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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12/30/2002 -   1/5/2003
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11/25/2002 -  12/1/2002
11/18/2002 - 11/24/2002
11/11/2002 - 11/17/2002
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10/28/2002 -  11/3/2002
10/21/2002 - 10/27/2002
10/14/2002 - 10/20/2002
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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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  7/8/2002 -  7/14/2002
  7/1/2002 -   7/7/2002
 6/24/2002 -  6/30/2002
 6/17/2002 -  6/23/2002
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  6/3/2002 -   6/9/2002
 5/27/2002 -   6/2/2002
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  5/6/2002 -  5/12/2002
 4/29/2002 -   5/5/2002
 4/22/2002 -  4/28/2002
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  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
Thursday, November 25, 2004
17:17 - Chicken butt

(top)
Ya know what? Ya know what?

I'll bet the word "Thanksgiving" originally had the emphasis on the first syllable. THANKSgiving.

Makes more sense that way, doesn't it? Retains a bit more meaning?

It's one of those little things—you wonder how exactly it would have changed over the years, and when, and according to what media of communication, and who would have noticed...

...Anyway. Yeah. Back to the festivities!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004
21:13 - Whaddya wanna bet....

(top)
...The public schools that decide to ban the Declaration of Independence because it mentions God will also be the ones to endorse Islam in the classroom?

Just an unsubstantiated hunch, of course. I'm sure there's nothing to be concerned about. (Stevens Creek School in Cupertino, huh? That's, like, a couple of miles from where I work.)

"We here at Japan Toy Company are very concerned about your ...concerns!"


17:54 - iPod Your Everything

(top)
iPod accessories a-go-go!

iPod your car!

The ice>Link Plus plays high quality music from your iPod through your existing car entertainment system's CD changer port. There is no longer a need for cassette adapters, cigarette lighter chargers or bulky FM transmitters. You can start enjoying crisp, clean CD quality music with charging and iPod control from your exisitng car entertainment system. Imagine having access to over 10,000 MP3s at the touch of a button. The sleek design of the ice>link cradle will compliment most vehicle interiors as if it were offered form the factory.
  When used wth compatible vehicle entertaiment systems, the ice>Link Plus starts and stops the iPod as you enter and exit CD changer mode on your car's entertainment system. Fast Forward, Rewind, Search and seek commands are passed to the iPod also - this is really great for vehicles with entertaiment controls. You can also select your first five playlists by selecting disk numbers 1-5 on your radio.

Better than the BMW solution, certainly! Now if only there were a better way to hook it up than splicing into the wires behind the dash.


iPod your house!

Sonance today announced that the iPort, its in-wall docking station for the Apple's iPod that lets the iPod's music play over any in-home audio system, will ship this month. Compatible with Sonance's full line of IR control systems, amplifiers and accessories, the iPort turns any room into an iPod concert hall. Sonance also announced a suggested retail price of $600. "The iPort is the first product that lets it slip seamlessly into a home audio system. It’s a great new accessory for existing multi-room systems as well as for new installations, in one room, or in every room of the house."

You know, this is precisely what I thought of doing as soon as the iPod first came out. I wanted to stick it into a sconce in the wall, in a central location like the hallway, tap power from the Romex going by, and pipe music into the rest of the house. I had all kinds of ideas for how to dock the thing (this was before the dock existed) to update the music supply, how I wanted to design the little shrine-like alcove for it... but it turns out AirPort Express is a much more elegant (and technically impressive) solution anyway. Still, if this Sonance thing makes a bunch of money, I officially now have a reason to grumble and listen intently to those Invention Submission Corporation ads on late-night cable. Yay!

Ah well. I begrudge them nothing. Apple's stock's up to $64.


10:02 - We coulda told 'em that
http://news.com.com/2102-1042_3-5465935.html?tag=st.util.print

(top)
Imagine that! The iPod might <gasp!> be driving Mac sales!
The popularity of the iPod could be boosting Apple Computer's financials in unexpected ways.

According to a survey of iPod users by financial analysis firm Piper Jaffray, Macs are basking in the reflected glory of the iPod, with some who own the music player saying they have already or are intending to ditch their PCs for Macs.

