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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Thursday, February 16, 2006
16:59 - 15-point plan

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Hmm. What do this and this have in common?

Besides, like, everything?

Via Thomas.

UPDATE: And then there's this. Don't suppose the upcoming "fun new products" announcement has anything to do with this, do you?



15:47 - Is he still here?
http://apple.slashdot.org/apple/06/02/16/1826257.shtml

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Boy, everybody's really piling on this John Dvorak article today. And rightly so. Man—I've never seen such a relentlessly, anecdotally-and-empirically-provably false premise as his theory that all this explosive technological and cultural success Apple has had in the last five years has been nothing more than a prelude to... switching to making Windows boxes.

This theory is actually inherited from one "Yakov Epstein, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University", who must really know the secrets of brain manipulation, because his central four axioms apparently slip right past Dvorak's radar and into his library of fundamental truths even in spite of their glaring falseness:

Epstein made four observations. The first was that the Apple Switch ad campaign was over, and nobody switched. The second was that the iPod lost its FireWire connector because the PC world was the new target audience. Also, although the iPod was designed to get people to move to the Mac, this didn't happen. And, of course, that Apple had switched to the Intel microprocessor.

Wow. Just... wow.

Read the very first comment in the linked Slashdot article for a point-by-point refutation of these assertions. And then read on for about a billion anecdotal variations on the theme, mostly having to do with "Five years ago we would have laughed at the idea of using Macs; today we're an all-Mac shop" and related sentiments.

And there's more, too:

Though these points aren't a slam-dunk for Epstein's thesis, other observations support it. The theory explains several odd occurrences, including Apple's freak-out and lawsuits over Macintosh gossip sites that ran stories about a musicians' breakout box that has yet to be shipped. Like, who cares?

But if Apple's saber-rattling was done to scare the community into backing off so it wouldn't discover the Windows stratagem, then the incident makes more sense.

Uh... it does? How in the name of crap does Apple issuing C&D orders about a musicians' breakout box relate to a "Windows stratagem"? Has Dvorak been looking in the other direction all those times when Apple has gotten touchy about people blowing the cover on their upcoming product announcements? Ask "Nick DePlume" whether he thinks this is some new phenomenon on Apple's part that bespeaks Steve's paranoia that the rumor sites are getting too close to the Big Secret Windows Plan.

As does Bill Gates's onscreen appearance during Apple's turnaround when Jobs was taking a pot of money from Microsoft. The Windows stratagem may have been a done deal by then. This may also explain the odd comment at the Macworld Expo by a Microsoft spokesperson that Microsoft Office will continue to be developed for the Mac for "five years." What happens after that?

...Perhaps they renew the contract for another five years, just like they did this time after the previous five-year contract ran out (even though a few years went by in the interim while Microsoft kept making Office even though the contract didn't require them to). Maybe this is—I dunno—standard practice or something?

And is Dvorak speculating that Steve had made a deal back in 1998 to switch to making Windows PCs... ten years later? Dvorak's brain must be a spectacular place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

This switch to Windows may have originally been planned for this year and may partly explain why Adobe and other high-end apps were not ported to the Apple x86 platform when it was announced in January.

Brain... hurts... so bad...

He goes on and on to explain how Apple's big recipe for success is to "compete directly with Dell, HP, and the stodgy Chinese makers". Oh, be still my heart. This is a company that has made Intel dance to its tune, declining even to run the "Intel Inside" jingle on its ads, instead running a spot that denigrates Intel's entire chipmaking history as having been part of a misspent youth. But what if these Intel chips were inside a Mac... that was really a PC? Oh, imagine the possibilities, indeed.

Dvorak's inane idea that Apple meant to switch to Windows this year, but somehow wasn't ready for it and instead brought out an Intel compatibility layer for Mac OS X and an entire multi-platform binary architecture, not to mention a whole version of OS X that runs on Intel and has been secretly in development for five years—well, it just boggles the mind. The idea that Apple is getting ready to dump OS X, its crown jewel, arguably the most universally admired thing they make (only iTunes and the iPod are in its league) in favor of an "executive software layer" on top of Windows that allows users to pretend they're running OS X, along with ported Windows versions of all the iLife and iWork apps and the Pro suite... does this make sense to anybody but Dvorak and this Epstein fellow? Does anybody see any signs that Apple has any need whatsoever to change its entire business model—now that it's riding high in the headlines, a runaway success under the Christmas tree, a star performer in the stock market, a household brand name that inspires lust rather than mockery, a guaranteed revenue-magnet in every upscale mall, an entrenched partner in a media empire now headquartered in the hollowed-out shell of Disney, and a vindication of every bold and insane move Steve has made in the singleminded pursuit of building the Mac brand identity as something unalterably distinct from the Windows world?

Or does it seem more likely that Epstein and Dvorak just can't bear the thought that the future of computing is being written by more able and agile companies than Microsoft, and that Windows is going to have to adapt to it, rather than it to Windows?

