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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Sunday, October 17, 2004
22:52 - Now spell out those signs by lying naked in fields
http://timblair.spleenville.com/archives/007772.php

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This is the must-see of the day: Tim Blair's tour of the latest incarnation of moonbat delusions of relevance.

Be sure to follow every one of the links in his updates, too. It just gets better and better.

Saturday, October 16, 2004
00:08 - He had a better camera anyway
http://www.macobserver.com/gallery/miniopen

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Here's where I was this morning:



That's me dead-center in the fourth picture, in the black shirt and blue shorts, taking a picture of Kris. Apparently the Mac Observer photographer was the guy with the big camera hovering around us at the front of the line all morning. It wasn't a huge crowd as these things go—only a couple hundred attendees in line—but they did run out of shirts well before noon.

The new stores are pretty cool; not practical at all in a lot of ways, such as the white epoxy Air-Force-One-hangar floor that gets all scuffed up after even ten minutes of use by people with street shoes. And there are no G5 Power Macs or eMacs; this is an "iPod store" more than anything else, which makes sense given that the iPod is becoming as much a brand identified with Apple as the Mac is.

The self-serve kiosks are quite slick, except that the main POS screens don't appear to have been completely coded; instead of a welcome screen directing customers to swipe their barcodes in front of the laser thingy on the right, it has an esoteric-looking "POS" application that's clearly only for employee use. I guess they'll probably fix that soon; everything else about the kiosks is far too well-designed (when a transaction requires keyboard and mouse input, those items slide out on a tray from the wall where they're hidden). And the computers throughout the store all have newly done display software—four icons in the middle of the desktop that lead to schedules for in-store demos, product info, Genius Bar scheduling, and so on. Plus some new iChat/iSight demo apps that are launched from a Finder folder window with a customized background image that makes it look like a launch menu, just like that feature is intended to be used. Clearly there's been a lot of effort put into this launch.

After getting our t-shirts, Kris and I headed from the Oakridge mall up to the Stanford store in Palo Alto; man, is that ever a swanky mall. The store was pretty much identical, except it fronted onto an outdoor walkway with lots of landscaping; and after a few minutes in the store, we ran into a guy who'd been in line with us back at Oakridge. We weren't the only ones who'd decided to spend the morning Apple Store hopping. A good time was had by all.

Then we saw Team America, after which experience I'm going to forever revel in every single movie review by people who hate it because of its content—these are guaranteed to be reviewers who loved Fahrenheit 9/11, and if to them the movie is "just a little bit too America F--k Yeah! for comfort"—well, good. It's not supposed to be "comfortable". It's a movie... and it's pro-War-on-Terror. I know that DOES NOT COMPUTE, DANGER WILL ROBINSON, but sometimes life throws us these little mysteries. Consider it a test of character.

On the way home from the theater, at the corner of Almaden and Blossom Hill (two major thoroughfares in southern San Jose), all four streetcorners were occupied by a concerted group of people smiling and waving to traffic under Bush/Cheney 2004 signs. To my great startlement and delight, there was an almost unbroken chorus of honks from passersby, and smiles all around; these guys were clearly having a great day. And one sign, which I wish I'd thought to snap a picture of, had an extra handwritten message: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

I honked my car's brains out.

Friday, October 15, 2004
01:51 - Ooooo
http://www.thinksecret.com/news/0410photoipod.html

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Then again, I suppose some features are just too tempting not to put into an iPod.

The new iPod, which will sit at the top of Apple's fourth-generation line-up, will pack Toshiba's new 60GB 1.8-inch hard drive, a 2-inch color liquid crystal display, iPhoto synchronization, audio/video-out capabilities, and will sell for $499.

The 2-inch color screen is identical in size to other iPods, but will sport a higher resolution for photo viewing. However, the new device's real shining feature will be its video-out port, which will enable users to tote their photo galleries with them, ready to be plugged into any television for big-screen viewing.

The 60GB iPod will feature only rudimentary built-in software for viewing photos, with no editing tools, sources say. Photo albums will be navigated in a similar fashion to music playlists, and a slideshow feature will provide transitions with user-specified background music, similar to iPhoto. Synchronizing features similar to iTunes will also be added to iPhoto.

Yikes! So we're talking about "cube" transitions to go, huh? And album art, too—I guess that one's a no-brainer.

It just sounds so weird when you first hear it—but then, on further reflection, it all seems so obvious...


15:07 - Apple Store mini
http://www.apple.com/retail/

(top)

So this is the new look for the Apple Stores—or, at least, the six new "mini" stores opening across the country tomorrow at 10:00.

