mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, October 31, 2005

NYT confirms: women will never be happy with your car..

Via Thurdsday's Best of the Web comes this article in the New York Times confirming what you've always suspected - women are evil. If you drive a nice car, they will assume that you are a greedy materialistic bastard who is "compensating" for something, while if you drive a crappy car they will assume that you are a poor slob who can't afford a decent car.

Of course, this isn't exactly news - it just confirms what you've always suspected, that women are often a little nuts. But it's in the New York Times, so it must be news, and it must be true.

On the plus side, I can always blame the horrible bomb that is my social life not on my lack of personality or poor people skills, but rather on my car.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

What? There is stuff that isn't online....

One of the classes I'm taking has a bunch of Harvard business school case studies. They had hard copies available at the bookstore, but our professor said they would also be available online from Harvard. Me and the internet go way back, so I figured I would just download them from Harvard's site.

That worked for the first two - they were available as "sealed media" files - sort of a DRM (copywrite protected) PDF. But the third one wasn't. And since I figured it would be, it's now Saturday and I don't have the case, and the class is Monday night.

I emailed the professor, and she's pretty nice, so she'll probably let me slide and read and write on it next week or whenever I get my hands on it, and she might be able to get me a copy of it. I haven't heard from her yet though.

This is horrible timing - I had no time other than today to get it done - Hamfest plans tomorrow, and work Monday.

Why wouldn't Harvard put it online? It's a tech-related case, and I can't imagine that I was the only person who needed it and couldn't get it. Their DRM is pretty tight, so it seems hard to believe it's copywrite - and heck, they will send you a paper copy, which you can easily make copies of anyway.


Why the "current read" links to a textbook...

Sharp-eyed readers of this site may have noticed that I finally changed the "current read" to something other than "Better Places, Better Lives" - the Rouse autobiography I have had up for the last couple months. And it's not because I've actually finished reading it - I got about halfway through, and then got sidetracked by a combination of factors - start of school making me busy, and I kind of lost interest in the subject. I was more intersted in some of the familiar places Rouse built than in the man himself - I've taken grad classes in Columbia and used to live in Mount Washington and drive past the Village of Cross Keys daily on my way to class, so I was interested in those two developments. Once I finished the parts about their development, I kind of lost interest.

But I haven't had time or motivation to do any new reading for pleasure. I've actually bought a number of new books - Lilek's new book, The Undercover economist and Cowboy Capitalism - but haven't gotten a chance to read any of them. Hopefully over Christmas break, or maybe Thanksgiving, although I'll probably end up doing homework over Christmas.

So I decided to stick one of the books from one of the classes I'm taking. I strongly recommend against it - very boring, occasionally inaccurate, and lacking any color pictures.

I'm going to be busy this weekend - I'm going to Hamfest with a friend tomorrow in Carrol County to sell some stuff. Hopefully I'll get rid of some inventory that will otherwise be going on eBay, and make some money. Vendor gates open at 6am and it's an hour drive. I have to work until 2:30, and by the time I do my errands, go to church, hit up the gym, go home, eat some dinner, and load up the car it will be hella late. I'm driving over to his house and crashing on the couch because I don't want to have to load my car in the morning and I don't want to leave it parked on a Baltimore City street filled with hundreds of dollars worth of routers, mp3 players, and hard drives. I probably will end up not getting there until 10pm or so.

I really hope I sell some stuff off - I could use the money and space, and it will save me time over having to write descriptions, take pics, and ship if I do eBay. I priced my stuff kinda high figuring people will want to haggle - I hope that doesn't bite me in the arse.

So the next 24 hours or so are carefully scripted.

Scenes from work, naptime edition...

Mad Anthony: You look a bit more, umm, casual than usual.

Coworker: Yah, I don't feel well. I can't sleep. I've been suffering from boughts of insomnia.

Mad Anthony: I have the opposite problem. I suffer from "somina". Usually in the morning, when I'm supposed to be getting out of bed...

Friday, October 28, 2005

Scenes from work, fortune cookie edition

Coworker: What does your fortune say?

Mad Anthony: "You are analytical and contemplative by nature"

Coworker: Well, are you?

Mad Anthony: I don't know. I've never really thought about it.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Are they afraid of the man of Steele?

Protein Wisdom, among other blogs, have been linking this rather offensive post on Steele's pursuit of a senate seat.

It includes this statement:
And if he thinks he can win Baltimore and the DC suburbs, he's on crack. Black people will not only not vote for him, but regard him with contempt.

