Dell Hell… or at least purgatory!

I am currently in Dell Chat, attempting to get Dell to honor its warranty. My old LCD monitor had a bad column of pixels, and so was replaced by a technician. However, the entire new LCD has a viewing area much smaller than the old one.

My goal is to have a technician come out and replace the bad LCD screen, which I only have because it was installed yesterday by a Dell technician. The technician’s obvious goal is to prevent this from happening.

Update: After refusing several times, the service technician agreed to send out a new LCD screen and have an installer put it in. Persistence pays off!

Glad it’s not just me!

Nothing to add:

Imagethief : I am the guy that everybody in line hates, plus the decline of America’s airlines
Unfortunately, it took half an hour to process the transaction. The check-in agent tried twice to call her supervisor to check the upgrade price for Zachary (a lap baby), and neither time was her call answered. Yes, it’s not just you. United Airlines won’t even pick up the phone for their own employees. The agent had to go wandering across the concourse to find the answer (which, to my delight, was “free”).

This makes me feel better, both about how I’ve been treated, and how I always react to airline bankruptcy rules with Yes! Dissolve the sucker!

Problems, Tyrannical and Transcendent

In response to a lamentation on Florida provided to me by Michael:

The difference between optimism and pessimism, is, I think, whether one takes the following line from the Communist Manifesto:

The bourgeoisie has disclosed how it came to pass that the brutal display of vigor in the Middle Ages, which reactionaries so much admire, found its fitting complement in the most slothful indolence. It has been the first to show what man’s activity can bring about. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals; it has conducted expeditions that put in the shade all former exoduses of nations and crusades.

The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real condition of life and his relations with his kind

as glorious or not.

I don’t like places with too many people, so that Florida will pay for faster-than-sustainable growth with lower-than-otherwise growth does not concern me too much.

Every problem we now have, with the exception of the high cost of labor, will fade into nothingness.

The one remaining problem will only get worse.

Oil Prices (and why Peak Oil is irrelevent)

As of this writing, a barrel of Texas Light Sweet crude would cost you $123.64, according to Bloomberg. This is down from the oil bull market price of $140 or so per barrel. Interestingly, this also the price that makes switchgrass ethanol (gasoline from tall prairie grass, corn husks, and so on) economical.

Prices go up, prices go down.

The only real concern regarding energy prices is that they support crummy states like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, and Russia. The less market-oriented countries need to import oil, the less oil-rich countries can avoid market discipline by selling what they fond under their feet.

As the auto production market adjusts to high prices, the long-term shift away from oil begins. Concepts like Ethanol Hybrid Electrics and other mindbending combinations approach the market, making peak oil a mute, meaningless and irrelevent concept.

But does Israel support an Undivided Jerusalem?

The context for this, flub, of course:

The Weekly Standard
“Um, let me be absolutely clear. Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s.”

is another far more serious one, where Obama may or may not support an Undivided Jerusalem. Whatever his ultimate position, he certainly didn’t know what those words meant when he said them.

Obama’s inability to speak English (as opposed to read or memorize speeches) may help him in domestic politics. Bush’s certainly has: where a misstatement by Gore would immediately be assumed to be a lie, a misstatement by Bush was just another example of the “legacy kid” screwing up. So I’m not surprised when the “affirmative action kid” screws up. Both are below-average in terms of abilities or experiences of our recent Presidents, and both were given their party’s nomination because of a politically correct heritage.

Still, many of my liberal friends have pointed out that George Bush’s mishandling of the English language hurt our ability to transmit our messages to others in the world. Obama’s mishandling of English will do similar damage.

WALL-E, Christianity, and Kubrick

Have been watching Stanley Kubrick films recently, adding Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Full Metal Jacket to our joint list of Eyes Wide Shut and A Clockwork Orange. We also enjoyed WALL-E. So I was delighted by Adam’s excellent analysis of WALL-E, in light of both Kubrick and Christianity:

The Metropolis Times: WALL-E: A Christian Dystopia
“We’re not engaging in relationships, which are the point of living—relationship with God and relationship with other people.”
– WALL-E director Andrew Stanton

WALL-E’s parallels with 2001: A Space Odyssey go beyond the blinking red light and ‘Also sprach Zarathustra.’ It shares its visual and geographic structure and its central, somewhat Nietzschian, theme with Kubrick’s masterpiece. However, it goes to a place where Kubrick never could – by featuring the most touching love story captured on film in many, many years.

Read the whole thing.

HIV discriminates. It is a racist and a bigot.

Do you remember those well-meaning please that HIV does not discriminate, that AIDS is not racist, and so on.

I wonder how many people untruths like that killed

Genetic Trait Boosts AIDS Risks in Blacks – US News and World Report
WEDNESDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) — New research suggests that people of African descent are much more likely to have a genetic trait that makes them more susceptible to infection with the HIV virus.

Scientists estimate that the trait — which also provides protection against a form of malaria — might account for 11 percent of the HIV cases in Africa, the continent hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic.

Overall, the finding shows how the past history of evolution and disease still affects people today, said study co-author Matthew J. Dolan, of the Wilford Hall United States Air Force Medical Center and San Antonio Military Medical Center. “The benefit that the Africans got from a mutation that gave them some resistance to malaria has, statistically at least, rendered them some increased susceptibility to HIV,” he said.

The attack by on scientists by ideologues is old. From Trofim Lysenko to Richard Lewontin to many AIDS and education activists, the only acceptable scientific knowledge is what they wish it to be.

Too bad.