Quick Roundup 455

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Back in the Saddle

The replacement for my still-new desktop, which was "cross-shipped" after a repair and then stolen by the recipient, arrived yesterday. I've already installed Linux and have my data on it, but I still have to build the virtual machine I will need to finish a paper from a project at my old job. The OEM operating system, Microsoft Windows Vista, caused the Linux installation to fail three times, so I decided to wipe it. No problems after that.

I must say that I have never been so glad for a parcel to arrive I was yesterday. Not having my desktop has been a constant thorn in my side since my arrival here in Boston. I was mildly annoyed with the metallic orange trim at first, until I noticed how well it goes with the wood of the rolltop desk where it lives. It's a pretty smooth ride so far: If all goes well and stays well, its vendor will definitely be in the running for my future business.

I am already thrilled with the stark contrast between blogging with 1 GB RAM and south of 900 MHz versus 6 GB and 2.66 GHz. Blogging time will easily drop by at about half.

Would You Like a Rootkit with That?

Via Linux Today, I have learned that a popular anti-theft service pre-loaded on many big-name laptops is "actually a dangerous BIOS rootkit that can be hijacked and controlled by malicious hackers."

The Power of Principles

From time to time, I have noted here that since freedom is of a piece, government violations of individual rights "spill over" into areas the government wasn't originally trying to "fix." Most often, I have done this by noting that when we keep in mind that truism of the free market, "controls breed controls,"we can see that the new controls often lie outside what most people think of as "the market." For example, assaults on freedom of speech have come from things like nanny-state dietary prescriptions.

In that vein, I like Chuck's Bastiat-like take on a recent foreign policy blunder: Bill Clinton's negotiations with North Korea's Kim Jong Il for the release of two American journalists being held hostage there.

Now let’s look at what is not seen.

These two women were nothing but bargaining chips to Kim Jong Il. He used them because he wanted to get something from us. Perhaps he wanted more than he got. But he got two very substantial things: one, he got America to negotiate with him in an obvious blackmail situation; two, he got no less than a former President of the United States to come and sanction him as someone worthy of such an honor. ...

The result is that Kim Jong Il is strengthened in his position, ...

... Kim Jong Il and other criminal regimes are plotting their next move, secure in the knowledge that blackmail works against America.
Government destruction of liberty does not confine itself to any one area of life: Why should an advocate of individual rights confine his thinking to any one "sphere" of freedom?


Like Diana Hsieh, I've found David Allen's "GTD" system very helpful and have been doing lots of thinking about personal productivity recently. (His book, Getting Things Done, is already in my "subway reading" hopper for a second read-through.) I credit Diana with introducing me to GTD in the first place and found this video of David Allen discussing his work arrangements useful.

Objectivist Carnival

This week's edition will be hosted by Erosophia.

-- CAV


RE said...

Hehe 1GB vs. 6GB of RAM. Remember when we could surf the net just fine with a Pentium-75 with 8 megabytes of RAM? :) The more things change...

That said I wouldn't give up my new iMac for any Wintel box, no matter how buff.

Gus Van Horn said...

Heh! You Mac guys -- You're at least the third to do so. -- like to talk trash, don't you!

But yeah. I do remember when it didn't seem like every web page was "enhanced" with scripts that made them slow-loading/slow-rendering.

RE said...

Hehe fair enough. I know no Objectivist is going to take proselytizing on faith, so just saying Macs are awesome won't cut it with you. But I remember you posting about why Linux meets your needs better, so in your case it sounds like you have your answer already. Even as a Mac owner, I'll concede that it makes no sense to pay the Apple tax if you don't plan to run OS X.

Anyway I also want to note, good catch on the Sunstein/flag issue. I read those other pages' analyses also and I think they're right on. I think you could even have gone further with the 1984 connection, but you conveyed the essentials so obviously it worked. Isn't this the very aesthetics of fascism, a government stoking a culture that worships the state, as it were?

Gus Van Horn said...

My view of which OS is best for a given person depends on a wide variety of factors, some objective (e.g., What can you do? How secure can you be? What does it run on? How well-supported is it/does it need to be?) but not all necessarily always superior even for a given purpose for a given OS; and some more a matter of taste. I will readily concede that Windows is best for many people in most circumstances, Apple in others, and Unix/Linux in others. Linux is best for most of what I do and it suits my tastes in many ways, but you won't hear me trying to get everyone else to use it. (Not that I'm above smack talk or slamming design choices (as above) that appear poor or deliberately obtrusive to me.)