Monday, September 21, 2009

Monopoly and What it Portends.

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Preamble: Monopolies, like feudal kingdoms, rites of passage and gluttony, are a part of the Human Experience. We have, as consumers, all heard arguments about the efficiencies of scale associated with monopolies, and other supposed benefits, but we don't truly believe it. Monopolies and sole-supplier situations tend to benefit the holder to the extreme disbenefit of the end-user. They are undoubtedly desirable for those who hold their reins (or shares), but they undeniably 1) encourage inefficiency; 2) discourage innovation and service quality; 3) further the redistribution of wealth and power into the hands of a smaller group of privileged individuals.

They foment discontentment and even revolution. While I believe in competition as an inducement to social and intellectual progress, I believe that the most rapacious individuals among us will always find their way to monopolistic positions --- through organized religion, through government and through control of resources.

The proliferation and engorgement of monopolies almost invariably portends the senescence of a civilization.

I am hopeful that we will be able to break this cycle (think of Rome, Egypt, The Mayans, the recent global economy) through the competitive possibilities of inexpensive fractional entrepreneurship brought about through the use of cyberspace and the internet as incubators and developmental substrates, and through enhanced communications and conferencing technologies as a means of bringing great minds together in the critical mass necessary to achieve various scientific, economic and sociological breakthroughs.

As a Futurist and an Internationalist, I am investing a great deal of faith in the power of unbridled communications to liberate our world from the tyranny that precedes devastation. And ironically, the small group of individuals who control this instrument of freedom have, themselves, given in to Humankind's natural propensity toward excess.


Internet Explorer 8 - A Quality of Life Crime
by Douglas Castle, or Follow the author on Twitter at

Dear Friends:

Since I have installed the incredibly flawed, virally -rooted Internet Explorer 8, I constantly suffer "application hangs." These are frozen screens, or programs which refuse to close without a re-booting of your computer.

I wanted to share Microsoft's "Help Page" with you. It is the typical pap that is churned out of a non-productive monopolist. A lack of competition and entrepreneurial spirit such as is evident in the idiotic "help" letter which follows is part of why large, industrialized, depersonalized and automated services are reducing the quality of life for so many of us computer-dependent victims. I have deleted al of the hyperlinks on the Microsoft Page so as not to send you on an incredibly long, circuitous trip which ultimately will lead you back to the main page. After you've read this, you'll want to go out and purchase crayons and paper:

Help and Support Security Microsoft Update

Problem caused by Microsoft Internet Explorer

This problem occurred because Microsoft Internet Explorer, which was created by Microsoft Corporation, was slow or unresponsive.

This type of problem occurs when a program is slow or has stopped responding and you choose to shut it down. This is also referred to as an application hang. Most of the time, there's nothing you could have done to prevent this type of error, but there are some troubleshooting steps you can try.

It's hard to determine exactly what causes Internet Explorer to stop responding, but it's usually due to one of the following reasons:

Spyware, adware, or other malicious software. If you have downloaded free software from the Internet, you might have inadvertently downloaded spyware with it. Spyware is software that can display advertisements (such as pop-up ads), collect information about you, or change settings on your computer, usually without your permission.

Internet Explorer add-ons: Add-ons are software that add features or tools (an Internet toolbar for example) to Internet Explorer.

Computer viruses: If your computer has a virus, the virus can cause Internet Explorer to stop responding.

Submitting a problem report is the best way to inform Microsoft about the unresponsive application on your computer. We use these problem reports to analyze the problems in the software and fix them.

In addition to sending problem reports, there are also a few things you should try. These solutions are not meant to fix all application problems, but they may help you prevent or troubleshoot unresponsive applications.

Install the latest security updates for Internet Explorer

These updates address many issues that have caused Internet Explorer to stop responding

Install latest security updates for Internet ExplorerUpdate your Windows software

Follow the steps below to view updates that are available for your computer.

Click to go online to the Windows Update website.


If Microsoft Update is not installed, you will be taken to the Windows Update website. See the note below if Microsoft Update is not installed.

Click Custom to check for available updates. In the left pane, under Select by Type, click each of the following links to view all available updates:

High Priority

Software, Optional

Hardware, Optional

Select the updates you want, click Review and install updates, and then click Install Updates.

What do I do if Microsoft Update is not installed?

Follow the steps below to install Microsoft Update and check for updates.

Click to go online to the Windows Update website.

Click the Go button next to the Get Microsoft Update Today! message, and then click Start Now.

Review the license agreement, and then click Continue.

After setup is complete, click Check for Updates.

Click Custom to check for available updates. In the left pane, under Select by Type, click each of the following links to view all available updates:

High Priority

Software, Optional

Hardware, Optional

Select the updates you want, click Review and install updates, and then click Install Updates.

Install, run, and regularly update your antispyware, anti-adware, and antivirus software

To see a list of Microsoft and third-party solutions for spyware, adware, and antivirus software, go to the following website online.

