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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12/24/2001 - 12/30/2001
12/17/2001 - 12/23/2001
Saturday, February 7, 2004
16:58 - "Annnnd... cut!"
http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=9805_Lights_Camera_Action!

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Here's the big problem with Israel's security wall: It makes a perfect backdrop for staged photo sessions.



Look, it's in English and everything.

Thursday, February 5, 2004
20:20 - "20-inch iMac bug found"
http://www.thinksecret.com/news/macosx1033.html

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"... in a remote corner of the rain forests of the South American country of Cupertonia..."


18:47 - Beethoven wouldn't have liked the iPod
http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110004642

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Via JMH - Greg Sandow, writing in OpinionJournal, has a bone to pick with iTunes. He's a classical music fan, see, and he's discovered an ugly little secret about iTunes and the iPod. Namely, the tagging/organizing system-- which is designed to work with modern music in the Artist/Album/Track paradigm-- just isn't at all suited to classical music.

These players--and the digital music files that go on them--are optimized for pop, and, to be fair, optimized quite nicely. You rip songs off a pop CD, and (if your software looks them up on the Internet) they automatically get labeled by artist, genre, song and album. Put 10,000 songs on your iPod, and, with a touch of a finger, you can look at all your hip-hop, or all your Springsteen, grouped either by album or as an alphabetical list of songs.

Try that with classical music. Typically a classical piece has several movements, separate musical sections that show up on recordings as separate tracks. What you want, when you put classical music on your digital player, is to see the tracks grouped together under the name of the composition, and then all the compositions listed under the name of their composer.

But these digital gadgets don't think that way, and when you put classical music on them, the complications--trust me--can get truly frightening. The iPod, at least, has a separate "composer" category, which helps a little, though there's still no way to search composer tracks by composition, and if you buy a competing digital player you don't get any listing for composers at all. By some stroke of luck, I bought an iRiver player, which, I discovered, lets me treat it like a computer hard drive, organizing music by files and folders. That means I can give Beethoven a folder of his own, with subfolders for each of his works--though I have to type all the information in myself. Aargh.

In other words, iTunes/iPod is still the best entry in the market-- but that's not saying much, for the case of classical. I know just what he means. My iPod is plagued with track listings like the following:

Konzert für Klarine...
Konzert für Klarine...
Konzert für Klarine...
Konzert für Oboe u...
Konzert für Oboe u...
Konzert für Oboe u...

Each of those is a different movement in a different Mozart concerto. Which one? Who the hell knows? The iPod plays them sequentially, but that's small comfort when you're in the middle of a 7-minute adagio and all the display says is Konzert für Klarinette u. Orchester A-dur..., scrolling slowly by until you finally get to KU622, Adagio, which is itself hardly any help unless you know the piece like the back of your hand. (Or you could name the tracks individually like on the back of the CD case: 2. Adagio; but then the association with the name of the concerto is lost.)

It's not only the composer-centric nature of classical music (rather than modern music's artist-centric nature) that screws things up; it's the way tracks are grouped. They didn't have "albums" back in the 19th century, obviously. They had "works", and we've made a mess of things already through decades of cramming two or three works at a stroke onto single LP albums or CDs. So Track 14 is really the fourth movement of the third work on the disc...

In order to bring sanity to the madness (assuming the classical-music-listening demographic is one that Apple sees profit in building products for), it'll be necessary to rework the whole organization scheme that iTunes and the iPod use. The good news is that that won't necessarily be an insurmountable obstacle. Apple has made major revisions to the info tag formats in the past, often quite substantial and disruptive ones (album art, for instance); it'd be a matter of adding an extra field or two to hold "Work Title" (e.g. Konzert für Klarinette u. Orchester A-dur) and maybe a movement number, and then it'd involve simply telling the software to handle organizing songs differently that have these fields set. If the "Classical" genre is selected, organize first by Composer; and then, instead of the "Album" field, show the "Work Title" field in the browser. Albums and artists (performing groups) can then become secondary meta-data, not used for organizing the tracks once they're in the database.

