RIPIE, YIPEE!!!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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In my post last Friday that I called ‘Looking Through The Windows’ (click here if you want to read it)   I mentioned that the demise of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser was imminent and Windows 10 would see a whole new ‘streamlined’ internet browsing system bundled with it.

Now it’s official.

Microsoft is indeed ditching Internet Explorer. If fact it is getting rid of the entire brand.

Microsoft has confirmed that it was re-branding its new browser, currently known as ‘Project Spartan’, when it is released in summer.

Microsoft-s-Spartan-Browser

As usual, the need to kill off Internet Explorer is Microsoft’s own fault. They have released a series of bloated and buggy versions of IE over recent years, every one worse than the previous one. Now IE has attained a very negative reputation with internet users, particularly experienced ones.

But IE’s death will not be a quick and painless one. Instead a lingering demise is planned. Why I don’t know.

Some versions of Windows 10 will apparently still be shipped with IE still on board. Presumably you will have to go through the rigmarole of deleting it and replacing it when the new version is ready. Possibly a reason not to buy the new Windows 10 system until they get their act together.

internet-explorer-9

On the positive side, the new browser will be free. Not because Microsoft likes to give things away for free (that’s not what made Bill Gates the richest man in the world), but because they started that trend when they were trying to kill off Netscape, which they successfully did.

Since then no one pays for a browser. Apple, Google, Mozilla, Opera and the rest are all freebees these days. Inadvertently I suppose Microsoft did us all a big favor.

The only thing that scares me is the hype coming from Microsoft.

Statements like, “Microsoft’s change in direction is a smart, albeit bold, and a symbolic gesture.” don’t fill me with confidence. It is the same type of nonsense that preceded the release of ‘Windows Vista’ and ‘Windows 8’, and if you read last week’s post you will know what disasters I thought they were.

So will a change of name, or re-branding as Microsoft calls it, mean that their new browser will be a good one? The jury is still out on that. Like everything else we will have to wait and see. If they stick with the name ‘Spartan’ the implication would be that the new browser will be slick, fast and not memory hogging. That would indeed be good and a welcome changes from recent versions of Internet Explorer.

Having said that, I don’t think Google Chrome is in any imminent danger though.

Spartan Browser 2

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Looking Through The Windows

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Looking Through The Windows

Have you noticed that Microsoft Windows operating systems follow a distinct pattern?

By that I mean that after a fairly decent stable version, it inflicts a bloated piece of trash on the poor consumer. Software that is invariably rushed out to the public before it is ready, or before someone in the company has had the decency to take it out behind the Microsoft barn and shoot it.

Invariably each new version of Windows is hailed by Microsoft as “the best Windows yet”. You can understand that advertising hype I suppose, but it just ain’t true, they only get it right about half of the time.

The other half, Microsoft takes a good idea and turns it into a bad one as it tries to be new and trendy and interesting. It invariably ends in disaster.

Windows XP

After a number of faltering tries, most of which I experienced during my long love affair with computers that I previously wrote about on this blog (click here if you want to read it), we eventually got a decent operating system that Microsoft called ‘Windows XP’. It was stable, did everything reasonably well, didn’t suffer from too many dreaded blue screens, if any, and everyone was happy, particularly business users which are Microsoft’s bread and butter.

I know some people who are still happily using ‘XP’ despite its lack of updates to fix security issues like new hacks or threats now that Microsoft has finally ditched it.

Sadly, Microsoft followed the ‘XP’ success with a thing they called ‘Windows Vista’. As usual it was intended to be breakthrough technology. They tell me it was the brainchild of Bill Gates himself.

Windows Vista bad

However, ‘Windows Vista’ had one big flaw.

To put it bluntly, it was a piece of crap!

Most people, with the exception of the idiots who have to have every shiny new thing that is announced whether it is any good or not, stayed well away from ‘Vista’, and wisely so. Just to see what all the complaints were about my curiosity made me load it on to an old machine. I persevered with it for a couple of days before taking it off my computer for ever, never the easiest thing to do with Microsoft operating systems but I did it. I had to. It was dreadful.

I continued happily with ‘XP’ until it was time to change my laptop. The new one came with a 64bit version of ‘Windows 7’ on board. I had read good things about ‘Windows 7’ and they were largely true. It was a good system.

