Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It is more blessed to give than to receive

Acts 20:35b Insight:

To give is to have the ability to produce value. The receiver is in need of some value and is unable or unwilling to produce it himself. Need is not a virtue and giving can not be considered a virtue by every person in every context. Acts 20:35b is universally correct in principle with a slight clarification: "It is more blessed to be able to give than needing to receive." This clarification places emphasis on the productive ability of the giver rather than the act of giving itself.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Proper Role of a Politician

Politics is an integrated system of values (morality) applied in a social context. Politicians are individuals that either seek to or are currently practicing politics. Therefore, the proper role of a politician is to know and apply his or her morality in the specific social context designated by the particular political position. The incompetent politician adheres to moral grayness at best, no morality whatsoever at worst. By contrast, the proper politician understands his or her morality and all antecedent concepts. The reasons below explain why this is a critical requirement for a proper politician:

  1. When the politician is democratically elected to be a representative, his or her morality must be well-known for the represented group to make reasonable assertions on the politician’s future behavior.
  2. Moral understanding itself is a prerequisite for consistency.
  3. Intellectually, the proper role of government cannot be known by a politician without a conscious moral understanding.

Avoid the politician who makes inconsistent or contradictory decisions - this is an outward sign of an internal moral conflict or contradiction.

Avoid the politician who cannot articulate his or her moral principles - morality not known in conscious terms is not known well enough to properly be applied.

Avoid the politician who by word or by action hides his or her morality - this is the case where moral principles are known by the politician and conflict with the group targeted by the deception.

Avoid the politician who speaks only in abstract terms - this is the tactic to trick people into applying a default morality associated with words. Terms such as “hope”, “change”, “freedom”, “action”, “family”, “pride”, “leadership”, and “faith” all imply requisite moral concepts but do not reveal any specific moral principle.

The current grotesque state of politics is the result of a voting population evading every fact mentioned up to this point. When a voting population does not explicitly demand moral continuity, incompetent politicians will not present one. When you the voter demand knowing only specific foreign, social, and economic policies you allow the politician in question to avoid revealing (and in most cases knowing) his or her moral principles. Without moral continuity the incompetent politician thrives and politics ends up in the only place politics of this nature should be - the sewer.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Mac OS 10.5.1 Leopard Not Ready For Professional Use

A few weeks ago I bought the new Mac OS 10.5 Leopard. Since I use my MacBook Pro for work I wanted to wait until I have another hard drive to backup my old system. I'm glad I did - after approximately four hours I made the decision to roll back to OS 10.4.11 (Tiger).

The installation itself was smooth and as far as I could tell all the "fun" applications functioned properly after the upgrade. However after a few hours of poking around I discovered a laundry list of problems that added up to an extremely disappointing experience. Judging by my experience with Tiger, I am confident that Leopard will reach the same level of quality eventually. However, I have no interest in wasting my time on software with this number of defects. I will conclude with a short summary of my findings:

  • Firewall - believe it or not Apple has created their own firewall in 10.5 and no longer uses ipfw by default. The new firewall works more like Zone Alarm where individual applications are granted permission to access the network. Allowing specific ports is no longer an option unless you write your own ipfw configuration.
  • Case InSeNsItIvE file system - Why?? Not a show stopper but caused MySQL warnings after the update. Possibly other issues as well depending on how MyISAM tables were named.
  • X11 - cannot drag an xterm over to my second display.
  • X11 - no longer reads /etc/bashrc
  • Strange "/dev/tty??: not found" errors when running "w" and "uptime" commands. I don't know the cause of this and didn't have Leopard installed long enough to find out the impact.
  • "ps -x" throws an error, had to change to "ps x" in several of my shell scripts.
  • Apache2 installed from MacPorts is outputting warning messages on startup and shutdown. As far as I can tell this did not impact functionality.
  • Numerous MacPorts (I have version 1.6) did not build when I attempted to upgrade.
  • MacPorts doesn't work with previous version of Xcode (by this I mean compiler, dev tools, etc.). I spent about 30 minutes figuring out that I needed to update to Xcode 3.
  • /var/folders is not writable. This is where PHP sessions and MySQL temporary data is stored on my system. I needed to point everything over to /tmp to get things working again.
  • MySQL System Preferences plugin broken. No big deal because I can start MySQL from a terminal, it is just another annoyance.
  • I have a saved search called "Candidates for Deletion" that finds large files in my home folder that have not been accessed for a period of time. After the Leopard upgrade, the search was broadened to include everything under / (root!).
  • When connecting to the Internet via my Blackberry (Bluetooth), my Bluetooth mouse stopped responding when the Blackberry was taken a distance away from my MacBook Pro. This same scenario under OS 10.4.11 (Tiger) simply disconnects the Blackberry when it goes out of range.
  • VPN passwords were not saved in my keychain, again not a show-stopper but another annoyance.