Sunday, bloody Sunday.
kitten   April 28, 2004

Whenever someone suggests a way to help the destitute or disadvantaged, the inevitable response -- especially from conservatives -- is "Yes, yes, but that's socialism."

Tax breaks for the low-income, nationalized healthcare -- it doesn't matter what the proposal is; the convenient catchall cry of "socialism!" is viewed as a valid criticism of it, as though socialism in and of itself is axiomatically bad. No one bothers explaining why the proposed idea is a poor one, or why socialism should be deemed a sort of evil.

Yet other civilized nations across the planet seem to have no problem with socialism, providing for the needs of their citizens without significantly higher taxes than we pay in the United States -- and in some cases, significantly lower taxes.

In New Zealand, citizens enjoy a huge number of benefits considered to be the right of any human -- the right to be able to live without worrying about having your utilities cut off or being evicted every month. You certainly won't live a life of luxury, but you also won't starve to death. Take special note of this bulliten:

Are you in need? If you don't think you qualify for a benefit but you are in a hardship or emergency situation please talk with us as soon as possible. For instance if you are a refugee, caring for someone who can't work, alone and pregnant, or dependent on someone who is on strike - we may be able to help.
Try getting that in the United States, land of the Free To Work Sixty Hours A Week And Still Not Make Ends Meet. The benefits in New Zealand are virtually unlimited in terms of time, and they also extend assistance to students to help with bills and rent while the student attends class.

The median New Zealand income tax rate is 33%. In the United States, it's 30%.

For a mere 3% increase, New Zealand citizens get actual assistance from the government when they need it -- man, woman, single, married, student, professional -- for an unlimited amount of time. In the United States, unemployment benefits last for around six months (depending on the state), and after that, you're washed up. If you're a single mother you can get welfare benefits, but if you're married, or a single man, or a single woman without children, you're free to go die in the streets.

In Canada, every citizen has the right to free healthcare. Any citizen, regardless of age, marital status, income, or any other factors, can walk into a medical facility and receive treatment for whatever ailment, and not pay a dime.

"That's socialism!" cries the US.

In Canada, the median tax rate is 38%, but the tax rate for incomes of 32,000 or less is only 32%, and since that happens to be the income rate the above figures are also based on, we'll go with that.

Canadians therefore actually pay less taxes than many Americans, and get healthcare on demand. No HMOs, insurance forms, insurance benefits offered by the employer, deductables, or anything else. Employed, unemployed, married, divorced, widowed, single.

Try getting that in the United States.

Other nations get real, tangible benefits from their governments, and pay about the same amount of taxes that the US does. Yet the US offers very little to anyone, and only for limited amounts of time, and only under very specific circumstances. So, exactly what do United States citizens get in return for their income taxes?

Take a look for yourself.

Golden Field Office. Inter-American Foundation. Japan-United States Friendship Commission. Management Assistance Team, Management Service Office. National Wild Horse and Burro Program. Center for the Book. Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee. Executive Office for Weed and Seed. Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Tribal Affairs Office. Federal Duck Stamp Office.

I wish I were making these up, but I'm not. These are only a tiny fraction of the enormous number of useless agencies funded by the US, at the expense of taxpayers, and I haven't even started to look at all the agencies that exist only to duplicate the effort of other agencies:

Food Safety Information Center
Food Safety and Inspection Service
Food and Drug Administration
Food and Nutrition Information Center
Food and Nutrition Service
Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services

So while we as Americans can't get financial assistance when we need it, we can rest easy knowing that the Center for the Book and five agencies doing the same job as the FDA are being well-funded. And let us not forget the defense budget, which we need to increase even more so we can go blow up people that had nothing to do with anything, and whom we put in power in the first place.

No one wants the economically downtrodden of society to have to suffer, but no one wants to pay for them, either. Yet as we can see, other countries have no problem helping their citizens, without forcing the working class to pay more than the US citizens do. And, by taking a big red marker and slashing the living hell out of the above-listed federal agencies and beaurocracies, it would be a simple matter to have the best of both worlds -- we could easily cut our income taxes in half or more, and ensure that no one will have financial worries.

