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

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving

Save some leftover turkey for me!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Some News Photo Editor Was Sloppy

I’m not generally inclined to blog something like one of Jay Leno’s “Headlines” bits, but one of ‘em struck a nerve, I guess.

The article was talking about how the new $20 bill redesign is causing some problems in automated machines that aren’t programmed to recognize them. Now then, we know good and well that either an older stock image from the newspaper’s library was pulled, or an underpaid and undercaring photographer was sent out with the assignment to get a shot of someone feeding a change machine with a $20 bill. In either case, I wouldn’t directly blame the photographer, but this goof was inexcusable for an editor.

The goof? The reasonably large (for a newspaper) color photo that showed the change machine also showed a placard on the machine that prominently reads: “$1, $5, and $10 bills only.”

I might have even forgiven this screw-up if it had happened 10 or more years ago, but we’re living in a time where an amateur Photoshop user could’ve remedied the error in about 60 seconds.

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Posted by Eric Blair -- November 25, 2003 12:46 AM

I'd rather see if a goof like that then have stuff Photoshopped before it gets printed in a newspaper. It's a slippery slope between what's acceptable and what's not.

A few months ago a photographer taking pictures over in Iraq got whacked because it was discovered he "customized" a photo because he couldn't get the soldier and the refugees to line up "just right."

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Saturday, November 22, 2003

This One’s For the Birds

I’m not a huge fan of advertising baloney, but Outback Steak House came up a great one that I saw last night. Starts with a guy in his office at a computer who is digging some sort of snack-like food out of a bag. He squeezes and crunches it up in his hands, raises his fist full of snack up in the air and sprinkles it all over his desk. The viewer doesn’t yet know exactly what the snack is or where it went when it fell. Cut to the next scene and boss-looking man is walking down the hall. The scene looks as if it’s pretty late in the day. He stops next to a closed door and hears a keyboard being click-clacked away on very diligently and the boss man gets a faintly satisfied look on his face. Back in the office, no one is there. The window is open and pigeons have come in and are pecking at the food all over the worker’s keyboard! Last scene shows the worker at Outback enjoying a meal but looking overworked. Someone else glances at him and asks, “been working hard?” He replies, “even as we speak.”

I gotta remember that one!

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Friday, November 21, 2003

Jack Sharing

I think I like this concept. Granted, it’s not happened to me yet, and I’m not so sure if I’m quite ready to walk up to someone and do it myself, but I don’t believe I’d object if someone did it to me.

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Murphy’s Law 101

We all know how it goes—and it “went” for me yet again.

There’s a one-year warranty on certain Apple computer equipment, including a second AC adapter I bought at the same time as my PowerBook.

That warranty expired November 17. The power adapter died November 19. Cost of new adapter, $80.


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Sunday, November 16, 2003

Ten Commandments for Tourists

Since this post heralds the removal of the /vacation/* items from my domain (see the link at the top level of this domain for the current location of my photo albums), after having successfully transplanted everything to a Gallery interface, I’m sharing the last little tidbit from those old albums. Couldn’t think of a better place than here.

By the way, I actually have been kind of busy with the photo albums. There are now 11 albums (14 if you count sub-albums) with a total of 946 images, and I’m liable to add another album or two with 40 or so more photos before tonight is over.

But never mind that. What I wanted to share was this list of commandments for tourists that I found at the Reversing Falls Restaurant in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. It’s great advice.

  1. Thou shalt not expect to find things as thou has them at home, for thou has left home to find things different.
  2. Thou shalt not take anything too seriously, for a carefree mind is the beginning of a fine holiday.
  3. Thou shalt not let other tourists get on thy nerves, for thou art paying out good money to enjoy thyself.
  4. Remember to take only half the clothes thou thinks thou need—and twice the money.
  5. Know at all times where thy passport is, for a person without a passport is a person without a country.
  6. Remember that if we had been expected to stay in one place, we would have been created with roots.
  7. Thou shalt not worry, for he that worrieth hath no pleasures—few things are ever fatal.
  8. When in Rome, thou shalt be prepared to do somewhat as the Romans do.
  9. Thou shalt not judge the people of a country by one person who hast given thee trouble.
  10. Remember thou art a guest in other lands, and he that treateth his host with respect shall be honoured.
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Now You, Too, Can Be an Intergalacticly Famous TV Host

Somebody buy me one. C’mon, it’s only 40 grand!

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Friday, November 14, 2003

A Little Truth About Spammers

A fellow ATPM staffer sent this one to all of us:

**IMPORTANT NOTICE** The average person contains 5 to 25 pounds of waste buildup in their colon. This leads to obesity, colon cancer, deadly toxins, and parasite buildup.
You’re about to discover the true secrets about your colon and digestive system and how it significantly impacts your health and enhances your weight loss program. Plain, simple, and to-the-point information that is vitally important to your overall good health.

