What's davintosh? Mostly just the random ramblings of a hopelessly distractible… Hey, what's that?

Windows Rant Of The Day — Finding A File Path

Filed under: Computers,Cool Technology,Geek — Tags: , , — dave @ 9:22 pm 2008/09/30

Here’s one place where the Macintosh really, really shines compared to Windows…

Let’s say you have a document open in Word or Excel or PowerPoint, on either platform. Like many users, you just fired up the app and opened it through the handy-dandy Recent Documents list, just like you’ve done daily since you originated that document a month or so ago. And like many users you have no clue where on your hard drive you saved that particular file. But now, Gertrude in the next cubicle, or Hector in the Mexico City office, needs a copy of that file… How do you figure out where to find it?

On the Mac, just hold down the Command (Apple) key and click on the document title bar. A menu showing every step in the file path drops down. Pull down and click in any step in that menu, and you’re taken to that directory/folder. While it’s not exactly intuitive — you probably won’t find that trick in any of the Office apps’ menus — it’s easy as can be once you know it. Once you see the file, you can copy it to a flash drive, drag it to an email message, burn it to a CD, or whatever.

If you’re on a PC, well, it’s a different story. Emailing the file is pretty straightforward; click on the Office Button (in Office 2007) then pull down to Send — Email. That still doesn’t tell you where you can find the file, but Microsoft dumbs down that process enough to make it work. But what if you really need to burn that file to a CD or copy it to a thumb drive… how do you track down the location of the file?

Not sure if this is the best way, but after much digging around in the Office 2007 menus, what I found is that you can click on the Office Button (in Office 2007) then pull down to Prepare — Properties; that opens up a Document Properties bar just below The Ribbon, which includes a Location: field that shows the full file path for the file. From there you can select & copy the path, then paste it into an Explorer window. Yeah. That’s intuitive.

These examples refer to the Microsoft Office suite in both the Mac OS and in Windows; the same trick works in all apps on the Mac because it’s part of the OS. In Windows… the same trick will likely take different steps in different apps. That’s just the way it works in Winders.

And once again, the Mac OS smacks the snot out of Windows.

Who Really Wrote “Dreams From My Father”?

Filed under: Politics — dave @ 10:28 pm 2008/09/29

That’s the question asked by author Jack Cashill. I happened to catch an interview of Mr. Cashill on the Rusty Humphries radio show a couple of nights ago, and from what I’ve heard and read since then, he raises a good question. While I haven’t read Obama’s memoir, nor do I have any desire to read it, it’s said to be very well written, and it’s not just leftist Obama cheerleaders who say so.

The issue leading up to that one is this; how could someone like Barack Obama — who had not published anything prior to that book, and by his own admission had written only “bad poetry” — write something as prosaic as the book that carries his name? According to Cashill, “The style is above his pay grade, way above.”

Interestingly, Cashill goes a step further than asking whether Obama used a ghost writer for his book; he says it was Obama’s good friend and Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. Check out his reasoning here, and here.

I guess the question I’d ask is how someone with as undistinguished a past as Obama’s could have an agent cut a deal to publish his memoirs in the first place. Ok, he went to Columbia and Hahvahd, and was the president of the Harvard Law Review, although he never published a single work while in that position. It just seems his life is too unremarkable to be writing memoirs at 35 years old. It’s like he’s trying to live his life backwards; writing the memoirs first, hoping that the interesting stuff will come later.

Some might ask whether it makes any difference at all if Obama’s memoirs were written by someone else; ghost writers are used all the time. The trouble is that Obama has claimed the work is entirely his own. Even more troublesome — if Cashill is right — is who did the writing. Obama’s association with Ayers was well known before, but this would tie them even tighter. Like Cashill says, “That Obama had anything to do with this man should disqualify him for the presidency.” Amen. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the mainstream media to look into the relationship, or “Dreams” authorship.

