Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Night

I'm not big on Halloween but this year was especially nice. A friend from down the street came by with her two year old daughter who got to meet my oh-so-gentle ferret Ella for the first time which worked out really well.

A friend I hadn't seen since before the identity theft nightmare began also stopped by with his family. We talked for about 45 minutes and it seems that the friendship is intact. It turns out mail he sent me bounced (probably when my mail server was compromised) and he wasn't sure on how to get in touch. He finally stopped by and renewed the friendship and that was good too.

I did watch the Halloween episode of Pushing Daisies which was cute. It's a Bryan Fuller series and it's quirky so I'm sure it will be canceled soon but in the meanwhile I kind of like it. OK, it isn't as good as the oh-so-short lived Wonderfalls, which Fuller did with Tim Minear, but it's cute.

All in all it was a nice night. We handed out maybe 70 bags of candy which means there is some (too much) left. Oh well...

Recent Music Choices:
Phew - Our Likeness
Can - Landed
Deuter - Aum
Deuter - D
Adelbert Von Deyen - Sternzeit
Asmus Tietchens - Alpha Menge

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Hike On A Beautiful Fall Day

Yesterday (Sunday) I went on a hike with a good friend in a state park about 45 minutes from home. It was a beautiful crisp, cool fall day and the scenery was just gorgeous. We hiked just under five miles of trails. In addition to some much needed exercise for me the hike reminded me that no matter how hectic or unfair or difficult my life has seemed lately that taking some time out in nature can remind me or any of us just how much good life has to offer.

Another great stress reliever: some ambient and electronic music with a little jazz mixed in. You'll notice an almost complete lack of rock in my recent listening list below. The one notable exception is the psychedelic Ash Ra Tempel material and that, too, is instrumental.

My recent music selections:
Michel Huygen - Elixir
LAND - Archipelago
Asmus Tietchens - Zwingburgen des Hedonismus/Mysterien des Hafens
Asmus Tietchens - Musik An Der Grenze
Jeff Greinke - Cities in Fog
Klaus Schulze - Irrlicht
Conrad Schnitzler - Gelb
Conrad Schnitzler - Rot
Manuel Göttsching - Private Tapes, Vol. 1
Manuel Göttsching/Ash Ra Tempel - Private Tapes, Vol. 2
Manuel Göttsching/Ash Ra Tempel/Ashra - Private Tapes, Vol. 3
Club of Rome - Grosse Statik

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Monday, October 8, 2007

A Death Threat From A Puppy Linux Supporter

I've just been informed by e-mail that not only are some defenders of Puppy Linux flaming me on the new DistroWatch Weekly comments but one actually issued a death threat against me for being "negative" about his or her favorite distribution in a recent post on the O'Reilly Linux Dev Center blog. It's one thing for a distribution to be well liked and inspire loyalty. It is something very different indeed to threaten the life of someone who disagrees. The point of my post which so outraged this person was that I couldn't review Puppy Linux because the distro won't run on my laptops.

If you're curious about the threat see post #90 on DistroWatch Weekly's comments. I have not responded there and I will not. I also won't back down or be intimidated and I stand behind my previous post.

This is a public appeal to Barry Kauler and the Puppy Linux user community to speak up against anyone who would resort to threats of violence to defend their distro. Indeed, I'd like to see some of that community speak up against the personal attacks on me in general. Do you believe there should be "hell to pay" (quoting post #90 again) if someone has a bad experience with Puppy Linux and reports on it?

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Some recent music choices:
Earthstar - Atomkraft? Nein, Danke!
Conrad Schnitzler - Trigger Trilogy
Jean-Michel Jarré - Equinoxe
Vidna Obmana - The Trilogy
Eberhard Schoener - Sky Music/Mountain Music

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Linux Journal's Offensive Sexist Content: The Whole Story

Since her posts on O'ReillyNet which I wrote about, Carla Schroder has tried in vain to get some sort of response from Linux Journal after offensive ads were run and articles were published. The same is true for Linux Journal's sister magazine, Tux Magazine. Carla has gone ahead and chronicled the whole sordid mess in an article for

"I have to wonder- where on Earth did Ms. Fairchild get the idea that alienating her customers is a good business practice? So what if she finds sexist, demeaning humor funny? It doesn't belong in Linux Journal. I paid my subscription money in good faith for many years, trusting to receive good Linux articles. If I want to read about blowjobs or read about how helpless and stupid women are, I don't expect to find it in Linux Journal. There are abundant sources for that elsewhere."

