So let me get this straight…

More than two years after the rules for press access to the White House were tightened in the aftermath of 9/11, a guy with no journalistic credentials who writes under an assumed name and is tied to a dubious political advocacy organization gets to enter through a revolving door of one-day passes and lob softballs cribbed from Rush Limbaugh and the White House’s own talking points? Until he’s revealed to be working under an alias and associated with gay prostitution? AND he was privy to the classified documents that broke the cover of CIA agent Valerie Plame, apparently in retaliation for her husband’s putting the lie to the administration’s “Niger/uranium/Iraq” rumormongering in the warm-up to the invasion?

Am I on Candid Camera?

Mezzoblue on color

mezzoblue: CMYK (for Those Who Do RGB). The post is actually a fantastic primer on all sorts of color related issues for those who grew up with RGB. When I was doing page layout for various independent and student magazines, it took me a long time to try to do anything in color for precisely the issues outlined in the article: what you see isn’t necessarily what you’ll get in process; there are also spot colors to worry about; and of course type (where I spent my formative time) is complex enough without adding the additional dimension and expense of color. The Mezzoblue article is an excellent demystification of the technologies involved; bravo.

Integrating Google Maps

Mac OS X Hints: Map Address Book addresses via Google Maps. This is the sort of low tech URL-based hack that is perfect for AppleScript, and very easy to debug.

An older Mac OS X Hints article discusses the plug-in capability and provides another sample script. From that, it looks like you capture the field to which you’re adding the contextual menu using an “on action property” handler; the title can be set with “on action title”; and the actual code is in the “on perform action” block.

Other address book plug-ins:

  • iCal Scripts (Apple): schedule a call, create a “birthday event” (reminder), or create an event associated with the person
  • Dates and SMS Scripts (Daniel Browne): send an SMS message via a Bluetooth phone, email, or AIM
  • Skype call (bertlmike): open a Skype call

The plug-ins can also be written in Cocoa or Carbon.

Takes all the fun out of it

MIT: Tunnel map. It’s much more fun wandering around lost by dead reckoning and occasional, maddeningly imprecise signs. Sigh.

For the uninitiated, MIT, like many schools, has a network of tunnels beneath the buildings. Unlike many, access is not restricted and it’s perfectly reasonable to (say) hop into the tunnels from the loading docks at E25 and pop up only when you get to Lobby 7.

Of course there are less…um, pedestrian uses for the tunnels too. See this archive at for some starters…

Laugh while you can

producer/director nigel ashecroft-worcestershire goes euro-style

I need to visit the Slowpoke Blog more often. My college friend Jen Sorensen will be part of a traveling political comix revue called Laugh While You Can, together with Tim Kreider and Tom Hart, that will be in Cambridge next month (at the Million Year Picnic). Should be cool.

One of these days I need to see if Jen still has the art to that Dec illustration

In the meantime, here’s another memory from those days… “Brit Hit,” a one-page article from a Dec parody issue, with yours truly as Nigel Ashecroft-Worcestershire. No, I didn’t write it (but I know someone who might remember). Yes, the goatee was real. Yes, I was probably ulcerated even then. No, I never owned a real black turtleneck; only the mock one (Shame!). Yes, the glasses really were that thick; no, I usually wore contacts. No, I had no idea what they were taking my picture for at the time, but I was soon to find out—as soon as it made it into print, anyway.

After legalizing unmarried sex, criminalizing pants Va. bill sets fine for low-riding pants. Excellent. Glad to see that my home legislature is still taking care of the really important issues, like a citizen’s “intentionally wear[ing] and display[ing] his below-waist undergarments, intended to cover a person’s intimate parts, in a lewd or indecent manner.’”

This, of course, begs the question: what is the case law history that determines “lewd or indecent manner“ for underpants display in the Commonwealth? And how does one expose one’s below-waist undergarments in a non-lewd or indecent manner? Enquiring minds, etc.

The mote in your neighbor’s eye

Alex Barnett, erstwhile Microsoft UK online marketer, now in corporate at Redmond, is today’s designated lightning rod with Firefox is secure, FUD?:

How many times have you heard, “hey drop IE, it is full of security holes. Try Firefox, it is secure.”? I’m not saying IE hasn’t had its own problems, but Firefox has had security holes in past, has security holes today and will in the future. To say Firefox is secure is simply untrue.

There are certainly arguments to be made that Firefox is not the be-all and end-all in secure browsers, but picking on this flaw is probably not the right way to go about it. Especially given that IE never bothered to implement the standard in question. And the large numbers of vulnerabilities in everything from graphics handling to hyperlinks that were patched yesterday.

I think there’s a positive story to be told about Microsoft’s security response efforts. I also think that the company and its representatives have a long way to go before they can be credible calling another software effort insecure.

Cool: Google Maps. Uncool: No Safari support

Google’s new Google Maps service looks pretty cool. Except it requires JavaScript and doesn’t support Safari. Oh well, eventually they got around to supporting Gmail in Safari, so I guess I just have to wait (or fire up Firefox).

Also cool about the service: permalinks (though you can’t just copy them out of the browser bar); the graphics; the pans and zooms; and the collapsing levels of detail (look at what happens to the streets around our old apartment in the North End as you move the slider).

(Other commentary: Boing Boing: Google maps; Anil Dash: Hello Friends).