Saturday, September 02, 2006

Microsoft, Adobe, and other thieves

I just tried my new version of Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 (I work with 2000). The first thing that the program did when it came up was royally piss me off. It came up with a browser window to take me to a Microsoft web site to the latest useless "community news". How did it ever become acceptable for a random program to access the Internet without so much as warning me, much less asking permission?

I own this computer; I bought it for my own use. I also pay money for internet access. When Microsoft takes over my hardware and my internet access without my permission for their marketing purposes, I feel that I've been robbed. They have stolen the use of my property for their purposes. Not only have they used my property for their purposes, their purposes are directly opposed to mine because I actively and strongly want to avoid their marketing drivel. Microsoft is fully aware of the fact that some large percentage of their customers will be annoyed by this push marketing but they did it anyway because the theft is too small for anyone to do anything about it. I guess it's OK to steal if no one is going to prosecute you.

Lately, Adobe is doing the same thing. When you open a PDF file these days, you will see advertisements in the upper right-hand corner of the tool bar. Adobe is stealng from two different groups here; they are stealing from me the use of my hardware and internet connection, and they are stealing from the website with the PDF file the customer attention that the website has acquired (and customer attention is valuable property). I'm pretty sure that small software companies that post PDF files to describe their software and services didn't give Adobe permission to advertise possibly competing services on their own web pages. Yet that is what Adobe is doing.

Where is this going? Will I someday be unable to buy a computer that doesn't subject me to five minutes of advertising for every hour of use? Will all browser and pluggin companies follow the Adobe lead so that it becomes impossible to access any web site without being subjected to flashing banners and moving images trying to distract me from the content of the web site, even when the site itself has no ads?

What if every company involved in bringing me a web page starts to insert their adds on the page? That would include at least the manufacturer of my computer, my internet service provider, the publisher of my browser, the web hosting service of the web site, and some unknown number of intermediate computers between me and the web site. I could be subjected to four layers of advertisements (and privacy intrusions) just to access a simple web page, regardless of what the web page does.

Is there any stopping this gradual loss of control over my computer and my on-line experience?

Monday, August 28, 2006


The latest Storyblogging Carnival is up at the Fringe. Jeremiah has joined my rebellion against Roman numerals just a I finally gave in.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

fear and trembling

Ace has a post about heroism on Flight 93 and the left's determination to nullify the heroism and deny the source of the threat (link from Dean Barnett at Hugh Hewitt). In the comments is this insightful point by a4g of PointFiveBlog
Heroism aboard that plane makes sense to some, because when they consider the story, and look inside their own hearts, they say yes, that rings true.
To others, in the place that holds their deepest, most visceral truths, heroism does not-- cannot-- exist. There are only schemes and lies and misdirection. So that is what they seek and, given enough time, what they will find.

That is all you ever need to know about the right and the left.
I think a4g is right, with the qualification that it isn't the left as a whole which is cowardly, but rather that cowardice is yet another disreputable human trait that the left exploits. Many on the left are quite courageous; some of them are downright combative, but they use fear and cravenness to attract allies. The appeasers are not the left itself, they are just another one of the many sorry clients of the left. Through the Great Uniter of the left, trembling appeasers find common cause with guilty white racists, angry black racists, bitter man-hating feminists, Christian-hating libertines, Jew-hating Muslims, insular ethnic groups that are too suspicious and frightened to join the larger culture, vegans who value people no higher than poultry, greens who value people no higher than lichen, the bitterly envious who want to tear down anyone more successful than themselves, and the cowardly who are too afraid to defend themselves or their families.

No matter what your character flaw, the left is there to tell you it's OK, to endorse your rationalizations and your feckless coping strategies, and to encourage even more pathological behavior that they can exploit. If you are a guilty racist, they will tell you it's OK, everyone is racist in their heart and you're not as bad a racist as those mean Republicans and you can sooth your conscience by voting for affirmative action. If you are an angry racist, they will tell you that, yes, those white people sure are responsible for all of your problems, but vote for us and we'll take jobs and money away from white people and give it to you. If you hate men, the left will share your horror of the fact that all men are rapists and that all those women who seem to have gentle, loving and rewarding relationships with men are just too stupid to see that they are being exploited, but vote for a leftist and we'll take jobs and prestige away from men and give it to you. It goes on and on. If you are a coward, the left will happily endorse cowardice and tell you that retreat and submission is the rational strategy --those people who buy guns to defend their homes are practically homicidal maniacs, and if someone wants America to defend herself from her enemies he's just too afraid of Muslims to realize that they can be reasoned with (i.e. bought off) or retreated from. Yeah, that's the ticket, it's the warmongers who are afraid --the chickenhawks. America has an implacable enemy dedicated to our destruction, and it's the people who want to face up to this enemy who are the cowards.

All this began when the left exploited the fear of nuclear war in order to politically aid their allies, the Russian empire. In that struggle, they learned the political power of cowardice and since then they have used it whenever they could to harm the interests of the United States (which they see as the major impediment to their goals). If not for the panicky fear of nuclear power that the left spread in the 70's and 80's, the United States would today be far less dependent on imports from Islamic countries, and our Islamic enemies would be far less wealthy and powerful. The left is doing the same thing with global warming now, using fear in an attempt to destroy America's economy. The left has used the fear of criminals to disarm us and the fear of hijacking to keep us from fully supporting our ally in Israel.

But all this is just a strategy of the left, it is not the left itself. The real core left is just as courageous and just as religiously dedicated to their utopian goals as the Islamic terrorists. It would be a mistake to forget that.