In keeping with my goal to post a new short story for Halloween each year, I have written a little number titled “Jesse.”  Enjoy!

Read it now.

So, it’s been an interesting night.  Here’s the rundown of Jenn’s and my first night at Palm Beach Shores in West Palm Springs, FL:

We got in to the resort last night around 10PM (EDT). Immediately had some complaints about the room, but I rearranged some furniture, so now at least the tv faces the couch, instead of the wall. 11PM last night, fire alarm goes off and the building is evacuated. Emergency responders identified the cause as tile dust getting into the smoke detectors in a part of the building where construction is going on. After all the excitement, Jenn and I watched a few minutes of TV until we were relaxed enough to get to sleep. 4AM, the alarm goes off again. Same song and dance. Police said it was a false alarm (prank) originating in a stairwell.

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*Disclaimer: The following entry is not as light-hearted and humorous as most of the contents of this blog.  My religious viewpoints have gone through a lot of changes in my adult life, and this is a reflection on what I currently believe, and what I used to believe.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy what I have to say, but don’t get pissy about the absence of witty quips and asides.  To quote Dr. E. L. Brown, “If my calculations are correct…you’re gonna see some serious shit.”

helixnebulaI used to believe in God.  I believe in God, but, I used to believe in a God who was a whole character, with a personality, a back-story—a character, maybe, from a comic book.  It was pretty exciting stuff, really.  I never could keep track of all the stories, but the one thing I knew for sure was that God was magic, and that he was always the hero, and that he loved me—loved everybody.  The absolute rule was that God controlled everything, even within and beyond the science behind the functions of the universe, and that he was always good, and could never do anything bad.  By this logic, of course, anything bad in the world is attributable to God, and because God could do no bad, it is, despite appearances, a good thing.  You just can’t blame God when things go wrong; it just doesn’t work that way.  I know that any attentive church-goer can give me a list of reasons why I can’t break it down like that, why I can’t blame God for the bad things.  In my experience, each item on that list reads like something recited by the PR representative of a politician after a scandal.

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win7_nt6Have you asked yourself where the "7" came from in Windows 7?  If you go back to the last time they used a version number, you’re going to be looking at Windows 3.1.  After 3.1 came 95, so that should be Windows 4.  Windows 98 is 5, and then comes Windows Me at 6.  Next up is XP in the position of Windows 7 (Windows 2000 doesn’t count, because it’s part of the NT lineage).  If Windows XP is version 7, why wasn’t Vista effectively Windows 8, and why aren’t we on Windows 9 now?

I actually have the answer to that.  See, Windows branched into two product lines in 1993, when they introduced the NT product, targeted at businesses.  The first NT release was labeled as version 3.1, to match the current consumer product at the time.  Of course, they then immediately ignored that and the version numbers fell out of sync as they started using the release year instead of the version number, starting with Windows 95, because that makes sense.

So, the NT lineage goes like this (I’m skipping sub-integer version numbers unless needed):  NT 3.1 (initial release) in 1993, NT 4.0 in 1996, Windows 2000 (actually NT 5.0) in 2000, Windows XP (actually NT 5.1) in 2001, and I’m stopping again to talk.  You probably just noticed that 2000 and XP both have the same integral version numbers (5.0 and 5.1 respectively).  This is where it get’s extra wacky.  See, beginning with XP, Microsoft merged the consumer and NT products.  Well, really they just dropped the consumer line, after a popular backlash against the final product in the line, Windows Me, and decided to give NT a facelift and sell it directly to everyday consumers.  For this reason, Windows XP is, in many ways, just a prettied up version of Windows 2000.  That should be food for thought to those of you who refuse to move on from XP—it’s based on an eleven-year-old infrastructure.

The next NT version number came in Windows Vista, and that was NT 6.0.  Vista was released in 2007.  Windows 7 came out two years later, in 2009 (a short life cycle pushed through because of a bad reception for Vista from consumers and critics alike).  Here’s the shocker for you, though:  Windows 7 is actually NT 6.1.  It’s not really 7 at all.  That’s all just marketing.  I guess they felt that calling their fancy new OS “Windows 6.1” would be too risky, after the trouble they had with Vista.  I can see where there would be concern that consumers would see the “.1” and think that it was just some sort of patch (which really is all that it was; it was Windows Vista with a lot of the problems fixed).  It’s of course yet to be seen, but it is possible that Windows 8 will be based on NT 7.0, which is still kind of stupid.  My suspicion, however, is that Windows 8 will be based on NT 6.2, considering that the early demos have shown an interface identical to Windows 7.  It could even be stalled at 6.1, come to think of it.  Windows 8 is tricky to judge, because it appears to be two OSs glued together, with their new mobile/tablet inspired Live Tiles interface being built from web standards, and potentially running inside of a modified version of IE9, or some later version of Internet Explorer.  I don’t know how they’ll incorporate that into the version numbers, but I hope they won’t at all, because, unless I’m mistaken, it’s really just going to be a service running inside of the core OS.  Anyway, if I’m right, and Windows 8 is built on NT 6.x, then that means that the eventual Windows 9 will probably be built on NT 7.0.

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