Windows 7

In fact a lot of people agree, because ‘Windows 7’ runs on about fifty-five per cent of the World’s PCs. ‘Windows 7’ was a winner because it didn’t try to make a big splash by attempting to do everything everything else did, only worse. It was just a good stable operating system that worked.

‘Vista’ became a distant memory, people were happy once more.

But then Microsoft went and did it again.

Instead of allowing ‘Windows 7’ to stay on as a cash cow, their idiot designers thought it was time for a new breed in the herd.

They ignored everything that was good about ‘Windows 7’ and, in a nerd-like stupor of unreality, decided what the world needed was not something that they were familiar with and liked, but something they wouldn’t know how to use and that would frustrate the hell out of them.

So it was that the horrible ‘Windows 8’ was conceived and born. It ignored the desktop and most of the laptop markets completely and aimed itself squarely at the touch-tablet system, Microsoft thinking that was where everyone was going. They didn’t say so, but a big part of their plan was to try to get kick Google’s ass because its ‘Android’ operating system for mobile devices and tablets had become a dominant market force (80%+ of the market).

It could all have been so different if the arrogant know-alls at Microsoft had listened to what people were telling them when they did exhaustive testing for ‘Windows 8’ before releasing it. About 1.24 billion hours of testing was done pre-release and all the feedback ignored, presumably because it was overwhelmingly negative.

Windows 8

Needless to say, when ‘Windows 8’ did hit the market it failed.

In fact it failed on all levels.

It alienated the desktop and laptop users. Business users didn’t want it and ordinary consumers didn’t want it either. It was so bad it wasn’t even popular with the mobile device users it was aimed at.

Microsoft got themselves stuck with one of the least wanted versions of Windows in the history of the company and that’s saying something!

‘Windows 8’ is so bad it has even eclipsed the hated ‘Vista’ in the league of things you never want near your computer.

It’s not just my opinion. Microsoft’s share of the PC and tablet market on ‘Windows 8’ is only just a little over 10 per cent and quite a lot of that is made up of people who didn’t have a choice when they bought a new machine with this catastrophe pre-loaded on it.

So what have I got on my computer?

I’m glad you asked. I have ‘Windows 8’!

WTF?

No, wait, I’m not a hypocrite, not completely.

‘Windows 7’ is no longer available since Microsoft stopped retailers and PC makers from selling and installing it.  It has entered into what Microsoft calls an ‘extended support mode’, but this only means that from now on all you will get will be new bug fixes, if and when problems crop up.

So when I needed to upgrade my laptop the dreaded ‘Windows 8.1’ was all that was available. They call it version ‘8.1’ because it is 0.1 percent less horrible than version ‘8’, but that’s still nowhere near being even average, let alone good!

Of course, trying to regain my dignity and sanity, I immediately tweaked the whole horrible mess that ‘Windows 8.1’ is, for example, adding back the start button (like ‘Windows 7’), loading a proper desktop version of ‘Skype’ instead of the irritating piece of crap app that is bundled with ‘Windows 8’, and doing some more bits and bobs to make the thing actually work like a ‘Windows 7’ machine. The bloated and useless ‘Metro’ start screen is also gone and I boot right to my familiar desktop.

The only reason I didn’t dump the whole shebang and load on my old ‘Windows 7’ program was because the new ‘Windows 10’ version is so tantalizingly close.

‘Windows 10’ ? Wait a minute. What happened to ‘Windows 9’ ?

Windows 9

There are a lot of theories about what has happened to ‘Windows 9’. Personally I think Microsoft already had it in development as another souped up version of ‘Windows 8’ when they launched ‘Windows 8’. But when they saw what a disaster that was they just ditched the whole thing and put all their efforts into ‘Windows 10’.

The official line from Microsoft says they have called the new operating system ‘Windows 10’ because they wanted to emphasize that it is is not a simple step up from ‘Windows 8’ but is a huge change for the company from the way they build Windows to how it will be deployed.

In plain English what that means is that Microsoft themselves know what a crappy program ‘Windows 8’ was and are trying to put some distance even in their numbering system between it and their new baby.

