"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

"It was such a lovely day I thought it a pity to get up." - W. Somerset Maugham

Random Playlist Song: Westminster Cathedral Choir - Holst - Nunc dimittis H127

***

The furore on the ST's SPG article is dying down, but a few thoughts in closing:

People are slamming the ST, but to be fair to them, their coverage was quite neutral and balanced. Though the fact that they bothered to do such an article in the first place might tell you something.

There also seems to be an unnecessary conflation between the gahmen and the ST here. Given the lack of a moralistic and preachy tone, and the article's generally objective voice (as much as can be concluded from such a short tract), driving up circulation and/or one-upping The New Paper and friends (so much for being part of the same holding company) were much stronger motivations than beating the drum of morality.

***

They were advertising a CD, "The Best of 2005", on TV, and Gunther's Ding Dong Song was featured. However, the video clip they played for the song was of a chimpanzee.

Brings a whole new meaning to the line: Oh, you touch my tralala...


My sister reports:

"there is a dunkin donuts at the airport in JB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
donuts are RM1.80 each.
yet another reason to go to malaysia"


How come Ma-laysia gets all the good stuff?!

***

5) "Dell - Software Support or Extortion?"

Reader Henry S. Winokur forwarded this note, which was passed along
from person to person, apparently originating from one Art Wolinsky:

My Dell laptop came configured with Dell Support loading on the tray. (It's about 6 months old.) From time to time a bubble pops up with an alert. Normally I just click them closed without reading them. For some reason, I looked at today's alert. It informed me that on June 3, they will AUTOMATICALLY install Dell Support 3.0 on my computer and that the new software will monitor my system and send updates back to Dell to insure that my software is running properly. It further explained that if I did not want Dell Support 3.0 installed on my computer, I would have to remove Dell Support via the Add/Remove Programs menu.

I have enough loaded on my tray already, and I just upgraded memory to improve performance. No way do I want this software on my computer. No problem... I'll go uninstall it. The only problem is that it will not uninstall.

OK, let's call Dell tech support. After a 20 minute wait and another 15-20 minutes of unsuccessful attempts. I am transferred to the software division. After explaining my problem the "non-technical advisor" she begins advising me of the three different payment options I have for resolving my problem.

Wait a minute... Let me see if I have this right. You installed Dell Support on my computer and then tell me that if I don't want the upgrade, I'm going to have to pay you help me get off what you put on?

After some discussion, it is absolutely clear that is the case with "no exceptions". Any software support I need, no matter what the nature of that support, I am going to have to pay for.

I would have absolutely no problem paying for support on any software that I have installed or modified, but to me this amounts to either extortion or a support system that needs to be fixed. If the system is so inflexible that people that I spoke with have their hand tied and can't rectify this obvious inequity, something is wrong.

Now besides this issue, I have a problem if the only way people are being notified about this upgrade is thorough the alert bubble. If I understand things correctly, Dell Support 3.0 is significantly different from what is currently installed. It would see to me that changes significantly increase the intrusion into my computer. Shouldn't I be notified in some other way than an alert bubble. If an e- mail was sent out on this, I have either not received it or my spam filter ate it.

Am I being unreasonable to expect Dell to assist me in removing the software? ---Art Wolinsky


***

While CY spots Pacnet's interesting employment declaration, in relation to point 1: "I am not a member of or associated with the Communist Party or fascists organisation", Benito points out:

"How do you tell whether someone is fascist or not, anyway?

Salient features of fascism:

1. political dictatorship / despotism

2. all-pervasive and intrusive police state

3. extreme state-directed capitalism, i.e. an economy and industry dominated by state-controlled companies and state control

4. military dominance in public and private life - e.g. military officers holding high positions in politics and industry, conscription, maintaining large sections of the population under arms, etc.

That all seems quite familiar somehow…"


The political aspects of fascism have been done to death, so here's a look at the economic aspect: Fascism, by Sheldon Richman. The salient bits follow.

"Fascism affirms the State as the true reality of the individual"... This collectivism is captured in the word fascism, which comes from the Latin fasces, meaning a bundle of rods with an axe in it. In economics, fascism was seen as a third way between laissez-faire capitalism and communism. Fascist thought acknowledged the roles of private property and the profit motive as legitimate incentives for productivity—provided that they did not conflict with the interests of the state.

... Mussolini's fascism took another step at this time with the advent of the Corporative State, a supposedly pragmatic arrangement under which economic decisions were made by councils composed of workers and employers who represented trades and industries. By this device the presumed economic rivalry between employers and employees was to be resolved, preventing the class struggle from undermining the national struggle. In the Corporative State, for example, strikes would be illegal and labor disputes would be mediated by a state agency.

Theoretically, the fascist economy was to be guided by a complex network of employer, worker, and jointly run organizations representing crafts and industries at the local, provincial, and national levels. At the summit of this network was the National Council of Corporations. But although syndicalism and corporativism had a place in fascist ideology and were critical to building a consensus in support of the regime, the council did little to steer the economy. The real decisions were made by state agencies such as the Institute for Industrial Reconstruction (Istituto per la Ricosstruzione Industriale, or IRI), mediating among interest groups."

***

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz - Mosquito swatting!
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