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September 27, 2004

Camino, the Mac Browser that Did (and Could Again)

Mac.Ars looks at the browser which ruled the roost on Mac OS X before Apple released their Safari browser.

Classically, Mac users have been extremely picky about the UI -- just look at some of the arguments over Safari's "brushed metal" look, for example. For the longest time, Camino had it all over Mozilla, OmniWeb, and Internet Explorer because it had Gecko rendering and native Apple widgets. Even now with its development having lagged, I prefer Camino to Firefox. Camino seems more responsive, and it's the little things in Firefox like non-Aqua drop-down menus that make me cringe. Moreso than Windows and Linux users, Mac users tend to expect the consistency that has been the Apple ideal. And while the code under the hood may be messier, Gecko rendering beats KHTML handily.

Safari may have the mindshare and lock-in, and Firefox may have the convenient shared foundation with the other Mozilla products, but if Camino regains its momentum -- as it seems well on its way toward -- it stands a chance of becoming the premier Mac browser. I think it can be more competitive than Firefox for the Mac faithful, so long as it is given its chance to thrive. Attaboys go to Mike Pinkerton and his fellow stalwarts.

September 16, 2004

The Pajamahadeen at Work

Investigations: For a week or two now, Talkleft and other liberal blogs have been trying to track down an attendee at the Republican National Convention allegedly caught on tape kicking a female protestor while she was held down by three secret service agents. Julain Sanchez at libertarian magazine Reason's blog IDed the guy when he saw his photo at the National Taxpayer's Union's website.

The original photo showed four of the NTU's summer interns, but the JPEG was quickly cropped to remove him from the shot. Someone managed to save a cached copy of the original photo, though, and it's now posted to Atrios's Eschaton.

Good detective work, and if it leads to a proper law enforcement action, so much the better. It helps that the pictures in question look like they're not faked. But there's still a potential dark side to this kind of public investigation.

Google Stimulus-Response: My friend, News and Record editor Lex Alexander, blogged about this story of democratic demagogy, the case of a Miami professor who has been confused with one of CBS's experts who reviewed the probably-forged Bush National Guard memos. Someone Googled the expert's name, found a link to this professor, and the rabid emails started pouring in.

What happens when the RNC guy is publicly identified, with name and address and phone number posted for all to see? Will there be a proper police investigation? Or something uglier?

("Pajamahadeen" being a phrase coined by National Review's Kerry reporter Jim Geraghty.)

September 13, 2004

The Former Calpundit Nails It

Why is Kerry lagging in the polls? Per Washington Monthly's Kevin Drum:

Now, I happen to agree with Tomasky that Republicans generally go for the jugular more effectively than Democrats, but it's a big mistake for us liberals to kid ourselves into thinking that Republicans win elections solely because they fool people into voting for them. It's not just that this is a debilitating mental attitude — although it is — but it's also not true. Our main problem isn't that this year's campaign has ignored the issues, our main problem is that the #1 issue in this campaign is national defense, and on that issue — like it or not — the majority of Americans favor the Republican position. If John Kerry wants to win, he should focus on the issues, but he has to focus on the issues that matter most in this campaign cycle.

It's all about 9/11, Iraq, terrorism, and national security, baby. This election is going to be won on that issue, and Kerry needs to convince the country that he can handle it better than Bush. And really, considering the botch Bush has made of national security, that shouldn't be all that hard.

Well, maybe. Kos makes some plausible efforts along those lines here and here. But when he writes, "Force Bush to defend his 'war presidency.' He's got nothing to brag about" -- well, it ain't that easy, fella. Obviously, Bush supporters think that Bush has done pretty darn well on national security. Saddam's in a stockade, and we haven't been attacked on U.S. soil since 9/11/01.

If Kerry can climb over that mountain -- and his best chance to do that will be in the debates -- then he can win. If he can't -- well, Maslow's hierarchy is in full effect. More people would have to feel threatened by their current economic situation than by the threat of terrorism. And because our economy is stagnant but not in depression, and because most people do have access to health insurance, and because everybody remembers exactly where they were when they heard about the Towers....

