Monday, December 18, 2006

Spyware is Evil

My computer has started acting up a bit. About a month ago it started getting slow. In fact, as the month progressed it got slower, and slower, and slower . . . kind of like and old man on vicoden. Anyway, like any hack hacker, I started looking at my system processes.

Now, I don’t know what even half of these things do, but I’m willing to screw around with them. I’m kind of dangerous that way. My real computer guru friends all cringe, smile, and chew their tongues when I talk with them about this sort of thing.

So I started doing searches on the web for each of these processes. So far so good. Low and behold, one of the cropped up as a spyware program. I’m pretty careful, or as careful as I can be. I don’t open email with attached files that I’m not expecting, and so on. Computers have minds of their own, it seems, and mine got infected.

I found a really cool program, though. It’s called Spyware Blaster. It’s made by a company called Javacool software. They’re right. It’s cool. It doesn’t uninstall spyware, it just stops it from running. I installed it, ran it, and even set it up to automatically load when I start my computer.

My computer runs so much faster now. Amazing, isn’t it?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Iraq Report

The Iraq Study Group Report came out this morning. From what I've heard, there are no real surprises (or smoking guns) here. I've only started perusing the actual report (hat tip to the AP for the pdf link), it's 160 pages long.

The recommendation that may just be the most difficult one to deal with is the call for greater diplomatic talks with Iraq's neighbors. In times past our government has made many deals with governments that not only disagree with the ideas of democracy, but in some cases are down right evil in the way they deal with their people. In this case we've got Syria and Iran to contend with, both of which have shown that they talk out of both sides of their mouth. Iran openly hates us and calls for our destruction but then says it stands ready to help out in Iraq. I can't help thinking that it'll end up as a double cross. Worse, I suspect it's an attempt to create a stable U.S. supported government that will be another voice for the genocide of Israel. That would put the U.S. in a very difficult position, for sure.

By the way, if you don't think Iran, and the vast majority of Middle Eastern countries, wants Israel blown off the map, you really have been living with your head in the sand.

A friend of mine, who is "in the know" on such things, told me over a year ago that the problem with exporting democracy into the Middle East is that they are an essentially immature people. While I thought it was an interesting idea at the time, the more I see of what's going on, the more I understand what he was saying, and the more I think he's right. It takes a certain level of maturity to be able to assign value to other people. Children and adolescents often think only of themselves. Many care little if what they do hurts others, as long as they get what they want. What they want, sometimes, has nothing to do with reality. They just want to feel powerful.

This seems to be the same thing with the terrorist factions in Iraq, and elsewhere. They don't assign value to human beings, just because they are humans. For many of them, killing Americans, Israelis, or anyone who sympathizes with them has the same moral implication as stepping on a bug. Worse, by doing so, it makes them feel powerful and in control. Such control is an illusion, but how do we negotiate with that kind of a mindset?

It's going to get interesting.