g r o t t o 1 1

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

btman at grotto11 dot com

Read These Too:

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



Cars without compromise.





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12/24/2001 - 12/30/2001
12/17/2001 - 12/23/2001
Sunday, August 1, 2004
01:04 - Instant gratification

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One of the coolest things about Adult Swim is that it's tied in, in real time, with both the fans and the creators of the content. The interstitial "bumps" are written and produced on a just-in-time basis, and tailored not just to each show, but to each episode of each show. It's like a whole three-hour live cartoon show, the kind that hasn't been possible up till now because it's such a terrible strain on the animators' wrists. (Thank you, Itchy & Scratchy.)

So tonight they showed the pilot of Stroker & Hoop, a new original series. As soon as the half-hour was over, the bump said:

Want to discuss?
Boards @ adultswim.com
We're open all night.

In this case I fear the comments will mostly be of the "Sorry, but it sucks butt" nature; but is that cool or what? They show a brand-new pilot, and as soon as it's over they appeal directly to the audience, who instantly registers Yea or Nay, the opinions raked together by the very guys responsible for putting together the evening's lineup of entertainment. Instant feedback, which will be waiting on the CEO's desk tomorrow morning. No need to wait for the Nielsen results—it's instant.

I love teh intarweb!


21:16 - Judging character
http://www.capitalistlion.com/article.cgi?1133

(top)
CapLion noticed this about Kerry's recent statement that he wants to put Osama bin Laden on trial for "murder" in a U.S. court:

Kerry has just proven that he doesn't care one bit about the war on terror, about 9/11, or about the survival of our nation. He just said (assuming the highly unlikely-- that bin Laden hasn't been cave paste for years) that should bin Laden be captured, he should be tried for murder. This is a flip-flop on his previous statement that if captured, he should be shot in the head. This proves something to me: Kerry doesn't give a damn either way. He only wants the power, and is willing to say or do whatever his handlers calculate as the best means to that end. If that means appearing "moderate" on the subject of bin Laden, then that's what he says.

Yes, exactly. This is key and critical. If Kerry can't come up with a consistent statement about how he'd deal with Osama if he arrived in Washington in chains, and hems and haws based on how he thinks voters will react to his stance on capital punishment or international criminal justice, then he's making a statement far louder than anything he could say in words.

A friend recently told me that he's simply bothered by the idea that "someone with Billy Graham on his speed-dial is in charge of fighting the war on Islamia." Okay, well, fair enough. But who would you rather have: someone who justly recognizes this war as the clash of civilizations that it truly is, or someone who doesn't even seem to give a crap?

Having religious convictions doesn't automatically make someone a good person, it's true. But neither does not having religious convictions. And in the case of the struggle we're now facing, a leader who is so caught up with believing that his aloofness from overt faith is proof of his intellectual superiority that he would treat terrorism as a criminal matter, to be dealt with by police and the court system and "first responders", and who can't work up the moral courage to even issue a vaguely visceral response to questions about bin Laden, is someone we can't trust to have a value system at all.

Maybe we're old-fashioned that way. But, well, so are they.


19:02 - So what the hell...

(top)
I thought this movie was supposed to be pro-war.

I mean, check out the trailer... yes, it says that George W. Bush is among those likely to be mad after seeing it, but all 15 or so other names listed are his bitter enemies. I'd gotten the impression that Bush's name was just thrown in there to try to disguise the movie as another cynical War-on-Terror-bashfest.

After all, I've noted before that Trey and Matt seem curiously unwilling to mock Bush in South Park. In the episode where the men of the town all turn metrosexual, the guys gave Bush a non-speaking role as the target of a Queer Eye makeover—a very unobjectionable portrayal, all things considered. It was hardly even caricatured. This from the guys who used to produce That's My Bush, remember. I think they've had a change of heart in recent years, and I believe that Matt Stone's appearance as an interviewee in Bowling for Columbine (the town of South Park was based on Littleton, Trey and Matt's hometown, as well as the location of Columbine High) probably doesn't indicate any endorsement by him or Trey of Michael Moore, even though Moore hasn't shown up in any South Park episodes yet, portrayed flatteringly or not. I've suspected that the fact that the animated segment in the middle of BfC sort of looks like South Park, but isn't actually done by them, suggests that Moore tried to get them to animate it, but they refused. Or at least that's my wishful thinking.

So then what the hell's this about?

"I really do not think terrorism is funny, and I would suggest PARAMOUNT give respect to those fighting and sacrificing to keep America safe," a senior Bush adviser told the DRUDGE REPORT this weekend.

