KeywordAssistant, now for Intel

A few months after I posted about not being able to use Keyword Assistant, my favorite iPhoto plugin, because it didn’t work on Intel Macs, I broke down and toggled iPhoto so that it would launch in PowerPC translation so I could use the plugin. It was slow, but it worked, and I could tag my photos—important, since I was starting to move my photos to Flickr.

Then Apple released an iPhoto update and broke the hack I used to launch it in Rosetta. I was about to Google the hack to reapply it, when on a hunch I looked up Keyword Assistant instead. Sure enough, a new version is out that is compiled as a universal plug in—and actually another version appeared today for the iPhoto 6.0.5 update.

It’s great to be able to tag photos and to do it quickly. Very very nice—thanks to Ken Ferry for a great utility.

Friday Random 10:

A few tunes on today’s mix speak to my feeling of total disillusionment with the Senate, particularly the Johnny Cash, the Monk, and the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet.

  1. Johnny Cash, “I Hung My Head” (American IV: The Man Comes Around)
  2. U2, “Spanish Eyes” (B-Sides 1980-1990)
  3. Thelonious Monk, “Nutty” (Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane)
  4. Ed Harcourt, “Black Dress” (Strangers)
  5. Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet, “Job” (How Can I Keep From Singing)
  6. The Philip Glass Ensemble, “Le Voyage du Père” (La Belle et la Bete)
  7. Jesus & Mary Chain, “Sometimes Always” (Stoned & Dethroned)
  8. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, “Fantasia on Hungarian Folk Themse, S 123” (Liszt: Les Préludes)
  9. Smashing Pumpkins, “X.Y.U.” (Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness)
  10. Moby, “Very” (Hotel)

Losing the war on civilization

The legislation that passed the senate yesterday, which legalizes torture, suspends habeas corpus, strips judicial oversight, and includes war crimes immunity in an effort to turn this proud nation into a Potemkin democracy, is in my opinion the saddest moment of our national history post-9/11. My favorite analyses:

  • New York Times: “ Congress passed a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts.”
  • Salon: “ The Senate’s rush to judgment underscores the dangers of negotiating with the Bush administration once the White House takes an extreme position. The three GOP dealmakers (Graham, John McCain and Senate Armed Service Committee chairman John Warner) succeeded in their effort to get the president to retreat from his deliberate attempt to eviscerate the Geneva Conventions and undermine the Supreme Court decision in the Hamdan case. The Senate Republican troika were aided in their headline-making efforts to outlaw torture by an army of former military lawyers and such high-profile recruits as former Secretary of State Colin Powell. But history may judge this to be a Pyrrhic victory. In exchange, the White House was allowed to blatantly rewrite the pending legislation in regard to habeas corpus and the definition of enemy combatants.”
  • From the Salmon: “These prisoners will have no legal recourse to challenge their imprisonment, and should the president ever decide to bring them before a military tribunal, they can be convicted using secret evidence and evidence obtained through coercion or hearsay. And since we can’t afford accountability while we’re at war, we’ve also made these changes retroactive, to absolve the executive branch of past criminal acts.”
  • The Baltimore Chronicle & Tribune: “The Republican senators flinched, and in last week’s so-called “compromise” chose Bush over the Constitution. In doing so, they turned their backs on a rule of law that stretches back over nearly eight centuries to an epic moment in 1215 on a meadow by the River Thames in the United Kingdom.”
  • Alexander Hamilton: “The establishment of the writ of habeas corpus … are perhaps greater securities to liberty and republicanism than any it [the Constitution] contains. …[T]he practice of arbitrary imprisonments have been, in all ages, the favorite and most formidable instruments of tyranny. …To bereave a man of life, … or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole nation; but confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to jail, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a less striking, and therefore A MORE DANGEROUS ENGINE of arbitrary government.”
  • Thomas Jefferson: “… trial by juries in all cases, no suspensions of the habeas corpus… These are fetters against doing evil, which no honest government should decline.”

Well, we’re now about a month from the accountability moment, as Bush called the 2004 election. I think it’s time that all Americans who care about whether we preserve the principles on which this country was founded stand up and show the Congress what we think of this hollowing out of our democratic heritage.

Liquids on a plane redux

I got home at 5:30 this morning from my trip to the LA region. The trip reiterated how superior the JetBlue experience can be if you are going to the right place. My colleague and I flew directly from Boston to Long Beach, had at the most an hour drive between Long Beach and our prospect in Pasadena (which mostly means we got lucky), and had two great cross country flights.

I also got to test the new revised rules about liquids on a plane (note: be careful on the TSA site! The home page crashes Safari!). My test apparatus was a quart sized ziplock bag containing a travel size tube of toothpaste and a travel size bottle of contact solution. The catch? My contact solution came in a 4 ounce bottle, and the rules state that anything 3 and under is safe.

First, from Logan on Tuesday (the first day of the new rules): before the ID check I was met by a screener, who asked if I was carrying liquids; I was and showed him the bag. He looked, made a note of the 4-ounce bottle on a paper form, and asked me to keep the plastic bag out of my baggage so that the security screeners could see it. I ran the bag through, and one of the screeners grabbed my bag and my form. He asked a supervisor about the four ounce bottle, got the OK, and handed it back.

On the way back, it was much the same process, except they made me put the bag in a tray instead of on the top of my duffle. Both times a supervisor had to step out and verify that my contact solution was OK.

Question: What is the difference between three ounces and 4? What is the impact of enforcing a one-ounce overage on our security teams? Why doesn’t contact lens solution come in a 3-ounce travel bottle? (It will now, I guess.)

Pour House in Long Beach: beer by the water

Somehow in spite of the hectic travel schedule, my coworker and I found our way on the waterfront in Long Beach last night prior to heading back to the airport for our red eye, and somehow we landed at the Yard House. (Hey, things like that just seem to happen to me.)

Now, I should preface these remarks by noting that I don’t usually get maximum enjoyment out of visiting chain brewpubs or beer bars. Rock Bottom, Gordon Biersch, and other places of their ilk always seem a little unfocused, with too many people there for reasons other than the beer, and with too few beer lines cleaned regularly. The Yard House seems on first visit to be an exception to the rule: the list of beers on tap was, true to their word, long, with a good mix of imports (including some pretty rare Belgians, like the Maredsous 8) and local beers. I had a Spaten Optimator, since they didn’t have a Märzen, in honor of Oktoberfest, and then tried the Anderson Valley Brother David’s Tripel. Both were acceptable, though the Brother David seemed a little flabby for the style. Food was good (I had the Caesar with grilled ahi). All in all some small compensation for having to take a red eye back.

Shot day

Well, that was quick. It’s amazing what putting together a five and a half hour meeting and a six hour plane flight in the same day can do to really chew up the time. I just flew into Long Beach and drove up to Pasadena where we have a meeting in the morning. This is my first time in the LA area outside the airport, and it feels odd. I feel like I should call Tony Pierce and ask him for advice, but I’m afraid that if I followed any suggestions he gave that I wouldn’t wake up in time for my meeting tomorrow. Plus, you know, he’s doing his own travel right now.

A little Impulse in your life

A coworker who DJs a jazz show on WICN pointed out the Beantown Jazz Festival, happening this weekend. The opening night concert sounds like a beautiful thing to me:

BeanTown Jazz Festival kick-off concert with the Story of Impulse Records — The McCoy Tyner Septet with Charnett Moffett, Eric Kamau Gravatt, Dave Liebman, Wallace Roney, Steve Turre, and Donald Harrison.

For those playing along at home, that’s Jazz Messengers alum Donald Harrison, ex-Elvin Jones sax player Dave Liebman, sometime Ornette Coleman disciple and Marsalis Brothers associate Charnett Moffett, and of course McCoy Tyner, the sometimes transcendent, sometimes maddeningly inconsistant pianist of John Coltrane’s greatest quartet.

Which is to say it should be a tremendous evening. If I can poke my head up above the rubble of our kitchen renovation, it should be definitely worth checking out.

Friday Random 10: Slightly inappropriate

After a week on the road and some fun medical procedures (all diagnostic, nothing serious going on, except getting poked and prodded in places I’ve never been poked and prodded before), I’m feeling downright ornery. My iPod and its semi-random shuffle feature appears to be reflecting that in this playlist, both taunting me with some raging and even irritating numbers (“Blood Rag,” “Skid Row Wine,” an unnecessary club mix of a Sting song) and consoling me with some fine Willie Dixon-penned blues and even some gospel.

  1. Porno for Pyros, “Blood Rag” (Porno for Pyros)
  2. Willie Dixon, “Walkin’ the Blues” (Willie Dixon: The Chess Box)
  3. Sting, “Sister Moon (Hani Commission Club Mix)” (Sting Mixes)
  4. The Pearly Gates Spiritual Singers, “Not Alone” (There Will Be No Sweeter Sound: Columbia-Okeh Post-War Gospel Sound ’47–’62)
  5. Lowell Fulsom, “Tollin’ Bells” (Willie Dixon: The Chess Box)
  6. Boston Camerata, “Bransles de village/Il etait une Cendrillon” (New Britain: The Roots of American Folksong)
  7. Virginia Glee Club, “The Good Old Song (Second Verse)” (Notes from the Path)
  8. Maggie Estep and the Spitters, “Skid Row Wine” (Kerouac: Kicks Joy Darkness)
  9. Koko Taylor, “Insane Asylum” (Willie Dixon: The Chess Box)
  10. Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, “Surf Beat” (Greatest Hits)

Sloan school dean stepping down

Breaking news this morning was that Dick Schmalensee, the dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management, will be stepping down at the end of the year to return to research. What is interesting to me is that (a) two other school deans (the head of Engineering and Science) are stepping down at the same time and (b) Schmalensee is stepping down with a fixed timetable, rather than remaining on board until his successor is chosen.