Perhaps Dvorak is just bummed that he's losing readership after so many dopey predictions not coming true. Well, this'll certainly get him attention, but I don't think it's the kind he wants.

UPDATE: Don't miss this. Brilliant.


14:11 - Doom! DOOOOM!
http://www.ambrosiasw.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=102379

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Lookee here! A virus for the Mac.

Or, well, a Trojan.

Okay, hmm... more like a "program that isn't what it claims to be, but otherwise makes you have to install it through a seventeen-step process including an Admin password and everything else you'd normally have to do when installing system-altering software". (Is there a word for that?)

Hunker down! We're all done for!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006
13:39 - Check out that DRMbeat
http://www.osx86project.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=119&Itemid=2

(top)
How is Apple preventing OS X-on-Intel hackers from cracking the copy-protection that binds it to Apple-only hardware?

With poetry.

Your karma check for today:
There once was a user that whined
his existing OS was so blind,
he'd do better to pirate
an OS that ran great
but found his hardware declined.
Please don't steal Mac OS!
Really, that's way uncool.
(C) Apple Computer, Inc.

I just got a sort of a hey-is-it-1985-again chill.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006
17:31 - Switcher Beware
http://plasticbugs.com/?p=312

(top)
Excellent, entertaining article by Scott Moschella, explaining to cautious refugees from Windows who are poking uncertainly at their brand-new Macs (or pressing their noses up against the glass panes at the local Apple Store) what kinds of surprises they can expect.

No, it's not all good surprises. Some amount to recommended workarounds. But it's all on the mark, especially for us long-time Mac users who don't even think about some of this stuff.

As for the good surprises, we leave that to Apple.

Monday, February 13, 2006
16:47 - Still in the game
http://www.newtechspy.com/articles06/hydraulichybrid.html

(top)
It's easy to be cynical about the American auto industry these days. GM is flirting with bankruptcy. Chrysler threw in its chips with the Germans and has gained some cred with the 300C, but now it seems to be getting a little full of itself. Both GM and Chrysler have slapped together their me-too retro-musclecars (the Camaro and the Challenger) in response to Ford, whose cars aside from the Mustang have all been far from inspirational (even the GT has suffered from embarrassing recall problems). Cars from Europe and Japan and even Korea seem to be light-years ahead of domestics when it comes to technology, reliability, and performance all put together into an attractively designed and high-quality package. When Ford keeps putting out ads congratulating itself for its "innovation", it's hard not to be cynical.

Well, here's some evidence that it might not all be smoke. A 60mpg F-150? Hydraulic cylinder power storage? 300% more efficient than the Prius? Egad.

We'll have to see if it's for real; it would have to imply that the losses even in the Prius are so immensely high as to make this kind of gain feasible, because they both have to run on the same gasoline input energy. But it does my heart good to think that there's real competition in the cards...


12:45 - Where do we go from here?

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There's a certain inevitability about the Cartoon Riots, isn't there?

I keep thinking that one of these mornings I'm going to wake up and discover that they've spread to Canada and the US, and that it's transformed into a full-fledged Cartoon War, with guns and bombs and everything. It sure doesn't look as though the tension is dissipating anytime soon, or on its own—it just keeps growing and growing, almost as though it's being directed by a central organizing force.

There doesn't seem to be any realistic way this all can end without ever more cacophonious protests over ever more innocuous affronts, finally leading to actual capital-W War. Does there?

This guy (via LGF), one of the Jyllands-Posten journalists, describes things this way:

The cartoons are no longer something Jyllands-Posten can control. They have already been manipulated and misrepresented to the point that few know what is going on and fewer know how to stop it. This affair is artifically being kept buoyant in a sea of lies, suppressions of the truth, misconceptions, lunacy and hypocrisy, for which this newspaper bears no blame. The only thing Jyllands-Posten did was provide a pin-prick which has made a boil of nastiness erupt. This would have happened sooner or later. That it happened more than four months after the publication of the cartoons, raises a question of its own. Are we dealing with random events or with a staged clash of civilizations? One might hope for the former yet be prepared to expect the latter.

I think he's right on the money; but what form will "the latter" take? A real, live shooting war in the streets of European cities? I have the feeling that Europeans would be willing to do just about anything to avoid that eventuality, but somehow I don't think these guys have any such compunctions.

No matter how many apologies they issue, how many Danish goods they destock, how many editors they fire, how many free-speech-curtailment editorial policies they adopt, or how many anti-religious-insult laws they pass, it'll never be enough, because the rioters now know how amazingly successful rioting is. Why should they stop now? The iron's hot, and they're one more "pin-prick" away from striking.