The new fuss film TEAM AMERICA, set for release two weeks before the November presidential election, is entering post-production from with SOUTH PARK creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

A deep voice using serious tones opens the film's teaser: "We live in a time of unparalleled danger. Weapons of Mass Destruction are being offered to terrorists all over the world. Global chaos is about to consume every country on Earth. And there is only one hope for humanity."

The movie's official poster features an apparent Bush look-a-like [strings attached] with his back to the viewer.

The senior White House adviser, who asked not to be named, fumed after seeing the movie's website and trailer.

"This is just unconscionable. Not funny. And I believe it makes fun of everyone in law enforcement... and in the armed services who work tirelessly to keep us safe from harm."

Marionette puppets are used throughout the film to mock terror threats, and media figures who dominate the nation's airwaves. But Parker and Stone save most of the mocking for left-wing pundits and Michael Moore.

I hope this isn't just evidence that, all prior evidence to the contrary, the Bush administration can't take a joke. Especially one by someone trying to do them a favor...


12:28 - Dueling posters

(top)
Compare and contrast:



Which do you suppose will be more successful? And which is more grounded in maturity and reality?

And let me just say that I don't believe I've ever heard of anybody on the Right trying to prevent the Democrats from holding their convention, much less forming an organization soliciting posters toward that end.

Such faith in democracy.

(Both via LGF.)

Saturday, July 31, 2004
00:26 - Take that
http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=11853

(top)
I'm not sure why I didn't link to this when it was first spreading around—but on deeper cogitation it seems the kind of thing that really ought to be more widely known about.

“We saw the hole for the bunker but it hard to believe someone live in that hole. It was really small,” Samir remembers. “They shot in there and he started yelling, ”Don’t shoot, don’t shoot, don’t kill me.’“ So I had to talk to him. I was the translator. I said, ‘Just come out.’ He kept saying, ‘Don’t shoot. Don’t kill me.’”

In Arabic Samir said he continued to pursuade Saddam to come out. He was about to come face to face with the tyrant who killed his loved ones.
Saddam was the reason he fled Iraq in 1991 and eventually moved to St. Louis.

Samir says, “I was like, ‘I got him.’ We all reached him and pulled him out. And we say Saddam Hussein he looks really old. He looks disgusting.” There was also anger. “You want to beat the crap out of him. He destroyed millions in Iraq. I’m one. I left my family 13 years ago because of him.”

Saddam couldn’t fight back, but he did speak out. “He called me a spy. He called me a traitor. I had to punch him in face. They had to hold me back. I got so angry I almost lost my mind. I didn’t know what to do. Choke him to death. That’s really not good enough.”

For Samir, this was sweet justice. One of Iraq’s own, now a U.S. citizen, helping arrest one of the world’s most wanted fugitives. “I said ‘Who are you? What’s your name?’ He replied, ‘I’m Saddam.’ Saddam what, I asked. He said, ‘Don’t yell. I’m Saddam Hussein.”

I wonder why this wasn't publicized more back when Saddam was first captured; and I hope the reason wasn't that this is an exaggerated story. I sure hope it's for real, though; the symbolism is all there, as perfect as though expertly screenwritten. It makes for an irresistible scene for when the Iraq War gets made into a blockbuster movie.

...Well, that is, if Hollywood ever comes to the conclusion that it's possible to portray the Iraq War in a positive light.


23:46 - When Photoshop is outlawed, only outlaws will have Photoshop
http://e-merl.com/dragon.htm

(top)
Ow. My brain.

Friday, July 30, 2004
16:56 - The future doesn't belong to fear; it belongs to CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/science/07/30/vote.psych.reut/index.html

(top)
Oh, isn't this just loverly.

Study: Fear shapes voters' views

President George W. Bush may be tapping into solid human psychology when he invokes the September 11 attacks while campaigning for the next election, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

Talking about death can raise people's need for psychological security, the researchers report in studies to be published in the December issue of the journal Psychological Science and the September issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

"There are people all over who are claiming every time Bush is in trouble he generates fear by declaring an imminent threat," said Sheldon Solomon of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, who worked on the study.

"We are saying this is psychologically useful," said Solomon.

In other words, as Lance puts it, this study—which CNN presents as the most scholarly of works—posits that "only cowards and insane people could possibly vote for Bush."

"In one we asked half the people to think about the September 11 attacks, or to think about watching TV," Solomon said. "What we found was staggering."

