That New Battery Smell

I got a new battery for my 15" MacBook Pro today. My computer is nearly two years old, and I was sad to give up my beloved 12" PowerBook at the time I got it, but I really love it now. Sadly, I used it so much the battery was down to less than two hours on a charge, instead of the original 4+ hours. Today, with a shiny new battery in the laptop, I'm showing over four hours left as I type this... I see a lot of students in my cubicle who have batteries that won't even last 5 minutes, yet they want to blame the computer, as if it's defective. Sadly, that's not the case, if you buy a laptop and you use the battery daily, you need to be prepared to replace the battery after a couple of years. They're expensive, and paying that out can be painful, but everyone I convince to do it remarks how their computer is like new again.

In short, next time you buy a laptop, just make sure you take into account that you'll probably need to replace that battery after a couple years, and don't wait too long to do it, as a notebook you can't unplug is just a slow desktop...

Constitutionally Impaired

I know she got her degree in Sports Journalism, and not Political Science, but Sarah Palin continues to display a grasp of the Constitution that absolutely perplexes me. Today's quote from her (which I saw at Andrew Sullivan's blog) just makes my head hurt.

"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations," Palin told host Chris Plante, "then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."

The First Amendment, as well as all other Amendments, protect you from the GOVERNMENT, not from the media, not from corporations, and not from me, Seth the Blogger. In fact, the First Amendment guarantees me the right to call you, Sarah Palin, a fourth-class intellect that makes Dan Quayle look like William F. Buckley by comparison. Now I'm no great constitutional scholar, but I did pretty well in Political Science 320, aka Constitutional Law.

Personally, I gave her a pass on her "gaffe" that she said the Vice President is in charge of the U.S. Senate. While not, erm, true, you can legitimately argue that "presiding" over something rather sounds like you are in charge of it, and I don't see any reason to latch on to that as evidence of Constitutional ignorance.

However, this is a different matter. Even if she was, tragically, elected to office, how could she swear to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution when she seems to not even understand the very principles she'd be taking an oath to uphold? She seems to think that the First Amendment means you can say whatever crazy shit you want, and if (a non-governmental) someone points out that reality (which has a well-known liberal bias) differs with your batshit-crazy-conspiracy-theory-of-the-day regarding your opponent, then they are not, in fact, exercising their rights to free speech, but somehow infringing upon your own.

Doing it the hard way

We placed our order for three new MacBook Pros back on June 7, but Apple has been unable to ship them to us in time to meet our fiscal year deadline of June 30.  Fortunately, the Apple Store in Des Moines has them in stock, so if all goes according to plan, a new purchase order will be issued this afternoon, and I'll be driving down to get them tonight.  On Sunday, I fly to Atlanta for a week of training, and I'd like to have the new machine to take with me, even if it means I spend my Friday night on the road to Des Moines.  Our purchasing deadline causes a great deal of stress each year, as goods have to be received by June 30, so every little hiccup or back order causes us a ton of work and headaches as we struggle to get purchased equipment delivered on time.

Nasty Safari security problem on Mac OS X

SANS links to details of a nasty security problem affecting the Mac OS X browser that will automatically run shell scripts linked to from web pages. If you're reading this via a Macintosh, do the following ASAP:

The best immediate recourse against such an attack is to deactivate the option "Open 'safe' files after downloading" in the "General" section of Safari's preferences. Alternative web browsers such as Camino or Firefox do not support the automatic execution of files. These browsers can be prompted to automatically download a file by using the refresh command in the HTML source code of a web page. However, the file will not be executed. Since the Finder selects the icon for a file based on its extension, users are advised to verify that the OS is using the proper file type. This can be done through the information window or in column view.