August 1998 Archives

Yay for Windows!

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I just installed Windows NT 4.0 on my Mac under Virtual PC. It is working fine (as well as can be exepected). I need to install NT 4.0 Service Pack 3, I hear, so I launch IE and go for it.

But the IE installed is old -- 2.0 -- and it does not seem to work well with the registration process required to download the service pack. So I go to download the new browser. But, surprise surprise, I need to install the Service Pack before I can install the new browser.

Oooo, I just want to hug Bill!

I Am A Racist Pigdog

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If that is my lot in life, I suppose I can deal with it. I am a bigot. A racist. A pitiful dog. Oh, and I hate women.

And I have proof.

I am unable to see how the actions of Mike Barnicle and the actions of Patricia Smith are similar. I am unable to comprehend why just because the latter was fired for making up people who never existed and knowingly presenting her fabrications as facts in her columns means that the former, who stole someone else's jokes (intentionally or not), should also be fired.

And yet the NAACP and many Globe employees are protesting that the Boston Globe, the newspaper who fired one and not the other, has double standards.

The reason Smith was fired is not because she lied. It is not because she waged a deliberate fraud on her readers and her co-workers. (Although, these reasons alone are sufficient to not only fire her, but to make her case distinct from Barnicle's). She was fired because today more than ever, a news organization is only worth something if it can be trusted, and Smith demonstrated she could not be trusted by her readers.

Without the trust of your readers/viewers/listeners, you might as well pack it up now and go home. Nothing is more important than trust in the news business. She was fired because if she stayed on staff, the Globe could not be trusted.

What rational person would cease to trust Barnicle now? These are jokes, son. I am skeptical that even the suspension he got was deserved, though Barnicle was wrong. He should have done his best to make sure the material was not copyrighted in some fashion. If he did know about it, then he is doubly wrong. But even if he knew (which is unlikely, as he would also have known he would get caught), so what? They are JOKES. They are not made-up homeless kids, they are not fabricated sources about using nerve gas on American troops. They are JOKES.

But 53 Globe employees whine that there is an "appearance of double standard that allows one individual to ignore journalistic principles other reporters must follow."

I am a journalist by training, and while I don't condone the act, I never considered the use of "Take my wife, please!" in a column to be in a serious violation of journalistic principles.

But it gets worse, and here is where I become a racist-bigot-misogynist-homophobe (we'll throw that last one in for good luck, you never know when it might come in handy). The NAACP said the move reflects "a double standard that has both racial and gender implications." I just don't get it at all. I can only conclude that I must be a bigot, because if I weren't, then I suppose the Globe's not firing Mike Barnicle would be obviously evil to me.

Patricia Smith is a liar, guilty of fraud, who should never be allowed to report for a respectable news organization as long as she lives. She happens to be black and female. Mike Barnicle mistakenly lifted a couple of jokes from George Carlin. He happens to be white and male, and a bit on the conservative side, to boot. Shame on him.

Breathe deep, play Jesse Jackson reruns on the VCR, and it will all become clear.

"Contact" sucked

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I was putting off seeing the movie Contact, starring some actors, because I figured it would just annoy me.

I should have left well enough alone.

It isn't bad enough that the characters were cliched, but they also had to be annoying. The only character of redeeming value was the "sexually non-threatening handicapped guy". But the "intelligent, independent-minded heroine", the "soft-spoken guy, the only one who understands her", the "evil Presidential cabinet member guy trying to control the world", and everyone else just annoyed the heck out of you enough to change the channel.

But if I did that, I could not rant about the rest of the movie, so I kept watching.

There was so much else that was bad about this movie. The effects were at their best average, and at their worst a detraction from the film itself. The flow was mostly incoherent and wandering. It was not a pleasant experience.

But then there are problems with the ideas in the film. First of all, there is the misguided notion of what faith is, a poor attempt to appease "those religious people" by making their faith seem legitimate. Well, their faith is indeed legitimate, but it is not based on anything like what is presented in the movie. Faith is not belief in things without evidence. In fact, Christians from Thomas and Paul through Luther and Calvin and Sproul and Lewis and Moreland only believed BECAUSE of the evidence. They looked at all the evidence -- scientific, philosophical, experiential -- and came to the conclusion that God exists and that the Bible is His Word to man.