The staff member who forwarded this said it is the opening to a piece of spam he received. He amusingly alluded that perhaps spammers contain 25 pounds of shit, but an average person does not. And, since most spammers have shit for brains, their colons must somehow connect to their heads.

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Thursday, November 13, 2003

Sleepless Nights and a Zillion Diapers Ahead—UPDATED

Congratulations to Andy and Lianne McConnell. At 11:30am CST, they became the proud parents of Karis Elise McConnell. Best wishes to all three as they begin this brand new family.

Update: Looks like I got the name right, after all. 6 lbs., 13 oz., and 19.25”. When Andy called me about 20 minutes after Karis was born, mother and daughter were both doing well.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Saying My Name Is Considered Secure!?

Am I the only one who thinks Walgreens’ Express Pay is a disaster waiting to happen? Suffice to say, if I ever fill a prescription at Walgreens (and I probably won’t, anyway), I’ll be paying with cash.

“Express Pay, the fastest way to pay. Walgreens can keep your credit card information on file at the pharmacy and will automatically charge it when you pick up your prescription. It’s especially convenient for parents of college students who are away from home or the elderly who have caretakers managing their medication.”

What this short blurp from their web site fails to say actually is mentioned on the TV commercial—that you just give your name at the Rx counter, and you’re automatically charged for your prescription. Someone tell me exactly what prevents a desperate druggie (assuming he or she can walk in looking cool and collected) from walking in, saying they’re so-and-so, and walking out with someone else’s prescription without having spent a penny?

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Posted by Jon Gales -- November 11, 2003 02:00 PM

This is why you don't let druggies know where and when you get your prescriptions. It's marginally easier than stealing a credit card. And I woulnd't be surprised if you have to show ID.

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Recent Apple Goings-on

A version 10.3.1 update to Mac OS X has been released. I’d already commented to several colleagues that a .1 update would likely be out soon and that I was going to wait for it and for people’s reports before upgrading my laptop from Jaguar. I’m a little stunned it came out this fast, yet equally unnerved that there’s no word at all about FireWire 400 drives and the Oxford 911 chipset. I’ve come to understand that the number of problems with these drives is miniscule compared to the number of reports of problems with FireWire 800/Oxford 922 drives (which also isn’t as many as people make it out to be). None of this makes me feel any better, though, since I rely so heavily on a number of external drives.

On a happier note, Apple has finally set up the ability for people to purchase iTunes Music Store gift certificates without having to actually have their own iTunes account and even without having iTunes installed on their computer. It’s all done through the existing web-based Apple Store. This is yet another way His Steveness is going to realize the goal of selling 100 million songs before the Music Store is a year old. I know for a fact there are plenty of friends and family of iTunes customers who feel they have enough computer savvy, yet (gasp!) not so much of an interest in iTunes, to make buying gift certificates this way work very well. I mean, think about it—a restaurant doesn’t make you purchase and eat some of its food before you can buy gift certificates, why should you have to have a Music Store account to buy them?

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ATPM 9.11

Whups—I failed to mention earlier that the November 2003 issue of About This Particular Macintosh has been published.

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Thursday, November 06, 2003

Home Server is (Mostly) Up and Going

Appreciation to my friend, Jeff, for his assistance in getting Gallery installed on my home server machine. Connecting to my photo album now has you piped directly to the G4/450 sitting in front of me. Sure, I don’t claim it’s the most reliable or the speediest method of maintaining my albums, but knowing that I’m running it here is simply a really neat prospect. So, if you can’t access the photos for a period of time, it probably just means I’ve goofed something up—give it a little time.

Three items I’ve yet to completely work out. If you have any help to offer for any of these, I’d really appreciate your punditry.

  1. No-IP.com’s update client does not yet work under OS X 10.3. For now, I compiled the Unix/BSD client which is actually working, but neither Jeff or I are sure how to have a Unix executable automatically launch if the machine ever has to be restarted. Naturally, I may no longer have to worry about this problem if the Mac GUI client gets updated—I’ll just dump the Unix client. (Speaking of the Unix client, does anyone know if the “30” update interval is referring to minutes or seconds?)
  2. Another issue that occurs after a restart (I don’t plan on having to reboot it hardly at all, but a power outage longer than my UPS can handle is not an impossibility in Florida) is that Web Sharing goes off after a reboot. I’m sort of afraid this is a new bug in Panther because I am almost certain I’ve left Web Sharing on by mistake on my laptop running Jaguar and it was still on the next time I turned it on. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to have a server that has to have Web Sharing manually turned back on after a restart, does it?
  3. Last is something Jeff will probably figure out, but I’ll accept anyone’s input. The Gallery Remote client is working strangely. Seems I was able to upload photos faster when they were on Jeff’s server, and the stupid thing keeps telling me there’s a new version, even though I’ve already updated. I’m feeling the problem may have something to do with connecting as if the server were outside my LAN when it’s actually inside. I can’t connect to the machine’s local IP because the default (and currently unused) web server location is not where the photos are housed. The httpd.conf file sends incoming requests to photos.dtpbylee.com to another folder where Gallery operates. So what I need to know is, what address do I use to connect without going outside my LAN?
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Tuesday, November 04, 2003