Interestingly, I just registered for one class over the summer. I can only take one class due to the shortened summer semester and the schedule of available classes that I would need. Anyway, please take a look at the breakdown of fees for this one class:

101 In-state Tuition - Summer $236.00
11T1 Tech Fee $38.00
1301 Student Activity Fee-Summer $42.00
1401 Athletic Fee-Summer $27.00
1502 Parking Fee - Summer $15.00
Total Charge: $358.00

Although I will not be attending any "student activities" or partaking in any athletic events, nor do I need "tech" for the class I am taking, I am required to subsidize these things for other students who might make use of them. The American university system seems to be a microcosm of the very socialist ideals that Americans claim to fear so much.

It's clear that the United States treats its socialism the way a priest treats masturbation -- it does it very rarely, with a great amount of guilt, and tries very hard to ignore the amount of relief it brings.

Link roundup.

Couple quick ones.

Stupidity strikes again. "We can't afford textbooks, so we're going to blow 1300 dollars a piece on laptops that will be obsolete within a year, assuming the kids don't break them first." Someone please explain to me why sixth-graders need laptops.

The push for technology in the classroom has always baffled me. You don't need "multimedia" and "interactive" nonsense to read a book or learn algebra. If anything, such methods only serve to distract, and give kids yet another means of avoiding paying attention and doing any actual work.

File this one under "missing the point". It is a cool jacket, though.

If someone felt like being nice to me, they could get me a pair of these.

Among other authors, I am a huge fan of Neal Stephenson, but being a broke college student with zero talent in anything, I have been unable to afford this or that, his two latest works. So if you feel like being really nice to me, there you go.

And if you're feeling really generous, this or that. Woo!

Remind you of anything?

Anyway. Back to doing fuckall, I suppose.

Inside the mind.
kitten   April 23, 2004

Peer inside the mind of the teenage "webmaster"...

< LittleZephyr> kitten: I figured out why people use those 2 inch iframes: I makes them seem like they more of there o so precious "content", because if was actualyl presented correctly it would be like half a page.
< kitten> LittleZephyr, wrong.
< LittleZephyr> oh?
< kitten> They reason they do it is because it's easy to make iframe targets.
< kitten> And they're too fucking stupid to figure out how to use their blogging software.
< kitten> So instead of having it generate HTML based on the content, they just blog into the software and then have the iframe target be the output.
< kitten> Make sense?
< kitten> Here, I'll show you.
< kitten> iframe src="journal.html" name="frame" width="325" height="355"
< kitten> See, that's what they do.
< kitten> http://www.despise13.net/
< ubernostrum> kitten: iframes r kewl
< kitten> They just have it output to something like journal.html and then they import it into the iframe because they're fucking morons who can't figure out how to do anything else.
< LittleZephyr> ah
< kitten> And because all their friends do it.
< kitten> And they justify it because "everyone" does it.
< kitten> "Everyone" meaning "other high school girls who spend their time making low-contrast websites with four megs of graphics and smilies and photoshopped pictures of celebrities and have about fifteen domain names for no reason".
< kitten> Their boundaries have never progressed beyond that.
< kitten> http://www.18wings.net/version1.html
< kitten> Another example.
< espo> jesus
< kitten> I think there should be a law that you can't purchase domain names until you're 18.
< kitten> My favorite part is how, in a desperate effort to justify their website, since they had no reason whatsoever to make one other than the fact that they like making graphics, is the "content" page on all of them, which is usually nothing more than email forwards they've received.
< kitten> The thought process goes something like this, I guess:
< kitten> "Wow, I like making graphics! How can I show everyone these pictures I made? I know, a website! But I don't want to put it on DeviantArt or something, that's lame. I know, I'll make my own website! Well, now I did, but there's nothing on my site - it's just a picture I made. That sucks. Hm, I'll just toss in some of these clever stories I've read somewhere, and that's my content! Yayyyy! Well, I'm bored with that graphic now, time to make a new one!"
< kitten> "Yay, my friends told me my layout is great! I must be doing something right, my friends surely know what they're talking about! I'll do the exact same thing as last time, but with a different picture I'll fuck up in Photoshop!"
< ubernostrum> kitten: you forgot the vectors.
< ubernostrum> Won't somebody think of the vectors.
< kitten> I said that.
< kitten> "photoshopped pictures of celebrities".
< kitten> Which for some reason they call "vectors".
< pw> Don't forget the greetz.
< ubernostrum> And the shout outz.
< kitten> And the plugs.
< ubernostrum> And the buttons.
< kitten> And the fanlistings.
< kitten> Smilies.
< kitten> Gotta have lots of those.
< kitten> And ideally, your font inside the itty-bitty iframe should be about 6pt.
< ubernostrum> Feck the fecking feckers.
< pw> kitten: Indeed, because we've all got 14" monitors that we run at 800x600./
< kitten> pw: We can't forget the IE-only CSS text filters.
< kitten> Those are shit hot!
< ubernostrum> kitten: what about links that are just javascript events that pop open new windows?
< kitten> Also, your links should either be the same color as your background, or else look almost exactly like the rest of your text.
< kitten> ubernostrum: Popups are GREAT navigation enhancers!
< ubernostrum> It's imperative that the links should open in windows sized 20px by 20px, with no menu or status bars.
< kitten> It's beyond imperative.
< kitten> It is your prime duty.
< ubernostrum> You know.
< kitten> Don't forget the "domain" link, to tell everyone when you purchased the name and so forth, because we care.

