August 31, 2006

Sticking with Windows

I beat the Linux drum a lot on this site. Okay, more than a lot. But if you've experienced as many problems with Windows as I have, you'd be anxious to move along as well. However, I know that some of you don't really experience Windows problems. If you are one of the two manysatisfied Windows owners, you still aren't relegated to using only commercial/expensive software. I present to you, which contains a lot of free software that you can use in your current Windows environment. Excerpt:

Mozilla Firefox
The premier free, open-source browser. Tabs, pop-up blocking, themes, and extensions. Considered by many to be the world's best browser.

Mozilla Thunderbird
Powerful spam filtering, solid interface, and all the features you need.
[note: Some people have complained about Thunderbird's lack of an Outlook style calendar feature. While there is a separate calendar tool that can be used, the Lightning project looks to incorporate that feature into Thunderbird, sooner rather than later. You might want to wait until that's done.]

Media Player Classic
Compact, but powerful media player. Plays anything under the sun. No install necessary.
Big, full featured suite of tools for word processing and spreadsheets. Compatible with and a free replacement for Microsoft Word documents. Also supports OpenDocument Format.

Open Source IDE for the .NET Framework. Utilizes the multiple programming languages and Windows forms

Dia for Windows
Dia is a Visio type clone for Windows and UNIX/Linux systems. It has many templates included and very useful for flowcharting etc.

Did you find something useful there? If not, you might want to check out The OSSWIN Project: Open Source for Windows! page. Trust me: you'll spend a lot of time wading through that list of software.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 08:31 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Potential horror show

I know that I've said many times that the Republicans deserve to lose their majority this fall. This editorial from does give me pause, though. Excerpt:

Consider the man likely to run the Judiciary Committee, Michigan's John Conyers, from the Congressional class of 1964. He recently made his plans clear in a 370-page report, "The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution and Coverup in the Iraq War, and Illegal Domestic Surveillance." The report accuses the Administration of violating no fewer than 26 laws and regulations, and is a road map of Mr. Conyers's explicit intention to investigate grounds for impeaching President Bush.
Ways and Means, the chief economic policy panel, would go to New York's Charlie Rangel (1970), who opposed the Bush tax cuts and recently voted against free trade with tiny Oman. His committee's crucial health care subcommittee would be run by California's Pete Stark (1972), who in 1993 criticized Hillary Clinton's health care proposal because the government wasn't dominant enough. Over at Financial Services, the ascension of Barney Frank (1980) would mean a reprieve for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, despite $16 billion in accounting scandals. His main reform priority has been to carve out a new affordable housing fund from the two companies' profits. And forget about any major review of Sarbanes-Oxley.
And then there's Alcee Hastings, who, should Ms. Pelosi succeed in pushing aside current ranking Member Jane Harman, would take over the House Intelligence Committee. Before he won his Florida seat in 1992, Mr. Hastings had been a federal judge who was impeached and convicted by a Democratic Congress for lying to beat a bribery rap. He would handle America's most vital national secrets.

I have nothing useful to add to this except ugh.

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August 30, 2006

Oink, oink baby

Today's Pig of the Day

It looks like we have a winner: Ted Stevens(R-AK), come on down! You're the final contestant on Who's a Whiny, Obnoxious, Petulant, Self-Important Senatorial Prick.

Actually, Senator Stevens has provided an invaluable service for me: I had promised to blog frequently pigs, if for no other reason than to aggravate the many jihadists who keep hacking Aaron's site. And I have to admit that I had fallen down on the job. Congratulations, Ted. You've just reminded me that the biggest oinkers feed at the federal trough.

Oh no, did I post this within 60 days on an election? No? Then I guess that I'll have to repost it on or after September 8 of this year.

I'd like to point out that I don't actually enjoy blogging about politics(and others do it much better). I started out blogging about the things that interested/entertained me: brewing beer, old(bad) jokes, technology/computer issues. But I will be damned if I let such a blatently unconstitutional law prevent me from blogging about whatever I feel like. Starting September 8, almost every post on this site will involve politics. I will post free political ads to whomever asks me(I'm not kidding myself- almost no one knows that this site exists); I will post commentary on the views/votes of politicians; and I will mercilessly mock those running for office. Will these activities run me afoul of McCain-Feingold? Good. I'll bet that I won't be the only one.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 11:46 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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August 29, 2006

To be 6 again...

Received via email...

A man was sitting on the edge of the bed, observing his wife, looking at herself in the mirror. Since her birthday was not far off he asked what she'd like to have for her Birthday.

