March 31, 2003

SmartyPants 1.2.2

I know I’m half a month late in noting this, but Gruber confesses to why such a quick update to the 1.2.1 release of SmartyPants was necessary:

See, back in 1998 I became the owner of a South American woolly monkey, whom I named Paco, with the intention of training him to assist in my freelance graphic design work. Everyone told me this was a terrible idea, that it would not work, that at the very least I would need a chimpanzee or orangutan, that a mere monkey would never be able to do graphic design.

I was unswayed. Do you know how much food chimpanzees and orangutans eat? And for chrissakes, an orangutan can beat you up — I’ve seen those Clint Eastwood movies, those [BLEEP]ers can pack a punch. I do not need to be coldcocked by my lower-primate assistant. What I wanted was a monkey, a loyal friend who, when otherwise unoccupied, could sit on my shoulder and pick crumbs out of my hair.

posted by retrophisch at 03:52 PM in tech , web/site
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Gruber interviews Simmons

John Gruber recently interviewed Brent Simmons, creator of NetNewsWire. “Interview” might be stretching it a tad; it comes off more like the two of them are yakking over a cup of coffee. Great stuff here.

I worked on the Windows version also. I wrote a fair amount of Windows-specific code, even. And I learned that I don’t really like developing for Windows very much.

I suspect that many Mac users are like me, that they’re driven in part by aesthetics. And they want to use software written by people who are driven by aesthetics. Windows is not aesthetic.

posted by retrophisch at 02:26 PM in mac
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March 29, 2003

Switch of a different sort

So today I completed a switch of my calendar and contact information from Palm Desktop to OS X’s Address Book and iCal. After getting everything kosher in iSync, my Palm m505 is now syncing happily with Address Book and iCal. The only thing I’m still using Palm Desktop for is the Memo Pad feature for my various lists and notes. If anyone knows of a sync-able alternative, I’m all ears.

Why the switch? Well, I just acquired a Newton 2100 (thanks again, Damien!), and there are methods for getting it to sync with that info. I also plan to get a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone in June, when our current contract is up, and would like to be able to sync all of my info with that as well.

posted by retrophisch at 11:54 PM in mac
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March 27, 2003

Earthquakes rocking France

WBAP is reporting this morning:

Earthquakes are being reported in France in over 10 different major areas. These earthquakes are measuring in at over 10 on the Richter Scale.

The source of the earthquakes is being reported as the 56,681 dead Americans buried in France have rolled over in their graves.

  • 26,255 American soldiers from WWI are buried in 4 different cemeteries in France.
  • 30,426 American soldiers from WWII are buried in 10 different cemeteries in France.
  • Total: 56,681 American soldiers (most were under the age of 21) died while liberating France from their oppressors in two different World Wars.

(Thanks, Brian)

Is it too much to ask, then, that France return the favor in liberating Iraq?

posted by retrophisch at 10:19 AM in liberty
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LSU alumni in Afghanistan

Speaking of the Fighting Tigers, several of the 500 members of the Louisiana Army National Guard’s 769th Engineer Battalion are LSU students and alumni. The 769th was deployed to Afghanistan over the summer and fall of 2002.

LSU alumni in Afghanistan

Thanks to the members of the 769th for their service, and Geaux Tigers!

posted by retrophisch at 10:06 AM in liberty
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Brent’s Birthday

Jon notes that yesterday was Brent Simmons’ birthday, so I’d like to express my best wishes to him as well. NetNewsWire absolutely rocks, I’m becoming a big fan of TigerLaunch (doesn’t hurt its popularity with me that I went to LSU, either), and look forward to trying out Huevos.

posted by retrophisch at 09:44 AM in fun , mac
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March 26, 2003

Macworld Expo no more?

Well, there won’t be an expo this summer in New York called “Macworld Expo.” Instead, IDG and Apple today announced CREATE. Not that I’m likely to go, even if I’m still employed with VZ…

(via Ric)

posted by retrophisch at 04:36 PM in mac
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Why you want to buy the extended warranty

Why you want the extended warranty

posted by retrophisch at 03:11 PM in fun
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The Great California Gray-Out underway

Doubtful that it will actually happen, but the California Secretary of State has cleared the way for a recall of Governor Gray Davis. Best of luck to the recall advocates.

(via Molly)

posted by retrophisch at 01:34 PM in liberty
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Resuming the Safari

So since the weekend, Safari has been giving me major headaches. It seemed to particularly dislike my using Movable Type, and viewing slide shows on anyone’s .Mac homepage. It would crash violently, occasionally taking into oblivion the post I had just completed typing. Said crashes were all dutifully reported to Apple via the Bug button in Safari’s button bar.

It was getting incredibly annoying yesterday afternoon, however, so I took action. First, I manually killed the entire Safari cache folder; using the Empty Cache command just wasn’t cutting it. Next, it was to the preferences file, which was swiftly introduced to the Trash. And just for good measure, I restarted the TiBook.

I should say that I’m not too surprised that the corrupted preferences was obviously contributing to the problem. Ever since the last public beta version of Safari (v60), I’ve used the leaked 62, 64, and now 67 revs. I’m sure something floopy worked its way in at some point.

