March 9, 2008
MICHAEL MOYNIHAN: One upside to a down dollar.
MICHAEL MOYNIHAN: One upside to a down dollar.
THE DECLINE OF THE office phone call.
IT’S ALL PART OF THE PROCESS: It depends on what the meaning of pledged is.
TIGERHAWK ON Yale’s free speech problems.
IN MY EARLIER POST on data backups for non-techies, I asked people for their experience with online backup programs. People were generally pretty happy.
As an IT professional, I have wrestled with backup for my tiny home office and network for many years, and in my opinion on-line backups are THE answer because they actually get your data offsite, which is one of the main reasons to back up. The worst and most likely disaster any of us face is a fire which physically destroys the location of your computer. For most, who back up to tape or CD, this would destroy the backup also unless you take your backups to your safe-deposit box occasionally – something of a pain.
The main problem with online backups is the slow bandwidth most people have available so that first backup can take an impossibly long time. I have Verizon’s FIOS service, and find I can back up about 10 gigs of data in a day. I use the IDrive-E service, which sells 150 GB of storage for $4.00/month, which beats the heck out of media costs for tape or DVD. They offer encrypted storage for your files which I guess is fine, but since I’m an untrusting sod (privacy only exists in the absence of court orders), I use Winzip to zip up a Windows Backup file and use 256 bit encryption of my own. Further, since IDrive-E is selling uncompressed space which they certainly compress to their advantage, I send them only compressed data and get more for my money.
This approach is not for your typical user, but computer geeks can get a great deal this way. For the non-technical, the service will back up your data on a file-by-file basis, and every time you get on line the service checks to see if you’ve modified your files and backs them up automatically if you want. My only problem with that is that they certainly keep a private key to your encrypted files, and I’m not willing to give that up.
The advantage of offsite backups is, as noted, that your data stay safe when bad things happen to your “site.” The disadvantage is bandwidth, and the fact that your giving somebody else custody of your data. Meanwhile, here’s more advice from Donald Sensing. And Kingsley Browne emails:
Prompted by the same radio advertisements you mentioned, I have used the Carbonite backup system. I have never had to restore from it, although I have tested it, and the files I restored were just fine.
Carbonite is limited to backing up internal hard drives. I initially had signed up for a free trial and then discovered this fact. At the time, the bulk of my files (which are mostly photographs) were stored on external drives. So, I canceled the Carbonite. I got a new computer a few months ago that has a 1 TB hard drive and decided it was time to give Carbonite a try.
If you want to use Carbonite to back up a lot of data, you need patience. They say that the first back-up can take a few days (but that restoring is much faster). I was backing up about 350 GB of files, and it took over two months. I had other back-up, so this was not a problem. It works in the background and never seems to slow the computer down. It then automatically keeps the back-up current (keeping deleted files and older versions of files for a while in case you discover that you need them).
For the $50 or so per year that it costs, I think it is a good value for “belt and suspenders” types. (I have external hard drives backing up my internal hard drives — one set of drives attached to my computer, and another set stored off-site). I don’t claim that my pictures are objectively worth all this back-up effort, but they are important to me.
And that’s what matters.
OUCH: “To call the articles ‘law office history’ might be unfair to law offices.” The Reynolds in question, I should note, is no relation.
CORRUPTION AND REFORM: An interview with Larry Lessig. Quoth Lessig: “In fact, one of the reasons why the Framers were small-government people was not a deep belief in libertarianism but a recognition that the more money flows through Washington, the more risk of corruption.”
I agree. And I’ve had some related thoughts here.
NATALIE PORTMAN: Skeptical about capitalism, but not about Hillary! “She’s so much more polished and experienced than anyone else.”
WORRIES ABOUT CARBON TAXES are short-circuiting coal-plant construction. “Utilities canceled or put on hold at least 45 coal plants in development last year, according to a new analysis by the US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh. These moves â€“ a sharp reversal from a year ago, when the industry had more than 150 such plants in development â€“ signal the waning of a major US expansion into coal. . . . ‘What you’re seeing is a de facto moratorium on coal power right now,’ says Robert Linden, a senior oil and gas analyst at Pace Global in New York. ”
Upside: Burning coal sucks. Downside: More power to the oil kleptocrats. Solution: Nice clean nukes?
THE AUDACITY OF HYPE: “Scientists and environmentalists have attacked a global campaign to ban plastic bags which they say is based on flawed science and exaggerated claims. . . . scientists, politicians and marine experts attacked the Government for joining a ‘bandwagon’ based on poor science.”
