Culture Day

Like many in the military who appreciate poetry, one of my all-time favorite poets is Rudyard Kipling.

The ‘eathen

By Rudyard Kipling

Born 1865

The ‘eathen in ‘is blindness bows down to wood an’ stone;
‘E don’t obey no orders unless they is ‘is own;
‘E keeps ‘is side-arms awful: ‘e leaves ’em all about,
An’ then comes up the regiment an’ pokes the ‘eathen out.

All along o’ dirtiness, all along o’ mess,
All along o’ doin’ things rather-more-or-less,
All along of abby-nay, kul, an’ hazar-ho, *
Mind you keep your rifle an’ yourself jus’ so!

* abby-nay: Not now. kul: To-morrow. hazar-ho: Wait a bit.

The young recruit is ‘aughty — ‘e draf’s from Gawd knows where;
They bid ‘im show ‘is stockin’s an’ lay ‘is mattress square;
‘E calls it bloomin’ nonsense — ‘e doesn’t know no more —
An’ then up comes ‘is Company an’ kicks ‘im round the floor!

The young recruit is ‘ammered — ‘e takes it very ‘ard;
‘E ‘angs ‘is ‘ead an’ mutters — ‘e sulks about the yard;
‘E talks o’ “cruel tyrants” ‘e’ll swing for by-an’-by,
An’ the others ‘ears an’ mocks ‘im, an’ the boy goes orf to cry.
The young recruit is silly — ‘e thinks o’ suicide;
‘E’s lost ‘is gutter-devil; ‘e ‘asn’t got ‘is pride;
But day by day they kicks ‘im, which ‘elps ‘im on a bit,
Till ‘e finds ‘isself one mornin’ with a full an’ proper kit.

Gettin’ clear o’ dirtiness, gettin’ done with mess,
Gettin’ shut o’ doin’ things rather-more-or-less;
Not so fond of abby-nay, kul, nor hazar-ho,
Learns to keep ‘is rifle an’ ‘isself jus’ so!

The young recruit is ‘appy — ‘e throws a chest to suit;
You see ‘im grow mustaches; you ‘ear ‘im slap ‘is boot;
‘E learns to drop the “bloodies” from every word ‘e slings,
An’ ‘e shows an ‘ealthy brisket when ‘e strips for bars an’ rings.

The cruel-tyrant-sergeants they watch ‘im ‘arf a year;
They watch ‘im with ‘is comrades, they watch ‘im with ‘is beer;
They watch ‘im with the women at the regimental dance,
And the cruel-tyrant-sergeants send ‘is name along for “Lance”.

An’ now ‘e’s ‘arf o’ nothin’, an’ all a private yet,
‘Is room they up an’ rags ‘im to see what they will get;
They rags ‘im low an’ cunnin’, each dirty trick they can,
But ‘e learns to sweat ‘is temper an’ ‘e learns to sweat ‘is man.

An’, last, a Colour-Sergeant, as such to be obeyed,
‘E schools ‘is men at cricket, ‘e tells ’em on parade;
They sees ’em quick an’ ‘andy, uncommon set an’ smart,
An’ so ‘e talks to orficers which ‘ave the Core at ‘eart.

‘E learns to do ‘is watchin’ without it showin’ plain;
‘E learns to save a dummy, an’ shove ‘im straight again;
‘E learns to check a ranker that’s buyin’ leave to shirk;
An’ ‘e learns to make men like ‘im so they’ll learn to like their work.

An’ when it comes to marchin’ he’ll see their socks are right,
An’ when it comes to action ‘e shows ’em ‘ow to sight;
‘E knows their ways of thinkin’ and just what’s in their mind;
‘E knows when they are takin’ on an’ when they’ve fell be’ind.

‘E knows each talkin’ corpril that leads a squad astray;
‘E feels ‘is innards ‘eavin’, ‘is bowels givin’ way;
‘E sees the blue-white faces all tryin’ ‘ard to grin,
An’ ‘e stands an’ waits an’ suffers till it’s time to cap ’em in.

An’ now the hugly bullets come peckin’ through the dust,
An’ no one wants to face ’em, but every beggar must;
So, like a man in irons which isn’t glad to go,
They moves ’em off by companies uncommon stiff an’ slow.

Of all ‘is five years’ schoolin’ they don’t remember much
Excep’ the not retreatin’, the step an’ keepin’ touch.
It looks like teachin’ wasted when they duck an’ spread an’ ‘op,
But if ‘e ‘adn’t learned ’em they’d be all about the shop!