"I'd like to be six again," she replied, still looking in the mirror.

On the morning of her Birthday, he arose early, made her a nice big bowl of Lucky Charms, and then took her to Six Flags theme park. What a day! He put her on every ride in the park; the Death Slide, the Wall of Fear, the Screaming Monster Roller Coaster, everything there was. Five hours later they staggered out of the theme park. Her head was reeling and her stomach felt upside down.

He then took her to a McDonald's where he ordered her a Happy Meal with extra fries and a chocolate shake.

Then it was off to a movie, popcorn, a soda pop, and her favorite candy, M&M's.

What a fabulous adventure! Finally she wobbled home with her husband and collapsed into bed exhausted. He leaned over his wife with a big smile and lovingly asked, "Well Dear, what was it like being six again??"

Her eyes slowly opened and her __expression suddenly changed. "I meant my dress size, you dumb ass!"

The moral of the story: Even when a man is listening, he is gonna get it wrong.

[Yes, I received this from a female. So what? It made me laugh.]

Posted by: Physics Geek at 02:17 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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The truth about Katrina

Paul at Wizbang has taken a beating from assorted bloggers for a variety of reasons, which I won't go into here. However, he's provided the best information related to New Orleans and its levees. This time, he's compiled all of the data into one post, which details where, when and why the levees failed. You might be shocked to learn that George Bush isn't to blame. Shocked, that is, if you're a complete frigging imbecile.

Kudos on a well documented post. It's the kind of work that actual reporters in the MSM could do if they weren't busy trying to shoehorn stories into the "Bush sucks!" template.

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August 28, 2006

Calmness in our lives

I am passing this on to you because it definitely works, and we could all use a little more calmness in our lives. By following simple advice heard on the Dr. Phil show, you too can find inner peace. Dr Phil proclaimed, "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started and have never finished."

So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream, a bottle of Kahula, a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos and a box of chocolates.

You have no idea how freaking good I feel. Please pass this on to those whom you think might be in need of inner peace.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 07:09 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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August 25, 2006

I don't know what they're paying these guys...

But it isn't enough

Here's a new game show that's specifically designed for modern day eunuchs.

I don't know any guy who would willingly subject himself to potential downside of being a contestant.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:51 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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August 18, 2006

Hope in our time

I believe in these difficult and mean-spirited times in which we live there needs to be a message of hope. Just a single image that speaks to us of love, harmony, peace and joy. An image that suggests the universal brotherhood of man. I have found that image, and I ask that all of you take a moment to be inspired by it. more...

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August 12, 2006


An oldie, but it still makes me laugh.

Q: My fiance still has feelings for his old girlfriends. I'm afraid he will not be faithful.

A: A man's capacity to love is boundless. It has been proven to increase with the number of sexual partners. Thus, by having a few other women, your partner is really increasing his love for you. Best thing to do is to buy him a nice, expensive present, cook him a nice meal and don't mention this aspect of his behavior.

Q: My husband has too many nights out with the boys.

A: This is perfectly natural behavior-And it should be encouraged. The man is a hunter and he needs to prove his prowess with other men. Far from being pleasurable, a night out with the boys is a stressful affair, and to get back to you is a relief for your partner. Just look back at how emotional and happy the man is when he returns to his stable home. Best thing to do is to buy him a nice, expensive present, cook him a nice meal and don't mention this aspect of his behavior.

Q: My husband wants to experience three-in-a-bed-sex with me and my sister.

A: Your husband is clearly devoted to you. He cannot get enough of you, so he goes for the next best thing - your sister. Far from being an issue, this will bring all of the family together. Why not get some cousins involved? If you are still apprehensive, then let him go with your relatives, buy him a nice, expensive present, cook him a nice meal and don't mention this aspect of his behavior.

Q: My husband continually asks me to perform oral sex with him.

A: Do it. Sperm is not only great tasting, but has only 10 calories a spoonful. It is nutritious and helps you to keep your figure and gives a great glow to the skin. Interestingly, a man knows this. His offer to you to perform oral sex with him is totally selfless. Oral sex is extremely painful for a man. This shows he loves you. Best thing to do is to thank him, buy him a nice, expensive present, and cook him a nice meal.

Q: My husband goes straight to sleep after making love - we have no time to talk.
A: Sex is an extremely difficult task for a man. Afterwards he needs rest. In fact, the more he loves you, the more hard work his lovemaking is, and the more rest he needs. Stop putting pressure on him. Best thing to do is to buy him a nice, expensive present, cook him a nice meal and don't mention this aspect of his behavior.