Look at this. Look at this. There are no hanging lights—the ceiling is one big light. The floor is made of white epoxy. Every other surface is laser-cut, bead-blasted stainless steel panels. Like a big G5.

iPods along the left, Macs along the right; further back is iPod gear (left) and Mac gear (right), as well as a credit-card kiosk where you can check out your own purchases. Presumably this cuts way down on the number of employees they'll have to have per store; these mini-stores will be much less of a "hangout" kind of place, with no Genius Bars (or a much truncated version) and no theaters. These are a much more utilitarian, getcha-in-getcha-out sort of thing. Whisk you through the line to get your iPod, move along, next please! I guess that's a necessity in today's high times.

Oh, and best of all—one of the six new stores will be in the Oakridge Mall, just a few miles down the road from me! It's my own neighborhood Apple Store, and I'll be there with Kris at 10:00 tomorrow morning to see the thing for myself. As with most things Mac, photos just don't do 'em justice. (Trust me, you don't know what the new iMacs look like, if you haven't played with one up close.)

Oh, and there are other Bay Area locations opening up, including one at Stanford (just a few blocks from the existing Palo Alto store) and another in Santa Rosa, for me to stop off at on my way to visit my folks at home. The rest seem to be in the New York City area, primarily.

Dangitall, I can't keep up with this company anymore!


14:09 - Until Then
http://www.clermontyellowribbon.com/untilthenflash.htm

(top)
Excellent Flash-based photo-log done as a tribute to our troops in Afghanistan. Definitely a must-watch.

It's the kind of thing that, while you're watching it, makes your brain suddenly flip over to the protesters and naysaying intellectuals, and you involuntarily think, Oh, just shut the HELL up.


13:45 - Say it with me now: D'oh!
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996541

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NASA, NASA, NASA... we've got to stop meeting like this.

Sensors to detect deceleration on NASA's Genesis space capsule were installed correctly but had been designed upside down, resulting in the failure to deploy the capsule’s parachutes. The design flaw is the prime suspect for why the capsule, carrying precious solar wind ions, crashed in Utah on 8 September, according to a NASA investigation board.

The sensors were a key element in a domino-like series of events designed to release the parachutes. When the capsule - which blazed into the atmosphere at 11 kilometres per second - decelerated by three times the force of gravity (3 Gs), the sensors should have made contact with a spring.

"It's like smashing on the brakes in your car - you feel yourself being pushed forward," says NASA spokesperson Don Savage.

The contact should have continued as the capsule peaked at a deceleration of about 30 Gs. Then, when the capsule’s deceleration fell back through 3 Gs, the contact would have been broken, starting a timer that signalled the first parachute to release.

"But it never made the initial contact because it was backwards," Savage told New Scientist.

The sensors, which are estimated to be less than an inch (2.5 centimetres) wide, were apparently installed in a circuit board in the wrong orientation - rotated 180° from the correct direction. But the problem stemmed not from the installation but the design, by Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Maryland.

"They still have to find out why that design error was not caught," says Savage. The mission's Mishap Investigation Board will continue to investigate the problem.

This from the same people who brought to you Mars Climate Orbiter: Here Comes the Metric System!

I can't help but sense a common element here. Is it just me, or is Lockheed Martin not doing the best job at keeping its image clean in recent years?

You know, when our QA processes in the software industry are all modeled upon the space program as the paragon at the far end of the price/performance spectrum, we seldom take into account the overriding prevalence of human dopeyness that manifests at crucial times. Like when you learn all about contour integrals but forget how to do long division. Or when you have to stop and squint for a moment before you really have a clear picture of which direction the Earth rotates: Okay, so the sun goes down in the West, so it spins... uh... right-hand rule... carry the one...

...Or is that just me?

UPDATE: Ow. My brain.


12:53 - Let them eat white raisins in gin
http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=13166_Heinz_Kerrys_Raisin_Theory

(top)
You know, if this election were to be decided on the basis of the First Lady candidates (instead of, say, on the basis of the candidates' daughters), it'd be a landslide of volcanic proportions. Like, of the 80-20% variety.

I mean, when it's a choice between "honest, loyal, and sweet" and "rich and totally gibbering insane", what can even a Dan Rather do to spin it?

(...For that matter, what is it that we as a country have against nominating any Presidential candidates with male children? I mean, what gives?)

Thursday, October 14, 2004
23:17 - END OF LINE
http://www.muchosucko.com/video-onereallylongline.html

(top)
I doubt there will ever be an Apple Store line as long as the one at the Ginza, Tokyo store.



