Are some Christians stupid?

Washington Post article about ministers violating tax laws by urging their flocks to vote for McCain:

Asked why he felt the need to discuss the candidates by name and to be explicit in rejecting Obama and his pro-choice views, Johnson said he must connect the dots because he is not sure that all members of his congregation can do so on their own.


OpenOffice for Aqua

Last week I made the switch from NeoOffice to OpenOffice for Aqua on the Mac.

I’m impressed with the overall appearance of the application, and the functionality. Most importantly, I was able to process Word documents with templates without problems and without loss of functionality.

The application is very fast and responsive on my PowerPC laptops, and from what I’ve read elsewhere, it’s actually better on the Intel-based machines. It doesn’t have the lag that I’ve found with newer versions of NeoOffice when clicking on a menu item and the menu contents displaying. Nor does it seem to absorb as much of the machine’s resources.

I can open and work on several different types of documents, at the same time, and not have performance or stability problems. Overall, it’s quite efficient, as well as including all the features most, if not all, of us need from an office toolset.

OpenOffice includes the following tools:

  • A fully featured text document editor, including support for both macros and templates, as well as all features necessary for sophisticated document creation and management. You can also track and show changes, as well as autocorrect and format, embed tables and images, add a media player, and incorporate a bibliography database.
  • A spreadsheet tool that provides any number of formatting capabilities, simple to use chart creators, all the spreadsheet functions you need and want, and some interesting Scenario and Solver tools I haven’t had a chance to explore.
  • A presentation tool with templates that can incorporate any number of graphics and themes, providing slideshows, the ability to package the presentation— the usual presentation software suspects.
  • A database creation tool that also uses ODBC and JDBC to connect to an existing database, either remotely or locally.
  • A drawing tool that provides a good deal of functionality in order to create nice looking illustrations.

The application is still in candidate release status, so you may want to wait until the finished release. However, if you’re a Mac user, with either a PowerPC or Intel-based machine, give the application serious consideration.

Did I happen to mention it’s open source?


Deep breaths and baby porcupines

The economy is all over the place today, and a lot of people are uncertain and more than a little worried. Now is the time to take deep breaths, not over-react, or look for the nearest tall building from which to jump.

Good, commonsense discussions about what all of this means can be found among the doom, gloom, and tales of complete economic failure.

In the spirit of the times, the following is a recipe that comes to us from the Great Depression.

Baby Porcupines

1 pound ground round steak
1 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
4 tablespoons chopped onions
2 tablespoons chopped green peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup raw rice
1 cup tomato soup or tomato puree
2 cups water

Mix all but last 3 ingredients. Shape into small balls and roll in the 
uncooked rice, Heat tomato soup and water in heavy pan with a tight 
fitting cover. Place balls in the tomato mixture cover and cook slowly
 45 minutes or until meat is tender and the rice is done.

Game over?

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

From GigaOM:

There are other participants, some that are well known, like HP with its HP MediaSmart Connect, or TiVo. And some are upstarts, like Vudu, Zv, Verismo and Sezmi. But the future belongs to Amazon, Netflix or Apple. It’s still too early to tell which one will win the race to your big-screen TV, but they all have the right combination of size, recognition and content to get there.

The move to stream video to your TV from the Internet it too new to declare a winner. For instance, of the set top boxes the author of the article mentioned, he forgot a major one: your PC.

When the prices of computers drop into the 400 dollar range, and even Apple sells the Mac Mini at a reasonably affordable price, expect to see more computers hooked to TVs. Through our computers we can not only get iTunes, Unbox, and Netflix WatchNow, we can also access,, Hulu, and a host of other video streaming sites.

The opening shots in this battle have just been fired. We ain’t seen nothing yet.

Internet Media

AppleTV Rumors

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Rumors abound this weekend that something is up with AppleTV. TUAW first wrote about the AppleTV signs coming down, and erroneously mentioned about machines being pulled. The site later made an update that the machines haven’t been pulled, and conjecture in comments is that the signage change is because of one year licensing and old publication material. Still, another rumor mentioned a webcast related to the AppleTV on Tuesday. Comments in Gizmodo mention AppleTVs on clearance at Target, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Target is making way for new products.

There has been speculation for some time now on a new AppleTV that combines the old AppleTV streaming and direct purchasing capability, and features of the Mac Mini. Speculation runs the gamut from a new box with Blu-Ray, to a merge between the Mac Mini and the AppleTV with Blu-Ray thrown in. I think one thing we can safely say is that whatever happens to the future of AppleTV et al, it won’t stream Netflix’s WatchNow.

The rumor that most interested me, from MacBlogz, was that a software upgrade for AppleTV is in the works enabling direct purchase of HD TV shows through the machine. Now, you have to purchase the shows in iTunes on the computer and then transfer them to the machine.

I tried posting a note on these at the official AppleTV discussion forum. It was pulled in ten minutes and I received an email from Apple, slapping my hands and telling me not to post “rumors” and “speculation” in the forum. Considering that rumor and speculation form the heart and soul of Apple marketing, I would think the company would welcome increased exposure for both, but it would seem it likes to play coy within its own environments. Mustn’t smudge the shellac.

I do find this latest round of Apple buzz to be less than endearing—necessary updates to hardware should not be handled within the same PR stream as new products or innovations.