Tuesday, April 4th, 2006
Derek's 28th birthday was yesterday, and so to celebrate he went out with the SPC (a private club in existence for a while but named only last night), whose members include me, Ryan (who's been present at earlier club meetings), and Chip (the club's newest member). (Check out thingstodoindayton.blogspot.com to read about some of Chip and Derek's adventures.)

I met the group at the Stage Door, where I found them engaged in an enthralling game of video "what's different about these two pictures." That got boring soon enough, so we went to Club Masque, which on Monday nights has no cover charge, which we discovered is because no one is there on Monday nights. That was okay, though, as it allowed our drunken antics to go mostly unnoticed. As you can see, Derek is quite flexible for a 28-year-old, he sometimes launches sneak attacks on unsuspecting SPC members, and Ryan doesn't like to have his nipple exposed for viewing on the Internet.

Friday, April 14th, 2006
This year was the first year that my church, Cross Creek Community Church, participated in the annual Good Friday Stations of the Cross walk for justice and peace, along with people from College Hill Presbyterian Church, our partner church. The walk combines the traditional stations with important social justice issues of today and relevant contemporary quotes about each issue. Our church's Justice and Witness committee thought it would be good for us to participate; we got to sponsor station 8, where we talked about discrimination.

So many people think that this week is all about Jesus' having died as part of some convoluted way through which his father could forgive us all for our sins (God couldn't just choose to extend grace to all of us?). Whether or not that is true, I do think that the historical Jesus was a witness for peace and justice, and by calling attention to issues he would have cared about, we take a step towards following his example.

You can see more pictures from the walk in the galleries.
Monday, April 17th, 2006
No, the law doesn't give homosexuals special rights

Today while listening to WMUB I heard the depressing but not suprising news that Citizens for Community Values had succeeded in preventing implementation of an update to Cincinnati's human rights ordinance. What was even more depressing was listening to John Hingsbergen's explanation of what that update entailed. He said the law had been changed to extend protection "to homosexuals and transgendered people." Wouldn't that have been special? Homosexuals get protected against discrimination, but any of you heterosexuals can still be fired for being straight. No wonder there's talk about special rights.

Except it just isn't so. And amazingly CCV's website gets it right where WMUB and the Cincinnati Enquirer and even gay newsmagazine the Advocate all get it wrong. As the CCV notes in its headline, the law was changed to include "sexual orientation and transgender status." That means that not only would it be illegal to fire a faggot just for being gay but it would also be illegal to fire a breeder just for being straight. It's not about giving queers special protection. Sure, there's hardly an epidemic of straight people getting fired for being heterosexual, but they would get equal protection under the law, whether or not they need it.

To Mr. Hingsbergen's credit, after I e-mailed him to complain about the bias in his report, he promptly responded and acknowledged that his phrasing was biased, promised to include my comments in a Friday Feedback segment on WMUB and even asked if I'd be interested in sharing my views or even possible writing and recording a commentary on the issue.

Unfortunately the cross that I carried last Friday — apathy — is all too apropos. I really don't have enough energy or drive to write or do a commentary on this, beyond what I've just written here.
Wednesday, April 19th, 2006
Mac users are chained to their mice

I'm taking one class this quarter at Wright State, and it meets in Allyn Hall, which has one of the university's few Apple Macintosh labs. I get to class fairly early, mainly because of parking but also to give myself some time to check e-mail and read.

Many people these days have never used a Mac, but I used Mac even before Windows, having worked at a publishing company when the original Mac came out. I even touted the advantages of Macintosh to my friend Jimmy when he was editor and I assistant editor of Rightfully Proud (a trashy bar rag that was Dayton's premiere gay newspaper at the time). Microsoft's Windows was a poor imitation of Apple's MacOS, made up of copied and stolen features.