ADVICE ON backing up data for non-techies. It’s not that hard, and — trust me — you can never have too many backups. One thing the discussion leaves out is the prospect of online backups like Carbonite, etc. I hear them advertised on the radio, but I’ve never tried ‘em. Anybody out there have any experience with backups — and restores — using those services?
HOW HAVE I LIVED WITHOUT ONE? An Etch-a-Sketch clock.
FALLING DOWN on the Hispanic vote.
HASTERT’S SEAT GOES DEMOCRATIC: This should be a wake-up call to the GOP delegation, but they’ve hit the snooze bar so many times that I doubt it will do much good.
A REAL-LIFE DEATH STAR? Just when you thought it was safe to quit worrying about gamma-ray bursts . . . .
DOES SPRINGING FORWARD PRODUCE more automobile accidents? I don’t know, but it does seem to leave people crabbier for a couple of days. It’s like national jetlag.
NICK COHEN: Why Brits don’t swoon over Obama.
IN THE MAIL: Joe Pappalardo’s Sunflowers: The Secret History. Did they really cause Hitler to invade Russia?
DOES MCCAIN HAVE CANCER? Well, no. (Via Protein Wisdom, where this comment appears: “The author of this story â€” Dr. Lawrence K. Altman â€” is likely still waiting for Bill Clintonâ€™s medical records. Whether the paper will maintain its level of sloth when the subject is a Republican remains to be seen.”)
“I LOVED THAT JET:” A reminiscence on flying the SR-71. I like this bit: “It was the fastest we would ever fly. I pulled the throttles to idle just south of Sicily, but we still overran the refueling tanker awaiting us over Gibraltar.”
THE SNL SPOOF of Hillary’s 3 a.m. ad. Video at the link. Note the absence of Bill on the pillow behind Hillary . . . .
HILLARY CLINTON and Rwanda. Kind of like her Irish peacemaking.
SOME THOUGHTS ON THE WAR:
1) Advisors: We need more.
2) Afghanistan: We’re losing.
3) War of Ideas: We should fight one.
I agree, particularly on item 3.
HILLARY: Three ways to win? Or only one plausible path to nomination? Actually, there’s less difference between these stories than the headlines suggest. Plus, good advice for McCain: “All of this is a windfall, surely, for McCain — unless he forgets that his party is in trouble and that he needs to make an affirmative case for himself and his policies. And loudly enough to overcome the din as Clinton and Obama pummel each other.”
CHICAGO SUN TIMES: Rezko cash triple what Obama says. Is it just me, or is the press on Obama turning more negative? [LATER: Link was bad at first. Fixed now. Sorry!]
UPDATE: And the answer to my question is no — at least not from this story, which turns out to be from last summer. Several people sent it to me (I don’t know why) and I was still on my first cup of coffee and missed the date. Sorry.
Or maybe I should just blame daylight savings time! Okay, actually I like daylight savings time. Not so much the transition, though.
OBAMA IN THE SENATE: Star Power, Minor Role. â€œWell, I guess I could pass a law or something.â€
DOES VITAMIN D PREVENT CANCER? A roundup on the latest research.
THEY TOLD ME THAT IF GEORGE W. BUSH WERE RE-ELECTED, lawyers who challenged the powers-that-be would be subjected to secret disbarment proceedings.
And they were right! (Via Michael Silence, who has much more). The lawyer in question, Herb Moncier, has been instrumental in exposing a lot of political corruption in the area. Whether or not there’s a basis — and the secrecy will encourage some people to think the worst — a lot of people are going to see this as a payback, one implicating the federal judiciary. It seems as if this would have been better handled in the open. I don’t know if the rules permitted that, though it’s hard to see why they shouldn’t.
TAEGAN GODDARD: Could Gore be the nominee?
MORE ON REBECCA AGUILAR’S FIRING.
JEROME ARMSTRONG: Follies in the blogosphere.
YALE UNIVERSITY TARGETS JUICYCAMPUS.COM:
Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry has consulted the Universityâ€™s general counsel about the possibility of blocking the site from Yaleâ€™s network or punishing users who log onto it. Yaleâ€™s lawyers have contacted JuicyCampus about University concerns, Gentry said.
Choices currently on the table, administrators said, include asking JuicyCampus to remove offensive posts, trying to identify and discipline posters of allegedly defamatory or harassing comments, or banning access to the site from on-campus Internet access.
â€œWhen you have a forum thatâ€™s on the computer, thatâ€™s anonymous, thatâ€™s the only place where you can say those things without getting punished â€” itâ€™s a problem,â€ Gentry said.
When you have a university whose first response to unwanted speech is to try to ban it and punish students who take part, it’s a bigger problem.
