Wanted: Cheap Standard Keyboard in White

This product is annoyingly hard to find.  I just want this keyboard but in a light color.  It costs $7, has a wired USB connection, and has a standard key layout, which is to say, single-height Enter key, double-wide Backspace key, 1.5-wide backslash key, inverted-T layout for arrow keys, and 3x2 horizontal layout for the Insert/Home/etc keys.  Why the frig did Logitech have to mess with a perfectly good layout and introduce all these stupid "hip" key rearrangements which everyone else then copied??

Posted by Anthony on reply

TurboTax Community

The only thing that made doing my taxes even slightly bearable was the comments from the TurboTax community that pop up on the side of each page.  Here are some of my favorites:

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The whole "online" concept just doesn’t work for some people.

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I’d actually like to know the answer to this one because, frankly, I have no idea how my yax have to be paid back.

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Posted by Anthony on 1 reply

Good Guy Rescued, Bad Guys Killed

Quoting Fox News:

American sea Captain Richard Phillips was safely rescued Sunday from four Somali pirates

That’s great news.

Quoting Fox News:

Three of the pirates were killed and one was in custody after what appeared to be a swift firefight off the Somali coast

And that’s about the best outcome we could have hoped for.  The reason these pirates have been attacking more and more frequently is partly because it’s extremely profitable -- to the tune of $50 million last year alone -- but mainly because there’s been virtually no risk in it for them.  Significantly increasing the risk/reward ratio is the only way to curb the attacks.

But the obvious question is: what is wrong with all these companies that they’re sending ships with millions of dollars worth of cargo through these pirate-infested corridors without any security on board?  Perhaps that’s somewhat defensible when ships are not being regularly attacked by pirates, but surely after the first or second or TWENTIETH attack, these companies would wise up and put a couple of armed security guards on each ship?

Posted by Anthony on reply

Roger Ebert, Liar

Quoting Roger Ebert:

Dear Bill: Thanks for including the Chicago Sun-Times on your exclusive list of newspapers on your "Hall of Shame."  To be in an O’Reilly Hall of Fame would be a cruel blow to any newspaper.  It would place us in the favor of a man who turns red and starts screaming when anyone disagrees with him.

Bill put the Sun-Times in his Hall of Shame for regularly publishing false and defamatory information.  Roger Ebert, in response, published a false and defamatory statement about Bill.

Bill’s show, The O’Reilly Factor, is on TV for an hour every weeknight and has been for over 10 years.  I watch it almost every night, so I know that Bill loses his temper only a few times per year, despite the fact that guests disagree with him every night.  The standard liberal line about O’Reilly, which Roger Ebert mindlessly repeated, is a flat-out lie.

Posted by Anthony on reply


Quoting Politico:

After promising to "push the reset button" on relations with Moscow, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton planned to present Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a light-hearted gift at their talks here Friday night  [...]  She handed him a palm-sized box wrapped with a bow.  Lavrov opened it and pulled out the gift -- a red plastic button on a black base with a Russian word "peregruzka" printed on top.

"We worked hard to get the right Russian word.  Do you think we got it?" Clinton said as reporters, allowed in to observe the first few minutes of the meeting, watched.

"You got it wrong," Lavrov said, to Clinton’s clear surprise.  Instead of "reset," he said the word on the box meant "overcharge."

So far this administration has been a non-stop blunderfest.  I wonder how long it’s going to take for people’s slobbering infatuation with Obama to fade, so they can start seeing him for what he really is: just a regular politician, and not even a particularly good one.

I miss W.

Posted by Anthony on reply

More "Stimulus" Stupidity

Just before making his stupid "website number" remark, Joe Biden said something that might be even more comical -- if it weren’t so sad and pathetic.  In response to a woman who asked how the stimulus would help small businesses, Biden said this:

Quoting Joe Biden:

For example, it may very well be that she’s in a circumstance where she is not able, her customers aren’t able to get to her, there’s no transit capability, the bridge going across the creek to get to her business needs repair...

It’s hard to imagine a better way to prove that you’re out of touch with normal Americans than by honestly suggesting that you’ll help their small businesses -- which are in many ways the lifeblood of the country -- by fixing the bridge that goes over the creek on the way to the business.