It wouldn't be that difficult to add to either iTunes or the iPod's software. In fact, I'd be surprised if someone at Apple hadn't already pondered this problem and planned a solution, to be rolled out at some indeterminate future time.

What I really want, though, is tag fields that store lyrics... keyed to timestamps... and displayed dynamically as the song plays. Now that would be cool.


18:17 - This stuff works
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/02/20040205-1.html

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Also via Dean: it seems that some of the more illustrious inhabitants of the blog world are getting some real recognition. About the most impressive kind of recognition, at that. Says Bush:

Our people in uniform understand the high calling they have answered because they see the nation and the lives they are changing. A guardsman from Utah named Paul Holton has described seeing an Iraqi girl crying and decided then and there to help that child and others like her. By enlisting aid through the Internet, Chief Warrant Officer Holton had arranged the shipment of more than 1,600 aid packages from overseas. Here's how this man defines his own mission: "It is part of our heritage that the benefits of being free, enjoyed by all Americans, were set up by God, intended for all people. Bondage is not of God, and it is not right that any man should be in bondage at any time, in any way." Everyone one in this room can say amen to that.

That's Chief Wiggles he's talking about, there; the "aid packages" are thousands of toys donated by blog readers over the past few months.

Talk about grassroots participation. This may be the first time outside of Forrest Gump that I've seen a discrete piece of what for lack of a better term I'll call "energy" pass so visibly from a private individual up to a collection and distribution point, and then on upward through war and reconstruction until it's given public recognition from the President's own mouth. Truly remarkable.

And while there are those who still see blogging as being a solipsistic endeavor that's nowhere near as revolutionary as its practitioners tend to believe it is, I think we've got a pretty good bit of proof otherwise right here.


18:09 - Taxonomic Developments

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Via Dean Esmay, who is soliciting submissions for a similar project of his own-- it seems there have been some new additions of late to the famed Flame Warriors site. The two featured new additions are political in nature: Pinko and Capitalista.

Mike Reed clearly means to be as evenhanded as possible here, in adding the two opposite characters at the same time. But judging by the descriptions of the two, it's pretty clear which one he'd rather be...


04:11 - The harmful effects of documentaries
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3672518/

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Further to the earlier observations about this week's particularly egregious Newsweek, I have to mention this: it's a sidebar near the front that also happens to be online. It's an interview with a guy who-- get this-- is eating at McDonald's for three meals a day, for a month. For a documentary.
Morgan Spurlock, director of "Super Size Me": My body just basically falls apart. I start to get tired; I start to get headaches; my liver fills up with fat because there's so much fat and sugar in this food. My blood sugar skyrockets, my cholesterol goes off the charts, my blood pressure becomes completely unmanageable.

How much weight did you put on?
About 25 pounds in a month.

How did you feel?
I felt terrible! I put on this weight so quickly my knees hurt. I would eat, and I would feel so good because I would get all that sugar and caffeine and fat and I would feel just great. And then an hour later I would just crash--I would hit the wall and be angry and depressed and upset. I was a disaster to live with.

Why McDonald's?
The chain has 30,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries on six continents. McDonald's could institute real change. If the company would launch healthier menu options, it would happen across the board.

You know how some things are just beyond ridicule? This is squarely in that category. I mean, damn! The guy is sitting here calmly telling us that he ate ninety McDonald's meals in a month and how scandalized he is that it gave him headaches and made him gain weight.

Now: You remember a few years back when some guy was in the news because he had grown accustomed to a steady diet of a Big Mac every single day for years and years, and he seemed fit as a fiddle? Remember the general reaction? Most people were shocked that he was still alive. He was a freak, a curiosity: Big Mac Man. Good for him, we all said. I don't think I'd want to try that, but if it doesn't kill him, hey, more power to him.

Now this guy is intentionally setting out to stuff as much fast food down his throat as he can, specifically so he can go on the news and tell everybody how fat and sad the food makes him. All for the noble purpose of forcing McDonald's, after fifty years of providing a product whose healthiness has changed very little (and probably for the better, if at all), to "institute real change".