A USEFUL LESSON from Josh Marshall.
MORE ON MCCAIN and his dumb endorsement of a vaccine/autism link, for which there’s not any real evidence.
WOULD PLUG-IN CARS USE too much water? Some skepticism in the comments. I can attest locally, though, that nuclear plants sometimes have to shut down when streams get too low, because of a shortage of cooling water.
THE GIRL IN HILLARY’S 3 A.M. AD is actually an Obama supporter.
SO I TRIED TO WATCH this video from MSNBC on the Obama/Rezko land deal, and instead it says that the video is no longer available due to “usage restrictions.”
UPDATE: I’m still getting the “usage restrictions” message, but several readers report that it’s working for them. Go figure.
CHALK UP ANOTHER CAUCUS FOR OBAMA: Obama takes Wyoming.
YESTERDAY’S POST ON THE ROBOT LAWN MOWER inspired this email from reader Reid Reynolds (no relation) who owns one:
It’s been almost 3 years since you posted my review, and 5 years since I bought the gadget. Perusing the Amazon site, I see people have had mixed experiences, but positive overall. My RL800 is still going strong. I’ve had to replace the battery a couple of times and the blades, but it was still gettin’ ‘er done at the end of last season. We’ll see how “Herbie” made it through the most winter in the next few weeks.
I can’t believe how expensive these things have become. I bought mine for $699 in 2003, but the newer model is about 3 times that. I guess demand grew as word got out. Amazon also links to what appears to me to be a new competitor at http://www.lawnbotts.com/lawnbott.html which has both cheaper and more expensive models.
I just wish they could make it more convenient. Laying down perimeter wire is hard work and, as it sinks into the ground over time, it becomes virtually impossible to find a break if it occurs and you just have to lay new line. Additionally, the random mowing pattern makes it take a long time to finish, and even then it can miss some spots, especially if you let it out after dark and you can’t see what it missed when you think it’s done – though being able to let it out in the dark is one of the greatest advantages to it.
I wish someone would create a system that utilzed a set of beacons that you could locate in the corners of the plot you want to mow. The mower would sense its distance to the beacons like your standard GPS receiver and triangulate its position. It would then know precisely where it was and could mow a specific pattern to finish the job as quickly as possible. If you post any of this, and assuming nobody else has already filed for intellectual property rights on the idea, let me state to any party interested in pursuing it that I freely relinquish all rights and privileges to it. But, it would be gracious of that party to provide me with a free model when they start production.
Take it away, inventors. And I’d forgotten this robot roundup post.
UH OH: “While Russia has, over the past nine years, eliminated separatist and Islamic terrorists from Chechnya, they now find themselves with a potentially worse situation in neighboring Ingushetia.”
THE THUNDERBIRDS OVER LAS VEGAS: A pretty cool picture.
QUESTIONS ABOUT NEWS PRIORITIES, from Roger Kimball.
OKAY, this article on newly predatory French women got a lot of play, but the underlying stats seem kind of . . . unimpressive:
The proportion of French women who claim to have had only one partner has dropped from 68 per cent in 1970, to 43 per cent in 1992 and 34 per cent in 2006. A woman’s average number of partners has risen from under two in 1970 to over five today, while a man’s has remained the same for four decades, almost 13.
French women’s first experience of sex is now almost as early as that of the opposite sex: in 1950 there was a two-year difference, but the gap has narrowed to four months, to around 17 and a half.
I mean, it’s not exactly the Playboy Mansion over there.
JOHN TIERNEY: Global Warming Payola.
ADDRESSING NANO-FEARS at Oak Ridge National Lab.
AN INDIANA JONES TRAILER. Er, a Lego Indiana Jones trailer.
OOPS: “Democratic presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton tried to backpedal Friday from comments she made in October suggesting Mississippi was a backward place for women’s progress. . . . Clinton was on a campaign swing through Mississippi before Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary.”
SALIM MANSUR: Multiculturalism Cannot Survive.
WYOMING CAUCUS COVERAGE from Bill Bradley.
THOUGHTS ON BARACK OBAMA AND SAMANTHA POWER, from Michael Totten.
THOUGHTS ON gloom, doom, and campus killers.
RETURN OF the muster.
We talk to Jim Dunnigan, publisher of StrategyPage.com and author of numerous books on war, intelligence and security, and Austin Bay, who blogs at AustinBay.net, and who is the author of both novels and nonfiction works on war and military matters. They fill us in on the latest developments in Iran, Iraq, and Venezuela, and talk about why the Obama Campaign is good for America. (An Obama Presidency is a different story . . . .)
