Some People Can’t Live Without Their Radio


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This morning I saw something I haven’t seen too often lately. While walking in San Francisco to the office, a guy had a little radio and was playing some music, a little loud, early in the morning. I realized I don’t see this happen that often these days.

The days of individuals carrying around a big boom box have pretty much gone away with those who used to carry a piece of cardboard to breakdance on. This auditory display made me think of two different things.

Why is it people don’t carry or really use boom boxes anymore? Granted, these suckers required about 18 D-sized batteries to run hopefully a single cassette before you had to search for more batteries. These days, people are more about the sleek and compact nature of today’s technology. No one wants to carry a huge stereo when you can get a tiny set of speakers that will likely sound better than the boom boxes from days long ago. It’s just not the same thing. You can’t put your iPod or portable speakers on your shoulder and walk the streets and command the same amount of respect from the old days.

The other thing I thought of is why do people think others want to hear what they’re listening to. This fella in the morning decided he wanted to share whatever he was jamming to with anyone walking by. This is also something that often happens when people drive cars with a decent sound system. I’ll admit I crank up the radio when a really groovy song comes on. I’ve never had the urge to crank down my windows to share the tune with the world (yeah, we don’t have to ‘crank’ our windows down these days either thanks to power windows). I’ve never understood how someone catching a second or two of a song or just the deep bass of a track would be enough to inspire someone to stand up and start dancing as the car drives by.

People do still listen to music quite a bit. In the city, you can count on seeing several individuals sporting headphones attached to their phones, iPods, or maybe even nothing to distract others from trying to talk to them.

The days of the boom box have passed us by. Do people still buy these giant-sized music players? Where have all the boom boxes gone? Is there a landfill somewhere with them stacked to the sky?

As for what song the guy was playing in the morning, I couldn’t tell you. The sound quality was pretty bad and I couldn’t make it out. Perhaps another reason why we’ve all moved towards smaller sound systems with better sound quality.

 

 

 

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Why Automobiles Should Use Black Boxes Like Airplanes

Here’s something I somehow wasn’t aware of: automobiles contain black boxes. Apparently they have for a few years now.

ct101_blackboxes_320x240We’ve all heard of black boxes in airplanes. It’s a data recording device that can be used if there’s an accident to try to figure out what happened. The fact that these are in cars is a fascinating idea and it’s one I’m sure not everyone would want used.

The way I see it, driving a car is a huge responsibility. How many times have you been on the road only to have “that guy” zip by you weaving in and out of traffic. The unfortunate reality is, many drivers feel they are untouchable. They feel they are such skilled drivers, they can zoom all over the place. After all, since they’re so skilled, why should they have to drive through traffic like the rest of us?

Accidents happen. They can happen even to the most skilled drivers. There are so many factors that can cause one to happen. No matter how conscious you are to your driving environment, all it takes is one error on your or another’s part.

What does this have to do with black boxes?

Just as in plane crashes, I think the idea of a black box being used in automobile crashes would be great. If an accident were to occur, it should be known why it happened.

True story: a few years ago I was driving home in the evening down a two lane road at about 50 m.p.h. Another car on a side road to the right thought they could make a left turn in front of me before I went by. They were wrong.

What we’ll never know is why the driver made that decision. Was it simply poor judgement? Did they have a long day and were driving erratically before reaching that intersection? Was there any problems with the car? This is where a black box could give some answers.

There will likely be those strongly opposed to this data being used. The way I see it, you should take complete responsibility when behind the wheel. I don’t drink and drive so my driving won’t ever be erratic due to a foreign substance. I don’t drive if I’m completely exhausted. People need to understand they are driving a potentially massive killing machine. It’s not just the driver’s life that is put at risk if a person is not in the best state to drive.

There’s also the fact that sometimes accidents happen due to problems with the vehicle. There’s also the chance that a person may need this evidence to help defend them. I was surprised to see a news report dating back to 2005 on CNET. A truck driver had collided with a police car and killed an officer who was assisting a disabled vehicle. He was accused of traveling at least 80 m.p.h. but the black box reported he was traveling at the legal limit of 70 m.p.h.

Black boxes have been in our vehicles since at least 2005? How did I not know this?

The other concern is who has access to this data? Is it something that could be transmitted without a driver’s approval or would a court order be needed to access the data? Can the device be fully trusted to always record completely accurate data?

I’m not one for lessening our rights to privacy. There’s already so much we do that is recorded everywhere. It just seems that we all need to take responsibility for our actions. Driving is a privilege, not a right. If the idea that your driving habits are being recorded results in safer driving, is such a bad idea?

Check out this RECENT VIDEO from CNET to get an update on black boxes in cars and some of the concerns arises.

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Defined by What We Think is Cool

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Something I’ve noticed a lot lately is the need to broadcast what our interests are. This may apply more to the ‘geek culture’ but it’s now at the point that who you are and how you are perceived is defined by what you like and what you think is cool. 

 

In some ways, this isn’t a bad thing. If a person has a love for something, whether it’s a comic book character or even the current video game they’re playing, the need to share with the world the joys they are experiencing is natural. 

 

Where this becomes a problem is when the fabrication starts to take over. People will seek out or claim to have immersed themselves in something that they might not actually care for. It’s the need to be accepted by others that makes them feel this is what they have to do. 

 

Perhaps calling this a ‘problem’ is a bit much. There’s nothing wrong with taking what others are into and checking it out for themselves. It becomes unfortunate when you know what their true intentions are. Wanting to be accepted by others is a natural phenomenon. But the need to broadcast the fabricated interest over and over in the hopes of being accepted by others shouldn’t be what it’s about. The problem is when you can read between the lines and see what is really going on.

