While the contents of this blog can be highly offending, my intention isn't to offend. This blog is merely an outlet for my thoughts and insights about the world around me. My opinions, as do everyone's, change over time, and as such it is important to recognize that older posts may not reflect my views today.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

How to Deal with Low Ballers

If someone tries to low ball you something you are selling by asking "What is the lowest you are willing to sell for?" the correct response is:

"I haven't actually thought about what I would consider the lowest reasonable asking price, but my listed asking price is what I consider the highest reasonable asking price.

"I'd like to be reasonable, and I'd like to think people are reasonable, so if you were selling the same product(s) (set), what would you consider your lowest reasonable asking price if you were in no rush to sell, since I am in no rush to sell it?"

The idea here is that you are shifting how they think about things. You are asking them to hand you a price to start negotiating from, meaning if it is too low, you can negotiate up, otherwise you can just accept it on the spot. It takes the power away from the low baller.

If you were to offer a price, they will probably try to negotiate lower, unless your price is lower than their threshold to buy without negotiation.

There's no need to screw yourself.

If you actually need to get rid of something quickly enough that low balling on your selling price is less of a concern than being rid of it, you are better off asking a reasonable medium, not negotiate with people unless they give you a reasonable offer on the first email, "sorry, price is non negotiable."

Never indicate that you want it gone, as it hands low ballers power.

If your non negotiable asking price isn't getting you a sale after a short period, drop the price a small amount. Repeat until it sells, but remember to make new ads while removing old ads.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Omnidirectional Surround Sound Recording Idea and Necessary Listening Device

When recording things, the diamond standard should be a room designed to have the exact acoustic properties for the sound you are going for.

From there, place 10 hi fidelity full spectrum mics connected to an ultra high resolution audio processing unit, where the mics are placed in the centre of the room. The mics would be placed in a two parallel patterns, each pattern representing an ear.

The structure the mics would form in their placement would be a tetragonal based pyramid, with the bases being about average ear distance apart and parallel to the dorsoventral-anteroposteral plane. The "top" of the pyramids placed in the lateral axis, pointing to their respective lateral walls.

That leaves two pairs of mics for each pyramid, and they would be placed along the dorsoventral axis and anteroposterial axis to form the base.

From there, software would process the sound coming in from all mics to create an adjusted omnidirectional sound file (omni directional relative to the listerner's head). This would provide superior quality to traditional 7+.1+ surround sound, due to the vertical axis and head adjustment being made. Additionally, a decoders would be designed to either use omnidirectional audio, or flatten it to the highest degree the output is capable of.

With the advent of USB-C, omnidirectional headphones (ear cup style) could be created to not only give audio dimensionality in the anteroposterial-lateral plane, but also the dorsoventral axis, allowing for the sound of something in any vector to be represented by capable headphones.

I'd imagine such headphones would be $500+ though, and the technology would really only work with headphones, as implementation as room filling audio system would be near impossible as the listener's position in the room would alter the perception of the vector.

The initial processing for the recording is the hard part, the rest is all encoding/decoding and support for ~20 channel audio.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Academics and Music

So this term, I am taking a music theory class to refresh myself. I'm quickly remembering some of hte basic things I knew, but the ear training scares me.

Its a requirement that isn't actually something I've been particularly good at, beyond knowing if something is not in tune or not in key.

Lot of work there, it's going to be difficult, but I'll get it done.

The singing part is scary as well.

Here's to hoping synesthesia might help me pick this shit up faster, its going to be one hell of a term. My other courses are also work intensive.

In the end though, the theory course will be worth it. I'll learn keyboard and better vocal control, and the theory will help with my flute. I'm also looking forward to getting my transcription and composition skills back.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Comparison of Gundam 00 and Seed

I'll start off by saying Haros are adorable. I also haven't finished Seed yet.

In Gundam 00, Setsuna F Gunda... Seiei is definitely a more annoying protagonist, who also thinks he is a Gundam, given all the times he says "I am Gundam!"

Yamato Kira, on the other hand, definitely doesn't see himself as a Gundam.

Setsuna's role in the series is that of a more than willing combatant determined to rid the world of conflict. Its a noble but impossible goal. He also is slightly rogue in that he does things largely for his own reasons, forgetting the aim of the association to which he belongs, Celestial Being. To be fair, he is a simpler protagonist in a series aimed at a younger audience than the audience for Seed.

