[Politics] People who voted for Nader did NOT put Bush in the White House

Democrats get over it. People who voted for Nader did NOT put Bush in the White House. These accusation accomplish nothing and work against what the left is trying to accomplish. They also sound like an externalization and denial of failings that the party had in 2000 (read the book Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell for examples). Moreover thanks to scare tactics similar to what the Republicans employ, you have insured that no liberal in this country will ever support a third party. You've won. Stop bashing people who want to think for themselves or who feel the Democrats need to be reminded of their liberal roots. You should be attempting to lure the Nader people by convincing them your candidate(s) (like Kucinich) represent the values of liberalism that the Green Party supports, and that the Democrats are still liberal and still support their causes. You should NOT be shaming those who you need to enlist and wish to enlist to help defeat Bush. What some elements of the Democratic Party are pulling in regards to Green Party and Nader is unjust, unfair, immature, and very, very wrong.

I am a Democrat, for now, I like Kucinich and want to work to bring the Democrats back to being a bit more left. But I have to tell you, I voted for Nader in 2000 and I support the Green Party and you're pissing me off. If the bashing continues I will leave the Democrat Party (and so will my money and volunteer time). I don't support Nader for what he is doing this year, as I feel Kusinich is a better representation of my ideas, but he had valid issues in 2000 and the support of a viable Party. No one could predict the tyranny and darkness that befell this country when Bush stole office, but punishing people you need to help you (and who are on your side) is not the answer. You should be wooing these people and forming alliances, not shunning and condemning them.

Don't expect sympathy or support from these people if you continue to condemn them.

Grow up Democrats and act like the adults you are. You of all people should not be condemning others for their beliefs and ideologies. Did you miss the message of last night's speakers at the DNC? We are all in this together, we must be unified, not divided.


[Musings] The paradox of selling computers to everyone.

I will try to not make this a rant, as it is not my intention. I am the primary tech support for most of my family. I used to hate it, but now I don't really mind. I don't mind because I see the happiness it brings, and I know my family will get the help that they need. My opinion was changed when I was standing in line at a Computer Super store (I won't say which one, but it starts with a C and ends in ompUSA). An elderly lady who could have easily been my grandmother was consulting the 'sage' behind the counter about the difference between a printer port and a USB port. The 'sage' behind the counter told here there was none and then went on to spout a completely convoluted story about IRQs, interrupts and compatibilty. I was beside myself in shock that this 'sage' would tell a paying customer that incredible load of BS. As this nice lady left the counter shaken, confused, and saddened I stopped her and both told and showed her the difference between a printer (parallel) port and a USB port. She was grateful.

As the years progressed more and more of my family became wired. They discovered that the internet was an amazing place and they would be able to save a lot of money by using things such as email and instant messaging, instead of expensive long-distance phone calls (which was adding up in my gossipy and chatty family). My grandmother in fact was the first of my immediate family to go online. Her first computer was a Frankenstein's monster of second-hand parts, built by a friend of the family and used a questionable copy of WinXP Home. After the hard drive died, I built her a new computer, tuned it, installed a legal copy of WinXP and transferred her email and instant messaging accounts. I built the computer from scratch (both for cost and quality reasons) ensuring adequate power, a good stable motherboard (ASUS), a large hard drive, and new modem (and a geForce 3 Ti-200 video card). I wrote an easy-to-use manual for her to read with instructions on how to update her anti-virus software (McAffee, it is also the one with the built-in firewall), run windows update, and just general safety tips like 'don't open attachments from strangers.' She was happy with a computer that didn't crash. She has not had problems since, now instead of the computer house-calls twice per week, now I make social calls where we can just talk and share coffee, much more enjoyable. She really enjoyed the neon-blue light that came from the case, which was by accident since I just used a good, affordable case.

My mother was the next to go wired. She and my stepfather went to a large computer chain (again, I won't name names but it starts with B and ends in estBuy). They purchased a complete HP package: mini-tower, Pentium, 120GB IDE drive, printer, LCD monitor, the works. BB sold her the MS Office and WinXP Home pre-installed. As a bonus there was a lot of HP OEM stuff loaded, such as the HP recovery software. They sold her the replacement warranty (3 years, which to me seems almost like 'undercoating' for cars, but some swear by it). Annoyingly they also did not give her the CDs for WinXP, MS Office, and the various HP software. Mom did not go on the internet right away, but eventually did and within a week had 3 viruses. BB had not sold her AV software, nor did they tell her that she needed it when she asked what she needed to go online. Her computer started to do funny things and I was called. I purchased her a copy of Norton SystemWorks 2003 and Personal Firewall, re-installed her system (I asked her to call BB to get the disks, which they did provide), patched it and setup the Norton products to help protect her system. I then wrote a short manual for her with instructions on how to keep everything updated and what to do if she sees a virus. Her computer has been running smoothly since then (with the exception of a clogged inbox of spam).

I tell these stories because my grandmother and mother are two examples of everyday people who want to be connected to the internet and have a computer. The computer industry has come a long way to make computers easier to use, but there are still some things that may seem like voodoo to most people (like general system hygiene and security). These people will go to places like CompUSA and Best Buy and will rely on staff for expertise and advice. These companies need to quit hiring people who do not understand the nuances of helping the novice computer user own a computer. Give them their CDs when they purhcase a system and give them a handout at least with tips on keeping their system running well and to keep them safe on the internet. Suggest they purchase or download an AV product (not necessarily the most expensive you sell as there are free products like AntiVir and AVG that are great).

Please, think of your grandmother.