D.T.P. by Lee -- Daily Tales and Punditry

Friday, February 28, 2003

The Raise

Jeez, I hope I don’t start a trend here, but this was hilarious! (Thanks, Cindy.)

I, the penis, hereby request a raise in salary for the following reasons:

  1. I do physical labour
  2. I work at great depths
  3. I plunge head first into everything I do
  4. I do not get weekends off or public holidays
  5. I work in a damp environment
  6. I don’t get paid overtime
  7. I work in a dark workplace that has poor ventilation
  8. I work in high temperatures
  9. My work exposes me to contagious diseases

Dear Penis,
After assessing your request, and considering the arguments you have raised, the administration rejects your request for the following reasons:

  1. You do not work 8 hours straight
  2. You fall asleep on the job after brief work periods
  3. You do not always follow the orders of the management team
  4. You do not stay in your allocated position, and often visit other areas
  5. You do not take initiative—you need to be pressured and stimulated in order to start working
  6. You leave the workplace rather messy at the end of your shift
  7. You don’t always observe necessary safety regulations, such as wearing the correct protective clothing
  8. You’ll retire well before reaching 65
  9. You’re unable to work double shifts
  10. You sometimes leave your allocated position before you have completed the day’s work

And if that were not all, you have been seen constantly entering and leaving the workplace carrying two suspicious-looking bags.

Sincerely,
The Management

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• • •

Talk About Frozen Stiff!

Where’s John Bobbit when you need him?

Salon.com article.

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Lord of the Apple

Seen on TheOneRing.net.

Middle Earth Switcher.

Thanks, Raena.

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It Figures

Splendid. Wouldn’t you know it that when I get asked to be one of the “official” photographers at a concert and am going to be placed among the best seats in the house, the concert I’m photographing is a style of music I could either take or leave—southern gospel.

Admittedly, I heard a bit of practice this afternoon and the sound was pretty good. I did notice that Paul David Kennamer, Jr. of Valor was among the 100+ singers. I didn’t notice any other members of Valor present, but I suspect they will be there since the concert’s web site mentions the group name and not just Kennamer. I do have a Valor album and rather enjoy it. I hope they come out for a number by themselves.

By the way, the concert is free, so if you’re in the Orlando area, you can attend if this is your sort of thing. It’s tomorrow night at the Calvary Assembly, 7pm (doors open at 6pm).

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Thursday, February 27, 2003

Large Marge

Why do the Brits have all the fun?

Thanks, Andy.

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Posted by Jon -- February 28, 2003 11:43 PM

This was on a month or two ago... So the Brits are behind the times.

• • •

The White House Hymnal

Ain’t it the truth? “Praise God from whom all gas pumps flow.”

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003

A New Chapter in Crime-fighting

You’d better take off those links on your web site for MP3s of copyrighted music you ripped from your CDs. You might lose your domain over it.

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Tchotchke

Oh bother, Chris beat me to the punch, but I’m posting it anyway. I learned a new word. Tchotchke is a Yiddish word for “trinket.” It’s pronounced CHOTCH-kah (short o) and I, like Chris, appreciate quality tchotchkes. Unfortunately, I have about a zillion and one sort-of-okay tchotchkes that I’ve not learned to throw away. But don’t let that give you the impression I don’t like getting other good ones.

By the way, one thing Chris didn’t beat me to is the fact that there is a same-named site that specializes in “trinket-o-logy.”

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by chris -- February 27, 2003 11:55 AM

Don't get me wrong: I'm for acquring as many tchotchkes as possible, the reasoning being that you have to separate the wheat from the chaff to get the quality pieces.

But you need to learn to dump the junk. After all, there are plenty of colleagues who appreciate the junk, and you may someday appreciate theirs.

• • •

Fake Reality

Oh good gravy train! Is anyone watching The Twilight Zone tonight? I’m still making up my mind whether to be miffed at The Twilight Zone’s producers for stooping to such a level, or to congratulate them for a taking such a great jab at the asinine topics being explored by today’s reality television shows.

At this moment, as I type this paragraph, this episode of The Twilight Zone is half over. The show, “How Much Do You Love Your Kid?” has abducted a woman’s son and gives her 60 minutes and a sprinkling of clues to find him in order to win half a million bucks. She’s gotten close and is chasing a car which, apparently, her son is in, but the car flies off the side of an embankment and the driver hobbles away. Cut to commercial.

Hmph, I just deleted the ton of text I typed in favor of just saying it turns out the woman’s husband was the abductor, having agreed to do the show in the hopes of winning the money, but the pissed-off wife put several bullets in his chest. Spokesperson arrives to say, “You did it! You’ve just won a million dollars and the best defense money can buy,” and she is hauled off to jail.

Sound ridiculous? First I should be clear about the fact that I do watch Survivor. It’s the only reality show I can stand, though I can’t completely explain why. It just doesn’t seem to suck like the rest. Of course the fact that a group of my friends make a party out of it each week may have a lot to do with it. It just seems like the others are based on more and more ridiculous plots (don’t even get me started about Joe Millionaire) and, one of these days, they’re going to go even to the extremes tonight’s Twilight Zone episode demonstrated.

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Fix Your Bookmarks

For a variety of reasons that I’m not going to waste space about here, I’m encouraging you to change web page links and bookmarks to http://www.dtpbylee.com/blog/ instead of just http://www.dtpbylee.com/

Doing so will help me out a bit and will probably make your life a little easier, seeing as how I removed the meta tag that was automatically redirecting visitors.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jon -- February 26, 2003 09:27 PM

I'm 1337 and already had the right one.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Bye Bye, BBEdit Lite

Today seems like another sad day. Bare Bones Software came up with TextWrangler—a less expensive (and less-featured) alternative to BBEdit Pro. What they weren’t so forthcoming about was that TextWranger completely replaces BBEdit Lite. Officially, you cannot download BBEdit Lite anymore. If you have a 6.1.2 installer laying around, archive it safely…now! I said you can’t “officially” download it because, at this writing, you can snag it from Bare Bones’ FTP server. Get it quick. If you missed it, and you want it, and you’re on my good graces, just ask. If you missed it, and you want it, and you’re not on my good graces, beg!

