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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Sunday, September 2, 2007
02:08 - SLOTH BANG ON KEYBOARD

(top)
I just got the following e-mail:

From: AnonymousMailer@beHidden.com
Subject:
Date: September 2, 2007 11:47:43 PM PDT
To: btman@grotto11.com

JiMmy of jthm is not ugly, isn't a bad character and doesn't deserve your bullshit comment as posted on grotto11.com. He is beautiful and you are sick and stupid not to see this.

Quit being a whore and realize discrimination is wrong.

After some head-scratching and forensic Googling, I conclude that Mr. Anonymous is referring to this.

Wow. What a fool I've been.


02:01 - Return to Meigs Field
http://earth.google.com/intl/en/userguide/v4/flightsim/index.html

(top)
Several people have pointed this out: Google Earth now has a flight simulator mode.

I remember back in the early days of Google Earth, when "flight mode" was just a wacky alternative control/viewing mode that let you bank and move at a constant speed and such. Seems they've taken the obvious next step and added all the physics-engine stuff necessary to turn it into a flight-sim that's a bit visually primitive and lacking in such amenities as cockpit visuals, sounds, radio communication, procedures, and all those little dorky bits, but has the immeasurable benefit of the worldwide high-res landscape content of Google Earth. In terms of actually simulating the experience of being in a fighter jet or a Cessna 172, it's about on a par with Microsoft Flight Simulator circa 1995. But insofar as a flight sim is about the world around you and not the intricacies of flipping cockpit switches and exchanging messages with the tower and plugging your ears against the MKR BCN sirens, this is far superior to anything that's called itself a "flight sim" to date.

'Course, I still prefer the normal Google Earth browsing mode, augmented with the joy that is the 3DConnexion SpaceNavigator controller; it is, in fact, what I spent the last twenty years wishing every flight simulator actually was (I was always less interested in the simulated plane aspect than in the aerial exploration aspect). But having this mode available is like having a framed, gold-plated plaque on the wall to remind me of just how much Google Earth rocks: they can surpass the wildest of my childhood expectations, as an afterthought.


23:56 - Like such as
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnZHiuJZ7CQ

(top)
Our country produces this, but it also produces this.

So there.

(Via CapLion.)


13:13 - Woulda got away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling kids
http://daringfireball.net/2007/09/nbc_screw_up

(top)
My feeling on this whole NBC-pulling-out-of-iTunes thing is that the NBC execs in question simply have no understanding of how the world of digital content works.

In addition, we asked Apple to take concrete steps to protect content from piracy, since it is estimated that the typical iPod contains a significant amount of illegally downloaded material.

I suspect that they believe the "illegally downloaded material" found on so many iPods comes from cracked DRM'd iTunes downloads. They probably think Apple's DRM just sucks, and that's the only reason why there are pirated versions of The Office floating around the tubes.

Gruber says:

I’d love to hear more about exactly what NBC wants Apple to do, but the only two things I can think of are (a) disallowing iPods and iPhones from playing anything other than DRM-protected video; and (b) adding spyware features to iTunes to search for and attempt to identify bootleg video files on users’ computers. Needless to say, it’s no wonder Apple told them to go fuck themselves.

I think it may be simpler than that. Somehow I have the idea that NBC's take on the situation is much less nuanced than "We wish Apple would use its market penetration clout to help stem the tide of piracy by making iTunes go out and zap non-DRM'd MP3s on people's hard drives (has NBC discussed this with EMI?). I think it comes down to a simple pigheaded misunderstanding—NBC probably thinks the continued presence of bootleg material on the Net is primarily a result of Apple not taking this whole DRM thing seriously enough to make FairPlay really bulletproof. It doesn't occur to them that so much of the illegal content out there comes from sources that are free and higher-definition than iTunes—e.g. DVD ripping and TiVo—that it has made it a pointless endeavor for anyone to even bother cracking FairPlay. I mean, yeah, people have done it, but has anyone heard about those great emancipators of the thralls of iTunes since then? I sure haven't.

I don't think NBC gets the fact that all it takes is one person with a DVD and a copy of HandBrake to put a high-fidelity, DRM-free piece of video content on BitTorrent. I think NBC has the idea that the amount of pirated material from a given source or medium depends not just on the ease with which it's liberated from that medium, but on the number of people doing it. They probably can't shake the nagging feeling that everybody downloading from iTunes is only doing so in order to crack the DRM and upload their content (because, y'know, it's already an icky digital file on the Internet, not one of those nice safe disc things you just put in a DVD player, right? An iTunes file is much closer to being a piece of contraband than a DVD is, right?). They probably would be incredulous at the idea that DVD ripping is actually far easier than cracking an iTunes file, and has more reward (better quality)—and that once one person has done it (well), nobody else is likely to do it again anyway, because the files replicate without bound and can't be removed from the wires.

