October 28, 2002


I’m on vacation on the Garden Isle of Kaua’i, Hawai’i, right now, so posts will be few and far between. I’ll try to get a few pics up here and there, but don’t hold your breath. :)

posted by retrophisch at 12:54 AM in fun
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October 25, 2002

May It Be

I don’t know what it is about the song, but I have found myself cueing up “May It Be,” by Enya, from The Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack over and over today. . .

May it be an evening star
Shines down upon you
May it be when darkness falls
Your heart will be true
You walk a lonely road
Oh! How far you are from home

MorniŽ utķliŽ (Darkness has come)
Believe and you will find your way
MorniŽ alantiŽ (Darkness has fallen)
A promise lives within you now

May it be the shadow’s call
Will fly away
May it be your journey on
To light the day
When the night is overcome
You may rise to find the sun

MorniŽ utķliŽ (Darkness has come)†
Believe and you will find your way
MorniŽ alantiŽ (Darkness has fallen)†
A promise lives within you now

A promise lives within you now

posted by retrophisch at 01:36 PM in fun
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Windows messages rewritten

Courtesy of Neil Gaiman, and like Neil, it made me smile: McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Windows Messages, as if Rewritten by Scott, This Guy Who Bullied Me in the Second Grade. Well, to be honest, it made me, and a couple of my coworkers, laugh.

posted by retrophisch at 12:13 PM in fun
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Air passenger ban possible

America’s Finest News Source has revealed that the FAA is considering a ban on air passengers in order to make our skies safer. In the wake of September 11th, this kind of thinking, while not surprising, is still disheartening.

posted by retrophisch at 12:01 PM in fun
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October 24, 2002

Transmit 2.0

I failed to mention that yesterday Panic Software released Transmit 2.0, their outstanding FTP client. Version 2.0 has been rebuilt from the ground up using the Cocoa APIs, and is Mac OS X-only.

I helped beta-test this release, and it’s been really solid for me. I like how it handles both regular FTP, and SFTP, which is how I connect to my own domains for file transfers. Give it a try, and support future development by registering the software.

posted by retrophisch at 02:04 PM in mac
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Hypocrisy as a way of life?

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle appeared on Fox News Sunday this past week. During the interview, hypocrite Daschle remarked: “Well, it’s not necessarily the position in that legislative approach that I think is the concern. It’s the attitude. It’s the way that we have gone about foreign policy, especially, Tony, this unilateral approach to foreign policy, dictating on a unilateral basis what the United States’ position is going to be and expecting, really, all these countries in a very autocratic or very authoritarian way to comply.”

What hypocrite Daschle fails to remark on is why he’s voted in favor of all the U.S. policies he discounts as “dictatorial” and “unilateral.” It couldn’t possibly be because it’s an election year, could it?

posted by retrophisch at 01:58 PM in liberty
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This week’s “Keen Sense of the Obvious” Award

“Saddam won a 100 percent victory in an uncontested election Tuesday to remain the nation’s leader for another seven years.” —CNN

followed by:

This week’s “Leftmedia Buster” Award

“Iraq is holding a sham election today, in which citizens ‘vote’ on whether Saddam Hussein should serve another seven years as president. Under the watchful eye of Saddam’s thugs, these ‘voters’ must sign their names to the ‘ballots,’ and any who dare vote ‘no’ can expect to be executed. It’s a mystery why Western news organizations insist on portraying this as if it were an actual election.” —James Taranto (from The Federalist)

posted by retrophisch at 01:28 PM in liberty , quote
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October 23, 2002


I don’t know what people are bringing back from the cafeteria, but it smells awful. And they wonder why I refuse to eat there. . .

posted by retrophisch at 11:52 AM in rant
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DropDMG 2.0

Pal Michael Tsai today released DropDMG 2.0, the latest version of his excellent utility for creating disk images in Mac OS Xís device image (DMG) format.

