Monday, April 28, 2014
Monday, April 21, 2014
– by David Matthews 2
Monday, April 14, 2014
Memo To GOP Contenders:
Don’t Provoke The Willfully Ignorant
– by David Matthews 2
I have a really simple message to the GOP wannabes in Georgia.
You know that Internet saying of “Don’t feed the trolls”?
Well the same applies to Georgia’s willfully ignorant.
You know who I’m talking about, right? All of those people that hate thinkers and hate thinking. The ones that didn’t make it past high school… if that. The ones that hold a special kind of disgust for higher education and for those that were able to attend it and actually get the sheepskin. The ones that scrambled to support Chick-fil-A and “Duck Dynasty” when they cried “persecution” like a child not getting that extra ice cream scoop. The ones that should be wearing the “I’m With Stupid” tee-shirts with the arrow pointing up.
You know… the ones that really like Sarah Palin and think she’s the greatest woman to have ever existed and “goddamn those who think otherwise!”
Yeah, you know those folks. Just pop into your nearest Wal-Mart if you need a refresher.
Well, the GOP here in Georgia really need to be careful about aggravating them.
I know that’s hard sometimes, because they’re really easily offended. They have really thin skins. Sometimes all you have to do is show them a globe, or say the word “evolution”, or bring up the historical fact that they lost the Civil War. (They’re really sensitive about that last part.)
Or sometimes it’s reminding them that you have something that they don’t.
David Perdue made that mistake recently. He’s the cousin of former Governor Sonny Perdue, and he thinks that his business experience (along with his family’s political connections, wink-wink) will make him the ideal person to replace outgoing Senator Saxby Chambliss.
Perdue likes to brag about his resume. He likes to mention that he turned a few companies around and made them profitable. He likes to tout the fact that he’s a supposed “outsider” going up against a field of career politicians that have done nothing to fix what is wrong with the country.
But then Perdue screwed up. Apparently he made the comment that one of those other contenders really isn’t qualified to be senator because she doesn’t have a college degree.
Bad move, Mister Perdue.
You do know that there is no educational requirement to be a United States Senator, right Mister Perdue? Go ahead and pull out your little pocket edition of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution and go over Article I and all of the Amendments pertaining to the qualification of U.S. Senators and you’ll find there’s no mention at all of education. You can have the IQ of a twig and still be qualified as long as you’re over thirty and a resident of the state you represent. (Don’t tell me you don’t have one of those little “Pocket Constitution” things, Mister Perdue. All good little GOP members wave them around nowadays like bibles.)
Then there’s the candidate that he tried to “disqualify” in his comments. Karen Handel may be a career politician, but she’s also a favorite of the anti-abortion crowd, not to mention the willfully ignorant. And apparently she’s also a friend of Alaska’s former governor and failed VP nominee Sarah Palin, who has been endorsing her since Handel tried to run for governor in 2010. Oh, and she knows how to play the “poor victim” card too.
Put those things together, Mister Perdue, and what do you get? You get a rapid-fire retort from Governor Palin that is so jam-packed with anti-intellectual buzzwords and catchphrases that I’m honestly surprised that nobody in the background shouted “Word Yahzee” when it was over.
Not only was the take-down so anti-intellectual that it became pro-retarded, Mister Perdue, but it also made you look like an effete elite intellectual snob when it was done.
I think the word that you’re looking for here, Mister Perdue, is “Ouch!”
Now let’s get brutally honest here… if you are a GOP contender, then you really should not be pointing out the ignorance of the willfully ignorant, especially here in Georgia, for several reasons.
First, because the willfully ignorant do that all by themselves. In fact they’re really very good at it. Look at all of the people that think that pre-historic man used to ride atop dinosaurs simply because they saw it on a cartoon called “The Flintstones”, or still believe that the sun revolves around the Earth. Like I said earlier, it sometimes just takes showing them a globe.
Second, as Mister Perdue found out the hard way, when you use your education to go after those without one, it opens you up the counter-attack that you are an effete elite intellectual snob; automatically lumping you in with the most liberal of liberals like Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. You know how cons and neo-cons despise the Clintons and Obama? It’s not just their policies; it’s also their pedigree.
Third, and the most critical of reasons, is because the anti-intellectuals are also essentially the GOP’s base. These are the people you need to suck up to, Mister Perdue. They’re the ones that will show up at the polling place come primary time, especially when they feel “obligated”. And it doesn’t take much for them to feel “obligated”. Just look at what they did concerning Chick-fil-A and “Duck Dynasty”.
Making matters worse, Mister Perdue then actually called Ms. Handel up to apologize for his comment.
I know common sense says that this is the right thing to do, but in the world of GOP politics this is actually the wrong thing. Cons and neo-cons, which dominate the GOP, consider an apology to be a sign of weakness.
Cons and neo-cons do not apologize. Ever. Even when they are wrong. Even when they know that they are wrong, their egos will not allow themselves to recognize it. They will instead double-down on their original assertion, no matter how asinine it may be.
There is a way that Perdue could have salvaged that thread if he didn’t apologize. He could have pointed out that Ms. Handel attended two colleges but never finished them, like a “certain senator” in Illinois that started but never finished his first term before running for President. Or, for that matter, a “certain governor” in Alaska who quit in the middle of her first term after her failed VP run. He could question Handel’s commitment to “follow through” on something. He could have even questioned Governor Palin’s hokey anti-intellectualist attitude as being part of the problem with the GOP of late and as to why they’ve been losing political ground. All of that was thrown out the window with his display of what is essentially political cowardice.
I understand that Mister Perdue wants to be different than the other GOP contenders. He wants to stand out as someone that could actually get things done. That’s commendable. Unfortunately for him, the people that would really appreciate that are usually not the ones that show up at the ballot box for the GOP primary. The ones that usually vote in the primaries are more like the people that listen to Sarah Palin and Karen Handel than they do the voices of reason.
And that is one case of ignorance that could seriously affect Georgia’s voice in Washington.
Monday, April 7, 2014
The Demise Of XP
– by David Matthews 2
This week marks the end of an era…
It is the end of a mainstay for computer users both young and old.
This is the week when Microsoft pulls the plug on its Windows XP operating system. And, sadly, I don’t think there will be a reprieve this time around.
XP was released in 2001, just a month after 9/11. Of course some people complained about it. Because, you know, it’s a Microsoft product, and haters will hate. But it persevered. It served as the connection between the old Windows 95 and Windows NT operating systems that was previously promised but just didn’t happen. It was the one operating system that could be used for both business and personal users.
It wasn’t perfect, but back then Microsoft didn’t give up on it like they did with Windows Millennium Edition. They churned out bug fixes and service packs. They came out with a special Media Center Edition to take advantage of the growing online media services.
And then the “new shiny” came out; the next operating system… and the first thing that Microsoft wanted to do once that happened was to kill XP. And they almost did it, until XP users got a reprieve.
Microsoft claimed that they kept XP around because of the “threat” of Linux-based netbooks. However, this commentator dares to suspect that the reason had more to do with the problems with that “new shiny” called Windows Vista and the backlash surrounding that demand that users upgrade ASAP in the middle of the Global recession than with any perceived “threat” of competition.
Here’s a little word of advice to Microsoft execs: when you have businesses cutting budgets and staff to the bone and people are struggling just to keep their homes, they’re not going to be in the mood to suddenly upgrade to the “new shiny” just because you have it on your schedule.
But now the folks in Redmond are going to go through with it for real. No more reprieves. No more stays of execution.
XP will die this coming Tuesday, April 8th.
And I am here not to bury XP, but to praise it.
Let’s get brutally honest here… whether you like Microsoft or not, you cannot deny that XP has served as a pretty reliable operating system for PC users for twelve years. Not perfect. Not great. But certainly reliable. Right now over ninety-five percent of the world’s ATM machines are running on Windows XP. 2 Big 2 Fail may be greedy, manipulative, and corrupt, but they wouldn’t risk the money they fleece on an operating system they couldn’t count on. That should tell you something about its reliability.
Sure, there was always room for improvement. There are some things that Microsoft did that they shouldn’t have, like integrating their own browser into the operating system. The start-up and shut-down times were a hassle, but once things were up and running, they were pretty good.
I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret when it comes to operating systems, and this goes back to the days of Windows 95. I had installed many an operating system in my time, and I know that, for the most part, the operating system does exactly what it is supposed to do. When it’s just the operating system running, there are no problems. The problem comes when you have all of those extra programs added to it. When you have your favorite third-party game and your favorite third-party application, and let’s not forget all of those other “added features” that get installed by whatever company assembled that machine. Everybody wants to give you something, don’t they? They just don’t tell you how much it will cost for that “value-added convenience”.
And really, if you think about it, the operating system is sort of like a transmission of a car. It’s important in that it gets you to where you need to be going, but you don’t really pay too much attention to it unless there’s a problem with it. If you can get on your computer and have it do what you want it to do, be it play a game or check your email, then it is doing its job.
This is XP’s legacy. It gave us the means to do what we want the computer to do. And it did so for over twelve years with very few complaints.
Which is why there is a part of me that still wants to ask CEO Steve Ballmer “What did Windows XP ever do to you, other than to put billions into Microsoft coffers and millions into yours?”
No, I don’t want to give up my XP Media Center Edition computer. I don’t want to spend the time and energy into transferring programs and files over and getting a new computer configured. There’s too much going on for me to add that to my already-full “to do” list.
And it’s not just a new computer or a new operating system. There’s also the matter of getting all of the other programs as well. I need to get a new batch of Office programs, because I can’t just re-install the old Office program, thanks for nothing DRM. I need to get new financial software. I need to upgrade my USB hubs. I need to get a new gigabit router. Some of my “extra toys” will need new 64-bit drivers. I need to go through my favorite sites again and find some way to get passwords transferred. All of which will take time, and that’s on top of me putting in new security software – which I had to do at this time anyway – and get taxes done. Oh, and still work my butt off eight hours a day every day.
But I suppose I don’t have a choice, do I? No. And neither do millions of other computer users that have gone on quite well with the systems they’ve had.
I know someone who is still using the computer they got in 2002, and I know he didn’t really want to upgrade. He’s firmly in the camp of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But, needless to say, he ended up having to spend some coin over the weekend and getting a new PC just like the rest of us.
Thankfully the “end of XP” is not the physical end of the operating system itself. Computers around the world still using XP will not spontaneously explode or suddenly not work after April 8th. But patches won’t be automatically sent to your computer. Microsoft is still under contract to support some computers, and they will do just that. And if they have some patches, they’ll make them available, but you’ll have to find them yourself if you’re not one of those still under contract.
What this means is that you need to upgrade. You need to pay some coin to your local electronics store so you can get the newer computer with the newer toys so you can stay up-to-date instead of having to do the extra work that those of us “geeks” used to do on a regular basis.
There is a silver lining to the demise of XP in that the appeal of the system has helped Microsoft execs change their mind on the “smartphone” look of their current Windows 8 system. There’s an update ahead that will give us the old “look” and feel of the old desktop under XP, Vista, or Windows 7. I think that will help with the transition, but it’s a pity it won’t be happening until after XP itself is “deceased”.
This article that you’re reading right now was cobbled together and uploaded to the Internet on a system still running on Windows XP. It may likely be one of the last articles written and published under XP. With the new system and the “new toys”, I should be able to post future articles online directly. I’m sure it will be more convenient for me, but that doesn’t always make it a good thing. Sometimes it’s better to be reliable than just convenient.