Tuesday, 31 July 2007

links for 2007-07-31

posted at 9:20 AM in links
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Even more thankful

Remember when a few hours ago I said I was really thankful about living in America, and I wasn’t going to get in to some diatribe regarding socialized medicine? After reading the latest from Walter E. Williams, I’m doubly—no, make that triply—thankful:

Before we buy into single-payer health care systems like Canada’s and the United Kingdom’s, we might want to do a bit of research. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based Fraser Institute annually publishes “Waiting Your Turn.” Its 2006 edition gives waiting times, by treatments, from a person’s referral by a general practitioner to treatment by a specialist. The shortest waiting time was for oncology (4.9 weeks). The longest waiting time was for orthopedic surgery (40.3 weeks), followed by plastic surgery (35.4 weeks) and neurosurgery (31.7 weeks).

As reported in the June 28 National Center for Policy Analysis’ “Daily Policy Digest,” Britain’s Department of Health recently acknowledged that one in eight patients waits more than a year for surgery.

(Emphasis added. —R)

Now, class, who remembers what kind of procedure I’m having in just a couple of hours?

That’s right, Nathan. Orthopedic surgery. Orthopedic surgery two weeks after sustaining injury. Two. As opposed to forty. Two.


Thank you again, God. Thank you.

posted at 12:42 AM in God , that's life
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Monday, 30 July 2007

A moment of thanks

My friends, as I go about my business on the eve of foot surgery, I thought I would take a moment to offer thanks.

Thanks be to God that I was born in America. The United States is, contrary to what a few of our countrymen and very many outsiders would say, quite simply the greatest nation on planet Earth. No, we’re not perfect. Far, far from it. But if you could pick any place to be born and grow up in, surely, this is the place, and this is the time.

I injured my foot the evening of the 17th. Between that time and now I have visited an emergency clinic and been treated, seen a specialist (twice), and had a CT scan taken of my foot. At the two-week mark, I shall undergo surgery to get the foot’s interior cleaned up and have a screw inserted to help hold things together. Hopefully, at the end of four months, the screw will come out, and I’ll go back to normal mobility.

This would have happened in the same way and at the same pace in very few places elsewhere on the globe. I’m not going to get in to some diatribe regarding socialized medicine, but I wonder if I would be as far along in the process in other Western nations. I certainly wouldn’t be here if I were in a Second-World nation, and I might be permanently crippled if I were a resident in the Third World. Thank God I’m here.

Thanks be to God for close friends. Like Drew, who was helping me with a ceiling fan installation when I stupidly injured myself, and who took me to the after-hours clinic so my wife wouldn’t have to deal with that burden, too. And who called this weekend, after being out of town for a week on business, to check up on me, and offering whatever assistance we might need.

Like Nathan and Brent, who do their best to joke around and keep my mind off the injury. For nabbing primo tickets to the local minor league baseball team, so I could have one last hurrah before my mobility is limited for a couple of months. (Thanks so much, Nathan!) Like the folks at our minichurch, who are always so supportive and caring, wondering what it is they can do to help out. I love you guys!

Thanks be to God that I have such an awesome wife and family. If you’re the praying sort, beyond any prayers concerning my injury and recovery, pray for my wife. The Lord knows what she goes through in putting up with me on a normal basis, much less when I’m going to be in a cast and on crutches for a couple of months. Outside of physical pain and lack of mobility, this will probably be harder on her than it will be on me. So please pray for her.

I am so richly and humbly blessed, I can’t even really put it in to words, other than to say thanks. Thank you, Drew, Brent, Nathan, Donna, Bill, Geno, Liz, Brad, Becky, Susan, Larry, Marlie, Carolyn, Veta, Sam, and Brenda.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for your encouragement. (And yes, Dad, I did feel the eye roll over the phone when I told you what had happened, and I just hear in my head, “I thought I taught you better than that.” Come on, you know you were thinking it. And yes, you did teach me better than that. What can I say? I had a moment of stupidity.)

Thank you, Kelly, for loving me. You are so wonderful and awesome, there are times I can’t believe you’re even in my life, much less my wife.