The research found that 6 percent of iPod users have made the switch. An additional 7 percent said they are planning to dump their old PC for an Apple machine, according to the survey.

Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray senior research analyst, said the iPod halo effect will make a difference to Apple for a while to come.

"We're in the very early innings of a multiyear trend," he said.

"Unexpected ways", huh? Someone hasn't been paying attention, apparently. The iPod did predate multiplatform iTunes, y'know.

It's refreshing to see this vindication of Apple's original iPod strategy, as voiced by Jobs and others when it was first introduced; Apple wanted to own digital music, and it was only later in the game—after the iTunes Music Store became reality—that it was realized that that plan would require Apple owning digital music on the PC as well as on the Mac. That move, putting iTunes on the PC (and bringing out other products, such as AirPort Express, as platform-agnostic devices), was seen by a lot of Mac people as an unpalatable compromise, and a poison-pill to the original intent of the iPod: to force people to by Macs for the best digital music experience.

But those with the unquestioning faith in Jobs held out that even the convenience of having full iTunes/iPod support on Windows wouldn't kill the potential of attracting Switchers. I personally know at least a couple of people who have bought their first Macs even after owning an iPod on Windows; these are people who have wanted out of Windows for a while, and the iPod—even though the user experience is meticulously identical on Windows, admirably so for Apple—acts as a catalyst for that move. "If the iPod/iTunes combo is this good on Windows," goes the reasoning, "just think how a whole platform like this would be." And so far nobody's been disappointed.

I've also seen a couple of people go Mac in a big way in the past couple of weeks: one friend has bought a G5 desktop and a new PowerBook, along with AirPort gear and software; and a co-worker, who has gone back and forth from Mac to Windows a couple of times in his career, has just converted his whole household to a Mac environent, with a new G5 iMac and a couple of iBooks (plus AirPort and an iPod or two). Apparently his move was as much fueled by his kids nagging him for Macs as by his own desire to switch; and that, the winning-over of the younger generation, is the coup Apple's been seeking for years. If that's the success the iPod has scored, then Apple's struck a critical hit. And considering that I just saw a Piper Jaffray analyst's recommendation for AAPL stock jump from $52 to $100 for the 12-month period, it looks like people are noticing.

From the original story:

While Apple might see a healthy period ahead, to turn the advantage into long-term gain the company has to keep setting the design trends, according to the analysts.

"They've got to keep that 'cool factor' going," Munster said. "If they don’t, they're in trouble."

Riiiight... like from Creative, I suppose, who's decided that the way to win a "war" against the iPod is to spend $100 million on marketing. Not new or better products, mind you—more marketing. The stuff that worked so well for BuyMusic.com and Rhapsody and the New Napster, huh?

Sure, Apple shouldn't get cocky. But it's hardly like they're sitting on their laurels. Now they're reaping profits from things like the U2 tie-in, and just in time for the holiday season...

Tuesday, November 23, 2004
17:29 - The Magic Kingdom
http://www.apologiesaccepted.com/gallery.html

(top)
This is getting plenty of play. The picture at the top, with Harry van Bommel, makes me wonder just how superior a political system is where mop-topped metrosexuals who showboat on Internet forums get elected to Parliament, compared to our system of ossified rote where at least nobody's allowed to sneeze on camera without his political career screeching to an abrupt halt.

But my favorite is this one:



"Come to Fantasyland! We have magic castles and rocket cars and free vacation all year long!"

The world can be divided pretty neatly along the line of those who think having "the maximum of paid holiday" is a desirable feature of a country, and those who realize why it might not be so win-win.


15:47 - You too?
http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playlistId=30923368

(top)
iTunes has this new monstrous $150 Every U2 Song EVAR boxed set available now. Interesting presentation in the Music Store; as a set of albums, its listing shows every component album as an expandable list. That's a lot of songs to scroll through.

But the notice that was sent out (by Apple) to all iTunes customers, announcing this item, touted its liner notes, album art, booklets, and other print features—all parts of the physical boxed set. Not, presumably, of the downloadable version.

Or is it? At the band's iTunes page is verbage for the product: Along with the music, The Complete U2 includes a digital booklet with album art, track listings, and band commentary. And it's only available on iTunes.