Windows 10

That aside, from what I have read so far, ‘Windows 10’ is a step back towards ‘Windows 7’ rather than a move ahead to where ‘Windows 8’ was trying to go. In other words, ‘Windows 10’ is bringing back the parts of the Windows desktop stupidly dumped by the designers of ‘Windows 8’.

At last Microsoft has hit the reality wall with a big slap and realized that safe and familiar is what the vast majority of their consumers want. The detestable immersive UI experience that forced bewildered users into the flawed ‘Metro’ world is gone and the desktop environment is back. And so is the beloved start button – hurrah!

Sanity has returned!

No, wait a minute, this is Microsoft what are you thinking?

‘Metro’ is still there, although in a much toned down version, with ‘Metro-looking’ apps that can be run in the desktop environment.

Apparently Microsoft has also integrated its digital assistant ‘Cortana’, the rival to Apple’s ‘Siri’ and Google’s ‘Now’, which made its debut on the unwanted ‘Windows Phone’. On the phones, ‘Cortana’ is used for voice-activated calls and searches, mapping, location and to launch apps. I’m guessing it will be on ‘Windows 10’ for the same reasons, but how much use people will make of it remains to be seen and heard.

I have also read that with ‘Windows 10’ comes a new Windows browser, codenamed ‘Spartan’, which may or may not integrate with ‘Cortana’. If it is a better browser than IE that will be a good thing, but don’t hold your breath on that score, after all IE versions just kept getting worse and worse when compared to something like ‘Google Chrome’. Another point against it in my book is that it has been designed as an app rather than a proper program so the jury is still out on it. I think I’ll still be using ‘Google Chrome’!

It is a bit obvious that the idea of adding these, really unnecessary, features, to ‘Windows 10’ is an attempt by Microsoft glamorize the new operating system and, by no means least, a smoke and mirrors attempt by the company to divert attention away from the fact that it has stuffed ‘Windows 8’ in the bin where it always belonged.

So for now we just to wait and hope. On past performance, after such a turkey as ‘Windows 8’, the next Microsoft version of its operating system should be good. It has to be better. It wouldn’t be possible to do worse.

But you never know for sure with Microsoft.

One final thought.

If your name was ‘Gates’ why would you call your operating system ‘Windows’ instead? Did he suspect right from the start that there would be embarrassing catastrophes ahead and didn’t want his family name associated with them?

As I said, just a thought.

open-gate-meadow-field-peaceful-43309059

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Welcome To The First Fasab Quiz For June

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Welcome to Quiz Day.

Another month has appeared on the calendar. Unbelievably we’re almost half way through 2014 already!

But what better way to start the first week of another month than with another twenty brain-buster questions.

Business, politics, geography, history, nature, movies and music are all in here this week.

Let’s see how you do.

Enjoy and good luck.

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quiz 09

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Q.  1:  What do octopus’ and goat’s eyes have in common?

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Q.  2:  What common English word comes from the French expression meaning “death pledge”?

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Q.  3:  Adjusting for inflation, which of these two men is the richest man in history, John D Rockerfeller or Bill Gates?

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Q.  4:  What is the term for yawning and stretching at the same time?

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Q.  5:  What US President is famous for having filed a report for a UFO sighting in 1973, calling it “the darndest thing I’ve ever seen.”

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Q.  6:  In the last 4000 years, how many new animals have been domesticated?

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Q.  7:  What is the Greek version of the Old Testament called?

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Q.  8:  Soweto is a very famous location on the outskirts of Johannesburg in South Africa, but how did it get its name?

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Q.  9:  Between 1926 and 1976, John Wayne appeared in over 170 motion pictures, and became one of America’s biggest box office stars, but what was the title of his last movie?

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Q. 10:  What is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon? (Two bonus points if you can name the year too.)

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Q. 11:  what was the only part of the United States that was invaded by the Japanese during WWII?

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Q. 12:  Why do spiral staircases in medieval castles run clockwise?

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Q. 13:  What are the only birds able to fly backwards.

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Q. 14:  If you were standing in the northernmost point in the contiguous (48) US states, what state would you be standing in?

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Q. 15:  Name the six main characters in the long running TV comedy series ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’? (A point for each and bonus points if you can name the actors who played them.)

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Q. 16:  What is the only Canadian Province that borders the Great Lakes?

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Q. 17:  Only four letters in the latin alphabet look the same if you turn them upside down or see them from behind, a point for each one you can name correctly?

