The rantings of a beautiful mind

On life, society, and computer technology.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I live in the Fortress of Solitude. I drive the Silver Beast. My obsession is justice. I used to be a Windows software developer. I retired in 2000 when my stock options helped me achieve financial security.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Remembrance Day

On this Remembrance Day, I'd like to remind you all of a few things...

I'm watching Flags of Our Fathers on Cable 302 (TMN) and it reminds me of the fact that the Americans were once a good and honourable people who fought valiantly for our freedom. They were loved and revered. They were heroes to the world.

Today, the Americans are no longer loved and revered. During the first year after 9/11, they had the sympathy and support of the entire free world. Then they squandered their moral currency away...

They waged war in the absence of imminent threat (so-called "preemptive action"). They waged war on false pretenses (Weapons of Mass Destruction; responsibility for 9/11; humanitarian action against genocide). They waged war out of economic greed (petroleum; pressure from the military industrial complex).

Today, the Americans have no honour. And without the moral high ground, it is arguable whether they are still a good people. If we are to remember anything on Remembrance Day, it is that war should never be entered into lightly. And the Iraq War is one of the least justifiable wars in history.

On a related note, I saw a piece on CBC Sunday this morning about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among the Iraq War veterans. It is estimated that 15 percent of the troops in Iraq will return with PTSD. So even if you don't get killed during the war, your life may still be torn asunder by it. PTSD is a terrible, terrible illness that most of us have absolutely no appreciation for. The documentary opened my eyes wide open.

The toll on the Americans will be enormous...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mac is safer than PC

This is an excellent editorial on the security of Macs versus PCs:,1895,2140674,00.asp

Some while back, a friend of mine bragged that he does all the right things to make his Windows machine 100 percent safe from viruses. He is quite is certainly possible to make your Windows machine bulletproof.

However, he missed an obvious point:

Most Windows users do not know how to secure their machines, aside from following a few simple recommendations, such as install antivirus and antispyware. No amount of education is going to change this.

Note that this is simply a statement of practical reality. Of the hundreds of millions of PCs out there, a large proportion are under-secured.

Put simply, for most of these users, they'd be far, far safer if they were using Mac. This is not idle speculation. Hell, it's not even an educated guess. It is an absolute statement of fact! It would take someone whose head was shoved way up his ass to even try to refute this.

As of this very moment, a Mac user enjoys greater security than a PC user, for all the reasons that we've discussed. Some have suggested this may change in the future, and as I don't have a crystal ball I can't argue against the suggestion.

But even if Apple faces greater challenges in the future with regards to security, it is not a foregone conclusion that they will fail to correct the situation. They may struggle or they may not, but one way or the other the Mac will continue to be safer than a PC. Only Mac-haters will look at the worst case scenario and write off the Mac platform. For that, shame on you.,1895,2140308,00.asp

At any rate, in spite of what Apple still hasn't done with regard to security, there are Mac exploits, but there are no mass Mac exploits.

Is this merely a function of Apple's small market share? Mogull grants that yes, the security shortcomings he sees in Mac OS X would mean that Apple might be having some problems if it had Microsoft's market share. Still, it's a pretty secure platform, he said. "It's not like it's wide open." Even after the CanSecWest security conference, when hackers broke into a Mac in a Pwn-2-Own contest, Apple had the vulnerability patched within eight days, he noted.

"Macs are not the bastions of security a lot of people would have you believe, but it's not like Apple's doing everything wrong, like some of the hacker types would have you believe," Mogull said.

Feel a Mac.

Monday, June 04, 2007

DRM bites us in the ass!

I've been saying all along that the DRM in Windows Vista was bad for consumers. I said that it may take some time for consumers to realize how Vista will limit them in their flexibility and fair use rights. Well, here's the first concrete example of how Vista's DRM is biting us in the ass...!

Hi Richard,

Thank you for your email. Digital Rights Management was activated on all set-top boxes earlier this year. This is a contractual requirement that Rogers has from all programmers in order to manage the transfer of programming to a Personal Computer or distribution over the Internet.

Nancy Cottenden
Corporate Communications.

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Eng
Sent: Saturday, June 02, 2007 9:49 AM
To: Cable Media Relations
Subject: Rogers Cable Media Relations

*** Rogers Cable Media Relations ***

Account Number -->

Name --> Richard Eng

Subject --> Rogers Cable Media Relations

Comments --> I have recently learned that Rogers has enabled the copy protection flag for certain television broadcasts so that users like myself cannot record and view such programs on their Windows Vista computers, which implement Digital Rights Management, or DRM. I am very distressed at Rogers'' decision to do this. It limits the user''s flexibility in his choice of equipment and home configuration for digital entertainment. While Rogers does recommend using their DVR for recording, this is not a sufficient option for many users. I have to say, I''ve been a loyal Rogers customer for many, many years (just check my account), but your recent decision to do this is very upsetting. I am putting you on notice that if this situation is not rectified to my satisfaction within the next year or two, I shall be looking for an alternative provider who does NOT impose this very inconvenient restriction on Rogers'' customers. Please reply to my e-mail address.
Thank you.

