LOGITECH WOES

m570-gallery
Logitech 570 wireless trackball

I haven’t used a Logitech device for a long time which explains why I purchased a new one. Let me make myself perfectly clear; the reason why I haven’t purchased a logitech device is the fact that I was dissatisfied with their performance in the past and the difficulty in setting them up. To say the least they are now and always have been a nightmare for an average guy like me. I won’t get into the problems that I had with my former keyboard and mouse, but apparently nothing has changed to bring them into the 21st century. I am admittedly old fashioned and I don’t take to new technology, but the Logitech 570 wireless tracking ball is nothing less than a throwback to the days of my first PC, a Sears eMachine that cost all of eight hundred dollars in 1998. I used the mouse that came with it, until it no longer clicked and then I discovered Tracking balls; once cutting edge ergonomic technology, now  relegated to the old peoples section with the other archaic devices, and that’s exactly were it belongs.

I have gone through three tracking balls  since 2000, which means that they’ve each endured an average of five years of daily use. My third one is still in service but I’ve always wanted a wireless tracking ball and now after a decade and a half I finally found one for about half the price they wanted back in the day. Up until now I’ve always had the plug in tracking balls because until now most of my PCs were not set up to be wireless, although my  Micron had the capability I am tech lazy and never bothered to hook it up.

Now I am a Mac user and have familiarized myself with a wireless keyboard and mouse, but I hate moving my hand around a mouse pad just to use the cursor. So I forsook my wireless apple mouse and plugged in my old faithful tracking ball. But alas the sticky clicker syndrome hit and my poor tracking ball was afflicted. Time for a new tracking ball. So I went to Best Buy and found the Logitech 570 wireless tracking ball with unifying Receiver. It seemed simple enough buy it plug it in and go to work. If only it was that easy!

I did everything that I was supposed to do, I went to the Logitech site downloaded the manager and installer, (already too much work), I read the prompts very carefully followed the directions and failed miserably to pair my tracking ball with my mac. I have unplugged, restarted and started from scratch and so far I have not been able to successfully pair the device. the closest I came, was being able to assign right click and roller, but before I can finish I have to assign a function to to the left click, which the manager will not let me do. So the tracking ball remains unusable and so far the help site doesn’t help. My next step is to call customer service and hope they don’t charge me for the call. This is more trouble than any tracking ball is worth in a world of plug and play devices. Unfortunately Apple only offers the same piece of junk that I already own. My Advice is, don’t waste your money on this tracking ball. If I get the problems resolved after contacting customer service I’ ll update my progress, otherwise my opinion still stands.

What’s wrong with Disney?

The world is a scary place especially for we older folks, who have been around long enough to watch it deteriorate. So to get away from stress, it was suggested to me by a doctor no less, to separate myself from the stress, by not watching the news.  Yes, watching the news can be a source of stress. Watching Fox can be especially stressful because they are pure fear mongers and hate mongers. My favorite news channels are BBC and PBS which I consider to be far more fair and balanced than Fox, which is slanted and skewed and mentally unbalanced. Of course people accuse me of being a leftist radical because I listen to Al JAM, Link TV and Free Speech TV, along with moderate dosages of C-Span, CNN and MSNBC. So I watch it all and I think that I have a pretty fair grasp on what’s happening. To make a long story short, I get pretty overloaded on news most of it bad. So what does all this have to do with Disney.

WELL! Disney,Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon are a good source of  non stressful programs. Ramsey’s nightmare Kitchens has proven too taxing, Flip this house too feisty, Gear heads too annoying, Lockup Raw way too depressing and the World at War too warlike. Sometimes I just like to sit back and watch innocuous subject matter and turn off the frantic part of my brain. I am kind of a cartoon addict when I let my inner child out on saturday morning, the traditional prime time for kid vid. I am also a shameless channel surfer so I have sampled a lot of stuff.  One of the programs that I discovered while channel surfing was Disney XD,s Lab Rats, a live action show probably aimed a younger teens. The show features three bionic teens, Adam, Bree and Chase. Sounds cool at face value, teenaged super heroes, but if you examine what’s underneath the premise it becomes very dark.

To start with the teens were originally locked down in a basement lab, in glass tubes, until discovered by the precocious and annoying Leo, their defacto brother. They were only let out to perform various dangerous missions deemed too dangerous for humans. Here is were I find a problem with this premise, first this is the definition of what bionic means. (bionic |bīˈänik|adjective having artificial body parts,esp.electro-mechanicalones.• informal having ordinary human powers increased by the aid of bionic devices,real or fictional).  So if these are real children, and let’s not forget that they are minors; then why are they being used to take on missions that are beyond the capabilities of adults. In effect they are being exploited as child soldiers, and we all know how hilarious child soldiers are. Their so called father, or creator or what ever he is, is guilty of not only abuse, but of crimes against humanity. Davenport the billionaire inventor is also guilty of illegal experimentation on humans. If these children were androids, (robots that resemble humans) then that would be more palatable, but not by much. So what we have here is a man who should be cast as a villain, instead being a bumbling comic relief character. Oh He’s so rich that he’s wacky, an eccentric genius. I guess he suffers from Afluenza, to rich to know better.