At any rate, after thorough usage last night and so far today, things seem to be back to normal. I’ve gone in and killed the metal appearance, so that Safari looks like a normal OS X app, with no apparent side effects yet.

posted by retrophisch at 12:05 PM in mac
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Moore Lies

So, by the Academy’s own definition, Bowling for Colombine isn’t a documentary. Yet it is nominated, and wins, an Academy Award. Ok, fine, the “documentary” supposedly supports a political opinion of a majority of Academy members, so we’ll just overlook that.

And while frustrating, if that was the only problem, it wouldn’t be that big a deal. Unfortunately, the film is a complete falsehood that distorts the truth, fabricates material, and outright lies to the audience.

What is mildly amusing is that while many anti-gun groups are congratulating Moore on his Oscar win, the conclusion of the film determines that the problem isn’t with guns, but people. Gee, you think?

posted by retrophisch at 10:02 AM in liberty
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March 25, 2003

Anarchists and Traitors, Unite!

I believe these pictures, provided by the ultra-left-leaning, obviously anti-law enforcement, SF Indymedia branch, are sufficient to show that the anti-war protesters are interested in anything but peace.

Your right to protest stops at advocating murder/desertion/treason. And if you truly believed in what you were out advocating, why are you hiding behind masks and bandanas?


posted by retrophisch at 04:48 PM in liberty
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Can you hear me NOW?

I’ve received enough copies of the Bush/Saddam Verizon Wireless spoof graphic. You can stop now. Thanks.

posted by retrophisch at 02:11 PM in fun
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One more on Jury Duty

Something I forgot to note in the previous jury duty posts, but I thought worth mentioning: the judge overseeing the case we sat for, Joe Briggs, sent a handwritten thank-you note to each juror. I’m not sure if that’s Denton County policy, or simply Judge Briggs’s, but I thought it a nice touch.

posted by retrophisch at 11:32 AM in liberty
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Dark Side Switch

The Lords of the Sith are ripping off Apple with their own commercials.

(Note: Ricky’s warned me that the rest of isn’t work/family-friendly, so be advised. Flash required.)

posted by retrophisch at 08:27 AM in fun
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March 24, 2003

Jury Duty V

Just to wrap up the “Jury Duty” saga: we concluded the trial this past Thursday, deliberating for about 10 minutes, and we found the defendant not guilty.

Essentially, it sounds like a case of road rage that could have gone just as much to the “victim” as the defendant. All of us on the jury suspect there is more to both sides of the story than what we were told via testimony. The behavior of the defendant described by the “victim” was not in line with the defendant’s demeanor when he was stopped and questioned by police officers, two of whom testified at trial. The defendant was also not arrested at the time of said stop, which goes a long way toward his not being the immediate threat the “victim” made him out to be. He was actually called a day later by a detective and was asked to turn himself in, which he did.

For us, the state didn’t provide enough evidence to remove reasonable doubt, and thus, we had to acquit. It was one man’s word against another, with no other evidence to support the charge. I feel justice prevailed.

posted by retrophisch at 11:23 AM in liberty
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Now this is something I could have used last year, when I lost pictures of my grandmother’s visit to Dallas.

posted by retrophisch at 10:51 AM in mac , tech
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March 22, 2003

Quote of the moment

“Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.” —Winston Churchill

posted by retrophisch at 04:19 PM in quote
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March 21, 2003

WiFi in rural Iowa

Rod Keller documents the external expansion of his home LAN via WiFi. Very cool.

(Thanks, Ric)

posted by retrophisch at 04:35 PM in mac , tech
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Thanks to Jeremy Hedley, I’ve discovered, a faster means of mounting disk images than using Disk Copy. Just as Michael’s DropDMG is easier and faster than Disk Copy for making images, is faster at mounting them in the Finder. Just goes to prove the adage that not everything that comes with the OS is the best.

posted by retrophisch at 04:13 PM in mac
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Say Thanks

Whether or not you are in favor of the war with the Hussein regime, at least say thank you to the troops who are there in your place: Defend America Thank You.

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” —Thomas Paine
posted by retrophisch at 12:00 PM in liberty
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The American Flag

“This flag…the symbol of the hopes of man. This cloth of dreams for freedom, justice and opportunity. Its stars like beacons guiding us through shoals of adversity. Its red stripes like wounds of struggle.

“The good in it cannot be had for nothing…like any garden, it must be tended…like any loved one it must be held. Hold high this flag and keep its promise bright, for in it lies the best of hope for all of us.” —Mort Walker, Beetle Bailey creator

(Thanks, Carrie.)

posted by retrophisch at 08:59 AM in liberty , quote
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March 19, 2003

It has begun

Bombs over Baghdad tonight (tomorrow morning in Iraq). Apparently, intelligence on targets of opportunity was such that cruise missiles and F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters were launched at limited targets of Iraqi leadership.

Apparently, the U.S. military has jammed and co-opted Iraqi State Radio, and is now making statements in Arabic to the people of Iraq.

posted by retrophisch at 09:30 PM in liberty
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First firefight of the Iraq War?

London’s Evening Standard is reporting on a firefight that broke out between Iraqi forces in Basra and members of the British Special Boat Service (think SEALs) and U.S. Marines.

Thanks to Dan for the link.

posted by retrophisch at 04:34 PM in liberty
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March 18, 2003

A barber shop

A barber shop. That’s what I want. Not a salon. Not another Supercuts, Great Clips, Sports Clips, or any other generic salon-style chain that have all but killed the Great American Barber Shop. I’m tired of salons. I’m tired of Great Clips, Sports Clips, Supercuts, et al. Salons are for the ladies. Men don’t see stylists; we see barbers.

