Richard Tallent’s occasional blog

5 Ways Artists Cheat

A few things bug me about modern art. The biggest thing is that so many artists, rather than actually having something important to say or something beautiful to express, cheat to create something impressive, but in the end, hollow. Make it big. Really big. If you can’t produce something interesting, magnify the scale until it confuses the viewer into thinking there’s something really important about your piece that they are missing. Read more →

On the death penalty

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6899748.html Without reading the judge’s opinion, I can’t decide for myself if he is correct. But that’s why we have an appellate court system, so more experienced jurists can consider new arguments from lower courts and make sure our system is sound. In the remote chance that there is a valid issue, I’m just glad the prisoner wasn’t already executed. Of course, that may be his whole point — you might be able to let a guy out 20 years later if the next DNA-like technology exonerates him, but you can’t un-kill him. Read more →

Regarding term limits

I see both sides of this argument. It is clear that when our representatives stay too long, they lose the ability to govern and only retain the ability to campaign. Hence the lack of leadership, collaboration, and discourse, all of which tend to piss off just enough voters to put them in the 49% of a 49/51 split the next time around. Term limits give us fresh eyes to problems and fresh hearts to their district, and lame ducks can make the tough decisions without worrying about jeopardizing their “career. Read more →

Checklist for Alienbees CyberCommander Use

I’ve had a TON of trouble with the CyberCommander, which is totally unlike my usual experience with Alienbees products. After hours of debugging, I think I’ve finally created a checklist that works to get a multi-light setup working with my AB800s, CSR+ receivers, CST transmitter, and CyberCommander controller. The CSR+ receivers don’t seem to work correctly when the polarity is reversed on the outlet, so check that. They may also be sensitive to an open ground. Read more →

6 Reasons eBooks should be Cheaper than pBooks

Carolyn K. Reidy, chief executive of Simon & Schuster, was recently quoted saying of Amazon’s $10 standard pricing for books on the Kindle: “We do not agree with their pricing strategy. I don’t believe that a new book by an author should ipso facto be less expensive electronically than it is in paper format.” Fortunately for us, the market decides the price of products, not Ms. Reidy. This past week, there have been various other rumblings in the publishing industry, from Macmilan’s dispute with Amazon over pricing to the sky-is-falling predictions at recent publishing conferences, to the fearful reactions to Apple’s impending entry into the market. Read more →

Questions not answered by the iPad

Just in case anyone has been wondering, yes, I still intend to blog occasionally. Watching Jobs et al on stage yesterday, there were a few lingering questions I have that I hope Apple addresses before the release: Camera, pretty please? I’m hoping a front-facing camera is a “one more thing” added at the end. This does seem like a no-brainer, a 2MP camera would add $10 to the cost. No GPS for wifi users? Read more →

We need a new car… ideas?

My ’02 Nissan Altima, which I’ve loved having for almost 8 years, has a nasty little problem. When the catalytic converter starts to go, it throws catalyst back up into the engine. This happens usually after the warranty mileage, and the cat doesn’t throw a code until WAY too late. In the meantime, the only symptom is increased oil consumption until the engine is beyond repair. Now my $5k Blue Book Altima needs a $5k engine, and it’ll happen again at any time, even if the rest of the car holds up. Read more →

Posting from IPhone

First post made directly from iPhone WordPress app. Watching CNN coverage of Iran election fallout. I don’t know whether the election reults are accurate or not. But once the government started responding to peaceful protest and questions with violence and oppression, they lost their legitimacy. “The consent of the governed” is not a requirement to have leaders elected with a simple majority. Obama us doing the right thing here. This is not our fight. Read more →

The Good and Bad of Opera Unite

I’ve said may times that if we hope to save the Internet as a free and open resource, we need to democratize the server. Your “MySpace” really isn’t yours unless it’s running on your own hardware. Opera Unite (http://www.opera.com/press/releases/2009/06/16/) is an application that claims to do just this–provide people an easy way to run a web server on their own machine, allowing them to install “services” on that server for chat, sharing photos, etc. Read more →