Daily Archives: October 5, 2007

Cheers, jeers greet Pastor Paul Melnichuk


Mostly poor flock welcome minister living the good life as critics rally outside his church. Thousands of members of the embattled Prayer Palace congregation cheered on their pastor yesterday as he bragged about his suntan, the support of worshippers and the openness of his administration while one congregant warned, “The devil decided to mess with the wrong church.”

Outside, private security guards, church volunteers and a couple of police cruisers kept a close eye on a small group of demonstrators protesting the lavish lifestyle of senior pastor Paul Melnichuk, his twin sons, who are the church’s junior pastors, and the Prayer Palace’s dwindling contributions to charity.

The Prayer Palace and the Melnichuks were the subject of a recent Sunday Star investigation that found the church’s three pastors living in multi-million-dollar mansions and enjoying a lavish Florida hideaway while encouraging the largely poor congregation to tithe a percentage of their income.

“Money should be invested within the black community,” said protestor Jane Reid, pointedly observing that “after all, 90 per cent of the people who attend the church are black.”

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The Next Leap for Linux


LINUX runs the Google servers that manage billions of searches each day. It also runs the TiVo digital video recorder, the Motorola Razr cellphone and countless other electronic devices.

But why would anyone want to use Linux, an open-source operating system, to run a PC? “For a lot of people,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, “Linux is a political idea — an idea of freedom. They don’t want to be tied to Microsoft or Apple. They want choice. To them it’s a greater cause.”

That’s not the most compelling reason for consumers. There is the price: Linux is free, or nearly so.

Unlike Windows from Microsoft and OS X from Apple, Linux is not owned, updated or controlled by a single company. Thousands of developers around the world work on Linux, making improvements and issuing new versions several times a year. Because the core Linux software is open source, these developers have the right — some would say responsibility — to borrow from one another’s work, constantly looking for enhancements.

But Linux has always had a reputation of being difficult to install and daunting to use. Most of the popular Windows and Macintosh programs cannot be used on it, and hand-holding — not that you get that much of it with Windows — is rare. But those reasons for rejecting Linux are disappearing.

Until recently, major PC makers shied away from Linux. Now the industry is watching as Dell is selling two Linux-equipped desktop models ($549 and $870, including a monitor) and a $774 notebook PC. (Hewlett-Packard offers Linux systems to businesses, and Lenovo, the Chinese company that bought I.B.M.’s PC division, sells Linux machines in China and says it will soon offer Linux-based computers in the United States.)

The Ubuntu version of Linux runs the Dell computers. Because Dell does not have to pay a licensing fee for the operating system, the computers are $80 cheaper than PCs with Windows Vista Home Premium or $50 cheaper than the stripped-down Vista Basic edition.

Ubuntu is generally regarded as one of the more consumer-friendly versions of Linux, so the Linux PC experience is similar to what you would get with a Windows-equipped Dell. When you start the machine, the screen looks familiar; preinstalled applications can easily be found and run from an Applications menu at the top left of the screen. A “Places” menu lets you search for files, and a System menu is there for setting preferences and finding help.

And there is a lot more than just an operating system. Ubuntu, like some other Linux distributions, comes with a lot of free software, including OpenOffice, an alternative to the Microsoft Office suite with a full-featured word processor, spreadsheet, database and presentation program. It also comes with the popular Firefox Web browser as well as an e-mail program, an instant messaging program, a graphic image editor, music player and a photo manager.

Thanks to open source developers, there are thousands more free programs. An Add/Remove function actually makes finding programs easier with Linux than it is for Mac and Windows. Without having to go to Web sites, it lets you browse through categories of software. It took me only seconds to find several additional music players, a PDF reader and other programs. In addition to downloading the software, this feature installs it and finds any necessary additional files.

You do not have to buy a new Dell PC to try Linux. You can order a free CD or download a copy of Ubuntu at ubuntu.com. The Ubuntu CD can be used to install Linux on a PC’s hard drive, or you can boot from the CD to test-drive the operating system on a Windows machine or an Intel-based Mac, without having to install or delete anything. Running Ubuntu from a CD is considerably slower than from a machine’s hard drive but all the functions are there, so it’s a good way to get a feel for how it works.

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Mac-mini turns Nano in late October?