Finally, thank you, God, for delivering me from sin, for calling me to Your Kingdom, for blessing me with my nation of birth, for my many friends, and my family. You are, indeed, an awesome God!

posted at 3:26 PM in God , love , that's life
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Saturday, 28 July 2007

links for 2007-07-28

  • “Punakea is a little app trying to help you cope with the day-to-day struggle of managing your files. Designed to complement Spotlight, it allows you to tag your files and bookmarks, freeing you of the strict hierarchy of the Finder’s folder structure.”
posted at 9:21 AM in links
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Friday, 27 July 2007

links for 2007-07-27

posted at 9:20 AM in links
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So, yeah, this is gonna pretty much suck

So the follow-up with the orthopedic surgeon was today, and we went over the results of yesterday’s CT scan. Of course, we got the worst possible news: surgery. I’ve got bits of bone loose in the foot, so those need to come out, and a screw needs to go in to help hold stuff together long enough to heal.

So I’ll get sliced and screwed on Tuesday, be in a splint and bandages until mid-August, then it’s in to a hard cast for six weeks. All that time, no pressure on the foot, totally on crutches. For two months.

Then, after I get the crutches off, it’s back in to the boot for, well, we actually didn’t get that far. The end of the road is approximately four to five months away, when we’ll have another procedure to remove the screw.

So I won’t be doing much swimming the rest of the summer. I definitely won’t be playing softball this fall, which really bums me out. I won’t get to enjoy the little phisch’s birthday party next week nearly as much as I was looking forward to, which really really bums me out.

At least I’ll be in a position to get a lot of reading done and a lot of movies watched, right?

posted at 12:02 AM in that's life
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Thursday, 26 July 2007

links for 2007-07-26

posted at 9:19 AM in links
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Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Start preparing your lies now, Ivan

Eric Blair:

If the iPhone continues to rewrite sales records even in the face of Verizon’s new handsets, executives at Verizon may have nowhere to hide when shareholders question the wisdom of passing on the iPhone.

“Bah! We’re Verizon! We don’t need no stinking iPhone!”

posted at 10:24 AM in iphone
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links for 2007-07-24

posted at 9:19 AM in links
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Monday, 23 July 2007

An update on the foot

So I had an appointment with an orthopedist today (technically, the doc’s an orthopedic surgeon), as a follow-up to the emergency clinic visit last week. Had some additional x-rays taken, as the good doctor wanted different angles than the three which were shot at the clinic. He’s concerned by what appears to be a separation between the Cuboid and the Third cuneiform, at the base of my first and second metatarsal bones. We shot a reference x-ray of my right foot, and when comparing the two, you can certainly see there’s more of this separation on the injured left foot.

Now, it could be nothing; it could simply be the way I’m built on that foot. But it could be indicative of this injury, and the severity of it would determine the remedy, up to and including surgery. Since the x-rays are inconclusive, I’m going in on Wednesday morning for a CT scan and 3D imaging. This will give the doc a better look at the intricate bits, see if it’s just ligament damage, or if there are bone flakes getting in the way. Then I’m back in his office on Thursday morning for the results.

Worse-case scenario: I have to have surgery on the foot to clean up any messy bits, and possibly have a screw installed to hold things together while the ligaments heal. This is okay by me, because the worst-case scenario is that if things are really bad and I don’t have the surgery, my arch could eventually weaken to the point of collapse. And we don’t want that, do we?

So Wednesday should be interesting. I’ve never had a CT scan before!

posted at 7:46 PM in that's life
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Sunday, 22 July 2007

links for 2007-07-22

  • “All single malt, all the time.” Jeff, Chip, and Michael explore the world of scotch, including what goes in to making this wonderful elixir, in a monthly podcast.
    (tags: podcast scotch)
posted at 9:19 AM in links
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Saturday, 21 July 2007

This about sums it up

posted at 9:30 PM in that's life
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Thursday, 19 July 2007

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Social proprioception

Because I haven’t blogged about Twitter in a couple of weeks, here’s Clive Thompson on how Twitter’s creating a social sixth sense:

When I see that my friend Misha is “waiting at Genius Bar to send my MacBook to the shop,” that’s not much information. But when I get such granular updates every day for a month, I know a lot more about her. And when my four closest friends and worldmates send me dozens of updates a week for five months, I begin to develop an almost telepathic awareness of the people most important to me.

It’s like proprioception, your body’s ability to know where your limbs are. That subliminal sense of orientation is crucial for coordination: It keeps you from accidentally bumping into objects, and it makes possible amazing feats of balance and dexterity.

Twitter and other constant-contact media create social proprioception. They give a group of people a sense of itself, making possible weird, fascinating feats of coordination.

posted at 10:48 PM in Twitter
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Tuesday, 17 July 2007

I seem to have a knack for these things

Earlier this evening, I set about installing a ceiling fan and light kit in one of the bedrooms. It’s the room the little phisch is going to be moving in to, and for this week, we have a temporary addition to the family in the form of a one year-old, and he’s sleeping in this particular room. Because of this little man, we put up one of our kiddie gates at the bottom of the stairs.