I want real barber chairs, hot shaving foam, straight razors. The operation overseen by a cast of crusty old SOBs who know how to talk sports, politics, hunting, fishing, power tools, cars; you know, guy stuff.

Call the chamber of commerce, suggests my spouse. Ask them if they know of any in the town. Well, what do you know? :)

Just opened this past October, the Back In Time Antique Barber Shop is what I’ve been looking for. The staff isn’t old, or crusty, and I’ve only been there once, so I can’t speak much as to if they are SOBs. But we talked March Madness and hockey. Complimentary sodas. Complimentary snacks & candy. Antique furniture, especially of the barber-shop variety. They have an old cash register that would take at least two guys to carry out the door, more likely three — if it wasn’t bolted to an antique cabinet. An old shoeshine stand stands guard by front door, which is flanked by barber poles.

Oh, right — the haircut. Aces. I got a great haircut in the kind of atmosphere I grew up with. I will definitely be seeing Steve, Fred, Ace, and Jimmie Z again.

posted by retrophisch at 09:35 PM in rant
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Jury Duty IV

Trial was going pretty good this morning. Got through 4 witnesses, then the defendant had some kind of seizure (I think maybe diabetic/blood sugar), and court was recessed until 9 AM Thursday. So I get to “enjoy” a day at work tomorrow!

posted by retrophisch at 05:36 PM in liberty
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Beleaguered Gateway closing stores, reducing work force

I figured it was high time that a computer manufacturer other than Apple had the word “beleaguered” in a headline or story about them. According to a c|net story, Gateway is closing 76 stores and laying off 17 percent of its work force. If this were Apple, stories and editorials on the company’s imminent demise would be rampant.

Maybe if Ted Waitt stopped talking to cows, people would take his company more seriously.

posted by retrophisch at 07:39 AM in tech
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Jury Duty III

I made the cut; I’m one of the six jurors for this misdemeanor trial starting later this morning. The defendant is charged with Deadly Conduct. From what I gathered during voir dire, it sounds like he was either waving around or pointing a handgun at another man. Should be interesting.

posted by retrophisch at 07:29 AM in liberty
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March 17, 2003

Jury Duty II

So I reported for jury duty this morning, fully expecting to sit around all day while they waded through the list. This based on horror stories of jury duty from friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

Denton County, thankfully, does things a little differently than our Dallas brethren. About 250 prospective jurors showed up this morning. After being sworn in by one of the judges and being given a rundown on qualifications and exemptions, the district clerk informed us that the courts needed 232 jurors to fill all of its panels today. That meant 18 lucky folks were walking out of there. I was not one of those 18.

The first case was a felony, and they needed 42 people from the panel, of which the attorneys on either side would whittle down to 12. These first 42 totally lucked out, since as the clerk was getting ready to call their names, she received word the trial had been cancelled/postponed. The next 2 sets of jurors were also for felonies, 42 each. Then came a set of 24 for a misdemeanor trial. Then a set of 20 for another misdemeanor. The room was thinning out; were the odds of getting called getting better or worse? (Didn’t really matter; computer system had kicked out the various lists, completely at random, minutes before, after all jurors had reported in.)

On the 3d misdemeanor trial, my name was called. The good news was that I didn’t have to report to the courtroom until 1pm. Not enough time to go in to the office for a bit, too much time to hang around the courthouse. So I came home for a while. I’ll head back about noon, 1 out of 24, and they’ll take 6 of us.

I don’t really mind one way or the other. Thankfully, my employer pays me if I’m at work or jury duty, and I donated my $6/$10 a day ($10 if you actually sit on a jury, otherwise $6 for reporting for service) to the Boys & Girls Club of Denton County. It’s a misdemeanor trial, which means it shouldn’t go more than a day or two. Should be interesting to see what happens later this afternoon.

posted by retrophisch at 11:07 AM in liberty
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Jury Duty

So later this morning I’ll be heading out to report for jury duty. Like most folks, it’s not something I’m looking forward to, but it’s one of our duties as citizens, and one I take seriously. So much so that I test drove the route earlier tonight, to ensure that I would arrive on time. Hey, if I were a defendant awaiting trial, I’d want people who took it seriously in the jury pool, too, even if they didn’t really want to be there.

posted by retrophisch at 12:07 AM in liberty
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March 14, 2003

Extremely useful iTunes AppleScripts

MacMinute is reporting on a set of three AppleScripts for iTunes released by Trinfinity Software. I’ve downloaded them, used them, and am grateful. Thanks to the folks at Trinfinity.

posted by retrophisch at 12:23 PM in mac
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Happy Birthday, Eric!

Belated birthday wishes to friend and fellow ATPM staffer, Eric Blair. So what, you’re old enough to buy beer now, right? ;^)

Hope you had a great one, amigo!

posted by retrophisch at 11:10 AM in fun
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March 13, 2003

Even the French aren’t this bad

This is just disgraceful. Utterly disgraceful.

