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:

Steven Den Beste
James Lileks
Little Green Footballs
As the Apple Turns
Cold Fury
Capitalist Lion
Red Letter Day
Eric S. Raymond
Tal G in Jerusalem
Aziz Poonawalla
Corsair the Rational Pirate
Ravishing Light
Cartago Delenda Est

Cars without compromise.

Book Plugs:

Buy 'em and I get
money. I think.
BSD Mall

 4/14/2014 -  4/18/2014
  4/7/2014 -  4/13/2014
 3/31/2014 -   4/6/2014
 3/24/2014 -  3/30/2014
 3/17/2014 -  3/23/2014
 3/10/2014 -  3/16/2014
  3/3/2014 -   3/9/2014
 2/24/2014 -   3/2/2014
 2/17/2014 -  2/23/2014
 2/10/2014 -  2/16/2014
  2/3/2014 -   2/9/2014
 1/27/2014 -   2/2/2014
 1/20/2014 -  1/26/2014
 1/13/2014 -  1/19/2014
  1/6/2014 -  1/12/2014
12/30/2013 -   1/5/2014
12/23/2013 - 12/29/2013
12/16/2013 - 12/22/2013
 12/9/2013 - 12/15/2013
 12/2/2013 -  12/8/2013
11/25/2013 -  12/1/2013
11/18/2013 - 11/24/2013
11/11/2013 - 11/17/2013
 11/4/2013 - 11/10/2013
10/28/2013 -  11/3/2013
10/21/2013 - 10/27/2013
10/14/2013 - 10/20/2013
 10/7/2013 - 10/13/2013
 9/30/2013 -  10/6/2013
 9/23/2013 -  9/29/2013
 9/16/2013 -  9/22/2013
  9/9/2013 -  9/15/2013
  9/2/2013 -   9/8/2013
 8/26/2013 -   9/1/2013
 8/19/2013 -  8/25/2013
 8/12/2013 -  8/18/2013
  8/5/2013 -  8/11/2013
 7/29/2013 -   8/4/2013
 7/22/2013 -  7/28/2013
 7/15/2013 -  7/21/2013
  7/8/2013 -  7/14/2013
  7/1/2013 -   7/7/2013
 6/24/2013 -  6/30/2013
 6/17/2013 -  6/23/2013
 6/10/2013 -  6/16/2013
  6/3/2013 -   6/9/2013
 5/27/2013 -   6/2/2013
 5/20/2013 -  5/26/2013
 5/13/2013 -  5/19/2013
  5/6/2013 -  5/12/2013
 4/29/2013 -   5/5/2013
 4/22/2013 -  4/28/2013
 4/15/2013 -  4/21/2013
  4/8/2013 -  4/14/2013
  4/1/2013 -   4/7/2013
 3/25/2013 -  3/31/2013
 3/18/2013 -  3/24/2013
 3/11/2013 -  3/17/2013
  3/4/2013 -  3/10/2013
 2/25/2013 -   3/3/2013
 2/18/2013 -  2/24/2013
 2/11/2013 -  2/17/2013
  2/4/2013 -  2/10/2013
 1/28/2013 -   2/3/2013
 1/21/2013 -  1/27/2013
 1/14/2013 -  1/20/2013
  1/7/2013 -  1/13/2013
12/31/2012 -   1/6/2013
12/24/2012 - 12/30/2012
12/17/2012 - 12/23/2012
12/10/2012 - 12/16/2012
 12/3/2012 -  12/9/2012
11/26/2012 -  12/2/2012
11/19/2012 - 11/25/2012
11/12/2012 - 11/18/2012
 11/5/2012 - 11/11/2012
10/29/2012 -  11/4/2012
10/22/2012 - 10/28/2012
10/15/2012 - 10/21/2012
 10/8/2012 - 10/14/2012
 10/1/2012 -  10/7/2012
 9/24/2012 -  9/30/2012
 9/17/2012 -  9/23/2012
 9/10/2012 -  9/16/2012
  9/3/2012 -   9/9/2012
 8/27/2012 -   9/2/2012
 8/20/2012 -  8/26/2012
 8/13/2012 -  8/19/2012
  8/6/2012 -  8/12/2012
 7/30/2012 -   8/5/2012
 7/23/2012 -  7/29/2012
 7/16/2012 -  7/22/2012
  7/9/2012 -  7/15/2012
  7/2/2012 -   7/8/2012
 6/25/2012 -   7/1/2012
 6/18/2012 -  6/24/2012
 6/11/2012 -  6/17/2012
  6/4/2012 -  6/10/2012
 5/28/2012 -   6/3/2012
 5/21/2012 -  5/27/2012
 5/14/2012 -  5/20/2012
  5/7/2012 -  5/13/2012
 4/30/2012 -   5/6/2012
 4/23/2012 -  4/29/2012
 4/16/2012 -  4/22/2012
  4/9/2012 -  4/15/2012
  4/2/2012 -   4/8/2012
 3/26/2012 -   4/1/2012
 3/19/2012 -  3/25/2012
 3/12/2012 -  3/18/2012
  3/5/2012 -  3/11/2012
 2/27/2012 -   3/4/2012
 2/20/2012 -  2/26/2012
 2/13/2012 -  2/19/2012
  2/6/2012 -  2/12/2012
 1/30/2012 -   2/5/2012
 1/23/2012 -  1/29/2012
 1/16/2012 -  1/22/2012
  1/9/2012 -  1/15/2012
  1/2/2012 -   1/8/2012
12/26/2011 -   1/1/2011
12/19/2011 - 12/25/2011
12/12/2011 - 12/18/2011
 12/5/2011 - 12/11/2011
11/28/2011 -  12/4/2011
11/21/2011 - 11/27/2011
11/14/2011 - 11/20/2011
 11/7/2011 - 11/13/2011
10/31/2011 -  11/6/2011
10/24/2011 - 10/30/2011
10/17/2011 - 10/23/2011
10/10/2011 - 10/16/2011
 10/3/2011 -  10/9/2011
 9/26/2011 -  10/2/2011
 9/19/2011 -  9/25/2011
 9/12/2011 -  9/18/2011
  9/5/2011 -  9/11/2011
 8/29/2011 -   9/4/2011
 8/22/2011 -  8/28/2011
 8/15/2011 -  8/21/2011
  8/8/2011 -  8/14/2011
  8/1/2011 -   8/7/2011
 7/25/2011 -  7/31/2011
 7/18/2011 -  7/24/2011
 7/11/2011 -  7/17/2011
  7/4/2011 -  7/10/2011
 6/27/2011 -   7/3/2011
 6/20/2011 -  6/26/2011
 6/13/2011 -  6/19/2011
  6/6/2011 -  6/12/2011
 5/30/2011 -   6/5/2011
 5/23/2011 -  5/29/2011
 5/16/2011 -  5/22/2011
  5/9/2011 -  5/15/2011
  5/2/2011 -   5/8/2011
 4/25/2011 -   5/1/2011
 4/18/2011 -  4/24/2011
 4/11/2011 -  4/17/2011
  4/4/2011 -  4/10/2011
 3/28/2011 -   4/3/2011
 3/21/2011 -  3/27/2011
 3/14/2011 -  3/20/2011
  3/7/2011 -  3/13/2011
 2/28/2011 -   3/6/2011
 2/21/2011 -  2/27/2011
 2/14/2011 -  2/20/2011
  2/7/2011 -  2/13/2011
 1/31/2011 -   2/6/2011
 1/24/2011 -  1/30/2011
 1/17/2011 -  1/23/2011
 1/10/2011 -  1/16/2011
  1/3/2011 -   1/9/2011
12/27/2010 -   1/2/2010
12/20/2010 - 12/26/2010
12/13/2010 - 12/19/2010
 12/6/2010 - 12/12/2010
11/29/2010 -  12/5/2010
11/22/2010 - 11/28/2010
11/15/2010 - 11/21/2010
 11/8/2010 - 11/14/2010
 11/1/2010 -  11/7/2010
10/25/2010 - 10/31/2010
10/18/2010 - 10/24/2010
10/11/2010 - 10/17/2010
 10/4/2010 - 10/10/2010
 9/27/2010 -  10/3/2010
 9/20/2010 -  9/26/2010
 9/13/2010 -  9/19/2010
  9/6/2010 -  9/12/2010
 8/30/2010 -   9/5/2010
 8/23/2010 -  8/29/2010
 8/16/2010 -  8/22/2010
  8/9/2010 -  8/15/2010
  8/2/2010 -   8/8/2010
 7/26/2010 -   8/1/2010
 7/19/2010 -  7/25/2010
 7/12/2010 -  7/18/2010
  7/5/2010 -  7/11/2010
 6/28/2010 -   7/4/2010
 6/21/2010 -  6/27/2010
 6/14/2010 -  6/20/2010
  6/7/2010 -  6/13/2010
 5/31/2010 -   6/6/2010
 5/24/2010 -  5/30/2010
 5/17/2010 -  5/23/2010
 5/10/2010 -  5/16/2010
  5/3/2010 -   5/9/2010
 4/26/2010 -   5/2/2010
 4/19/2010 -  4/25/2010
 4/12/2010 -  4/18/2010
  4/5/2010 -  4/11/2010
 3/29/2010 -   4/4/2010
 3/22/2010 -  3/28/2010
 3/15/2010 -  3/21/2010
  3/8/2010 -  3/14/2010
  3/1/2010 -   3/7/2010
 2/22/2010 -  2/28/2010
 2/15/2010 -  2/21/2010
  2/8/2010 -  2/14/2010
  2/1/2010 -   2/7/2010
 1/25/2010 -  1/31/2010
 1/18/2010 -  1/24/2010
 1/11/2010 -  1/17/2010
  1/4/2010 -  1/10/2010
12/28/2009 -   1/3/2009
12/21/2009 - 12/27/2009
12/14/2009 - 12/20/2009
 12/7/2009 - 12/13/2009
11/30/2009 -  12/6/2009
11/23/2009 - 11/29/2009
11/16/2009 - 11/22/2009
 11/9/2009 - 11/15/2009
 11/2/2009 -  11/8/2009
10/26/2009 -  11/1/2009
10/19/2009 - 10/25/2009
10/12/2009 - 10/18/2009
 10/5/2009 - 10/11/2009
 9/28/2009 -  10/4/2009
 9/21/2009 -  9/27/2009
 9/14/2009 -  9/20/2009
  9/7/2009 -  9/13/2009
 8/31/2009 -   9/6/2009
 8/24/2009 -  8/30/2009
 8/17/2009 -  8/23/2009
 8/10/2009 -  8/16/2009
  8/3/2009 -   8/9/2009
 7/27/2009 -   8/2/2009
 7/20/2009 -  7/26/2009
 7/13/2009 -  7/19/2009
  7/6/2009 -  7/12/2009
 6/29/2009 -   7/5/2009
 6/22/2009 -  6/28/2009
 6/15/2009 -  6/21/2009
  6/8/2009 -  6/14/2009
  6/1/2009 -   6/7/2009
 5/25/2009 -  5/31/2009
 5/18/2009 -  5/24/2009
 5/11/2009 -  5/17/2009
  5/4/2009 -  5/10/2009
 4/27/2009 -   5/3/2009
 4/20/2009 -  4/26/2009
 4/13/2009 -  4/19/2009
  4/6/2009 -  4/12/2009
 3/30/2009 -   4/5/2009
 3/23/2009 -  3/29/2009
 3/16/2009 -  3/22/2009
  3/9/2009 -  3/15/2009
  3/2/2009 -   3/8/2009
 2/23/2009 -   3/1/2009
 2/16/2009 -  2/22/2009
  2/9/2009 -  2/15/2009
  2/2/2009 -   2/8/2009
 1/26/2009 -   2/1/2009
 1/19/2009 -  1/25/2009
 1/12/2009 -  1/18/2009
  1/5/2009 -  1/11/2009
12/29/2008 -   1/4/2009
12/22/2008 - 12/28/2008
12/15/2008 - 12/21/2008
 12/8/2008 - 12/14/2008
 12/1/2008 -  12/7/2008
11/24/2008 - 11/30/2008
11/17/2008 - 11/23/2008
11/10/2008 - 11/16/2008
 11/3/2008 -  11/9/2008
10/27/2008 -  11/2/2008
10/20/2008 - 10/26/2008
10/13/2008 - 10/19/2008
 10/6/2008 - 10/12/2008
 9/29/2008 -  10/5/2008
 9/22/2008 -  9/28/2008
 9/15/2008 -  9/21/2008
  9/8/2008 -  9/14/2008
  9/1/2008 -   9/7/2008
 8/25/2008 -  8/31/2008
 8/18/2008 -  8/24/2008
 8/11/2008 -  8/17/2008
  8/4/2008 -  8/10/2008
 7/28/2008 -   8/3/2008
 7/21/2008 -  7/27/2008
 7/14/2008 -  7/20/2008
  7/7/2008 -  7/13/2008
 6/30/2008 -   7/6/2008
 6/23/2008 -  6/29/2008
 6/16/2008 -  6/22/2008
  6/9/2008 -  6/15/2008
  6/2/2008 -   6/8/2008
 5/26/2008 -   6/1/2008
 5/19/2008 -  5/25/2008
 5/12/2008 -  5/18/2008
  5/5/2008 -  5/11/2008
 4/28/2008 -   5/4/2008
 4/21/2008 -  4/27/2008
 4/14/2008 -  4/20/2008
  4/7/2008 -  4/13/2008
