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, August 22, 2009
14:55 - Lily
http://julietiemann.blogspot.com/2009/08/welcome.html

(top)
Or, Lillian Elizabeth Tiemann.



Seems like every time I look around I've got a new niece!

Followup pictures here. And congratulations to my brother's growing family!


14:43 - Ninjerktsu
http://ninjerktsu.blogspot.com/

(top)
This one's going in my daily crawl. No question.

The artist has some serious chops. Not to mention a fantastic cinematic eye. Case in point.


14:20 - Yub yub
http://rootbridges.blogspot.com/2009/08/blog-post.html

(top)
This is damn cool: living root bridges in India.



In order to make a rubber tree's roots grow in the right direction - say, over a river - the Khasis use betel nut trunks, sliced down the middle and hollowed out, to create root-guidance systems.
The thin, tender roots of the rubber tree, prevented from fanning out by the betel nut trunks, grow straight out. When they reach the other side of the river, they're allowed to take root in the soil. Given enough time, a sturdy, living bridge is produced.

Awesome.

Thursday, August 20, 2009
14:58 - But at least it's not a Big Mac
http://www.foodgeekery.com/reviews/double-down-with-kfc/

(top)
Okay, perhaps I'll have to eat my fattening words on the overhyping of fast-food grossness. Behold: the Double Down Burger, from KFC.



The ad campaign is called "Unthink KFC", which you'd think would be following the mold of McDonald's and Subway and Saturn in trying to redefine a well-understood brand into something more bland and unspecific and non-threatening. But this could hardly be any more audacious, could it? Two fried chicken breasts for buns, with bacon, two kinds of cheese, and a slathering of "Colonel's Sauce" (which looks downright obscene) inside.

My first thought upon seeing this at TIWYF was that this was another of those cult creations that fan-customers make by buying three or four regular menu items and smashing them together, like McSliders (mini burgers with Chicken McNuggets for buns); but this is actually an official product, with its own ad campaign and everything.

How does KFC find it has the cojones to do something like this? Does it think it's exempt from criticism simply because all the public's ire is directed at the Golden Arches? Or has it sensed that the backlash against health-food tyranny has reached market-force momentum?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009
14:13 - "Computer usage as a creative act"
http://al3x.net/2009/08/10/switching-season.html

(top)
Alex Payne has an interesting annual ritual:

Once, maybe twice a year, I do this stupid thing. At least I’m not alone in it, as friends get the same itch, but I have to do it. I think about switching away from the Apple platform.

It's an interesting thought experiment, and naturally (given the tenor of the month) it's primarily about the iPhone App Store and its related policy quagmire. But there's also still discussion to be had on the desktop front; and in the corresponding segment this bit stuck out at me:

Assuming I can justify the expense to myself, I could get a ThinkPad, familiar and homely and built like a tank. Then what? Run Ubuntu on it? Sure, Linux has evolved to the point that there’s not much tinkering required to have a functional laptop (if you do your research before purchasing), but it also boasts no marked improvement over OS X. I could run a tiling window manager and not have to fuss with manual software updates, but those niceties are traded for pervasive rough edges and inconsistencies, not to mention the loss of the near-seamless integration of the iPhone with iTunes, Address Book, and the rest of the Mac experience.

Considered, the process of switching away from OS X seems like an exercise in frustration. There’s just no demonstrably better way to compute right now. Adding a second computer to my life just opens up a world of synchronization nightmares. I’ve also tried periodic experiments with Emacs as a way of introducing a more open, extensible tool into my daily work without leaving OS X, but I can’t escape my general discomfort with the editor-cum-OS.

"Then what? Run Ubuntu on it?"

I suddenly realized how odd it is that this is what we're thinking about these days. The "switching" in question is not "to Windows". Windows isn't even on this guy's radar. This is about Apple—the arch-proprietary-software-and-hardware-maker—competing for mindshare with Linux people.

How weird is that? Let's put to one side all the millions of people who just want a computer to work for them, so they can download music and write Word documents and do their email and browse the Web. Never mind all the casual users who decide on a Mac versus a PC based on price and features in a bullet list and what some guy at Best Buy tells them makes a computer "appropriate" for a college student or a mom or a mid-level manager or an artist. Forget all those people; they're the target of all the "switch" campaign pieces over the last decade, but they're not the real news, no matter how many have been successfully courted.

The real point of interest, to me, is that for those people who are true technology nerds, open-source buffs, programmers, designers, policy advocates, and people with a "minimalism fetish" (like Alex), Apple is now not only a viable camp, but the default camp. The one you have to consider carefully switching away from—and generally deciding to stay.

How long ago was it that a given Linux-head would have sneered at the very thought of using a Mac? Not very, I think. I seem to recall with vividness those rumors of Linux conferences where you'd look around and see hundreds of glowing Apple logos; sure, on each laptop there'd be a different flavor of Linux running, but hey, the hardware was Apple. But now... well, are those laptops even running Linux at all anymore? Maybe in a VM or something. It's Intel, after all. But considering soliloquies like Alex's... how many people who five or ten years ago would be clinging to a Free-Software-Only work environment like a teddy bear are now more-or-less happily ensconced in a tweaked-up—or indeed a relatively vanilla—OS X installation?

I think it's fairly hilarious to see how thoroughly Apple has managed to win over what would appear to be the most demanding of all possible markets: the one that's inherently hostile to corporate for-profit software models, overengineered-for-the-sake-of-branding hardware, proprietary libraries with private methods and development policies that discourage hacking them, and a release cycle that essentially prohibits developers' trusting in their code's backward-compatibility. It's almost the very antithesis of what one might expect the roll-your-own-universe geek community to appreciate. And yet they've set up shop there; not uncritically, and not without chafing and grousing, but comfortably enough to stay there. Enough so that using Linux is seen as the off-putting, undesirable alternative.

Is that bizarre or what?

Via JMH.

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