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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12/29/2003 -   1/4/2004
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 1/13/2003 -  1/19/2003
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12/30/2002 -   1/5/2003
12/23/2002 - 12/29/2002
12/16/2002 - 12/22/2002
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11/25/2002 -  12/1/2002
11/18/2002 - 11/24/2002
11/11/2002 - 11/17/2002
 11/4/2002 - 11/10/2002
10/28/2002 -  11/3/2002
10/21/2002 - 10/27/2002
10/14/2002 - 10/20/2002
 10/7/2002 - 10/13/2002
 9/30/2002 -  10/6/2002
 9/23/2002 -  9/29/2002
 9/16/2002 -  9/22/2002
  9/9/2002 -  9/15/2002
  9/2/2002 -   9/8/2002
 8/26/2002 -   9/1/2002
 8/19/2002 -  8/25/2002
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  8/5/2002 -  8/11/2002
 7/29/2002 -   8/4/2002
 7/22/2002 -  7/28/2002
 7/15/2002 -  7/21/2002
  7/8/2002 -  7/14/2002
  7/1/2002 -   7/7/2002
 6/24/2002 -  6/30/2002
 6/17/2002 -  6/23/2002
 6/10/2002 -  6/16/2002
  6/3/2002 -   6/9/2002
 5/27/2002 -   6/2/2002
 5/20/2002 -  5/26/2002
 5/13/2002 -  5/19/2002
  5/6/2002 -  5/12/2002
 4/29/2002 -   5/5/2002
 4/22/2002 -  4/28/2002
 4/15/2002 -  4/21/2002
  4/8/2002 -  4/14/2002
  4/1/2002 -   4/7/2002
 3/25/2002 -  3/31/2002
 3/18/2002 -  3/24/2002
 3/11/2002 -  3/17/2002
  3/4/2002 -  3/10/2002
 2/25/2002 -   3/3/2002
 2/18/2002 -  2/24/2002
 2/11/2002 -  2/17/2002
  2/4/2002 -  2/10/2002
 1/28/2002 -   2/3/2002
 1/21/2002 -  1/27/2002
 1/14/2002 -  1/20/2002
  1/7/2002 -  1/13/2002
12/31/2001 -   1/6/2002
12/24/2001 - 12/30/2001
12/17/2001 - 12/23/2001
Saturday, April 1, 2006
04:47 - The bigger picture
http://www.autoblog.com/2006/04/01/new-study-full-size-suvs-consume-less-energy-over

(top)
This is interesting:

The findings? America's most expensive vehicle in calendar 2005 was the Maybach (presumably a 62), tallying up at a staggering $11.58/mile. The thriftiest? Scion's boxy xB, just $.48 cents/mile.

But here's where it gets interesting: CNW's findings indicate that a hybrid consumes more energy overall than a comparable conventionally powered model. It judged showed that the Honda Accord Hybrid rang up an Energy Costs Per Mile of $3.29, while a gas-powered Accord was significantly cheaper at $2.18/mile. The study concludes that the average of all 2005 U.S. market vehicles was $2.28/mile.

The reasoning goes that hybrids use up more energy to manufacture, as well as consume more resources in terms of the assembly (and eventual disposal) of things like batteries and motors. By CNW's reckoning, the intrinsically lower complexity of, say, a Hummer H3 ($1.949/mile) actually results in lower total energy usage than any hybrid currently on the market, and even a standard Honda Civic ($2.42).

You mean it's not all just about the gas? Electricity doesn't just magically come out of a hole in the wall to power the clean cars that the Stonecutters are holding back from us? There's actual industry behind creating the things we use—industry that operates at scales far beyond anything we can affect through our own pitiful individual human actions?

And whether or not the study in question is an April Fools thing or fundamentally flawed one way or another...

This month's Road & Track has a "Tech Tidbits" segment on oil consumption. In an aside, it notes that a single cargo ship, during a single hour of maneuvering coming into port, puts out as much pollution as 350,000 cars; the clouds of diesel fumes travel hundreds of miles inland and settle in urban basins. And yet we agonize over five extra miles per gallon and the difference between ULEV and Super-ULEV.

The Audi dealer told me of a woman who had recently bought a new car there, and had specified cloth seats because she was a vegan. But the steering wheel was leather-wrapped; so she paid out of her own pocket ($800) to have the car taken to a specialty interior outfitter, have the hand-stitched leather removed, and have a vinyl covering installed. The woman's rationale was that she didn't want to be responsible for any leather products being used in her car. But, er, well, the leather was already paid for, ma'am... that cow's already dead. Now that wheel covering is just going to get thrown out. But it's all good as long as you don't have to be reminded of it daily, right?

Sometimes I think the true mark of a decadent society is the degree to which its citizens invent meaningless causes to which to devote themselves fruitlessly, like a kind of suburban ascetic ritual, a self-flagellation that leaves room for prime-time and doesn't get blood on the sofa.


