My Diary
My Diary

Close Window


June 1, 2000     (Thursday)

I've been talking for some time now about revamping these pages, particularly the diary pages, breaking them up into smaller pieces for faster load times, and so on. Well, this is it. (15 June 2000)

Your comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

1....2....3....4....
"Towers of Orlando"

June 2, 2000     (Friday)

It's been well over a year since I started this silliness, yet because of the hiatus from August through November of last year, there is still not a year's worth of this project to evaluate. I think I'll take a few steps back and give the thing a good looking over soon, probably around the end of next month, when there is a full 12 months' worth of material to go over. If you have any comments, suggestions, or complaints about this project, now is a really good time to speak up. Leave your thoughts in the Comments. You can make the comment private if you don't want the rest of the world (yeah, all three of the people who actually read this) to see it.

Another visual/concrete poem/painting.
"Indistinct"

June 3, 2000     (Saturday)

I may not be done with this one yet. . .
"Blue Cape"

June 4, 2000     (Sunday)

Fractals are our friends.
"At the Galaxy's Edge"

I used to make quite a few pieces of fractal art. I got away from it mainly because of the lack of free or affordable tools to make things worth making. The years have passed and more tools have come to the fore. There is even a contest for fractal art (at least one) now. Click on the picture above to check out the page.


June 5, 2000     (Monday)

Lamenting the loss of DOS

The new version of Windows, Windows Millennium Edition (or Windows ME) will not come with the ability to boot to MS-DOS. I understand that DOS is still there, lurking deep beneath the surface, but getting to it is a difficult process and is not intended to be done.

While DOS is an unituitive and arcane OS, difficult to learn and convoluted in its syntax, it is still very powerful. Even Linux comes with a command line. In fact, Linux is a command based OS with the Graphical User Interface running as a shell program. Many tasks are better handled procedurally and from a command line or batch file.

Most people nowadays, however, don't want to take the time to understand any of how the computer on their desktop (or lap or palm, as the case may be) works. Everything has to be manipulated as some form of extended metaphor, and if something doesn't fit the metaphor, they don't understand it. DOS is not a metaphor. DOS is closer to the actual machine. In order to effectively use DOS, one has to understand some of the actual workings of the machine, things like disk drive structure, memory allocation, Interrupts, ports, files, directory hierarchies, and file allocation tables. People today would rather think in terms of desktops, folders, and icons. Granted, it's easier, but you lose something in the translation, too.

DOS, you obdurate bastard, I, for one, will miss you.


Picture yourself in a boat on a river, with marshmallow trees and marmelade skies.
"Somebody calls you"

Imagine, if you will, the above eye set in a face cropped from just below the nose to the mid forehead, expanded to cover 1152 pixels width -- there, you have my Windows wallpaper.


Keeping things in perspective

Today I downloaded a picture of the Earth taken by the Apollo 17 crew. This single picture file is twice the size of the first hard drive I owned.


June 6, 2000     (Tuesday)

New neighborhood looks good.
"Earth Misplaced"

June 7, 2000     (Wednesday)

We may just be on the verge of finding out how fragile this new global economy is. The rumors are flying that Microsoft might be moving to Canada. With the international character of business today, this would mean very little to Microsoft in terms of their operation (the U.S. anti-trust suit aside). Businesses have no constraints on them anymore, with the "Free Trade" paradigm in place and organizations like the WTO and the World Bank pressuring all countries to let business run things the way they want to unabated.

Pure Laissez Faire Capitalism is NOT a good thing to turn loose on a global scale. Mark my words. Things will get really bad when it turns out that businesses can have more determination as to individual rights than governments. Do you really want Bill Gates, Steve Case, Paul Allen, Warren Buffet, and Ted Turner running your life? On the other hand, some would say they already are, through the lobbyists and campaign contributions. For a look at our future, rent Bladerunner.


TANSTAAFL revisited (TANSTAFS) -- There Ain't No Such Thing As Free Software. Much of the Freely distributed software today has taken the FREE out of the equation. In earlier times, Shareware and Freeware were available to anyone who wanted to download it, no strings attached. The shareware authors made their money, if indeed they made any at all, from voluntary payments based on the honor system (or guilt system, if you will).