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Lee Bennett -- March 3, 2003 09:17 AM

I guess BareBones Software decided it was a REALLY bad move to just make BBEdit Lite drop off the face of the earth. Daring Fireball is reporting that the BareBones web site has been modified to indicate that although BBEdit Lite will no longer be developed or supported, it can still be downloaded. There even a page now that compares BBEdit Lite to TextWrangler.

http://daringfireball.net/2003/03/not_dead_yet.html

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Monday, February 24, 2003

KMUG

Great Joy of Tech today.

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Bad Cop, No Donut

Is it wrong to be pundit about cops who turn on their vehicles’ light bars for the sole, brief purpose of running through a red light—a stunt proven by the fact that the lights immediately go off as soon as they’re through the intersection?

I’ve always hated the saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Eric -- February 24, 2003 11:07 PM

I've got one that may or may not beat your tail.

I was in the far left lane of a highway, driving home from work. I was going about 5-10 mph over the speed limit - with the flow of traffic. All of a sudden, I see the flashing lights behind me.

I pull over one lane to the right, hoping the cop just wanted to get by me. No luck, he still pulls behind me. Then he gets into the lane to the right of me and I breath a sign of relief as I watch the cop pull off at an exit and kill his lights.

I was not very happy.

Posted by chris -- February 25, 2003 03:07 PM

Not to excuse this kind of behavior from those who have sworn to enforce the law, but there is something you need to be aware of. There are many times when cops receive a call to roll on a location sans sirens/lights, so as not to alert the potential felons. So when the roll up behind you and flash their lights, or do it to get through an intersection, it could be for that reason.

That said, I've seen plenty of the behavior you've both mentioned when it turned out to NOT be on a no-lights/siren call, and it's disgraceful.

• • •

Weekend Update

Okay, here’s a smattering of thoughts that have been rolling around my head during the time I was Mac-less.

First, I want to point out that the entire world is not made up of selfish, grumbling people. I know this because over the weekend, my family and I were visiting some of the Rat Land parks and we were in line at the Dinosaur attraction in the Animal Kingdom park. We came to a pause right next to where an employee…er, a cast member…was checking FastPass return tickets. My dad made some idle comment to him about working, or the weather, or something…I don’t remember exactly…and, after answering, the guy kind of got this “mua-ha-ha” kind of look on his face and asked how many were in our group. He answered “four” and the guy handed my dad four FastPass tickets and had us move into the appropriate line. Knocked the 30 minute wait time down to about 5!

And while I’m on the topic of what I was doing over the weekend, I’ll just make note that Sunday’s weather was A-W-E-S-O-M-E. Days like yesterday, combined with relatively short and not-so-cold winters, are precisely why I live here and hope to never leave. I assure you, a more beautiful day could not have been asked for, weather-wise.

Let’s see, what else is new? Oh, guess what I just found out. You can type a phone number (using the standard (xxx) xxx-xxxx format) into a Google search box, and it will attempt a reverse lookup for you! Pretty nifty, especially for those of us who have Google search bars in their browsers. (Thanks, Michael.)

In case I wasn’t perfectly clear in my previous post, I’ll reiterate that I am really happy to have my TiBook back. It’s sailing along like nothing ever happened, merrily accepting and returning any disc I offer to it.

Moving briefly into a rant topic, it feels kind of unfair that some new iMacs are reportedly showing up with Sony-made SuperDrives instead of Pioneer-made. These new drives supposedly deal with DVD+R and DVD+RW as well as the (I think) more widely used DVD-R and DVD-RW. If I had waited to get my TiBook repaired a while later, perhaps the Matshita slot-loading drive would have been replaced with some sort of updated version. Hmmmmm. Even as it is, I am kicking myself for not taking a screen snapshot of what Apple System Profiler had to say about my SuperDrive before I shipped it off so I could compare it to what I see now. Does anyone know if the initial 15” 1GHz PowerBooks had a SuperDrive Device Revision number of D0C4 and a product ID of DVD-R UJ-815?

And for one final tidbit of punditry, something that somebody may have to tell me is not as humorous as I’m making it out to be. I have a T-shirt with a neck tag that has various information in three different languages. Fine, no problem by me. But when the size of the shirt that’s printed on the tag is abbreviated to just the first letter and the other two languages have words that mean “Large” that both start with the same letter, and the tag is printed with “L/G/G” in big, red letters, I kind of wonder if people who read either of the other two languages get confused as to whether the first or second “G” applies to their language!

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Hello, Again—UPDATED

I’m back in business! Assuming it is properly repaired, I am extremely impressed. As indicated in the previous blog entry, I shipped off my TiBook around noon last Thursday because my optical drive mechanism wasn’t working properly. I just received it back this morning! Talk about fast turnaround! The drive appears to be functioning perfectly now. I just inserted and ejected a disc four times in a row without a hitch. And while I did certainly miss not having my machine with me, the fact that I spent all day Saturday and Sunday doing some fun things with my family minimized the withdrawal symptoms by distracting me for most of the time it was away.

By the way, my weekend activities—not the lack of a computer—is what has kept me away from any blog updates. I’ll post some information when I’m home this evening, but I had to chime in here from work to sing out that my TiBook came back.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to get anyone at Apple to tell me…I’m kind of curious exactly what they did and whether their feeling was that it was a manufacture defect or something I did to it. I got a letter with “Proof of Repair” printed big at the top, and the first sentence reads, “We’re pleased we could repair your Apple Product….” At the bottom of the letter, it mentions part number 678-0379 and describes it as, “SUPERDRIVE,SLOT,MKE,SW-9181.” Can someone enlighten me as to what that is?

UPDATE: 12:10 p.m.—I bit the bullet and called the inquiry number for repairs printed on the letter, and actually managed to get a human being. She confirmed that the drive was replaced, and that it was a manufacturing defect.

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by chris -- February 24, 2003 11:37 AM

Based upon my own PowerBook repair experience, it sounds like they just did a straight swap of your SuperDrive. When my TiBook/500 went in, in addition to the same drive problem you had, my screen also neeed repair (solid vertical line, a couple of pixels wide), and the latch was no longer functioning.

