Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wednesday, Thursday

Wednesday: ISG says US must engage diplomatically with Syria and Iran to avoid disaster in Iraq.

Thursday: Bush tells Iran and Syria what they must do to earn the privilege of saving us from disaster.

what's wrong with timetables, anyway?

We've heard over and over that setting timetables would be a big mistake, that it would show a lack of resolve, embolden our enemies, etc. In most other situations, the inability to set a timetable shows the exact opposite: either that those presenting the plan aren't committed to it, or that the problem is not, in fact, understood. To say that we can't set a timetable is to say that we don't in fact have a reliable plan, that if our enemies knew even that much about our plans, they could disrupt them. It's an admission of weakness, not of strength.

The hilarious part of this (I laugh myself to sleep thinking about it every night) is that those who argue most strenuously against timetables invoke them regularly. How often have we heard that the next six months are the key? Don't such statements invoke a deadline, a timetable if you will, for dramatic improvement?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

refreshed macs with dirty disks

Jacqui relates the amusing story of someone purchased a refreshed mac, only to find the desktop covered with porn links. She's skeptical, and I can appreciate her caution in the face of a story that reeks of urban legend.

In my case, I didn't have a desktop full of porn, but something (presumably my disk) had not been cleaned. The test drive version of Office, for example, is convinced I'm Swedish. The shell is convinced my machine is called "bench3-3", a name I never typed in.

The big problem with this isn't that you might find annoying content on your desktop (though some such content is illegal, and even if you delete it, it might show up in a forensic search), but that returning a failed computer to apple might expose confidential information to whoever eventually gets the disk. This is particularly disturbing because when a customer returns a broken system, they may not have the opportunity to clear the disks themselves.