I’m a vegetarian.Â I believe meat eating is unnecessary and often a cruel undertaking to aquire.Â I also think that animals are more intelligent then we perceive.Â Sometimes they show it by saying thanks for the help.
Archive for April, 2006
During the 90′s, conservatives stood up and said the government was too big, that the democrats were destroying the founding fathers intention of a small government. Now that the Republicans are in power, the small government concept has vanished. They have:
- Had record spending on pork barrel projects
- Engaged in active spying of American citizens
- Maintained extensive databases of information on American citizens (including minors)
- Attempted to use the government to dictate who you can marry
- Attempted to create laws to force families to make medical decision
- Decided the States can’t pass laws for medical decisions
It’s not the Republican’s fault per say, it’s power. The adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely is being proved again and again with them, but it could easily be the same way if the Democrats had all three branches. It’s an inherent flaw in politics.
The best solution is public government watch. An open government is a limited government. If they can’t do anything without people knowing, they are going to be less likely to try. Unfortunately this Administration believes in a very secretive government. So much for a government for the people.
I was looking over my posts on the Mac and I realized that they’ve been pretty negative, implying that my experiences with the Mac has been bad. The reality of the situation is that I like the Mac, and I like OS X. There are things that bug me (CLOSE THE DAMN APP!!!), but that’s me. So despite what I dislike about Macs, there’s a lot I do like such as:
- Easy install (non-existant uninstall)
- It’s pretty
- Things do generally “just work”
- Relativly consistant interface
- Wide varity of high-quality Apps
- Address book
- It’s relatively stable. It freezes occasionally and I have to hard-reset, but less then Windows.
- OS Install
- Free development tools
- Secure erase
- Simple file system (tied to simple install)
And there are abot a hundred other things I like, but I’m not a Mac head, an Apple Zelot, or an Apploligist. I use computers as tools. Some are better at certain things then others.
I look at OSs like tools. Apple is a hammer. You can fix a lot of things, but only one way to fix it, the Apple Way. Windows are like screw drivers, different sizes fix different problems. You can kind of get it to work with the wrong size screw driver, but it won’t be the easiest. Linux is like a set of surgical tools. Capable to doing some amazing things, you just have to know how to use them correctly.
OS X is fine and it works. It has it’s faults just like any OS. I work on the three biggie OSs on a regular basis, so I get to see what is the worst of all of them. Now if only bring back BeOS and have the best of them
I’m against having a separate domain for adult content. What constitutes “adult” by one group is educational by another. In the end, I believe it’s the parents responsibility to monitor what their children view, not the government.
That said, I do think some sort of independent labeling system could be implemented by the industry that would classify sites into different categories. Basically it would be voluntary, but those sites that don’t authenticate with the service could be blocked from inadvertent connections. There have been a couple of times I accidentally clicked a link that opened a un-safe for work website. I wish there were some sort of authentication mechanism that could prevent this.
But I don’t want the government getting determine what is safe or not. It steps across the line between governing and preaching, wistfully dependent on who ever is in charge. Independent enties offer a better approach.
I hate RTFM. It stands for “Read the $%#%@&* manual” and it is a term used to insult people who ask a question that others think is obviously answered in the manual. It has many aliases (‘man foo’ is my personal annoyance), but ultimately it comes down to “you should have to read a poorly written document because I had to”. While I appreciate the efforts put into writing manuals, they are often written by engineers and not writers. This results in dense, difficult to understand, text. Here’s an example of the grep man page:
SYNOPSIS grep [options] PATTERN [FILE...] grep [options] [-e PATTERN | -f FILE] [FILE...]
DESCRIPTION Grep searches the named input FILEs (or standard input if no files are named, or the file name – is given) for lines containing a match to the given PATTERN. By default, grep prints the matching lines. In addition, two variant programs egrep and fgrep are available. Egrep is the same as grep -E. Fgrep is the same as grep -F.
To someone who uses grep, it makes sense. If I wanted to search for the text “hello” in the files in the current directory, I’d use ‘grep hello ./*’. But reading the above man page, this is not so obvious. The description references FILE, but in the synopsis, there are two “FILE” entries. Which is the correct FILE? Both? Also, there are Options in both synopsis templates, but then in the second they list -e and -f separately. Are these different then the other options? Again, as a user of grep, I understand what it’s saying, not because I read the man page, but because I found examples of how to write a good grep string. But in the man page, there are no examples, just raw data on how to use grep. The equivalent for a doctor would be to hand an intern a scalpel and say this is the tool you use to cut a patient open and then calling them a doctor. It doesn’t tell them how to use the tool; it doesn’t give them the knowledge of how to cut. That’s what most of the man pages do, they show you the tool without giving you the techniques for using it.
So when I see people repost with RTFM, it frustrates me. In part because it is just rude to chastise a person for asking a question, but also because it assumes that everyone has the same mental processing that you do. In the future, please follow the old advice of “if you don’t have anything nice to say…”. At the least, if you are going to reply, give an example so that people can learn.
