June 30, 2008

McCain on Fence Building

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:19 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

The Obama Express

"Hey, Hot shot.

"There's an idiot retired General on the campaign bus. You throw 1 more person under it and it will explode.

"What do you do?"

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:43 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

June 29, 2008

I just had to

A visual representation of my view of the Obama Campaign.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:29 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

June 28, 2008

Presidential Graphics

The Obama campaign took a lot of heat over their use of a campaign themed Presidential seal. Particularly for translating the campaign slogan "Yes We Can" into latin.

Well the seal was "thrown under the bus" rather quickly. There was probably a big fight over who got to use it as a seat. So now they are short one symbol. Everyone knows that graphic symbols are of paramount importance in a political campaign. Ask any designer and they will tell you. Issues don't matter - graphics are everything.

I thought the Obama needed a suitable replacement for the seal. One that encapsulated the man, the myth, the messiah that is Barack.

Take this graphic if you want - it's free. (no hotlinking please) Leave word in the comments if you post it.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:50 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

June 27, 2008

The Return of the King

During the last presidential election I wrote a series of posts highlighting the constant flip-flopping of Democrat nominee John "Magic Hat" Kerry. They all bore some variation of the headline "Parade of the Waffle King."

This general election campaign has been underway for a few weeks now, and though I have been following it closely I really haven't written much about it. (I haven't written much about anything lately.) It comes down to a lack of time and energy. I'm just too busy to blog much, and all that work, some of it late into the night, makes me very tired. Being tired makes the work take longer, meaning I have go stay up later. It's a vicious bitch of a circle of life.

The Democrats have a new standard bearer in Senator Barack Obama, and his list of flip flops is growing almost as fast as his lits of donors.

He said he could no more disown Reverend Wright than he could his own white grandmother. A few weeks later, Wright was cast aside and his grandmother had to be concerned.

He told the world on a live televised debate that he would meet with dictators of rogue terror sponsoring nations like Iran without preconditions. Then spent weeks trying to deny and spin that into something else.

There was the flip flop on designating the Iranian Quods force a terrorist organization.

Another big one came when he backed out of his commitment to operate within the public financing system. He claims it's because the system is broken but everyone knows it's because compared to the money he is raising the $85 million spending limit would make him feel broke.

He's on the record agreeing that the DC gun ban was Constitutional, but now claims to agree with the Supreme Court decision declaring it otherwise.

Those are just the big ones, and I'm sure I've missed a few.

I hope Mr. Kerry enjoyed his reign.

The Waffle King is Dead.

Long live the King.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:23 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

June 26, 2008

The Price of Caution

Driving to the store day became very expensive.

When the light at the end of the off ramp turned green I turned left and noted that the next stoplight, about 50 yards away was green for me as well.

The third stop light was about another 50 yards beyond that and red. I focuses my attention there for a moment as the road divided into several different turning lanes and I wanted to decide ahead of time which lane I was going to be in.

A glance back to the first intersection as I approached the light -  just in time to see it  turn red. At that point, however, it was too late for me to stop without ending up in the middle of the intersection. I had that one second window where both lights were red, so I kept going through.

An easy mistake to make. Trying to be cautious I looked too far ahead. Luckily there was no issue with any of the cars at the intersection and we made it through safely. Except for the car with the flashing lights on top.

That brief moment of misplaced concentration is going to cost me $124. It says on the back of the ticket that I can enter a plea of not guilty and get a court date. The chances of the cop actually showing up to press a red light ticket are probably small and I could probably get it dismissed.

But I am guilty. I ran the red light. With my eight-year-old son in the back seat. $124 is getting off easy.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 10:00 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment

June 17, 2008

$2.50 a Word For AP Quotes

According to this report at Hot Air, the Associated Press, or as is shall forever be abbreviated, the Ass Press, wants to charge content providers (read bloggers) $2.50 a word to excerpt Ass Press stories.

It seems to me that could get a little expensive. Just to be sure I did a little research. Just to see how much of a tab I can run up in one post, the following is excerpted from this Ass Press story:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A … said Tuesday … take no … from Republicans … would keep … a sharp … to … the Democrat … naive… terrorism.

"These … guys who … the distraction of the … time when we could have… people … committed ," the … reporters … plane. "This is … fear-mongering that got us … exactly that … I want to reverse."

