20 November 2008

Safari wish list

New tab toolbar button
Odd that this isn’t an option.
Copy text of link
The context menu for a hyperlink gives the option to copy the link, but not the option to copy the text. Oddly enough, choosing Copy from the Edit menu does copy the text.
“Open in...” for incomplete URLs
If you select some text that is a URL (though not a hyperlink), the context menu will have “Open in new window” and “Open in new tab” options. If it is a partial URL, however, these options aren’t given. If we’re dealing with a raw URL that isn’t a hyperlink, there’s a good chance it won’t be a complete URL either.
Search in Google in a new tab
Select some text, and the context menu will give you a “Search in Google” option. More often than not, however, I’d rather “Search in Google in new tab”.
Add RSS feeds to Google Reader
When Safari sees a page with an RSS feed, it makes it easy to subscribe to it with Safari or Apple Mail. I miss the way Firefox would add RSS feeds to Google Reader.

19 November 2008

An open letter to AT&T

1. Don’t tell me I requested something when I didn’t.

When I signed up for U-verse, this apparently required the unbundling of my mobile bill from my other AT&T bills. They didn’t tell me this. Instead, they sent me a card telling me that I’d requested it.

Note that it isn’t that the mobile bill cannot be bundled with the U-verse services. They’ve now re-bundled it for me.

1a. You should’ve told me up-front. 1b. You should have not told me I requested it when I didn’t. 1c. OK, this may sound crazy, but maybe you should just not require the unbundling in the first place.

2. If the billing address and/or account number changes...I don’t know...maybe...tell me!

Oh, and 3. Date your correspondence.

18 November 2008

How I feel

A man had held his dream job for nine years, when his boss met with him.

The boss said, “We’re going to have to let you go. You just haven’t been doing your job correctly.”

The man asked, “What have I done wrong?”

The boss replied, “A number of things, but what’s important is that it clearly isn’t working out.”

The man said, “But here are my annual performance reviews. They each say that I’m doing fine. There are none of these concerns.”

The boss said, “I know. I tried to make things work, but I can’t any longer.”

The main pleaded, “Let me know what I’ve been doing wrong, and I’ll do them right.”

The boss replied, “I’m sorry. It’s just too late for that now.”

Just to be clear: This is a metaphor. I know I wouldn’t have this problem at my current job.

16 November 2008

A threat to marriage

I see on Facebook that someone has changed their status from married to single. Someone has made a comment...


I simply cannot fathom that response.

Yes. Sometimes marriages end. Sometimes they even need to end. But is it ever a happy thing? Even if you don’t believe in marriage, surely you can understand that divorce is never pleasant.

Gay marriage isn’t a threat to the institution. If you want to find a threat to marriage how about the mindset that would respond to divorce with “Congratulations!”

09 November 2008

The next century of change

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves—if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

—President Elect Barack Hussein Obama

Extrapolating from the changes the last hundred years have brought, what might things be like at the end of the next hundred years?

Do you like what you foresee?

08 November 2008

Not filibuster-proof

This year was the first time I voted in a primary election. I’ve always considered myself an independent, so I figured the primaries were none of my business. I don’t think I’ve ever voted for a Republican for a federal office, though.

I even attended my district Democratic caucus this year.

While it may now say “Democrat” on my voter registration card, I’m glad the Dems didn’t get a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. While I’m very happy that Obama won, I can’t say I’m terribly comfortable with the Dems also having majorities in both houses of Congress.

But then, I’m weird. I think gridlock is a good thing.

07 November 2008

We’ve been ready

I suspect that Obama’s victory is a sign that we’ve been ready for a black president.

I think candidates may have not won because of racism, but I don’ think a president gets elected because they’re black. Obama won because he was the strongest candidate and racism is weak enough that it is no longer a factor.

Likewise, I think the country is clearly ready for a woman president. Clinton came close to winning the Democratic nomination, and the both parties have now had a woman as a vice-presidential candidate. We got our first black president instead of our first woman president merely because Obama was the stonger candidate; not because the country isn’t ready for a woman to be president.

06 November 2008


I don’t think it’s terribly realistic, but my suspicion is that this president will not start out being constrained by what people tell him is realistic. If he did, it wouldn’t be president now.

David Wessel

05 November 2008

A separate RPG blog?