When the riots first started, I was sort of laughing inwardly—I wanted to see just how the leftists who so treasure Free Speech and the right to ridicule religion would justify the anti-cartoon riots. I really couldn't see how it would be possible for them to blame the West; I thought they might have to take a stand, seeing how their most cherished core values were now being attacked.

But never let it be said that these guys can't surprise me with their ingenuity. The widespread justification that I've heard from the usual quarters is that "Well, every country has right-wing assholes, and even Scandinavia is no exception. Now we just know that there are at least twelve of them in Denmark." The cartoons—tame and self-effacing as they are by our standards—are the result of typical right-wing cultural insensitivity, and we ought to be ashamed of ourselves for holding them up as some kind of Free Speech banner.

And thus, what should have been something that every Westerner could rally behind has become yet another debate split right down the middle in polite society, where you can look out over a crowd and easily imagine that fully half of the bobbing heads in it think the cartoons shouldn't have been published.

Australia's most celebrated vile-editorial-cartoon-maker, Mike Leunig, came up with the argument that only "the slick and the mighty, the officially powerful, on our own smug mob, on the triumphant ones protected by helicopter gunships and offices of state" are worthy of being ridiculed, and the poor downtrodden terrorists should be placed beyond the pale.

And how neatly that works—how well it fits in with the "progressive" mentality. In that mindset, there's nothing more suspect—at least, for our own culture—than the word "traditional"; tradition is the enemy that must be eradicated, whether it means God, decorum in entertainment, a family with a man and a woman in it, cars that run on gasoline, the eating of meat, or whatever else our unenlightened parents did. But for this mindset, when it comes to other cultures, "tradition" trumps all. We have to be prepared to change everything that defines us, right down to our regard for freedom of expression and the right to ridicule religious beliefs as we would any other ideas with which we disagree, in the interest of allowing our "guest cultures" to preserve their ways of life down to the minutest detail. Even if that means our own culture becomes diluted and its values ravaged. So what if we compromise Free Speech? Free Speech is a tradition of Western Culture, and therefore it's fair game.

The Jyllands-Posten writer continues with this:

Initially I was doubtful of the timeliness of publishing the cartoons. Later events have convinced me that it was both just and useful to do so. That they are consistent with Danish law and Danish custom seem to me less important than this: that we now know that remote, primitive countries deem themselves justified in telling us what to do.

Not only that, they're finding that we're obeying.

So what's next, then? Egyptian Sand Monkey, a Muslim, has a very clear-headed and sensible treatise on the subject, mostly aimed at his co-religionists who want to go out and march with banners threatening knifey death on those who insult the Prophet. But he and his fellow sane Muslims aren't having much effect, it would seem; their voices are being drowned out beneath the roar of the daily riots, being carried out by people who are sure they're in the right, that their view of Islam is correct, and that they're the aggrieved party and justified in their rage. It's only a step or two beyond what we've got before they feel themselves justified in starting a continental conflagration that will make the Paris car-torching riots into a prelude and a footnote in the history books.

Bending over backwards to appease them, as the various heads of state and journalistic organs throughout the Western world have done, can't help but encourage them to try even harder.

We're responding to this situation in the Western way to which we've become so accustomed that it sustains the existence of an entire overclass of lawyers: firing newspaper editors, proposing legislation, drafting formal apologies, holding committee meetings, debating endlessly over legal precedent and the philosophy of the rule of law. What we don't do is torch embassies or march by the thousands in city streets, except when the issue is our own involvement in something so primitive and degrading to our civilized values as "war". For the most part, we'll do anything and everything to avoid conflict, up to and including changing everything about ourselves to suit the complainants. But the complainants in this case want exactly what we're all too willing to give away: our identity, our values, and our claim on the future of civilization.

And that's why I'm worried. If the rioters get their way, Free Speech as we know it is dead, far more so than in any Leftist fever dream of Rove-led gestapos shutting down dissent or intimidating people with scary wiretaps. You'd think that would worry us; but instead we've turned it into yet another debating point, another negotiable bargaining chip, another thing we could potentially push across the table if it'll get us another few months of "peace". We don't care about "winning" so much as "getting along". Meanwhile the Islamists are learning that all it takes is a "pin-prick" and they have a pretext for a riot, and all it takes is a riot and they win concessions from us. What could be easier? What have they got to lose? Are there any consequences? Why shouldn't they riot?

One of these two groups is going to win the rights to define what the future of civilization is: either us diplomacy-steeped legal-wrangling debate club groupies, or the fundamentalists who hold religious dogma above democratic achievement and human law.

In cliché college hockey coach terminology, this is a matter of "who wants it more". Who wants it more? WHO WANTS IT MORE?

Unfortunately, I think the answer is all too clear.

UPDATE: JMH reminds me that Ford Prefect, naturally, said it best:

"We can't win against obsession. They care, we don't. They win."


12:37 - 3cool

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Wow, and I thought this was awesome. It pretty much pales in comparison to this.

Via Stephen R.
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