Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Peace prize winner 'could kill' Bush

When I read stories like this I can not help but feel that these individuals are not very sincere in their beliefs or efforts. Betty Williams is quite willing to talk at lengths on the evils of America and President George Bush (and on how she would not mind him dead) but where was she while Saddam Hussein was imprisoning and killing women and children? Why is she not so outspoken on Hezbollah and Hamas using women and children as human shields? How about the militarization of the children of Palestine? Again no words of reproach on that subject. She seems fairly silent on the issue of North Korea and the multitude of starving children there. Let us not speak of Darfur in Africa either. It is just so much easier and safer to wail against the favorite whipping boy of the left than to attempt an argument of substance against those that actually target women and children with malicious intent.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Stem cell veto

President Bush has dusted off his veto pen and used it to deny federal funds for stem cell research. Based on the response from the media and the medical community, you would have thought that he had personally condemned every ill person in the country to death. GWB did not outlaw stem sell research. He simply said that federal funds can not be used for it. It is still legal and available as long as federal funds are not used. Private enterprise is free to spend as much money on stem cell research as they want. If it is as promising as the “experts” say, companies should not have any problem spending R&D funds on it. The Gates Foundation just gave over 250 million dollars for development of an AIDS vaccination. Private funds will go to stem cell research too, if it is worth it.

My question is why did it take him so long to get around to using his veto pen and is this really the only thing he could think to use it on? He should let me borrow it for a while. Does it take standard refills?

Vacationing in Lebanon

A number of Americans are currently vacationing in Lebanon. Some of them have decided to leave but are unable to as a result of the current situation and are wanting/hoping that the U.S. government will help them get out of the country. The government is planning to charge the evacuees for the cost of transporting them out of the country. A number of people (congressmen and others) are decrying the inhumanity of expecting evacuees to pay to be rescued.

Let me get this straight, these people made their own decisions to take themselves and their families to Lebanon for business or pleasure, are apparently shocked when there is an escalation of military action and cry/demand the government to help them get out of harms way. Not content to be saved from a dangerous situation that they placed themselves into by their own poor decisions but want it to be done on my dime.

I am not completely heartless and am not saying that these people should be left there to whatever the fates have in store for them. I don’t think that they “deserve” to get hurt or killed. My point is that I am getting awfully tired of people getting themselves into jams through their own lack of personal responsibility and poor decision making skills and then expecting the government to pull their bacon out of the fire at my expense. Grow up already!

I have recently heard that some of the folks that were rescued have decided to sue the government because of the time that it took for them to be saved. I really hope that this is not the case. If it is true, anyone connected to the filing of this lawsuit should be stick-beat. These people have put solders and others in harms way for the expressed purpose of saving their pampered *sses. I guess this is what passes for gratitude in the new millennium.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Stupidity in action, example #1

This is about the most asinine thing I have come across this month, Arizona wants to run a lottery with the expressed intention of encouraging voter turn-out.

OK, so we are going to tell folks that if they vote, they will have a chance to win a million dollars. Who is this likely to encourage to vote? Someone that understands the issues of the day, who knows who the people running for office are and what they stand for or some num-nuts sitting at home thinking that is sure would be nice to win a million dollars and all they have to do is go vote. Don’t even need to buy a ticket! What a bargain!

I don’t want to encourage voter turn-out. I don’t want it to be fun. I don’t even think I want it to be convenient. I want everyone that is going to vote to have to show a photo-ID and answer a simple government trivia question. Voting is serious business with the goal of helping to direct the country. If you have to be bribed into voting, I would rather you didn’t. Drinks should be half price on Election Day so that those who would rather not vote have a better excuse to stay out of the voting booth.

And before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, requiring a photo-ID is not equivalent to a poll-tax. It is simple common sense. You are claiming to be a specific individual that has the right to vote. Why is it too much to ask that you prove it with photo-ID? You need that much to cash a check for crying-out-loud.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Older iPod Tricks

I have a fairly old (G3?) 40G iPod that I like a lot and use a lot. I had to send it off to Apple a year or so ago for a new battery. They sent it back with all data intact! I was very pleased.

iPod notes:

The iPod has a special Disk Scan utility that can be used to check the hard drive. Follow these steps:

  • Do a Reset - Press the Menu Pause/Play buttons until the Apple logo comes up.
  • At the Apple logo, press the REW, FF, Menu and "Action" (the center) buttons.
  • The iPod will begin to go through a disk scan and will show a disk icon with progress bar
  • At the end you will be presented with a Disk icon with a check mark or a sad iPod icon.
  • If you get a sad iPod icon you need to send your iPod in for repair.
  • If you've initiated the scanning test and don't wish for it to complete, reset the iPod.
  • The scan takes between 15 and 60 minutes to complete (be plugged in as it eats battery).
To enter iPod Diagnostic Mode:

  • Do a Reset - Press the Menu & Pause/Play buttons until the Apple logo comes up.
  • At Apple logo, press the REW, FF, and "Action" (center) buttons.
  • You will then hopefully see a menu of diagnostic tests.
  • Item "O" will be an item called "HDD Scan". Scroll down to this item using the "Next" button (the wheel will not work) and then choose it with the Action button. The test may take a few minutes.
There are a number of other tests available from this menu (use B - reset to get out) and WARNING some of these test can wipe your iPod and cause you to loose all data and songs that are on it including anything on a PC partition on the hard drive (I did not use warning in all caps for nothing).

