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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Friday, March 17, 2006
13:45 - Correction
http://www.variety.com/VR1117939918.html

(top)
Trey and Matt for Super-Ultra-Mega-President.

"So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!"

The duo signed the statement "Trey Parker and Matt Stone, servants of the dark lord Xenu."

This is in response to Comedy Central's backing down from re-airing the "Trapped in the Closet" Scientology episode because Tom Cruise threatened to withhold MI:3 advertising, as detailed in this Variety article, which is the Link of the Day judging by how many people have sent it to me and how many places I've seen it.

Aside from Scientologists, I can't help but wonder if there's a person in the country who doesn't see this whole thing as an unalloyed victory for Trey and Matt. They've come out of this smelling like roses, and their targets/plaintiffs just look pathetic and petty and insane. Not to mention that the episode in question turns out to have more topical than it was originally intended to be. "Trapped in the Closet" was their equivalent of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons—a dare to the fanatics of the world to prove they're mature enough to take a joke... and lo and behold, they're not.

Too bad Comedy Central has taken on the role of the appeasing EU. If we won't stand up to Scientologists, we certainly won't stand up to the Islamists when they come a-knocking.

Thursday, March 16, 2006
17:43 - I must only use this power to annoy
http://philly.metro.us/metro/local/article/DiMeo_sues_Web_site_owner/1484.html

(top)
Hey, this oughtta be good: a legal challenge to that law they passed last year outlawing "annoying" anonymous message board postings.

The reason it'll be good? The defendant is Tucker Max.

I'd love to see this reach the Supreme Court.


09:54 - Congrabulations. You graduated!
http://www.tuaw.com/2006/03/16/winxp-on-a-mac-contest-is-over-dual-booting-success/

(top)
Looks like the "Boot Windows XP on an Intel Mac" contest is over, and the $13,000 prize has been claimed. Propz to da winnarz!

What devastating impact will this have on Apple's fortunes? Not much, I have to imagine; this can only help the switching situation, as it eliminates the need for someone to tote around two laptops or use Virtual PC if he has some particular Windows app he can't live without or if he wants his library of games. (Virtual PC might still be useful if just to minimize rebooting.) It's not like this is going to result in millions of people rushing out and buying Macs just so they can stick Windows on them; and even if it did, that'd be just hunky-dory for Apple, as the hardware is where they make all their margins, and a Mac with Windows on it would be non-warranty and wouldn't suck up any support money. With all said and done, I don't think Apple really lost any sleep over whether the hardware could run something other than Mac OS X. (They certainly never minded people putting Linux on Macs, after all. Apple sales reps even had to endorse that it was possible, when they sold Macs on the Caltech campus back in the G3 days. Otherwise they'd never have sold any to the geek student body. Must have been galling as hell.)

The related question, as Steven Den Beste posed in e-mail, is whether the reverse operation will be widely possible: running Mac OS X on generic Intel hardware. This is where Apple will have tried its level best to lock OS X to Macs only; there are certainly a lot of people out there who would love to get their hands on an installable copy of OS X and not have to buy a Mac. Now, I thought I'd seen that this feat had already been achieved; I seem to remember someone building a PC from off-the-shelf parts that happened to match the motherboard and other hardware used in the Transition Kit machines that were available prior to the Intel Macs' release, and successfully booting OS X on it. I don't know if Apple has tried harder to lock down the released machines harder than the kit machines were, or if it's accepted that this barrier has already been breached, or if people think it's impossible for some reason, or if they just don't care; but there doesn't appear to be a contest for it with some big purse corresponding to the Windows-on-Mac one.

Whatever the story, I don't think Steve's pacing the floors over this issue either, because the people who would hack together a PC built from components supported by OS X's limited set of drivers and perform the necessary gyrations to get OS X running on it aren't the kinds of people who would have bought a Mac anyway. They certainly won't be corporate installations or non-technically-inclined publishing or graphics professionals. Apple's high-flying digital video business won't have to worry about production houses suddenly building new render farms from off-the-shelf Wintel parts carefully chosen to mimic a Mac and slipping a single $129 copy of OS X onto the whole rig. For that amount of hassle—and really, about that amount of money—they could just buy Macs and get real support for their trouble.

