June 30, 2005

Chrysler and this schmuck, ruining a perfectly good word...


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June 29, 2005

The Bathroom Litmus Test

This is something I've long used but just managed to put into words today when talking to some folks around the lunch table. It's in the Images category because it refers to television and film - it describes an off-the-cuff method of determining how believable an environment I've been shown is.

This applies not to a simple scene, but to a whole reality or vision of reality. This is more important in some cases than in others, naturally; however, the metric itself always works for me. How much weight I place on the result may vary. To wit, I always find myself judging the 'completeness' or 'reality' of an onscreen world by how readily I can picture its inhabitants using the bathroom.

This is something we all must do, as humans. Even if no humans are present (rare but occasionally true) then my own human sensibility forces me to at least envision some form of body maintenance that even if not done in private is likely done regularly, requiring a form-standard accoutrement or set thereof.

But back to the main point. When those 'other people' on the screen, or even the main characters, aren't in the shot - can I in my mind's eye envision them using the loo? Washing up? Stepping back out and saying "Now where was I...?" If so, then the litmus test has scored high. As I mentioned above, this isn't always important. In Flash Gordon, for example, it's almost irrelevant that there aren't really bathrooms that I can picture - or that if I try, I come up with almost entirely dysfunctional gold-and-red-and-chrome versions (yes, I grew up on the Dino de Laurentiis version). It doesn't matter because reality isn't important to that movie, and there's no 'jarring' because that test scores low.

Tim Burton's Batman, however, was a problem for me. I did enjoy the animation of what was clearly a comic book. However, Batman was always explictly set in what was a 'real' city - one whose other inhabitants were American humans. They worked, played, walked, screamed, took the subway, and, yes - used the bathroom. But in Burton's movie, I just had trouble imagining the bathrooms as anything other than elaborate sets - that is, while I could see what they looked like, I could never imagine how one would get to them from where the action was taking place. I could imagine characters stepping out of view, into a confused backstage area, and then dropping out of character until the scene where they magically showed up in the bathroom.

Star Trek: TNG scored somewhat confusingly, but low, on the BLT. I mean, we know the Big E has heads, after all. But really, we never see anyone use 'em. And we sure suspect they're carpeted in that same incredibly frustratingly soothing shade of...what is it, plum/pink/beige/grey? Can you actually imagine anyone pissing in such a place? Furthermore, why is it that NONE of them ever have to run off behind a five-branched, purple and orange thorny meta-apple tree and come back out zipping up sheepishly on these away missions? Come to think of it, how come those pants don't have any form of fastener whatsoever? See what I mean? On the other hand, Starfleet is too relentlessly practical - they probably all have little implanted transporters that just beam the crap right out of their anterior colons into the matter converters, where it's turned right into yummy Tea, Earl Grey, Hot. So it's hard to score that one.

Picard: "Number One, what was that strange hum?"
Riker: "I'm sorry sir, that was a Number Two. I had the Tyvorian Tacos for lunch. My implant needs to be cross-connected to selector B to compensate for variations in the surrounding fartyon field."
Picard: "Make it so."

In contrast, Babylon 5 not only had heads, it had public toilets and we actually have scenes of major characters having plot-critical conversations while using said conveniences. There were even running jokes about the fact that one of the alien races on station were very picky eaters - and would only eat the (long) dead. Their bathroom facilities were the subject of much terror and hilarity depending on one's proximity to said facility and the time since their last use. Actual toilets. As the two men above were actually leaving the bog, after having zipped their uniforms and washed their hands, a female tech came in, salutes were traded, and she headed off to a stall. See? Sane, normal, everyday traffic - litmus score off the scale.

Yes, B5 rocked my world.

The Chris Nolan Batman Begins has an incredibly high bathroom litmus score for me. People walk around Gotham, and damn it, they use bathrooms perfectly normally, even if I can't see 'em do it. I can even point with confidence off the side of the scenes and say 'yeh, there's probably a can right over there. It's a living room, for pete's sake.'

