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
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Sunday, January 25, 2009
21:26 - It's no Burma Shave, but...

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Seen on the West Side Highway:

That's gotta be one of the quickest-deployed billboards ever. And it's not even advertising anything but civic pride. That's, well, pretty cool.


Thursday, January 22, 2009
18:49 - I love to see you smile
http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/breitbart/2009/01/19/where-were-you-celebrities-af

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Well, at least they're happy again.

Though I must admit it took me a while to realize any of them were celebrities. Iowahawk did way better than I did.



18:14 - He tasks me, and I shall have him
http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/dock-and-windows-7-taskbar.ars

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Ars Technica takes a well-illustrated look at the new Windows 7 Taskbar and its conceptual—if not stylistic—similarities to the Mac OS X Dock.

On a superficial level, the similarity is obvious; both Dock and Taskbar are rows of large icons used for application launching and switching. Closer examination, however, reveals that there's a long way to go before anyone should worry that Microsoft is slavishly following Apple. The Windows UI isn't turning into the Mac OS X UI—not yet, at least.

Well, hell, it's been eight years since OS X and its Dock were new kids on the block. It ought to be clear that it's not just that it takes Microsoft that long to copy something that third parties had emulated within weeks. Nah, it couldn't be just that Microsoft is simply that desperate and out of touch.

As the article points out, there are still some very deeply rooted conceptual differences between the Dock and any incarnation of the Windows Taskbar. The thing that drives me batty about the Taskbar behavior that's been present since XP (and is now spit-shined in 7) is how after you get a certain number of windows in a given app, they all collect together under a single tile. This tends to happen when you're not paying attention, so when you've got your muscle memory trained to go to the taskbar to click on one window's tile, you find that in the intervening few minutes something happened that coalesced it up into another tile, and if you don't immediately recognize what's happened, you figure you closed it and open up another window. Which also gets sucked up under the coalesced tile. Only now do you figure out what happened, so you go digging into that tile to find your original window, but they all have the same label... etc, etc.

(My God, how MDI sucked... a band-aid meant to compensate for the Windows one-app-per-window metaphor and people's weird tendency to maximize each app to the size of the entire display. If you could just combine multiple applications into a single MDI, why, you'd have a little gray emulated Mac!)

These days we've all pretty much gotten used to the Dock, its shortcomings included. The things we used to get all fired up about, when Mac OS X was new, are all but forgotten. And in eight years, the Dock has hardly changed, except for some cosmetic tweaks here and there (which haven't all been for the better—I wouldn't be at all surprised if they ditch the dumb 3D "tray" effect in the next major release). If Microsoft wants to try to capture some of its secret sauce, they're welcome to try—by this point it's a metaphor as venerable as any other part of the "desktop" milieu was by the mid-90s, and that was all well understood to be fair game. Unfortunately for Microsoft, its long-standing (and for all intents and purposes immutable) policy of maintaining backward compatibility at all costs means that cosmetic tweaks are really all they can give their products too.

Via Chris.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009
05:58 - Wagons East
http://blog.wellsfargo.com/wachovia/

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Well, well. Now that Wachovia and Wells Fargo are officially joined at the hip, I suppose I can expect to be able to use my Wells Fargo ATM card out here on the East Coast now. Like to make deposits and stuff, to keep my old Wells Fargo account full of money for the automated debits and such that are still pointing to it while my normal daily banking takes place through Wachovia. So I don't have to worry about mailing them checks or doing wire transfers or making bank field trips during my infrequent visits home or whatever. Right?
One important thing you should keep in mind: There are still a lot of whos-its and whats-its that need to get synched up between our two companies. So for now, if you need any in-branch services or additional ATM functionalities – like making deposits and fund transfers – remember to keep going to the financial centers where you have your account and the ATMs you've always used! You still have full access there.

In other words, no. Feh.

But hey: they've got a blog up for the merger. It's amusing to see "official" corporate blogs trying so hard to sound folksy and informal, yet still inevitably coming across like marketing copy. So at least there's something to chuckle wryly at while waiting for the local Wachovia ATMs to start taking deposits.

Hmm. I wonder if the human tellers will take them...


