The Time Has Come (the Walrus said) Archives

Windows Software ARRGGGHHH

I’m having a bad day.

I’ve been working from home, and my home PC is crashing – just every now and again. I must admit I’m hammering it hard. When it stops, its not a BSOD, its a complete reboot without warning.

Turns out there are some OLD dodgy drivers that seem to be the culprit.

Which brings me to the important point:

When I remove something from a Windows machine, I get REALLY pissed off with DUMB software makers who cannot or will not COMPLETELY remove their software.

That means:

- EVERYTHING related to it under “Program Files”

- EVERY registry entry

- EVERY device driver

Any vendor who does not do a decent clean up of their own droppings is derelict in their duty!!!

I’ve just spent a painful hour removing old crap drivers and registry muck from hardware I pulled out 18 months ago (or in some cases never even installed). I *hope* this will make it more stable. If not, a complete re-install might be coming up.

And, BTW, this is XP SP2, which I had otherwise though was pretty stable.

Not happy, Jan.

Selfishness

Those who have read back through the past rants on this site will have seen my musing on the former bastard-neighbour-from-hell.

I was reading the other day and found this:

Suffering and dissatisfaction come to humans because they are possessive, greedy and self-centred.

- Siddhartha Gautama – 6th century, BC

This got me thinking about the idiot neighbour. He of the “f*&^-you I like loud music so I’m going to blast you with it”.

This guy and his idiot wife were typical of the types of people who are self-centred, self-involved, and nasty. Every summer evening spent in a drunken session with their loud and obnoxious friends, they were trying too hard. Everything they did was a deliberate attempt to achieve two outcomes: one to seek self-gratification, the other to tell everybody else to get stuffed.

This seems to be very common – we live in a society that seems to have progressively placed more and more value on the individual. We don’t teach civics (or responsibilities to society) but everybody knows their own rights.

At the same time as descending into a pit of debt and consumption, many people try too hard – as if to say “I’m all right, I’m doing well, look at me.” It all comes undone in the end.

Is it really worth trying so hard to enjoy yourself? The old line about “party hard” springs to mind. There is much pleasure in simple things – sitting in the sun on a warm winters day, pruning fruit trees, sitting and talking quietly with friends. Or my favorite (perhaps because it is so hard to achieve) – anything done slowly and carefully, in peace, quiet and tranquility. These are no longer valued, in favour of noise, alcohol, and action. But which is better for the soul?

The idiot neighbour got his comeuppance. The wife was seeing somebody else, they divorced and the house was sold. That got them out of my way, but I wonder if they learned anything… Anything about humility, about thought for others, about valuing what you have…

Somehow I doubt it.

More about the US and napalm

Got to thinking about Napalm the other day…

(Reminded by the famous line “I love the smell of napalm in the morning… ” which seems to come up again and again)

And that led to a little research.

Firstly, the US used napalm in Iraq – you can read more about it here.

Although the US spokesmen dissemble, and call it something else because it has a slightly different formulation, in the end it’s still a very nasty incendiary.

This quote from that reference is interesting:

A 1980 UN convention banned the use against civilian targets of napalm, a terrifying mixture of jet fuel and polystyrene that sticks to skin as it burns. The US, which did not sign the treaty, is one of the few countries that makes use of the weapon. It was employed notoriously against both civilian and military targets in the Vietnam war.

You have to wonder about the USA. It’s another example of the appalling hypocrasy where the US is allowed to bend or break the rules expected of others.

Secondly:

Who invented napalm? And who would ever have thought of mixing polystyrene and petrol? It turns out this is the more modern formulation (Napalm-B).

You can find interesting histories and other strange things at the links below:

Napalm at the Fallbrook Naval Weapons Station

Want some for yourself? Buy your own US Government napalm here.

Medical effects and treatment.

Chemical warfare by the US in Vietnam (the quantities used are horrifying)

The Flaming Sword: Napalm and its Effects

And just for a minor change of scenery: A little about the neutron bomb.

Damn fine roast beef

Today we did roast beef in the Weber kettle BBQ, and damn fine it turned out also.