Kira differs in that he is not (initially) a willing combatant, declaring himself a neutral in the war, detesting conflict. He also has a politicised body often associated with one side of the conflict (I don't want to draw comparisons, but it reminds me of racism today in North America). One of his friends happens to also hold strong racist opinions about the kind of human he is. Unlike Setsuna, Kira doesn't join forces with his respective military organization by choice, instead being pulled in by being present during an attack by an opposing faction. The only means of survival Setsuna had, as well as the only way to save the lives of those who mattered to him, was to assist the Earth Forces during the assault, dragging him into the conflict. The role he ends up playing as a Gundam pilot for the Earth forces isn't by choice, but by necessity, as every time he has the option to stop being a combatant for them, some event seems to happen that forces him back into the Gundam against his neutrality, fighting to save those he cares about.

Based on that alone, it would appear as though Seed has more depth to it, and given that its target audience is older, that is usually a fair assumption. Kira definitely seems to be a more multidimensional and more deeply developed character, while still having room for growth. That's not to say that Setsuna isn't without depth or room to grow however.

Gundam 00 takes the hard stand that conflict is wrong, despite using conflict to solve conflict. While seeming paradoxical, it also explores the complexity of war, and it is in that complexity that Setsuna grows and gains depth. The other characters also have similar experiences with growth, relating to the unfolding of a story showing how things are not as simple as they would appear on the surface. Fighting fire with fire doesn't seem to solve anything except to scorch the earth, and we all know how that worked out in every war to have ever happened in Russia. Conflict creates room for growth regardless, and drives development in any series, the differences largely being the nature of the conflict.

Seed seems to differ in this respect. Conflict is already occuring, and the cause of the war is not known, at least not as far as where I am in the series. People are definitely opposed to the conflict, but a hidden truth is hinted at in that no one wants war, but war is a political state of broken affairs in which combatants fight for reasons personal, political, or both. This manifests in the main characters participating largely to protect those they love, as they watch in horror as some of those individuals end up mercilessly slaughtered in civilian casualties. The complexity of the series shows itself much earlier on than 00, and so far it appears to have more room for exploring complex issues surrounding the reality of war and humanitarian efforts.

Overall, like most Gundam series I have seen, the exploration of warfare as a means to an end, and the horrors associated with it, seem to be the focus in both Seed and 00. The largest difference between the two is who it is written for. While Seed takes a more nuanced and complex approach appropriate for an older audience, 00 approaches the issue from a perspective that allows a younger audience to appreciate and understand the themes discussed within it.

In my opinion, both have their merit, and both are excellent for their target audience, but I am biased in that I really like more nuanced complex approaches which explore issues in greater depth. Another Gundam series that does this well is Iron Blooded Orphans, though I'll leave it for a future post.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Politicians Lie: The Secret to Solving Problems Simpler is than You Think

A lot of things in current politics seem to be happening around issues of foreign and immigration policy, and many areas of the world seem to be moving towards a political situation favouring corporatism and concentration of wealth.

There are a number of problems with this. One is simply that for a strong economy that favours everyone, the concentration of wealth is a bad thing, not to mention how if the people at the base of the pyramid crumble, society itself falls with them.

Free markets have their advantages, encouraging competition which can lead to better products and services. Without regulations in place to keep them in check, this can also lead to monopolies and oligopolies, such as the Canadian telecom industry.

Foreign and immigration policy that dramatically restricts the movement doesn't help anyone. What people don't seem to realize is that the majority of terrorism comes from within. Terrorism doesn't come from foreign nations and organizations bent on attacking you from within, they come from internal organizations with political aims. One only needs to look as far as Quebec nationalism to understand this. In Quebec, the FLQ had very specific political aims, and their terrorist activity was a major internal threat within Canada. This may have been 50 years ago, but statistics haven't changed much.

Looking at Wikipedia, we see that the majority of successful terrorist attacks in the EU are not by Islamist groups, except for very recent events for which ISIS claims responsibility:


Now, if we look beyond this, and look at attempts, planned attacks, and preemptive arrests, we see a different story. Also looking at the Wikipedia article, the majority of arrests and failed attempts have nothing to do with Islam in recent years, and are more about internal politics.

This tells us something important.

