Chas' Compilation

A compilation of information and links regarding assorted subjects: politics, religion, science, computers, health, movies, music... essentially whatever I'm reading about, working on or experiencing in life.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Is the Troop Surge Really Working in Iraq?


The recent soccer victory isn't the only good news coming out of Iraq. Some noted critics of the Iraq war are starting to play a different tune about the surge:

Stop the presses! NYT says we may win war in Iraq!

This post by Pat at "Born Again Redneck" is not only about the NYT article, but also links to another article that explains why president Bush's long term strategy for the Middle East is wise. Pat gives us great excerpts from both articles, along with his sensible commentary too, check it out.
     

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fred Thompson: Restore the Reagan Executive Order on Federalism that was revoked by Clinton

I'm with Fred 100% on this. Here are some excerpts from one of his blog posts:

On Federalism
[...] The federalist construct of strong states and limited federal government put in place by our Founders was intended to give states the freedom to experiment and innovate. It envisions states as laboratories in competition with each other to develop ideas and programs to benefit their people, to see what works and what does not.

This ingenious means of governing a large and diverse nation prevailed for more than a century. But today our Constitution and the limited, federalist government it established, are considered by many to be quaint or out of touch with the world we live in, to be swept aside by political expediency. [...]

Fred understands the importance of the separation of powers, and has seen firsthand while serving in the Senate the consequences of disregarding those principles. He also has some good ideas as to what should be done about it:

[...] A good first step would be to codify the Executive Order on Federalism first signed by President Ronald Reagan. That Executive Order, first revoked by President Clinton, then modified to the point of uselessness, required agencies to respect the principle of the Tenth Amendment when formulating policies and implementing the laws passed by Congress. It preserved the division of responsibilities between the states and the federal government envisioned by the Framers of the Constitution. It was a fine idea that should never have been revoked. The next president should put it right back in effect, and see to it that the rightful authority of state and local governments is respected.[...]

(bold emphasis mine) Do read the whole thing. Fred's understanding of, and respect for, the Constitution, and his understanding of where things have gone so terribly wrong in Washington D.C., gives me hope that we can re-drain that swamp and take our country back from the extremists of both parties.

Run Fred Run!

Hat tip to Born Again Redneck Bourgeois
     

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Would you buy a $50 eBook Reader?


Landscape eBook mode

I think this idea is really excellent. It could save a bundle on textbook costs:

Coming To You Now: The Fifty Dollar eBook Reader
[...] The buttons at either side of the screen -- whichever way up the latter is orientated, I should add -- are used to turn one page forward or back. The button at the foot takes you to the contents list (and any other menus which the book may need, such as an index) and the top one is an on-off switch.

The pages themselves, as you can see, are in colour or black-and-white and can contain text in any language or font size. I've included one 'plain text' page -- it's from a short story of mine -- purely to show that in this mode (novel, textbook, article) a page will hold around twenty-five lines and (say) 250 words.

Again, this is pretty much like a paperback. As shown here and in a CAD picture, the text itself doubtless appears too small to be readable, but I have tested it upon a group of several elderly ladies whose most frequent (and gratifying) comment has been "It's lovely, I can read it without my glasses . . ." [...]

See the full article for more details and pictures. The device's designer, Martin Woodhouse, seems to be looking for investors to make the device a reality. He contacted the OLPC project, but they were not interested. I'm not surprised. They have their own financial problems, and their device promises to be an eBook reader and much more. OLPC would probably see the Woodhouse eBook as competing for the same market share. OLPC is also pursuing a vision of transforming education and learning for children worldwide; that vision, whether you agree with it or not, requires more than an eBook reader alone can offer.

For situations where children already know how to read, I think the Woodhouse eBook could be a great replacement for paper textbooks, which are expensive and can quickly become outdated.

I think the day is coming when most books are going to be available on digital eBook readers, rather than the dead trees version. I'd love to have one, as long as the screen was easy on the eyes. Think of all the shelf space you would save! You could also just download your books on-line; no waiting for boxes to be shipped - and no shipping charges. Woodhouse points out that the eBook reader could even be used for paperless newspapers and magazines.

Since it's such a good idea, why haven't we seen this adopted on a large scale already? One reason is, the technology. The screens and needed memory chips have been improving and becoming cheaper recently, so perhaps we shall see more eBooks in our future. But there are issues to be sorted out; if a book becomes a computer file, how do you keep if from being pirated? What about conflicting formats? Would there be a universal format that all eBook devices could share? Until these issues are resolved, many authors may be reluctant to have their books distributed as computer files.

eBook reader text mode

Another factor is books versus the internet. Wouldn't eBooks necessarily attract people who like to read books? In our modern age, so many people seem to have given up books in favor of movie and video media. An eBook reader, no matter how good, won't let you watch streaming video of the latest antics of Paris Lohan, Brittney Hilton, Lindsey Spears and other assorted Celebutards. An eBook reader that was also an internet device WOULD let you do those things, and thus would likely be more popular.

I like internet devices, but I also like books, and Woodhouse's eBook reader sounds like just the thing to have. I don't want to read whole books while sitting at my computer; it would be great to have a small, simple and inexpensive eBook device that I could treat like a book, and take just about anywhere. I would love to download my books, and have more space on my shelves! I look forward to that day, which hopefully will come sooner rather than later.


Related Link:

Here is a compilation of my posts about the OLPC project, a topic I'm watching with great interest.

     

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Did Tony Blair advance a "Culture of Lies"?

Those are harsh words. How true are they? Fjordman at the Brussel's Journal looks at what some people would call a legacy of lies in Britain:

A Culture of Lies
The always excellent writer Theodore Dalrymple, one of the most astute observers of Britain and indeed of the Western world today, has assessed the ten years under the leadership of former PM Tony Blair. According to Dalrymple, “Many in Britain believe that he has been the worst prime minister in recent British history, morally and possibly financially corrupt, shallow and egotistical.”

[...]

He [Dalrymple] believes the inadequacies of the state are hidden beneath a web of lies of half-truths, and by confusing the public through corrupting official statistics. Unemployment rates are artificially kept down by classifying people as sick rather than unemployed, “and thus, by a single lie, is the population, the medical profession and the government corrupted.” Likewise, crime rates are kept down by encouraging the police not to record crimes. Through such measures, “the whole of society finds itself corrupted and infantilized by its inability to talk straight.”

Dalrymple states that “We have come to expect dishonesty – of which this little lie was an example – at every level of society. The dishonesty is intellectual, moral and financial, and its root is self-interest conceived in the narrowest possible way. In modern Britain, probity is foolishness or, worse still, naivety.” He believes this corrupts the entire fabric of society: “When dignity requires illegality, there is something rotten in the state.”

The media and the authorities have been deceiving the public for decades about Multiculturalism, EU integration and the true cost of Muslim immigration. Thus a culture of lies and moral and financial corruption is cultivated. It starts at the top and spreads downwards. If the state lies, cheats and collects money for services it fails to provide, why can't average citizens do the same thing?

According to Dalrymple, “Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.” [...]

(bold emphasis mine) Dalrymple spent his career working in the Mental Health sector of the NHS, giving him a good first hand look at the effects of government policies on the populace. He knows of what he speaks, and has the facts to back it up.

Fjordman goes on to describe how Europe, via the EU, is being affected the same way. It's worth reading the whole thing.


Related Link:

An interview with Theodore Dalrymple
     

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Dancing Snacks Explain Movie Theater Rules

This is a pre-movie trailer you will likely never see in a theater!

WARNING! NOT SAFE FOR WORK! Contains naughty words and loud music.



This pre-movie cartoon is almost 3 minutes long. It features singing, dancing snacks that explain what the proper behavior in the movie theater should be during the movie. Half way through their song and dance though, some "punk rock" snacks decide the "dancing snacks" are too wimpy. They take over the instruction with a band performance, that lets you know bluntly what the rules are... and the consequences of not obeying them.

I just HAD to laugh at this. I lived in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in the 1980's when the punk rockers were taking it over. I mostly disliked them, but sometimes their bluntness was refreshing; sometimes their rudeness was SO over-the-top that it was hilarious.

This little cartoon has elements of both those things. The punk rockers I knew back then are now in their 40's; I imagine they like going to the movies, and find people talking during the show annoying. No doubt this cartoon speaks for them.

Gee, it kinda even speaks for me! ;-)

Hat tip to Nealz Nuze for the link.
     

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Will the XO laptop computer technology revolutionize laptop computing?

One Laptop Per Child's XO (commonly referred to as the $100 laptop) is designed to change the world by bringing computing resources to children in the developing world. But the many innovations in the XO may also end up changing the world of technology.

Here is an article that takes a really close look at the OLPC project's XO computer, which is just about to go into production on a large scale:

Meet the XO
[...] Put simply, the XO is one of the most revolutionary computer systems that I've seen in some time. The entire time I was looking at the XO, I was thinking, why can't my new expensive laptop do this? The technologies that the OLPC's XO are introducing could go a long way towards changing the face of future systems, especially in the area of power consumption.

However, we shouldn't expect to see the OLPC start commercializing these technologies anytime soon. While there is still a possibility that XO's may be sold to the public at a price that helps subsidize their deployment to the developing world, Jepsen said that when people from Silicon Valley ask her about commercializing the XO's technologies, she says, "Get in line, you have a billion kids in front of you."

But simply by doing what they've done, the OLPC will change the laptops and systems that we will all be seeing in the near future. The XO is changing the rules of the game, and everyone will expect other manufacturers to start offering capabilities comparable to the XO (especially at premium prices).

In this article, I'll cover the core innovations I saw in both the hardware and software capabilities of the XO. By the end of this article you may be jealous of the computing resources that will be in the hands of some lucky kids in the developing world. But right now they need it more than you do. [...]

(Bold emphasis mine) The technology this machine uses is nothing short of amazing. The screen that is readable in bright sunlight is itself a marvel. But it's power usage and management is also amazing. It runs on such little energy, that a cheap solar panel can power it.




It runs on a average of 2 watts. It can go for 10 hours on a single charge. See the article for all the details, it's wonderful.

Will we have to wait forever for such a product to become available commercially? Perhaps not:

OLPC XO on Sale for Christmas Computer Buyers?!

Apparently it is being considered, as a way to fund the program. Wouldn't that be neat!
     

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Is America Morally Paralyzed by Iran?

Thomas Sowell asks an interesting question with his recent article:

Is America Today the France of Yesterday?
[...] At one point, Hitler could have been stopped in his tracks "without the firing of a single shot," Churchill said.

That point came in 1936 -- three years before World War II began -- when Hitler sent troops into the Rhineland, in violation of two international treaties.

At that point, France alone was so much more powerful than Germany that the German generals had secret orders to retreat immediately at the first sign of French intervention.

As Hitler himself confided, the Germans would have had to retreat "with our tail between our legs," because they did not yet have enough military force to put up even a token resistance.

Why did the French not act and spare themselves and the world the years of horror that Hitler's aggressions would bring? The French had the means but not the will.

"Moral paralysis" came from many things. The death of a million French soldiers in the First World War and disillusionment with the peace that followed cast a pall over a whole generation.

Pacifism became vogue among the intelligentsia and spread into educational institutions. As early as 1932, Winston Churchill said: "France, though armed to the teeth, is pacifist to the core."

It was morally paralyzed.

History may be interesting but it is the present and the future that pose the crucial question: Is America today the France of yesterday?

We know that Iran is moving swiftly toward nuclear weapons while the United Nations is moving slowly -- or not at all -- toward doing anything to stop them.

It is a sign of our irresponsible Utopianism that anyone would even expect the UN to do anything that would make any real difference.

Not only the history of the UN, but the history of the League of Nations before it, demonstrates again and again that going to such places is a way for weak-kneed leaders of democracies to look like they are doing something when in fact they are doing nothing.

The Iranian leaders are not going to stop unless they get stopped. And, like Hitler, they don't think we have the guts to stop them. [...]

Thomas goes on to describe how Hitler made many of the best anti-war statements of the 1930's, knowing it was what the Western Democracies wanted to hear; knowing it would perpetuate and extend their moral paralysis, giving Hitler time to build up his massive war machine.



The Iranian leadership is doing much the same, talking about peace to the West while preparing their people for war and martyrdom. But they also have their eye on something Hitler didn't have: nuclear weapons capability, and missiles to deliver them.

Even without the nukes, Hitler nearly won the war. Add nukes to the equation, with an enemy that has no concerns about M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction) to restrain them, and... dare we play this game again?

I recommend reading the whole thing, Thomas makes a very compelling case. The parallels are chilling.

Here is a compilation page of this and my other previous posts about Iran and nuclear capability. See for yourself how the Iranian leadership is preparing it's people for martyrdom.
     

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Synopsis of Turkey's Political Situation

(Read Cox & Forkum's related commentary and links HERE.)

Now it's official; the AKP Islamist party wins in Turkey. What will this mean for the future of secularism in Turkish government? Why should we care?

For anyone who wants to understand what the political crisis in Turkey is all about, this informative page at MEMRI.ORG by R. Krespin quickly sums up who the major players are, and what the concerns are about. An excerpt:

The Upcoming Elections in Turkey (1): General Background
Introduction

The AKP's refusal to seek a consensus presidential candidate, its uncompromising effort to appoint "a religious [i.e. Islamist] president" from the AKP ranks, the secrecy surrounding who their candidate would be, and the last-minute announcement of Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul from the Islamist Milli Gorus movement as the candidate, have all pushed Turkey into a political crisis.

Rice shaking hands with AKP member Gul

Millions of Turks participated in demonstrations against the AKP government, its Islamist agenda, the appointment of Islamists to key positions in public institutions, and especially against the attempt to nominate an Islamist presidential candidate - a nomination that would jeopardize Turkey's system of checks and balances, creating a situation where both the prime minister and the president belong to the Islamist camp.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's political moves provoked a controversial memorandum from the Turkish military establishment, which is - traditionally and by the power accorded to it in the constitution - the guardian of the secular regime in Turkey.

On presidential election day, members of the opposition parties boycotted the election by not participating in the first round of the vote, and the necessary quorum of 367 MPs (two thirds of the 550-member parliament) was not reached. The matter ended up in the High Constitutional Court, which decided to annul the first round of the vote.

The mass demonstrations, the memorandum by the military and the High Court's decision forced the AKP to declare early parliamentary elections, to take place on July 22, 2007.


"Turkey: Sweeping Victory For Erdogan's Party".
In this cartoon we see the Red Turkish National Flag turning green (a favored color of Islamist extremists), and Erdogan's face is appearing on the cresent.
Source: Al-Mustaqbal, Lebanon, July 24, 2007


The Political Scene

Turkey's election system - which, during its five years in power, the AKP has refused to change - allows only parties receiving 10% of the vote nationwide to be represented in parliament. This threshold, unusually high for a democracy, keeps many smaller parties out of the legislature. It was this factor that brought the AKP to power in November 2002, when it received a two-thirds majority in parliament while receiving only one-third of the national vote. The only other political party that passed the 10% threshold and gained representation in 2002 was the Republican People's Party (CHP).

This system is now placing all the parties of the fragmented opposition at a disadvantage vis-à-vis the AKP.

To overcome the 10% threshold problem, the center-left CHP and the smaller Democratic Left Party (DSP) merged their lists to run together under the CHP. However, unification efforts by the once-powerful conservative center-right Motherland Party (ANAP) and the True Path Party (DYP) under the new name of Democrat Party (DP) were unsuccessful, and ANAP withdrew from the elections process. This failure to produce a strong center-right alternative will probably prove to be the AKP's biggest advantage in the upcoming elections.

The AKP, for its part, included in its candidate list some well-known names from the center right, and even from the social democrats, with the aim of attracting votes from the nonreligious sector.

Among the CHP candidates are also some leading political figures from the center right, who joined the CHP believing it to be the only secular alternative that could challenge the AKP.

Besides the AKP and the CHP, there is the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which has been gaining ground due to the increasingly nationalist sentiment in the country. The MHP - and to some extent the CHP - are being strengthened by the AKP's failure to deal with increased terrorist activity by the PKK, which claims over 60 lives every month. It is also gaining ground due to the government's hesitation to allow the Turkish military to launch a cross-border incursion into northern Iraq where the PKK is based; and by the daily funerals of terror victims that turn into anti-government protests. [...]

It's worth reading the whole thing. There is a lot of tension in the Turkish political arena right now, and no one is certain how this is going to proceed.

Here is a compilation page showing this and all my other prior posts that talk about or mention Turkey. There are lots of photos from the protests in support of secularism.
     

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Democrats help make it easier to kill us...

... by defeating a provision that would have protected tipsters who report suspicious behavior from nuisance lawsuits.

You can read related commentary and links here.


From Investor's Business Daily: Keeping The Flying Imams Airborne
[...] Were it not for the courage and sacrifice of the passengers of United Flight 93 who forced their plane into a Pennsylvania field, many in Congress might not be here today, with a gaping hole where the U.S. Capitol still stands. We wonder if this fact is appreciated by those trying to block final passage of the so-called "John Doe" provision protecting from legal action those who report suspicious behavior on airplanes. [...]

Indeed. How many more people have to die before the Democrats get a clue? I wish that were just a rhetorical question, but I'm afraid we are going to actually have to find out the hard way.

The the Cox & Forkum link above has more related articles.




Related Links:

Fly the Unfriendly Skies... or be Sued

Flying Imam's Actions & Motives Questioned


UPDATE 07-25-07: A Reprieve? The amendment is back in!

John Doe wins!
     

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Israeli company makes fanless Micro PC

LinuxDevices.com offers us a look at Compulab's "fit-PC":

Tiny PC sips power, runs Linux
[...] Because of its silent, low-power characteristics, the fit-PC is virtually maintenance free and ideal for 24/7 "install and forget" applications in the home, office, or classroom, Compulab said. The unit easily mounts to the wall, the underside of a desk, or the back of a flat-screen monitor. Its black anodized aluminum case serves as a heat sink, eliminating the need for a noisy fan.



Compulab lists the following additional features and specifications for the fit-PC:
  • 40 GB hard drive
  • Dual 100 Mbps Ethernet
  • SXGA graphics controller, resolution to 1920 x 1440
  • 2 USB 2.0 high speed ports
  • Audio in/out interfaces
  • RS-232 serial port
  • Single 5V power supply
  • Dimensions -- 4.7 x 4.6 x 1.6 inches (120 x 116 x 40 mm)
  • Although the fit-PC comes with Linux pre-installed, Windows XP is "easily installable" via a USB CD-ROM drive, Compulab said. [...]

    It costs $285 (plus $30 shipping and handling for U.S. buyers) and can be ordered from their website, which also has more information about the units:

    www.fit-pc.com
         

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    Friday, July 20, 2007

    "Stand By Your Man": what does that really mean inside of Republican party politics?

    This is a question I've been looking at a lot lately. I'm not the only Republican voter who has been... less than satisfied with some of the decisions of George W. Bush.

