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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 8/26/2002 -   9/1/2002
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  8/5/2002 -  8/11/2002
 7/29/2002 -   8/4/2002
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  7/1/2002 -   7/7/2002
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 6/17/2002 -  6/23/2002
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  6/3/2002 -   6/9/2002
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 4/29/2002 -   5/5/2002
 4/22/2002 -  4/28/2002
 4/15/2002 -  4/21/2002
  4/8/2002 -  4/14/2002
  4/1/2002 -   4/7/2002
 3/25/2002 -  3/31/2002
 3/18/2002 -  3/24/2002
 3/11/2002 -  3/17/2002
  3/4/2002 -  3/10/2002
 2/25/2002 -   3/3/2002
 2/18/2002 -  2/24/2002
 2/11/2002 -  2/17/2002
  2/4/2002 -  2/10/2002
 1/28/2002 -   2/3/2002
 1/21/2002 -  1/27/2002
 1/14/2002 -  1/20/2002
  1/7/2002 -  1/13/2002
12/31/2001 -   1/6/2002
12/24/2001 - 12/30/2001
12/17/2001 - 12/23/2001
Saturday, August 21, 2004
07:13 - Back into the all-concealing shadows I go

(top)
Reminder: I'm on vacation until 8/30. For real this time.

Friday, August 20, 2004
14:38 - Is Kerry still here?

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It's been interesting getting caught up on the Kerry campaign goings-on in the three days I was gone. I got an e-mail from MoveOn.org lambasting Bush for "not condemning the Swift Vets ad while he himself had been absent from service during a period of his National Guard years" or some such. To the best of my recollection, Bush never even said anything definitive about the "AWOL" accusations; he just released some pay stubs and let the issue play out. But now all the accusations against him are taunts trying to get him to talk about issues that he has no reason to talk about, and which if he were to talk about them would likely deflate all the premises upon which the accusations are founded. MoveOn.org and its like have convinced themselves that Bush's National Guard service is just as important as Kerry's Vietnam tour, even though Bush has never even mentioned it as a campaign point and Kerry's done nothing but talk about Vietnam; now they're calling Bush a hypocrite for "attacking" Kerry (by saying nothing), which he isn't, on grounds that he himself "claims an advantage on" (military service), which he doesn't.

My guess is, Bush is just watching Kerry's tour schedule so he can be sure he's outside the minimum safe distance when Kerry finally goes nova.

When I get back home again ten days from now, I'm sure I'll have a lot to digest.


14:10 - Modern art
http://www.reason.com/0408/bagge.shtml

(top)
Wow.

Don't nobody miss Peter Bagge's homage to Modern Art.

I have a feeling I'll be forwarding this URL to a lot of people...


11:46 - Odds and ends

(top)
I just gotta say: the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport has got to be right at the top of the list of Most Excellent Airports that I've seen.

It's just opened what can only be described as a mall inside an airport; it's called "Northstar Crossing", and the usual concourse direction signs all but vanish amongst the brightly-lit stimuli of a familiar mall interior, featuring all the usual name stores from T.G.I. Fridays to Starbucks to full-featured bookstores. The main food court has a long, long plate glass window that faces onto the sunset, and we happened to be there just as the sun was setting; it streamed in over hundreds of happy diners and glinted off a stone waterfall on the back wall, under icons of the four seasons. I got a pre-wrapped deli sandwich that may as well have been marketed as a Caprese salad on focaccia; grilled chicken with fresh sliced mozzarella and ripe tomato and some leafy greens. All it needed was kalamata olives and some sundried tomatoes, and there you are...

The main concourse, too, was full of hip restaurants and lined with moving walkways as well as a tram that shuttled the length of the wing of the airport; just outside our gate there was a kids' play area, an interactive online demonstration of ethanol fuel, and an automat-like Bose Wave Radio demo kiosk, which not only let you test-drive the omnipresent device—but you could put in your credit card, which would unlock one of the doors in the display so you could take home your own unit.

That's right: you can now buy consumer electronics from vending machines. How's that for progress, huh?


Anyway: there's a great deal to be said, as I've increasingly come to suspect, for the small-town Midwestern life. People are born, live, work, marry, raise kids, grow old, and die in towns like Litchfield, Illinois not because they're stupid or provincial, but because they know they've got something good going on right there; traveling the world doesn't shake that conviction, it only reinforces a wisdom that those of us who leap impetuously into the urban unknown often lack. Sure, we might end up writing web browsers or becoming movie stars; but is that really any different an impact on the world, or more positive, than starting a ramifying family that spreads out from coast to coast, yet comes back home to Litchfield once all has been said and done?

Some of us bohemian intellectuals will consider it unfortunate that the much-celebrated sense of community present in these small towns is religious in nature. Whole towns, they'll sniff, full of people caught up in a mass delusion that lasts them their whole lives. Well, call it that if it makes it seem less threatening or more palatable, I suppose, or if you really enjoy finding reasons to look down on people. But seeing roomfuls of octogenarians all of whom know my name and whole life history, and "Ladies' Auxiliaries" producing tablefuls of food and desserts so that the family at the center of everything hardly has to take care of a thing, leaves one wondering exactly what some people's problem is. At least every one of these folks knows how to read sheet music, thanks to the hymnals. At least the kids learn how to be quiet and pay attention, without the aid of Ritalin. And at least it takes place in a nice air-conditioned building. What other function could draw so many people together for so many years, making everybody's kids into the kids of the entire town? If it takes a village to raise a child, it sure as heck doesn't take a suburb.


And I suppose I should mention that halfway between Litchfield and St. Louis, there's a very tall FREEDOM IS NOT FREE — VOTE BUSH 2004 billboard, and the landscape is dotted with barns painted with huge flags and slogans. Whatever motives or justifications one might ascribe to those who put these things up, I think—I think—that I do in fact prefer it to this:



That's the flag that appeared shortly after 9/11 on the hillside in the Sunol Grade summit on I-680, northeast of Fremont in the East Bay. It's quite inaccessible; someone would have had to drive down from Berkeley or wherever, get off at Vargas or Sheridan Road, trek up onto the hillside, climb a couple of fences, and do this. It takes a certain amount of dedication and self-assurance that what they're doing is right.

And it's been like this, in view of millions of motorists, without being cleaned up, for... how long?

This wouldn't happen in some parts of the country.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004
07:48 - Family Matters

(top)
And because it does, I'm going to be away from net access for the next three days, until Thursday night.

And after that begins my actual vacation, which lasts until 8/30. So I wouldn't expect too many entries until that day, if I were you.

I could use the sleep anyway...

Monday, August 16, 2004
14:41 - Of iPods and Stewed Market Share
http://daringfireball.net/2004/08/2004_wont_be_like_1984

(top)
John Gruber follows up his recent article on "parlayed" success and Apple's historical decisions regarding licensing in the PC market with another chapter, this time dealing with the iPod, the iTMS, and DRM.

The relevance to Apple’s 20-year-old licensing decisions is that nearly every mainstream media pundit who opens his mouth about the iPod — especially in the wake of RealNetworks’ Harmony announcement — has decided that Apple is, all together now, making the same mistake with the iPod that they made with the Macintosh.

I.e., that Apple didn’t license the Macintosh, Microsoft did license their operating systems, and that’s why Microsoft won and Apple lost. And now Apple is doing the same thing with the iPod and the iTMS.

I’m here to tell you this is utter bunk. Apple’s position with the iPod is significantly different — and much stronger — than their position with Macintosh 20 years ago. There are admittedly a few similarities, first and foremost of which is that both products are much better designed than any competing product. Second, uh, they both use 12-point Chicago as the system font. (Except for the Mini, which uses Espy Sans, the Newton’s system font.)

The gist of my parlay argument is that the biggest difference between Apple and Microsoft — and the biggest reason for Microsoft’s lucrative monopolies in operating systems and office software — is that Microsoft built upon their previous successes, and Apple did not. Windows parlayed off MS-DOS, and Office parlayed off Windows. The Macintosh didn’t parlay off anything.

There's lots more, including a fisking of a dumb USA Today article that uses a faulty understanding of history to inform a faulty prediction of the future. Like that's anything new.


13:22 - Credit where it's due

(top)
I've got friends (or, more accurately, friends of friends) who refuse to read any items from National Review Online, when directed there in an argument. After all, everybody knows how biased that site is—it's a freaky right-wing warmongers' magazine, right?

Funny, then, that Byron York of NRO has taken it upon himself to debunk the latest attack on John Kerry's credibility, the one about David Alston not serving with Kerry on his boat. Seems he did after all, if briefly. And York's article, while bringing up still more details that could stand clarification, is a model of what journalism is supposed to be: facts that answer questions, with editorializing kept to a bare minimum. Pretty good for an editorial.

Those wily wingnuts. What nefarious scheme will they come up with next?

Meanwhile, MoveOn.org is sending out frantic e-mails urging members to call on President Bush to denounce the Swift Vets' ad. It describes the ad as a vicious piece of slander, quotes a few of the vets' lines, and then demands that it be removed from the public eye.

Not a word, of course, to counter whether the vets' claims might be true. None are needed.

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© Brian Tiemann