You can listen directly — no downloading needed — by going here and clicking on the gray Flash player. You can download the file and listen at your leisure by clicking right here. And you can get a lo-fi version suitable for cellphones, dialup, etc. by going here and selecting lo-fi. And you can always get a free subscription via iTunes absolutely free. Never miss another episode!
Comments and discussion here.
DOMESTIC TERRORISM UPDATE: Eco-terrorism on trial out West. “Kolar testified against Briana Waters, telling jurors that her former friend helped her and three others set a massive fire at the University of Washington. Kolar also admitted to trying in 1998 to burn down the Wray Gun Club in Wray, one of four arsons she confessed to in her deal with prosecutors.” (Via And Still I Persist).
JAMES PETHOKOUKIS: Can McCain win if there’s a recession?
HEH. My favorite Allan Sherman song was You Went the Wrong Way Old King Louis.
A ROUNDUP ON THE Wyoming Democratic Caucuses.
NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR ENGINEERS in Syria.
NOT VERY JUDICIOUS:
Shawn Sage long dreamed of joining the military, and watching “Full Metal Jacket” last year really sold him on becoming a Marine.
But last fall, a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner dashed the foster teen’s hopes of early enlistment for Marine sniper duty, plus a potential $10,000 signing bonus.
In denying the Royal High School student delayed entry into the Marine Corps, Children’s Court Commissioner Marilyn Mackel reportedly told Sage and a recruiter that she didn’t approve of the Iraq war, didn’t trust recruiters and didn’t support the military. . . . His foster parents, as well as his social worker, supported his decision to enlist early. Despite being denied, he still shows up for USMC physical training.
Read the whole thing.
CHRISTINA HOFF SOMMERS: Women earn most of Americaâ€™s Ph.D.â€™s but lag in the physical sciences. Beware of plans to fix the â€˜problem.â€™ Quotas in the physical sciences. Sure — if it’s a successful American institution, fairness requires that it must be crippled . . . .
(Via the Insta-Wife).
TRUER FOR MORE AND MORE, I EXPECT: “I find myself watching YouTube more than TV these days.”
FOLLOWING UP ON TODAY’S EARLIER POSTS, could you have the beer robot bring you a beer while you sit and watch the RoboMower mow your lawn? The picture certainly brings that to mind. And then, I guess, the paintball robot could keep neighborhood dogs from despoiling your perfectly-tended grass. . . .
SUSAN ESTRICH: Nasty Twists in Democratic Race.
WOMEN’S HISTORY, with porn stars. But what point are they trying to make by pairing Hillary Clinton with Jenna Jameson?
A MCCAIN WRIGGLE on taxes?
JAMES LILEKS: “Sign of the times: you hear about a bombing of a Times Square recruitment office, and you assume itâ€™s nutjob antiwar folks, not Al Qaeda.” I guess that’s proof that we’re winning . . .
UPDATE: Worries at Berkeley: “After a bombing at a Marine recruiting center at Times Square in New York City, Bay Area military supporters came to Berkeley City Hall Thursday to express concerns that the city’s Marine recruiting center could suffer a similar attack.” Given the extensive incitement of anti-military hatred by the Berkeley city government, that’s a reasonable fear.
TOM MAGUIRE has more thoughts on Obama’s Samantha Power flipflop problem.
UPDATE: More Obama national-security disarray: Intel Adviser Breaks with Obama over FISA, Telecoms.
“I do believe strongly that [telecoms] should be granted that immunity,” former CIA official John Brennan told National Journal reporter Shane Harris in the interview. “They were told to [cooperate] by the appropriate authorities that were operating in a legal context.”
Read the whole thing.
MORE: No we can’t!
ED MORRISSEY: STRIKE TWO FOR THE TIMES:
Heâ€™s annoyed, sure, but hardly spitting and cursing. By the time she asks â€œWhy are you so angry?â€, the question is so inappropriate that he asks her to repeat it â€” and she declines, hopefully out of embarrassment.
Interestingly, the Times now has tried twice to get his goat, and for the second time, theyâ€™ve wound up with egg on their face.
Perhaps they’ll hire Rebecca Aguilar for attempt number three. Hey, she’s available!
UPDATE: McCain experiences the media shift: “When you’re the darling of the press, you’re feisty. When you’re the Republican nominee for President, you’re dangerously unstable.”
MORE: Physics Geek: “This is like that line from Jerry Maguire: ‘You’ve never seen me very upset.’ He’s visibly irritated, but he hardly raises his voice. Total non-story.”
ANN ALTHOUSE UNDERSTANDS CONSERVATISM, with help from John McCain.