Nowadays, it's entirely different. Shareware has metamorphosed into two distinctly different creatures: Crippleware, which stops working after a specified period if you don't pay for it, and Adware, which displays banner ads whenever the program is running, sometimes even sending information about your machine back to the Advertising firm.

In some respects I can understand the Shareware Author's need to recoup their investments. Software Development tools for today's modern computer platforms doesn't come cheap. Often it runs in the thousands of dollars. Additionally, the knowledge about the systems takes time and more money to acquire. Still, Crippleware and Adware do not seem the way to go. If you're going to make the investment and develop the software, offer it as a purely commercial product.

I could write for days on this subject. It has, indeed, been the topic of many a conversation, and newsgroup thread. Again, Bill Gates ends up at the heart of it. He founded Microsoft on what I consider an unethical tactic. He sued individual computer owners for using what they presumed to be freely-distributed software that Gates had bought the rights for. The story of this sleazy deal is detailed in a book called Hackers by Steven Levy. This book is best sought at the public library or in a used book shop, as it seems to be out of print. It's a fascinating account of the early days of computing, including the beginning of the Gates philosophy of "what the market will bear," the MIT Model Railroad Club, the Phone Phreaks, and more. Excellent read for anyone interested in the history of computing.


June 8, 2000     (Thursday)

The weather's improved vastly. It's starting to look like summer with the hot sun and the cool breezes blowing through the tops of the tall sumac trees. The innocent tender greens of spring are giving way to the mature, sultry shades of summer.

Yesterday, a sure sign of summer, the city milled the street in front of my house in preparation for re-paving. The dirt and rocks and dust were awful. They used a tractor with a cylindrical rotating broom on the front of it to sweep, followed by a couple of the street Zambonis. It would have taken six men with brooms an hour to do what they couldn't quite manage in three. Construction types, all pumped and macho, would rather do something poorly with a machine than do it well by hand.


June 9, 2000     (Friday)

Last night the New Jersey Devils and the Dallas Stars played the longest scoreless game in the history of the Stanley Cup finals. It was well into the third overtime when Mike Modano (who I still maintain has to be Ricky Nelson's love child) redirected the puck quite smoothly into the net for the winning goal. Game six is Saturday night in Dallas. We got a new TV yesterday with a bigger screen. You know where my butt will be planted from 8:00 until whenever on Saturday. If the Devils win, the season will end. If Dallas wins, for one thing it will be a near miracle, the game will go to the seventh game back in East Rutherford, NJ. It's been an excellent series.


Well, the orange cones are back on the street this morning, and they went door to door having people move their cars. I suppose some hot, stinky asphalt is in our immediate future.

Looking at the layers of pavement under the current street surface is a bit like a geologist looking at rock strata. What I see in this cross-section is the deterioration of construction methods. The asphalt pretty much all peeled right off, leaving mostly the Portland Cement Concrete Pavement on the bottom layer. For the most part the concrete (no, it's not cement -- cement is that gray powdery stuff they mix with water, stone and sand to make concrete) pavement is still intact. Had they repaired the cracks and potholes using accepted ASTM* and civil engineering methods when the problems arose, the asphalt topping would never have been required on this sundae.

I suppose a lot of it is due to human impatience, and the importance we place on our everyday business. To repair Concrete pavement would require a little more effort, expense, and several days more time to allow the patches to cure. We couldn't possibly shut down a block of a street that the taxi company and produce company uses for more than an hour or two. It would interfere with business. Never mind that the taxi company and produce company have truncated an alley and two city streets with their buildings and fences. In America, we think of the short term, never considering the long term consequences of our actions. We need to stop this.


* American Society for Testing and Materials
 

June 10, 2000     (Saturday)

Thanks to the Hubble Telescope for the actual photographic portion of this image
"Ring Galaxy"

June 11, 2000     (Sunday)

The images I've posted here over the past week all have at least a fractal element to them. I've created either the whole image ("Blue Cape' & "At the Galaxy's Edge") or part of the image with fractal generation programs. AOL has nice selection of these programs. So does ZDNet. I'm sure there are others out there, too, and I'll probably eventually find them. Some of the ones I've been using are "Quat," "Tierazon," "Flarium," "Iterations," and (of course) the ever reliable Fractint and Winfract.

