Murphy and the Mac

May 28, 2004 at 10:18 am | Posted in Macintosh | Leave a comment

A lot of lunchtime discussion topics converged in Paul Murphy’s article describing differences in user interface philosophy.

A few months ago, I read Edward Tufte’s criticism of PowerPoint and Paul reminds us that this one application has done more damage to creative business thinking than the rest of Microsoft’s applications combined. When business communications is nothing more than sending each other PowerPoint presentations, there is really no communication going on; our forieign competition will undoubtedly teach us a lesson in this in the next few years.
Continue Reading Murphy and the Mac…

What have we become?

May 23, 2004 at 8:58 pm | Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

Unlike the civilian chicken-hawk leaders of the US Armed Forces, it seems that it’s the members of the military themselves, at all levels, that are asking the tough questions about why we invaded Iraq. It’s quite ironic that the people who are supposed to execute orders with machine like precision and cold-blooded efficiency are the ones asking the tough questions about Americas’ purpose and conscience.

This evening, CBS 60 Minutes aired an interview with former Marine General and diplomat Anthony Zinni. In no uncertain terms, he said that the war is a lie, and that other military leaders shared his views.

I then found in Damien Barrett’s blog a Sacramento Bee interview last week of a Marine sargeant describing American atrocities during the war not related to the prison abuse scandal. It’s no wonder that even our British allies are saying that we are too trigger-happy.

War is hell, they say, but there are lines of behavior that have been crossed in this war. Such a widespread and wanton disregard for the most basic rules of war make us little better than those who fight us by wearing civilian clothes, drive suicide car bombs, or behead American civilians. The America that Republicans would like to believe in does not make relative moral judgements; everyone is subject to absolute moral codes of decency and behavior. We are not better simply because we’re not as brutal as Saddam Hussein. It’s a lesson that our leaders have forgotten.

Word 2004 performance

May 22, 2004 at 6:26 pm | Posted in Macintosh | 1 Comment

A few years ago, columnist David Pogue sang a little parody song about Microsoft Word taking up 10 CDs (at least 4-gig drives do grow on trees today). The latest version, Word 2004, still comes on 1 CD, but it’s real-world performance, according to Bare Feats, is up to one third the speed of its predecessor.

This sluggishness might remind most Mac veterans of the 1994 Word 6 fiasco. Unfortunately, this time, Microsoft can get away with it, having proved itself capable of defeating the United States Government in court and buying unparalleled influence today. Given their release schedule, any speed improvements may have to wait until the next major release, which will handicap OS X adoption into large companies.

Of course, I run a MS-free computing envrionment, but would like to warn my friends still addicted to MS bloatware that this is another chance for redemption. Don’t waste your money.

MacOS X Security Hole

May 18, 2004 at 10:55 pm | Posted in Macintosh | 2 Comments

Today, another MacOS X security hole was found. This one allows arbitrary scripts and commands to be run using two protocols – help: and disk:. An example can be found here:

[It will issue a non-destructive command using the Terminal].

I have found a workaround for this – it involves turning off Apple’s Help Viewer application, which disables the help: protocol. Since I don’t use Help Viewer much, it’s not a big deal for me to turn this off, although other people may not be able to do this.

% sudo chmod 000 /System/Library/CoreServices/Help\

I fear that this security hole may also affect AppleScript-aware applications that support the “runscript” command.

I don’t know yet how to disable the disk: protocol.

Our Man in Baghdad

May 9, 2004 at 5:47 pm | Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

One of the more valuable political commentaries and analyses I try to find are those written before September 11, 2001. That black day not only changed America’s relationship with the rest of the world, but also polarized all political discussion and destroyed any middle ground.

Seeing as how John Negroponte is our next ambassador to Iraq, I found an interesting article about his role in the Reagan Administration and being nominated as ambassador to the United Nations.

Here’s a timely quote:

Presumably he would have to argue that the United States is a faithful defender of human rights, not one of those hypocritical nations that observe principles only when it suits them.

Now that’s a tough job.

“I Lied”

May 9, 2004 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

That was one of lines uttered by Arnold Schwarzenegger as he dropped David Patrick Kelly into a ravine.

Now he’s using the same line as California Governor:

According to the San Francisco Chronicle “The 70 or so people at the party also included a number of lobbyists, one of whom went up to Schwarzenegger and joked, “Hi — I’m one of those special interests you promised to get rid of.” At which point Gov. Arnold threw his arm around the guy and laughed, “I lied.”

Where are my bullets?

May 5, 2004 at 9:24 pm | Posted in Humor (G- and R- rated) | Leave a comment

Those crazy Orange County people – it’s very easy for their residents to get concealed carry permits, and with the recent ammo sales at Turners, it’s no wonder that bullets are turning up in the unlikeliest of places.

The Day America Lost Iraq

May 3, 2004 at 10:00 pm | Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

Seymour Hersh’s New Yorker article describes in detail American atrocities against Iraqi prisoners.Almost everything about this incident (and there are many aspects to this atrocity) is going to make it difficult, if not impossible, to win the peace in Iraq.

Sun Redux

May 2, 2004 at 8:43 pm | Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

Articles like this shows a lack of creativity. Every year, the same article gets published, just with a different “beleaguered” company. A couple of years ago, it was Apple – this year it’s Sun Microsystems. I believe that companies in trouble, when led by a strong individuals, will often come back or transform themselves in ways that conformists like Michael S. Malone will never see. That’s why he’s trying to bring down others while those that matter do the heavy lifting and creative work. I’d say at the very least, give the company one or two more years.

Nightline Broadcast – Iraq War Dead

May 1, 2004 at 10:24 am | Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

Last night, ABC’s Nightline program broadcast the name of those who had died in the Iraq war. Names and pictures of 721 people were shown. This particular show has been controversial, to the point that some media companies have resorted to political censorship, but Ted Koppel put it nicely at the end:

You are convinced that I’m opposed to the war … I’m not.
But that’s beside the point – I am opposed to sustaining
the illusion that war can be waged by the sacrifice of the few
without the burdening the rest of us in any way. I oppose the notion
that to be at war is to forfeit the right to question, criticize,
or debate our leaders’ policies, or for that matter the policies of those
who would like to become our leaders.

The extended has a list of those companies who actually had the gall to run commercials during the show…
Continue Reading Nightline Broadcast – Iraq War Dead…

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