Geezer survives iPocalypse*

Earlier today I set an iCal (that's calendar in regular peoplespeak) alarm, "Fix Dinner," for 4:45 this afternoon. I didn't really need the reminder but I wanted to check out the so-called push technology in Apple's new, too cutely named MobileMe web service which, just this week, replaced the venerable .Mac. So it transpired that at 4:45 an alarm rang on my phone and on my battered and aging laptop, which I had just finished running a software upgrade on, but not on the desktop iMac where I had set the alarm to begin with. Go figure.

That's about how well it seems to work, MobileMe - sometimes OK, sometimes not so much. All of which is a big improvement from a couple of days ago. Apple posted a notice on its web site Wednesday that the .Mac service would be down for six hours that evening while .Mac was switched to MobileMe. The six hours stretched to twenty-four-plus, with things limping along - sometimes working, sometimes not at all - until late Thursday evening.

And then the iPhone hit. This time it was a world-wide launch and, following the sun, wave after wave of new iPhone users hit the iTunes servers (and no doubt MobileMe too) to activate. Word is, things ground to a halt in a lot of Apple and telco stores. By mid-morning U.S. Eastern time the iPhone 2.0 software update for those of us hanging with the old hardware entered the fray, potentially sending millions more to the same servers - the upgrade required re-activation by the same process as new phones. I was lucky and only had to try twice - a lot of people, word is, spent a long time waiting.

Just for chuckles, the new (and very cool) iPhone Apps store went online Thursday night too, running through (you guessed it) iTunes. Things pretty much ground to a halt. This afternoon a MobileMe upgrade to OS X - mostly cosmetic, from what I can see - came down the band and as of now things seem to be running, more or less (see above), maybe. Maybe that's because I have all the new features mostly turned off. We'll see.

So what's the take on iPhone 2.0? Eh.

The new phone's main improvements are GPS, an ability to use the faster 3G data network, and reportedly better sound quality due in part to a better speaker and possibly to a plastic, not aluminum, back (a stronger signal, maybe). But for people, including me, who live in areas not served by 3G that's not much, especially since the iPhone's GPS uses Google maps and is therefore also network-dependent. And on the slower EDGE network, especially in places where reception is marginal to begin with, MobileMe's push makes a brutal dent in battery life. When you're in Wi-Fi range you can get all wild and crazy with it - but when you're not, better turn stuff off.

And Notes still don't sync. Both the iPhone and Apple Mail in OS X have beautiful note applications but they don't speak to each other, alas.

Bottom line: I'm glad I didn't stand in one.

*Thanks to Gizmodo for the word.


Sam Smith on Jesse Jackson and Obama

It's a sure sign of how American politics has disintegrated that one Chicago politician can't cuss out another without holding a news conference to apologize. This is the town where one candidate once ran on the slogan, "Vote for Fred and Nobody Gets Hurt." Now you can't even make nobody feel bad.


Same old, same old

Senators Barack Obama and John McCain have long been among the most outspoken critics of the influence of money in politics.

Yet records show that in their presidential campaigns, neither has lived up to his promise to fully disclose the identities of his top money collectors who bundle millions of dollars in campaign contributions.

[From Obama and McCain Lag in Naming ‘Bundlers’ Who Rake In Campaign Cash - NYTimes.com]

Greenwald: Thinking of Yoo

Why should we pretend that John Yoo is some sort of grotesque authoritarian aberration when his defining belief in presidential omnipotence is, to varying degrees, shared by the leaders of both parties? Yoo has long been mocked for his belief that the President -- simply by uttering the magical phrase "National Security" -- has the power to break the law, but Congress, yesterday, just passed a bill grounded in exactly that premise.

[From Democrats' strategy: Strength through bowing - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com]


Oh dude, this makes me feel so much better

For (much) more, look here.

Yeah, that

Obama is in the Senate. Obama is sworn to protect the Constitution. People who speak as if everything will change "once he's sworn in" forget that he is already sworn in and is supposed to be governing according to his oath of office.

[From The Sideshow July 2008 Archive]

Oh no! This means war!

Iran accused of Photoshopping image if missile firing.

As news spread across the world of Iran’s provocative missile tests, so did an image of four missiles heading skyward in unison. Unfortunately, it appeared to contain one too many missiles, a point that had not emerged before the photo appeared on the front pages of The Los Angeles Times, The Financial Times, The Chicago Tribune and several other newspapers as well as on BBC News, MSNBC, Yahoo! News, NYTimes.com and many other major news Web sites.

[From In an Iranian Image, a Missile Too Many - The Lede - Breaking News - New York Times Blog]

Evil! Evil!

Think peanut butter-cucumber soup

With bacon.

Food price trends here.

Wait. What?

"Barack Obama believes in the Constitution," he continued. "He's a constitutional scholar. I believe that he will have a better chance to look at these powers that have been given to the executive branch, [even though] he'll be running the executive branch.

I think he will understand and help take the lead in fixing some of the worst provisions."

"I do think that people have a right to be disappointed," he went on, "but they also have a right to hope for change--on this issue, in particular--starting in January."

[From The Raw Story | Feingold on FISA: Elect Obama to reverse 'terrible legislation']

Russ Feingold (that would be D-WI) tells Rachel Maddow if Obama becomes president he can fix this lousy FISA bill, the one Obama himself voted for yesterday in the Senate. That's sad.

Note to Democrats: If you want my vote at the top, nominate somebody else.


Imagine my relief

The world is becoming a happier place, a study published in this month's Perspectives of Psychological Science shows.

[From The Raw Story | The world is becoming a happier place: study]

For the rest, cake

Just two days ago, Gordon Brown was urging us all to stop wasting food and combat rising prices and a global shortage of provisions.

But yesterday the Prime Minister and other world leaders sat down to an 18-course gastronomic extravaganza at a G8 summit in Japan, which is focusing on the food crisis.

The dinner, and a six-course lunch, at the summit of leading industrialised nations on the island of Hokkaido, included delicacies such as caviar, milkfed lamb, sea urchin and tuna, with champagne and wines flown in from Europe and the U.S.

[From World leaders enjoy 18-course banquet... then discuss how to solve global food crisis | Mail Online]

"Inconvenient" might not be exactly the word we're looking for

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) noted that, "We're considering granting immunity when roughly 70 members of the Senate still have not been briefed on the president's wiretapping program. The vast majority of this body still does not even know what we're being asked to grant immunity for."

Maddow spoke with Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley, who explained, "What the Democrats are doing here with the White House is they're trying to conceal a crime that is hiding in plain view. ... Nobody wants to have a confrontation over the fact that the president committed a felony. ... That's a very inconvenient fact right now in Washington."

[From The Raw Story | Constitutional expert Turley on FISA bill: 'The fix is in']

Maybe "disgusting" would work.


Yikes! "Freedom" makes the endangered words list

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio -- Demonstrations on the town square show how divided people are over the school board's decision to fire a science teacher accused of preaching his Christian beliefs in the classroom and burning crosses on students' arms....

Some residents consider him a courageous fighter for religious freedom.

[From The Raw Story | Some hail teacher who allegedly burned crosses on students' arms]

You, not so much

Obama: I need to earn troops’ trust

[From Obama: I need to earn troops’ trust - Navy News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports - Navy Times]

Call rewrite

LOS ANGELES - Matthew McConaughey's longtime model girlfriend, Camila Alves....

[From McConaughey, girlfriend welcome baby boy - Yahoo! News]

Pouring a little salt in the wound

The poor reception of Windows Vista, along with a strong Mac OS X, will help Apple continue to ship Macs at three times the industry average by the end of the spring, according to BMO Capital Markets.

[From AppleInsider | Apple may have shipped 2.5 million Macs in spring thanks to Vista]

"More than 50% of recent customers buying Macs in Apple retail stores are first-time customers," some guy says.

Wouldn't dare rain, right?

WASHINGTON — Borrowing from the political repertory of John F. Kennedy, Senator Barack Obama will accept his party’s nomination outside of the main Democratic convention hall this August, in the Denver Broncos’ football stadium that seats more than 75,000 people.

[From Obama’s Campaign Shifts to a Bigger Stage for His Big Night - NYTimes.com]

Health insurance is not health care

Despite all the campaign chatter about reducing health care costs by sending folks to the doctor more often for preventive check-ups, mammograms, and prostate screenings, there has been remarkably little said about who will actually do the work of primary care medicine. That’s a shame, because mounting evidence shows that the U.S. faces a severe shortage of the primary care doctors who have historically provided this kind of care, and can do it cost-effectively and efficiently. The American College of Physicians tells us that “primary care is on the verge of collapse,” mostly because of a screwed-up reimbursement system that rewards high-priced specialists.

[From CJR: Where Have All the Doctors Gone?]

I don't mean to be grumpy or anything (moi?)...

...but doesn't this thing sort of look like an old tractor tire?


Mixed company

The reformers also tried to tackle political rowdiness with a movement called Safe and Sane Fourth of July. But the real key to nonviolent politics was bringing women into the picture. As we seem condemned to keep relearning throughout history, men are much less inclined to blow things up or knock each other down when they're in mixed company.

When American women first got the right to vote, in Wyoming in 1869, a local paper noted that things had quieted down so fast "it seemed more like Sunday than election day."

[From We (used to) love a parade - International Herald Tribune]

Time warp

Time warp, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

What would that be, you may wonder

Thousands of members of the international media will have to walk past it when they land at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for the Republican National Convention in St. Paul at the end of the summer.

Many will feel obligated to stop and file a story.

Why, it's the Larry Craig memorial stall.

The parade of airport tourists asking for directions to the stall (right at the Chili's, left at the Royal Zino shoeshine) has died down a bit since last summer, but is expected to pick up as the GOP and the press arrive in town in late August, whether or not Craig himself shows up as a delegate.

[From Airport stall may return to spotlight :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Elections]

I guess I'm not the only one who's easily amused.

Return of the Zeppelin?

PARIS — Imagine gliding in a floating hotel over the Serengeti, gazing down at herds of zebra or elephants; or floating over Paris as the sun sets and lights blink on across the city as you pass the Eiffel Tower.

Such flights of fancy may one day be possible, if the dream of Jean-Marie Massaud, a French architect, comes true.

[From Why Fly When You Can Float? - NYTimes.com]

But of course he can't just say that

WASHINGTON----I've obtained a copy of the talking points memo the Obama campaign team is distributing to supporters to explain why presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) did not honor his pledge to to meet with Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) to see if they could make a deal for both of them to use public money to bankroll their general election campaigns.

Most of the hand-wringing 886-word memo--blaming McCain--could be replaced with one simple, more candid talking point: Obama decided to change his mind.

[From Lynn Sweet: Obama talking points memo: Why Obama dropped pledge to "aggresively" seek public finance deal with McCain.]

Mine too

Among its other attributes, this particular G-rated film, “Wall-E,” is a rare economic bright spot. Its enormous box-office gross last weekend swelled a total Hollywood take that was up 20 percent from a year ago. (You know America’s economy is cooked when everyone flocks to the movies.) The “Wall-E” crowds were primed by the track record of its creator, Pixar Animation Studios, and the ecstatic reviews. But if anything, this movie may exceed its audience’s expectations. It did mine.

[From Op-Ed Columnist - Wall-E for President - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com]


Summer starts in the park

Summer starts in the park, originally uploaded by tedcompton.