For various reasons, I’ve choosen to keep a single blog for all my thinkings aloud. I’ve been considering starting a separate blog for my role-playing game related musings.

Any thoughts about that from my score or so readers?

When the best candidates don’t run

Four years ago, the best Democratic candidates didn’t run. Who can blame them? Why go up against an incumbent when you can just wait four years and not? Especially when there seems to be no heir apparent emerging.

I don’t like a system that discourages the opposition from putting it’s best candidate forward. I’m not sure how you could really fix that, though.

Of course, part of the problem may simply be the political climate in which a failed bid for the job effectively disqualifies you from getting your party’s nomination again.

04 November 2008


No matter what happens today, I’ll be happy.

I never cared for Bush. Not when he ran for governor. Not when he was governor. Though, he did show an ability to work with the other side that I could admire. Once he got to Washington, though...

To be honest, I agreed with Natalie Maines. I’ve been embarrassed that Bush has been our president. I’m ashamed of some of the things our country has become under his leadership.

I used to just tune out when the Republicans brought up “character”. But then they let this guy lead their party for eight years. (Bush certainly is a character, but...) I much preferred a president with Clinton’s flaws to one with Bush’s flaws. I was no big fan of his father’s, but I liked Bush senior better. I could have a modicum of respect for the guy. I’ll much prefer McCain if he should win.

Though it bothers me that Palin seems cut from the same superficial cloth as Bush.

It actually boggles my mind that McCain got the nomination. It’s almost as if Lieberman were the Democratic candidate.

Anyway...no doubt some of you reading this will not appreciate my feelings on this, but this is honestly how I feel.

Four years ago, I voted against Bush. This year, I voted for Obama. He’s the candidate whom I more agree with on the issues. He’s the candidate whom I feel is best suited for the job. Yeah, he’s a master orator, and while that can let someone without substance go farther than they would otherwise, it doesn’t mean there isn’t substance there. It feels good to vote for a presidential candidate again rather than against.

But I also agree with McCain on a lot of issues. (Senator McCain if not candidate McCain.) And I think both candidate’s score better than the current office holder by at least an order of magnitude on the Republican “character” criterion.

Semi-generic RPGs

Only the oldest games—Traveller, D&D—get away with the sloppy design of having rules that are kinda generic but really are spiked with loads of setting assumptions that you’d have to go clean out to really use them as a generic ruleset.


I think one of the real stregths of classic Traveller (following the lead of D&D) is that it has an implied setting. Yet, it doesn’t detail the setting. The setting is only implied.

There’s a lot to be said for the implied setting approach. It is quick to get into. The implied setting has already filled in enough blanks to get things rolling. Not too many, however, that would slow down getting started. It still leaves a fair amount of room for the group to really make the setting their own.

Classic Traveller (perhaps even more than D&D) also provided tools to aid in fleshing out the group’s unique version of the implicit setting. Those tools being presented as random generators gave us the flexibility to either randomly generate things or just make choices.

I’m glad there are games that strive to be more generic. I’m glad that there are games that are strongly tied to a specific setting. I enjoy games from both of those approaches. I’m very glad, however, that there are still games—like Mongoose’s incarnation of Traveller—that take a more moderate approach.

Look, no fault of Traveller's initial design, it's fine for the 1970s when people didn't know any better.

This is not sloppy. This is not ignorance. This is a very strong, middle-of-the-road approach. Moreover, I think such a middle-of-the-road approach is especially suited to newcomers to the hobby.

On mxyzplk’s criticism that Traveller never presents a main Imperium setting book: I don’t really know any of the editions except classic well enough to confirm or deny that charge. I can think of some arguments against it. Yet, I think it has merit. Even with such a book, however, I think having the implied setting in the main rules fits what Traveller was meant to be.

03 November 2008

Equal time

Why I Support Barack Obama by Tim O'Reilly

This is from the primary: 20 minutes or so on why I am 4Barack by Lawrence Lessig

(Not really equal)

Should you consider the campaign?

But the failures of the campaign are reasons to punish the campaign managers, not the country.

David Frum

Shouldn’t the candidate also be held responsible for the failures of the campaign?

While I have liked Senator McCain, I haven’t been too fond of candidate McCain or his campaign. Likewise with Mrs. Clinton, if not moreso.