« | Home | Categories | »

Dear Sir Bill Gates: invoice enclosed

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 23:56 by Michael in category: Microsoft, News


Please find enclosed my invoice for £1,200 sterling for administrative and consulting work, caused by the need to repair Microsoft sabotage. I dare say you’d like details:

Last night, your organisation destroyed about three hours worth of work I’d done.

The work was a set of notes being made in a text editor which I am required to use by one of my clients. All the files were open last night, when a family emergency occurred, and I was unable to devote the 10 minutes required to closing them down. I was logged into a remote system with a one-time login, which I cannot get clearance for again till Tuesday. And I had several websites open on my desktop.

During the night, Microsoft took it upon itself to update my computer. I arrived at work to find a message stating: “Windows recently downloaded and installed an important security update to help protect your computer. This update required an automatic restart of your computer.”

I have gone to some trouble to ensure that this doesn’t happen. I have set Windows Update to “custom” – meaning that I will decide which updates I need to install, and how the update will be handled. And when an update says “this requires a restart” I have always specified that I will restart the machine at a time of my own choosing.

When you chose, on your own initiative, to disregard all my precautions and reboot this PC last night, I not only had several notes in progress; I also had about a half-dozen web browser windows open. It has taken me the best part of three hours to try to recall what I had discovered, and where – and I honestly doubt I will be able to recover the majority of those URLs. They took considerable research to find.

Guy Kewney keeps going

Write a comment

Money for Nothing

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 19:12 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ


The United States received hundreds of millions in foreign aid last year, after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. But what happened to the money? One year later, the fate of international disaster assistance has turned into a tale of inept bureaucracy, diplomatic bungling, and unspent cash.

Every time I think the US government can’t do any worse something like this pops up.

Write a comment


  1. Nah, they can have the money. For nothing.
    Me, I just want the chicks. For free.

Look Around You

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 18:55 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!


Look Around You is an insanely funny BBC parody of 1970’s educational programs filled with pure nonsensical lies clothed as facts & pitch perfect mimicry of the style of governmental approved childrens education television. Each of the entire first season’s worth of 8 10-minute episodes can be viewed here and is highly recommended.

Write a comment

“How could I be an enemy combatant if I was not able to stand up?”

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 17:10 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ, Mess O'Potamia, News


The oldest detainee at Guantanamo Bay — an Afghan man who is at least 71 and hobbled around the U.S. prison in Cuba using a walker — has been sent home, his lawyer said Monday.

Haji Nasrat Khan was among five men from Afghanistan transferred over the weekend, said attorney Peter Ryan, who received the news in an e-mail from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Ryan was not told why Khan was transferred, and was trying to determine whether he would be held in custody in Afghanistan or allowed to return home.

The U.S. military did not disclose the names of the five men sent back to Afghanistan and declined to comment.

Khan was not charged with a crime and Ryan said the government never said why he was detained.

“We couldn’t figure out why he was there,” Ryan said. “He could barely walk and he could barely hear.”

Write a comment

The Swedish Pirate Party presents their election manifesto at Torrentfreak

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 15:12 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property, News


On August 28, the Pirate Party of Sweden made their election program official. An introduction stating the ideas and ideology behind their program, the party stated their program for the election in a number of concrete points.

Here is a translation of the introduction. If you happen to read Swedish, the manifesto can be retrieved in PDF here.

The Pirate Party Election Manifesto 2006

The election program of the Pirate Party consists of various nautical charts, describing what we want to do in each of the areas within the Pirate Party policies. These charts are divided in sections based on deadline and what is to be done on a Swedish and on a European level.

As an introduction to these charts, we describe our ideology and our main policies.

Protected integrity in an open society
The development of technology has made sure Sweden and Europe stand before a fork in the road. The new technology offers fantastic possibilities to spread culture and knowledge all over the world with almost no costs. But it also makes way for the building of a society monitored at a level unheard of up until now.