Here's a snip of what I'm using as my Windows Wallpaper this week:

Cropped from a 1024 X 768 image
"The Earth and Moon in Fractal Space"

June 12, 2000     (Monday)

THE FIERCEST COMPETITOR OF ALL

by Gerry McGovern

"It may not be the most visible thing I'll do this week, but it's the most exciting thing of all," Bill Gates said as he handed out the first of over 4,100 scholarships of a Millennium Scholars Grants fund set up by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Bill Gates is a titan of the modern age, a figure so powerful and brilliant that most of his peers exist in his shadow. He epitomises that ultra competitor and absolute entrepreneur. He is a visionary. He is one the most financially generous givers to charitable causes. His company, Microsoft, is more than a company. It has a power and influence that many countries do not have.

"Microsoft will find that there are limits to how large and powerful it is allowed to get," I wrote in January 1998. It seemed inevitable to me then that Microsoft was on a collision course with the US Government and legal system. As powerful a business entity as Microsoft is it cannot hope to openly challenge the authority of the US Government and legal system, and get away with it.

Microsoft failed to recognise that the Government was not tackling it simply with regard to what software should be linked to what, or who had the right to innovate and compete. By Microsoft being contemptuous and arrogant towards the Government and legal system, what in fact it ended up doing was challenging the Government's right to govern and the legal system's right to establish the law. Such challenges can never be allowed to succeed by any country that wishes to remain a cohesive entity.

What the US Government ultimately feared was that Microsoft was becoming an independent State beyond its control. It could order Microsoft to do things but Microsoft was simply going to ignore it, brush its wishes aside as a parent brushes aside the wishes of a child.

In private, Governments can and do bend to the wishes of powerful companies. However, it is lethal for a government to be bullied and humiliated in public. Microsoft has repeatedly done that.

Maybe Microsoft believed the hype and tripe by so many libertarian techno journalists and commentators, that speed and technology and the Internet had essentially made government irrelevant? These deeply na´ve people chattered on about how the Internet was borderless and how it would route around any attempt to control or legislate for it.

Where are these libertarian voices now? Why aren't they rushing to support Microsoft's cause against the big, bad Government? They are strangely quiet. Perhaps they are quiet because if there's one thing they hate more than the Government, it is Microsoft.

As a young man, Bill Gates was reputed to say that he would find it hard to work anywhere where he was not in charge. But there are politicians and civil servants in charge of the country and judges in charge of the law. Companies like Cisco and Intel have learned to work with the Government, to, where appropriate, give them their day in the sun.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has rubbed too many noses in the dirt. In so doing it elevated things beyond mere right and wrong to a point where it seemed to be challenging the very institutions of the State. The State is wily operator and the ultimate survivor of the modern age. Those who challenge it have found that it is the fiercest competitor of all.

Gerry McGovern

The above piece was used with permission of the author. It was first published yesterday in an e-mail list called "New Thinking." For New thinking archives, please go to: New Thinking Archives. [NOTE: This link no longer works.] If you'd like to subscribe to New Thinking, Send an email to: newthinking-request@nua.ie with the word subscribe in the body of the message. An automatic acknowledgement should be returned to you by e-mail within a few minutes. [NOTE: I haven't tried this, so I don't know if it still works or not.]

For other Nua lists and information, visit their main website at http://www.nua.ie.


June 13, 2000     (Tuesday)

Somehow in all the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the fact that the New Jersey Devils won the Stanley Cup managed to get left out of my notes here. Not that I wanted either Dallas or New Jersey to win, but since I have been following the playoffs and making note of the highlights (as pertaining to my own interests in the process), it seems remiss should I fail to mention who won the cup.

Scott Stevens of New Jersey won the Con Smythe trophy for Playoff MVP. His career-shattering hit on Eric Lindros in the conference finals was as clean and nasty a hit as I've ever seen in Professional Hockey.


Okay, here's the question. Once I convert my web pages to the new format, should I retain the old format for the up-till-now archived diary pages, or should I convert them to the new style? I will, regardless, break the archived pages up into smaller pieces. My current plan is to make each month four files -- first through the eighth, ninth through the sixteenth, seventeenth through the twenty-fourth, and twenty-fifth through the end of the month. What do you think? PLEASE give me some input, people. Ideas are much appreciated and all will be considered. Mistakes, design faux pas, etc. pointed out will be tremendously appreciated.

