The Treehouse + The Cave


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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Flag-waver

If a frequent typesetter too cheap to pick up PopChar, you use the Character palette via the Input Menu native to OSX. You turn it on from within International, first row in System Prefs. You know, the predictable "Show input menu in menu bar".

Doing so gives you access to your umlauts and your accents, but something else too. A miniature American icon. A sixteen by eleven, red white and blue striped nightmare, terrorizing the grayscale peace once standard in your menu bar.

Though I'm sure adored by Limbaugh and other right-leaning Mac users, the general opinion amongst those that immediately surround me: the flag is a vibrant eyesore--and in fact, not even an appropriate symbol for the functions they seek beneath. I personally find the icon offensive. As I rarely support the positions made by my country under that flag, I feel no pride nor love for its image. I find its intrusion into a space as personal as my Mac a violation in need of solution.

American English/Amerikkkan English


128px Icons

Changing the icon displayed isn't trivial, but not difficult either. Within an hour or two, I'd found several useful tutorials (X-Tech, Mac OSX Hints, Mac OSX Hints, Apple Developer Connection), that when pieced together yield the result sought. Here are the steps taken in rather general terms.

Keylayout Files

1. Generate a fresh Unicode .keylayout file to your specifications. Either you know XML or you use Ukelele (Word Herd's down for the moment (appears it's been hacked)). I made two, both based on U.S. keyboard layout, Roman. Only difference, the names, which must be changed in both the XML file and the filename.

American English_Amerikkkan English - Four Files

2. Create a .icns file containing the icon you prefer. I just made a couple PNGs in Photoshop and exported them using a trialware plugin (one more in-line with the HIG on menu bar extras and one to vent my aforementioned frustrations). Others have had success using the freeware Img2icns.app. Or going whole-hog and paying for IconBuilder. Naming's the same here.

3. Place the pair of files (one .icns, one .keylayout) into /User/Library/Keyboard Layouts

4. Navigate to Input Menu, within International, first row in System Prefs. Somewhere in that stack of international keyboard layouts, you'll find yours (it's mostly alphabetical). Disable any unused, and enable your own. The Input Menu icon should be altered in the menu bar, and peace (not to mention beauty) should be restored.

American English_Amerikkkan English - Final Screencaps

American English - ZIP archive containing both .keylayout and .icns
Amerikkkan English - ZIP archive containing both .keylayout and .icns

Anonymous akatsuki thought:

I know that many of my fellow liberals feel that the flag represents some jingoistic notion of the country, but I always preferred the notion that liberals loved their country so much that they couldn't stand the thought of it not being better. Conservatives generally feel that the status quo is enough, and liberals are only disgusted with the way our country is abused and by how much better it could be...

It is always great to meet a fellow Brooklynite on the web, but I do think this article does a disservice to your cause, because if you have no love of your country, then why stay and why bother to try and change things?

October 28, 2006 at 6:19 PM - Comment Permalink  
Blogger heather thought:

oh for god's sake. this is why brooklyn is going to hell--this at once pretentious and utterly anti-intellectual, pseudo-highbrow *nonsense*.

we're here in this country because, like you akatsuki, we're lazy fucks. we're here because going elsewhere requires too much planning and the loss of too many privileges.

while we're stuck here thanks to our own entropy, the least we can do is protect our environments--virtual or otherwise--from other people's stupid decisions. decisions like putting up an ugly flag that, like it or not, for millions of people stands for more than Liberty these days. or decisions like posting a comment that reveals oneself to be too uncritical to see the irritation (or complicity) of such a thing.

October 28, 2006 at 6:29 PM - Comment Permalink  
Anonymous akasuki thought:

whatever... the reason it is going to hell is a bunch of pseudo-liberal whiners who actually hate their country's flag enough to hack their system to change it without bothering to go to the effort of actually trying to fix their country.

It is going to hell, because lame SUV driving poseurs go work at the Park Slope co-op to save themselves a couple of bucks and deny jobs to people who actually need them. And then they feel holy about it.

Heather, people like you are the reason this country is failing, You sit around and criticize, take extreme positions... because it is easier than actually getting in there and doing something. It is a lot easier to protest in a march for a day than actually try and change something.

I am hardly complicit in my government's actions. So the flag, as a symbol of our country, is worth hate? Then surely you hate the underlying reality as well. So do I. I just don't confuse an unpopular war and President with our entire country. Self-loathing is never very effective, nor very interesting.

If you want pseudo-highbrow nonsense, I could give you some. It is certainly better than "being critical" when that seems to be where the buck stops.

And certainly I am not so uncritical so as to perceive that being so against a symbol of your country will essentially render any action by you and your "group" ineffective. You, dear, are the polarizing horror of modern American politics and the type of person that rips our country apart.

But then again, I certainly could care less if someone burns a flag or really changes their Mac OS icon, I merely suggested that such behaviour and attitudes are counterproductive and weaken your stance. People should have those rights, just as you have the right to hate your own country and be too lazy to move...

(Andrew- sorry to continue this conversation on your blog which I have found always pretty interesting. I am trying for reasoned discourse here, but apparently that is pseudo-intellectual -- okay i admit that was being a bit bitchy.)

October 28, 2006 at 8:53 PM - Comment Permalink  
Blogger TRUE thought:

Hacking the icons on the menubar of a screen one looks at everyday on a computer that one PURCHASED and now OWNS and then broadcasting the knowledge of how to do this to other consumers is the kind of consciousness raising act that qualifies as the exact same "doing something" that started this country in the first place.

No icon saturation without representation!!!

October 29, 2006 at 3:11 PM - Comment Permalink  

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