Get it through your neanderthal-thick skulls, slugheads: men and women in uniform do not decide whether to go to war or not. They follow orders given by civilian commanders to do so. Focus your anger where it belongs, and respect those who serve in your place.

posted by retrophisch at 02:49 PM in liberty
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Mediated persona

Gibson ruminates on how everyone now can have their own mediated persona, thanks to the meme of the weblog.

posted by retrophisch at 01:17 PM in web/site
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Font fix

Thanks to Mark Newhouse’s article on Unix fonts, I was inspired to revisit the fonts called for in the site’s CSS style sheet. Now, OS X users should be greeted by Lucida Grande at 11 px for for the main text font. All others will see Verdana, Geneva, Lucida, Helvetica, or Arial, in that order. Lucida is really there for any Unix readers that may happen by (say hello in the comments!). If you’re a Windoze user, and all you’re getting is Arial, then reinstall IE to see about getting Verdana loaded; it’s a much, much, much better screen font than Arial, and I’m not just saying that because my site looks better in it. Others will as well.

posted by retrophisch at 09:04 AM in web/site
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March 12, 2003

Walk away!

Charles Krauthammer delivers good advice to President Bush:

Walk away, Mr. President. Walk away from the U.N. Security Council. It will not authorize the coming war. You can stand on your head and it won’t change the outcome. You can convert to Islam in a Parisian mosque and it won’t prevent a French veto.


If you must have a second resolution, it should consist of a single sentence: “The Security Council finds Iraq in violation of Resolution 1441, which demanded ‘full and immediate compliance by Iraq without conditions or restrictions.’ “


If the one-line resolution passes, the violation triggers 1441, which triggers the original resolutions ending the Gulf War. If it fails, you’ve exposed the United Nations for what it is: the League of Nations, empty, cynical and mendacious. Mr. President: Call the vote and walk away.

Like Krauthammer says, no more dithering. Actions speak louder than words, and the UN isn’t delivering anything but empty pronouncements.

(Thanks, Rick.)

posted by retrophisch at 04:31 PM in liberty
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What are they thinking?

Mars bar, meet Snickers Almond. Snickers Almond, the Mars bar.

Why would a company create a product that not only competes directly with one of its other products, but is nearly indistinguishable from its established product? Or is the Mars bar going to get the boot?

posted by retrophisch at 03:57 PM in fun
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Blaser LRS2

From the Reach Out And Touch Someone Department:

One of the things that brought on the previous post was the review Guns Magazine did of the SIGARMS-imported Blaser R93 LRS2 tactical rifle. I had hoped to post a link to the review, but alas, it is not the feature of the month for the February 2003 issue. (FYI, it’s pronounced “blah’zer.”)

In some respects the LRS2 is your typical tactical precision rifle, with the usual accoutrements: a heavy, free-floated, fluted barrel; rear adjustable spacers to alter stock length; one-piece stock; and a fully-adjustable trigger, so you can adjust the length of trigger pull.

The LRS2 also features a novel action that sets it apart from nearly all other rifles: a manually-operated straight pull bolt. For the uninitated, on your average bolt-action rifle, after a shot has been fired, to eject the spent casing and chamber the next round, you must rotate the bolt as you pull it back. The LRS2 eliminates this need, speeding up the time to get back on target. Very nice. To quote reviewer Charles Cutshaw: “The smoothness and ease of operation of the R93’s straight pull bolt action defies description.”

Of course, priced in the $2K range, the R93 LRS2 is out of range (again, no pun intended) for most shooters. Like most things in life, though, you get what you pay for.

posted by retrophisch at 02:30 PM in firearms
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Firearms ‘zines need to increase online presence

Something I’ve noticed from the various firearms magazines I read: their online presences suck. The various publications from Harris, for instance, only show the latest cover and table of contents, and a link to subscribe. No links to articles listed in the TOC. Nope, nothing from that issue available online. Guns Magazine fares only slightly better, giving you the feature story from each month to read. Whoever is uploading the accompanying pictures for those features needs to be fired (no pun intended); they are abhorrent. Granted, nothing would compare with the high-resolution glossies in the paper mag, but these are ridiculous.

Come on, guys, get it together. I can sort of understand not putting up anything from the current month’s magazine; you don’t want to gut your off-the-shelf sales. At the very least you should be uploading all of your back issues, with all of the articles and columns, not just the monthly “feature.” If you want to charge a nominal subscription fee, a la Consumer Reports, Playboy, et al, then go for it, but give us a chance at more content than a solitary article and a cover picture.

posted by retrophisch at 12:26 PM in firearms , rant
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The Unix Guru’s Guide to Sex

% unzip
% strip
% touch
% grep
% finger
% mount
% fsck
% more
% yes
% umount
% sleep

I IM’ed my wife this with the qualifier that it came from Jim and that, yes, we’re total nerds. She heartily agreed.

posted by retrophisch at 11:15 AM in fun
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Done right, indeed

Coming in under the radar Monday was this report that the United Nations has redesigned its logo and has a new motto.

(Thanks, Michael)

posted by retrophisch at 08:33 AM in liberty
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March 11, 2003

Open, open, open…

“Training In Progress” cries the banner outside the new Grapevine location of P.F. Chang’s. Two minutes from the office, about 15 minutes from the house. No more half-hour-minimum drives for our favorite Chinese bistro! Chicken lettuce wraps! Chang’s Spicy Chicken! Mongolian Beef! Yum!

posted by retrophisch at 02:09 PM in fun
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Freedom Fries: It’s Official

Even members of Congress are beginning to call them “freedom fries,” and even “freedom toast.” (Yes, I know French fries aren’t really French.)