I've managed to get all the kinks worked out of the layout, so that it works right in Netscape (by doing some formatting tricks I really didn't want to use). The only two differences now are that Netscape doesn't seem to support the hover style attribute for links, and the way it interprets the justify value of the text-align parameter. Those two things aside, I've gotten everything to look pretty much the same in both browsers now.


June 14, 2000     (Wednesday)

I haven't had a signature on my e-mail for quite some time now, not since the penultimate crash on my old machine. Today, I found a wonderful quote, and made it my .sig:

"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them--every day begin the task anew."    -- St. Francis de Sales


The following is an excerpt taken from a much longer piece, originally distributed by the Red Rock Eater e-mail news service (Monday, June 12, 2000 issue). Such a short excerpt should not be taken as necessarily representative of the entire piece, or indeed the series. The whole of the essay may be read at The Somewhere.com Commons RRE Archive.

The Microsoft Ruling

We should congratulate the government on its clear-cut victory in the Microsoft case. The pundits have swung into action, of course, and they would have us believe that it's now illegal to be successful and have popular products. But that's silly. The great majority of successful companies are not facing antitrust suits, and the market is full of products that are a lot more popular than Microsoft's. That such arguments are even made tells us something.

In fact, the government's victory is all the more impressive for the obstacles it was up against. You will recall that the viability of the government's case was long in doubt because most of the potential witnesses refused to testify for fear of retribution. It's a good thing that Microsoft's executives put their evil intentions down in e-mail that the government could subpoena. But the case was still limited, and this trial should just be the beginning. The government should now turn the case over to the Justice Department's organized crime unit, which should start perjury investigations against the Microsoft executives who were caught lying under oath. Once Microsoft executives start going to prison, perhaps the software industry's code of silence will finally crack. Then we can have a proper trial on all of the issues that this trial left out. Microsoft's claims to support innovation are already absurd, given that the company's whole modus operandi is to prevent innovation. But in a real trial perhaps we can finally "get" the extent to which Microsoft has used its ill-gained monopoly power to stifle progress.

Phil Agre

The Red Rock Eater News Service is an e-mail list of news, commentary, and information, organized by Phil Agre of UCLA. It usually deals with societal aspects of the technology revolution. The list is sent out generally five times a week. Phil writes many of the offerings, but also has some excellent guest commentators. If you're interested, subscription information is Here.


June 15, 2000     (Thursday)

Well, here it is! My all new, improved Diary page layout. Over the next several days, I'll convert the archives to this format too.


Here's a piece I recently had published in Lost and Found Times No. 44 -- it's untitled.

It's only words and words are all I have. . .

Another creation from the
"A Simple Twist of Fait"

June 16, 2000     (Friday)

In the process of changing the format of all these diary pages, I've taken the opportunity to go over some of the things I've written during the past two years. Some of it is pretty good (if I do have to say so my self). Some is drivel. Same goes for the "art" -- some I'm quite proud of, some, given the perspective of time causes me to pause (What was I thinking?).

I've corrected a few spelling mistakes, added a few notes to clarify things and to note links that have expired, and done innumerable other little "clean-up" tasks as the process proceeded. On the whole, however, I've left it pretty much the way it was, just formatted differently. I've added some additional navigation aids, too. I'm also planning to redesign my art, poetry, bio, 23, and people pages. I'm considering adding a couple more "Colorful characters" to the offerings. This all takes time, but it offers the same rewards as programming -- the satisfaction of seeing something that works created out of literally nothing.

I think I've reconsidered my decision to split each month into multiple pieces. I can't come up with a reasonable way to do it and still maintain the continuity I want the project to have. I checked and the largest page load is still considerably under 1 Megabyte, so even with a low memory machine, that should not be a problem. I realize that the load times can be excessive, but most of the main pages on my 56K connection, most of the time running closer to 33.6 K, load in under a minute and a half. That's not too bad considering the amount of data. I think I'll leave it like it is for now. I may add the calendar navigation page so that people can locate specific days, but as for breaking up the months, I don't think so.