Q: My husband's efforts at lovemaking only last 30 seconds.

A: Your husband loves you very much. He is so turned on by you that he cannot control himself. In fact, the shorter the 'effort' the more he loves you. Return this love by buying a nice, expensive present, cooking him a nice meal and not mentioning his behavior.

Q: My husband is uninterested in foreplay.

A: Foreplay to a man is very hurtful. What it means is that you do not love your man as much as you should-he has to work a lot to get you in the mood. Abandon all wishes in this area, and make it up to him by buying a nice expensive present, cooking a nice meal and not mentioning this behavior.

Q: My husband has never given me an orgasm.

A: The female orgasm is a myth. It is fostered by militant, man-hating feminists and is a danger to the family unit. Don't mention it again to him and show your love to him by buying a nice expensive present ..and don't forget to cook him a delicious meal.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:31 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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August 11, 2006

The time has come

Kim du Toit just reminded me that we, the American people, are about to be subjected to the "no political ads within 60 days of an election" bullshit of the McCain-Feingold Act. And he has a dandy idea for any and all political persuasions who believe that the First Amendment means what it says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

In Kim's words:

Here’s my promise: If a conservative organization wants to run a political ad criticizing any Congressman up for re-election during that 60-day window, I’ll let them run one on this website, for free, right up until Election Day.

And if Congress or for that matter law enforcement think that I’m going to refrain from criticizing an elected or wannabe-elected official, ever, they’re sadly mistaken.

Sounds good to me. Anyone want to put a political ad on my blog free of charge? Not surprisingly, Misha is on board as well.


I just remembered something that Stephen Macklin posted in the comments to this post of mine. I'll repeat it here because it's too good not to share:

My blog will change in response to FEC rules. No more quizzes, no more book or movie memes. All political advocacy all the time.

Damn right.

Update: Dean sports the blue version of the image above, which is entirely appropriate. This is an area where the left and the right have the same goal in mind: free speech unregulated by Congress, just as the Constitution demands.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 11:42 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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August 09, 2006

Simplifying the move

Would you like to move from Windows to Linux, but are afraid of losing your settings and files? Worry no more: Versora software has just released its Progression Desktop Windows to Linux tool. It can migrate the following items:

System settings: folder options, fonts, input devices, wallpaper, sounds

Application Settings: email, web browser, office productivity software, instant messaging

And here are the to/from OSs supported:

Windows 98
Windows ME
Windows NT
Windows 2000
Windows XP

Fedora Core
Novell Linux Desktop
Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 (SLED 10)
Red Hat Desktop and Enterprise Workstation
SimplyMEPIS 6.0
SUSE Professional
Turbolinux FUJI
Ubuntu and Kubuntu
Xandros Desktop OS 4

Nifty, huh? Check it out.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 12:43 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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August 04, 2006

Take me to your leader

Found in an old email...

Two aliens land in Metro Detroit, and they happen to land next to a gas station. So, the aliens waddle out of their ship and look around.

The first thing they see that resembles a human being is the gas pump. The two aliens approach and the first one says "Earthling, take me to your leader!" Of course he gets no response...

The first alien looks at his buddy then addresses the pump again. "Earthling, I said take me to your leader!" Of course, still no response...

The alien then turns to his buddy and says "If this Earthling doesn't show me some respect and at least acknowledge me, I'm going to blast him!"

At that the second alien replies, "OK. I'm just going to stand down on the next block."

The first Alien looks a little puzzled, but waits for the other to waddle to the next block. He then addresses the pump a third time.

"Earthling take me to your leader!" Still nothing. So the alien then pulls out his ray gun and vaporizes the pump...

The gas station goes up in a huge explosion, blowing the alien all the way down the block to his buddy. He gets up, dusts himself off, and turns to the second Alien. "If you knew that was going to happen why didn't you warn me!?"

The second replies "Well, I didn't know exactly *what* was going to happen. But there's no way I'm gonna' mess with a guy whose dick hangs to the ground, wraps around his body twice, and is still long enough to stick in his left ear.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 07:49 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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August 03, 2006

Upgrading from Windows to Linux

This upgrade does not replace Windows XP. Rather, it offers a way for those of you still trudging along on the now unsupported Windows 98/98SE/ME operating systems.