What a trooper, huh? What a guy. Where would we be without him?

How would we ever otherwise have learned that in the foregoing decade, we have seemingly gone from a people with a general awareness of the unhealthiness of eating at fast food every day, to vacant, drooling bovines incapable of discerning whether a cheeseburger or a salad is better for you? All hail Morgan Spurlock, the Bringer of Light!

Help! I've intentionally stuck my head up my own ass. Ow! Ow! We've got to pass laws to reduce ass-related injury hazards! Asses are criminally unsafe! Fight Halliburton and the Ass Lobby!

Wednesday, February 4, 2004
03:41 - May the best Captain stand forth
http://www.lileks.com/bleats/archive/04/0204/020504.html

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Well, well. Looks like Patrick Stewart has at last had the meltdown that I suppose was all but inevitable-- I mean, c'mon. Even without ever hearing where he stands on this or that political issue, if you had to think of an actor who embodies the foremost values of the Hollywood Left, wouldn't it be ol' Pat? Aristocratic, theater-y, British even-- and best known for a role that's defined primarily by its opposition to his counterpart in the earlier series-- the European superseding the American. Picard, it's long been noted, is the embodiment of a UN in Space-- he's an ambassador, a negotiator, not a fighter. He's the aesthete with the tropical fish, the logician who put Spock to shame, the cold facilitator of dialogue who had more to learn about human emotion than Data did. Hell, even his name was French.

But Kirk, as we all know, was the cowboy-warrior, the lover, the military man, the guy who always went armed with the away teams because he liked to. And William Shatner has reinvented himself lately in ways I never really expected, but in ways that have really spiked my respect for him. Seen him in that recent Priceline commercial? Where his voice-over job gets taken away by Leonard Nimoy? It's all an extension of the character he's created ever since the fateful SNL appearance where he told Trek fans to "get a life". He's figured it out now. He knows all the Shatner jokes, and instead of getting pissed about them, he's playing into them. As a past-his-prime actor, he knows he has two choices: Either make himself still more of a laughingstock, or become a lighthearted parody of himself. He's chosen the latter, and he looks like he hasn't had so much fun before in his life.

I'd be quite surprised if I were to hear that Shatner counted himself into the same ideological ranks as Stewart evidently has.


14:36 - 1 1/2'th time's the charm
http://www.animated-news.com/archives/00000812.html

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Apparently the "third" Lion King movie is going to be worth watching after all.

It's not like there could be anything much worse than the second, frankly-- they'd have to hire Don Hertzfeld if they'd wanted to make Simba's Pride any worse than it was, and then it'd be intentionally bad. But evidently for TLK 1 1/2, they got back together a lot more of the original cast and crew, and they're actually taking a fairly ambitious angle in an industry that seems to be otherwise floundering its way to a messy oblivion:

It is well-known that the Disney classic The Lion King is based at least in part on Shakespeare's Hamlet. This has been thoroughly documented and is readily admitted to by the movie's creators. In fact, producer Don Hahn referred to the movie in its production phase as a sort of "Moses and Joseph meet Hamlet and Elton John in Africa." And with its tale of two young lovers from warring families falling in love it has been surmised that The Lion King II: Simba's Pride was based largely on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Once the precedent had been set that "Lion King movies" would be based on "Shakespeare plays" there was speculation as to what a third Lion King movie would be based on. Knowing that there was a play (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead) by a modern playwright (Tom Stoppard) that just so happened to be based on the same Shakespeare play that The Lion King was based on and tells the story of Hamlet from the perspective of its title characters I wondered if a future Lion King movie could be based on that "off-Shakespeare" play. When the public got "wind" of the fact that the third Lion King movie would center on the characters Timon and Pumbaa and tell the story of the first movie all over again but from their perspective I wondered if it was just a happy coincidence but the liner notes for The Lion King 1½ confirm that it is indeed based on Rosencrantz & Guildenstern.

And it ends up being something like a mixture of Fractured Fairy Tales and MST3K that get stirred into the pot. It could well be worthwhile.

It's been my suspicion lately that The Lion King, indirectly and perversely, is what has killed Disney in all practical senses of the word. Eisner and his crew responded to TLK's mega-blockbuster success with the misguided assumption that the huge box-office and merchandising numbers were the result of a market shift, a groundswell of love for 2D features in general that needed but to be harvested, rather than the fact that the movie itself struck a unique chord with people. So they took it to mean that all future Disney features would bring in the same acclaim and mo-nay, and so they started investing like there was no tomorrow. They opened studios in Florida and Paris and Japan. They bought ABC. They expanded licensing deals everywhere. They invested so much that they ended up spending money they assumed they'd be getting from subsequent feature releases bringing in crowds on the Lion King scale.

Trouble was that by the time Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Hercules had come and gone from theaters and left breathless predictions of "Another Lion King!" withering on the vine, it was too late to pull back-- they'd overplayed their hand, and were now in way too deep. They'd overinvested, and badly. Disney'd won the lottery, bought a beach house, and then got hit with taxes.

The late 90's and early 00's saw a series of uncertain flailings by Disney, trying increasingly desperately to find some new hook, some new direction to strike out in, something-- anything-- to bring in the money and accolades to justify the post-TLK spending binge. They tried to woo the anime crowd with Atlantis. They tried the "smaller, faster, funnier" approach with The Emperor's New Groove and Lilo & Stitch, both of which showed Disney at its creative best and indeed were astonishingly good, but neither of which had the kind of universal appeal to give them a real chance. And Brother Bear, in an outing that's so nostalgically lavish, wistful under even the lightest scenes and morose and ponderous otherwise, that you can all but feel the animators weeping over the cels as they push out one last gasp for the grand old Mouse House, literally closed the book on Disney's seventy-year-old Feature Animation department. It's a fine note to end on, but it's Shakespearean in its tragedy that it had to end at all.

At least the talent lives on, though. Apparently enough people who still believe in the post-TLK dream are still hanging around, willing to give it one more shot. They're regrouping in Disney's TV Animation department (now DisneyTOON Studios), and the resistance movement may be growing.


13:46 - At least they provide a good laugh

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I just love this spam/virus that I've received a few times:
Subject: why me?

You say in the www. that i'm a terrorist!!!

No way out for you. I REPORT YOU !

You've said THAT about me

Uh-oh. I'd better, uh, open the attachment! Yeah!


13:22 - Unbiased Reporting
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032542/

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This week's Newsweek has a cover featuring a mosaic of nine figures: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, Blair, and a couple others-- and Saddam. These pictures are intermingled with a humungous quote in block letters: WE WERE ALL WRONG. (And in very tiny letters underneath, the attribution to David Kay is made: "Former U.S. Weapons Inspector".)

How nice of them to include Saddam in the list, eh?

The ass-covering angle is that the tableau is presented as a rhetorical question: "Will Anyone Pay?" Gee, will this have negative impact on anyone's political career who's currently in office? Just an innocent question, asked out of curiosity.

But that's a pretty transparent pretext. If they were really honest about asking that question, we'd see photos of Clinton, Kennedy, Kerry, and Chirac-- none of whom doubted the existence of WMDs in Iraq. They were "all wrong" too, weren't they? And with this in mind, the question "Will anyone pay?" comes across for what it more likely is: an angry, angry, vindictive, blinkered shout of rage over perceived betrayal. It's a call to arms. And even if the article itself is more evenhanded, more people will read the cover than the article.

Someone really wore down his teeth while Photoshopping this cover together.

My question is: why the hell isn't Bush on the airwaves doing damage control? Virginia Postrel has already noted this, but if Bush loses a ton of Middle America support, it'll be through letting magazine covers like this go unchallenged. No, no need to censor anybody, perish the thought-- but there is such a thing as defending oneself against slander. Otherwise "Bush Lied!" will be the title of Michael Moore's next movie, and any arguments that the war in Iraq was motivated by anything more noble than a fraudulent accusation of WMD possession and a cynical grab for oil (neither of which make sense if you try to work out the political and economic logic) will have been banished into the noise by the time the election rolls around.

Let's have some powerful campaign speeches about how our actions since 9/11 have fit into the grand plan of the war against terrorism. Let's see as much of that very plan as can safely be revealed without giving away the game. Let's make the case, shall we? Yes, the WoT is supposed to be an effort that takes longer than three years. But if there's a long-term and secret vision that balances so precariously on holding to a complex and tenuous course, what chance of success do you think it'll have if you sit back and let yourself be walked all over like this? What are you afraid of, another season of "That's My Bush" on Comedy Central?

It's well and good to fly to Baghdad for Thanksgiving to show the troops you know what you're doing. How about spending dinner with the rest of us once in a while?

Tuesday, February 3, 2004
18:28 - Before the World Turned Color
http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/empire/object.html

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What you're looking at here is a color photo of Russian soldiers.... taken in 1912.

This site is full of these, all in gorgeous full color, all from 1907 to 1915 or so. It's absolutely mesmerizing.

Apparently, the Russians had internalized the practice-- probably insanely expensive, which is why it seems to have been done by the Photographer to the Czar-- of taking photos which consisted of three separate plates, red, green, and blue. What's astonishing is that they did this even though they didn't have a means to process the separated negatives into a combined final print. So color photography has effectively been around for a century; it's just color processing that took the time.

And the plates seem to have withstood the ages, so they processed out into some gorgeous pieces. Like this one. (Good God.) And this one. And this one (check out the colors on those dresses). And this one.

For history buffs, techno-geeks, and cultural students alike, this is akin to a religious experience.

(Via Dean Esmay and Samizdata and everybody else who's passing this link around.)


17:25 - Glory glory hallelujah!

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Safari 1.2 is out! And it has a feature that I've been hoping (and asking) for for months: keyboard type-along navigation of drop-down menus!

In other words, you open the menu, and then just start typing the text of the item you want. We're talking about menus with hundreds of entries in them, not necessarily alphabetized; but if you know the item you're going for, just type it, and Safari selects the first matching menu item for the text you've typed so far. As you keep typing, it keeps narrowing it down until you've got the one you want.

IE on the Mac did this, but until now it was the only browser I knew of that had this behavior. (And since it's being EOL'ed, I was starting to despair of ever seeing this feature again.) Netscape/Mozilla has the irritating Windows version of the feature: you can type the first letter of the menu item, but it only jumps to the first item beginning with that letter-- and if you type subsequent letters, it jumps to the first item beginning with each of those letters. In other words, you can type-navigate, but only on the first letter. (Keep tapping that same letter, and it scrolls through all the entries beginning with that letter-- which is ludicrously tedious on large menus that aren't alphabetized.)

But now it's implemented, and the right way. And opening long menus is way faster, too! Woo-hoo! Now the only thing missing is tabbing to drop-down menus and pressing Down or Space to open them, but that's much less of a pressing issue for me. (Tabbing between links and editable form elements now works.) I can now dispense with IE, because the last unique and useful feature it had is now in Safari. Huzzah!

UPDATE: Matt corrects me that the Mozilla-based browsers actually do have this same menu navigation behavior. I guess I misremembered the last time I checked this. It's good to hear...

Monday, February 2, 2004
23:25 - Germany comes round?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/02/03/wgerm03.xml&sSheet=/

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Holy crap!

Germany is seeking to distance itself from France's tight embrace and realign itself more closely to Britain and America, senior German officials signalled yesterday.

They said the row with Washington over Iraq had been "catastrophic" for Berlin and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder had become "a prisoner" of President Jacques Chirac's campaign to oppose the war to topple Saddam Hussein last year.

"We were more dependent on the French in that situation. But this will not be a permanent situation," said one authoritative source.