Tuesday, January 20, 2009
19:57 - Benefit of the doubt
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/01/022608.php

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David Horowitz, via Power Line:

It is conservatives who should be especially appreciative of the dual nature of the American presidency, as conceived by the Founders, which differs from parliamentary systems, where the Prime Minister is the political head of his party and the political ruler of nation. In parliamentary systems such as England's, it is the Crown which is the nation embodied, and whose wearer is the figure around whom its citizens rally, and whom they serve in time of war.

It is the Crown function of the American presidency which the Inauguration Ceremony celebrates. Only time will tell how successfully Obama manages to unite the nation in the face of the crises and enemies which confront it. But right now with 78 percent approval ratings -- and thus even the majority support of conservatives and Republicans -- he has made an important start. Symbolically, America is united around his ascension to the White House. This ascension has political implications, whose implications -- for the moment at least -- are quite large.

All over the country Americans have invested their hopes in Obama's ability to pull his country together to face its challenges. Among these Americans are millions -- most likely tens of millions -- who have never identified with their government before, who felt "outside" the system they regarded as run by elites, who ascribed its economic troubles to the greedy rich, who bought the Jackson-Sharpton canard that America was a racist society and they were locked out, who would have scorned the term "patriot" as a compromise with such evils, and who turned their backs on America's wars.

But today celebrating their new president are millions of Americans who never would have dreamed of celebrating their president before. Millions of Americans -- visible in all their racial and ethnic variety at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday -- have begun to feel a patriotic stirring because they see in this First Family a reflection of themselves.

"The change is still symbolic and may not last," he goes on to say. But—and this is the gist of what his piece is getting at—there's no good reason to hope it doesn't.

It's a bit hard to stomach a tidal wave of public opinion, manifesting itself in office inauguration parties that involve live projected video feeds set up in the break room and business coming to a standstill in gas station convenience stores while everyone stares enraptured at the TV. It's particularly troublesome when it's public opinion that runs counter to one's own, which one reveals only at the peril of one's social standing, even when the tenor turns to jeers and catcalls at the departing figurehead and an increasingly impassioned clamor for him and his cronies not to make it to their helicopter alive, or at least not to escape their destined Old West tribunal justice. Lotta smiling and nodding.

But, well: we've been smiling and nodding for eight years now. I'm just as glad that I can stop now. And let's be realistic here: with a ceremony this orderly and pomp-laden and yet this populist—Jack Black and Garth Brooks, for Pete's sake—it's increasingly clear to anyone who cares to observe it that nobody's getting their heads on pikes, just like nobody's getting fishily pardoned at 11:59. This is a civilized nation with civilized institutions, despite all the hyperbole. And it'll be quite all right, thank you.

They say that politics ends at the border, and I'm on board with that. But just as the shrieks for blood we've been putting up with will likely fade with time, so will the phenomena Horowitz predicts—unity and investment in the social contract (as well as actual investment)—take hold. And that's something we've been starving for as a nation. In some countries and in some circumstances I'd worry about a 78% approval rating for a charismatic leader swept suddenly into power. But in this case I think it's just that we're all heaving a collective sigh of relief, relaxing, letting our guard down. There's no more need to be defensive or to feel stressed-out walking into a room of casual acquaintances. It's a clean slate. And we'll probably be more than happy to rest a little and admire the unaccustomed cleanliness before scribbling all over it again.

If this new covenant of unity means there's renewed vigor in the country's defense of its principles at home and abroad, then there'll also be broad indignation at spectacles like this, from both sides of the domestic aisle. Again, unanimity is a dangerous thing—sometimes. Sometimes it's just refreshing: a country dunking its head in the horse trough on a hot day. It's too cold here for metaphors like that, but I for one am in the mood for a little—well, I can think of no better way to put it than Lance just did on the phone: "The United States needs to get laid."

Party time!



13:58 - Cats and dogs living together

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When I was in Times Square for New Year's Eve, my companions and I noticed this juxtaposition of giant billboards, which caused the requisite scandalized guffawing. Clearly the work of some sinister tentacled cabal. The sheer nerve of it!



I wasn't about to say so at the time, but here's something even funnier.


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