Security software providers

In addition, you can use the free Windows Live OneCare safety scanner to check your computer for malware. To use the scanner, go to the following website, and then click Full Service Scan: Windows Live OneCare safety scannerStart Internet Explorer with no add-ons

Continue using Internet Explorer the same way you did when you received a crash report. If Internet Explorer starts and runs with all of the add-ons turned off, then the next step will help you determine which add-on is causing it to crash.

Disable all add-ons (one at a time) until you can no longer reproduce the problem

Close all Internet Explorer windows.

Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

Click Network and Internet Connections, and then click Internet Options.

Click the Programs tab, and then click Manage Add-ons.

Click the name of the add-on you want to turn off, and then, under Settings, click Disable.

Click OK.

Restart Internet Explorer. Continue using Internet Explorer the same way you did when you received a crash report. If Internet Explorer continues to crash after disabling this add-on, continue with the next step.

Repeat steps b through g for each add-on listed. When you can no longer reproduce the problem, the most recently disabled add-on is the cause of the problem. Please report this add-on to us by using the survey at the bottom of this page to help us improve our error responses.

If Internet Explorer crashes with all of the add-ons turned off, then you need to reset Internet Explorer:

Reset Internet Explorer settings

By resetting Internet Explorer settings, you return it to the state it was in when it was first installed on your computer. This is useful for troubleshooting problems that might be caused by settings that were changed after installation. When you restore Internet Explorer's default settings, some webpages that rely on previously stored cookies, form data, passwords, or previously installed browser add-ons might not work correctly. Resetting Internet Explorer to its default settings does not delete your favorites, RSS feeds, and a few other personalized settings. The following table describes what will happen to various settings when you reset Internet Explorer.

Settings categories

Items affected

Settings that are deleted

Browser history, temporary Internet files, cookies, form data, and stored passwords

Typed URL information, offline webpages, menu extensions

Websites added to intranet, trusted, or restricted zones

Websites added for special cookie handling under the Privacy tab

Websites allowed to use pop-ups under Pop-up Blocker settings

Explorer most recently used list

Settings that are reset to Windows or manufacturer defaults

Home page

Search providers, tabbed browsing settings

Colors, languages, fonts and accessibility settings (General tab)

Security settings for all zones (Security tab)

Advanced tab settings

Privacy tab settings

Pop-up blocker, AutoComplete, Phishing Filter, and Zoom settings

Page setup, toolbar, and text size settings

Feeds settings (sync and notification, not feeds themselves)

ActiveX controls that are not on the pre-approved list (reset to opt-in state)

Toolbars, browser helper objects, and browser extensions are disabled

Settings and items that are maintained



Content Advisor settings

Pre-approved ActiveX controls

Temporary Internet file (cache) path settings

Certificate information

Internet Programs (e‑mail, instant messenger, and other programs associated with Internet use)

Internet connection, proxy, and VPN settings

Default web browser setting

Steps to reset Internet Explorer settings

In Internet Explorer 7, do the following:

Close all Internet Explorer windows.

Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

Click Network and Internet Connections, and then click Internet Options.

Click the Advanced tab.

Under Reset Internet Explorer settings, click Reset.

Click Reset, click Close, and then click OK.

Restart Internet Explorer.

In Internet Explorer 6, do the following:

Close all Internet Explorer windows.

Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

Click Network and Internet Connections, and then click Internet Options.

Click the Advanced tab, and then click Restore Defaults.

Restart Internet Explorer.

If you are using Yahoo! Toolbar, download a fix.

If you are using the Yahoo! Toolbar, a fix has been released to help prevent the problem you have experienced. Go to the Yahoo! Toolbar website online and click Download the Yahoo! Toolbar.
How about it folks?  Time-consuming as well as futile!  Should you experience problems with IE8, my simple suggestion is for you to shut your computer down, go for a brief walk (perhaps treat yourself to a high-protein Smoothie if you don't suffer from gout or renal insufficiency), and then re-boot. Sadly, in a situation where there is no competition and you are forced to use the services of a single dominant supplier, several things will generally be true:

1.   You will suffer;
2.   You will overpay;
3.   You will have little or no recourse or chance at redress;
4.   The supplier will have no financial or ethical incentive to improve;
5.   You will finally have something in common to talk about with your peculiar neighbors at a weekend barbecue.

I think that I'll try to get back into my email again.


Douglas Castle

***Grab the NATIONAL NEWSPICKER GADGET (it's indispensible) at


Links and Terms: Articles by Douglas Castle, Internet Explorer 8, Luddites, Microsoft, Monopolies, Technophobes, The Heck with Tech, The National Networker Companies, TNNW, TNNW_BUZZWORKS, incentives, domination, the increasing complexity of life caused by things designed to simplify it, Internet Explorer 8, IE8 has made us all into explorers, the decline of civilization, Aunt Bea, CH3CH2OH, Fibonacci, Where are the Geeks when you need 'em?, power drinks, gout, renal insufficiency, dying species of marine iguana -- could this be a reptile dysfunction?

