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
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Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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Sunday, December 31, 2006
00:52 - We just got golf-served
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfgBf_SExmU

(top)
Is this Zune ad for real?

I guess I can see what they thought they were trying to convey with this, but... well, all I can say is that there really must not be that much depth to the Zune's unique offering if this is the best way they can figure out to convey it.

Chris, who sent the link, summarizes the ad's message as follows:

1. If you give away the eyeball, you cant use that eyeball until it comes back.
2. Its really hard to give the eyeball away.
3. You get stink and noise with it too
4. the product is as ugly as hell, as is all the friends you'll meet.

I think that's analyzing it too deeply. I'd start with a higher-level question, of why they choose to symbolize a song with an eyeball. As though every Zune buyer starts life as a blind, genitalia-looking slug creature who has to rely on the kindness of random passing eye monsters to give them the gift of sight.

Thursday, December 28, 2006
16:58 - Unbounded vistas
http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.txt

(top)
Via Stephen Rider, here's a "Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection" that contains such one-liners as:

Executive Executive Summary
---------------------------
The Vista Content Protection specification could very well constitute the
longest suicide note in history.


I haven't read through it all the way, but something that already jumped out at me as particularly hilarious was Note C:

Note C: In order for content to be displayed to users, it has to be copied
numerous times. For example if you're reading this document on the web then
it's been copied from the web server's disk drive to server memory, copied to
the server's network buffers, copied across the Internet, copied to your PC's
network buffers, copied into main memory, copied to your browser's disk cache,
copied to the browser's rendering engine, copied to the render/screen cache,
and finally copied to your screen. If you've printed it out to read, several
further rounds of copying have occurred. Windows Vista's content protection
(and DRM in general) assume that all of this copying can occur without any
copying actually occurring, since the whole intent of DRM is to prevent
copying. If you're not versed in DRM doublethink this concept gets quite
tricky to explain, but in terms of quantum mechanics the content enters a
superposition of simultaneously copied and uncopied states until a user
collapses its wave function by observing the content (in physics this is
called quantum indeterminacy or the observer's paradox). Depending on whether
you follow the Copenhagen or many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics,
things then either get wierd or very wierd. So in order for Windows Vista's
content protection to work, it has to be able to violate the laws of physics
and create numerous copies that are simultaneously not copies.

Having just watched the apparently quite widely and justifiably derided pseudo-science confuse-u-mentary What the Bleep Do We Know?, this note spookily relating Windows DRM to quantum mechanics—using about the same kind of contortions of logic as the movie does, only tongue-in-cheek in this case—has got to be one of the funniest things I've read all week.

What I have to wonder, though, is how long Apple can keep from following suit. I mean, it's can't be that Microsoft is just fixated on wrecking the experience of its own products so as to make nice with the content producers, is it?

I have to say I kinda prefer Jobs' approach: just buy the bastards.


16:47 - Annnnd... everybody pose!

(top)
Here's something I've wondered about for years and years: what is it with that official cartoon character pose, with the one hand held out, palm up, like they're showing you the imprint from the headpiece from the Staff of Ra burned into their skin?



I can't even comfortably hold my hand in that position. Yet cartoon characters on model sheets and promo pieces are always standing there, grinning, holding their hands out like it's the most casual gesture imaginable. Like they're endorsing some product advertised on a hand-painted signboard. Animated character suitable for all your company's product promotion needs! Also available for birthdays, weddings, or bar mitzvahs!

So much for the "illusion of life", eh?


11:14 - Isn't it uncool yet?
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,239401,00.html

(top)
I was skeptical when John Gruber blew past analysts with his prediction of 24 million iPods sold this Christmas (up from last year's 14 million and 2004's 4 million). After all, nothing can last this long in the public consciousness of cool, can it? Especially not something tech-geeky? I've honestly expected some kind of anti-iPod backlash to overwhelm it for the whole past year now (and longer), a seething tide of parody and social stigma and peer ridicule welling up from God-knows-what cavern of our collective wounded individualistic and anti-corporate-juggernaut pride.

But maybe I'll be waiting for some while yet. Apparently, even after the iTunes Store has been souped up to its current everyday operating capacity, and fortified against what they surely would have foreseen as a heavy holiday rush, it still got swamped yesterday.

Maybe it's still way too soon to predict the iPod's fall from grace. When even my Sansa-using co-workers are buying their kids iPods (and trying to justify giving their kids the Sansas and keeping the iPods for themselves), maybe the mojo hasn't run out yet. And we still haven't seen what they've got up their sleeves for the next generation...

Via JMH, who says:

They left out the traditional "may look good but Apple is still in a precarious position ..." Or this is evidence that Zune will take over the market lead in the next 6/12/18 months because Apple does not have the stamina to maintain its tenuous hold on 75% of the market. Plus with Vista hitting the stores in Jan, it will be unlikely that users will be willing to wait for the next release of OS X which may be released in 2007.

Or such.


10:57 - Occam's long flowing beard
http://mondediplo.com/2006/12/02conspiracy

(top)
Refreshing to see, this: Alexander Cockburn (of CounterPunch fame) weighs in to ridicule the 9/11 conspiracies. His position is a leftist one, but most of his ire is directed at his own side's kooks. He also points out:

Some discover a silver lining in 9/11 conspiracism. A politically sophisticated leftist in Washington DC wrote to me agreeing with my ridicule of the inside job scenarios but adding: “To me the most interesting thing (in the US) is how many people are willing to believe that Bush either masterminded it [the 9/11 attacks] or knew in advance and let it happen. If that number or anything close to that is true, that’s a huge base of people that are more than deeply cynical about their elected officials. That would be the real news story that the media is missing, and it’s a big one.”

In light of his earlier point that "what the 9/11 conspiracists want us to believe is that the Bush/Cheney gang represent a new breed of evil", this is particularly troubling: in response to what they perceive as unprecedented menace from the sitting administration, people are apparently turning to unprecedented cynicism and waning of faith in democracy. And really, all that's unprecedented in all this—the one thing that's inadmissible anymore in the argument without being transformed into something unrecognizable or brushed away as somehow beside the point—is the stark, obvious reality of 9/11 itself.

Via Chris.

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© Brian Tiemann