Like the guy who wrote the Open Letter to NBC, I'm happy with boycotting NBC's content over this. But I can't help but think that it isn't just Apple cranks who will feel the same. Who will honestly come down on NBC's side here? Are people really clamoring for NBC's shows to appear in flexible-price packages, "in ways that could make our content even more attractive for consumers"? Who does that fool? It doesn't take much to drive someone to the DVD racks instead of iTunes. People are willing to pay a premium for lower-quality iTunes content just for the convenience, but not if the prices change appreciably (and yeah, I'll bet NBC wanted to lower prices; pull the other one). Fans of The Office and Battlestar Galactica—who are not Apple fans too—will simply buy DVDs and play those instead of streaming them through their Apple TVs; and they'll just do without having those shows on their iPods. And those are the consumers who would have potentially been most charitable toward NBC in this maneuver. To everyone else, well... this all looks pretty one-sided.

What I find most fascinating about all these recent developments, though, is seeing the various content distributors breaking ranks right and left. EMI starts selling DRM-free music; Universal and NBC pull out of iTunes because they don't get variable pricing like Microsoft gives them. The cartels aren't voting as a bloc anymore. Different companies are on different tracks pointing in different directions. They're not all interchangeable monoliths anymore. The pieces are in motion; in a few years we'll be able to see which of the labels and networks are succeeding in the market and in the court of public opinion, and which ones are regretting the decisions they made.

Friday, August 31, 2007
21:30 - Well hot friggin' damn

(top)
Jeez, this took long enough:



Four and a half months. Four and a half months since I bought the thing. But now I have the title.

I don't know what they had to do to track down the previous owner and get him to submit the mileage statement and power-of-attorney forms that the dealer had been waiting for this whole time; nor do I want to know. This is New Jersey we're talking about.

But it's over now, and now all that remains is registration and plates.

And smog.

And getting that persistent cooling system problem figured out.

And so it goes. But I'd better get used to it—nay, learn to like it...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007
20:04 - Gimme WiPod
http://www.engadget.com/2007/08/29/rumors-unleashed-wireless-itunes-store-to-debut-w

(top)
So September 5th for new iPod/iTunes announcements, huh? Wonder what ever that might be about.

Via Chris.


19:47 - Hipster Olympics
http://www.glumbert.com/media/hipster

(top)
It's so good to see the spirit of Monty Python alive and well today:



I can't help but wonder, though, how this guy didn't make it past the auditions, particularly for the "Drawing Misleading Parallels Between Unlike Items" and "Slyly Inserting Barely-Concealed Profanity Into Mainstream Ad Campaigns" events. (Maybe his fans have turned on him.)

Via CapLion.


16:17 - Anarchy for me, not for thee
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/08/29/MN1ARR0JD.DTL

(top)
I just think this is friggin' hilarious.

The climax of the annual Burning Man bacchanalia in a Nevada desert was scheduled for Saturday, when the 40,000-plus attendees were to gather around the 40-foot-high man-statue and watch him burn.

Instead, the effigy went up in flames four days prematurely early Tuesday, and a San Francisco resident faces felony arson and destruction-of-property charges in connection with the crime of burning Burning Man too early.

According to Jamie Thompson, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the land on which the annual event is held, the fire broke out at 2:58 a.m. Tuesday. Eyewitnesses said flames began about 10 feet up the wooden man's left leg. Thompson said the huge platform beneath the statue was undamaged. No injuries were reported.

Paul David Addis, 35, posted $25,632 bail and was released Tuesday afternoon from the Pershing County Jail in Lovelock, Nev., where he was booked on felony charges of arson and destruction of property and misdemeanor possession of fireworks and resisting a public officer.

. . .

"It's anyone's guess why someone would do this," Grace said. "People here are stunned."

Why... it was performance art! An expression of freedom from rules! Surely the very essence of the event!

...Or not. Good thing those jackbooted club-waving cops were there to mete out swift mob justice!

Monday, August 27, 2007
11:12 - Nightmare fuel
http://www.motionportrait.com/e/about/TIminoriHair.swf

(top)
Whatever the hell this is, it should be linked from the Wikipedia entry on the Uncanny Valley.

Via David G.

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