This is a powerful incentive for consumers to drop Windows Vista in favour of the alternative platforms that do NOT support Digital Rights Management, namely Mac OS X and Linux.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Men are Powerless, Part 2

ITEM. In 1920 women in the United States lived one year longer than men. Today women live seven years longer. The male-female life-span gap increased 600 percent.

We acknowledge that blacks dying six years sooner than whites reflects the powerlessness of blacks in American society. Yet men dying seven years sooner than women is rarely seen as a reflection of the powerlessness of men in American society.

Is the seven-year gap biological? If it is, it wouldn't have been just a one-year gap in 1920.

If men lived seven years longer than women, feminists would have helped us understand that life expectancy was the best measure of who had the power. And they would be right. Power is the ability to control one's life. Death tends to reduce control. Life expectancy is the bottom line--the ratio of our life's stresses to our life's rewards.


The Catholic church is often quoted as acknowledging, "Give us a child the first five years and we will shape its life." We acknowledge the influence power of the church over its youth; we often ignore the influence power of a mother over her children--including her sons. But it is the mother who can make the child's bedtime earlier, take away desserts, or ground the child if it doesn't obey. It is the hand that rocks the cradle that creates the child's everyday heaven or hell.

Few men have a comparable amount of influence. While theoretically the man was "the master of the house," most men felt they were visitors in their wives' castles in the same way a woman would have felt like a visitor had she entered her husband's place of work. From a woman's perspective, a man's home is his castle; from a man's perspective, a woman's home is his mortgage.

Almost every woman had a primary role in the "female-dominated" family structure; only a small percentage of men had a primary role in the "male-dominated" governmental and religious structures. Many mothers were, in a sense, the chair of the board of a small company--their family. Even in Japan, women are in charge of the family finances--a fact that was revealed to the average American only after the Japanese stock market crashed in 1992 and thousands of women lost billions of dollars that their husbands never knew they had invested. Conversely, most men were on their company's assembly line--either its physical assembly line or its psychological assembly line.

Influence power, though, is not real power. If we told mothers, "The more children you have, the more power you will have," they would laugh. If we then said, "The more children you have, the more everyone will love you and respect you," the mother would feel pressured, not empowered. But when we tell men, "The more people you supervise, the more power you will have," they buy it. Real power does not come from caving in to pressure to expand obligations, it comes from controlling our own life.

Historically, a husband spent the bulk of his day under the eye of his boss--his source of income; a wife did not spend the bulk of her day under the eye of her husband--her source of income. She had more control over her work life than he had over his.

- The Myth of Male Power

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Men are Powerless

Net Worth Power

ITEM. The U.S. Census Bureau finds that women who are heads of households have a net worth that is 141 percent of the net worth of men who are heads of households.

(The value of the net worth statistic is that it allows us to see what he and she have left when their different liabilities are subtracted from the different assets. The women's average net worth is $13,885; the men's is $9,883. This is because although male heads of households have higher gross incomes and assets, they have much higher spending obligations. They are much more likely to support wives [or ex-wives] than wives are to support them and thus their income is divided among themselves, a wife, and children--not only for food and housing but for tuition, insurance, vacations. Divorces often mean the woman receives the home the man pays for and also gets custody of the children the man pays for. A woman's obligation to spend more time with the children leaves her earning less and the man earning more but paying out more.)

ITEM. Among the wealthiest 1.6 percent of the U.S. population (those with assets of $500,000 or more), women's net worth is more than men's.

How can so many of the wealthiest people be women when women hold none of the top corporate jobs? In part, by selecting the men who do and outliving them. And in part by having a greater spending power and lower spending power obligations...

The "Spending Obligation Gap"

In restaurants, men pay for women about ten times as frequently as women pay for men--the more expensive the restaurant, the more often the man pays. Women often say, "Well, men earn more." But when two women go to a restaurant, they don't assume that the woman who earns more will pay the bill. The expectation on men to spend more on women creates the "Spending Obligation Gap."

I got a sense of this "Spending Obligation Gap" as soon as I thought about my first date. As a teenager, I loved baby-sitting. (I genuinely loved kids, but it was also the only way I could get paid for raiding a refrigerator!) But then I got to the dating age. Alas, baby-sitting paid only fifty cents an hour. Lawn mowing, though, paid two dollars an hour. I hated lawn mowing. (I lived in New Jersey, where bugs, humidity, and noonday sun made mowing a lawn less pleasant than raiding a refrigerator.) But as soon as I started dating, I started mowing lawns.

