g r o t t o 1 1

Peeve Farm
Breeding peeves for show, not just to keep as pets
Brian Tiemann
Silicon ValleyNew York-based purveyor of a confusing mixture of Apple punditry, political bile, and sports car rentals.

btman at grotto11 dot com

Read These Too:

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James Lileks
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As the Apple Turns
Entropicana
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Capitalist Lion
Red Letter Day
Eric S. Raymond
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Aziz Poonawalla
Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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Saturday, December 22, 2001
20:41 - Software Piracy

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What is it with people? "Oh, the company prices the software too high, so I should be able to just install it and use it for free if I can't pay for it." Hel-LO? By that logic, you could go and steal a car because you feel Ford shouldn't be charging $20,000 for one.

I am so sick of this stupid-ass double standard that everyone espouses about software piracy. People who wouldn't steal a candy cane are happily burning copies of MS Office and giving them away as Christmas presents. Doesn't that seem a little sickening? What is wrong with these people?

I'm not one of those people who thinks giving someone an MP3 of a song is a heinous act punishable by death. It isn't. That's a low-volume duplication. That's Fair Use-- and besides, the music industry is heading for a major shakeup anyway, now that they know digital music is not going away. But I do have a problem with people hosting thousands of MP3s and trading them back and forth to the exclusion of ever buying any CDs. It doesn't take a genius to see that by that model, $15 paid by one person can distribute a new CD to the entire world. Beautiful in its information-wants-to-be-free simplicity, but surely anyone can see that it doesn't fill an artist with a powerful sense of confidence and purpose. "So Mr. Record Producer, you're saying that if I sign this contract, you're promising me... $15?" "Well, yes, but we take about 85% of that."

But software is a fair bit different. It's a tool that you use. It's not a consumable. Every piece of software has its own price, determined by how the company sees the supply and demand of the market shaping up. It's any company's right to price the software where it leaves the least money on the table. The stockholders would demand no less.

Now, a socially conscious company might want to produce a "Lite" version of an expensive software package-- you know, like Microsoft Works used to be. But just because they don't doesn't give someone the right to install and use it for free off a warez board just because sitting in his darkened basement, he decided that the company's pricing schedules were inappropriate to the real market (or, more appropriately, to HIM).

Expensive CAD or 3D rendering packages-- the ones in the $35,000 range-- are priced that way because they are intended for use in the corporate or higher-ed market. Art schools and technical colleges provide courses in these software packages, to prepare people for jobs involving them. It is NOT acceptable for someone to install a pirated copy of Maya just because he wants to learn it and get a job. By that logic, it's okay to steal an animation table in order to get a job at Disney without going to CalArts.

Breaking the law with noble intentions is still breaking the law. And people who don't understand that are just forcing them to pass more laws like the DMCA, ruining it for the rest of us.

I flat-out refuse to give any money to Microsoft. But I'd much rather give money to Microsoft than use Office or Windows illegally.
Friday, December 21, 2001
03:32 - Gigawire
http://www.osopinion.com/perl/story/15463.html

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This is all speculation, mind. But if it's remotely true, think of what we'll be able to boast of once it starts catching on.

Integrated FireWire (for peripherals) and 802.11 (for networking) running at 5GHz-- wirelessly. It sounds insane, but only if you don't think about it too much.

Okay, I've thought about it too much. I need to go to sleep now.

03:15 - Another Friday Night

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It was the last Friday night before Christmas, and we were all feeling vaguely lethargic about the whole season. We haven't even put up a tree, for crying-out-loud, nor have we plugged in the lights that are still lining the house from last year. Our Sikh neighbors have a flashier Christmas light show right now than we did last year, and that's saying something. Something very weird, come to think of it.

So we gave each other our gifts without even bothering to wrap them. Well, Lance hid them by piling them on his bed and putting a blanket over them, and he pulled them out one by one with a flourish like a stage magician. I'm now the proud owner of a Logitech steering wheel for my PS2, which I got pretty good at by the time the evening was over.