Why do you want DropDMG when DiskCopy already comes free with OS X? Because DropDMG is both more powerful and easier to use than DiskCopy, that’s why. Gee, Michael, I guess I need to register my copy, don’t I? ;)

posted by retrophisch at 11:40 AM in mac
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iPod turns one

The iPod is one year-old today. On October 23, 2001, Steve Jobs held a special press event to announce that Apple had produced the best digital music player in the world. My own iPod will turn 1 next month (thanks again, sweetie!).
(from MacMinute)

posted by retrophisch at 11:29 AM in mac
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October 22, 2002

What’s a retrophisch?

I remarked to my buddy Brian that “retrophisch” sounded like something out of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, since it reminds me of “babelfish” from that series. Brian responded with a definition, based upon the one for the babelfish:

retrophisch: n. Living organism which is placed in the auditory canal of intelligent life forms. Used as a universal translator. Disadvantage: Translates to pure Anglo-Saxon English, hence the prefix “retro.”

posted by retrophisch at 12:16 PM in web/site
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Justifiable violence

“Are liberals incapable of the kind of practical moral reasoning that foreign policy requires? It seems that they are. Most liberals are content with slogans that cannot survive the slightest scrutiny. ‘Violence never solves problems.’ This is manifestly not true.

“Violence helped to end the regimes of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, however controversial their use, did solve the big problem of an unyielding Japan. Violence proved equally effective against the Taliban. ‘But you can’t impose democracy at the point of a bayonet.’ This is another liberal shibboleth.

“In reality, at the end of World War II, America imposed democracy at the point of a bayonet on Japan and Germany, and it has proved a resounding success in both countries. The problem with liberals is that they never give bayonets a chance.” —Dinesh D’Souza

posted by retrophisch at 11:33 AM in liberty , quote
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Learn some history, people

“The Congress of the United States has now given President George W. Bush the authority to enter into preemptive war against Saddam Hussein, which Mr. Bush says is justified. Others have argued strenuously that preemptive war is unjustified and even un-American.

“… It might surprise some that justification for preemptive war is found in the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration, got his ideas on preemptive war from John Locke’s ‘Second Treatise on Civil Government’ and used them in the Declaration to justify the American Revolution. … In his work, Locke argued against despotic power or ‘Absolute, Arbitrary Power’ because being absolute and arbitrary it can be used to ‘take away’ the lives of those subject to it. This makes despotic power opposed to self-preservation or ‘the preservation of Mankind,’ which Locke maintained was ‘the fundamental Law of Nature.’ Because this Law was the ‘will of God,’ Locke argued that each human being was duty ‘bound to preserve himself, and not to quit his Station willfully.’

“… Therefore everyone has the obligation to avoid subjecting themselves to despotic or ‘Absolute, Arbitrary Power’ since it renders their own limited individual power to preserve themselves ineffective. … Some argue that even if there is a preemptive war against Saddam, it should not be used to install an American-type democracy. Locke and Jefferson would have disagreed, because American democracy does not allow despotic power or the ‘Absolute, Arbitrary Power’ that Saddam enjoys, which makes him a threat to world security. He can do anything he wants.

“Not so with George W. Bush. His executive power is severely limited by the Constitution, under which power is shared with the two other co-equal branches of government — Congress and the Supreme Court. … Therefore, it is time to place Saddam, or his successor, under the same political power limitations in Iraq as Mr. Bush is under in the United States. This will provide greater security for mankind in this era of weapons of mass destruction — provided it happens before Saddam gets the bomb.” —Allen Jayne

posted by retrophisch at 11:20 AM in liberty , quote
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Call’em like we see’em

“The House of Representatives packed up and went home for elections, and we can’t say we’re sorry to see the Members go. Senators are lingering for a while longer, but it’d be better if they left too and didn’t return until they’re at least prepared to fulfill constitutional duties, like confirming judges. The best that can be said about the 107th Congress is that it managed to do less damage than usual.” —The Wall Street Journal

posted by retrophisch at 10:43 AM in liberty , quote
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October 21, 2002

National Novel Writing Month


November is designated National Novel Writing Month; the object for participants: to write a 50,000-word novel, beginning midnight, November 1, ending midnight, November 30 (actually, midnight would be December 1, but trying to convince people of this is like trying to convince them that the new millennium really began at midnight, January 1, 2001 — which it did, by the way).

