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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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
Sunday, October 21, 2007
02:34 - The land where "maybe" equals jail
http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/13/1347.asp

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Oh, brother. California may have onerous smog laws, but at least we aren't at this stage. Yet.

Via evariste.


02:00 - That other Atlanta airline

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I just got back from a long weekend in New York, and on the return trip I flew on AirTran, the airline owned by Dr. Tran. They bill themselves pretty forthrightly as a "budget" airline, by trumpeting their low fares as their flagship feature, and "excellent service" (as stated in the President's letter in the inflight magazine) only secondarily. No in-seat AirFones, no LCD TVs, and my reading light kept flicking on and off and waking up the guy next to me, making him more and more irritable the further west we got. The aforementioned magazine, Go, is perhaps the most poorly-edited such publication I've ever seen, awash in walleyed, close-quarters repetitions of self-consciously "clever" turns of phrase, "xeroxings" of words like "imagineer" and "white bronco", and homophonic misspellings like "stationary", "discrete", and "caché". True, they've got an all-brand-new fleet of Boeing planes, but I half suspect the main reason for that is so they could get the new ones with the giant winglets so they can print "airtran.com" on the inward-facing panels so the passengers can see it every time they look out at the landscape.

But this has got to be the ultimate expression of the cost-conscious modern airline. I'm not sure whether it's funny enough to be pathetic, or pathetic enough to be funny. This is what they serve, in lieu of a meal or even a snack box, on a transcontinental flight:



Some airlines can get away with touting their lack of amenities as a feature, but somehow I don't think these guys quite have the knack.

Then again, though, when I was boarding at White Plains airport, all six or seven other airlines at the checkin counter had lines with no more than two or three people each, whereas AirTran's line was about thirty deep. Some other passengers and I were noting wryly to each other as we waited that this seems to be the way things are going these days: price is king, and we're perfectly willing to give up those things we might otherwise or once upon a time have considered essential amenities—up to and including non-stop itineraries—in favor of the clearly best fare.

Still, though: "How to eat gourmet pretzels on a low-fare airline". Damn.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007
14:22 - We weren't stopping you, Steve
http://www.apple.com/hotnews/

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"Let me just say it" sounds to me like Steve would rather have avoided even having had to talk about an iPhone/iPod touch SDK for third-party apps. Like in his ideal world, nobody would even have thought about making their own programs for the iPhone until the day that Apple magically, unexpectedly unveiled the development kit.

I'd say it's possible, even probable, as Glenn Fleishmann suggests, that the Leopard ship date delay is what's to blame for all this confusion. Like maybe Steve wanted Leopard and the iPhone to show up more or less at the same time, or like within a month of each other. Then everything SDK-related that depends on Leopard would already be finished by the time the iPhone went to market. But as it is (or was before today), now they have to stand and grin and talk about the weather for six months while they pretend there ain't no SDK and there never was.

So now Steve has to put on the "friendly uncle" persona (complete with first-name-basis signature) and let us all in on the big secret, like he's wrapping an arm around all our collective shoulders and whispering so nobody else hears. Yep: SDK comin'. February. In the future, that time we don't like to talk about, but there's no way around it this time, ya figured me out; you all are just too smart for your old Uncle Steve. Just sit tight till February. Wish it coulda been October, but you know how things go.

What'll be interesting to see is whether this delay will have created a drain on the momentum of the third-party app community that would not have been as severe if the SDK had been available, or at least announced, before today. Or would the few pieces of anti-iPhone buzz that we've seen thus far have not themselves existed if Steve had just announced the SDK at the outset, even if it were for a later release?

It sorta seems like this is Apple making the best of a bad situation, one that's only "bad" because of a miscalculation of the market. They're trying to salvage their pride now. If they'd had it to do over again, they'd have pre-announced the SDK much earlier, or better yet, avoided the Leopard delay to begin with. But now the worst thing they could have done would have been to sit on the SDK news until February and then release it as a surprise, all the while in between pretending that the iPhone is forever meant to be a closed platform and further straining Apple's uncomfortable relationship with the developers they currently have to actively thwart from doing what they want to do with their phones.

Time to win some hearts and minds back, Uncle Steve?


13:59 - O smog, chiefest and greatest of calamities

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The efforts to get the Lotus registered drag on.

After leaving it for nearly three weeks in the hands of a local (and otherwise highly reputable) shop to try to figure out why it keeps throwing catalytic converter codes and subsequently get it smogged, I picked it up unfinished and drove it home in frustration only to discover that not only was it still giving me those same codes when I road-tested it, but the four brand-new O2 sensors they'd installed (gratis, perhaps sensing that they were in over their heads) were also giving me brand-new error codes of their own. Specifically, the right-side post-cat sensor was giving me a circuit failure on one of the leads.

So I took out the sensors and peeled back the insulation to discover that the shop had used crimp connectors to attach the universal Denso sensors to the proprietary Lotus wiring harness, filled the connection area with hot glue, and put shrink-tubing on top of that. The friend who had previously done so much work on the car prior to my picking it up gave me to understand that crimp connectors suck, and this was a perfect example of how hard. Soldering is the preferred method. But soldering a previous O2 sensor replacement had reminded me of just why it was that I had not enjoyed practical-track Physics in college: I am very bad at soldering. Solution: FedEx.

After a trip across country to said friend's soldering factory and back, the O2 sensors are now reinstalled, and the car hasn't thrown any codes in about seven full drive cycles. I'm thinking there's a chance that the codes—or at least the ones that can be traced in any way to the emissions system—are banished. Hurrah.

So it's off to your friendly neighborhood smog place, armed with the red window tag that says your registration fees are all paid and the visual inspection is done and the only thing standing between you and having valid license plates on your car is a smog certificate.

Annnnnd... they discover that the car fails smog. Heinously. Like by having NO and HC numbers about double the legal limit.

Frug.

Well, the next step is apparently to replace the catalytic converters. I found that ForcedFed, sponsors of this event back in April, who specialize in making Elises go fast (and thus presumably have at least a passing familiarity with Loti in general), have a leftover pair of cats from an '04 Esprit that they'd built a full exhaust for a few months ago, and I might be able to just pull in there and have them weld those in.

At least, that's the plan. Set for execution upon my return to the Bay Area on Monday. In the interim I'm going to be otherwise disposed. But I'll wait until I have the photos before I describe that in too much detail, because frankly I don't even know yet. But it should be fun.

Monday, October 15, 2007
15:36 - Helloween
http://www.themishmash.com/2007/10/five-halloween-.html

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I used to dress up for Halloween. Most every year I found I was able to come up with something worth showing off at work—whether it be Chris and me as the Pusher and Shover Robots (from one of the granddaddies of Flash memes) or my much-prized Brak costume (complete with articulated spring-loaded jaw).

But that was all because I always felt I could outdo everyone else's costume that bothered to try, especially since no off-the-shelf costume could compare to something cobbled together from felt, cardboard boxes, papier-mâché, and chicken wire. These days, though, it seems the bar's been lifted beyond my reach.

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© Brian Tiemann