Saturday, April 30, 2005


Tiger: Impressively Flawed

So I've been playing with Tiger (Mac OS 10.4) for the last month or
so in the form of a late beta and for the last 2 days in the form of
the final version. It's an impressive piece of software, but it
missed the mark badly in a lot of UX (User Experience) details.

First and foremost: Why the hell are their multiple ways of

This is from the Mac Help application about refining you search:

- Use the + character to find only the pages that include all the
words you enter. For example, searching for "video + sound" only
finds pages that include both words.
- Use the ! character immediately before a word to exclude pages that
contain that word. For example, searching for "video !sound" finds
only the pages with the word "video" that don't have the word
"sound." If a page has both words, it doesn't appear in the results.
- Use parentheses to group words. Searching for "(video + movies) !
sound" finds only the pages that include both "video" and "movies,"
but don't have the word "sound."
- Use the | character to find topics with any word you enter. The
search "(video | movies) !sound" finds topics that include either
video or movies, but don't have the word sound.

Why the hell doesn't this work in Spotlight?
So the biggest question is this: Spotlight the search mechanism can
handle boolean logic (AND OR NOT) just fine - Why the hell can't I
specify it in some easy to use way? I can think of dozens of ways of
representing this...

Secondly: Why do my smart folders have a .savedsearch extension? I
find it very weird - conceptually, Apple is telling me that this is a
folder. Why do I see an extension?

More to come...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Senator Baucus shouldn't be quite so smug

Don't get me wrong, I really do share his glee. It really is very funny. The issue is that it really doesn't help either side towards bipartisan cooperation. Sigh. It's really too bad it's so funny.

Macheavelian follow-up: Why aren't the democrats saying they're dancing with glee that they've been able to defend a great program that's really helped the American people from a corporate / political rape (Wall Street and the Republicans)?

Maybe that doesn't help with bipartisanship either. Sigh.

Monday, April 25, 2005


The media is the crappy mother, the politicians are the delinquent children

I've just finished watching the NewsHour with Jim Lehr. Today, they had Sentors Durbin and Kyl. What I found really disturbing was the following: No one cared what the question was - each was going to use the oppotunity to get whatever talking point out that the were supposed to their constituencies.

For some reason, I really expect our national leaders to actually listen to each other when they address each other. What really terrrifies me now is that they're really talking about serious stuff. The right of the minority to filibuster extremists is critical. The other critical part is this: It means you need to trust that the other side is using it in good conscious. I wonder if it's occured to the republicans that maybe if all 44 democrats are willing to remain together in support of a filibuster (The republicans only need 4 to break ranks to break a filibuster), that maybe they might actually be doing their job and represent the majority of americans that believe this country is headed in the wrong direction.

So here's the question: Why does the media allow politicians to simply put forward the tested, spun marketing message, rather than demanding an actual dialog? The more that we allow politicians to use the media as a way to target a consistuency, rather than as a public media for debate, the more extreme our politics will become.

What was horrifying about Sentor Kyl's responses was that he only barely distanced himself from the "Justice Sunday" telethon that the Family Research Council held yesterday. What amazed me was the following: Reverend Dobbs, the head of Family Research Council and a Chrisitan Fundamentalist extremist advocated that we reign in our "our of control, unaccountable federal judiciary." This coupled with Tom Delay's threat to defund circuts of the courts whose rulings they dislike represents a fundamental assult on the nature of our democracy. These are the seeds of an elected dictatorship - a judicary where even the most extreme nominees are confirmed dispite any oppoisition, and a court system that is intimidated by the threat of congress defunding it.

How can we not demand a media that forces our politicians to actually speak to each other? How can we not demand substantive debates about the future of our democracy, and not simply who will rule rather than govern. We have never needed a vigilent media more.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Historical Irony turns bitter

In 1945, we, the United States of America were on a tear. We won
WWII, we founded the UN in the San Francisco treaty to replace the
disbanded and discredited League of Nations, we also set up the basic
parameters of international law - the Nurenburg Trials. In this, we
refused to allow the Nazi leadership to hid behind the lie of "I was
only following orders." We have used this as recently as our
invasion of Iraq, when President Bush warned the Iraqi Military that
"following orders is no excuse." Give this, the line of defense
given by the administration is particularly disgusting. From today's
Whitehouse Briefing at the Washington Post:

R. Jeffrey Smith writes in The Washington Post:
"The dispute over the Bush administration's treatment of military
detainees is playing out in a North Carolina courtroom, where a CIA
contractor has asserted that his rough interrogation in 2003 of an
Afghan who subsequently died was indirectly authorized by
deliberations in Washington at the highest ranks of the Bush

The contractor's lawyer wants to call Vice President Cheney's legal
counsel as a witness, and "cited an August 2002 Justice Department
memo that concluded 'a defendant who had acted pursuant to an
exercise of the President's constitutional powers' in conducting an
interrogation could not be criminally prosecuted."

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Why is advertising more privileged than political speech?

So I've been having an ongoing debate with my fiance (as well as my housekeeper) about the role of the public in a democracy. My fiance argues that after hard day at work, it's unreasonable to expect the population to care about news, the impact of government, policy, etc.

I have no patience for this arguement. In part, my feeling for this is as a result of the following:

Political speech has no regulation for truthfulness. If an advertiser spewed the lies and misleading statements that the bush administration, that company would be sued by the better business, not to mentioned be cited by a variety of different state and local agencies. No such protections exists for the public on political speech. Additionally, protections against slander, inuendo, and libel are not available to political speech.

What does this have to do with our poor working folk? Simply this: The protections in advertising are designed to keep an unsuspecting public from making a poor decision. These restrictions are in place to blunt the effect of marketing lies. Given that people are far more likely to understand the intracacies the next product they want to buy far more than he political process or facts, aren't the same kind of protections necessary here?

How can we have a functioning democracy when we have a population that doesn't pay attention to politics, and isn't protected from the lies that politicians of all sides throw out?


"A good, common sense bill" - Gov. Jeb Bush

My home state is at it again. Once again, I'm forced to ask "What the hell is the matter with Florida?" This time, Gov. bush (I'll extend my lack of capitalization to him as well), with strong NRA and Republican legislative support, has passed the "Stand your ground act."

This act changes FL law so that it's no longer required that an individual try to escape before resorting to deadly force when threatened. Any licensed gun owner who is over 21 may shoot if he feels threatened. How is this remotely close to common sense?! Is Florida now on the frontier now? Does the Governor feel that guns are somehow the answer to settling any dispute? Just as a matter of fact, Miami is already one of the least safe cities in America. It boasts more that 2,500 murders per year (that statistic is several years old, so it's more that likely higher than that now). How does loosening gun laws possible begin to address this?

Stepping back a little bit, why does arming the population and saying that violence is no longer the last option qualify as common sense? Instead, it would seem to be radical vigilantism run amok. How does this possibly fit with a "culture of life?" Perhaps they mean that the culture of life only extends to those who can pay their medical bills (like Schiavo, versus Medicare / Medicaid recipients), or who are Christian evangelicals.

Lastly, why the hell hasn't the FBI started watching the NRA as a terrorist organization? How does arming the population and fighting restrictions of weapon sales to suspected terrorists on FBI watch lists not fall into the category of aiding and abetting?

Monday, April 04, 2005


From the horse's mouth

" seems to me that it's up to all of us to
try to tell the truth, to say what we know, to say what we don't
know, and recognize we're dealing with people who lie to the world to
further their case. And to the extent that people lie, ultimately
they are caught lying - they loose their credibility. One would
think it wouldn't take very long for that to happen, dealing with
people like this." -- Donald Rumsfeld on Al Jazeera from Control

The really funny thing about this quote is that it should be
describing the administration, not Al Jazeera


When Cheney calls you out, you know you've gone too far

Seems Mr. delay's antics are too much for even Vice President cheney.  From today’s New York Post

Cheney said he backed efforts to help save Terri Schiavo’s life, but strongly disagreed with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who wants retribution against judges who blocked restoration of her feeding tube
“I don’t think that’s appropriate . . . There’s a reason why judges get lifetime appointments.”

Rule of Thumb: If Cheney says you’ve gone over the line, you’ve gone way over the line  - thanks ThinkProgress

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Securing Democracy!

Reinstate the fairness doctrine. This means that our media
outlets must present in equal time opposing points of view. This
means that equal time is provided to candidates in elections. This
means not allowing corporations to use their news organizations as
marketing tools for political positions, products, or partisan views.

Why should we do this? A functioning democracy requires a vigilant
media for voters to make informed decisions. We cannot live free if
we do not know what our votes stand for or what our leaders actions
result in.

Part of this means that the ownership rules need to be re-instated
and tightened. These rules were put in place, among other reasons,
to prevent another William Randolph Hearst type media empire. This is
done to prevent a single individual or corporation from exerting
undue influence on the overall national conversation. We see this
already in Rupert Murdock's ironically named News Corporation.

Why this is a fight we can win:
Who can argue against the message that media / news should be fair?
Those who may object need only be reminded that if they are truly
"fair and balanced" then they have nothing to fear from government
intervention or restrictions.

Why this is good for liberals:
When presented with accurate, unbiased information about reality, I
believe that a progressive / liberal viewpoint will win. Failure to
understand the connectivity of different issues - the impact of one
action on the overall society.

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