Besides, it's not like there's going to be any perceptible performance advantage to running OS X on something other than a Mac, now—something that might have been a concern if the Intel Macs ran at the same objective speed as the PPC-based hardware. Now, if it's for the same software (say, Photoshop), any incentive to ditch Mac hardware but keep Apple software is pretty much rendered moot.

In the end, this will probably end up being a curiosity and not much more. People attracted to the Mac's selling points aren't going to be deterred from their purchase by the dubious pleasure of hacking an OS X box together themselves—at least, not in the numbers that matter to Apple.

That said, this purports to be a very well-reasoned essay on why Apple shouldn't ever sell OS X for generic hardware. Not that anyone has argued that they should (aside from clueless market analysts and Michael Dell). But the site is currently down, so I'll have to check it out later.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006
13:34 - Go Go Gadget Petition!

(top)
Here's MoveOn.org's latest:

Dear MoveOn member,

Since yesterday afternoon, when we launched the petition, over 200,000 of us signed up to support Senator Russ Feingold's call to censure President Bush for his illegal wiretapping. Now, Republicans are on the attack—Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) even accused Feingold of "siding with the terrorists,"1 and the Republican National Committee is mounting a petition against him.

We've got to work quickly to show other senators and the media that hundreds of thousands of us support Senator Feingold and the rule of law. So, we're increasing our goal: we want to get 350,000 signers by the end of the week. Can you sign our petition asking Congress to censure President Bush for his illegal wiretapping?

http://political.moveon.org/censure?id=7043-396431-aogvV6_K1cXmy92d8RjGuw&t=1

And can you pass this on to friends and family and ask them to sign, too? If we reach our goal, we'll personally deliver your comments to your senators to show them how much this issue matters to their constituents. And we'll send all 350,000 signatures and comments to Senator Feingold to show our support for his leadership.

Now all they have to do is get some Democratic Senators to agree.

UPDATE: Neat! Look what they just sent me now:

Subject: Thanks for signing our petition!

Dear friend,

Thank you. Your name has been added to the petition and your comments will be delivered to your senators and representative.

Your senators need to hear from you right away. It's unclear how many of Senator Feingold's colleagues will stand with him in this important fight. Can you call Sens. Feinstein and Boxer and ask them to join Senator Feingold in defending our Constitution and the rule of law? Your call will show Sens. Feinstein and Boxer how much this matters to people in their state.

Only I did no such thing.

How many people are really signing their petition? Or are they just adding random signatures for people? You know, just to help out? Because they know their subscribers are busy people and all?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006
22:55 - Tall tale
http://dailyscorecard.blogspot.com/2006/03/manute-bols-people-slaughtered-in.html

(top)
When he was a teenager, Sudanese Dinka tribesman Manute Bol killed a lion with a spear. Then he came to America and became an NBA superstar. And then his life started getting interesting.

MANUTE BOL SPENT HIS ENTIRE FORTUNE TRYING TO SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THE NORTHERN ARAB ISLAMIST INVASION - SPENT TIME IN SUDANESE PRISON ONLY TO ESCAPE BACK TO THE US AS A PENNILESS REFUGEE.

Looks like this (via evariste) ought to be getting a fair amount of play, and perhaps it has a hook that just might catch some significant attention from the population at large.


22:33 - Eine Kleine Cognitive Dissonance
http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=19640_Moonbat_Photo_of_the_Day&only

(top)
You know, I wonder if it has occurred to these charming folks that the only reason there are still people in this world marching in uniform through city streets and waving signs with giant swastikas on them ...is them.


