Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Arrogance of Microsoft Revisted

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In order to try and preserve my privacy/security I of course have to have the full automatic Microsoft updater functioning, even though it leave me feeling insecure when ZoneAlarm tells me there's a maxi download going on. For some stupid reason Microsoft doesn't see any reason to let you know with an Icon or something or an advance email that they will be updating your system. I actually unplugged the phone on several occasions before I realized it was just Gates barging in unannounced.

Now however, they've gone a step further.

My Start Menu has always had Word at the top, followed by Excel. I use these programs a lot, but these are my only uses out of the regular MS lineup. Today I go to Start and head for the top and click, only to see at the last second that I am activating MS Office Toolbar instead of Word. I did nothing to initiate such a change. I DON"T WANT SUCH A CHANGE. Shame on the perps of the change, which can be none other than MS.

After a bit of twittering I got it off my screen. I like an empty screen, and like to go fetch what I want, when I want it. The Start key works just fine for me. I DO NOT LIKE DICTATOR GATES DECIDING FOR ME WHAT'S ON MY SCREEN UNINVITED, UNNEEDED, and TOTALLY ANNOYING. Now I have to go find Word and return it to its rightful place. And wonder if that Office Toolbar reference can even be removed....

For Anna

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Comments have been changed, so anybody can comment, without moderation, but they have to play the name recognition game, and I get an email right away. I hadn't noticed the new system, I can't imagine anyone going to all the trouble to spam, when I'll see it and delete it from the comfort of my email program.

thanks for the tip !


Friday, July 27, 2007

Safe Hitch Hiking, Another Keachie Koncept

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With the cell phone, its GPS capabilities, a registration database for both drivers and riders, a system can be developed to give almost door to door service in a just in time mode. I'm tired so I won't flesh this out completely now, but if you think about it, you won't have to work too hard to see the possibilities.

Help TSA Spot Bombs, Make Planes Safer Everywhere

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Another genuine Keachie Koncept !

Google has a system for labeling images that involves having several people look at an image and type in a word which describes it. Google Image Labeling I believe it is called.

If the output from the Xray scanners at airports was made available on line, with an identifying number, then multiple people could look and if enough of them saw bomb like parts, they could flag the image. If enough people flagged it, an alarm would go off at the appropriate airport location, and the luggage could be double checked. Ther would be a $10,000 reward for each of the first five online bombspotters as an incentive. It would also make the on site spotter be more diligent

Yes, this would only work well if this country was wired up with fiber optic cables, like Japan already is. Just one more reason to do it, the sooner the better.....

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Time Has Come Today.......

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Oil is going to be a huge problem.

It is already a huge problem.

****** Al Kaeda is primarily funded by the oily rich Arab countries, and ex-patriots living elsewhere. As long as oil is valuable, Al Qaeda inspired psychotics, true believers to themselves, will perform random acts of senseless violence.

****** Way too much of the average American household budget goes to oil. Not just the gas you put in your car, or the fuel you use to heat your home and water, but also all the oil used to bring goods close enough to your house so that you can buy them conveniently.

****** Burning oil does bad things to the environment.

For these three reasons alone I call on everyone, on every continent, to do their part. In particular, I call on the Democrats and Republicans in the United States Congress to begin a program comparable to the A-Bomb Manhatten Project (2.5 billion, 1939 dollars) and the moon shot (8.7 billion 1963 dollars) to research alternative energy sources (solar, etc.), and to aid in the building of nuke power plants, the fund to be split, say, 50/50. I would say 100 billion 2007 would be about right. I would also recommend that the alternative solutions, when found, be made patent free to all who wish to build them, in all countries. Please note, oh nay sayers of solar etc., neither the A-Bomb nor the Moon Shot had any guarantees of success ahead of time.