In no time, the monitoring state has advanced its positions strongly in Sweden. This development threatens equality and safety before the law, and nothing indicates that it even adds to security. The Pirate Party believes this is the wrong way to go.

The right to privacy is a corner stone in an open and democratic society. Each and everyone has the right to respect for one’s own private and family life, one’s home and one’s correspondence. If the constitutional freedom of information is to be more than empty words on a paper, we much defend the right for protected private communication.

The arguments for every individual step towards a monitoring society may sound very convincing, but we only have to look at the recent history of Europe to see where that road leads. It is less than twenty years since the fall of the Berlin wall, and there are numerous other terrible examples. To claim that it’s only those with something to hide that has anything to fear is simply lacking knowledge of history, and lacking courage.

We have no problem with police monitoring and spying on suspected criminals. That is exactly what the police is suppose to be doing. But routinely monitoring ordinary citizens hoping for something suspicious to turn up is not only a gross violation of the privacy of honest people. It is also a waste of valuable police resources.

We have to pull the emergency break on the train running towards a society we don’t want. Terrorists can attack our open society, but only governments can disband it. The Pirate Party wants to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

Private communication and file sharing
A driving force behind the current monitoring hysteria is the entertainment business, which wants to prevent people from file sharing copyrighted material. But to achieve this all private communication must be monitored. To know what ones and zeros make up a movie, the ones and zeros has to be analyzed. It is the same sort of ones and zeros that is sent, regardless of if it makes up a piece of music, or a letter to a doctor or a lawyer.

Therefore society ha to choose: do we want a possibility to trustingly communicate over the Internet to exist?

If your answer is yes, it means that also those that shares copyrighted material can use these possibilities.

If you answer is no, it means that you abolish the right of information, the right to mail secrecy and the right to a private life.

There are no other answers.

It is not possible to claim that society should allow mail secrecy for certain purposes, but not for others, since it is impossible to separate the different cases without breeching the secrecy. It is the same types of ones and zeros being used, and only by opening the message, it is possible to see what it contains.

The current copyright legislation can not be combined with freedom of information and protected private communication. Since the fundamental principles of the open, democratic society is more important than conserving old business models within the business of entertainment at all costs, copyright has to fold.

But this is not negative. A reformed copyright legislation, expressing a balance between different interests in society instead of being an order form from the large media companies, has its own benefits. It is a possibility for Sweden and Europe, not a threat.

The spreading of culture and knowledge is a positive thing
Thanks to the Internet it is today possible for everyone with a computer to take part of a fantastic treasure of culture and knowledge.

Instead of being limited to a cultural canon decided from above, the youths of today has access to the music, theater and pictures of an entire world. This is something we should embrace, not something we should try to forbid. File sharing is good for society and its people.

All non-commercial acquiring, using, bettering and spread of culture should be actively encouraged. The Internet is filling the same function today as popular education did a hundred years ago. It is something positive and good for the development of society.

The copyright legislation must be changes so that it is made perfectly clear that it only regulate use and copying of works done for commercial purposes. To share copies, or in any other way spread or use someone else’s work, should never be forbidden as long as it is done on an idealistic basis without the purposes of commercial gain.

Unfortunately, the legislation has developed in quite the opposite direction. On July 1, 2005, a million ordinary Swedes were suddenly turned into criminals over night, simply because they download movies and music. This doesn’t only hurt our possibilities to take part of culture. In the long run it undermines the trust of our entire judicial apparatus. This development has to end.

In a similar fashion, patents are used to inhibit the spread and use of knowledge, which hurts society as a whole.

Medical patents make people in poor countries die for no reason. It twists the priorities in research and makes the costs for medications a problem in every health care budget.

Software patents inhibit technical development within the info tech area and presents a serious threat against small as well as mid-sized businesses and individual developers. They run the risk of putting the power over the Internet completely in the hands of a small number of multi national businesses.

We want to release knowledge, and have specific suggestion on how to avoid the negative consequences that the patent system means.