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Q. 18:  Previously set in Los Angeles, Washington DC and New York, what City is the location for the latest series of the hit TV show ‘24’?

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Q. 19:  What is the only US State that begins with an “A” but does not end with an “A”?

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Q. 20:  Who shared ‘Endless Love’ with Luther Van-Dross in 1994?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  What do octopus’ and goat’s eyes have in common?

A.  1:  Both have rectangular pupils.

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Q.  2:  What common English word comes from the French expression meaning “death pledge”?

A.  2:  The common English word ‘mortgage’ comes from the French expression meaning “death pledge”.

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Q.  3:  Adjusting for inflation, which of these two men is the richest man in history, John D Rockerfeller or Bill Gates?

A.  3:  When adjusted for inflation, John D Rockerfeller is the richest man in the history of the world,  with a net worth 10 times more than Bill Gates.

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Q.  4:  What is the term for yawning and stretching at the same time?

A.  4:  When you yawn and stretch at the time, you are “pandiculating.”

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Q.  5:  What US President is famous for having filed a report for a UFO sighting in 1973, calling it “the darndest thing I’ve ever seen.”

A.  5:  Jimmy Carter filed a report for a UFO sighting in 1973.

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Q.  6:  In the last 4000 years, how many new animals have been domesticated?

A.  6:  Bit of a trick question, in the last 4000 years, no new animals have been domesticated. Take a point if you answered ‘none’ or ‘zero’.

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Q.  7:  What is the Greek version of the Old Testament called?

A.  7:  The Greek version of the Old Testament is called the ‘Septuagint’.

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Q.  8:  Soweto is a very famous location on the outskirts of Johannesburg in South Africa, but how did it get its name?

A.  8:  Soweto in South Africa was derived from SOuth WEst TOwnship.

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Q.  9:  Between 1926 and 1976, John Wayne appeared in over 170 motion pictures, and became one of America’s biggest box office stars, but what was the title of his last movie?

A.  9:  John Wayne’s final movie was ‘The Shootist’, made in 1976 and in which he played the part of aging former gunslinger John Bernard Books.

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Q. 10:  What is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon? (Two bonus points if you can name the year too.)

A. 10:  February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.

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Q. 11:  what was the only part of the United States that was invaded by the Japanese during WWII?

A. 11:  Alaska was the only part of the United States that was invaded by the Japanese during WWII. The territory was the island of Adak in the Aleutian Chain. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was attacked, but not invaded.

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Q. 12:  Why do spiral staircases in medieval castles run clockwise?

A. 12:  Spiral staircases in medieval castles run clockwise because all knights used to be right-handed and would therefore carry their swords in their right hand.

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Q. 13:  What are the only birds able to fly backwards.

A. 13:  Hummingbirds are the only birds able to fly backwards.

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Q. 14:  If you were standing in the northernmost point in the contiguous (48) US states, what state would you be standing in?

A. 14:  If you were standing in the northernmost point in the contiguous (48) US states, you’d be standing in Minnesota.

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Q. 15:  Name the six main characters in the long running TV comedy series ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’? (A point for each and bonus points if you can name the actors who played them.)

A. 15: The characters in the Beverly Hillbillies were Jed Clampett, Granny, Ellie May, Jethro, unscrupulous banker Mr Drysdale and his long-suffering assistant Miss Hathaway, played respectively by Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, Max Baer, Jr., Raymond Bailey and Nancy Kulp.

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Q. 16:  What is the only Canadian Province that borders the Great Lakes?

A. 16:  Ontario is the only Canadian Province that borders the Great Lakes.

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Q. 17:  Only four letters in the latin alphabet look the same if you turn them upside down or see them from behind, a point for each one you can name correctly?

A. 17:  The only letters in the latin alphabet that look the same if you turn them upside down or see them from behind are  ‘H’  ‘I’   ‘O’  and  ‘X’.

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Q. 18:  Previously set in Los Angeles, Washington DC and New York, what City is the location for the latest series of the hit TV show ‘24’?

A. 18:  The latest series of ‘24’ is set in London, England.

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Q. 19:  What is the only US State that begins with an “A” but does not end with an “A”?

