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 traveled 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)

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)

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 Windows-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 Windows; I’m just saying that apparently none of them want to admit it.

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.

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

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!)

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!

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.

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.

retrophisch.com v1.0

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

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!