Mac OS Rumors reports that they’ve heard that as of October’s end, the mini is dead– long live something new called the Mac Nano. Supposedly, the new low-end Mac will be even smaller than a mini (just tall enough to fit a hard drive in), and the enclosure will have a completely new design. I’ve had this plan ever since the mini almost died earlier this year, and I’m sticking to it: as soon as I can buy a Mac mini with Leopard on it, I’ll do so. And no one’s going to stop me– except maybe Jobs himself. Mac OS Rumors reports that they’ve heard that as of October’s end, the mini is dead– long live something new called the Mac Nano. Supposedly, the new low-end Mac will be even smaller than a mini (just tall enough to fit a hard drive in), and the enclosure will have a completely new design.

Intriguing idea indeed, even if it isn’t quite new– the Nano name has been floating around for a while. There are four other products sliding out of the rumor mill as well– AppleTV is rumored to get an update (and a hard drive), and supposedly we’ll see a MacBook Nano as well, the long-rumored ultraportable that Apple is supposedly working on– a.k.a. Rumor #3.

The future of Mac, or wishful thinking? At this point, we have no indication– Mac OS Rumors is no 9-to-5 Mac (ouch, but they deserve it, don’t they?), but they are called “Rumors” for a reason. Either way, I want to buy an extremely small, compact, headless Mac with Leopard on it this fall. Whether it’s called mini or Nano doesn’t matter to me at all.

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PC AND NDP MPP’s call for police investigation of “slushgate”


(Toronto) – Progressive Conservative and New Democratic MPP’s joined forces today to call for a police investigation into a scandal involving $32 million in grants to multicultural groups by the McGuinty Liberal government.

Bob Runciman (MPP Leeds-Grenville), a former Solicitor General and Peter Kormos (MPP Niagara Centre), a former criminal defence lawyer, released a letter to Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant requesting a police investigation into “financial misconduct” by political officials in the distribution of “highly questionable” grants made at the fiscal year end over the last two years.

In late July, Ontario’s Auditor General released a review of the decision-making process used in the distribution of grants. His findings and scathing criticism detailing the lack of control and transparency as the money was doled out, led to the resignation of Citizenship Minister Mike Colle.

“The Auditor’s report left a basketful of unanswered questions, many beyond the Auditor’s purview to investigate and some raising issues of criminality” asserted Runciman.

“The Auditor’s report was not an investigation of civil or criminal wrongdoing rather it was a quick and narrowly scoped review that confirmed financial misconduct” said Kormos. “We still have no answers for why the misconduct occurred and how these improper benefits were sought or bestowed.”

In calling for the police investigation the veteran MPPs’ argue, citing various sections of the Criminal Code, that criminal misconduct remains a potential explanation for the actions in question and the citizens of Ontario have a right to answers.

“The Auditor General did his job, now it’s time to get to the bottom of this by having the police investigate” said Runciman.

“It’s over to Mr. Bryant to do his job” added Kormos.

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The Nuclear Power that Binds Us in Ontario


In an effort to become a green city, little thought is given to the two major nuclear plants, just outside of the Toronto area. I think we like to imagine that they are not there. Do the benefits really outweigh the cost? In regards to the greening of the planet proponents like to say that nuclear power is green energy. However I beg to differ. Nuclear power is not “clean and green,” as the industry claims, because large amounts of fossil fuels are required to mine and refine the uranium for nuclear power reactors. In addition, much thought is not given to the concrete reactor buildings, along with the need to transport and store the radioactive waste. Nuclear power reminds me of the common “deal with the devil” syndrome. We will get quick and immediate satisfaction, however in the long term we are actually killing and destroying our planet. As with always, little is shown to the common Ontarian about the facts of nuclear waste. If people knew how toxic and how long it takes to even safely get rid of it, maybe we all would think a little different about the legacy we are leaving future generations. Although we talk about the need to become more environmentally friendly, we are moving away from this goal at an ever increasing pace. As Toronto expands and grows, attracting more and more people we will require more and more power. Although we want to be “green”, let’s face the fact. Unless we may major changes and investments in renewable resources, along with offering green choices for consumers, we are essentially going to see more nuclear reactors. We are attached to nuclear power, not out of wanting, but necessity.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario