Shoe Money Tonight

Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Monday, June 30, 2008

Molly on da Intarweb

After spending waaaaaay too much time perusing I Can Has Cheezburger and it's canine variant, I have submitted the following picture of Molly:

funny pictures

I'm not sure what criteria is used to determine which pictures make it to the main page. I will keep checking.

Also a great timewaster: English Fail.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Jettisoning the Past

Back when I was in high school, I loved my old calendar program, Claris Organizer. Since it was abandonware, however, I knew I was going to need a replacement. The entire Claris name had been abandoned by Apple. ClarisWorks became (or changed back into) AppleWorks. FileMaker Pro got its own company. Claris Home Page and the others were abandoned.

I discovered, happily, that Palm's free Palm Desktop software was, in fact, an updated version of Claris Organizer. Once I had Palm desktop, I decided to invest in a Palm organizer.

I have been through several models of Palm Organizer. I started with a Palm m105. I later moved to my dad's old Vx. From there, I purchased a discontinued Tungsten T2. When ES1's m515's battery was dying, I traded mine for hers. With a new battery, I happily used this device until ES1 & I switched our cell phone service and picked up a pair of Treo 650s.

I have essentially been syncing the same set of data through 2 different OSs, 5 different PDAs, 3 different computers using 3 different input methods for the last 6 years.

On January 9, 2007, I knew my days with the Palm OS were numbered.

It was that day that his Steveness officially announced the iPhone. For a year and a half, ES1 & I have drooled over them, but decided that we couldn't justify the expenditure on them yet. We figured it would be about another year and a half before we picked up whatever the current model of iPhone was then.

All that changed when Steve announced the price drop. Yes, it's more expensive in the long run. Changing, however, was going to involve greater expense for us at any rate. This just happens to be a lot less out of pocket immediately. That's a huge difference.

Why am I so interested in the iPhone?

Well, put simply: I have had enough of using technologies that almost work.

Synchronization has always been clunky. My first setup was syncing my m105 with my PDQ 266 via serial. I thought the idea of syncing was so cool that I could overlook the time it took. What always frustrated me, however, was the sheer number of cables for power and data, and the clunkiness of the setup. Leaving the cradle on the desk lessened this, however, and I lived with it.

Now, using bluetoothe, I am free of the mess of cables. I simply have the one small cable for power. Being able to sync wirelessly is a great benefit. I bought the Treo for myself, specifically because I wanted my phone to have a copy of my read address book and real calendar. For the most part, it has served well. Unfortunately, however, more hassles have crept in.

To start with, Palm Desktop for Mac has become abandonware. In order to sync my palm with my MacBook Pro and not have a rosetta program running in the background, I have had to purchase a copy of The Missing Sync for Palm OS. I appreciate this software, but the little quirks it has just seem to highlight the problems with syncing.

HotSyncs always take several minutes. The address book and calendar applications don't quite match up, so there are all sorts of little niggling issues with how data is displayed.

Every now and then, if you have to reset something, or if something else happens, you end up with a large number of duplicates in your calendar or address book. In my address book, for example, I have 3 people with the same first and last names. Two have different middle names, one has no middle name. Every now and then a sync will end up mixing up their data or duplicating them.

The Palm OS itself has had no real advances in usability in the entire time I've known it. From the Vx to the Treo 650, the basic functionality has remained the same. It has added color, but that's pretty much it. My Treo actually removes functionality by forgoing graphiti in favor of the pathetic keyboard.

The keyboard is another issue I have. My keyboard has what it calls a "key guard". When you turn on the phone, you have to immediately press the middle button to confirm that, yes, you did actually want to turn the phone on. It always gives me hassles. When my phone is in my pocket, however, and my pen or usb flash drive feel the overwhelming urge to add a dozen occurrences of "Eeool" or "BluFee3" into my calendar, key guard says "Go ahead!"

The bottom line is that Palm has had no direction for years. The early versions told you that people were trying very hard to make something usable. They succeeded. Since then, however, they have done nothing.

When Steve showed off the iPhone and its functionality, he did what Apple always does. They show you a completely different way of doing things which, in retrospect, is so obvious you wonder what idiots we all were for not seeing it before.

ES1 & I already share a .Mac Account. Our calendars and address books are synced automatically. In order for our Treos to see the changes, however, we have to perform a HotSync. The iPhone, however, will automatically see changes anytime it is on a network- cellular or WiFi.

This just seems like the way things should be. In those, and so many other ways, the iPhone just seems like the phone I should have now.

When I was a bachelor, I didn't mind the extra time it took to do things. I enjoyed tinkering. Simply the fact that I could make it could work at all seemed like a great thing.