And that's the bathroom litmus test.

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New Tech from Disaster Movie Spoofs

Anyone ever see the stupid spoof of the even stupider 'Seventies Disaster Movie' genre called The Big Bus? I was forcibly reminded of it yesterday when reading about the Shinkansen. The Big Bus, at one point, attempted to slow itself by 'raising the flags of all nations' from the roof...well, the new Shinkansen does just that, but with scarily Hello Kitty ear-shaped airbrakes.


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June 28, 2005

Oh God, I'm so sorry

Charlette, I'm so sorry. I failed you, and I'm sorry. I hope when we meet again you can find it in your small heart to forgive me, but please know that the one thing I had hoped was that I could avoid this.

To all of you who aren't her: I've known for two weeks or so that it was quite likely my last ferret had cancer. While waiting for the cytology report, I had her at home and was making her comfortable, since she didn't appear to be in any pain, but was losing a great deal of weight. Finally, two days ago, her weight had dropped far enough that I had decided to ease her transition rather than wait for her to start sufferingpain as well as privation - since she still gamely would run up and lick my nose, despite her back legs not being able to support her, and seemed chipper, it was clear that she was no longer able to use the litter box and soon wouldn't be able to feed herself. The cytology report indicated that yes, it was most likely a widely-metastized cancer.

I scheduled a Wednesday morning appointment, the soonest her physician could get into the hospital, since she seemed fine if weak.

Today I came home to find I was wrong. She decided she couldn't wait. She apparently passed away at some point early this morning - perhaps even late last night, since I poked my head in the door but didn't actually see her on the way out, but that was normal - she sleeps in. I can't remember if I actually looked at the spot in which I found her poor little self this afternoon.

I'm sorry, Charlette. Above all else, I didn't want you to have to move on alone. God, I'm sorry.

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They swear this is unrelated...

...and I believe them. :-)

Anyway, as my boss told me yesterday, apparently there was a problem with my job title on our corporate guide site. The CIO was presented with a (not short) list of personnel (by Legal) whose job titles were...'problematic.' Therefore, let it be known that I am no longer an 'Applied Entropy Monkey.' I am, instead, 'RDT&E Operations and Support.'

Somehow, some small and precious part of me has died. :-)

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The late unpleasantness

For reasons I won't go into, I was recently involved in a standard sort of corporate procedure involving an HR complaint process and subsequent investigation. This is why blog posts have been a bit thin recently. I had considered not posting about it at all, but decided that that would really be counter to the purpose of this blog, which is (in part) to describe and discuss things that I think are important.

This is.

Let me say at the outset that the circumstances involving the incident and resulting week-and-a-half experience are not relevant to this post. I'm not going to discuss them here, and not because of legal reasons; rather, because I've already discussed them with everyone involved, and I don't think it fair or proper to discuss them with the world at large. I bring it up here because several people asked me where the *()@# I've been and a couple others asked me what the hell was going on or how the hell it all turned out. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then don't worry about it; I'm fine, it doesn't matter, and you should cheerfully skip to the next entry.

I did want to say that in the main and looking back, I feel that Novell (my employer) behaved, as a company, in a completely above-board, proper, and (most important, to me) respectful manner to me. I'm not going to claim the process was without angst and its friction, but I will say this: at the end of the process, I am proud to work here. I spend a lot of time ranting about corporate and political behavior, but it is important to me (and I hope it comes through) to be even-handed about my standards. That is, when an organization or entity behaves in a manner of which I approve, it is incumbent on me to acknowledge that fact - and not just concentrate on the negatives.

Anyway. The process that took place was not malicious, nor capricious. It was Novell carrying out its corporate responsibilities. At the end of it, I've learned things about the company I work for as well as myself - and I'm happy I work here.

Enough said.

Posted by jbz at 11:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You're not their supporters. They're your elected representatives.

Don't let them treat you like this no matter what you believe, no matter who you support, no matter what you're wearing or why you're there. So long as you have behaved in a civil manner, they are your elected leaders and they are responsible to you - not the other way around.