Thanks, Rick!

posted by retrophisch at 01:24 PM in liberty
permalink | comments (1)

Large Silent Sinister Menacing Floating Presence

Thanks to Gary and Chuq, I blew water out my nose when reading this. Highly entertaining.

posted by retrophisch at 12:21 PM in fun
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Robinson: NYT op-ed “stupid”

You can always count on programmers to be logical. (Well, good ones, anway.) Gary Robinson sallies forth:

Saddam is today in a position where he is very, very likely to be attacked, and he is still not giving inspectors the facts. If he is not doing so now, the trivial added circumstance of the U.S. having the Security Council’s permission is obviously not going to make a significant difference to Iraq’s choices.

(via Michael)

posted by retrophisch at 12:16 PM in liberty
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Hilton, Borders, & McDonald’s go WiFi

MacMinute notes a c|net report that Hilton Hotels, Borders Books & Music, and McDonald’s are partnering with Intel to deliver WiFi (802.11b) wireless network access in various hotels and stores around the country.

Though I’m sure they’ll try to charge separately for something they should simply build in to their costs, the latter of which would help attract consumers, the only mention of pricing thus far is from McDonald’s: one hour of free access when you purchase a combo meal.

posted by retrophisch at 12:02 PM in tech
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One of my favorite pieces of software has been updated. WeatherPop has been revved to version 1.7. The Advance version is only $8 and gets you:

  • National Weather Service forecasts for the United States
  • and forecasts for US and International users
  • 3 to 5 day forecasts depending on your location
  • Beautiful color icons and realistic moon phases
  • Up to 3 favorite locations in addition to the your main location
  • The best darn easy-to-use Mac OS X-savvy interface they could design
  • 14-day trial period so you can decide if you like it before you buy

I refer to it often throughout the day, checking out other locales where I have friends and family as well. Great piece of software, so download it, register it, and support a Macintosh developer.

posted by retrophisch at 11:52 AM in mac
permalink | comments (1)

March 10, 2003

Safari’s wrong typography

John Gruber makes an outstanding case for one of the few things I don’t like about Safari.

One thing that Safari has gotten wrong ever since it debuted is that it applies anti-aliasing to all typefaces, including small monospaced fonts such as 9- and 10-point Monaco.

Yes, yes, the Mac OS X zeitgeist is such that anti-aliasing is everywhere. But small-point monospaced fonts are the exception to the rule, for good reason. Monospaced typefaces are an anachronism, a throw-back to the typewriter era. They are, for most purposes, ugly; their metrics contradict the basic precepts of proper typesetting. With regular (non-monospaced) fonts, small punctuation marks such as commas and apostrophes fit snugly next to adjacent alphabetic characters; punctuation is intended to be subtle. But with a monospaced font, every character consumes the same amount of horizontal space on the line; it’s downright silly that an apostrophe should consume the same space as an “m.”

Downright silly, perhaps, but I find a certain elegance in monospaced fonts. After all, look at my logo and tagline!

I differ with Gruber only in his observation of Geneva in Camino versus Safari: I think Geneva looks better in Safari, though, I admit, at the same point size, it is slightly less readable than in Camino.

posted by retrophisch at 03:44 PM in mac
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I’m finding more and more stuff that makes me antsy for my forthcoming MessagePad 2100…

posted by retrophisch at 03:34 PM in mac
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Stars make trades

One day before the NHL’s trading deadline, the Stars make some moves to set themselves up for their run for the Stanley Cup. Currently second overall, Dallas traded big Sami Helenius (and “future considerations”) to Chicago for playoff-experienced Lyle Odelein. Prospect Mike Ryan and a 2d-round draft pick go to Buffalo in exchange for Stu Barnes.

Brian and I agree that the Stu Barnes trade is a good one, and the gritty forward will help fill the gap left by an injured Bill Guerin, as well as add depth to Dallas’ lines. We’re a little torn over the defensive trade, as we’re both big Sami fans. He has a great presence on the ice, and it’s unfortunate that the Stars will have to face off against him in the future. On the plus side, there is young John Erskine waiting in the wings. Erskine exhibits very Hatcher-esque qualities, qualities that have made the Stars’ captain one of the top defensemen in the league. Erskine has been up from the minors a few times over the past two years, mostly to fill in during injuries to starting defensemen, and has shown he is a force to be reckoned with.

So, nothing huge in the way of trades, but that’s not surprising when it comes to the Stars. They pretty much have had all the major pieces they need for a playoff run, and just needed to fill in some gaps. Go Stars!

posted by retrophisch at 02:46 PM in hockey
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My new favorite n3rd reports that his mobile phone weblog has a new and permanent home:

Jon also shares this insight on the T68i, which is fast becoming my next mobile of choice!

posted by retrophisch at 11:47 AM in tech
permalink | comments (3)

Iraqi soldiers already surrendering

Sent to me by Michael and noted by Jon, the UK’s Sunday Mirror is reporting that Iraqi soldiers have already begun to surrender:

Terrified Iraqi soldiers have crossed the Kuwait border and tried to surrender to British forces — because they thought the war had already started.
The stunned Paras from 16 Air Assault Brigade were forced to tell the Iraqis they were not firing at them, and ordered them back to their home country telling them it was too early to surrender.