I don't feel too bad about the halfheartedness of the holiday this year. Everything feels a little bit off-kilter anyway-- as some have mentioned, it feels like every recent holiday has incorporated a sliver of July 4th as well as its intended purpose. Fireworks on Halloween? Okay, maybe this year, but I'm not about to stump for that becoming a yearly tradition.

I sent in that copy of FreeBSD Unleashed with all the corrections on post-it notes on dog-eared pages today. Come to think of it, though, I can't seem to find the guy's address, which was stapled to the book as well as on a separate sheet which I now can't seem to locate. I'll have to contact the other author to get the guy's e-mail address so I can send in the revised illustrations. Bleah.

This weekend I plan to spend a great deal of time not working.

18:15 - Terry Brooks Has a Lot of Nerve
http://www.bordersstores.com/ib/200111/ib_cover_brooks.jsp

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Gawd... just when I thought I couldn't loathe Terry Brooks more. This was posted several days ago, but I had to dredge it up and point it out just to make an example of the butthole.

Brooks: "Hey, I've been making a living by ripping off Tolkien for years now! I can't let his book get made into a mega-blockbuster movie without me putting in an appearance to talk about how great an influence he was on my life!"

Yeah, yeah. We know just how big an influence. I'm still surprised you were never sued over The Sword of Shannara-- which is what you get if you take LotR, remove all the linguistic foundations, turn the nature of the quest from "getting rid of something" to the much more trite "finding something", and put in characters with names like "Flick".

All I can say is, you've got a lot of nerve poking your head up right about now. This is JRR's time to shine, and you're not stealing any more of his limelight, you fartknocker.

18:05 - FotR Observations and Gripes
http://filmforce.ign.com/lotr/articles/317185p1.html

(top)
All worth noting.

14:35 - Oh, right...

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I almost forgot. Welcome to my blog.

Now let's see how much I actually have to say.

14:32 - That's what happens when you get typecast

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It's hard to say what it is about "Fellowship of the Ring" (the movie, that is) that has everyone in such a gape-mouthed state of stupefied silence. I talked to a friend about it this morning who hasn't yet seen it; he was quite surprised that nobody has come leaping around gesticulating and howling about how you HAVE to SEE this MOOvie, like we did when Fight Club came out. But all I could think to say was that it's just not that kind of movie. You see it, you develop your own personal, private relationship with it, just like you do with the books. Tolkien isn't something you proselytize to other people. It just is. If you "get it", and it "gets" you, no further explanation is needed. You can talk detail with other people who "get it", but such aspects as the quality of the storytelling and the appropriateness of this or that plot point or metaphor just don't get talked about. It's what I imagine it must be like to be heavily religious.

That said, though, I can hardly avoid talking about one point of the casting: Hugo Weaving as Elrond. Sure, he does a great job of it-- his quivering-with-desperate-rage "Isildur!" in the flashback is unassailable, and it allows him to bring to the character a hurt bitterness that just wasn't there in the book. Actual character, even-- an area in which the movie actually manages to outdo the book. Elrond has motivation. He has history. He has grudges and hangups. He's a hard old man to impress, especially if you're trying to accomplish a quest whose success will mark the end of his power and influence, AND trying to woo his immortal daughter and convince her to die within an age of Men. This isn't the kindly Santa Claus of the books, particularly The Hobbit. This is a guy whose ability to keep from smacking the Fellowship's members about the head and shoulders with wrapping-paper rolls is truly commendable.

But I was talking about Weaving. I like his face in the head-on shots-- he's a perfect Elrond from that angle. But in profile, he's got that receding-chin-dangling-dewlap thing going on, a trait that I have a hard time associating with an Elf-lord. But what most people are having the most trouble coming to terms with, not surprisingly I suppose, is where we all know this actor from. And I'm not talking about Priscilla.

If FotR ever becomes such a cult hit that people develop a Rocky Horror treatment of it, it will center around the phrase, "Welcome to Rivendell... Missster Annnderson."
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