Does this mean iTunes is finally beginning to branch into downloadable products comprised of other digital assets than the bare music tracks themselves? It's been a medium just itching for such an expansion—PDFs, videos, printable items, all sorts of things that don't even have to conform to the necessary format to fit into a box. The only sticking point has been how to protect them from piracy, if that's a concern. I guess it's at last been decided that it's not worth worrying about.

That's all to the good. If the iTunes music-buying experience is missing anything, it's the presence of premiums and "extras" for the customer to be able to paw at and feel make a particular purchase "special". DVDs have had all their extra features for a long time now, and they've taken on a life of their own, with DVD producers falling all over themselves to out-premium their competitors. It seems it's finally time for the music industry to follow suit.


15:34 - Windows Moment of Zen

(top)
Boy, I haven't done one of these in a while.



Meditate on the meaning of the mystic words "Always On".

Seriously: I am getting waaay sick of having to dig into the Display settings on every lab machine to prevent the CRT monitor from shutting off and then taking five minutes to warm up again when I come back to it. If I want my monitor to shut off by itself, I'll choose the "Shut Off Monitor By Itself" power scheme, not the default "Always On" one.

(You know, it's oddly refreshing to be able to get back to stuff like this, finally...)


15:03 - We love the Leader
http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/index.php?id=364

(top)
Why did I think it would be fun to take a moment out of my day to look at the Floating Fat Man's page?


"When was the last time I have seen a president on a billboard? What is going on? Didn't Saddam Hussein have his picture up everywhere? What next, a statue?"

(From a letter to the Orlando Sentinel, quoted on Moore's front page.)

Do these twits really not understand the difference between a dictator decreeing that his grinning likeness be publicly posted, and a group of citizens choosing and paying a commercial billboard owner to put up such an endorsement?

Sigh. Of course they do. But they know some people don't.

I wonder how they feel about themselves, knowing that the readers whose support they're cheaply angling for are the people who are swayed by bald misleading analogies and who don't read fine print.

Ah well. I think maybe I'll get me a copy of this for Christmas.

UPDATE: My friend Gerrit writes:

As a German, this produces associations I don't quite like
as 'Our Leader' translates to 'Unser Führer' in German.
Now, I know that those associations are not justified,
but a lot of people around the world who had a certain
kind of 'leader' in their past (or still have one) will
look at this and start to wonder what's going on.

The fact that this billboard was not put up by the
Government but by private citizens or corporations
(The one in Orlando seems to have been done by
'Clear Channel Outdoor') will not really change the
impression they are getting. Even if they are told
this is not Government sponsored.

While the intentions behind this might have been
good, I think the people who paid for this didn't
quite think it through.

Well, granted. I'm sure they realized they were just asking for whatever willful misinterpretations people would have; I don't doubt that the whole purpose of putting that message on a billboard over a freeway where all kinds of people have to look at it is intended primarily as a way to rub salt in the wounds of the ones who lost. Certainly I can understand their reactions; I think the thing's rather unseemly, myself.

But I also suspect that the asymmetrical warfare of propaganda goes both ways; all the letter-writer and Michael Moore have to do is tell people that what they saw on the freeway is no different from what was common in Saddam's Baghdad, and the gullible or thoughtless ones will believe it. An ingenious counterstroke? An unfair cheap-shot? Depends on how you look at it, I guess.


08:45 - They're still at it

(top)
There aren't quite so many propaganda opportunities for the members of the Ar-Rahman list to capitalize on these days; but such as there are, they're still jumping on them:

Assalamu Alaikaum

The video footage of US Marines killing unarmed civilian in a mosque in Falluja.

http://www.ogrish.com/attachments/2004/11/16/ogrish-dot-com-marine_shoots_wounded_pow_video.wmv

Wasalam
Your brother
Haffeez

"POW" is not the same thing as "civilian", bucko.

Not that I expect anyone on the list to point this out or anything. Man, am I ever getting tired of this.

