Essentials to make Windows almost bareable

Okay, so I hate working in Windows, but on my employer’s equipment at least, I must live with it. After having had this machine replaced twice (faulty Dell hardware) and rebuilt more times than I can remember (Windows BSODs), for a total of at least 3 system migrations this past year, I thought I’d better keep a list of what free software to install on top of Windows, and what adjustments to make, so that at least I don’t feel like I’m wearing a straight jacket. Here goes:

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Can’t trust the papers…

Why does “mainstream media” think blogging is such a huge hit? It’s not that Internet is immediate, or that anyone can do it (which has big down-sides as well as it’s egalitarian advantages). It is simply that people everywhere are fed-up with WWII-era propagandists telling us what to believe and have started researching it for themselves.

This is the Information Revolution: the Revolution is greatly improved access to the information. People are more educated now than they were 50 or even 20 years ago and can make informed judgements. They don’t need some “journalist” to do it for them. This is quite appart form the fact that today’s journalism is extremely poor compared to yester-year’s.

I don’t buy papers because I know that I can’t trust them to bring me news in an unbiased, non-politically or commercially influenced fashion, or full of Tabloid rubbish like British newspapers. I accept the risk that the news I learn via the Net can be from the “uninformed” masses and mitigate this by using many sources so I can judge for myself where the “truth” may lay.

I won’t even read over people’s shoulders anymore.

For at least the last 10 years, newspapers have been good for only one thing: the ink used in newspaper presses is fantastic for removing streaks and smudges from my computer monitor!

RIAA verses the world, and a return to Music Guilds?

Seems that RIAA are intent on sueing more 12-year old girls for sharing music… it sickens me.

I am not sure what to do to protest (beyond what seems to be happening already — consumers aren’t buying today’s crap, and RIAA/ARIA/MPAA etc are just blaming it on the Net anyway). I am considering what would happen if lots of fans started writing directly to their favourite artists and asking them these questions:

  • why do you have this deal with your distributor EMI? I can’t play your music, so I will not buy from them, even though I love your group.
  • why don’t you consider putting sample tracks on your web site? For that matter, why don’t you deal directly with Apple, or start your own pay-per-download site for your songs? I’m sure heaps of fans like me will buy them, and you could get a much larger cut per track than Warner Bros is giving you

Of course, there are costs to running a web site also. But I wonder if what may happen eventually is a return to music guilds, where a guild runs the site, member groups contribute content and all proffit goes to the members. It would probably be a good business to start, atracting new groups like the “Idol” TV shows do now. Shame I have hopeless business sense though.