Here is how to make the best ever roast beef:

24-36 yours before you want to cook it, take your lump of beef, put it in a large glass (or non-reactive) bowl and pour over 1 whole bottle of red wine.

Leave to marinate in the red wine (turning once or twice) until you a ready to cook.

Remove the beef, pat dry with a paper towel. Then rub it over with a little salt and some olive oil, and put in the Weber for however long it needs.

In our case it was a very big piece of beef and it had about 2 1/2 hours cooking.

The beef comes out tender, blackish-purple coloured, and with a fabulous flavour.

(The left over wine goes down the sink, so make sure it is cheap red you use.)

Noosa stinks

There is an article in today’s newspaper about the beaches at Noosa smelling rather bad because of a summer algae.

It seems this builds up in the water, and eventually gets washed ashore where it (presumably) starts to decay and make very unpleasant pong.

It also seems that this has been going on for years… and the local council is spending a lot of money on things like water curtains and pushing water around and so on.

First thing I did is laugh: All those people with too much money who want to inflate their egos… going off to somewhere that stinks!

But then I thought: It’s a bit sad really. It is almost certainly that case that the algae is natural but being fed on all the nutrient run-off that finds its way out to sea (just like all the other algal blooms that pop up during summer). Another example of a man-made foul-up.

One day we (and our farmers) might learn about over-dosing with fertiliser, and run-off, and about REALLY caring for the land we have.

In my dreams, perhaps.

Domain registration

Registration came up for the domain name yesterday – the first 6 months being free.

A mere $33 for the next 18 months. Pretty cheap really.

The US used chemical weapons in Iraq – and then lied about it

The US used chemical weapons in Iraq – and then lied about it

Read the article in “The Guardian” here.

(Thanks Gra)

What is the difference between Saddam Hussein and George Bush?

. They both killed very large numbers of people (and one continues to do so)
. They both used chemical weapons against Iraqis
. They both use lies and deception
. They both have security forces that use torture and humiliation
. They both imprison people without trial or charge

Perhaps the only difference is that (so far at least), Bush won.

FSM

There has been much publicity about “Intelligent Design” lately. It’s just another attempt by some creationists to get their own version of “science” taught in schools.

Really, though, there is not a lot of difference between Intelligent Design, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Me… I’m joining the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster for sure! It has answers to some of the worlds most pressing problems. The Church of the FSM teaches us that the cause of global warming is the reduction in the number of pirates. So there is an easy solution after all…

All bow before the FSM, and may his noodly appendage touch you all!

Rumsfeld

Big fuss, much hoopla, lots of press coverage:

Tah Dah!!!

Donald Rumsfeld is visiting little old Adelaide.

The local politicians who arranged all this think its a good and marvellous thing. For the privelige the public won’t be let within miles, city streets are closed for long periods, various people have been expelled from their offices (too close to the great man and his meetings), and on and on.

I can’t understand the people who organised this. What were they thinking?

The great majority of Adelaide citizens don’t know or care who Donald Rumsfeld is.

Of the rest, there seem to be two major reactions:

1. Be greatful, a great AMERICAN is in our midst and we have much to thank them for. If it were not for the Americans in the second world war, we would be speaking Japanese in Australia!

2. That horrible war-monger! Why!

For all those who think point 1 above: For goodness sakes, grow up. Bowing and scraping to Rumsfeld for a war 60 years ago is silly. So is the notion that the Japanese would have been able to invade and take over Australia. It did not happen, and the Japanese would have struggled with a dirty great desert through the middle of the country.

And for point 2, I agree. This evil man should be tried for crimes against humanity, along with his henchmen, and his puppet Mr Bush.

Having Rumsfeld come to Adelaide is not to be celebrated, it is shameful.

‘nother plate

Plate of the day, seen driving home from work:

EXELR-8

(I also used to see REDRUM [turn it backwards] regularly, but he seems to have disappeared recently.)

Anti Democracy

How to make the public lose even more respect for politicians:

. Cut debate for new laws in the parliament and just ram them through, regardless of the consequences

. Dissemble when asked questions

. Pass new sedition laws that reduce freedom of speech – in particular the freedom to criticise the incumbent government

. Listen to ideology rather than reason and logic

. Tell everybody that this stuff is good for us

Hello, Little John, anybody listening?

Social progress in 2000 years

Duncan seems to see eye-to-eye with my thoughts about the vulnerability and future of our lazy, decadent western society.

I liked his post so much I had to reference it here.

In some defence though, I’m reminded of Monty Pythons “Life of Brian”… What Have The Romans Ever Done For Us?

Here are a few things I can think of where there has been significant progress in the last 2000 years:

. Most people can expect to live about 80 years instead of about 30.

. Little or no slavery.

. Children can play, get educated and have fun, instead of being put to work in the fields or down the mines from ages 5 – 7 or thereabouts.

. Most bacterial infections are treatable and controllable. There are very few deaths or disabilities caused by bacterial infection any more. Ask your parents or grandparents how debilitating ear infections were before about 1946.

. Dental care – most people have most if not all their own teeth, and know how to look after them. Treatment and extraction are fairly painless. Gum disease is treatable. Before all this, halitosis was the order of the day, most teeth were rotted or painful by the age of 15 – 20, and there were no pain killers when extraction was needed.

. Sanitation has made diseases like Cholera a thing of the past – except in third world countries (and it can even be sorted out there once local custom and prejudice can be overcome).

. Vaccination has close to eliminated the hideous diseases of Polio and Smallpox.

. Few people live in a feudal society to be treated as the servants of the lord and master from birth until death.

. There is a huge array of knowledge available to anybody who wants to go looking for it, which is great for exercising the mind. And (with some exceptions) there is the freedom to pursue knowledge without religious dogma getting in the way.

. Many phenomena can be explained rationally instead of relying on some omnipotent deity, and consequently the power of religion to control people has significantly reduced. (Contentious point? Maybe? Many religions were able explaining the seemingly unexplainable, but they were also about power & keeping the subjects in control. Just another form of tyranny.)

I’m sure there are more – these are just a few progress points I can think up off-the-cuff.

The price of computer parts

I had to buy a new CD burner the other day, so I ducked into the computer shop around the corner from work.

A Sumsung 52x CD / CDRW burner for $35 !

Quite incredible to think how much prices have come down over the recent years.

They also had a 24 port 10/100 Ethernet hub/switch for $115. I remember paying thousands for one of these about 6 years ago.

A rose by any other name would LOOK the same

The roses are looking good….

‘Nother Vanity Plate

Saw two today:

VAVOOM

BRUTL-2

Ya gotta wonder!

That terror law amendment bill

So within a week of the passing of the screamingly urgent terror law amendment bill, there have been about 12 or 15 arrests.

Maybe not a beat up – I guess we wait and see what evidence emerges.

But…

Has anybody ever stopped to think that the terrorists have won anyhow?

The objective of the terrorist is to (gasp) create terror.

So when our glorious leaders go around creating fear and worry in the populace about the need to pass draconian laws allowing the citizens to be locked up… who won? The forces of good, or the forces of evil?

The end of Globalisation

Our friendly economists tell us that Gloablisation is good for us, because it means we buy the cheapest goods from wherever that are made most cost effectively around the world.

What they don’t tell us is that so much of the low cost stuff we buy is crap:

- screwdrivers that don’t screw
- hammers that break when you hit a nail
- computer chips that don’t work properly
- clothes made so cheaply that buttons fall off, or seams come undone

It seems to be increasingly difficult to find quality – maybe because the manufacturers of quality goods are slowing going broke because they cannot compete against all of the low cost (low quality) imports.

There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon: Successful movement of goods around the world relies on cheap energy, something that will not last forever.

Most goods are moved by truck, rail, or ship. In each case, the source of energy is usually oil or gas – which by all historical standards are still plentiful and cheap.