It’s both funny and sad. I hope these guys do the sensible thing when the shooting really does start; Saddam’s not worth dying for.

posted by retrophisch at 11:39 AM in liberty
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Does it come in desert camou?

Lee notes a Wired story on a lone PowerBook user in the Third Infantry Division, currently operating out of Kuwait.

As someone who almost became one of those military officers, I must take exception with Lee’s “smarter-than-the-average-automaton” crack observation. Despite how they may be portrayed from the Hollywonk perspective, by and large your average military officer is a highly dedicated, smarter-than-the-average-citizen, master’s degree-holding professional who does what he does out of love for his country. Because even the officers aren’t getting a whole of lot of kit in their kaboodle when it comes to pay.

As far as computing choices go within the military, those front-liners have about as much say in the matter as your average Fortune 500 cubicle dweller does within their corporation. Kudos to Major Weed for getting the TiBook cleared through channels.

posted by retrophisch at 10:58 AM in mac
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March 09, 2003

Tax Cuts Lessons II

Twenty thousand people go to a baseball game, but the game was rained out. A refund was then due. The team was about to mail refunds when the Congressional Democrats stopped them and suggested that they send out refund amounts based on the Democrat National Committee’s interpretation of fairness. After all, if the refunds were made based on the price each person paid for the tickets, most of the money would go to the wealthiest ticket holders. That would be unconscionable. The DNC Plan says:

1. People in the $10 seats will get back $15, because they have less money to spend. Call it an “Earned Income Ticket Credit.” Persons “earn” it by demonstrating little ambition, few skills and poor work habits, thus keeping them at entry-level wages.

2. People in the $25 seats will get back $25, because that’s only fair.

3. People in the $50 seats will get back $1, because they already make a lot of money and don’t need a refund. If they afford a $50 ticket, then they must not be paying enough taxes.

4. People in the $75 luxury seats will have to pay another $50, because they have way to much to spend.

5. The people driving by the stadium who couldn’t afford to watch the game will get $10 each, even though they didn’t pay anything in, because they need the most help.

Now do you understand? If not, contact Representative Nancy Pelosi or Senator Tom Daschle for assistance.

posted by retrophisch at 04:35 PM in liberty
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March 07, 2003

Safari v64

Yes, another leaked beta version of Safari. Yes, I have a copy. No, I’m not posting it for widespread dissemination; my site runs via Darwin/Apache on a iBook/300 that sits on an AT&T cable connection. Can you say “easy to overload?” Go here.

Jon has posted a quick rundown with screenshots over at MacMerc. Be sure to read the comments; interesting things are afoot.

posted by retrophisch at 02:28 PM in mac
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Quote of the moment

“Whatever enables us to go to war, secures our peace.” —Thomas Jefferson

posted by retrophisch at 01:55 PM in liberty , quote
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Honey, can you take the AmEx out of the freezer?

The March 3 issue of Business Week features a blurb regarding controlling your credit card usage. In the past, the solution to credit card overusage has been to cut up the card—which leaves you stuck in the event of an emergency. A tip from the book Good Advice for a Bad Economy suggests that you put your credit cards in a sandwich bag full of water, then stick the bag in the freezer.

This way, you have access to the cards in the even of an emergency, but “impulses must wait for the ice to thaw.”

posted by retrophisch at 10:40 AM in fun
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Camino 0.7

Hot on the heels of the official rename, the Camino crew has released an updated version of the in-beta browser. Highlights to this update include: a new Download Manager, compatibility with URL Manager Pro, global History in the sidebar, dragging of images and links to the desktop and other applications, support for Shockwave Directory content, the use of Rendezvous to show local FTP and web servers, and support for Proxy Auto-config.

posted by retrophisch at 09:12 AM in mac
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March 06, 2003

Re: Tonight’s Presidential press conference

I thought President Bush raised two very important points during the press conference regarding Saddam and the United Nations.

One, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441 calling for Saddam’s immediate and total disarmament. Has Saddam committed to this? The answer is no, end of story.

Two, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441. Why now are four members of the Security Council refusing to enforce disarmament of the Hussein regime? Can they honestly say that Saddam Hussein has abided by Resolution 1441? Can anyone?

Don’t think of starting with “look at the missiles he’s destroyed so far.” Nineteen missiles. Nineteen, out of of one hundred. Destruction which is nothing more than a delaying tactic. Destruction that would not be happening without the quarter of a million troops stationed around the borders of Iraq. Can you honestly tell me that the destruction of nineteen missiles is the result solely because of the presence of weapons inspectors? Puh-leeze.

posted by retrophisch at 08:22 PM in liberty
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For the millionth time…

You do not have a constitutional right to a job or free/cheap health care, and it is not the job of the federal, state, or local government to provide you with either.

So students protesting against the war may continue to do so, but please don’t make the above cases. The first and foremost duty of the federal government is the protection of our nation from enemies foreign and domestic. Taking out Saddam falls into this category.

Government doesn’t “create jobs,” a phrase I’m sick of hearing from the mouths of politicians, including our President (whom I support, in case you haven’t guessed). The only thing government can do is affect the economy in such a way that it is stimulated to the point that the private sector grows, leading to higher employment. One good way to do this is by lowering and eliminating taxes.