    I've disagreed with the president on a lot of things right from the beginning, but he got my vote because letting the opposition he was running against win instead would have been so very much worse. So I have supported the President, albeit with some reservations.

    Recently I dropped out of the "Blogs for Bush" blog roll, and deleted it from my sidebar. I've replaced it with "The Victory Wing of the Republican Party", which I have applied to join. I really want victory for the Republican's in 2008.

    I dropped out of "Blogs for Bush", not because I wanted to bash Bush (I don't), but because he is not running again. I supported him when he was our horse in the race; I will continue to offer support, in those areas which I can agree, while he's still in office. But with no elections ahead for him, I did not want to continue to carry his banner. The Republican's will have a new horse in the race in 2008, and I don't see the point of waving the Bush flag anymore. Frankly, I'm hoping for a new candidate that's a bit closer to what I want.

    Does that make me a Bush Basher? I hope not! Too many on the Left are doing that already, and my disagreements with the President are very different than theirs. There are also grumblings from conservatives too, not all of which I agree with either.

    Dee at "Conservatism with Heart" has an excellent post in defense of W, "Going Out on a Limb--Why Bush Will Be a Winner!!". She rightly reminds us of the many good things W. has accomplished, and things he also tried to do. Even if you can't agree with all his efforts, can there be any doubt that from a Republican perspective, the end result has been better than anything Al Gore or John Kerry would have done?

    For many years, I was registered as an independent, even though I voted Republican. I agree with about 90 percent of my state's Republican Party Platform. The other 10 percent of it just annoyed me.

    I eventually realized that I was letting that 10 percent stop me from participating in the party I was voting for anyway, and that was silly. I finally registered as Republican.

    I did so because I figure one of the best ways to get good candidates is to participate in the primaries. Even then you don't always end up with your ideal candidate.

    When that happens, your choice is sometimes to choose the lesser of two evils; to vote for your less than ideal Republican so as not to surrender the field to a far worse Democrat.

    Sometimes "standing by your man" means agreeing where you can, and agreeing to disagree where you can't agree. It's not a comfortable position to be in, but sometimes it's all you have.

    The difficulty for me is, how do you express your disagreement with W, without joining the Bush Bashing of the Left? It's a delicate line to walk.

    Dropping the "Blogs for Bush" blog roll was, for me, more about saying "I want something different next time" rather than about bashing Bush. Perhaps it was a mistake to drop "Blogs for Bush". When walking a delicate line, it's easy to misstep.

    There are those who would argue that disagreeing with the President publicly is letting the Party down. Yet there IS a difference between offering a civil argument on an issue in hope of influencing policy, as opposed to endless angry rantings, ravings and emotional outbursts. The former is discourse; the latter is bashing.

    The actual bashing of Bush by members so his own party does cause me concern... for the party itself. I think the 2006 election results are a good indication of what can happen if Republicans insist on being more idealistic than realistic at the voting booth. This Democratic victory has been painful and costly in too many ways.

    Supposedly, many voters wanted to "teach a lesson" to Republican politicians by staying away from the polls or voting for alternative parties. I believe there was indeed a lesson to be learned from the 2006 election results. Will we, the voters, actually learn it, before we end up with President Hillary Clinton?


    Related Links:

    What is Wrong with Peggy Noonan??

    Peggy Noonan was a Democrat
         

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    Thursday, July 19, 2007

    Koolu, another small Linux PC

    I thought the specs for this one were pretty good:


    Koolu Net Appliance $299.00 USD
    [...] The Net Appliance is also considered to be ready for "out-of-the-box deployment", and is fully covered by Koolu's one-year warranty. It is small, quiet and reliable with its fanless operation. It includes:

    * Processor (AMD Geode(TM) LX 800)
    * 512 MB of PC 3200 RAM
    * 40 GB Hard Disk
    * VGA port with up to 1920 x 1440 display resolution
    * 4 USB ports with printer, keyboard, mouse, and storage support
    * Full 16-bit audio with stereo; Microphone-in, and Audio-out/Headphone
    * Case (H x W x D: 1.4" (35 mm) x 5.5" (140 mm) x 5.1" (130 mm))
    * Power Supply
    * Typically uses less than 5 watts, but this may vary according to options installed. [...]

    Runs on 5 watts, no fan, but still has a real hard drive. Neat! They also have a thin-client model, with less RAM and no hard drive, for use as a terminal:

    Koolu Thin Client $199.00 USD
         

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    Sunday, July 15, 2007

    Asus Eee laptop news and a recent review

    (Click on photo to see larger, high resolution version.)


    Andrew at Notebookreview.com gives us a close look at the Eee PC 701:

    Asus Eee PC First Thoughts
    [...] The home screen is very simple and intuitive. You bootup and see the "Internet" tab where you can quickly double click on any icon there to open an application related to the Internet. Double clicking on "Web" launches FireFox for instance. There are six different tabs across the top labeled "Web", "Work", "Learn", "Play", "Settings" and Favorites. Each tab had applications or links to websites underneath that corresponded with the description. For instance under the work tab were Google docs or Open office applications. Under the "Learn" tab was a link to Wikipedia -- often some of the icons when double clicked would just launch websites.

    [...]

    The keyboard is definitely small and takes some getting used to, I initially found that pecking at keys was faster than doing a normal style fast type. It's just hard not to fat finger the wrong key or two keys at once, even if you have medium sized fingers. The keyboard also had a bit of rattle and shake to it, but it definitely worked for getting the job done. Nobody will use this as their main PC, but if you're at Starbucks and want to surf the web and crank out a few emails, the keyboard is absolutely serviceable for that. I wouldn't write my disseration or anything on it though, you're just asking for carpal tunnel by doing that.

    The touchpad worked fine and the single button mouse was easy enough to use, there's no need for a right mouse button in this software environment. [...]

    The boot up and shut down times were very fast, and... well, read the whole thing! It's not very long, and There's lots of photos, with high resolution options.

    I found out about this review via this site:

    Eee User: ASUS EeePC Eee PC 701 and 1001
    An unofficial website focusing on the upcoming ultraportable from ASUSTeK

    They seem to have all the latest news, and a forum too. A great place to watch for the latest Eee information. And speaking of news, it looks like the release date is now going to be sometime in late August. AND, the machine may sell with a minimum of 8 gigs of flash memory, for $250, but the price has yet to be confirmed. I guess we won't know for sure till it actually offered for sale.
         