I doubt that anyone, right or left, dem or repub, expects Steele to "win" Baltimore or PG county. But I expect that he will pick up some votes in both places, votes that he may not have gotten if he was white. And any votes he picks up from those places may be enough to let him win when combined with votes from the rest of the state.

And I don't think all blacks will hold him in contempt for having a different view as him.

As far as the country club thing that Steve alludes to, it was one of those blown-out-of-proportion kerfluffles. While the Elkridge country club doesn't have any black members, they claim it's not intentional or a policy. And I would guess that there aren't a whole lot of members of my background either (Italian/Polish/Catholic). And of course, there were also Dems who held fundraisers there.

My guess is that Dems are starting to worrry that a moderate, black Republican could be enough to put Steele over the edge in a state that is normally VERY pro-democrat. (How pro-democrat? My choices for city council last year were a Dem or a Green - no Republican even ran). And that scares them, so they are attacking.

I say bring it on.

Scenes from work, haloween candy edition..

Mad Anthony's boss: So, do you think the user is unable to open the file due to an issue with citrix, a problem with their home directory, a misconfiguration of the workstation, or some sort of operational error?

Mad Anthony: (chews on snickers bar)

Mad Anthony: What? Sorry. I wasn't paying attention. And I couldn't answer, because my mouth was full of peanuts and chewy noughat.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The internet proves that it rocks once again...

As I tend to mention frequently on this blog, I'm taking MBA classes at night in an effort to become the most overeducated helpdesk lackey around (free tuition being one of the perks of working for a college - that and being surrounded by attractive coeds who would report me to HR and get me fired if I tried to ask them out).

I'm planning on just taking one class next year, because I'm lazy and this whole taking two classes/working 6 days a week/running an ebay business thing is cutting into my naptime. Plus, I'm hoping to buy a house in the first 6 months of '06, so only taking one class will give me plenty of time to look at houses that I either want but can't afford or can afford but don't want because they are in need of the kind of renovations that can only be done with a bulldozer.

Anyway, there are two professors teaching the class I want, one at each grad center. I remember talking to a coworker who is also taking classes, and him mentioning one prof over the other, but I decide to go to good old and see what they say.

Check the first professor and find:

If you get him, get a gun and blow your brains out! Complete waste of time, doesn't teach, loves himself, extremely stubborn.

Other comments include "waste of $1500", "waste of $1200" (guess tuition prices really have gone up), and "I think I actually knew less about the subject after this class than before I took it".

The other guy isn't even listed, but I figure that probably just means that nobody thought he was bad enough to bother complaining about.

Ahh, the power of the internet - helping people make decisions.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I bought my mom a Christmas present and promptly broke it...

I was in Target yesterday, checking to see if there was anything good on clearance that I could resell on eBay for extra income (there wasn't). While checking the endcaps of kitchen and small appliances (I have a habit of buying nifty electronic kitchen devices that I never, ever use) I stumbled on a cheesy bit of kitchen ornemenation - a sterotypical Italian chef holding a blackboard and rocking a mustache and kitchen whites. It was tacky - exactly the kind of thing my mom would love - seeing that she enjoys cooking and is half-Italian. It was also 50% off.

So I bought it, and as I'm getting ready to put everything in the car, I decide to compact everything into the plastic Rubbermaid storage box I had bought. I put it in the box, and CRACK - the head pops off. Which is bad, since it's a statue and not one of those cookie jars where the head is supposed to come off.

I tend to break stuff, but breaking something within seconds of leaving the store, before it's even in my car, is a record for me. I have some crazy gle around, so at some point I'll try to reattach it. (Can we fix him? Do we have the technology


BTW, I also bought a couple cheesy tee shirts, because they were $3 each. One is a Tab shirt, and the other is this one:


I wore it to the gym today, because I thought it would be ironic. Like rain on your wedding day ironic.

Testing, one two...

I have a test on tuesday - ie the day after tomorrow - in one of my classes. I should be studying now, but I'm blogging instead while I wait for the water to boil for spagehetti. I'm on the Powerbook in the main kitchen and I'm getting a signal from my bedroom, two stories up - so I guess my Cantenna attached to my old, refurbed d-link router works pretty well.

I hate tests. I think it's because I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so I never know if I've studied enough, so I always feel the need to keep studying. At least with papers, you have written guidelines - a certain number of pages, covering a certain topic. It's easy to know when you are done. With a test, it's not the amount of work or the result that marks your completion as far as test prep goes - it's time, when the day of the test rolls around.

I started studying thursday night, took off friday and spent some time studying. Did a little today, hope to do a little more tomorrow night. I'll probably go straight from work to the grad center (with a quick coffee stop in between) and try to cram that last hour of right-before=the-test cramming in.

And I have no idea how I will do. Multiple choice, 90 questions in 90 minutes. Sample test looks broad, and question wording looks puzzling. I'm not looking forward to this, although I am looking forward to being done with this....

and I think my water's boiling...

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Scenes from work, harass is not two words edition, part 2

Female Coworker: I've been to these sexual harassement seminars before. They tell you that there are a lot of things you aren't supposed to do - for example, you aren't supposed to tell me "nice dress" because that could be construed as sexual harassment.

Mad Anthony: Really? I can't say "nice dress" to a female coworker, even if I leave off the part about how "it would look better on my floor tomorrow morning"?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Scenes from work, Harass is not two words edition

Boss: You guys all have to sign up for the sexual harassment seminar. Two of you will have to go together to the same one.

Mad Anthony (to female coworker): You can go with me, if you promise to wear something short...

Friday, October 14, 2005

You had to go and make this a racial issue...

John Miller at NRO links this interesting article about Michael Steele, the Lt. Governor of Maryland, and many hope also the next senator from Maryland.

Michael Steele is unusual in that he is a black Republican. He was also the running mate of a Republican (Bob Ehrlich) who was elected governor of a state that usually votes Democrat, and who was able to beat a Kennedy for the job.

It is refeshing that the first African-American to become Lt. Governor of Maryland was a Republican, and it would be great to have a Republican senator. From the article, it looks like the fact that he is an African-American may help him win over some votes in Baltimore City.

I'm glad for that, and I'm glad that there is someone who is busting the sterotype that people on the right are racists (hey, it's not like we have ex-KKK leaders like a certain political party whose name I won't mention).

But at the same time, it seems like a lot of the reason that people are supporting him is soley because of his race. There is talk about the Democratic response - making sure they have African-Americans running as well.

I wish people were voting for him because they liked his ideas, liked what he stood for, and not just because of his race. Because people voting for him because of his race may get the Republicans to pick up a seat or two. But for the Republican party to make big gains, they have to convince African Americans their ideas are better, not just that they have some African-American candidates.

There are things that Republicans tend to advocate that I think would benefit many African-Americans - like school vouchers (where not being in bed with the NEA/teacher's unions is a good thing), lower taxes, and more protection of property rights. I also think it's good for the Democrats to have some competition instead of just assuming they will get the African-American vote (In the central Baltimore district where I live, my councilperson choices were between a Dem and a Green Party member. I went with the Green as a protest vote, since I knew they wouldn't win).

I do wonder if Steele will be as sucessful as Republicans hope. I think he'll get lots of votes outside Baltimore, but I wonder how many he will get in Baltimore - especially if Martin O'Malley runs. O'Malley is mayor of Baltimore right now and pretty well liked by most city residents (for not being nearly as incompetent and corrupt as some previous mayors- at least that's the impression I get, although as a non-native Baltimore resident I can't really opine).

Should be an interesting race. But I wish the race focused more on issues and less on, well, race.

Do you know anything about anything?

I had a user call me today at the helpdesk.

She started off her conversation with "do you know anything about Groupwise?"

For the uninitiated, Groupwise is Novell's email program. It's also the email program that everyone at this college uses, and has used since 1998 or so. And I've worked here for 2.5 years, and was a student here for 4 before then.

So yes, I know something about GroupWise.

I wonder if when she takes her car in for an oil change, if she first asks the mechanic if he knows anything about cars.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

You've got questions. We've got even more...

I've been having fun with Radio Shack this week.

Now, there are three reasons you go to Radio Shack. The first is you need some fairly obscure part, like a connector or extension cable for your stereo, that you know they will probably have and you may have troble finding elsewhere. The second is that they have something you want/need on sale. The third is that you are a moron.

I on occasion will go for the first, but lately it's been for the second (though I'm starting to wonder about the third). They have had a bunch of stuff on clearance, including some useful computer stuff.

I first went to the Rotunda Radio Shack. The Rotunda is an interesting place - a mall and office complex built into what used to be a factory in the 1900's. However, it suffers from a rather dated "not touched since the 70's" look (there is something about wood paneling and low ceilings that makes you feel like you are in someone's basement) and a lack of good stores.

