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
Tal G in Jerusalem
Aziz Poonawalla
Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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Monday, October 14, 2002
04:32 - Now that's a sort routine.

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Get a load of this:


See that? The filename sort algorithm in OS X (and presumably dating back to 1984) isn't just by ASCII values, like in UNIX, or by case-insensitive alphanumeric ordering, like in Windows. It's smarter than I'd even realized.

Normally, if you want to sort files in a folder in a certain way, you figure you've got to give them numbers: "01", "02", "03", and so on. You have to use a leading zero because otherwise the order would go like this:

1
10
11
12
13
2
3
4...

...As though the filenames were textual strings. This is how an OS like Windows or UNIX would sort the files, by their respective austere string-based lexicographies.

But the Mac knows, apparently, that if you begin a filename with a number, then you intend for the files to be sorted numerically rather than alphabetically. So even though some of these files in the screenshot don't have a leading zero, it still sorted them in numerical order. The way I'd wanted.

Oh, and note the kerning on "08. Attack of the Saucer Morons.mov"... it's tighter spaced than any of the other filenames, so it can fit into the column. Resize the column (with the little thumb control under the scroll arrows), and the text will expand to normal size, smoothly, or jump to an ellipsis if you shrink it too much.

Speaking as a software engineer, that shit's hard. You don't do that kind of stuff unless you have to-- or unless you're driven by a psychotic desire to make everything rock.

If you're only coding to the bare minimum standard that you can get away with, you end up with sort algorithms like "List all subfolders first, before any regular files" and "Convert all all-caps filenames to initial-caps, regardless of whether it might actually be an acronym". Yeah, I love having folders named "Html" and "Www".

Lack of love for one's craft pisses me off.



UPDATE: It would seem that Windows XP fixes the initial-caps thing as well as implementing the numerical-sort-in-context thing. Well, hallelujah.

By the way, Kevin has reminded me of iTunes' behavior-- not only does it combine vowel variations (so that Bjork and Björk are treated as the same artist), but it also ignores the word "the" in artist and album names for sorting purposes, so "The Cure" is listed with the C's instead of with the T's.


Sunday, October 13, 2002
02:56 - View from the Skyline

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So today was the first weekend day in three weeks that I had all to myself; yesterday I finished all the AR chapters that I had pending in my queue, and so today I decided to just lay around and do nothing all day-- maybe go see Spirited Away again later in the evening. Nothing with any kind of tight schedule or anything. Nothing outdoors, certainly.

Around about 5:00, though, I realized that sitting inside on the first day that I had the chance to not sit inside just seemed... I dunno. Wrong, somehow. Now, let me first clarify that I'm I'm not one of those health weirdos who insists on setting some kind of bizarre physical example by insisting that all those around me run around in circles in the hot sun all summer just so they can tell they're alive, even if just from the pain and the sweat. I like a good squash game, and I'd still be riding my bike to work every day if we still lived anywhere near work. But today, for some reason-- I don't know if it was the fact that the rest of the world seems to have suddenly exploded in a hundred different places at once, or that I'd just the other day managed to resurrect the battery of my iPod (tip of the day for iPod owners: if the battery stops being able to hold a charge, pry off the back with an Exacto knife, peel off the battery, and unplug it for a few hours; it'll be good as new when you plug it back in), or that I'd just started the export process on a half-hour Invader Zim episode that was going to tie up my computer for about the next ninety minutes. Whatever it was, I decided that being indoors was a fairly unappealing thing.


So I threw on some sandals and struck out towards the hills behind the house. The big wide streets that lead southeastward and up into the foothills seem about five times too wide for any kind of usefulness; my house is right on the boundary zone between older 80s-style housing full of multicultural families and trench-warfare software engineers, and the brand-new hillside estates with the long sloping lawns and white trellises and panoramic views and Lexus SUVs bought by people who made their millions in those halcyon pre-crash days. ("Mansionland," as Carmine from Zorak's throat would call it.) And now the real-estate signs in those front lawns cluster like the mailboxes would if they weren't sculpted into elegant brick and stucco pillars instead of fixed to wood pickets.


