Your death panel login has expired

Who knew? The 800-lb gorilla wants to be in charge of the delicate matter of computer health:

Microsoft is calling for infected PCs to be quarantined from the internet, with access denied unless they can produce a ‘health certificate’.

In a position paper published this week, Scott Charney, the company’s corporate vice president for trustworthy computing, argues that the world needs a common health policy that would prevent malware-infected machines from connecting to the internet.

“This approach involves implementing a global collective defense of internet health much like what we see in place today in the world of public health,” he explains.

I dunno. I’m more of a Darwinian in this matter: after your third $175 trip to Best Buy to fumigate your $400 PC because you clicked on some stupid-ass link, or some link sent you by a stupid ass, there’s at least a small chance that you’ll realize that you’re just not suited for this environment, and you can crawl back onto the sofa with the remote control and veg out in peace.

The usual “Buy a Mac” crowd will refrain from chiming in here, because they don’t want you either.

(Via SteveF at Daily Pundit, who observes: “It’s pretty rich for near-monopoly purveyors of crap to blame users for having crap.”)

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I’m assuming it’s windy out: Andrew Ian Dodge is offering a Gale Carnival of the Vanities this week, the 394th in the series.

Then again, who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I. I, however, will toss up something you can see: this vintage (not sure of the year) semi-glam shot of Gale Sondergaard, who was tested for the role of the Wicked Witch of the West in MGM’s The Wizard of Oz, but decided not to take it, reportedly because she feared the makeup it would take to make her hideous on screen might actually make her hideous in real life. Margaret Hamilton wound up with the role of a lifetime, but Sondergaard managed to keep looking like this for a while:

Gale Sondergaard by the pool

To make this fit both the template and the post conceit, this photo has been resized to a width of 394 pixels. (Click to embiggen, though it’s still none too huge.)

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The horror of a #2 finish

David Fleming, in ESPN The Magazine, on the last thing an athlete ever wants to happen:

The ability to deflect signals from the brain that say, “We’re tired, this is dangerous, we should stop,” is a common trait among elite athletes. In a rather cruel twist of fate, though, that same quality also makes them more susceptible to crapping their pants. Jocks are taught to ignore pain and fight through fatigue, and they often mistake the rectum’s initial accommodation response as a sign of total control over the area.

On the other hand, when you gotta go … well, you know the rest.

(Via TrueHoop.)

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We don’t like your password, boy

I suspect that if my bank made me jump through these hoops on a regular basis, I’d probably react similarly:

Each month I had to take additional steps to confirm my identity. A process that included:

  1. An attempt to log in.
  2. A request for a “one-time” security code.
  3. Checking my e-mail.
  4. Obtaining my code.
  5. A second attempt to log in with the security code.
  6. Finally, logging in.
  7. Changing my password.

At one point, he said something not particularly unprintable, and decided to use that something for his new password. For some mysterious reason, this did not improve the operation of the user interface.

Although I suspect the bank would never have noticed it had he rendered it in 1337-speak: “PhU(|<(|-|4$3666.”

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Pop goes tuition

Jenn questions that whole Higher Education Bubble business promoted by the Instant Man and others for the last couple of months:

It’s true that education costs are rising much faster than the rate of inflation, much like housing prices a couple years ago, but from what I have seen the increase in cost is mainly at private schools — both the “elite” Ivy League schools, and at schools like the University of Phoenix.

The Ivy degree, she says, is valuable mostly for access:

With Harvard or Yale on your diploma you are essentially guaranteed access to jobs in the upper levels of government or access to those who take them. That is a valuable commodity and will always be so.

Then again, there are gatekeepers way down here in the Real World too:

The for-profit schools … also provide access, but of a much different sort. They just get you past the idiot HR people, if you are lucky. Their cost is rising because a college degree has become a screening tool for almost every job and there is no access to the state run university systems for most of the people who attend these schools. The managers at these schools have recognized this and are churning out graduates in a very small number of fields very quickly … Unfortunately the market has now been flooded with marginally qualified graduates of courses in Business Administration or Information Services.

And market imbalances tend to be self-correcting in time. Meanwhile, your best buy might well be Obscure State University.

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Rack and opinion

Having fulfilled my pledge to the Boobie-Thon, I was definitely in the mood for something like this:

All good conservatives know that unlike GM and Chrysler, Ford declined the government tit. They were also the only one of the Big Three that made significant profit, even though they declined the money Obama was handing out.

Which is not to say they are anti-tit. In fact, Ford Motor Company is very much pro-tit.

Evidence of same.

(Tweeted by Robert Stacy McCain.)

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Used-car appreciation

A brand-new car loses somewhere around 20 percent of its value the moment it’s driven off the lot with a new title, and unless somewhere down the line it’s deemed “collectible,” the value will continue to dwindle to essentially nothing.

Except this year:

I posted earlier about how Cash-for-Clunkers, by driving up the values of used cars, would hit Rhode Islanders because Rhode Island municipalities tax car ownership based on the Blue Book value at December 31 of the prior year.

We just received our tax bill for this fiscal year, and three of our four cars rose in value for tax purposes, even though the cars are a year older.

Rather a lot, in the case of one of them:

The largest percentage gain was in a 2000 Honda Odyssey with over 200,000 miles on it, which is on death watch. The value rose from $2,800 to $3,849, costing us an extra $44.12.

