Now are we going to take viruses seriously? Top-secret Ukranian documents leaked out to the Ukranian press, courtesy of SirCam, including the president’s movements during the upcoming independence celebration. An assassin’s delight, to be sure.
Lessons learned:

1. Macro viruses can do damage without trashing your computer. Sometimes they can do more damage if they don’t trash your computer.
2. Don’t count on anti-virus software to save you. SirCam hides out in places McAfee Anti-Virus doesn’t look, and Norton Anti-Virus is reportedly not 100% effective against it either, especially if a document was already infected with another virus.

What can save you? Download your software from reputable sources only, and don’t open strange attachments. I used to say it’s much better to miss the joke than to wipe out your computer. Now we can amend that. It’s much better to miss the joke than to wipe out your computer or get the president of the Ukraine killed.

Motherboards. The Good Dr. Crider e-mailed me (among others) earlier this week asking for motherboard advice. He wanted respectable power for under $200. Interestingly, just the day before I went looking at for motherboards for no particular reason. I spied the ultra-basic Gigabyte GA-7IXe4 motherboard (AMD 750-based) for 66 bucks. It won’t win any glamour contests, but it’s a fine meat-and-potato board at a fabulous price, and it’s not made in China so you’re not supporting an immoral government with your purchase either. You can pair that up with a $36 Duron-750 and a $10 fan and have a great start on a fantabulous bang-for-the-buck system. Of course, with a budget of $200, it’s possible to step up to a Duron-950 and still have a little left over.

Speaking of bang for the buck, here’s a review of the first commercially available SiS 735-based board. Put simply, right now it’s the fastest DDR motherboard you can buy. Pretty impressive, especially considering it’s coming from budget-minded ECS. I can’t wait to see what Asus or Abit will be able to do with it. But I know I’ll be waiting. ECS has manufacturing facilities in China.

Why the big deal about China? I’m not exactly in favor of slave labor–we freed our slaves about 135 years ago and we should be ashamed it took us that long. But slave labor exists in China today. I’m tired of China provoking the United States every chance it gets. I’m tired of China persecuting people who believe in Christianity and/or democracy. Need more reasons? OK. Fair warning: Some of the atrocities on this site will make you sick.

Completely boycotting China when buying computer products is tough. Really tough. For example, Intel’s Craig Barrett publicly advocates Chinese manufacturing. Does that mean Intel’s next fab will sit on Chinese soil? Fortunately, a Web search with a manufacturer’s name, plus the words “manufacturing” and “China” will almost always tell you conclusively if a company produces any of its stuff in China. If you want American-made stuff, good luck. Supermicro and AMI make motherboards in the States, but neither has a very diverse product line.

Need a dictionary? OK. Visit