Looking at the Proof of Repair I received, my TiBook got a new DVD drive, a new bottom case, a new latch bezel, a new mouse button, and a new LCD. I think the components, individually, are such commodity-type items, that it's just easier for Apple to replace the component, test it, and clear the repair.

Lucky for me, my PowerBook went 3 hours south to Houston for repair, and I got it back within 48 hours of shipping it out.

Posted by Eric -- February 24, 2003 11:58 AM

SW-9181 probably refers to the SuperDrive model. I guess Apple has three different suppliers right now - Pioneer, Sony, and a third company. I think the third company, who I am competely blanking on right now, does the slot-loading drives.

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Thursday, February 20, 2003

Bye Bye, Love

It sort of feels like a sad day. I am currently bundling up my TiBook in the Apple-provided box to have my DVD-R SuperDrive repaired. Apparently, the mechanism that pushes out a disc to be ejected is fouled up somehow and discs don’t always eject. Other times, the problem prevents me from even inserting a disc. A hardware reset always temporarily fixes it, but that sure is a pain…for a brand new machine!

So, I’ll be without my silver baby over the weekend, Monday, and perhaps Tuesday as well. Sure, I have other machines at home and work to do virtually everything I need/want to do on a computer while the PowerBook is gone, but it is, of course, not the same thing.

Godspeed and safe journeys, my slender, metallic, computing joy.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Au Revoir, François

I very much like this idea, especially since fried potato strips were never French to begin with.

Thanks, Chris.

Comments: 4 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Raena -- February 20, 2003 03:32 AM

It's this easy: call them what they are. CHIPS.

Chips chips chips. I even call them chips when I go to McDonald's, who are the only people who call them fries here.

Posted by chris -- February 20, 2003 04:03 PM

Ah yes, which leads to the never-ending debate over what we Americans would then call our "chips." My vote would be that potato chips become "crisps."

Posted by Raena -- February 22, 2003 03:11 AM

Yeah, those are Also Chips. Or crisps, if you're my mother (weird british stuff).

Posted by chris -- February 24, 2003 11:30 AM

Now that I think about it, it's been a while since I've personally referred to them as "French fries," even before all of this French nonsense w/regard to Iraq began. For quite a while now it's just been "fries."

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Bye Bye VPC

I don’t have to be a Connectix Virtual PC customer to know that the news of Microsoft buying Virtual PC means trouble. MacMinute has a report from a journalistic point of view, yet Chris has a more real-life point of view! But, in the eloquently succinct words of the PC-preferring-but-Microsoft-hating-and-Macintosh-respecting IT director at my office, “this should not be allowed to happen.”

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Rumination of the Moment

10 fingers, 10 toes…aw crap, I’m metric!

From Top5

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Tuesday, February 18, 2003

First, Life—Next, the Universe—Then, Everything

Wow, this impresses me. As part of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA double helix, scientists are preparing to unveil a complete map of every gene.

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Drool Quickly Transformed to Spit

Someone, please, tell me what I’m overlooking. I’m quite underwhelmed about NEC-Mitsubishi’s new 40-inch LCD display. At 1280 x 768, it has slightly less pixel resolution than my 15-inch G4 PowerBook and a lot less than the new 17-inch lunch tray version. To add insult to injury, the thing costs nearly twice as much as the PowerBooks.

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Goin’ to Vegas

Woohoo! It’s 99% official—I’m headed to Las Vegas in April for the annual National Association of Broadcasters electronic media show. I’ve always wanted to attend. So now, the remaining 1% of certainty lies in paying for the plane ticket and registering for the free floor show pass I was offered.

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Eric -- February 18, 2003 08:57 PM

If you're there and I'm not... well, I'll have to get an update on the show from you. grr.

Should work send me, tho, we should try and grab lunch or something. NAB's getting kinda close, though, so I'm not particularly hopeful.

Posted by Bryan -- February 25, 2003 03:51 PM

Don't forget to visit the Star Trek ride! :)

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Military Alert?

Should I be concerned that what appeared (note, I said “appeared”) to be an Army Huey-type helicopter hovered in the vicinity of my residence for about 10 minutes?

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by jon -- February 18, 2003 09:59 PM

Not if they didn't go after you.

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PerversionTracker

Lord knows I’ve come across plenty of absolutely idiotic pieces of software. I’m glad someone else is tracking them so I don’t have to!

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Slim Cases

I picked up a 5-pack of Apple DVD-R media. The new $14.95 price is much better than $24.99. I’m also liking that they now come in the slim jewel cases. However, I miss the attractive, aqua-colored Apple logo that used to be printed on the inserted sleeve.

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Monday, February 17, 2003

Less-than Pleasant Apple Store Experience

It was rather off-putting today to stop by the Orlando Apple Store with my G4 PowerBook in hand to get some opinion about a little iMovie 3 quirk I’ve been experiencing. I discovered that there are two or three workers at that store who are considered experts with iMovie and none of them was present at that particular moment. Moreover, while I did get some names of who to ask for, I could not get a time frame during which I should check back for privacy reasons of individual workers’ schedules. Fine, don’t give me individual schedules…just tell me when I can get some help.

There’s a lesson here. I had called beforehand to inquire if I could stop by to demonstrate my problem and see if anyone had some ideas and was told “fine.” This is advisable, but from now on, specifically ask if someone is present who is familiar with the software you are inquiring about.

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New Cell Phone Feature Perceived As Privacy Menace

First, you need to read this Wired News article unless, of course, the link breaks after a while. The article is basically talking about the built-in cameras that are starting to appear in cell phones.

I think some people will find something to complain about just to hear themselves complain. Don’t these brain-dead people realize they have a lot more perceived privacy breaches to worry about than a dinky little cell phone camera that you basically have to point in someone’s face to get a picture of them? Don’t they realize that their picture is taken or they are videotaped nearly every moment they walk around in a public location?

Face it, the moment you walk outside your house, you’re subject to being recorded on film or by some digital means. It’s a fact of life. Deal with it.