Happiness is a warm gun.
kitten   April 19, 2004

A child today gets expelled from school for pretending he's Neo or Morpheus during recess, gunning down Agents and Sentinels, also known as his classmates. It's a warning sign that he's about five years from being the next Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold.

He's reported by the teacher who, as a child, pretended he was Luke Skywalker, blasting Imperial Stormtroopers.

The principal, who used to play at being Davy Crockett wiping out redskins, expels him from school.

He needs immediate therapy from a psychologist who, when he was a young boy, pretended he was Batman, beating the living hell out of criminals.

The parents of the community, who when they were little, were Daniel Boone defending the Alamo, James Bond blowing up Soviets, or Captain Kirk zapping Klingons, wring their hands and wonder what's wrong with children today, and cry out for tighter restrictions on violence in film and entertainment.

Won't someone think of the children?

kitten in full effect.
kitten   April 17, 2004

It all started when kuro5hin user "Nigga" (we can infer from this handle that he is a white suburban teenager) decided to post a "phat rhyme" about the state of affairs at kuro5hin, and in doing so, worked in a snide remark about me.

What followed was an all-out mic battle with MC kitten spitting the dopest lyrical terrorism you've ever heard (or at least, seen).

Buckle up, kids...

More...

Speak of the devil.
kitten   April 12, 2004
< kitten> When XP died a few weeks ago I was seriously considering scrapping it entirely and installing Debian. < pw> I've got XP to a point here where it's under control. < kitten> As is mine.

And, less than thirty seconds later...

< pw> Wtf is Wildtangent.com?
< kitten> haha.
< kitten> GG PETER.

Where's the sense in that?

The Modern Language Association, or MLA, has a very specific style in which citations in papers are to be handled, both parenthetical and bibliographical. This has become the bane of high school and college students everywhere, as teachers and professors obsess over its usage and scrutinize bibiographies for improper formatting of citations, docking points for the most trivial of errors.

The rules of MLA, however, are far from being universally accepted. Many other citation styles exist, including the "Chicago" style which I personally am required to use in another class, or APA, or CBE. Yet professors and other education professionals insist that works be cited in accordance to one or another of these rulesets, which are almost completely arbitrary and have absolutely zero basis in the so-called real world, and for which there is no agreement on which ruleset is better.

The regulations of these rulesets do not actually facilitate documentation in any way. As long as the student lists all the relevent information about the source, does it truly matter whether or not he indented the second line by five spaces? Does this somehow negate the authority of the source, or call into question the notion that he actually consulted it? No, in fact, it does not.

Such inane rules are a detriment to quality writing. It forces students to concentrate on minute details that have no real bearing on anything, often at the expense of the paper itself. Writing is approached as a technical, paint-by-numbers process, which is unfortunately a constant theme in any first-level collegiate writing course, and students spend more time worrying about whether or not each and every citation is executed correctly than they do ensuring that the actual paper is of decent quality.

When all is said and done, the student is still unable to construct a coherent, linguistically-admirable essay that follows from A to B to C in a logical manner, but hey - at least he can cite a multi-author, multi-volume source properly. Well, that is, he can if he happens to have the reference how-to in front of him.

Isn't it time we teach people how to write well, instead of how to format their papers according to fanciful regulatory handbooks?

More...

On mornings.
kitten   April 11, 2004

Ah, 'nique, you summed it up so perfectly.

The one about sapphires.

It is not difficult to see why sapphires are often called "the stone of the heavens". Their sparkling blue color evokes images of the sky, from the pale morning light of dawn to the crystalline azure of a cloudless midsummer day. Sapphires may also range from yellow, pink, orange, and even purple - all the glorious colors of the sky during a sunset.