When asked to think about television, the 100 or so volunteers did not approve of Bush or his policies in Iraq. But when asked to think about Sept. 11 first and then asked about their attitudes to Bush, another 100 volunteers had very different reactions.

"They had a very strong approval of President Bush and his policy in Iraq," Solomon said.
Imagine that.

One might almost be forgiven for thinking that 9/11 actually happened, or something.


14:39 - The man gets it

(top)
It's hard to imagine two speeches as sundered in both style and content as Kerry's, from last night, and Bush's response to it from Springfield, Missouri.

Bush speaks in short, clipped sentences, without any of Kerry's flourishes or ligatures or arpeggios. He'll never use twenty words if he can make his point in five. He'll leave out words like "I'm" or "It's" if the meaning is clear without them. The result is a speech that doesn't sound like it's coming from a politician: it sounds like it's coming from, well, a cowboy.

Which makes it easy, as you read through the first part of it, to think there isn't any substance in it—just a bunch of catchphrases equivalent to "Make my day" and "Bring it on" and "Gee up, Clem." I'm sure that's what it sounds like to anyone listening to it with skepticism born of sophistication and immersion in the freshman reading list at Columbia.

That's why I was startled to find that this speech has some real meat in it. Statements and claims that seriously make you raise your eyebrows and rub your chin. Thoughts that make you nod your head off to the side and grunt approvingly as you evaluate it. He's naming trends that have only been hinted at and postulated among blogs and analysts—and they make perfect sense.

This world of ours is changing. Most Americans get their health care coverage through their work. Most of today's new jobs are created by small businesses which too often cannot afford to provide health coverage.

To help more American families get health insurance, we must allow small employers to join together to purchase insurance at discounts available to big companies.

To improve health care, we must limit the frivolous lawsuits that raise the cost of health care and drive good doctors out of medicine.

We must harness technology to reduce costs and prevent deadly health care mistakes. We must do more to expand research and development for new cures for terrible diseases.

In all we do to improve health care in America, and we will make sure the health decisions are made by doctors and patients, not by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

. . .

We're not turning back to the old days, the old Washington mindset that says they will give the orders, you'll pay the bills. We've turned a corner from that way of thinking and we're not turning back.

These are exciting times for change. The economy is changing, the world is changing.

In our parents' generation, moms usually stayed home while fathers worked for one company until retirement. The company provided health care and training and a pension. Many of the government programs and most basic systems, from health care to Social Security to the tax code, were based, and still are based, on the old assumptions.

This is a different world. Workers change jobs and careers frequently. Most of the jobs are created by small businesses. They can't afford to provide health care or pensions or training. Parents are working. They're not at home.

We need to make sure government changes with the times and to work for America's working families.

You see, American workers need to own their own health care accounts. They need to own and manage their own pensions and retirement systems.

They need more ownership so they can take the benefits from job to the job. They need flex time so they can work out of the home.

All of these reforms are based on this conviction: The role of government is not to control or dominate the lives of our citizens.

The role of government is to help our citizens gain the time and the tools to make their own choices and improve their own lives.

That's why I will continue to work to usher in a new era of ownership and opportunity in America. We want more people owning their own home. We want more people owning their own business. We want more people owning and managing their own health care system. We want more people owning and managing a part of their retirement systems. When a person owns something, he or she has a vital stake in the future of the United States of America.

Did he just make me happier with his social policy than with his defense policy?

These are audacious changes he's proposing—but not as far-reaching as the let's-copy-Canada mindset of the Clintonian era, and not as cynical either. It's a new approach to a new set of societal issues, not twenty-year-old answers to thirty-year-old problems. And really, all it is is a distillation of philosophy: a philosophy that's never materially changed since 1789. Our lives are in our own hands—that's what makes us different. It's what makes us Americans. It's the very essence of our social contract, which—far more than the borders of the country or the language we speak or the color of our skin—sets us apart from every other country that's ever existed.

What Bush is proposing is a plan to modernize our thinking about such social needs as the flexible family, the small entrepreneurial business, and the pressure for affordable health care—and to do it, crucially, in such a way as not to undermine our personal independence as individuals. It's not a recommendation to just try here what's been tried elsewhere; it's an acknowledgment that not only have those solutions been shown to be very imperfect where they've been tried, but they're also designed in response to a world long extinct. To adopt such plans here, today, would be to declare 1970 the most perfect of all eras.