The terrorism we need to be addressing starts at home, not the borders. We need to figure out why internal terrorism exists, and what can be done to stop it.

One thing that can help a significant amount is kindness. A little kindness goes a long way. An individual who is isolated is more easily swayed by extreme beliefs, especially when organizations holding that belief offer a powerful opportunity to escape isolation. So we need to reduce isolation.

How do we reduce isolation?

First, we need better mental and physical health programs, to allow people to be fit to participate in society, and thus feel like they matter. Another key element is to reduce bullying and attacking of people who hold views different from your own. Constructive criticism and criticism of faulty beliefs in the right contexts are still acceptable.

Another important aspect is, as mentioned, reducing attacks on others. This means reducing acts of hate. Trump's Border Ban is an act of hate, regardless of how we want to view it, but plenty of other things are also acts of hate: intentionally disadvantaging others and not treating others as equals in general can fall under this umbrella.

Reach out to those who may be isolated. Sure they may not seem like they'd make good friends, and they legitimately might not, but bringing them out of isolation and encouraging the use of mental health services can go a long way to rehabilitating them into society.

Create policies that reduce poverty. Things like universal healthcare for all means that fewer people end up so far into poverty that they become isolated and meaningless within society, while also providing better health outcomes that also reduce isolation. Having welfare systems that don't try to eliminate abuse, but ensure that everyone has enough economic power to be social and economic agents also helps to reduce isolation. These poverty reducing measures mean that people can interact and be social more frequently, reducing the time they spend alone ruminating, and rumination leads to thoughts that make a person more likely to join groups with malicious intent.

Net neutrality helps people connect online. This reduces isolation for people who are not in a condition where they can interact in person more frequently. The UN has declared the internet to be a basic human right for a reason.

All of these may seem like socialist positions, and they indeed amount to forms of kindness towards everyone, but these are things that we as people should be doing anyways. When everyone's needs are taken care of, we are better able to function as a society, interpersonal interactions are better, crime and terrorism decrease, and it strengthens the economy by having a larger percentage of the human population able to contribute in meaningful ways. Greece could fix their economic problems if the youngest generation were all to become artisans, but to do this would require money injected to allow them the ability to make the mistakes all artisans make on the road to success.

In the end, little kindness goes a long way.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Accessibility is for EVERYONE -- Privacy Law vs Accessibility Law and Charter Rights

One step closer to pitting medical privacy law against the Ontario Accessibility Act. Unfortunately I may have to use a high quality service provider as a scapegoat to do so. My scapegoat has agreed to meet with me, and I want to make it clear that I am the service provider in this instance, and thus it is not billable to OHIP, and if anything, it is my time being purchased.

I have an appointment with the doctor who would be my scapegoat, and I want to take this to a level where punitive damages could be awarded, with the mutual understanding that I would drop all awarded funds except any legal fees incurred. I am hoping this doctor will agree, as regardless, I have a legal case against this doctor that would require a legal precedent t be set to guide future policy that this case is not already covered by. A win would be that the medical profession would need to sacrifice some privacy provisions, with patient approval, to allow for equal access to telecommunication services.

What equal access would look like may include email as an option, for clients who are hearing impaired, as interpretation services become complex the moment voicemail is involved. Accommodating individuals with memory issues (and I get severe memory issues under stress, along with the haziness of anxiety), a system similar to what my dentist uses where automated text messages are sent prior to an appointment as a reminder. For individuals who have a hard time deciphering voicemail due to interference caused by, say visual to auditory synesthesia, having additional lines so an individual is less likely to queue to voicemail rather than being put on hold goes a long way. As one of those visual to auditory synesthetes, background visual noise causes problems, and voicemail is easier to interpret with a blindfold on. Technically, it qualifies as an auditory processing disorder. When I have a realtime conversion, I am far better equipped to understand the persona on the other end, as shutting out visual noise is easier and the back and forth means I have additional context from my end of the conversation.

The medical community should be a top leader in accessibility, but policy leads to an arcane system in which older barely functioning systems are held in place for legal and historical reasons. Using a legal precedent to force a change in policy seems like the best possible way to fix this problem.