Of course the truth is that there’s virtually nothing in the "stimulus" bill that will help small businesses.  The truth is that I will continue to pay a ~$5000 per year penalty, primarily in the form of extra Social Security taxes, as punishment for owning a small business.

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply

Website Number

Joe Biden forgets the "website number" for... recovery.gov.  And this is the guy overseeing the stimulus implementation...

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply


This is on a small humidifier we have:

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Right... so how DO you clean it?

Posted by Anthony on reply

Hating Israel

The headline is "Israel Rejects Cease-Fire" when Israel is the dissenter; but when it’s Hamas, the headline is "Hamas Says It Will Fight On."

When Israel targets enemy soldiers and it results in accidental civilian casualties, the Israelis are called "war criminals".  But when Palestinians deliberately kills civilians -- when their publicly stated goal is the death of every Jew -- the Palestinians are given a free pass.

Defeating the Nazis was so much more straightforward when they were concentrated in a single country, rather than spread across the world’s major news media companies.

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply


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This is a sign that one passes on the way from State College to Pittsburgh.  Every time I pass it, I have to fight to resist the urge to drive off the highway and run it over, for using the wrong slash and doing it in such a large typeface.

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies

The Social Security Scheme

Quoting Paul Mulshine:

Madoff [with his Ponzi scheme] at least made an attempt to invest the money he got from early investors to give them the returns he promised. [...] The federal government, on the other hand, never tried to make the Social Security system work. The feds didn’t invest the money in the market. They took the money that we gave them and lent it to themselves, promising themselves interest. To be paid by themselves. [...] This scheme is even more crooked than Madoff’s.

Indeed.  Maybe we can arrange to have them manage our health care, too.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Gay groups angry at Pope remarks, make up stupid crap in response

Quoting some nut:

I’m someone who was born as male and has a spiritual and female soul, and it’s contradictory that a Pope just thinks of people just made as flesh and not made of a spiritual aspect.

And I’m sure he failed to see the irony in using the word "contradictory" in the middle of that statement.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Alarmist Headline of the Day: "Chrysler shuts down all production"

The fine print: "for [...] a month."

The finer-print: "The company ordinarily shuts down operations between Dec. 24 and Jan. 5. This closure would add roughly two weeks to that shutdown."

This stupidity brought to you by CNN Money.

Posted by Anthony on reply


From Modern Marvels:

When the 9-1-1 system was originally introduced, it was promoted as "Nine-Eleven" service.  After some panicked callers tried to find the "eleven" key on their telephones, it was changed to "Nine-One-One."

Posted by Anthony on reply

Bailout Bonanza, Continued

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Washington Post Admits Bias for Obama

After two years of this, the truth finally comes out -- after their cheerleading has helped get Obama elected.  The timing is so convenient.

Translation: I can haz credibility back nao?  kthxbye

Posted by Anthony on reply

Beauty Queen Skips Out On Restaurant Bill

Dumb: leaving a restaurant without paying the bill

Dumber: forgetting your purse in the restaurant and going back for it

Brain donor: getting arrested because (of course) you’re a pothead and there’s pot in your purse


Posted by Anthony on reply

Fuel Economy

Am I the only one who’s disgusted by these car commercials touting "28 MPG" and "30 MPG" cars?  My 2000 VW Golf has been getting 28 miles per gallon FOR THE PAST 9 YEARS.  A cynical person might think that fuel economy doesn’t matter one bit to the car companies.

It seems absurd to tag this post as "Tech" when the "technology" involved doesn’t seem to have progressed at all in the past decade.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Connecticut Supreme Court Legalizes Same-sex Marriage

In other news, white people are now legally allowed to be black.  Also, dogs to be considered cats for legal purposes.  "The dictionary" has renamed itself to "whatevs".

Posted by Anthony on reply

Man gets Windows Vista to work with printer

When I first saw this headline, I thought it was saying that the guy got Vista to run ON the printer, like, in the printer’s firmware.  Ridiculous, yes, but interesting.

But no, it’s nothing that exotic; it’s actually a story about how a guy was able to print stuff from Windows Vista.  It’s... touching.  Inspirational, really.  I mean, being able to print, from your computer, to your printer... welcome to the future.