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Mixed Feelings

Trust me, I am not going to be making a habit of posting entries at 8:30 in the morning—especially a Monday morning. Mostly, I’m glad to have today off, but I sort of feel like I’ve been disparaged. My office’s holiday schedule sheet specifically indicates that employees choose either Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or Presidents’ Day as a holiday to take off. Doesn’t that inherently suggest that the office itself is open both days? Well here I am, trying to wake myself up, as usual, to get ready for work, and my boss calls me trying to figure out why she can count the number of people there on one hand. There were signs on the door stating that the office is closed, so I can’t gripe there. Then again, I hardly ever use the main doors and those signs are, naturally, not posted on the doors that only employees use. So, anyhow, I suppose I should be positive and just accept that, instead of sleeping in as I would have done if I’d known, I should use the opportunity to accomplish some “home stuff” if you know what I mean.

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Sunday, February 16, 2003

Color Coding

More rumination:

“Given the likely reaction to an increase in terror-alert level to ‘severe threat imminent,’ wouldn’t a more appropriate alert color be brown?”
Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jon -- February 16, 2003 01:58 PM

It makes more sense not to have colors... They have to say what the color means every time. Just skip the color and say "high alert"

Posted by Raena -- February 17, 2003 02:07 AM

Yeah, but then you get what we have: "What does high alert mean? How is it different to yesterday?" Then we get a little fridge magnet and a booklet from the prime Minister and Senator Abetz telling us all in Really Simple Terms for the Really Simple People that "People who act weird are probably terrorists," and we're reminded of how much life sucks every day when we go for our morning coffee.

So, stick to the colour, y0.

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Tradeoff

Top5’s “Rumination of the Day” never ceases to amuse me.

“Today I realized the hour I extend my life by working out an hour every day has already been spent working out.”
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Saturday, February 15, 2003

Opera Browser Challenges Microsoft—Sort Of

Those who utilize the Opera web browser and who peruse the Microsoft web site from time to time are going to have to learn a little mock-Swedish.

Yahoo!’s news site is reporting that Opera has released the Bork Bork version of its browser. Most people won’t know the difference, but rendering pages from the Microsoft site will produce text translated by the Muppets’ Swedish Chef.

If you’re truly a twisted individual, Google can help you read any other web page like the Swedish Chef.

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Blog Queue

Just a few moments ago, my brother was commenting that he was losing motivation to keep his blog going because he’s probably not being read by anyone but me. I’m not going to sit here and tell you to go read his blog or else, but he’s pretty amusing when he wants to be and likes to be opinionated. He’s a civilian government employee, which provides him an endless source of topics to rant about.

In one of his earliest posts, he wrote:

“I admit it. I love to rant about all kinds of things. Regular visitors will get to hear my opinions on such topics as spam, pop-up and pop-under ads on the web, government life, technology, the entertainment industry conspiracy, and more.”

The Blog Queue can be found at www.goodest.net

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jon -- February 16, 2003 12:45 PM

I was so going to read, but alas no RSS. I can't deal with such things.

sidenote: RSS is a great way to gain readers, as is pinging weblogs.com

• • •

Uh-Oh

Bombtech.jpgAnother picture that speaks its own punditry.

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Pretty Sneaky

Pay attention when you’re driving. I’ve been identifying more and more unmarked police vehicles in the past weeks. I’m not talking about the white or navy blue Crown Victorias with tinted windows, visible light bars in the front and rear dashes, reinforced undercarriages, and a handful of antennas on the back that you can spot from a distance. No, I’m talking about SUVs and even plain sedans that don’t even have the yellow city tags like Orlando (probably other cities, too) uses on its vehicles. The only thing that has given me a clue is that you can just barely make out red and blue strobes within the (usually) black front grille of the vehicle. But, that means you’re either in front of them, or driving the other direction—either way, they’ll probably have seen any illegal driving maneuver you may have just performed.

I have, fortunately, not yet had first-hand dealings with these vehicles.

Comments: 3 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jon -- February 16, 2003 12:47 PM

I've seen quite a few too... The other night I saw 3 in a 10 minute drive home. They aren't as sneaky over here, and I have a pretty good eye for spotting the radar guns.

Posted by chris -- February 18, 2003 10:00 PM

Antenna arrays are a pretty good indicator as well. I know with some of the new transmitters they don't need the tall antennae like they used to, but multiple ones, usually the radio + a cellular, are a dead give-away.

Posted by Lee Bennett -- February 18, 2003 10:16 PM

As I said in the entry, the unmarked vehicles I've been seeing lately do _not_ have the cluster of antennas.

• • •

Missing Feature

Okay, I feel gypped. Today, I was at my parents home and using their Compaq PC to check e-mail and to post the prior (and now this) entry.

As I loaded the page to start typing the entry, I was reminded (I think I knew this before, but had sort of forgotten) that, on Windows IE, Movable Type has buttons and, as it turns out, keyboard shortcuts to automatically add bold, italic, underline, and hyperlink tags around selected text!

After some Movable Type forum searching, it turns out the functions are created with a javascript command that isn’t supported on the Mac. The script uses the document.write function.

Let’s see some javascript-savvy Mac user find a way to do this on our side!

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Raena -- February 16, 2003 01:45 AM

document.write is Mac-doable; it shouldn't just be that.

Hrm.

Posted by Jon -- February 16, 2003 12:49 PM

I have buttons in pMachine, but not key commands. I'll look into it.

• • •

Wi-Fi Story

Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber posted a great story yesterday. I guess I should feel bad that I, like his wife, was pretty much just laughing all the way through instead of sympathizing with his consternations.

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Friday, February 14, 2003

Homeland Insecurity

Today’s Joy of Tech illustrates an insightful opinion.

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OS X Update Disables PHP

The only reason this caught my attention is because in spite of really not knowing anything about PHP, I was actually fooling around with a little random phrase generator that works off of PHP.

If you update Mac OS X to 10.2.4 (I haven’t yet, but will after I’ve seen a few early-adopter reports), you may wish to check out the steps Jon Gales outlined to re-enable PHP.

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Good Thing My Checking Account is Free

Why do companies—especially banks—have such an insatiable need to waste my time? You have to call them to activate new credit cards that replace expired ones. Thus, you are, consequently, a captive audience—forced let them try and sell you on various protection plans. On top of that, they assume you’re so stupid that you probably accidentally pressed the number to indicate you’re not interested in their sales pitch, so you get an “are you sure” message that is almost as lengthy as the one you heard the first time.