This is akin to the differences between OS 9 & OS X. In OS 9, a lot of the functionality I had came from tinkering. Some things needed tinkering to work. Other things I did just for fun. In fact, back in the System 7 days, I actually used ResEdit to change nearly every dialog box the system could put up, as well as lot of the icons. What can I say? I had a lot of time on my hands.

Now, however, I have a wife, a house, a job, a hyperactive beagle, and a kid on the way. I don't have time for things that need to be fiddled with. OS X allows me to tinker if I want, but really works best if you leave it alone.

This is what I need from a phone now. I no longer have time for things that almost work.

Yes, it's still $200 out of pocket. Yes, the monthly bills will be higher. Time, however, is money. It is worth it to me to not have to spend, in some cases hours, diagnosing sync errors and re-syncing. I want everything to just work at once.

Hence, the iPhone. Especially when money is tight, there's no point in spending any of it on something that doesn't work like it should. ES1 is planning on waiting in line for ours. We'll blog about them when we get them.

Friday, June 13, 2008

1950 - 2008

America has lost a truly great man.

Tim Russert was truly loved by people on both sides of the aisle. His technique of bringing out old quotes and asking people to explain or defend them was legendary. He was tough. He was fair. You knew what his politics were, but you also knew that he kept an open mind and respected others' opinions.

I only ever saw him cut off a guest once. At the end of an interview with Al Gore, trying desperately to avoid the subject of manbearpig, they argued about the homerun throwback. While Gore tried feebly to argue that it was a fair play, the camera then slowly zoomed on Tim, who chanted repeatedly "Go Bills, Go Bills," as Gore continued to talk, trying to get some sort of point in.

Tim never forgot where he came from. His love of Buffalo was surpassed only by Buffalo's (and America's) love for him.

The Basilica just recovered from Jimmy Griffin's funeral. Now, it seems the preparations must begin anew.

And, to make matters worse, today is not only the beginning of Father's Day weekend, but it is also Father Sturm's birthday. Sturm was just on channel 4's news, on the verge of tears.

I cannot describe the effect of watching an old Jesuit disciplinarian cry.

We are a better people for having known him. We are a lesser people for having lost him.

His chair will be filled. But his shoes will never be.

Here is Tom Brokaw reporting the news:

Hat tip to Shadowfax for the video.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Free Speech Addendum

Here is an article at the New York Times discussing how peculiarly American true free speech is.

What they ignore, however, is that the moment one bans "offensive" speech, anyone can shut anyone else down by saying that they were "offended." As ES1 points out, one of the particularly "offensive" lines in Mark Steyn's article was a direct quote from a Norwegian Imam.

That is one of the most peculiar aspects of many complaints about "hate speech." So many claim that it is "hate speech" to quote them. What are they trying to hide?

We must never forget that open, unrestricted dialogue is the only way to insure freedom. If you don't like that - say so! This is a free country. It's just about the only truly free country on the planet.

Monday, June 09, 2008

iPhone 3G




Resistance is Futile

Don't Talk to Me

I am currently watching the streaming webcast of this morning's Stevenote at WWDC. ES1 already gave me one spoiler about the iPhone. I'll forgive her, however. She's cute and she's carrying my child.

Anyone else who tries to contact me will very rapidly find themselves on the business end of whatever I can reach without having to get up. Probably the hyperactive currently asleep on my leg.

You've been warned.

She sheds.

A lot.

And she'll lick that smile right off your face.

Safari RSS is taunting me:

Update 2:
I'm about halfway through watching. I want to shoot my Treo for being an inferior device. Isn't it bloody fscking obvious what a mobile phone should do?

That's it! Treo dies!

Oh, wait... I don't own a gun.

Plus, it's my only phone and I kinda need one.

Treo, you are reprieved.

For now.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Random Question About Organics.

Reading this post over at Teeny Manolo got me thinking.

We do organic for some things. For example, the only decent cornmeal we could find at Wegmans is the organic type. I generally only like organic, however, for basic ingredients.

For some reason, the prepared type organic things, especially granola bars and such, taste much more artificial than the non-organic type. Instead of tasting like what it's supposed to taste, it often simply tastes like cardboard.

I'll do organic if it tastes better. It may be "all natural," but so are arsenic, mercury and lead. Besides, even "all natural" is a misnomer. Everything you buy requires processing of some sort. All cooking involves chemical changes. Does it suddenly become "unnatural" the moment it's done by someone in a lab coat who actually understands the processes involved?

(Of course, the same argument applies to genetically modified foods, but don't tell that to the paranoid "frankenfood" freaks. Conspiracy theories let you avoid responsibility for your own failures by blaming the faceless people who control everything.)

