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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Wednesday, May 27, 2009
20:47 - If they had YouTube in World War I
http://www.99chan.org/f/src/Russianstyle_-_It(bkslash)&(number)039;s_Like_That.swf

(top)
You got served: 1918 style!

This is a fantastic piece of footage, and the choice of music is inspired as hell.


16:08 - Ever closer to SimRealLife
http://www.360cities.net/image/streetview-cave-googleplex

(top)
At Google they've got a testing lab for Street View where they surround you with panoramic screens and run the Street View images past you at near-video speed, in much higher resolution than you get in a browser. They call it the Street View Cave.



We mere mortals don't get access. But maybe someday.

This is all I ever wanted from video games, honestly. Google Earth gets me 90% of the way there. This would pretty much clinch the balance.

(Well, until they have to start refining the AI on all the NPCs you meet in the virtual world, and then address the various user complaints about how their own personal alt-history worlds are developing, and Earth courts become powerless to dictate law on the alternate realities where everyone spends all their time orchestrating economies and slaughtering armies and having sex with supermodels and dealing endlessly with Moriarty...)

Via Google Earth Blog.


12:56 - Zune XP
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2347707,00.asp

(top)
I wonder if I'm the only one who thinks "HD" looks like a particularly weird smiley. Like a guy with 80s glasses.

Or maybe I'm just used to thinking of "XP" as an emoticon.

So the Zune Vista 8.5 HD 2010 is going to have ... a touchscreen! And web browsing! And... well, not an app store. But a link to the Xbox!

And apparently what makes it "HD" is that... it has an HD Radio receiver. HD Radio, that hot new technology that's taking the world by storm! Or, more appropriately, attempting to ride the wave of HDTV by coopting its branding and making people think there's a similar revolution in radio happening. Because TV and radio are still inseparable, like in the 50s!

The Zune HD is the first portable device to even consider including an HD Radio receiver. And everyone collectively thinks, well, maybe there's a good reason for that...

But hey—you gotta differentiate yourself somehow, right? It's not like you can, y'know, wrap yourself in the shreds of your dignity and withdraw from the market like Dell and so many others have done.

Via Mark.


08:54 - Watch out, Sigourney Weaver
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=As3pRa9O1VM

(top)
Sometimes I wonder whether YouTube won't be the downfall of humanity.



But if it is, at least we know it won't be because Condom Head didn't give us all fair warning.

Via Lance.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009
21:37 - By my count that's about 0.00000002 revolutions per minute
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/jeremy_clarkson/article6294116.ece?token=nu

(top)
One hardly expects an effusive review of a hybrid from Jeremy Clarkson, but this sure goes above and beyond:

However, as a result of all this, prices start at £15,490 — that’s £3,000 or so less than the cost of the Prius. But at least with the Toyota there is no indication that you’re driving a car with two motors. In the Insight you are constantly reminded, not only by the idiotic dashboard, which shows leaves growing on a tree when you ease off the throttle (pass the sick bucket), but by the noise and the ride and the seats. And also by the hybrid system Honda has fitted.

. . .

I would not accuse Honda of telling porkies. That would be foolish. But I cannot see how making a car with two motors costs the same in terms of resources as making a car with one.

The nickel for the battery has to come from somewhere. Canada, usually. It has to be shipped to Japan, not on a sailing boat, I presume. And then it must be converted, not in a tree house, into a battery, and then that battery must be transported, not on an ox cart, to the Insight production plant in Suzuka. And then the finished car has to be shipped, not by Thor Heyerdahl, to Britain, where it can be transported, not by wind, to the home of a man with a beard who thinks he’s doing the world a favour.

. . .

Since about 1917 the car industry has not had a technological revolution — unlike, say, the world of communications or film. There has never been a 3G moment at Peugeot nor a need to embrace DVD at Nissan. There has been no VHS/Betamax battle between Fiat and Renault.

Car makers, then, have had nearly a century to develop and hone the principles of suck, squeeze, bang, blow. And they have become very good at it.

But now comes the need to throw away the heart of the beast, the internal combustion engine, and start again.

Between this and the equivalent TTAC review, it seems safe to say that Honda has sacrificed its reputation on the altar of eco-consciousness every bit as much as Toyota has in its modern-era shunning of performance and motorsports and the like—only perhaps more so, because they didn't even follow their usual "Do what Toyota does only a little more expensive and a little better" MO.

And now Times Square has apparently been made off-limits to cars. Presumably through the reasoning that if you make driving in the city unbearable enough, nobody will do it, the sky will become bluer, and traffic problems will sort themselves out in due time. Not accounting, apparently, for the idea that people burning gas and braving potholes and fender-benders on their way through midtown Manhattan aren't doing it for the fun of it to begin with—they're doing it because they have to. Now they can't get business done, whether they want to or not. Way to go, guys.

If I didn't know better, I'd say we're well on our way to outlawing the greatest and most democratizing invention since negotiable currency. I guess we must figure that as long as we have the Internet, who needs cars?


21:12 - This planet does the darndest things
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/20/roll-em-roll-em-roll-em-keep-that-snow-a-rolli

(top)
Snow rollers. Is that cool or what?


On the evening of March 31st, 2009, Tim Tevebaugh was driving home from work east of Craigmont in the southern Idaho Panhandle (see map below). Across the rolling hay fields, Tim saw a very unusual phenomenon. The snow rollers that he took pictures of are extremely rare because of the unique combination of snow, wind, temperature and moisture needed to create them. They form with light but sticky snow and strong (but not too strong) winds. Some snow rollers are formed by gravity (i.e. rolling down a hill), but in this case, the snow rollers were generated by the wind.

Who knew all those 60-year-old Disney cartoons where characters would tumble down a snow-covered mountain and emerge at the bottom rolled up in a huge rumbling ball were actually based on fact?

And here I thought moguls were interesting.

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© Brian Tiemann