Another official explained: "We have to be careful that we are not identified with every word that the French president utters. We must have our own identity and be a little more clever."

The latest indications of Berlin's quest for a rapprochement with London and Washington came two days after Joschka Fischer, Germany's foreign minister, abandoned Berlin's dream of creating a European federal state.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Mr Fischer said the Iraq crisis had exposed the divisions within Europe and brought home to him the need to accept diverse traditions and history.

He even adopted some of Tony Blair's language about the need for the European Union to rest "on strong member states" rather than becoming a "superstate".

Now that's a bit more like it...


14:17 - Hooverville

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So I was down in Pacific Grove, seaward of Monterey, last night visiting a friend who's on vacation up from Los Angeles. Sort of a traditional thing. He's a funny, funny guy-- deep into the animation and voice-acting circles, with all that implies. Two hours of plain conversation with this guy leaves one breathless, one's sides aching, and the comedy sector of one's mind reeling from all the exercise.

We went into an ice cream shop after dinner. It was a quaint little place, with candy piled to the eaves, old arcade games against the wall, and strange flavors of ice cream like "Super Hero" and "Rabbit Tracks".

My friend went up to the counter to order; he noticed the tip jar on the counter, which had coins taped all over it from countries all over the world. It had Canadian toonies, Danish kronor, coins with Y-shaped holes in them, Paris subway tokens, and dozens more. My friend asked if he had the Korean 50,000-won coin, or whatever it is.

He and the proprietor, a young-looking fellow in a baseball cap, looked for Korean coins all over the cup. "Really? You're kidding me."

"I'm serious," my friend said. "I was in Korea last year, and I had the 'American Breakfast' in the hotel for like 20,000 won, which is like twelve bucks."

He paused for thought. Then: "Of course, that was a few years ago. Now it's probably more like five won to the dollar. 'Cause, y'know, Bush."

The proprietor tossed his head. "Oh, don't even get me started," he growled.

Now, this isn't a new sentiment. I talked about it last week-- how Bush is being roundly blamed, even among the astute and thoughtful and sharp-minded, for an economic problem that a) he did not create and b) he has largely resolved.

What struck me was how the very word Bush has now apparently become shorthand for "the reason why everything sucks." Don't have a job? Bush. Foreign investors backing out of contracts? Bush. Smog over LA? Bush. Too much traffic on the freeway? Y'know, Bush. And it communicates all the necessary meaning, packing a consciousness's worth of disgust and contempt and frustration into a single plebeian syllable.

Maybe it's to be expected. Maybe in bad economic times, a two-term president is just not something Americans can stomach. Maybe we just don't have that kind of attention span, or that kind of patience. After all, Herbert Hoover only inherited the downtimes that created the "Hoovervilles".

God, it sucks, though.

Oh, and later, the same friend opined that the Walt Disney Company, in order to survive, ought to remove not just Michael Eisner, but also Senator Mitchell, from the board of directors. Why? "Like a Republican knows anything about being creative," he scoffed.


13:47 - The difference between Sharon and Hitler?
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/nm/20040202/wl_nm/mideast_dc

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Hitler annexed the Sudetenland; Sharon gave it back.

(Oh yeah. Maybe that's not the only difference, either.)


13:30 - "I know-- we'll dig our way out!" "...No, dig up, stupid!"
http://www.lostcircuits.com/cpu/prescott/

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I've been hearing underground info about this for some time now, and now the reports are released (so I can make mention of this without incriminating anybody).

Prescott, Intel's new CPU, is out. It's on a 90nm process instead of the old 130nm one, and... the performance gains over the old chips are negligible at best.

Why? Well, because Intel, in their infinite wisdom, decided that the P4's 20-stage pipeline wasn't enough... so they took it to 31 stages in this one. Any branch prediction failure, as occurs in any application except for SPEC2000 benchmarks, will lock up the CPU for up to 31 cycles.Which means they had to double all the caches, which makes Prescott's die size barely smaller than Northwood's. Which means: heat? Oh yeah... heat! Apparently Prescott doesn't use any less heat than older P4s, even though it's on the smaller process.