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Douglas Castle Is Away - But He'll Be Back...He Promises.

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Douglas Castle Is Away - But He'll Be Back...He Promises.

I'll be out of town until 9/17 and will not be able to post, check email or telephone messages until then. Faithfully, Douglas

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

In Plain Terms - HOW WE GOT HERE

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In Plain Terms - HOW WE GOT HERE

The article which you are about to read was excerpted from a post made by William (Bill) C. Cowart, an older, wiser, not-easily-fooled (hyper-hyphenation!) type of fellow. While I was away at college and graduate school, Mr. Cowart, a bright, inquisitive soul, was actually getting a real-world education. The post appeared on the INTERNAL ENERGY PLUS Yahoo! Group ( on 09/09/09, and it is being re-printed here, unedited, in THE GLOBAL FUTURIST ( for the benefit of many individuals who are concerned about how the US Economy came to be where it is, and what we might do to break the recurring cycle of history. Bill loves to tell a story, in the tradition of a Mark Twain character. He is to be praised for his amazing candor. Thank you, Bill.
-- Douglas Castle ( .

By the way; I write for THE NATIONAL NETWORKER Newsletter. Please get your free subscription at -DC

I just read a news article, Taxpayers face heavy losses on auto bailout , . What shocked me was that the Government basicialy bought in at the high price of the stocks in 2008 . And sad to say that is the way many look at something economialy. They are now saying they will loose a huge sum of money, just like many did with their 401Ks. And there is a reason for this.

Let's look at a commodity, I have on hand at this moment. I have a stack of @ X12 X 16 foot lumber, selling for say, $18 each in the lumber yard. But my @ X 12 X 16 foot will have more value than the ones in the lumber yard. Now I want investors to invest in my sawmill, So I sell them on the fact that my boards are more valuable than those at the lumber yard. Why, they where cut with a chain saw mill, they are unique, one of a kind. Any one can have a deck on their home, but it is extremely rare someone has a deck cut with an Alasakan Saw Mill, and more rare when it is run in a carriage like the ones used a century ago.

Now I am capturing a nicth market,of those who want something others do not have. We are looking at doubling our money, selling the boards for $36 each, and the investor wants in on the action, buys a lot of stock in me.

You buy in we sell a few at $36 each, then the housing market crashes, and I am forced to sell for $14 each, now loosing money. Did you loose $20 on each board you invested in, or $2 ? In reality, you paid $16 for each board you invested in, the $36 a board was on intregent value, was never realy there. If a wise investor took that money when it was at $36, then the money would have been real; otherwise it was just intregent value. And in the end to futher prove that, he can only write off $2 a board as a tax loss. Or in plain english, he counted his chicks before they hathed from the eggs.

many people over a period of thirty years put say $50,000 of their real money earned throught their labor into a retirement system, getting excited as the intrengent value rose. What they failed to see was that if not taken in cash at its high, it was only worth ,if even, the paper it was written on. Or you can not take a product worth , as boards $16 each , randomly say they are worth $36 each, plus assets to make them , say a total of in a case like mine $10,000 stock and equipement on hand, and say it is worth $20,000. Even with a good marketing plan, in this case selling arrognce of having what others do not have, all in ones head; the $10,000 is hypothetical. It is only worth the market value at the moment.

What that means is say GM at the moment they where bailed out was woth exactaly nothing, as they where belly up, finanicaly speaking, not worth one red cent. They never was worth it, and never will be. But people , both private citizens and now the government choose to belive some maject would happen, and they would become worth something. And to complicate it all a bit worse, their lenders, base the loans, to keep them operating, on that intregent value . Them all , when it goes bad, claim to have lost something real.

But now, what has happened to the $2 a board you lost, investing in Poorboy Constructions, sawmilling operation ? ( that is my hyprothetical name ) Well as boywonder and CEO of such an impressive operation, I need perks, so I could impress more buyers and investors, to creat this intrengent value. After all can my wife be seen driving around in a ford auto, no; she needs to be driving around in a Mercedes , on fuel from the refrinery, that Poorboy Construction ownes, as we are diversified. Yes, diversified, wow, another reason for investing in PBC, of course all intregent value. But that is where the money the investor lost went to, into personal peks, and other extravanget versications, so I could live a life of riley.

Oh!!!! in reality my wife in real life does have a mercedes, of course it is 25 years old, and it does run on fuel Imake using a bio diesel processor, I built myself. And in a building I built myself, actualy utting the lumber with a chain saw for real.

But if I make a point, we have come to the point we no longer invest in what is real, instead we invest in intrengent. And whast is worse, and I have two Granddaughters, I am responsible for, now in H/S , this is what we are now educationg our children in. Or an education full of intrengent values, not real values.
And if I make a point in all my chattering, we need to refocus ourselves on what is real both physicaly and physocologicaly speaking. My thoughts and opinions, Bill C.

Thank you for setting the record straight, Bill!


Douglas Castle

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