It’s great that Dean Schmalensee, who was dean while I was at Sloan, gets to return to his research. The timing of the announcement is interesting, but reading the provost’s letter it looks like all three of these individuals wanted to leave earlier but held on while the school’s administration stabilized after the transition of the presidency from Charles Vest to Susan Hockfield.

Slowly moving to kitchen closure


And in this case, I mean the closure of the walls over the new pipes and electrical. But I’m not ready to show that yet, so I’ve just uploaded a few details of some of the finished work for your enjoyment. I’ve decided to keep one big photoset of the renovation as it progresses, so you can find all the newest photo-y goodness in one place (the same photoset about which I wrote before).

Basic status update: the new plumbing and electrical was completed and inspected week before last. Last week the wall was taken down, the new structural beam was installed, and the plasterers closed up the existing wall openings (as well as some old ceiling holes…yay…)

So what’s next? Well, the responsibility is back on our shoulders this weekend. I need to prime and paint the new plaster surfaces, install the base cabinets, and probably properly hang the cabinet above the fridge. Then next week our contractor’s team will hook up the stove in its new location (and, I think, install the fan hood, though I need to confirm that) and run a line for the fridge’s icemaker up into its opening. So at some point next week we will be able to move much of our kitchen operation back out of the dining room. (The photoset has a glimpse of how we’ve temporarily set things up.)

The long pole in the tent is the countertop, but I expect that to arrive so that we can install it soon. Then our contractor will re-install the sink (along with a much needed sink-side drinking water filter) and… drum roll please… our new dishwasher. This will be the first dishwasher the house has ever had, and it is the reason for the whole renovation. Funny how a few thousand dollars to create space for the dishwasher among the existing cabinets (the house has never had one and there was no easy way to hook it into the current plumbing or electrical) turned into a whole kitchen renovation.

Taking early action

New York Times: Princeton Stops Its Early Admissions, Joining Movement to Make Process Fairer. This change hits oddly close to home. I was a beneficiary of one of Princeton’s early admission processes. At that point they came in two flavors: early decision, which was a binding agreement that you would go to the school if they accepted you, and early action, in which the college announced its decision early and you had until spring to decide to accept the offer. It’s not clear whether one or both of these options was discontinued.

It’s also interesting to me that Princeton is following this road so soon after Harvard’s decision. It wasn’t that long ago that major university admissions organizations were in trouble for collusion when they made major changes to their admissions systems. I’ll be curious to see how this goes, since it looks like the trend is definitely spreading beyond the few schools that started this process.

I have to confess, though, that I was surprised to see the link between early admission and disadvantage for lower income students. I never felt at a disadvantage in the process, perhaps because I was insulated from it—I only knew one other student who was applying to Princeton. But I think that the college admissions consulting industry has gotten much stronger since then as well.


Just a quick note that I did, in fact, make it in last night. It’s taken me a while to get things going today thanks to the over 300 email messages in my personal account, many of them spam comments that needed managing.

Salt Lake is just as beautiful as I remember it. I haven’t strayed far enough from the hotel to determine if it’s just as weird too…

Latest update: still at O’Hare

My flight from Boston arrived at 9:30 last night, something like two and a half hours past our planned departure. Of course, I had feared something like this, but when they were announcing the delay I had seen my bag loaded onto the plane and figured I was stuck with it for the long run. And of course the gate agent pointed out that there was a general delay at O’Hare, so most of us would make our connections. Right?

Heh. The flight to Salt Lake had left a half hour previously.

So I spent an hour in line to rebook my flight, twenty minutes walking to the airport Hilton, a quick four hours sleep, then back into the terminal to see what I could do. I missed my first opportunity on a morning flight—I was #3 on the standby list, but the flight was oversold and they actually had to forcibly rebook a paying passenger. So now I’m waiting for the flight I did get booked on, which will get me in after the first day of the show is over, in clothes I have been wearing for 36 hours, unshaven and bleary.

I don’t know why I still get upset about this stuff. The airlines have repeatedly proven, particularly at O’Hare, that keeping a schedule going is an art that exceeds their grasp. But it’s not funny any more.