In other words, this is one embarrassing chip for Intel. As Ars Technica says:

Anand maps out the performance delta here while trying to suggest that Prescott's future will be bright. You can easily see what's going on here: the performance gap narrows (not widens!) as the two CPUs ramp up in speed between 2.8 and 3.2 GHz. Why this is a secret isn't entirely clear... some would call it the point of a core revision. But one thing is clear: as speed ramps up, you tend to see Prescott get closer and closer to being almost as fast as Northwood. It's only an assumption, although a logical one, that the trend will continue in a positive fashion, and at some point (say, 3.6GHz) Prescott will be shipping consistently faster than Northwood, presuming that you could clock Northwood that far.

In other words, Prescott is being released at a speed below its ideal debut point, which suggests that Intel is indeed having some serious problems with the CPU. The problem isn't the 90nm fab process, though. It looks as though Intel has this down. Rather, one must consider the 40+ million new transistors into the mix. Indeed, the problem with Prescott (almost sounds like a movie title) is heat, heat, heat. That's the oddity of the situation: usually a shrink in die size results in less heat, but Prescott has extra mojo on board in terms of the expanded L2 cache (now 1MB), some additional SSE logic (13 new instructions for SSE3), HyperThreading improvements, and more.

The word that I heard a couple of weeks ago, through the unnamed grapevine, was that Intel knew months ago that Prescott would be a dismal performer for what they're putting into it-- but contractual obligations had to be met, fabs were already built, and there was no backing out. It's no accident that P4s have remained pretty much at the same speed since June, after that flurry of speed-bumps that seemed to happen every week in the preceding months. The farm's been bet on Prescott, and Intel's legitimately worried that the cows have all died.

A lot of reviewers seem to be putting as positive a spin as they can on the news, but Prescott has pretty much been a laughingstock in insider circles for some time now. I know a few people who are watching the headlines today with no small amount of glee.

Something tells me AMD's going to take the uncontested lead in fairly short order now. ...At least as far as PC chips go.


04:52 - Share the Dearth
http://www.whatacrappypresent.com

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Well, this is just lovely, isn't it? So very heartwarming.

This, and its parent site, make me wonder just how eerily appropriate the title "Downhill Battle" really is. To wit, it's so tempting to sympathize with the file-sharing grass-roots communities, isn't it? Theirs is such a worthy cause. The filthy corporate whores of the RIAA may have the letter of the law on their side, but we all know the Internet has changed all the rules of copyright and information and creativity forever, right?

Well, this is where that downward slope-- as slippery as it is-- leads us:

PEPSI IS ABOUT TO DUMP 100 million free iTunes songs into circulation. During the Super Bowl, they'll be launching a promotion that gives you a 1 in 3 chance of winning a free iTunes song under the bottlecap of a Pepsi. Those 100 million caps could theoretically mean 65 million dollars for record labels and musicians (that's what's left after Apple's cut).

But we have a hunch that most Pepsi drinkers won't bother to download and install iTunes just to get a single song. To help remedy the situation, we are announcing the Tune Recycler which lets people donate their unwanted iTunes codes, which we will redeem. Of course, we would never send Pepsi's money to the big five labels (that would be a little incestuous, don't you think?). We'll be using the codes to buy music from independent labels. We're going to pick single albums and buy them over and over-- each purchase sends a little cash to some cool people.

So charming. So populist. So forward-thinking. So egalitarian.

It's for the artists' own good that they're tearing down the only hope the music industry's infrastructure has of surviving the transition into the digital future. It's for the artists' own good that these people can't compromise. Hell, they have all the power; they have the bludgeon. The genie is out of the bottle, and it's theirs to command, and they know it. Why should they compromise?

It all sounds so heartfelt and selfless. Too bad it all boils down to nothing more honorable than wanting to keep getting stuff for free.

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© Brian Tiemann