A. 19:  Arkansas is the only US State that begins with “A” but does not end with “A”, all the other States that begin with “A”, Arizona, Alabama and Alaska, also end with “A”.

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Q. 20:  Who shared ‘Endless Love’ with Luther Van-Dross in 1994?

A. 20:  Mariah Carey.

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Did You Know? The Fact File Is Open Again!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The fact file is open again so let’s have a look and see what random bits of information have come up today.

As always, enjoy.

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did you know5

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Through the first half of the 20th century,

only one winner of the Oscar for Best Picture was filmed in color:

Gone with the Wind.

gone_with_the_wind_poster

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Horses and donkeys are of different species.

In order to get what we call a “mule,” a horse and donkey

must mate and produce offspring.

Any offspring between two different species

will be sterile and unable to reproduce.

horse and donkey in love

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Between 1912 and 1948, art competitions were a part of the Olympics.

Medals were awarded for architecture, music, painting, and sculpture.

LondonAlbertHallArt poster

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Medal of Honor recipient Thomas Baker

was gravely wounded and had his comrades leave him behind,

propped up against a tree with a pistol that had 8 bullets remaining.

Later they found his body next to the tree,

surrounded by 8 dead Japanese soldiers.

Thomas Baker Medal of Honor

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A 14 year old boy broke into Buckingham Palace

and stole the Queen’s underwear.

The Queen's Knickers

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Theodore Roosevelt was once shot at during a campaign rally in Wisconsin.

The bullet penetrated his glasses case and a manuscript,

just missing his right lung.

Being an expert hunter he decided to stay and give his speech

since he wasn’t coughing up blood.

His speech lasted nearly an hour.

Theodore_Roosevelt_circa_1902

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Sean Penn once beat Madonna over the head with a baseball bat,

shot at a paparazzi,

and hung another paparazzi by is ankles from a ninth-floor balcony.

(I hope he isn’t upset by this post!)

sean-penn

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In 1994, Bill Gates bought the Da Vinci Codex for $30m

and then had it scanned and distributed

as screensavers and wallpapers for Windows95.

Da Vinci Codex

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An eyeball weighs about 1 ounce.

eyeball

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World Famous Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey

is made only in the small town of Lynchburg, Tennessee.

Though the town supplies the world with the famous libation,

not a drop may be purchased for consumption anywhere in town.

Moore County is a “dry” county,

meaning that the sale and consumption of alcohol is illegal.

Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey

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300 people died in Ycuá Bolaños supermarket fire

on Sunday, August 1, 2004 in Asunción, Paraguay

because the owners shut the doors

so people wouldn’t leave without paying.

Super_Ycuá_Bolaños_01_08_2005

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Cats sweat through the pads of their feet

(especially when they hear a dog barking)

and cannot taste sweet things.

cat's paw

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In 1939, Hitler’s nephew wrote an article called

“Why I Hate My Uncle.”

He came to the U.S., served in the Navy,

and settled on Long Island.

Hitler's nephew

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Britain’s Prince Harry is partial owner

of a racehorse named Usain Colt.

Usain Colt

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A priest on the Titanic refused a place on a life boat twice,

and stayed behind to hear confessions and

give absolution to people left on the ship.

titanic_ship-HD

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A “2 by 4″ is really 1 1/2″ by 3 1/2″.

2 by 4

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There are more than 40,000 different

spoken languages in the world today.

international_languages

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11% of the world is left-handed.

left-handed-products

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With five full-time chefs, the White House kitchen

is able to serve dinner to as many as 140 guests

and hors d’oeuvres to more than 1,000.

White House kitchen

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Bob Marley was buried with his red Gibson guitar,

a Bible opened to Psalm 23, and a bud of marijuana.

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Stained Windows 3.1

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I did a few posts recently about the resignation of pope Benedict and the election of Francis I (here  and here ) and that reminded me of something that happened in the way distant past of the internet. In fact it became the first internet hoax.

I am sure a great many of you are far too young to remember this, so here is the story.

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Sometime in early 1994 a press release began circulating around the internet claiming that Microsoft had bought the Roman Catholic Church.

The press release, allegedly from the Vatican City itself, announced that this was “the first time a computer software company has acquired a major world religion.”

The release also quoted Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates as saying that he considered religion to be a growth market and that, “The combined resources of Microsoft and the Catholic Church will allow us to make religion easier and more fun for a broader range of people.”

