My Archives: August 2004

Monday, August 30, 2004

Cartoons! Ben Sargent's "What to Worry About"; Glenn McCoy's "Hard to Tell Them Apart"; Stuart Carlson's "Not Intimidation"; and, Ted Rall's "don't Look Dumb. George Bush should be heartened by the defense of his military record being offered by the group Swift Yacht Vets for Bush. A spokesman declares, "I remember one time we got stranded out in Goosefair Bay and ran out of gin. We were up to our eyeballs in limes and tonic. Wouldn't ya know, here comes George W. Bush on the Laura II with a relief shipment of Tanqueray. By God, he saved a few lives that day!"

Everyone's economic radar should be humming on the subject of retirement pensions - those rainbows at the end of a lifetime's work which are supposed to come with a pot of gold. [more]

Posted by mac @ 09:29 AM EST [Link]

Sunday, August 29, 2004

For those who share my taste for the slightly bizarre, I stumbled across Anomalies Unlimited last night when I should have been working. (Amazing how interesting bizarre sites become as a deadline nears!) I particularly enjoyed the Disney link which includes stills of movie frames that inserted graphic sex or nudity into various movies. E.g. "On January 8 1999, Disney announced a recall of the the 1977 home video The Rescuers because it was found, it contained an 'objectionable background image'." This site offers that image.

I have just learned that the Future of Freedom Foundation -- run by Jacob (Bumper) Hornberger -- maintains an archive of articles I've written for FFF. I wrote the essay on The Vietnam War with Iraq specifically in mind. [more]

Posted by mac @ 06:35 AM EST [Link]

Saturday, August 28, 2004

I don't often take the BBC to task, but today is an exception. Today is Software Freedom Day, a grassroots effort started months ago by a few individuals and eagerly adopted by open-source advocates around the world. But to read the BBC coverage of the occasion, you'd think it was launched by the UN.

What is it about the media that they think nothing happens without a big wheel? This is a grassroots effort, guys. A few inspired individuals conceived it, and a lot more volunteers signed up to help. (It's amazing what you can accomplish with a web page and few editorials.) Even the UN's International Open Source Network freely admits that they are merely participants, not organizers, in this event.

So don't be fooled by reports that the UN is behind this event. Although lots of organizations and corporations are jumping on the bandwagon, this is individualism at its finest, on a global scale. Happy Software Freedom Day!


Posted by brad @ 08:51 AM EST [Link]

Friday, August 27, 2004

Cartoons!...Chan Lowe's "Kerry's Support"; Ted Rall's "Dare Not to Dream"; Tom Toles' "Who's Calling the Shots?"; and, Mark Fiore's "The Art of Political Attack". Here's a cynical and pointed freebie being offered by Cabbies Against Bush (CAB). And, as a whimsical antidote. find out what your name -- or another word -- looks like in hieroglyphics. [more]

Posted by mac @ 07:37 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Interesting news passed on by Gordon P. "Bush and Cheney are so intolerant of protestors attending their rallies that they require people to sign a _PERSONAL LOYALTY OATH_ pledging their support to Der Fuhrer George and Reichsmarshall Cheney before they will be issued tickets to enter !!! >:-(

The text of the "loyalty oath" reads (in part): "I, [full name] ... do herby [sic] endorse George W. Bush for reelection of the United States, [sic] ... In signing the above endorsement you are consenting to use and release [sic] of your name by Bush-Cheney as an endorser of President Bush."

Has there _ever_ been a U.S. president this intolerant of dissent ?!? >:-( (Or for that matter, with campaign workers having such a poor grasp of either english grammar or spelling ???) I forget who first said it, but they were right: One thing GeeDubya _ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT TOLERATE_ is _PERSONAL DISLOYALTY TO HIMSELF_. The man is a textbook megalomaniac !!! >:-(

Posted by mac @ 10:14 AM EST [Link]

Only one cartoon today...but it's a good one!: Clay Bennett's "Q&A". I have been assured by the editor with whom I've been working at USA Today that the editorial I wrote on Kobe Bryant's accuser will run in today's edition, having been bumped forward from its scheduled publication last week. One disadvantage of living down a gravel road in rural Ontario, however, is that I do not have easy access to USA Today and I don't know if it will be posted online.

UPDATE: The exchange is online: the point and my counterppoint.