These rare and radiant gemstones are more sought after than the diamond in many countries; sapphires being the preferred choice for engagement and wedding rings. If you would like to know more about these stunning gems, read on.


There are four primary means of judging the quality of any gemstone, up to and including sapphires. These criteria are commonly referred to as "The Four C's": Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat weight.

Color

There are three standards that are applied to determining the color of a sapphire. The hue - that is to say, the precise color (usually mapped on a color wheel) of the gem, is the first and most obvious. Is the sapphire a brilliant blue, a dignified violet, or a striking yellow?

Once the hue is determined, the saturation is established. This is merely an indication of the intensity of the color. A blue sapphire may be almost clear and achromatic, (low saturation) or a deep flourescence (high saturation).

The overall tone is important as well. This is an indication of the amount of light the stone absorbs. A matte white object would have a 0% tone while a matte black would be 100%. This is significant when choosing the sapphire that's right for you or your loved one, and although it depends on personal preference, keep in mind that the most saturated yellow sapphire will have a lower tone than a medium-saturated violet.


Clarity

There are two primary considerations when determining the clarity of a sapphire. The visibility of inclusions (flaws) is the first and most noticible. A gemologist will consider the contrast of the inclusions against the color of the stone, as well as the location (are the inclusions in an inconspicuous place, such as near the edge or girdle, or are they directly under a facet?) Of course, the size and quantity of inclusions are taken into account as well.

Less obvious is the fact that inclusions are not merely cosmetic but may impact the sapphire's durability. The location of inclusions when determining durability is sometimes counter to the consideration of visibility. A crack near the edge of the stone will be less visible, but also increase the chance of breakage than one that is well protected inside the gem. A gemologist or appraiser will be able to determine the seriousness of any inclusions your sapphire may have.


Cut

The 'cut' of a sapphire is precisely what it sounds like - the shape that the gem has been cut into. This is likely the most subjective quality of a sapphire or any other gemstone, as it is almost entirely concerned with personal preference and asthetics.

The cut is evaluated according to the gem's shape, the style of the cut, how well it is proportioned, the overall symmetry, and of course, the finish.

Shape refers to the outline of the edge (or "girdle" in the industry), as viewed from directly above. The gem may be circular, oval, 'emerald-cut', heart-shaped, rectangular, triangular, or a number of other possible designs.

The facet pattern - cutting style, is also considered, but is also subjective. Certain facet patterns are more in vogue than others, but may also be more difficult or costly to produce. The standard cut (with a brilliant top or 'crown' and a heavily tapered lower half or 'pavillion') is the most popular for sapphires as well as rubies and emeralds.

Proportion and symmetry are very similar factors when it comes to determining the cut of your sapphire. Close attention is paid to how well-proportioned the gem is (ideally, the cut should maximize the brilliance of the stone) and the length-to-width ratio of the cut; stones that are too narrow or too wide are generally deemed unacceptable.
The symmetry of the cut should bear inspection as well. Do the facets match each other, and come to a well-defined point at their corners? Is the table facet (the flat part of the crown) well-centered? These details will be important when beholding and appreciating your sapphire for years to come.

The finish of the sapphire is the least important of all, as most finish issues - marks and scratches and so forth - can be corrected with a simple repolishing. Many gem dealers will repolish your sapphire free of charge, or for a nominal cost, so shop around.


Carat weight

Finally, the carat of the sapphire is establised. This is an unusual measurement system and has a complex history of evolution which is outside the scope of this document. For the purposes of this introduction to the world of sapphires, you need only understand that one carat is equal to five grams. However, a four carat stone may not be four times the price of a one carat stone. There is a psychological factor at work here, in seeing such large gems, and the cost increases proportionally - it is not a linear scale. It is impossible to establish a precise cost here, as the factors I have outlined above will play a crucial role as well; a one carat sapphire may be worth less than a .95 carat sapphire, if the smaller one is of a higher quality.


Polls suggest blue as the favored color of over 50% of the population, so it is no surprise that a striking blue sapphire is such a prized gemstone. It's gorgeous colors and remarkable transparacy are admired, but a sapphire is also second only to the diamond on the hardness scale, ensuring that your sapphire will be yours to enjoy for the rest of your life with the proper care - or an everlasting symbol of your love for the important person in your world.