The questions that this series raised for me are; where did these children come from? who are their actual parents? Were they created from a collection of body parts like Frakenstein’s Monster? Are they orphans? Did they give explicit permission to be experimented on. How much of their humanity has been compromised to add the bionic enhancements.? But first and foremost, why does Donald Davenport, think that it’s okay to keep human beings caged like animals in his basement?  There is a degree of creepiness that pervades this entire scenario, that is quite frankly disturbing. This show may appear to be cute and cool on the outside, but underneath it is as disturbing as it gets. Famous anime series like Ghost in the Shell and Gunslinger Girl, have explored this same subject, but without pulling any punches, or sugar coating it. Disney shows a distinct lack of concern about the lessons learned and conclusions drawn from this piece of dark fluff. Things need to be explained about the origins of these three teens and their actual status, i.e. are they humans or machines?

Why Can’t we learn from History?

A guy running for president, gets on his soapbox and starts talking about change, rich versus poor and so on and so forth, you know the spiel. Some rich guys get together and decide that they don’t like what this guy is saying, so they band together and throw copious amounts of filthy lucre into a campaign against this guy. The rich guys then get some business friendly dope to run against the change guy, hoping for a pawn to manipulate in the white house. Sounds familiar doesn’t it.

I’m not talking about the 2008 election or even the 2012 election. I am referring to the 1896 presidential elections,when William Jennings Bryan, the progressive candidate for change, faced off against William McKinley a pro business moderate who believed in trade protectionism and imperialism.

If you read the sanitized version of history in which all presidents are practically saints then McKinley sounds pretty good. He did get some things right, that did help America to prosper; however most of the prosperity went to the top and was not spread around. What I find most disturbing about his presidency was the way in which he got into office in the first place. The office of the president was bought and paid for by three of America’s wealthiest industrialist, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. Again if you read the sanitized version of history, these men were benevolent Philanthropist. They modernized and industrialized America, made huge contributions to the arts and sciences, created universities and left endowments that still exist. Unfortunately, this is all that most people know or remember about these paragons of America’s golden age of industrialization.

It would take a scholar with multiple degrees to navigate through the nuances and intricacies of this period in our history, but there is an easier way because this is the age of television. Instead of trying to read hundreds of dusty tomes, simply tune into, The Men who Built America on the history channel. All of that tedious drudgery has been done for us. The result is a blistering commentary on America’s most famous and revered business Icons. The creators of this program haven’t pulled any punches about the dastardly deeds and evil machinations of our sainted heroes.

While watching this program I couldn’t help making the comparison between then and now. People working more hours for less money, the widening  disparity between the rich and the poor, high unemployment and a dwindling middle class. The dissatisfaction with wall street is not a new concept. Everything that happened then is happening now, and for the same old reasons, poorly regulated business practices, political corruption and plain old greed. Growing poverty and high unemployment weren’t the only problems. Being a factory worker in the late 1800’s was dangerous and sometimes fatal. The conditions were so bad, that it spawned the labor movement, the progressive movement  and the anarchist movement world wide; which brings me back to William McKinley who was assassinated by an anarchist.

With the death of McKinley, his veep the very progressive Teddy Roosevelt took the office of president. Woe be to those who try to mess with T.R. who rightly went after the big monopolies which earned him the moniker of the trust buster. For the first time a president dared to confront big corporations in the highest court of the land and bring them to heel under the Sherman Anti-trust act of 1890. President Obama could learn something from the first President Roosevelt, by breaking up the oil and banking monopolies that exist today as a result of reckless deregulation. It is obvious that history is repeating itself, which means that we have forgotten the lesson that we once had learned.

What the Men who Built America teaches us is that, what’s good for business is not always good for the people, and this applies to any age and in any era. These industrialist had more money than any of them could spend in a lifetime, so why did they need more? I don’t think that anyone can answer that question; but what history tells us is that their greed and complacency created very dire consequences. The human toll was atrocious by today’s standards, even in third world countries. Long hours and unsafe work conditions killed thousands, including children working in factories and coal mines. The figures on work place fatalities are well documented; but figures for those adults and children that died of starvation, exposure and disease aren’t . All of these deaths can be directly attributed to the economic disparities caused by the greed of a few men.

You could argue that all of the men featured in the series first season, created the America that became a great world power. On the other hand they could have been magnanimous and not really have sacrificed much of their wealth. Henry Ford who shows up late in the first season got it right. He paid better wages and established the forty hour work week and at the same time created a product that the common man could afford. He created a model for the world to emulate. I’m not saying that Henry Ford was a saint because he wasn’t, but he set a standard that created a healthy thriving middle class with leisure time and money to spend. For anyone who wants to learn the difference between a conservative and a progressive, or if you just want to see were we’ve been and how much we have reverted to the old way, I highly recommend, The Men who Built America. It’s informative and intelligent and worth giving it a try.