Gordon P. offers the following movie review... [more]

Posted by mac @ 02:40 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Cartoons! Tom Tomorrow's "Out of touch"; Mark Fiore's "Live and let leak"; and, Molly Ivins' column "Tough sledding" humorously captures the Canadian attitude toward the upcoming Presidential election;

Gordon P. responds to the American Spectator's critique of my FOX News column on "marrying up"...specifically on the application of evolutionary psychology. (See yesterday's blog for links to the AS attack and the original FOX News column.) [more]

Posted by mac @ 03:12 AM EST [Link]

Monday, August 23, 2004

It is almost cool to be personally attacked by the American Spectator, not only because it raises the profile of the FOX News column but also because I am generally criticized for being a "conservative." I guess some conservatives want to weed out the libertarian element. The attack is a bit strange in that it seems to springboard off a rather mild column as a pretext for a lot of personal comments. Fine with me but I wonder 'why?' and I always prefer to deal with the ideas. [more]

Posted by mac @ 12:43 PM EST [Link]

Thanks to Jeff B. for forwarding this item:

Hook an unprotected virgin PC to the Internet and it's infected by a worm in just 20 minutes, according to the Internet Storm Center.

That's down from 40 minutes last year. As Slashdot notes, 20 minutes isn't long enough to download most system patches (or virus definitions on a dial-up).

(Of course, that's an unprotected Windows PC.)

Not two days after I posted my last blog entry, about data ownership and privacy, the following items came to my attention: [more]

Posted by brad @ 11:35 AM EST [Link]

Sunday, August 22, 2004

An update on the imprisonment of libertarian Anthony Hargis, and an update on revelations about our expanding universe from co-blogger Gordon P....

On Hargis, I refer you to Claire Wolfe's blog. [more]

Posted by mac @ 11:59 AM EST [Link]

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Cartoons for your viewing pleasure: Mark Fiore's "Troop Adjustments"; and, Jeff Danziger's "Police Ratio".

Jim Peron gave a passionate presentation at the ISIL World Freedom Summit in New Zealand this July in which he asserted that the United States was, at this moment, Germany in 1939. [more]

Posted by mac @ 11:27 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, August 19, 2004

This from Claire Wolfe's blog: "PORTER GOSS, GWB'S NOMINEE FOR HEAD OF THE CIA wants the agency to spy on and arrest Americans. NPR also quotes Goss as saying that one often has to make a choice between "dead brother and Big Brother" and that Big Brother is the better choice. (I've been hoping to verify that quote since NPR first ran the item on August 11. But so far, they're the only source I've found for it.)"

Update from Claire: "PORTER GOSS REALLY DID make the "Big Brother" remark. Here he is, live on RealPlayer. (And thank you, Joel, for ferreting out that weasel.)"

Posted by mac @ 11:52 AM EST [Link]

Monday, August 16, 2004

I'm going to go out on a limb here and prognosticate about the future of computing. And at the risk of sounding conspiratorial, or alarmist, or apocalyptic, I'm going to predict that before long there will be two classes of computer users. And I don't mean the "haves" and "have-nots". I mean the "free" and "enslaved." [more]

Posted by brad @ 06:39 PM EST [Link]

Sunday, August 15, 2004

It seems that billions of dollars won't buy Microsoft a clue. Concerned about the Asian computer market (a) using bootleg copies of Windows XP, and (b) switching to Linux, Microsoft has decided to bring out a crippleware OS, Windows XPSE. That's officially "Starter Edition" but SlashNot calls it "Suck Edition" for these reasons:

1. A limit of three running applications at one time.
2. A limit of three windows per application
3. No windows networking support
4. No significant ability to change default settings
5. Few of XPís built-in applications.

There's also no upgrade path, and -- according to Michael Robertson -- no support for multiple users, and limited screen resolution. The Gartner Group has taken the unusual step of recommending that nobody buy XPSE. Not that most McBlog readers will be able to; it won't be released in English, or sold in North America or Europe.


Posted by brad @ 06:18 PM EST [Link]

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Some humor to start the day. Long-time readers of McBlog will remember Wendy's posting of the "Switch to Linux" Flash animation, poking good-natured fun at Linux users like me. Well, my sources have finally come through for me, and I have learned that this originated at the Ubergeek site. For our friends who use Macs, I recommend the similarly joshing "Switch Back". And everyone gets ribbed in the hilarious "Intellitoast". (There are several "in" jokes, such as poking fun at "XML" as marketing fluff.)

Speaking of Linux...I've been catching up on my reading of Groklaw and the latest developments in the SCO legal cases. For those who love reason, here's a gem: a point-by-point logical critique of a pro-SCO talk recently given by "industry analyst" Rob Enderle. It's rather long, and it may not be interesting to those who haven't followed the SCO vs. Linux saga... but it's a splendid example both of how propaganda is crafted, and how to demolish it.