Update: Well, whaddyaknow. The media is actually picking up on this story, if only a little. Governor Sarah Palin is hammering away at the Obama/Ayers connection, and finally getting some traction with media elites who are still glassy-eyed about Obama. Jack Cashill wrote an excellent piece on American Thinker last week that strengthens the case even more. This and the unearthing of some real proof of Obama’s ties to the Socialist “New Party”… Plenty of ammunition for McCain to drive this guy into the exile he deserves. But first we’ve got to convince McCain to take off the gloves and hammer Obama like there’s no tomorrow.

I Won A T-Shirt!

Filed under: Cars!,Fun! — dave @ 10:36 pm 2008/09/25

And not just any t-shirt; it’s a gen-yew-wine Jalopnik PCH Tipster rattle-can air-brushed t-shirt!

I loves me some Jalopnik PCH — Project Car Hell. Gearhead’s gearhead Murilee Martin matches up two vehicles and “you choose your eternity by selecting the project that’s the coolest… and the most hellish!” He decided to use two cars I dug up on eBay, a 1985 TVR 280i and a 1967 NSU Type 110 SC. Kind of an odd couple, but I thought the Alphabet Soup theme I suggested was pretty fitting, and so did Murilee.

Unfortunately, Mr. Martin doesn’t have any shirts in my size right now, so I’ll have to wait until he cranks up the rattle-can factory again. But with such a classy t-shirt, it’ll be worth the wait!

McCain Proves To Be The Bigger Man

Filed under: Politics — dave @ 10:26 pm 2008/09/24

This afternoon, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) announced that he planned to suspend his campaign for a time so he can return to Washington to do what he can to deal with the ongoing national financial crisis, and has suggested to his opponent, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) that he do the same, and that they agree to postpone the debate scheduled for Friday. After all, dealing with the potential $700 billion encumbrance is what the voters of their respective states have hired them to do.

Obama has decided to take the low road, essentially saying that he can deal with this issue while campaigning and preparing for the debate, which he’s not willing to postpone. Sounds like something an ornery, self-centered teenager would do; like he’s saying, “No problem. I can do it all. What’s the matter, Old Man? Can’t handle it?” All the while missing the point that it’s not about him, it’s about the country. My guess to the real reason he isn’t eager to go back to DC? He figures he hasn’t done much of anything there in his two years as Senator; why start now?

It’s not that McCain can’t campaign and do the debate and deal with the bailout legislation, it’s that he recognizes there are higher priorities than who will get the upper hand in the campaign this week. Obama’s attitude in regard to the debate is that “people need to hear from the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsible for dealing with this mess.” Note to Sentator Obama; the election is in 40-some days. If you win, you don’t get the keys until January 20.

I have high hopes that come November voters will see past Obama’s bluster and recognize his immaturity and narcissistic tendencies, and will overwhelmingly reject him as President.

All that said, I hope that this legislation goes down in flames. The last thing we need is another $700 billion in debt, going to fund an ever larger bureaucracy with too few restrictions on how that money is to be spent. Little more than “financial socialism”, as Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) so aptly put it. Let the market make it’s own corrections; it’ll be tough in the short term, but the long-term results will be worth it.

My Moller AirCar — A Dream Realized, Sort Of…

Filed under: Cars!,Cool Technology,Favorite Things,Fun!,Geek,Travel — dave @ 10:53 pm 2008/09/19

I can remember drooling over the Moller SkyCar since the first time I saw renderings of it on the pages of Popular Science or Popular Mechanics decades ago. The thought of being able to hop into a machine that would lift off from your own driveway and zip you to your destination at speeds around 300 mph, far above traffic… What a wonderful thing that would be! A vehicle that is able to perform like a high-performance airplane, but as easy to drive as a car.

Yesterday evening I at long last took possession of a Moller M400 SkyCar. It’s true! You would think my joy would be complete, but given the fact that what I’ve got is only a toy…

Yes, it’s just a HotWings diecast model of the SkyCar. Not very fulfilling, but still not a bad deal for $1.98 at Target!

