discarded lies: sunday, november 19, 2017 5:16 am zst
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daily archive: 04/26/2006
guest author: evariste in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
bloggie:mac
Now I'm one of those smug bastards


I bought a MacBook Pro a week ago and joined the cult of Mac, which I've enviously followed from the sidelines for years and years-ever since Steve Jobs came back to Apple and lit a fire under its ass. Today, I sold my laptop that ran Windows, a machine I'd owned for nearly two years. It was the only laptop I've owned that actually lasted longer than a year, and it was really thin and really light, but it wasn't a Mac, and my friend needed a laptop, and I needed the money. So now, all I have is my Mac (excluding my work desktop). It's the most beautiful and amazing computer I've ever owned, and yes, my beloved Opera runs on it :-) This thing is just great, and by great, I mean it's totally fuckin' sweet. Unix underwear and slutty Apple pants.

My MacBook is named Olivia. My old laptop (a 12-inch ultralight, ultrathin Averatec) was named Sealab 2021, but I renamed it Coraline before selling it, because it didn't feel right to sell it with the name I gave it.

Yes, it is stupid to buy the first revision of any new Apple hardware. I know this. And yet, I do not care. There is nothing wrong with this computer at all, other than the fact that I bought the 15 inch model days before Apple announced a 17-incher. I would have bought that one if I'd known it was coming out so soon. My main complaint is that they renamed it "MacBook Pro". "Powerbook" was a much better name.

But I couldn't wait to buy a laptop. The old one was slowly dying on me; in fact it gave me a great fright a few weeks ago when I was totally broke and it wouldn't boot any more. I thought it was a goner, but it came back to life and acted like nothing was wrong. Then, two weeks ago, the LCD's backlight started failing. I would have to move the screen back and forth a few times to get a visible desktop. Strangely, that problem, too, has now totally gone away, and the old piece of crap is acting like there's nothing wrong with it. I had the money (barely), the Apple Store had them in stock, and the only thing separating me from my new laptop was fiscal prudence. One of my bosses, knowing of my troubles, offered to buy me a Dell laptop of my choice if I needed it. But zorkie insisted I spoil myself and get the Mac because she's been listening to me talking about how great they are and how bad I want one for the last year. So I let zorkie talk me into what I so desperately wanted to do, and I got the Mac. zorkie, I forgive you THANK YOU DARLING for letting me buy the toy I really wanted to buy :^D

I sold Sealab 2021 Coraline to my friend with the caveat that I would repair it or give him back his money if it died in the next three months. I don't expect to have to make good on that promise. No one rides computers as hard as I do, and my friend will be mostly web surfing and doing homework on it.

This laptop is so goddamn cool. It has a camera built in, so I can take pictures of my stupid face whenever I want. It runs Mac OS X; the happy marriage of Unix & Apple. The built-in speakers sound close enough to my expensive speaker system that I haven't bothered plugging it in to it. The screen is really bright and feels huge. It's so elegant and pretty and fast (the Intel Core Duo processor just screams). I couldn't be happier with it, it's the nicest computer I've ever owned. Scratch that: it's the nicest thing I've ever owned. It has a remote control, for chrissakes, so I can control the music that's playing from across the room.

I've been slowly learning my way around, figuring out how everything works. It's amazing how many things I had to hack and kludge in Windows are designed into Mac. Two simple examples: I had a program called AllChars installed so I could chord-compose accented and European characters, like è or ø or å. That's built in on Mac. Or, I had a program called Find & Run Robot, so I could hit the Break button, type a few letters of a program's name, and it would search for it and let me launch it. This lets me start programs without having to mouse around awkwardly and dig through menus. Spotlight is built into my MacBook and it does that. Every little thing smacks of "wow, somebody thought of that and decided to make it easy". It's really amazing. This thing is just gorgeous. Oh, by the way: the keyboard senses the ambient light and if it's dark, there are lights underneath the keys that come on so you can see. The power connector is magnetically attached to the laptop, so if you trip over the cord, you don't make the whole laptop fall off the table-the cord simply disconnects and the laptop stays on the table, unharmed. There's an eject button on the keyboard, so you can eject a cd or dvd. I couldn't even begin to tell you how many beautiful, subtle touches there are.

Even though I can put Windows on it, so I can work on Windows stuff if I need to, it feels like it would be sacrilege. I'm going to avoid doing so for as long as possible, hopefully forever.

