Thursday, February 23, 2006

Getting Lost in the Tech "Support" Jungle

New York Times' tech reporter David Pogue wrote a piece laced with sarcasm about trying to get tech support at Dell. I also had some serious problems with those guys after I bought a Pocket PC from Dell a year ago. Tons of calls, little result. Dell says they get awards for tech support and I always wonder how that could possibly be. My friend Vadim Makarenko even recounted my troubles in an article in a Polish daily on outsourcing to India. Believe me, Tom, Dick and Jane on the phone are chatting with you from Bangalore.

Just like Pogue, I have resisted buying Dell equipment ever since, even though Northwestern Law was offering a discount on their laptops. And I'm glad about that. My Thinkpad's fan recently got annoyingly loud. I placed one call, and the next business day a super nice female techie from IBM showed up at my door to install a new one. Not bad.

Butcher of Srebrenica Still at Large

Well, another rumor, another disappointment. Looks like Ratko Mladic is still out there. The rumor mill is still churning and maybe he will soon be captured. For now, The Hague will have to wait.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Mladic Ready to Surrender?

There's been rumors reported over the last 24 hours that one of the two most wanted Bosnian Serb leaders may soon be heading to The Hague for a trial at the Yugoslavia Tribunal. There's been rumors in the past that Ratko Mladic, the general responsible for the killing of about 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica, was about to be captured. I remembered receiving several calls like that when I was on duty at the Amsterdam office before I left in July of last year. But this is looking like the big one. Great news!

On top of the genocide at Srebrenica, Mladic and the Bosnian Serb civilian leader, the crazy former psychologist Radovan Karadzic, are also indicted for 12,000 deaths during the siege of Sarajevo. That doesn't count thousands of other men and women killed in the war. These crooks, along with Slobodan Milosevic, perpetrated some of the worst war crimes since WWII. The trials at the Hague tribunal are not pretty, but they do show that the world, even if incredibly late, will not let these atrocities go unpunished.

Of course Slobo's trial still snails on and who knows when it will end. But, nonetheless, I am glad Mladic may be heading to The Hague very soon. Good luck to the reporters in the Netherlands who will have a lot of work on their hands soon.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Poland to Iran: No 'Research' to Back Holocaust Denials

When I see things like this I am proud to be Polish. Poland's foreign minister says the country would never allow Iranian "researchers" to "examine" the scale of the mass murder of Jews and other victims of the German Nazis on Polish soil during WWII. To give the slightest legitimacy to pseudo historians denying the Holocaust and the unprecedented destructions of human beings in Nazi death camps would be a crime in itself.

One of the most moving and painful experiences of my life was walking through deaths factory in Auschwitz. The wooden shacks, the collapsed gas room. It is beyond any understanding that just 60 or so years ago human beings were capable of such evil. And so I'm enraged that there are people out there who want to downplay the Nazi atrocities. Did the Nazis kill six million Jews or was it five and a half? I think you're missing the point.

Oh, and believe it or not, part of my tuition is supporting one of these Holocaust deniers right here at Northwestern. The university did condemn the comments and I appreciate the fact that the man should not be fired for views not related to his job. But it is still shocking that anybody educated could make these comments especially here in my own backyard.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Chicago Poles Wanted Trib to Cover Pres

Came across this note on some Polish community in Chicago complaining that the city's biggest daily, the Chicago Tribune, didn't do enough to cover the visit of Poland's President Lech Kaczynski. I mean the Polish president is here and it's not on the front page???

Of course not. There was no news coming out of Kaczynski's meetings with the Polish American Congress and the mayor. This is something that folks out there often don't catch. Journalists are not PR people. We don't cover every movement of a politician if he doesn't make any news. Now if he came with his twin brother Jaroslaw and did a little skit from the movie they did when they were kids, that would be something else!

The Trib did send its London correspondent to Warsaw to do a piece on Kaczynski, the conservative voice in Europe, before he came to the U.S.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Polish Catholics Not Crazy about New Madonna

Muslims, it seems, are not the only folks unhappy with news media playing with religious icons. In Poland, the Catholic church is up in arms about a pop culture magazine Machina superimposing the image of Madonna, the singer, over Madonna, the mother of Jesus. This is especially irritating to some Poles because the image used is the Black Madonna, Poland's most revered religious icon.

How do I feel about this? I think it's silly. Come on, people, get a life. And even worse, looks like some Poles are desperately putting themselves in line with fanatical Muslims calling for heads of anybody even remotely responsible for the Mohammed caricatures. For God's sake...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I Don't Get Jon Stewart...

Looks like I'm not the only one who doesn't get Jon Stewart. I tried several times to watch his show, even staying up late to catch it on CNN International when I lived in Europe. In my view he's mostly a self-righteous whiner and complainer with a "too-cool-to-care" attitude. Man, am I losing some serious cool points among my friends for saying this.

And I don't get Seinfeld. Probably for similar reasons...