Thursday, December 13, 2007

Beryl is now Compiz Fusion

Beryl is now called Compiz Fusion. I installed it on my Compaq laptop hoping that I could make it run with a rage mobility card, but no dice. If I want to run Compiz Fusion I will have to run a dual boot on my main rig.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

OpenSUSE 10.3 Madness!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I'm really getting into using Novell's OpenSUSE 10.3 linux. Its the best version of linux Ive ever used and its still under development. Its not as easy to set up as Ubuntu, but its worth the extra work. I set it up on a Compaq Armada with this partition scheme:

  • /boot 100 MB
  • swap 500 MB
  • / the rest of the hard disk

  • I like the Gnome installation more than the KDE, but that just a matter of taste. The Gnome is more sophisticated and professional looking and the KDE is louder and more stylish. Some great screenshots, info on partitioning your drive and installing OpenSUSE are available here.

    Light Armor 2045 wallpaper by Dangeruss.

    Monday, September 24, 2007

    A Bullet Remains


    In 1992, I came close to getting killed when I was shot. I was struck in the hand, buttocks, leg, and head. A total of 4 wounds.

    I already had one bullet removed and I thought they were all out, but according to this recent upper GI exam, I still have one remaining in my abdomen. Looks like I'll be going in for another operation. Oh well.

    Sunday, July 8, 2007

    Internet Security and PcScnSrv.exe

    One of the worst internet security products I've tried is Trend Micro's - PC-Cillian Internet Security 2007. My problem with this product began when I noticed webpages taking longer than usual to load. When I launched the task manager to find out why, I was introduced to a nasty little process called PcScnSrv.exe. I was literally shocked at how much processor and memory this thing was using. Upon the launch of virtually anything, PcScnSrv.exe would go totally off the charts.

    I queried a search for PcScnSrv.exe and found a veritable army of disgruntled users. Despite a voluminous amount of testimonials and alleged fixes, I found nothing of use. PcScnSrv.exe cannot be disabled without crippling the product. recommended 'removing 7 and installing 6,' which is an absurd solution, and Trend Micro blamed Spybot Search and Destroy for the problem. After reading Trend Micros pathetic cop out, I decided to remove their product from my system.

    I am currently using NOD 32 Anti virus for my AV and I think it will be the one I will settle on. The firewall I settled on is just as amazing. Comodo (free) firewall packs a huge punch while using virtually no resources. Comodo receives a 'true stealth' rating from GRC every time I test it. With the combination of NOD32 and Comodo, my systems seem to be in peak condition.

    *Update July 8 -NOD32 AV may be the best and most impressive AV I have ever run - As far as features and programming quality goes it is without equal. I am equally happy with Comodo firewall, which continues to run in 'true stealth.' Hard to believe that Comodo is a free app.

    *Update July 9 -I continue to be amazed with NOD32, but I need some time to see how it protects me from threats. In a few weeks I will write a progress report about the reliability of this amazing little program.

    Wednesday, July 4, 2007

    Warren25 finds my blog - spews venom


    The reprehensible Warren25 has found my blog through a search, and this is what he says...
    hey you little punk ass bitch, dont [sic] whine cos you got booted. I could care less about losers like you. Lol your blog sucks.
    What a colorful character.

    The greatest thing about my crappy little blog is that I can do whatever I want with it. That means I can keep posting the avatar which made Warren25 cry like a little girl.

    I thought Warren25 was a Brit, but according to my logs, he actually lives in Mesa Arizona, USA.

    Thursday, June 14, 2007

    Flamed by and Warren25

    I try to avoid catty entries that deal with flame wars and online confrontations, but I’ll make an exception for this recent pile of shit I stepped in over at, (previously known as

    I found one of the posters, ‘Warren25’ to be extremely inflammatory and insulting. In one of his videos, he presses his ugly face into the screen and condemns all Americans as ‘baby killers.’

    In short, Warren is disgusting. His profanity-laden hate speech goes far beyond reasonable opinion or debate, and his behavior is best described as that of a foul mouthed version of Adam Ghaddan, (Al Qaeda).

    As a mild form of protest against Warren25, I created an unflattering image of him in Photoshop and used it as my avatar, (seen here). Amazingly, this bold man who dishes out harsh criticisms can hardly take any himself because he cried like a little girl with a broken lolly and made the site owners remove it. Not only did they remove it, but they also issued 2 demerits to my account. This wasn’t the end of their idiocy. A moderator named LL_Eris sent me this cynical message.
    I doubt you are that interested but we do have some rules on Liveleak on how to treat other members. Please take a moment to read the FAQ and try and keep within reasonable boundaries.
    The ‘I doubt you are interested’ part displayed a certain bias and betrayed the moderator’s sympathetic leanings toward Warren25. It definitely indicated that the moderator approached me with the cynical notion that I lacked any sense of decency, or that I was somehow, unreasonable.