As the site states, it’s a kamikaze approach to writing, where quantity reigns over quality. Output is the only thing that matters. Gee, maybe I could write a novel this way. . .

posted by retrophisch at 03:32 PM in writing
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Speaking of slaps to the face. . .

“Of course, it’s a tragedy that the peace prize was awarded to Carter and not Reagan. I mean, who did more for world peace? Who did a great deal to end the Cold War? Who did a great deal to disarm and dismantle the Soviet Union, that mortal threat to world peace? Who removed the shadow of global annihilation from us, if only temporarily? Who envisioned a shield, not a sword?

“National Review once opined, many years ago, that, every year, the Nobel peace prize should go to the U.S. secretary of defense: The American military is the number-one guarantor of peace in the world. But maybe something like a Nobel freedom prize would be a more appropriate award for Reagan than a peace prize.” —Jay Nordlinger

posted by retrophisch at 03:16 PM in liberty , quote
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American “force”

There has been a lot of gnashing of teeth over Bush admininstration foreign policy, that the United States is “forcing” its will on the rest of the world, and rather we should just go along with what other countries have to say and just forget about our sovereignty and national security (read: Daschle). After all, what has America accomplished with force that successful negotiation could not top?

“Name, in the past hundred years, a single important triumph for peace and for liberal democracy that was purchased by the jaw-jawing the Nobellians so admire. No rush, take your time. Now, look at what American war-war (and the threat of American war-war) won: the defeat of the fascist attempt to rule the world; the defeat of the Communist attempt to rule the world; the consequent rebuilding of a Europe protected by American arms into a democratic and peaceful continent for the first time in history; the rebuilding of an American-protected Japan into a democratic and peaceful nation for the first time in history; the emergence of a world in which, for the first time in history, the peaceful values of liberal democracy are the ascendant norm. No, no, it remains unthinkable. To imagine American force was a force for good, one would have to imagine America was a force for good. And this, the Bourbons of Oslo will never, never do.” —Michael Kelly

posted by retrophisch at 03:12 PM in liberty , quote
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Don’t need a father, eh Murphy Brown?

“Fathers’ involvement [with their children] seems to be linked to improved verbal and problem-solving skills and higher academic achievement. Several studies found that the presence of the father is one of the determinants of girls’ proficiency in mathematics. And one pioneering study showed that along with paternal strictness, the amount of time fathers spent reading with them was a strong predictor of their daughters’ verbal ability. For sons the results have been equally striking. Studies uncovered a strong relationship between fathers’ involvement and the mathematical abilities of their sons. Other studies found a relationship between paternal nurturing and boys’ verbal intelligence.” —David Popenoe

posted by retrophisch at 03:03 PM in god , quote
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Why it’s freedom of religion, not freedom from

“Certainly we do not want men to allow their Christianity to flow over into their political life, for the establishment of anything like a really just society would be a major disaster.” —C.S. Lewis (translating the Devil’s words), The Screwtape Letters

posted by retrophisch at 03:00 PM in god , liberty , quote
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Blast from the past

Well, not that far past. October 2001, to be exact, but rather timely since there is new gun regulation being discussed in the wake of the DC metro serial sniper attacks:

“There are so many laws concerning the purchase and use of guns, including background checks, that it is hard to understand why any more are needed. Guns will always fall into the wrong hands, and criminals are not going to be governed by any of the gun laws. The gun laws have but one purpose: to discourage honest citizens from purchasing and owning firearms. No amount of laws will ever prevent someone intent on getting a gun from doing so.” — Dick Boland, nationally syndicated columnist

posted by retrophisch at 02:01 AM in liberty , quote
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October 19, 2002

No more AOL CDs campaign

Jim McKenna and John Lieberman have begun a campaign to send back 1 million CDs to snail mail spammer AOL. Just send Jim and John any AOL CDs you have received (yes, at your own expense), and when they collect 1 million of them, they plan to drive to AOL headquarters and dump the load at the front door.

