Racism in the 08 Race

Which do you think will be more prevalent this year — people not voting for Obama because he’s black, or people not voting for McCain because he’s white?

I’m thinking the latter by a wide margin — I never hear people complain about Obama’s race, but McCain is a “rich old white man” and is disparaged as such.

Leopard-Rights Activists

I’ve had more than a couple people upset that I abandoned Leopard for XP. Some have even had suggestions about solutions to some of my list of top 10 reasons I hated my Mac, though most everybody conceded that it’s not as easy as the Mac commercials make it out to be. And a few of the reasons nobody had answers for.

And upon peering with a bit better light, I did see a pinhole in my DVD drive — just not in the usual place, and hard to spot when holding open the sliding cover. I had to be standing, too… anyway, my bad. It was hard to see straight when I was already livid.

Since my return to XP, though, my blood pressure has gone down significantly. I slept last night quite easily, and the tulips in our front yard have started to bloom. My wife baked brownies, KFC got our order right (well, no, they didn’t, but Rebecca had wisely gone inside this time to make sure it was right, and when it wasn’t, they corrected it), and the weather outside has been about perfect.  I know I can’t reasonably attribute these things to installing XP, but I’m not willing to rule it out, either.

I still have no plans to ever touch Vista, however.

I did have one problem with XP — when I tried to install the 1993 MS-DOS game Return to Zork. I was able to get the sound and video bits working, but the mouse seems to trip up and think it has reached the screen edge when it hasn’t, stopping in the middle of the screen. But I’m not going to fault XP for that. I have a shelf full of modern games that will run error-free, and that sit there smiling down on me, glad for my return.

I missed you, too, fellas.

The Leopard is Dead.

Because the idiots from whom I purchased my Mac failed to install Windows via BootCamp — that is, allowing me to dual-boot into Windows, rather than only run it through a virtual machine — I decided to take on the task myse–

You can see where this is going, right?

First, I ran BootCamp in Leopard. It asked me what partition I wanted Windows in, and I told it, and it said to restart with my XP installation disk in the drive. Okay, so I put in the CD, and restarted.

XP was… disagreeable. First, it wanted me to hit Enter to continue. Normally a simple request, but this time it was impossible.  Because XP refused to recognize the freakish Mac keyboard. F3 to cancel, then? No. No, that wouldn’t do either. It wanted a normal keyboard, and I can’t say I blame it.

I figured I would just abort the attempt, so I restarted by doing a hard reset on the tower. This is where things got fun, because, you see, XP’s installation disc was still in the drive. So when we came back up, XP thought I wanted to install again. Leopard was nowhere to be found.

“Just eject the disc,” you say. I heard you, don’t deny it. Well, guess what? Your “eject CD” button is ON THE KEYBOARD.  So we got back to ENTER or F3, and I tried jabbing that stupid little eject button, as well as every other key combination, all without success. I tried prying open the face of the tower, peering inside to see if there was some nice pinhole I could use to force-eject the CD.

There was not. I was, after all, on a Mac. Why should I ever need to eject a CD?

Fortunately, my brother, who lives in within driving-and-cussing-nonstop distance, had a spare USB keyboard. Did I mention it had to be USB? Yeah, it did. My Mac doesn’t have those little round inputs for keyboards and mice that we all know and love. So I got the keyboard, came back home, plugged it in, and now I could continue with my installation.

Only that partition that BootCamp had recommended wasn’t good enough for Windows — XP insisted on formatting it. Fine. Format away, what could it possibly huNOT THAT PARTITION! THAT’S THE ONE WITH LEOP– oh well.

Seriously, XP said “You sure it’s okay I format Partition X?” and I said “Sure,” and it said, “Okay, 0% done formatting Partition Y…”

Maybe my last 3 months of data are still retrievable, but I highly doubt it. And I can’t think of anything that would be worth the effort of trying to save, anyway. I’ve been using Google Docs to do all my writing in a consolidated location online, and I haven’t erased most of my pre-Mac stuff from my old computer yet… though I almost did. As I was perusing the net this morning I came across Edubuntu, which looked like it might make a nice change on my old computer, which was now the kids’ PC.

Glad I didn’t do that.

Anyway, I’m back in XP. It’s nice here. Things make sense.  I’m thinking about installing a video game just for old time’s sake.

Maybe now I can find a decent video editor, a decent music editor, and a nice antivirus program. Better get me one of those, quick — I’ve already been online for half an hour in XP.

“Macs” backward is “scam”.

I dislike my Mac.

It’s the third most expensive thing I’ve ever purchased after my house and my car, and it’s the biggest purchase mistake by a long shot.

Let’s break it down into a nice list, shall we? First, let me describe my computer — it’s a Mac Pro, with two dual core processors and 4 gigs of RAM, and a 750 gig hard drive. Izza big. Izza fast.

Izza pain. For all the talk about how easy they are to use, I’ve never had a harder time with a computer.