Way back during my college logic class, our prof would clip editorials from the local newspaper and assign us to do similar critiques. With an election coming up in the U.S., these are skills all should cultivate. I tip my hat to the "writer, geek, Christian, libertarian, and someday a lawyer" who wrote this piece.


Posted by brad @ 06:10 PM EST [Link]

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

In pondering what to use as blog material today, I realized that I should start posting some of the correspondence I receive -- with all identifiers stripped out, of course -- and my replies. The following exchange is from a high school student I met a few weeks ago who has paid me the compliment of considering me a resource. He writes... [more]

Posted by mac @ 02:00 PM EST [Link]

Monday, August 9, 2004

Yesterday's cartoon strip "Helen: Sweetheart of the internet," suggests that the Gov't thinks technogeeks have a "Patriotic Duty" to be "stupid." Ted Rall comments on all the "Election Spoilers" who are pulling votes away from Kerry. (Hey, Badnarik made the list!) And...we interrupt this blog for a message from Tom Ridge.

Like many activists of my acquaintance, I have acted in emotional self-defense and turned off the ongoing pacification of Iraq, the civil war that is the Middle East, the destruction of liberty that used to be America... It seems almost too easy to turn it all off and forget the world that's larger than my farm, rather as though that world is a television program -- which is, after all, how all the disturbing information and images about which I can do nothing enter my home. Unless, of course, I seek them out on the Internet. And I haven't been doing *that* either. Until this morning...for whatever reason...I clicked over to TruthOut and, both of which I am very pleased to see have survived the recent economic crunch that has hobbled so many other worthwhile sites. They provide nice balance, with TruthOut leaning to the left and AntiWar leaning libertarianward.

As one of my distractions from the world, I've been enjoying Gordon P.'s tales of the wolf he's adopted and her new cubs... [more]

Posted by mac @ 06:16 AM EST [Link]

Sunday, August 8, 2004

Cartoon fix: Ted Rall's "Bushman"; Tom Toles "Undetectable Quivering"; Pat Oliphants's "The Orange Button"; and, Tatsuya Ishida's "Sinfest".

Posted by mac @ 04:07 AM EST [Link]

As our unofficial co-blogger Gordon P. comments, "It looks like the book burnings have started." [more]

Posted by mac @ 03:53 AM EST [Link]

Friday, August 6, 2004

Cartoon fix: Stuart Carlson's "Vatican Letter on Feminism"; and, Walt Handelsman's "Prepared for Battle".

By now, most of you have heard the latest Bush blooper, which will be difficult for him to surpass. The occasion: his signing of the Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2005. The blooper: "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." And, then, there is a comment, overheard in a Chinese restaurant..."The U.S. Gov't should be on a Strict No-CARB diet: No Cheney, no Ashcroft, no Rumsfeld, no Bush --- and _especially_ no Rice..."

For those who are interested in reading a transcript of the speech I delivered at the ISIL "World Freedom Summit" conference in New Zealand, it has just been posted.

For those interested in libertarian controversy, Claire Wolfe is chiding Liberty for "censoring" even the mention of the radical alternative publisher Loompanics from its site.

Best to all,

Posted by mac @ 05:20 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, August 5, 2004

My first -- but not my last -- laugh of the day: a parody of a "Nigeria Scam," alleging to be from the son of a certain former U.S. president.

Posted by mac @ 07:01 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

The following attempt at satire came out of being bored for a few hours last night. Cheers, mac. [more]

Posted by mac @ 04:49 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

For today's dose of humor, The Register's Bastard Operator From Hell finds a politically-correct way to view Internet porn at work. This is so outlandish it just might work. And for the perfect accompaniment, one of my favorite Tom Lehrer songs, Smut!

I haven't been reporting much lately on virus attacks and new Microsoft vulnerabilities. Of course one reason is that I was so swamped in July that I didn't blog at all. But also, since we've become an all-Linux household, I've become splendidly indifferent to most such news.

Still, it seems like every week or two I hear about a new flaw in Internet Explorer or Windows XP. It's reached the point where CERT, the Computer Emergency Readiness Team, has started suggesting you use some other browser for your casual surfing. [more]

Posted by brad @ 01:28 AM EST [Link]

Sunday, August 1, 2004

Back in May I reported on DidTheyReadIt, and their use of "web bugs" in HTML-formatted email to let senders know where and when you read your email. Now another company, ReadNotify, has gotten into the business of invading your privacy. These guys use a different trick, the HTML "IFRAME" element, but it works basically the same way.

According to Scott Grannerman's SecurityFocus article, ReadNotify offers


Posted by brad @ 02:00 AM EST [Link]

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