As far as I am concerned the whole article is a must read.

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Some recent music choices:
Steve Roach & Vidna Obmana - Inner Zone
Dieter Moebius - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: "Blue Moon"
LAND - Road Movies
King Crimson - Thrak
Asmus Tietchens & David Lee Myers - 60:00
Pink Floyd - Obscured By Clouds
Pink Floyd - A Saucerful of Secrets
Hans-Joachim Roedelius - Jardin Au Fou
Between - Dharana
Moebius & Beerbohm - Double Cut

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Earthstar Wikipedia Pages

With some surprise help of former Earthstar guitarist Dennis Rea I've written Wikipedia pages for Earthstar and for their three releases on Sky Records between 1979-1982. I must say I was absolutely floored and thrilled when I saw Dennis Rea's name in my inbox. Earthstar has been a favorite of mine since I was introduced to their music in college nearly 29 years ago. (Yep, I'm dating myself here.) To get mail from one of the members....

Anyway, according to Dennis we now have the most comprehensive documentation of the history of the band online anywhere. Links to individual album pages are in the discography section.

I learned a lot doing this. I never knew that the "Atomkraft? Nein, Danke" lineup recorded another album, still unreleased. I certainly didn't know that there were misspellings of the musicians' names on the liner notes. I also had no clue that the Musique Intemporelle reissue of "French Skyline" on CD was unauthorized. Yes, I own a copy, a gift from a close friend who knows how much I like Earthstar. Anyway, having Dennis Rea step in and make corrections and additions was invaluable.

What I did find was a lot of documentation of the band and lots of people who seem to love Earthstar's music online. I am now more convinced than ever that limited edition reissues of their albums (say 500-1000 copies) could easily sell out and that their unreleased works could probably do as well if not better. Maybe with the new articles on Wikipedia and the obvious interest in the band online someone, somewhere associated with a record label will figure that out.

Music selections since last post:
Neuronium & Vangelis - A Separate Affair
Ash Ra Tempel - Schwingungen
Cluster - Cluster II

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Monday, September 3, 2007

So Predictable

The responses to my previous post on the blatant sexist attitudes of some IT recruiters was originally posted on the O'Reilly Linux Dev Center blog. The usual responses, the ones that are so very predictable, the ones that are repeated over and over again by a certain loud minority of male commenters, the ones that turn up every time there is a discussion of gender related in any way to the world of computing, have once again reared their ugly heads.

I've been told I'm "oversensitive" and I should "just roll with it". I've been accused of calling all men "male chauvanist pigs", a phrase I'm sure I've never used to describe anyone. I've had my experiences dismissed and been called naive. I've been told to "quit bitchin". All of these posters are male. None have experienced the type of sexism I'm describing. Many posts are just plain immature, defensive, argumentative, and/or just plain offensive. Some guys are just plain clueless and don't want to even consider other people's feelings and experiences.

Why am I not surprised?

Yes, there have been a handful of clueful responses but they have been overwhelmed by the other type.

Why do I bother with posts like this? The best way to tackle a problem like sexism is to shine a light on it and bring it out in the open. If I get even one person to reconsider their actions or attitudes it's all worthwhile. I had a little proof that I do have a small positive impact this week. The following was written by Joseph James Frantz in the comments to Carla Schroder's article about the offensive ad at Linux Journal:
Thank you for educating me on the term feminazi. I have never considered those aspects of the term. From now on, if I should disagree with a woman, I will not use that term.
It's a small bit of progress but I'll take it.

Music choices since my last post:
John Renbourn - The Lady and the Unicorn
Michel Huygen - Elixir
Fleetwood Mac - Mystery To Me
Fleetwood Mac - Heroes Are Hard To Find
Cosmic Couriers - Other Places
Brian Eno - Ambient 1 / Music For Airports

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Saturday, September 1, 2007

No, I Need Mister Caitlyn

I promised to write about my recent experiences with sexism in the IT industry, so... Here is a rare cross post of an article from the O'Reilly Linux Dev Center blog which I contribute to:

Lately I've been looking to pick up a new contract or even possibly move back into a long term corporate position. My résumé (CV for those outside the United States) is, I think, fairly impressive. I am a competent systems administrator and security geek with over 27 years of experience in the industry. I've had lots of calls from recruiters: some quite good, some not so good, and some, well...

In the past couple of weeks I've had several calls like this. I'm pretty close to word for word on the most recent:
Me: Hello.
Recruiter: Can I speak to Martin please?
Me: This is Caitlyn Martin. How can I help you?
Recruiter: No, I need Mister Caitlyn Martin.
Me (annoyed): There is no Mr. Martin. What is this about?
Recruiter: (sputters and trips over his tongue, then goes on to say it's about a job)

These recruiters have several things in common:
  1. They are all male
  2. All but one have a foreign (Asian or Middle Eastern) accent
  3. All simply can't believe that the woman on the phone is a skilled technical professional

Yes, one spoke unaccented American English, but most come from places even more misogynistic than the United States. None of them, regardless of whether the position made sense or not, gets to represent me or submit my résumé anywhere. I have to believe that their prejudice will get in the way of them doing a proper job of presenting me to a prospective employer or customer.

I read the replies to Carla Schroder's recent posts about the sexism at Linux Journal. You know, the ones that claim there really is no sexism in IT and that we women are being oversensitive. I even got similar comments when I blogged about Carla's posts. Let me tell you that in my experience things have gotten worse since the turn of the century, not better. If you still don't believe there's sexism in IT in general and in the Linux community in particular either you are blind to it or part of it.

Oh, and how many of you have ever met a man named Caitlyn?

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Music selections last 24 hours:

Michael Rother - Katzenmusik
Steve Hillage - Fish Rising
Nik Tyndall - Lagoon
King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black
Edgar Froese - Aqua

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Friday, August 31, 2007

On File Sharing and Music

Much has been written on file sharing and music and illegal downloads. I'll probably take some heat for saying this but I do think the music industry has a point. Most of the music I listen to isn't popular and some is downright obscure. I have music on in the background all the time. I think it's what keeps me sane sometimes. The artists aren't getting rich from it and the record companies aren't making huge profits from it. So... I own several hundred CDs, all purchased nicely and legally. The last album I purchased was Conrad Schnitzler's Trigger Trilogy. I certainly don't begrudge Herr Schnitzler what royalties he gets or Important Records any profits they make. I definitely enjoy the music when I listen to it.

What do you do when music isn't legally available anymore? What do you do if only 26 copies of an album were pressed? Yes, I'm serious. 26. Here is what I'm talking about.

Earthstar's first album, "Salterbarty Tales", has been out of print for 30 years now and is, according to guitarist Dennis Rea, impossible to find. No, I'm not aware of any file sharing site that has a copy. I'm not aware of any way to acquire that album at all. I would love to see "Salterbarty Tales" reissued on CD. I'd buy a copy. Ditto for the Eruption album that the Mutant Sounds blog I linked refers to. I'm not holding my breath that it will happen any time soon.

In cases like these I have no objection to file sharing. Nobody is being deprived royalties or profits. However, with the RIAA's heavy handed enforcement methods I'm more than a little reticent about downloading anything myself.

Music choices since last post:

Asmus Tietchens & Vidna Obmana
Jean Michel Jarré - En Attendant Cousteau
Genesis - Spot The Pigeon
Nychael Danna & Tim Clément - Summerland
Tangerine Dream - Rubycon
Kluster - Eruption

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sometimes Writing Reviews Has Its Perks

I seem to be the one and only (out of seven) O'Reilly Linux Dev Center bloggers who writes reviews of Linux distributions now and again. I've written four this year. Most recently I reviwed Wolvix 1.1.0. It was a generally favorable review but Wovix, like all other distros, isn't perfect. Given my propensity for brutally honest reviews and for pointing out flaws you'd thing a Linux distributor would steer clear of me. Guess again!