The deal would allow Microsoft to acquire exclusive electronic rights to the Bible and would make the sacraments available online.

Similarities were drawn between the business practices of Microsoft and the Catholic Church’s historical conversion efforts, claiming that throughout history the Church, like Microsoft, had been “an aggressive competitor, leading crusades to pressure people to upgrade to Catholicism, and entering into exclusive licensing arrangements in various kingdoms whereby all subjects were instilled with Catholicism, whether or not they planned to use it.”

At the time very few seemed to get the joke. Stained Glass Windows 3.1 was not in fact about to be launched, but still many people telephoned Microsoft’s public relations agency to inquire if the news was true.

In the end it got so bad that Microsoft had to issue a formal denial of the release on December 16, 1994.

Pope Bill 3.1
Pope Bill 3.1

A follow-up hoax release announced that in response to Microsoft’s acquisition of the Catholic Church, IBM had bought the Episcopal Church.

Since then hoaxes on the internet have gone from strength to strength, from end of the world scenarios, thru Nigerian 419 scams to the plethora of “warn all you friends about this new deadly virus (that doesn’t really exist)” hoaxes.

People were dumb, are dumb and will get dumber!

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I have reproduced below the original hoax announcement.

Would you have fallen for it?

If you are reading this blog I doubt it. But read it anyway for amusement value.

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By the way, the authors of these hoaxes remain unknown – good for them.

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Here it is:

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MICROSOFT BIDS TO ACQUIRE CATHOLIC CHURCH

By Hank Vorjes

VATICAN CITY (AP) — In a joint press conference in St. Peter’s Square this morning, MICROSOFT Corp. and the Vatican announced that the Redmond software giant will acquire the Roman Catholic Church in exchange for an unspecified number of shares of MICROSOFT common stock. If the deal goes through, it will be the first time a computer software company has acquired a major world religion.

With the acquisition, Pope John Paul II will become the senior vice-president of the combined company’s new Religious Software Division, while MICROSOFT senior vice-presidents Michael Maples and Steven Ballmer will be invested in the College of Cardinals, said MICROSOFT Chairman Bill Gates.

“We expect a lot of growth in the religious market in the next five to ten years,” said Gates. “The combined resources of MICROSOFT and the Catholic Church will allow us to make religion easier and more fun for a broader range of people.”

Through the MICROSOFT Network, the company’s new on-line service, “we will make the sacraments available on-line for the first time” and revive the popular pre-Counter-Reformation practice of selling indulgences, said Gates.

“You can get Communion, confess your sins, receive absolution — even reduce your time in Purgatory — all without leaving your home.” A new software application, MICROSOFT Church, will include a macro language which you can program to download heavenly graces automatically while you are away from your computer.

An estimated 17,000 people attended the announcement in St Peter’s Square, watching on a 60-foot screen as comedian Don Novello — in character as Father Guido Sarducci — hosted the event, which was broadcast by satellite to 700 sites worldwide.

Pope John Paul II said little during the announcement. When Novello chided Gates, “Now I guess you get to wear one of these pointy hats,” the crowd roared, but the pontiff’s smile seemed strained. The deal grants MICROSOFT exclusive electronic rights to the Bible and the Vatican’s prized art collection, which includes works by such masters as Michelangelo and Da Vinci. But critics say MICROSOFT will face stiff challenges if it attempts to limit competitors’ access to these key intellectual properties.

“The Jewish people invented the look and feel of the holy scriptures,” said Rabbi David Gottschalk of Philadelphia. “You take the parting of the Red Sea — we had that thousands of years before the Catholics came on the scene.”

But others argue that the Catholic and Jewish faiths both draw on a common Abrahamic heritage. “The Catholic Church has just been more successful in marketing it to a larger audience,” notes Notre Dame theologian Father Kenneth Madigan. Over the last 2,000 years, the Catholic Church’s market share has increased dramatically, while Judaism, which was the first to offer many of the concepts now touted by Christianity, lags behind.

Historically, the Church has a reputation as an aggressive competitor, leading crusades to pressure people to upgrade to Catholicism, and entering into exclusive licensing arrangements in various kingdoms whereby all subjects were instilled with Catholicism, whether or not they planned to use it.

