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Wednesday
Mar132019

Lesson 2: Government From the Bottom Up

In lesson one we learned the founders believed that all people are born with the same basic human rights and that these rights come directly from God, not some monarch. We also learned how bold and new this concept was at the time, flying in the face of King George III’s imperial rule from across the Atlantic. Today we’ll learn what they believed should be done if these basic rights are not recognized. The Declaration reads as follows:

—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

The first portion of this statement completely disavows the validity of King George’s monarchy. This belief is at the core of our “Great American Experiment”, that government gets its power from the people it governs, not by some divine right bestowed upon some king. This was completely unheard of in the 18th century. It simply wasn’t done anywhere in the “developed” world.

--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,…

Here, a fourth right is spelled out. In addition to the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is the right of any people to throw off a government that violates these basic human rights and create a new one that better serves their needs/interests. The founders do put a caveat on this:

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Tuesday
Feb192019

Lesson 1: Giving King George the Finger

In 1776, America was a sparsely populated settlement consisting of 13 colonies on the east coast of what is now the United States. There were only 2 ½ million people occupying these colonies from New Hampshire in the north to Georgia in the south. That’s roughly the population of Houston, Texas. Most colonists were immigrants from western Europe and their descendants with the plurality being from England.

By contrast, it’s estimated England’s population was somewhere around 7 million. More importantly, England was imperialist with colonies spanning the globe and by far the most powerful nation on Earth at the time. King George III considered America to be England’s property. Consequently, he treated America like all his subjects. He levied taxes, installed governors, appointed judges and occupied the colonies with English soldiers.

So let’s imagine for a moment...

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Sunday
Feb102019

Filling a Vacuum

Back in July of 2009 I launched this site as a “hobby” to share my interests in and opinions of all things Apple. Yep, I jumped in with about a bazillion other Apple enthusiasts hoping to get in my “two cents”. My buddy Ken & I thought it would be a good idea to produce and publish a podcast too, so off I went to the audio sites and bought mics, mixers, web cams and a bunch of software to make the whole thing work. Man, did we have a ball. Neither Ken nor I had ever been a musician or otherwise worked with audio/video tech, so our learning curve was really steep. We spent a ton of time keeping up with “all things Apple”. We poured over media, traveled to Apple events like Macworld Expo and WWDC every year and even made a couple of pilgrimages to Cupertino and visited with a couple of Apple engineers we came to know. 

Ken and I managed to publish 36 episodes of “The MacTexan” podcast between early 2010 and mid 2012 before our thick skulls managed to absorb the fact that we were broadcasting to a loyal but very small audience. Alas, our dreams of notoriety were dashed, but boy did we have fun and learned a lot in the process.

I continued to publish articles here regularly, but even those were becoming less and less frequent. This site, which once saw over 5000 unique visits per month has now dwindled into obscurity due to my lack of new content. I chalk it up to my laziness. I’m still as enthusiastic about Apple as I ever was, but generating new content becomes problematic when my give-a-shit meter pegs out low when measuring my desire to spend a couple hours composing my normal 2000-word post. What was once a passion increasingly became a chore. I’m no good at chores, especially since I retired and moved from my beloved Texas to our beautiful new home in the resort town of Sedona, Arizona. When my friends ask what I’m up to since retiring, I give a stock answer,...

“I’m working really hard...

 

...at being the laziest man alive!” 

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Tuesday
Mar062018

AirPods, After 14 Months No Buyer's Remorse

About a year ago, I wrote this piece extoling the terrific job Apple did creating what I consider to be the best in-ear monitors available. I thought I’d check back in with a brief update to let you know how I feel about my AirPods after owning them for fourteen months.

In brief, I LOVE THEM MORE THAN EVER.

So, if you’re in a hurry, you can stop reading now.

Otherwise, I’d like to expand on that statement just a bit.

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Wednesday
Nov222017

The Keyboard Apple Should Have Made

As you may have gathered from reading MacTexan.com, I’m a bit of a keyboard freak. My wife often comments on how many old keyboards I have stacked in my “IT supply closet”. Well, there’s a couple of reason for that. Firstly, I almost never use the cheap keyboards supplied by PC manufacturers by default. They are invariably total crap. Dell is the worst. I’m a big fan of Dell computers. I have an Optiplex running Linux right now. I use it as a file/media server. The keyboard that came with the box was a $10 throw away. Functional, but that’s about the best I can say. I used it for two days before switching to a full-sized Apple keyboard and putting the Dell clunker back in its box and into my closet. After 30 years in the IT business, this process has been repeated a dozen times at least. Next, I’m a sucker for the latest and greatest. I often replace perfectly good keyboards just to try something newer or prettier. Sometimes these newer, prettier keyboards don’t suit me. The action may not be to my liking or the layout doesn’t please me. Whatever. That probably adds another half-dozen to my pile. I’m also a bit nostalgic. I still have my old, original IBM mechanical keyboard that came with my first computer (a real-deal 8088 IBM PC). Besides Apple, IBM was the only PC company to supply a truly high-quality keyboard with their machines. I keep it even though it no longer works properly, thinking I’ll get around to repairing it someday. I’ve had it almost 37 years now. I just can’t bring myself to discard it. It brings back too many good memories.

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