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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12/17/2001 - 12/23/2001
Friday, February 20, 2004
17:43 - Off Skiing

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Reports are that it'll be a weekend of falling snow and fresh powder. So that's where I'll be.

Back Sunday....
Thursday, February 19, 2004
18:39 - I love it when all my interests converge
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr/columns/tech_reporter_display.jsp?vnu_content_i

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Gee. What category to put this one in? Via JMH.

During the making of the "Rings" trilogy, Jackson and his Wellington, New Zealand-based Weta Digital crew upped the ante on Apple's innovative iPod storage technology, using it for a few rigorous filmmaking sessions during production on "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King," the latter of which collected 11 Oscar noms Tuesday.

The Weta wizards set up a review and approval system for remote digital dailies centered around iPods that spanned the globe from New Zealand to London.

For two months on each of the films, Jackson was stationed in the United Kingdom overseeing composer Howard Shore's scoring sessions. And during "Towers" and "King," Jackson also maintained a videoconferencing line to Weta so that he could spend about two hours a day reviewing the movie's progress in absentia.

Jim Rygiel, a two-time Oscar winner and visual effects supervisor who picked up his third Oscar nom Tuesday, says Weta's cyber Tolkien Trail was seeded by a dedicated server, safely isolated from Weta's intranet and connected to a secure outside line.

Media was transferred from Weta to Pinewood Studios in London. There, Jackson's 30-gig iPod was ready and waiting to upload Weta's daily fresh-baked shots and sequences. His iPod was then delivered via sneaker net to his home a few minutes away from Pinewood.

Jackson then viewed those 1K-resolution QuickTime files on an Apple Cinema Display, tied to his G4 laptop, which drew directly from his iPod. The director's setup was mirrored in New Zealand, so Rygiel and crew could step through shots with the help of their iPods, with Jackson's guidance piped in over a videoconferencing system. During the course of two movies and four months, "Rings" iPods stored and served up nearly one-half terabyte of digitized footage from "Towers" and "King."

Surely not in the design spec... but damned cool nonetheless.

As I've mentioned before, my 5GB iPod was an indispensable tool for the writing of the Panther book; because pre-release betas of OS X 10.3 couldn't be installed on any of our existing startup volumes (early builds had no upgrade path-- if you planned to install the final release on the same disk, you had to nuke-and-pave because of all the beta cruft), I installed Panther on the iPod and booted our iMac off of it for the duration of the eight-week writing process.

(Only many weeks afterwards did I discover that this continuous use of the disk went far beyond the appropriate usage profile of the iPod, and probably invalidated the warranty. No worries-- I'd peeled the cover off enough times that that wasn't an issue.)

Stories like this, and the guys who are running whole dance clubs off of pre-loaded iPods full of the latest beats shipped overnight from clearinghouses, and people randomly walking up to each other on the street and plugging in to each other's iPods... well, it looks to me like we've got one of those cultural phenomena on our hands that's grown well beyond its creators' wildest aspirations. Now it belongs to The People...


17:32 - Buy 'em by th' bucket
http://www.macminute.com/2004/02/17/ipodmini

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Via Damien; apparently those people who worried that the iPod Mini-Me was overpriced and unlikely to sell, need not be.

Apple officially announced today that iPod mini, the company's newest portable music player, will be available on Friday, February 20 at 6:00 p.m. at the Apple Store, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers throughout the U.S. iPod mini is encased in an ultra-portable, lightweight anodized aluminum body and available in a choice of five colors: silver, gold, pink, blue and green. Apple says they have received over 100,000 pre-orders for the new player, which was introduced last month.

Hey, not bad, if you ask me. They're shipping tomorrow, so go out and getcherself a good armload.


11:20 - That's no ordinary rabbit
http://www.alarmingnews.com/archives/000611.html

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Hah! This is hysterical.

Karol at AlarmingNews.com was helping run a pro-Bush campaign event in New York City; Karl Rove was scheduled to speak.

Scott had emailed me that there were going to be the usual corny protestors outside, so I was expecting the small crowd gathered across the street from the place. I walked in and checked my coat and while I was doing that I heard someone say 'Karl is going to talk to them!' I walked over to the door and looked through the glass and indeed, Karl Rove was crossing the street to go talk to the protestors. Everybody watched and whispered 'what is he doing' as he walked over to them. The crowd shifted down the street as he approached them. I watched some of the protestors take his picture. It was stunning.