So anyway. The above facts absolve me from my shameful failure to answer emails and call people back for the last week. I forgive me. I've been busy as hell. And with the new Tool album leaked to bittorrent, I've been basically listening to Tool and playing with my new computer for the last week. By the way, Tool fans, the album stinks the first few plays, but it grows on you.

Brian Tiemann, him of Peeve Farm, has been an immense help to me as I adjust to this bright new world. Thank you, Brian, for letting me ask you all those stupid questions...many of which I could have answered myself by exploring, if I wasn't so damn impatient. I've enjoyed your writing for years, and now I've enjoyed your freely offered, generous-spirited help adjusting to my MacBook. As it turns out, most things are so intuitive, my brain was too stunted from years of Windows to believe they could be so simple. I knew how nice using a mac would be intellectually, but hadn't quite experienced it in person so I could feel it in my guts. It really is this good. He was like my very own Genius Bar. Speaking of Genius Bars*, The folks at the Apple Store were quite helpful as well; one of them was a Comp Sci PhD and I had a fine time talking with him about programming on the Mac. Memorable quote, when I mentioned that I would be writing a lot of Python on the mac: "Objective C is like Python with braces". He was quoting someone else, so I can't credit him with it, but I thought it was a clever thing to say.

*The Genius Bar is a bar that doesn't serve alcohol. They have one in every Apple store, and they basically sit there and wait for you to ask them questions or help you fix your computer. Is that service or what? You don't get that when you buy a Dell :-) The coolest thing is that they have this "Red Phone": if they can't figure out your problem, they call Cupertino to ask an engineer for help. It really makes you feel like no problem is insurmountable, and everything is within reach. The impossible just takes a little longer.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Even more Egypt attacks
This is pretty interesting. Is Egypt facing a renewed Islamist insurgency? Only the two suicide bombers died, but it's clear they were hoping for more.
ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) - Two men blew themselves up in Egypt's north Sinai on Wednesday in what appeared to be abortive attacks by a mysterious militant group on a multinational peace force and on the Egyptian police.

One bomber died near an airport used by the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), which monitors the border with
Israel, and another close to an Egyptian police vehicle. No one else was hurt, the Interior Ministry said.

Cabinet spokesman Magdy Rady said he thought the incidents could be linked to bombings which killed 18 people in the budget resort of Dahab on Monday -- the third attack in two years on Sinai resorts frequented by foreign tourists.

The state news agency MENA quoted informed security sources as saying all the attacks were related and the Dahab bombings could have been the work of three Sinai Bedouin who have been on the run in the mountainous region since last July.

"The sources said ... that the perpetrators of the Dahab bombings were from the fugitive remnants of the Sharm el-Sheikh bombings (in July 2005)," the agency said.

Security forces have been seeking three Sinai Bedouin from the group, named as Nasr Khamis el-Malahi, Eid Salama el-Tarawi and Mohamed Abdullah Abu Jarir, it said.

"The sources said the bombers were probably from among those three and from the terrorist cell to which they belong -- all of them Sinai Bedouin on the run in the mountains," it added.

The Sinai group has never issued a statement to explain its objectives. The main clue from the Egyptian government has been that the late founder of the group was a Palestinian who had adopted the views of militant Islamists.

The group is not known to have any foreign connections, though analysts assume it has ideological affinities with the al Qaeda group led by Saudi-born militant
Osama bin Laden.

Many members of the group come from around El Arish, the capital of North Sinai province and a town with a mixed population of settled Bedouin, people from the Nile valley and assimilated people of Palestinian origin.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Saudi women
Isma Mahmood is a sixteen-year-old girl born in Saudi Arabia to Pakistani parents. She was deported to Pakistan after spending months in a Saudi prison, where she was beaten and kept in chains, for the crime of being raped and filing a police report about it. Her sister was also jailed and deported because she stood up for Isma.

It just makes me sick.
Isma’s parents, originally from Multan, were trafficked to Saudi Arabia around 20 years ago. But in Isma’s case, being born in Saudi Arabia was no help when she was raped last year in Medina. “I was the victim, I was raped and molested but I was named as the accused, and the man who committed the crime was not touched,” she said.