An’ now it’s “‘Oo goes backward?” an’ now it’s “‘Oo comes on?”
And now it’s “Get the doolies,” an’ now the captain’s gone;
An’ now it’s bloody murder, but all the while they ‘ear
‘Is voice, the same as barrick drill, a-shepherdin’ the rear.

‘E’s just as sick as they are, ‘is ‘eart is like to split,
But ‘e works ’em, works ’em, works ’em till he feels ’em take the bit;
The rest is ‘oldin’ steady till the watchful bugles play,
An’ ‘e lifts ’em, lifts ’em, lifts ’em through the charge that wins the day!

The ‘eathen in ‘is blindness bows down to wood an’ stone;
‘E don’t obey no orders unless they is ‘is own;
The ‘eathen in ‘is blindness must end where ‘e began,
But the backbone of the Army is the non-commissioned man!

Keep away from dirtiness — keep away from mess.
Don’t get into doin’ things rather-more-or-less!
Let’s ha’ done with abby-nay, kul, an’ hazar-ho;
Mind you keep your rifle an’ yourself jus’ so!

Living a Double Life…

Like a line from the Styx song, it turns out that the Mac OS for the last few years has been, in Steve Job’s words, “leading a double life.” Now it is time for that other life to come out and try to fulfill its destiny, as we have discovered that Apple Computers plans to start building computers based on an Intel chipset.

Yes, I did say “an” intel chipset. It’s not yet clear if the chips that Intel will be fabbing are based on the powerPC plans, the Intel X86 chipset that Intel is famous for, or some hybrid. What we do have so far leans towards Apple using an x86 chipset, but customized or built such that the MacOS will likely not run on standard PC’s.

It should be noted that all of the technical difficulties that people like Daring Fireball have listed out in explaining why this was so unlikely still hold true. This will not be an easy transition. Thanks to the work in maintaining running x86 copies over the years and some emulation software, it looks like it will, at least, work.

How well… time will decide.

Tiger, Tyger, Burning Bright…

So now I’ve been using Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” for a couple of weeks, and I think I’m finally ready to spout off on it.

Since I have no intention of going to the depths that John Siracusa over at Ars Technica has on his review, I am going to try instead to give an impression of how the latest update feels in daily use, for better or worse.

The test machines are almost as varied as you can get and still run OSX. Two of my computers are Macs: an iBook G4 (14″) and an aging but still reliable “sawtooth” G4/400, from the first G4 line to use an AGP slot. Both had plenty of RAM and the desktop had been upgraded with the first AGP Radeon card for the mac.

Let me cover the “ugly” first: those things which disappointed me.

Major disappointment number 1: spotlight does not by default index mounted network shares. Given that everything except email, iPhoto, and current-project files are shared on a linux server, that particular fault means spotlight, while still useful, is a lot less useful than I thought it would be. I understand the technical whys of this. At home it may not make much difference but imagine dozens of computers indexing a server… but it’s irritating nonetheless.

Disappointment number 2: Mail. While going three-pane was an improvement over having a pull-out drawer that always seemed to hide or switch sides at the most inopportune time, they removed the familiar icons in the toolbar. Without the visually distinct shapes to guide you, it takes more effort to figure out which button is reply, which is forward, which is delete, etc.

That said, there are things to like in plenty.

First: Spotlight. Sure, it didn’t do one thing I really hoped for it, and as Siracusa notes, it would be nice if it could easily do more complex searches, but it’s already been an absolute godsend in tracking down emails from clients. It’s also saved my butt several times digging up obscure client-related info.

Widgets. I’m less enthusiastic about this one, but not having to open up in a web page is a definite plus. So is having wikipedia, airline info, and the yellow pages at your fingertips.

I can’t say much about the RSS. It works, and will gather up headlines for you. The best way to gather them is into your bookmarks bar nested into topic-based folders. It seems to be about as useful as any of the other free RSS readers out there and was easier to pick up on and use effectively than the RSS features built into Firefox. Me, I use the Pulp Fiction RSS reader client to gather, bookmark, store, and otherwise skim through my news.

I also haven’t applied the user restrictions in an ongoing, real-world basis, but I have looked through them. They get some results that are ridiculously difficult even in XP pro, such as controlling user access to applications on a program by program basis. They also allow control of websites visited (with logs), approved email and IM buddy lists, IM logs, and other similar features, most of which cannot be done in Windows without buying often flaky third-party software or setting up proxy servers.

Other than that, the biggest improvement is simply that it runs smoother, even on my aging desktop (is it five or six years now?).