use of blue LEDs
Monday, January 11 2010
I was in a prison computer lab again today, again trying to update a database of research materials. Though there is no internet connection for the prisoner-students, their electronic research materials are mostly presented via a web. I say "a web," since it isn't connected to "the Web." This particular web uses familiar technologies such as PHP and MySQL, so I found myself uniquely qualified for coming up with a solution when the instructions for updating the research database didn't turn out to work. The updating procedure I'd been given was crude, involving typing text commands into a CMD window. But ultimately I lacked the permissions I needed to update the database, so my visit proved mostly fruitless. It's good that I'm being paid by the hour.
Most of the money being squandered by our prison-industrial complex (and the ancillary institutions, such as the one I contract for) is spent on grown men standing around doing absolutely nothing. When you figure all of that manpower is being used for more productive ventures in other countries, you can see how, from the standpoint of competitiveness, our nation's present cultural hangup of imprisoning so many people is not sustainable. We end up losing the race, and prisons are just one of the absurd hangups our country has. (Others include automotive obsession, suburbs, a massive military, and religious nuttiness.)
I'd car pooled with my liaison Jed, and on the way home he went on a detour to his place in Stone Ridge to have me look at his Windows machine, a dust-filled gaming tower full of bright blue LEDs. (The use of blue LEDs to showcase the cutting-edge nature of your electronic hardware dates devices to "the Aughts.") It was an older machine and had been built around a Pentium IV. When it had been on for a certain amount of time it tended to lock up. Perhaps heat was the problem. So I went into the Bios, and when that locked up it was clear he had a hardware problem. So I suggested he get one of those nifty low-power Atom-based motherboards to replace whatever might be fucked-up now. Such a motherboard will be able to do twice as much for a quarter of the electricity.
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