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Allright. It’s that time of the year again when we ask you to reach into your PayPal pockets to help keep KPFT on the Houston airwaves. I don’t know who first equated the price of a cup of coffee with a pledge amount, but it was a genius move, given the explosion of coffee’s popularity and its equally high prices. This is one area where geeks didn’t overpay as early adopters, though we’re certainly paying the price now. In 1980, a large cup of premium joe was going for around 80 cents and probably closer to 40 cents 40 years ago when the station first came online. In 2010, we’re solidly in the $2.00 range for your basic cup of black, and easily up in the three to four dollar range if you append an -ocha, -atte or -ino onto the end of your caffeinated beverage of choice.

I did my own math and came up with a (scarily conservative) number upwards of a thousand dollars per annum. Yeah – as soon as I hit the Enter key, I wish I hadn’t.

Even Jay Lee’s single pre-show cup would net him a membership at the $150 hoodie level, but *I* believe that money is better spent to keep him awake and to help maintain his cheery disposition.

So here’s where I’m going with this: I’ve been in the car a lot this last week and have had the opportunity to listen to several of the other programs on KPFT reach for and meet their fund raising goals. Two things really stood out to me among the talk shows: First, much to my dismay, nobody ever used the “For the price of a cup of coffee” plea and second, that Technology Bytes, as a show, is extremely a-political. We’re definitely tuned into the laws and legislation that affect your digital life, but as a whole, we don’t really talk politics on the show. I think that Geeks, for the most part, transcend political boundaries, if for no other reason than, as a group, we have enough existing personality quirks to effectively overshadow any off-putting we may do with talk of politics.

Now, don’t get me wrong: we do have *our own* political battles, but they’re usually over things like operating systems, mobile devices and text editors – You know… well defined battles where there is *clearly* a right side and a wrong side. (Apologies to the vi camp.)

I also got to watch a fair amount of network and cable news this last week as I was packing up my place in anticipation for a move to new geek digs. While KPFTs political talk is, for the most part, well thought out and on point, it’s not nearly as fun as some of the fear-mongering going on elsewhere. So, it being so close to Halloween, and in an effort to balance the voices of sanity you may hear during other times of the week on 90.1, I’d like to indulge in a little techy fear mongering of my own, spreading Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt about what the world would be like without the benefit of KPFT and especially Technology Bytes.

First, spyware would run rampant. Aside from reminding listeners to keep current on Anti-virus and Anti-spyware programs, the mere *presence* of Jay Lee keeps Houston free from 40% of the malicious code that has infested the rest of the nation. If you check out virus trends for the periods that Jay has been out of the country, you’ll notice very significant spikes in virus and malware infestations in the Houston metropolitan area coinciding with his exact travel dates.

We’ve all heard about the IP address shortage in the IPv4 address space. What you haven’t heard about is the impending shortage of Zeros and Ones. phliKtid is actually responsible for running the master /dev/random device, barely keeping up with local demand. If phliKtid goes, the computing world may have to find some other system of base notation with which to communicate. That’s right – if the current times have you a little spooked, you need to stop buying gold and move to the real currency of the future, Zeros and Ones. In fact, anyone who makes a pledge tonight just has to track me down at the next Geek Gathering and I will hand them a DVD full of zeroes and ones. I’m talking billions of them… I can also email them. Just a little added incentive there…

Without the presence of Peter and Dwight, Steve Jobs and the Apple design team may not feel compelled to design any new quality hardware. The MacBook air would get a little chunky at the bottom, and would have to be renamed the MacBook Pear. iPods would start to look like first generation Zunes and Apple TV would only carry over-priced re-runs of Glenn Beck and grainy episodes of the original Lassie. For the record, there’s nothing wrong with Lassie… It’s just that I’d prefer to watch her pull Timmy out of the well in 1080 HD splendor.

And without Groovehouse’s voice on the airwaves, your computer’s clock cycles would get out of sync, wreaking havoc system wide. It’s that low steady voice with its inner groove that keeps your clock cycles beating-along at their prescribed pace.

And finally, without me, you may have missed the Ubuntu boat and wound up with HML. I’ll give you a hint: it’s a linux distribution based on Kubuntu. Is anyone familiar with it?

HML stands for Hannah Montanna Linux, which can be downloaded from hannahmontana.sourceforge.net. If you’ve been listening to Technology Bytes for any length of time, you’ll know that we were early proponents of Bootable CD Linux distributions like Knoppix and Ubuntu. Without us, your first foray into the world of Linux could have been met with a purple desktop adorned with the teen singer, complete with a rebranded Tux the penguin sporting the Hannah Montana graphic on his rotund little tummy. Now, this is a fine distro for an eleven year old girl, but I think we can all agree that that isn’t the case for a fourty year old man.

So…what *do* you get if you don’t do your part to help KPFT?

Rampant Virus, spyware and malware infestations in the Houston area; a worldwide shortage of zeros and ones, no new mac gear, your computers would lose all sense of rhythm, (something akin to Carlton on the Fresh Prince of Belaire), and you’d have to hide your laptop’s screen in public for fear of ridicule (or masked envy) of your Hannah Montana Desktop. Not a pretty world, yet somehow still not as bleak as the one painted by the guys over at Fox.

That’s it for your Fair and Balanced FUD-One-One and that’s that for your Big Fat Greek BarretTime.

  1. That HML thing is just an early Hallowe’en scare, right?