Walking past those houses, gaining elevation as the wide and empty boulevard wound its way through the slopes, listening to Daft Punk and William Orbit and Alan Menken music as served up from my leathern hip-flask, I couldn't help but wonder if there was anybody in the valley who had managed to time the market's writhings with sufficient aplomb as to be in the market to move into one of those hillside homes, like the carney family squatting in the Simpsons' house; biding their time in the lower rings of Minas Troney, putting their trash out at the sidewalk with the rest of the white-collar chumps, just waiting until their chance to cash out what stocks haven't lost value and emerge as the next wave of technoveau riche, waving to the previous generation of startled stock-market surfers on their bewildered way down: Hi guys! U EARNING: BAD! And perching on the upstairs decks of those houses in their gated communities with names like "Ponderosa Ridge" and "Bel Air Hills" and "The Meadowlands", gazing out across Silicon Valley from the squat skyline of San Jose to the string of lights on the quarry above Cupertino in the distance, taking a lungful of high-altitude rarefied rich-people air, and thinking, Okay... so, uh... what's on TV?



It's just another valley now, they say. It's no longer the playground and Mecca of nerdkind; it's just another place with Taco Bells and water parks and street crime and Apple Stores. It's nothing special.

Yeah... sure. Whatever you say.

I went on past the yuppie shopping center, with its Cosentino's instead of a Safeway, and on a whim turned left where the sidewalk veered away from Farnsworth where it wound through the canyon to the next valley up. The canyons here and the landscaping and the natural vegetation make it a place of palm trees, ground-cover bushes, little trees that are still trained along sticks and surrounded by cylinders of chicken wire, and wide swaths of cedar chips in the empty spaces. I swear, these bushes have little lamps inside them to illuminate their interiors. Just in the middle of the blocks, if "blocks" is the word. The sidewalk flew up the side of the hills above the road itself, winding between the manicured bushes, wide and smooth and paved like a nature trail for the rich. (The fence at the top of the hill, on the near side of the line of view houses, had a gate in it-- accessible only to people who leave Farnsworth, climb the sharply angled and curvaceous foot/bike path a couple hundred feet up the hill, and turn aside from the trail where a side path led to the fence.) Turning back from the highest point of the trail's serpentine ... uh, path, I could see all the way across the valley again; by that time, it was completely dark, and I had to use the backlight on my iPod to tell what the hell the name of the Angelique Kidjo song it had burped up the white earbud cords to me was. It also meant the houses in the canyon across from me-- in which I'm told most of the San Jose Sharks live-- showed up as curvy Eastern dragons of light below my vantage point.

I could get used to living up here, I thought. I wonder if any of these houses have dipped under a million bucks yet?

Probably not. But a guy can dream, can't he?

It was another hour before I got back home; my chosen route was circuitous and mostly darkened, and by the time I had found my way back to Nieman and its superfluous extra nineteen lanes, I was reeeeally wishing I'd put on some shoes. Sandals suck for extemporaneous five-mile hikes through the hills.

But now Sealab 2021 is on. And something one of the seals being pursued by sharks just said seems quite appropriate: Oh crap oh crap oh crap ohhh crap on a crap cracker!


Yeah-- sorry, just getting some incoherence out of my system, by way of shaking out the lead from the foregoing two or three weeks of inability to even get near this ol' blog. My attention span is going to need a bit of whupping back into shape.

Hot damn! O Canada is back on the Sunday night schedule. Oh, how do I love thee, Cartoon Network.

And they're showing The Big Snit. Oh, Lor bless you, Messrs. Lazzo and Crofford!
Saturday, October 12, 2002
02:02 - I'm Kevin Nealon, and that's news to me...
http://www.livejournal.com/talkread.bml?journal=welcomerain&itemid=92881#cutid1

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This is some gooood stuff.

20:42 - Now that's just mean.
http://maccentral.macworld.com/news/0210/12.linux.php

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Hmm. Apple has decided to take the fight to the front lines in the geek theater as well as on the Windows front; they're really playing up the "OS X is UNIX" angle, a lot more than I was expecting them to. Traditionally they've stuck to a single party line about who Macs are for ("people who like ease of use"). But now they've got something they can sell equally well to technophobes and technogeeks.

So, not yet satisfied with the critical mass of TiBooks that all the Linux/BSD geeks are carrying around these days, Apple has attended Linux World UK so as to win over the most steadfast holdouts through demonstrations of what it's like to have a UNIX that "just works".

At this week's expo in London, Apple explained how many of its innovations aimed at mainstream users can also benefit those used to working with command-line consoles. For instance, Mac OS X's Mach microkernel supports kernel extensions so the kernel doesn't have to be recompiled in order to add new features. And since Mac OS X has Unix under its hood, it can authenticate to Unix servers and be treated as normal Unix when on a network with other Unix-based machines, ZDNet UK notes. Finally, though Aqua is the "face" of Mac OS X, the operating system lets users run X11, a windowing system popular on Unix and Linux.

An Apple representative, who wished to remain unnamed, said that since Mac OS X is aimed at consumers, it doesn't have problems in some of the areas that Linux does, such as multimedia performance and productivity tools. Instead of having to run a separate PC for these tools, the Mac can combine the best of both worlds for Linux users, he added.

"We're not saying that Unix is bad, but if you want productivity applications that really work, OS X delivers everything," the Apple rep is quoted as saying. "It just works."

It's enough to make the most staunch defender of the faith weep and fall to his knees in broken surrender. For shame, Apple. Nobody likes a gloater.

17:02 - Gaah!
http://www.samspublishing.com/

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I swear I'll never get used to this kind of thing. Just surfing along, minding my own business, and suddenly finding my own name leering back at me from some big-name website. Especially when they use words like "featured author".

The bio and article they've linked in were both things I wrote about a year ago, on their request; I didn't really know what it was for, and it seemed they squirreled it away into a deep dark vault somewhere, never to be seen again. I'd forgotten all about it. And just now, when I happened to go to the site in search of a reference on Apache that I could cite in a chapter, they'd trotted it out. I probably never would have noticed it otherwise. Really freaky.

(I'm also not sure whether the "What is FreeBSD?" article was oddly edited, or if I just didn't proof it very well. Meanwhile, Linux--the main alternative contender--pulls you into a community where the "activist" mentality can do more harm than good--namely, a business environment. Huh?)

Ah well. At least I've pointed it out myself now, so nobody can make fun of me for it. I think.

15:30 - InstaMeme

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I've noticed that over the past several days, Glenn Reynolds has been reporting (with many a "Heh") on the existence of some of the Internet underground's most beloved memes.

He's found HomeStarRunner, home of Strong Bad. He's found Seanbaby. He's commented on SpongeBob's sexuality. He's even linked to Sluggy when it's salient.

How long before we see quotes like "Elf up!" and "Hatten är din" popping up in his sidebar?

Keep 'em coming, Glenn.

15:15 - Trade it all in for what's in the box

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I almost hope that after we invade and take over Iraq, we don't find any weapons of mass destruction.

...Why? Well, because then the US government would have a chance to prove its commitment to principle, and hopefully shut up a few of the loathsome voices that have been more and more strident lately, who appear to be operating on the assumption that Bush is a bigger propagandist and liar to the American people than Saddam, Goebbels, and Stalin put together.

See, because if Gen. Franks pulls up to the Presidential Palaces and finds nothing-- no VX tanks, no locked-down biolabs, no nuke bunkers-- he'll then have to report back to Washington that he found nothing. And then Bush will have to tell the UN and the American People (provided the major networks don't pre-empt his speech to show The King of Queens and Buffy) that they found nothing. It would be a crow-eating speech.

But you know, something tells me that if that steaming plate of jackdaw were served to him, he would chow down.

One of the first and hardest-to-dispel claims leveled against an "evil" and "propagandistic" government is that they'll twist the truth to reflect their agenda at every opportunity. And when things go right for them, or even when things go wrong, they'll lie as much as they have to in order to justify the actions they took.

If we go into Iraq and find nothing, and we report that we found nothing, how will the proponents of the propaganda-reality theory have a leg to stand on? Because why on earth would a self-interested government report that its assumptions were wrong-- even if that were the truth?

If I were Bush, I might be considering reporting not having found any WMD's, even if we did find some. (Not that I think they'd take it that far just to prove a point.)

Of course, that would uncover a different set of problems. Okay, they'd say-- so our leaders aren't propagandistic liars. But they were still wrong! We still went into Iraq based on an assumption on whose positive outcome we gambled our entire international standing, and it turned out we were flat wrong, and a lot of people died unnecessarily. Hah! Vindication for the anti-war people! I toldja so!


For that sake, I hope they do find something concrete, and I hope it does turn out that this invasion is (was? will be? wioll haven be?) necessary for all the reasons we've been saying it is. And for what it's worth, I do think that's what's going to happen. We'll probably find plenty, and we'll report what we find. We won't inflate the numbers, either, whether of bombs or gas canisters or civilian casualties. Whatever happens, we're not going to mince words. We're not going to play games.

Because if there's one thing that this administration appears to find laudable, it's the pursuit of principle, and the desire to do the right thing.

Screw politics. Just because we all get our news through our computer screens in this day and age and we all get to pretend we're authoritative pundits whose opinions are binding on reality doesn't mean that all wars are trumped-up publicity stunts designed to drip soma into the unwitting sheepulace's veins. Sometimes these things are real. Sometimes our obligations are what they seem.

I'm sure that will all be proved in very short order, whether it's by a series of well-executed military maneuvers and sweeping social engineering changes in the next few years that will result in a fresh crop of movies like Three Kings in about five years, or a sudden huge outbreak of smallpox in DC. Either way.

I hope we're not too late to ensure that it's the former.
Wednesday, October 9, 2002
03:16 - First Impressions
http://www.livejournal.com/talkread.bml?journal=makali&itemid=89607&usescheme=lynx

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Matt Robinson has been lusting after the iPod for some time now, and he's just got one. He's not using it with a Mac, but he recognizes a good piece of engineering when he sees it, and he "gets it".

I just wish more people would realize the lengths to which Apple is going in order to give people superlative products, which should be an easier concession than ever to make in the present day-- now that you don't even have to be a Mac user to benefit from Apple showing the world how technology oughtta be done.

Time for one of those tirades I'd been saving up.

One of the least satisfying things about the recent insanity at work is that I'm having to characterize the performance of one our newest features with a piece of software called Citrix ICA. Citrix is a company whose products-- and, indeed, whose entire business plan-- is founded upon compensating for a ridiculous design flaw in Windows. Citrix is a huge company, with worldwide developer conferences all its own, with an entire product line and consultancy services and everything. And it's all based on a concept that wouldn't even be relevant if a certain design decision hadn't been made back in the early 90s in Redmond.

See, the point of Citrix ICA is to run Windows programs remotely. It's terminal-server software; it lets a client Windows machine open up a window to a server, and then open up an application on the server machine and run it there-- piping the graphics and text back through to a sophisticated object renderer on the client side-- instead of downloading and installing a local copy of the application to run locally and keep track of in the license database in IT.

Fairly simple concept, right? After all, in the Windows world, you can't just network over to wherever an application lives, and run it, like you can in UNIX or on an Mac network. As anyone who has managed a Windows network-- or anyone who has run Windows software-- knows, installing Windows applications involves running big installer scripts which put dozens (or hundreds) of files all the hell over the system and embroidering the Registry throughout with inextricable little keys that interfere with one another and make it necessary to "nuke and pave" one's machine every few months, as even Microsoft recommends to this very day. You can't just find a Windows application on a network drive and double-click on it; it would try to find all the Registry entries on the local machine instead of the server where it's installed, and upon finding them absent, would choke and die; no multi-user capability is really implicit in it. Hence Citrix, which allows you to offload all your client's processing and application installation duties onto the server. It's a solution that demands the "thin-client" approach, regardless of how practical such a thing is. The company thoroughly endorses ideas like hundreds of employees in a company all simultaneously running Word completely on the server side, accessing their individual little pipes to the grunting and straining server simultaneously through a miniscule branch-office WAN; it causes both the server to groan under more CPU/RAM/disk load than any computer can reasonably be expected to shoulder, and the network link supporting it to be stressed continuously, resulting in slow network response and slow server execution. Wow, what an ideal solution!

Now, if these applications were Mac applications-- and if the computers were Macs-- running network apps would be a somewhat different monkey. You'd mount whatever network share had the app you wanted; you'd double-click on its icon, and the app would download (front-loading all its network usage, meaning you pay for it all at once in load time, instead of continuously in interactive response time) and run locally, taking advantage of the client machine's distributed processing capability. Citrix talks about "distributed computing", but their concept is the very antithesis of distributed computing; they're about centralized computing, for the purpose of bookkeeping convenience and minimization of license fees and Registry corruption, and distributed access. All because of the Registry. If it weren't for the Registry, none of this would be necessary. Macs don't have a Registry; applications are discrete objects which can run as encapsulated instances regardless of environment, regardless of installed libraries. Everything is self-contained. User preferences are created at run-time on the client computer, wherever that may be. It's modular and portable. And it would make Citrix completely unnecessary if it had become the prevailing method of handling networked application access, like it still is in the university installations where it remains in wide use (with "key servers" and other supporting structures keeping things clean). It would mean a different world.

It's a multi-billion-dollar industry these days, compensating for Microsoft's design crimes. Just like companies whose business plans are founded on helping fight spam or defend against viruses. These are entire business sectors which simply don't have to exist, or which wouldn't exist in an ideal world. It's all meta-technology, innovations to help us cope with our existing anti-innovations (or with those innovations which exist to actively harm us). I talk about "design elegance" like it's some kind of nebulous and admirable but ultimately superfluous luxury that-- like the UN-- only stands in the way of good work getting done. But I hold that elegance has real and concrete benefits. Elegant design isn't an impediment to work; it means less work has to be done in the first place. I'm sick of seeing technology that exists only to cover for other technology's incompetence. It's horribly inefficient, even if it does create jobs and stock options. Inefficiency has a real cost. It's something that I instinctively want to stamp out like a roach infestation. And it's terribly discouraging to see it embraced, just because the alternative seems too idealistic to be any good.

There is a better way out there. We don't have to have to kill that slug in our shower every morning. (Sorry, I just love that.) It doesn't have to be this banal and depressing, working with technology. Once upon a time it was all about discovery and empowerment and enjoyment, and I hate the thought that those ideals are dead now, crushed under the weight of daily drudgery. I can't stand that the Internet and the computers it runs on have gone from being the stuff of science fiction to the stuff of dreary cynical irritation in the span of twenty years. I think that's awful.

But I'm encouraged to think that some people, in the face of all this, do still "get it". The dream isn't dead yet.

02:33 - I'm trying...

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..."Our patience!" Yeah, I know.

It's a lean time for blogging right now. I just haven't been able to devote any time to this lately. It's the same old excuses, I guess-- or possibly new ones, because it's never been quite this bad, not all at once.

Covering author review for two books simultaneously, on all kinds of chapters that I hadn't originally signed on to do, has taken its toll on my weekends. Specifically, it means I've had to spend literally twelve hours each day-- each of the past two weekends-- in at work, where there's a copy of Word, from noon until after midnight, editing and reworking and arguing in embedded comments. Some chapters are taking me upwards of four hours each. And this is just the review part; this is where I'm supposed to just be rubber-stamping minor changes, not spending more time than I spent on the original writing. It'd be fine if it weren't the case that, oh, for instance, every piece of software I'd covered, from Sendmail to Tripwire, had completely changed in its implementation between the time I'd originally submitted the chapters and the time I got it back for quick-turnaround AR. Sendmail now runs two parallel queues, with an outgoing client mqueue in addition to the incoming server mqueue. Gee, thanks a lot, guys.

So there's that. But why can't I just do these things after work, like I was doing two weeks ago? Why can't I just stay in for a few extra hours after the day's machinations are done, and come home exhausted but triumphant at about 9 or 10? Well, because two weeks ago we weren't taking on more concurrent simultaneous projects with such bizarrely tight deadlines as team goals than we'd ever taken to date. We're talking three releases-- patch, minor, then major-- within a period of six weeks, beginning to end. And factor in a crisis in transparency, in which we must bear the onus of delivering internal milestone visibility to a greater degree than ever before, using augmentations to the already insanely-complex testcase-tracking system I'd designed and that we'd been using for the past four years. Now we have both "explicit" and "implicit" test coverage, a visible "deliverables" section showing committed coverage figures and the current matching level, number of flagged must-test suites remaining, and number of testcases pending bug resolution, the latter two of which must dwindle to zero before any release. Like, say, Friday.

It's no problem writing ever more complex infrastructural tools. It's no problem testing more intensely than usual. It's a problem, though, when both always seem to happen at once. And when there are competing edicts from on high demanding that we a) write more infrastructure as investments for future testing, and b) test more intensively and shelve the infrastructure development. At the same time.

So that's, at any rate, why I'm in no mood to spend several hours writing and rewriting and wrestling with Word at the end of the day, when all's dark outside and the world comes to life for the evening.

Anyway. I shouldn't complain; mine is a dream job, one that was enviable even during the inflationary phase of the bubble, and downright criminal today when thousands of qualified people don't even have jobs in this withered hulk of an IT/QA/development job market. I couldn't ask for a more rewarding thing to do with my day. It even feels as though I'm making a real, concrete difference in the world. I get that thrill through my fingertips that tells me that the products I help shape actually affect world-shaking events, in however small or behind-the-scenes a way.

