Tuesday, May 29, 2007

If you're looking for a new notebook, and have any interest in a Tablet PC (which you should, because a convertible Tablet is just like a real notebook, only better), then this is a good, affordable option. Thanks to the folks at Gottabemobile.com for sniffing this out.

I'm not a big fan of widescreen Tablets, because they tend to stretch the writing surface unnaturally. My Toshiba M400 has a smallish screen, but it's in the same general proportions as a sheet of paper--which is distinctively not widescreen. Also, note that many Tablets (as with many notebooks in general today) have very high-res screens, making fonts and other screen elements tiny. A lot more information fits on the screen, for sure, but if your eyes are getting older like mine, it gets a bit tiring.

It's amazing, though, how much notebook you can get for $899.99. From what I can see, this unit sacrifices little, and would excel at the typical Tablet functions. Maybe a little more RAM would be nice, but all in all, a good looking machine.
Hat tip to Instapundit, here's a nice bit of writing about, well, writing. I'll study it, because I fear I'm guilty.
Ayn Rand said that emotions result from our most basic (and subconsciously integrated) philosophical premises. I agree with this, and believe that this sort of research inverses cause and effect. In fact, I'd say it proves Rand correct, if one looks at it from this perspective:

Your subconscious is like a computer—more complex a computer than men can build—and its main function is the integration of your ideas. Who programs it? Your conscious mind. If you default, if you don't reach any firm convictions, your subconscious is programmed by chance—and you deliver yourself into the power of ideas you do not know you have accepted. But one way or the other, your computer gives you print-outs, daily and hourly, in the form of emotions—which are lightning-like estimates of the things around you, calculated according to your values. If you programmed your computer by conscious thinking, you know the nature of your values and emotions. If you didn't, you don't. - The Ayn Rand Letter Vol. III, No. 7, December 31, 1973.
Who ever said class warfare was over? Not me. In this plan, Obama must hope to sink both the economy and the healthcare system at the same time.
The devil we know...
This is interesting, but rejecting Kyoto was one of the only things I liked about Bush. I guess I was wrong, too.*

*Actually, that's not entirely true. I knew that Bush couldn't have immediately rejected the Kyoto Treaty, which was created in 1997. I've been under the impression, though, that Bush continues to reject it. That assumption is what I might really be wrong about.
Silly Boing Boint: music tracks without DRM sell for more than music tracks with DRM because there's a (I'd say, entirely valid) presumption that the non-DRM tracks will be pirated. Something must be done to mitigate the subsequent loss of revenues.

It's not, as you say here, because a track with DRM is somehow intrinsically less valuable. Yeesh.
Here, Daniel Pipes gives a fascinating account of a book detailing how the Soviets brought about Israel's "Six Day War" as an intended prelude to a Soviet attack. Titled Foxbats Over Dimona, this sounds like a fascinating story about how the Soviets were guilty of the sorts of geopolitical shenanigans that the Left likes to pin exclusively on the US.
Of all the arguments against intellectual property, the idea that they hamper "innovation" seems the most odd. Since patents and copyright protect original works, and innovation means to create something new, then it would seem that protecting intellectual property results in more new things, not less. After all, if one wants to avoid patent and copyright infringement, then one necessarily needs to create something original.

I hesitate to discuss this, because it might seem like I'm considering something other than a purely individual rights-based argument for protecting intellectual property. I'm not. Property of both a material and intellectual property should be protected because such property represents human effort, physical and intellectual, and every individual has the right to benefit from his efforts according to his own standards.

Other arguments, though, like the one referenced above, are social arguments that place the good of "society" above the individual. Because "society" is a nebulous term disconnected from any real entity, the supposed goods are also nebulous--applying to everyone and no one at the same time. In this case, it's "innovation," which as to be expected is a meaningless phrase that means the opposite of its intended definition.

It's not "innovation" that the argument refers to, in the sense of the on-going creation of new inventions and works, but rather the widespread adoption of them. Microsoft is wrong to assert its patents, the argument would go, not because the patents stop Linux developers from creating something "new." They don't, of course; the patents only stop developers from utilizing already patented technologies in their works--which thus requires new, truly innovate means to accomplish something.

Rather, according to the argument, Microsoft is wrong to assert its patents because doing so hampers the wider adoption of some technology. That's the crux of the argument, which is a variant of the idea that "information wants to be free." By limiting the adoption of a work to dissemination by a single entity, a patent presumably makes the work available to a smaller subset of the population--hence, its adoption is hampered.

However, it's not actually true that a patent makes a technology less available. Instead, it makes a technology only available from the patent holder. Even by the standard of "society," patents are harmless, unless one abandons the very notion of property. From a societal standpoint, certainly, an individual's possession of a piece of property necessarily limits its utility for everyone else. However, only in collectivist command economies is this a negative. In free societies, one doesn't expect to control someone else property--unless, of course, as in the "innovation" argument, one is speaking of intellectual property.

Microsoft has products for sale utilizing technologies that are covered under its patents. One has easy access to those technologies--one merely needs to purchase the relevant products. The only ones to complain at this arrangement are Linux and other developers who desire to use the technologies in their own products and consumers who want the technologies for free. Neither are legitimate concerns in a society that protects the rights of the individual.
As a Tablet PC user, I also find this quite interesting.
Fujitsu makes good stuff. Soon, we'll roll up our PC's and put them in our pockets.
Here's Cox and Forkum's take on Chavez and the Venezuelan TV station. As usual, they're right on target.
And anyone who believes the cost would be a mere $50 billion/year is 1) naive and 2) missing the more subtle point that, if the total cost of the "ravages of global warming" is a scant $50 billion, then it's hardly worth worrying about. Of course, were America to give in to this sort of extortion, which would be bad enough, we'd find the cost to be much higher--up to and including the eventual destruction of the American economy.

Which is, of course, the Left's ultimate objective.
Little Green Footballs provide some information on Google's response to the ongoing Memorial Day kerfuffle. Looks like it's the same response they've been giving for years, meaning that ultimately they really don't intend to do anything about it. The gist of their response, which is that they can't think of how to avoid their usual "lightheartedness" is disingenuous at best. I'm sure they could come up with something.
I mentioned in another post how politicized is the entire issue of global warming (science or the lack thereof aside). This should put the matter to rest.
Outside of the increasingly hackneyed "hack" moniker, this is a great story about how technology can overcome even physical afflictions.
I couldn't care less whether one or more of the Teletubbies are gay. It's the fact that they're incomprehensible--and sort of creepy--that matters to me.
Individuals are responsible for their actions. This includes being responsible for whatever might influence those actions, be it drugs, corruption, or video games. And so, the question of whether or not video games "cause" certain actions is irrelevant--it's not the video game's fault in any case, it's the individual's who chose to play the game.
I'm assuming that our military is doing the same sort of thing, and that we're protecting against such attacks. Cyberwarfare, for all of its cyberpunk sci fi connotations, is a very real threat, as demonstrated by Russia's attack against Estonia's Internet infrastructure.
China sentences corrupt FDA director to death. "Unusually harsh," the story says.
Once again, I have to ask: why does Russia assume the European missile shield is a defense against them? Maybe because they know it should be?
The one time I see Boing Boing publish something that's anti-Left (in this case, Chavez's closing of a Venezualan TV station), they recant and subsequently post 1o times as much material in support of the notion that it wasn't really a bad thing to do, after all.

Update: This is causing some conflict among the Boing Boing faithful. I'm not sure they know what to think.
My question is, why would anyone invest in Russian enterprises? How confident can one be that an investment won't simply fund a Russian company's eventual nationalizaton? Ask Shell and British Petroleum how well their Russian investments are going.

*Note: The larger question of whether or not Western companies should be investing in potential enemies such as Russia and China is a larger question, and isn't discussed here.
I've always suspected there was a reason why I haven't been watching Lost. Edward Cline, author of the Sparrowhawk series, sums it up nicely, and echoes my thoughts while watching the first few episodes. Heroes isn't a perfect show, philosophically, but the first season did have a storyline that one was compelled to watch simply because one assumed (rightfully so, I think) that it was leading somewhere--and, one wanted to know where.
It looks like the Left has lost its darling, Cindy Sheehan. And it sounds like she's a little bitter.