Systematics Top 3 (SPJR)

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John 1: The Blacklist

In the early fuke states brought about by his new medicine he bought a vintage RV and proceeded to drive it down to California at which point it broke down catastrophically and he learn about a group of enthusiasts called The Blacklist, a bunch of old geezers who are wrench-turning mastermechanics all of them who also are enthusiasts of this particular brand of this GMC RV from the 1970:s. Every time there was something, he called somebody on the Blacklist and they came to his rescue. None of them wanted any compensation, but it was part of this culture of owning one of these RV:s. So that seemed to him as such a wonderful example of humans at their best. He is not sure if he would have agreed politically with any of those people, but it didn't matter. He has experienced this many times as a vagabond style traveller where he was poor and hitchhiking and sleeping outside and almost every time he met a person who was generous. It didn't matter what their politics were. If a body meets a body coming through the rye, you have more in comon than what you have differences. That is always true, even factoring in racism and classism. If you are someone in need and you are dealing with one individual, that person is probably be going to be generous, unless that person is really broken. All these guys came out and helped him and most of it is just that they liked working on motors. It is what they would do on a Saturday anyway and it is part of this mentality of "Pay it forward". People have helped me and now I get to help you. They are all old men, engineers with suspenders who used to work at General Electric. His pick is the Blacklist, this particular group. There are surely numeral groups like this. If you are rotarian and you come to a town and lose your wallet, you can call your fellow rotarian and you get the same kind of secret handshake. As you purchase the RV, all things will become known to you, part of getting one and doing even a medium amount of research, you will just be subtly directed to this Blacklist.

Brett had once experienced the Seattle generosity when he came into town and his brake light was out and somebody not only signaled it to them at a stop light, but fixed it for free because he knew they couldn't pay for it. He once lost his drive train and spent two days in Ogallala, Nebraska which was scary, because everybody who lived there seemed to do it because their car broke down here years ago.

People from the North often disparage people from the South as Hillbillies and what's wrong with America? But if you travel through the South, the culture down there is characterized by this kind of generosity. Nobody would let you leave without a glas of lemonade. There are good people everywhere. But there are cultures where this is profoundly true, especially in Arab countries where the culture almost stipulates, requires that you are generous to travellers and strangers. You would be defiling your culture by not helping a traveller in need. You see this even in places where you think that you are just travelling through and these are not your people, but when you come out of it you notice that those are your people.

Brett 1: Super Happy Fun Time AppleTV Game

Apple TV is a wonderful centerpiece for small group gatherings when it comes to multiplayer games like Cards Against Humanity (the version called Cards for Terrible People), there is a pictionary game Sketchparty TV. SuperHappyFunTime is his Brett's latest discovery, a series of 13 mini puzzle games that everybody can play from their own iOS device and it is a thing that people actually ask to come over to play, which is more than his personally can say. Nobody ever says "Hey, let's hang out with Brett, becaus he is so good in group environments", but the Apple TV compensates.

John had bought an Apple TV for his mom and it wasn't super intuitive and all of a sudden there were like 17 TV-channels like ESPN and nothing they wanted was on there. Eventually it just became a slideshow device, it took them months to figure out how to get all their photos in there.

John was left behind by the multiplayer generation even back in they days when it was plausible that he could join. The thing that kept John out was that at the time he had no ID, he didn't have a gaming system. He didn't even have a permanent address. There wasn't any available money for any kind of this sort of stuff. Brett got his first gaming system, then Atari 2600 in 1994 for $25. This requires that you have an adress and a TV. John didn't have a big record collection because he didn't have his own space. It was years before he had a space that he called his and that nobody could take away from him. It was also why he wasn't on the Internet until 1999. When they were on tour his bass player and drummer would set up their computer and headsets and stuff in the hotel rooms and they would play shooter games. Whatever the learning curve was for them to figure out all the key strokes didn't pull John in quite enough to get over that hump. John remembers watching people play GTA San Andreas, the amoral video game where you were a criminal running around. It was fun to watch like a lot of video games. John remembers in the late 1980:s sitting around on an Apple Mac Classic, the first Mac. One person would be playing Tetris and six people sitting in chairs around them watching this person play Tetris.