There were a couple things I was looking for. I picked up a couple DVD-RAM disks (they sometimes go for a bit on eBay) and the guy asked me what the difference between DVD-RAM and DVD-R was. (I thought Radio Shack's motto was "You've got questions, we've got answers, not "You've got questions. We've got questions too.".

I was also looking for a Ximeta Netdisk - a USB hard drive with a network adapter on it that you can plug into a network and share. Here's my experiences with that, copied from my post on FatWallet.

Yesterday I stopped by another Radio Shack (rotunda) that was listed as having the netdisk. I forgot to write down the sku. Ask the guy if they have any more of the ximeta netdisk drives and he goes "no, we don't sell zip drives". He then looks in the back, then asks me what the item is and I tell him it's a usb and networked hard drive. He then looks at the shelves, picks up an item, and asks me "is this it"? He was holding a Belkin pci USB card.

I was also interested in the Haupauge Media MVP, a device that lets you stream video from your PC to a TV. FW post exerpt, again:

They also had an empty Haupauge Media MVP box on the shelf. Asked the guy if they had any more. Checked in the back, none, checked the computer, showed 1. He told me someone probably stole it. Why someone would steal a media MVP I don't know, especially taking EVERYTHING out of the box including inside packaging. And how do you steal something in a store the size of a large closet where the employees ask you every 30 seconds if you need help?

I went to the York Road Radio Shack the next day, and found 2 Netdisks on the shelf (I bought one, the other one was still there as of today) and a $3 SVideo to RCA converter that was originally a $40 SVideo to RCA adapter (display model, but they had the box and power adapter).

I noticed today that they had the Media MVP listed as in stock on their website. Went today armed with the SKU (I needed a haircut anyone, and also ended up having to get my tire patched). Went around and around over what the item was, that it wasn't on the shelf, ect. Computer showed as having 2 in stock. Guy could not find it. Guy even called his manager at home. Came out with a similar item from another manufacturer - that was $95 instead of $39. Nope. Tried to convince him to let me in the stockroom to look for it, since I knew what I was looking for and he didn't. Said his manager would not allow that, and I didn't press it (as I use that line 10 times a day at my own job...)

How the heck do you lose not one but TWO devices in a store that small?

And why would anyone shop at Radio Shack for anything other than, say, a 1/8" to 1/4" phono plug adapter? I can't imagine buying a TV or PDA or the like there.

October duldrums...

There's something about this time of year. Last year at this time, I was kind of wondering where my life was going, and if I should try something else - like quit my job and go to law school. Eventually, the urge passed.

This year, it isn't so much concern about where my life is going. It's concern about how much stuff I have to do and how I'm going to pay for the things I want to do.

I'm feeling overwhelmed. Right now, I'm working 6 days a week. I'm also taking two MBA classes, trying to hit the gym daily, and trying to continue making a few bucks selling stuff on eBay.

I've got enough of a routine that most of the reoccurring stuff gets done. I go shopping, go to the gym, make dinner, do laundy, do ebay packing or listing or shipping, or do homework, at the same time each day or week that I get everything done. But I have a bunch of projects and other nonroutine stuff that I don't know when I'm going to fit in. I have three presentations for one of my classes, and a group paper and two tests in my other, and I don't know when I'm going to get them done. I've put some time into one of them, and still don't know how I'm going to get them done.

And stuff throws off my routine - I had a nail in my tire today that took 2 hours to get patched, which messed up my schedule.

I had to think outside the box and pick Nigeria for my international MIS class presentation. We are supposed to find very specific data on our countries, and some of that - like cable TV subscribers or computer exports - doesn't exist. I picked Nigeria mostly because I was curious how a country could generate so many eBay and 419 spam scams. And now I'm drowning...

My other class has a group paper. I hear other groups talking about how much they have done. My group? We exchanged email addresses. And it took us 3 weeks.

I'm also hoping to make two large purchases next year - I want to get a new car, because I've been frustrated at the Cruiser and it's f'ed up electrical system that has rendered me speedometer and gas guage - less. I also want to buy a house, but housing prices are going up by 25% a year here in Baltimore, while MadAnthony's income is going up by about 3%.

On most accounts, when I look at my life now compared to where I was 3 years ago at this time - when I had just moved back in with my parents, had no job, very little money, and no real job prospects - I'm doing well, better that I could have imagined. I have some money put away, a paid-off car, a fully funded 401(k), and pretty much every gadget I've ever wanted (except for a plasma). I've even lost some weight, and I'm almost half way to getting my MBA.