Judging by the various clues, there were over 2000 people in line—and it was well over a mile long.

And in the rain.


13:39 - Google fills the void
http://desktop.google.com/

(top)
Dean points to Google's apparent attempt to fill in for Microsoft's backing-off on its promise to bring full-text/criterion-based searchability to Windows, with a desktop add-on called Google Desktop Search. It lets you sift through e-mails, your browser cache, your text and Office files, all with Google-style searches.

Granted, it's Windows-only; no Mac version apparent. But that's okay... we've got Spotlight. Which is everything that Google seems to be promising, and more...


11:44 - A JibJab Well Done
http://news.com.com/Passing+the+JibJab+presidential+test/2008-1026_3-5408402.html

(top)
CNet has an interview with the duo behind JibJab, the darlings of the political Flash-cartoon world.
So that's where the animation style used in "This Land" and "DC" comes from?

Yeah. Even though it has chop jaws, I think it looks great.

(The puppetlike jaws are) also a part of the joke, and that's what Evan and the guys do. They understand the limits of the technology and make that part of the joke. It's crude, but the art looks great, and the crudeness is part of the joke.

We could use Flash to make perfectly fluid, Disney-quality animation, but it's just that bandwidth and processor constraints come into play. Even with "DC," we ran into a lot of constraints. It has a lot more animation than "This Land," in terms of movement. And processors can choke if you don't have a newer machine.

These guys really can animate well... and as South Park proved long ago (and continues to re-prove every week), there's a real place for talented animators in the world of paper-cutout and puppet-jaw cartoons. I still believe, for instance, that more emotional subtlety is conveyed by the little one-second twitch of Saddam Hussein's eyes as he unconvincingly says "I love you..." to Satan in bed in South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut than in any full half-hour episode of Father of the Pride.

I think Trey & Matt, the Brothers Chaps, the Space Ghost-derived clip-art shows on Adult Swim, and the JibJab guys are all really blazing a new trail here; while traditional feature animation is floundering without a champion, they're showing us that if the writing is good and the heart is solid, you don't even need your animation to look like it's rotoscoped on ones. You can make your stories "read" just as well with a pair of scissors and some construction paper, and create the "illusion of life" just as satisfyingly.


11:24 - I have misplaced my pants

(top)
Aarrgh... this is going to drive me absolutely bonkers.

I'm positive that in the past 24 hours, somewhere, I saw a mention (by a commenter in a blog, most likely LGF or Tim Blair by the visual style I remember) of one of those "fever swamp" discussions on Democratic Underground or IndyMedia, where people were talking seriously about leaving the country if Bush gets reelected.

I remember that the person pointing out the discussion commented that someone in the thread had noted that he hadn't seen any Republicans anywhere talking about leaving the country if Kerry gets elected. Apparently this mystified the DUer in question.

I'd predictably have some things to say about this, but I can't find the original reference, even using Safari's feature of archiving an organized list of all the sites I visited yesterday. So all I'm left with is a confusing third-generation piece of hearsay. Tarnation!

Anybody happen to see what I'm talking about?
UPDATE: Kenny did:

I think it's quite telling how one of the DUs notes how they don't see discussion on conservative bboards of leaving if Kerry becomes president. That's because we think all other countries suck (apologies to foreign readers... and pity). Where would we flee to that has even a tenth of the grandeur of America? Even with Kerry as president and Democrats controlling both Houses of Congress, they couldn't ruin America if they tried. Americans kick ass, and they will for all my lifetime. If the fire that is the American spirit starts to fade, there is no retreat. This land is the battleground from freedom in the world, and, while there is a drop of the blood in my body, I will reside in the front lines of the fight for civilization as we know it.

Of course, the battle would be easier if we deported all the whiners.

Yeah, I shoulda known it was Frank J.

The point, though, stands: ought we to be deferring our opinion to those Americans who threaten to become huffy expatriates if the election doesn't go their way, or those who believe the Republic will survive even a President we don't agree with?

The former group is fond of becoming indignant over their patriotism being questioned, too. If you ask me, it's beyond question.


09:09 - iPod + FM transmitter + bumper sticker = rolling radio station
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/News/story?id=150022&page=1

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My, my. What won't those wacky iPod owners do?

Lynch, 31, is one of a handful of iPod owners using the device to transmit FM radio stations from their car. He uses a bumper sticker on the back of his fender that reads "iPod @ 89.1 FM" to let passers-by know how to tune in.

"Every now and then I get someone who flashes their lights or I get a wave as I turn away," said Lynch. "It's just fun."

