As it has been while since I last posted I’m going to make this a bit of a mixture.
Those who know me will be aware that I have been diagnosed with a mood disorder. This is often reflected in my words and opinions. It hinders my ability to do anything much useful. The condition is so disruptive that I have been declared unfit for work and now, with my wife who has also been declared unfit for work, largely due to arthritis, we are scraping by on a benefit – certainly not how I expected my life to unfold a few years back. This blog is not intended to be a personal diary, nor is it intended to be a static record. I have deleted and/or amended the last few posts to remove the particularly negative bias. Unfortunately my mood disorder makes it almost impossible to commit to and meet obligations, hence I am no longer going to be providing any direct products or services – doing anything, even previously fun stuff, has become an almost overwhelming effort. Healthcare, particularly Mental Health, has been a major casualty in our government’s policies – as I have found out recently during yet another attempt to get some sort of useful help, finding myself shuffled from agency to agency with nothing useful to show for it. I mention re-branding below – one agency I deal with has changed its name twice, with all new signage, stationery, policies and reduced staff, in the last few years, But still, I must try, and not give up.
lam1 works very well and its code keeps evolving. Although it can be used in many ways, I have found myself using it predominantly for ambient effect lighting, sans black mirror, illuminating the ceiling and walls. For reason above stated lam1 will not be brought to market.
As my AVS needs are fully met by the Kasina and the multitude of AudioStrobe and Spectrastrobe sessions I have decided to play around with microcontrollers, LEDs and motors in a more “art” form, combining them with natural and recycled materials. In many ways lam1 was the transition to this interest, as it definitely more art than science.
A little while ago my wife had to have a bunch of teeth removed, including an impacted wisdom tooth. I have long been aware that AVS has been used effectively to reduce discomfort during dental procedures. For her first visit I wrote a Kasina session based on the predictably relaxing 10Hz with white noise to suppress the various noises associated with dentistry. I am told this made a huge difference to the experience. For her second visit I added one of her favorite sounds – frogs and toads – also effective. There was considerable interest shown by the dentists and technicians.
For the last few weeks I have been using the Windows 10 Technical Preview on my oldest laptop (Core 2 Duo 1,86MHz, 2Gb RAM) and have found it to be a vast improvement over Win 7 on the same machine. Right now I’m running Build 10130, which appeared yesterday. Looking good, Microsoft. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s kind of a cross between Win 7 and Win 8 with XBox thrown in. Windows 10, when released later in the year, will be a FREE upgrade from Win 7 or 8, even if the earlier version is not legal. As is to be expected of a Technical Preview, each build provides new fixes and features, while also often introducing new problems, for example, a few builds ago the Start Menu and Cortana ceased to be accessible. To get a copy of the technical preview you just have to sign up as a Microsoft Insider, whereupon you also have the opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions for the improvement of the product. Unless something horrible happens between now and release, I will be installing Win 10 on all my machines, maybe leaving dual boot with Linux on one.
The World at Large
It may be that part of my problem is a deep and long standing existential depression. For as long as I can remember I have felt apart from humanity, never quite fitting in, never quite understanding how people do what they do, even “ordinary” people living and working in “ordinary” ways. It has been a real eye-opener plunging from a relatively comfortable middle-class life to one at the bottom of the barrel. It is evident and explicit that Western governments have declared War on the Poor. There always seems to be money for extravagances such as war, restructuring, re-branding (NZ government thinks now is a great time to change flags – with all the costs of consultation, referendums and then the cost of replacing everything that has the present flag on it), sucking up to corporations and a multitude of other expenditures that do nothing to advance the welfare of the people. Governments and corporations seem to seem think it’s a great idea to cut expenditure by cutting jobs. Where are these people ending up? Fiddled unemployment numbers hide those for whom “job seeking” is futile, those who for whatever reason unfit for work or unable to find employment after every effort, and the older unemployed who would be better left alone on a livable benefit so that younger and more able bodies can have jobs. The NZ Prime Minister, during discussion of intelligence gathering, security and participation in the Middle East, spoke of “The Five Eyes” and “The Club”. The United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are in collusion, implementing near identical policies that can only benefit the elite, consistently at the expense of the lower deciles. The income gap is being grown in what appears to be a completely systematic manner. The comfortably middle class will be finding themselves not so comfortable once the poor have been thoroughly sucked dry. There’s an economic collapse on the horizon, but I am no longer certain which of the many threats to human existence will get us first. People are waking up and taking action. The trouble is that The Manipulators ensure that no significant number of us ever cares strongly about the same thing – divided we (The People) will fall, be that be literally dead or just to greater depths of oppression. Governments need to be reminded in the clearest of terms that they are servants, not masters, that their responsibility is to their own people, not to corporations and other government’s interests. When considering a cause to stand for, think big – if we got our governments back under control, most of the specific horrors of our time would have some possibility of being effectively addressed. I try my best to remain unconvinced that it is too late – difficult in light of the evidence and my own mood-disordered perspective.
Just In – Mental Health Services Take Another Hit in NZ
Privatization of prisons has been common in the US and has recently come to be in NZ, with the same monster, Serco, enjoying the guaranteed profits of minimum occupancy contracts. A quick search reveals how poorly this is working out, with performance measures unmet leading to staff, inmates and the general public placed at risk. It’s worth noting that those who have benefited from privatization of NZ prisons include Merril Lynch, former employer of our Prime Minister, John Key, and other big Wall St names. Now NZ is about to throw another $28 million to the corporations to privatize chunks of the social welfare system, notably the mental health sector. The justification is that, with appropriate performance measures in place, the profit motive will lead to improved cost effectiveness. I can’t think of any case where privatization has benefited the consumers of social services – feel free to enlighten me if you can think of a favorable example. Just as pharmaceutical companies have no incentive to “cure”, private providers of prisons have no incentive to rehabilitate. I can’t see why this should be any different for commercial mental health service providers. Anyway, here’s an article and clip from TVNZ. Wherever you may be in the Western world, stay sharp… this kind of thing is coming for you too!