The dream that is the Moller SkyCar remains just that; a dream. Since the idea was first introduced, the SkyCar’s inventor, Paul Moller, has failed to deliver a single working prototype of the SkyCar. That combined with Moller’s readiness to accept deposits from hopeful SkyCar buyers has led to accusations that the whole thing is a scam. Moller seems to put out a press release and make a big splash every now & then, which some say coincided with a need to generate some cash or deflect heat he’s getting from investors or government regulators. Part of me believes that to be true, but the more likely case is that Paul Moller is simply trying very hard to make his dream come true — he just doesn’t have the where-with-all to make it happen. The really unfortunate part is that he’s spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million in the process, much of that coming from those hopeful investors, who won’t likely live to see any fruit from their investment.

The company is publicly traded, and while looking at their trading info I was surprised to see a recent Yahoo Finance story on Moller dated just a few days back; apparently the company is “in the process of completing its fourth M200 “Jetson” volantor airframe. It expects to complete forty of these fly-by-wire, multi-engine flying vehicles in 2009.” The M200 is vastly different from the M400 SkyCar; it more closely resembles a flying saucer, using multiple ducted fans around the single seat to provide lift and directional thrust vectoring. The M200G is limited to ground-effect flight at a mere 10 feet above the ground. (after a little more digging, the Yahoo story seems to be a rehash of a press release that got much broader coverage back in July. Nothing new.)

The design of the SkyCar seems to have morphed a bit over the years; the rotating ducted fan nacelles on stubby wings you see on the early renderings and on the diecast toy seem have been replaced by what looks to be fixed nacelles with thrust vectoring vanes, no forward wing, and a much larger rear wing. Some images I’ve seen show the rear wing folding up and over the rear engines, probably so it can fit in a garage (suppressed chortle).

The SkyCar always has been a really, really cool idea, but I’m afraid the technology to make it work just hasn’t arrived yet. Engines powerful enough to get a vehicle, passengers & payload off the ground are too heavy to make something like the SkyCar practical, and fuel will I won’t get to fully realize my dream, but maybe my kids, or their kids, will.

Further Reading:
Davis Wiki Moller Page
Wikipedia M400 SkyCar Article
Official Moller Website

Avast! It’s Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Filed under: Fun!,Links — dave @ 9:42 pm 2008/09/18

Aye, it be that time of year once again! Time break out the rum, put on yer eye patch, run up the Jolly Roger, and all the other piratey things ye can think of, for it be Talk Like A Pirate Day! Arrrr!

In case yer piratey skills be lackin, here be some boons for ye, ye scurvy dogs! And no, it has nuthin’ ta do with downloadin’ movies ner music.

How to Talk Like A Pirate
Flickr Talk Like A Pirate Day
YouTube Stuff

Jesus Was More Than A Community Organizer

Filed under: Faith & Worship,Politics — dave @ 11:11 pm 2008/09/15

The big buzz phrase in the Obama campaign this week is, “Jesus Christ was a Community Organizer, and Pontious Pilate was a governor.” Some enterprising individual has even gone so far as to make a lapel button with the slogan on it. Cute, and impressive, eh?

If only these bozos knew how far they were sticking their feet down their throats…

First off, Jesus was not a “community organizer”, whatever that is. I’m still a little fuzzy on what exactly a community organizer (CO) does — Kyle-Anne Shiver wrote a piece at American Thinker last week about the history of community organizers; according to her a CO is essentially a political rabble-rouser, working to get people up in arms enough for government officials to take note of their plight long enough to throw some money their way. Granted, Kyle-Anne is probably a little biased against Obama, so I sought out & found another opinion that was biased in the other direction that described the CO as someone who helped people who had recently lost jobs “recover and get the services they needed — job training, help with housing and so forth — from the local government.” And if you look at the things Barack Obama says he did as a CO, it was basically trying to get funding for this project or that (unfortunately for him, most of the projects he took on have since failed miserably.) If either one is even a little bit accurate I rather doubt you could describe Jesus role in his earthly ministry in that way.