I know what you're thinking. Who still uses those crap systems? Well, some people are still using their old computers that run just fine using an older OS, but would completely crap itself if you attempted to install and run XP on it. I have a 1.8 Ghz machine still running ME on it because, well, it works. And I haven't had the multitude of issues that other people have had with that, let's be honest, toy operating system.

In any event, Microsoft no longer provides support for Windows 98/ME. All of you users are on your own. Or you were until now. Excerpt:

Xandros, in responding to Microsoft's July 11 announcement that it will discontinue security patches and technical support for Windows 98, 98SE, and ME, is offering a 50 percent mail-in rebate to users who "upgrade" to either the Xandros Desktop Home Edition or Home Edition Premium versions of its Linux distribution.

An estimated 50 million people around the world still use the older Windows systems, according to market analyst IDC.

The regular Home Edition sells for $39.99, and the premium edition sells for $79.99. If users upgrade their operating system from Windows 98, 98SE, or ME to Xandros 4.0, they can receive a 50 percent mail-in rebate, the New York City-based company said.

According to the company, the Xandros Desktop Home Edition or Home Edition Premium OSes can be installed alongside unsupported Microsoft Windows -- even on older hardware, eliminating the need for new hardware required by a Windows XP or Vista upgrade.

And here are the details on what Xandros will do for you:

Today, as three older members of the Windows family depart, Xandros is more than able to take up the needs of these, and other, Windows users. More so than almost any other Linux desktop, Xandros is designed to look and feel like Windows.

It starts with a KDE 3.42 desktop interface, with some enhancements to increase its Windows-like look and feel. In fact, you can, as I did, set it up to mirror a typical Windows environment and fool users into thinking they're actually using Windows.

This is helped, in no small measure, by the inclusion in the Home Premium Edition Xandros Desktop Linux 4.0 of CodeWeavers Inc.'s Crossover Office 5.03 Standard Edition. With CrossOver, you can run many popular Windows applications. For example, I was able to run Office 2000 and 2003, Quicken 2004, iTunes 5.01, and Macromedia Dreamweaver MX.

Can it run all Windows programs? No, it's not even close, but Crossover on Xandros can run many of the most commonly used one. It also makes it very easy to install and use Windows applications on Linux. In past combination packages of Crossover and a Linux distribution, it's been something of a chore getting the pairing to integrate.

That's not the case, here. For instance, if you want to install a Windows application, you just download or pop in its installation CD, and the system takes care of all the details. You could easily be fooled into thinking that you were installing a Windows application on a Windows system.

In addition, the Premium Edition of Xandros also comes with Versora Progression Desktop. This is a Windows to Linux migration tool.

It's a very handy tool that deserves a review in its own right. With it you can transfer such basic system settings as your wallpaper and screen saver to Linux, and, more importantly, your email and documents from, say, Outlook and Word, to Evolution or Thunderbird for email and 2 for your documents.

It's very, very handy. There are a few gotchas to keep an eye out for. For example, very complicated Office documents, such as macro-empowered Excel spreadsheets, are unlikely to make the transfer well. Still, I'd say 90 percent of users could move everything they have from Windows to Xandros and not lose anything of significance.
What Windows 98 and ME users may find far more interesting, though, is that I was also able to run Xandros reasonably well on a Compaq Deskpro EN Desktop with a 500MHz Pentium III, 128MB of RAM, and a 10GB hard drive.

Was it great? No, but Xandros ran as well as 98SE or ME ever ran on this six-year-old computer. XP? On this system? Forget about it!

This, more than anything else, is why I think any current 98 or ME user should look to Xandros. This Linux will just work on the system you're using today, and you won't even need to re-learn that much.

Interestingly enough, I've got a machine at home that's gathering dust right now. It's technical specifications mirror almost exactly the old machine that Vaughan-Nichols listed. I think that I might take give it an upgrade and milk some more years out of it.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 07:47 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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August 02, 2006

Escaping your past

I've followed the buzz about Mel Gibson's DUI and subsequent anti-Semitic rants. The only thing that could even remotely be considered a positive is Gibson's apology, which included this line:

I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable.

Many people aren't in the forgiving mood, figuring that whatever Mel said when drunk reflects his actual feelings. I have to say that I agree with that sentiment. However, I believe that it's more complicated than that, as I'll attempt to illustrate using some examples that hit close to home for me.