He went to talk to the protesters... and they ran away. I guess they really do think the Bushies are something other than human...


09:27 - The Master approves
http://www.ecommercetimes.com/perl/story/32837.html

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According to this story, Macs-- particular in the G5 era-- are making some serious inroads into the scientific community, and not just at Virginia Tech. NASA is full of Macs, and so is MIT's BLAST lab (naturally), and Caltech:

Why are these moves toward more Mac use taking place now? Gray contended that Apple occasionally takes a step ahead of other vendors in its price-performance ratio. The company now appears to be in one of those "leapfrog" cycles. Wolfram Research has a G4 cluster installed, and Gray said the company is happy with it because it is easy to maintain and is price competitive.

Indeed, because PCs no longer carry the huge price advantage they once did, choosing a hardware and software configuration now also involves an element of personal preference, Gray said. He noted that with Macs, "you do not have the [same] sort of virus problem as with Windows."

And David J. Stevenson, George Van Osdol Professor of Planetary Science at Caltech, said that he, like Golombek, has used Macs for years because he does not want to be a rocket scientist of system administration.

"A lot of scientists are like me -- they may know a lot more about how computers work than the general public, but they don't really care," Stevenson told the E-Commerce Times. "They just want something that works reliably."

As Apple's Mac becomes more and more reliable, its scientific renaissance is likely to gather steam.

Funny, I hadn't really felt like pushing "price-competitiveness" as a Mac selling point in quite some time. But hey, if that's what's getting them off the shelves...!

Rumors are that the new 970FX, a 90-nm-process version of the G5 running at significantly higher speed, are on the way to new machines in March. (It'd be a bit overdue; remember that Steve promised we'd have 3GHz G5s by June.) Also on the way, according to Mac OS Rumors, is HyperTransport 2.0 (doubling interconnect bandwidth), DDR533 memory, and dual optical drives. They won't be here until August, though, so people in the market for new G5s might be well advised to wait until mid-March, but don't hold out for the new summer machines unless you're really patient.

But of course, the big news is that the Torgo screensaver has just been updated for Mac OS X. And with that, the circle is now complete. Is it "midnight" yet, O Steve?

Wednesday, February 18, 2004
23:08 - Nobody moves or the planet gets it
http://www.livejournal.com/users/michaelduff/103623.html

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Here's a dude who understands what we're doing.

I don't really like the Bush Doctrine, okay?

After 9-11, I thought we should confine our efforts to the Al Qaeda organization. Instead, Bush decided to condemn half the Middle East with his Axis of Evil speech and roll tanks into Iraq.

It bothered me. It still bothers me. But dammit, if you look at the patterns, it seems to be working. The Middle East thinks Bush is batshit crazy, and their governments are afraid of us. Do you get that? The bad guys are afraid of us, because against all logic and common sense, we went into Iraq and we took Saddam down.

We ignored all the reasonable advice from Asia and Europe and people like me, and we went in with guns blazing. We've paid a terrible price in men and money, and we're still there.

What's the lesson? Fuck with America and we will intervene, flagrantly, in the Middle East. So, if you want us to go home, what should you do? What will happen if we get attacked again? What will happen to the governments of Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia if Al Qaeda sets off a nuke in Times Square?

You think we'll just pack up and go home? Or will we stick our meddling capitalist fingers in every Middle Eastern cesspool on the planet, hoping to turn up a needle in the haystack?

Middle Eastern governments want us to leave them alone. They'll snipe at us when they feel protected, funneling money to terrorist organizations when they think they won't be traced. But what happens when we follow that money home? What happens when their attempts to scare us backfire, and the crazy American president starts taking out dictators in Iraq and Afghanistan?

I'll tell you what happens. The money dries up, and governments that used to wink and nod at terrorism get on their secret satelite phones and tell their extremists to cool it, unless they want to see Marines taking showers in the palace.

Bush wants to be like Reagan, and he has succeeded. Everybody thought Reagan was crazy, when he went on TV and said, "We begin bombing in five minutes." His comments scared the shit out of people. It scared us in America, and more important, it scared our enemies.

In 2001, New York was burning and we were afraid. Today, there are American flags flying in Baghdad and our enemies are afraid.

I don't have access to all the documents, but I must entertain the possibility, the possibility that the Bush Doctrine is working. We have been relatively safe since 9-11. Iraq is a hot zone, but there have been no major attacks on U.S. soil. Why? Because the people who finance terrorism are afraid of us.

We will be hit again, okay? That fear has limits, and Bush is pissing a lot of people off. But tyrants around the world are making compromise noises because we have put the fear of God in them. And if Kerry wins this election, all of that progress will be rolled back.

Europe will love us. The UN will praise us. The Arab world will breathe a huge sigh of relief. And money will start trickling back into Al Qaeda's coffers. The bad guys will tighten their grip on their respective populations, and the price we have paid will have been paid for nothing.

I've quoted the whole thing because the whole thing bears repeating.

What we're doing isn't quite nuking the moon... but it's not quite not, either.


18:42 - KERRY: Now can we stop talking about terrorism and get back to the trivial and petty issues that are at hand?
http://www.imao.us/archives/001255.html#001255

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Frank J. has posted some suggested campaign ads for Bush to use in the coming year.

Don't miss 'em.


18:16 - Socialized Digital Photo Printing for All!
http://www.thinksecret.com/news/tsnotes10.html

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Pardon me while I try not to smirk.

Why is it taking so long for Apple to start iPhoto Album service to certain parts of Europe? Because they couldn't find a printer that could do it well enough and cheaply enough. After a long and tedious search, sources inside Apple tell Think Secret, the company gave up and worked out an arrangement with the US-based printer My Publisher of Valhalla, NY, and will be exporting albums to Europe. Expensive? You bet. How much? Apple isn't saying, but sources say it will be a lot more than the US$29.99 Americans are paying for 10 pages. So now with a printer in place, more problems persist. Apple and My Publisher are trying to work out the shipping and cost logistics before announcing when the service will really start. Another Apple soap opera continues with few public explanations.

Hey, as long as they don't raise the price of albums within the US to redistribute equal pricing throughout the world market. No Photo Album Taxation Without Representation!

I'll bet this is a yucky pill for Steve to swallow. From the same page:

With the 2004 presidential campaign kicking into high gear, the family of Apple CEO Steve Jobs donated to two candidates in the last quarter, according to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission. Laurene Powell Jobs, the CEO's spouse and a California Delegate for the 2000 Democratic National Convention, contributed $750 to the campaign for former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and the maximum $2000 to the candidacy of Congressman Richard Gephardt, both in December 2003; Gephardt dropped out of the race in January. The donations follow a $1,000 contribution to the Dean campaign in May 2003. The last donation in the CEO's name was in November 2000, when he contributed $50,000 to the Democratic National Committee, following contributions to Bill Bradley, Edward Kennedy, and the Committee for a Democratic Majority. FEC filings also note that Apple CFO Fred Anderson, who recently announced his retirement, made a $2,000 Christmas Eve contribution to the now-defunct campaign for Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark.

Geez. I hope these guys have better precognition about the future winners in the computer industry than they do about the ones in Presidential campaigns...


14:11 - What a fascist state we've become

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So here's George Galloway:

However, Galloway’s abhorrence of tyranny is not as absolute as he likes to think. The noticeboard that covers one wall of his office bears portraits of Galloway’s personal idols, some surprising (Churchill, Bobby Moore), some not (Aziz, Arafat, Marx, Guevara, Castro). I make an idle reference to this as a “rogues’ gallery”; Galloway seizes on the phrase.

“I don’t – and I don’t think many readers of The Independent on Sunday – consider Castro or Guevara a rogue. These people are heroes.”

But Castro is a dictator, and you just said. . .

“He’s a hero. Fidel Castro is a hero.”

He’s a dict. . .

“I don’t believe that Fidel Castro is a dictator.”

I honestly can’t think of anything to say to this.

“Fidel Castro is a great revolutionary leader. But for 40 years or more of siege, undoubtedly Cuba would have developed, democratically speaking, differently. But when the enemy is at the gates, spending billions to destroy the revolution, you have to accept that there will be restrictions on political freedoms in a place like Cuba.”

You’ve met El Presidente, I take it.

“Yes. Magnificent. He’s the most magnificent human being I’ve ever met.”

At this, I laugh out loud – as much with delight at Galloway’s fabulous effrontery as with derision at the absurdity of the statement. Fortunately, if one thing can be said to have defined Galloway’s career, it’s fondness for an argument, and he presses on with a grin.