Contact, however, condescends to them religious folks, saying that it is OK that they believe in what there is no evidence of. No, it isn't. There is no need to be condescending, because religious belief is predicated on no less an appreciation of the evidence and facts than is scientific belief. Sagan, I suppose, was hoping to find legitimacy for his own beliefs in extraterrestrial life from what he saw as a similar belief by the religions of the world. But it doesn't flow. If Christianity were based on the same lack of evidence that plagued Sagan's own belief, then Christianity would be nothing more than a footnote in Jewish history.

One more thing that annoyed me about the movie was the tagline permeating it: "If there's no other life out there, that's an awful waste of space." Waste of space? So we are to believe that the wonder, joy, curiosity, discovery, and everything else that we humans get from space is a waste unless something else up there is alive? So if there is no other life out there, Sagan's whole life was based on nothing more than looking at a waste of space? Depending on whether or not you are proven right, you are either wasting your time, or not. Sad statement to make about oneself, and it is poor science. A scientist is, supposedly, successful no matter whether the hypothesis is true or not. If it is false, then you have proven something. If it is true, you have proven something. Either way, it is a Good Thing.

I only recommend this movie to those who want to see how to make a bad movie, or to those who want to see how to think poorly.

We Love TV

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There is a tremendous assault on television. It is nothing new, of course, but it seems to have been renewed. ABC has been working hard on its "We Love TV" campaign to fight back.

And while I am firmly against dumbing down the masses, I just don't see the problem with TV. Yes, many people abuse TV. So? We don't see people picketing all the other things people abuse. Everything can be abused. People abuse McDonald's and Coca-Cola. People abuse radio. People abuse Weight Watchers. People abuse salad. People abuse reading newspapers, magazines, and novels. People abuse weight lifting and listening to classical music.

There are those who claim, as Neil Postman did in Amusing Ourselves to Death, that TV is inherently bad for certain things, like carrying on effective public discourse. Of course, then he turns around and praises Firing Line and the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour. In one ear, and out each corner of the mouth.

Most TV sucks. Yes. And most novels suck, and most movies suck, and most music sucks, and most art sucks. Just because Prime Time is filled with opiatic sitcoms, that does not mean all TV is bad. It doesn't even mean all sitcoms are bad. What it all does mean is that you've gotta work at what you watch, you've gotta pay attention to what is being fed to you, you've gotta use your brain. And if you contend that you cannot use your brain while watching M*A*S*H, well, I pity you.

I like TV. I watch it a lot. I watch it for news. I watch it for sports. I watch it to relax. I watch it for information and for edification. People contend that my brain turns off when I watch TV. Well, we can argue about that, I suppose, but the evidence doesn't bear it out: I am the "victim" of countless hours of TV watching in my lifetime, and I think I've turned out pretty well. I don't recommend it to everyone, but it's been good for me.


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I just had a vision. A small one, and not very clear, but a vision. Netscape throws development of Mozilla to the masses, but keeps careful control of it. I applaud this decision, and have been helping out with it myself a bit.

But I had a small vision of the future where most major development efforts were Open Source projects. Windows111 is the first Open Source version of Windows. Brilliant hackers band together in a two-year project to develop the thing. Sure, there are problems adapting this very corporate-development mindset to the Open Source mindset, but Bill Gates is a visionary, and with his leadership, it can work.

Until these hackers are found out to be double agents of sorts, and they inserted a secret doomsday virus in the Windows code and cannot be held liable for it, since they did it for free, and they cannot be forced to tell Bill where the problem is or how to fix it, because they "forgot", and only US$1 billion in hypnosis fees can help them remember.

I want 15 percent of gross if this is made into a movie or book. I have a record of you viewing this page, Mr. , so don't think I can't trace it back to you. Wow, your name is a mouthful. I'll just call you Wally.

You see, Wally, I am just not so sure how well this Open Source thing could take off. I am not skeptical as to how well it can and does work; I am skeptical as to how subject to spectacular failure it isn't.

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page is an archive of entries from August 1998 listed from newest to oldest.

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