That Useless Red Dot I’ve been using a Mac for over a year now and I still can’t get the hang of how to quit an app. Clicking on the The Useless Red Dot (TURD) closes the window, and, sometimes, the app. It’s pretty inconsistent which leads to a littered Dock. Some work as expected (Calculator, Dictionary), but most don’t. It’s frustrating to close the last window of an app, only to have the icon sit in the dock, waiting for me to close it. Further, if I click that little red dot, the app disappears, but depending on the app, the focus remains on it.
Separate menu bar Some would argue it makes sense to always have the menu bar, have a consistent location for the menu bar or maximizing screen usage. But I can’t count number of times I have closed an app via the red, useless, dot in the corner then tried to access the menu only to have the focus to still be on the app I just closed!
Home and End keys Okay, this is the WIndows guy in me. I expect home and end to go to the beginning and end of the line, not the beginning and end of the document. I almost never have to go to the end or beginning of a document, but I often have to go to the end of line. Simplicity dictates that the more common command should have the minimal amount of key presses.
Can’t maximize I’m sorry. I want to decide how much screen an app uses when I press the green dot. I don’t want the app deciding that it only needs to take up half the screen. I pressed the yellow button to minimize, I press the red to quit (which it doesn’t!), and I want to press the green button to maximize and I mean maximize.
Cmd-Tab switches between Apps but not instances of apps Sometimes I need to transcribe between windows of Firefox. Normally I can copy and paste the text, but on occasion I forget to grab something. It would be nice to just hit Option-Tab and cycle through the two windows and not just between apps.
Left over apps in the Dock I keep my dock simple. I use a small number of apps consistently (Firefox, iCal, Mail.app, Address Book, iTunes, iPhoto, Photoshop, Remote Desktop, and Audio Hijaack Pro; this is my home machine, not work), so I keep these in the Dock for quick access via the mouse. But thanks to TURD, my Dock becomes littered with applications. Maybe I’ll write an app who’s job is to monitor running applications and the Dock. If an app doesn’t have any active windows, then it’s closed automatically after a fixed period of time. Of course I will have to add a white-list, but maybe that will keep my Dock clean.
There are a number of rumors floating around talking about virtualization technology in the next version of OS X. They seem to concentrate on running Windows on top of OS X. This may well be true, but I hope not. My hope is that Apple will use a technology like Intel Virtualization to allow both operating systems to function at the same time, side-by-side. Imagine being able to double click on an icon in the Dock and suddenly the computer switches to an already running instance of XP. Imagine that while you game, Mail.app is downloading your email. Think about being able to use all the power of XP and all the power of OS X at the same time and at full speed. With traditional virtualization, the virtualized OS is running through the the host OS. There is a speed hit. But if they are running simultaneously, neither on top of each other, then they can have full speed access to hardware. Now that would be virtual.
One of the Macs fabled benefits is that things “just work”. Have a printer, just plug it in. Got a camera, iPhoto will recognize it. But like all computers, the “just works” concept goes too far, after which you have to fall back on the old 3 finger salute or system restart.
Most Mac heads will avoid broaching the subject, but like all computers, Macs have to be restarted occasionally. Apple even recommends it if external hardware stops working as expected, like the iPod. Number 3 on the list, if your iPod doesn’t work right, is: Restart your computer. Sometimes Mac computers are just, well, computers.
Bush may be an incompetent President.Â He may have brought the U.S. into a bad war.Â He may be vindictive against people who contradict him.Â But he is not treasonous because he released Valerie Plame’s name.Â It may make him a complete ass bent on destroying those who don’t agree with him, but he is the President.Â As a result he has the right to release information, even if it is “Top Secret”.Â He reasoning may be his downfall (vindication against her husband), but he may have the legal right to release the information.Â The question is will America allow a vindictive President to put lives in danger because he is punishing someone who disagrees with him.
When I was a kid, one of my dad’s friends developed a brain tumor. I remember standing in front of my church praying with all my heart for God to cure him. He died shortly thereafter. They say God answers all prayers, just sometimes he say’s ‘no’.
Today, I don’t put much stock in the power of prayer. It seems slightly arrogant to ask God for a favor, to try and change God’s mind, or think that someone else’s disease is a test of my faith. So when I see that a study doesn’t show any improvement for those who are prayed for over those who are not, I’m not terribly surprised (although I wonder why the “hope” factor doesn’t offer an effect).
Nor am I surprised that there are people who just disagree with the study. Their argument is that you can’t measure the effect of prayer as though it were a quantifiable metric like temperature (can you image the Prayer levels on the Pope just before he died?), and that they have seen (or as one doctor, have been told about) miracles of prayer. But the thing is, that the study didn’t try to measure the Prayer levels of the patient using a thermometer in the shape of a cross), it measured the outcomes of patients who received prayer from organized groups against those who weren’t prayed for by organized groups. In both cases, the death rate was about the same, from which the scientists concluded that prayer didn’t have an effect on outcome.
Of course there will always be people who will refute studies like this. They will rely on anecdotal evidence (“I heard from a friend…”) or rationalizations to continue their beliefs. Some will say that God is testing our beliefs or refusing to be subject to experimentation by not healing anyone in the groups (maybe even calling it a punishment) or that you can’t control the unsolicited prayer (little Susie praying for her daddy who is in the control group). But ultimately it comes down to what people believe, not what they know. Those who believe in the power of prayer still continue to believe in it regardless of the evidence. That’s why it’s called faith.