Last night, I was watching documentaries on Netflix with my boyfriend Corey. One of them was called "Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream," which features clips of Ayn Rand speaking about her vision of Laissez Faire Capitalism. This brought me into research mode, wanting to find out a little more about the Ayn Rand Institute. I have loved Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged" for years, but I never knew that ARI was a political powerhouse. On my quest, I came across an article George Saunders had written for the New Yorker called "I Was Ayn Rand's Lover."
I had known about Ayn Rand's affair with Nathaniel Branden from reading her many biographies, in particular "The Passion of Ayn Rand." It creeped me out quite a bit back then, but now to see that she prowled on more than one innocent young man left me with a sour taste. If you know Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, you wouldn't be too surprised that Nathaniel Branden was a target on her radar. To hear Saunders recount his having essentially been "raped" by her was a little off-putting to say the least, but his developing jealousy over Ayn having set her eyes on a young Paul Ryan disturbed me. It wasn't his feelings of jealousy that disturbed me, rather her voracious appetite for bedding young men in late puberty is what was particularly disturbing.
So, we now know of three men in their late teens who were successfully pursued by Ayn Rand. There are probably plenty more, but my interest stops there. Seeing Paul Ryan run wild with Ayn's version of Laissez Faire Capitalism as it pertains to our present day economy was like being punched in the gut by Ayn Rand herself. All of her theories sound good as just that -- a theory, but when put into practice as Paul Ryan has done as a congressman, they are truly frightening. I don't know what plagues me more: the affairs with young boys, or being disillusioned by Paul Ryan's crazy plans for American prosperity.
To understand what I'm talking about, you'll have to do a little research. Most of it can be done by watching the "Park Avenue" documentary, reading "Atlas Shrugged," "The Passion of Ayn Rand" (also a film), and then reading George Saunder's New Yorker piece (which is very well-written, I might add). It amounts to a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, I'll bet, because that's what I'm feeling right now. It can all be summed up in one word: UGH!
Watch the entire "Park Avenue" documentary:
Barbara Branden (Nathaniel Branden's wife) on The Passion of Ayn Rand:
I got a surprise e-mail from Allison Dufty this afternoon. If you remember my blog post from September 19th, I posted a video called "How Siri Found its Voice" which chronicles the journey from spoken word to synthesized speech used in technology. One of the voice artists highlighted was Allison Dufty, who sounds a lot like Siri (a LOT like Siri if you ask me), but really isn't. So it is still a mystery as to who the voice of Siri is. Maybe like "how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie pop?", there are answers to questions the world may never know.
So, to Allison Dufty, I do apologize. I wish you were Siri, but even if you're not, I saw your website and you do amazing work. Siri would be lucky to have your voice. See another retraction here where they call this whole mess a "Siri-ous Mistake." Indeed it is.
10. You Can Wipe Your Device After Too Many Failed Password Attempts
Want to protect your data on your phone? You need a password. People can crack passwords, however, so if you want to be extra safe you need to wipe the data from your phone after they fail to enter your password correctly too many times. 10 times, in fact. Jump into Settings -> General -> Passcode Lock to find and option called Erase Data all the way at the bottom. If you enable it, your phone will wipe itself out if someone tries to access it and fails 10 times.
9. Siri Can Handle Your Calls
In addition to her (or now his, if you prefer) new voice, Siri can manage your call log for you. Need to listen to a voicemail? Just ask. Want to call back whoever just rang and you missed? Siri can handle that, too. Just make the request and she (or he) will take care of the rest.
8. You Can Change Your AirDrop Visibility
AirDrop makes it super easy to share files with other iOS 7 users in your vicinity, but perhaps you don't want everyone knowing you're ready and willing. If you want to place restrictions on who can send you files, you can just bring up Control Center and click on the AirDrop section towards the bottom left. You can decide if everyone, no one, or only contacts can see you. That way you'll only get file requests from the people you want—even if that's nobody.
7. Night Mode for Maps Avoids Blinding You While Driving Expand
Sometimes you don't want a bright white screen in your face, like when you're driving somewhere at night. Apple's Maps app automatically adjusts based on the time and provides you with a darker interface so you don't blind yourself while driving. You get this feature whether you like it or not, so there's no need to figure out how to turn it on.