If Pelosi, Clinton, and Obama undertake such an offering, the more moderate Arabs will probably take out Osama and his followers for us. To stop Al Qaeda, our prime goal is to drop the price of oil. In WWII, no new cars were built, copper pennies were replaced with steel ones, gas was rationed, hitchhiking and busses encouraged, etc. We are so far from a "wartime footing," it is a totally joke to compare this war to WWII, except for the unfortuanates forced into the random shooting gallery known as Iraq. Bush doesn't give a damn, and neither does Cheney. Worst presidential pair ever ! Their legacy with be $9.11, the price of gas the day they leave office.

Bush and Cheney are the equivalent of Milo Minderbinder in Joseph Heller's, "Catch 22." They will be no help whatsoever, and neither will a Secretary of the Treasury, Paulson, who said today that the average working class American will be most helped by, "A tax cut for businesses...???!!!"

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Big Brother and the Bay Bridge, Golden Gate, etc.

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When I returned to Cal, I took two courses in the summer of 1966. One was Photography, from Penny D'Hamers, (best teacher I ever had), and the other was Technology and Anthropology.

In the second course, in addition to learning about the progress of technology over the last 4 million years, we also learned about society and technological change. The most practical take-away was that people are very reluctant to change, and that some changes can completely destroy a society.

The article, "Steel Axes for Stone" (or was that Steel Blades for Stone Axes" ?) discusses a situation in which the missionaries in a coastal Australian village gave steel axes to those who converted, and the women and children went for them first. Prior to this interference, only the men had axes, and the stone to make axes was obtained by trading salt, which the inland communities needed. If a woman or child neeeded to use an ax, they had to get it from a male. Suddenly the culture was turned upside down, the women and children had better axes of their own, and the whole trading sytem went down the tubes, and the society fell apart.

Today we have a much more complex society, but one in which the people are still reluctant to make changes. Case in point, toll taking on the Bay Bridges. In 1953 or so an engineer came up with a hair brained scheme to collect tolls only one way. At the time they collected them both ways. By 1973 or so things were so bad they had to give it a try. Now we have the engineers and FastTrak. I got these the day they came out, and have watched in wonder over the last 7 years while very few additional people went for them. Driving into the Bay Area I marvel at the Troglodytes (sp) who have raced pass me on the freeway all the way from Sacramento, all lined up to pay manually.

Now the Bridge Districts have decided enough is enough, and they're increasing the number of lanes for FastTrak and lengthening the approaches for FastTrak (The CHP gonna love patrolling this). It's about time ! Hint, if they rename FastTrak to ITrak, it will sell much better. They could put in a traffic radio based on the car's current location to make it really cool.

Privacy, who cares ? As Bill Joy has pointed out, you don't have any anyway. And it becomes a matter of who has the time to track you anyway ? What makes you think you're so special ? Yes, you are unique, just like everybody else. How many CIA operatives does it take to track 300 million Americans ? Especially if they only work eight hour days ? Are we going to outsource that too ?

Now if we can just get some common sense into our energy supply and solar research. The A-Bomb and the Moon Shot were examples of SOCIALISM (eek! a mouse!) and NASA and NOAA are more examples, of things that work for society that are RUN BY THE GOVERNMENT !

Hey, when was the last time anybody said we should privatize the military ? Yes, I know, Dick Cheney's been doing his part to accomplish this for the benefit of his buddies. Hey we must have the most inefficient military ever. It's run BY THE GOVERNMENT ! Eek A Mouse Again... Republicans only use logic when it suits their desires. Liberals are no better....

Another note on techno change. The DVR is absolutely wonderful ! My wife even has completely mastered blasting through the commercials at ultra speed, and so we just have blurs of what's for sale. Again, there should be a button to mute the sound for x number of seconds. You hit the button, and punch in a number, for silence during live viewing. I'll bet a cookie the MegaCorps have patented the concept and put it on ice. I may make one anyway, just a button pusher over the mute button on a timer. Just like quick timing on a microwave.

Have a good day.....