Monthly Archives: August 2008

Upgraded my blog

I know I talk about this too much, but there it is. WordPress has made great strides forward since I began using it. And now I’m at a host that gives me ssh access, so I can use rsync, which makes it a piece of cake, compared to using ftp.

But still, it’s too much work. I hate doing this. (I know, I’m an ingrate. I appreciate all the lunatics who work on WordPress only to give it away to whiners like me. But still. It’s too much work.)

Sarah Palin

I like her. A lot. It’s early days yet, but based on what little I know — mainly the course of her life that led her into politics — I’m thinking she could turn out to be another Reagan or Thatcher. (I know. I said it was early days.)

The most interesting article I’ve read is this one on her experience. The most amusing was this side-by-side comparison of Palin and Obama. And the best family picture was the one with the little girl in the red dress with the crown.

Update: I’m not the only one. Look what Camille Paglia thinks about Palin. (via IP)

Accordance 8

Well, I just shelled out the money for an upgrade to version 8 of Accordance. I may discover more later, but I already know of three compelling features.

First, when you have two panes open, it will highlight the words in one that correspond with the ones your mouse cruises over in the other (assuming both texts are tagged).

Second, it will let you adjust the leading.

Third, fuzzy searching. I don’t know how good this will be, but I know I need it. My problem is that I remember there’s a verse I want to find but I don’t know what translation it’s in. For example, I search for “Jesus wept” and get the “no matches” dialog, because I normally use the NRSV, where John 11:35 reads “Jesus began to weep.” (Inexplicably. That verb must be the “aorist of but-it-ought-to-be-imperfect.”) Then I say, “[curses] it” and ask Mr. Google to find the verse for me.

Google Calendar

It’s been a couple of 2-3 years since the last time I played with Google Calendar. At the time, I thought it was interesting, but not compelling enough to migrate away from iCal. (Or even go to the trouble to integrate it with iCal.)

Today I played with it some more, and I liked it. Not least because it enabled me to publish a calendar that I could then subscribe to in iCal. This might have been one of the reasons I didn’t like it back then: I didn’t have any truly public calendars. Today I do, both at the church and with some of the other organizations I’m part of. The only thing I used to want to share was my personal calendar, but I didn’t want to make that public, and my wife refused to get a gmail account. Anyway, that’s history, and now I see how wonderful Google Calendar is. My bad.

Anyway, now that I’m a late adopter, I want to point out something else I like about Google Calendar. Take a look at these two events. First, iCal:

Calendar Detail (iCal)

Now compare that with Google Calendar:

Calendar Detail (Google)

You see the difference? In the month view, Google shows what time the event is. If iCal could do that it would be a huge win.

Another thing I like about Google Calendar is the extra views: 4-day and Agenda.

And, frankly, it isn’t any harder to edit an existing event in Google Calendar than it is in iCal. In fact, iCal has gotten harder to work with in Leopard. Brilliant decision that was.

Obama's Speech

I didn’t see it. I’m sure it was a fine speech, though, if you like such things. But I don’t watch conventions. (Actually, I don’t watch TV, period, unless you count old TV on DVD.)

But I was pleased to see the “response” by John McCain. I agree about the justice of Obama receiving the nomination today. And it was a nice — though hardly unexpected — gesture by McCain.)

The Clone Wars

We all went to the movies to see The Clone Wars tonight. We were planning to do it next week, but apparently it’s sinking like a stone; today was it’s last day at our local theater.

So off we went. I was prepared to endure it, even if only for the sake of the children.” But it wasn’t half bad.

Maybe it was because my expectations were so low. It’s hard to expect a comic-book drawing to be Han Solo, even if the drawing is animated and seems at time to have some depth as well. (I mean, the drawing is nearly 3D. I’m not talking about any of the characters.)

Speaking of flat characters, a few observations: The little girl padawan learner was roughly what I expected. The battle droids were stupid, but not in a cute way the way the writers and directors seemed to have meant them to be. (On the other hand, Jar-Jar never even had a cameo, so that’s still a net plus.) Jabba’s uncle was simply dreadful … but only to grown-ups, it would appear.

The graphics, on the other hand, were very nice. There were whole scenes (or at least long chunks) where I forgot the bizarreness of the medium. And when Obi-wan first got into his Jedi Starfighter, I leaned over to my wife and said, “I have got to get me one of those.”

Calibri, Cambria, Consolas, etc. for free

If you got a copy of the latest Microsoft Office, then you might have noticed it came with some new fonts that look better than the last batch of fonts Microsoft had designed for them. (Which seem no longer to be given away for free.)

These new fonts are called the Microsoft ClearType Font Collection. If you don’t want to upgrade your copy of Office, you can buy them from Ascender. But they’re not cheap.

But if you’re cheap, and you have any old copy of Microsoft Office, what you can do is to download the OpenXML file converter from Microsoft, and get them for free.

Update: I’m guessing that if your Mac came with a “trial” version of Office, that would be enough to install the OpenXML converter.

My next computer…

So I’m typing this on the ancient (2005) eMac. It’s a fine computer, although, once you move to flat screens you can never look back. Plus, it’s a powerpc chip, so Leopard is the end of the line; Apple’s going to un-support PPC starting with Snow Leopard.

Also, it’s too slow to run Handbrake, and it’s no speed demon when I do anything with ImageMagick. Other than that, it’s a fine PC and I could cheerfully go on using it indefinitely.

But what would I replace it with? Well, I could get a Mac mini for $800 and up, or an iMac for $1200 (and up). There’s a lot to be said for both possibilities.

But here’s another thought. How about getting a Windows laptop and putting Linux on it — or better yet, a windows laptop with Linux preinstalled, like the Dell Inspiron 1525N. That would cost me $575 and up.

(Or I could build my own system for probably the same price. That isn’t as much fun as it was 10 years ago, mainly because I wouldn’t save any money over store-bought, but it would let me upgrade the hard drives over time. I’d probably never get the power management working right, though.)

Linux runs every single program I use on a daily basis, except two. One is MarsEdit, which I’m using to write this post. The other is iTunes, which I use to sync my iPod. (I don’t think I’d need Handbrake with Linux; I assume someone has already put a pretty front-end on ffmpeg.)

I could live without MarsEdit, not because it’s bad software — in fact, it’s excellent, best-in-breed software — but because I just don’t blog as much as I ought to.

That leaves syncing my iPod. And there I’m stuck.

But wait. How about this: run Windows in Virtual Box on Linux, and run the Windows version of iTunes? Whoa! That’s, like, genius, dude.

(I wonder what’s the cheapest I can get a legal copy of Windows for on eBay?)

Political Convention Venues

I see the Democrats are upholding their long tradition of restrained good taste:

DNCC Podium

For me, it’s the lighted stairs that really make this. (Original slideshow here; requires Flash.)

Meanwhile, the Republicans apparently never saw the last reel of Attack of the Clones:

I know this is just an artist’s rendering, but it looks like something from Triumph of the Will.

(via Hot Air.)