The… war … Tuesday that echoed … in …Vice President Dick Cheney and … Democratic nominee… on terror, … that resonated … and helped propel …. Democrats complained …

The … argument proved … adviser Karl Rove …  had a … view of the world and … perspective. In … enough … seats to seize … the … and …

On his … reporters that Osama bin Laden is … large … because … fighting terror has not succeeded.

At … an interview … Monday … the … imprisonment of those responsible…. Obama was … sure … Bush administration's … policies are … crucial to protecting U.S. ….

Obama said … crack … within the constraints of … the indefinite detention of … detainees, …  treatment with … bombings.

"And, you know, … What we know … for example, … - we were able to …put them … currently … incapacitated.

"And the fact that … has created … not only have we … put many of … destroyed … all around the … huge boost to … countries that say, 'Look, … the United States…

"… the exact same thing, … that was consistent with … laws," … said.

… the Supreme Court … have a constitutional right to … indefinite imprisonment …  the ruling … decisions in the history of this country."

… criticized … for … using the criminal justice system to prosecute ….

"… a perfect … set ... He does not understand the … face," … director … on … call.

…CIA … who is advising…  toward terrorism ... and toward … prisoners … who … in … the United States."

The … conference call … and Richard Clarke, a counter terrorism official … argued the … Rove.

"I'm a little disgusted by … my friends … same old, tired … advantage and to frankly frighten….

…defending a policy that is , particularly with respect to the Iraq war …

… counted on to …cycle, … as club to … win elections." … this time.

By my count that excerpt is 296 words. At $2.50 a word, that comes to $740.00. I guess the Ass Press will just have to bill me.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:34 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

June 15, 2008

Back Up Names

It’s been over a week since I got the new computer so today I decided it was safe to wipe the old back-up and start backing up the new. (plus I have another copy of the old back-up just in case).

My local back-up (as opposed to the network back up of my work folder) is on an external firewire drive. Great for a quick recovery of a file or job folder accidentally deleted or saved over. I do this via Time Machine. For those of you not fortunate enough to know OS X 10.5 (A.K.A. Leopard) Time Machine is  Apple’s built in back up system.

It’s quick, has a fairly small system impact, it works and it has a great Apple Eye Candy interface. I find the set-up to be a bit quirky though. It starts from the assumption that you want to back up everything on the drive. You have to go through and tell it what NOT to back up. It feels a little back asswards to me but you only have to do it once.

The real challenge is what to name the target drive.

I confess to not giving it a moment of thought on the old system and left the name that it had when someone else set up the previous system “Back Up Drive.”

That just wasn’t going to do it for me this time. I wanted something more creative and if possible unique.

This is a seriously geeky undertaking. One I’m sure many people of all levels of nerdishness have undertaken. So right away that rules out “Tardis.”no doubt there are hundreds of Mac geeks out there who have named their Time Machine drive after the Doctor’s time machine.

Likewise I’m sure that are a lot of drives named in some variation of “Way Back Machine.”  I’m sure not the first nerd to think of Peabody and Sherman.

Which means I am probably not the fist person to think of naming the drive “Delorean.” Just so you could occasionally exclaim, “You built a time machine … Out of a Delorean?”

At which point I started running out of enthusiasm for the whole thing. It had already taken too much mental effort than it was really worth. So I went for a second level name. Probably also well used, but it does provide that split second of amusement at my own cleverness.

I named the drive “Flux Capaciter,” and found an appropriate image for the icon. It doesn’t take 1.21 gigawatts of power to make time travel possible. It gets all of the power it needs via the firewire connection. Which is good because only backing up when the computer gets struck by lightening is not a good plan.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:30 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

June 11, 2008

I Want a Stupid Phone

Amid great hoopla and breathlessly gushing anticipation, Apple recently announced the next generation of it highly successful iPhone. It apparently does something called 3G which means something to phone geeks and gets them all excited.

Sitting next to me on my desk are three gadgets. Two of them are in technology terms antiques. There is the third generation iPod, given to me as a gift five years ago. It is on its second hard drive and second battery.

Next to that, a Handspring Treo 90 that I've had almost as long - I bought it on eBay. It goes everywhere with me. I could not function without it's calendar. (Really. Ask my wife.)

Finally we get to the cell phone. A recently acquired LG Chocolate. I'm not crazy about this phone. The buttons and scroll wheel are fussy and not designed for anyone with human sized fingers. If it wasn't for the bluetooth headset which allows me to use it without having to actually touch it, I would have "lost" it already. I got it as a free upgrade when I renewed my contract with Verizon.