For boys, lawn mowing is a metaphor for the way we soon learn to take jobs we like less because they pay more. Around junior year of high school, boys begin to repress their interest in foreign languages, literature, art history, sociology, and anthropology because they know an art history major will make less than an engineer. Partially as a result of his different spending expectation (the possibility he might have to support a woman but cannot expect a woman to support him), more than 85 percent of students who take engineering as a college major are men; more than 80 percent of the art history majors are women.

The difference in the earnings of the female art historian vs. the male engineer appears to be a measure of discrimination, when in fact both sexes knew ahead of time that engineering would pay more. In fact, the woman who enters engineering with the same lack of experience as the man averages $571 per year more than her male counterpart.

In brief, the spending obligation that leads a man to choose a career he likes less that pays more is a sign of powerlessness, not power. But when he takes that job, women often assume he will pay because "after all, he earns more." Thus both sexes' expectations reinforce his powerlessness.

- The Myth of Male Power, by Warren Farrell

Ain't that the truth!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Men's Studies and Male Equality

This is the first in a series of important posts. I urge you to read through them carefully. My intention is to open your eyes and ears to a possibility that you may have long denied or ignored. The welfare of future generations (ie, your children and your children's children) is at stake...

Pursuant to my recent realization that the male gender is currently under siege and society has been brainwashed to allow it, I was struck by the following passage from The Myth of Male Power, by Warren Farrell:

Why Do We Need To Study Men--Isn't History One Big Study of Men?

The most common justification for studying women without studying men is that "history is men's studies...women's studies is just an attempt to give women something equivalent to what men already have." True? No. Women's studies questions the female role; nothing questions the male role. History books sell to boys the traditional male role of hero and performer. Each history book is 500 pages of advertisements for the performer role. Each lesson tells him, "If you perform, you will get love and respect; if you fail, you will be a nothing." To a boy, history is pressure to perform, not relief from the pressure. Feminism is relief from the pressure to be confined to only the traditional female role. To a boy, then, history is not the equivalent of women's studies; it is the opposite of women's studies.

Women's studies does more than question the female role--it tells women they have rights to what was the traditional male role. Nothing tells men they have rights to what was the traditional female role--rights to stay home full-time or part-time with the children while his wife supports him...

Just as, from a girl's perspective, history books are filled with men, from a boy's perspective, school itself is filled with women. It is women teaching him how to be a boy by conforming to what women tell him to do after he's been trained to conform to what his mother tells him to do. On the one hand, history books show him that his role is to be a hero who takes risks and, on the other, his female teacher is telling him not to take risks--to not roughhouse, not shout out an answer spontaneously, not use swear words, not refer to sex, not get his hair mussed, his clothes dirty... Just as women's studies helped women see they have a right to female teachers in business school, so men's studies will help men see they have a right to male teachers in grade school.

Why Feminism Has Intensified The Need For Studying Men

Feminism suggested that God might be a "She" but not that the devil might also be a "she." Feminism articulated the shadow side of men and the light side of women. It neglected the shadow side of women and the light side of men. And neglected to acknowledge that each sex has both sides within each individual. When the issue of sexual harassment surfaced, then, we were told "men don't 'get it' " when, in fact, neither sex "gets" it. Men don't get women's fears of harassment that stem from the passive role; women don't get men's fears of sexual rejection that stem from the initiating role. Each sex is so preoccupied with its own vulnerability that neither sex "gets" the other's vulnerability.

The difference? Feminism has taught women to sue men for sexual harassment or date rape when men initiate with the wrong person or with the wrong timing; no one has taught men to sue women for sexual trauma for saying "yes," then "no," then "yes," then "no." Feminism left women with three sexual options--their old role, the "male" role, and the "victim" role. Men were left with less than one option--they were still expected to initiate, but now, if they did it badly, they could go to jail. For an adolescent boy who barely knows what sex is, this is a scary half-option.

Feminism justified female "victim power" by convincing the world that we lived in a sexist, male-dominated, and patriarchal world. The Myth of Male Power explains why the world was bi-sexist, both male- and female-dominated, both patriarchal and matriarchal--each in different ways. It explains why "patriarchy" and "male dominance" doubled as code for male disposability.

By the 1980s and '90s, feminism's ability to articulate women's light side and men's shadow side led to women's magazines, talk shows, "self-improvement" books, and TV specials all equating "progressive" with women as victims and men as victimizers but rarely with men as victims (of false accusations, emotional abuse, visitation deprivation...) and women as victimizers. It was soon considered progressive to critique "male legislators" for making war but not to credit them for making democracy. We saw TV specials titled Does the Man Next Door Molest Girls? but not Does the Man Next Door Save Girls? In our everyday lives we might see six firefighters saving women, but no TV special titled Men as Saviors points out that all six were men--or that firemen who save women's lives are far more ubiquitous then men who jeopardize women's lives.