Because these commodities are cheap, they are used wastefully for all sorts of crazy things – running great big gas-guzzling cars, heating golf courses, and so on. Not to mention generating electricity used for running low efficiency lamps, huge advertising signs, etc.

But anyhow, the cheap oil & gas won’t last forever. There is still a lot of it in the world – but right now the cost of extraction does not make it worthwhile. As the cost rises due to scarcity, new deposits will be found and exploited. However, the long term trend for the cost is upward, ever upward.

Biofuels will only partly alleviate oil shortages, because they are not very cost effective, and growing the right kind of crops for harvesting oils would require covering vast amounts of the planet.

In the long term then, the effect of higher fuel prices will be to make the cost of transport more significant, and this in turn will act as a counter against the lower labour costs for manufacture elsewhere in the world.

Maybe not in my lifetime, but perhaps in my childrens, expect to see the cost of everything a lot higher than it is today, and a resurgance in local / regional manufacture. Transporting goods for vast distances will look like an act of foolishness.

Manufacturing jobs will come back…

But…

As a separate issue, though, the globalisation of professional services is reliant only on cheap telecommunications and I cannot ever see that changing.

The very long term trend then, is for continued export of professional and semi-professional (white collar) jobs to low cost countries, and a resurgance in local manufacture (blue collar) jobs!!!

Sedition

Well bloggers, if only you knew…

(Thanks to The Australian):

The Australian sedition laws could lead to the jailing of a person for up to seven years if they are found guilty of urging another person to overthrow by force or violence the Constitution, or who threatens the ‘peace, order and good government of the commonwealth’

Little Johnny our glorious PM wants to change these as part of his new anti-terror laws (no, not the rushed amendment change of “the” to “a”).

From Crikey:

Arguably Section 30A: ‘seditious intention’ means the death knell to any and all satirical comedy on TV and elsewhere; no CNNNN, no Roy and HG on the election and no John Safran. What a boring old world we live in. Can’t help thinking that it is the PM’s ‘cunning plan’ to bring back Mrs Slocombe and the Are You Being Served team to our screens. Champagne comedy PM style!

Hmm.

And expect this blog to be shut down one day without notice, and the author to suddenly disappear.

So folks, be warned: If suddenly I’m not around for 2 weeks, and very quiet after, you know whats happened. Detention under the new Little-John-Terror-Of-Course-Its-Not-A-Police-State act.

Of course, if that happens it will be against the law to even tell anybody what had happened, where I had been, or what I had been held for (not charged with – all it needs is suspicion).

I figure there is a nice little out by posting an advance notice!!!

Of course, if you do see that yours truly has gone quiet, you will KNOW that in spite of all the huff and puff, we really have allowed Little John to create a police state

Excellent article – Life post-oil

Very good article in “The Adelaide Review” by Micahel Lardelli “Drastic action for a post-oil age”.

Will only take 5 minutes to read, but worth reading….

Colours in the garden

I was standing at the kitchen window a day or two ago, looking out at the garden. It’s the time of year when things look really good – bright colours, plants in flower…

I just had to post a photo:

The new terror law amendment bill

Oh golly, a sudden new crisis. We need to amend existing law to get new powers against terrorists, because there is a credible threat from the INTELLIGENCE agencies.

Hmm. The same lot who swore on a stack of bibles that there were Weapons Of Mass Destruction in Iraq.

Weapons Of Mass Deception I think.

So, anyhow, big briefing, all pollies agree, amendment to current laws.

But oh, by the way, the current government official state of “terrorist alert” has not been changed.

Call me a cynic but I smell a beat-up. Again.

The Evil IR bills

The new IR legislation hit the parliament today.

A mere 700 pages of new law, with a mere 500 pages of explanatory memorandum.

Driving home from work I listened to the Minister, Kevin Andrews attack the Labour party who had objected to some point or other.

He was saying stupid things like “Well, if they read the new bill properly they would know that the current bill section 107(a)(i) in conjunction with section 132(a)(b)(x) of the old bill, means that what they say is wrong.”