Having seen other sites install Jay Allen’s MT-Blacklist, and having received more comment spam myself, I’m giving it a try. If you have trouble leaving a legitimate comment because of the blacklist, please let me know. Most of my readers know my e-mail address. Those who don’t may have noticed that I’ve endeavored to remove e-mail links from my site. With that in mind, you can make various wild guesses at what to put in front of @thisdomain and, most likely, I’ll still get your e-mail.

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Thanks For the Chuckle

Thanks, Eric, for a good laugh tonight. I needed it.

“…Were Lee not so understanding and level-headed, though, the results could have been disastrous…”
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Sunday, November 02, 2003

Props to Whoever You Are

Several people have made either audible or silent acknowledgments of my MAC-USER license plate. Until now, the remarks were pretty much either from friends who know me well enough, or from people around my apartment or in parking lots, asking what a Mac user is.

Saturday afternoon, I got what I believe was my first acknowledgment of a new variety. I was at a stop light and a car pulls up behind me. I don’t make a habit of staring back at trailing cars in my rear-view mirror, so it was a few seconds before my peripheral vision realized the occupants were making various motions with their arms. I looked in the mirror straight on and the driver was pointing down at the back of my car, grinning, then giving me the thumbs-up sign. I up-thumbed him back as the light turned green, and I continued home, enjoying that I have a new friend whose name I’ll never know, nor will I likely ever see again.

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Home Server Status Report

As I reported two posts ago, my G4/450 arrived on Wednesday. Fact: I am, in no way, regretful of the purchase. Having said that; yes, I’ve encountered some difficulty. Three days later, it’s not yet at its best and won’t be for about a week.

Challenge 1: the video card. The original card was removed by the original owner long ago. Can’t say I blame him. Nothing is technically wrong with either 3rd party card, except you can’t get drivers for them any more.

OS X 10.2.x and before has played nice with lots of hardware, even if it shouldn’t. But Apple (probably a good decision, though one that pinches me) decided to streamline the code of OS X 10.3, resulting in more strict tolerances of what 3rd-party video cards can be used. Neither of the ones I have are described at the bottom of the Mac OS X Panther technical specs page, though they both work fine under Jaguar. One won’t even let Panther completely boot up (not that I can see, anyway). The other one’s problem is a horse of a different color—or maybe I mean a horse of very little color since I only get 640x480 with about four shades of grey! Switching to a greyscale interface in the Accessibility pane improves legibility, but it still ain’t pretty. I’ve ordered an ATI Radeon 7000 Mac edition (not a bad price, either) to remedy the crippled video output, but it doesn’t ship ‘til Monday and will require 4-6 days of transit time.

Challenge 2A: hard drives that came with the machine. Jumpers for master/slave settings weren’t right, preventing initialization of one of the drives. Took several hours to figure that one out.

Challenge 2B: new, bigger hard drive I bought. While in CompUSA, I couldn’t resist the 200gb Maxtor hard drive for $130 after rebates. But the the ATA bus will only acknowledge 128gb. The drive would’ve worked, but I’d have been missing more than a fourth of it.

I was uninterested in spending money on an external firewire enclosure or an ATA133 PCI card. Some web searching, followed by CompUSA’s price matching policy, and I returned the unopened 200gb drive for a 120gb one—$90 after rebate. I thought it would only be $60, but one of the two rebates had expired.

So, all four drives now peacefully coexist inside the tower. I’ve settled on a Tron-based scheme of drive names. MCP (Master Control Program) is where the operating system resides. Tron 1.0 is a SCSI drive that will house my web-based photo album. Tron 2.0 is a slightly larger IDE drive and will be the place for FTP and Apple File Sharing space. I doubt I’ll ever have enough photos to fill Tron 1.0 very soon, but I could flip-flop the two Tron drives if the need arose. Finally, Flynn is the big 120gb drive and will be reserved for my own use—primarily as the new home of my iTunes library.

Does anyone have some good, OS X-ready 3D icons that fit these names? ;-)

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Celebrity Cheese

My local Top 40 station found out what you get when you hand a Polaroid™ camera to a celebrity and ask for a self portrait.

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A. Lee Bennett, Jr.