Monday, January 30, 2006

Micro$oft Outlook, the Case for Unintelligent Design

Several months ago my employer switched to Micro$soft Exchange for corporate email and calendaring. That forced me to start using Outlook to for calendaring. There are quite a few "features" of the Outlook Calendar that are just plain bad architecture and design, starting with its use of email as a calendaring protocol.

The latest broken "feature" I've discovered is Outlooks annoyer reminder functionality. Every other calendaring application I've ever used had a person's meeting reminders controlled by them. In other words I could determine if I wanted reminders for meetings, or not, by default and by individual event. Not so Outlook: The proposer of meetings initially determines whether there is a reminder associated with the meeting and that determination overrides local settings. Talk about annoying, backwards, useless functionality!

One can go in and turn off or modify reminders by individual meeting once they've been scheduled, but there appears to be no way to have any kind of overriding personal default that says I don't want reminders or want them at some time different from what was proposed. The other option is to turn off reminders all together, but that doesn't help if one actually wants to use reminders selectively. That also does not remove reminders from the appointments which means they show up when those meetings get synced to my Palm Pilot.

So far I've not yet found a workable fix, hack or workaround. Please post if you know of one.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Observations of Today

Another terrorist state is born. I thought there was hope for some peace for the Palestinians when Arafat passed away, but they have now cast their lot with the thugs and given up all hope of any peaceful existence. From a Biblical perspective that is inevitable, but I didn't expect to be so deliberate. I agree with The Captain's analysis that the U.S. should stop all aid, and support Israel in doing what they will need to do to remove the canker from their midst.

Protecting the family
. Found this via The Rott. Huah!

Two more via the World Magazine Blog: Don't tell me the public schools are the best way to educate children. It's become "big government", more concerned with perpetuating the educrate establishment and enforcing their petty rules than actually educating children. This is the kind of attitude that lead us to home-school our children. And, yet more evidence that more government is not a good thing. People who cry for a bigger, better FEMA after Katrina have no understanding of what the problems and solutions are. They are just at best lazy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Supporting Our Troops, And Proud of It!

Found this article via The Captain. Hugh Hewitt rips Joel Stein, the L.A. Times columnist who wrote an absolutely puerile column on not supporting our military troop, up one side and down the other. Joel's "reasoning" is based on a shallow, socialist, knee-jerk pacifistic ignorance of the U.S. military, it's role in our country and how it operates. Here's one quote that shows his utter ignorance:
But when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you're not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism...
Anyway, read his article and the interview, clean your mouth out, and make up your own mind.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Anglos Rule!

I found this article via the World Magazine Blog. It's a little dense, with a slight dig or two at President Bush, but still a very good analysis of an interesting observation.

Lack of Humor

It still amazes me sometimes how so many people lack a funny bone. Check out this article over at the evangelical outpost, then read the comments: They're almost as funny as the article, particularly when they are not trying to be.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

More Naginisms

From AOL News via World Magazine Blog:
"Surely he doesn't approve of us being in Iraq under false pretenses. But surely he is upset at black America also. We're not taking care of ourselves."
"It's time for us to come together. It's time for us to rebuild New Orleans - the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans".
What an idiot, equating Katrina to Iraq and then calling for a segregated city. Unfortunately black-on-white racism is not considered the same as white-on-black, otherwise the MSM would have been all over this. Sadly, as long as Nagin is in charge of New Orleans I suspect they will not be able to rebuild much of anything.

Addendum: Some idiotscommenters over on the World Magazine Blog where I found this are trying to claim that Nagin meant "chocolate" to be a term for "harmoniously racially mixed". As the Colonel would say "Horse Feathers!". A quick Google search will show that "chocolate" means "black" when used in a racial manner. And if there is any doubt one only needs to read what Mayor Nagin said next:
"This city will be a majority African American city. It's the way God wants it to be. You can't have New Orleans no other way. It wouldn't be New Orleans."

You be the judge.

Reclama: Mayor Nagin apologizes for comments. My short summary of his "apology" is "I didn't think anyone was listening". Then he blames an un-named minister,
"...Nagin said his comments about God were inappropriate and stemmed from a private conversation he had with a minister...",
and his audience,
"... Nagin said, explaining he was caught up in the moment as he spoke to mostly black spectators..."
for causing his inappropriate comments. He may not be much of a politician, but he certainly has the pass-the-buck act down well.

Democrats Renege

Found this via Curmudgeonly & Skeptical. Since they couldn't derail Samuel Alito's nomination they've fallen back to drag and delay tactics. The sad thing is the apparent acquiescence of Sen. Specter. I guess after his exchange with Sen. Kennedy he had to balance the books. Arlen needs to decide if he is a Democrat or a Republican. Fence-sitters eventually fall off and usually end up hurt in the process.

Monday, January 16, 2006

More Tidbits

Here are some more articles that caught my eye:

The Mythical Monkey Mind
, from the evangelical outpost, explores a fundamental contradiction in Darwin's Theory of Evolution.

Dutiful v.s. Beautiful, found via the World Magazine Blog, looks at Samuel Alito's background and how it shaped his perspectives.

Praise Gaia, and Pass the Scotch, on Curmudgeonly & Sceptical, is a short analysis of the Alito hearings, with a humerous political cartoon.

Have fun.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Tidbits From the Blogsphere

Here are two articles I came across during my regular rounds:

Freedom of Religion under Attack:
(via the Rott) "Sanko, as the head of a government, would do well to steer clear of promoting a religious agenda — even if he uses his own time and money to do so." This is persecution of religious expression if I ever heard it.

