Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2001 > End-Of-Year 2001 Review

End-Of-Year 2001 Review

Brace yourself: This is going to be a very long page.

the year in review—self

I managed to survive the first year of the new century with my life and job intact. That is a good thing.

I put together a local network with a server/client pair, and got the two to communicate. The server, named Madoka after an animé character, runs Red Hat Linux (currently version 7.2) and works as a Web and Samba server.

I built myself a whole new computer based on an AMD Athlon 950MHz processor and 512MB memory and a 30GB hard disk, with a CD-R writer and a DVD-R drive on top. This box, called Hikaru (the best friend of Madoka), runs the new Windows XP. I intend to have Hikaru connect to the Internet via Madoka to reduce its exposure.

I lost my FrontierNet connection in September when the aftereffects of the Global Crossing selling of FrontierNet got real messy. I quickly bought a connection to a local company called ComTeck, which my folks use. That will change as I switch to FrontierNet DSL.

As VServers was swallowed by HostCom, so HostCom was swallowed in August by Interland. Unlike the last time, however, the transition from HostCom to Interland was a lot smoother.

the year in review—family

My folks are doing OK this year. Padre got a new Compaq computer that runs (ewww!) Windows ME, when it became clear that their previous computer was too old and too file-packed to work properly anymore. At least he got rid of that ungainly Hewlett-Packard OfficeJet. My sister Tina got that, as well as the old PC to experiment on. Yes, we may well make a geek out of her. :)

My folks' only vacation this year was ditched because the day of their flight to Las Vegas was September 11th, when all flights were canceled.

My nieces got bumped up the education hierarchy. Erin is now a freshman at Madison-Grant High School, where she will be the last of us to drive the chemistry teacher, Uncle Ernie, nuts. (He retires at the end of this academic year.) Megan is now a freshman at Ball State, majoring in some obscure art form I can't remember. (Ball State is full of them.)

The FrontierNet fiasco has hit my sister Vickie even harder than I—she needs her Internet connection to make her living as a freelance editor. She got it restored in time, but she decided to get an Interland virtual host, www.westdesk.com, to put her site.

Also, she lost the smallest, cutest and most ornery member of her cat family, Li'l Squirt (as I call her euphemistically). Also leaving us was the family favorite, my brother's humongous but friendly doggy Shaq.

the year in review—local area

A more equitable agreement between the county commissioners and the people of the watershed of Back Creek (which runs through Fairmount), in which the farmers bear their share of the tax burden for maintaining the creek. The maintenance (and the taxes to pay for it) starts this coming spring.

The local basketball coach (who taught my high-school electronics class) was fired in a secret meeting of the school board due to a complaint from a single pair of evidently influential parents. I thought I'd bring that up, so that you can vote out the school board at election time.

The old Ed Harvey house is been renovated. That is offset by people moving out in the area within a block of my house: one for a better house; two into nursing homes; and that hillbilly family across the block for lack of rent.

Apart from these nothing Earth-shaking happened in Fairmount.

This year had the usual squabbling between Marion and the surrounding county, which Marion keeps losing due to its lesser influence. (Marion has only four out of every ten people in the county.) Marion's mayor is a total wacko; his latest antic was to try cutting down all the trees in the city park on the recommendation of someone who has never visited the park! (Fortunately the cutting was stopped after only half a dozen trees were felled.)

The gas station at Matthews on Wheeling Pike has finally changed hands this month, after years of the ex-proprietress looking for someone to buy the place.

The Cardinal Greenway from Gaston to Richmond is almost complete. The segment in Marion? What do I care about that? I did read the untruth in the Indianapolis Star that said that the railroad right-of-way between Jonesboro and Gaston was bought out by just Gaston farmers. The truth: All the farmers between Jonesboro and Gaston chipped in to buy the segment. (That reporter should get another job.)

You may think that is not a good thing, but the local farmers beg to differ—especially as morons are already driving off-road vehicles on the greenway, confirming the farmers' worst fears.

A report released in September 1999 outlined the major impediments to Muncie's economic health (lack of air freight, interparty feuds, inadequate capital spending, no business parks) and the exodus of people out of Muncie over the past thirty years. Yet this year it's still business as usual, with the added dimension of intraparty fighting as the Democrats split in two over who gets the chief prosecutor's job.

The city's fight to annex a region of northwestern subdivisions and an industrial park has been blocked by the park's companies and the subdivisions' residents. The city whines—falsely—that they use city services, so they should be part of the city; it just wants the extra taxes so that it can try to maintain its rotting core.

the year in review—state

The state government has a whopping deficit due to the legislature's inability to rein itself in when the economy's decline became obvious last January. Now comes the big catfight when the General Assembly (G.A.) convenes next month.

I have only two concerns about this. One is whether Purdue gets the funds it needs to undergo its master plan, which entails a lot of hiring of people like me.

My other concern is whether the G.A. tries to adopt the Uniform Computer and Information Transactions Act (UCITA) during this session. Thankfully it was too busy with redistricting this year; hopefully the budget crisis will distract it from this folly this time around.

The UCITA will enforce every the most absurd provisions in end-user licenses; allow software companies to reach into computers to turn off their software for breach of license; interfere with the use of electronic archives in state and local libraries; and cost the state and corporations mucho dinero in legal fees every time it wants to buy software. The G.A. must defeat this act every time it comes up.

the year in review—national

Two words: September 11th.

The mass terrorist skyjacking-cum-bombing against New York City and the Pentagon has scared Americans out of the skies, crippling the airline and tourist industries; worsened an already deep recession caused by the dot.com bust; and gave the police agencies an excuse to stiffen surveyance of the Internet.

The dot.com bust has already corroded the Internet. The number of free Web-hosting sites is shrinking, and the survivors are stiffening conditions for use of their sites.

Microsoft's new Windows XP, with its unprotected TCP/IP stack and unsecure Universal Plug-N-Play feature, promises to turn the Internet into a major rave for crackers and script kiddies. Next year promises even worse calamities, with legal fights over DMCA and new bills to put restrictions on all storage devices, not just DVD and CD drives.

September 11th has put the bravery and dedication of police, firefighters, paramedics and soldiers—and the acumen of both New York's mayor and the Son of Linguini-Spine—over the babbling class. The latter, for the time being out of the spotlight, were first amazed by the bravery of the former, then angry that nobody is paying them any attention. But it is unlikely that September 11th will change their behavior in any way: self-righteousness blinds to the need for change.

the year in review—world

Even without September 11th, the 21st century looks like a replay of the 20th, already the bloodiest in human history.

It has already inherited the forever war between Arab and Israeli, as well as civil wars and unrests in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia (except in the ex-British north), Congo/Kinshasa, Angola, South Africa, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Indonesia. The Balkans are as violent and unstable as ever—a thorn in the side of the European Union, which is about to embark on its euro adventure. A new war between Pakistan and India is in the works. Our Wal-Mart supplier is growing aggressive against Taiwan and in the South China Sea—even against the USA itself. The Argentine is in economic collapse, and Brazil is about to follow the socially divisive path the USA set out on over thirty years ago.

Copyright © 2003 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Last updated 30 November 2003.