Sunday, October 31, 2010

What's holding us together , , ,

Mark Steyn has an interesting take on current affairs, the border wars, and ever-increasing centralized government. Worth a look.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Election relief is just around the corner . . .

I'll be so glad when this election is over. Politicians will pretty much say or do anything to get power over the rest of us and most of it is blather and nonsense, and a large part of that is condescending and patronizing blather and nonsense.

But once in a while, something shows up that seems sensible to me. Take a look. Since one seldom hears anything like this from politicians, I believe we are engaged in a betrayal whenever we treat a politician with any courtesy or with the appearance of respect.

I accept the fact that they lie by habit and inclination. What I hate is, first, that they expect us to believe the bull and, second, so many do. The true believers, left and right, are called "the base." Politicians play to their reliably thick headed base instead of trying to represent all of us, and lots of them get rich doing so.

Any politician who has served in Washington the least little bit -- has served in Washington way too long. Time for a change.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lock 'em up? Or what?

The idea is becoming commonplace that we in the U.S. are locking up way too many people, when compared to most of the rest of the world.

Well, maybe. But what's the chances that a large portion of our population are just plain outlaws in the first place? It's not as if there isn't a strong cultural thread idealizing the young, charismatic outlaw on the run. It isn't as if we have any movies -- or video games -- stressing that decision making should go beyond a knee-jerk and contemplate the long-term consequences of an action.

Aren't we supposed to lock outlaws up?

Beats death or amputations.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I didn't like XP or Vista, and I don't like 7.

My first operating system was DOS 1.1. My first iteration of Windows was 3.1. I have now spent hours of my life looking at a little graphic hourglass, as Microsoft churns the bits of my computers. Sometimes they are blinking hourglasses. It's almost like a rating system. Microsoft gives your request one hourglass out of five.

Oh, the computer is processing all right. It's sorting through all the files of little cartoon puppies, nutty professors and dancing swizzle sticks to pick just the right tone to inquire of me, one more time, am I absolutely -- last chance now -- really sure fershur? -- honest, now -- sure that I want to do what I just told my computer to do? And do I really want to link to that? 'Cause websites, such as the one hosted by my employer, may not be secure.

Gah! Making the interface different is not improving the product. Computers are not selected for the interface.

It's like they move the contents of your office and desk drawers around every few months. Oh, they hit upon the optimum arrangement years ago and now they are just moving stuff around to be able to provide a fresh new look, despite the fact that for now the television remote control must be stored in a bundt pan in the kitchen just when you got used to looking for it on the pantry next to the tuna, when it was originally, a long time ago, placed on the end table next to where you sit to watch television and it generally worked pretty well there. At least you didn't have to go looking for it.

I know the answer. The ever-increasing, incredible speed and processing power of computers transformed the computing tool into an incredibly effective communication device. Also, it's a toy. And it's really a toy for the Microsoft kids.

Howabout the Microsoft stable of elves start writing code pretty much to improve the computer experience, not the interface? For one, they could make available some simple commands to accomplish everyday tasks quickly and simply. You know, things like, "Copy files on C: to E:/oldstuff." And it would be done.

Oh I know Microsoft wants us to use a mouse. Microsoft believes a good computer experience must be a graphic experience. Well, in addition, you could just give us a list of such like commands and we'll point and click. No graphics; no sound effects. Just. Done. So we wouldn't need ever to see a message that says,

"Windows is hung up and non-responsive because all of your various commands are getting in each other's way because doing the stuff you want done is just way too complicated, doing it the wonderful ways we do it, with the figures of the dancing girls, and the music soundtrack and the countdown clock. And the eyes of the Phoenix fading into the background with a toolbar in his beak. Please try again tomorrow. Would you like to send this message to Microsoft where it can be ignored?"

Or if you really want to do something useful, how about an automatic Microsoft message that says something like,

"Your hard drive has just been trashed by Yuri Buttmunchikoff's computer, located at 27 Splotzplatz Square in Braunshtain, Dirtbagistan. He planted worms in 2 dozen computers located throughout Iran, Iraq, Syria and Djabouti, which in turn infected yours and about 75,000 others so that a little explosive program planted in a waterworks in Washington state will blow up on Halloween. Microsoft has its eye on him and has forwarded his name and address and that of all his wives and one first cousin directly to Interpol for arrest and prosecution, and Microsoft will pay $1000 to whomever can cut off an ear before he is captured by the authorities. And we just melted his computer. Just thought you'd want to know."

Now that would be an operating system, right there. Automatically tracking and busting the web desperadoes would be an awsome accomplishment. I would give it 5 hourglasses.