 3/31/2008 -   4/6/2008
 3/24/2008 -  3/30/2008
 3/17/2008 -  3/23/2008
 3/10/2008 -  3/16/2008
  3/3/2008 -   3/9/2008
 2/25/2008 -   3/2/2008
 2/18/2008 -  2/24/2008
 2/11/2008 -  2/17/2008
  2/4/2008 -  2/10/2008
 1/28/2008 -   2/3/2008
 1/21/2008 -  1/27/2008
 1/14/2008 -  1/20/2008
  1/7/2008 -  1/13/2008
12/31/2007 -   1/6/2008
12/24/2007 - 12/30/2007
12/17/2007 - 12/23/2007
12/10/2007 - 12/16/2007
 12/3/2007 -  12/9/2007
11/26/2007 -  12/2/2007
11/19/2007 - 11/25/2007
11/12/2007 - 11/18/2007
 11/5/2007 - 11/11/2007
10/29/2007 -  11/4/2007
10/22/2007 - 10/28/2007
10/15/2007 - 10/21/2007
 10/8/2007 - 10/14/2007
 10/1/2007 -  10/7/2007
 9/24/2007 -  9/30/2007
 9/17/2007 -  9/23/2007
 9/10/2007 -  9/16/2007
  9/3/2007 -   9/9/2007
 8/27/2007 -   9/2/2007
 8/20/2007 -  8/26/2007
 8/13/2007 -  8/19/2007
  8/6/2007 -  8/12/2007
 7/30/2007 -   8/5/2007
 7/23/2007 -  7/29/2007
 7/16/2007 -  7/22/2007
  7/9/2007 -  7/15/2007
  7/2/2007 -   7/8/2007
 6/25/2007 -   7/1/2007
 6/18/2007 -  6/24/2007
 6/11/2007 -  6/17/2007
  6/4/2007 -  6/10/2007
 5/28/2007 -   6/3/2007
 5/21/2007 -  5/27/2007
 5/14/2007 -  5/20/2007
  5/7/2007 -  5/13/2007
 4/30/2007 -   5/6/2007
 4/23/2007 -  4/29/2007
 4/16/2007 -  4/22/2007
  4/9/2007 -  4/15/2007
  4/2/2007 -   4/8/2007
 3/26/2007 -   4/1/2007
 3/19/2007 -  3/25/2007
 3/12/2007 -  3/18/2007
  3/5/2007 -  3/11/2007
 2/26/2007 -   3/4/2007
 2/19/2007 -  2/25/2007
 2/12/2007 -  2/18/2007
  2/5/2007 -  2/11/2007
 1/29/2007 -   2/4/2007
 1/22/2007 -  1/28/2007
 1/15/2007 -  1/21/2007
  1/8/2007 -  1/14/2007
  1/1/2007 -   1/7/2007
12/25/2006 - 12/31/2006
12/18/2006 - 12/24/2006
12/11/2006 - 12/17/2006
 12/4/2006 - 12/10/2006
11/27/2006 -  12/3/2006
11/20/2006 - 11/26/2006
11/13/2006 - 11/19/2006
 11/6/2006 - 11/12/2006
10/30/2006 -  11/5/2006
10/23/2006 - 10/29/2006
10/16/2006 - 10/22/2006
 10/9/2006 - 10/15/2006
 10/2/2006 -  10/8/2006
 9/25/2006 -  10/1/2006
 9/18/2006 -  9/24/2006
 9/11/2006 -  9/17/2006
  9/4/2006 -  9/10/2006
 8/28/2006 -   9/3/2006
 8/21/2006 -  8/27/2006
 8/14/2006 -  8/20/2006
  8/7/2006 -  8/13/2006
 7/31/2006 -   8/6/2006
 7/24/2006 -  7/30/2006
 7/17/2006 -  7/23/2006
 7/10/2006 -  7/16/2006
  7/3/2006 -   7/9/2006
 6/26/2006 -   7/2/2006
 6/19/2006 -  6/25/2006
 6/12/2006 -  6/18/2006
  6/5/2006 -  6/11/2006
 5/29/2006 -   6/4/2006
 5/22/2006 -  5/28/2006
 5/15/2006 -  5/21/2006
  5/8/2006 -  5/14/2006
  5/1/2006 -   5/7/2006
 4/24/2006 -  4/30/2006
 4/17/2006 -  4/23/2006
 4/10/2006 -  4/16/2006
  4/3/2006 -   4/9/2006
 3/27/2006 -   4/2/2006
 3/20/2006 -  3/26/2006
 3/13/2006 -  3/19/2006
  3/6/2006 -  3/12/2006
 2/27/2006 -   3/5/2006
 2/20/2006 -  2/26/2006
 2/13/2006 -  2/19/2006
  2/6/2006 -  2/12/2006
 1/30/2006 -   2/5/2006
 1/23/2006 -  1/29/2006
 1/16/2006 -  1/22/2006
  1/9/2006 -  1/15/2006
  1/2/2006 -   1/8/2006
12/26/2005 -   1/1/2005
12/19/2005 - 12/25/2005
12/12/2005 - 12/18/2005
 12/5/2005 - 12/11/2005
11/28/2005 -  12/4/2005
11/21/2005 - 11/27/2005
11/14/2005 - 11/20/2005
 11/7/2005 - 11/13/2005
10/31/2005 -  11/6/2005
10/24/2005 - 10/30/2005
10/17/2005 - 10/23/2005
10/10/2005 - 10/16/2005
 10/3/2005 -  10/9/2005
 9/26/2005 -  10/2/2005
 9/19/2005 -  9/25/2005
 9/12/2005 -  9/18/2005
  9/5/2005 -  9/11/2005
 8/29/2005 -   9/4/2005
 8/22/2005 -  8/28/2005
 8/15/2005 -  8/21/2005
  8/8/2005 -  8/14/2005
  8/1/2005 -   8/7/2005
 7/25/2005 -  7/31/2005
 7/18/2005 -  7/24/2005
 7/11/2005 -  7/17/2005
  7/4/2005 -  7/10/2005
 6/27/2005 -   7/3/2005
 6/20/2005 -  6/26/2005
 6/13/2005 -  6/19/2005
  6/6/2005 -  6/12/2005
 5/30/2005 -   6/5/2005
 5/23/2005 -  5/29/2005
 5/16/2005 -  5/22/2005
  5/9/2005 -  5/15/2005
  5/2/2005 -   5/8/2005
 4/25/2005 -   5/1/2005
 4/18/2005 -  4/24/2005
 4/11/2005 -  4/17/2005
  4/4/2005 -  4/10/2005
 3/28/2005 -   4/3/2005
 3/21/2005 -  3/27/2005
 3/14/2005 -  3/20/2005
  3/7/2005 -  3/13/2005
 2/28/2005 -   3/6/2005
 2/21/2005 -  2/27/2005
 2/14/2005 -  2/20/2005
  2/7/2005 -  2/13/2005
 1/31/2005 -   2/6/2005
 1/24/2005 -  1/30/2005
 1/17/2005 -  1/23/2005
 1/10/2005 -  1/16/2005
  1/3/2005 -   1/9/2005
12/27/2004 -   1/2/2004
12/20/2004 - 12/26/2004
12/13/2004 - 12/19/2004
 12/6/2004 - 12/12/2004
11/29/2004 -  12/5/2004
11/22/2004 - 11/28/2004
11/15/2004 - 11/21/2004
 11/8/2004 - 11/14/2004
 11/1/2004 -  11/7/2004
10/25/2004 - 10/31/2004
10/18/2004 - 10/24/2004
10/11/2004 - 10/17/2004
 10/4/2004 - 10/10/2004
 9/27/2004 -  10/3/2004
 9/20/2004 -  9/26/2004
 9/13/2004 -  9/19/2004
  9/6/2004 -  9/12/2004
 8/30/2004 -   9/5/2004
 8/23/2004 -  8/29/2004
 8/16/2004 -  8/22/2004
  8/9/2004 -  8/15/2004
  8/2/2004 -   8/8/2004
 7/26/2004 -   8/1/2004
 7/19/2004 -  7/25/2004
 7/12/2004 -  7/18/2004
  7/5/2004 -  7/11/2004
 6/28/2004 -   7/4/2004
 6/21/2004 -  6/27/2004
 6/14/2004 -  6/20/2004
  6/7/2004 -  6/13/2004
 5/31/2004 -   6/6/2004
 5/24/2004 -  5/30/2004
 5/17/2004 -  5/23/2004
 5/10/2004 -  5/16/2004
  5/3/2004 -   5/9/2004
 4/26/2004 -   5/2/2004
 4/19/2004 -  4/25/2004
 4/12/2004 -  4/18/2004
  4/5/2004 -  4/11/2004
 3/29/2004 -   4/4/2004
 3/22/2004 -  3/28/2004
 3/15/2004 -  3/21/2004
  3/8/2004 -  3/14/2004
  3/1/2004 -   3/7/2004
 2/23/2004 -  2/29/2004
 2/16/2004 -  2/22/2004
  2/9/2004 -  2/15/2004
  2/2/2004 -   2/8/2004
 1/26/2004 -   2/1/2004
 1/19/2004 -  1/25/2004
 1/12/2004 -  1/18/2004
  1/5/2004 -  1/11/2004
12/29/2003 -   1/4/2004
12/22/2003 - 12/28/2003
12/15/2003 - 12/21/2003
 12/8/2003 - 12/14/2003
 12/1/2003 -  12/7/2003
11/24/2003 - 11/30/2003
11/17/2003 - 11/23/2003
11/10/2003 - 11/16/2003
 11/3/2003 -  11/9/2003
10/27/2003 -  11/2/2003
10/20/2003 - 10/26/2003
10/13/2003 - 10/19/2003
 10/6/2003 - 10/12/2003
 9/29/2003 -  10/5/2003
 9/22/2003 -  9/28/2003
 9/15/2003 -  9/21/2003
  9/8/2003 -  9/14/2003
  9/1/2003 -   9/7/2003
 8/25/2003 -  8/31/2003
 8/18/2003 -  8/24/2003
 8/11/2003 -  8/17/2003
  8/4/2003 -  8/10/2003
 7/28/2003 -   8/3/2003
 7/21/2003 -  7/27/2003
 7/14/2003 -  7/20/2003
  7/7/2003 -  7/13/2003
 6/30/2003 -   7/6/2003
 6/23/2003 -  6/29/2003
 6/16/2003 -  6/22/2003
  6/9/2003 -  6/15/2003
  6/2/2003 -   6/8/2003
 5/26/2003 -   6/1/2003
 5/19/2003 -  5/25/2003
 5/12/2003 -  5/18/2003
  5/5/2003 -  5/11/2003
 4/28/2003 -   5/4/2003
 4/21/2003 -  4/27/2003
 4/14/2003 -  4/20/2003
  4/7/2003 -  4/13/2003
 3/31/2003 -   4/6/2003
 3/24/2003 -  3/30/2003
 3/17/2003 -  3/23/2003
 3/10/2003 -  3/16/2003
  3/3/2003 -   3/9/2003
 2/24/2003 -   3/2/2003
 2/17/2003 -  2/23/2003
 2/10/2003 -  2/16/2003
  2/3/2003 -   2/9/2003
 1/27/2003 -   2/2/2003
 1/20/2003 -  1/26/2003
 1/13/2003 -  1/19/2003
  1/6/2003 -  1/12/2003
12/30/2002 -   1/5/2003
12/23/2002 - 12/29/2002
12/16/2002 - 12/22/2002
 12/9/2002 - 12/15/2002
 12/2/2002 -  12/8/2002
11/25/2002 -  12/1/2002
11/18/2002 - 11/24/2002
11/11/2002 - 11/17/2002
 11/4/2002 - 11/10/2002
10/28/2002 -  11/3/2002
10/21/2002 - 10/27/2002
10/14/2002 - 10/20/2002
 10/7/2002 - 10/13/2002
 9/30/2002 -  10/6/2002
 9/23/2002 -  9/29/2002
 9/16/2002 -  9/22/2002
  9/9/2002 -  9/15/2002
  9/2/2002 -   9/8/2002
 8/26/2002 -   9/1/2002
 8/19/2002 -  8/25/2002
 8/12/2002 -  8/18/2002
  8/5/2002 -  8/11/2002
 7/29/2002 -   8/4/2002
 7/22/2002 -  7/28/2002
 7/15/2002 -  7/21/2002
  7/8/2002 -  7/14/2002
  7/1/2002 -   7/7/2002
 6/24/2002 -  6/30/2002
 6/17/2002 -  6/23/2002
 6/10/2002 -  6/16/2002
  6/3/2002 -   6/9/2002
 5/27/2002 -   6/2/2002
 5/20/2002 -  5/26/2002
 5/13/2002 -  5/19/2002
  5/6/2002 -  5/12/2002
 4/29/2002 -   5/5/2002
 4/22/2002 -  4/28/2002
 4/15/2002 -  4/21/2002
  4/8/2002 -  4/14/2002
  4/1/2002 -   4/7/2002
 3/25/2002 -  3/31/2002
 3/18/2002 -  3/24/2002
 3/11/2002 -  3/17/2002
  3/4/2002 -  3/10/2002
 2/25/2002 -   3/3/2002
 2/18/2002 -  2/24/2002
 2/11/2002 -  2/17/2002
  2/4/2002 -  2/10/2002
 1/28/2002 -   2/3/2002
 1/21/2002 -  1/27/2002
 1/14/2002 -  1/20/2002
  1/7/2002 -  1/13/2002
12/31/2001 -   1/6/2002
12/24/2001 - 12/30/2001
12/17/2001 - 12/23/2001
Sunday, June 9, 2002
13:17 - Scooby Dooby Don't