I understand that the Secret Service is torn - they absolutely should be reticent about divulging any information about security arrangements at events like this. Who is and isn't an agent, who has what duty - this is all information that I can see as being tightly held, and properly so.

But in this case, I am heartened to hear that they have opened a criminal investigation. They have apparently remembered something that the White House would do well to remember - the Secret Service doesn't work for the Executive Branch.

They work for the Treasury. At least, before this entity called the Department of Homeland Security, that is.

And there was a reason for that.

They're not anyone's private errand boys and girls. They're not anyone's political operatives. They're not there to help keep dissenters out.

They're there to protect the life and wellbeing of their principal. That's all. That's what my taax money pays them to do, and I don't want them thinking about anything else. I don't want them subject to any other duties, orders, or potentially conflicting tasks. Protect the men and women we've elected or appointed. That's it.

And if someone else has been impersonating them? That person is jeopardizing the security of the President of the United States, not to mention abusing the powers granted the Secret Service to perform that task for the reprehensible purpose of quelling dissenting views.

Find them and prosecute them. If the Secret Service knows who that person is, then they need to refer that name to a federal prosecutor right now.

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June 27, 2005

She blinded me...

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

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June 26, 2005

My cat is a whore.

My cat is a whore.
Originally uploaded by jbzimmerman.
As shown here.
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Them tig ol' bitties o' JUSTICE...

...is BACK, cuz.


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June 22, 2005

Deep golden, clear and bright


Today a good friend and I opened a bottle that he'd given me some months ago. We opened the bottle, poured, sniffed, clinked, and drank.

Deep golden, clear and bright.

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June 20, 2005

POLO, Osama bin Laden!

Via the incomparable Fafblog.

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June 17, 2005

Batman Begins

Pleasant surprise. Batman Begins is, in fact, a quite enjoyable movie. It's a movie first, yes, and Batman second; Batman is Batman in all his Darkness, and the fact that they don't actually introduce him until the second half makes that introduction all the better. Christian Bale does an excellent job of the playboy Bruce Wayne, if a slightly wooden job of the tormented Bruce Wayne; he's got the physique to make it believable, and this time around we don't have to put up with muscles on the batsuit. It's way too tech for that, while still being the batsuit we know and love. I was wrong about Liam Neeson, he does a quite nice job as well. Michael Caine is perfect. Gary Oldman is really just a tad too creepy to be Gordon, but that's probably just my own associations.

Gotham, in this go-around, is based on Chicago, which makes perfect sense - all manner of nice bridges, elevated trains and underground roadways to produce dark spots, rusty ironwork and interesting skyline features. Of course, it's been digitally modified, with tri-level monorail trains and other nice touches - but it's a much more recognizable and functional looking city than the Gotham of the Burton movies. It makes things flow better; they don't look like forced-perspective escapes from comic book frames, anymore, but like actual movie scenes.

Recommended. A new favorite treatment (for me) of my always-favorite superhero. Plus, Morgan Freeman, I mean, really, how can you go wrong?

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June 15, 2005

I Appear to have forgotten The Rules.

Rule #1: Users suck.

Rule #2: They're all users.

Rule #3: See rule #2.

Seriously, I used to take some small amount of satisfaction in trying to avoid behaving like a true BOFH.

Note to self: It's your own fault. Don't be such a credulous asshole next time.

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It just gets worse.

Gee, we didn't even wait for the chair to get cool, did we?

How fucking brazen can you get.

"Mission accomplished, old boy. C'mon home."

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June 13, 2005

I Believe you, D Wayne!

"I was there / When they crucified the lord / I said "Hello! Hello Jesus, / I'm Johnny Cash."

Alabama 3, despite many rumors to the contrary, are not dead, nor are they gracing the inside of various penal institutions (well, at least, they weren't on May 21st, 2005). I was privileged to attend a full session of the First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine (UK), presided over by The Right Reverend D. Wayne Love, along with Larry Love and Daisy Love and various other pimps and hos of the congregation as they preached to a willing choir. Despite a near-total lack of advertising, the gig (at the Carling Academy Glasgow) was packed fairly tight.

