Wednesday, December 28, 2005

R.I.P. Jim Fortier

A great man in the small world of FileMaker database development has "passed on to the happy database in the sky (lets hope it has a few more features than FMI has been able to provide)".

The Fortier family would like everybody to visit Jim's personal Web site and read about his experience during his illness.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Chimneys and roofs

New Orleanian-in-exile Ray offers a post-Katrina version of A Night Before Christmas (which in true blogger style he seems to have found at third- or fourth-hand).

Nothing was hung by the chimneys with care
Since chimneys and roofs were no longer there....

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tom Waits

Saw the headline "Tom Waits is dead" and was ready to be all saddened, but it turns out it's just some lady's cat.

Friday, December 16, 2005

It's a cellphone! No, it's a PC!

Between the Mac Mini and the iPod, I was really expecting Apple to be first with something like this:

DualCor Technologies next month will unveil the cPC, a full-fledged handheld Windows XP computer that also comes with a built-in smart phone that runs Windows Mobile 5.0.

The cPC is 6.5 inches long, 3.3 inches wide, 1.2 inches thick and has a 5-inch diagonal screen. It will be aimed at sales representatives and executives who travel extensively, said CEO Steven Hanley, who joined the company seven months ago.

Admittedly, not much to look at.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Washington Post on Malik Rahim

The Washington Post has a generally positive profile of Common Ground founder Malik Rahim:

For a Former Panther, Solidarity After the Storm
"Rahim, a Green Party candidate for City Council in 2002, is the nucleus of Common Ground Collective, a grass-roots recovery effort of volunteers parachuting into the city from points across the nation. Rahim's late mother's home, which survived the storms intact, has become the epicenter of the effort to deliver water, food, ice and medical care to the city's poorest."

Deutsch für alle!

German for everyone: "Apple's misstep recalled a meeting with Compaq some years back when an engineering manager suggested a money-saving shortcut to localizing laptops for Germany. Rather than translate the documentation and otherwise adapt the product to German market needs, he suggested bundling a 'Learning English' CD with each new laptop sent to Germany. [... T]here was some enthusiasm around this idea until a German member of the team suggested that BMW might do the same thing with its autos. Bundling a 'Learning German' CD with each new car could save the Bavarian automaker a lot of money in translating documentation. The Compaq idea for Germany was quickly shelved."

Too bad. I'd be all for it, for both companies.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Washington Post: Justice Staff Saw Texas Districting As Illegal

Justice Department lawyers concluded that the landmark Texas congressional redistricting plan spearheaded by Rep. Tom DeLay (R) violated the Voting Rights Act, according to a previously undisclosed memo obtained by The Washington Post. But senior officials overruled them and approved the plan. The memo, unanimously endorsed by six lawyers and two analysts in the department's voting section, said the redistricting plan illegally diluted black and Hispanic voting power in two congressional districts....
"The State of Texas has not met its burden in showing that the proposed congressional redistricting plan does not have a discriminatory effect," the memo concluded. The memo also found that Republican lawmakers and state officials who helped craft the proposal were aware it posed a high risk of being ruled discriminatory compared with other options. But the Texas legislature proceeded with the new map anyway because it would maximize the number of Republican federal lawmakers in the state, the memo said.... The 73-page memo, dated Dec. 12, 2003, has been kept under tight wraps for two years. Lawyers who worked on the case were subjected to an unusual gag rule. The memo was provided to The Post by a person connected to the case who is critical of the adopted redistricting map. Such recommendation memos, while not binding, historically carry great weight within the Justice Department.

Although public testimony and public opinion throughout the state were overwhelmingly against redistricting, the Lege passed the plan anyway (after quorum-busting Democrat legislators gave up their somewhat comical flight to Oklahoma and New Mexico to try to block it). I was one of hundreds of Texans who testified against redistricting at the Capitol into the wee hours of the night, giving the Republican legislators the benefit of the doubt that the public hearings were not just a farce. Now I know better.

Thanks to Ken Sain for the heads-up.