I was actually asked to write a review by the folks at one of the commercially produced (but still Open Source) distributions and they offered to send me a CD. Granted I could easily have downloaded their distribution but sending the CD was a nice touch. Since the distro in question is one I wanted to try eventually anyway I said yes. The CD arrived last week and I'll probably install it on this system today.

Having the CD sent was a nice little perk of writing reviews on a semi-regular basis. Will it affect the review? Not in the least. They may still come to regret sending me the CD if they have a less than acceptable release. On the other had, if they are confident that they've done Linux right... We'll see. In any case over the next few weeks I'll be learning my way around yet another Linux distribution.

Music choices over the last few days:
Kate Bush - Aerial
Conrad Schnitzler - Trigger Trilogy
Vidna Obmana - The Trilogy
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
Roedelius - Lustwandel
King Crimson - Larks' Toungues In Aspic
Harmonia - Musik Von Harmonia
Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells

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Monday, August 20, 2007

The New QSOL Ad

Following up on my post from Saturday, it seems QSOL has a new ad for Linux Journal, this time with a male face. Once again a tip of the hat to Carla Schroder for this.

Guess what? The ad is STILL inappropriate and offensive. As Carla pointed out in the comments to her Part 1, every time somebody points out some case of sexism, something "crummy to women" as she put it, someone (almost always male) will answer "What about men?" The new QSOL ad pretty much answers that, doesn't it? Yep, it still stinks.

Oh, and I still don't think white males have it so awful or are such an oppressed class in our still largely patriarchal society.

P.S.: I've been informed that the "new ad" is actually a Photoshop or GIMP creation. That doesn't change anything. The original ad is still totally uncalled for. Sexism in IT in general and the Linux community in particular is still rampant. I'll post about my latest personal experience with sexism in IT after I cool off a bit.

Music choices, last 48 hours:
Henry Wolff & Nancy Hennings - Tibetan Bells III: The Empty Mirror
Earthstar - French Skyline
Cluster - Apropos Cluster

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sexism In The Linux Community Redux

I've been in the IT industry for over 27 years now. I first was introduced to Linux almost 12 years ago, I've really been a part of the Linux community for over nine years now. You'd think in that time things would have gotten better for women in IT in general and the Linux community in particular. There are certainly more of us in IT and Linux than there were a decade ago, right? I think the answer to the second question is yes, more women are involved. I think the first question, sadly, is answered with a resounding "NO!". Women still have to be better than their male counterparts to be respected or even hired and we still earn less than our male counterparts. There are all sorts of reasons why that is true but sexism, both quiet and overt, is still a huge part of it.

Carla Schroder blogs for the O'ReillyNet Linux Dev Center, as I do. Over the past three days she has posted twice. The first post told of and linked to details and a photo of a truly sexist and offensive ad which appeared in Linux Journal. The second post linked directly to a Linux Journal article from earlier this year filled with more gender stereotyping demonstrating that this is an ongoing issue at Linux Journal. I had dropped my subscription to the magazine last year after receiving the magazine in my mailbox every month for eight years. As a female Linux Professional I felt they had sent me many clear messages that I just wasn't part of their target audience.

The reactions to Carla's posts were entirely predictable. I see some, both men and women, but mostly men, who clearly GET IT. They understand why this is unprofessional and why some, both men and women, would be offended.

I see some men who want to tell us uppity women what to feel, why we shouldn't be offended, why Carla shouldn't have blogged about this, why the ad is funny or effective or generally no big deal. They JUST DON'T GET IT. They don't get that offending women, who happen to be just over half of the human race and a significant minority of IT decision makers, is just plain bad business. They don't get, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that men are offended too. If they don't see the problem it just doesn't exist. They are part of the problem.

