From the Department of Hundreds of People Sharing a Single Brain
I hate the TSA: Meet Mikey, 8 [years-old]: U.S. Has Him on Watch List!
His mother makes a good point, though. A would-be Nigerian suicide bomber can get on a plane and blow his junk off with an underwear bomb (of the high explosive variety, not the Taco Bell type) but her 8-year-old son can't get on a plane for a family vacation without getting frisked.
On a related note, the TSA indicates they are creating a new database that will be used for suspects on their no-fly and suspectee lists. The new database will include the person's birth date and gender in addition to their name. Really? It took this long for someone to deduce that a database of fucking terror suspects should include vital information about that person beyond their goddamn name! Who made the first database? Some white house bureaucratic ass-hat's six-year-old? Was she reading from Baby's First Access Database? Couldn't be. Most six-year-olds have more sense than that.
I will continue to include amusing bits of TSA ass-hattery until they can prove they are doing even ONE thing that actually keeps us safe.
Alternatives to Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office 2010 is due to launch (go figure) this year. Microsoft has already announced the price for the 'standard' edition, or what they're calling the Home and Business edition. You can get your hands on this software for one easy payment of $279, or $199 if you download it. For your money you get to install the software on a whopping two PCs. By now you may be scratching your head looking at this and going "What the fuck? Aren't we in, like, a really bad recession? Who the fuck has $300 to spend on bloated, resource gobbling software from Micro$oft?" You wouldn't be alone. PC World published an article today covering inexpensive alternatives to Microsoft Office. "What do you mean, inexpensive," you ask with a cynical sneer. Well, Mr. Justifiably Jaded Consumer, by inexpensive I mean that two of them are free, and the one that isn't is only $80. "What kind of Microsoft Office alternative is free, or comes that cheap?" You sneer at me again, "Don't you get what you pay for?" Well, Mr. Justifiably Jaded Consumer, the answer is both yes and no. Let me explain. There is too much, I will sum up.
The solutions put forward as alternatives by the good people at PC World are OpenOffice.org, Zoho Office, and Softmaker. Two of these I've used myself. I'll start with those.
OpenOffice.org: In short is made of Oreo crusted goodness. Not only is it free, but it includes applications for word processing, spreadsheets, powerpoint presentations, and (though this is less important to the majority of users) database. Not only are these fully-functional applications in their own right, but files produced in these applications are compatible with similar applications from Microsoft. The cross-compatability isn't perfect but its good enough to pass files created in OpenOffice to people using Microsoft Office and have a reasonable expectation of them being able to work wih them.
Zoho Office: May I say something sincere, here? Just for a moment? Thank you. I like this application suite. That cost me something but I think I'm stronger for it. Unlike OpenOffice.org and Softmaker Zoho is hosted online. There's another well known, fully-hosted suite of applications out there but...I like this one better. Why? It's fully-featured, light, easy to use, and offers a huge number of options. Want to write a novel? No problem. In fact, that's what I use it for. Want to put together a basic budget in a spreadsheet? No problem. Want to create a wiki to manage your comic book collection online you dirty, dirty, geek? No problem. Oh, and if you happen to be a devotee of that other online suite of applications, no problem, Zoho and that other suite that rhymes with 'snoogle maps' are compatible.
Softmaker: Deskside application that offers their suite with word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations for $80. One license lets you install on three computers...That's about all I know about it.
I was going to go on and recount my adventures in the world of Ferelden and Dragon Age: Origins, but I think this has gone on long enough. Shame. I even had a clever name for the section heading. You will all just have to wait for that.