Posted by Anthony on reply

PA Smoking Ban Will Finally Become Law

Pennsylvania will soon finally join the rest of the northeast, the majority of the US, and many of the world’s nations by adopting a public smoking ban.  After a committee last week produced a bill and the House passed it, the Senate today also passed it.  It will become law 90 days from the date that Governor Ed Rendell signs it, which he has said that he plans to do quickly.

You can read the ridiculous smoking ban timeline that the PA legislature has traveled over the past year or so.

The public smoking ban will have the following exemptions:

- up to 25 percent of the rooms in hotels

- designated outdoor smoking areas at sports or recreation facilities, theaters, etc

- bars whose annual food sales are 20% or less

- cigar bars

- tobacco shops

- private clubs

- up to 50 percent of casino gaming halls

- long-term care facilities

- private homes, residences and vehicles unless they are used for child-care, rehab, or mental health services

You’d be forgiven for thinking that, with such a list of exemptions, this bill resembles swiss cheese more than a smoking ban.  And in fact, part of the bill is that Philadelphia’s existing, stronger smoking ban will still stand.  But this is still a huge step in the right direction for PA, and in my case for instance, only the hotel and arena/theater exemptions will affect me, and then only rarely.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Perhaps the Dumbest Thing Written in 2008

This is so dumb as to be almost unbelievable; he’s got to be kidding, right?

Quoting Ben Charny:

Just how will Apple meet expectations? Using the patent application as a guide, Apple appears to be making room on the iPhone for flash memory, which means an end to Apple’s standoff with Adobe (ADBE) that’s kept iPhones from easily viewing a plethora of [Flash-based] Internet videos.

So let me get this straight.  Dow Jones actually pays Ben Charny to write about technology, yet Charny doesn’t understand that flash memory chips are not the same thing as Adobe’s Flash software platform?

This has to be a joke.  No technology writer can really be that clueless.  It’s like telling someone -- with a straight face -- that if they upgrade their car’s old and busted brakes to the new anti-lock brakes, then they’ll never have to worry about locking their keys in their car again.  "See?  It’s got anti-lock!"

Posted by Anthony on reply


Here’s something funny from last week’s episode of Security Now, from a listener who wrote in to the show about his dying hard drive:

Quoting Steve Gibson:

A listener by the name of Alex Walters wrote, and he said, ... "A little while back, [my hard drive] started to give me the dreaded ’Backup your data now’ error."  Now, he says, "I’m not a dumb person, but I hadn’t backed up my data on that drive in some seven and a half years.  I was quite interested in backing up that data."

Of course, it IS extremely dumb to not backup your data for seven years.

There’s a saying among computer people that "a file doesn’t exist until it exists in two places."  That’s because all drives are guaranteed to fail; the only question is when.  Most drives have warranties in the 1-5 year range, so that gives you some idea of how long the manufacturers expect them to last.

The bottom line is that if you’re not backing up your data, you’re essentially saying "my data is worthless to me."  In Alex Walters’ case, he was eventually able to recover the data for a mere $89 using SpinRite, but that’s not always possible.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Progress on the PA Smoking Ban

Today, the House-Senate conference committee finally approved a compromise version of a public smoking ban for Pennsylvania.  In order to become law, it must be approved by the full House and Senate -- which could happen as early as next week -- and by governor Ed Rendell, who has stated that he’ll support this version of the ban.

This is a good step forward and if it becomes law, it’ll be a huge improvement over the current situation.  However, the ban does contain a bunch of exemptions, allowing smoking in certain places, such as bars that make less than 20% of their revenue from food, and up to 25% of rooms in hotels.

This ban allows Philadelphia’s current ban to stand, but does not allow any other local bans to come into effect.  This has some people upset:

"You’re saying to the people of Allegheny County and city of Scranton, go to hell," said [Senate Minority Leader Robert Mellow], who cast the lone dissenting vote.

I agree with Mellow.  However, it’s clear that this legislature has neither the brains nor the guts to enact a real ban, so for now we’ll have to take what we can get.  But this isn’t over, and I suspect that reason and health will prevail in the long run.

About half of the states in the US, as well as many countries around the world, have smoking bans now.  But in some cases, I think it’s going to take a generational turnover to purge those politicians who are in the pockets of the scumbags running the tobacco companies.