  1. The no-button mouse is annoying. It mistakes right-clicks for left-clicks and vice-versa about 1% of the time, which is way the hell too often.
  2. The keyboard is absurd.
    • There’s no PRINTSCREEN key, no INSERT key. It’s got a nice feel to it, but having to hit THREE keys instead of one to grab a screenshot is ridiculous; and while I would’ve thought I wouldn’t miss the INSERT key, I tried using VI (a *nix text editor you use on remote servers, for those of you who… oh nevermind) and suddenly found myself struggling desperately.
    • It has this stupid Apple/Swirly thing key, which I believe they call the "Command" key, which is annoying — why not put "CMD" or "command" on there, guys? How can I reference something that has no name? Swirly thing key. Stupid.
    • HOME and END now behave completely differently. They take you to the start and end of a document, not just a line. So how do you jump to the end of the line? Swirly-key + right arrow. Two keys now, not one. Awesome.
    • There doesn’t seem to be a way to switch from DVORAK to QWERTY and back with a simple keystroke. At least Windows got that right.
    • Oh, and BACKSPACE is now called DELETE, and DELETE is now called… DELETE, but with another bizarre symbol on it. Some vaguely arrow-looking thing with an X on it.
  3. I wanted to be able to edit my home videos easily — iMovie was a big selling point for me. But lo and behold, the Mac won’t talk to my Panasonic camera, and the software that came with the camera can create MPGs for me, but iMovie won’t read the MPGs to let me edit them. I have no words to describe how frustrating that is (that aren’t profanity).
  4. Well, there was still Garage Band, right? I wanted to be able to mix music and write music and OH MY GOSH THIS PROGRAM IS IMPOSSIBLE. 
  5. Today, in the course of my duties as a programmer, I needed to convert a hexadecimal number to a decimal number. In Windows, you put the calculator in Scientific mode, select hex, paste in your number, hit decimal, and you’re done. In Leopard… well, you google for an online hexadecimal converter.
  6. They say you can install/uninstall things by just dragging them to and from the Applications folder. This, of course, is a bold-faced lie. You can do that with SOME programs, just… not… THAT one. Take Safari, for instance. I won’t knock it; it’s the fourth-best web browser out there, after Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Mosaic. But I got sick of its constant requests for updates that would require a reboot, so I yanked it out and threw it in the trash. But the GHOST of Safari apparently needs updates, too.
  7. Oh, neat! If you press the scroll-wheel like a button, you get this display of calendar, weather, time, and the crappy calculator. What’s that? You have a program, like Blender, that uses the middle-click function? Ohhhh, man. You’re screwed. What are you using Blender for, anyway? Why would you need to do 3D modeling when you can could be listening to music on iTunes? Isn’t iTunes great?
  8. My 24" Acer monitor, which never gave me problems on my Windows box, for no reason goes black every so often. It comes back a second later, but it’s pretty unnerving. "ALL MY DATA IS GO–oh there it is." (I hate this about Vista, too — anything that requires a security check makes my screen go black for a second before the security pop-up asks for permission to continue.)
  9. My monitor JUST NOW did the black thing.
  10. You know how you have that neat Desktop icon in the quick launch bar that lets you minimize everything at once? Yeah, you don’t get one on the Mac. And you know that nice row of button on the taskbar that show you what apps you have open, and lets you switch back and forth? Yeah, no, none of that. I mean, you have a bar down there, but it’s a combination of apps that are open and apps that you want readily available. Oh, and you want to jump to a different window in one of the apps? Yeah, there’s no easy way to do that. So a browser pop-up disappears behind your main browser window, and you want to get over there… you can ALT-TAB between apps, but not between windows.
  11. My monitor just DID IT AGAIN.
  12. The toolbars that are so nicely positioned at the top of each window on Windows are always way at the top of the screen on a Mac. Not a big deal to you 15" monitor people, but having to mouse ALL THE WAY UP THERE is an added annoyance.
  13. Finder.  FIIIIIINDERRRRR! </kirk> I can’t find my way around my own files. They’re totally obfuscated by Finder, which, frankly, would be more aptly named Hider. This is probably the biggest peeve of them all.

My monitor just did it TWICE MORE. I won’t add that to the list anymore. The macophiles — or mac-holes, as I think they should be termed — will blame my monitor, even though it worked fine on Windows.

I need to get XP installed on this thing. The hardware should behave okay if I can just get the heck out of Leopard.

My Continuing Research

I’ve been conducting studies in the arena of biscuits-and-gravy consumption. So far, my results show no noticeable deleterious side effects from a steady diet of Wendy’s biscuits and gravy. It’s been an exhaustive effort, and by exhaustive I mean delicious.

As far as I can tell without an autoangioscopic exam, my arteries are not coated with sausage-flavored plaque. A close examination of my mood, however, would indicate that a yummy breakfast generates a feeling of well-being.

Determining long-term results will be the next phase of my research.

My career

Being paid to program when you’re NOT a programmer — I mean, I am a programmer, but I don’t like it — is embarrassing. People have to SEE the stuff I put out.

I feel like a burn victim being forced to compete in a beauty pageant.

VERY IMPORTANT! PLEASE READ!

As my friends well know, my life has been spent seeking out a regular source of GOOD biscuits & gravy. All other activities have been secondary to this one pursuit.

Today I tried Wendy’s biscuits & gravy, and I’m pleased to announce that my search is over. They’re great.

For some reason, biscuits & gravy is one of the easiest dishes to screw up — I’ve too often found myself struggling through a plate of bland goop and hard biscuits, and wondered if the uncommon sources — real restaurants, I’m talking about, that you can’t afford to visit daily — had some patent on the good stuff.

But no. Wendy’s, a simple fast food joint, has achieved what I worried was impossible. They have good biscuits & gravy.

Now, not every palate is the same; for me, they’re great, but I can see how someone else would think they’re too peppery. No, they’re not perfect, but yes, they are sufficient. I will have them again, I assure you.

[UPDATE: Today I had them for the fourth consecutive day. Tomorrow is Sunday, so that’ll break my streak, probably for my own arteries’ good.]