Today Christianity is available from several denominations, but the Catholic version is still the most widely used. The Church’s mission is to reach “the four corners of the earth,” echoing MICROSOFT’s vision of “a computer on every desktop and in every home”.

Gates described MICROSOFT’s long-term strategy to develop a scalable religious architecture that will support all religions through emulation. A single core religion will be offered with a choice of interfaces according to the religion desired — “One religion, a couple of different implementations,” said Gates.

The MICROSOFT move could spark a wave of mergers and acquisitions, according to Herb Peters, a spokesman for the U.S. Southern Baptist Conference, as other churches scramble to strengthen their position in the increasingly competitive religious market.

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Clever Celebrity Caricatures

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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As most of you know, the main focus of this blog is on the stupidity of the politicians and bureaucrats who do all that they can to make our lives less enjoyable and free than they could be without such unwanted and idiotic interference.

Occasionally, however, I like to feature quite the opposite, things and people who are exceptional in their chosen field, whether that be science, sport, engineering, music or whatever.

Today’s post is one of the latter and is a wonderful selection of caricatures that I received in a recent email. Unfortunately I don’t know the names of the exceptional artists who did these drawings, otherwise I would be more than happy to acknowledge them. Nonetheless I think as wide an audience as possible deserves to be able to view their work and what follows I hope will be a small part of that.

Enjoy, I think you will. And if you feel the urge please let me know you favorite or favorites.

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Caricatures.

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Einstein

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Angela Merkel and Gordon Brown

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Barack Obama and Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Benedikt XVI and Prince Charles

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George W Bush and Vladimir Poetin

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Bill Clinton and Gerhard Schroder

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Donald Trump and Bill Gates

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Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali

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Pablo Picasso and Karl Lagerfeld

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Quentin Tarantino and Alfred Hitchcock .

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Steven Spielberg and Roman Polanski

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Angela Jolie and Brad Pitt.

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Bette Davis and Marlene Dietrich.

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Bill Murray and Bruce Willis

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Christopher Walken

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Clint Eastwood and George Clooney

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Humphrey Bogart and Harrison Ford

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Jack Nicholson and Jamie Lee Curtis

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John Wayne and Klaus Kinski

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Lee Marvin and Marilyn Monroe

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Meryl Streep and Nicolas Cage

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Paul Newman and Orson Wells

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Penelope Cruz and Robert de Niro

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Rowan Atkinson and Sarah Jessica Parker

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Sean Connery and Sophia Loren

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Sylvester Stallone and Tom Cruise.

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Tom Hanks and Uma Thurman

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Whoopi Goldberg and Bruce Lee

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Bjork and David Bowie

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Chet Baker

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Dolly Parton and Duke Ellington

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Elvis Presley and Eric Clapton

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James Brown and John Lenon

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Keith Richards and Kylie Minogue

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Lou Reed and Michael Jackson

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Madonna

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Mick Jagger and Neil Young

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Paul McCartney and Steve Tyler

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Tina Turner and Katarina Witt

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THE END

(Copyright to all drawings belong to the original artists)

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People Hardly Ever Look Up – Sometimes They Should

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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People hardly ever look up. I don’t know why that is, but they hardly ever do.

Maybe it’s because it is a slightly unnatural act having to crank your neck backwards, or the fact that if you do it too far your mouth involuntarily opens. Unless there is an unusual noise or something to catch their attention most people wander through life just looking from ground level to about six to eight feet high.

But mouth open or closed, sometimes it is a good idea to have a look at what’s going on a bit higher up.

Anthony, or Tony as he liked to be called, is a good example of this. Tony was the biggest businessman I had ever come into contact with. I don’t mean he was a Bill Gates, or a Warren Buffet or even a Larry Ellison in that he had amassed a vast fortune of billions of dollars, or that he ran a huge company. I am simply referring to his physical, not his business, stature.

Tony was a good six feet six in height, and about four feet wide. He was a giant of a man. Very amiable and softly spoken, but you just knew he wasn’t the type of person to pick a fight with and I don’t think anyone ever did.

I was not personally involved in the trip I am about to tell you about, thank goodness, but a couple of friends of mine were and they related the story (many times!). It’s going back a few years now but there was a time when lots of companies were visiting the Middle East to try to secure contracts from the oil rich Arab nations who were using part of their great wealth to develop the infrastructures of their nations.