I guess the notion that my bank now gives me free checking as well as free online banking (that’s right, I don’t pay my bank one cent for any of their services…er, well, at least not directly—naturally they’re making money ining my, and everyone else’s, checking account dollars) is enough justification to not get completely pissed off at them.

But really, bankers, how about making solicitation calls like any other respectable tele-marketer (so that my Call Privacy ID can deal with you like it’s supposed to)!

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Thursday, February 13, 2003

It’s Come to This

security.jpgThe picture speaks its own punditry.

Thanks, Jon.

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OS X 10.2.4 Update Released

[From MacMinute] Apple today released Mac OS X 10.2.4 via the Software Update control panel. The update delivers “enhanced functionality and improved reliability for the following applications, services and technologies: Address Book, Classic compatibility, Finder, FireWire, Graphics, OpenGL, and Sherlock. It includes AFP and Windows file service improvements, as well as audio, disc recording, graphics, and printing improvements.” The download weighs-in at 40.9MB.

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The Tribe Has Spoken

Yeeehaa. I admit it. I’m a Survivor fan. But not just on my own. A gang of friends get together most weeks to watch, and we’ve done so since Survivor 2: The Australian Outback.

This sixth installment was shot in the Amazon and, for the first time, pits an all-female tribe (Jaburu) against an all-male tribe (Tambaqui). Personally, I believe the women are going to take it. Not just because women probably adapt to rough living conditions better than men do, but the female team looks to have several athletic, in-shape members who can probably hold their own against the men in challenges.

So, it’s about 6:30 now. I’m getting ready to head over to my friends’ house for food and fun (we’re having tamales for dinner).

Cue the theme chant!

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Wednesday, February 12, 2003

)@#^ Corporate Workplace Nonsense

AGGG! I could scream my fool head off.

Corporate workplace politics and bureaucracy SUCKS! It’s bad enough that you can’t give off the slightest indication that someone is upsetting you. It’s worse that if someone does perceive (notice I said “perceive”) that you are upset, regardless whether or not you really are, they can’t even be adult enough to come to you and talk about it to try and resolve it. NOOOOO. They have to run tattle to the brass that so-and-so isn’t behaving in a manner harmonious with office civility. Doesn’t it stand to reason that if people act as though they’re godly enough to waste time inventing the perfect words to answer a touchy situation, often times there’s still that little bit of resentment over what transpired? That resentment builds and builds and you end up with an office full of coworkers who get stressed out because they’re afraid to do or say things around others for fear that they’ll word it wrong and, heaven forbid, offend someone.

If something is bugging me, I’ll pretty much be the first one to let you know it. I simply have to get it out of my system. And the great thing is, I basically never hold grudges. I speak my mind, then I usually forget about it. It’s far less stressful. The mentality that you have to put on a front that says, “even though you are rubbing me the wrong way, I can respond as if what you were doing is just fine and dandy.” No, it’s not fine and dandy, and putting on that front implies to the other person that there was nothing wrong with what they were doing, so they’ll continue doing it.

I’m not suggesting that coworkers should be at each other’s throats all day long. Naturally, people who work together need to be able to be comfortable around each other and have no problem with civility. But things are going to bug you once in a while. That’s being human. Do the human thing and say so, then move on. No harm, no foul.

No, I’m not prepared to walk out of my current job. I do keep faint tabs on non-corporate job possibilities—but I’ve been doing that since the day I started full-time where I am now.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by chris -- February 14, 2003 12:27 AM

I know what you mean when it comes to the temper/anger thing. I have been "talked to" more than once by my supervisor regarding my "outbursts." What she doesn't get is that, and I'm just like you in this regard, when I blow up, I'm venting, releasing, and then that's it. End of story, life moves on.

To quote Costanza: "Now they want me to hold it [anger] in and bottle it up. It makes me so mad!"

I generally wear my heart on my sleeves. What you see is what you get, take it or leave it. (I see that part of myself in my blog every day.) I'll try to be diplomatic, but I'll tell you what I think without sugarcoating it. It can be a huge disadvantage, it can be a great advantage; depends on the situation. I let fly with a rather serious, but diplomatic invective on looking forward to OS X with regard to an in-house software package that is crucial to our business. This was back in the fall, when we first heard that Apple was going to stop shipping systems that booted OS 9.

I was unofficially reprimanded by my superior, since the manager responsible for the software was offended that I would say such a thing, true or not, to the people who were CC'ed and not just to him. The problem was that those people needed to know he and his team were dragging their butts; they were our internal customers, the publishing folks. We had been talking about moving to OS X since the spring, and 6 months later, we were in danger of having to buy Macs that wouldn't boot OS 9. Today, there are TWO initiatives within that group to provide OS X-compatibility as we look to moving the artists to that platform later this year.

I like to think that I handled the situation The Macintosh Way, even though I wasn't in a position to program the solution. After all, it's easier to ask for forgiveness than beg for permission. My boss knew I was in the right; she was simply "forced" to reprimand me, and she did it verbally, so there's no written record. :)

Don't worry about the other people. There may be some adaptation on your part (I go into the lab now to blow up, where I can bitch to our curmudgeonly server wizard I get along so well with, and the hum of the server boxes works toward drowning out my rants.), but don't change for them. Life's too short. Be who you are. They may not appreciate it, but at some point, someone will. They'll accept you for who you are and you'll both be better for it. As far as I'm concerned, there's only one person I have to worry about pleasing, because He's the one I'll stand before some day and have to answer to. It won't be any employer, friend, or family member.