June 17, 2000     (Saturday)

What I look like after a taffy pull.  You ever hear of a taffy pull?  You ever hear of taffy?
"The World Wide Web 4:00 AM"

June 18, 2000     (Sunday)

If I had a real camera, I'd be dangerous
"Herky Bird"

This piece is a panorama photo of a Hercules C-131 Transport Turboprop Aircraft operated by the people who evacuate ebola victims and the like. At least it's my version of panorama. . . This montage was created from four separate photographs.


June 19, 2000     (Monday)

The world today is a depressing and daunting place. I see the choices we have for elective office, and I know in my heart and mind that it's not going to get any better. The reason: money. This is America. Herbert Hoover said, "The business of America is business." Boy, did he have it nailed! Business either runs things outright, or they hire lobbyists to sway legislators and make campaign contributions (i.e., so-called "soft money") to insure that the business-friendly candidates get elected. Of course, then, only business-friendlies ever get taken seriously as candidates anyway. Look at Ralph Nader and Jerry Brown. Both men are infinitely more capable than Ross Perot, yet who got more attention, and more votes?

Another depressing and daunting aspect of today's world is the lack of social graces in the new generation just now in the early grades. I see kids as young as three and four wandering the streets alone or in groups, swarming into retail establishments, stealing whatever they can, eating the candy, chips, whatever, and throwing the wrappers wherever they're done with them. They want something, they take it. They're finished with something, they leave it. I hate to see what their table manners are like.Even sadder, I see adults doing exactly the same thing.

"Our youth now love luxury, they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in places of exercise. They no longer rise when others enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble their food and tyrannize their teachers." -- Socrates (470?-399? BCE)

Gasoline is over two dollars a gallon in some places now. Housing costs are at an all time high. Food prices are up. Yet, they say inflation is simmering. You know why? It's because wages are stagnant. People who are outside the wage-dependent economy have done well with their dividends and capital gains, bonuses and all that, while the people who really work for a living have steadily lost ground. And Greenspan is concerned that the economy might overheat and fuel inflation. What he's really afraid of is that the average worker might benefit from the booming economy and that it might cause the profiteers to suffer a slight decrease in the size of their rakes.


June 20, 2000     (Tuesday)

I've been working most of the day trying to redesign the art gallery pages of this web site. I'm going to include a lot of the art I've posted in the diary entries here over the past year. When and if I ever get a camera of sufficient quality to photograph some of the larger pieces of my art, I'll include that too. I have a lot of larger pieces I'd like to put up here. In the meantime, I'll be slogging away with what I have.


June 21, 2000     (Wednesday)

Big fish eat medium fish, medium fish eat little fish, little fish eat tiny fish, tiny fish eat plankton, plankton eat. . . well, let's not get into that.
"Blue Hierarchy"


June 22, 2000     (Thursday)

No Entry Today


June 23, 2000     (Friday)

Sorry this is late getting here. I've been so blown away by Dennis Miller being picked as the cohort for Monday Night Football that I took most of the day considering that event.

I'm watching Dennis Miller Live as I write this. I'm sure he'll do an admirable job on the Football gig, but I suspect the censors had better be right there on the beep button at all times. Dennis said that whenever, on the Monday Night Football show, he says, "Golly," he really means the 'F' word (and no, it ain't 'Football').

I thought about calling in to his show to ask him what it feels like to be Howard Cosell, but I'm rather glad I didn't. He and his guest were ridiculing people because of their New England and Southern Accents. Dennis is at his best when ridiculing the patently ridiculous, but tonight he's at his worst, insulting and making fun of people when they've obviously called because they admire the man, and for no good reason other than the fact that they speak the language a little differently. Hey, Dennis, your Oxford accent could use a little polishing there bud. His lack of respect for his audience at times like this make me wonder how he ever got as far as he did. Monday Night Football will give him an even larger audience to alienate. If he continues his regional bigotry, I hope the people watching on Monday nights catch on to his arrogance and pressure ABC and HBO to serve notice that his 15 minutes is up. I sincerely hope he makes the adjustment, not only in his rhetoric, but in his thinking, and stops with the biases and arrogance he so readily displays when things are going well for him. But that's just my opinion, I could be. . . nah, I don't think so.