. . .

Once a friend suggested using a bumper sticker to advertise the frequency on which he was transmitting, Lynch was off and running. He became his own mini-pirate radio station.

"For four car-lengths around me was this little bubble of — me! Whatever I wanted to listen to! So I could be listening to Chris Rock talking about dating and meeting women in a club and then the next song go straight to Neil Sadaka."

Of course Apple can't advertise this as one of the iPod's selling points. But it's not like that's stopping anybody. This market may just get away from them...

Now, technically, you could do this with any MP3 player. But that would be un-American!

With more than 3.5 million iPods and iPod minis sold, Apple's pocket-sized marvel is still in charge of the digital music player market. But they may also be the victim of their own success as other electronics manufacturers, such as Sony, Rio and Creative, rush to get their piece of the digital music pie.

But don't bother telling Lynch about the next generation of players.

"We all should have iPods," Lynch said. "As an American, you should have an iPod."

Watch for international sales to drop precipitously following this remark.

Lynch says that due to the iPod's simplicity, portability and accessibility, Apple has found that perfect niche between doing too much and doing too little. Rival devices may win praise, but not from him.

"Every month CNET.com releases a new news story for the new 'iPod killer.' It's like, OK, it weighs more than the iPod, it's bigger than the iPod, the screen is bigger than the iPod, you know, everything is bigger. It'll drive your car and record your television — but nobody's buying them, because nobody's doing that," he said. "You have to get into their life, you can't add to it."

He also believes that iPod tweakers and accessory manufacturers have just scratched the surface when it comes to innovation.

Lynch says iPod fans should "hang in there — because next month, there'll be a way to make a margarita with the thing!"

That may be the key right there: the iPod is the techno-geek equivalent of the Chevy small-block. Simple, but not too simple; expensive, but not prohibitively so; durable as all hell; and infinitely tweakable by a million wrench-heads in their garages who all want to soup it up into something it was never intended to do.

Apple has always maintained a vision of people using their computers and gear a certain way—you find and launch an application this way, you burn a CD this way—and their original vision for the iPod was no different, with a single function that it was designed to do well. They could have turned it into a Swiss army knife on their own, as all the other manufacturers seem to be trying to do, on the assumption that that's what will put them over the top; but feature-richness isn't what's made the iPod what it is. Simplicity is... and the option to make it into whatever you want. On top of the satisfaction of ownership comes the satisfaction of customization and individual innovation... and what could beat that?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004
17:12 - I knew it

(top)
Idle curiosity will kill me one day.

It's what drove me to seek out the episode reviews on gotfuturama.com, to check into what other people had said about the Futurama episode with the absolutely most unforgivable ending ever: "Jurassic Bark". The one with Fry's fossilized dog.

And wouldn't you know it—while throughout the episode guides to all the seasons in the entire series the typical episode had about 70 or 80 reviews from users, this one had 761.

Largely saying things like:

This episode is what's making me visit the site. I've always watched Futurama but seeing this ep. made me love it. I did start crying thats why i was so compelled to just go ahead and type futurama into google and see what i got. Im embarressed to say but yeah this made me cry too, i really wish i didn't cuz its a damn cartoon and supposed to be funny but damn it, i cried.

and

I came on to this website through google because of this episode too. Amazing episode.

and

Don't watch the ending with a dog nearby, though. Mine put her head on my arm just as the credits rolled, and it finally broke me. Damn dog, why must you make me cry?

...And so on. Looks like I'm anything but alone here.

I guess it's all part of the Futurama writers' tendency to dabble in storylines that unexpectedly turn poignant in ways that Simpsons episodes never did. This was a trend that was becoming more pronounced in the later seasons particularly; other notable episodes that left the viewer staring at the screen thinking, Oh, not fair, not fair at all were the one with the holophonor opera and the one where Leela's in a coma, both also in the fifth and final season, and the earlier seven-leaf clover episode that seemed (along with a few others) to have inspired and encouraged this quirk of the show's writing. Naturally, all of these episodes have abnormally large numbers of reviews on the site.

People aren't used to sitcoms that spend twenty-one minutes building you up with humor, then in the final minute tear you down and leave you a blubbering mess—and then don't defuse it with a final joke, even. I don't know if that's a contributor to why Futurama got cancelled—its core audience, geeks, don't tend to be the emotional sort, or susceptible to schmaltz—but it certainly tells me that the writers had something good going on. They knew what they were doing. And I hope they get right back into it in the renewed run that Cartoon Network is sponsoring, resurrected on the strength of all those DVD sales.