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Safari Updated

Apple updated its Safari web browser today. Could someone tell me why every page load comes with an Activity window listing for file:///Library/SafariEnhancer/html4.css with an error that the file doesn’t exist? Yes, I’ve played with Safari Enhancer, but only to zap the metallic interface.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Tom Dyson -- April 16, 2003 12:33 PM

Did you ever solve this? I'd love to know the fix.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003

TWC = Take-away Whatever you Can

Time Warner Cable suits can really be jerks when they want to be. I don’t know how I’m only just now realizing this (probably because I’ve been too busy to watch a lot of television lately, but I’m working on that issue) but, apparently a month or two ago, some of the premium digital channels got shuffled in the offered packages. Consequently, I lost two channels (one of which shows older, but not too old, movies which I liked to tune into about once a week) and supposedly gained a couple non-premium channels—junk like NASA TV (barely useful even during major events like liftoffs, landings, and disasters), Lifetime Real Women (yeah, I’m watching that one all the time!), and a local weather now station (I gave up on TV as my source for weather information æons ago). Okay, they did add the National Geographic Channel. Not bad, but just one channel—correction, one non-premium channel—that even remotely interests me. A component of my decision for one particular premium pack was for one of these lost channels.

I say again, non-premium—channels that cost more to receive. I lost two decent ones, and was returned with a smacking of mostly piddly standard digital tier channels. And, bottom-line monthly rates increased a couple bucks.

“Refund, or reinstate, TWC.”

Idiots.

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by chris -- February 12, 2003 05:39 PM

CABLE: Commercials And Basically Lousy Entertainment.

Personally, I would love to see cable & satellite companies begin to offer some sort of pay-per-channel plan, where you could pick and choose the channels you wanted. Sure, you'd still have premium channels, and they could still offer packages, but it would give consumers more choice and yes, would likely up their revenues.

We have both AT&T cable & DirecTV satellite. We got the ultra-basic AT&T cable service when we got our broadband connection, because w/the cable splitter in the study, I couldn't use DirecTV. Lucky for me the AT&T contract installer forgot to put a blocker on my connection at the junction box, and I get many more channels than I'm supposed to. Doesn't really matter though, since I don't watch even a third of what I have.

The Retrophisch Channel Line-up: major networks, Fox News Channel, ESPN et al, Fox Sports (Southwest, in my case), History, Discovery, TLC, Stars/Encore, and I could take or leave HBO. Granted, the wife watches more tv than I, but the above is where you'll most often find me tuned in.

Posted by Bryan -- February 25, 2003 03:42 PM

The reason we'll never have pay-per-channel schemes is because certain channels would outright die. You're paying to subsidize a handful of people who watch the junk channels. It doesn't benifit cable companies to lose the number of channels they offer, or at least that's what they think.

• • •

Design Origins

Here’s proof that the Power Macintosh G4 design was inspired by the Buick Roadmaster.

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Monday, February 10, 2003

Dude, You’re Gettin’ a Record

Forgive me for plagiarizing CNN’s headline—I couldn’t think of a better one.

Might it actually be that Benjamin Curtis (better-known as Steve, the Dell dude) has been so immensely gung-ho about hawking those “other” machines because he was so immensely toked the whole time?

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Raena -- February 12, 2003 05:02 AM

<joke class="overdone">DUDE. You're gettin' a CELL!</joke>

We got our own Dell dude recently. He's sitting on a pier holding a fish. I'm not sure, because I was channel flicking, but I think he might have even kissed it. No joke.

• • •

Welcome to the D.T.P. by Lee Arcade

Wanna play Pac-Man? (Requires Shockwave.)

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Sunday, February 09, 2003

Stoopid Journalists

cnnsucks.jpgWhen I see idiotic things like this, I am embarrassed to admit that my career is related (sometimes loosely—sometimes tightly) to journalism.

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• • •

I Hate It When…

All during last week, I was laid up with an icky cold. The sore throat began Monday and by Tuesday morning I was achy, feverish, coughing, and just plain miserable. During the whole week as I battled symptoms, the weather outside was totally mocking me. Last week saw some absolutely gorgeous temperatures and calm breezes, but there I was, stuck in bed or on the couch, sick as a dog.

And then, just to twist the dagger in a little harder, I finally felt like getting back to work on Friday morning and was preparing to enjoy the weekend. Mother nature had entirely different plans. The whole weekend has been nippy, drizzly, and downright wintery. It doesn’t help that the sore throat I had apparently hasn’t completely gone away.

Such is life…or such is this past weekend, at least.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jon -- February 9, 2003 09:00 PM

I woke up to the pitter patter of rain, and a cool draft. Egh. This isn't what Florida should be like!

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Saturday, February 08, 2003

Want an mLife?

You’ve probably seen the commercial and/or billboards. “What’s an mLife, and how do I get one?” Well, starting Monday, you may still not know exactly how (or not even want) to get one, but those who do will have fewer types to choose from. This may not be a bad thing.

As an AT&T Wireless customer, I did, admittedly, scratch my head for a bit deciding which plan to go with, and even changed a time or two after I’d signed up. A News.com article says AT&T Wireless “is trimming back its bloated lineup of rate plans and will offer about 25 choices.”

In related news, I recently stopped by an AT&T Wireless store and inquired about Palm-enabled phones. I was prepared to give them my rant that many of their competitors offer phones with built-in PalmOS and that they would probably start losing a lot of customers—myself included—if they didn’t offer one soon. I didn’t get to even begin my rant because the rep. gleefully informed me that I’d be able to choose a Tungsten-based phone in a few months. I’m looking forward to it.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Andy -- February 9, 2003 10:32 PM

I sure hope Bob Denver is getting mega royalties from MLife's "Gilligan's Island" TV ad rip-off.

• • •

Own Famous Hacker Stuff!

Some of world-famous hacker Kevin Mitnick’s stuff that was seized by the FBI is now for sale on eBay!

MacMerc.com shares more information.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jon -- February 8, 2003 09:34 PM

Thanks for the link bud :P. I just wish I had the cash to buy more than the book.. haha

• • •

Continuing Tweaks—Will It Ever End?

For those who keep up to date with my entries via RSS, I will apologize for again resetting the status of recent entries as being new. I discovered a delicious new Movable Type plugin called SmartyPants.

The plugin’s name is well-deserved. By simply adding an attribute to any MT tag that renders to text that you see (specifically the title, body, and excerpt tags, in my case), that text will be “educated” with proper typographer’s curly quotes. In addition, dashes—such as these—and ellipsis…such as these…will also get converted to true, single-character versions instead of double hyphens and three periods. I no longer have to type &mdash; or &hellip; for dashes and ellipsis, and I had previously never bothered with proper quote marks.