Lower tax revenue inevitably means government will have to look at the things it funds and make hard choices. Defense of our nation is not a hard choice; it is a vital responsibility and should be funded accordingly (Dan’s comment re: un-needed weapons systems notwithstanding). Things like Social Security, Medicare — including the President’s proposed prescription drug aid, the Dept. of Education, funding to the United Nations, the IMF, et al, should and could be eliminated.

None of the above programs has benefited the American citizenry in the long term. They have made us more dependent, individually, upon the federal government, and restricted our sovereignty as a nation. Our country will be better after we cast off these oppressive, and unconstitutional, items.

And for crying out loud, tax cuts do not cause deficits! Spending causes deficits!

posted by retrophisch at 08:02 PM in liberty
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Multipage-view Safari

I can’t wait to hear what Michael and Gruber have to say about this really good mock-up.

I’m torn on this idea. As presented, it takes up too much screen real estate. Okay, fine, but it’s like a drawer, you might say. It’s hidden, much like the Safari bookmarks are.

But that takes away the immediacy of getting to multiple sites, which you have with tabs. I know Michael is a little put off by the tab implementation seen in the leaked build of Safari, but to me, the tabs beat this approach. Controls appearance aside, tabbed browsing offers maximum screen real estate with immediate access to multiple pages. The drawer/hidden panel system doesn’t do that.

One poster in the thread mentioned on the mock-up page had a brilliant point: he would like to see the tab implementation extended. That is, make the tabs so they can be renamed, repositioned, and able to be hidden. I would like to see those. Another good idea from the board thread: booklists, i.e., you can bookmark an entire list of pages you have in your pane.

Again, for me, tabbed browsing is the best implementation thus far. It has room for improvement, but nothing right now beats it for real estate savings and immediate action. Flame on, boys!

(props to Michael S. for the link)

posted by retrophisch at 05:13 PM in mac
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March 05, 2003

Monopoly money coming to our shores

Yes, Virginia, beginning this fall, you can have your own wallet of rainbow-colored twenties

The new bills will be introduced on 27 March, and enter circulation in the fall.

(props to Jim)

posted by retrophisch at 05:02 PM in liberty
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Zero intelligence

A six-year-old boy has been suspended for having a plastic knife in his bookbag at school. A plastic knife he obtained in the school cafeteria. As the WSJ’s OpinionJournal states, “No doubt the Struthers [Elementary School] lunch lady will soon be indicted for arms trafficking.”

The six-year-old student wanted to take the plastic knife home to show his mom that he could butter his toast.

Donna Long, the boy’s mother, states that while she was essentially forced to sign a form that Kevin was “showing other students in class [the knife],” the principal never stated that this was the case. Ms. Long also wonders, if her first-grade son was such a threat, why the police weren’t notified.

School administrations need to wake up and smell the reality that not every student is a Colombine waiting to happen.

posted by retrophisch at 04:56 PM in liberty
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World’s Smallest Combination Lock

From the Your Tax Dollars At Work Department:

Sandia Labs had developed the world’s smallest combination lock, and hopes to have a commercial partner lined up for distribution within two years, after they have completed refinement and reliability testing. Each of the six gears is only 300 microns across, about as big as a period in standard newspaper text. The lock will be marketed at the computer industry.

(via Gibson via Sterling)

posted by retrophisch at 04:10 PM in tech
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Required Reading

Asked by Andrew Cuomo to pen an essay for a book on the future of the Democratic Party, Peggy Noonan, former Democrat, has delivered in spades.

This essay is utterly brilliant. I honestly hope the Demos take heed. Really.

I believe we need the Democratic Party to be better than it is, to spur the Republican Party to be better than it is, and vice versa. Kind of like how the computer industry needs Apple to be at the top of its game to push the rest of the industry forward.

Unfortunately, if the Demos are true to form, Noonan will be attacked by leftist whackos who are not interested in honest, constructive criticism.

(major kudos to Rick)

posted by retrophisch at 02:21 PM in liberty
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Yeah, we’re “rushing”

"The rush to war" editorial cartoon

(thanks, Brian)

posted by retrophisch at 10:25 AM in liberty
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Something rotten in the state of Japan?

Gibson offers a “readymade” novel to anyone willing, founded upon this news item from Tokyo.

posted by retrophisch at 09:40 AM in fun
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Tax Cuts - A Simple Lesson in Economics

It’s been floating around the ether for a while, but it bears repeating:

Let’s put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh $7.
The eighth $12.
The ninth $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20.”

So now dinner for the ten only cost $80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six, the paying customers? How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his “fair share?”

The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being “paid” to eat their meal. So the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. “I only got a dollar out of the $20,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth. “But he got $10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than me!”

“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!” The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore.

(with thanks to Ricky for the email)

posted by retrophisch at 09:38 AM in liberty
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March 04, 2003

Camino lives

It’s official:

03 March 2003: Due to circumstances beyond our control, the project [formerly known as Chimera] has been renamed Camino.

posted by retrophisch at 02:27 PM in mac
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MacMinute reports that Aspyr is going to bring the updated version of the arcade classic to the Mac! w00t!

I wasted many a quarter on the full-size, sit-in version of SpyHunter that dominated one side of the arcade at the LSU Student Union when I went to school there. I’m not much of a gamer, but this may be one I pick up.

posted by retrophisch at 02:15 PM in mac
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Apple to revolutionize the music biz?

If this story in the L.A. Times is to be believed, Apple is going to change the way Mac users buy music.