The only place where I'm really not doing so well is in the dating department - apparently overweight guys with limited social skills and a tendancy to dress like they just rolled out of bed has yet to become the next big thing. But it's probably just as well - if I had a girlfriend, she'd leave for not having any time to spend with her anyway.

Still with me? Thanks for hearing me rant. This blog is like a diary - it lets me sort out my thoughts. And things could be hella worse, and I'm sure they will work out. I think a lot of the reason I panic over projects is because I have these grand ideas of what I want to accomplish. In the end, I wind up throwing something together and it works out.

Now, you are probably saying "MadAnthony, if you are so f'ing busy, why are you blogging?" And you have a point - I'm about to start doing some work. But this is my break, my head-clearing exersize.

New Jersey justice...

Ah, the cops from MadAnthony's old home state. A poster in the Off Topic section of Fatwallet brought my attention to this story. Seems a bunch of police from NJ were coming back from New Orleans, where they were doing search and rescue for Katrina. They are flying up an interstate in Virginia in the left lane with lights and sirens going 95mph. People called 911 to complain about being forced off the road and a sheriff's deputy pulled them over and asked them to slow down and turn off their lights and sirens.

NJ police then call deputy, tell him he doesn't know what it means to be a cop and look out for other cops, ect. VA sherrif backs them up.

Now, Virgina is the one state in the union that's given Mad Anthony a speeding ticket, so I don't usually have much love for them. But I gotta side with them here.

I have a lot of respect for police officers. They deal with a lot of nasty stuff, and risk their lives, to do a job that doesn't pay all that well. But I have a problem with police who abuse their power, who think that it gives them the right to do things that other people can't. If speeding is so bad that I should have to pay a fine and a huge insurance surcharge for doing it, then cops shouldn't be able to do it either, unless they are responding to an actual emergency where their presence makes a difference. Going home, no matter how noble what you were doing in the place you are coming from, doesn't count as an emergency.

Here in Baltimore, I've seen cops throw on their light to blow intersections, then turn them off - the city will issue tickets to emergency vehicles that the red light cameras catch, unless they are responding to an emergency - which means have their lights on. A while ago, I saw a cop do this - and then saw him in the parking lot of Dunkin' Donuts a few minutes later. Now, I'm a coffee addict, but a craving for java does not constitute an emergency. If I can't blow red lights because I'm running late to work, you can't run them to get a Boston Kreme.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

More thoughts on Miers...

Lileks doesn't seem to concerned over the Miers nomination.

Or perhaps she’s not squishy. Perhaps Bush knows and trusts Miers to reflect his philosophy, and thinks this is the right choice despite what the headlines of the day happen to say. A wildly implausible idea! But it could be true.

Miers may be the ultimate steath nominee. I doubt the dems will fight her, because so far most of the complaints have been from the right. I realized this yesterday when I was watching the 5 o'clock news on WB11 while at the gym. They were running quotes from bloggers who didn't like Miers. But they weren't the lefty bloggers you would expect to be opposed to a Bush nominee - they were National Review's The Corner and

So if the right hates her, then the left should love her - or at least not be opposed to her too much. And Bush knows her pretty darn well, so it's hard to imagine she's going to be too far to the left.

Maybe this was Bush ignoring his hard-right conservative base and appointing a political crony. Or maybe this is a crafty Carl Rove -inspired move to sneak a fairly conservative judge on the supreme court with a minimum of fuss from the left, who would Bork any conservative candidate foolish enough to have committed to conservative views on paper. Given the previous sucess of Rove stratagies, I'm betting on the latter....

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Mmm, hamfest, part 2...

On Sunday, I journeyed to scenic howard county with bsom and his girlfriend's brother for CARAFest Hamfest. (a student who works with us was supposed to go with us, but neglected to wake up).

My purchases were pretty limited. I bought:

-a $10 Compaq server keyboard with integrated trackball (which appeared new and was bubble wrapped). I like these because I can sit with it on my lap and not have to reach over to use a mouse. I had one I bough off ebay a couple years back that cost me $25 and was not in as good condition, and the last hamfest I went to had a guy selling one for $40, so I thought it was a heck of a deal.

-a $1 Toshiba floppy drive for a laptop (which appears to be broken, but had the cable

-a $1 New Hampshire license plate (what can I say, I'm a sucker for the "live free or die" motto. What do you expect from a borderline libertarian?)

By the time we got done browsing, it was near lunchtime. BSOM is a huge fan of Lotte, an asian supermarket (almost a department store, complete with food court) in Ellicott City, and has talked about it a bunch, so we figured this was good time to check it out. We got lunch there - which took forever, but was really good. Ugly American that I am, I found the thing that looked the closest to my old Chinese food standby, General Tso's chicken - which they called Garlic Chicken. It was really good - crispy, and spicy without being overpowering, and the portions were huge. It was a little odd being the only group of non-asians in the place (there were a surprising number of interracial couples composed of Asian women and white guys, though).

I then proceeded to drag the group to Target, office depot, staples, and compusa so I could poke thru their clearance sections.

BSOM and I are planning on going to Mason-Dixon Hamfest at the end of the month to sell some of the random crap that's around our respective homes. I figure it's a good chance to unload some of the stuff that is too big to be worth selling on eBay.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A good pick politically, if not philosophically...

From what I read on Harriet Miers, I'm not really impressed. Protein Wisdom has a good summary of blog reactions and some reasons for conservatives to be concerned. Orin Kerr at Volokh has a good essay on why he would prefer someone with a stronger judicial philosophy.

While I tend to agree with this, I can also understand why Bush picked her - and not just because of the "crony" aspect. She (like Roberts) is unlikely to get pounded by the left. It would be wonderful for Bush to nominate a small government, limited power, strict constructionist type to the Supreme Court, but such a candidate is unlikely to get confirmed.

Robert Bork is the reason for this. The Borking of, well, Bork, has pretty much demonstrated that any candidate with a strong conservative judical philosphy that has been expressed in writing will have his or her writings be taken out of context and used against them.

That is why Bush nominated Roberts (whose most controversial decision involved a girl eating a french fry on the Metro) and Miers (who has never been a judge and thus has no decisions to be scoured) and no academic writings to be critiqued. The fact that she's a woman, replacing a women, probably doesn't hurt.

While I would love to see a strong originalist/strict constructionist nominated, I also know that the People for the American Way, the ACLU, and every other lefty group out there would launch a huge Borking campaign and he or she would never get nominated.

Mier may not be the best choice, but she's one who actually has a shot getting through. I'm not sure if we gain anything by nominating someone who gets shot down, and then having to nominate someone like Miers anyway - especially since another Borking is sure to make Bush and Republicans in general look like evil racists who eat babies by taking stuff out of context.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Why no $100 laptops here? Because nobody would want one...

Glenn at Instapundit wants to know why he can't get a $100 laptop like one that they are developing at MIT for the third world. My guess? Because few people would want one.

Companies have tried selling loss-leader internet-only devices for years - the earthlink mailstation, MSN WebTV, and dozens of other "internet appliances" come to mind. None have exactly been a sucess, and they all have similarities to this device.

Now, the MIT device is probably great for it's market of school kids, but most Americans want more out of their computer. For example, the low-priced machine has the following display:

First, by dramatically lowering the cost of the display. The first-generation machine may use a novel, dual-mode LCD display commonly found in inexpensive DVD players, but that can also be used in black and white, in bright sunlight, and at four times the normal resolution-all at a cost of approximately $35.

Now, that doesn't tell us a whole lot, and I'm no expert on LCD's. But I'm going to guess that this screen is way smaller than most normal laptops - since those cheap DVD players that this screen is from usually have 5" or so LCD's. Small LCD's are cheap, but once you get to larger sizes they are more expensive, mostly because there is more glass in them to break. Also, from my experience, cheap DVD players don't have the best screen - they are fine for video, but text would look horrible on them. While this one is supposedly "better", it's still probably not nearly as good as a standard PC screen.

The MIT laptop also has a very slow processor - a 500mhz AMD. That's about a 5 year old processor. Now, I will be the first to admit that most people don't need the latest and greatest in processors, especially if all they do is email and web browsing. I personally still use a 3+ year old AMD Athlon with a 1.5ghz clock speed. But 500mhz seems way low, especially given the multitude of things people like to do with their PC's - like watch DVD's, play games, and edit photos - that requires processor speed.

And then there is storage. The cheap-top has 1 gig of flash memory and no hard drive. But people love to be able to save stuff - including big stuff, like movies, music, ect. No hard drive would be a killer for many people.

Plus the cheap-top uses Linux. Now I'm not going to start an OS debate, but lots of people want their machine to run Windows.

The biggest barrier to a $100 computer is that you can get 10x the computer for 4.5x the price - like this deal from last week from Office Depot - a compaq laptop for $450 shipped after rebates for a machine with a 2+ghz processor, a nice 14" display, a dvd-rom drive, and a 40 gig hard drive. It can do way more than a $100 laptop, and it's still well within the grasp of most Americans.