I wonder where it is that Cartoon Network gets its demographic.

We've already determined that they treat Scooby-Doo as the default filler material, especially on weekends, and during any time slot when you're likely to want to just sit down and relax for some fun popcorn-munching viewing material. Turn it on some weeknight, hoping for some PowerPuff Girls or maybe even Courage the Cowardly Dog. And what do you get? Scooby-bloody-Doo.

We've already determined that Cartoon Network fans have enough of a grass-roots motivation for letting their dissatisfaction be known that they're willing to create a petition for the reduction of Scooby-Doo airtime. But the programming people evidently have access to market data that's more accurate and valuable to them than online petitions signed by hundreds of people, because they've reacted to the release of this looks-to-be-godawful live-action Scooby-Doo movie by moving "Scooby Movies" from their accustomed 2:00AM slot right into prime time, right when I get home from work. Interspersed with bizarre and facetious interviews with the even-then-pathetic "guest stars" who were on the shows, talking about how much fun it was to make them and what Scooby is like off the set. (Yeah, yeah.)

Let's not forget, this is Cartoon Network here-- the network that has created whole late-night Adult Swim blocks catering specifically to cartoon geeks like me who love Space Ghost and Home Movies and anime and John Kricfalusi. (I hear tell that Cartoon Network has hired John K. to finish out that infamous "Yogi Bear" series that he'd been contracted to do by H-B, of which he only completed those two nefarious episodes which they're now showing on Adult Swim on occasion. The next episode reportedly focuses on Boo-boo's sexual issues, and on the North American Man-Bear Love Association. Oh, for a world where such a thing can be reviewd by South Park's censors instead of those for Dexter's Laboratory.) And the demographic also includes guys like James Lileks and Steven den Beste, the latter of whom likes Dragon Ball Z. (No, I'm not gonna laugh. Okay, maybe one little half-Nelson. Haw!)

So, then, what the hell's up with all the Scooby-Doo? Do that many people really love that stupid-ass show? When they had that "presidential election" schtick back in 2000, Scooby won the Presidency, beating out all the current most popular characters. What is this-- nepotism? Are there cranky old guys in propeller beanies working at Cartoon Network right now with posters on their cubicle walls of Davey Jones and Eddie Winters and the Addams Family, who spend all their time writing analytical tracts about the philosophical significance of each S-D episode like those people in college who wrote about how Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was the greatest and most insightful TV series ever made?

Without them, Cartoon Network would be hands-down the greatest network in TV history.

Where can we find these people, and how can we stop them?

12:38 - Where's my dose of sanity?

It's been an awfully long time since Adil at MuslimPundit has made any of his searingly insightful and well-researched posts about the idiocy of his co-religionists.

I hope he hasn't been put under fatwa of death and executed for committing offenses against Muhammad.
Saturday, June 8, 2002
20:49 - Weekends of Picnics, Barbecues, and Klez

Just got back from an afternoon picnic up at Grant Park, under the shoulders of Mt. Hamilton, to which we rode in a motorcycle procession-- myself on my ZX-11, Lance and Dave on the Buell S3, Dusty on his M2, Steve on his Suzuki SV650s, and Tor on his Gold Wing, with Drew and David bringing up the rear in their car. I got blisters on my feet from running after footballs in my motorcycle boots, but I've 'ad worse.

Besides, I got to test-ride the SV and the Gold Wing after we got back. The Wing was very trippy-- it makes you feel like you're in a Cadillac instead of on a bike, and the power just gets going and keeps going. But the SV is much closer to what I want in a bike-- very attractive styling, a small and lithe frame, reasonable power, and lots of agility (for maneuvering in parking lots as much as anything else). The seating position is a little bit cramped for me, but at least now I know what it's like to ride something in that class. Like, for instance, the Aprilia SL1000 Falco that I want so very very much. (Which, incidentally, the owner of the SV said that he planned to get as his next bike. Woo-hoo! My motorcycle tastes aren't unique and freaky.)