Fresh stuff just tastes better. If it's gotta be pre-made and processed, however, at least have the decency to make it taste good. ES1 & I look for good quality at good prices. We'll pay more for better quality. We abjectly refuse, however, to pay more for "all natural" packing material masquerading as food.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Sticks & Stones...

Here's the latest in the Danish cartoon flap.

Pakistan's ambassador has responded to the bombing of the Danish embassy. He has done so, predictably, by blaming Danes for inciting the violence.

There are two types of people who are incapable of controlling themselves. The first is small children, who have not yet learned self control. This category should not apply to anyone over the age of 6, but I see it all too often in my teenage students. The second category is those who suffer from some sort of mental disorder.

So, according to the Pakistani ambassador, all muslims are either children or insane. Drawing a cartoon is intolerable, but murdering innocents is an acceptable response. Does he not see that this is more insulting to muslims than anything anyone else could say?

When mainstream Islamic leaders begin to publicly say that they will no longer stand for such things, they will receive an outpouring of support from people of all faiths on a level they couldn't possibly imagine. As it is right now, too many seem afraid to do so. It is long past time for the adults of the world to tell the children to grow up.

Hat tip: Little Green Footballs.

Friday, June 06, 2008

One Less Car to Choose From

ES1 has always said that she eventually wants to have a sporty car for the summer. She could never, however, decide what type she was interested in.

Our new neighbor across the street just left with his friends. Judging by their (eerily similar) attire, they are going clubbing. His friend arrived in a cherry red porsche convertible. When he pulled up, the vehicle made this sound:

ES1 has now scratched the porsche from her list of possible fun cars. She couldn't help, especially seeing three guys piling into it, being reminded of a clown car.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Real Threats to Free Speech

I tend to have little patience with most in this nation who claim that free speech is threatened. False claims generally happens in one of two ways.

The first way is those who claim that their speech is threatened because people in the government listen to it. To that, I must ask this: since they have not the legal authority to do anything to you because of your speech, how are you threatened? Indeed, those who make comments against the government, indeed even those who side with those who've sworn to destroy all we hold dear are prospering. Ironic that they complain about civil liberties here while turning a blind eye to, or even praising, nations that execute homosexuals and apostates.*

The most egregious, however, are those who can't handle an argument. I have far too many times heard people argue that someone is "denying their freedom of speech" by telling them that what they just said was stupid. Guess what: free speech works both ways. You have the constitutional right to say something stupid, while the rest of us all have the right to call you a moron for doing so.

In this nation, however, there is one place where free speech is an endangered species: Colleges and Universities. Colleges love to put in place "speech codes" that say you have to be nice to one another and can't say anything that offends anyone else. Private colleges have the right to do that. If they do, however, any statements they make claiming to protect academic freedom or free speech are fraudulent. Public colleges, however, do not have the right to do so. For further reading, I can best point to the yeoman's work being done by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Outside of the ivory tower, however, Americans have unmatched free speech. We stand in stark contrast to our neighbor to the north.

Canada is busy living up to its sometime nickname of "Soviet Canuckistan." Canada's "Human Rights Tribunal" has become a kangaroo court in which the rights of Canadians are thrown to the wind in the name of "tolerance" and "diversity". In this article one can read about the current case in the tribunal against Mark Steyn, accused, essentially, of writing something which some Muslims found offensive.

In Canada, it seems, as on some college campuses, people have invented a right to not be offended. The money quote, from one of the tribunal's investigators is this:

"Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value."

America is a nation founded on laws and values, not common ancestry. One of the most fundamental values is that people have the right to say and think what they want. Those who deny American Exceptionalism would do well to remember how quickly other nations abandon free speech in the name of "tolerance." This is why concepts such as "hate speech" "campaign finance reform" are so pernicious. The moment we give the government power to regulate any sort of speech-what people say and when or where they can say it-this power will be abused by those seeking to shut down any who disagree with them.

Free speech and free thought are fundamental to liberty. This is why they are the first amendment in the Bill of Rights. Hopefully, there will not come a day in which they are truly threatened in this nation.

If that day ever does come, well, that's what the second amendment is there for.

In the meantime, those who want to go through life without ever being offended may talk to the turtle:

And if you still don't get it: talk to the anteater.

Edited 6/5/08 @ 4:33PM because I posted the wrong gorram video.

*And don't even get me started about those who can claim with a straight face that women in this country are oppressed if you've even heard of the middle east. That's just stupidity on the level with claiming that anyone who would willingly dress like the women in the Texas polygamy cult could possibly be considered sane.[back]