I did as much as I could with the ceiling fan, including learning that I’d picked out the wrong light kit. At least I could get the fan done. However, I ran in to a problem with the wiring, and my good friend and neighbor, Drew, was kind enough to come over and help. (Drew did a lot of contracting work growing up and during his college years, so he’s handy that way.)

Thank God he did. On my way down the stairs, to go to the garage and hit the circuit in the breaker box for that particular bedroom, I didn’t quite make it all the way over the baby gate. As I was stepping over it with my left leg, my foot/shoe became entangled in the gate, and proceeded to turn in to a fulcrum. Great pain ensued as my foot twisted ways it shouldn’t, and I went down, taking the gate with me.

The cry that erupted from my throat, along with the noise of my crash, proceeded to bring Drew running from the second floor, my wife from the kitchen, and greatly upset the little phisch. The thought which immediately ran through my head was that I’d managed to break my ankle, which would give me something of a matched set. (Eight years ago I fractured my right ankle.)

I crawled to the love seat and Drew helped me up off the floor. My wife got an ice pack out of the freezer while Drew got my foot elevated. After about twenty minutes, we made the decision that it would be better to be safe than sorry, and off to an after-hours clinic Drew and I went.

The good news is no broken bones. The bad news is that it’s a really severe sprain, the tearing of ligaments and tendons and whatnot. I’ve got on a boot, and will have to do the crutches thing as well. And I’ve been typing this whole blog post loaded up with some Demorol, so if it seems a little off, it’s because I’m on the good stuff.

In the mean time, I thank our Father in Heaven for friends like Drew.

posted at 10:44 PM in that's life
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Saturday, 14 July 2007


If you have an iPod, or a new iPhone, and you’re worried that the mere sight of the device may prompt a ne’er-do-well to attempt a snatch, consider the Hide-a-Pod as a deterrent.

Even if you choose not to purchase a Hide-a-Pod, be sure to click on the Order graphic or Buy Now link for a special treat. You won’t have to complete the order to enjoy the surprise.

[Via David D. on the Ranchero iPhone list.]

posted at 6:10 PM in fun , iphone , ipod
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links for 2007-07-14

posted at 9:19 AM in links
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Thursday, 12 July 2007

links for 2007-07-12

posted at 9:19 AM in links
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Wednesday, 11 July 2007

links for 2007-07-11

posted at 9:24 AM in links
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Oh, yes, he did.

posted at 2:25 AM in iphone
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Tuesday, 10 July 2007

links for 2007-07-10

  • A must-have utility for me, AutoPairs has been updated to version 3, a universal binary so we finally have a version that runs on Intel Macs! Requires Mac OS X 10.4.
    (tags: Mac software)
posted at 9:21 AM in links
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Monday, 09 July 2007

links for 2007-07-09

posted at 9:20 AM in links
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Saturday, 07 July 2007


Over on the Ranchero-sponsored iPhone email list, Kevin C. mentioned using his iPhone as a flashlight in a pinch. I’m sure many, if not all, iPhone users have found themselves in a similar predicament over the past week. I know I sure have.

Chris Messina chimed in that someone should grab a domain like “iphoneflashlight.com” and put up a page with the code he provided. So may I present:

iPhone Flash Lite

Pop on over to it on your iPhone, bookmark it, and you’re always a web browser away from a nice, bright, white iPhone flashlight.

Thanks, Chris, for the code, and the inspiration!

posted at 7:52 PM in iphone
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Why the iPhone Doesn’t Include Flash

(The obvious answer is “Flash sucks, that’s why”.)

Brent Simmons:

We all know that the iPhone doesn’t include Flash. Various theories have been aired.

I have a theory that I haven’t heard yet: Flash wasn’t included because it crashes so much.

I detest Flash. It’s a resource hog, and there are very few Flash-based sites that are well designed to begin with. I hope Google moves YouTube to H.264 video for the “regular” Internet, not just for the iPhone’s access.

Roughly Drafted makes the case that the iPhone is a threat to Flash, as well as to Windows Media and Real. Why? Because H.264 is an standard video codec that doesn’t rely on a software processor, for one. In laymen’s terms, by using H.264, your system doesn’t have to work as hard, because it likely has a hardware processor capable of decoding H.264 without having to hit your general processing unit, which means you get more battery life, use less power, etc.

If you’re a content provider, you don’t have to worry about providing multiple video formats. You can simply output a single, MPEG-based H.264 video that you know users won’t have to have a plug-in for, like Flash, Windows Media, or Real. The other upside is that you don’t have to pay any licensing fees for those three formats, either. Sounds like a win-win to me.