    This was my response:

    I imagine you are referring to my avatar. So what you’re telling me is that it’s ok for Warren25 to condemn all Americans and the US military as 'baby killers,' but if someone pokes lighthearted fun at him, it becomes 'mistreatment.' Your cynicism is outweighed only by your hypocrisy.

    Their reply:
    Please read the FAQ section to understand the difference between opinion and direct personal insult. I cannot comment on what I feel about Warren’s views, that is not the point. We get complaints and have to act on them if they break the rules, hence my message to you. Sorry if that upsets you, it is not intended to.
    To that, I responded:

    If you had simply asked me to remove the avatar I would have complied, in removing it yourself you become both a censor and Warren25's personal water carrier.

    No response.

    Live leak, (formerly Ogrish), has posted some of the most gruesome scenes of carnage and suffering I have ever seen, and they allow Warren25 to spew his anti American bile on their website on a daily basis, so I find it ironic that they will ban my avatar as something that is offensive or somehow in bad taste. Its just so ludicrous that its absurd.

    Warren’s videos and hate speeches make him a public figure, and as a public figure, he is subject to scrutiny and ridicule. If Liveleak really believes it must defend Warren from ridicule, then they must defend all public figures, most notably Dick Cheney and President Bush.

    Sunday, June 10, 2007

    President Bush Finds New Home


    Throngs of adoring Albanians stampeded to greet the President today. His adoring fans grasped his hands, arms and grey hair, and they shouted 'Bushie, Bushie.'

    The Albanian people are clearly 'Bushies.' Some people in the world actually love President Bush. Amazing.

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    Phillip Caputo: A Rumor of War

    The novel written by Phillip Caputo entitled, “A Rumor of War,” is an autobiographical account of his experiences in the Vietnam War. He began his story as an idealistic young man inspired to join the military by John F Kennedy’s call to service, and ended it when he left Vietnam, feeling disillusioned, prematurely aged, and haunted by the loss of his fellow Marines. Caputo described his novel as, “a story about war, about the things men do in war and the things war does to them.”

    In many ways, Caputo’s story is one about coming of age in war, which is a dynamic that is similar to literary classics such as, “All Quiet on the Western Front,” and “the Red Badge of Courage.” But it was also about how young men at war become dehumanized and demoralized. According to Caputo, “once men begin killing it is not easy to stop them,” and according to Sergeant Colby, “one of the most brutal things in the world is your average nineteen year-old American boy.” I have to agree with that assessment to some degree, but when I look at war from a historical perspective, the American atrocities that occurred in Vietnam, while brutal, pale in comparison when compared to some others. I’m not trying to say its right to slice off people ears, burn villages, and summarily execute civilians and prisoners, nor am I trying to draw a moral equivalent between US forces and others, but history has proven just how vicious men can become when they enter into combat. From the Mongols in Baghdad, to the Romans in Carthage, to the Imperial Japanese, and Nazi Germany; atrocities have been committed throughout history with the belief that the carnage was right, which leads to the Machiavellian idea that only a fervent belief or a patriotic frenzy could drive men to go to any length for a country or cause. That only through a process of indoctrination and mind control can a person become an ideologue driven to kill. Caputo had personally witnessed a form of this during his training when the Drill Sergeant made them all shout, “Ambushes are murder and murder is fun.” He was whipping the men into the type of frenzy “required for cold-blooded slaughter.”

    On a few occasions, Caputo quoted the World War One poet Wilfred Owen. A poem of Owen’s which wasn’t referenced by Caputo was called “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori,” which roughly translated means, “It is sweet and honorable to die for one's country.” It was a poem about chemical warfare, but it was also a warning against the patriotic fervor and empty rhetoric of war advocates. That poem came to my mind as I read about Caputo’s first helicopter drop into a combat zone. Caputo was “happy,” while Sergeant Colby, who had already seen combat, was more serious and reflective. He told Caputo about a time when he and his men, “got their asses waxed.” Colby was attempting to warn the young Lieutenant of what he was in for, and that’s when an important Owen quote was used:
    “All the poet can do today is warn,” Owen wrote. Colby and other platoon sergeants were certainly not poets, but that is what they had been trying to do the night before—warn me, warn all of us. They had already been where we were going, to that frontier between life and death, but none of us wanted to listen to them. So I guess every generation is doomed to fight its war, to endure the same old experiences, suffer the loss of the same old illusions, and learn the same old lessons on its own.
    This is obviously profound because Sergeant Colby’s warning was really just a microcosm of a larger warning about history, and how it was doomed to repeat itself.