14:33 - I hear roast goose goes well with golden eggs
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1937183,00.asp

(top)
Way to go, France:

PARIS (Reuters)—France is pushing through a law that would force Apple Computer Inc. to open its iTunes online music store and enable consumers to download songs onto devices other than the computer maker's popular iPod player.

Under a draft law expected to be voted in parliament on Thursday, consumers would be able to legally use software that converts digital content into any format.

It would no longer be illegal to crack digital rights management—the codes that protect music, films and other content—if it is to enable to the conversion from one format to another, said Christian Vanneste, Rapporteur, a senior parliamentarian who helps guide law in France.

Naturally, everyone who doesn't have an iPod is hailing this as a great advance—and I'm sure all the WMA-based music stores are pleased as punch because then they'd get access to the iPod and wouldn't suffer any hardships as the result of the law that's obviously aimed at Apple and only Apple. But what's going to happen is that iTunes will have to pull out of France, or else integrate automatic WMA/WMV/MP3 download conversions into the purchasing process, neatly torpedoing the iTunes/iPod symbiosis advantage that has made the product combination so wildly more popular than anything else.

Consumers didn't have to choose the iPod and iTunes. They weren't forced into it by any lack of viable alternatives, either hardware or software. They chose, like rational human beings in a commodity market, to pick what they perceived as the superior product. And now that superiority is going to be rendered moot by law.

What will these lawmakers do for their next trick? Demand that Mac OS X run on Windows PCs? Force SD-based digital cameras to take CompactFlash cards? Require website developers to make their content available in every known human language (especially French)? Burn down every house whose owners ever heard Beavis say "fire"? Gee, I sure hope so, because as a beatific George Lowe said on ATHF, "By following the rules, you're guaranteed to make a mediocre product that no one can relate to."

Leave it to well-meaning do-gooders flying banners like "fair trade" and "level playing field" to rob the world of the great things that companies like Apple can accomplish when left to their own devices.

Kris adds:

There is one aspect of the French mandating the transportability of songs from iTunes to non-Apple players that I have not seen discussed in any of the sites or any one's commentary... switching DRM schemes. Music downloaded from iTunes is encrypted with your iTunes account information. To play the music your computer is enabled with keys authorized and downloaded from iTunes.

If Apple were to use WMA DRM then they would need to license the encryption and either hand Microsoft the account information to manage (not bloody likely) or manage all that themselves and be tied to Microsoft software (also highly unlikely). And conversely, all the other music stores would have to license iTunes DRM and all the encryption/monitoring/managing software from Apple. And this says nothing about all the hassles of integration with thousands of me-too music players. All of this can not be restricted to France. It would go worldwide in nanoseconds once the companies have it.

Or they could allow the music to be switched to nice and DRM free MP3 or Ogg (extremely unlikely - can you say Arr?).

Or Apple turned off iTunes in France (probable).

Or the legislation will sink to the bottom like the Charles de Gaul's propellor (most probable).

I guess what it'll come down to is whether Apple—and any other music sellers who fall through to the MP3 solution in lieu of trying to license each other's DRM schemes—can lobby France's parliament better than the legislators can make the case to themselves that they're acting in the people's best interests.

Surely there have to be some French politicians with white earbuds hanging off their heads...


13:02 - Truth, Fiction, and Relative Strangeness
http://www.ipodobserver.com/story/25957

(top)
How hilarious is this? Turns out that that "iPod if it were packaged by Microsoft" parody video that made the rounds a little while ago... was actually made by Microsoft.

Microsoft spokesman Tom Pilla on Tuesday confirmed with iPod Observer that his company initiated the creation of the iPod packaging parody video that was first reported last month. "It was an internal-only video clip commissioned by our packaging [team] to humorously highlight the challenges we have faced RE: packaging and to educate marketers here about the pitfalls of packaging/branding," he said via e-mail.

Suddenly I have the bizarrest surge of respect for Microsoft's marketing department.

Via Chris.

Monday, March 13, 2006
16:27 - A teaching moment
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/11812699/

(top)
A lot of us saw this coming, but the timing is pretty excellent.

NEW YORK - Isaac Hayes has quit “South Park,” where he voices Chef, saying he can no longer stomach its take on religion.

Hayes, who has played the ladies’ man/school cook in the animated Comedy Central satire since 1997, said in a statement Monday that he feels a line has been crossed.

“There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins,” the 63-year-old soul singer and outspoken Scientologist said.

And Parker and Stone, over to you:

Stone told The AP he and co-creator Trey Parker “never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology. He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin.”

It is left as an exercise for the alert reader to substitute the names of certain other religions that might or might not be in the news lately.

So, hey, Europe: here we've got a neat little cartoony microcosm of where your appeasement politics will get you, and of the ignominious end that the noble and tragically doomed ideal of freedom of speech will meet if criticism of beliefs and ideas is stifled. Hope you're comfortable with the path you're on, because it might well be too late to turn back.

Meanwhile, Trey and Matt for President.

Via evariste.

UPDATE: Today's lunch discussion contained a proposal that maybe Iran should publish cartoons denigrating Scientology. Then we could all just sit back and watch the fun!

UPDATE: More from Ann Althouse, including this interesting tidbit from "Fresh Air" in 2004:

[A]ctually with Chef--Trey and I were doing all the voices, and we actually--me or Trey wanted to do that voice. We were going to be like, 'Hey, what's going on, children?' and just kind of do that voice ourselves. And we were going to pitch it down, so it was really, really low, like an older black man's voice, how they can just be really, really low. And we wanted to do it ourselves. At the time Comedy Central was like, 'You can't do that.' And it's kind of true in a lot of Disney cartoons and a lot of other cartoons, they won't let their gender--Their gender?--race specific with the voiceover; they won't allow a white person to do a black person's voiceover. They probably don't care the other way. But at the time they were like, 'You know, you need to have a black person do this.' And we were like, `Well, you know, we have this character who sings all these soul songs.' I was like, 'Why don't we get ...(unintelligible)?'

Nowadays, post-Team America, Trey and Matt can voice whatever racial caricature they want to. I'm starting to think Chef isn't going anywhere soon—and he might just get better than he ever was before.

Lesson to those who would cry blasphemy, then: You can be voted off the island.


11:09 - Aaaah! He's got a board with a nail in it!
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=49224

(top)
Well, this is probably nothing, yet again. But I just can't help but notice that this is the first time in a pretty significant while that anyone's bothering to point to such a "last warning" with anything more than the bored cynicism with which we've all become so good at affecting when we consider possible terrorist attacks.

If al Qaeda had the ability, wouldn't they have done more than a couple of train bombings and nightclub attacks since 9/11? They're apparently busying themselves trying to create a civil war in Iraq (which, despite the media's best attempts to demonstrate to us that it's inevitable, such as the poll I saw over the weekend that said 70% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats think an Iraqi civil war is imminent, does not appear to be occurring). And haven't their empty threats over the years far outnumbered their actual successful attacks?

Every time I hear something like this, I remember the following immortal words:

``The Americans must know that the storm of airplanes will not stop,'' the Al-Qaeda spokesperson, Mr. Suleiman Abu Ghaith said. He was speaking in Arabic in a pre-recorded message broadcast by the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite television, almost a month after hijackers rammed passenger jets into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.

"Storm of airplanes". Doesn't that sound like the words of someone who didn't even know what attacks his own organization had planned or was capable of? For all he knew, there was a "storm of airplanes" in the works. It sounded to me then, and it sounds to me now, like he learned about 9/11 by reading the newspapers just like the rest of us, and all he was narrating was his own imagination.

Now, maybe this new thing is something different. But I don't think I'm risking too much by going on record with a "pish-posh".


11:00 - Meteorology geeks are geeks too

(top)
My dad, who is a weather junkie and always has been, recently got a 5-day weather forecasting device from a company called Ambient. He showed me the instruction booklet this weekend, which had the following spread of pages:



Now that's funny.

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