OS X Hosed

March 31, 2005 at 10:53 pm | Posted in Macintosh | Leave a comment

I pretended to be a Windows user today and reinstalled OS X on my Mac. Yesterday, I downloaded SignalScope from Faber Acoustical and it corrupted Quicktime audio components deep in /System/Library/Frameworks so that I could no longer hear audio in movies (MPG, MOV, AVI), although iTunes and open source apps like videolan (vlc) were fine. Reinstalling QuickTime did not work.

An earlier version of the program “only” gave me a kernel panic; power-cycle the Mac and restart – no problem. This time, it was so screwed up that I spent a good four hours getting my system back to normal.

The last time I did a reinstall was exactly four years ago. Playing around in the Unix/FreeBSD goodness that was OS X 10.0, I “rm -rf bin” in “/” when I thought I was in “~” 🙂

For a while, I thought about just living without sound and wait until tomorrow, when Tiger is announced, buy it with a $35 rebate, and then wait a few more weeks until I actually get the product delivered.

Toxic Sushi

March 30, 2005 at 8:42 pm | Posted in Food and Drink | Leave a comment

It’s just not my day – I had sushi for lunch and made a comment about the freshness of fish from the Pacific Northwest compared to the polluted waters off Southern California. Tonight comes an article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that describes the high level of toxins in the Spokane River. The high levels of toxins include fire retardants (PBDE) and banned carcinogens (PCB).

In 2002, California banned PBDEs when it was found that certain Bay Area fish had PBDE levels up to 62 parts per billion. Today, you can get Spokane Sushi with a PBDE level of 1250 parts per billion. Yummy.

Iraq + 2

March 19, 2005 at 5:02 pm | Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

Today marks the second anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Moving the daily happenings in Iraq off the front page cannot hide the fact that an average of two soldiers are dying every day with no end in sight. I hate it when pro-war supporters compare this death rate as being less than 40,000 killed each year due to auto accidents in this country. That’s what they call “supporting our troops”; I call it cold-blooded.

The Iraqis are better off now than under Saddam Hussein, but they have paid just as much in blood over the past two years (an estimated 100,000 deaths) as they have over Saddam’s 20-year reign (1,000,000 deaths).

Everyone is looking for an exit out of this mess, except for the insurgents.

The Army Wants a New Gun

March 14, 2005 at 9:09 pm | Posted in General, Rants | Leave a comment

We in the United States have really gone all out in our attempt to outsource almost everything, even the weapons used to defend our remaining freedoms. Sixty years after defeating Italy and Germany in World War II, it has come to this:

Fifteen years ago, the US Army switched their standard pistol from the Colt 1911 to the Italian-designed Beretta M9. Now, the Army is calling for the replacement of the M-16 assault rifle and opening up the bidding competition. However, the favorite is the German-made Heckler & Koch XM-8.

American gun manufacturers are being squeezed by gun-grabbing Europeans. Does anyone else see the irony in this?

Caveat for iChat

March 13, 2005 at 2:19 pm | Posted in Macintosh, Technology | Leave a comment

Last month, AOL changed their AIM terms of service to allow them to use chat logs and transmissions in any way they see fit. They can steal your good ideas, give incriminating or out-of-context material to third parties, and generally do anything they want. Their ability to do this was previously restricted to specific legal conditions related to law enforcement or court order, and I believe that AOL email still has some privacy left.

What Apple users may not know is that iChat (both AV and non-AV) uses AIM protocols and servers; it is essentially just an AIM client with a good interface. I believe that Mac users agree to the new terms of service everytime they use iChat. There are other open source solutions out there (Fire and Jabber), but none offers the kind of AV possible with iChat and an iSight camera.

Catching up with 24

March 8, 2005 at 10:55 pm | Posted in Fun Indoors | Leave a comment

I’ve been an avid watcher of Keifer Sutherland’s 24 for the past three seasons. This year, I just didn’t feel the same need to watch Season 4 every Monday night. I’m not sure what it is, whether it’s because I’ve been too busy, have great faith in my DVR (El Gato EyeTV) to not crash, or can always borrow the episodes from friends. I finally got caught up over the weekend by viewing eleven straight episodes, up to the end of the first story. [By now, long-time fans know that a 24 season is made up of two story arcs. Just when the first arc is ending and CTU breathes a sigh of relief, the bad guys go to Plan B, which this season is happening after 6pm JBT (Jack Bauer Time)]

One thing I noticed is that the gunplay is a lot more consistent. Instead of Jack Bauer switching guns within the same scene, continuity is being enforced. This year, Jack’s weapon of choice is the SigPro, probably in 9mm since he is ex-military and it does not come in 45ACP.

Jack’s SigPro

Alex’s SigPro.

[Update: 2005-03-26]
For a short while, Jack Bauer was using an H&K USP pistol, but he was quickly
taken prisoner by the terrorists, so he won’t be using any approved handgun
for a while. Sig rules 🙂

For those who are not familiar with the mayhem associated with the show the past
four years, USA Today has a very good summary of what Jack has done.

An HP Engineer Speaks

March 6, 2005 at 11:30 am | Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

Here’s an article from the MIT Technology Review about Carly Fiorina’s tenure at HP from an engineers point of view. It is a pretty damning account of her leadership to be likened to a Communist bureaucrat – so much so that the engineer was willing to give up 28 years of seniority to find better work.

To me, this rabid fixation on short-term profits is a bigger threat than outsourcing — it is killing our ability to make astonishing things.

It’s not just HP, it’s the way American CEO’s modelled after Gordon Gekko view basic technology research as a liability rather than an opportunity. Such thinking took over and nearly destroyed a Silicon Valley icon.

Intel Lacks Innovation

March 3, 2005 at 8:46 pm | Posted in Macintosh | Leave a comment

Intel has been going downhill for a long time, losing technical leadership to AMD and letting marketing overcome good engineering with the P4/PM debate confusing many people today. This week, they pulled a Microsoft and copied someone else’s design and hard work. At their Developer Forum, they announced a plastic box masquerading as a computer, apparently trying to convince people that such a product is months away when it is actually shipping right now.

The Intel plastic box may look nice, but once you get it out to the companies that will actually make a product, you’ll end up with something much worse than expected.

Bring ’em on.

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