Monday, March 17, 2008

The Stupidity of Windows Vista

Windows Vista is, in some significant ways, fairly cool. But, that doesn't mean it is without utter idiocy from time to time. This is typical Microsoft. Don't make a product that is more or less perfect. Make one with tons of problems that your customers will discover and then issue hundreds of updates to fix the problems as they come along.

At any rate, the problem I have is that Vista does not support the Cannon Powershot SD110 Digital Camera. I have searched for answers to this problem and needless to say there is a compatability issue that I won't pretend to understand and which has no solution. Even the Cannon website says that there is no driver to enable communication between this model camera and Windows Vista.

So imagine my surprise this morning when I hooked up the camera to my work computer, which is also Windows Vista, and it connected and downloaded all the pics without nary a problem. Maybe it's the spanish version or something. Either way, at least I have a temporary solution (especially important since we go to Peru tomorrow on holiday). Now, if anyone out there is more tech savvy than I (not a particularly high hurdle to cross these days), I'll welcome any explanation or assistance in this matter.


Yesterday, there was a big, free concert on the border between Colombia and Venezuela. Not sure if it made the news in the US but it was a "Peace without Borders" concert and it featured 7 of the most prominent Latin artists. We watched a good bit on Teevee.

This was sort of like South America's Live Aid (which really should have been called "Africa Aid") and received the coverage you would expect for such an event. Notably, and this is something you have to love about South America in general, the concert was organized in a mere 10 days, there was no real schedule for who was going to play when (aside from Juanes last), and the artists joked about that while on stage. I think that's awesome. Live Aid was a "global" event so I get why it took longer to organize, but these artists basically said the cause is more important than the BS in between and perfect or not, they can still be awesome. One artist (Miguel Bosé I think) even cancelled a concert in NY yesterday to join in the cause.

At any rate, this concert has important symbolic value in Colombia as well as in South America in that the people, for the first time in a long time (or ever according to various Colombians I talked to about this) are taking a public, active, cultural interest in ending the war and working toward peace. In the last two months we've had an anti-FARC rally, an anti-Violence (anti-Paramilitary) rally, and now a free concert that achieved regional coverage.

These types of civic actions are important. Yesterday, each artist (most notably Juanes and Carlos Vives) gave short, periodic speeches about peace with the FARC, about freeing the kidnapped people, and about regional cooperation. These messages are important in that many people, poor and uneducated people that would not hear these messages or listen to them if they heard them from Uribe or some other politician, heard them loud and clear yesterday from the very heroes that dominate their airwaves. In the short term, this type of cultural, community activity won't have a great effect. But over the long run, if these activities, these public discussions become part of the norm, it's very possible that there could be a spillover effect on the culture of violence that seems to dominate some parts of this country. One can hope.


Tomorrow we're off to Peru for a week's holiday. We're going to Lima, Cusco, Macchu Pichu, Ica, Islas Ballestas, and back to Lima. This represents a dream trip if for no other reason than just to see Macchu Picchu. Full report and pics to follow.



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