Monthly Archives: November 2007

Thinking about Africa

I rarely write anything about politics or my view of the world, but Arvind’s post “Africa: why it’s fucked up and what you can do” appealed too much to the armchair economist in me to keep quiet. Particularly interesting is this quote:

The main problem with Africa is petty dictators. Don’t take my word for it — a Ghanaian economist argues passionately for this view in this video. One phrase in particular is worth quoting — “Africa’s begging bowl leaks” referring to the futility of conventional foreign aid because of government corruption. He also explains how Africa’s traditional societies were free markets, even if not industrialized, and what Africa needs is more capitalism, not less.

Maybe the begging bowl is the problem. Africa needs to stop looking towards the West with a begging bowl and start looking towards the East with a photocopier instead. They need to open up their economies, encourage entrepreneurship and emulate what Asia has done over the past 50 years. After all, in countries like South Korea, China, India and Vietnam, economic liberalization has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and that has in turn led to political stability.

Also interesting:

Building my new PC – Step 2: Putting it all together

An avid follower of my blog (the only follower of my blog ?) reminded me the other day that I never completed my series on putting my PC together. I think the fact is that I’ve been too busy playing with it to write up my experience in assembling it!

Putting the PC together was a lot simpler than I expected. Granted, the last PC I put together was back in ’99 (or was it 2000?) when I put together a P3-500 for my parents so that they could browse the Internet, send me email and so that I could play Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 whenever I visited them. That was also my first time, so it took me a while to figure out how to screw the motherboard to the case, plug in the CPU etc.

This time, it was all a lot easier, partly because I had the Internet to look up anything I couldn’t figure out and because all the parts actually came with manuals! The only thing that stumped me was the fact that the video card only had a DVI out while my LCD monitor had only VGA input. In the excitement of wanting to see it all boot, I didn’t want to wait an extra day to get a DVI-to-VGA adapter, so I tried using my LCD TV as a monitor (via S-video). That didn’t work as expected and my motherboard didn’t have an on-board speaker, so I finally had to wait till I could find an adapter and used that to connect the rig up to the LCD and make sure it booted correctly. I also had a scary incident when the CPU made a crunch sound as I bolted it into the motherboard. My heart stopped for a second, but I was glad I didn’t damage anything in the process.

Assembling the PC

Soon enough, I had it up and booting:

Boot Screen

and in an hour or so, had Vista installed and running with Aero enabled. Check out the Processor, Hard Disk and Memory ratings in the Perf Rating tool:

Vista Performance Rating

CPU: 5.9 (the maximum – W00t!!)

Memory: 5.8 and Hard disk 5.4.

Sadly, the PC only get’s a 3.4 in the graphics department because of the sucky video card, but that’s another upgrade for another time.

Next time, I’ll talk about how I tried to install Ubuntu on this PC. I think that post will be called “How Ubuntu ruined my weekend (and why Linux is still not ready for the Desktop)”.