So now that's over, and I get to spend the rest of the weekend listening to the interminable whooping and coughing that accompanies any hockey game, while I get that DV editing out of the way-- as well as cleaning out about 700 Klez e-mails out of my mailbox. (For those who don't know about it, Klez is the most recent MS Outbreak virus/worm; it combs through your address book and your browser cache for e-mail addresses to use as the senders and recipients for copies of itself that it sends out.) I've received several thousand of these over the past three weeks, and while I can filter them, it's getting really old. Especially because there's a secondary effect to this one.

See, because Klez gets its sender and recipient e-mail lists from pawing through the Web pages in your browser cache, that means that owners of popular websites are particularly hard hit by it. Not just because everybody has a copy of your website and sends you copies of Klez. That's fine; that can be filtered. No, the really insidious bit is that it spoofs the sender so that other recipients think that it was you who sent it-- and if you have a popular website, that means that "you" are sending out Klez messages thousands and thousands of times a day to random other people.

Yes, I have a popular website. (Not this one, lionking.org.) And now I'm getting messages every couple of days from worried people all over the net who either want to alert me that some spammer is using lionking.org to send spam out from, or to scream at me for spamming them myself. If they'd just check the headers, they'd know that it's not me that's doing this-- but who in this world knows how to check headers? We live in a world of computer newbies, and it's only getting more so-- which is a good thing in many ways, as it forces companies to develop good software that's easy to use. But it's also a death-trap for companies that seem to rely on customers being security-conscious and willing and able to download patches for their crappy, buggy, ubiquitous software (e.g. Outlook).

I have to wonder, whenever I see one of these virii/worms making the rounds, whether the author had a specific type of target or victim in mind. (Nimda and Code Red, for instance, targeted people with Windows NT Server and not enough neurons to rub together to realize that they were running a web server on it-- let alone a crappy and buggy web server with exploitable security holes). Most of the "Anna Kournikova Naked" type of viruses target people who like to see celebrities naked (that's why I was wondering about that earlier this week). And in this case, Klez seems to be targeting people with popular websites-- because that's who's suffering most.

If you're using Outlook: PLEASE CONSIDER USING SOMETHING ELSE. Please... I'm begging you here.
Friday, June 7, 2002
02:20 - It's "just defiance"-- but defiance is everything

Ann Coulter says to Build Them Back, exactly as they were-- perhaps bigger, but definitely not smaller.

There have been many unsubstantiated assertions that no one would rent property in a rebuilt World Trade Center. But if fear of another terrorist attack were a major factor in New Yorkers' decisional calculus, they wouldn't be living in New York. The military has the technology to make the buildings safe from incoming missiles. Sept. 11 was a sucker punch. That particular trick doesn't work twice.

Moreover, this argument neglects to consider that by the time a new World Trade Center is built, Arabs will be about as threatening as the Japanese. Who would have imagined after Pearl Harbor that the Japanese were governable? Yet Japan hasn't shown a disposition to fight in 60 years. It is the rare individual who does not succumb to horrendous physical pain. Muslims feel humiliated now? We'll show them humiliated.

Aesthetes complain that the buildings were ugly. Perhaps. But the important thing is, they were really big. There can be a new design, but whatever goes up on that site has got to be bigger and better than the buildings the savages destroyed.

Read the whole thing; I had a hard time picking two or three paragraphs to quote.

It's clear to me that rebuilding on the site is a project that can't be dictated by economics alone; it's something we will have to attack as an ideological imperative, a symbol, a public work, like the dams in the 30s. They were useful, yes, and essential-- but they were also art, monuments that captured the spirit of an age. The WTC should be no less. It may turn out to be impractical; people might not even rent out all the floor space. But that's a subsidy that we as a nation should be proud to pay.

If they had stood for another fifty years, the towers would probably have been designated a national historic monument or something, and great pains would have been taken to preserve them as they were. Now, they should be afforded the same honor that would have been due them, plus a whole lot more.

To me, that means putting them back up, so similar to the previous towers that the opening of Crocodile Dundee II wouldn't look anachronistic. And holding a grand opening during which the biggest American flags on the face of the Earth would be draped down their eastern walls.

18:12 - I can't add anything to that...


13:45 - We Defend Ourselves with Star Wars and the Heart of Gold

Ken Layne speaks for the Secular Humanist American Populace (which, by comparison to any Islamofascist, nearly every single American is, right up to Falwell):

Yeah, it's cheap and wrong to quote a Star Wars movie when dealing with murdering bombers, but I think it's better than quoting Allah. I'm tired of Allah. I'm tired of Allah and Jeebus and the whole gang. What the hell have they ever done for anybody?

It is said that people will always look for some spiritual deal, no matter how rich and happy they are. Los Angeles is being savaged around the country right now because we have a basketball coach who wants his team to meditate before a game. But compare that to the scumbags running out of Jenin or Gaza or Saudi Arabia. Madonna doing yoga is harmless. Freaks doing jihad against office towers or a commuter bus is cancer.

Cut it out. Root cause? Idiots who believe in Super Gods. Ain't no super gods. Just us. I've read in my local Arafat daily that Americans who support Israel are right-wing religious folk. Really? I've seen a few blogs by such people, and I'm glad they're around, but most people I know are agnostics who started off wishing the best for Palestinian Arabs. Now, they're sick of it all.

Oh, you mean like me. Good, I'm not the only one.

They didn't have Star Wars when the holy texts were written, Ken. Those texts were Star Wars.

I'm also sick, by the way, of pretending that capitalism and democracy and a culture of entertainment consumption is sick and evil. It's not. We've seen evil. We know what these words we've been bandying about really mean, and there is no shame and no fascism in our recognizing that living a life that glorifies individual freedom and achievement and mutual respect in a heterogeneous world is inherently superior. I'm sick of having to avoid using that word lest I be accused of being an arrogant, self-centered American. Peggy Noonan of the WSJ is similarly fed up.

Norm Mineta, our transportation secretary, has a searing memory, and that memory determines U.S. airport security policy in 2002. When he was a little boy at the start of World War II, Mr. Mineta and his Japanese-American family were sent to an interment camp. It was unjust and wrong. The Japanese of America in 1942 were American citizens, not illegal aliens or visitors newly arrived; moreover, they had never, not one of them, launched an attack on the United States. What FDR did to them was wrong.

But the facts of Japanese-Americans in 1942 do not parallel the facts of our enemies today. Our enemies has already killed civilians and announced they will kill more. We know who the enemy is--we know many names, and we certainly know the general profile--and we have every right, or rather duty, to give those who fit the profile extra scrutiny. Instead we play games and waste time wanding people we know to be innocent, and searching their tired old shoes. We do this to show we're being fair. But we really know otherwise, all of us.

We are being irresponsible and careless in the hope that history will call us tolerant and compassionate. It is vanity that drives us, not the thirst for justice and a safer world. Mr. Mineta has received many awards for his sensitivity to ethnic profiling. Good for him, but I'd personally give him an award if he'd begin to act like a grownup and recognize that his childhood trauma shouldn't determine modern American security policy.

(I quote the same three paragraphs that Glenn Reynolds did because they happen to be the best ones for the topic at hand. I add this disclaimer not because I hope that history will not judge me a plagiarist, but because I'm slowly waking up. I'm slowly coming to grips with the fact that there are some absolutes in the world, or things that are close enough to absolutes as to be indistinguishable from them. I'm beginning to accept that some things are more important than how we're thought of by our peers.)

Let's say that within six months, if we were to do nothing further in our war against terrorism, a nuclear attack of some sort were to flatten New York. What would we do then? I'd imagine that we would go through our list of terrorist-supporting states, one by one, quickly and methodically, and transform them into wholly controlled American protectorates with very little surviving infrastructure and substantially less civilian population. A terrible thing to have to do, but it's our tradition these days to respond to any terrible thing that happens by taking whatever precautions are necessary to prevent that exact same thing from happening again. Like antibodies to a virus, we've ensured that nobody's going to be able to use box-cutters to hijack a plane and fly it into a building again anytime soon, or to carry C4 onto a plane in his shoes. But the problem with antibodies is that they can be easily duped by a trivial mutation in the virus. We're closing a whole series of barn doors after the respective horses have left. We may well be unable to stop the next attack, whatever form it takes, once the operation is actually underway and the planes are in the air and the bomb is in play or what-have-you.

So what's the alternative? Why, taking whatever precautions are necessary to prevent the terrible things from happening in the first place. In the case of terrorism on a global, city-destroying scale, that means flattening entire Muslim countries. And how do we work up a national mandate to do that, if we're not responding to an actual attack on us in kind? We don't. We have never been able to. America just doesn't work that way. We're deadly in our retaliation, but retaliation is all it ever is. And that's what the bin Ladens of the world are counting on.

They know we can't bring ourselves to strike at them first. They know how much ridicule Clinton faced after his cruise missiles failed to kill Osama in his hut. They know what kind of trouble we get into with the world if we act like "cowboys". They know we're such wusses that we'll refrain from pre-emptively attacking radical Islam at its core as long as we have no clear-and-present threat short of a giant skywritten message over New York reading DEATH TO AMERICAN INFIDELS, spelled out by the contrails of North Korean nuclear missiles covered with scrawls of Allahu Akbar.

Fitting, isn't it, that "Star Wars" was what we'd dubbed the system that was supposed to protect us from that kind of attack, if it had ever been made to work?

Speaking of which, Lileks liked episode II. A lot. And to see why this is not a bizarre digression, read his Bleat. He has insights into the nature of Good and Evil, and Darkness and Reality, that are more than a little bit applicable to our current times. As was the Han Solo quote that Ken Layne offers in the first linked article.

I am ready, finally, to admit that I unconditionally prefer the world in which I live, where our biggest problems have to do with whether Anakin Skywalker is a believable character, to the world that is populated by people who are committed to a cause for which they will happily give their lives in order to see us dead. Ours is the world of the future, and anybody who agrees is welcome to come along for the ride. But anybody who lashes out at us out of spite and in a tantrum over how their Super God is no longer relevant to anybody but them-- well, it's time we started hitting them harder than they plan to hit us. That's the only way to stop them. They're designed not to understand reason or feel pain. They're trained not to value their own lives or the distinction between military and civilian targets. They've engineered themselves to be impossible to reform or to integrate into a world where they are not supreme. And so, tragic and horrible as it is, and as shitty as it is that we don't yet have the technology to imprison them in an envelope of Slo-Time and seal it with the Wikkit Key, we have to do the next best thing.