Sweden and Europe has everything to gain from choosing the path of openness.

(I didn’t copy the complete introduction, go click the link to read the rest)

Write a comment

There Is Silence in the Streets; Where Have All the Protesters Gone?

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 14:19 by John Sinteur in category: News


It was almost painful the other night to hear Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young sing about a war whose purpose Americans never really understood, started by a president who didn’t tell the truth and then waged the war ineptly. And that was before they sang about Iraq.


There was a brief burst of protest when America first invaded Iraq. But if there is a college movement against the war, it’s hiding pretty well. Vietnam never had the moral clarity that the 9/11 attacks provided to this generation’s war. But in Iraq that proved to be a false clarity, and a majority of Americans now say they oppose the war and no longer trust Mr. Bush’s leadership of it.

But because there is no draft — a fact that Graham Nash noted sardonically on Sunday night — no young person has to fear being conscripted into the fight. It is hard to escape the conclusion that Americans find it much easier to stay silent when there is no shared sacrifice.

This war is also largely hidden from American eyes. Unlike Vietnam, when journalists were free to witness and record combat operations, the Pentagon controls access to American troops in Iraq and the images that come with it. The Pentagon banned press coverage of the flag-draped coffins returning home from Iraq. The president refused to attend the funerals of soldiers. Even the cost of this war was tucked from the very start into “supplemental bills? that magically don’t count toward the budget deficit.

The pressure to be silent is great. This week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld compared critics of Mr. Bush’s Iraq policy to those who appeased Adolf Hitler. And antiwar protesters are told they’re un-American, cowardly and lending aid and comfort to terrorists.

But in the 1960’s and 1970’s, antiwar protesters were told they were un-American, cowardly and lending aid and comfort to Communists. Then, the personal and national cost of war grew so great that public outrage drowned out this sort of propaganda. Now, people find protesters vaguely embarrassing and don’t want to make too much noise. Outside the concert hall, a soldier who served in Iraq and now opposes the war said he wished Neil Young could be more “subtle.?

Mr. Young’s call for impeachment is over the top, and it’s certainly not subtle. But the anti-Vietnam protesters were not exactly masters of subtlety either. Bloggers say there is an antiwar movement online. Perhaps, but it takes crowds to get America’s attention. Just look at the immigration debate.

Write a comment

Miracle is sunk

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 12:41 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


One eyewitness said: “He told churchgoers he’d had a revelation that if he had enough faith, he could walk on water like Jesus.

“He took his congregation to the beach saying he would walk across the Komo estuary, which takes 20 minutes by boat.

“He walked into the water, which soon passed over his head and he never came back.”

Write a comment

Escape on the installment plan

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 12:39 by John Sinteur in category: News


A former nurse who admitted killing 29 patients in two states donated one of his kidneys to the brother of an ex-girlfriend, the nurse’s lawyer said Wednesday.

Write a comment

Tatt’s spelt wrong, tatt is

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 12:24 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ



Martin Nolan spent seven hours having a prayer tattooed on his back — then showed it off to a pal who spotted TWO spelling mistakes.

Write a comment

Soldiers die, CEOs prosper

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 12:06 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia


As soldiers have died in displaying personal patriotism, the pay gap between soldiers and defense CEOs has exploded. Before 9/11, the gap between CEOs of publicly traded companies and army privates was already a galling 190 to 1. Today, it is 308 to 1. The average army private makes $25,000 a year. The average defense CEO makes $7.7 million.

“Did this surprise us? No, because we’ve been watching since Sept. 11,” said Betsy Leondar-Wright, communications director for United for a Fair Economy. “While the rest of us were worrying about terrorism and mourning the people who died, the CEOs were maneuvering their companies to take advantage of fear and changing oil supply, not just for competition but for personal enrichment.”

Write a comment


  1. Thats the administrations “new American way”. Same deal in New Orleans.

Foodstamps blamed for obesity crisis

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 10:46 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ

Not only that, but Rush Limbaugh (who else…) als claims you need to slaughter a cow to get butter.