What I really want is an iPhone lite. I want the iPod with the touch screen, I'll take the wireless card, and all the software. I don't want 3G networking or Edge or whatever they want to call it. I don't want the internet 24/7 at an extra cost for a data plan. I can deal with the wireless access because I know a number of places where I can get on for free.

What I'm really asking for is an iPod touch that makes phone calls.

And if it would work on Verizon, that would be helpful too.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:29 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

June 04, 2008

Forced Upgrade (UPDATED)

Monday morning when I got to the office my venerable old
G4 PowerBook crashed. I knew why too. I plugged into the network without disconnecting from the wireless first.

I know what you're thinking, surely a Macintosh running the very latest version of OS X (10.5.3) can handle something as simple as this. But the machine was having issues. Five years of intense work in PhotoShop, Illustrator, Flash, and recently Final Cut. Not to mention hundreds of blog posts and blog comments and hours of blog reading. (Seriously don't mention it. The computer belongs to the company and some of that was done on their time too!)

But this was no big deal. It happened every time I forgot to turn of Airport. One forced restart then shut down the wireless, then one gentle by the book restart usually did the trick and I was on my way.

Not this time though. The forced restart went normally I shut of the airport card and restarted again. The first app I launched bounced in the dock for a solid minute then stopped without launching. Nothing else I clicked on after that did anything.

Another forced restart that didn't even manage to load the finder. Then another and another.

Booted of the Leopard install disk and ran Disk Utility. Found out I had an Invalid Key length.

Pulled out my trusty copy of the never fail Disk Warrior, and well, never say never. It did nothing.

Jumped on a co-workers system and started Googling for a solution. The only thing to do was blank the disk and start over. So back to disk utility on the installer and write seven passes of zeros over the entire disk.

Six hours later I started installing a new OS. The install went flawlessly and quickly. I guess it likes having a perfectly blank slate to work with. At the end the installer quits and initiates a re-start.

Nothing the system couldn't see the drive and defaulted to starting off the DVD.

A Tuesday morning consult with my boss and our guy in IT resulted in a decision to not attempt to repair. The thinking was that we cold put a new drive in it. Spend a day setting it up and probably have another major failure somewhere else in the system in six months.

In stunningly non-corporate fashion, an estimate was acquired and approved by the end of business Tuesday. The shiny new 17 inch MacBook Pro arrived on my desk at noon the next day.

Then the work started. I spent the afternoon loading applications - and all of the various updates that had happened since we got the original disks. I had back-up copies of all my work projects and a folder of personal projects. (Don't mention those either.)

I did not have a backup of the iPhoto library. That was a bit of a blow since you can't go back and re-take photos. However most of the good ones I had pulled copies of and used in other contexts. So instead of 30 shots of a birthday party we have the two or three best.

All of my iTunes collection is on my iPod so none of that is lost. I don't think I have any back-ups of the few podcasts I created a while back but that's no great loss.

I did not have a back-up of my bookmarks. About 150 bookmarked blog RSS feeds gone. (I know. I backed up the work file and didn't back up the blog feeds. My priorities got messed up somewhere.)

I have spent a while tonight rebuilding the bookmarks. I know I have missed a few people because the lists seem a bit shorter.

Next I have to start on the address book that wasn't backed up either!

I have the new computer 96% set up. But since I never stop tweaking a system I suppose that's as close I'll ever get to done. I do have one interesting observation. Much is writtenin the MAC press and books on Apple about Steve Jobs' obssessive control and focus on every detail. Depending on who's writing it, this can be seen as either a strength or a fatal flaw.

Jobs is know to focus not only on the product but on it's packaging as well. He sees the unboxing of the product by the user as part of the marketing.

But Jobs slipped up. My brand new MacBook Pro came with OS X 10.5 installed. The box shows a large photo of a MacBook Pro running 10.4.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:59 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

June 03, 2008

A Familiar Ring

Powerline offers an interesting snippet of a John McCain speech on Obama's Iranian foreign policy ideas. Part of it sounded sort of familiar:

Yet it's hard to see what such a summit with President Ahmadinejad would actually gain, except an earful of anti-Semitic rants, and a worldwide audience for a man who denies one Holocaust and talks before frenzied crowds about starting another.

For Obama, this would just be like going to church on Sunday.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:46 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

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