    The stages of deterioration in troop morale were a big aspect of the novel. Caputo’s platoon went from shunning the brutality of the South Vietnamese methods of interrogation, to committing their own individual acts of retribution in Vietnamese villages. The atrocities ranged from summary executions of captured VC and civilians, to the burning down of villages. In the initial stages of the war, Caputo and his men prevented a South Vietnamese interrogator from pistol whipping a villager for information. The SV soldier warned the Americans that they didn’t know anything about Vietnam, and that they didn’t understand its people or history, which foreshadowed the events that were to come. Eventually, the American troop morale began to deteriorate and Caputo and his platoon began seeking retribution against the Viet Cong. They started by burning the homes in the village of Giao-Tri because it appeared as though the villagers had aided the enemy. That is why they were, “taught a lesson.” Without looking at the extenuating circumstances in the burning of Giao-Tri, it appears to be a crime, but when you take into account the Viet Cong strategy of blending in with the villagers, who are usually Viet Cong sympathizers with American blood on their hands, you end up accepting the notion that civilians have a role in the war. Once you accept the notion that civilians have a role in the war, you have a stalemate, because no western democracy can convince its electorate that killing civilians is justifiable or noble. It then becomes a war that can’t be won, either politically or militarily, and that’s the lesson that Ho Chi Mihn taught the world.

    Many parts of Caputo's novel resonated with a naturalistic style which was seemingly derived from Stephen Crane's habit of combining elements of war with nature. Caputo used this style when he described mortar shells as “gray, blossoming flowers” and bullet belts as “rows of long, sharp teeth.” The naturalistic elements of writers like Stephen Crane became abundantly clear when Caputo began to view himself as tiny and insignificant.
    I would die as casually as a beetle is crushed under a boot heel, and perhaps it was the recognition of my insect-like pettiness that had made me stop caring. I was a beetle. We were all beetles, scratching for survival in the wilderness.
    Caputo became filled with rage when a mine exploded at a creek, killing and injuring many of his fellow Marines. As you probably know, Marines are not soldiers, they are Marines. It is a brotherhood that lasts until death, so as Caputo was carrying his injured Marine brother, Corporal Greeley, he was overcome by a profound sense of anger, “an icy abiding fury; a hatred for everything in existence,” except for the injured men under his command. Which reminded me of the novel, “All Quiet on the Western Front,” and the scene when Paul Bäumer was trapped in a shell hole and suddenly heard the voices of his comrades and thought, “they are more to me than life, these voices, they are more than motherliness, and more than fear; they are the strongest most comforting thing anywhere: they are the voices of my comrades.” And that was the message conveyed by Caputo, that the body language of men at war can lead to actions without words, because men fighting for their existence in war can become close enough to develop an ability to read each others minds without a word being spoken. It was after the explosion at the creek that Caputo’s platoon became ugly and burned down another village called, “Ha Na,” and according to Caputo, it was “one of the ugliest” sights he saw in Vietnam. It was at this point that his platoon turned from, “a group of disciplined soldiers into an incendiary mob.” Not soon after that, Lieutenant Caputo organized an “independent mission” into a village to capture or kill two Viet Cong “sappers” that were identified by a Vietnamese informant. It turned ugly when the two Marines that went into the village killed two unarmed Vietnamese, including the informant who was trying to help the Americans. The 2 dead men weren’t Viet Cong at all, and so, the Marines were brought up on court-martial. When Caputo heard he was being charged with murder, he was unable to comprehend how such a charge could exist in the midst of such barbaric fighting. “Greene had told them they had a single, simple mission to accomplish in the war: ‘you men are here to kill VC.’” So after being ridiculously charged with murder, Caputo became a vocal anti-war advocate, giving everyone an earful of how he felt about the war. The conversations he had bear a stark contrast to the situation in Iraq today in many ways.

    While this book is not a literary masterpiece filled with fancy metaphorical interpretations and hidden meanings, it will stand as a historical record, not just of facts and figures which can be easily pointed out, but of the actual thoughts of a Marine who served in Vietnam. In conclusion, after surviving the war, Caputo was haunted by the deaths of his fellow Marines, and the informer Le Dung, whose open mouth seemed to scream at him in accusation. He also could never answer the question that the old man cried out as his home was burned by Caputo’s platoon, “Tai Sao,” or why?