We have to put aside our vanity and our hope that we won't be judged fascist by future generations. Because if we don't, the only future generations to judge us will be the ones who call us demonic infidels already.

To what extent are we willing to go to prevent New York from turning into a fallout zone? We know what our enemies are willing to do, and we know that the only thing keeping them from doing worse than they already have is the lack of means, which they will undoubtedly gain if we just give them enough time. Is our safety from the next cataclysmic blow worth committing an action which the whole world will surely "condemn" <ack, pth>? What's the greater catastrophe?

We who have seen the future, even if it's a future a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, say that that future is worth protecting at any cost.
Thursday, June 6, 2002
03:29 - Multilingual Fun

"Brian! You took Spanish in high school, right?"

It was about 5:00 PM, and Richard was bearing down on my cubicle with that hopeful grin and desperate eyes of a man who has to call back a customer in Spain to tell him that he's ready to load the new upgraded software image onto his device and reboot it remotely, and whose only Spanish-speaking customer-ops guy had just gone home for the day.

"Uh... yeah...."

It's been seven or eight years since I've used Spanish in any practical context. I've never had the occasion, other than to listen to internal conversation of the people working at Taco Bell and to thank them when I hear them putting the proper funky decals on my complicated household-wide order. "Gracias!" I'd say, and they'd spin around, utterly startled that I could understand them and that I was paying attention.

So I was recruited to call up this guy in Spain, who spoke no English, and tell him "Hi-- we're ready to reboot the unit now and install the new image." Ya estamos listos para... er... umm.... What's "reboot" in Spanish?

Richard had the bright idea of switching one of our computers to Spanish and looking in the menus. He grabbed my Windows box and started -- well... he started out looking very purposeful and confident, but he was soon floundering and lost. Meanwhile, I fired up System Prefs in OS X, dragged EspaŮol to the top of the "preferred languages" list, quit it and reopened the app, and looked under the Apple menu, whose members were now all in Spanish. "Ah," I said. "Reiniciar."

So I call the guy up, I walk him through the reboot process in Spanish that comes freakily back to me on demand out of the depths of my brain, and we hang up amicably having done the necessary deed. At the very least, we seem not to have created an international incident. So that's good.

Anyway, this brought us into a curiosity-which-reiniciť-the-cat exploration of Windows and how to change the default language. (We couldn't leave bad enough alone.) We found that the closest thing to it is the "Regional Settings" control panel, which baffled us with its odd terminology (what user has any idea what a "locale" is?), its half-explained controls and menus ("Your system is configured to read and write documents in multiple languages." That's nice. What in hell does it have to do with this list of languages with checkboxes next to them? What does checking them do? Who knows?), its impenetrably named code-page templates, and its seven or eight different places to do anything and everything. And nowhere in all this mess does it give you to understand that you don't even get any of those other languages for the OS interface; if you want Windows in Spanish, you have to install the Spanish version of Windows. Charming.

Whereas in OS X, it's all Unicode-based; so you simply drag the languages in the list into the order you prefer them in, and from then on any application you launch will go down that list until it finds a localized set of strings that matches your most preferred language, and uses that.

But that too got us thinking. I'd noticed that if you go to Google and select the "Language Tools", you get to see the Google interface in any of thirty or forty different languages, from Punjabi to Slovenian to Klingon to Elmer Fudd. Since we have Unicode fonts, we get to see things like Japanese, Russian, and Vietnamese in their native fonts, looking smooth and crisp, with all the letters beautifully rendered and accounted for.

But they're not all there. Not quite.

We couldn't help but notice that the Arabic page showed a bunch of weird, blurry squares. I'd never really paid much attention to this before; I'd assumed that it was just some kind of weird Unicode thing, a token that shows up differently in different displays. But then I noticed that the squares have what looks like an Arabic letter inside them.

Then I remembered that in the classic Mac OS, any undisplayable characters were shown as squares. So I thought, "I wonder"... and dragged a few of them over into TextEdit and cranked up the font size.

Look at that. It's squares, like always, for undisplayable characters. But now that it's all vector graphics, and because the Arabic font sets apparently aren't done yet (as they keep completing point releases of OS X, they keep adding character-set packs that fill out these blocks of letters), it's squares with cool information in them. The Unicode range that Arabic occupies, plus a central symbol to tell you what will eventually go there.

This is what it looks like when Apple isn't quite done with something.

So our curiosity was running rampant now; we switched into Unicode hex input mode (hold down Option and type four-digit hex numbers) and started entering values, to see what the ranges were like and what they were assigned to, and what symbols they had:

Mmm-mm. Isn't that insane? I love it. (And especially that Dr. Seuss-looking "Private Use" one.) Apple even makes unimplemented features look cool. These squares sit at the beginning of each block of assigned characters and define what that block is going to be, and if the characters haven't all been finished yet, they all show up as that generic identifier.

Oh, and depending on which letter you have selected, the available fonts in the font panel change. Select the Hangul character, and the six or seven dedicated Hangul fonts become available in the list.

There's always something bizarre and new lurking in an esoteric corner...

11:19 - I bet a lot of Senators ride


I just got a mailing from the American Motorcyclist Association, asking for donations and membership as usual-- but it had some interesting news to report, good news even. The tactic for trolling for bucks was to celebrate the following legislative victories that have recently been (gasp!) won in Congress:
  1. Motorcyclists have gained GUARANTEED access to highways - Congress has made it against the law to ban motorcycles on highways built with federal money. For example, when some politicians in Chicago tried to keep motorcyclists off one of the city's busiest streets, this law stopped them in their tracks. What's more, this means we'll have on-going access to "high occupancy vehicle" lanes-- the ones marked with a diamond. So we can still bypass regular lanes choked with traffic and ride smoother and safer.

  2. Motorcyclists have become part of the "Intelligent Transportation Systems" - This is special technology to create safer and more efficient roads. At our urging, the government agreed to include motorcyclists as part of the traffic "mix". (Believe it or not, before the AMA intervened, the government was about to ignore riders completely-- but now the AMA is on-hand when they test these systems, to make sure they work for motorcyclists, too.)

  3. Swift action is underway to make roads safer for motorcyclists - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been ordered to improfe safety by focusing on accident prevention rather than injury prevention. We've found that preventing accidents before they happen is better for riders than just figuring out how to cut down on injuries later. The result? The agency has made big grants to benefit motorcyclists-- one to promote motorist awareness of motorcycles AND the other to figure out ways to reduce alcohol-related accidents.

  4. $270 Million has been allocated for off-road trails - Previous legislation for these trails (for off-road motorcyclists, off-road vehicle riders, snowmobiles and 4-wheel drive enthusiasts) never got the money it needed to work. We lobbied hard, and the government is now spending over a quarter of a billion dollars to build new trails and fix up those already in use. Now we will have many more places to play!

Which I applaud-- after all, it's good to see progress in what's almost by its very nature a perpetual fight for a minority to keep from being ignored or marginalized. (I'm not wild about that fourth one, though-- how much money is that that they're spending on building off-road trails and parks? And what did they pull that money out from?) And they apparently still haven't made much progress on that "Brian gets an Aprilia SL1000 Falco" law...

But they've also included some "thank-you" postcards for us to mail to our Congresspeople. Mine, according to the postcards, are Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, and Zoe Lofgren. Hmm. I wonder if the Feinstein who evidently voted for these motorcyclists'-rights measures is the same one who created a handgun exchange program in San Francisco (so handgun owners could turn in their guns for money); she self-righteously turned in her own gun on stage in front of all the cameras. But then some reporter, who had done his homework, asked her whether she was going to turn in the other gun that she owned (as was a matter of public record, it having been registered)? Upon which she had her goon squad ambush the guy afterwards and... give him to understand that silence was in his best interests?

I don't have all the details on that story; Lance is the one who knows it well. But hypocrisy is, er, not unknown among our Senators, and I don't know if sending in a form-letter thank-you postcard is going to send anybody the right message, other than "The machinery is well-oiled".

10:14 - You read Lileks now.

Regarding the Ashcroft fingerprinting proposal:

I donít believe it. I donít believe most Americans who practice Islam are going to be offended by this. And if some are, let me be honest: I donít care. I am way past caring. I have not a jot of the care-sauce left in my bones. The care tank is empty. Thereís no one home in Careville. The dog ate my care. The Care Crop didnít come up this year. Self.com/care comes up as a 404.

Would I raise an eyebrow if the government quarantined everyone with a Koran, kept them in holding cells for a week, tagged them with a microchip and sprayed them with a dye that shows up on orbiting satellites? ? Yes, I would. Iím raising an eyebrow right now, just for practiceís sake. But when these people get hysterical about co-religionist non- citizens being photographed and fingerprinted, I not only disregard what they say now but whatever they say in the future, as well as whoever cites them as an authority.

Besides, I don't seem to recall huge rallies of American Muslims congregating on the Mall in Washington to express their support for the US and their furor over the hijacking of their faith by some wackos from Saudi Arabia. We all expected it. Why wouldn't we? Who would want to be associated at a casual glance with the 9/11 hijackers and with bin Laden? Who wouldn't rise up in grass-roots protest in a show of sincere loyalty to stem any tide of public mistrust which might be turned, however wrongly, against them?

If they're going to rise up and complain now about the fingerprinting of non-US citizens, when they didn't rise up before and complain about the tarnishing of the good name of Islam, then my well of sympathy will have run dry too. The best thing may be to make the best of the situation they've made for themselves and let those immigrants be fingerprinted like the rest of us have to be when we're in elementary school. Because what I seem to remember are Muslims putting up anti-Israel "blood libel" posters and beating up Jewish students at a rally at SFSU, and thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters gathering on the Mall to denounce Israel's brutal actions in Ramallah and Jenin and the US' support for them. Now, if these guys are more concerned with defending Arafat's suicide bombers than with being treated like they were all a bunch of Mohammed Attas, well, that's fine-- it is, after all, a free country. But they'd better not act surprised when people infer that if they support one group of Islamic terrorists, they might support another too.

No, I'm not saying it's time we put Muslims in ghettos and hold pogroms. To my understanding, we're one of the countries on earth least likely to do such things. Acts of intimidation against Muslims in America after 9/11, while it was feared that they'd be numerous and unstoppable, have turned out to be vanishingly few. Instead, synagogues in France are burned and Jewish members of the Norwegian parliament are forbidden from wearing Stars of David on their lapels and the German government cautions Jews not to wear yarmulkes or anything that would make them "stand out" as Jews. Yeah, go on. Take that moral high ground. I dare you. Oh, wait. You did. Now I have to figure out what to do with someone to whom you say "I dare you" and then does the thing you dared him to do.