“You won’t get me to resile from this point. He is the greatest man I have ever met, by a country mile. You simply cannot compare Fidel Castro to Saddam Hussein or to any other dictator.”

And then there's this Diane Nelson, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology (gee, there's a field that'll be full of free-marketers and modernists), who says:

While my take on the word freedom may be slightly different than those of the Duke Conservative Union (slavishly following the commands of Sauron--oops! I mean David Horowitz--does put a slightly different slant on the term) I do appreciate their efforts to call to our attention the lack of diversity in party affiliation among some Duke faculty.

While there are important differences, we must keep in mind that the Democrats and Republicans show negligible divergence on major domestic and foreign policy issues Clinton's government, after all, bombed Iraq repeatedly while George W. Bush just did it all at once. Neither has released data on the numbers of Iraqis killed; social services, welfare, support for education and the environment were gutted under both regimes and no high ranking member of either has been held responsible for personal benefits derived from ties to the military cybernetic complex, etc....

Given this, I also want to know, where is the diversity? Where are the Greens, Labour, the Christian Democrats, the Socialists, the Communists, the Workers Party, the Black Panthers, Puerto Rican independistas, etc...? Where is the truly wide range of partisan organizing that, across the globe, offers diversity in imagining options for the future?

Now, maybe I'm remembering my history wrong, but it seems to me that people had their lives ruined in the 50s in this country for a good deal less than this. High-ranking academics, entertainers, politicians, all across the board. And here, today, we have a British MP of 36 years who believes that backing Castro, Saddam, Kim Jong Il, or the Iranian mullahs against Bush and Blair is not only morally consistent, it's imperative for the future of the free world; and we have universities overrun with professors who loudly wish for Americans to die in "a million Mogadishus" and who bemoan the lack of Communist representation on American campuses. And not only do these people not suffer any backlash for their opinions (well, Galloway seems to have been forced from power in disgrace, but more over his illicit fiduciary dealings with Saddam than over his ideological stance), they're applauded and lionized.

Hell. What kind of right-wing totalitarian empire are we, anyway? Wouldn't these guys be the first to suffer mysterious "heart attacks" under the Reich?

We're not only so touchy over Vietnam we can barely muster the courage to go to just war in response to an attack on our own soil; we're also so paranoid of McCarthyism that we can't even bring ourselves to declare these people the blackguards they are. McCarthy had to probe into people's private lives to find incriminating details that as often as not were fabricated; these intellectuals and politicians and entertainers today can chant and wave red flags in the street and we simply avert our eyes and whimper.

What we need is a Sim50's video game to come out. Maybe that will fit into the 21st-century attention span.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004
14:01 - Noooo! Why, Panic? Why?
http://www.panic.com/unison/

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Every so often, something happens in the Mac universe that makes me scream like a little girl. Whether in terror or sublime transports of joy.

This is one of the latter days.

James alerted me to the news: Panic, makers of apps like Transmit (for FTP) and Audion (for MP3s) that are worth every word of the lavish hyperbole with which they're presented on the website, has really hit one into the left-field corner: Unison, a Usenet client.

And oh, what a Usenet client.

First of all, it's got an entirely native OS X design. MT-NewsWatcher? Don't make me laugh. I was a big supporter of that venerable tool right up until about fifteen minutes ago. Now, it may as well not exist.

Because Unison brings a bunch of new stuff to the table: it has four views of any given newsgroup, messages, files, pictures, and music. The "pictures" view is perhaps the coolest: it gives you a page full of adjustable-size thumbnails, which are just gray outlines with filenames gleaned from all the message bodies, until you click the little "download" button on the one youn want. Then the image downloads into the thumbnail and smoothes itself out. You can go clicking through the page, filling out the little dashed outlines into a beautifully rendered contact sheet, only zooming in on the pictures that you like, and viewing them in message context if you wish.

The "music" view lets you stream MP3s directly in-line, listed by filename rather than by message. The "files" view lists all attachments in all the messages, along with download status. And "messages", well, is just the messages (with attachments inline)-- multithreaded and beautifully laid out, just as you'd expect.

Setting up news hosts is ridiculously easy. You get a wizard dialog where you type in a host name; it authenticates it to make sure it's real, then asks you for a username/password if applicable. Then it gives you a Column View list of newsgroups. Straightforward, elegant, gorgeous.

Panic even hosts its own NNTP service now, if you don't have a favorite server handy. Good lord.