Comedy gold.

Write a comment

Fox meltdown

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 10:26 by John Sinteur in category: News


The August ratings (PDF) are out and, of the top 3 cable news networks, Fox alone has lost viewers. And not just an incremental loss, they are cratering.

Primetime – Persons 2+:

August ‘06: 902 1511 371
August ‘05: 748 2093 349
% change: +21% -28% +6%

Primetime – 25-54:

August ‘06: 294 432 157
August ‘05: 236 541 145
% change: +25% -20 +8%

What’s worse is that in at least eight consecutive months of year-to-year comparisons, Fox has shown declines and, again, is the only network to have accomplished that feat. The standout contributors to this debacle in August are Greta Van Susteran (-31%), Hannity & Colmes (-21%), and our boy O’Reilly (-15%). For those of you keeping score, Olberman’s Countdown increased 55% over it’s year ago number.

Write a comment

Feeling morally, intellectually confused?

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 10:11 by John Sinteur in category: News



That, about which Mr. Rumsfeld is confused is simply this: This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely.

And, as such, all voices count — not just his.

Had he or his president perhaps proven any of their prior claims of omniscience — about Osama Bin Laden’s plans five years ago, about Saddam Hussein’s weapons four years ago, about Hurricane Katrina’s impact one year ago — we all might be able to swallow hard, and accept their “omniscience? as a bearable, even useful recipe, of fact, plus ego.

But, to date, this government has proved little besides its own arrogance, and its own hubris.

Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to the entire “Fog of Fear? which continues to envelop this nation, he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies have — inadvertently or intentionally — profited and benefited, both personally, and politically.

And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer’s New Clothes?

In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised? As a child, of whose heroism did he read? On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight? With what country has he confused the United States of America?

The confusion we — as its citizens— must now address, is stark and forbidding.

But variations of it have faced our forefathers, when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis LeMay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note — with hope in your heart — that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light, and we can, too.

The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought.

And about Mr. Rumsfeld’s other main assertion, that this country faces a “new type of fascism.?

As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that — though probably not in the way he thought he meant it.

This country faces a new type of fascism – indeed.

Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble tribute, I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist Edward R. Murrow.

But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us, at a time when other politicians thought they (and they alone) knew everything, and branded those who disagreed: “confused? or “immoral.?

Thus, forgive me, for reading Murrow, in full:

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty,? he said, in 1954. “We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.

“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular.?

And so good night, and good luck.

Write a comment

Cutout daddies

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 10:07 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia


Families go through real traumas during their spouses’ long tours of duty in dangerous Iraq. The divorce rates are astronomical. Guard members oftentimes fall into financial problems because of paycuts taken when wearing their military uniforms. families become single-parent households overnight. And never mind the effect on their children.

The sacrifices of these guardmen and their families are real. Tougher than what most of you will ever have to deal with.

And that makes this very disturbing.

The people who came up with this are deranged. They don’t know what it’s like to have to leave their loved ones for a year. They don’t know what it’s like to have their best friend killed in front of them. They don’t know what it’s like to come home only to relive the trauma of your service over and over in your dreams. They, who have been handed life on a silver platter, don’t know what it is to struggle. So to them, to suffer, to have to grind it out, day after day, is kind of a romantic notion to them. They’ve never had to make sacrifices so they don’t know what that feels like. So when they have to “support the troops”, this is what they come up with. Pathetic.

Write a comment


Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 9:53 by John Sinteur in category: Quote


Write a comment

Jowling — Head-turning Photo Fun

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 9:42 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture



Exaggerated faces that look like they’re made of playdough, expressions that scream cosmetic surgery gone horribly, horribly wrong…

They call it jowling, and here’s how it’s done:

Grab a friend. Ask him to loosen his facial muscles, then shake his head side-to-side, fast. Now fire away. (Use flash for best effect.)