I could be wrong, but I believe tradition recommends socking him in the nose.

I'm with you, James. I care enough not to care.

09:38 - Eww!

Yeah, I knew the Brits were squeamish about violent video games and stuff (remember what they did to Carmageddon? "You're running over... uh, zombies! Yeah, that's right!")... but I must admit I'd be a bit shaken too if they were playing this Xbox ad here:

The ad begins with a newborn child flying through a window before aging decades in seconds--then crashing and screaming into a grave as an elderly man. It was designed to illustrate the phrase: "Life is short. Play more."

Of course, what makes me shudder isn't even so much the content as the exhortation to take the best advantage of our limited time on Earth, with all the things we have here to do and see, by... uh, playing more video games.

I have friends who have lost years of their lives to MMORPGs and MUCKs and the like. They don't even consider those years "lost", either-- and while I'm not about to go pushing my values on these guys, it seems unbearably tragic to me that the headlong rush toward everybody being perpetually plugged into virtual-reality environments with head cables, with food and drink piped in, growing bulbous and hairy and losing any lingering interest in interacting with real people or accomplishing anything of material merit, is being embraced with such gusto.

Good job, Microsoft. Let's encourage it even more, hmm?
Wednesday, June 5, 2002
01:32 - Propaganda... or advertising?

The authors of Penny Arcade have an entertaining and right-on-the-money take on those "US Army" video games that are out right now and being lambasted for propagandizing to impressionable youngsters who might (gasp) be brainwashed into joining the military.

Give it a read. I particularly like Safety Monkey's description of the "Anti-Fuckface" intelligence built into the game. Sounds like genius to me...

19:02 - Steve and CNet Talk Tech

Here's a cool interview by CNet with Steve Jobs, in which he discusses Jaguar, QuickTime 6/MPEG-4, the eMac, education sales, and so on. The meat of the discussion is MPEG-4, which Jobs says is a critical milestone in getting streaming video to the next level of accessibility. He seems very bullish about the prospects, especially considering how it stacks up against the upcoming competition and all the industry buy-in that's just waiting for an excuse to take off.
What's so great about MPEG-4?

It delivers video quality as good as MPEG-2 at about one-third less the bit rate. But then you can crank down the bit rate for lower bandwidth connections and it scales down beautifully. So you can deliver incredible streaming video with MPEG-4. It has got higher quality than anything out there--including Microsoft's upcoming Corona--and it's totally scalable. Everybody's jumping on this bandwagon. We've announced we're going to switch over to MPEG-4. Real has said they're going to. All the cell phone companies are going to be using it; it is the standard for third-generation cell phone video streaming. It also features AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) audio, which is the best audio around. It blows away MP3 (and) Windows Media. And it also is the audio format adopted by all satellite radio (companies). So this is gathering a tremendous amount of steam, and I think everybody is going to be cutting over to MPEG-4, with the possible exception of Microsoft, which is going to try and push its Corona technology that comes out later this year. They haven't gone into a preview or beta mode yet, but they said they were going to release it sometime this year.

How important do you think MPEG-4 will be to opening the barriers that block digital media?

I think it's going to be exactly like what MPEG-2 did. It's going to create whole new industries, because it's going to create a world standard. MPEG-2 created the whole DVD industry. I think MPEG-4 is going to be really big. QuickTime 6 is the first real implementation of MPEG-4 to be released. Not only is it a client, but with QuickTime Streaming Server and QuickTime Broadcaster, which allows real-time broadcasting of MPEG-4, we're providing an end-to-end solution for MPEG-4. And of course, it's compatible with all MPEG-4-compliant players.

Getting QT6 out the door was like scraping out an arterial blockage: something that had to be done, and quickly, or it would soon turn from an annoying lack into a fatal flaw. And now it puts Apple in the extremely good position that it deserves to be, having brought the end-to-end solution to the table first.

As for the MPEG-LA licensing issues, it seems that they're proceeding on the assumption that they will cover the required royalty costs for the video codec through making people buy a new QuickTime Pro key to unlock the authoring features, which would include the codec used in iMovie and FCP and the like. I'm more than happy to do so-- it's been two major revs since we've had to do that, and it's just thirty bucks. (I do think they could stand to get rid of that "Go Pro" nag screen that pops up when you launch the player, though-- it's tacky and un-Apple.)

AAC's gonna rock the house, though. It's a true studio-quality multitrack framework, supporting up to 48 simultaneous tracks of 96KHz sound. Take that, "Joint Stereo". And if AAC is licensed under the same terms as MP3 (or even more leniently, considering that Apple managed to negotiate a royalty-free license), it'll become the successor to MP3 in every way that matters, including the democratizing nature of the format. I suspect it'll be no later than the Jaguar release that we see iTunes support for AAC, including the ability to rip into that format rather than MP3, and support on the iPod too.

AAC will thus blow away the only saving grace against the RIAA's attacks, though, which is that digital music files don't sound as good as original media. Now that a better, widely supported format is out and will soon pick up steam, they're going to have to bite the bullet and accept that digital music is here to stay-- that it's they who will have to change to fit the technology, not the other way around.

18:28 - Well, it would have worked last time...

Arafat seems to be a microcosm (in time and space) of Saddam.

Both commit attacks against their neighbors and exploit their own people in doing so. So the military (the US in the one case, the IDF in the other) goes in, cleans house, eliminates the immediate threat (which is in fact neutralized while the action is taking place), and comes this close to taking him out of the picture entirely.

But then the military bows to international pressure, and backs down... and in a very short time, the dictator in question is back to his old tricks.

In Saddam's case, we took a bath under world opinion because we didn't actually kill Saddam-- instead we tried to get the Iraqi people to rise up without our assistance and overthrow him themselves. This was done as a condition of our coalition with the Saudis, who insisted that we not target Saddam directly. (More fools we.) Naturally, the Iraqi people went howling into battle, but we couldn't lift a finger to help them-- so Saddam put down the uprising with extreme force, and now the US is seen as a bunch of vile betrayers by the Iraqi people. Shows what we get for trying to be multilateral.

Now, after Arafat has been beseiged by the IDF in Ramallah for a period (during which his terrorist infrastructure was disrupted fairly successfully, to the extent that there was relative peace while he was held incommunicado)-- they let him go, bowing to international opinion condemning Israel's vicious and brutal acts of self-defense. And he bought his way out of the siege with some promises and some sellings-out of key figures in the movement (which Europe still can't quite figure out what to do with or what kind of gloves to wear when touching them, after volunteering happily to give the poor dears shelter from the big nasty tanks), and now-- with as much obvious cause-and-effect as turning a light switch back on-- we're back to the suicide bombings.

This one's bad, too. An innovative new idea: drive a car full of bombs up alongside a bus on a freeway, and flick your Bic. That's thirteen people splattered into the breakdown lane and a flaming bus hulk careening into the distance. Not a bad deal for the gas money, eh?

Oh, of course, Arafat condemns it. But the Taliban condemned the 9/11 attacks too, remember that? I'm beginning to hate that word. "The U.N. condemned today's actions..." Yeah, like it means they did anything but sat around and frowned at each other and nodded and muttered about how much it sucks. Everybody's condemning things. Everybody feels it's necessary to go on record saying how terrible it is that someone died or that someone rolled tanks or that someone was brusquely searched for dynamite belts. But when Arafat does it, it makes it sound even more vague and offhand and "Yeah, yeah, leave me alone"-- because it means nothing. It's just another required step, another element of the formula that scripts any one of these attacks and retaliations. Next will come Israeli action to disrupt the terrorist infrastructure, followed by UN condemnation of the brutal and entirely unprovoked actions of the IDF and that warmonger Sharon. Then comes extreme pissed-off-ness on the part of bloggers who want to see the whole thing end for once. As in, making Arafat dead. You want to break the cycle of violence? That's the way to do it.

Oh, and just to kick things up a notch needlessly: the only thing missing from conspiracy-theorists' and wide-eyed religious fanatics' scenarios in all the recent action has been ringing, historical-mythological names. Well, fear no more, for the End Times are surely upon us now: the attack took place in Megiddo, otherwise popularly known as Armageddon.

14:37 - AtAT is Back on the Air

After five weeks of silence, As the Apple Turns-- one of my favorite, wittiest, and most accurate sources of Mac-related reading material-- is back online and updating away with three scenes of goodness a day, just like in the days before the site's author's startled discovery that he had budded.

Hey, folks, we're back... kindasorta. Didja miss us? Well, Slim, don't go expecting much Apple-flavored melodrama just yet; consider this episode our fledgling attempt to start easing back into the swing of things, following the arrival of a significant (but exceedingly cute) broadcast interruption named Anya. Believe it or not, people, it's actually been a little tough to establish an AtAT production schedule around the needs of a newborn child. Believe us, we were just as shocked by that fact as you are!


And let's face it: it's a tough but true fact of life that when you do something every day for nearly five years and then stop for several weeks, it can be really hard to start back up again. Don't believe us? Try it yourself. Pick a task you've probably been performing daily for the past five years: breathing. Then stop for a month. We bet you'll have a little difficulty resuming when the time comes.

Yuh-huh. Remind me not to ever stop blogging. It's amazing how addiction and withdrawal work, isn't it?

Anyway, the events of the transpiring few weeks are, unsurprisingly, not lost on him:

We should probably mention that we're also still working through some pretty significant feelings of disappointment and betrayal, because Steve Jobs himself royally shafted us in the trust department. See, a few days prior to Anya's birth, the AtAT staff was enjoying some Aloo Gobhi in the Food Court at The Mall when His Steveness pulled up a chair, set down his tray of Chana Masala, and asked us what was shakin'. That's when we told him that we were considering putting AtAT on hiatus during the month of May to focus on the baby's needs, but were concerned that as soon as we went off the air for a while, Apple would rush to release all sorts of long-rumored products and make a slew of breathtaking announcements which we would then miss.