18:05 - Slashdot Fiction

(top)
Check out Slashdot today. LIEK OMG!!!111

Some of the linked pranks are pretty funny too, like the Prism DuroSport 6000:

We guarantee that our products will ALWAYS be larger than our competitors’ products.

So many manufacturers are racing to make the world’s smallest media player. Yet, as players get smaller, the price gets more expensive. DuroSport has realized that it is possible to produce a more affordable media player by making it larger. Larger components are almost always less expensive than tiny components required to produce the infinitesimally small nano-style media players. In the process, we have found that these larger players also benefit older consumers who have trouble reading the fine print on tiny display screens, or adjusting the tuning with small dials and knobs.

Our History

The DuroSport Electronics Company was founded by Oleg Tarlev of Moldova in 1962. An inventor by trade, Tarlev was an early pioneer in the use of steam to power home appliances. Tarlev hoped to apply his engineering expertise to develop a line of steam-powered consumer electronics...

Brilliant.


14:09 - It's gray

(top)
And it goes fast.



Those are the Jetta's keys in the background. I haven't yet turned them in. I hope it won't be too traumatic.

I might post about the Audi purchasing experience a little later. Suffice it to say that it was entertaining, but quite positive.

I've got good feelings about this.

Friday, March 31, 2006
20:00 - Aviedersehen

(top)
Anyone interested in what the departure of Avie Tevanian from Apple means for Mac OS X would do well to read John Gruber's take, particularly his piece from 2003 where he pointed out areas in which Tevanian's much-vaunted engineering leadership had led the platform in unfortunate directions. He wasn't sorry to see the man take the flying-a-desk job he's had for the last three years.


19:47 - iPimp My Ride
http://www.autoblog.com/2006/03/31/crutchfield-debuts-digital-drive-thru-for-ipod-ow

(top)
My new car has a factory-made iPod adapter, but it's not at all clear how well it will work—the sales guys and parts guys didn't seem to have any idea whether it sends track information to the digital readout on the radio panel or what, or if the unit just sits in the glove compartment and makes you guess blindly what's going on.

But at least it won't be the only possible option. Crutchfield now has a clearing-house site where you can match up your car model and iPod and it tells you what the best way to hook them together would be.

Gotta do something... because the A3 doesn't have a tape deck, and I'm not prepared to go the FM transmitter route again.

(Heh—the site even lists "Non-iPod MP3 player". That's pretty sad. One of these days there'll be an aisle at Best Buy with a big sign that says "Non-iPod MP3 Players". It'll be full of half-opened packages and cockeyed price tags and pools of vomit.)


13:11 - Natty Gantt

(top)
Wow. What do you get when you combine a site like Apple-History.com with Éric Lévénez' much-lauded UNIX History chart?

This: Wikipedia's Timeline of Apple Macintosh Models.

All cross-linked and up to date. And as good an illustration as any of what sets the Apple world apart: can you imagine anyone doing this with, say, Dell models over history?

Oh, and some interesting historical data can be gleaned from it, too. See that vertical line that indicates the start of the "New World ROM"? That also just about coincides with Steve's return... and look at how many Mac models there were before the line, and how many there were after.

Steve makes a good CEO, but I'd hate to have him as Evil Overlord of Earth.

And look at that poor little G4 Cube, all alone out there and so very small.

Via TUAW.

Thursday, March 30, 2006
13:52 - Dang, but I'm going to miss this car

(top)

Last night I was heading to the store, and because it's just about the last chance I'll have to do so, I was peeling out at a few stop lights along the way, enjoying the acceleration like I did the first few weekends when the car was new back in 1999.

So I pull up at this one light, and a couple of lanes over there's a Chevy Nova SS 350, and he's doing the same thing.

The light goes green, and he floors it, and I floor it, and wouldn't you know it—I'm keeping neck-and-neck with him right up to highway speed. Me in my dorky little green Jetta. The VR6 sounds like an angry bee compared to his V8, but it sure does get the job done.

I'm sure the car I'm getting, particularly because it's an evolution of the same platform with a better engine in all respects, will give me even more fun weekends. But it probably won't have quite the stealth factor of the Jetta. It won't come as quite so much of a surprise to people at stop lights.

Sunrise, sunset... sunriiiiiise, sunset...

(The picture is from Teslin, Yukon Territory, by the way. This car has taken me places.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006
16:00 - How to know you're behind the curve
http://www.tuaw.com/2006/03/28/ballmer-to-his-kids-you-dont-use-google-you-dont-use-

(top)
Ouch. This is painful. This is how Steve Ballmer is reacting to the success of non-Microsoft products at gaining the ubiquity that he's been so used to:

In an interview with CNN Money, he was asked if he owns an iPod. He replied:

"No, I do not. Nor do my children. My children--in many dimensions they're as poorly behaved as many other children, but at least on this dimension I've got my kids brainwashed: You don't use Google, and you don't use an iPod."

