November 30, 2012

Like the wee trash can on your computer screen...

iCloud and the problem with opaque sync:

...iCloud was meant to make data ubiquitous -- to magically handle syncing everything that really needs syncing between iOS and OS X devices, so users simply have the most up-to-date stuff, backed up and available, all the time and everywhere, without worrying. And it is. Except when it isn't. And when it isn't, it's almost as opaque to developers building against its APIs as it is to users wondering where their stuff is. So what to do?...
My main peeve with Apple through the years is that the excellence of their gadgets hardly extends to anything they do with networks. That's almost always where I experience frustration. Possibly the focus the on one leads to a blind spot on the other.

Apple pioneered in making your file system something you could see. Almost touch. You put your little pieces of paper into little folders. Drop them in a little trash can when you are done with them. That's psychologically very satisfying for the average user, and conveys information much better than a command-line interface. So it bewilders me that they have never done much to make networks visible. There's no way, for instance, to "see" your local network of printers and routers and scanners. This would seem like a no-brainer to me. Why isn't there the equivalent of the "desktop?" Why can't I "see" my printers or my print queues?

Likewise, why can't I see my documents "flying off" towards the Cloud? With maybe some visual indicator of which version is replacing which? Or my e-mail account settings, why should they not be visible as icons? Ones that I can save, or drop into another-mail client?

I had big hopes for iCloud, but now I hardly use it. I mostly use Evernote, which I've come to love.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:05 PM

November 27, 2012

Time for tough hate...

Frank J, Make those lazy job-creators pay -

...Businesses are worried about profits? How greedy can these people be? Why can't they be like the government, which has never once worried about profits? Look at what a finely-tuned, well-oiled machine it is -- and it only costs a trillion dollars more per year than we can afford.

So what should we do? Republicans say we should coddle businesses. "Oh, poor job creators, can we cut your taxes some more? How about we get these regulations out of your way? And would you like a foot massage?" It's disgusting.

No, it's time for tough love. Or better yet, tough hate.

What the unions did to Hostess was a good start. When that company wouldn't provide the benefits the union wanted (once again because of some nonsense about "profitability"), they just went ahead and shut the company down.

Sure, it may be hard for the 18,500 employees who are going to be laid off, but they'll find new jobs in a year or two. Anyway, we can't let the prospect of job losses keep us from going after businesses owners where it hurts them the most: their companies.

And that's the tough line the government needs to take with job creators: You will spit out those jobs we demand -- and good ones with health-care benefits! -- or we will destroy you and your businesses...

Both Charlene and I have our one-person businesses in San Francisco. So we know this evil of old. And neither of us has any intention of hiring anybody ever. If we lived in a more business-friendly place, we might.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:35 AM

November 22, 2012

My Thanksgiving thought...

I wrote earlier about how archeologist's views of ancient Israel and the Exodus have changed. It looks as if most "proto-Israelites" escaped "bondage in Egypt," but did it by escaping the oppressive Canaanite kingdoms (which were Egyptian vassal states) and founding a new civilization high up in the hills of Palestine, hills which had mostly been un-settled until then.

The Exodus narrative in the Bible is, I think, true, but as truth expressed in a story, not in a history. Probably there was a real exodus from Egypt, but not of 600,000 people. (If that many people, with herds and flocks, set out on the narrow trails of the region, they would I think literally stretch all the way across the Sinai Peninsula.)

So I'm thinking about the Pilgrims, and how we celebrate their story every year. The story is factual, but so are a hundred thousand other stories. Why this one? We keep repeating it because it embodies profound truths about America. About us.

Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock

Many religious and ethnic strains went into the genesis of our country. Probably the most important element in the mix are the English Puritans who Settled in New England. The Pilgrims were just a few hundred people, but they were the first group in that great migration. And they happened to tell their story in a clear and attractive way, in governor William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation. Which includes that story f that first "Thanksgiving." The Pilgrim story has come to represent all of them. And it is truthfully so--that story will give you a very good picture of what the Settlers in New England were like.
So they lefte that goodly & pleasante citie, which had been ther resting place, nere 12 years; but they knew they were pilgrimes, & looked not much on these things; but lift up their eyes to ye heavens, their dearest cuntrie, and quieted their spirits.

Besides the English Puritans, we received perhaps half a million radical Protestants from continental Europe, displaced by the vast calamity that was the Thirty Years War. Anabaptists, Mennonites, including the Amish, Hussites, Palatines. The Pilgrims also were emblematic of them.

So, as a thought experiment, imagine that our early settlers were illiterate. Were an oral culture. And that the story of the Pilgrims was passed down orally for many generations among the Puritan settlers. It would not be surprising if the story grew to be the story of all of them. And it would still be truth!

