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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11/17/2003 - 11/23/2003
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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
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10/28/2002 -  11/3/2002
10/21/2002 - 10/27/2002
10/14/2002 - 10/20/2002
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 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
 8/12/2002 -  8/18/2002
  8/5/2002 -  8/11/2002
 7/29/2002 -   8/4/2002
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 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
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  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
Sunday, November 16, 2008
18:21 - Remember, it's odd-numbered
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0WNPb8R-40

(top)
The new Trek movie trailer is out, in glorious Contraband-O-Vision:



Fascinating.

UPDATE: Official trailer here, as noted by Chris M.

I do agree that the action scenes look a bit too wild and extreme for the period—I'm simply not buying an original-Trek-era Trek where everything crashes around so frenetically in space; perhaps it's "realistic", sure, but "action scenes" in TOS and the TOS-era movies generally meant a lot of on-screen tactical graphics and people falling down on the bridge, interspersed with one or two careful and ponderous model shots. It wasn't on purpose that it looked so bland and staid at the time; but nonetheless it's what feels right. Sort of. I guess.

But I for one like the casting. Kirk and Spock ring true, at least visually. And I like how they resurrected Tom Paris' gearheadedness (geeks will recall his penchant for classic—and I mean really classic—Camaros) and cast it onto Kirk, with the Corvette he drives in the let's-fake-out-the-audience-who-doesn't-know-what-the-hell-movie-this-is-a-trailer-for childhood scene. It fits the character, more or less.

All I'm really hoping for is that they don't introduce too much in the way of Alien Species And Visual Styles We've Never Seen Before And Will Never See Again, à la Enterprise. Surely there's plenty of story to be had just by focusing on the principals and the state of galactic politics at the time and such. Indeed, if they can't make that into an entertaining movie, they really ought to retire and take up worm farming or something.

UPDATE: Snort:


Friday, November 14, 2008
10:24 - A pointless "me too" post
http://www.lileks.com/bleats/archive/08/1108/111408.html

(top)
James, as he is wont to do, observes:

You live with dogs long enough, you get used to how smart they are. Relatively speaking. Jasper always expects a Frosty Paws after his walk – an expense I lament, but it gives him such joy – and he BARKS when we get home, demanding what he knows is imminent. Today the fridge was empty, so I went to the downstairs freezer for the back-up reserve. He followed, barking: THIS HAD BETTER RESULT IN WHAT WE ALL KNOW IT HAD BETTER RESULT IN. I showed him the box; he licked his lips. That’s a rather high level of cognition, no? He recognized the box in which the treat was kept. When I gave him the treat it rolled under the counter, and he couldn’t get it out with snout or paws – whereupon he stopped, looked at me, and waited. YOU DO IT.

I'm sure everyone who read that and also has a dog immediately burst out with followup examples; and I'm no exception. This is Banzai:



Many dogs chase laser pointers. I don't know, however, how many dogs understand how laser pointers work.

You shine the laser on the ground and the dog pounces right on it like a coyote jumping on a mouse. You move the little red dot around and he scrambles about, trying to pin it to the floor. No matter how hard he jumps on it, it always manages to get away. Yet he doesn't tire of it.

But what happens when you turn the laser off? Does the dog keep staring at the floor where the light was? Or does he look up at you, waiting for you to bring it back?

Banzai knows where the laser pointer is kept; he'll lead you down the hall and then point his nose at the little black cylinder sitting on the edge of the table, and he'll raise one front paw into the air—which is his "Laser time?" signal. So you pick it up (really, resisting against that kind of body language is patently impossible), and you aim it at the floor.

Don't turn it on yet. You'll notice that his eyes shifted from intently focused on your hands—to the floor—as soon as you aimed the laser, even though there's no beam yet.

Still, don't turn it on. He'll look back up at you, wondering what you're up to. So you start to tilt the laser pointer back and forth—to the left, then to the right. And he looks back down at the ground, in the direction that the laser is pointing.

He understands that the red dot comes out of that little black cylinder you're holding. Not only that, he understands how the device's orientation affects where the dot appears.

So he knows that the dot isn't something real that he can catch; but he loves to chase it anyway. He knows how the mechanism for its appearance works; but it doesn't become uninteresting to him. These both strike me as fairly advanced levels of brain.

Ultimately, what it tells me is that he understands the concept of a "game". Which I guess is no surprise, since it seems so obvious to so many dog owners. But there are some pretty complex concepts underlying certain forms of games, like the one involving a laser pointer. Props add a whole new axis to the calculus, particularly props that seem to defy well-understood physics. So while most dogs know how to wrestle, I like to think Banzai knows about video games.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008
07:38 - "We can't have Russkies in the Secret Service. It wouldn't be secret!"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_Service_codenames

(top)
Wikipedia knows everything. Led there by this Canadian-perspective article about the Obama family's "R"-initialed nicknames, there's a wealth of not-so-secret shorthand names for First Families and other dignitaries when they're being moved around under careful guard.

(As to the "secrecy" of this technique and the lack thereof, Dean Esmay has some thoughts.)

"Rawhide" was a pretty good Reagan codename. "Tumbler" sounds good-naturedly self-deprecating, if it was Bush's own idea (otherwise it may have been turnabout for things like "Turd Blossom", unless they later reclaimed it as a Batman reference).

"Renegade"?

Monday, November 10, 2008
08:33 - That'll work
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/nov08/11-06ZuneOnlinePR.mspx

(top)
Apple hired U2 and Madonna to make personalized iPods. Microsoft hires ... Motomichi and Dalek.

Zune, Microsoft Corp.’s end-to-end music and entertainment service, today added 46 new designs from leading artists to its customization Web site, http://www.ZuneOriginals.net, for the holiday season. For those looking to customize a Zune player for themselves or as a personalized gift this holiday season, the new Zune Originals designs include a Zodiac Series featuring exclusive artwork of Eastern and Western astrology from Catalina Estrada and Iosefatu Sua. An expanded line of regular Zune players, popular Zune accessories and Zune Marketplace gift cards are also available for purchase through http://www.Zune.net just in time for the holidays.

“Zune Originals infuses pop culture, style and art into digital entertainment to help consumers turn their Zune into a personal statement,” said Chris Stephenson, general manager of Global Marketing for Zune at Microsoft. “We’re excited to add beautiful new designs from these incredible artists and to introduce them to a broader audience.”

I guess they get props for originality, and picking designs by unknown graphic artists certainly qualifies more as "personalization" than getting an iPod with Tony Hawk's autograph engraved on it. But it's also about as "personal" as picking "aftermarket" accessories for your Scion out of the Scion catalog.

I don't know... I can't work up too much snark about this, really. They're doing the best they can to polish up this turd. If you're set on getting someone a Zune for Christmas, this is probably a quite decent way to show them you put a little thought into your gift. Unfortunately, unless the recipient is a Microsoft employee, getting them a Zune in the first place kinda puts you in a thoughtfulness deficit.

Via JMH.



08:05 - Now that's an animal act
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0jNC_w1tSw

(top)
There's one foolproof way to get those judges to smile:



Border collies are awesome.


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