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
Tal G in Jerusalem
Aziz Poonawalla
Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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Friday, July 16, 2010
17:19 - Appa culpa
http://www.macworld.com/article/152732/2010/07/iphone4.html?lsrc=top_1

(top)
Regarding the iPhone 4 antenna debacle: Jobs says free cases for all, and refunds for anyone who wants one.



Just wondering something:

Jobs: Certainly what was portrayed in that total article never passed my consciousness. And I talked to Ruben and Ruben says it's total bullshit too.

Is that a direct quote? Rather strong language for a press conference, I tend to think.

Anyway, I guess this is how a company gets to make its customers happy when it has all the money in the world. According to the data, though, not a lot of people are very likely to jump on this offer.

Something that's been common to all the Stevenotes going back the past ten years or so is that they're packed to the gills with supporting information, positive press stories, data that backs up the company's line—stuff you wouldn't get from any other source, possibly because it sounds so suspect coming from the horse's mouth. I wonder how much of Steve's beguiling stage presence has to do with his ability to wrap up any piece of juicy information in a pillow-fort of customer satisfaction numbers, performance stats, raw numbers of features, and other such numerical hors d'oeuvre such that by the time you actually get to the main course of the missive you feel like anyone would be an idiot not to jump on board.

But hey, he even had a piece of unexpected bad news to deliver in this one: according to customer data, more calls are getting dropped with the iPhone 4 than with the 3GS. Not many more, but more nonetheless. Certainly judging by the independent benchmarks we've been seeing from various sites, you'd think the reception would be far more robust even with the Grip of Death taken into account. But apparently it isn't. (Steve does have a theory for why this is, though: people upgrading from their 3GSes haven't bought new cases yet.)

Anyway, the big question is whether holding a press conference like this and making this kind of customer-pacification offer will help calm the shouting, or if it'll just exacerbate it. That's probably the trickiest question anyone in Steve's position has to make. I certainly can't guess which will happen; but I think this was the right move. Lots of upsides, and considering Apple can absorb the cost pretty easily these days, one (potential) downside: it might just spawn memes as enduring as "Apple's Windows Vista" or "Eat Up Martha". And that, they don't need.

Thursday, July 15, 2010
22:33 - No way was that an accident
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6622I420100703?loomia_ow=t0:s0:a49:g43:r1:c0.2

(top)
Oh, Reuters...



Yes, I am twelve years old. Thank you for asking.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010
16:50 - BYO LS9
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/100712/business/us_gm_corvette_engine

(top)
Okay, now that's just cool:

DETROIT - Corvette owners could soon be revving up an engine they built with their own hands.

General Motors Co. said Monday that buyers who order a 2011 Corvette Z06 or ZR1 can help assemble their cars' high-performance LS7 and LS9 engines. The automaker believes the program is the first of its kind in the industry.

The engines will be built at GM's Performance Build Centre in Wixom, Mich., where GM assembles all of its high-performance engines by hand. The facility can assemble up to 15,000 engines per year, GM spokesman Tom Read said.

Read said it will take buyers about six hours to assemble, adjust and clean their engines with the parts provided. A skilled technician will supervise.

And the engines are even covered under the normal warranty. I think this is an awesome idea.

Of course, if they're just giving people a carrot prior to sticking us with the inevitable V6 Corvette, that's another story...

Monday, July 12, 2010
10:25 - Trailing edge of the nostalgia wave
http://www.digitaltrends.com/entertainment/mike-judge-to-bring-back-beavis-and-butt-

(top)
So Family Guy came back from the dead, and that was successful enough that it made Comedy Central bring back Futurama, and thus far it looks like that was a good move—it's taken them a little while to settle back down into their groove, but the consensus as of last week's episode ("Proposition Infinity") seems to be that it's back and IN COLOR.

So clearly the latest trend is to resurrect cancelled properties that have proven cult favorites among fans who have now grown to DVD-buying age. So what's next? Beavis & Butt-head?

It has been over 12-years since Beavis and Butt-Head were airing new episodes on MTV, but most people can still instantly recognize the unique “huh huh, huh huh” laugh of Butt-Head, or the “fire, fire!” cries from Beavis. The show produced 200 episodes over seven seasons, a feature movie, and now it seems that the trash talking duo are about to make their TV comeback on the network that made them- and creator Mike Judge- famous.

Since the end of the series, Judge has been a busy guy. He wrote and directed several movies including the cult classics Office Space and Idiocracy, he created King of the Hill and has leant his voice to several animated shows. The guy has been busy. Now, according to Reviewniverse, Judge is hard at work to bring back Beavis and Butt-Head for a slot on MTV’s new primetime lineup.

Recently MTV has begun to limit their once rampant slew of reality shows like the recently cancelled The Hills, in favor of scripted programming like The Hard Times of RJ Berger.

According to the report, Judge will keep the original show’s low budget look, and the format will remain true to the original episodes, where Beavis and Butt-Head comment on music videos. The show will feature current music videos, but the format will be the same.

That certainly hits the right notes: for one thing, it has to look desperately low-budget, and sound barely-scripted. The show was at its most successful as a stream-of-consciousness series of ad-libs by Judge, with one-liners and oddball turns of phrase coming out of left field, the way that South Park in its early years kept hitting us with "butt-pipe" and "ass spelunker" and random jokes about Murphy Brown. Trying to formalize the lexicon polished off all the sharp little knobs from South Park, but unfortunately those were what made it so funny; and it's the same with Beavis & Butt-head, no matter how hysterical the thoroughly polished movie was (and it was).

But it's also key that it'll be focused on music videos. Those were always the best part; and every DVD release that has trimmed them out and strung together little ten-minute "episodes" based on nothing but the thin plots that took place between the video riffings has the feel of a reanimated zombie. It's visually recognizable, but there's just no life in it.

Judge of all people seems not to have fallen so far from his roots, Lucas-style, as to have forgotten what made his signature show so funny. Naturally I'll withhold judgment until I see it... but I definitely want to see it.

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© Brian Tiemann