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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Friday, January 22, 2010
23:14 - Oh I see what you did there

(top)
Okay, I think I get what the deal is with this thing on the Ferrari 458 Italia that has been bugging me for a while now:



Why this graceless upsweep of the shoulder edge, the haphazard crashing together of two lines into a sharp and unmoored point where previous Ferraris had a gorgeous and iconic quarter-window shape that defined the whole bloodline since the 308?

It's because they're trying to imitate this:



Yeah. C'mon, guys, Family resemblance is a nice thing to have. But it's not worth it if in order to achieve it you have to go emulating the lines of a power retractable hardtop.

Those things almost never look good. You always get these pointy corners and clumsy fussy curves, neither of which belong on a Ferrari. You're not about to go replicating the unavoidable loose panel gaps too, are you? Didn't think so.

Okay, I'll shut up now.

Thursday, January 21, 2010
07:12 - Reinventing Wheels
http://daringfireball.net/2010/01/apple_google_bing_search

(top)
The moment before I read the following paragraph, I was thinking, "Hey, wait a minute—why wouldn't Apple just do their own search engine? It's not like they haven't jumped two-footed into every other market in the last ten years against established monolithic competitors."

But then here’s the really interesting part of BusinessWeek’s report, buried in the last paragraph:

Even if it’s consummated, an Apple-Bing deal may prove short-lived. The person familiar with Apple’s thinking says Apple has a “skunk works” looking at a search offering of its own, and believes that “if Apple does do a search deal with Microsoft, it’s about buying itself time.” Given the importance of search and its tie to mobile advertising — and the iPhone maker’s desire to slow Google — “Apple isn’t going to outsource the future.”

Which is intriguing if true, and helps Apple’s negotiations with both Microsoft and Google even if it isn’t.

Talk about feeling one's oats. I remember when Jobs stood on stage in 2003 and said "We did our own browser!" Even taking into account the preexisting KHTML codebase, that took stones, and I didn't even remotely see it coming. Since then we've seen iWork (vs. Office), the iPhone ("walking in" against Palm), and now whatever the Tablet is going to be against Amazon.

If there's any market Apple isn't competing in nowadays (or planning to), surely it's because they see no future in it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010
07:17 - Unintended Atavism
http://lileks.com/bleat/?p=5209

(top)
Lileks notes the latest entrant in the apparently ongoing "real sugar for as long as we can get away with admitting that our products used to taste better than they do now" marketing stunt:



The term “throwback” has worked well for Pepsi, since it has nerdy jokey pop-cultural connotations. But now that they’re juxtaposing it with Mountain Dew hillbillies, it takes on its more traditional “evolutionary” meaning.

I wonder if they realized this. Or if those GEICO cavemen will stage a protest.

Monday, January 18, 2010
19:31 - Ow, my Eye-talia
http://www.roadandtrack.com/tests/impressions/2010-ferrari-458-italia/

(top)
I'm having a hard time understanding why everyone's so gaga over the Ferrari 458 Italia. Even Robert Cumberford, in this month's Automobile, has a fawning Design Analysis where he describes it as a car that bucks the trend in its predecessors of "playing it safe", in which "once again originality, beauty, and excitement are synonymous with the hallowed name" of Ferrari.

I don't know. I'm not feeling it.



Seriously? That bubble top, which looks to be designed for seven-footers? The seating position nearer the front wheels than the rears? The proportions on this car just leave me feeling creeped out. Compare this side view to the 355:



Just a bit more elegant, to my eyes. Sure, the 458 is more audacious, but audacity without grace describes many of history's greatest catastrophes.

And then there's this:



That's really the best shape they could think of to deal with the rear quarter-panel windows and the up-sweeping curve that defines their lower edge? It looks like a guy pulling up the collar of his turtleneck to hide his receding chin.

This is of course leaving out all the other aspects of the car, like the total lack of a manual transmission. Sure, "purists can howl all they want, put the people who actually buy Ferraris have voted", as the Automobile article accompanying the design analysis all but gloats. Still, one has to wonder whether Enzo's approach to the road car business really was this mercenary—anything it took to fund the race team—or if he'd be smacking heads around if he were free to wander about the factory today.


18:55 - A wrap a day keeps Morgan Spurlock away
http://www1.mcdonalds.com/macsnackwrap/

(top)
Good gadzooks. They made the Big Mac into a wrap.



The funny part is that it's never been the Big Mac that has contributed that much to the calorie count everyone's so perpetually horrified by; it's just 540 calories. You could eat four of them in a day and still be at the low end of the recommended calorie intake. It's the fries that do the damage. And they'll probably go just as well with the wrap version.

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© Brian Tiemann