In the case of "Jurassic Bark", though, it's like they were establishing the far end of the emotional-ending spectrum, giving a sign like God after the Flood to tell us that they'd never go quite this far again.

I sure hope not. That ending is just not fair. Not fair at all.


16:04 - Better add this to the ol' sidebar if Kerry wins
http://www.ericsiegmund.com/fireant/archivesmt/001231.html

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If we're interested in avoiding "nuisances", that is.

Full-size version at the site linked above.


13:32 - His Elf-Friends at Halliburton
http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2651184

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Damien says that this is going to be "gigantic", and I do believe he's right. It is, after all, #1 on the comedy listings at iFilm right now: Fellowship 9/11.



Brilliant. No other word for it.


13:11 - Any color you want, as long as it's white (or small)
http://www.macnn.com/news/26592

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Microsoft's making the best of a bad situation here:

Microsoft yesterday officially launched its MSN Music Store, offering both praise for Apple iTunes, while calling the system "closed": "iTunes has done a great job of helping to elevate the [digital music] market," said Christine Andrews, lead product manager of MSN. "We're different because Apple is a closed system. If you want Apple, you have to use the iPod. A lot of people want choice and we offer that." In response, Apple touted its 92-percent iPod marketshare for drive-based players and 65-percent marketshare for all portable players (including flash-based devices), saying that the "iTunes Music Store, with its catalog of over 1 million songs, works with 65 percent of all MP3 players and 92 percent of all hard-drive based music players being sold today. There is a lot of customer choice happening today, it's just that Microsoft doesn't like the choices customers are making."

Apple has the headroom to have fun with this stuff. I sure can't blame them for being a little giddy these days. And it is fun to watch Microsoft squirm a little for a change.

I'm sure it won't last forever... but then, the iPod has broken pretty much all the rules so far.


11:43 - It's not even creative
http://billhobbs.com/hobbsonline/004689.html

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I remember when the image featured in the poster Bill Hobbs points to here was circulating through message boards; I believe I have a copy of it dating back to around 2000, probably originating on Fark or Something Awful or someplace similar.

It used to say "Arguing on the Internet is like running in the Special Olympics". Now it's been cleverly updated to "Voting for Bush is like running in the Special Olympics," complete with a Bush face plastered over the kid's. Everything else is unchanged.

I though Democrats were supposed to be the creative ones? ... To say nothing of the sensitive ones...


11:14 - No Votation With Representation
http://timblair.spleenville.com/archives/007735.php

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Um, Guardian readers? Kindly keep your grubby hands off our voters, thank you very much.

We have come up with a unique way for non-Americans to express your views on the policies and candidates in this election to some of the people best placed to decide its outcome. It's not quite a vote, but it's a chance to influence how a very important vote will be cast. Or, at the very least, make a new penpal.

It works like this. By typing your email address into the box on this page you will be sent a name and address of a voter in Clark County, Ohio from the most recent publicly available voters roll. You may not have heard of it, but it's one of the most marginal areas in one of the most marginal states: at the last election, just 167 votes separated Democrats from Republicans. It's a place where a change of mind among just a few voters could make a real difference.

Writing to a Clark County voter is a chance to explain how US policies effect you personally, and the rest of the world more generally, and who you hope they will send to the White House. It may even persuade someone to use their vote at all.

Look, I know you guys are feeling left out. I know you're mad that you're not being allowed to take part in what you rightly see as a very important election.

But we've fought wars over stuff like this before.


10:57 - Let me put it this way

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I guess I'm a three-issue voter, because this election, I want the outcome to do the following three things:

1. Empower our military psychologically by making them feel that a mandate from the American people is firmly behind them

2. Spite Michael Moore, all his Hollywood toadies and college-age sycophants, and France

3. Make the terrorists crap themselves on November 3, not dance around whooping and firing into the air in celebration

I have a hard time seeing how electing John Kerry would make any of these things happen, or how electing Bush would do anything but. Yet very little else matters to me right about now.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004
17:01 - Bet they didn't plan on that one
http://ojr.org/ojr/glaser/1097614994.php

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Heh. "Podcasting".

While satellite radio will always have limited appeal due to the monthly charge, podcasting offers a free way for you to create your own radio station on the fly each day, listening when you want. Satellite radio services have been loathe to allow people to record their programs due to copyright concerns. XM Radio threatened legal action against the maker of TimeTrax software, which lets users record satellite shows on MP3s.

But Reuters reported that XM is planning its own TiVo-like devices soon that will allow users to pause and rewind live satellite broadcasts. Plus XM has a deal for streaming its programming onto the next generation of TiVo television recorders.