[Wave of the phin to Lee for the Roughly Drafted link, via IM.]

posted at 10:06 AM in iphone , web/site
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Wednesday, 04 July 2007

links for 2007-07-04

posted at 9:22 AM in links
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Monday, 02 July 2007

A customer service tale

Once upon a time…okay, so, every week, we go out to our local Mi Cocina after the little phisch’s swim lesson. By the time the lesson is over and he’s been dried off and dressed, it’s the dinner hour, so off we go to get the little phisch his weekly cheese quesadilla and Spanish rice.

As I stated, we go pretty much each week. We’re regulars. The staff pretty much know what we’re going to order to drink, and what our son is going to be eating. It’s a really nice feeling to be known and appreciated, which is yet another reason we continue our patronage.

Tonight, it was just myself and the boy, as the missus has begun a new schedule with the personal trainer. As usual, he got the quesadilla and rice. As usual, I got the #4 (Chris’s favorite). Yes, it is my favorite, but that’s also what it’s called on the menu. The #4 consists of a beef taco in a hard shell, a cheese and onion enchilada, and sides of rice and refried beans. The food arrives in short order, and we dig in.

We’re well in to the meal. The little man has taken care of the quesadilla, and is picking at his rice and lettuce. I’m done with the taco and enchilada, and picking at my own rice, and to a lesser extent, the beans. Then the little phisch tells me he needs to go to the bathroom, so off we go.

Business finished, we return to our table, only to discover that it’s been cleared. Our plates are on a tray, and our drinks are gone, too. The waiter sees us, and the look on his face tells me he thought we may have skipped out or something, and whoops, maybe I shouldn’t have cleared the table after all.

He asks if we were done. I pretty much was. I ask my son if he was finished or if he’s still hungry. “I’m still hungry, Daddy.” Our waiter nods and off he goes.

We sit back down. Our drinks are replaced in short order. About three minutes later—and I’m quite serious, it was about three minutes, and certainly no more than five—new, full plates of food are set down in front of us. The manager on duty arrives, picks up the check, and informs me we will not be paying for tonight’s dinner.

I insist I pay for the meal, especially in light that we’ve now begin given two. No, I’m told, it was our mistake. But we just went to the restroom, I told her. It’s okay, really. No, no, don’t worry about it. Would you like a to-go box? Yes, I tell her resignedly, that would be great.

So the little phisch digs in to another quesadilla, and I take care of the taco, figuring it’s the one thing in my own meal that won’t refrigerate and reheat well, and, well, I really like tacos. The rest goes in to the to-go box. We finish, I drop the tip on the table, and we leave.

You bet your bottom dollar we’ll go back, too.

That’s Mi Cocina, for those of you in the Dallas/Fort Worth area (and Kansas City).

posted at 9:33 PM in food
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ATPM 13.07

The July issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

Ellyn kicks things off by noting how the Internet’s managed to let us support our servicemen and women in ways that wouldn’t have been possible in wars past. In this month’s Bloggable, Wes has a round-up of posts on—what else?—the iPhone. Mike laments the pains of the tech upgrade cycle, but looks forward to what the future may bring. Mark offers his “furs thoughts” on Mac OS X Leopard, based on the information recently released at the Worldwide Developers Conference. As he looks forward, Mark also looks back, noting how old technology, while great at the time, may not be so great in the future when we need it once again.

Ted returns with an ATPO of a different sort, comparing past WWDCs, as well as Apples and oranges, with today’s. Lee delves in to some of the cool stuff one can do with Photoshop with layer effects, while offering the acquisition saga of his latest tech toy, a new MacBook Pro. Yours truly has an acquisition saga of his own, as I relate my tale of iPhone hunting.

This month’s desktop pictures are courtesy of ATPM reader Forrest Brown, and feature Crowders Mountain, North Carolina. “Uncomfortable” is the word of the day for the Cortland crew: at the office, on the dance floor, or in MySpace. No one is having a good time on this particular night, well, except for maybe Steve. Qaptain Qwerty interviews the guy waiting for One More Thing™.

Linus plays around with Crossword Express, while Frank Wu puts the i-Volution Shell, a carrying case for MacBooks, through its paces. Lee’s impressed with the PocketDock AV, and Paul takes Redline for a test drive, though I think we need to talk about those gas receipts he submitted for reimbursement.

As always, ATPM is available in a variety of formats for your reading pleasure.

posted at 2:11 AM in Macintosh
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