September 2012 Archives

Legally, no. No, this administration can’t legally influence the elections.

But that hasn’t stopped the Obama administration from trying and, apparently, succeeding. Kathleen Sebelius got away with it, so what’s stopping the whole Labor Department?

Here’s the lowdown as I understand it:

Congress raised the debt ceiling last summer, in August of 2011, and instead of giving the President carte blanche, the GOP attached a proviso that raising the debt ceiling would require a corresponding cuts in Federal spending. If cuts didn’t meet the requirement, an automatic $1.2 trillion cut called the sequester would slam into Federal spending on January 1, 2012, with an additional $1 trillion by 2021.

Needless to say, the so-called “supercomittee” in charge of finding these cuts failed miserably. As a result, on January 1, 2012, across-the-board spending cuts will take effect on every Federal program there is. Essentially, the sequester is one big frickin’ stick and was supposed to encourage Congress (under the “leadership” of the President) to pass a budget with real spending reforms in it. They failed, so both parties will continue blaming the other and life in Washington, D.C., will continue to move “forward” as it has during these last four years. Little changes.

As the phrase goes, “in other news” there are clauses written into the WARN Act (which is unrelated legislation) which say that any government contractor who will have massive layoffs has to notify the affected workers 60 days in advance of the layoff. If they don’t then there are fines and legal proceedings involved. I.e., breaking the law is bad.

Coincidentally, 60 days before sequestration layoffs is November 2, four days before election day.

You might be thinking that this is intentional timing, that whoever put two and two together might have been thinking that Congress shouldn’t be the only ones to take the blame, that the sitting President might need to share some blame, too. You’d probably be right, and the Obama administration would agree with you.

In fact, the Obama administration recognizes that blame sharing is bad, so much so that that the Obama administration is offering to cover the legal fees, court costs, and employee compensation for companies who ignore the law and do not notify affected workers.

“Go ahead! Break the law! It’s OK, we’ll cover you no matter what!”—to paraphrase loosely. “Just don’t tell those workers they might get laid off. It might be viewed as a failure on the part of the President, and we don’t want that.

Distilled to the bare facts, the Obama administration is influencing voting with taxpayer money.

Oh, sure, they’re doing this under the guise of not scaring workers (read “potential Obama voters”), saying that there’s a chance (read “snowball’s chance in hell”) the sequester might not happen, so why bother? And unless somebody turns up E-mails to the contrary (read “unless there was an idiot who took notes”), that’s the story the mainstream media will use to sweep these misdeeds under the rug.

If you don’t believe me, simply Google “sequester layoffs” and see just how many mainstream media outlets are covering the story. I’ll save you the trouble. It’s…


And our media claim not to be biased? Yeah, right.

If this action doesn’t make you sick to your stomach, you’re not paying attention, and you’ll likely vote for the wrong person—and his administration—in November.

Nobama. Can’t say it any more succinctly than that.

We’ve been “paperless” around this house for several years, whereby I define “paperless” as “It’s been scanned and is sitting on a drive somewhere, but God only knows what’s where.” I’ve been relying on Spotlight to find what I need, and that works pretty well. But it’s not future proof.

If only my files were more organized…

In this article, Shawn Blanc outlines how he does the paperless thing, and he uses Hazel—which is the missing link to file organization.

After five minutes of using it, I plunked down my $25 and bought it. It’s that good.

In this article on TUAW, Kelly Hodgkins says of the Apple-authenticated Lightning cable for the iPhone 5:

This is convenient for users, but it could prove costly over the along [sic] run. Third-party cables offer a less expansive [sic] alternative to Apple’s pricey cables, but these 8-pin cables could be rendered useless if they lack the necessary authentication chip.

People griped about the cost of Apple power adapters because of the patented MagSafe connector. Now people are going to gripe about the cost of an official Apple cable, which remains unchanged at $19 whether it’s for a 30-pin dock connector or for a Lightning connector, in spite of the fact that a lot of the cheaper cables are (to put it bluntly) crap.

My MacBook has been saved numerous times by the MagSafe connector. And in the few days that I’ve had an iPhone 5, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed putting the connector in the correct way every single time.

So the next time you curse the dock connector for its asymmetry, compare the short-term expenditure of a few bucks versus the long-term convenience of the no-fumble, no-cursing cable. I’m willing to bet you’ll decide that Hodgkins has it backwards.

Ω A Few Days With an iPhone 5


I had very high hopes for the iPhone 5. Having had an iPhone 4 for the last two years, I noticed that new versions of iOS were beginning to make my phone feel sluggish. My wife’s 4S still feels acceptably fast, so when the nature of the processors in the iPhone 5 was announced, I knew only good things were coming.