"I'd like it to do a lot of crazy things," Cabel Sasser says in a mocked-up screenshot of a news message. "Like group items into item groups, stream MP3s, and gently wake me up in the morning with a series of soft kisses on my forehead." And you know, it just about does all that.

This software makes me writhe around on the floor. It's that kind of thing.

And just when I was sure I'd successfully weaned myself off of Usenet. Aauuugh! Cruel, cruel Cabel...!

Monday, February 16, 2004
20:09 - You won't be seeing this in Doonesbury anytime soon
http://www.hood.army.mil/4id/Iraqi/news_content/memstatue.asp

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The artist, who fears retaliation from former regime loyalists for his work with the Coalition, spent several months sculpting and casting the statue. Though he created the original statues of Saddam along with another artist, he created the 4th ID memorial through his own design, said Anderson.

     The sculpture is based on a scene many in Iraq have witnessed in one form or another. A soldier kneels before a memorial of boots, rifle and helmet – his forehead resting in the hollow of his hand. Behind and to his right stands a small Iraqi girl with her hand reaching out to touch his shoulder.

     The little girl portrays, in her eyes and presence, a sympathy mixed with gratitude. She was added to remind people of why the sacrifice was made, Fuss said.

     “It’s about freedom for this country, but it’s also about the children who will grow up in a free society,” he said.

How 'bout it, Garry? Got any snide comments to cast into the mouths of sunglasses-wearing disaffected youths? Maybe the statue is made of plastic or something?

No matter how dearly you'd love for America to fail in Iraq, I'm afraid events are outpacing that prospect. So, so sorry.


18:57 - "As President, I will work to make the world round"
http://www.mudvillegazette.com/archives/000687.html

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So apparently John Kerry couldn't stand it that Bush pulled off yet another of these extraordinarily successful human-interest stunts (MC'ing the weekend's NASCAR race) that are more populist than he has any inkling of how to be. And so the following words dribbled out of the corner of his mouth:

Kerry, who has a commanding lead in the race to oppose Bush this fall, chided the president for taking time out Sunday to attend the Daytona 500, saying the country was bleeding jobs while he posed for a "photo opportunity." Bush had donned a racing jacket to officially open NASCAR's most prestigious event in front of some 180,000 fans.

"We don't need a president who just says, `Gentlemen start your engines,'" Kerry said. "We need a president who says, `America, let's start our economy and put people back to work.'"

What in the crap is wrong with this man? Hey moron, HE DID. Remember the freakin' tax cuts? Have you looked at the economy lately? What part of "fifth straight month of job growth" and "unemployment at a two-year low" do you find unacceptable, Mr. Kerry? How would you propose to improve on this? How would you "start the economy"?

I just don't understand this. I'm at a loss. Am I really that poor at comprehending politics after all? What the hell have I missed? What economic problems is Kerry so steamed about? Someone explain to me where he's getting his news from.

Or is it simply that Kerry isn't actually paying attention to the news at all?

Considering that he seems to write his one-liners a month in advance, and regurgitate old, tired jokes that don't even make sense in the current context (he's concerned that Bush will raise taxes? Is that how I'm supposed to be reading this?), one gets the impression that Kerry quite simply doesn't have a clue what the fuck he's talking about.

Let's start imagining what'll happen when President Kerry tackles all the big important Presidential issues with the same deep thoughtfulness and consistency as he's shown so far in his campaign issues.

The war on terrorism? He'll immediately release all the prisoners from Guantanamo, then push a law through Congress allowing the FBI to shoot anyone on sight who shares any traits with terrorists, such as possessing brown hair, at least one leg, a head, etc.

Tax law? He'll repeal Bush's tax cuts, then "start the economy" by personally printing millions of $20 bills at the Mint and then dumping them out of a blimp onto the nation's poorer cities.

Gay marriage? He'll help pass the FMA, then marry a male intern before the bench in the Supreme Court.

The space effort? He'll demand that we become the first country to send a man to the Moon, and blame Bush for our failure thus far to do so.

Gun control? He'll shoot the NRA.

God. I can't come up with any more of these. It takes hard work to think as disjointedly as Kerry apparently does.

Liberals tend to be concerned that most Americans are too stupid. I'm starting to think that the thing to worry about is collective insanity.

UPDATE: George Will has a bunch of questions for Kerry, which are along the same lines as the famous "letter to Dr. Laura", and just as unanswerable.

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© Brian Tiemann