June 24, 2000     (Saturday)

Wandering around in the Usenet newsgroups as I am wont to do (there are over 80,000 of them now), I ran across a link to a website called "gospelofpower.com." Out of curiosity, I checked it out. For starters, it's an ugly site. The frames are poorly implemented, their use of quotation marks borders on the psychotic. It's like a Bible tract with banner advertising. The bulk of the page(not counting ads) is an excerpt (which they call an extract -- vanilla?) from Time magazine.

One of the spurious quoted passages, which I assume was originally a sidebar in the original article was: "It would require much exotic calculation to deny that the single most powerful figure -- not merely in these two millenniums but in all human history -- has been Jesus of Nazareth."

Okay.

How's this for exotic calculation? Jesus is not the most powerful figure in human history. It's Paul. Paul wrote the bulk of the New Testament, which is actually the vehicle of influence here, and much of it is contrary to other accounts of Jesus's life and teaching. Paul, that plagiarist, that usurper, that huckster, not Jesus, is the most influential figure in the past two millennia. Paul's concept of Jesus is powerful, but that concept is entirely Paul's and does not reflect the man.

As for the site itself, it would do Paul proud. "GospelofPower.com was established by Rev. Clive J Smith, J.P. B.A.(Bible Stds.) M.A.(Missions). Clive has spent the last 12 years working as a missionary in Pakistan, India and many other countries." I can only assume that J.P. stands for Justice of the Peace, since it doesn't say and that's the only common meaning of those initials. One wonders why, in this age of dropping dots, why The Rev Smith puts periods after the Rev., the J.P.B.A.M.A. and doesn't after his own middle initial?

The biographical (lack of) information page also states: Currently GospelofPower.com is run out of Clive Home Office." Clive, please! The possessive form of a proper name takes the form, Clive's.

"The credibility of Rev. Clive.J.Smith is only overtaken by his zeal for God and for the preaching of the Gospel to which he was called." Do I need to comment? I'd love to see Clive's credibility be overtaken by his zeal. Should be an interesting tussle.

Pages like this pump up my ire and raise my hackles, not only because of the blatant proselytizing and apparent disingenuousness of the sites, but also because of the sheer ineptitude of the people who build such sites, using Microsoft Front Page or some other WYSIWYG tool. These pages exhibit not only a lack of command of the English language from someone who was supposedly required to write a Master's thesis, but a total lack of understanding of computers, the Internet, and basic design principles.

Anyone want to bet that this man's resume is 14 pages long?


June 25, 2000     (Sunday)

It never ceases to amaze me -- the gall of some people, the sheer unadulterated chutzpah! I was taking a closer look at the Rev. Clive's site (see yesterday's entry). Turns out he's not entirely to blame for the web site being a POS (No, it does not stand for point of sale). There's this "company" run by this Aussie fellow, called FreeFastWebs.com. The good Reverend seems to be one of five customers this bloke has. All three web sties I looked at, plus the FreeFastWebs.com site itself look remarkably similar. I figure, "You get what you pay for." Well, on closer inspection, it seems that FREE don't exactly mean free anymore.

They say, "What we deliver here at Freefastwebs.com is....very fast websites built at absolutely no cost. If you thought you couldn't afford a website for your business, think again. " Scrolling further down the page I eventually get to the bottom line: Technically the website is free, BUT you must agree to let them host the site at DUB (Down Under Bucks) $45.00 a month. And that's not all! You have to let them register your domain name (DUB $45/year), AND to have them make any and all updates to your site for (guess!) DUB $45/hour. They seem to have this thing for forty-five. . .

What do you get for this multiple of 45, you ask? "You receive a standard 7 page website with all scanning, contact forms and email configuration set up included. If you require a larger website then any additional pages are simply $100.00 per page. So if your site came to 10 pages then you would simply pay an additional $300.00."

Then, what's the total outlay to set up this 10 page FREE web site? $585 for the standard seven pages. $885 if you're so greedy as to need ten. . . As a comparison, this modest web site I maintain here has just over 100 pages. Web hosting can be had at zero cost in some places and with certain conditions, like banner ads, referrals, etc. I can obtain 50 MB of hosting space on CoolLink for less than USD $10.00 a month, and there are places where you can register your domain name for USD $8.33!