Update: 7/08/2008

And the ultimate trick is to recycle your iPod as a stand-alone USB drive like I did here.

Update: 4/20/2010

Another great site for iPod button secrets is here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Hunger Strike, Lefty Style

It is pretty amusing that the Code Pink web page on fasting includes a message on the Cindy Sheehan hunger strike next to a picture and quote from Gandhi. Why is that funny?

Gandhi fast: water

Sheehan fast: “…closest thing I could find to a smoothie to get a little protein was a coffee with vanilla ice cream in it…” and “blended juice drinks with protein powder

Not quite the same thing.

I don’t know which is funnier, the Sheehan definition of a hunger strike or the Hollywood definition. Hollywood is lending their support by partaking in a “rolling” hunger strike. You don’t eat for 24 hours and then pass on the hunger strike to another pampered Hollywood liberal.

Boy, that sure is keeping the faith!

Friday, July 7, 2006

I want my full function DVR...

"I'm not so sure that the whole issue really is one of commercial avoidance," Shaw said. "It really is a matter of convenience -- so you don't miss your favorite show. And quite frankly, we're just training a new generation of viewers to skip commercials because they can. I'm not sure that the driving reason to get a DVR in the first place is just to skip commercials. I don't fundamentally believe that. People can understand in order to have convenience and on-demand (options), that you can't skip commercials."

I say NUTS to that. What did people do before DVRs? They bought VCRs and taped the shows. What did they do when they watched the taped shows? They would fast-forward through the commercials. So this is nothing new. It is just with the new technology, they might have a chance to stop it.

Is the ability to skip commercials the MAIN reason people get DVRs? I have to agree with Shaw that the answer is very likely no. But it is a very compelling reasons and I strongly suspect that if you ran a poll and asked all DVR users what their #2 reason is for getting a DVR, it would be skipping commercials.

I think that he is kidding himself that there would not be a citizen backlash. The entire media industry has shown that there are no lengths to which they won’t go to, to push ads at us. Buy any DVD movie now a days and there are ads in it and there are ads in theater movies. You mean to tell me I get to pay $12 to $24 for a DVD movie and get to have product ads in it too! Oh boy, lucky me! If there are any TV conflicts, I always watch the cable show and DVR the TV show. By taping the TV show, I can watch a 60 minute show in about 40 minutes. That is a big time and aggravation saver.

The ads, as they stand are fairly annoying. I am not sure which is more bothersome, the idiotic content or the mind-numbing repetition. It is bad enough to sit through an obnoxious commercial but then to have it run again within the same commercial break is just too much. The other HIGHLY annoying thing that they do is upping the volume. When I DVR, I just skip it but when I am not DVRing, I just mute the TV completely. It is much quicker then trying to turn down the volume to a reasonable level and then turn it back up to be able to hear the show when the commercials end.

Take away my fast-forward and I will just have to dig out my VCR from the closet or go get an open source DVR system. Hey, that would be a good business, black market DVRs that support FF if the mainstream take it away…

Cindy Sheehan Telethon

Now this is a telethon that I could really get behind!

Criminal responsibility

There is a story that is currently on the news in Florida. It relates to a policeman that was shot while trying to apprehend a drug dealer. The nut of the story is that the police tried to stop the individual. At first he ran. When he could run no more, he pulled a gun and the shooting started.

There was more than one policeman at the scene. When the shooting stopped, one of the policemen was shot in the spine and left paralyzed. The perpetrator in now on his second trial. The first trial ended in a hung jury.

The point of contention is that the bullet that paralyzed the policeman is still in his body. They can not remove it. Since they can not present clear and conclusive evidence that the bullet that paralyzed the policeman was fired from the perpetrator’s gun, his lawyer is saying that he should not be held responsible, that one of the other policemen could have accidentally shot the first one, causing the injury.

I have to ask, so what? Who, besides this lawyer, cares if the bullet was fired by one of the policemen or by the perpetrator? The policeman would not have been shot if the perpetrator had not ran in the first place and started shooting in the second place. As soon as he ran, any and all ill affects of his running should be on him. This is the same sort of backward thinking that has led to no-pursuit rules for police.