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Monthly Archives: October 2009

More computer stuff

No, I haven’t forgotten all the other things I mean to post about. I’ll get back to book reviews very soon.

Meanwhile, I have just discovered this neat feature of my Acer:

screen

As you may see in the top left window this feature can be downloaded for other computers: see  Split your Monitor into Sections with Acer GridVista.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2009 in computers

 

The 2001st post — to seven or not to seven

I spent yesterday morning at Sirdan’s helping out with some minor issues following his upgrading his Windows for Mac from Vista to Windows 7. Sirdan, without whom my Acer wouldn’t exist, offered to buy me Windows 7. I, of course, managed to royally screw Vista, as you may recall, and am now running on XP’s latest incarnation. My computer is singing like a bird as a result, using between 20 and 30% of the available RAM and a CPU usage normally at 0-1%. Not to mention how little, comparatively, of my hard disks — there are two — are devoted to the operating system.

So even though I have downloaded the necessary transfer software I knocked back the offer for now. What about you? Have you upgraded? What do you think of the process and the result? CNet has some ideas.

Time for a poll.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2009 in computers, Sirdan

 

… and on

Following on yesterday I commend Jim Belshaw’s post Refugees and a contempt for the ordinary person.

… I do not think that either Mr Rudd or Mr Howard before him know how deeply upset we are.

There are, as Neil noted, some 16 million refugees globally excluding internally displaced persons. There is no way Australia could manage this current number. Hard choices have to be made…

I also congratulate the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, Paul Howes.

The Labor Party has found a leader’s voice on boat people and immigration – but it’s not the Prime Minister’s.

The task has fallen to a most unlikely candidate, a 28-year-old right-wing union leader who grew up poor in the Blue Mountains. It’s the voice of the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, the very outfit that led the creation of White Australia a century ago.

While Kevin Rudd continued to duck and weave yesterday to avoid antagonising anti-immigrant sentiment in the outer suburbs, Paul Howes confronted it. Howes is saying plainly what Rudd has not dared. He was in Canberra yesterday speaking in favour of humanity and strongly setting out Labor’s policy in favour of immigration.

”The immaturity in political debate in Australia sometimes makes me sick,” Howes said. ”There are politicians in both the Liberal and Labor parties who are exploiting the issue of race to whip up fear in the community. Question time is dominated by 78 people on a boat. We have around 50,000 visa overstayers every year,” he said of people who arrive by plane rather than boat. ”Is anyone saying this is a national crisis? One reason there is no outrage is that these people are mainly white and speak English. Is anyone demanding we clean out the backpackers’ hostels of Bondi and Surry Hills?”…

On Sri Lanka at the moment see Sri Lanka: it’s only business as usual so why the fuss?

 

The beat goes on

I am still frustrated by the undue attention being given to “boat people” as such and the lack of proportion in the whole debate. A reminder about proportion can be found in the recent UNHCR Report.

The number of people forcibly uprooted by conflict and persecution worldwide stood at 42 million at the end of last year amid a sharp slowdown in repatriation and more prolonged conflicts resulting in protracted displacement. The total includes 16 million refugees and asylum seekers and 26 million internally displaced people uprooted within their own countries, according to UNHCR’s annual "Global Trends" report released today.

The new report says 80 percent of the world’s refugees are in developing nations, as are the vast majority of internally displaced people – a population with whom the UN refugee agency is increasingly involved. Many have been uprooted for years with no end in sight.

Although the overall total of 42 million uprooted people at year’s end represents a drop of about 700,000 over the previous year, new displacement in 2009 – not reflected in the annual report – has already more than offset the decline.

"In 2009, we have already seen substantial new displacements, namely in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Somalia," UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said. "While some displacements may be short-lived, others can take years and even decades to resolve. We continue to face several longer-term internal displacement situations in places like Colombia, Iraq, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia. Each of these conflicts has also generated refugees who flee beyond their own borders."

The report counts 29 different groups of 25,000 or more refugees in 22 nations who have been in exile for five years or longer and for whom there are no immediate solutions in sight. This means at least 5.7 million refugees are living in limbo…

And we are stressing about a few thousand. Not to mention the much greater number of over-stayers and so on who come in the “front door” by plane.

It’s all politicking really, as I said in the previous entry and it has to be admitted the Rudd government has not been all that brilliant, as Michelle Grattan says. Even Gerard Henderson has a real point in his column last Monday: Wielding the whip on asylum seekers: both sides have done it.

But I am appalled by comments like this one attached to Michelle Grattan’s article:

there is an easy way to fix this problem… simply refuse to let any illegal entrants to our country from coming ashore.. and wait until the boat sinks. the people smugglers and illegals will soon learn that australia is the hardest target in the world. problem solved! .. they are ILLEGALLY entering the country and deserve no sympathy whatsoever, just like if i illegally enter another country, then i deserve no sympathy either.

Sure…

 

Politicking boats and people movement

Here we are in deja vu land again. I ranted about these matters frequently in the past, the main rant being Massaging the Asylum Seekers (2001 – 2007).

Now as then an increase in boat arrivals has prompted a range of responses, some of the foolish and atavistic, others paranoid, and some sensible. (The atavism comes to mind as I reread that brilliant expression of deep invasion anxiety, The Lord of the Rings.) Could the boat people include some terrorists trying to enter the country? Well, you can’t categorically say no, but it would seem more likely they would arrive by plane, or even more likely be born here or already in the country. Most people in boats enter into their risky and often expensive project in order to get away from situations of civil war and terrorism, after all.

Rather than rave again I think I’ll just say the recent enquiry into Christmas Island deserves to be implemented. Here it is: HREOC report on Christmas Island.

For current policy see Managing Australia’s Borders from the Department of Immigration. I do accept the need on political, social and environmental grounds for border management. I do not accept the hysteria the topic generates.

Back in 2007 I commented on my rant linked at the head of this post: “It seems likely that some of the worst aspects of those years will be corrected by the Rudd government. Already, the Pacific “Solution” has begun to be overturned.” I have not been entirely disappointed but we could do better.

 

Sunday Floating Life photo 32 — wisdom

CIMG3507

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2009 in Sunday photo

 

Saturday stats again

Thomas noted a spike in his visits just before the HSC, so I thought I’d check today. English/ESL seemed the first place to check:

cats

Yep, there sure is a spike!

On Floating Life the most visited posts so far this month are:

  1. How good is your English? Test and Answers 270 views
  2. Conflicting perspectives 121
  3. The Great Surry Hills Book Clearance of 2005 111
  4. Dispatches from another America 88
  5. Maurice O’Riordan’s view on nude children as art 87
  6. Australian poem: 2008 series #8 – Indigenous 78
  7. Liberal – Conservapedia: this is not a joke 78
  8. Australian poem 2008 series #17: "Australia" 70
  9. Australian poem 2008 series #10: Peter S 60
  10. Australian poem: 2008 series #9 — 58
  11. Afghanistan – on the dollar trail 35
  12. Kevin Rudd as art critic 34

In my opinion the best post I have done all week – indeed for a while – is Communication, Education, Respect – and it’s also original!

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2009 in blogging, site news, site stats