To acknowledge the full truth was no longer considered progressive, but regressive. Women bought the books and the publishers pandered to women the way politicians pander to interest groups. Women became Women Who Love...and men became Men Who Hate...(women's light side, men's dark side). The pandering transformed a female strength--understanding relationships--into a female weakness: misunderstanding men.

In the past quarter century, feminism has been to the daily news what bacteria is to water--we consumed it without knowing it, both the good and the bad. From the male point of view, feminism turned the Battle of the Sexes into a "War in Which Only One Side Showed Up."

Men have not been perfect listeners during the last quarter century as women articulated what they wanted, but men did listen enough to absorb dozens of new concepts ("sex object," "glass ceiling," palimony, the "Battered Woman Syndrome," "deadbeat dads," the "feminization of poverty"), heard dozens of slogans focused on female concerns ("a woman's right to choose," "equal pay for equal work," "our bodies, our business"), and to see their sexuality blamed for most everything (sexual harassment, sexual molestation, pornography, incest, rape, date rape).

Men not only listened but accepted as truth dozens of assumptions of discrimination against women (women are the victims of most violence; women's health is neglected more than men's; women are paid less for the same work; husbands batter wives more; men have more power; we've lived in a patriarchal, sexist, male-dominated world). Many men condemned these "discriminations against women" even as they accepted the "necessity" for discrimination against men (affirmative action for women; government-subsidized women's commissions in almost every state and county; women's studies; women-only clubs; government programs for women, infants, and children [WIC]...).

Have we been misled by feminists? Yes. Is it feminists' fault? No. Why not? Men have not spoken up. Simply stated, women cannot hear what men do not say. Now men must take responsibility to say what they want--to turn a "War in Which Only One Side Shows Up" into a "Dialogue in Which Both Sexes Speak Up."


This isn't about feminism-bashing. It's about balance. Our social policies, our social attitude and perceptions, are severely out of whack. Consequently, men have been unfairly tarred and feathered as the bad guys in domestic relationships, and in male-female relationships in general. The balance needs to be restored. Men must stand up for their equality.

It's worth noting that feminists will not tolerate this kind of "dissent" from men. Whether you publish a book about men's rights, or put up a website defending men, or even paste up a poster advertising a fathers' rights support group, feminists/women will raise hell over it. No sirreee, men must keep quiet about their plight. Men must be put in their place.

(Recently, a close friend put up a poster in his window for fathers' rights, and his house got egged. It's not too hard to figure out who did it.

But what gets me is, are feminists trawling the neighbourhoods looking for signs of male dissent? Or are these people merely disgruntled neighbours who despise men?)

The Myth of Male Power, by Warren Farrell

I read the dust jacket for this intriguing book. It nicely summarizes the book's point of view...

Dr. Warren Farrell has embarked upon an extraordinary mission that concerns us all--to bring the sexes back together. Backed by a stunning array of facts, The Myth of Male Power shatters the singular assumption that most keeps men and women apart--the belief that men have the power.

This myth, says Dr. Farrell, hurts everyone--by making women feel oppressed and angry and men feel unloved and unappreciated. It has fueled hate between the sexes at a point in history that would otherwise have the greatest potential for love between the sexes. It has done this by keeping us ignorant of male powerlessness.

This courageous book, filled with staggering facts gathered from numerous reliable sources, will empower both sexes to ask the questions we need to begin a genuine dialogue, such as:
If men are the powerful sex...
  1. Why are they the suicide sex? (Why are we unaware that our grandfathers are 1350 percent more likely to commit suicide than our grandmothers?)
  2. Why did men live one year less than women in 1920 but live seven years less than women in 1990?
  3. Why are our dads about as likely to die of prostate cancer as our mothers are of breast cancer while breast cancer receives 660 percent more funding?
  4. Why do men make more money but have lower net worths?
As the only man ever elected three times to the Board of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in New York City, Dr. Farrell has been listening to both sexes for a quarter of a century and is uniquely able to write in a way that both articulates men's feelings and helps women feel more love for the men in their lives. As a man who has taught in numerous disciplines, he takes us throughout history, across cultures, and into our psyches today. He helps us understand:
  1. Why feminism helped us see that God could be a she but not that the devil could also be a she
  2. Why the political parties are keeping women dependent in exchange for votes
  3. Why conservatives, liberals, and feminists are all unconsciously undermining genuine equality
  4. Why the government is becoming a substitute husband
The Myth of Male Power will lead the men's movement out of the woods and into relationships. But ultimately, Dr. Farrell contends, we do not need a women's movement or a men's movement. We need love. But love requires dialogue. And dialogue requires men to speak up--women cannot hear what men do not say. This book focuses on men's perspectives so men can speak up, so there can be dialogue, so there can be love...


Feminists are deathly afraid that this book will be widely read. Find out why...