"No worries," said Steve; "I hereby give you my solemn pledge that while you're off the air, Apple won't introduce the long-rumored 17-inch CRT iMac, the legendary rack-mount server, integrated handwriting recognition in Mac OS X, an Apple-branded instant messaging application, or anything else dramatic that's been plot fodder on your show in the past." Uh-huh. Right. Thanks a lot, Steve. eMac, Xserve, and iChat and Ink in Jaguar-- all blown AtAT plot twist opportunities. Steve, bubbelah, we're hurt... really, we are.

This, plus the now-infamous New Year's Eve PR buzz run-up prior to the introduction of the new iMac, when I mentioned the influence of the Mac rumor sites-- only to have the next day's teaser slogan read "Beyond the Rumor Sites. Way Beyond"-- well, I'm beginning to think that Steve has a mischievous little freak-streak in him as regards the web punditry. Find some popular place where they speculate, and then boom from the heavens: AND FROM NOW ON-- STOP PLAYING WITH YOURSELF!

And now that AtAT is back on the air, I suppose that means we won't be seeing any more exciting announcements. Booooh. Maybe some kind of sabotage is in order...
Tuesday, June 4, 2002
19:08 - Macs in the Enterprise

Jaguar, says Bob McCormick, is going to not only incorporate every last piece of Windows SMB and PPTP networking functionality into Mac OS X-- it's going to make the Mac leapfrog over Windows in the number of things it can do.

During that time I tried over and over again to write a column about the possibility of switching over to a Mac entirely to do my corporate computing. It never happened, I couldn't complete that column 'cause the Mac OS wasn't complete. Don't get me wrong. The Mac has always been a viable platform for getting work done. More than viable, Macs have always had a much better total cost of ownership and their ease of use makes the return on investment better than PCs. What the Mac and OS X wasn't ready for was interoperability on a Windows enterprise. 10.1 brought us so much closer that I was chomping at the bit for it.

Recently, when Steve Jobs showed off Jaguar to Developers at WWDC we saw what Apple had hinted at but had never confirmed. They are indeed going back after the corporate market. Jaguar is so packed full of enterprise networking capabilities it isn't even funny. When Jaguar comes out you'll be able to load it on any supported Mac and put it on an enterprise network, no fuss, no muss, just equal footing for your Mac, finally.

Full browsing and printer sharing is only the first part of the story. With Rendezvous, you'll be able to walk around the building and all the available shares will be dynamically built up and connected as the OS discovers them. Who needs to poke around network paths looking for shares? Rendezvous will find them all for you. It's one of those things that computers do a lot better than people in the first place: pawing through lists of data and presenting them for human input. We've just never had this much data available before, not until Rendezvous' promise of being able to see every network-aware piece of hardware and software in the neighborhood. You'll see printers popping up next to shared SMB folders, iTunes playlists creating themselves out of nowhere along with instant-messenger chat partners. It'll all just work. The impossible dream of IT.

What IT guy would refuse the solution that does everything that's required and more? There will be a winnowing-out to separate those who shun Macs on principle from those who do so because until now the functionality hasn't been sufficient. Now there will be no excuse.

12:09 - Yeah, they're about to go out of business any time now...

It's a big day for Apple, it seems. There are at least three announcements, all of which I think are pretty meaningful.

  1. QuickTime 6 is out! Well, the Public Preview, anyway. I don't know what the story is behind the MPEG-LA licensing issues that (last time I heard) they still had yet to iron out; but evidently they've taken care of things enough to allow us to have the software they've been sitting on for a while. It's also still not final, and I don't know how that can be, considering that they've been ready to release the product for months now. I suspect they just really wanted to get it out the door, so people can start authoring MPEG-4 content and getting the traction ramped up, without having to wait for Jaguar this summer (read: September).

    Check out the features. The streaming stuff is kinda clunky at home, but then, streaming over my horrible connection never worked properly-- and to its credit, this version actually recovers and keeps moving when the stream stutters. But the instant-on movies rock, the video quality is superb, and the audio is rich and clear. They have some AAC audio samples which are straight out of the FreePlay Music library, which I already have in MP3 format; listening to the two formats side by side (the file sizes are almost identical, and the bitrate is the same), I can detect some subtle textural differences, but I'm going to have to ask some audiophile friend of mine to do a blind taste-test and see which one is "better". (Maybe I should use two or three audiophile friends, so as to detect BS.) But either way, AAC is an open format, it's developed by the MPEG working group as a successor to MP3, and it definitely has a number of logistical advantages. I wonder if we'll see it start to catch on, especially now that "MP3" has taken on a life of its own as a term...

    But either way, now we can get started making up some of that lost ground. MPEG-4 is here, man, and now .mp4 files written by iMovie can be played in any player, not just QuickTime. That's bound to blur the lines of contention for people who stubbornly refuse to use Apple software, of which there are plenty.

  2. Ever wanted proof that Apple listened to its customers? Well, here you go: the eMac is now available for all buyers. Previously, you had to be an educational buyer, and prove it; but immediately after it was released, the discussion boards and polls started filling up with discussions of how competitive a machine it was-- especially for the price-- and how Apple should sell it to regular customers too. And, well, here it is.

    It's clear, at least to me, that the G3 iMac (which this is clearly descended from rather directly) is a production-line sweet spot; they'd tuned a lot of their processes toward building iMacs, and this is something they can produce at fairly minimal incremental expense. It gets G4 power onto home desktops for around a thousand bucks. It's durable, and it's got a big screen. And those cool on-screen programming controls in the Display preferences get to stick with us for a bit longer.

    They've reworked the offerings, too. There used to be two models, the lower of which didn't include a modem and had a plain CD-ROM; now, there's only the one model (the one with a modem and CD-RW), plus a build-to-order one that includes... uh, a stand. So, just the one model, really. And it's about $1000. Sweet. Thanks for listening, Apple.

    And they're apparently still selling the G3 iMac, too. That's quite a product lineup they've got these days...

  3. 20525 Mariani Avenue, Cupertino, CA.

    Way back when, Apple's corporate headquarters was at this address, right across the road from where I work right now. The building was known as Mariani One. (Other buildings were strewn up and down Bandley and Valley Green; hence addresses like Bandley Three and Valley Green Five.) In the early 90s, though, when Apple was in its heyday, the landlord of the building decided to jack the rent price up. It's their corporate HQ, after all! The address is all over their letterhead! What are they gonna do-- move out, and have to change all their contact information? We've got 'em trapped!

    ...Well, Apple moved across the street, diagonally across the intersection from me. They built a brand-new complex, and dubbed it Infinite Loop. (How's that for fun and geeky-elegant?) And they changed their letterhead. One Infinite Loop.

    But Apple was in a slump. It was that long, dark teatime of the Mac, when Jobs was in exile and Apple was producing beige boxes with numbers for names under marketing-ese category monikers (Performa, Centris, Quadra, and so on). And gradually, Apple withdrew from the buildings on Bandley and Valley Green, one by one. The little one-story, tile-roofed offices emptied out, their windows went dark. The manicured green lawns and shady bowers of trees up and down the quiet streets stayed elegantly trimmed, but the buildings lost their identities. The corporate-logo tombstones out in front of each little building went blank. Walking down Bandley became a chilling experience. It was the Apple Graveyard.

    The dot-com boom of the late 90s happened, and the buildings along Bandley filled up with companies. Extreme Networks occupied Bandley Three. Three little dot-coms shared what was once the Apple company store in Bandley Seven. Apple still clung to one or two of those buildings, but it was a forlorn last stand. There was even speculation that Apple would retract its occupation of Infinite Loop and sublet out some of the five-story campus buildings there. And Mariani One, their old corporate HQ, was occupied by Sun.

    But then Jobs returned, and he brought with him a nexus of energy; vitality started to flow back into the De Anza and Mariani region. The iMac and the G4 Macs began to reawaken interest in Apple; the iApps began to revolutionize the digital-device world, and Apple was back in the black. They rolled out their huge banners over the Infinite Loop buildings once again. One by one, they started moving back into the buildings on Valley Green and Bandley. As the dot-coms fell, Apple was right behind them, shuffling into place and reoccupying their old territory. Cars were scuttling up and down Bandley again, like in the old days. And every tombstone in front of every building had a different-colored Apple logo. The last time these buildings had had Apple logos, they'd been the rainbow-striped ones of yesteryear; but now, the logos were big, shiny, vibrant, and fun in the way a Ferrari is fun or Mufasa was fun. Everything's all right, they said. We're back.

    A few weeks ago, Sun moved out of 20525 Mariani Avenue. For a month or so, the building stood empty, the parking lot unnaturally deserted in this newly bustling region of Cupertino. We had heard rumors. We had our theories. But we weren't sure what to expect.

    Well, believe it: this morning, 20525 Mariani Avenue had a shiny purple Apple logo on its tombstone. And under it, it said in that stately old Apple Garamond font, the font that has weathered so much doubt and so much derision, the font that has kept its dignity with quiet ease all these years:

    Mariani One

    Like the sparrows returning to Capistrano, Kris says. And somewhere a bird sang.

Monday, June 3, 2002
19:12 - Barbie Dolls as Kryptonite

Lance and I were recently watching cartoons, and he noted that in the toon world, one's genitals are located on the lips. That's evidently why male characters always react with such insane, explosive, wild-takey Tex-Avery-ism when they manage to get a kiss from a female character.

I had to imagine, by extrapolation, that in the TV world (or perhaps in the real world at large), one's genitals are located in the eyes. That's the only thing that could possibly explain to me this seemingly universally accepted notion of girl-watching. You know, the honest and private appreciation, for its own sake, of some appealing human form that you see going by in front of you.

Reading Steven den Beste's treatise on string bikinis (our last best hope in defeating international Wahhabism as well as both feminism and male chauvinism), I started out grinning at how silly and flip a joke it must be. But as it grew longer and longer, I started to wonder. I started looking over my shoulder to see if there was a hidden camera somewhere. I started wondering if I were being hypnotized into some kind of Matrix of bewilderment while some guy stole all my stuff.

Apparently the practice of girl-watching is not a joke. Apparently people do get honest enjoyment from staring at other people.

Now, I'm not making any declarations about the pros or cons or the ethics or morals of this practice. I don't think there's a thing wrong with it unless it makes the target uncomfortable. But I'm just confused at how universal and potent the draw seems to be. Do people really find themselves turning their heads so they can watch the movements of passing breasts or butts on the sidewalk? Do men actually sign up for aerobics classes so they can lurk at the back of the room and drool? Do people honestly like to watch girls jumping on trampolines? I've watched The Man Show enough times to understand that it's well beyond an Avery-esque slapstick joke; these guys apparently can detect some kind of up-and-down jiggle that's pleasing enough to them that they will spend a day in blistering poolside sunlight in order to stare at it.