But it does mean that during the day I haven't had the time to keep on top of any of the blogs and news sites that shape my emotions throughout the day, whether negatively or positively-- much less to write anything about them. And in the evenings, all I've wanted to do lately is watch my Simpsons DVDs and pretend that having the directors' commentary tracks playing instead of just watching the familiar old chestnuts straight-up counts as mental activity. (Hey, it's better than some things I could be doing to my time.)

I've got some things I want to write down sooner or later, but they're not time-sensitive. They can wait for real life to get out of the way.

In the meantime, if the blogging seems light here, and if anyone is perspicacious enough to have noticed anyway, that's why.

(Yeah, I know. All this just amounts to one of the ever-popular "Sorry for the silence, I've been too busy" posts. But, well, you know.)

Tuesday, October 8, 2002
13:24 - I know! Let's make it white!
http://www.palm.com/products/handhelds/zire/

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The Zire, huh? Okay... it's a new Palm; it does all the things Palms have always done. Except now it's 4.4 x 2.9 x 0.6 inches, and it's white. (Where have we seen this before?)

Okay, okay... I'll stop. But on a different note of curiosity, I'm wondering what makes this one different from all the other Palms that have come out recently. Don't they all have the same software, the same functionality...? With the exception of some that have wireless Internet and some that have modular docking bays, what makes this one different aside from just being smaller and whiter cheaper and ... well, more iPod-like?

I hope Palm knows what it's doing, because they seem to have lost hold of their vision somewhat. I'm all for doing it right the first time and then not changing a winning formula. But they'd better come up with something groundbreaking before too much longer, instead of just packaging the same thing more attractively-- or else they're going to become a relic.

11:15 - Paying for Privilege

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Okay, so there was a .Mac outage yesterday morning; mail, the iDisk servers, and the whole shebang was pretty much unavailable for several hours. There were like four articles posted about it on various websites yesterday; the same thing had happened a couple of weeks ago.

Then, yesterday afternoon, I got the following e-mail:

Dear .Mac Member,

We hope you haven't been greatly inconvenienced by the two .Mac network outages we've experienced in the past two weeks (including this morning) and we sincerely apologize for any problems you've experienced. The outages were the result of equipment failures, and since the equipment vendor has not been able to persuade us that the problem will not occur again, we've already begun installing new equipment from a different vendor.

We're completely back up and running now, and no data or mail was lost. We expect the equipment change over to be complete within the next several weeks, and we'll be working hard to ensure that there are no further issues during that time. In the meantime, we appreciate your patience while we make this transition, and if you do experience any difficulties, please go to www.apple.com/support for up-to-the-minute information and status.

Sincerely,
The .Mac Team
Apple Computer

Now, I'm no marketing manage-droid (thanks be to Eru). But this did just strike me as a tad... forthright for a party-line to tell one's customers about. Doesn't it? Since the equipment vendor has not been able to persuade us that the problem will not occur again, we've already begun installing new equipment from a different vendor... geez! They sure want people to feel they're getting their money's worth, apparently.

I guess they're applying some of the premium-customer-service lessons they've been teaching themselves in preparation for selling the Xserve, now that they have a premium-service setup for regular consumers too.

The outage wasn't even what I'd consider "bad", either. I hope whatever new vendor they've found knows how to salute and stuff.
Monday, October 7, 2002
11:20 - Standing the World on its Ass
http://www.techcentralstation.com/1051/techwrapper.jsp?PID=1051-250&CID=1051-100702A

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Ah hah... I knew South Park was more intelligent and incisively written than most people seem to give it credit for.

The name stems from the primetime cartoon "Southpark" that clearly demonstrates the contrast within the party. The show is widely condemned by some moralists, including members of the Christian right. Yet in spite of its coarse language and base humor, the show persuasively communicates the Republican position on many issues, including hate crime legislation ("a savage hypocrisy"), radical environmentalism, and rampant litigation by ambitious trial lawyers. In one episode, industrious gnomes pick apart myopic anti-corporate rhetoric and teach the main characters about the benefits of capitalism.

Southpark Republicans are true Republicans, though they do not look or act like Pat Robertson. They believe in liberty, not conformity. They can enjoy watching The Sopranos even if they are New Jersey Italians. They can appreciate the tight abs of Britney Spears or Brad Pitt without worrying about the nation's decaying moral fiber. They strongly believe in liberty, personal responsibility, limited government, and free markets. However, they do not live by the edicts of political correctness.

Yeah. South Park doesn't take on bizarre or contrarian political positions in its episodes just to freak people out. Trey and Matt have a purpose in mind, and I wish they'd run for office.
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