But it’s more than a little insulting to even suggest that Jesus’ mission on earth was to be a political rabble-rouser, or even just here to help beggars beg a little more efficiently. Jesus was concerned with the well-being of the people he ministered to, but that was not his primary mission. I wrote about this very thing not long ago in reference to Obama’s alleged Christian faith;

… most people seek to follow Jesus’ example in order to earn their way to heaven. The problem for most is they only make a cursory examination of Jesus’ ministry on earth. Looking closer at Jesus’ ministry reveals that while he eased the suffering of a lot of people by healing them and relieving them of demon possession, that was not his primary focus. A good example of this is found in Mark 1:23-39 depicting a day at the beginning of Jesus ministry. In this passage, he ends his first day in Capernaum by healing many who were sick and casting demons out of many others. The next day, he got up “very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” When the disciples finally rolled out of bed, Jesus was nowhere to be found.

Mark’s Gospel doesn’t say it in so many words, but I’m sure the disciples were awakened by the sounds of a gathering crowd; a crowd who had heard about the previous nights’ events and had come to be healed or to have demons cast out. I can imagine the people clamoring for the help they knew they could receive from Jesus, and the disciples looking all over the place for him while trying to placate the crowd… “I’m sure he’ll be back any minute!” When they finally found him, “Everyone is looking for you.” Likely they were more than a little anxious to get him back so that he could start work again, because surely, that was what he had come for.

But Jesus had other plans; “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” There was still work to be done in Capernaum, and Jesus knew it. But instead of continuing with that work, he went “throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.” He knew there were others who were seeking relief, but if that’s what his ministry was all about, don’t you think he would’ve stayed? Christ didn’t ignore the sick and needy, but neither were they his primary focus.

Pundits on the right regularly mock Obama as the “messiah” (small ‘m’), and this new slogan — from the left of all places — only reinforces that mockery, and those using it make themselves out to be even bigger fools by using it. The trouble is, many on the left must really think of Obama as their savior, here to rescue the world from sure destruction at the hands of the evil Republicans and their Big Business cohorts, and their devotion to him is nothing less than fanatical. And their devotion to him has served to give Obama quite the ego as well, but from the sound of things, he had a pretty good start on that long before his bid for the Presidency.

And it doesn’t stop there; the slogan also tries to equate Sarah Palin with Pontius Pilate. How ridiculous.

First off, with this statement they unwittingly recognize and admit that Sarah Palin is a threat to Obama. That is the one thing that they’re right about; since the Republican National Convention, the buzz has been all about Sarah, and the bounce in the polls from that convention has been huge. Every imagined controversy that comes up involving Sarah just gives her more time in the spotlight, eclipsing the pathetic Obama even more.

But it gets even better because Pilate didn’t really have a grievance against Jesus, it was the Jewish priests who dragged Jesus in front of Pilate, trying to force him to kill this rabble-rouser (yes, they didn’t get it either.) Pilate wanted nothing to do with it, so he washed his hands of the situation and told them Jesus was their problem. Pilate was no hero, but neither was he the scoundrel the left now wants to make him out to be.

So all in all, this is just another pathetically weak attempt to boost Barack Obama by denigrating Sarah Palin and John McCain. But in the process they are only making themselves out to be the fools they are. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Much To Be Thankful For

Filed under: Just Stuff,The World — dave @ 7:49 pm 2008/09/07

Someone sent me this as part of an email chain letter. I won’t pass emails on to others, but this was good enough to share; this is a much preferable mode for this sort of thing.

Much To Be Thankful For
He clutches the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags. 

You talk trash about your ‘buddies’ that aren’t with you. 
He knows he may not see some of his buddies again. 

You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls. 
He patrols the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists.

You complain about how hot it is. 
He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow. 

You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong. 
He doesn’t get to eat today. 

Your maid makes your bed and washes your clothes. 
He wears the same things for weeks, but makes sure his weapons are clean. 

You go to the mall and get your hair redone. 
He doesn’t have time to brush his teeth today. 