My grandmother was born in 1904. She lived through the Depression, Two World Wars, a multitude of presidents and one presidential assassination. She outlived her husband by 25 years. During that time, she suffered through two mastectomies and two rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Through the whole ordeal, she didn't complain once. In fact, she worked up until about a year before her death, at which time the cancer and its treatments made such a thing impossible. She helped raise me and my sister, as my mother usually worked two or more jobs to keep a roof over our heads. She was one of the strongest, best people that I've known in my entire life. She was also an inveterate racist.

I know what you're thinking: how in the world does this relate to the Mel Gibson meltdown? Allow me to explain.

My grandmother's prejudice against blacks was deep, firmyl embedded in her psyche. I'm certain that she didn't see it that way, of course. To her mind, that's just the way things were. Let me offer an example:

As I mentioned, my mother worked a lot to keep a roof over our heads. There were times when her job would keep her late, preventing my mother from being able to pick us up. Since my grandmother worked during most of that time, she couldn't pick us up either. However, she'd known this particular cabbie, Thomas, for decades. Whenever my grandmother would call the cab company and request his services to bring me or my sister home, Thomas would drop whatever he was doing and come to ferry us home. It didn't matter where he was in the city, it didn't matter what he was doing, he always helped my grandmother when she called. Thomas had enormous respect and affection for my grandmother. And my grandmother? Well, she liked Thomas in her own way, but her way of expressing it was none too pleasant: "He's one of the good darkies."

My grandfather was a different sort of bigot. While my grandmother tended towards the they're-not-as-good-as-us-but-they're-okay-as-long-as-they-know-their-place sort of racism, my grandfather was more blunt: "God, I hate n*ggers." Pleasant, I know.

Imagine that you were born and raised while racial segregation still existed. Now imagine that your parents were openly scornful and condescending towards blacks. Now try and imagine that you'd grow up with absolutely no ingrained racial prejudice. I'm going to bet that it wouldn't be easy.

That was my mother's environment. She grew up in a household where bigotry wasn't treated as such, but rather regarded as a fact of life. To her credit, she's done yeoman's work trying to not be her parents, at least in this one regard. But there have been one or two occassions when my mother would drink and her inner demons would come out and she would say some things about blacks that, were she sober, she would never say.

Maybe there is truth in wine. Maybe this is who, in her heart of hearts, my mother really is. But I will tell you right now that it isn't who she wants to be. It's not even who she thinks she is, at least on a concious level. And so the struggle continues.

Anyway, I've been thinking about this ever since Mel Gibson started blaming the Jews for all wars and whatever else sprang to mind. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that Mel's dad is, to be blunt, a raving anti-Semitic Holocaust denying loon. Let that be the major influence in Gibson's life growing up.

Now imagine that you've worked in Hollywood for about 30 years. Despite working in an industry with a large jewish population, you haven't offered public evidence of anti-Semitism(no Passion comments, please, because I don't believe that the film was anti-Semitic). And then one night you get a bit tipsy and the mask slips, revealing the ugly beast within. Is that who you really are? Probably so. But is it who you want to be?

Gibson's comments give a fair indication that he has some serious issues with Jews. There's really no other way to interpret his words. But he's somehow managed to work for more than two decades surrounded by the people that he dislikes deep down without somehow getting quoted, recorded or reported for anti-Semitic remarks until recently. So is it likely that Mel wants to be an anti-Semite? There's no question that he is, but is it who he wants to be? Or has Mel been, apparently unsuccessfully, trying to escape his past?

People are rightfully beating up Mel for what he said. Some of Gibson's critics, though, have apparently fallen on their heads. I offer Ann Althouse, an otherwise sensible person, as a prime example:

What artist has ever crashed like this? Not Michael Jackson. Not Woody Allen. Not O.J. Simpson. You’ve shown an evil heart and it changes the meaning of all of your artistic work. How horrible! How painful!

Uh huh. Gibson drove while intoxicated and spouted some anti-Semitic garbage. Stating that that is a worse offense than either a double-homicide or pedophilia pretty makes me think that you should switch to decaff.

Update: James Joyner weighs in with similar thoughts:

While the nature of his remarks, combined with the radical notions of the sect to which he adheres, makes it impossible for me to believe that he is not anti-Semitic, it’s not implausible to me that Gibson–who, after all, has made his living for the past thirty-odd years in an industry where Jews are not strangers–honestly believes otherwise.

Update: Entered into the Beltway Traffic Jam here. Go for more interesting links.

Update: Here I was set to make a snarky post about Abraham Foxman and he comes out and says this. Kudos Mr. Foxman.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:24 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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