Accessibility is for everyone. Everyone benefits from services implemented to help the differently abled. Alternative telecommunication options mean people with different non accessibility needs benefit from being able to choose options that best suit their needs. Elevators are safer for moving loads up and down floors. Ramps instead of curbs mean that carts, especially flatbed ones, are less likely to spill their content when moving up and down curbs, while also being the best solution to accommodating wheelchairs. Having braille on a menu hurts no one, and having staff trained to help a blind individual with their order means better trained staff who are overall better at serving all customers. This list goes on.

Accessibility is for EVERYONE.

The possible exceptions are therapies that are highly specific to helping a group of people whose needs don't generally overlap with the general population. These people also need to be provided the ability to have equal services, but the benefits may be less beneficial to the provider. That said, I can't think of anything off the top of my head that strictly serves only a class or classes of differently abled individuals.


Friday, April 21, 2017

On the Supposed Problems of Millenials vs the Problems Created by Those Who Came Before

Millenial complaining here, and if millenials complaining bothers you, you should continue to read this.

Its dumb to lump us all in together when those who came before sank the markets so hard our current recession is just a continuation of the 2008 one that never really ended. In such an economy, finding reasonable jobs is a difficult task, as old jobs are not being cycled to new people at a high enough rate, and net job creation is not high enough for the generation to be a meaningful contributor to the economy as a whole. While we have many success stories, our generation is who was hit hardest by the dumb moves of those who came before and the failure on their part to clean up their mistakes. Now not all of those who came before are responsible for the economic situation we have and are coming into adulthood in, but it is extremely easy to prove we did not at all contribute to that downturn, as we are simply too young for that to be possible. When we complain, it is because we are not responsible for the mistakes that put our generation in the position it is in, but we seem to be among the biggest contributors by age to fixing the problems created by those who came before. The economic shifts our generation is beginning to create and innovate, along with the jobs created by the numerous successes of our generation are doing more to fix problems than cutting fat in bloated old companies, top end greed, artificial inflation of prices, use of market correcting measures that simply do not work, the reliance on a normative economic system that does not make sense, and a number of other things. It is also worth noting that our generation is not old enough to contribute meaningfully to the mistakes in society, so our time is yet to come, and the generalization and ageism by those who came before certainly isn't helping. That said, a number of us lesser beings, colloquially known as millenials, do do what we can to support content creation, and in ways previously not conceived. Oh, and some of us intentionally turn off our ad blockers on pages where we know ad revenue is going to people we support. Why should we let money our actions direct go to people we do not support? I somewhat frequently visit conservative and/or discriminatory websites as part of my research, I don't want ad revenue from my page views going to such people, therefor adblockers are what is necessary to keep such people from profiting off of my research. We speak with our money a lot more consciously than you would think, its not uncommon to hear some variant of the phrase "if you want a sequel to x, x needs to make enough money to justify a sequel, throw money at x," which is something I have never heard out of the mouths of those who came before. That phrase applies to youtube as well, want content, the creators need to be able to profit off of its creation, throw money at them. We are very highly aware of that, and again, we speak with our wallets, as our voices do not mean much to those who come before, as you have so clearly illustrated. Would millenials support people through Patreon? Depends, is Patreon a platform that deserves the money our actions direct, and do the content creators deserve that money? If we agree with the service used to throw money at people, we will use that service to throw money at people, and we will only throw money at people we support. If we are required to throw money at people we don't support, we do it begrudgingly, like myself and the telecom price fixing oligopoly (I quite vocally do not support how the industry in the nation in which I reside operates). I realize I have generalized those who came before, there are plenty of people among them who have meaningfully positively contributed, and whose contributions are of a net positive, and for them my complaints don't apply. These complaints almost always apply to those who came before who hold the keys to power, and those are the people who decide where society goes, for the most part. We who are currently coming are using what means we have to exercise the limited power we have in what ways we can to shape society the ways we see fit. That shaping will take a different form for each individual, and the net shape will be a result of our combined actions, but once those who came before no longer hold any of the keys to power, then and only then can we strictly be those to blame. People are complex beings, groups of people even more complex, though that complexity is somewhat muted by the averaging between individuals. Why can't everyone be a critical thinker, willing to change their opinions in the face of evidence contrary to them? Why can't everyone consider that they might be wrong? Why are there people who prefer the system of understanding Ken Ham uses, as opposed to the system Bill Nye uses (see the Ham vs Nye debate, and how Nye's views on GMOs has changed over the years)?