Wow. Now that's a leader with vision, huh?

How'd you like to be one of his kids? You don't get to have any of the cool toys the other kids all have, because you're the son of Microsoft's CEO?

The way he's petulantly stamping his feet, he's sounding like the biggest and most spoiled kid of them all. No wonder Microsoft employees are losing faith.


15:53 - How 'bout a little Salisbury steak?
http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=135510236&s=143441

(top)
Huzzah! Season 10 of South Park is now being released in broadcast time on iTunes. And you know what that means: The Return of Chef.

Man, those guys sure didn't pull any punches after all, did they?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006
13:16 - My wife does not understand logic, and therefore she does not understand me
http://timblair.net/ee/index.php/weblog/comments/serious_iowans_require_fisk/

(top)
Oh boy. Now Robert Fisk is stoking the flames of the 9/11 conspiracy theory. All it takes is enough people thinking enough people believe in it, and it'll become Truth.

A friend—a sane, rational friend—recently nervously drew my attention to this documentary which purports to expose the impossibilities of the "official story" of 9/11. Rather than address all of its points one by one, I find it's a lot more helpful to simply try to reason out what the logic of such a thing would entail.

One of the big theses of the documentary is that WTC 7—a small tower in the complex—fell down, and it had no reason to do so unless it was demolished by controlled charges.

To which I have to reply:

What would the purpose of demolishing it with explosives be? Most people, even the ones amenable to listening to this stuff, believe that at the very least it was the planes we all saw on countless independent videos that brought down WTC 1 and 2; but if that’s the case, why on earth would the CIA (or whoever) want to make so damned sure that WTC 7 fell down too? What would be the point? Would the Bush Administration’s nefarious strategy be easier to implement if WTC 7 came down too than if it were “merely” the two big towers? Or are they saying there was some super-top-secret thing in WTC 7 that the CIA wanted destroyed—and cooking up some amazingly convoluted and wide-reaching scheme to run terrorist-piloted planes into the Pentagon and White House and WTC was only a cover and a pretext under which they could demolish WTC 7 in the confusion? If what they really wanted was to get rid of something in that one building, couldn't there possibly have been some other, slightly more covert way than by executing 9/11?

Perhaps more to the point: If WTC 7 had no reason to fall down on its own just from stuff from the big towers falling on it, and the CIA were trying to make it look like it was just a terrorist attack—why the hell would they blow up WTC 7 themselves, drawing attention to something that shouldn’t have happened in such an attack? Wouldn’t it be a big ol’ giveaway? If they were trying to “frame” the terrorists in the planes, fictional or not, wouldn’t they have engineered the aftermath of the attack to look as much as possible like it would have looked if it were just planes crashing into the towers?

I mean, what’s the logic? Is there any?

The same goes for the reasoning behind Bush "lying" about WMDs in Iraq. The single biggest reason to believe he was acting on good faith is simply that the military didn't try to trump up any "evidence" of WMDs once they took Baghdad. They were genuinely stumped to find none there. If it were all part of a vast network of lies so overwhelming as to shame an Orwellian state, how could the administration miss such an obvious step as to retroactively justify the invasion by planting evidence? Why would they open themselves up to such criticism by allowing themselves to be proven wrong?

It’s the “Evil genius/incompetent fool” argument. The CIA/Bush must be more devious than Hitler and more bumbling than Ford, all at the same time.

Commenter "blubi" says:

The worst are the ones that come up with pointless observations to open up conspiracy theories without admitting to it, such as:
-Isn´t it strange that there were no recognizable airplane pieces at the Pentagon attack?
-I dunno, I haven´t seen much footage of airplane-hitting-buildings wrecks to make an opinion on how unusual that is, have you?
-No, but isn´t it strange?
-So what are you suggesting, that it wasn´t a plane? So what was it?
-I don´t know, I´m just saying it´s strange.
-Well if it wasn´t a plane and two planes collided with the WTC the same day, wouldn´t it be stranger that another plane vanished in the vicinity?
-I´m just saying it´s strange, not suggesting anything…

Even completely sane and rational friends of mine will allow themselves to be spooked by the “It don’t all add up” insinuations… I suspect it’s sort of a mental forbidden zone that a lot of people like to play in. It feels dangerous and dirty, and that makes it exciting. Logic can help counteract it, but only if the person wants it counteracted.

Monday, March 27, 2006
21:18 - Holdin' it down on the engineering tip, ja

(top)
Hey, remember this?

Yes. Hell yes.


16:48 - Just going for... eight hour walk

(top)
Iss been quite th'exhausting weekend.

Don't worry, it's all good. I think I need to buy me a new car or something.

Meanwhile, here's some stuff: Giant iPod in Australia, McCartney realizes money's green even if he and Jobs are supposed to be friends, an analysis of the French iTunes-Kryptonite law, and the logical conclusion of the Spinnaz phenomenon.

Homer sleep now.

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© Brian Tiemann