AOL is not the only ISP that engages in this practice — AT&T and Earthlink are guilty, as well as others — but AOL is by far the worst abuser. Most people who receive the AOL CDs in the mail, or in a magazine, just toss them. The campaign is to simply ask AOL to stop sending out unsolicited CDs and contributing to more waste in landfills. Address info is at the aforementioned site.

posted by retrophisch at 02:06 PM in web/site
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October 18, 2002

Biggest LEGO set ever

Thirty-eight inches long. Twenty-four inches wide. Over 3,100 pieces. Twelve-hour minimum build time. I must have one. Perhaps someone will buy it for me for my birthday or Christmas?

posted by retrophisch at 07:35 PM in fun
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October 17, 2002

More on the fake Microsoft switcher

John Gruber has uncovered the lies Microsoft is putting forth to cover its previous lie of a Mac user switching to Windows XP.

What’s so hysterical is not that the fake switcher was outed as a publicist working for a Microsoft-hired PR firm, but that she was exposed through examination of a Word document, posted on the original Microsoft switcher page. Yes, “Microsoftís own crappy file format” is responsible for their being caught in a lie to cover the previous lie. As John says, “Everyone loves a story about people fishing personal data out of Microsoftís own Word files.” And yet another reason to not use Word for your own, or your company’s, word processing usage. There are alternatives, people. . .

posted by retrophisch at 01:58 PM in mac
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800MHz Cube upgrade

Bill Fox of Macs Only! has concluded testing of the PowerLogix PowerForce G4 Series 100 800MHz upgrade card in his Power Mac G4 Cube, and has posted a full review.

posted by retrophisch at 01:24 PM in mac
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Worth repeating

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpentry shop until he was thirty, and then for three years he was an itinerant preacher.

When the tide of popular opinion turned against him, his friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies. He was tried and convicted. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave.

He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never went to college. He never travelled more than two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompanies greatness.

Yet all the armies that ever marched, and all the governments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, have not affected life upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life.

-Author Unknown-

And He rose again on the third day, conquering Death, Hell, and the Grave, so that we all may live forever in His kingdom, if we only put our trust in Him. (Philippians 2:5-11)

posted by retrophisch at 01:00 PM in god
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October 16, 2002

Yes, Virginia, lie detectors are fallible

“After 19 months of study, experts convened by the National Research Council, an arm of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, concluded that ‘national security is too important to be left to such a blunt instrument,’ and noted pointedly that ‘no spy has ever been caught [by] using the polygraph.’”

You can read more in William Safire’s outstanding editorial. (free registration required)

posted by retrophisch at 09:21 AM in liberty
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October 15, 2002

Microsoft switcher lies

Apple comes out with a kick-butt ad campaign called Switch, an ad campaign that utilizes real people who have switched from Windoze-running PCs to Macintosh.

Microsoft sees said ad campaign, notices that Apple keeps bringing out more and more people to appear in its tv ads. So what does Microsoft do?

It comes out with its own switcher story. Hmm, nothing at that link, eh? That’s because since it was exposed as a load of hooey, Microsoft took the page down. Fortunately, for us, Google has it cached, and just in case, here’s a screenshot; and the HTML source. See the nice lady who claims to be a writer that switched from Mac to Windows XP? She’s a model from a stock art collection. Notice on the Microsoft switch page, there is no name for this fictitious writer, either. Note on Apple’s Switch page that there’s a name for every face, and they are all real people. Where are Microsoft’s real people?

I’m not saying that people have not switched from the Mac to Windoze; I’m just saying that apparently none of them want to admit it.

posted by retrophisch at 09:46 PM in mac
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October 14, 2002

English, the de facto official language

“If I were Hispanic, I would be ashamed that so many American institutions take it for granted that people like me can’t understand English. I would notice that there were never any telephone prompts or hyperlinks for Italian or Hindi or Japanese. I would realize that no one assumes that German-, Arab-, or Vietnamese-Americans are unable to communicate in English.