It’s so ridiculously fun and easy, there’s a whole website devoted to it. Check out the hall of fame, the how-to video, and the top jowls.

Remember when you made fugly faces at your sister, and your mom said your face would get stuck that way? This is what it’d look like today if she’d been right.

Write a comment

Extra Galaxies

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 9:40 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Credit & Copyright: 2006 Astr. Campers, Adam Block (Caelum Obs.), CSS, U. Arizona Alum. Assoc.

Careful inspection of the full field of view for this sharp composite image reveals a surprising number of galaxies both near and far toward the constellation Ursa Major. The most striking is clearly NGC 3718, a warped spiral galaxy found near picture center. NGC 3718’s faint spiral arms look twisted and extended, its bright central region crossed by obscuring dust lanes. A mere 150 thousand light-years to the right is another large spiral galaxy, NGC 3729. The two are likely interacting gravitationally, accounting for the peculiar appearance of NGC 3718. While this galaxy pair lies about 52 million light-years away, the remarkable Hickson Group 56 can also be seen clustered just below NGC 3718. Hickson Group 56 consists of five interacting galaxies and lies over 400 million light-years away.

Write a comment

Feds say air controller slept 2 hours

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 9:30 by John Sinteur in category: News, Security



In the day leading up to the crash of Comair Flight 5191, a federal investigator says the air traffic controller on duty had worked for almost 15 hours and slept for two.

National Transportation Safety Board member Debbie Hersman, the lead investigator in the crash that killed 49 people, said in her final briefing before leaving Lexington Thursday that the controller had only nine hours off between work shifts Saturday.

That was just enough to meet federal rules, which require a minimum of eight hours off between shifts, Hersman said.

“He advised our team that he got approximately two hours of sleep,” Hersman said.

Meanwhile, the people responsible for airline security continue their struggle to keep brown people from carrying their drinks onto the planes.

Do you feel safer already?

Write a comment

Ellis Vertelt

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 8:35 by John Sinteur in category: Nederland is Gek!

Ik vraag me af – is het echt zo slecht gesteld met de nederlandse kenniseconomie, of is het normaal dat de overheid studenten als randdebiel behandelt?

Geenstijl zegt het iets duidelijker…

Write a comment

Bloggers 1, Smoke-Filled Room 0

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 8:08 by John Sinteur in category: News


A few days ago a bi-partisan bill (PDF) to create a searchable on-line database of government contracts, grants, insurance, loans, financial assistance, earmarks and other such pork was put on ‘secret hold’ using a procedure that does not appear to be mentioned in the Constitution or in the Senate bylaws. This raised the ire of bloggers left and right and started an all out bi-partisan effort to expose the culprit by process of elimination. As it turns out it was our old friend the right honorable Senator from Alaska, Mr. ‘Series of Tubes‘, Ted ‘Bridge to Nowhere‘ Stevens.”

Write a comment

PvdA past plannen AOW aan

Posted on August 31st, 2006 at 7:48 by John Sinteur in category: Nederland is Gek!


De PvdA wil 65-plussers pas vanaf 2011 laten meebetalen aan de AOW. Alleen ouderen met een aanvullend pensioen van 15.000 euro per jaar of meer worden stapsgewijs belast. Wie in 2011 65 jaar of ouder is, wordt ontzien.

Oftewel, om te voorkomen dat de vergrijzing onbetaalbaar wordt, ga je ontmoedigen dat mensen er zelf voor sparen.


in elk sollicitatiegesprek dat ik de afgelopen 10 jaar gevoerd heb, en waarbij de pensioenregeling ter sprake kwam, heb ik gevraagd hoe de werkgever “dat ging compenseren” – ik heb het altijd als weggegooid geld beschouwd, al was mijn verwachting dat ik pas rond 2020 mijn gelijk zou krijgen…

Write a comment


  1. Het ziet er toch naar uit dat je meer gelijk had dan ik dacht John!