I've been a willing devotee of the Church since several years before their rise to media notice with The Sopranos; I found Woke Up this Morning on a sampler CD from a record company and chased down Exile on Coldharbour Lane with the drive of a man promised a beer for herding irate camels across the midst of the Gobi desert in June after being fed a meal of salt pork and pretzels.

I found in their music something I had been missing, up to then. One of the tracks on Exile spoke to me - no, two did, really. I had been (and still am) a fan of some electro and pure techno dance music. I've been known to waft through more laid-back venues as well. D. Wayne Love he spoke to me, though, when he said

You don't dance to techno anymore
I don't see under the strobe light on the dance floor
it's been a while since I saw your ultraviolet smile
you don't dance to techno anymore

...and before I could recover from the truth he was speaking, he continued, saying to me

Don't you go to Goa.

Before long I was looking for his wisdom on the shelves with every trip to the record store, with every surf to Amazon.com. I found a darker side of D. Wayne and Larry in La Peste, their next full album release to hit the U.S. shores, with shivers moving up my spine as I heard about the Mansion on the Hill, Too Sick to Pray. I knew that Cocaine (Killed my Community) when I found myself Walking in my Sleep, waking up as I was about to Wade into the Water - and it weren't for no baptism, neither, brother. The Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlife was watching me from across the canal, standing in The Hotel California - and it was Sinking.

Year or two later, nursing a whisky and holding my hurting head, and a disc of wisdom and folksong was laid down on my doorstep by UPS. Told me about the problems I was having, and told me about what I had to do, and what I had to call upon - the Power in the Blood. Woody Guthrie was Reachin', and it was Year Zero; I took my Two Heads and made a deal with ol' Scratch. Buttoned a Yellow Rose into my lapel, and me and The Devil went Down to Ibiza. Them was some Badlands, brother, but he'd made me Bulletproof and they wouldn't Let the Caged Bird Sing. I cried for D. Wayne, saying Lord Have Mercy, The Moon has Lost the Sun, and they let me Come on Home, and off I went into R.E.H.A.B..

Now it's 2005, and I went to Scotland to see the Boys and Girls preach the creed. I can say unreservedly that I went to Scotland to see a band - and it was good. I took the Last Train to Mashville from Buchanan Street station; The Gospel Train that is. I made it to the Academy with my mate in time to hear the Intro, and as the Adrenaline began to hit we warned each other to ' Keep Your Shades On, brother.' Waved my arms Up Above My Head when D. Wayne asked me Have You Seen Bruce Richard Reynolds? but Let it Slide during the Terra Firma Cowboy Blues, because Larry Love had a question for me. How can I Protect You, he asked, when there's Honey in the Rock? I didn't know but didn't care, because as I had greeted him when he stepped out on stage, Hello, I'm Johnny Cash. But we staggered to the pub, tinnitus in our heads and music in our souls, and drank pints of 80 shilling until the sound settled into a warm long hum before meandering back to Partick.

Alabama 3 have a current info page (including discography) up at:


written originally for Everything2.com

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Sigh. Mr. Cunningham, I'm impressed by your attempt to soothe your hyperconservative base, but frankly, I don't give a rat's ass if you've ever 'smoked a marijuana cigarette.' I do, however, care a great deal if you accepted a $700,000 gift from a military contractor while sitting on the defense appropriations subcommittee - and that contractor's business then suddenly began to garner contracts in Iraq worth tens of millions of dollars, to the point where their web site boasts about their revenue growth starting around the same date as the 'gift' transaction.

Welcome to big business in government, America.

Does the term conflict of interest mean anything to the willful fuckwits currently running this house of fools? Whether or not contracts were awarded as a result of this transaction is an entirely separate point - this transaction should have been disallowed strictly based on the current positions held by the transactors. I mean, seriously.

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June 12, 2005

Here we go.

It's really a pity that it takes other countries' leaked memos to get our own media to report things that were clear as crystal to analysts (no, not me) here at home during the events in question.

Could the so-called 'liberal media' start asking the tough questions, finally? Please? Pretty please? It's not like we haven't waited for too many years and too many lives.

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June 11, 2005

Nagging storyline - Miracle Max and the Miracle Pill

I keep having this nagging urge to write a story where some whizkid at a rational drug design company invents a wonderpill to treat really tough cases of addiction - the kind where months after physical detox, patients just relapse, time and time again. There's something in their brain structure that just needs the addiction. After dumping everything they know about the chemical characteristics of the brains of the patients in the test group into a massive computing Macguffin, the Whizkid and team crunch numbers for T amount of time and in a scene reminiscent of the production of the Wonka Chewing-Gum Meal a gigantic whizbang machine groans mightily and spits out a simple pink pill.

They all look at each other.

Then they find a multiple-relapse heroin patient who agrees, nay, wants badly, to test it. They do toxicology tests on it, it looks OK, so they have this poor guy sign ninety-four waivers and then take the pill. It's a one-shot, no repeat - it does nano, or something, to your receptors for supportive chemical dependencies.

He's fine.

A year later, he's still fine. No relapses. Productive happy guy. Has taken up guitar again, gone back to his old job but decided it's a grind and gotten a slightly lower-paying but not stupid one so he has time to play guitar. His wife is ecstatic. His kids are stunned. He's healthy. Miracle pill.

They're really careful people, though, so they don't rush out and start selling it. They start up the wider test program that's been waiting. In the meantime, though, Whizkid's (brother/uncle/father) has a problem with pills, and he sneaks a pill out to give them. In convincing them that it's safe and that he'd never give them anything he thought was harmful, he eats one first. They look at him, and the family looks at each other, and the relative shrugs and takes the pill.

Same happy ending - this time, though, the relative hadn't already been detoxed, the pill just slams the addiction down cold. There are some withdrawal symptoms, of course, but no relapse - the pill works. Everyone is so proud. Whizkid doesn't tell anyone at work, of course, because he doesn't want to bias the research - he's got a few ethics (he did, after all, disclose fully to the relative before offering it, and test it first).

Then a few weeks later, his wife/mom/dad admonishes him for having missed church a couple weeks in a row. He's really busy of course, because now the pre-release-announcement testing is in full blitz. But, he realizes, he doesn't feel any guilt. And he's a fairly religious guy. Shrugs and keeps working.

Then he notices the relative who took the pill isn't going to church either.

Long and the short of it - taking the pill which cures dependency on an outside factor seems to remove any form of desire to attend or participate in organized religion, other than the usual concrete desire to spend time with family and friends.

Implication is obvious - religion, whether or not there is a God, at some point in the process involves the simple satisfaction of a chemical trigger in the brain. Whether by Divine mechanism or simple biofeedback, who knows or cares?

Now the fun starts.

The pill works. It will cure hopelessly ill addicts. It has the potential to eliminate the physically addictive components of smoking, alcoholism, perhaps even gambling - some of the sins some religions preach against. It doesn't seem to deaden sensation, just receptors which require particular constant triggering to avoid negative consequences - i.e. withdrawal. But religion, in some forms, seems to be included.

What happens then?

Does Whizkid tell his colleagues? Does anyone else figure this out? What does he do? Does he suppress this information, knowing what it will mean if the pill is released? Neither he nor his relative feel any sadness, loss, grief or anger at the change in their experience of life - they just can't understand why they felt they needed to believe in something like that before. Now they don't anymore. Nothing more than that. He understands that it won't be that simple to someone on the other side of the change, but to him, it's no big deal. Has he been brainwashed? Programmed? Deprogrammed? Freed? Rationalized? Derationalized? Robbed?

And now, he has the choice: given how many wars religion has sparked over the years, he has a shot at seeing that some portion of humanity gets this treatment whether they like it or not. Or, he has a choice of making this information about what the treatment is and does available, and letting them choose - but perhaps triggering chaos from fear of the possibilities, as those who refuse to let others choose for themselves in either direction seek to enforce that lack of freedom. Or he can keep silent, knowing what freedoms he just denied every other sentient choosing being.

What would you do?

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I'm terribly sorry you don't like hearing it.

Some of us didn't want the fucking thing in the first place. We know it's difficult to comprehend that we might be upset with the uses to which it's already been put. But (and I do apologize for trotting out a pithy quote, but the gentleman in question is eminently quotable): "The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home."

Yeah, he was one of those dangerous liberals.

Oh, and pardon the snark, but I had thought the GOP was busy trying to explain to everyone that it was Democrats who were in the habit of 'unconstitutionally' shutting off discussion in the Congress when they didn't like someone's opinions?

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June 10, 2005

Well. This Doesn't Bode Well. Emo, Rory, get over here.


Scruffy, loner, suspicious, manic depression...


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June 9, 2005

Getting warm in here? Nah. Imaginary.

Again, for anyone who feels the Administration has either their citizen's interests or the truth in mind: read then return and defend, please.

Want more specifics? Oh, okay.

Of course, we can't get the 'editor' in question's take on the whole thing. Why? Because according to the NY Times: A White House spokeswoman, Michele St. Martin, said yesterday that Mr. Cooney would not be available to comment. "We don't put Phil Cooney on the record," Ms. St. Martin said. "He's not a cleared spokesman."

Well, no, not anymore. Not now that the fact that he spent his career as a lobbyist for the oil industry and has no scientific training is part of the story and is public knowledge, nope. Can't do that. Of course, when the words he was producing and modifying were for speaking or presentation by our government, and to be released under the names of scientists who actually were trained, but disagreed with him - well, that's fine. As long as nobody knew that he was back there with his magic marker.

The sheer brazenness of the dishonesty is what staggers me. They couldn't just find any flack to edit the preferred point of view onto the scientific report, no no. They had to have the actual oil industry lobbyist do it. Un-be-fucking-lievable.

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Originally uploaded by jbzimmerman.
It is wonderful that technology (such as this) can be used to produce such beauty as, say, malt whisky. Which is what the control panel behind me in this picture is dutifully monitoring in the fermentation room at Laphroaig Distillery, Islay, Scotland.
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Shoutback to the French Guy

Do I get it?

"...the man they call Jaaaaaaaaaaayne!"



Okay, and I retract my earlier comment about the robot thing. That's a worthy use for it. Grappling hook, boy, grappling hook, how else you gonna capsize those damn sailboats? Heeheehee. Or maybe torpedoes. I could make you some spiffing damn powered torpedoes, you damn betcha.

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Tarring and Feathering

I love how it's not just disagreeing with the administration that makes me a traitor. Now its the very notion of wanting more information about something the administration hasn't even disputed the authenticity of that makes me a "lefty" "kook" who is "out to trash the country."

Sometimes I wish I was gay and Muslim. Then I could really round out the American bigotry hatred target package right there...lessee: liberal, northeastern, academic, black, Jewish descent, rationalist, gay, Muslim...all right! I could be these good ol' folks convenient target wet dream!

In other news, some GOP types apparently are having closet problems with their identity. Described as a 'White, Christian party' by Howard Dean, Ken Mehlman (RNC Chair) retorted: "We gotta get ourselves beyond this point where when we disagree about politics, we call the other guy names." Uh. Call them names? Unless you yourself think 'white, Christian' is an insult, Ken ol' boy, that sounds a lot more like an observation. Of course, y'all is 'white, Christian' yourself, right?

Unless you're just saying you didn't like his tone. In which case, you could have just said that.

But that sounds like whining, doesn't it?

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June 8, 2005



...and Morgan Freeman, which makes it even funnier.

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All O'Reilly, All the Time

Can there be a better domain name than www.sweetjesusihatebilloreilly.com?

Also: Max Cannon is a genius.

That is all.

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June 7, 2005

Conformity is good for business and bad for the soul

John Siracusa over at the excellent Ars Technica has said it much better than I could have. In his piece describing how he feels about the Macintosh switching to Intel chips, he notes:

Yes, Apple is assured a steady stream of competitive CPUs as long as Windows
targets the same ISA, but at a cost. Apple's CPUs may no longer be slower than
the competition, but they also give up any hope of being faster.

That, in a nutshell, is why this is a dark day for Apple. It's yet another 
little thing that Macs used to do, if not always better, then at least 
differently than Windows PCs. Macs are now slightly less special.
It's a good piece, and I recommend it highly.

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Anyone who still thinks the current administration has their best interests in mind as a private citizen, raise their hand.

Then go read this. Then come back and tell me that with a straight face. Really. I'd like to hear the rationale.

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June 6, 2005

Mactel - The Crapocalypse.

Well, hell. I dunno. As I told some folks I argued vociferously with today, I don't run Apple, and I don't have the info, but I can guess...probably something like IBM saying "Well, we don't have much interest in spending the asstastic amount of money required to get this big new chipfab up to speed yielding uberfast 3GHz PPC970s, much less designing new supershiny chips along the line that are going to be fun in laptops, when we are mostly concerned with putting lots of simple PPCs together in big iron and middle iron machines." Which leaves Apple in a bad spot - they have a better chip now, and for the next year or so, but then what.

Well, I guess we know - they suck it up and migrate to the shittier architecture.

I say 'shittier architecture' solely from the perspective of an Op. I don't code for them. I don't design chips. All I know is that even when choosing among x86 machines (or between X86_64 and EMT64, say) choosing Intel means paying a crapload more money for chips which run hotter and slower. Choosing Intel over PowerPC chips means getting less raw performance for larger, hotter chips which tend to cost more at the chip level, which (if I read my Ars Technica properly) seem to have crappier tech.

I'm not going to try to argue that Apple should have done something different, I guess. I don't have the information, and I don't run the company. I'm not going to second guess them. I'm just going to say that I don't like this.

This is not to say that there won't be advantages. Here are a few. For example, it means that at some point in the future, your Macintosh will be able to boot Windows without having to run VirtualPC, which means it will be easier to sell them to Enterprise Customers(TM). Or, of course, run x86 linux distros. W00t. One will be able to buy Powerbooks and dualboot Mac OS X and, say, Fedora Core (I presume). This is a Good Thing.

Apple will probably be able to sell more XServes if they can run Windows Server, I would guess. It'll be easier for IT subversives to order 'em if they say 'well gee, they make good storage systems, nice easy boxes, run Windows...?' So that's a good thing.

And yeh, the average consumer doesn't care, and probably will be happy to say 'uh, duh, yeh, Intel, good, right? Whole world use? Happy?'

But that don't mean I gotta be happy.

Well, we got Intel Inside. We better get some fucking WiMax sweetness, and damn it, we got XScale/StrongARM, so WHERE THE FUCK IS MY HANDHELD?

Posted by jbz at 4:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I've always said I'd shake his hand and kick his ass...

...so this had better mean one (or more) of the following:
  • Apple contracts with Intel for WiMax chips, or the XScale/ARM chips for a new portable/handheld device. The ARM/StrongARM was the heart of my much-beloved Apple Newton, after all.
  • Apple hires Intel to produce and perhaps design new PowerPC G4/G5/G?? chips, transferring its intellectual property and licenses from IBM to Intel in order to better leverage Intel's focus on chipbuilding and integration with other chip technologies. IBM isn't first and foremost a chip company, and Intel is. So in this hypothetical, Intel takes the PPC970-whatever designs, or whatever of them Apple owns or can extract from IBM, and runs with them, integrating WiMax or other chipset goodies like the Centrino chipset to make better laptop processors.
  • Apple introduces a new line of devices, either home or portable, running a new or non-Mac OS X operating system, embedded or non, which runs on Intel chips. A 'sealed' Mac Mini 'home media appliance' running an embedded version of OS X, compiled on the Marklar build of OS X, for example. Perhaps a tablet-ized video player, on same. Whatever. This they keep tight to their chests, using Intel's chips but using the fact that the build is on Intel to keep the software to themselves more so than the OS X world - keeping the 'embedded appliance' track of Mac OS even 'cleaner' than OS X, leaving the full OS X on PPC for 'the rest of us' to play with.
  • Apple announces a line of enterprise server devices, a la XServe and XSAN, running on Intel/AMD hardware and running an Intel compiled version of Mac OS X Server. Mac OS X workstation remains PPC-only.

I know, I know. JB, why are you so negative about this Intel thing? Why are you such a conservative stick-in-the-mud? Are you just a hater? Can't you see the lure of cheaper clock cycles?

I can see that. I can also see the groundquakes of the last architecture change from 0x0 to PPC, and that didn't involve switching endian-ness. While Steve Jobs and co. may think that yes, the consumer won't give a shit what their brand new Macintoy is running on, what they risk losing is the groundswell of enterprise and hacker mindshare that arises from the fact that their hardware and their software has been adopted by a legion of coder and op geeks. Sure, most of them couldn't care, and maybe some of them would probably even applaud the move - but, honestly, given that moving to Intel won't make 'em cheaper (get real, people) then what's the point? I mean, really? Do you honestly think that Jobs and company would go through the hell, damnation and risk of a platform change just to lower their marginal price point? I sure don't. They've been making decent money on Macintoshes, and have been proving to the world that they're going to take Apple in new and cool directions selling things other than Macintoshes. iPods are only the start of it. I don't give a damn what chips those new cool things run - but damn it, I play in this patch in order to use the Mac OS, yes, even the fuckwit-braindamaged Finder they condescend to give me these days, and I don't want to live through the shitstorm that will arise if they try to shift it to x86. For fuck's sake, they haven't even finished porting OS X to PPC properly, which is why OS X keeps getting faster with each release - more and more bits of it become native code rather than emulated 680x0 code.

Like I've always said, if I ever meet Steve Jobs, it'll be hard. Two impulses will do battle - the Mac user in me will want to shake his hand warmly, and the Newton user in me will want to kick his ass. I hope that the Intel Chip Hoopla is because he's applying his particular brand of genius to move Apple into a new and exciting space that they gave up when he killed the Newton way back when - this time to stay, kick ass, and take names. If that's the case, then perhaps I'll be able to to simply say 'There goes Mr. Jobs, whose hand I would be privileged to shake if I ever could.' But if he and the NeXTies are out to shake the foundations of the Macintosh again when things are finally calm enough for the devel community to have gotten their cold shakes mostly conquered and to be turning out Cool Stuff again, well...


I guess we'll see later today.

Posted by jbz at 1:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 2, 2005

I can't even come up with a snarky title for this.

...but I'll try to when I comment on it later. Stories in reverse chronological order, read from the bottom. Pay particular attention to the interview with Gov. Taft early on in the unfolding chaos and fuckery as he vigorously defends Mr. Noe, and angrily attacks the investigating newspaper for attacking this good man. Then keep reading.

The letters written by outraged Republicans defending their party members/belittling the newspaper are fun, too, if you enjoy schadenfreude as much as I - of course, the chances that reality could leak past the fingers these people have screwed tightly into their ears is fairly slim.

These are the people who we've voted into running this country. This is the way they do the business of governance. Compare Clinton's blowjob and the 'missing files of the travel office' to this whole affair, with Jeff Gannon stacked on top, coupled with WMD intelligence failure and the resulting war in Iraq with no fucking plan for stabilization or endgame coupled with ludicrous assumptions about warfighting made by a bunch of chickenhawk deskjockeys who overrode professional military officers resulting in the current instability...and then tell me who's a danger to American security and prosperity.

For a quick summary, the New York Times weighs in here.

Posted by jbz at 1:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack