I just read an article about the idea of “flip-flopping” in politics. The articles makes the point that this practice isn’t all bad. I would tend to agree with that. In reality, I really dislike the term “flip-flopping”. It unfairly simplifies the issues.

To me, it should be called what it is… changing one’s mind. When politicians change their stand on an issue, there could be purely political reasons behind it, but much of the time, I believe, there are less sinister reasons for it.

For the last 7+ years, we have had an administration which has refused to change its mind, even when presented with new facts which contradict a position. This is an extremely dangerous practice! I’ll not elaborate further, but just throw the opinion out there. Of course, it’s equally dangerous to change one’s position on a whim, solely because the political wind changes.

It seems to me that in this case (as in many others), the best path lies somewhere in between. A good, effective leader, should be concerned with getting as much information as possible on a subject and basing his or her opinion on the available facts. When given contradictory evidence, a truly great leader should have the courage to change his or her mind. I have rarely heard a politician simply say, “I changed my mind.” when charged with flip-flopping. I don’t see what the big deal is. We all do it and we all understand it.

One of the things I’m looking for in the next president is the ability to be thoughtful and decisive, and to also be curageous enough to change his views. When these views are made or changed, I want the next leader to be able to explain to me why he believes his views to be correct and to convince me as well. To me, this is what a great leader should do. Unfortunately, this has been sorely lacking on the national seen here in the US for almost 8 years.

We really do need a change in so many ways.

No excuses for not backing up!

I know that making a backup of your computer can be a pain, but it’s well worth it! Those of you (like me) have ever had a hard drive fail or have otherwise lost access to your files and didn’t have a recent backup, know this to be true. Backing up used to be extremely painful! Back in the old days, all we had were floppy disks and backup tapes! To backup a 40MB hard drive would take about 28 floppy disks (or more) and hours of sitting at the computer swapping disks.

Now, I’ve got a 300GB external hard drive that I use for backup purposes. I had been using Norton Ghost on my desktop computer and just copying files from my old notebook computer. Ghost is a great program, but there are some things I don’t like about it. #1 It’s expensive! I think it’s around $70 or $80 to buy it. #2 you can only use it on one computer. When I buy software, I normally buy one copy and install it on my desktop and notebook computers. I know that technically, I am supposed to buy 2 copies, but I really don’t see what the harm is. Most individual people do this as well. With Norton Ghost, you can do this because the program has to be activated on your computer. After you do this, if you install it on another computer, you have to activate it on that one too, but they won’t let you do it.

I came across another program recently and decided to give it a try. It’s called DriveImage XML. Like Ghost, it allows you to create an image of an entire hard drive on another hard drive. Also, it allows you to later explore that image so you can restore just certain files if you want. I tried it a couple of nights ago and it seemed to work great! Another really cool thing about it is that for individuals (not businesses), it’s FREE!

I started it up on my new Toshiba notebook and let it run. Less than 2 hours later, my computer was completely backed up. I didn’t try to restore anything yet, but I was able to explore the backup and see the individual files. I’ll try restoring some files this weekend.

The only thing that annoyed me was that because I was using Windows Vista, in order to do the backup, I had to temporarily turn off the User Access Control feature. DriveImage XML tells you that you need to do this. It was a pain in the *you know what*, but it’s just a minor thing. I won’t be using it to do scheduled backups, however, because running without the User Access Control can be dangerous. I like its protection.

At any rate, this looks like it might be a goodd solution.

Here I Am!

It’s 2008. I got started in the computer field basically 1984. At home, I had had a Sinclair ZX80, a Timex/Sinclair TS1000 and a Timex/Sinclair 2068. PCs were still fairly new. IBM had come out with the original PC and other companies were starting to come out with clones. At work, we were starting to get some on the clones. The ones we had were Sperrys. They came with 640K of RAM and two 5.25″ 360K floppy drives! The monitors were monochrome (either green or amber) and displayed only text. These desktop computers cost the company, for which I worked, about $3,000!

Just a couple of months ago, I bought a new Toshiba notebook computer with my stimulus check. It has 3GB of RAM, a 200GB hard drive. Of course, the screen is color and can beautifully display photos and other graphics. It cost me $650.

So, for about 78% less money than the PCs we used to buy, I got a computer that has 4915 times more RAM and 291,271 times more storage space (compared to two 360K floppy disks)! I still find that incredible!