Plus, unimpressed with claims of a McCain flip-out: “Maybe a better question is what sort of person views that as ‘flipping out’?”
The press hates it when pols get mad at reporters. I’m not convinced that anyone else does.
UPDATE: Ken Wheaton of Advertising Age isn’t a fan of the new McCain ad. “Did someone have some spare Star Trek B-roll hanging around?”
DOES HUGO CHAVEZ HELP THE POOR? Not so much.
But he talks about it. Isn’t that enough?
GOOD NEWS: Another FARC leader killed.
JIM GERAGHTY: “You realize the two advisers who have gotten Obama in trouble are named ‘Austan’ and ‘Power’. If there’s another adviser named ‘Danger’ on the campaign, they might as well let him go, too.”
A REMOTE-CONTROL PAINTBALL-FIRING ROBOT. I prefer the BeerBot myself, but they both have their uses. Perhaps they could be combined, or — no, that way lies madness.
LOVE FOR THE Ferrari Testarossa. With video.
We are the change we’ve been waiting for!
WELL, AT LEAST GEORGE MCGOVERN KNOWS that it’s not 1968 any more:
Since leaving office I’ve written about public policy from a new perspective: outside looking in. I’ve come to realize that protecting freedom of choice in our everyday lives is essential to maintaining a healthy civil society.
Why do we think we are helping adult consumers by taking away their options? We don’t take away cars because we don’t like some people speeding. We allow state lotteries despite knowing some people are betting their grocery money. Everyone is exposed to economic risks of some kind. But we don’t operate mindlessly in trying to smooth out every theoretical wrinkle in life.
The nature of freedom of choice is that some people will misuse their responsibility and hurt themselves in the process. We should do our best to educate them, but without diminishing choice for everyone else.
It’s not too late for him to jump into the Democratic race is it? This is better than anything I’ve heard from Clinton and Obama . . . .
UPDATE: Sorry, my “hmm” was unclear. I don’t see this story adding up to much of anything, unless there’s something more out there.
IS OBAMA SOFT? Yes, says David Brooks, but not how you think:
The real softness of the campaign is not that Obama is a wimp. Itâ€™s that he has never explained how this new politics would actually produce bread-and-butter benefits to people in places like Youngstown and Altoona.
On the other hand, there’s this: “If anyone doubts that Obama’s supporters engage in cult-like behavior, try pointing out that they engage in cult-like behavior.” Yeah, there’s a certain Ron-Paulish vibe there.
UPDATE: What cult of Obama? Nothing to see here, move along.
MORE FOREIGN-POLICY EMBARRASSMENT FOR OBAMA: “For all the chatter about Obama adviser Samantha Power’s calling Clinton a ‘monster,’ another set of remarks made on her book tour in the United Kingdom may be equally threatening to the Obama campaign: Comments in a BBC interview that express a lack of confidence that Obama will be able to carry through his plan to withdraw troops from Iraq within 16 months. . . . Power downplayed Obama’s commitment to quick withdrawal from Iraq on Hard Talk, a program that often exceeds any of the U.S. talk shows in the rigor of its grillings.” Like Obama’s NAFTA doubletalk, I actually find this reassuring, but it’s still a problem for the campaign. Is it free-fall yet?
UPDATE: Retreat, at any cost. Well, so much for the reassurance.
BOB KRUMM TO RUSH LIMBAUGH: Be careful what you wish for. I have to say, I question the idea that Hillary would be easier to beat than Obama. Obama’s inexperience — and considerably farther-left views — will be a problem for him, as is becoming increasingly apparent. And his staffing isn’t looking so great these days, either.
BEER ROBOTS: Man’s new best friend?
IS THIS A GREAT COUNTRY, OR WHAT? A jet-powered Dodge Caravan. At the link, video of this “unholy amalgam of military might and mom-approved mobility.”
IN THE MAIL: When the Tide Rises, by David Drake.
WHY HEALTH INSURANCE isn’t insurance.
Plus, related thoughts from Megan McArdle: “We force everyone to pay into fire departments because fires have very bad negative externalities: if your house catches on fire, unless you live on a rural farm, there’s a good chance that your neighbor’s house will burn down too. Fire prevention is a genuine public good; most health care, with the exception of things meant to stop the spread of infectious disease, simply isn’t.”
A CLASSIC ETHICAL BIND for lawyers.
NAME THAT PARTY: Special DWI Edition!
HERSCHEL SMITH ON Iran and Iraq.
MICKEY KAUS: Dial “P” for Pander!
HILLARY VS. OBAMA: Will Puerto Rico decide everything?
THE OIL BUBBLE: About to pop? I certainly hope so.