Still, podcasting goes much further, giving listeners full control over what they listen to, depending on the available RSS feeds. Basically, you need a portable MP3 player -- not necessarily an iPod -- Apple's free iTunes software, and the new iPodder software. The latter is an open source application, birthed by Adam Curry, the former MTV VJ, blogger and serial entrepreneur now based in Amsterdam.

Curry runs the iPodder site, which includes a nascent directory of podcasting feeds with everything from music to news to audiobooks. So far, the selection is weighted to technology radio shows, and it sometimes seems as if a small group of people are just listening to each other.

"So this morning, here in my hotel room, I listened to the latest edition of Adam Curry's Daily Source Code, Dave Winer's Morning Coffee Notes about the open-sourcing of Frontier, and a conversation between Adam and Dave about all the above, iPodder, Trade Secrets Radio and much more," wrote Doc Searls in his Weblog about his new fascination with podcasting.

What a strange name "iPod" must have been when someone first proposed it at some meeting. And yet its genius seems to be that it doesn't tie it down to any one particular function... and so we have a whole new vocabulary.


16:45 - POWER5 Talks
http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/cpu/POWER5.ars

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Here's the interview (via Steven) that Ars Technica's John "Hannibal" Stokes conducted with Pratap Pattnaik, the project manager for IBM's POWER5 CPU, the successor to the chip that spawned the PPC970 (aka G5).

Lots of red meat for the microprocessor geeks out there; but of course the inevitable thrust of the questions was whether this puppy would ever show up in Macs.

As I fully expected, Pattnaik could not discuss a possible workstation-class derivative (read: Apple-oriented derivative) of the POWER5. He also made it clear that he is and has been focused on POWER5 servers only, and any hypothetical workstation-class derivative of the design would be for someone else to discuss.

Nonetheless, he was very explicit about on one thing: a single-core POWER5 derivative for the workstation market will not happen, because single-core for any market but laptops is pointless from here on out. The entire industry is going dual-core across all market segments, so there is no possibility that POWER5 will be stripped of one core in order to be sold as workstation chip. Any workstation-oriented derivative of POWER5 would be dual-core from the get-go.

I want to make clear, of course, that the above comments do not in any way constitute a statement from IBM that a dual-core POWER5 derivative is in the works. From Pattnaik's perspective, these comments amount to stating the obvious, i.e., no one who takes a realistic look at where the industry is going should expect a single-core POWER5 derivative, because everybody's doing dual-core.

Interesting perspective from inside the industry; given all the setbacks that traditional CPU design has run into over the past year or two, one wonders what path it'll all go down next...


15:52 - Safari-Happy Website Hall of Fame

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There are certain sites out there whose authors have just become so enamored of Safari and its CSS support—including such things as alpha-blending in layers—that they've broken out from the consensus of web design compatibility and begun catering wholly to their Mac-using audience. It's not anything that's particularly proprietary that they're doing, either; it's just the compositing features that are part of open web standards, but that IE just doesn't support. Now that browsers like Firefox and Opera are beginning to crack open IE's seemingly impermeable lock on the market, people don't see it as the implacable arbiter of all things Web that it once was.

Three sites for incurable Mac-heads, that one just shouldn't bother looking at with IE, unless one wants a freak show:

  • Concept House. Check out the curved layers with their drop-shadows. The sub-page for the "Fluid" screen saver has a severely awesome color scheme and text profile.

  • Panic. Cabel Sasser is the archetypical Mac nerd; just look at his sense of humor wrought throughout the product info pages on the site. And don't forget to use the drag-and-drop feature to download the apps on the main page. It even works in IE on Windows, but it's ugly without proper alpha blending.

  • Delicious Monster. These guys are still preparing their blockbuster Delicious Library, and in the meantime they've put together a beast of a site. So much so that if you even try looking at it under Win/IE, it blocks you out. They support all kinds of browsers—just not IE.

    Word is that the IE team has reconvened in recent months, after being dissolved ever since the release of IE6, in order to put together a new release (presumably to roll up the myriad security fixes and, hopefully, to try to implement some more CSS stuff). There's been very little noise about this, though, and it's unclear whether sites like these are likelier to become pariahs in their stubborn incompatibility, or the vanguard of a new breakaway school of web design.

    Any other sites to rank with those? I'm sure there must be lots.


  • 11:32 - Nothing's more infuriating than an enigmatic smile
    http://cartagodelenda.blogspot.com/2004/10/bush-got-game.html

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    Matteo has posted a followup to his earlier "What's Bush's Game" post, mentioning my response and Bill Whittle's "Deterrence" and tying them all together as they seemed to converge through serendipity.

