From Hell’s Heart I Stab at Thee, iCal

One might legitimately ask why I still use iCal, with alternatives like Fantastical on the market. Honestly, I don’t really know why. As a matter of fact, this is probably the irrelevant little wart that pushes me over the edge:

ical reminder screenshot

That’s right — iCal’s reminders do not respect the 24-hour global system preference. I suppose that shouldn’t come as a surprise, since iCal itself doesn’t.

Yet another reason that iCal is the worst calendar app ever

As if I needed more reasons. iCal is the SYSTEM app for calendaring. Made by Apple. Should integrate with everything right? Well, it does not respect your setting for 12-hour or 24-hour time. So while my menu bar says 15:46 right now, my appointment for 17:00 on my calendar says 5pm.

Fuck you, iCal. Do you realize the iPhone calendar app is a better desktop app than you?

Why are cars special?

A motorist in Brazil, fed up with Critical Mass bikers, mowed down about 20 people with his car.

This is a video of that incident. Humans are severely injured in it. While there is no real gore to speak of, do not watch this video if you don’t want to see bikers hit by a car.

I honestly wonder what’s going to happen with this guy. It seems like too often I read about someone mowing someone down capped by “no charges were filed.” I’m watching this case to see if justice is done in any measure. Here’s what’s developed so far:

“Prosecutors Eugenio Amorim and Lucia Callegari say in a statement they have asked for the preventive detention of Ricardo Jose Neis on charges of attempted homicide.”

AJC

The suspect is not arrested, but police said he could face a charge of attempted homicide, the newspaper reported.

Channel 6 News Online

So he’s not under arrest right at this moment. That already seems crazy to me, although it’s nice that prosecutors are taking action, so there will probably be a trial. But it boggles my mind that the police didn’t arrest him on the spot. He was brought in for questioning when they found his car abandoned, instead of simply being arrested, and then after questioning he was released.

That seems strange to me, since if someone had gone on a rampage through a crowd of cyclists (or, frankly, parked cars) with a baseball bat, the cops would have shown up with an arrest warrant.

This just the latest example among the myriad support for my theory that cars enjoy a special protected status in the minds of the populace (perhaps globally, certainly all over the US and clearly Brazil, so probably lots of South America). Even if this guy does jail time, we’ve already seen plenty of evidence of special treatment.

It’s as if the entire population is subconsciously repressing the knowledge of how the world as we know it would grind to a halt if we actually made people be responsible about motor vehicle operation.

Why Don’t Ask Don’t Tell should be repealed

The following is a letter I just sent to my senators via the HRC.

I believe that our military must reflect the society we are and aspire to be. I believe that it must affirm, not deny, the dignity of all Americans loyal and courageous enough to serve in our armed forces. Under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, being openly homosexual — which is no crime — is to be unfit for military duty.

Our history is replete with examples of these concessions to fear and hatred, and every time we overcame them, we became a stronger and better nation for doing so. Today it is no different. Supporters of DADT foment fear over military readiness, hoping to scare us with the prospect of a military so undisciplined that to acknowledge the existence and equality of the thousands of gays currently serving in the military would leave it unable to execute its duties. That is an insult to the military and citizens alike.

We must take action to overcome these forces now, for our own dignity is on the line as well. If we do not, history will record that we chose comfort over challenge, and cowardice over righteousness.

Please, for the honor of all Americans, you must repeal this shameful law.

Deepwater Horizon Thoughts

I’ve figured out what has been so depressing about this (beyond the obvious). It’s the future. A friend of mine has been fond of saying lately that today is starting to look more and more like the Jetsons. The future of our childhood is here today: jetpacks, flying cars, robots that walk, wearable computers and retina screens.

There are other, possibly worse, tragedies that have far worse immediate human life tolls, like Darfur and Haiti, but at least you can say that those woes belong to the past. Ideas of the past, and cities of the past. Not past enough, but that’s where they belong.

But this spill is of the future. As is climate change… but although that’s been a thing for a while, even a believer like me can’t claim that I’ve felt the impact of it yet. But the spill… in about 3 months we’ll begin to understand the scope of it. This is also the future; us spoiling our home planet on a scope previously unachievable.

Star Trek or Mad Max? I don’t like what this points to.

Take it somewhere else

It’s no secret that I am a serious hater of the MTA’s PSA copywriters. They are complete hacks. It’s like they’re mining for coal, but forgot what coal is. Take this example:

img_0034

Let’s examine the copy…

You can take it with you!