Part of these business trips more often than not involved a substantial meal provided by the local hosts, with some offerings less suited to the western palette and others absolutely delicious. Most people had the sense to pick and choose which was the sensible thing to do. But Tony’s appetite for food was as big as he was.

Whilst the others showed restraint, Tony tore into everything on the table, much to the delight of their hosts. He ate and he better ate and when almost everything was gone he pronounced himself “full”. After that he and the other two visiting businessmen handed over their proposals to their hosts and a follow-up business meeting was arranged for the following afternoon.

The next morning they were up bright and early and met for breakfast, two ordinary ones and a super-sized one for Tony. They chatted for a while and then went off to their rooms to rehearse their pitches for the afternoon meeting.

Later, when they all assembled in the hotel foyer for the short taxi ride to the office where their meeting was scheduled Tony was the last to arrive. He didn’t look at all well.

“You’re a bad color,” said one of the others. “Are you feeling okay?”

“No, no, I’m fine,” Tony protested. “Tummy’s a bit jippy, that’s all. Let’s go and get this done.”

And off they all went, one of them in the front seat of the taxi and Tony and the other guy in the rear.

When they arrived at the company offices they were ushered up to the fourth floor and into a reception/waiting area that consisted of a few of chairs, two large couches and, on the other side of the room, a receptionist’s desk behind which sat two girls, one greeting visitors and the other operating the telephones. The room was about 30 feet by 20 feet, with very high ceilings. Off to the left, behind partition walls were what seemed to be more offices.

By this time Tony’s color had not improved at all. In fact it was getting worse. He was shaking his head from side to side and at the same time rubbing his ample belly with his right hand. A few muffled gurgles and rumbles could be heard by the others sitting close to him.

“Guys, I don’t feel so well,“ he finally admitted, obviously now in considerable discomfort. “Excuse me while I go to the bathroom.”

And up he got, inquired from the girls behind the counter where the bathrooms were situated, and off he went. They were on the other side of the foyer from the offices and he quickly made his way in that direction.

When I described the other offices as being behind partition walls I neglected to say that these walls did not go right up to full ceiling height. They stopped about two feet below that. Unfortunately the bathrooms were located behind a similar partition wall. This meant that anything that was going on in there above a certain level of decibels was clearly audible to anyone in the reception area.

The first noises to emerge through the gap between wall and ceiling was a series of groans and grunts. Then some expletives best not repeated here. This was closely followed by several thunderous explosions.

“Incoming!” warned one of the guys in the reception area, highly amused by it all. “Take cover!”

“Watch out for the shrapnel,” added the other as the bombardment continued.

It didn’t last that long really, but it seemed to go on forever. The whole crescendo ended with a clearly audible “Oh **** me, what a relief,” from Tony.

The two girls at the reception desk were clearly embarrassed at this unusual behavior, but they saw the funny side of it too and giggled quietly. The other two guys in the reception area weren’t so timid. They were enjoying the whole show and laughing quite openly.

“Best pitch rehearsal I’ve heard from him,” quipped one.

“I always said he was full of crap,” said the other.

“Not any more!” returned the first.

And on it went.

Then Tony walked back into the reception area. He was looking, not quite triumphant, but definitely pleased that he was now feeling a lot better. He was completely unaware that his predicament had been heard by all and sundry.

“Have they spoken to you yet?” he inquired. “What’s the running order?”

“I’m on first,” said one of the guys. “You’re number two.”

The other one sniggered.

Tony was not getting the joke at all, but he knew he was missing something.

“Okay,” he said to the others. “What’s the joke, what’s going on?”

“Look behind you,” one of them said, indicating the partition wall between the reception area and the bathrooms.

Tony did. “I don’t see what you mean, what’s wrong?” he asked.

“Look up a bit,” the other guy said.

Tony looked up. At first he didn’t see anything out of place. Then after a few minutes of looking round the room the penny dropped. He was clearly embarrassed.

“You mean you could hear..” he started to ask.

“EVERYTHING,” the other two said in unison.

”Shit!” exclaimed Tony.

“And lots of it by the sound of things,” said one of the others.

After that Tony always looked up now and again.

I don’t know how the meetings went.