I got my iPhone 5 via Verizon on Friday having placed my order late enough that if I’d ordered through Apple, I wouldn’t have received my iPhone until later this week. The packaging is as beautiful as always, and this time the headphones—the “EarPods”—come in a nice little difficult-to-open plastic box. Other than that, the packaging is only remarkable, as one would expect, because it’s so damned nice. Otherwise, it does its job and gets out of the way.

Setup turned out to be nontrivial because I started the job over at my wife’s office and tried to finish the job at home. I ended up goofing up the process and needed to start from scratch. After a while, it was all done and I was off and using the phone.

Other reviews have a lot of detail in them about the iPhone 5—more than I can possibly ever achieve. So let me tell you what I’ve found so far:

Field Test Mode is sticky.

If you put your previous iPhone into field test mode and backed it up with the signal strength indicator showing instead of bars (as outlined here), the signal strength indicator “preference” will carry forward to the new iPhone. This is good news because it makes figuring out what’s going on with my next point all that easier.

If you live in an LTE fringe area, your battery life will suck.

We live in the edge of an LTE area as evidenced by the aforementioned signal strength numbers. With LTE on, I see -111dBm to -117dBm consistently. Turning off LTE, which reverts the phone back to Verizon’s version of 3G, I see -80dBm or thereabouts. If I leave LTE on, my battery is depleted—<10%—by the end of the day, or about 16 hours after unplugging in the morning.

My assumption here is that the phone is doing the same thing the 3G phones do when in a 3G fringe area, namely “searching” by pinging the tower with a full boat of transmit power. It bounces between 3G and LTE, resulting in a much-decreased battery life. I’ve got anecdotal evidence of this gained by listening to my clock radio last night which is next to the charging iPhone 5. Every so often, the radio would buzz and hum (a very different buzz and hum from the 3G buzz and hum we’ve all heard on telecons). Turning off LTE made this pattern disappear.

My suggestion to Apple, if it’s not already covered by somebody’s patent, is to ignore LTE when I’ve got a WiFi signal or when I have a decent 3G signal and I’m not “doing” anything. When I start “doing” something which requires data, look for LTE; otherwise, preserve my battery life. Until LTE blankets the country, there are going to be a lot of phones out there in fringe areas hoping for an LTE signal they’re not likely to get.

4" is a smidgen too big.

I have big hands, and you know what they say about men with big hands, don’t you?

Yes, we wear big gloves.

All joking aside, I can span an octave and a fourth on a piano (if I stretch, an octave and a fifth), and yet I find that locating the “back” button so typical in iOS navigation at the upper left-hand corner of the screen puts it just a bit too far out of comfortable reach. Getting to it requires me to curl my pinky, ring and middle fingers of my right hand just a touch closer than is comfortable in order for me to get my right thumb over to that corner.

I keep a firm grip on my phone with those three fingers and my palm. This maneuver makes that grip just a bit more tenuous than I prefer.

As an iOS app developer (OK, an aspiring iOS app developer), I’m now rethinking the navigation of the app I’m working on. I think Apple should, too.

This phone is amazingly fast.

Again, I’m jumping two generations here, but as I demonstrated over the weekend with this little video demonstration, even the simplest of tasks, such as launching The Weather Channel app, happens so much faster, it’s like… like having a newer, faster phone. This phone came out only two years after the 4, only a year after the 4S, and yet it’s a leap forward in speed. Touch is significantly more responsive than my 4. Safari page load times are noticeably faster. It’s just better.

One Lightning cord is not enough.

I didn’t realize just how dependent I’ve become on having multiple cords hanging around the house to plug into. Well, two anyway, one on the iMac, and one at my bedside. I can see that the online store is backordered, so a trip to the local Apple store is called for. $20 isn’t too unreasonable, given that it’s more than just a piece of wire with some connectors on the end. And I’ve bought my fair share of non-Apple cables and they are hit or miss. I’d like a 100% hit rate, so it’s off to the Apple store I go.

The EarPods ain’t half bad.

I don’t claim to have a golden ear. In fact, one of my ears wouldn’t qualify for bronze. But these things are comfortable and don’t fall out when I’m folding laundry. (Sigh. Yes, I do the laundry.) And they have a good design for the button pod, too, which beats the design I have on my Klipsch earbuds hands down. (The Klipsch buttons are all round and almost identically-sized which means it takes me a moment to figure out which button I have my thumb on by comparing it to one of the other two.)

