tickets, I posted a message in their community forums asking if any one knew what I would need to do in order to set up a web accessible Subversion version control repository the proper way within the account. Less than an hour later, I was permanently banned from the forums for spamming. With a single message. That included no advertisements or spam like content. Yeah. I filed a new trouble ticket on that issue including their notification email and this morning that situation was resolved, but I'm already beginning to wonder if I should just abort this effort and try to find another host instead...

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Fort Hood Tragedy

With my fellow Americans, and I suspect a great deal of people around the world, I grieve with the families that have lost loved ones and I'm praying for the wounded. Words can't describe the impact of the tragedy adequately, but that's not why I'm writing tonight.

If Major Hasan is indeed the culprit, I fear and have feared that two further tragedies will and are occurring as a direct result of his actions: the damage to the Islamic image, and more importantly, that he will be artificially linked to terrorists.

Let's face it America, we've never fully recovered from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and there are many of us that are looking to blame those faithful to Islam, are Muslim, or of Middle Eastern descent for just about anything at any given moment. Frankly, this attack, whether it was terrorist linked or just one random idiot going on a shooting spree couldn't have come at a worst time for the Islamic faithful. Between this and the shooting of Luqman Ameen Abdullah here in the Detroit area a few weeks ago because of his suspected terrorist plans, I'm beginning to think that many people are starting to look at the Islamic faithful as the followers of Hitler. They seem to be becoming the general purpose villains of 21st century America.

Let me share with you the opinions of one Baptist Christian man from Detroit: me. I have only known a few people, personally, that have followed the Islamic faith, but each and every one of them has been a decent and honest person. Here in Detroit, I have had a fair amount of exposure to people of various Middle Eastern descents, most of which I'm sure have been Islamic, whether I knew them personally or not. Aside from an incident with a family of Middle Easterners cutting in line in front of me to get the H1N1 vaccine a few weeks ago, I've never seen one try to do anything that was even remotely unfair. Even the Nation of Islam, Black Americans like myself, have generally done far more good than harm; It's interesting to note that the people that seem to think of those who follow Islam seldom stop to think about the long history of N.O.I.'s long presence in America, and only occasionally pipe up to call Louis Farrakhan various names.

Islam isn't the problem people. Yes, there are some extremists that are utilizing Islam and faith to encourage acts of terrorism, but I think that most people that blindly blame the religion are fools. For one thing, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all branches of the very same religion. To call or to consider the religion or its followers evil is to essentially call Christianity or Judaism just as evil. Before condemning Islam, think of how many millions have died in the name of Christianity! Think of the slaughter of Native Americans, the slavery in America first of Africans then of their descendants for generations, the wars fought in Europe, all in the name of the Christian God! Do you think He wanted us to do this to one another? Just as those that caused those atrocities are a minority, so are the terrorists among the Islamic faithful, and we should not, and cannot blame or fear an entire religion because of it.

Then there's the other issue with regards to Major Hasan. As soon as I found out that he was of Middle Eastern descent, and that he was Islamic, I told my mother that they, the government and/or the media, was going to find a way to link him to terrorists. It doesn't matter whether or not he actually was a terrorist or not, or whether he might have had some contact with terrorists, he was automatically doomed to be linked to them. Sometimes, I really hate to be right. It took a little longer than I thought it would, but some connections are already being drawn. Now, I don't know the truth in this matter, but neither does anyone else at this point. What I am afraid of, however, is that Hasan will be used as a political tool to support the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, whether he really has terrorist connections or not. Even now, I'm sure that the FBI and various intelligence agencies are trying to track down every last individual that has attended the Virginia mosque for years before and after the 9/11 terrorists and Major Hasan attended it. Background checks are being run, and I have little doubt that one will be run on me for my comments here, and surveillance plans are being formulated. All with the hopes of first making some political gain for one side or another, and second in the hopes of protecting the American people. Why can't Hasan have simply done as many others have done: just fucking snap? Did the kids that shot up Columbine have terrorist links too? How about those bank robbers in Los Angeles back in 97 or so, that had a running gun battle with police? How about any of the other mad men that have shot up schools, malls, or other gatherings of people in the last 15 years...? What's being done to protect us from them? Not every nut is a fucking terrorist! But since 9/11, any time an Arab or follower of Islam does something abhorrent, they're automatically a terrorist, and it's just a short time before they're found to have terrorist links...

Hell, even with Luqman Ameen Abdullah, he was already being branded a terrorist by the FBI the day he was killed. I'm not saying I believe in Abdullah's ideas or ideals, but God knows there are a lot of other people in America that have weapons stockpiles that AREN'T considered terrorists.

So what do I want on this second issue? I want truth. I want honest investigation of Hasan and Abdullah, and I want the American people to be told the full truth of what is discovered. If real terrorist links with valid evidence is unearthed, then fine, brand them terrorists. But if not, then tell us the truth. Don't start throwing people under the bus to rally political support; that's un-American.

And above all other things, people, don't give into blind fear, hate, or trust. Go into all things with your eyes and minds open, and trust what your gut, mind, and your God tell you.