Saturday, December 10, 2005

Today's Wall Street Hoot!

I know it sounds as funny as an accountant, but for some reason has comedian Jeff Kreisler write a column and today's provides this quip:
Speaking of Hef, Playboy is offering downloadable podcasts. The videos will be rated PG and include Hef's advice and Playmates telling jokes. Why? Why? Why? If Playboy is going hi-tech, it should exploit its core competency, which includes neither old men nor women wearing clothes. If you want poorly delivered jokes by someone in jeans, I'm right here.
Blonde jokes?

Friday, December 09, 2005

To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail

100 buck Negroponte laptop solution for poverty

The big United Nations clambake last month in Tunis was lacking in fireworks (other than in the local fleshpots, I suppose) since the USA tossed the Third World thugs, UN bureaucrats, and limp-wristed Euroweenies a sop - they can have a talk shop to whine about the US control of the Internet rootservers. It's more than they deserve, but they'll whine anyhow so what's the difference?

The festivities weren't without amusement however. MIT's Nicholas Negroponte trotted out his solution for Third World development problems which was a brightly colored, laptop computer shaped object:
Even if the prototype $100 laptop computer unveiled by Nicholas Negroponte late Wednesday in Tunis had a couple of hiccups, the MIT Media Lab chairman was visibly excited about the prospect of placing the device in the hands of millions of schoolchildren around the globe.

A slightly embarrassed Kofi Annan, general secretary of the United Nations, twisted off the computer's crank handle at the unveiling event, and the screen locked as Negroponte later tried to demonstrate the display. But after a few tweaks here and there, everything worked.
One can only hope that few of the millions of school kids have Kofi's level of manual dexterity or use it to hit their little brothers. So what is this modern miracle?
The hand-cranked laptop, shown for the first time at the U.N.-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), operates at 500MHz, or about half the speed of commercial laptops. It features a low-power display that can be switched from color to black and white to allow viewing in bright sunlight. Many children in developing countries have school outside, Negroponte said.

The machine can be folded in different ways to serve as a computer, electronic book or media player. "We designed the device to perform many roles," said Negroponte, who also heads the One Laptop Per Child nonprofit group. "Learning should be seamless."

The computer will run "Linux or some other open-source operating system," Negroponte said.

Applications will also be open-source based, and available in "every single language that people want," Negroponte said. The MIT professor said he expects the open source community to jump at the opportunity to pitch in with this effort.

The computers will be free to schoolchildren. "Ownership of the computer is absolutely essential," Negroponte said, pointing out that people generally take better care of things they own. "Have you ever washed a rental car?" he asked.

Choosing the colors -- the body is lime green and the crank yellow -- was one of the hardest decisions the group had to make, Negroponte said. The colors should convey "a message of playfulness," he said.
Governments must buy 1 million laptops to participate in the program, according to Negroponte said. "That's their entry ticket," he said.
Since the governments concerned are always whining that they have no money, I expect that means the developed nations are supposed to pony up for this gizmo, so it's worth pondering what the tykes can actually do with it. Frankly, since the computer education programs in American schools seem designed to babysit illiterate and innumerate kids via Internet surfing while the teachers have a smoke, maybe that's the plan here too. Here's some more specs:
The device is a stripped-down affair, with an electricity-generating crank and a swiveling seven-inch screen, for basic word-processing, Internet and communications. It has no hard drive, instead using flash memory like that in a digital camera. The processor, from AMD, runs at a pokey 500 megahertz.

Each laptop will include a Wi-Fi radio transmitter designed to knit machines into a wireless "mesh" so they can share a Net connection, passing it from one computer to the next. Though there is a power cord, that cool crank can provide roughly ten minutes of juice for each minute of turning.
The impediments, needless to say, are numerous and daunting. "Most schools in the developing world don't even have textbooks," says Allen Hammond of the World Resources Institute. "How the heck are they going to pay for Internet access?"
I guess Internet surfing is out - maybe they can become expert Tetris players? As long as they keep Kofi away from it and keep cranking. But what the heck do I know - let's ask some of the erstwhile recipients:
One of the advantages of the Laptop for a country like Nigeria is that many of the school children will know what a laptop looks like in the first instance. Many of them, especially in the rural areas could barely distinguish a television set from a computer monitor for now. Showing them a laptop will make them know the difference between one, and what he might suppose is a 'modern' briefcase. It will definitely aid computer literacy.
They do want a laptop shaped object! This seems like a really good plan, particularly after the crank comes off.
An argument that had come up with the emergence of the Laptop is that it is still too expensive at $100 or the more realistic price of $115 for most African and Nigerian families. That many families could barely live on $200 per annum and spending half that amount on a laptop just won't work.

But the same rural dwellers had embraced the cell phone wholeheartedly. The use of cell phone costs them each minute they use it. Even when they receive calls, someone was paying for it at the other end. The use of Laptop would not carry that everyday overhead.
I can't even begin to explain how they can afford cell phones, but nobody is expecting them to pay for the laptop shaped object.
But even if the acquisition were on the high side, what do we have governments for? Since the reports came out, how many state governments are already liaising with the federal government on the possibility of buying the Laptop and flooding the state public schools with it?
Any state governor who buys these laptops and bring them to the state public schools would have made a name for himself even after the expiration of his tenure. It won't be a bad idea to be referred to thereafter as "the governor who brought computers," or the shorter form, "the computer governor."
Now there's a plan I can't wait to contribute to.