But it feels like the control pod’s position on the right ear cord has changed. (Rummage, rummage, compare, compare…) Turns out, I’m right, but it’s only about 1/2" higher, and yet I somehow keep missing it, even though it’s larger, too.

4" is just right.

OK, in direct contradiction to what I said above, I have to admit that the extra row of icons and the larger viewing are for comics and other things is wonderful. Now I can get all of the things I most frequently use onto my first page of icons (with one spot left over, even), and I can read Zits no matter how small the Sunday strip writing is.

Siri is cool.

No, really, I had a great time the other night posting a status to Facebook, unedited, 100% accurately. I even guessed the proper commands for open parenthesis (“open parenthesis”) and close parenthesis (“close parenthesis”—we’re not talking rocket science, here) and other punctuation. I spoke at a reasonable pace, and it got it all. Super nifty.

And, damn! it’s thin.

Maybe it won’t leave wear lines in my jeans quite as much as the 4 did.

It’s the little things. They add up to a big thing.

Sometimes, it’s the little things in life which make the biggest differences. Though Apple’s tagline for the iPhone 5 is “The biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone,” I think it’s all the little things which make this so big. No one feature is enough to sell me on the phone. But anybody considering the outlay of $200 vs. your two-year contract costs and thinking “I don’t have that much” really ought to reconsider, save up for a few months, and get a 5 instead of a 4S or 4.

It’s just worth it.

Ω Ho. Lee. Crap, It's Fast...


Having used an iPhone 4 for the last two years and having just gotten an iPhone 5 today, I have been marveling at just how frickin’ fast this thing is. But when I launched “The Weather Channel” app, I had a “Ho, lee, crap!” moment.

I captured it with a Silver Nano for your viewing pleasure:

What you see is my force-qutting TWC app so you know there’s nothing fishy going on. Then I launch the app. And (poof!) the weather appears!

At some point, the ability to load remote images manually while viewing a message got removed. (iOS 4, maybe.)

It’s back with iOS 6, though not in the top of the message—it’s in the bottom where the “Load remaining…” message shows up. Like this:


This is a pretty big deal to me, and I’m glad it’s back.

This looks very familiar…

ios 6 clock apps-1.jpg

Oh, right:


So do I have to get a new watch because this one is too geeky?

Nah… there’s no such thing as “too geeky”. Especially if it’s such a classy watch.

Buy your Mondaine watch from World Lux. Tell ‘em I sent you.

Image source

via TUAW

Dr. Barbara Bellar, candidate for Illinois State Senate, District 18, sums up Obamacare in one (very long) sentence.

Don’t want to or can’t watch? Or you’d like to share the text on Facebook (just to really piss off your liberal Obama-worshiping friends)? Here’s what she said:

So, let me get this straight… We are going to be gifted with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don’t, which purportedly covers at least 10 million more people without adding a single new doctor but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that didn’t read it but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a President who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, for which we will be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect by a government which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a Surgeon General who is obese, and financed by a country that’s broke. So what the “blank” could possibly go wrong?!

I’ll say it again: the ideas might have been good, but the implementation absolutely, without a doubt, sucks.

(via Blonde Sagacity who did 95% of the transcription)

Ω iPuked


Did you watch the Apple iEvent?

Did you get sick of seeing Al Gore?


(Seriously, a zillion people in the audience, and they kept showing the same five or so. Worship iGore much, Apple?)

Ω Are we better off...?


Obama never promised us “better off”. His campaign slogan was “Hope and Change”, which he has delivered (to his constituents, anyway).

Now he’s all on about “Firewood”. I’m not exactly sure what that’s all about, but it might have something to do with energy independence—I’m not sure.

Here’s how I see things: if there’s an iPhone 5, and if it supports LTE, and if it infringes on Samsung’s patents, then Samsung will sue Apple.

No problem.

But the way Samsung sees it is like this: if the iPhone 5 supports LTE, it will infringe on Samsung’s patents.

I think the only way you can draw that kind of conclusion is if you steal proprietary information, isn’t it?

I’m sure Samsung would never steal proprietary information, though.


Dear Judge Koh,

Please reserve some time on your calendar, would you?

Tim Cook

iMac clone? You decide.

A Good Argument on Facebook


If only all of them were this easy.

Politics on Facebook.png

Skanky Libs | blonde sagacity


Keepin’ it classy, y’all…

These buttons are being distributed by the Illinois delegation to the Democratic convention.

50 Cent's Chinese Little Brother?!


I did not know that 50 Cent had a little brother, Tencent, and he’s a Chinese web entrepreneur. Here’s where I found this little gem:

Tencent and TCL unveil Ice Screen: a 26-inch Android-based smart TV — Engadget