Monday, November 22, 2004
13:49 - Here Comes the Flood
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/21/magazine/21OHIO.html?pagewanted=1&oref=login

(top)
This anonymous clan of slack-jawed troglodytes has cost me the election; and yet if I were to have them killed, I would be the one to go to jail! That's democracy for you.
—Mr. Burns


This is an excellent eight-page exposé on Election Day in Ohio, from the perspective of the ACT group canvassing for Kerry votes; it follows the precipitously changing attitude throughout the day as it became clear that the millions of dollars and the super-high-tech campaign coordination techniques had somehow failed to dictate the election's outcome. The article leaves the reader with a sort of pitying smirk toward these well-illustrated individual personalities who were so sure they'd win; yet there's something very telling about it, in the way it treats the other side:

This effort wasn't visible to Democrats because it was taking place on an entirely new terrain, in counties that Democrats had some vague notion of, but which they never expected could generate so many votes. The 10 Ohio counties with the highest turnout percentages, many of them small and growing, all went for Bush, and none of them had a turnout rate of less than 75 percent.

For Democrats, this new phenomenon on Election Day felt like some kind of horror movie, with conservative voters rising up out of the hills and condo communities in numbers the Kerry forces never knew existed. ''They just came in droves,'' Jennifer Palmieri told me two days after the election. ''We didn't know they had that room to grow. It's like, 'Crunch all you want -- we'll make more.' They just make more Republicans.''

I've heard this over and over: the ominously intoned they. The idea that what the Democrats were fighting against isn't people, or fellow citizens, but some kind of unholy force of nature—as implacable as a hurricane, and as mindlessly destructive. There's never any attempt to understand them, or to reach out to them—only to either scare them straight, or outvote them. I have yet to hear a single Kerry-voting friend or acquaintance acknowledge that anyone might vote Republican for any reason other than fear, hatred, or stupidity. Doggedly though I've tried, it seems that the more I ply someone with reasoned and documented analysis that I think is sound, the more it convinces them that I'm nothing more than a terrified and irrational flunky who would rather blow up the Earth than see a poor black person afford a new car.

I think the moral is that time is the only remedy for this wound. Well, that and not blowing up the Earth, I guess. It's too bad that that doesn't go without saying.

Via Dean Esmay, who also has this interesting post on the potential merits of letting the various States go their own way on the issues that divide them, seeing which ones come up with the best solutions independent of federal uniformity. (Reagan was a big believer in this principle, I recall...)


09:45 - Puritan libertines
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/11/22/BAG7S9VIKS1.DTL

(top)
These guys are generally thought of as having freedom and personal liberties at the top of their priority lists, right? The overriding reason why "liberals" call themselves "liberals" these days, isn't it, is that they're fighting for people to be able to do whatever they want with their lives—whatever kind of sex they like, whatever kind of drugs they want to take, whatever kind of dogma they wish to entertain?

Well, if I didn't know better, I'd say these folks were aspiring to inherit the mantle of the Puritans. We already know what they think about whether we should eat fast food, whether we should eat meat, whether we should breathe the words "Merry Christmas" around the Winter Solstice, whether we should say the wrong thing about the wrong race or sexual subgroup. And here's what they think about our freedom to drive the vehicles of our choice:

Amid hundreds of new cars, prototypes and sparkling antiques, the Hummer SUV was the center of attention Sunday for a group of zero-emission supporters at the 47th Annual San Francisco International Auto Show.

Carrying signs that read "Dumm and Hummer" and singing songs like "Drive a Hummer, What a Bummer," about 60 demonstrators gathered outside of show at Moscone Center to demonstrate against American dependency on oil.

"I'm doing this because I have a 15-year-old son who I don't want to send off to war just so that someone can drive a Hummer," said Kirsten Moller of San Francisco.

Even beyond the pathetic and dogged adherence to the "blood for oil" argument, even at this late date where all that stolen oil still hasn't driven down gas prices much that I can see, the underlying self-righteousness of this action and the insatiable need to make everything into another example of war and oppression and environmental death is just really starting to grate. We can't even go to a car show anymore without having to entertain these people's fantasies.

How is it that we can live in the age of the least human suffering that there has ever been in history, the most wealth spread across the globe, the best race relations, and the smallest gap between the richest and the poorest living conditions, and not only does chronic outrage among the perpetually angry not evaporate, it gathers to itself new strength every day?

Yeah, I know the academic answers to this question. We've spent the past three years rubbing our chins over it. But, you know, damn. I always considered myself a righteous environmentalist atheist intellectual, pretty much all my young adult life. But these people make me want to burn a tree for Christ.

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