Starting Line – My Mac Magazine #43, Nov. ’98

As much as I dislike winter, I do like the first few months. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s… they really take the sting out of the cold. Too bad winter can’t end after New Year’s Day!

Say, how many of you are into free speech? All of you, I’m sure. Thanks to free speech, we have unfettered use of the Internet. We can say pretty much what we want, within very wide limits. We can watch whatever type of entertainment “floats our boat.” We can listen to everything from classical to Marilyn Manson to those forms of expression that defy categorization. Or, we can choose not to, which is the ultimate expression of free speech.

Yes, I’m on my soap box again. Last year, I signed up with the Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition (CIEC). I didn’t join (I’m a bit cheap!), but I do receive their newsletters and call Congressmen. Occasionally, I visit their website.

I’m sure many of you remember the Communications Decency Act. It was passed by Congress in an attempt to protect children from pornography on the net. Unfortunately, it also stepped on the rights of all adults in this country. As a result, the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. Don’t get me wrong–there are definitely things that are appropriate for adults that are not for children and we should make every attempt to keep our kids safe. And, that’s my job as a parent–to keep my kid safe. It’s also my decision to decide exactly how and from what. Not the government’s.

(On a side note, I find it completely hilarious that the Republicans, who like to keep these kinds of decisions within the family structure, are so willing to let the government decide what is harmful to our kids and what is not.)

Anyway, they’re are at it again. On September 24, the House Commerce Committee passed the Child Online Protection Act (HR 3783). While the intentions are good, so I like to believe, this bill is as detrimental to the Internet as the CDA. I won’t go into the whole argument here. But visit the site. Read the arguments. Decide for yourself. And if, like me, you decide that HR 3783 is for the birds, call your Congressman. CIEC tells you how.

If nothing else, ask yourself two simple questions: “Is censorship, in any form, truly good?” And, “What exactly do ‘they’ not want me to know if ‘they’ are willing to impose censorship and infringe on free speech?”

Helpful Hints

System Folders — You should have only one of these. If you have multiple, take the extras and store them someplace. If you don’t, you’ll have problems! For instance, a coworker of mine has multiple System Folders. He also has multiple versions of the same fonts in all of these folders. And printer descriptions. And extensions. And everything! Needless to say, when he prints, it’s a crap shoot whether it’s a smooth operation or not. Somehow, he’s able to do what he needs to do everyday, but it’s not without problems. Constant crashes are only part of it. Jaggy edges on his type are another.

“Why doesn’t he remove the extra folders,” you ask? All I can say is he likes to live dangerously! He also has an excellent backup system in place. My advice, however, is don’t do this! Even with backup, it’s too risky.

Soft Returns and Grouping Words — Both of these are used when you don’t want to break up text. They each have their use and depending on what you are doing depends on which you use.

First, what are they? Well, a soft return is Shift-Return. It is used when you are at the end of a line of text and, to keep it from breaking funny, you use a soft return before the automatic word wrap takes affect. This makes a return that does not incorporate any paragraph styles you have in place. It keeps the text block looking smooth.

Grouping is a little different but has the same end result. You still have words you need to group together. Let’s take a line of text, say one that breaks in the middle of a date. Move your cursor between the two words you need to keep together and hit Option-Spacebar. This keeps the two words together no matter what.

Closing Windows — Months ago, I covered the key Commands you use to close your Finder Windows (Command-W and Command-Option-W). For those of you using Mac OS 8.1, Command-Shift-W closes your pop-up windows and removes the tabs. Additionally, Command-Option-Shift-W closes all Finder windows and again, removes all pop-up tabs.

The MacBug Tale: So no one has a software bug they want to tell the world about? Come on, I know someone out there has a MacBug story! Email them in!

Internet Site of the Month:

This is The Center for Democracy and Technology, which sponsors the CIEC. First Amendment advocates will love this site!

On closing, I hope you have a big, oven-stuffing turkey, belly-busting Thanksgiving!

Barbara Bell

Websites mentioned:

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