I suspect that that's what happened with the Exodus story. Some Israelites literally escaped from Egypt, and met God on Sinai, and passed through many trials to the Promised Land. Their more numerous relatives in Palestine were also finding their way with heroic efforts to the Promised Land. But their story was less dramatic, and the more cinematic story came to be the story of all. But it was still truth.

WORD NOTE: When you see "ye" in older English writings, such as "but lift up their eyes to ye heavens" in the above quote, the word is in fact "the," and should be so pronounced. It is not pronounced "yee." Why so? English used to have a letter, called "Thorn," that made initial "th" sound. It looked like: Þ. When printing presses came to England from the continent, they had no letter Thorn, so "Y" was used in its place, and came to be the normal way to write.
Posted by John Weidner at 5:54 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2012

Empty language...

David Mamet's The Anarchist: The New Left's Terrible Triumph - Hugh Hewitt - Page 2:

...Ezra Klein, Rachel Maddow, Jon Chait and Chris Hayes are the heirs to and current super-egos of the great noise from four decades back, with Kos as its id. That's it: all that is left of the New Left.

But this underwhelming legacy is why the '60s radicals should be thought of as the winners of a long delayed overtime. Not because they have a certified Alinskyite lefty as president. That's a temporary problem. The president has a sell-by date. He can do a lot more damage and no doubt will, but the House isn't going to agree to anything too stupid.

No, the '60s gang won because their utterly empty language triumphed. Endless talk about quite obviously empty propositions passes for debate. It is all cliche. Read the transcript of the president's presser last week. An avalanche of cliche. He doesn't know how else to talk. The press doesn't know how else to ask questions.

The lasting damage of the New Left isn't the fiscal bankruptcy of the country, but it's intellectual bottoming out. Because they were so vacuous, everything became vacuous. This is what I loved about The Anarchist. It batters the conceits of the Left so thoroughly at no one from that land of absurd arguments can leave without knowing Mamet's got their number. Frauds, all of them. Just frauds. Marcuse. Bloch. Rubin. The whole over-the-hill gang of sloganeering hucksters. For this work I am thankful.

But Lord it is depressing....
Posted by John Weidner at 11:52 AM

November 8, 2012

Who was Karl Rove?

This is a cool piece on the young bloods of Republican poliltics. I'm SO with these guys. I don't watch TV or read the gloppity glop that comes in the mail. Zzzzz. It goes straight into recycling. I loath telephone calls of all sorts. So, get the broom!

A New Republican Generation Gets Ready To Take Over:

...One is tactical: Most of the brightest and most charismatic Republican operatives of the last generation became television admen, because that was where the money was. A few, like Bush guru Karl Rove, made their money in the dark arts of direct mail. And at the helm of campaigns, they spent their money on television and mail. The newer generation has deep skepticism about the utility of television advertising; few have any personal memory of actually reading what comes in the mail.

The second set of disagreements is around policy. The younger generation is at least as conservative — in some cases, more conservative — about the role of government, many of them libertarian idealists and foreign policy hawks too junior even to have been on the front lines of Bush Administration successes and failures. But they also spent their early careers stifling disgust at a kind of gay-baiting politics that has little resonance even on young social conservatives who still care deeply about abortion; and they are similarly free of any sense of allegiance to, or guilt for, Richard Nixon’s Southern strategy, with its wink at the racist policies of segregation.

“Broadly, we have to find a way to communicate on these issues in a way that doesn’t scare people,” said former Eric Cantor aide Brad Dayspring, who ran the YG Action Fund super PAC this cycle and is one of a dozen people of his generation coming to be central on Capitol Hill. “How do Republicans respond? By adapting their principles to current problems and challenges.”

It may be hard for observers of politics to grasp just how young this new generation of Republicans is. Many of them aren’t just post-Reagan. Many of them are post-Bush, having worked in mid-level Capitol Hill jobs or very junior administration jobs during the last Republican Administration.

“The issue is, a lot of the guys from Bush '04 are stuck in that mind-set and you really saw it in '08 and '12,” grumbled one Washington Republican who worked in Congress during the Bush years. “They are more consumed with feeding the beast than nurturing the beast.”

This applies, particularly, to the management of national campaigns.

“The George W. Bush map to victory is dead. Republican candidates, donors, operatives, and activists all must start with a view of the entire country as battleground,” said Vincent Harris, a Republican consultant based in Texas and one of a small group who specializes in online campaigns. “Collectively the party simply cannot afford to write any demographic group or geographic area off anymore.”

Relatively few members of this younger generation were eager to speak on the record. One crucial piece of the political apparatus, in the age of the super PAC, are personal relationships with political donors, many of them men in their sixties, seventies, or older, whom veteran consultants have spent years or decades cultivating, and who are key to their continued relevance.

One Republican digital and communications strategist laid the problem out simply: “I would say WE'RE already adapted,” referring to the younger set who’ve worked in politics for two presidential cycles now. “But the people cutting the checks aren't always.”