The solutions he's proposing wouldn't have made sense fifty or even twenty years ago; but they're aimed at the world of 2008, based on trends and projections. Now, I didn't pay particularly close attention to Kerry's speech; but I don't seem to recall him describing any plans for America that exhibited this kind of insight into and acceptance of social trends, or linked them so well with American ideals. All he did was try to appeal to our sense of shame (the old "the only advanced nation in the world which fails to understand that health care is not a privilege, it's a right" business). I can only conclude, then, that Kerry really doesn't have much in the way of insight or vision—just a vague idea to stay the course, smile a lot, and hope that's enough.

Cowboys don't smile a lot. They don't have to.

(Via CapLion, who has a non-Fisking of a lot more of the speech.)

Thursday, July 29, 2004
12:20 - AirPort Explosion

(top)
What? No, I mean the good kind.

Damien Del Russo writes to say:

Just thought you might want to know - I already know 3 people with Airport Express. When I got my iPod back in the day, it took about 2 years until I had 3 friends with an iPod (not I have about 6). Airport Express just started shipping and it is already popular! For one, I credit the iPod - more people are checking Apple products more frequently. I also credit myself, as I mentioned the device to two of the purchasers (LOL).

So what does this mean? Well, for one, it means I am not selling my stock. Beyond that, hell if I know! But I do suspect that the AE is a winner.

On Monday, Kris and I got an urgent smoke signal from our mole inside the Apple campus that the long-awaited shipment of 200 AirPort Expresses had finally arrived at the on-campus store, where the employees get discounts for themselves and their favored confederates on cool Apple gear (including hardware). This store tends to lag the regular retail channel in stocking new items, which stands to reason—Apple wants to get stuff into the hands of the retail customers, not the discounted employees. But finally, they were in stock, and right down the road. So off we jogged. Lo and behold, there they were: a whole display of them, right next to the front door, stacked up in their neat little blue-and-white boxes that look like they've got candy in them rather than networking appliances. Kris and I each picked one up, along with a connection kit (extension cord, analog and optical audio cables), and went home happy.

We happened to be over there again yesterday (Wednesday)... and the display was completely gone. Not a single unit left. We asked the clerk; he said all 200 boxes had been snapped up within a day. As we stood there, other clerks told customer after customer, stacked up in line, that the AirPort Expresses were, unfortunately, sold out.

This thing's flying off shelves faster even than the iPod did. I think Apple's figured out how to hit all the right notes—and they're riding the waves of customer demand, springboarding off each new interference crest with new toy after new toy, catapulting themselves into a lead like they've never enjoyed before.

I've noticed a problem, though: if you hook up the AirPort Express via the digital optical cable, each time you start a new track playing, you lose about one second's worth of sound—it's like the receiver has to waste a fair amount of time auto-synchronizing to the signal format, and the song cuts in about a second after it starts. (It doesn't happen if you hook it up via analog.) This is really ugly, and I've sent in a bug report to Apple—I hope it's something they can fix. I'm sure they can.


12:10 - Another bunch of jokes ruined
http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1091094922.shtml

(top)
Dean Esmay makes an excellent point over here, to add to the ongoing debate over religious/ethnic profiling in counterterrorism measures.

Events on the ground keep throwing our conventional wisdom into a cocked hat; we'd better be equipped to turn our policies on a dime, the way Israel does. We could learn a thing or two.


09:19 - Pettable Furniture

(top)
This is a dog who knows how to get comfortable:



He arranged those cushions himself.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004
21:16 - The groundwork's been laid
http://www.drunkenblog.com/drunkenblog-archives/000300.html

(top)
J Greely has unearthed a long, fascinating interview with Rich Wareham, a Linux geek who has written an OS X app called "Desktop Manager"; the whole thing is interesting primarily to geeks alone, but there's a little chunk in the middle that's germane to a discussion that Greely and I were having about Exposé, Dashboard, and the possible extensibility of the "layering" API common to both:

The hard bit, it turns out, is retrieving information about windows on screen and modifying them. As, perhaps, a 'security' feature Apple engineered it so that although modification of windows was possible it could only be done by the Dock. It is, in fact, the Dock which provides the Exposé function in Panther. To allow DM to modify windows I had to use a little but of code by Jon Rentzsch which allowed me to stick a bit of DM inside the Dock process (see later question). This bit of code communicates with the main app and performs much of the magic you see.

So Exposé isn't really a new API at all—it's an extension of the functions that were already present in the Dock. Which stands to reason, when you think about it: the Dock is a floating layer above the Desktop, which has 2D animation, native image-processing (scaling), transparency, and interactivity with both keyboard and mouse, as well as allowing dragging from the floating layer to the Desktop or other app windows and back. What's in Exposé that isn't covered by that?

Neato. These guys have thought it through pretty hard.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004
16:10 - John Kerry writes for the tech press
http://www.macdailynews.com/comments.php?id=P3096_0_1_0

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Under a pseudonym, of course: Paul Thurrott. A tech columnist who has made a name for himself blubbering sycophantically over anything Microsoft has produced (or suggested that it might one day produce—he once said in an interview that "Today, Windows XP and its task-based interface are far superior to anything in Mac OS X. In the future, Longhorn will further distance Windows from OS X. From a graphical standpoint, there won't be any comparison. As Microsoft revealed at the PDC 2003 conference, Longhorn is far more impressive technically than Panther") and bashing anything Apple-related. And now he's written what almost amounts to a fluff piece over Apple's new home media gear and how it blends with the Mac to form a user experience he finds worth making a burnt offering of all the under-the-table pay he'd apparently been getting from Redmond all this time:

In my opinion, there's never been a better time to support Apple. If you're interested in digital media, home networking, and personal computing, you should know that Apple's product line-up has never been stronger . . .

If you're tired of constantly updating your computer with security patches, afraid of launching email attachments, or fearful that simply opening Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) will expose your system to untold spyware maladies (which isn't far from the truth), I have a solution for you--the Mac. And, yes, Macs are a little bit expensive compared to that PC you're using. But as your parents might have told you, you often get what you pay for... Macs are more elegant than PCs, generally more reliable, and far less likely to succumb to an electronic attack largely because attackers don't target Macs but also because the Mac's underlying UNIX technology is so mature and well written... Sure, your software choices will be less plentiful than they are on the Windows side, and yes, you might suddenly find yourself advocating the Mac to friends and family as if you were the technological equivalent of a crusader. But that's the effect the Mac has on many of its users--the same combination of satisfaction and excitement that grips TiVo owners. There's just something right about a Mac... You won't be disappointed.

But, as Kris (who sent me this link) points out, the interesting bit isn't the article; this isn't Thurrott's first or only pro-Apple piece. And the interesting bit isn't this encapsulation and response to it in MacDailyNews. The interesting bit is the stream of very lively commentary that follows it; it's all worth reading and provides context, but none so much as commenter David Vesey, who says:

I don't think you people understand how the world of journalism works.

It's not unlike wrestling on television. A lot of grunting and groaning, but it's mostly fake.

Journalists need SOMETHING to write about, and it generally follows a formula. It's sort of like how the media treats celebrities like movie stars.

It begins with endless articles praising and building up the celebrity. The public, who wants to learn more about the celebrity, eagerly reads it. After a certain period of time, though, this becomes boring. Expected. Predictable. The journalist realizes that to grab the attention of the public it's time to reverse course. Now begins the tear down phase. The public is now offered many articles about the negative side of the celebrity, the problems the celebrity is having, etc.
This goes on for awhile until it's time again to begin building up the celebrity. The public, now expecting to see only negative press about the celebrity, will have its curiosity stimulated by a positive story offered to them.

Folks, I have news for you. When you watch one of those pundit shows on television where the conservative guest and the liberal guest yell at each other.. it's fake. It's Big Time Wrestling. It's ENTERTAINMENT.
Thurrott knows very well how we feel about his 'opinions' regarding the Macintosh. It was time to rile things up. Get some more clicks going.
ALL journalists and columnists aren't like this. But a large percentage are. A good example of a smart, honest, journalist is Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal.

Years ago he had many problems with the Macintosh line, and was outspoken about it. He would receive thousands of hate emails from Mac enthusiasts. His opinions never varied. But when Jobs came back to Apple, and the rise in innovation lifted Apple out of the gutter, Mossberg recognized it, wrote about it, and today is a true Macintosh fan.

Thurrott doesn't hate OR love Apple computers. What he is trying to do is earn a living and put meat on his table. He can't offer excellent writing, so he offers controversy.

He then follows this with two or three more posts along the same lines, which really help to reinforce a healthily skeptical viewpoint on any kind of journalism we read, whether technological, critical, or political in nature.

But as Kris then notes:

However, I think the ring masters controlling the media circus think they control the world beyond their big top. Makes one think...

Not to try to sound like anyone in particular, but indeed...