    At issue is the whiplash we all got from the contrast between the Bush of the first debate and the Bush of the second one: from bewildered, tired, and out of his league right to the dynamic, arm-waving, joke-popping ringleader from Thursday. Maybe he just stayed at a Holiday Inn Express on Wednesday night or something. Or it could be the "poker metaphor" we've seen a number of times, coming back into play:

    In 1994, during the Texas gubernatorial campaign, it is my understanding that Bush simply stuck to his guns, being his polite and friendly self, not responding to negative attacks from the incumbent, Ann Richards. Out of frustration that she wasn’t having an impact on Bush or his campaign, Richards finally made a public statement in some venue or other that “George Bush is an idiot!” This immediately swung the election in Bush’s favor and he never looked back. Ah, that was a kindler and gentler era!

    . . .

    There will be ironies if the Democratic Party and left manage to destroy themselves during this election. They could have looked at the overall strategic situation and said “You know, we lost the roll of the dice on this one. Bush was President during 9/11, we’re at war, and it is more important to support the President than to win an election. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. Americans get tired of having one party in the White House after awhile, and we’ll get back in there. For now, let’s run a decent campaign, like Dole did in 1996, and be as helpful as we can to assure victory in this war.” If they’d done this, they’d probably have a great shot in ’08. If there were agreement on the importance of victory, ’08 would come down to a choice of personality and domestic policies. But, alas, the Democrats prefer a failing (I hope!) kamikaze attack.

    I'd really be impressed if this were all demonstrably part of a plan. Somehow I have to imagine that a lot of it is dumb luck and faith (which, hey, are important in poker too); but if the real Karl Rove strategy here is to let Dubya stand there silently grinning like the Master Chief and wait for all the irritating but ultimately harmless little Flood globule-guys to hurl themselves ineffectually against him until they explode with fury yet do nothing but get him all sticky (while not wasting any of his ammo), then I'll have to defer to a better campaign planner than I could ever be.

    Once this is all over, it'll be one of those periods in history that I would just love to be able to revisit in a time machine and see how it would have turned out if things had been run just a bit differently. Like, for instance, if they were to run this attack ad...

    Monday, October 11, 2004
    01:43 - The third debate will be "open-mike" style
    http://www.thewavemag.com/pagegen.php?pagename=article&articleid=25026

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    Seanbaby, writing in The Wave, has evaluated Bush and Kerry and rendered a judgment based on which one's the better comedian.

    Bush ranks pretty close to zero out of ten by his estimation... but he comes off way better than Kerry does. And rightly so, judging by the Kerry/Letterman Top 10 list that he alludes to. Yikes, those are some groaners. Quite leaving aside the "Halliburton BAD!" and "Ashcroft destroy Constitution!" memes, which are rather disturbing in themselves, knowing that a potential future President is spouting them; it's also quite eye-opening in that this is how Kerry aims to win Americans' hearts through comedy.

    I'd love to have seen Seanbaby cover this ongoing train-wreck of a joke in this article... not to mention Thursday's "Need some wood?" quip. I think they'd have skewed the numbers a fair bit further.


    21:33 - You will be assimilated
    http://campjinx.pictureshowfilms.com/bls/leonard/im_fight.html

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    Ahh, the dangers of the all-Mac household.



    But all ends in happiness and hugs. As you knew it would.


    21:01 - JibJab's got company
    http://www.flowgo.com/funpages/view.cfm/5809

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    Woo-hoo! This one's not quite as lavishly produced as the JibJab shorts, but it's still a laugh riot, I think. Go see.


    18:28 - PseudoPods

    (top)
    Creative is pressing the attack, sort of. Ew.

    And so is Dell:

    Although Dell is the clear winner in PC sales, Apple has "something Dell covets: dominance in the digital-music-player business. And it's likely to stay that way for a while longer. Last October, Dell launched a hard-drive-based digital-music jukebox aimed squarely at the apple of Jobs's eye -- his best-selling iPod hard-drive digital (HDD) music player. The Dell DJ player undercut the iPod slightly on price. Reviewers generally liked it, calling it 'the iPod killer.'" The BusinessWeek article notes that new "refreshed" models may be on the horizon to help spur sales during the holiday season and that a significant percentage of customers who are buying the DJs are first-time customers to Dell.

    You know, it's getting so that the phrase "iPod killer" is a kiss of death: all a pundit has to do is utter those words, and the subject of adoration is instantly sentenced to the grave.

