Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Geek Wednesday: A Word From the Cat

Hi everybody, this is Night, the cat in the Daily Rev banner, here to spend some time with you on Geek Wednesday.

They call me Night because I'm black as...well, never mind, it wasn't my idea. But I like the name—it sure beats Fluffy or Muffin and some of those other lame names you people give to us cats.

Generally speaking, or in my case, meowing, I would have to say that you people are stinking, raving, barking, howling mad. So part of my job at Daily Rev is to remind the guy who types this stuff down for me, just how crazy you lot really are.

Want an example? I'd talk about the government, but you get enough of that from the guys during the rest of the week. Let's talk about computers. What is it with you people and these machines you've made? What all started out as a roomful of light bulbs powered by punchcards is suddenly just another human obsession. And guess what—when you come right down to it, the bulbs haven't gotten any brighter since you folks started this nonsense, and the punch cards have a few hanging chads nowadays. You pay some pencil-neck dweeb fifty billion dollars to monopolize your computing life with an operating system that only a sick race of masochists like yourselves would dare put up with, and you call us beasts!

Then, as if that sort of techno-flagellation weren't enough for you, you open your wallets to the tune of another gazillion or so on these little music playing hard drives with the staying power of a dog humping a tree. You think you're so cool with your little white eardrums, cranking up the volume until the air is filled with metallic noise, audio iron filings. Then you wonder why (a) you go deaf; and (b) the combination of those flimsy hard drives and the lousy software from Cupertino breaks your little music empire into fragments in less than a year, two if you're lucky. Then, of course, you get out your little plastic cards and buy another one of the dog-damned things! The only excuse I can give you is that at least you're giving financial support to a company that knows how to make somewhat useful computer hardware and an operating system that really works. But just you wait—they'll go to the dogs too, with their musical sneakers made by a roomful of ten-year olds in a Vietnamese sweatshop.

So take some sound feline advice: Lionux on a homemade P3 or P4 is your best bet for financial freedom, reliable computing, and respect for your kittens. And don't you dare throw out those old CRTs: as long as they draw power, they make great little crashpads for the family puss.

Now with the money you save on techno spending sprees, have a thought for the kitty. Remember to get those little bags of treats, you know the kind that are crunchy outside with the gooey center. Kind of like a mouse's head. Optical, that is.

Okay, I've got some windowsill time to get in before dinner, so here's the guy with your geek links and stories of the week. If you find any of it useful, don't forget to feed the kitty at the donation link in the sidebar.

EU Considers Taxing Email: Now before you get your shorts in a knot over the idea of a government taxing a service that it doesn't maintain or support, consider that this kind of taxation is part of why European nations lead in world in free health care to all; why their infrastructure is so well-kept (compared to ours, which is both a disgrace and a danger); and why their social support services tend to actually be supportive (again, in marked contrast to ours). This kind of taxation, which actually would hit heavy users (corporations and big media) the hardest, is how they keep government solvent in Europe. That, and staying out of crazy wars that would bankrupt your economy...

Take five minutes to celebrate and then keep raising hell. So a bill supporting Net Neutrality made it out of a Senate committee last week; that's great. But if you think the mega-monopolies controlling the telcom universe are going to lie down and roll over, you're in dreamland, partner. There's a bigger issue here, too, a global one that is attracting the attention of none other than Amnesty International. The free sharing of information is the cornerstone of democracy. Take that away, or even begin to limit it or put a price on it (as the big telcom operators want to do here), and you are watching the first swing of the wrecking ball on democratic freedom and the Bill of Rights. As AI points out, repression is fast becoming the rule of law around the world when it comes to the Internet. So click the link and join in the defense of e-liberty.

Microsoft is building a Mac keyboard? What next, the revival of IE 5.2 for Mac (by far and away the worst Internet browser ever made)? Anyway, this MS-Mac keyboard is going to retail for $100, so if you're a Mac user, take the advice of a guy who is very finicky about keyboards: get a Matias Tactile Pro. You can find it new on eBay for the same price as the MS product (or less), and your fingers will be very happy.

Geek Puzzle of the Day: What's Dell doing with Mac OS X as an option on its drivers and downloads page? Now Michael, I know it's been rough lately for you, what with all that Apple hardware bursting out and their stock price overtaking your own. But now, take a deep breath, put down the .exe files, and repeat to yourself, "corporate America still can't live without me." There now, isn't that better?

No comments: