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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12/31/2001 -   1/6/2002
12/24/2001 - 12/30/2001
12/17/2001 - 12/23/2001
Friday, April 22, 2005
15:19 - Trickle keepalive

(top)
While you're waiting for me to finish my pupation into some kind of hybrid human/keyboard sort of creature, here are some links.

Via BrianD: a genuinely good use of QuickTime VR—not the usual panoramas, but interactive models of simple mechanisms. Just click and see.

And hey, let's make it a two-fer: a genuinely silly use of $15. (Scroll to the bottom.)

Finally, via Kris, Kelly Martin of Symantec's SecurityFocus magazine writes in The Register to make some pretty audacious claims about Mac OS X and viruses: namely, that not only is there less malware on the Mac than on other platforms, there's virtually none. We might cluck and wag our fingers about the necessity of installing Virex or somthing to keep our Macs protected, but the everyday reality seems to be that if Windows users are generally way too blithe about viruses, Mac users are comically overcautious. The article's writer is hardly a person with a cavalier attitude toward security, or even to the fragile social interleavings that contribute to any given computing phenomenon including security breaches—and yet there it is. The thesis, outlandish though it sounds at first, is that there just aren't people who are Mac owners and who are willing to cause harm to Macs. There just isn't that destructive, vandalistic urge that people have who couldn't care less about the integrity and aesthetics of the system they're on. It makes more sense the more you think about it...

Unit sales of Apple Computer's OS X based computers grew by 43% in the past quarter, over the same time last year -- in business terms, that's incredible growth. Revenue grew by 70%, and profit grew by an unbelievable 530%, thanks to the little music revolution they call the iPod and the iTunes Music Store.

. . .

Why, then, are there no viruses for OS X?

Just as Windows users have become accustomed to 140,000 viruses, Apple users have become accustomed to none. It's a major cultural difference that admittedly, sometimes causes Apple users to do stupid things -- and get away with them. It's hard to describe the freedom of using a system with no malware known to have spread. It's liberating.

Beyond critical mass, I would like to believe there's a better reason for the lack of viruses on OS X, and it's based on the culture of the Mac -- which is distinctly different from other platforms. Is it wrong to try a new computer system and actually enjoy the user experience, for a change? Can you imagine a world where (today) you can click on anything and never worry about malicious intent? Can we not continue this unwritten rule that there can be a platform out there that is simple, easy-to-use, with Unix (and a cool ports tree) underneath that has no threat at all from viruses?

Perhaps I'm living in a pipe dream, but that reality is here today. Linux is also close, but OS X is already there. Perhaps Apple's big virus is really just the market enthusiasm that translate to new unit sales, spread like a contagion, that fuels their 70% year-over-year revenue growth.

And yet, as always, their stock tanks right after they announce these nosebleedy numbers. I guess I should take that as a positive sign: if AAPL is in the dumper, Apple's doin' great.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005
16:26 - Quoth the editor

(top)
Just now:

How quickly do you think you can write this book?

We have an opportunity to have this on promo this summer at B&N but the book
needs to be ready to ship to the customer on July 7th. To do that we will
need to maintain a very aggressive schedule and would need to have 100% from
you by May 16th.

Uhhhh.... huh. So if there's any doubt as to why blogging shall be light for the coming three weeks...

Tuesday, April 19, 2005
13:47 - Infinitude
http://www.flickr.com/groups/infinite/pool/show/

(top)
It's the Infinite Flickr Pool!



This is one of those uses of the Internet that would make Douglas Adams smile inwardly. Also, I don't know what the official number is these days for the percentage of Mac users in the market, but this slideshow seems to indicate that it's a severe underestimate.


12:29 - Who are you to resist it, huh? ...My children need wine!
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nf/20050419/bs_nf/33120

(top)
Awww. This is just precious. (Via Damien Del Russo.)

Microsoft's goal with the campaign is to make people rediscover Windows XP, the company's director of advertising for its consumer marketing group, Scott Lennard, noted in news reports.

The company has not released figures on how much the advertising campaign will cost, but did say it would be a global campaign covering television, print and online advertising.

Theme Park

The campaign will be focused around different themes in an attempt to draw the attention of broad consumer interest.

Themes include music, science, art, cooking, education, travel, gaming and sports. In the print ads, a person is shown with a window over the heart, with images like musical notes and instruments flowing out.

Each ad emphasizes how people use Windows XP to explore their interests, with the tagline "Start Something" as a unifying message.

I have to say that I rather like the Microsoft ads that show the kids and adults alone and dreaming of accomplishments, with the white chalk lines overlaid onto the scenes transforming them into the accomplishments made real. Those are some really nice, effective ads, if vague on the details of the role Microsoft actually plays in fostering people's ingenuity.

But this... well, it looks like desperation. "New Microsoft Ads Urge Users To Rediscover Windows XP"? This isn't the act of a company that's very pleased with how things are going, is it? If Windows XP can't speak for itself (anymore, if ever), an ad campaign can only be seen as damage control. It's described as "a 15-month ad campaign targeted to increase sales of Windows XP before the release of Longhorn"... which is now getting pushed back from "fall 2006" to "Christmas buying season of 2006", which I'd be surprised if they didn't miss as well.

"The OS platform for the next ten years" is how it's being touted internally now. And that's got to strike a few rueful wags as more than a little silly. After all, the time between major Windows releases has now crossed into the "five years plus" order of magnitude; is Microsoft saying that it only expects Longhorn to present a viable platform for as long as it takes them to come up with its successor? Sort of the opposite of the message I'm sure they meant to convey.

Meanwhile, Tiger is being released ahead of schedule, with many features that won't even be part of Longhorn when it ships (WinFS having been officially broken out into a later release). Apple's 18-month major release cycle means if they crunch, they could have another big cat out in the wild before Longhorn shambles from the gate...

And yet Apple doesn't have to drum up excitement for Tiger with ad blitzes. If the product is good enough, no ad campaign is necessary; if the product isn't good enough, no ad campaign is sufficient.

UPDATE: Hoo-boy. Via Kris: This kind of thing just keeps happening, doesn't it?

Microsoft so thoughtfully posted one of the new "Start Something" ads that's part of the new global awareness campaign for Microsoft Windows XP and invites users to click the image for high-res version.

Well, various MacDailyNews readers clicked to view the image, downloaded it and checked the file's info by using iPhoto's "Get Info" and other methods to view the file's EXIF information which shows it was created with "Adobe Photoshop CS Macintosh."

As one reader wrote, "Isn't it ironic? A picture launching their big campaign designed to steal the thunder from Apple - is made on a Mac!"

First WeHaveTheWayOut.com, Microsoft's anti-UNIX astroturf site, turns out to be hosted on FreeBSD (and now it's hilariously misconfigured); then Microsoft counters Apple's "Switch" campaign with an "I Switched to Windows" site featuring a "writer" whose likeness in the banner image was licensed from Getty Images. Now this. (Nor is that all—I could go on.)

Of course this kind of self-parodic incompetence won't result in any actual backlash from the consumer base—Microsoft knows this by now, which is why they allow it to keep happening. But if they're as spooked by industry trends (and Tiger) as the XP ad campaign would seem to suggest, perhaps they might like to look inward for reasons why their grip is slipping.

Monday, April 18, 2005
15:07 - Sentience is a deadly weapon that must be registered

(top)
J Greely has a good take on the rapidly-becoming-infamous Rattlesnake Anti-Defamation League signs that are just so very symbolic of urban Californian mentality as a whole.

I'd think it all has something to do with a vague little voice in the back of everyone's minds that says, "We're the privileged ones, therefore evil; so whatever happens to us, good. We deserve it."

I should mention, however, that the signs in my San Jose neighborhood warning of mountain lions and coyotes are nothing like this kind of theme-park daffiness. Maybe something about having our cul-de-sacs infiltrated and our cats devoured by such creatures gives us less of a sense of humor about such things.

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© Brian Tiemann