Review: Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story

Capitalism isn’t as well done as Sicko, Moore’s previous film. But it’s well worth seeing for its disturbing insights and information, brought into vivid high relief by Moore’s inimitable style. The film’s main themes are:

  • Capitalism is not the great moral good that we’ve been taught it is since childhood. In fact, it’s an evil system with incentives that inevitably lead to a small number of people amassing vast wealth, while a large majority of workers can’t afford the basics of life. Ironically, although the pro-capitalist religious right has appropriated Christianity to itself, capitalism goes against all the precepts of Christianity and Jesus Christ. Moore backs up this assertion with numerous and persuasive expert interviews, and some shocking facts of which most people are unaware.
  • Capitalism is actually not small-d democratic at all. The hierarchical structure of large corporations is fascist, not democratic. You have no say; you’re a cog in a machine owned and run by others. You do what you’re told or you’re fired. Capitalism was not part of our founders’ vision. There is no reference to capitalism in the Constitution, and in fact many of our founders – including Thomas Jefferson and John Adams – warned against it. Jefferson said, “Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.”

Capitalism makes its main points well, but has some weaknesses:

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Locked & Vanishing Files in Dreamweaver and InDesign

Do you use Dreamweaver? Have you ever been editing a file and then suddenly you can’t save it and Dreamweaver reports the file as locked? And then if you reboot to unlock the file, you discover it has vanished?

Do you use the InDesign book feature? Have you ever saved the book and then discovered that it has vanished?

Both problems appear to occur only with CS4 running on Vista. [[Edit: Not just with Vista: It’s reported in a comment below to have occurred on Windows 7. -sc]] Here are the workarounds.

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The Best WordPress Theme Ever: Atahualpa

I don’t like to build my Web sites completely around blog software, and yet I want them to have a consistent look and feel. I want the blog to look like the rest of the site. The blog on this site isn’t integrated – it looks completely different from the site’s home page and other pages. But the blog I just installed on another one of my sites looks exactly like the rest of the site – the theme is consistent throughout.

If you go to normaleating.com and click on the Blog button, you will see that the look-and-feel of the blog and the rest of the site are identical. This site contains much more than a blog. There’s a forum with a chat, a newsletter, various content pages (sample chapters from my book), a testimonials page, etc.

How did I get the blog to look like the rest of the site? The Atahualpa theme. (I can never remember that name. What does it mean?) This theme gives you a menu-driven interface to just about every WordPress theme option so you can make your site look exactly like you want. I had no trouble at all duplicating the layout of the rest of my site, and it was a lot easier to do in Atahualpa than it would have been manually. It takes a little time to set up because there are so many options, but none of it is hard. All you need to know is a little basic CSS.

Now that I’ve found Atahualpa, I’ll never use any other theme. I was so enchanted with it I sent the author a donation.

Problems Removing and Installing Adobe CS4

Take my advice: Before you even think about installing Adobe trial software, do a full mirror backup of your computer’s hard disk, and be prepared to use it. I had horrible problems with Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4), and according to the three tech support guys in India that I spent hours on the phone with today, I am not the only one.

Here’s the whole sad story, with the ultimate solution.

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phpFreeChat for Drupal 6.x

I’m the maintainer for the phpFreeChat module on Drupal. Which is to say (lay person’s translation), I maintain the software that allows people using the Drupal content management system to add the excellent phpFreeChat instant messaging program to their Web sites.

People have been nagging me to update the module for Drupal 6.x. But, you know, I’m busy and trying to make a living. I like open source philosophically, but it takes a lot of time to do this work. Then someone took the highly persuasive tack of depositing some money into my PayPal account. That worked. phpFreeChat for Drupal 6.x has just been released.

If you use phpFreeChat with Drupal and have feature requests, consider the PayPal approach. I’m open to any reasonable offer.

Integrate FlashChat in Drupal 5 or Drupal 6

FlashChat is a mature, full-featured chat program that is free without source code, $5 with. It can be integrated nicely with Drupal, but it’s not easy to figure out how. Here’s how.

The current version of FlashChat (5.0.10) contains a configuration file for Drupal integration (drupalCMS.php) that doesn’t work. So for starters, download the Drupal 5 & 6 Integration Kit.

That solves many problems, but not quite all.

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phpFreeChat in Drupal

If you’re running Drupal on a Web site and want to integrate chat software, check out the phpFreeChat module, which integrates the standalone phpFreeChat program into Drupal 5.x. I’m the current maintainer of this module, and just uploaded v1.3.

There’s a copy of the phpFreeChat module on my own Web site because I shared it from there while I figured out CVS, and don’t want to break the link. There’s also a phpFreeChat-compatible theme on my site that I haven’t uploaded to Drupal yet.

phpFreeChat is a great program (I added an “away” feature in the Drupal version), but has a limitation that may be a problem for some people: it conflicts with jquery if it’s on the same page. For most people this isn’t an issue, but if it is for you, you can use FlashChat – another feature-rich chat. I figured out how to integrate this with Drupal 5.x, and will post the configuration file and instructions shortly.

Another Installation Already in Progress (But it’s Not)

I keep encountering an annoying error message as I try to set up my new 64-bit Vista laptop. Often when I try to install a program, I’m told that another installation is already in progress and I must complete that one first. But no other installation is in progress, and simply rebooting doesn’t help.

I googled this problem, and found some complicated advice about failed installations and the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility. But I find that this error occurs when a program installs just fine in every respect except that it leaves the Windows Installer Service running.

There’s a easy way to fix this.

Continue reading Another Installation Already in Progress (But it’s Not)

Brother Printer? Can’t Install Software on 64-Bit Vista?

Here the solution to an annoying problem that took me some time to track down. I’m posting the problem and the solution to help any other fellow sufferers there may be out there.

I have a brand new ThinkPad running 64-bit Vista. But when I tried to install Microsoft Office 2007, no joy – it would copy the files from DVD then stall until I cancelled it. Same thing happened with Office updates. When I tried to install the Java Development Kit (JDK), I got an error message saying that another install process was running and that had to complete first.

After much pain, I finally tracked this down to the Brother XP spl Service (BrSplService – brsvc01a.exe), installed with the software for my Brother MFC 420CN. I still have no idea what this does, but I did find a patch for the problem on the Brother site. Problem solved.