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    Saturday, July 14, 2007

    Le Secret de Brokeback Mountain


    Here is a funny commercial for French Pay TV Canal+. It's about the movie "Brokeback Mountain" (In France it's called "The Secret of Brokeback Mountain"). One lady describes the movie to her friend, who tries to imagine it in her mind. Misunderstanding ensues. It's 52 seconds with English subtitles.

    The same company has another commercial for "March of the Penguins" which is also hilarious:

    March of the Emperor
         

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    Here is your next car...

    I came across this item recently:


    FuelVapor Technologies' Alé: Coolest. Car. Ever.
    Look at this car. Wow. Not only is FuelVapor Technologies' baby clearly the coolest car since...well, ever, this three-wheeled, aerodynamic two-seater also gets 92 miles to the gallon, goes 0-60 in under 5 seconds (even I know that's fast), and has a "super-low" emissions rating.

    Again: Wow. The Alé runs on regular gasoline and has been in production for fifteen years... time well spent, I'd say. [...]

    Yes, Wow indeed! It's said to be the one of the highest mileage cars in North America. Plans are to begin limited production of the car in 2008.

    I find the idea of a three-wheel car a bit disconcerting, though. And it looks like a rocket ship... is this fuel efficient "green" car something you would drive to the local convenience store to get milk or a loaf of bread? I mean, who is this car for? Who's their target market? No doubt it will be interesting to see.

    For more stats and info, visit the links above.
         

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    Thursday, July 12, 2007

    Anti-American "Art" at Portland Oregon Airport

    Radio personality Lars Larson asks if this is appropriate for display in Portland's Tax-funded Airport:


    Portland is the largest city in my state; the majority of people live around it. I've never been there before, but I must say, the more I hear about it, the less I want to visit. I moved away from San Francisco to get away from this sort of thing, but it seems like every large city on the West Coast is increasingly becoming part of the Left Coast.

    To see more about this and links to other similar things that Portland has become notorious for, see the commentary by Michelle Malkin.


    Related Link:

    San Francisco's Anti-American July 4th
         

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    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Are Democrats "Emotional Thinkers"?

    Which is to say, they don't really think that much, they FEEL more than anything else, and act accordingly. A study has been done that pretty much says just that. Neal Boortz has a look at it here:

    THE DUMBING DOWN OF DEMOCRATS
    [...] It looks like we have a high-powered brain scientist serving as the latest advisor to the Democratic party. Drew Westen conducted research which leads to his conclusion that politicians – liberal politicians -- should try and appeal to people's emotions, rather than bogging them down with data and facts.

    Where did we first find out about this research? Why, at the ultra-left wing "Take Back America" convention, that's where. The study was presented by researcher, Drew Westen, a psychologist and brain researcher at Emory University in my hometown of Atlanta.

    Here's the ironic part of his study. It sounds to me like Dr. Westen is basically telling democrats that their constituents are stupid. He is telling democrats to appeal to constituents' emotions because "it doesn't make sense to argue an issue using facts and figures ... or to count on voters to make choices based on sophisticated understandings of policy differences or procedures." And there you have it. Avoid the facts, just go right for the heart!

    Dr. Westen is suggesting that manipulating a voter's emotions is better than boring them to tears with sophisticated understandings. "Sophisticated understandings? What's that? Sounds to me like just a phrase denoting basic worldly knowledge, or being an educated citizen. Mr. Westen says, "[The brain] prefers conclusions that are emotionally satisfying rather than conclusions that match the data."

    Message to Democrats. Don't bore your constituents with facts. Just tell them whatever makes them comfortable, warm, happy and all fuzzy.

    Hmmmmm .... Not boring constituents with facts. Does that sound at all like the global warming cultists? But, I digress [...]

    (bold emphasis mine) It's worth reading the whole thing. Some of the
    recent comments by Global Warming religionists are a perfect example of "emotional thinking" in action. They are attempting to whip up the emotions and create hysteria, in order to silence the opposition and stop reasoned debate and argument. That is the only recourse of people whose arguments will not hold up to scrutiny; prevent the scrutiny from happening.

    The Irony is that Drew Westen is using his study to advise the Democrats that they can only win elections through emotional manipulation, and if that requires being negative about the opposition, they should go for it.

    Emory University Professor Drew Westen, right, and Associate Professor Stephan Hamann, left, look over a computer generated composite of a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, FMRI, picture of a brain on Emory University's campus in Atlanta. (AP)

    The Democrats already have a reputation as being the party of negativity. Yet time and time again, Americans elect optimists in presidential elections. Drew Westen's strategy sounds like a losing one to me. You can read more about his study here:

    Hearts over minds, he tells Democrats

    For more on the topic of "Emotional Thinking", see Born Again Redneck Yogi's essay here:

    "The spirit is willing...
         

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    Monday, July 09, 2007

    Will the Neo1973 smart phone become a viable Open Source alternative to Apple's iPhone?


    Apple's iPhone is making a big splash, and is setting a standard that other phones will be compared to. The market is responding, and we are going to see an increasing number of cell phones with features like the iPhone.

    There is an open source software phone coming out that looks very promising, the first model is being called the Neo 1973 smart phone, by a company called OpenMoko. It has a touch screen like the iPhone, and... here's an excerpt from an article in eWeek:

    OpenMoko: An iPhone Alternative for Developers?
    [...] although the concepts behind both the iPhone and an OpenMoko-based phone are similar, "fundamentally, we're totally different," Moss-Pultz said in an interview with eWEEK. "End user freedom is our passion. Apple is about giving you an incredibly polished experience—exactly how they want you to have it. The end user really has no freedom. They cannot change the device if they don't like the way Apple choose to make things. OpenMoko is the anti-iPhone."

    He said he likes to describe OpenMoko as a movement to create an open platform that empowers customers to personalize their phone—much like a computer—in any way they see fit.

    "Apple makes sure their entire software stack stays closed," Moss-Pultz said. "We chose to make the entire software stack open. From a control standpoint—the things corporations love—this borders on insanity. But, I think, by pushing these borders, we will let loose the possibility for immense innovation." [...]

    It's available for purchase now, for about $300, although it's being aimed at developers right now; I believe anyone can buy one, but it won't really be marketed to the general public until October.

