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.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Why We Fight

"Why We Fight," by director Eugene Jarecki, is a really good documentary on the American “military-industrial complex.” As with most things in life, the issue of unbridled American military power is mostly about money. But it’s also about the American attitude that they are the new “Roman Empire,” that it is their duty and obligation to police the world, to “spread democracy.” Some interesting points...

Dick Cheney was quoted as saying, around the time of the Iraq War, that “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has Weapons of Mass Destruction.” There is no doubt. Note that he did not say, “we believe, based on our intell...” Was this simply Dick Cheney’s inappropriate wording?

Donald Rumsfeld was quoted as saying that “The United States knows that Iraq has Weapons of Mass Destruction. The UK knows that Iraq has Weapons of Mass Destruction. Any country on the face of the earth with an active intelligence program knows that Iraq has Weapons of Mass Destruction.” Really? They know? They know with absolute certainty? Was this Rumsfeld’s inappropriate wording? Or was he feeding us a line of bullshit?

Of course, today we know no such thing. WMDs were never found. Some people still stubbornly cling to the belief that Iraq has WMDs. They may, or they may not, we will never know. But to base foreign policy and military action on this belief is INSANE.

George W. Bush was quoted as saying recently that “We’ve had no evidence that Saddam was connected with 9/11.” Whoa! No evidence? Then what the hell are they doing in Iraq???

Richard Perle was quoted as saying that if someone is about to fire a missile at you, then it is common sense for you to take him out before he launches that missile. How can anybody argue with that?! I found myself thinking, “Richard, you are absolutely right. I agree with you 100 percent. Against an imminent attack, you should strike first. That’s common sense.”

However, Saddam did not pose an “imminent” threat at the time of the invasion. Perhaps the Bush administration’s definition of “imminent” is different from my definition of “imminent,” in the same way that Bill Clinton’s definition of “sex” is different from my definition of “sex.”

The problem with preemptive action when a threat is not “imminent” is that you may be wrong. You may attack without just cause, and this is intrinsically immoral.

Apparently, the United States are in the process of setting up 14 permanent military bases in Iraq. That may explain why the Bush administration has no “exit strategy.”

The military-industrial complex, and Donald Rumsfeld, like to flaunt their weapons technology, especially their “precision munitions.” Apparently, their “smart” bombs aren’t very smart. In the first 6 months of the Iraq War, the United States launched 50 “precision” strikes against the Iraqi leadership. Not a single one hit their intended target! Impressive record.

The Iraq War is part of the ongoing trend of “economic colonialism” of the United States. Senator John McCain said that the United States are a force for good in the world, but they must be careful not to cross the line and become a force for imperialism. I submit that it’s too late, they’ve already crossed that line.

President Dwight Eisenhower, in his farewell speech of 1961, warned the world about the dangers of unauthorized power in the hands of the “military-industrial complex,” a term he first coined. From those days, there has been an intimate relationship between the military, the defence industry, and Congress. (Defence spending means JOBS. It is the representative’s duty to bring home the bacon.)

Recently, there has been a fourth leg of this relationship. Add the “think tanks” who provide government with detailed analyses and projections WITHOUT any verification of the facts. These thinks tanks, through their powerful influence, dictate foreign policies with zero accountability to the voters. The political system in the United States is really screwed up now...

One final note: Despite what these “think tank” reports say, raw intelligence data show that Saddam Hussein tried to secure WMD materials in the 1980s but had not done so in the years from 1990 to 2002. The invasion of Iraq was based on lies perpetrated by these think tanks.

The military-industrial’s about MONEY and POWER. It’s about Capitalism and manipulating the world to the benefit and security of the United States. It’s all about U.S. self-interest.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

AV Cables

Of the four cables I purchased for my new plasma, three of them came from The Source of All Evil by Circuit City: a 12’ Toslink cable, a 12’ Component Video cable, and a 3’ Platinum-series Component Video cable (3’ are all I need to join the plasma to the HD PVR). These three cables come from The Source’s own house brand known as “Evolution.” And the Platinum series is Evolution’s “premium” label.

In my opinion, the Platinum series is as good as the established brands such as Monster, Kimber, or Cardas. Since Evolution and Platinum are not well-known, you can bet that their premium prices, which are still lower than Monster’s, go entirely into the quality of materials and construction, not into branding! In other words, Evolution is a great value!

The Source of All Evil has become my preferred source for cables. I’ve been pleased with all three that I purchased from them. I highly recommend The Source.

(The fourth cable, the HDMI cable, came from TigerDirect. For the price [$20], I think it’s a good cable. I wouldn’t pay more for a HDMI cable from The Source.)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Happy Anniversary, IBM PC!

Today is the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the IBM PC.

I bought my first personal computer, an IBM PC, back in 1983 for $5,000 (Canadian). That’s 5,000 1983 dollars!!

It only had 128KB of RAM and a 5.25” floppy drive. It didn’t have a hard drive (I later added a 10MB hard drive). It had a 4.77MHz Intel 8088 processor. It had no graphics. It ran PC-DOS 1.0 (a rebranded MS-DOS).

Twenty three years later, I’ll be getting an Apple Mac Pro, with two 2.66GHz dual-core Xeon processors, 2GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, SuperDrive DVD writer, NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT graphics, and a 23” Cinema HD Display for about 5,000 (2006) dollars! It includes the world’s very best desktop Operating System, OS X! And it’s a techno-wonder work of art!

(Here are other examples of techno-wonder works of art:


It’s funny to celebrate the 25th anniversary by totally abandoning Microsoft. Just as the IBM PC was the state-of-the-art leader in 1981, so is the Apple Mac Pro in 2006.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the IBM PC. It revolutionized the world and utterly changed our lives forever. It is fitting that something equally majestic should follow in its footsteps on this, the 25th anniversary...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Important Consumer Advisory!!!

Last week, I reported that when I switch from a regular channel to a HD channel on my plasma TV using the HDMI connection to the Rogers HD PVR, all too often the PVR would get into an endless loop trying to synchronize (or perform handshaking with) the HD signal, resulting in a black screen (i.e., no picture).

This evening, I got fed up with that and I called Rogers Technical Support. They told me that presently HDMI is NOT supported by Rogers. Let me repeat: HDMI is NOT supported by Rogers.

I was informed that there were many complications and difficulties with HDMI at the present time and I was advised to use Component Video instead of HDMI.

Note that this is NOT mentioned in the Rogers HD PVR documentation (neither the Quick Start Guide nor the User Manual).

FYI, the Rogers HD PVR is the same as the Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300HD set-top box.

Rogers told me that they are working on enabling HDMI at some point in the future, but they could not give me a time frame for completion.

This concludes your Important Consumer Advisory. Thank you for your attention.

Monday, August 07, 2006

TV Heaven at the Fortress

My Master Bedroom setup (Toshiba LCD and Rogers Digital STB, with JVC VCR):
  • on the left side, you can see part of my Sony mini stereo system, as well as my futuristic bathroom scale.
  • on the right, you see part of my Gibbard cherrywood armoire (moucho expensive!).

My setup in the Den (
Panasonic plasma and Rogers HD PVR, with Nakamichi 5.1 audio system):
  • note that I need 3 remotes - the Panasonic remote is used for video switching and operating the DVD player; the Rogers remote is for controlling the TV and PVR; and the Nakamichi remote is used to control the AV receiver.
  • you can see a bit of my Christmas decorations around the fireplace – it’s Christmas time all year round at the Fortress!
  • “The Merchant of Venus,” starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons, is playing on the television.

That concludes your tour of
TV Heaven at the Fortress. Thanks for your patronage.