Geez. I wonder if my car (just as old, but not quite so used) is worth 37 percent more than it was last year. Since I didn’t actually check it last year, though, I can’t really run a comparison. (Still, $5,840 seems a bit high, even allowing for condition, which is, as the record-raters say, mint-minus to VG+.)

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Full stop, hey, what’s that sound

The blog query of the ages:

[A]re there any rules around how to hyperlink a sentence? For the last 11 years, I have always wondered if I should treat the hyperlink like a parenthesis. What I mean is, do I include the period in the hyperlink or should I place it outside of the hyperlink? I have no clue.

My thinking — my actual implementation is something else entirely — is that if the hyperlink is a complete sentence, or if it completes a sentence, the period goes with it.

Where I run into trouble is the Fark Blurb of the Week. Fark headlines don’t end with periods. After agonizing over this for entirely too long, I decided to end the link where it’s supposed to end, and hang a period off the edge to create the illusion of an Actual Sentence.

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She’s had a sandwich or two

Kate Winslet, who turned 35 this week, is the antithesis of the waif. The picture is okay, but the quotation is choice:

Kate Winslet in some UK fashion mag

Which reminds me of when Kate Moss was pregnant, and Jay Leno snarked: “Of course, now she’s eating for one.

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Potential observed

Which is the whole point of the NBA preseason: to see who’s going to be in the rotation, and who’s hungry enough to fight for minutes. The score — Thunder 97, Bobcats 93 — is almost irrelevant, unless perhaps you’re Jeff Green, in which case thank you for 25 of those Thunder points, or Serge Ibaka, in which case you got your first-ever NBA start (at center, both Nenad Krstić and Nick Collison being unwell) and a double-double in so doing.

What will matter to Scott Brooks, I suspect, is the fact that Charlotte failed to come up with a field goal in the last half of the fourth quarter, which means that the second (and third) units put up some decent defense. Although I expect what he’ll talk about at practice was how the ‘Cats erased a 12-point OKC lead in the third quarter.

Next outing is Friday against Miami at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, which will be the only Thunder preseason game on television. Imagine that.

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Advice to the reader

“Always,” says Donna B., “read the Amazon reviews.” If she had, she’d have been spared this experience:

The book I bought — Intervention [by Robin Cook] — garnered 62 (out of 99 total) 1 star reviews. At least one of those reviewers said it got one star because Amazon doesn’t allow zero stars. Several reviewers echoed my thought exactly: The worst book I’ve ever read.

It occurs to me that had every other reviewer given the book five stars, the overall average would be only about two and a half.

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They’ll never figure this one out

It’s long been my experience that the supposedly “child-safe” medicine bottle it takes me two or three minutes merely to comprehend, a toddler can crack open in seconds.

Da Techguy points out that this applies to areas other than mere medicines:

When my youngest was about 3 he had an annoying habit of crawling out his bedroom window and onto the roof.

We tried taping the windows, locking the windows etc. Nothing worked. Finally we had a window company come in. They brought in a window and set it up in the Kitchen, and said it was “full of wonderful safety features that children wouldn’t be able to circumvent.”

If you have kids of your own, your immediate thought is probably “Hah!” And, of course, you are correct.

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Original Blogsta

Dynamo Dave Sherman celebrates ten years of bloggage, almost all of which I have read, even the stuff about me when I wended my way to Great Falls during World Tour ’04.

Geez, that’s a long time.

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It’s a car, dammit

The Swagger Wagon, it ain’t.

(Via TTAC.)

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And the doctor said “Don’t do that”

Robert Stacy McCain has a whole article on What Not To Do if you have a blog, and at least in one area, I meet his standard:

Never assume that whatever it is you’re writing about is so damned important that people have no choice but to read it.

I don’t think this has ever been an issue around these parts.

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The left stuff

KingShamus argues (over at Juliette’s) that Robert Gibbs’ most relevant qualification for head of the Democratic National Committee is that he’s never done anything like that before:

You gotta wonder what Bob Gibbs has done that makes anybody think he’s ready to shake down Democrat-leaning donors for big money donations. I had no idea making unfunny patronizing digs at members of the White House press corps could snag you an executive job at one of the two major US political parties. Unless looking and acting like your least favorite high school algebra teacher is somehow a prerequisite for the job, homeboy really doesn’t have much going for him.

Then again, he’s the New Guy, and Democrats, KS asserts, are obsessed with the New Guy:

There were probably more qualified candidates running for the Democrat Party presidential nomination of 1960. Somehow the Democrats managed to nominate a noob Senator named John Kennedy. Nearly any Democrat could’ve been CEO of America in the 1976 election. Who did the Dems pick? A relative unknown southern dude named Jimmy Carter. Before being the mack daddy of the Oval Office Intern Bang Competition, Bill Clinton was ‘The Man From Hope’, a charismatic Baby Boomer governor who hadn’t made a name for himself outside of the parochial world of Arkansas politics.

This isn’t, of course, the way the GOP does it:

This is all about entitlement, and the “we did our grunt work, we served our time in the field, now reward us” nonsense that keeps getting damaged Republican candidates their party’s nominations, because “it’s his turn” and “his guys” have taken control of the party’s city, county, and state operations center.

On balance, this may be an advantage to the Democrats, on the off-chance that New Kid on the Block actually hangs tough — or at least that he doesn’t have a paper trail. (In the case of the latter, see Obama, Barack H. If you can.)

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