    I've read that it's not as slick and polished as the iPhone is right now, but it does have the potential to be a real contender. I'll be keeping an eye on this one. Their main website is here:

    Latest on OpenMoko

    There is another interesting article at Libervis.com:

    Forget iPhone, hail OpenMoko, the true revolution
    [...] The current situation in the mobile phone market isn't very flattering if you care about standardization and openness. Basically every manufacturer has their own proprietary platform. If you want to extend your mobile phone with new features and software you are generally dependable solely on the phone manufacturer itself. The vision behind OpenMoko describes a completely different world. It is a world where there is a common standard platform for mobile phones which is open and therefore friendly to developers. It is a world where once you buy your phone you can install or remove software from it as you wish, customizing the phone and its capabilities in much the similar manner you can customize your PC. It is a world which is, thanks to the visionaries and enthusiasts behind the OpenMoko project, near.

    This is the real mobile communications revolution we should be expecting. It is not merely about creating a technologically superior mobile phone that looks good. It is about creating an open common environment which welcomes innovators of all kinds to converge and create technological superiority not dependable on one vendor. [...]
    (bold emphasis mine) My greatest interest in open source software is based on the fact that I don't want to be "locked" into using one vendor's software, be it Microsoft, Apple, or anyone else. I want to be free to pick and choose the software on any of my digital devices, and be free to customize it to my needs as much as possible. In this regard, I think the Neo Smart Phone shows great promise.
         

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    Sunday, July 08, 2007

    A Different World Indeed...

    We had our neighbors over for lunch recently. The conversation eventually meandered onto the topic of children. One of our guests mentioned this song by Bucky Covington. Yesterday on the way home from work, I heard it on the radio for the first time. Here is the Music Video version on Youtube:



    I love the lyrics; it reminds me a lot of a post I did a while back, called:
    Childhood, Past and Present. It was about the text of an email I got, a short essay that's been circulating around the internet, titled: "TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!".

    Bucky doesn't even look old enough to have been a kid in the 70's, but he does a nice rendition of the song. The lyrics follow the essay somewhat; or vice versa, I'm not sure which came first. The lyrics to Bucky's song are listed here: A Different World Lyrics. If you compare them to the essay at the link above, you'll see that they are very similar; the essay just goes into more detail.

    Anyhow, our neighbor mentioned the song, because we were talking about kids and how it's such a different world than the one we grew up in. She told us about the 3 year old grand daughter of one of her friends. While visiting her friend who was babysitting the grand daughter (I'll call the kid "Britney"), our neighbor told the child at one point that she was a "good girl". She was surprised when her friend the grandmother corrected her, and asked her not to say that to the child; she was informed that she should say, instead, "good job".

    When asked why, it was explained to her that by telling the child she was a "good girl", she was also implying that the child had the potential to be called a "BAD girl". And that was unacceptable, because it could be damaging to the child's self esteem.

    Talk about New Age Crap! But it doesn't end there. At another time, our friend was visiting Britney and her grandmother again. Grandma had to go out and get something from the car, and wanted the girl to stay in the house. Britney became impatient and decided she was going to go outside anyway. So our neighbor speaks up and reminds the three year old that she's supposed to wait; grandma will be right back. Britney just looks at her a moment, and then continues walking on out. So our neighbor, being the only adult in the room, says in a slightly more assertive voice, "Britney, NO."

    This time the child looks back in shock, and starts screaming and crying! The grandmother comes running back inside, asking what's happened. Britney points accusingly at our neighbor, and sobs: "SHE told me NO!!!".

    It would seem this child had never had an adult say "no" to her before. What kind of world is this kid's family raising her to live in? Not the real one, apparently.

    I wish I could say this sort of story was unusual, but I seem to be hearing too many similar to it. And it's not even just the spoiling of children that bugs me. Even spoiled children can turn out o.k. What really bugs me is the weird assumptions and expectations about life that the kids are being taught.

    For instance, I'm told that when a child has a birthday now, instead of the birthday child getting all the presents, every child in attendance is supposed to get a present, so they don't feel left out and -God forbid- damage their self esteem!

    There are teachers who now are proudly asserting that they don't believe in grading and testing students, because that creates a competitive environment that is damaging to the children's self esteem. Some teacher's actually believe in "averaging out" grades, so that everyone in a class gets the same grade, all in the name of "fairness". What nonsense! Are teachers who believe in rewarding merit a dying breed?


    Also at school, if a kid tries to beat up another kid, and the victim tries to defend him/herself and hit back, the victim is considered just as guilty as the aggressor! Both are punished! Why? Because the victim is supposed to run and tell the teacher! Yeah, right, like that has anything to do with reality.

    I used to get bullied at school. The teachers couldn't do anything to stop it. I eventually followed my parent's advice, and started to hit the kids back - hard. Like magic, the bullying stopped.

    Nowadays there is an epidemic of bullying in the schools. The aggressors and the victims who fight back are punished equally, yet the school authorities can't seem to get a handle on it or stop it. Gee, could it be the namby-pamby New Age Wussification Crap they force the kids to follow? Ya think?

    What are they even teaching in the schools now anyway? Our neighbor said she saw on late night TV, I think it was Jay Leno, a poll they conducted on the street, asking passerbys the meaning of July 4th. We are celebrating our freedom; could they tell us what we were celebrating our freedom FROM?

    I thought this was something EVERYONE knew; but apparently, not anymore. This whole family was asked, mother, father, son... nobody knew! They eventually called grandpa over. HE knew.

    But hey, at least the kids self esteem wasn't damaged, and that's the most important thing, right? In fact, we shouldn't even ask the kids questions, because if they don't know the answer, think of what damage that would do to their self esteem!

    This obsession with self esteem and children is creating a generation of self-indulgent monsters, who believe everything they want should be justified without question; who believe they must be protected from any kind of criticism; who feel it's a RIGHT to which they are actually entitled.

    How can any real learning take place where there is no criticism? Our public schools are turning our American kids into a nation of spineless, ignorant and infantilized wusses, who can't take criticism, can't take care of themselves, and who will depend on the government to do everything for them. Too many "graduates" turn out to be unemployable; they whine and act like permanent victims, who need their every whim catered to... in other words, they become New Age Democrats.

    Is it surprising that so many people around the world think we are a soft, weak nation that won't fight back? Is that because it's actually becoming the truth?

    I know that things always change, and that each generation grows up in a different world to some extent. I can accept that. I just think we can do better than this.
         

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    Thursday, July 05, 2007

    Muslim Doctors with Jihadist Malignancy

    (You can read Cox & Forkum's related commentary and links HERE.)