I just don't get it. And I don't think it's only because girls aren't my thing, either. I can honestly say that I feel no magnetic force yanking my head around and making me crash into telephone poles no matter what shape any passing human is.

I'm similarly confused by celebrity worship. Right now there's an entire industry making money off the trade of illicit pictures of Pamela Anderson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and ... uh... I don't know. Fill in some supposed sex-goddess name here. Why? How can a person lust after someone they've never even met-- of whose personality they have not the slightest idea? It's just another body once the clothes are off-- those things that make people different, e.g. the face and the brain, are diluted beyond any meaning. Are these people supposed to be better in bed than the people you know in your everyday life? Are their bulbous bodily components actually orders of magnitude larger or more numerous than civilian ones? Or is it just the romance of an unattainable goal that spreads over the entire package?

What's wrong with me? Is it some glandular problem? Am I missing some little gall-bladdery organ that normally releases some kind of enzyme that makes people enjoy alcohol and donuts and causes them to hit themselves in the head with shoes when someone talks to them with a Mae West accent?

Maybe it's some trauma from my childhood. I remember back when I was about nine, and fascinated with cars, I would point out cool automobiles passing by our windows on the freeway whenever I saw one. "Whoah, look at that car! That was a Testarossa!" I remember my mom noting with a smirk that "One of these days, you'll be saying, 'Hey, wow! Look at that girl!' all the time." I remember going silent and internally vowing, yeah, right-- I'll show her. So maybe that's what happened.

...What? Stop laughing at me.

17:19 - Oh, good. Now there's innovation for you.


Whee! Look-- it's a PC motherboard with vacuum-tube sound amplification!

AOpen Inc. announced today that it is introducing the world's first vacuum tube motherboard, coinciding with Intel's announcement of the Pentiumģ 4 845E chipset. The new AX4B-533Tube Motherboard incorporates the novel, modern-day adoption of an idea that was spawned by the invention of the electric light bulb by Thomas A. Edison back in 1879 - the vacuum tube. In taking this bold step towards audio perfection, AOpen's hybrid AX4B-533Tube unquestionably is targeted to a very exclusive niche market - passionate audiophiles and extreme gamers who are interested in building their own ultimate entertaining PCs. The motherboard is also certain to appeal to retailers that desire to cater to these two eccentric groups with custom-built PCs, delivered with matching speaker systems and the latest CD and DVD playback devices.

Of course... how silly of us not to recognize the vast untapped market in the extreme gaming demographic.

It seems to me that the whole vacuum-tube audiophile market is one of the best examples of a diminishing-returns equilibrium that has ever been in physical evidence. Beyond a certain linear price point, most people can't tell the difference between one high-end amp and the next-- except for a few fanatics, who will pay an exponentially higher price for a tiny, incremental improvement in audio quality. There are $10,000-per-foot speaker cables you can buy which are filled with mercury, for example, not to mention a whole lot of more-or-less snake-oil-based products-- and the companies that sell those aren't anywhere near going out of business. But if you plot all the available devices on a linear price-vs-quality graph, you can generally get 90% of the quality for 10% of the price, and anything higher-priced is the domain of a rarefied few.

Gamers are 90th-percentilers. They know they have to be, because PC hardware becomes obsolete in months. They're not going to spend $10,000 on a uber-l33t gaming rig that they know will be a road apple within a year. Technology is still leapfrogging forward in the computer market, still in revolutionary mode, whereas in audio hardware the technology is in a strictly evolutionary phase . You can expect that your ultra-top-end amp that you bought in 1995 will still sound great, and you'll consider that money well spent. Not so with gamers.

It's that same law of diminishing returns, by the way, that also tends to hurt Apple. The Mac is priced linearly higher than a comparable PC, for what most users consider to be an insignificant advantage in usability and/or performance and/or quality. Gamers will usually shun Macs because they can get almost all the same functionality (and a lot more games besides) for a materially smaller price. This alone tells me that while yes, you'll probably be able to sell tube-amp-powered PC motherboards to audiophile computer users, it's probably wildly wrong to expect the gamer market to swarm all over these. Especially if they're priced commensurately with the typical high-end tube amp.

But maybe they'll find equilibrium. More power to 'em, I guess.

16:31 - A new kind of grim amusement

Something I sort of silently and casually did on and around the eleventh of March was to go back through the archives of various blogs and read the entries leading up to, during, and following the 9/11 attacks, on their six-month anniversary. Just to compare the tone... to see how far we've come... to see what was predicted that would happen, and what actually did... to see what opinions have changed.

To experience it all over again, too.

This link is to USS Clueless, which I only started reading after the event (I only found out about the existence of blogs in mid-December, thanks to a mention in a Bleat). But to give you some idea of just how much has changed, an entry by den Beste on or shortly after 9/11 mentions "a guy named James in Minneapolis".

It was only a few months ago that none of these guys knew each other. This whole weird, sometimes snarky, sometimes critical, often recursive and reciprocal extended family of blogdom in its current form and strength and cast of characters is less than a year old.

So are many of the opinions we hold now. Den Beste had an essay on terrorism that posited that the Palestinian cause was every bit as justified as any nation's is that is under attack, and with severe language he said that the Israeli government would have to use tactics of compromise and appeasement in order to have any measure of peace.

That's before we all saw the video of the Palestinians celebrating in the streets.

So, as you read through this archive, note the following landmarks:
  • The initial half-unbelieving, distant "Yeah, yeah, it's all over the news" kick-start, with the dark sense that it's going to get a lot worse
  • The first true realization of just how big this is
  • The first mention of Osama bin Laden
  • The first reactions to the Taliban's statements
  • The first predictions of war in Afghanistan and what form it will take
  • The first mention of the Palestinian strategic loss from 9/11
  • The first mention of Israel's vastly improved lot
  • The first exhortation to give blood
  • The first realization of how many rescue workers were in there
  • The first thoughts on Flight 93 and its passengers' rebellion
  • The first mention of NATO and the global implications of the attack
  • The first cries of "We deserved it" from self-effacing American liberals
  • The first head-shaking, tongue-clucking grandfatherly scoldings from European politicians
  • The first predictions of economic devastation and ruin
  • The first sighting of an exploitation of patriotic feeling for commercial gain
  • The first post after the fact that was not related to the attack

Look at how quickly these all happened. All within the space of about three days.

Three days of real-time reflection of real American sentiment. Whereas the Gulf was the CNN War, today we're engaged in the Blogger War. This one has a permanent record, realized and accessible at the common-citizen level. The immediacy of it is its strength-- it still feels like a glimpse into Everyman's day and Everyman's mind, not like a CNN broadcast. We (or those of us who were alive at the time) can look at the Zapruder film and think in abstract terms of where we were when it was being shot. But blogs make it as real as a recording of a voice.

I dare you to scroll upward past the early morning hours of the Eleventh without your heart starting to race uncontrollably.

One more milestone to note:
  • The first tears shed by the blogger.

14:29 - Can I yell "FireWire" in a crowded convention hall?

Manufacturers are already gearing up for 800Mbps FireWire enclosures at the Computex trade show in Taiwan, where FireWire is very big and buzzwordy these days. Apparently they've got a whole "FireWire Hall" for showcasing devices which take advantage of it, which include optical drives that use actual FireWire transport instead of just IDE transport with a FireWire bridge. That should really make this stuff fly.

They're also doing things like making controller chips which merge FireWire (in both 400 and 800 Mbps flavors) and USB (1 and 2) onto a single bridge. (They're calling it "SuperWire".

Sounds to me like FireWire does still have a whole lot of momentum, and it's in fact gaining. That's good to hear.

A few days ago, Chris discovered with wide-eyed awe how you could hold down "T" while booting up your iBook, and it would come up in FireWire disk mode-- just plug it in to another machine via a FireWire cable, and you can access its disks over the FireWire bus. This isn't a Mac-only thing either-- Lance's Toshiba laptop will do it too. But this is a perfect example of what I mean when I say FireWire is so much more than just a USB-esque transport protocol; people want to destroy it just because it's not favored by Microsoft and Intel, but to do so would be to demolish a great beauty out of spite. "If we can't have it, then nobody else can either!"

13:52 - Thoughts on Lilo & Stitch


They say that it's "easily the best thing Disney has done in a long time."

I had worried that their experimentation with more silly, fun styles of moviemaking (e.g. The Emperor's New Groove) would be regarded as a failure, because of the relative box-office anemia of that film and others of its era. But it looks as though economic conditions are such that those are the most favorable kinds of movies to make in the first place, and so we can expect them to stick to that experiment for a bit longer.

Jolly good, I say.

This interview is interesting, by the way-- it talks about how some emergency changes had to be made in the film when 9/11 happened, because the final chase scene involved a 747 and flying in amongst skyscrapers. Take a look, and see what it was like making those changes-- the mood and the work ethic and the sense of necessity, and what it can do for people even when they're doing something as mundane and removed from national-security matters as making an animated film.

11:40 - The Babel Fish Lives On


Here's an interview with Douglas Adams, from three or four years ago when he was still hanging around this unfashionable little planet (and when we thought The Hitch-Hiker's Guide was going to be released as a Disney movie in 2000). It's in American Atheist magazine, and it's a must-read for any DNA fans.

I donít accept the currently fashionable assertion that any view is automatically as worthy of respect as any equal and opposite view. My view is that the moon is made of rock. If someone says to me ďWell, you havenít been there, have you? You havenít seen it for yourself, so my view that it is made of Norwegian Beaver Cheese is equally validĒ - then I canít even be bothered to argue. There is such a thing as the burden of proof, and in the case of god, as in the case of the composition of the moon, this has shifted radically. God used to be the best explanation weíd got, and weíve now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. So I donít think that being convinced that there is no god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is. I donít think the matter calls for even-handedness at all.


Of course, this assumes a scientific thought process-- one that considers the burden of proof to be a valid concept, and one where arguments for the nature of faith ("Ah, but you see, that's what's so clever about it: There always has to be room for doubt, or else faith would mean nothing! That's why God didn't hand down the Ten Commandments on little titanium wallet-sized cards, even though he certainly could have!") are specious and silly. So this doesn't really forge any new ground on the matter.

But it does let us remember the guy fondly.
Previous Week...

© Brian Tiemann