Another example of brazenness bordering on megalomania is the e-mail I got from an outfit called TheRightComputer.Com.

Here's the entirity of the e-mail I got:

If you are in the market for a great deal on New and Used 
laptops, desktops and accessories please visit
www.therightcomputer.com

Deals Like DELL XPi Laptop Computer P133 / 
24MB / 2GB for only $399.00

Toshiba 700CT P120MMX / 32MB RAM / 2GB / CD / Floppy $499.00

Complete Internet Ready Desktop systems for only $289.00

Laser Printers as low as $75.00

Thanks

TheRightComputer.Com
778 Seneca Avenue
Ridgewood NY 11385
800-925-0525

This equipment is obviously of the kind that gets advertised at outrageous prices in the local AD Bulletin papers. It's end of the technology equipment, with processors at least 3 generations out of date. This is equipment built at least three years ago in an era when the useful life of a computer is really less than two years. This is the kind of junk that people GIVE me just to be rid of it. Wouldn't mind one of those $75 laser printers, though -- probably a HP laserjet I equivalent whose toner cartridge costs about $150 now, IF you can still get them. Am I too cynical? Nooooooooo.

To be fair, I did go look at their website. The printer is a Laserjet II -- not quite the dinosaur I presumed, but close. The toner cartridge only costs roughly the same as the printer. Their new PC prices, while nothing to write home about, are fairly comparable to the high middle of the price range you'll find. Their refurbished equipment, however, tends to be quite pricey for the value recieved. But if you're looking for an antique to play your old DOS 3.2 games on, they still have a few 486's left. . .


Hair in a rubber band after being taken off a ponytail?
"Communication Density"

June 26, 2000     (Monday)

Sometimes life gets tedious with the same thing going on (or not going on in my case) day in and day out, day after day, week after week. But my horroscope, my numerology, and my fortune cookies tell me things are about to get better. ::twiddle::

The metaphorical potential is vast, if not endless. . .
"Fractal in Training"

June 27, 2000     (Tuesday)

For years I've maintained that the trend in public schools and in psychological advice administered to parents to bolster children's self-esteem above all else, whether warranted or not, is a bad thing. Today in the morning paper a column by John Rosemond (A family psychologist and author) agrees with me.

The headline on his column reads: Cure -- yes, cure -- kids of high self-esteem. In the column, he says "It is no coincidence that since self-esteem became the be-all, end-all of American child rearing, rates of child and teen violence have skyrocketed." He goes on to make a very good case for this point of view.

This column is actually the column of the week for last week. It can be read in its entirety at >his website. [Well, it could at the time, anyway.] This week's column is pretty interesting too, as well as some of the other recent columns.

Somewhere else I saw a commentary about the falling test scores of minority students. The article said that the scores had been rising up until the advent of rap music, whereupon they began to decline, because, according to the author, the kids were spending their time listening to and making rap instead of attending to their schoolwork. This might be part of it, but I suspect a portion of it is also the fact that a preponderance of rap promotes an anti-white culture, a gang culture, a culture of criminality, and to excel according to white standards (i.e., do well in school) is to look bad in the eyes of your peers.


June 28, 2000     (Wednesday)

No Entry Today


June 29, 2000     (Thursday)

No Entry Today


June 30, 2000     (Friday)

I've not been feeling well the past couple of days. It's probably due to too much good food, not enough rest, and the weather fluxuations. I can stand most any kind of weather. It's the rapid changes between 90 degrees and 53, between Sahara arrid and New Orleans in August humid that gets me down. I guess I'm just sensitive to the atmosphere.

Any time you're bored, need material for a comedy act, want to listen to good arguments based on bad premises, or just want to feel certifiably "normal" check out the Usenet newsgroup alt.conspiracy. There's something there for everyone. All these kooks have web pages, too (present company included!). On one of them this individual actually said, to the effect, "I used to believe that all the bad things that happened to the people on Earth was the fault of Aliens. I was wrong. It's the Freemasons!" Now, you might think it don't get much better than that, but you'd be wrong. Check it out sometime. I'm sure Robert Anton Wilson trolls this newsgroup for material.


Archives May 2000 July 2000 View Comments Close Window