I added this attribute to not only the main index and the archive templates, but also to my RSS templates, which is why they appeared again as new entries. For what it’s worth, they re-appeared as new a few days ago, too, because the anchor URL in the template was wrong—clicking to read the full entry on the web page wasn’t automatically scrolling down to the proper entry.

As best I can tell, I only have one more tweak I’m truly hoping to find. If someone can offer some punditry on this issue, I’d be immensely grateful and would happily immortalize your assistance with a blog entry. :-) The problem is that the new entry notification e-mails that I send to two or three addresses—at this writing—are using the padded anchor URLs, as in: www.dtpbylee.com/blog/2003/02/01#000012 when it should really be www.dtpbylee.com/blog/2003/02/01#12. See the difference? I am completely stumped on how to fix this.

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jon -- February 8, 2003 09:37 PM

Good times. I don't mind... You'd be surprised how often that happens. I'm always hacking my feed :-D. I added categories the other day... NetNewsWire rocks

Posted by Lee Bennett -- February 10, 2003 11:46 PM

Update: thanks to "girlie" in the MT forums for pointing, and to John Gruber of Daring Fireball for confirming -- the e-mail notification anchor URL has been fixed and now produces unpadded URLs.

• • •

Thursday, February 06, 2003

The Day Is Coming—Hurry Up!

Just what we internet junkies need! Wi-Fi access during those long airline flights.

News.com story.

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jon -- February 8, 2003 04:55 PM

This is actually a creative idea that sounds like it would work. Haven't seen that outta air travel for years :P. If I could fly on an airline and surf for free, that would be a huge advantage.

Posted by Lee Bennett -- February 8, 2003 05:13 PM

Free would be great, but there would likely be a surcharge for the access. The article mentioned a $25-35 charge for access on international flights and that the cost would probably be less for domestic, since the plane makes more flights in a day. I would happily pay $15-20 extra for longer flights (say, Orlando to LAX, but not necessarily Orlando to Atlanta) if I could use the internet during the entire trip!

• • •

PowerBooks Can Take the Heat

I’m not even going to touch on why an Apple Macintosh PowerBook would end up in a hot oven for 20 minutes. Aaron Steele, who shared this hot story (forgive the pun), hasn’t even figured out why yet.

Now realize, I am not suggesting anyone try it, but it is truly a statement to Apple’s hardware quality when this baked PowerBook actually booted up after the ordeal! The keys had popped and melted and the LCD display was badly distorted but, with an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor, you’d never know anything had happened.

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• • •

Take 3

Some say three strikes and you’re out. Others say the third time is the charm. I’m siding with the latter of the two.

At least two or three people have suggested that the former translucent effect on this site wasn’t ideal. Apparently, if you don’t have a strong graphics card, scrolling can be kind of choppy when viewing a page with a fixed-position background graphic, as I previously had. Additionally, the graphic I was using to simulate the translucency made text on some monitors difficult to read—especially non-anti-aliased text on LCD displays.

So now, here’s where we’re at. I could turn this entry into a rant about Microsoft because, during my design, I learned that Internet Explorer for Windows doesn’t properly display the alpha channel transparency of .PNG graphics. Stupid. Why even include the ability to display them if the best feature—an alpha channel—doesn’t work? What is even more bizarre is that Internet Explorer for Macintosh does properly display .PNG images—transparency and all.

I’m still open for punditry on ways to improve the design, but I feel like I’ve tweaked it enough for now. Enjoy—or not! ;-)

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• • •

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Every time I tell myself I’m not going to in any more punditry on this Mac vs. Windows banter, something that piques my interest turns up. A MacFixIt entry reports that if Microsoft stopped developing Office for Macintosh after version 11, Sun Microsystems would be inclined to develop its StarOffice suite for OS X compatibility.

In other news, Mac News Network reports that Microsoft is developing a new “switcher” campaign of its own.

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Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Big Crybaby

“Microsoft is warning that the success of the open-source movement could hurt its sales, potentially forcing the software giant to cut prices and sacrifice both revenue and profits.”

Oh, heaven forbid M$ would be forced to cut prices and sacrifice profits!

Full News.com story.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

iDVD 3 Issues

There are some iDVD 3 issues to be aware of. I’m still waiting for my copy of iLife, so this information isn’t first hand. MacFixIt reports that if you choose a frame to use as a button preview, the frame is not remembered and ends up being a different frame if you navigate away from that menu then return. The bug applies to both still frames and motion menus and is a major flaw that worked perfectly in iDVD 2.

The post also reports that some readers noted the progress bar stops updating after a period of time, leading you to believe the burn process had hung. The advice is to not abort an iDVD burning session if it appears the bar as stopped progressing since the DVD is, most likely, still burning properly. Don’t abort it manually unless you get an error message or if a few hours (for a full DVD) pass without completion.

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• • •

New Apple Hardware

The Apple iMac lineup was updated today. The model with a 17” display now sports, among other improvements, a 1GHz G4 processor, 256MB of DDR memory, and the 4X SuperDrive that debuted in the latest Power Mac towers. It also supports AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth, though the actual hardware to use either is sold separately. The 15" display model comes with an 800MHz G4 processor. The machines are priced at $1,799 and $1,299, respectively.

eMac prices have dropped to $999 and $1,299, adding another sub-$1,000 machine to Apple’s arsenal.

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• • •

Monday, February 03, 2003

Switch—Even if Not to an Apple

Is it just me, or are more and more people (and, more importantly, businesses) just getting entirely fed up with Microsoft? Thanks to tools such as OpenOffice, the ability to reduce—even eliminate—dependancy on Microsoft is becoming a reality.

News.com story.

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• • •

Settlement, or Hush Money?

From MyAppleMenu:

Microsoft Talking To Apple About $1.1 Billion Settlement
The talks indicate that Microsoft is seeking to prevent a prolonged battle to win court approval for the settlement, analysts say. (Bloomberg via MyAppleMenu)

Update: 10:14 PM—Additional information on MacCentral.

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Sunday, February 02, 2003

F.L.A. M-I-A

Forest Lake Academy’s class of 1988 is planning a 15-year reunion in April (yes, you now know when I graduated from high school). It seems there are a number of classmates who are unaccounted for.