Related links and pretty pictures:

The stunning Star of Bombay

The sapphire as the September birthstone

A natural sapphire, as found in a mine

Placement of sapphires in rings

How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?
kitten   April 10, 2004

One of the primary arguments the conservatives use in favor of Bush is that we're having this "war" on "terror" (all quotation marks intentional on my part!) and that Bush is the right man to bring down the terrorists. "The terrorists," say the right-wing pundits and Fox attack dogs, "don't want Bush in office. They would rather have Kerry there, because Kerry's national security policies are so lacking."

That's right, ladies and gentlemen - you should vote based on what the terrorists want. Let your fear guide you during election day - your fear of terrorism. Show the terrorists that their scare tactics work by basing your vote decision on what the terrorists want.

If that isn't "letting the terrorists win", then I don't know what is.

Use your brain on election day, and if you are that dead-set on standing up to terrorism, then don't allow the terrorists to dictate our politics.

It's an appliance, right?
kitten   April 4, 2004

Most of us have seen, at one time or another, the If Cars Were Like Computers joke. You've probably seen it fifty times, forwarded endlessly through email from friends and co-workers who like to forward this sort of thing.

This document was good for a mild chuckle back in 1997 or whenever it was, but interestingly, the car-vs-computer analogy is in fact used quite often among the technorati, often to simplify concepts to the inept users, and the analogy tends to hold up.

Everywhere I go, I hear and see the same complaints and mistakes made by lusers: Their computer seems slower than it should be. They get tons of pop up ads. They can never find anything on their hard drive. Their computer crashes all the time. Why can't "those computer guys" figure out how to make computers more reliable?

People accept it as a given that in order to own and drive a car (and expect it to actually work), there are things to be learned, procedures to follow, and maintainance to be performed. You have to learn the rules of the road and how to operate the vehiecle. You have to get the oil changed every so often. If you see the "check engine" light come on, that probably means something is wrong. If your car is making an odd noise, that probably means something is wrong. You have to put gas in the car, and the gas goes in a certain place. If you want to avoid getting screwed, you should know a few of the very basics of how cars work, if for no other reason than you'll be able to accurately describe the problem to the mechanic. The list goes on.

Yet for some reason, this line of thinking does not carry over to computers. People expect that they should be able to sit down at a computer and have it Just Work, no matter what they do to it, without learning anything about how it works, and if something goes wrong, it's the fault of "those crazy computers" (must be said with a vacant yet knowing smile and a slight shake of the head or eyeroll).

In the spirit of the analogy I would like to offer some of the most common user complaints, and we shall see how these complaints translate over into the world of automobiles and driving.

COMPLAINT: "My computer seems too slow."

CAUSE: This is sometimes because the user installed XP, which has a much larger resource footprint than previous versions of Windows, on a slow computer without much memory. But more often, it's because they're running about ten billion things at once - three instances of MS Office, fifteen email windows, AIM, five IE windows, mp3 playback, and they have a systray full of crap that loaded on startup (Quicktime, RealPlayer, and god knows what else), none of which they're using, and all of which are just hogging memory and processor time.

IF IT WERE A CAR: "I'm hauling half a ton of bricks behind my car, which I don't really need, and I don't understand why it's slow."

SOLUTION: First, know the limitations of your computer. You wouldn't expect your Geo Metro to be able to haul a heavy trailer very well, and you shouldn't expect your slow computer to run heavy operating systems very well. Second, if you aren't using it, turn it off. Check your system tray - that's the thing next to the clock - and see how many little icons there are. Do you really need RealPlayer and Quicktime running all the time? No, in fact, you very rarely need them, and when you do, they'll load anyway - so turn them off and keep them off. Use some common sense - if you aren't using it, you don't need it. Disable it or remove it from the startup group.


COMPLAINT: "My IE homepage changed for no reason."

CAUSE: Duplicitous spam tactic - visit certain sites, and when you leave, they'll ask "Would you like to change your homepage to www.whatever.com?" The user clicks Yes, and the next time they start IE, instead of going to Yahoo or Google or Hotmail or whatever they normally have, it goes to the spammer site.

IF IT WERE A CAR: "Some crazy bum on the street, whom I've never met, asked if he could get in my car and change all the radio presets. I said sure, no problem, so he did. Now all my radio presets are changed! I don't get it!"

SOLUTION: Don't click "yes" when pages ask you if you'd like to install this or change that, unless you really do, and you know exactly what it's trying to do and whether or not you need it done.


