Creek Jots ~ Earliest Spring 2014

I usually post “jots” towards the end of the week. So shoot me. Between income tax and company coming and the firewood supply giving out, my hands are full. So read below, from my abbreviated morning musing…

[su_heading size=”14″]Spring has Sprung![/su_heading]

At least that’s what the calendar says. You’d never know it. Most of those early sightings that portend the coming of the long-awaited turning of our part of the planet back toward the sun have not yet been spotted. And trust me: I’ve been looking hard. I’d say we are at least 10 days behind the coming of those signs of spring on Goose Creek.

It is a time of year that, even in a normal season, I call NeitherNor. I felt it first and most powerfully the first couple of springs after moving north from Alabama–a state where March is Early Summer, with all the attendant wardrobe shifts, Coppertone and stinging insects.

We don’t have the stinging insects here. I gave up shorts years ago, not being a fan of legs the color of the belly of a dead fish. And the Coppertone–well that got me into a heap of trouble. More about that after the next surgery coming up soon.

[su_heading size=”14″]April 8: Things Fall Apart[/su_heading]

Forget Y2K. And maybe forget April 8 coming soon to a non-compliant Windows XP computer near you.

Microsoft says after April 8, any computer still running Windows XP will not be authorized to serve as a trusted node for secure transactions. That won’t make a difference on your mother’s old Compaq, but given the fact that 30% of business computers either have not or (because of lack of adequate IT staffing) cannot make the switch, your transactions at the ATM at Bob’s Bank may not go the way you want them to. I ‘m just sayin…

Hold on to Your Bitcoins. Why April 8 2014 Might be a Defining Moment in Bitcoin History

[su_heading size=”14″]The End of the Stacks?[/su_heading]

The Stacks are Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook–the centralized systems that want and get “your identity, your allegiance and all your data.”

We sense that there is a major flaw in this model, but it has seemed inevitable that the Internet would eventually become structured and top-down and abusive in ways with which we are increasingly familiar.

Or maybe not. Change is afoot.  There may be other ways to exchange data and conversations and money and value of a vast variety of sorts. While I don’t understand most of what I know about it, the “blockchain” may come to be a way of decentralized peer authentication that cuts the legs out from under the Stacks. Prepare for positive change–if the grid and the economy and the social order will just cooperate for a couple of decades.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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