In these early days of my blog’s life, I suspect my readers are predominately friends and family—people who possibly are acquainted with my academy classmates. If you are familiar with some of the students who attended Forest Lake Academy in the late 80s, please take a moment to click over to the class of ‘88 web site and scan the names in the Missing Classmates section. Bryan Emde is the person to tell if you see a person whose whereabouts you know.

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• • •

Pepsi Potency

My friend, Andy, has been drawing my attention to some of the listings that are among the ridiculously huge number of Space Shuttle-related things for sale on eBay. One item was for a pack of 1981-vintage Space Shuttle Columbia Pepsi Cans.

While this item, in and of itself, wasn’t of particularly special interest (unlike Andy, I think the cans are a fairly decent collector item and, consequently, a valid thing to sell on eBay), something the description mentioned caught my eye. File this in the “things that make you go, ‘hmm’” department:

“…All cans have been emptied, due to the Pepsi rotting the aluminum. Hmmmmm…what does it [the Pepsi] do to you???”
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• • •

The Pretzel

Have you ever laid eyes on something and really wanted one of your own, no matter what it took to get it? I think I know exactly how the woman in this Nike Shox commercial feels. Alas, there’s just no way most of us could accomplish what she does…even if we owned a pair of Shox.

Please post a comment if, in the future, it seems Nike removed the ad. I saved it and will link to my own copy if that ever happens.

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• • •

Tribute In Song

Last year, my friend and former Southern College classmate, Jennifer LaMountain, who is now a Morning Song artist, wrote a tribute song in collaboration with Kelly Mowrer.

Written in tribute to the September 11, 2001, tragedy, the tune feels very patriotic and the lyrics are powerful. Personally, I feel it is quite fitting to extend the tribute to include yesterday’s loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia and its seven crew members.

The lyrics, below, are also on a Morning Song page which includes the music video you can view in Quicktime or RealOne format.

Together We Will Stand
—by Kelly Mowrer and Jennifer LaMountain
In this darkest hour, freedom’s light still shines.
And in our hearts we find a hope to carry on.
Together still we dream our dreams
Through every trial still it seems
Our tears give brighter vision of a better day to come.
America is still the Promised Land.
With one heart and voice together we will stand.
Our flag still waves, reminding us again
That God will guide our way.
Take my hand, together we will stand.
Every opportunity - this legacy of liberty
A gift to you and me because a price was paid in blood.
Out of ashes heroes rise to show us by their sacrifice
Courage is the cornerstone our freedom’s built upon.
America is still a hero’s land.
With one heart and voice together we will stand
Freedom’s flag still waves, reminding us again
God will guide our way.
Take my hand, together we will stand.
Together we will stand.
© 2001 Kelly Mowrer (ASCAP) & Jennifer LaMountain/AM Music (ASCAP)
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Saturday, February 01, 2003

ATPM 9.02

The February 2003 issue of About This Particular Macintosh has been published.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Space Shuttle Columbia and Seven Crew Lost—UPDATED

columbiacrew.jpgI feel completely without words. I was called by my friend, Andy, this morning to tell me to turn on the news—that the Shuttle had apparently disintegrated over Texas. Fellow ATPM staffer Chris Turner just a moment ago wrote a message to all the staff and mentioned that he had witnessed the Columbia’s first launch, and has now witnessed its final return. I, too, was among the countless people who excitedly watched the first Space Shuttle, Columbia, hurtle into space for the first time. You can read more of his thoughts.

Update: 05:05 PM—ATPM editor Michael Tsai also has some information on his blog with links to other people’s thoughts (including a link back to me). I was most interested in his link to Dave Winer’s site.

Memories of the 1986 Challenger explosion came rushing back when I heard news of the Columbia. I was in 10th grade and recall all the students huddling around the school’s only television to learn more. It’s quite a contrast to be absorbing this latest NASA tragedy while having the television, phone, and the internet to supplement the information I learn.

columbiaradartrail.jpgSpeaking of information, let me credit and describe the images you see within this entry. The photo at the top is, of course, the seven crew members of the Columbia’s 28th mission, STS-107, and came from the web site of Orlando’s NBC affiliate, WESH-TV, Channel 2. You can click the photo for a higher-quality version. The graphic in this paragraph, right, vividly shows the path of debris picked up by weather radar stations near Shreveport, LA. I just listened to a CNN anchor mention that the fire and smoke trail seen and videotaped throughout Texas was also clearly visible from Tampa, Florida. Click the graphic for a large, animated rendering. The thumbnail was also found on the WESH web site but was linked to Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc. The large, animated image was converted by me into an animated GIF using images from the National Weather Service.

My thoughts, prayers, and condolences to each of the crew’s families.

REST IN PEACE

Rick D. Husband, commander
William C. McCool, pilot
Michael P. Anderson, payload commander
David M. Brown, mission specialist
Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist
Laurel Clark, mission specialist
Ilan Ramon, payload specialist & first Israeli astronaut

Update: 07:10 PM—Oh good grief! Why did I let this catch me off guard? Below is a Reuters story. It’s short, so I’ve reproduced it here since news story URLs often disappear after time.

Iraqis Call Shuttle Disaster God’s Vengeance
—BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Immediate popular reaction in Baghdad on Saturday to the loss of the U.S. space shuttle Columbia and its seven-member crew—including the first Israeli in space—was that it was God’s retribution on Americans.
“We are happy that it broke up,” government employee Abdul Jabbar al-Quraishi said.
“God wants to show that his might is greater than the Americans. They have encroached on our country. God is avenging us,” he said.
Car mechanic Mohammed Jaber al-Tamini noted Israeli air force Colonel Ilan Ramon was among the dead when the shuttle broke up shortly before its return to earth.
“Israel launched an aggression on us when it raided our nuclear reactor without any reason (in 1981), now time has come and God has retaliated to their aggression,” Tamini said.
Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Dan -- February 2, 2003 04:59 PM

Someone needs to inform Saddam that "God's Vengeance" is what falls out of the bomb bay of a B-52.

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© 2003-2004
A. Lee Bennett, Jr.
http://www.dtpbylee.com/blog/