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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12/31/2001 -   1/6/2002
12/24/2001 - 12/30/2001
12/17/2001 - 12/23/2001
Saturday, April 26, 2008
20:40 - Nice save
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/04/26/thirty-two-years-later-its-still-a-great-play/

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How come I'd never heard of this before? What a great story, and an awesome job by the photographer that got the iconic snap of it too.



19:40 - Dammit

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I see a lot of cross country flights in my future.

Until recently I didn't even know I had a problem.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008
17:12 - Sufficiency Experts
http://www.deanesmay.com/2008/04/23/credit-where-its-due/

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Maniakes at Dean's World has noticed something:

That being said, I think the front-line TSA is doing an excellent job of implementing the security measures their superiors have deemed necessary. I remember pre-9/11 security lines taking half an hour or more, and while lines are longer now and the screening procedures are more stringent, the amount of time it takes to clear security is now much less, often less than ten minutes.

It’s the little things that make the difference. The piles of big plastic trays replacing the little plates they used to hand you to put your keys in. The large counters to give you a chance to rearrange your stuff into the trays while waiting in line, so you don’t need to hold up the line when you get to the machine. The video loop explaining the procedures. The suggestion that you put your belt, keys, and wallet in your bag.

There's more, too, as the post goes on to say.

I've noticed the same thing. I've flown quite a bit recently, often during rush hour, and I've never had to spend more than about fifteen minutes in line. Most of the time, for an evening flight, I end up getting to the airport two hours in advance—like a good post-9/11 traveler—and then spending an hour and a half sitting at the gate watching episodes of South Park and Reno 911.

I remember Greg Kihn complaining on the local San Jose classic rock station that we should be putting "our best and brightest" to work scanning bags at the security checkpoint, instead of dull-eyed, low-paid federal employees. Now, putting aside the trouble of how exactly you're supposed to retain the interest of a person with a $250K postdoc education by paying him minimum wage and making him stare at a black-and-white TV screen all day (and the related conceit of "those people whose services are the most important should be the ones paid highest by society", as though any market force would survive trying to pay janitors six figures and Ferrari salesmen and pro athletes chickenscratch)—I'm happy to see that apparently somewhere in the food chain of TSA, there actually are some bright people pulling levers.

I'll be flying again tomorrow night, and if recent experience is any guide, I won't have any particular need to rush or stress. I might even get some sleep.



11:14 - Time Lapse Rules
http://www.rossching.com/eclectic-20

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Another thing I'm late to the party on (I'm cleaning up a backlog of e-mail, gimme a break): Eclectic 2.0, a time-lapse movie by Ross Ching.

Totally HD and stuff, too. I think this'll be one of the things I end up keeping synced on my AppleTV at all times.



10:47 - Tomorrow's Tech, Yesterday's Post
http://gizmodo.com/368651/new-video-of-bigdog-quadruped-robot-is-so-stunning

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I completely whiffed on this when it was posted over a month ago, but it's too damn cool to let pass by entirely without comment.



I for one will pass on the obligatory "humanity is doomed" comments, but I will say that this more than anything I've seen in some time is proof positive of the "Uncanny Valley" theory that says the more humanlike or "realistic" a robot is, the creepier we find it. The way it can recover when the engineer kicks it in the side is downright chilling, and the unearthly buzzing of the engine is no help either (nor is the name "BigDog", for that matter). I have to keep reminding myself that for all its smarts, this thing is still only programmed to do one thing: walk (and it's not like it can fight back or hide or run or anything). But of course that's only the beginning, and walking is the hard part. The rest, in the words of Dr. Orpheus (Venture Bros. is renewed for at least two more seasons, woo-hoo!), is cake.

Remember the Imperial Probe Droid from Hoth? Yeah. All I can say is that I'm glad DARPA is behind this—a) that they're still doing cool stuff, and b) that they're on our side.

Anyway, don't you dare miss the parody that a couple of guys made of this video, either. Once they figure out the hardpoints, they'll be the first in the robot's crosshairs...


Monday, April 21, 2008
12:57 - Thar be black diamonds off the port bow
http://www.sierraattahoe.com/events.calendar.event.asp?eventid=closingday

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Looks like Sierra-At-Tahoe (my favorite ski resort, as readers might remember) is closing for the season today. Here's something I sure never would have extrapolated from first principles:

Avast there matey! The sun is setting over the yardarm of this winter season! Arrrghhhhh!

We will uphold our 14-year tradition by hosting “Customer Appreciation Day” on the final day of winter operations for the season, April 21, 2008. Skiers and riders of all ages can purchase a lift ticket for $20 and bid farewell to Sierra™ Resort until the snow flies next season. In support of a grassroots movement that began among Sierra Resort passholders a few years ago, all guests are encouraged to dress as pirates on the final day.

That must be something to see, right there.

And I could have, if I'd stayed another day. See, I'm back in California for a week or so, reacquainting myself with my old haunts and friends. True, it hasn't been that long that I've been gone out east, but chances are I won't be able to visit again for a while, so I have to get in what I can.

We drove up to South Lake Tahoe for a Blue Öyster Cult concert on Saturday night, where I caught the pick hurled into the audience by guitarist and keyboardist Richie Castellano. The four of us had dinner in the upscale restaurant at the top floor of Harrah's, and I hereby assert that Bearnaise sauce is dangerous stuff when applied to a filet mignon. Plus the view can't be beat.



We spent the whole night listening to 35-mph gusts of wind whipping around the sides of the tower while temperatures dropped to the mid-teens. The drive home was in freezing temperatures. I spotted a few pirates on the slopes, but it didn't look like that much fun this late in the year. Still, I was impressed that winter was hanging on with such tenacity. But, naturally, this being California, summer had all but taken hold already back down in the valleyland, and the air was so clear in Sacramento that one could see the snowcapped ridges behind the city skyline if one were properly equipped with a good telephoto lens, which naturally I was not. But that just forced me to concentrate all the harder on making my mental photographs count.

I've never been ill disposed toward this place, and absence—as the proverb suggest—isn't helping matters.


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© Brian Tiemann