John 2: Neat Beecaster Microphone

In his Rock'n'Roll days, John was sponsored by the Gibson corporation, which was a wonderful advantage. Back in the early 90:s, if they decided to sponsor an artist, they would just give them a bunch of guitars, but the new owner of the Gibson company is an insane person and their new idea since around 2005 is that they wouldn't give you are guitar to keep, but they would loan you as many guitars as you wanted for as long as you wanted. It was kind of a disappointment because he liked to own things, but it also meant that he could go to Europe with a 59 Les Paul re-issue, a 59 Sunburst, a guitar he could never afford, he could play it for the whole tour, not worry if he broke it, and then hand it back to them. It was and continues to be a really good relationship. He is still endorsed by them, although he doesn't tour that much, but if he ever needed a guitar for anything, they are available for him. Because the Gibson company is owned by a crazy person, they keep buying other companies, like the bought Slingerland Drums, they bought Kramer, they bought Steinberger. If they just made Les Pauls, they would be fine! They don't need to buy Steinberger, they were not competing with them! All these business decision that seemed they had been made in a board room by people who went to business school have no real connection to the brand of Gibson guitars which is legendary and should be treated with respect.

Recently they bought this company that makes microphones. They are not like those you would use in a big studio, but they are like Podcast microphones, these modern USB microphones. The company is called Neat and they gave him this microphone he is talking into right now called the Beecaster which is enabling him to podcast from his bed, which is a thing he never thought he would be able to do and he could probably record vocals on it right now sitting in his bed. It plugs right into his laptop and all of it is happening wirelessly. He is such a critic of technology because it all feels so beta all the time. His iPhone still feels beta. Stop rushing out new iOSs and make the last one work! He is grouchy all the time. Brett has the exact same sentiment!

John's mom was a computer programmer in the 1960:s, 70:s and 80:s and she says the work they did was to ensure that when their product went to market, it was not in beta. They worked out all the bugs, they tested until there were no bugs! She is now 81, but she is still very into computers and spends more time on her computer than John does. Everything is beta, like they are counting on you to test their bugs. Everybody is a tester and there is no clear feeling that even all the testing we are doing produces any change. It is so backwards and antithetical to principle. It is an avaricious capitalism that has no principle. The product that we are making we are confident isn't pre-broken for you. He loves his iPhone like everybody else, but there are thousands of people working for Apple, is it so hard to have a room full of testers who figure out what is wrong with it?

This microphone is very good, it looks nice, it is well built, made out of metal, you just plug it in and it requires no additional software and it has 4 different characteristics.

Brett 2: SteelSeries Nimbus Game Controller

Brett is trying to play more games on his Apple TV, but the Siri remote is horrendous as a game controller, even if you only need one button. His favourite controller of all times is the original Nintendo controller with one D-pad and two buttons, but he has been unable to find something in that style for the Apple TV. In the end he got the SteelSeries Nimbus.

John 3: Blue Origin Space Program

A friend of his works at Blue Origin, the Jeff Bezos space program, and John went on a tour guided by his friend, through the rocket factory. John's understanding is that they are getting very close to a manned launch and land it again. John has been in the capsule and their have enormous 4ftx6ft windows and the premise is that 8 people pay their money to go into suborbital space, up at the cusp. You feel like in an observatory and then it launches into space, unlike in a Space Shuttle or Mercury capsule that has farily small windows. It must be a fantastic experience. But John is not sure he wants to be an early adopter of space travel. The latest episode of The Simpsons by the time of recording the show covered the topic when Lisa was volunteering to go on the first mission to colonize mars. John has struck up a friendship with a listener to Roderick on the Line who is an Airforce Lieutnant Colonoll and at one point in the last year and a half, he and John and Jonathan Coulton and their good friend David Rees, the host of "Going deep with David Rees". They were sitting in an airport departure lounge in Ethiopia and they talk about the topic of a maned mission to Mars. Would you go on a one-way trip to colonize Mars? John said "No, not my games", but the Airforce Lt Cnl without hesitation "Yes, absolutely" and Jonathan Coultan surprised them all by saying "Yeah, I think so. I'd do that!" John doesn't want to be the first colonist of Mars! Maybe he wants to visit Mars, but he is a civilization person. Brett is maybe more prone to a one-way trip than a visitation. It is like suicide, you kill your Earth life, but you are going to be a hero to all the people you leave behind. You are going to be part of something big and you are going to get away from everything that ever dragged you down and you Mars-self will be remembered forever. John considers himself as an explorer. Brett considers Mars-exploration to be vital to the future of humanity, so there is this importance to this idea. The first generation should be geologists and plant biologists, so to have a musician on board? A big part of it would be reporting back to earth and that would be the part of the poet, maybe.

Brett 3: ZenTimer

Brett has a severe form of ADHD and he recently got a new psychiatrist after the old one retired and he cut off his medication because they don't give stimulants to adults. It has left him unable to work entirely. Even when Brett left him, the replacement continued on the same line. For almost a year he has been working at max 40% of his standard work ability. The only thing that has gotten him through is a permutation of the Pomodoro Method: Work 20 minutes, take a break and repeat that cycle for 4 times. The app for supporting Brett in this was ZenTimer, a beautiful specialiced timer that grows a tree on your wallpaper.

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