Kerry is going to have to convince a majority of the voters in states holding the majority of the electoral votes that he can do a better job against al-Qaeda. There are a lot of "broken glass Republicans" out there who'd sooner crawl over just that than vote for Kerry, and there are a lot of people sufficiently bewildered by the post-9/11 world that they'll go with what they know rather than turn over the Commander in Chief role. Daily Kos and Atrios readers would say those voters are opting for "stability" over "security." But they're preaching to the choir. It's Kerry who has to make the sale to folks who don't read the liberal blogs.

September 5, 2004

Further Back Into the Mac Fold

It was a year after I was married, just after I'd taken my first post-graduate job, when I first became unfaithful. Willfully so. I saw the opportunity -- cheap, quick and easy -- and I took it ruthlessly, with no thought of remorse. And it was very, very good.

That was the year I bought a PC, so I could play more arcade games, and cast aside my aging, or rather positively decrepit, Performa 600.

I've been through a few upgrades since then, self-installed or self-inflicted. But a couple of years ago after Shannon had to relinquish her grad-school laptop, we decided that we could afford one of our own. And since gaming wouldn't be a priority for the laptop, this one could be a Mac. Thus was the iBook G3 acquired.

The PC continues to be my principal computer; Gamer am I, through and through. But I could be on the road to spending most of my time in a Mac environment again, leaving the PC for only gaming. I picked up an IOGear KVM switch yesterday. Ably assisted by the ingenious screen spanning hack that bypasses the iBook's video mirroring limitation, the KVM switch allows me to use the iBook as a full desktop machine, sharing the Keyboard, Video (monitor) and Mouse with my PC.

Earlier today I turned on the Mac while the PC was off. I started surfing the web before I realized how unearthly quiet the den was. Being a laptop, the iBook doesn't have case fans -- no white noise.

It's good to have a desktop Mac again; it only cost me $70 to have one.

September 2, 2004

Return to the Department of Nonstandard Beverages

I now have another atrociously failed soda to add to my Windowsill of Shame in my office. Memo to the Mountain Dew guys: "pitch black" is a movie title, not an product name that entices me to purchase black-grape-flavored citrus soda that tastes as though it contains actual pitch.

Well, more than once, anyway.

This Here's a Call to Action

William Saletan at Slate reacts to last night's red-meat Republican Convention activity:

In a democracy, the commander in chief works for you. You hire him when you elect him. You watch him do the job. If he makes good decisions and serves your interests, you rehire him. If he doesn't, you fire him by voting for his opponent in the next election.

Not every country works this way. In some countries, the commander in chief builds a propaganda apparatus that equates him with the military and the nation. If you object that he's making bad decisions and disserving the national interest, you're accused of weakening the nation, undermining its security, sabotaging the commander in chief, and serving a foreign power—the very charges Miller leveled tonight against Bush's critics.

There's some hyperbole there, but that pales in comparison to the Miller speech.

Bush and the Evangelicals

Beliefnet.com co-editor Steven Waldman has an interesting column on National Review Online that plausibly describes Bush's appeal to evangelical voters even though he's actually been comparatively tepid in his support of evangelical causes.

There are other, more pedestrian reasons evangelicals love Bush. Evangelicals tend to be conservative, so they like his policies. After all, they mostly voted for the very non-evangelical Gerry Ford over born-again Christian Jimmy Carter. But the connection between Bush and evangelicals is deep and personal — indeed, it's grounded in their reading of how God transforms men and chooses leaders.

It's a short, neutral column worth reading by Bush backers and detractors alike.

By the way, Beliefnet.com is a site I wish I had more time to explore fully. It's a "multi-faith e-community" that represents a wide range of religious faiths, including a number of flavors of institutional and alternative religions.

Lunchblogging from Schlotzsky's...

...where a row of newly old-school iMacs sits before me. That keeps me coming back here, even though Schlotzsky's seems determined to turn itself into a Panera clone, right down to the "artisan breads."

Meanwhile, I lust over the new iMac, hitting two major sins by being covetous as well...