I've been using Windows for a long time now, however, and having revisited MacOS in the lab in Allyn, I have to say there are some things Apple should copy from Microsoft now, and enabling keyboard users is probably the biggest thing! I'm on my computer (a fantastic Dell Inspiron 9300 widescreen notebook) all the time for work, school and other projects, and I can do tons of stuff using only the keyboard, in less time than it would take to put my hand on the mouse, much less move it and click. Sitting in front of an OS X Mac, I get frustrated because so many things I can do easily on Windows using the keyboard * simply cannot be done without a mouse on Macintosh!
  • Select a menu, any menu: On Windows, sure there are special accelerator keys defined for certain items, just as on Mac, but you can get to any item even if it doesn't have an accelerator key by pressing <ALT> and the appropriate keys. On Mac, there are a lot of accelerator keys defined (a lot! — who can remember them all?), but if there's a function that doesn't have an accelerator key defined, you're shit out of luck.
  • Jumping to the next word, the previous word, the beginning of the line, the end of the line: On Windows <CTRL> plus left or right arrow keys will jump forward or back a word and with <SHIFT> down will select text; <HOME> and <END> will do the same to the beginning and end of lines. Office programs such as Word on MacOS work similarly (thanks Microsoft!), but try to do the same in say, the address bar or a form field in Safari, and you get nothing.
  • Speaking of form fields, on Firefox and IE in Windows, you can <TAB> to the next field, including radio buttons and checkboxes, which you can then select with the <SPACE> bar. On Macintosh even in Firefox, you can <TAB> between text input fields, but it skips blindly past checkboxes, which you can't check without a mouse.
  • Apple can't claim to be too good to copy from Microsoft since they did implement <COMMAND>-<TAB> to switch between running programs, but their implementation of that Windows 3.1 feature has broken the ability to insert a tab character within a table cell in Microsoft Word. You do this with <CTRL>-<TAB> on Windows, but on MacOS neither <COMMAND>-<TAB> nor <CTRL>-<TAB> works (yes, Mac keyboards have <CTRL> keys, something the original Mac's clunky keyboard lacked, but MacOS doesn't make much use of them). I ended up copying and pasting a tab from another cell.
  • MacOS does have the latest version of Firefox, a great browser whose fame comes in large part from its tabbed browsing experience, but if you want to switch easily between tabs in Firefox on MacOS, don't try <CTRL>- or even <COMMAND>-<PAGEUP> or <PAGEDN>. The blame for this falls not on Apple but on the Firefox developers, but the great shortcut chosen to switch tabs is <RIGHT COMMAND> plus right or left arrow. That's the <RIGHT COMMAND> button only, not the <LEFT COMMAND> button — what contortionist thought of that? Clearly a Mac user who prefers the mouse.
  • Googling around I did hear tell of a MacOS feature called Univeral Access, through which I'm supposed to be able to press <CTRL>-<F2> to access menus, like <ALT> in Windows (so I guess Apple wasn't too proud to copy from Microsoft yet again), but I couldn't get it to work on the iMac at school, even after pressing <CTRL>-<F1> to turn it on and even after digging up the Universal Access control panel. Accessing menus with the keyboard is something so special that it can't be turned on by default, co-existing with mouse access?
Now I don't hate Apple, and I don't think Microsoft or Windows is perfect, and of course I do use the mouse (or trackpad in my case), but Windows seems much more user-friendly in this area, which given the reputations of Microsoft and Apple is really surprising.

*Most of the functionality I use on Windows but find lacking in MacOS is built into Windows, but I do use two great utilities that make my keyboarding even more powerful: WinKey and AutoIt. WinKey is by Copernic but is no longer supported, though you can still find it various places online. AutoIt is a great freeware automation (scripting) language. With the two I can press a key combination and do things like instantly move and resize windows or quickly enter logins and passwords. They're great alone and even better together!
Friday, April 21st, 2006
Well I just discovered that Firefox 1.06 for MacOS doesn't have the <RIGHT COMMAND>-arrow key problem for switching between tabs. You can actually hit <CTRL>-right arrow or -left arrow to switch tabs. Yay!
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