And many of the young class of operatives, speaking off the record, put that generation gap in brutally personal terms. “Campaigns are a young person’s business now more than ever, in part because of the way people receive information and communicate has changed so much in just the last decade,” said a senior Republican staffer who came of political age in the late Bush years. “For example, Facebook and Twitter were not factors in the last campaign, and they arguably were the biggest factor in this one.

“I don’t know how you can run a modern campaign if you haven’t embraced information and social technology in your own life,” he said. “I don’t know anybody that uses landlines and the post office except Republican campaigns.”...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:05 PM | Comments (0)

Or maybe not over...

The stats don't really say Obama won. This is the first time in American history that a president has been re-elected with fewer votes than he got for his first term. And in Obama's case, fewer by 10 million! Gadzooks!

It's more like he lost catastrophically, but Romney was a bit of a catastrophe too, and couldn't quite make up a baker's dozen.

Shoulda been Sarah Palin. Just kidding. I love her, and she was a top-notch mayor and governor. But she didn't quite grow to presidential size after her VP run.

The trouble is, we Republicans aren't producing any candidates of presidential caliber. Maybe Ryan. We have lots more good men than the Dems do, but we need some titans.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:14 PM | Comments (20)

November 6, 2012

Looks like game over...

My philosophy is that it's not the making of mistakes that's important. That always happens.

It's whether you can bounce back that's the real metric. Make corrections and get back on course. Re-think. I think we've failed our test, unlike in 1980.

It looks like America is not re-thinking after the catastrophic folly of Obama. So, my prediction is long slow decline, a la Europe. Regulatory sclerosis. Ever-growing nihilism and Lefty atheism. Declining birthrates. More war on men. Abortion as the national sacrament.

I will hope and search to be part of the Remnant. As God said to Elijah, "There are yet 7,000 men in Israel who have not bowed the knee to Ba'al."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:31 PM | Comments (4)

November 1, 2012

Thoughts for Ed Koch...

Why Are Prominent Obama Critics Alan Dershowitz, Ed Koch, and Haim Saban Now Endorsing the President? – Tablet Magazine:

...But it may be that these pro-Israel democrats [such as Koch, Dershowitz and Saban] are playing a longer game with a far-seeing strategy. If Dershowitz and the rest were to leave the fold, the Democratic Party could shift policies, and possibly quite rapidly. That is, perhaps they’re embracing Obama for the sake of the party—and so Israel continues to have support on both sides of the aisle.

Even before the founding of the Jewish state, the U.S.-Israel relationship has been based on strong bipartisan support. As I wrote in May, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s late father Benzion pioneered this consensus, lobbying both sides of the aisle. AIPAC, of course, has institutionalized it, ensuring that the Jewish state has devoted friends everywhere on Capitol Hill.

Without that broad agreement—that Israel is a valuable strategic partner in a region of vital U.S. interest, and a friend with whom America has shared values and principles—the relationship would be buffeted by all of Washington’s various political winds. By sticking with Obama in spite of all, Dershowitz and others are arguably protecting the bipartisan nature of the relationship, and at an especially vulnerable time....

I hadn't thought of that, but it makes a lot of sense. And though it seems impossible right now, the Dems may start to return to sanity after a decade or two in the wilderness. Not the same people, but younger people who can still re-think.

...Like many pro-Israel Democrats, Koch is still reeling from the chaos that broke out at the Democratic National Convention when Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had to call for a floor vote three times to include recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the party’s platform. “Nobody,” said Koch, “has adequately explained to me how the boos for God and Israel at the Democratic convention were louder than the cheers. How can that be?”...

Well, ahem, I could explain it to you, Ed. But you probably don't want to know. The Dem party has become the home of the many people in our world for whom meaning and belief have drained away. They are nihilists--they believe in nothing. Nothing greater than themselves. And, as I've explained before, when you come to that place, you will be very afraid. Perhaps not consciously, but deep down you know that "yourself" is a cruel and dangerous god.

And you will strive for some place of comfort. For a world where you will not be reminded of painful realities. You will not want to be reminded of what you have lost, and where you are now. You will hate anything that resembles belief. Because they symbolize God. The real decisions of the world are based on symbols. (Then later the conscious mind invents some malarky to explain the decision post hoc.)

So what are the symbols? You can SEE them all around, if only you will open your eyes. Besides God and the Jews and the Church, they are America and Israel. There are personal firearms and our military, both symbolizing believing in something enough to fight for it. Manliness fits in there too, also symbolizing God and country. It's no wonder there's a "war on men." I could go on and on. But it's getting late. (And I'm busy helping my son get ready for his monthly Army Reserve duty tomorrow. I feel like I'm striking a tiny blow against nothingness and lefty sappiness.)

"Nemo Me Impune Lacesset" (No one wounds me with impunity)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:46 PM | Comments (5)