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1. Most of them could be doing something useful in between keystrokes

Such as scanning data sets for cures for cancer, analyzing climate data… and more besides.

2. Then there’s the time wasted with the help of computers

They have surely taken over from television (gramophone, wireless, television… here we come).

Yesterday I stumbled on and watched this seminar: The Collapse of Intelligent Design by Ken Miller of Brown University.

YouTube billing:

“Ken Miller basically rips Intelligent Design apart in a 2 hour long expos√© of the claims of intelligent design and the tactics that creationists employ to get it shoehorned into the American school system.”

It was delicious. Good science, good theater and, and in the case of the Dover (Pennsylvania) court trial described, a just outcome. It didn’t feel like 2 hours. I think it was an hour plus questions.

Miller’s closing remarks about the judiciary were wise and very uplifting–and a warm personal reminder of much that I admire about important things that America has gotten wonderfully right. I have made a note to read Judge Jones’ ruling when my computer next helps me save some time.

Later: Oh, alright then, I couldn’t resist it. Dr.Miller said it was very funny in places and I’m afraid that tempted me to have what I intended, of course, as a quick look (Warning: fatal mistake!). And indeed there are some belly laughs in there as perjuring backsides are nailed to barn doors. And there are even more, I discovered by another serendipitous excursion, in the York Daily Record (here, for example) whose columnist Mike Argento has been described as the H.L.Mencken of the trial. I am resisting the temptation to look for more.

3. And the time wasted fooling with computers

My reading of the judgement was facilitated by my finding this fix (a software downgrade) to enable me to use my Microsoft Office keyboard’s scroll wheel. Microsoft Vista doesn’t support this Microsoft (model RT9450) keyboard. I could understand this if it was 5 years old or required an obsolete interface. It’s about 3 years old and it works perfectly well with Windows XP. Microsoft, it seems, would like me to buy another keyboard.

obsolete-rt9450.jpg

First, this is not environmentally responsible. Second, it causes me more than financial pain. I have suffered in the past from shoulder problems associated with using a mouse for too long. Having a scroll wheel on the left of the keyboard has made a great deal of difference to me. Now, Microsoft doesn’t make a keyboard with a scroll wheel on the left any more. I don’t expect Vista to support 8″ floppy disks or any other obsolete hardware, but this deliberate failure to support Microsoft’s own hardware seems inexcusable–in this case at least: the Microsoft Office Keyboard is still for sale. I am posting this so that others whose time was wasted on this may find this workaround, and so that any Microsoftie reading this might feel twinge of shame (fat chance?).

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