The new culture

I’ve mentioned before that my writing style has changed since switching over to News Items. Part of that, I think, is due to the fact that I was usually creating news items in the browser, which makes me want to write less. Part is that my reading style has changed too.

I used to read TidBITS pretty frequently. After all, I got it via email. A few email addresses ago I stopped receiving it, and I forgot about it. But then I found this article about the recent unpleasantness with the iTunes installer. It’s well written, insightful, and strikes to the heart about what’s interesting and new about Mac OS X.

Mac OS X is a tremendous hybrid, with all the vigor and personality quirks that that implies. It has traditional Mac applications and all the power of Unix. And it has people from both operating systems coming to the platform. Now there’s lots of opportunities for conflict (Unix guy: “What kind of idiot names their directories with leading spaces and funny characters?” Mac guy: “What kind of moron digs an appplication that you have to type at the command line to use?”), but also opportunities for tremendous benefits when you combine both approaches to computing. Programming and using Mac OS X is like taking part in the creation of a new culture. Pretty darn cool, actually.

Spending => more spending

Home electronics upgrade month continues. We replaced our TV a few weeks back with a new model from Costco, and today we splashed for an Onkyo surround receiver. The audio sources are hooked up, and hooking up the video will wait for another day. However, there was a bit of disappointment about the remote control. It controls a wide variety of video devices, but not the CD player we have. And both the CD and the receiver have remote connectors on the back panels so that you can control one device with another–but the CD player is Sony and the two remote interconnectors are not compatible.

So I’m in the market for a universal remote control…

Answering questions about unanswered questions

Good Morning! After yesterday’s chilly 39° to 45° (F) weather, today is a relatively balmy 54° in Boston. A good blogging day; unfortunately I need to study.

I got a couple of good questions about some of the things I’ve written that I wanted to respond to. Michael Terry asks, “What new categories of information or action is the administration keeping secret?” I should have done a bit more link research before posting the pointer in question, covering John Dean’s editorial. Dean was concerned in general about Bush’s “mania for secrecy,” including building an Office of Homeland Security with the authority to classify anything it deems appropriate as top secret.

But in particular he was concerned about Executive Order 13233, Bush’s gutting of the 1978 Presidential Records act (44 U.S.C. 2201-2207) and of Reagan’s 1989 Executive Order 12669 that implemented it. The original act was intended to ensure that presidential records were made public. The new act ostensibly defines a procedure to make the records public. But the devil is in the details. The President or former President may indefinitely review the documents to be made public; during this period the public has no access to the documents. It explicitly gives a sitting President the right to block release of the records of a former President. It extends the protection to the records of the Vice President. It’s interesting that this order was issued now, when there are a lot of people in power who were in office during the Reagan administration.

There was a second question that I will address later. Got to run now.