“He first kidnapped me, dragged me into his car,” Isma said. “At first he asked me to sleep with him and offered good money. When I refused and tried to resist, he warned me of dire consequences and raped me in the car.” The unnamed man warned her she would be imprisoned if she went to the police, and said that the Saudi sponsor who brought her parents to the country through a Pakistani agent would have them all expelled. The sponsor too threatened Isma and Muna, she said, asking that the sponsor’s name not be revealed to spare her family any additional grief. “I and my sister went to the police expecting justice, but after a few hours of filing the report the police changed it,” Isma said. Under pressure from the Saudi sponsor, Isma’s parents asked her to withdraw her report. “My sister Muna tried to help me out but was also arrested and put in prison only because she spoke for me,” she said.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
NBC's Andrea Mitchell whines that CIA employees might now think twice before leaking to her
God forbid CIA employees should feel the slightest twitch of fear for violating the terms of their employment when they're endangering national security, helping our enemies, putting the lives of our troops in danger, and acting with political motives to bring down those whom the American people elected. Even the world's smallest violin isn't small enough to play in sympathy with Andrea Mitchell:
NBC's Andrea Mitchell complained Monday night, on MSNBC's Countdown, about how the CIA's firing of a staffer ostensibly for leaking top secret information to a reporter, will mean CIA officials will no longer have the "courage or the stupidity" to talk to reporters. After relaying how, through friends the fired staffer, Mary McCarthy, had denied being a source for the Washington Post's secret CIA prison story, though she conceded having unauthorized interaction with journalists, Mitchell contended that intimidation of the rest of the staff was the real motivation for firing McCarthy: "The purpose is don't even have lunch with reporters. The purpose is don't have dinner with reporters. Don't pick up the phone if a reporter is calling. It doesn't matter what you say, you're not supposed to have contact with reporters without telling the higher-ups." Maybe the CIA wouldn't have such concerns if they had any faith in journalists to act more responsibly than did the Washington Post's Dana Priest.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Iran Proliferation Threat
If Iran gets the bomb, Iran will proliferate to other Islamic regimes. That is the clear message of Ayatollah Khameini's recent statement to Omar Bashir, the Sudanese Islamist leader who has presided over the genocide in Darfur while the world dithered, much as it dithers while Iran hurries to join the nuclear club.
TEHRAN, Iran Apr 25, 2006 (AP)— Iran's top leader said Tuesday that Tehran is ready to transfer its nuclear technology to other countries. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made the comments in a meeting with visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who said last month that his impoverished, wartorn country was considering trying to create a nuclear program to generate electrical power.

"Iran's nuclear capability is one example of various scientific capabilities in the country. … The Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to transfer the experience, knowledge and technology of its scientists," Khamenei told al-Bashir at their meeting.

Al-Bashir congratulated Iran for its success in producing enriched uranium for the first time, saying the achievement was a "great success for the world of Islam."
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Louisiana House votes to ban gun confiscation in times of disaster
The Louisiana House voted on Monday to ban law enforcement officials from confiscating firearms from non-criminals during natural disasters. Interestingly enough, the Louisiana Sheriff's Association helped craft the language of the bill. A very positive step forward, prompted by overzealous New Orleans police taking firearms away from law abiding citizens who needed them in the chaos and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. How does it make sense to take people's guns away when they might need them the most, when looters are roaming the streets with impunity and the police are MIA?
People could head into hurricanes and civil crises packing firearms under legislation the state House of Representatives unanimously approved Monday.

House Bill 760 would forbid law enforcement from confiscating firearms from law-abiding citizens during times of civil disorder.
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, said he was appalled that police took guns from people during the riotous days following Hurricane Katrina.

Such confiscations violated the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the right to bear arms, he said.

He said police officers from New Orleans used Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s emergency declaration as its legal basis to seize firearms.
“It happened hundreds and hundreds of times,” Scalise said. The 911 emergency calling system was overloaded, leaving everyday people exposed, he said.

“Their only protection from the criminal element was their handgun,” Scalise said.

“Everyday I kept my sidearm when I went back into my district,” said Rep. John LaBruzzo, R-Metairie, whose district includes affluent Old Metairie.

Even St. Tammany Parish wasn’t safe, said Rep. Pete Schneider, R-Slidell. “I was keeping my gun on my hip while I was cleaning up my yard. Why? because there was no police protection,” Schneider said.

Police, National Guardsmen and military removed guns from houses during a search after the storm flooded the city, and confiscated guns from some evacuees. Law enforcement came under fire at times during evacuations.

“The guns were taken for good reason — to keep them from being used on people trying to do the right thing,” said Rep. Ken Odinet, D-Arabi.

“People don’t belong on the street with firearms during an emergency.”

About 700 weapons taken during the storm were made available to their owners April 17. Only about 25 owners asked for guns back.
The Louisiana Sheriff’s Association helped write the language for the bill, Scalise said.
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floranista in The Secret Garden:
The Plants Are In The Mail!
Time to rototill...
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