We have a few, thankfully very few, who have the immature mentality typically seen on Slashdot whenever gender comes up. The usual attack on feminism is thrown in. CLUE: "Feminism is the radical idea that women are people too." It's about equality and equal treatment, nothing more.

One even resorts to the Rush Limbaugh "feminazi" name calling. That post is even more offensive that the ad, not just because I'm a woman and a feminist. It bothers me most as the daughter of two Holocaust survivors. The Nazis committed genocide, murdering 12 million people, including 6 million Jews and 3 million Romani (gypsies) in death camps. The term "feminazi" either equates the struggle for women's rights with genocide (I don't seriously think anyone believes that) or else it trivializes the Holocaust. Either way it's incredibly offensive and yet it's used to tell me I'm wrong for being offended.

HUGE CLUE: You can't tell Carla or me or any other human being how we should feel or react to something. We are entitled to our own feelings and our own free speech. You have a right to feel differently, of course. You don't have a right to silence us. Oh, and since Carla was kind enough to provide multiple links to people who also were offended and since so many commenters to Carla's post agreed with her I think it's safe to say that the ad offended a LOT of people.

Music choices, last three days.:
Steve Roach & Vidna Obmana - Inner Zone
Eno, Moebius, Roedelius - After The Heat
Tangerine Dream - Phaedra
Kluster - Klopfzeichen
Neu! - '72 Live! In Düsseldorf

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Return of Cluster

Cluster, the duo of Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius, has recorded some of my favorite music. They have recorded 13 albums since parting ways with Conrad Schnitzler and their earlier incarnation, Kluster (with a K) in 1971. After the release of their ninth (and weakest) album, Curiousum in 1981 Moebius and Roedelius went their separate ways. A decade later they got back together, releasing four more albums between 1991 and 1997. They last played together on their 1996 U.S. tour and their final release, First Encounter Tour 1996 was released the following year, a solid decade ago.

I joked to a friend that since another decade has gone by that it was time that Cluster reunite again. Well... it turns out it wasn't a joke. Here is their concert schedule for the next couple of months. Their second set of U.S. concerts starts in Ojai, CA on October 27. You can be sure that if they play anywhere near where I live I'll be there. I saw Roedelius in a solo performance in Asheville, NC in a small club in 1999. I actually got to meet and talk to the man. I have never seen him perform with Moebius, though, and that would truly be something special.

Music choices, last 36 hours:
Roedelius & Morgan Fisher - Neverless
Osamu Kitajima - The Source
Neu! - Neu! 4
Kraftwerk - Autobahn

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Streaming From The Top Of The World

Lots of radio stations stream their programming over the Internet. That's nothing unusual. One station that is unusual is KBRW in Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost town in the United States. Sure, KBRW broadcasts NPR news and music you can hear on a thousand other stations, but it also gives listeners a chance to hear local programming that gives an insight into life way up in the Arctic, in a place with midnight sun in the summer and noon nights in the winter, a place where there are only an average of 109 days a year where the mercury climbs above the freezing mark, a place where Inupiat cultural programming is mainstream.

Even if you end up listening to absolutely ordinary programming that local stations might have carried listening to it on KBRW is somehow special. Why? It's coming from a place that was truly remote not all that long ago. Now it's connected to the rest of the world, at least in cyberspace.

Yesterday's music choices:
Anthony Phillips - Private Parts and Pieces IV: A Catch At the Tables
Al Gromer Khan - Mahogany Nights
Cluster - Cluster '71

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Return of the Entropy Blog

Almost exactly one year ago I deleted my personal blog, the original Ever Increasing Entropy, after it became obvious that information I had posted was being used to harm me. This was during the period I had learned that my identity had been stolen. It's been a difficult year since then. I guess entropy really was increasing and my world was definitely falling apart.

The new Entropy blog will include far less personal information but will have a lot of the other elements that the original had, as in everything from political opinion to music I like to a new type of tea I may try. I still wanted some place to express myself, albeit a bit more cautiously. I hope you find some of what I post here worth reading and enjoy the new version of Ever Increasing Entropy.

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