15:08 - A quandary
http://www.motorola.com/mediacenter/news/detail/0,,4505_3838_23,00.html

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iPods aren't content merely to ravage the world in their easily identifiable bodies; now they're conspiring to take over the hip holsters of every techno-geek in the nation, cell phone by cell phone, from the inside out.

ROSEMONT, IL and CUPERTINO, Calif – 26 July 2004 -- Motorola, Inc. (NYSE:MOT) and Apple® (NASDAQ: AAPL) today announced they are partnering to enable millions of music lovers to transfer their favorite songs from the iTunes® jukebox on their PC or Mac® , including songs from the iTunes Music Store, to Motorola’s next-generation 'always with you' mobile handsets, via a USB or Bluetooth connection. Apple will create a new iTunes mobile music player, which Motorola will make the standard music application on all their mass-market music phones, expected to be available in the first half of next year.

“We can't think of a more natural partnership than this one with Apple, the brand synonymous with easy-to-use, legal music downloading, and Motorola, the innovator in mobile technology,” said Ed Zander, chairman and CEO, Motorola. “Being able to transfer songs you’ve purchased from iTunes to Motorola mobile handsets expands the market reach for both of us and drives new revenue for customers, delivering an amazing music experience to millions of wireless users.”

“We are thrilled to be working with Motorola to enable millions of music lovers to transfer any of their favorite songs from iTunes on their PC or Mac to Motorola’s next-generation mobile phones," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. “The mobile phone market -- with 1.5 billion subscribers expected worldwide by the end of 2004 -- is a phenomenal opportunity to get iTunes in the hands of even more music lovers around the world and we think Motorola is the ideal partner to kick this off."

In other words, "Hey, Motorola, we still love you... no hard feelings about that whole abject failure to deliver a G4 replacement thing, eh? Well, now we're dishin' out the goodies, so line 'er up!"

Apple's like the neighbor who wins the lottery. Sure, you might still owe him his TV tray back, and there was that unpleasantness over the walnut tree last year; but heeey, buddy! That's all in the past now, right?

The only problem for me, though: I can't stomp on these cell phones when people whip them out in public, because there's iTunes in them. Curse them and their ingenious survival adaptation!

For some reason I'm reminded of Jack Handey's insight: "I hope they don't ever discover that lightning has a lot of vitamins in it; because do you hide from it or not?"

Argh. I am tired today.

UPDATE: More details at the Chicago Tribune, thanks to Steve W.


14:15 - Time for a little Mac-blogging
http://www.hardmac.com/niouzcontenu.php?date=2004-07-27#2557

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Because other stuff makes me tired and angry these days.

So how about this: the iPod mini on its release on Saturday at the Ginza (Tokyo) Apple Store!



1500 people deep, that queue is. Looks to me like Apple's managed to do to Sony what Sony did to the American electronics market in the 80s. Set and match!

Monday, July 26, 2004
10:29 - I feel a conspiracy theory coming on

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Why do I get this strange feeling that Margo Kingston and the Cow-Orker are the same person?


09:22 - Buy Our Crushed Dissent

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Yay. MoveOn.org has released a "Future Soundtrack for America", with songs from every band on the planet, whose sales proceeds will go toward a very deserving charity: helping defeat George W. Bush.

The album features a pretty amazing line up of artists: Blink-182, Bright Eyes, David Byrne, Laura Cantrell, Clem Snide, Death Cab for Cutie, Mike Doughty, The Flaming Lips, Fountains of Wayne, Jimmy Eat World, Ben Kweller, The Long Winters, Nada Surf, OK Go, Old 97's, R.E.M., Sleater-Kinney, They Might Be Giants, Tom Waits, will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are all featured. In addition, the family of Elliott Smith contributed a mix of "A Distorted Reality Is Now A Necessity To Be Free," a song from Smith's as-yet-unreleased last record, and the first release of new material since his death in late 2003.

Together, the songs present a passionate rallying cry for all of us to take our country back. Mike Doughty's song "Move On" hones in on the passion that drives all of our activism, singing "I love my country so much, like an exasperating friend." Tom Waits' contribution is a heartbreaking song about a letter home from a soldier in Iraq. R.E.M. takes on Bush and the war in Iraq, and They Might Be Giants (whose John Flansburgh pulled the project together) revisit a campaign song from the Presidential campaign of 1840.

You know what? You know how isolating this is? My opinion of some of these bands would be raised if I found out they were just doing this for the publicity.

No way is this the same planet that 9/11 happened on.

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© Brian Tiemann