COMPLAINT: "I get lots of pop up ads / weird advertisements out of nowhere."

CAUSE: They usually don't mean the banner ads and so forth that many webpages have (which can be blocked, incidentially, in a variety of ways). What they mean is an excess of pop up ads, sometimes when they're not even actively surfing the Web, or Bonzi Buddy / Gator type garbage. The cause of this complaint is almost always because this user clicks "Yes" to anything and everything - no matter what asks to install itself, this user lets it. They'll download anything that looks even remotely interesting, install it, and forget about it. They have no idea what it does, where it came from, who wrote it, or anything about it. They'll click on any link, anywhere, and do whatever it says. "Free screensavers", "free mouse cursors", "Bonzi Buddy", "Weatherbug" - you name it, they'll install it. This kind of nonsense, in addition to transmitting personal information to unknown third parties, also contributes to the above problem of "My computer seems slow."

IF IT WERE A CAR: "I went to get my oil changed the other day, and the guy said he'd change it, but only if I would let him dump the contents of his trash can into my backseat. I told him he could, and now my car smells. I don't get it."

SOLUTION: If you don't know exactly what it is, what it does, and why you need it... don't install it. Realize the fact that nine-tenths of the "free" crap out there (barring open source software and the like) is "free" because it confers some benefit to someone else, in the form of information about you for advertising purposes. You don't need this crap, and you sure as hell don't need spammers and advertisers peering into your computer. Yes, it really is that simple: If you don't know what it is, and don't need it, don't touch it.


COMPLAINT: "It's so hard to find anything."

CAUSE: Almost universally caused by the user having absolutely no concept of file organization. They have a desktop full of files, some of which are actual files but some of which are things like "Untitled Document [1].doc" or "New Zip File.zip". Some of their files are in "My Documents", others are in "My Shared Folder", or on the root of c:\ , or in about a thousand other places they don't belong.

Yes, that's right - certain things go in certain places. This simple concept has eluded most users, who can't be fucked to put files where they belong, instead opting to use whatever convenient area they happen to see first, and then whinge that things don't work.

IF IT WERE A CAR: "I shouldn't have to know all this 'car stuff' just to put gas in the car. It's easier to just crank down the window and pump the gas inside, or spray it around the car. I don't understand why it doesn't work when I do that. It's stupid that the gas should go in a certain place."

SOLUTION: Make folders in your "My Documents" folder and label them according to how you'd like things organized. "Text", "Movies", "Music", "Pictures", and so forth. Then put your files in these folders and keep them there. Presto - Windows automatically alphabetizes your folders so you can find anything. Want to play a song? You know it's in "Music" and since it's in alphabetical order, you can find it quickly. Need to find a paper you were working on? Instead of hunting around five folders in five locations, you'll know it's in "Text" and can find it instantly. Your desktop is not for storing files, ever, under any circumstances. Period.


COMPLAINT: "This guy I know, who works with computers for a living and really knows his stuff, sometimes gets annoyed with me when I ask him about stuff."

CAUSE: "Computer guys" may like computers and may know computers but they do not want every interaction to involve computers. More than likely, he'll be happy to answer a few questions from time to time, but treat him like free tech support - especially when the problems are easily avoidable cases of user error or idiocy - and he'll swiftly get annoyed.

IF IT WERE A CAR: "I know a mechanic, and he gets annoyed when I ask him to come to my house and fix my car for free in his spare time. All I want him to do is bang out these dents I caused when I ran into some shopping carts, and maybe replace the fuel injector. I don't get it - doesn't he like cars?"

SOLUTION: Just because a mechanic likes cars doesn't mean he wants to spend his spare time fixing yours, for free. The same goes for computer techs or people who "know computers" - they'll answer questions now and then but don't expect them to fix your crap just because you asked.

These are just a few out of dozens upon dozens of examples that could be made. If computers were cars, people would buy the most expensive, top-of-the-line model they could find, and then complain that it's too hard to use and doesn't work right because they never change the oil, haven't gotten a tune up in five years, forget to put gas in it, don't bother obeying traffic lights and other road rules, steer only when they feel like it, let any bum off the street open the hood and do whatever he wants to their engine, don't wash it, ignore symptoms like warning lights and strange noises, never shift above third gear, let other people empty their trash into it, always tow a trailer behind them full of stuff they don't need or want, and when it all gets to be too much, they'd ask their mechanic friend to spend his weekend fixing it for them.