Monthly Archives: October 2007

Leopard BSOD, APE, and Logitech

In response to reports that some Mac users are apparently getting “blue screens” in the course of upgrading to Leopard, John Gruber leaps to Apple’s defense:

The most common route is Logitech Control Center, the mouse “driver” software from Logitech. “Driver” in quotes because it’s utterly absurd and completely irresponsible for Logitech to base their mouse software on a completely and utterly unsupported-by-Apple system software modification.

Well, he’s right, of course.

But on the other hand, for a hardware company to buy and use off-the-shelf software, instead of writing their own, borders on genius. Hardware companies — if I may paint with a broad brush — tend to think of drivers and related software as an afterthought. When the electrical engineers are done sorting out the voltages and resistances with the mechanical engineers, they’re assigned the task of putting together some application-level software for end-users. The result is utterly predictable. Consider for a moment how crappy the software is that comes with a digital camera or printer. (Or — especially — a scanner.)

So the surprising thing to me isn’t that Logitech’s software does something that makes the system unstable or even brings it to a halt. To me, the surprising thing is that they got 3rd-party software developers to do that for them, instead of having some EE’s code it up in-house.

Cyberduck vs. Another WordPress Update

There’s a new (2.3.1) version of WordPress out. It is my first WordPress update since I moved to the eMac about a month ago. I was wondering what FTP client to use: ftp, lftp, or ncftp. These are all command line apps. The first (ftp) ships with the Mac. The others, available as Macports, overcome some of its limitations.

But I decided, purely as a lark, to try out Cyberduck. And there, hidden in its File menu, is the magic word Synchronize. So instead of having to copy about 2.5 MB up to my web host, I only have to copy a few 10’s of KB. I’m not sure which few, because Cyberduck figured that out and I didn’t have to worry about it.

Excellent. It’s the next best thing to having rsync. And that’s a very good thing indeed.

Dead Sea Scrolls @ SDNHM

Yesterday, a couple of days after we’d planned to, we saw the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum.

I thought it was an excellent exhibit, and I’m glad I went. There was a lot to see there. Beside the scrolls themselves (or, I should say, odd chunks of miscellaneous scrolls) I was surprised to see how much information they had on the Qumran site. It was helpful to me to understand the geography of the site better and to see what archaeologists have learned from its ruins. I also liked the displays that helped to explain paleography and its role in dating the scrolls.

Sadly, I found that my Hebrew, which is on the retreat even in the best circumstances, is not improved by putting all the words in an archaic script, in the handwritten equivalent of 8 point type, under thick glass, in the dark.

After we’d studied the DSS for awhile, we looked at some of the museum’s other exhibits:

Allosaur

post capital-L libertarian non-blues

Just this summer I got into an argument with my nephew about his radical libertarian ways. I explained to him that he spent too much time reading Reason, and I could say that because I was a subscriber for 15 years. (Also Liberty. Also Cato … I subscribed to something that is probably posted to their website these days.)

I was an honest-to-goodness card-carrying capital-L Libertarian. I went to the train station to pester commuters to sign petitions so we could run our own candidate against the two Jims. (One of whom, Jim Florio, ended up winning.) I manned a booth at the county fair (Middlesex? Somerset?) giving people the World’s Smallest Political Quiz and trying to explain the “diamond chart” to them.

Now I see that Stephen Green has been down the same path (plus or minus a few caveats, provisos, codicils, and asterisks; your mileage may vary) as myself. (Nor is he alone.)

Continue reading

So-Cal Fires

So we had scheduled a brief vacation this week. Go down to San Diego, see the Dead Sea Scrolls, go to Seaworld, things like that…and now this. I mean really. Yes, certainly, 500,000+ people have been evacuated, but they live there! We were only going to be there a few days.

(Humor-impaired readers: I’m contrasting my minor problems with their big ones.)

Well. It’s pretty yucky here. Orange skies, with red glowing orb where the sun’s supposed to be…parking lots peppered with ash. Yecch. I’ll tack on a photo real soon now.

Update: the photo, as promised:

Bad Skies Over the Beach

Pink Floyd again

I enjoyed listening to Pink Floyd’s Pulse Concert the other day — so much, that I wanted to play “One of These Days” so the next generation could hear what I’m talkin’ bout. Imagine my shock to learn that I never ripped all my Pink Floyd discs on the home PC. Just the one at work. How embarrassing.

I remedied that error at my first opportunity, then I made the next generation listen to “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” and “Money” and “One of My Turns.” I’m saving “Comfortably Numb” until they’ve done something especially good.

By the way, I think “One of these Days” sounded a lot better in concert than it does on Meddle. But I’m a philistine when it comes to such things. I like the improved Star Wars episodes more than the originals. (Mostly.) Although I do like the original Blade Runner compared to the incessant stream of director’s cuts Ridley keeps churning out.

Amazon’s MP3 downloads, etc.

So I got my first credit card bill since Amazon started their MP3 download business. It lists each transaction, so I have one album (prices vary, this one was $6.99) and a number of singles ($0.89 and up). If this isn’t micropayments, it’s close enough for me.

I’ve decided I like this service. I wish the other labels would jump on board. As it is, I’ve downloaded one new album, hoping it would be as good as the others by the same artist. (Jury is out on this.) But I’ve also downloaded almost a dozen singles: “White Wedding” by Billy Idol, for example, or “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow, or “Undercover of the Night” by the Rolling Stones. (All hail the early ’80s.) That’s pure gravy for the labels, since I was never, ever going to buy those albums. (I bought them once in vinyl, back in the day. But they were destroyed in the deluge.)

Happy Birthday to Me

Well, here I am two days into the downhill slide. Actually, it’s a year and two days, but you can kid yourself during that first year. (Forty-five sounds ambiguous: are you in your early forties, or your late, or some kind of middle-ground? Of course, you’re in your late forties. But it doesn’t sound that way. It’s because of zero-origin indexing, like most problems. From the moment of your forty-fifth birthday, you’re an old duffer, and that’s all there is for it. But that first year it’s not so obvious yet. It’s sort of like a bald man combing his hair over as long as he can.)

Anyway, I got the new Harry Potter book. It’s been in my Amazon wish-list forever, and now, finally, it’s mine. The only problem is that I can’t read it. You see, what I got is Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis: the Latin translation of Harry Potter book 1. When I put it in my list, I knew a bit of Latin, and thought this book might help me learn some more. But I’ve forgotten almost all the Latin I knew. (I’ve even forgotten most of my Hebrew, and I use it a lot more than I do Latin. Yikes!)

I also got some aloha-type shirts. My plan is to gracelessly transition from the stuffy Geneva gown to an informal Saddleback outfit someday Real Soon Now. (More on this topic here. Heaven forfend we might identify with the contemporary corporate culture rather than the medieval academic culture.) In the meantime, I can wear them to get used to looking sloppy. I mean, Californian.

Also, Mmhmm, to add to my Relient K collection. And a delicious cake. Low-fat, of course.