“I don’t know which would depress me more: the knowledge that my fellow citizens feel obliged to condescend to Hispanics or my sense that so many Hispanics prefer it that way…. I am the son of a Jewish refugee from Czechoslovakia who immigrated to America in 1948. … My father was forced to learn English; it was the prerequisite to American life…. Not learning English was not an option. My father had to acquire the common American tongue. His life has been better for it.” —Jeff Jacob

Living in Texas, where too much of this sort of thing goes on, I have to say amen, and amen! Lefty multiculturalists love to remind us that the United States is a melting pot of different cultures and that we should respect all for our diversity. What these historically-ignorant windbags fail to grasp, however, is that for us to be Americans, we have to have a common identity. That identity incorporates the diversity we all bring to the pot, yet is distinct from them all.

Part of that distinction is our language. Like it or not, English has been the dominant language throughout the United States since the mid 1800s. It is the de facto official language of this country, even if there is no law stating as such (and there should be).

By all means, speak Spanish, German, Russian, whatever, amongst yourselves and in your homes. Hold on to and cherish your heritage, but integrate your heritage with that of America itself. Be prepared to interact with the rest of us in English, the tongue of Americans.

posted by retrophisch at 04:31 PM in liberty
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Congresscritters, it wasn’t supposed to be a career!

“Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens.” —George Mason

posted by retrophisch at 04:13 PM in liberty , quote
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Perpetual Bubble wrap

Are you one of those people that loves to annoy others by popping bubble wrap? Me, too. Now you can pop the bubble wrap that always comes back for more popping action! (Thanks, Brian!)

posted by retrophisch at 03:26 PM in fun
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PGP 8.0 Public Beta

Earlier this year, the email encryption system known as Pretty Good Privacy was rescued from the nincompoops at Network Associates, and will soon be available from the PGP corporation.

The best news is that we will finally have an OS X-native version. You can try it out now through PGP’s public beta program. Highlights include: Full support for Mac OS X 10.2; full PGP Disk interoperability with PGP Disks created by all prior PGP Disk products for Mac OS, as well as with PGP Disks created with PGP Disk for Windows 7.0 and later; AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) support in PGP Disk; significantly expanded Unicode support; built-in support for Apple Mail and Microsoft Entourage X; PGP encryption and digital signature features are accessible as a Mac OS X service from Cocoa applications and Carbon applications that support services; PGP features are also accessible from the PGP’s Dock menu, providing a second ubiquitous method for accessing PGP.

This may actually get me back into the crypto game. You may very well have to finger me for my public key soon!

posted by retrophisch at 09:30 AM in liberty
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Why we need a college football playoff system

Can someone please explain to me why the Miami Hurricanes continue to be voted the #1 college football team in the country? I mean, look at these football powerhouses that Miami plays: Florida A&M, Temple, Connecticut, Rutgers, and Syracuse (sorry, Jim). They may play two or three good teams a year, and this is worthy of a national championship?

We are in desperate need of a playoff system for college football to determine a true national champion. We do it for every other major sport: the College World Series, the Final Four for basketball, and the Frozen Four for hockey. Why can we not do this for football?

The system is already in place with the various bowl games we have at the end of the year. You rotate the championship game from bowl to bowl like the BCS does now, and the other bowl games are part of the playoff system. I guess it’s the simple, common sense things that elude us sometimes.

posted by retrophisch at 12:59 AM in fun
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October 13, 2002

FireWire film scanner

SmartDisk has announced two new film scanners, one of which, the SmartScan 3600, is FireWire based. Now I have something else to add to my wish list as I get more into digital photography.

posted by retrophisch at 03:39 PM in mac
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October 10, 2002

retrophisch.com v1.0

One door closes, another opens. Welcome to my weblog, or blog, retrophisch!

Further blogging at digitalpembroke.com is now suspended. That site will be undergoing extensive redesign and reorganization, and will essentially be used for non-blogging purposes. So from now on, stop by retrophisch.com for the blogging goodness you’ve come to know and love!

posted by retrophisch at 02:33 PM in web/site
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