Anyhow, if you have waded through to this point, the cherry on top this sundae of delight is Intel CEO Craig Barrett's statement today:
"Mr. Negroponte has called it a $100 laptop -- I think a more realistic title should be 'the $100 gadget'," Barrett, chairman of the world's largest chip maker, told a press conference in Sri Lanka. "The problem is that gadgets have not been successful."
But Barrett said similar schemes in the past elsewhere in the world had failed and users would not be satisfied with the new machine's limited range of programs.

"It turns out what people are looking for is something is something that has the full functionality of a PC," he said. "Reprogrammable to run all the applications of a grown up PC... not dependent on servers in the sky to deliver content and capability to them, not dependent for hand cranks for power."

Barrett said Intel was committed to delivering IT access to the developing world -- and is helping Sri Lanka Telecom (SLTL.CM) set up south Asia's first long-range WIMAX wireless network -- but would not produce a cut-price product like MIT's computer.

"We work in the are of low cost affordable PCs, but full function PCs," he said. "Not handheld devices and not gadgets."

He said Intel was also expanding an IT teacher training scheme it says has already reached three million schoolteachers worldwide to Sri Lanka, and praised local projects aimed at producing computer literacy. Some 90 percent of Sri Lankans were literate but only 10 percent computer literate, he said.
He's undoubtedly right, but he really needs a political correctness consultant because the Kumbaya crowd is going to be all over him. Look, it has already started:
But we think the real crux of Barrett’s argument — that the world’s poor want a full-featured PC — is ridiculously flawed. Why? Because the OLPC is intended for populaces so impoverished that the majority have probably never even used a full-featured PC before. But hey, we certainly do get a kick out of a multi-millionaire businessmen yammering on about what the world’s poor really want from a computer while the competition is, um, hanging out with Kofi Annan and garnering UN support.
Gosh, hanging out with Kofi! Be still, my heart!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Everyone's having a party!

Surrender - the Democrats favorite fantasy

No, not the pond scum fantasy celebration above, but the Freepers who are all excited at the news reported by Drudge that the GOP might actually mount an counterattack on the America Last party. Er, the party of defeat, desertion, and dereliction. Er, you know who I mean - the party symbol is an ass and so is their chairman.

(Graphic hat tip: dead)

I wonder how well it takes birdshot?

Just what I don't need. An alarm clock that when the appointed time arrives, sends up a flying unit to hover over your head making annoying noises until you get up and grab it.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Today's Hoot!

Cold Fury:
There are strange and wonderful creatures at large in this old world of ours, like unicorns, jackalopes, snipes, and moderate Muslims—all elusive beasts indeed, and quite possibly mythological. But none can hold a candle to that rara avis, that phantasmagorical will o’ the wisp, the Moderate Democrat.
I think that when Scoop Jackson died, they became extinct.

Someone please pull his string

Howard Dean the terrorist bomber

Howard Dean demonstrates how he supports the troops.

Up to their same old tricks

Good ole Traitor John Kerry.

Democrats stab American soldiers in the back

I guess Lurch is just nostalgic for the old days!

John Kerry stabs American soldiers in the back

(Hat Tip: Sacred Cow Burgers and 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Today's Hoot!

Games need BLUE SKIES! Games need BRIGHT YELLOW SUNS! Games need RED AND BLUE THINGS in them! We want to play in a HAPPY PRETEND LAND, not a sh*t version of an American slum full of mixed-race gangsters wearing licensed sportswear!

We want to COLLECT BANANAS FROM MAGIC CASTLES not earn respect from fictional gang leaders! We want to stun enemies with BOUNCE ATTACKS, not shoot them in unrealistic and shoddy drive-bys!
We want to restore our health by COLLECTING ROAST CHICKEN, not by syringing drugs into the only vein we can still find! Games have gone SH*T and DARK and RUBBISH and WE WANT THEM BACK!
More by following the link and yeah it's a joke, but as Chris Kohler observes:
This is so utterly true it makes me cry. Politically incorrect video game humor site UK Resistance has launched the Blue Sky in Games movement, and though of course its message will be roundly ignored it's worth a read.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I guess they couldn't think of anything else to do with our money

GOP Congress Earmarks $4 Million for Leftist Pro-Illegal Alien Group:
Thanks to a congressional earmark, an open-borders advocacy group that pushes for driver’s licenses, free in-state tuition and healthcare for illegal aliens and bilingual requirements for state agencies and ballots is slated to get $4 million in new taxpayer money to add to the more than $30 million it has received from various federal agencies since 1996.

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Spanish for “the race,” will get its latest grant through an appropriations bill passed by Congress on November 18. The Joint Explanatory Statement of HR 3058, available on the House’s Rules Committee website lists 1,100 plus earmarks in the bill, including La Raza’s grant under the Housing and Urban Development Department’s Self-Help and Assisted Ownership Programs. Under this account La Raza will receive four times as much as the Special Olympics, which won a $1-million earmark.
The best part is that no one can figure out who requested the dough - even the head wingnut at NCLR was surprised. As for the other 1,100 earmarks, why do I suspect that they're a target rich environment?