Archive for the 'torture' Category

Slow MacBook Pro Wireless (and other gripes)

January 21, 2007

Jesus. I’ve got a real love/hate relationship going with this not-yet-two-month-old laptop. It’s gorgeous — and it’s maddening. The Mac OS is fine. I like it quite a bit in fact, but the majority of the tools I use are Windows-based. Parallels solved that for the most part, allowing me to run Windows from within OS X. It’s quite slick and doubly so with “coherence”. But… There are also drawbacks. Splitting the memory between Windows and OS X does little for either and immediately get the fan fired up. It works in a pinch, but I think Bootcamp is the way I’m going to need to go. Up to this point, my complaints are at least addressable.

The Wireless.
This has been a real problem. I use CNET’s Bandwidth test every now and then (and more often now after watching my connectivity screech to a halt on the MacBook and scream on the Windows laptop). I searched the web for an answer and there are pages about Mac-freindly routers and such — which is complete bullshit. “Hey Apple! Write to the f’ing standard.” There appear to be MANY people experiencing the same slowness I am (somewhere in the neighborhood of 150Kbps on the Mac to 2000Kbps on the Toshiba laptop). I’ve tried everything and have — at least for now — found a solution. I, of course, did two things so I have no idea which is the “magic” fix.

  1. Turned off Windows Sharing
  2. Changed the Channel on the router

Others have entered the DNS servers manually instead of relying on DHCP as well as a multitude of other wacky fixes. Someone dropped the ball on the wireless over at Apple — at least in 10.4.8.

The Battery
The website says:

60-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery (with integrated charge indicator LEDs) providing up to 5 hours of battery life(1)

I’ve yet to see anything close to that. I use the wireless typically, so that’s going to cut into the time, but I dim the screen quite a bit (just a click or two above ‘off’) and I’m usually just editing text or browsing the web. I’m lucky to see 2 hours and 15 minutes on a full charge.

In 42 load cycles (according to Coconut Battery), I’m down to a max charge of 94% of the original. That’s a significant drop, but it still doesn’t explain the discrepancy in the estimate. You want to know what does? Apple lied about it. Yep. Unless they’re using some alien technology, you’re not going to be able to get 5 hours out of it. And this thing sucks the juice with the cover closed in sleep mode too. Routinely, it’ll use 25% of it’s battery “sleeping” overnight.

The Display (added this as an UPDATE on 1/23/2007)
This is a big one. I’m a developer. I also hack around in Photoshop, Illustrator and such when need be — in more of a production graphics sense. What the hell was Apple thinking putting a 1440 x 900 screen (with no other option available) into a machine such as this? My $1600 Dell Inspiron Core Duo has the 1680 x 1050 option — and it’s an amazing screen. I subscribe to the notion that we have too much choice in our lives and that that amount of choice makes us less happy as we are constantly forced to be… making choices (head over to Subway at lunch if you don’t agree), but my list of choices for displays on a Mac laptop are too limited:

  • 13.3 inch Glossy (1280 by 800)
  • 15.4 inch Glossy (1440 by 900)
  • 15.4 inch Standard (1440 x 900)
  • 17 inch Glossy (1680 by 1050)
  • 17 inch Standard (1680 by 1050)

Glossy and non-glossy are hardly the important options I need. Add this option:

  • 15.4 inch Standard (1680 x 1050)

…and you’ve solved the problem.

The Keyboard
Love it — except the squeaky space bar. I gotta get that fixed.

Worth It?
For $2500? No. Too many problems. I love the flexibility, but realistically some of my main Windows apps — Visual Studio, OneNote, and even Open Office have no real Mac peers (I’m willing to retract this point if you can help me find OS X replacements). Mac Fanboys will surely chime in — as they ALWAYS do, “Why don’t you go buy a Dell then?” The answer is, I might next time if Apple refuses to fix these (VERY FIXABLE) hardware issues in the next generation. My $1600 Dell and one of those kick-ass 23-inch Studio Displays for the same cost as the MacBook Pro? Hmm…

Dentistry takes a high-tech step back toward the middle ages.

November 14, 2006

I went to the dentist on a couple of weeks ago. I went as I always do — a bit more than once a year, a bit less than every six months. The six months thing feels like Jiffy Lube’s “every 3000 miles” mantra when in reality there is no need for that frequency — but I digress.

The dentist is a strange place when a person goes in for a checkup. The dentist’s role is so minor, that there is really no reason for them to be there. All of the x-rays, scaling, cleaning and flossing is done by a person, who, in my experience, is able to tell the dentist all of the problem areas before the dentist even looks.

I’m not a dentist, and well, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to hang out with a dentist. So I won’t presume to know if they belong in the room during a check-up or not.

Back to what we’re here for. Pain.

Read the rest of this entry »

Torture (and Irony)

September 29, 2006

Interesting — and one more reason to love the internet (nothing really disappears).

Today, on the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the United States declares its strong solidarity with torture victims across the world. Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere. We are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law.

Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right. The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, ratified by the United States and more than 130 other countries since 1984, forbids governments from deliberately inflicting severe physical or mental pain or suffering on those within their custody or control. Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes whose cruel methods match their determination to crush the human spirit. Beating, burning, rape, and electric shock are some of the grisly tools such regimes use to terrorize their own citizens. These despicable crimes cannot be tolerated by a world committed to justice.

Notorious human rights abusers, including, among others, Burma, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Zimbabwe, have long sought to shield their abuses from the eyes of the world by staging elaborate deceptions and denying access to international human rights monitors. Until recently, Saddam Hussein used similar means to hide the crimes of his regime. With Iraq’s liberation, the world is only now learning the enormity of the dictator’s three decades of victimization of the Iraqi people. Across the country, evidence of Baathist atrocities is mounting, including scores of mass graves containing the remains of thousands of men, women, and children and torture chambers hidden inside palaces and ministries. The most compelling evidence of all lies in the stories told by torture survivors, who are recounting a vast array of sadistic acts perpetrated against the innocent. Their testimony reminds us of their great courage in outlasting one of history’s most brutal regimes, and it reminds us that similar cruelties are taking place behind the closed doors of other prison states.

The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment. I call on all nations to speak out against torture in all its forms and to make ending torture an essential part of their diplomacy. I further urge governments to join America and others in supporting torture victims’ treatment centers, contributing to the UN Fund for the Victims of Torture, and supporting the efforts of non-governmental organizations to end torture and assist its victims.

No people, no matter where they reside, should have to live in fear of their own government. Nowhere should the midnight knock foreshadow a nightmare of state-commissioned crime. The suffering of torture victims must end, and the United States calls on all governments to assume this great mission.

George W. Bush(‘s Speechwriters), June 26, 2003  


Christian Morality?

September 29, 2006

OK. I think religion is full of crap. I grew up in the church, but at some point after getting a bit of distance the hypocrisy in organized religion became so evident. Here is just another example:


One more reason.