“This label is the target of a goto from outside of the block containing this label AND this block has an automatic variable with an initializer AND your window wasn’t wide enough to read this whole error message”

— MPW C error message

GarageBand 1.1

Mostly bugfixes and minor tweaks. Still need third-party freeware for many import/export tasks.

Update: It’s being reported that 1.1 silently fixed a bug that prevented use of free third-party instruments.

Organic minerals

Okay, the food-faddists have hit a new low: Certified Organic salt.

There are apparently three different (European) agencies willing to certify that table salt has been produced in a manner consistent with traditional methods and modern marketing.

Coming soon to a parking lot near you...

2005 BMW F650CS

After much thought, tire-kicking, and riding, I’ve settled on a 2005 BMW F650CS as my first motorcycle. I’m sure this will disappoint a certain Ducati-loving Lion, but that’s the way it goes.

Why the CS? Comfortable riding position, good balance, some interesting features, terrific mileage, and the friendly sales support of California BMW. Lots of pictures to come, as soon as the bike finishes its cross-country trek to the dealership.

Why not a bigger bike, something I was seriously considering? Because I decided that I’d rather have two very different bikes than one compromise. That and I decided that while you can learn to shoot with a .45, you’ll be able to practice longer and more effectively with a .38 (just don’t take either one out on the highway…). I could carry that analogy farther, but I spent two days riding a 250cc mini-cruiser for the MSF class, and it just doesn’t have the continuing appeal of a good .22. :-)

You're kidding, right?

"I downloaded the file in the hope that perhaps Microsoft had released some sort of public beta. The file unzipped, and to my delight the Microsoft icon looked genuine and trustworthy. I clicked on the installer file, and to my horror in 10 seconds the attachment had wiped my entire Home folder!"

Why, yes, Microsoft often officially releases beta software on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. Your confusion is understandable, and no one is going to accuse you of being a software pirate. Really.

Besides, I’m pretty sure you won’t be downloading any commercial software in the future…

Update: Oh, and note the clever way the story implies that this had something to do with Intego’s “concept trojan horse” scare story. Sorry, Charlie, but we’re not that stupid. An application that doesn’t do what you think it will ain’t the same thing as an application disguised as an MP3 file.

Another opinion poll

So I got a call at home today, asking me how I felt about Bush, Arnold, illegal immigration, and, in particular, driver’s licenses and health care for illegal immigrants.

As usual, there were some questions I couldn’t answer honestly, due to the phrasing. As usual, some of the benefits claimed by supporters of the current bill were either borderline lies or outright fantasy. Fortunately, one of the options was “I think this statement is not true”. I used that one a lot.

Most interesting was the very short list, by comparison, of reasons to oppose the bill. Either the opposition thinks they’ve got a slam-dunk and don’t need to give a long list of justifications, or the folks who commissioned the survey were stacking the deck in their favor. Personally, I didn’t find their list particularly persuasive, but I didn’t notice any obvious lies.

The final question was freeform, and asked how you think the illegal immigration issue should be handled. My answer was, more or less, “expand legal immigration instead; we need the workers, they want to come here, so do it right”.

There’s a giant lettuce field three blocks from my house. I drive by several more every day, and I know perfectly well that most of the people working on those farms are in California illegally. I don’t want to throw them out, I don’t want to turn them away at the border, but I also don’t want them to become accustomed to breaking any law that gets in the way of how they want to work and live. Giving them driver’s licenses simply rewards them for breaking the law.

I want to see them coming across the border openly, officially, with a clear legal status in both countries, good documentation, and a set of well-understood rules on what will get them sent home. And I want those rules to be enforced consistently and fairly, on employers and immigrants both, something I don’t think is the case today.

One interesting note in the survey. I was asked my opinion of three groups of people: legal immigrants, illegal immigrants, and “undocumented workers”. I asked him to define the third term. He had not been provided with a definition, and had to guess.

The sort of Christians I can't stand...

I’m a generally live-and-let-pray kind of guy. I have no personal interest in worship, but if you do, great. As long as you don’t burn science textbooks, blow up people, or show up at my front door to save me, we’re cool.

Unless you say things like this:

The first seminary class graduated in 2002. "They walked down the aisle in their rented caps and gowns, and their families cried," Cain says. "One mother came to me and said, 'I can't understand my emotions. My son came to prison and found Jesus, and he's graduated from seminary. He had to do this terrible crime to get to here.' I told her maybe the victim didn't die in vain."

No, of course not. He didn’t die in vain, he died in fear and pain so some vicious thug could become a minister. I feel so much better now. I’m sure the victim’s family does, too.

Investigating Abu Ghraib

A quick note to the folks who are pointing at the prisoner abuse scandal as proof that America is no better than Saddam Hussein: when his people did these things (and far, far worse), they were doing their master’s bidding; when some of our soldiers do it, they’re investigated, as high up the chain of command as the rot goes. Then they’re punished.

That is, Hussein ordered torture for punishment, while we order punishment for torture. Big difference.

Update: timeline of events surrounding the incidents.

Living with toxic waste

This list of Superfund reports covering the somewhat unpleasant contents of the Powell Road Landfill in Huber Heights, Ohio will not be of interest to many people, but it does matter to me.

Y’see, the landfill is located at 4060 Powell Road, and I spent the first seven years of my life living at 3970, approximately 200 yards away. I wasn’t surprised to hear that it was a Superfund site; one of the former owners quietly admitted to having received “suggestions” from obvious Mob types on what sort of dumping to allow. Since he had grandchildren, he kept his mouth shut and sold the place as soon as possible.

Coincidentally, this happened at about the same time that he encouraged us to move.

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”