 

It might be that I still remember what our geek culture was like before Facebook, Twitter and the internet. I remember buying the latest Atari or NES games and reading the latest comics without telling everyone around what I was into. My status as a ‘cool person’ wasn’t defined by what I was reading or playing. Maybe that’s why I don’t always rush out to my iPhone to broadcast something I just read or if I managed to find 30 minutes to hop on my Xbox or PS3. I’d much rather use my time reading a comic or playing a good iPhone game rather than go on and on on a social platform about what I think is so cool to be doing.

 

Obviously due to my position in running a comic book website, I do need to share my thoughts on certain things. I just won’t give something praise because it’s supposedly the cool thing to do. I’ve been straight if I dig something or not. For example, I like enjoy 3D movies. They don’t bother me or give me a headache. I always thought the old school 3D comics were cool.  I didn’t absolute hate the Star Wars prequels. They don’t compare and are in a different class than the original trilogy but it’s ridiculous that liking them makes me less of a Star Wars fan.

 

Today’s fans are too focused about their social perception. For many, liking or not liking something in private doesn’t cut it. It’s unfortunate if groups of individuals can’t be liked unless they are interested in certain things. It’s really unfortunate if someone tries to give the impression they’re into something just to be accepted by others. I’m not going to say all Jim Carrey movies are great, just to get Jim Carrey fans to like me.

 

These days people are concerned with what their status is. How many people like their Facebook status or what their Klout score is. It’s great to be passionate about something but it’s not passion if you’re doing it just to impress others.

 

What it comes down to is people should like what they like and not worry if others don’t agree. It’s great to share a common interest with others but you don’t have to fake it in order to be liked by others. Let them like you for who you actually are. Otherwise you’re simply wearing a mask all the time. To me, that seems tiring. Just be yourself. Like what you like. Keep some things to yourself. You don’t have to tell the world everything just to get one more person to like you.

 

By the way, I saw the coolest sunrise this morning. Sunrises are cool. Everyone that digs sunrises should be friends with me.

 

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Tragedy at a Midnight Showing

This is one of those moments we’re reminded how messed up the world can be. At a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado, an audience found themselves in a horrific situation. A lone gunman, armed and wearing body armor bust through the emergency exit and began shooting. Reports suggest twelve were killed with several others injured.

I was stunned to hear this upon exiting the theater at the midnight showing I attended. It didn’t really sink in at first. This isn’t something you think of when going to the movies to enjoy a film. Those poor viewers were just like the people in the theater I went to. They just wanted to watch the new Batman movie. Those in my theater were overjoyed with it. You could feel the anticipation in the minutes before the lights were dimmed. In a packed theater, I had to sit next to someone I had never seen before. But it didn’t matter. We were all there for the same reason. It was clear that many didn’t know the intricate details of Batman’s comic book adventure but they actually clapped and cheered upon seeing Batman on screen for the first time.

It’s a sickening feeling to think what happened in Colorado could have happened anywhere. We’re already in panic mode when going to airports. Are we now supposed to worry about going to the movies? It turns my stomach to think that something like that could happen if I was in a theater with my daughter. It just never makes sense when people are so unhinged, they feel the urge to enact violence upon others.

Thinking about the individual responsible, how could he reach this stage without anyone being concerned? Was this a gradual build up or a sudden decision? Because he was so heavily armed, you have to assume it wasn’t a last minute decision. In one report, it’s mentioned that the shooter’s mother, when she first heard the news in the morning said, “You have the right person. I need to call the police.”

What is that supposed to mean? She suspected or knew her kid was capable of such a despicable act? How long had he been amassing his arsenal? Was there absolutely no one that suspected something was seriously wrong with him?

I don’t know if he has a reason for doing what he did. I don’t know if something happened that day or if he even had a grudge with anyone at the theater. Frankly, I really don’t want to know. It does seem random. In many ways, that makes it worse.

The same report tries alluding that the shooter wore a gas mask and bulletproof vest and caused public havoc, just as Bane does in the film. Let’s not try to make excuses for this vile incident. Bane was making a statement in the movie. This guy had no motive. He just committed a messed up act.

Where do we go from here? Is it still possible to enjoy movies or just being in public? We can’t live our lives in fear. Bad things happen. It sucks. We can’t live our lives in paranoia. We have to be strong and believe we can still be safe and can still go to the movies or other public areas.

I’m not trying to place the blame of the actions of the killer’s family or friends. We aren’t psychic or trained psychiatrists. You would think someone would recognize the individual was disturbed. Maybe we can try to be a little more observant. Be a little nicer to one another. If anything, perhaps offering a kind smile once in a while could be enough to help someone deal with their loneliness or built up anger and frustration. We just can’t have stuff like this happening.

My heart goes out to the victims, survivors and family and friends of those that were in attendance.

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What’s Going On Around Here?

Check it out. This is now a thing. This is a place where I’ll share random thoughts and opinions. It seems I often have a lot to say.

I can’t say how often I will update this. I do have a job to do as you’re aware of. This will be a place to experiment.

If you have suggestions or topics you’d like to see me discuss that may not fall under the normal “Off My Mind” format, hit me up. You can always catch me on Twitter @GManFromHeck.

I also really dig the Mike Allred DAREDEVIL image and just wanted to post it again.

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Hello world!

Okay, here I am. How you doin’?

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