Nate Saint Played by Gay Activist in "End of the Spear":
(via World Magazine Blog) Sad, particularly given the agenda of the actor in question. I don't think we'll be viewing this movie, but you make up your own mind.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Slippery Slopes Do Exist

Our neighbors to the north started down the track when they legalized same sex marriage, now the next slide is visible.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Liberal Shibboleth Skewered

Found this report via the World Magazine Blog. I had seen previous reports of similar evidence but nothing ever in the MSM. What is it going to take to get them to pick this up? A sea-change in worldview on their part and another complete flip-flop by the Democrats. I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Chilling of Free Speech? Maybe.

I found this courtesy of The Rott. It seems as though the intent of this new law was good, extending existing telephone anti-stalking and anti-harassment laws to VOIP, but the question is whether the law as written might be abused or cause unintended consequences. Reading through some of the commentary here and there it seems that this may, or may not, be blown out of proportion. Some information out there appears to be incorrect. For example, the word "annoy" quoted in the first article apparently is not in the signed bill. On the other hand the bill could have been written better to be more specific that it applies to Internet telephony and point-to-point messaging only. Stay tuned to see if this becomes a problem.

Monday, January 09, 2006

New Cattle Tracking System Being Proposed

Since the discovery of a mad cow in Washington (state, not D.C.) in 2003 the U.S. Agriculture Department has been moving forward on a national cattle tracking system known as NAIS. While at first blush this sounds like a good idea from the perspective of ensuring a safe food supply, further consideration of the proposal I think will show that it has become a government grab for control and power.

Microchips will be implanted into the animals to be tracked. Information will be provided to the USDA every time a tracked animal changes locations. The plan is to apply this system to all alpacas and llamas, bison, cattle (beef and dairy), deer and elk, horses, goats, poultry, sheep, and swine. All locations that hold, manage, or board animals will be required to have a unique Premises Identification Number by January 2008. This all sounds good and safe, but lets look at some of the issues.

Look at the list of animals to be tracked. Remember this started with a mad cow. What does that have to do with all the other animals. The avian flu scare is pushing poultry into the scheme, but still the justification for this full list is weak, very weak.

Now look at who it applies to. This scheme will apply to everyone, from the large producers down to 4-H participants to the family that keeps a few chickens and goats in their backyard for their own consumption. Overkill! Tracking animals in the production pipeline is one thing, but there is no justification for levying this monstrosity onto everyone.

Now for the technology. What happens to the microchips when such animals are slaughtered? How will it be guaranteed that the microchips themselves don't enter the food chain? What about the data itself: What guarantee is there that it will not be misused? A complete database of animals and who owns them would be a serious tax temptation for the government.

Finally let's look at cost. Who will pay? They will be additional cost at every level. For example, poultry hatcheries will have to implant the chips into chicks that they hatch, diving up the cost of chicks. Everyone will need to have a reader connected to the system and know how to use it. Then there is the cost of keeping and tracking the data. All that will end up costing us more, lots more, for our food.

What should be done? I don't disagree with having a national animal tracking system, but confine it to the commercial production side. Any animals entering the commercial food production chain could be tracked, but exempt the home and hobby farmers who's food does not enter the commercial market. Current registration systems are more than good enough for that area. And develop a system that is less manually intensive and has a lower risk of foreign objects entering the food supply.

We should be able to eat safe, but not to the tune of more government control and excess ost.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Best Blond Joke Ever

Nothing more need be said.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Sorry If I Offend You

There is no right in the United States Constitution to be free from being offended by what someone says. Quite the opposite really. Our 1st Amendment grants freedom of speech which means that I or anyone am allowed to express ourselves in public in accordance with our personal beliefs. For example, I can claim publicly that my religion is the only true religion and that all others are false and urge people in the strongest terms to believe as I do. That may not be the best way to spread my religion, but that is another discussion. What is provided is the freedom from coercion, force or threat to constrain religious belief. Government rules and regulations cannot be made that would force membership or adherence to specific churches or religions.

Why bring this up? There is a community Internet forum that I participate in, the Winchendon Backyard Fence, where some people don't like to hear others talk about their belief. An acquaintance of mine on the forum is very outspoken in her Christian belief. Some people don't like to hear her say that Christ is the only way to salvation and those who do not believe in Jesus are wrong. They appear to adhere to the current form of humanistic pantheism where it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you do so sincerely and don't claim exclusiveness for your views. What they don't realize is that this view is a form of religion in and of itself. They have a right to preach it, just like Christians do, but they do not have the right to restrict the speech of those who disagree. They preach tolerance, but in reality it is only tolerance for those who believe as they do. I fear that the rising tide of this (in)tolerance is a greater long-term danger to the fabric of our country than many other concerns.

What can you as an individual do? Start by exercising your right to speak your piece boldly and refuse to be quiet when shushed. Then support others in their exercise of this right even if you find their message offensive. Walk it, talk it.

Friday, January 06, 2006

What History Says to Us

Sorry it's been a while since I posted anything. I've been busy. I'll try to make shorter, more frequent posts this year. We shall see.

I've been reading "A History of the Church of England" by John Moorman. I knew the basics about how the church of England came to be, but was not really aware of all that transpired up to and particularly afterwards. I did not realize the vast swings that the English Church went through as the leadership of England changed. It would go from Catholic to Anglican to Presbyterian to Puritan and back each time there was a new monarch or parliament, often accompanied by purges of the previous adherents. This was a disaster for the church.

What I'm getting from this book is a better understanding of the history behind our Constitution. It is clear to me that the founding fathers were very concerned about the impact on the church (e.g., religion) when the government directed a state church. I believe they were trying to ensure the independence of the church from government interference, not remove the public expression of religion even by members of government. SCOTUS and much of the rest of our judiciary needs to relearn this lesson.