Take care. Take it light. Take the subway. Take responsibility. Please take your trash with you when you leave the train or station.

Using your powers of pattern recognition to a degree easily achievable by most lizards, you quickly realize that they’re going for a theme of “phrases that start with the word take.” If you were a trained rhetorician, you’d know that is called anaphora. If you were a master rhetorician, you’d call it “for fuck’s sake, you’re embarrassing yourself.”

If they had started and stopped with “you can take it with you”, it would have been lame, but not “fails so hard it hurts me” lame, because it’d be a basic play on a well known phrase. Rhetorically, you’d classify it as simple, tried and true reversal negation — lame merely in the way that most PSAs are lame.

But they did not stop there. Laboring under the sad delusion that they know catchy from painful, they decided to drive home the point with some phrases that start with the word ‘take’… and came up with this list:

  • Take care.
  • Take it light
  • Take the subway.
  • Take responsibility.

Um, excuse me… “take it light?” When was that ever actually said by anyone? Anyone not answering the question “How do you take your coffee?” Never mind, that would actually be “I take it light.” Or just “light.” No, “take it light” has simply never been a phrase, anywhere, ever. And they put it on a poster as one of four phrases that start with the word ‘take’.

The most painful thing about this latest MTA PSA copy travesty is that it was completely avoidable. Here, allow me:

Take care. Take it easy. And if you take the subway, then please, take responsibility.

See how it’s done? It’s not so hard when you actually know English. Now paypal me $50, bitches.

Why I don’t get my news from a TV

[Update: corrected NBC to WNBC]

I never watch news on television. Why? This image, I think, sums it up nicely:

NYC-based NBC affiliate WNBC was doing a story on rats in NYC, I think related to a spate of health-code violations that happened over the summer. Up comes the above graphic.

Let’s examine the bullet points in this illuminating slide of “Rat Facts.”

Not as big as cats.
OK, so right out of the gate WNBC is insulting me. Hello, people, the “new” in “news” means what you’re telling me shouldn’t be something that everyone in North America over the age of 3 knows.
Successful mammal.
Depending on your definition of “successful”, this is either debatable, or self-evident from the fact that Rattus Norvegicus is not extinct. Or maybe they meant that some rats wear fancy wristwatches and drink lattes as they listen to music on their iPhones. But I’ve never seen that.
1 for every human?
Ok. Come closer, WNBC news. No, no, closer… yes. Are you listening? Ok. NO PHRASE THAT ENDS WITH A QUESTION MARK CAN BE A ‘FACT’.

So, rounding up this list of “facts”, we have one which is insulting (minus 10), one which is ambiguous at best (minus 5), and one which is not a fact (minus 100). F-bloody-minus, WNBC.

I have struggled to imagine how this travesty of newscasting occurred. It makes me angry to think of the number of people who were shown that graphic with the expectation that they would just swallow it along with the rest of the stream of garbage that passes for information on TV. A fourth-grader could do better.

Despite this anger, I do try to have some understanding for my fellow humans (who are much bigger than cats, I’ll have you know), so I came up with what I think is the only possible explanation that does not incorporate sinister motives or a blatant and egregious lack of respect for the public. Here goes:

The story was already running on air when the news producer realized that they needed a slide to show. Who knows, maybe they had blocked out a graphic but never filled in the actual information, or they thought they had some video footage to roll and it was missing… but somehow, with 60 seconds to go, the producer screams “oh my god, we need three facts about rats in 30 seconds, people, get me some facts!” Some people pound in google searches, some poeople shout out the most rudimentary things they know about rats, and one person says “I think I heard that there’s like one rat for every human!” And thus was produced the dumbest slide ever.

Too convenient?

I'll take that with a side of microdermabrasion.

Every once in a while I am surprised by something and then immediately feel foolish for being surprised.

So, since I don’t want the future to get the drop on me, I’m going to make this call, and remember folx, you heard it here first — collagen injection drive-thrus. It’s coming, oh yes.

iCal’s continuing failures

Oh iCal. Is there no end to your sucking?

Here’s the latest example of breakage. At my company some of my co-workers use a hosted exchange server for calendaring. I use iCal and MobileMe. Sometimes we invite each other to events, and often the invites are even successfully transmitted to each othe via email.

Then I started being an hour late to meetings. Why? Well, see if you can pick out the bug in the below screencap…

That’s right. In the info panel, the time of the event is displayed as noon, while in the graphical calendar view, the event starts at 1pm. Once again the iCal team earns my Harsh Glare of Ultimate Derision.