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
Saturday, February 23, 2008
13:27 - Picture quality like I've never ciné
http://blogs.cnet.com/8301-13512_1-9875003-23.html

(top)
Peter Glaskowsky speculates on the future of the home video landscape, and what the next format war will entail:

The basic parameters are easy to predict. As I described last August in "After HD, what's next?" the heir apparent to HDTV is what's called "4K"-- that is, a display resolution with about 4,096 horizontal pixels and 2,160 scan lines. Sony already makes projectors that support this resolution. Red Digital Cinema makes 4K cameras. Director Peter Jackson has made a short film in 4K, and the "Final Cut" of Blade Runner was remastered in 4K.

So 4K is coming, and it isn't far away.

But why should there be a format war?

Well, there's always a format war. There was even a DVD format war, although we're all fortunate that it was resolved well before discs or players hit the market.

Sony will want to lead the transition to 4K, but the DVD Forum will still be around in five years. That's a recipe for a format war right there.

Some of the commenters are rightly pointing out that 4K won't be a going concern for most consumers, even despite our knowing eyebrow-waggles about claims in the 80s of 640K being sufficient for anybody's needs:

The two vehicles of video signals leapfrog eachother. First, TV had better quality than VHS. Then DVD came out, and had better quality than the TV. Then HD TV transmissions began in 720p, which is an improvement over DVD. Then discs struck back with 1080p Bluray. So, my prediction is that the next increase in picture quality and resolution will come after TV stations can transmit in greater than 1920x1080p. This isn't really on the horizon yet.

Besides, even if we discerning technophiles can materially distinguish between a 480p DVD and a 720p HTDV broadcast and a 1080p Blu-Ray movie, we have to bear in mind that the market has a tendency to do its own thing in gleeful spite of what the chin-stroking set has to say about it. And the market has shown that it's pretty much happy with DVDs' resolution—or, indeed, the resolution they can get from a transcoded DivX video online. We're only just now getting comfortable en masse with paying extra for an HD version of a movie over a regular definition version—and that's only to the tune of a dollar more when we're renting, the same premium as we'd pay for a new release over a library title. Just as DVDs had to be eased into the market with only marginally higher prices than VHS versions, HD movies aren't enough of an obvious win over SD movies as to warrant any higher price differential—despite how much more gorgeous they might look in a parallel-screen comparison. That should tell us something about just how quickly we ought to expect the general movie-watching public to start demanding 4K resolution.

For my part, most of the speculation I've been hearing here and there is that the next format war won't be over physical media at all, but which of the digital "cloud" media architectures will win. Xbox 360? Apple TV? TiVo? Netflix on-demand? Cable TV on-demand? BitTorrent?

I'm not prepared to back any horses in that race (I'm going to go with Apple TV just because I'm a raving partisan and think it's cool), but I'm increasingly of the opinion that owning physical media is less and less important. There are a handful of movies that I want to have "special edition" DVD sets of (and will buy the same thing when it shows up on Blu-Ray), but for the bulk of the world of movies, I don't need ownership at all. Renting is fine. I only need to see a given movie once every few years, as opposed to music which I can leave in a daily rotation and not pay much attention to it. And when renting is the model, a broadband download seems like a perfect solution for my needs, especially if it only costs a fraction of the full purchase price and takes up zero space on my shelf.

I'm just about to throw away an entire shelf of MST3K tapes and not replace them with anything. Why? Not because I don't want to see a given bit of robo-riffage again—but because I know that if I ever do, it won't be that hard to find, for at most three or four bucks. (Even if it's one of the un-officially-released ones.) And when I'm done watching it, I won't want it to sit on my shelf collecting dust until the next time the itch to see it strikes me.

Friday, February 22, 2008
21:56 - A curious creature
http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.wordpress.com/

(top)
Via Celia Farber:

Over the years, white people have gone through a number of official cars. In the 1980s it was the Saab and the Volvo. By the 1990s it was the Volkswagen Jetta or a Subaru 4WD stastion wagon. But these days, there is only one car for white people. One car that defines all that they love: the Toyota Prius.

The Prius might be the most perfect white product ever. It’s expensive, gives the idea that you are helping the environment, and requires no commitment/changes other than money.

The Toyota Prius gets 45 miles per gallon. That’s right, you can drive 45 miles and burn only one gallon of gasoline. So somehow, through marketing or perception, the Prius lets people think that driving their car is GOOD for the environment.

It’s a pretty sweet deal for white people. You can buy a car, continue to drive to work and Barak Obama rallies and feel like you are helping the environment!

Some white people decide to pull the ultimate move. Prius, Apple Sticker on the back, iPod rocking, and Democratic Candidate bumper sticker. Unstoppable!

This pull quote doesn't do the (lengthy and rewarding) concept justice. But once you've seen it, this is all the funnier.



04:05 - You don't say
http://www.autoblog.com/2008/02/21/science-magazine-declares-ethanol-worse-for-the-e

(top)
Let me know when you guys have got this aaaall figured out, 'kay?

While you're at it, please make up your minds as to whether red wine and chocolate are good or bad for you.


Thursday, February 21, 2008
15:36 - Those explosions would look even better over FIOS
http://www.virb.com/michaelbay/videos/38801

(top)
Michael Bay demands things to be awesome.

Via Dean Esmay, whose commenters note that:

You gotta give Michael Bay credit for poking fun at himself with this commercial. And, if you didn't know, Trey Parker and Matt Stone came away from Team America with new respect for Michael Bay. They realized the stuff he does isn't at all easy.

Awesome.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008
10:51 - "That's just wrong on SO many levels"

(top)
I'm going to start charging a toll on people who deploy this meaningless, hackneyed phrase. It's as though people still think it conveys some kind of useful information or contributes to the group's discourse on some piece of observed oddness any more meaningfully than going, "That's... weird".

Better yet: if someone says this, I'm going to immediately turn to him and say, "Oh yeah? List some."


Monday, February 18, 2008
03:27 - O RLY?
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/02/19/castro/

(top)
Castro stepped down? Well I'll be.

Via J Greely.



02:58 - I bust my butt day in, day out...
http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1203374997.shtml

(top)
Dean Esmay has a post bringing up a point of some irritation: Presidents' Day. Handy as such a day is for a ski weekend, it's not without its difficulties.

The problem I have with "Presidents' Day" is that the apostrophe tends to wander, as in the title of Dean's very post. It's easy for it to morph into President's Day. And then all sorts of stupidity happens.

For one, it becomes politicized. People who are too young to realize that it's supposed to be a day honoring two specific, generally universally appreciated historical Presidents (and these people are more numerous every day) can be excused for thinking that it's a day dedicated to honoring The President—as in the currently sitting one. Ever see someone refuse to take Presidents' Day off work because he hates Bush? I have.

And it's not like such people don't have a point, even if accidentally made. The United States isn't supposed to be a country that has holidays for sitting politicians, like some gussied-up North Korea lauding its Dear Leader with giant posters and parades. We (allegedly) place some distance between the people we've elected to take part in our daily lives and the act of naming airports and streets after particularly popular ones, by politely waiting until after they've left office and usually until after they've died, before getting out the sculptor's chisels. Facing D.C. and paying obeisance to some elected official who's still in office doesn't come naturally to our national character; nor should it. Hence an eye-roll and a sneer when we hear someone talk about "President's Day".

"Two separate paid holidays" within one short month is probably a bit much; but we really ought to be able to package Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays more elegantly than we're doing right now, because our current solution devalues those men's contributions in more ways than one, and seems contrary to our cultural nature, for no benefit I can see but slightly easier bookkeeping.

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