6. The Compass App Includes a Spirit Level
Got a few crooked picture frames? The built-in Compass app now has a secret second page with a spirit level. Just line it up against the wall until you get a balanced zero degrees and then you'll know you're hanging things straight.
5. Messages Provides Time Stamps
Ever need to know when a specific message arrived? You can now find out by checking its timestamp in the Messages app. Just swipe on over from the right side of any conversation and you'll see when each message came in.
4. iPhones Automatically Join Trusted Free Wi-Fi Hotspots
iOS 7 makes joining free, trusted Wi-Fi hotspots much easier because you don't have to do anything at all. If you come in contact with AT&T Wi-Fi, for example, your iPhone will connect automatically and save you the hassle.
3. Mail Can Mark All Messages as Read
Remember how you used to have to exploit an iOS bug to mark all your emails as read? Now you don't! You can just tap the "Mark All" text at the bottom of your mail list and tell iOS 7 what you want.
2. You Can Make Audio-Only FaceTime Calls
You don't have to make a call with just your face. If you want to reach another iOS or OS X user without burning up your cellular minutes, or you just look like crap and don't want anyone to see you, then you can ring them via FaceTime. Just initiate the call the same way you would with video but click the phone icon instead.
1. You Can Block Calls and Messages
For quite some time you couldn't block calls through iOS, allowing annoying people to bother you unless you could get your carrier to handle the task. Harassment sucks in any form, and we're very happy to see Apple taking measures to stop it. If you want to block someone from sending you a call or message, you just need to hop into Settings -> Phone and/or Settings -> Messages and find the Blocked section toward the bottom. Tap it and add any people you don't want. You can always remove them if you change your mind.
Note from the author: I do not yet have an iPhone that can support iOS7. I have an ancient 3GS that will be rendered unusable if I download the new operating system, so I have to wait until I buy a new iPhone...which may be today! If you know of one for sale for a good price, please let me know. I'll buy it from you.
Before reading, please note that Allison Dufty is not the voice of Siri as stated in this article. That is an error of fact. Please refer to this blog post for more information.
Included here is the fascinating video I just saw about synthesized speech, text reading, and an introduction to Allison Dufty, the voice of Siri. Just in time for the release of the new IPhone 5c and 5s. The video is only 10 minutes long. Take a look.
National Security Agency
Meet the National Security Agency, a government agency who has master encryption codes for almost everything. Websites, e-mail, companies, agencies, social networks, texts, etc.
Essentially, their duty is to spy on everyone and everything under the guise that they're maintaining digital security. It's up to you to decide whether or not it's spying or protecting.
I, personally, think it's spying. Companies are essentially forced to hand over their master encryption codes to the agency in the name of national security. The agency, from these master codes, has developed a massive database of information collected from the ongoings of every day digital life. It probably includes every bit of information about our online habits, websites we visit, and the way that every American is tracked on the web.
This article on the New York Times website talks about the efforts being taken to bar the N.S.A. from spying on American citizens, and whether or not it is ethical for them to collect and keep these encryption codes. Read the article and let me know what you think. Is this the Big Brother agency? And is it spying or protecting?
Originally published to Facebook on Sunday, August 11:
Dear Bill Gates,
What's up with all of these Windows Updates? What if I don't have time to wait a full hour (at least) while they download, install, and then go through a surprise configuration when my laptop restarts. I thought once I got through the download and installation I'd be in the clear, but instead I had to wait another 20 minutes while your software configured things. It's not that I'm impatient--I don't tailgate, run red lights, or throw fits when the postal worker delivers my mail late--I just don't want to watch my hair turn gray and fall out while I wait for my laptop to become usable again. I never had this problem with Apple. Please streamline your updating process. If you use your own software, Bill, I'm sure you'll understand.
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My name is Nicholas Emeigh, but everyone calls me Nick, and I prefer it. I'm usually called Nicholas when I'm in trouble. I'm from the Philadelphia area, work in business, and fancy myself as a freelance graphic designer, writer, and artist. I have a passion for art in all its forms including music, but I restrict my singing to the shower and the car for the good of society. If you'd like to know more, just send me an e-mail. I really appreciate you stopping by.