You’re angry because your class ran 5 minutes over. 
He’s told he will be held over an extra 2 months. 

You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight. 
He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home. 

You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do everyday. 
He holds his letter close and smells his love’s perfume. 

You roll your eyes as a baby cries. 
He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they’ll ever meet. 

You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything. 
He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he is fighting. 

You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of men like him. 
He hears the gunfire, bombs and screams of the wounded. 

You see only what the media wants you to see. 
He sees the broken bodies lying around him. 

You are asked to go to the store by your parents. You don’t. 
He does exactly what he is told even if it puts his life in danger. 

You stay at home and watch TV. 
He takes whatever time he is given to call, write home, sleep, and eat. 

You crawl into your soft bed, with down pillows, and get comfortable. 
He tries to sleep but gets woken by mortars and helicopters all night long. 

If you support your troops, send this to 7 people. 
If you don’t support your troops well, then don’t send this out. You won’t die in 7 days, your love life won’t be affected, and you won’t have the worst day ever. 
You don’t have to email this. It’s not like you know the men and women that are dying to preserve your rights. 

REMEMBER our Troops, and do not forget them LATER 
Lest we forget

It drives me just a little crazy when people criticize members of the military. How often have they considered the fact that the freedom they enjoy which allows them the ability to make that criticism was purchased for them by soldiers fighting and dying on battlefields in many places around the world throughout history. They may not agree with the current war going on in the Middle East, in spite of the reality of the threat, but you would think they’d show a little gratitude for those who have gone before. But the privileged rarely give thought to the source of their

Grace Like Rain

Filed under: Faith & Worship,Favorite Things,Fun!,Old Things,The Deep — dave @ 7:02 pm

I’ve got a new favorite song. Not exactly new; it’s Grace Like Rain by Todd Agnew (iTunes link), which is Agnew’s rendition of the 250 year old Amazing Grace by John Newton. I love the song to begin with; adding Agnew’s gritty vocals makes it that much more appealing.

Amazing Grace has been around since about 1772, but the lyrics still hold their meaning for today’s Christian.

Amazing Grace
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.

Many hymnbooks — and Agnew’s rendition — add the following verse, which isn’t attributed to Newton, but it’s got to be one of my favorites:

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

Some say it doesn’t fit well with the rest of the song, being “we” instead of “I”, but I still like it, and the thoughts of eternity it conjures.

If you haven’t heard Todd Agnew’s music, take a listen. His album Grace Like Rain contains several other songs that are revamped versions of old hymns, treating them respectfully, doing an excellent job of conveying age-old concepts of the Christian faith. Thanks, Todd, for your work. I look forward to hearing your other CD’s.

Just Desserts…

Filed under: Cars!,Just Stuff — dave @ 12:01 am 2008/09/04

We drove to Rapid City — last weekend… what a long. boring. drive. But there was one bit of excitement on the way back that really made the trip.

I was driving along I-90 near Murdo, SD, with the cruise control set at about 77-78 mph. I came up behind a tractor trailer rig — pulling two full-size trailers — checked my mirrors, and moved to the left lane to pass. About half way past the truck, I looked in my mirror and saw some bozo approaching at high speed, probably over 100 mph. He slowed in time, thankfully, but sat within a few feet of my bumper — way too close for comfort. I taped the brake pedal a couple of times trying to get him to back off, but he stayed right there. When I finally got past the truck, he floored it, giving me a dirty look and the bird as he passed. What a jerk.

As the guy passed me I breathed a silent prayer, asking that his request be granted — driving that fast on Labor Day weekend, he was just asking to be caught. Sure enough, a short time later we saw a patrol car with lights flashing at the side of the road, with the same Iowa-plated VW pulled over in front of it.

That was so terribly gratifying. Nobody on the road that day deserved a ticket more than that guy, and he got it. I shouldn’t have, but I tapped the horn a couple of times as we passed. That’s probably considered gloating, but it’d take a bigger man than me to resist something that tempting.

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