Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In the News

A married man, hosting a party for unattended married men and single younger women, left the party late in the evening with one young woman in his car. They headed towards a local secluded beach he'd known about since his childhood. The man in question was driving on an expired license, had a history of reckless driving and alcohol abuse. He was married to a woman who was, at the time, pregnant with his child. On the way to the secluded beach the man attempted to cross a narrow bridge, his car overturned and fell into the water below. While the young woman lay drowning, trapped in the car, the man escaped. He hiked past nearby houses, past the fire station back to the party. Where everyone involved cleaned up, left the party and went back to their hotel rooms for the night. After returning to his hotel the man went downstairs to complain to hotel staff about a loud party that was bothering him. In the morning he woke as usual, dressed and took the ferry back to the island he had been on the night before. Witnesses say he was in a jovial mood, laughing and enjoying the morning. That is until reports came in that they had found his car, and his victim.

He plead guilty to 'leaving the scene of an accident' and served no sentence at all.

That was July 18, 1969

Lets all take a minute to remember Mary Jo Kopechne today. She would have been 69 just last month.

" Do we operate under a system of equal justice under law? Or is there one system for the average citizen and another for the high and mighty? " ~ Senator Ted Kennedy, 1973

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's Just A Computer

I have been a child of the Dos/Windows universe for as long as I can remember. I also dabble from time to time in different Linux OS's. As such I am firmly planted in the camp that Macintosh computers are for the non-technically oriented and the elderly. Also I have never been able to reconcile the fact that the Mac crowd also seemed to generally be the metro-sexual, urban, fake environmentally friendly, smug douche set. That's not to say even the majority of my Mac loving friends would be easily pushed into one of those boxes, but rather that they might live on the fringes of what was a much larger crowd that contained a significant quantity of arrogantly prickish morons. Or perhaps I just wanted the crowd of people who used a different computer than mine to be like that, and have been projecting that image. I doubt it though. We all know at least one guy who shows up at a meeting and spends the first five minutes bragging about his Macbook whatever. And we all know he's an asshole.

So it was with some trepidation that I took possession of my new work computer for my new job. A 1 year old Macbook Pro with a dual core Intel processor, 2 gigs of ram and all the usual trimmings.

First impression.
Using a new hardware configuration and a new OS is always fraught with frustrating experiences. Control doesn't do what it should and there's an entirely unnecessary extra button 'command' that handles some of those functions but not others. Nothing files automatically where I want it to and there seems to be some sort of mysterious method of hiding things from me that I'm working on. Unlike the systems I'm used to Mac seems to love cleaning up after me. And of course that's how I get lost.

All of this is of course the product of a learning curve created by someone's idea of a better syntax and command structure. With time this passes as it has before with new versions of Win, Suse, Ubuntu, etc.

What remains.
The hardware is as you might imagine, top notch. This is perhaps the one thing that might separate Mac from the PC market; you have no choice but to get high end equipment. They simply will not sell you anything cheaper, and they will not attempt to make their product more affordable. It's a nice thing that as a brand you know when you pick one up, the hardware is designed to work. Not so nice when you need something simple and affordable. The OS on the other hand is not in the least impressive to me. That's not to say it's any worse than Win, it's not, really. It's just not the kind of better that justifies the smugness I've seen all these years. The driver libraries are significant and self reliant. I have very little problems adding hardware. Though to be fair I don't really have problems in Windows either. The file system is sufficient and relatively transparent. Once you figure out how Mac thinks, it's a coherent system. I'm enjoying the way that the touch pad allows me to control my desktop with creative multi-finger gestures. On the other hand I have never gotten over the loss of my right click button. The two fingered touch pad work around is atrocious and anyone who says differently is lying. I can't count the number of times I have scrolled down a page and then clicked on an icon or link only to find myself looking at a menu because I still had two fingers on the pad. I want my two buttons back. Fortunately my mouse plugs in just fine and it's right button works like a charm.

In short at this stage of the game what I've discovered is that... It's just a computer. Hype aside, it's no better or worse overall than any of the other systems I'm running. I'll concede I haven't integrated it into my home network yet (beyond internet access) and that may be interesting with the myriad OS jungle I'm already dealing with. But so far, I report nothing interesting at all. Computers, the machine that changed the world, are becoming more and more like furniture; buy the nicest one that matches the painting you like and the check you want to write. It's the person sitting there that makes the difference.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Music Legend Dies

Les Paul, arguably one of the most influential men in the history of the rock and roll guitar has passed away today at the age of 94. Keep on rockin' Les.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Single Payer Scam?

I'm not usually big on videos like this but there are some interesting parts here. If anyone has links to the full speeches here I'd love to see them.

UPDATE: just the Obama speech without the edited mess.