And, der… Labour had been able to look at the new bill for a whole 3 HOURS at that stage, whereas Kevin Andrew has been working on it and crafting it for about 6 months with no public exposure at all.

And they hope to ram this through in a couple of days. And they will because they have the numbers. Unless BARNABY JOYCE takes a stand and delays things.

I hope they all rot in hell, the whole stinking bunch of sneering, arrogant, obnoxious bastards.

Oh yeah – by the way – this bunch of theives and rogues have spent mere $55 MILLION of OUR MONEY on their propaganda telling us how wonderful this will all be. BASTARDS.

(For those who query this, the PM says its about $43 M, but Special Minister of State Eric Abetz, who is authorising the spending, was interviewed on radio today and quoted the higher figure. And he should know.)

BASTARDS.

Shearers strike of 1891

I wrote before about the Eureka rebellion, in which Government troops were used to massacre protesting miners.

This, and the shearers strike of 1891, were significant events that led to the Australia of today.

It’s time for the second history lesson (blatantly lifted / paraphrased from the ACTU web site, amongst others)

Trade unions had started in the Australian colonies in the 1860’s to get a better deal for workers. By the 1880’s, the unions were quite strong and became involved in long strikes by maritime(ports) and sheep shearing workers in 1890 and 1891.

The shearers strike was a reaction to the overseas induced depression of the 1890s. The pastoralists reaction to falling wool prices was to reduce the shearers wages, then at one pound per hundred sheep shorn.

Although by 1891, wool had become an enormous industry in Australia, the major pastoral companies were mainly huge sheep runs owned either by British investors or local owners heavily indebted to London bankers or British speculative capital.

The result was overseas control, with first priority being to obtain return on investments, and for profits to be remitted back to England. The standard of living of Australians was a secondary consideration to the foreign-connected business class.

The Strike began on the 5th January 1891 at the Logan Downs Station near Clermont. The manager, Charles Fairbain, required shearers to sign the Pastoralists Association contract of free labour prior to commencing work, as the first step in reducing union influence in the sheds. The assembled shearers to a man declined to work other than under their union’s verbal agreement.

The union’s terms included a continuation of the existing rates of pay, protection of their rights and privileges under just and equitable agreements, and a “closed shop” to exclude scabs or Chinese labour.

More than 1000 men downed shears and marched under the Eureka flag in protest. The potential for revolution dissolved when Aborigines, Kanaka Islanders and Chinese immigrants were enlisted to work for even lower wages.

The striking shearers formed themselves into bush camps while they waited for their union organisers to negotiate. Parades were held at Clermont, Capella, Barcaldine and Peak Downs by both the unions and the military. Shots came close to being fired, and the Pastoralists Association demanded special action against union officials soliciting membership amongst the free labourers.

The colonial administration ordered the arrest of the shearers’ leaders and mounted troopers went to the camps and arrested the unionists involved. They were charged under obscure British legislation with conspiracy and sedition. It was a mortal blow to the union and the shearers and by June the strike had collapsed.

Thirteen of the union leaders were brought to trial at Rockhampton, and were sentenced to three years jail at the St Helena island prison. On release, they were to receive two hundred pound, twelve month good behaviour bonds.

The harsh suppression of this strike made many people in the trade union movement see the limitations of industrial action and the need for a political party to represent the interests of working people. Separate labor parties, called Labor Leagues, were formed in Queensland and in New South Wales, quickly taking a prominent role in politics. The parties later joined to become the Australian Labor Party.

——–

The period 1890 to 1900 in Australia saw an unprecedented period of industrial action starting with the shearers strike in Barcaldine in 1891, and ending in compulsory arbitration being enshrined in law in about 1900.

The whole Australian industrial relations system came about to overcome the crippling strikes of that period and has served the country well for 105 years.

It seems that John Howard would like to wind the clock back in Australia, to put empoyment law and conditions back to those that existed in about 1880.

More information here

And from “The Age”.

(And thanks to Dad for extra research).

Powered by WordPress 2.8    Rendered in 23 queries and 0.374 seconds.    CleanBreeze Theme