    The iPod had an 82 percent share of the market in U.S. retail stores in the 12 months ended in August, up from 64 percent in the same period a year earlier, and 33 percent two years ago, according to Port Washington, New York-based NPD Group Inc.

    Sales of players that use computer hard disks as storage, like the iPod, will increase almost fivefold to 10.4 million units this year from 2.1 million in 2003, according to In- Stat/MDR, a market researcher based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Devices that play MP3 digital music files will surge to 52.4 million units by 2007, up from about 18 million this year, In- Stat/MDR said.

    With all those iPod killers out there, it's a wonder the beleaguered Apple is still in business!


    17:36 - Can't have that
    http://money.cnn.com/2004/10/11/news/newsmakers/sinclair_kerry/index.htm?cnn=yes

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    Just remember: free speech is what people have who speak out against Bush. People who speak out against Kerry, well, they must be silenced.

    Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of the largest chain of television stations in the nation, plans to air a documentary that accuses Sen. John Kerry of betraying American prisoners during the Vietnam War, a newspaper reported Monday.

    The reported plan prompted the Democratic National Committee to file a complaint against Sinclair with the Federal Election Commission.

    Sinclair has ordered all 62 of its stations to air "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal" without commercials in prime-time next week, the Washington Post reported, just two weeks before the Nov. 2 election.

    . . .

    "We have received thousands of e-mails, people outraged by the very idea a company like Sinclair would direct stations to air a partisan film," said Wes Boyd, founder of political watchdog MoveOn.org.

    "If they do air a partisan film, we'll challenge the FCC and the licenses of the local stations that broadcast the film because local stations have a responsibility to the community to air real news, not partisan messages," said Boyd.

    Yeah, Wes. You just keep standing on your principles, there.

    Lance says:

    Did the Democrats complain about Farenheit 9/11? or about the timing of
    its DVD release (and associated advertising)?
    Did the Democrats complain about Dan Rather's use of "60 Minutes" to
    spread forged propaganda?
    Did the Democrats complain about widespread bias shown by tthe vast
    majority of media outlets?

    But now, when a single media chain announces plans to broadcast a movie
    that questions them, they cry "foul".

    The DNC lost its right to complain about media bias a long time ago. And
    they certainly must have contempt for the average voter if they feel that
    the audience makes up its mind based on movies... on the other hand, given
    their behavior, I'd say that the DNC -does- have just such a contempt, and
    -does- use movies and media manipulation to sway those stupid,
    knuckle-dragging vote-puppets.

    I've said it before: if, deep down, you harbor the suspicion that "Middle America" is composed entirely of stupid people whose vote should be feared rather than welcomed, then you have no respect for—or belief in—democracy. Democracy isn't just some easy-cheese default state where everybody agrees with one another in happy harmony; it's a very precarious condition of human governance that depends on the ability of people with wildly differing values and backgrounds to respect each other's voices to carry exactly the same weight, irrespective of how much each party feels the other is "entitled" to express it. If you don't believe in that principle, then you're an elitist who probably rolls your eyes at the very concept of "democracy" being peddled to other countries, and probably harbor thoughts like Well, maybe democracy doesn't really suit Those People or Hey, if a dictator provides free education and health care, then I like that dictator.

    In which case, go right ahead and vote: I won't stand in your way. Heaven forbid winning should outweigh my desire to set a dogged example in these trying times.

    Just get outta my way when it's my turn to vote. And no whining about "partisan films". It's a little late for that.


    09:52 - Um...
    http://mdn.mainichi.co.jp/waiwai/0201/020106moms.html

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    Would it be too terribly unfair of me to say that Japan has problems?

    An old article, but...

    UPDATE: Then again, I often find that I have no idea what kinds of things are controversial in other countries. Sunday shopping? What century is this?


    09:41 - It is accomplished

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    Finally! After all this time, I think I can officially declare my master suite "completed".



    At least the sitting-room half of it, anyway. The shelves are now in place on either side of the arch doorway, and there's a corn stalk plant in the corner where it'll hopefully be able to benefit from indirect light all day long, at least during the winter when I can keep my curtains open. And the armoire is done; all my shirts are hung up now, Mom. No more draping them all over the back of the couch. Which means the couch is now useful as, well, a couch. What with the finished bookshelves and the new peace I've made with that table as a TV stand (all the A/V components will fit just fine up the left-side stack), I can start entertaining in here for real.

    Yeah, this is pretty silly as a subject for discussion. But this project has taken a while, and I'm very satisfied indeed.

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    © Brian Tiemann