The new service was developed by Apple Computer Inc., sources said Monday, and offers users of Macintoshes and iPod portable music players many of the same capabilities that already are available from services previously endorsed by the labels. But the Apple offering won over music executives because it makes buying and downloading music as simple and non-technical as buying a book from

“This is exactly what the music industry has been waiting for,” said one person familiar with the negotiations between the Cupertino, Calif., computer maker and the labels. “It’s hip. It’s quick. It’s easy. If people on the Internet are actually interested in buying music, not just stealing it, this is the answer.”

That ease of use has music executives optimistic that the Apple service will be an effective antidote to surging piracy on the Internet, sources said.


Although no licensing deals have been announced, sources close to the situation say at least four of the five major record companies have committed their music to the Apple service. It could be launched next month.


An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the service Monday, as did representatives from the five major record corporations ? Sony Corp.’s Sony Music Entertainment, Vivendi Universal’s Universal Music Group, AOL Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Music Group, Bertelsmann’s BMG division and EMI Group.

The new service is so important to Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs that he personally demonstrated it to top executives at all five companies, sources said. More than a dozen music executives have visited Apple since last summer and came away enthusiastic.

The executives also like the massive marketing plan designed by Jobs to educate consumers about the service.


As a result, Mac users may find it easier to make unauthorized, free copies of songs through an online file-sharing service like LimeWire than to buy a copy through a label-sanctioned service. Apple hopes to change that situation with its new service, which is expected to be included in an updated edition of the iLife package of digital music, photo and movie software.

Sources said Apple will make the songs available for sale through a new version of iTunes, its software for managing music files on Macs. Users will be able to buy and download songs with a single click and transfer them automatically to any iPod they’ve registered with Apple.

Rather than make the songs available in the popular MP3 format, Apple plans to use a higher fidelity technology known as Advanced Audio Codec.

That approach allows the songs to be protected by electronic locks that prevent them from being played on more than one computer. Still, sources say, Apple wants to enable buyers to burn songs onto CDs. That feature would effectively remove the locks.

That’s been a sticking point for executives at Sony, sources said. The other four major record companies, however, appear ready to license their music to the new service.

No details were available on the price of the service, although one source said it would be competitive with other services in the market. Pressplay, for example, charges just under $10 a month for unlimited downloads, plus about $1 for each song that can be burned to CD or transferred to a portable device.

Yeah, so I pretty much give you most of the article. Saves you from the pain-in-the-butt registration the L.A.Times thinks it deserves from you. (via MacMinute)

posted by retrophisch at 02:09 PM in mac
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March 03, 2003

n3rd Cell Station

Jon Gales has spun off from his regular blog a new weblog devoted to mobile communication technology. Seeing as how I’m four months away from the end of my current mobile phone contract, this new site of his is of great interest to me…

posted by retrophisch at 04:48 PM in tech
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On passwords

Thanks to JG & Co. at MacMerc for the link to a CreativePro story on safe password creation and usage. Good stuff here. Read and implement. (This means you, sweetheart.)

posted by retrophisch at 04:16 PM in tech
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No more Caffeine

Caffeine Software has suspended operations. Bad news for users of TIFFany, Curator, and PixelNhance. While I personally haven’t used any of their products, this is bad news for the Mac world in general, as it means one less Mac developer. (via MacMinute)

posted by retrophisch at 03:09 PM in mac
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Delta guinea airline for new security

There aren’t many things that the ACLU and I agree on, but this is one of them. (via Xeni)

posted by retrophisch at 02:42 PM in liberty
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Fellow ATPM staffer Eric Blair is blogging at The jury is still out on what “raoli” means. :)

posted by retrophisch at 11:50 AM in web/site
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March 02, 2003

ATPM 9.03

The March issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now online. Yours truly has stepped into the Managing Editor’s shoes, so if there’s something you love, something you hate, or something you just have a comment on, email me.

I read with great interest Greg’s review of iView MediaPro, Johann’s review of the 2d edition of The Mac OS X Missing Manual, and Kirk’s review of O’Reilly’s UNIX Power Tools, 3d edition.

Update, 03-03-03: Thanks to Eric for the kind words, and the reminder that this issue features the return of my birthday-sharing paisan, Tom Iovino.

I joined the staff of ATPM in 1998 as a copy editor; Robert Paul Leitao was the Managing Editor then. I’ve also been the Publicity Manager (currently vacant), the Help Jedi (now simply called “Technical” and performed by Evan), and a Contributing Editor.

Eric is one of the few ATPM staffers I’ve actually met in person (two MWNY Expos in a row; will there be a 3d this year?). I met former Managing Editor Daniel Chvatik at MWNY last year, as well as long-time desktop pictures contributor Jens Grabenstein.

posted by retrophisch at 04:25 PM in mac
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Like Michael, I like Bare Bones’ replacement for BBEdit Lite, though I also wish it included support for AppleScript. Like Jan, while I like TextWrangler, it doesn’t fit into my work habits, since in addition to normal text editing, I need the HTML tools of BBEdit. Still, if you want a hell of a text editor without the need for AppleScriptability or HTML tools, TextWrangler’s the ticket.

If you still want BBEdit Lite, which to me should have been the name they used for TextWrangler, and just gone to a pay model instead of freeware, Lee notes that you can still snag it from Bare Bones’ FTP servers.

posted by retrophisch at 09:27 AM in mac
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