    Some folks are outraged that doctors could participate in such a plot. Doesn't it violate the Hippocratic Oath doctors are sworn to? Filip van Laenen at the Brussels Journal takes a look at the history of doctors in conflict with the Hippocratic Oath. The actions of the Muslim doctors shouldn't be surprising, if you understand that we are in a war right now, whether we want to be or not:

    Hippocratic Oath and a Lot of Hypocrisy
    [...] That so many people are puzzled by the fact that many of the suspects were physicians who had sworn to harm no-one says more about the people who are puzzled than the suspects. It seems that some people still don't understand, even after 11 September 2001 in New York, 11 March 2004 in Madrid and 7 July 2005 in London. There is a war going on, and contrary to what some people in the media want us to believe, it was not the West that started it. In fact, being a physician is just an easy ticket in if you want to enter the United Kingdom. The following quote from The Sun sums it up quite well:
    It was a perfect cover. Who could possibly suspect a doctor of wanting to inflict death and injury on innocent people?
    My guess: the Israeli's could,and probably would too. Actually, it's a lesson they learned years ago, and maybe we should start learning from them instead of blaming them for almost everything that's going wrong in the Middle East. [...]

    Read the whole article for examples of doctors in conflict with their oath in times of war... and even outside of war. It's a short article with some good links. It's also an excellent reality check for us all.


    Related Links:


    ‘Those who cure you will kill you’

    'Spooky' website calls doctors to jihad

    BRITAIN'S RESPONSE??? HOW ABOUT APPEASEMENT?
         

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    Wednesday, July 04, 2007

    Happy Independence Day! And many more!


    (You can read Cox & Forkum's related commentary and links HERE.)

    Tuesday, July 03, 2007

    iPhone drawbacks v.s. Nokia e61i advantages


    The more I read about the iPhone, the more I wonder about all the hype. While the iPhone does have some interesting features, there do seem to be limitations and drawbacks, that other cell phones don't have. Is it a good deal for the money?

    One of the most interesting comparisons I've read is a comparison with the Nokia e61i. Michael Robertson at the Michael's Minute blog goes into a detailed comparison of not only features of the two phones, but uses and available service options.

    Battle of the Buttons - Will the iPhone Succeed?
    [...] On the Nokia e61i there are buttons for nearly every major function.

    [...]

    The Nokia e61i includes a full qwerty keyboard, similar to the Palm Treo and RIM Blackberry, making it practical to type a lot of data. Admittedly, I have not used an iPhone touch screen keyboard, but I have used other touch screen keyboards. They are slow and laborious and nearly impossible to type rapid fire, as people expect with instant messaging. The touchscreen fails as a volume input device - any Blackberry or Treo user can attest to this. Without a keyboard, the iPhone will be a one way street. It will be useful for viewing and reading information, but not for transmitting.

    "...You can't use Wi-Fi to download music, update your calendar or address book because Apple wants to keep you locked-in with iTunes."

    Is button switching better than a touch screen for overall navigation? Apple's iPhone certainly has a wow factor but also has carefully crafted demos.

    [...]

    I'm not convinced the touch screen is practical for all phone users. Performing sweeping finger gestures, pinching or sliding the toolbar generally requires two hands - removing the ability for one hand operation such as I often do while moving around or carrying a drink. Look closely at the video or TV ads and you'll see two hands cradling the phone or the phone magically suspended so just one hand is required. I often pick up a phone and operate it with an available thumb on the same hand that will be difficult, if not impossible with the iPhone. Additionally, putting your fingers on the screen for navigation, as well as leaning your face against it for phone conversation, will leave the screen covered with dirt and oil.

    There's an even greater reason I admire my Nokia e61i over an Apple iPhone. Today, American phone customers are held hostage by carriers that dictate what phones they can buy, what software they can run and what networks they can use. Carriers use this control to charge over-sized fees for many services and trap customers into costly service plans. SMS is a racket. Roaming fees are outrageous. God help you if you go over your minutes-per-month allotment because your bill could be hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Rather than break this cycle, the iPhone extends it by adding Apple's limitations to those of AT&T.

    On the iPhone you can't use a music file to set a ringtone because AT&T wants to keep selling $2.99 ringtones. You can't use Wi-Fi to download music, update your calendar or address book because Apple wants to keep you locked-in with iTunes. What's the point of having Wi-Fi if you are still chained to the PC to access your data? Forget about using VOIP to make inexpensive calls to bypass AT&T's charges because that's turned off. Want to use instant messaging to avoid 15 cents per message SMS fees? Forget about it. The device comes with no IM software and there's no way to add any software. [...]

    I would really hate to pay $600 bucks for a device like the iPhone, and then discover that I am "locked" into all these features and services that can't be changed. I prefer options and choices.

    Michael makes some good points about the touch screen, too. It will be interesting to see how well they work out. It will be interesting to see how many people like their iPhones after they have used them for a while.

    The article goes on to compare wi-fi; the iPhone's wi-fi features are crippled, apparently. And then there is instant messaging - you can add software to the Nokia, but not the iPhone:
    [...] Neither the iPhone or the e61i come with instant messaging software, which I consider an essential communications need. With one click I added Gizmo software to my e61i and could then communicate with Gizmo, AIM, and MSN users (Yahoo coming soon). [Note: I'm CEO of SIPphone, which makes Gizmo Project.]

    Both devices have Wi-Fi, but iPhone cripples its implementation so it's limited to certain activities. This is not so on the Nokia e61i. Nokia's Wi-Fi is truly open Wi-Fi that I can use to download music, IM, and make VOIP calls - any activity. This is the way it should be. The owner should decide when to use Wi-Fi, not the vendor. [...]
    He says some good things about the iPhone too. But depending on what you need it for, you might be better of with a Nokia or something else. The article has more photos and a good feature comparison chart. If you are thinking of getting an iPhone, it's worth reading the whole of this article first.

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    Hamas Micky Mouse becomes Martyr on TV


    #1497 - Farfour, Hamas' Mickey Mouse Character, Is 'Martyred' in the Final Episode of the "Pioneers of Tomorrow" Children Show on Hamas TV
    Al-Aqsa TV (Palestinian Authority) - 6/29/2007 - 00:04:43

    Hamas has used "Farfour", a Jihad version of Micky Mouse, for a while now, to teach Martyrdom to Palestinian children. It's attracted attention in the West, because of the bizarreness of using a Western children's cartoon icon to cultivate and recruit potential suicide bombers.

    After promising not to use the character anymore, and then continuing to do so anyway, they finally got rid of Farfour... by making him a Martyr.

    Not to worry though, they plan on using more famous cartoon characters in the future to take Farfour's place. Isn't that reassuring?

    Here's a copy of the video from Youtube, it's about 4 minutes and 42 seconds long:



    I could have killed Farfour myself, just for the whiny voice and bad acting!

    What I want to know is, why are we sending millions of dollars in American taxpayers money to support Hamas? It's that welfare money that makes it possible for Hamas to produce crap like this to brainwash their children. Thus, the problem perpetuates itself endlessly... and WE help fund it!
         

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    Monday, July 02, 2007

    Farm Report 07/01/07

    Life and Death on The Farm

    Farming really puts you in touch with the basics of life. You feed and care for animals; they reproduce, if you allow it; then eventually they die sooner or later. We have had three instances of that last part. One death is uncertain; another was not entirely surprising; the last was very unexpected.

    The first involves our cat, Mr. Swanky. We got him when he was a kitten, as a companion for our white Siamese cat, Smudgie:


    They were inseparable, initially. As they matured, we didn't get Smudgie fixed in time, so she had to have an abortion when she was spayed. After that, they still got along, but Mr. Swanky began to wander far from home, disappearing for weeks at a time.


    Smudgie is a good girl and always stays close to home, but Mr. Swanky loved to wander. The picture above was taken after he returned from a three week absence. He was very thin. We were pleased to see him again.

    He's been gone now for over two months. I've given up hope that he's coming back. At about the time he disappeared, the dogs went crazy one night, barking at the yard. The next day, there was a bird feeder missing from the yard. I found it several days later, in the woods. It had been ripped from the tree, carried there and crushed to pieces, for the seeds inside. I'm not sure what would do that. A bear?

    Could it have anything to do with the cat's disappearance? Who knows. I expect we will never find out what happened to Mr. Swanky, it will likely remain an unsolved mystery.

    The next death is a certain one, not entirely surprising but still a bit sudden. It was our old dog, Saffron, seen here in this photo from last year:


    For the past two years, she had slowed down a lot, and was having some trouble going up and down the stairs. Sometimes I would carry her. I was very fond of her, and didn't want to end her life as long as she could keep on going.

    We got her about 12 years ago, from the SF SPCA. She was an Australian Shepard Mix, with one blue eye and one brown eye. Her owner had surrendered her because she was too rambunctious. They had guessed she was about two years old, but I think she may have been as old as four. The next two photos are from the early days:


    She was a handfull; a real Frisbee dog, with endless energy, totally obsessed with a ball, Frisbee, kong, or ANYTHING you would throw. You had to exercise her a lot. She was the dog I had always wanted... when I was 10! As an adult living in a city, I think I would have prefered a dog that was a bit calmer. But she did get me outside a lot and we got lots of exercise while exercising her, so it worked out well.


    I never had a dog before that demonstrated so much devotion to me. She would follow me around, and just lay down at my feet, waiting for a command. When I would sit at my desk doing office work, she would lie at my feet and doze off.

    Since moving to the countryside, she's spend a lot of time outside. Here she is last year, just enjoying the outdoors, too old to chase balls and Frisbees anymore. She had slowed down a lot. This year, she had even stopped barking at squirrels.


    My office in the house is too small for dogs. We had enclosed our large back porch, and partitioned it into two sides. One one side was a room for changing muddy boots and raincoats, which is also where the dogs get fed and sleep at night. The other half is like a den. I've been working on turning a corner of it into an office, so I could once again do my office work with Saffie; she could lie on the floor nearby, under the skylight, and snooze.

    It was a nice dream, but one that won't come to pass. Before I could finish the office, Saffie's health went downhill fast. She stopped eating, then stopped drinking water; soon she couldn't stand or walk. She started to have trouble breathing, so we ended her misery. We buried her on the edge of the yard she had enjoyed so much. We planted a flower bush on her grave, so we'll remember her every time we see it.

    Here is a photo of her a short time from the end:


    Now I really miss her. I hope it doesn't seem morbid talking about it, but I think it's perfectly natural to miss our pets when they die. As much as the absence hurts, I have so many, many wonderful memories of life with her, that I would gladly do it all over again, she gave me so much. The experience had many more pluses than minuses. I'll always think of her fondly, may she now R.I.P.

    So on to the NEXT death, which was sudden and unexpected:


    Bizarre Guinea Fowl Death


    Early this spring we got six Guinea fowl chicks. One was a runt, and died soon after. The remaining five grew quite large, and were integrated into the chicken coup.


    They are rather shy, and for six weeks stayed in the coup when the chickens were let outside to forage. About a week ago, they ventured outside for the first time.



    They seemed to enjoy themselves, strolling around in a group. However, a conflict seemed to emerge, between two males. The alpha male began picking on a beta male, the one with white tipped wings. The beta began hanging back, and would often get separated from the group.

    One evening, the beta male did not return to the coop. Andy went looking for him, and found him... dead! It seems that he had been foraging (or hiding?) in some underbrush, and got his head caught in some blackberry vines. It looked like he had panicked, and in his struggle to free himself, became so fearful, that he pooped his guts out! There were no external injuries, and he was stone cold dead, his intestines hanging out of his rear.

    So now we are down to four Guinea fowls. I hope they last, they are strange and kinda ugly, but I've grown fond of them and their funny ways and noises.


    Humming Bird Heaven

    That's enough death for one Farm Report! I'll end it with this glimpse of the Humming Bird Heaven that our front porch seems to have become this year:


    We often have six or eight Humming birds at once, competing at two feeders. Yet they move so quickly; I've not been able to photograph more than two at a time.


    I'd really like to get a video of them, as it's wonderful to watch them in motion. That may be my next project.


    For now, photos will have to do. And that completes this edition of The Farm Report.
         

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    Sunday, July 01, 2007

    iPhone compared to other internet devices

    Here is an interesting chart comparing the iPhone with 3 other devices (click on chart to see larger version):


    The chart is posted by Casey at maisonbisson.com, and you can see his commentary and links about it here:

    Apple iPhone vs. Internet Tablets

    PC Magazine has an article comparing rival cellphones:

    Comparing the iPhone Alternatives

    The have a detailed chart comparing 5 rival phones.

    You might also like to check out Forbes.com:

    Nine iPhone Alternatives

    At Forbes the link will take you to a commercial window first; don't click on it, just wait a moment and do nothing, and it will transfer you to the article. If you don't want to wait, there is a "skip welcome page" link at the top of the page.
         

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