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply

Pennsylvania Smoking Ban, Continued

Pennsylvania has been dubbed "the ashtray of the northeast" because it is the only state in the region without a public smoking ban.

There is no debate in the scientific and medical communities: secondhand smoke kills Americans by the tens of thousands every year.

And the people of Pennsylvanian overwhelmingly support a public smoking ban.

The only debate is in the Pennsylvania legislature, where our lawmakers continue to stall on the smoking ban, ignoring the scientific and medical evidence, and violating the will of the people.

Why?  Because Pennsylvania lawmakers are corrupt.  They are bending to the lobbying from the tobacco industry, and are unwilling to damage the tax revenue stream they receive from tobacco sales.  Ostensibly they are trying to protect businesses who claim they’ll be hurt by the smoking ban, but that’s a lie because all evidence shows that smoking bans do not hurt businesses.

To be fair, I should say that I have no proof of this corruption, and there is one other possible explanation: that PA lawmakers are incredibly, mind-numbingly incompetent.  But when you ignore the will of the people, ignore the scientific and medical evidence, when all the other states in your neighborhood are on board, and when the only group on your side is the tobacco industry itself, well, that sure smells like corruption.

Here is a timeline including the many delays that our lawmakers have caused so far by failing to act on the public smoking ban:

1993-2006: PA Senator Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery County) introduces smoking ban bills in every legislative session, to no avail.

Summer of 2007: there was supposed to be a vote on the ban, but it was pushed back to September.

Fall of 2007: the two chambers produced differing bills on the ban, and failed to reach a compromise on them.

April of 2008: a joint House-Senate committee was supposed to produce a compromise bill, but postponed it for a month.

April of 2008: a month later, the committee postponed their work again, for a week.

May 7, 2008: a week later, the committee again postponed their work.

Quoting The York Daily Record:

A vote on compromise legislation that would ban smoking in most indoor places was postponed again.  A meeting of the joint House-Senate conference committee was tentatively scheduled for Monday, according to the office of Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery.  A Wednesday meeting ended shortly after Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, R-Bucks, said he needed time to revise his proposal to incorporate concerns from the governor’s office over enforcement provisions.  McIlhinney would not talk about any other aspect of his proposal.  Some of the major issues that have divided legislators for the past year are whether to ban smoking in bars, restaurants and casinos, and whether a state law should pre-empt local smoking bans, such as the one in Philadelphia, that are stricter. (Senate Bill 246)

May 12, 2008: the committee was set to vote on a bill written by Senator Chuck McIlhinney, but failed to do so after Governor Ed Rendell threatened to veto any bill that weakened Philadelphia’s existing smoking ban.  McIlhinney is trying to paint the delay as being the fault of Rendell’s veto and/or of Philadelphia itself:

Quoting Chuck McIlhinney:

"This whole issue is coming down to Philadelphia getting its own law or not," McIlhinney, R-Bucks, said.

But the truth is that McIlhinney’s "new" bill is essentially the same as the failed bill that the Senate passed last year, and the whole issue is really coming down to the fact that what lawmakers are putting forth isn’t what the people of Pennsylvania want.

McIlhinney continues:

Quoting Chuck McIlhinney:

"If Philadelphia is allowed to have its own law, then each municipality will want its own law..."

And why is that?  Because your state-level law is shaping up to be a piece of garbage, so naturally each municipality wants to have the option of implementing a real ban, as Philadelphia has already done.

May 28, 2008: the committee is scheduled to meet next week, on June 3rd and 4th.

June 3, 2008: the committee finally produced and approved a compromise version of the smoking ban, which must now be approved by the full House and Senate.

June 4, 2008: the House approves the committee’s ban, but the Senate rejects it, thanks to Senate Democrats who are upset that the ban preempts local ordinances other than Philadelphia’s.  In theory they’re right, but in reality, 90% of Pennsylvanians currently have no smoking ban, and this bill would cover the majority of them; so the Senate should get its act together and pass this ban.  They’ve got a re-vote scheduled for June 9th.

June 9, 2008: the Senate postpones their scheduled vote.

June 10, 2008: the Senate votes to approve, so the public smoking ban will become law.

June 13, 2008: Governor Ed Rendell signs the public smoking ban into law, to take effect in 90 days.

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies
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