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, March 24, 2006
01:10 - And the Steve Smiled™

(top)
So Windows Vista has been delayed yet again. But as a consolation prize, it's gained a new slogan: "People Ready".

With a subtitle, presumably, of "Software Not".

Though according to this BusinessWeek poll, they are ready—just not for what Microsoft is hoping they're ready for.

And that's just the customers. Get a load of what the employees are saying (via evariste). If this is all part of some grand master scheme by the Windows product planners, holding their lances hidden in the grass until just the exact most opportune moment to spring them up into the charging front line, I have my doubts that it's inspiring the necessary confidence among the troops.


19:11 - Little Runaway
http://daringfireball.net/2006/03/ipod_juggernaut

(top)
Four years on and change, and John Gruber can hardly be said to be jumping the gun on this speculation that the iPod is an economic and pop-cultural juggernaut unprecedented in modern history and with no natural enemies to worry about.

Present are retrospective looks at pundits all across the board who were flat wrong on all their informed hypotheses, Jobs' intuition on the nature of Apple's mistakes while he wasn't there to make things right (and where he sure seems to have an instinct), refutations of popular misconceptions about things like iPods' prices, and the nature of a market where the temptation to try to compete on features is just a big tar pit lurking to snare unwary companies. The bottom line is that Apple is putting all its rocks in the "get market share at all costs" basket this time around, rather than trying to mine existing capital for profit; and by all indications it's a decision that will make Apple a household name for years to come, rather than a shameful laughingstock.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006
13:26 - Fastest Windows-based Photoshop Laptop Evar
http://gearlog.com/blogs/gearlog/archive/2006/03/21/8212.aspx

(top)
Hint: I'm linking to it, so you know what it must be.

Ain't no reason to fudge these numbers.

Via Chris M.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006
13:28 - "It's about games, plain and simple"
http://www.tuaw.com/2006/03/20/half-life-2-on-a-mac/

(top)
That's Damien Barrett's take on the Windows-on-Intel-Mac movement, which appears to be building up quite a head of steam since the how-to was posted a few days ago. From the look of things, even the hard-core Mac faithful are jumping in on this opportunity—because hey, there's nothing to lose, and gaming to gain. There's just a certain thousand-yard stare to get past.

I've been seeing post after post on TUAW about driver hackery and the various efforts getting the infrastructural support into place for modern PC games. It's still in its early stages, but lots of people seem to be throwing their weight behind it. Fueling this, it seems, is a growing consensus—that Mac hardware is really pretty freakin' sweet, especially if it comes with OS X, and that the only reason a lot of people bother sticking with a PC—or keeping one around as a second machine—is games. If that can all be merged into a single machine, in the eyes of the geek set the Mac is going to win by default.

Dee-fault! Dee-fault! Dee-fault!


11:34 - More for nobody's money
http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=1325

(top)
SanDisk—If it were really about "more for your money", then Napster and Creative would rule the world.

Yesterday, in response to the news that Microsoft is going to be trying to market a PSP/iPod combo device and the speculation over whether devices with convergent feature sets would unseat the iPod's dominance, I wrote the following to Steven Den Beste:

It's an ongoing question... I'm sure you remember all those execs at Creative and iRiver and such companies confidently explaining to reporters that the iPod would die as a result of its not including features like FM tuners and voice recorders. iPod competitors with gobs more features are older than the iPod (Archos was making devices that played video in the same generation as the first monochrome 5GB iPod). And yet they're all gone and the iPod lives on.

I'm sure it'll be the case before long that people will be asking themselves to choose a music player based on whether it also plays games and does PDA functions and has a phone built-in and so on. But it's a branding thing more than a pure utility thing:

http://daringfireball.net/2003/10/dells_dud

If Apple put a camera and a phone in an iPod, it wouldn't make it sell better—in fact, I tend to think it would hurt sales, just because it would start to seem like something not aimed at the people currently buying it. Even if they kept the price the same. Kids would stop asking their parents for them. Peer groups would stop regarding it as a must-have accessory. People would be buying it for different reasons—games, phone, camera, PDA—and none of them would be the reason why they're buying iPods now: that they see it as being something FOR them, something engineered to a particular clear-cut need.

iTunes phones are now in their second generation. Essentially, they are iPods with phone capabilities. And we've seen how dismally they're doing. And it's not just because of their limited capacity; it's because they're a muddled concept. They're no longer iconic.

Companies like Microsoft will keep trying to go down this well-worn "Hey, I know—let's make it like an iPod, except with more features! We can't lose!" path that's been trod so many times before... but unless they figure out a way to do so that involves an uncompromisingly iconic brand image, it's not going to go anywhere.

And as should go without saying, it's also more than a price question. Who here thinks price is the reason why the iPod leads? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

If anything, the iPod's higher price makes it more of a prestige purchase, and therefore more attractive to status-seeking buyers. This is not an unknown phenomenon; there are tales of car manufacturers who suffered dismal profits on a "budget" model of a prestige marque, only to raise the price the following year and have sales surge. The prestige market—of which the iPod is surely a part—doesn't follow supply-and-demand rules, and companies who treat it as if it does will be banished to the commodity market where they're a better fit.

Via evariste, who says, "I'm gonna go download the SanDisk Media Player software now, and see what artists are hot on the SanDisk Music Store ;-D"

Monday, March 20, 2006
18:24 - No comprendo

(top)
So explain to me why this is offensive and this isn't.

(Then again...)

UPDATE: Egad.


17:39 - Gotta do something while you've got them on hold
http://www.tuaw.com/2006/03/19/apple-employee-gets-fired-for-hilarious-standup-poetr

(top)
Granted, this piece of stand-up poetry by an Apple support guy (which apparently is rather old, but is only just now making the rounds again in circles where I might find it) is indeed quite funny. But if what he says is true, I don't blame the VP in question for firing his ass.

Having worked in support, I know how tempting it is to engage in cruel jokes at the expense of the clueless and abusive customers. Once the phones are hung up, the horror stories doth flow, and that's what keeps the job sane.

But not all the customers are clueless... and there is the suspicion among many of them, clueless or not, that this is the kind of stuff that's going on while they're listening to tinny recordings of Fleetwood Mac for five minutes at a stretch.

Don't want customers being petulant and unpleasant towards you? One idea might be to not confirm their darkest suspicions about you.

Without customers, you wouldn't have a job anyway, Mr. Call Center.

("Tee hee! Oh, duh, you guys say centre, eh?")

UPDATE: More info, via Sam M.


13:27 - Fair Game
http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,188463,00.html

(top)
The plot thickens:

Isaac Hayes did not quit "South Park." My sources say that someone quit it for him.

I can tell you that Hayes is in no position to have quit anything. Contrary to news reports, the great writer, singer and musician suffered a stroke on Jan. 17. At the time it was said that he was hospitalized and suffering from exhaustion.

It’s also absolutely ridiculous to think that Hayes, who loved playing Chef on "South Park," would suddenly turn against the show because they were poking fun at Scientology.

Last November, when the “Trapped in a Closet” episode of the comedy aired, I saw Hayes and spent time with him in Memphis for the annual Blues Ball.

If he hated the show so much, I doubt he would have performed his trademark hit song from the show, “Chocolate Salty Balls.” He tossed the song into the middle of one of his less salacious hits and got the whole audience in the Memphis Pyramid to sing along.

The article goes on to quote Hayes being guardedly positive about the Scientology episode—not happy with it, but certainly not sounding like someone about to quit the show over it.

Looks like the CoS is playing some hardball.

Via evariste.

Trey and Matt got game of their own.

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