Sunday, September 30, 2007

If you care about your rights, don't buy an iPhone:

Late last fall, the Library of Congress issued six exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the far-ranging anti-piracy law that governs virtually all modern technologies. Among the exemptions was this: It is perfectly legal to unlock your mobile phone in order to move it to a cellular network of your choice. (See item No. 5 here.)

Consumer advocates hailed the decision. Not only is "cell phone portability" obviously fair, allowing customers to do what they choose with devices they have purchased legally, but it is also inarguably good for the wireless phone business, promoting competition in an industry that regularly scores in the pits for customer satisfaction.

It's not surprising that, a year after the Library of Congress's ruling, wireless companies have not appreciably changed their business models; they still frown on unlocking. But this week something dramatic occurred in the war for consumers' "freedom to tinker." Apple, a company highly regarded by its customers, staked out its position in the fight. The wrong position: Apple adopted a draconian policy against people who dared to do something perfectly legal with their iPhones, and thus came out in support of the wireless industry -- and against its own customers' rights.

12:22 PM


11:50 AM

Saturday, September 29, 2007

hands off!

11:58 PM

New York Press - MATT TAIBBI - Flathead:

After golf, he meets Nilekani, who casually mentions that the playing field is level. A nothing phrase, but Friedman has traveled all the way around the world to hear it. Man travels to India, plays golf, sees Pizza Hut billboard, listens to Indian CEO mutter small talk, writes 470-page book reversing the course of 2000 years of human thought. That he misattributes his thesis to Nilekani is perfect: Friedman is a person who not only speaks in malapropisms, he also hears malapropisms. Told level; heard flat. This is the intellectual version of Far Out Space Nuts, when NASA repairman Bob Denver sets a whole sitcom in motion by pressing "launch" instead of "lunch" in a space capsule. And once he hits that button, the rocket takes off.

And boy, does it take off. Predictably, Friedman spends the rest of his huge book piling one insane image on top of the other, so that by the end—and I'm not joking here—we are meant to understand that the flat world is a giant ice-cream sundae that is more beef than sizzle, in which everyone can fit his hose into his fire hydrant, and in which most but not all of us are covered with a mostly good special sauce. Moreover, Friedman's book is the first I have encountered, anywhere, in which the reader needs a calculator to figure the value of the author's metaphors.

God strike me dead if I'm joking about this. Judge for yourself. After the initial passages of the book, after Nilekani has forgotten Friedman and gone back to interacting with the sane, Friedman begins constructing a monstrous mathematical model of flatness. The baseline argument begins with a lengthy description of the "ten great flatteners," which is basically a highlight reel of globalization tomahawk dunks from the past two decades: the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the Netscape IPO, the pre-Y2K outsourcing craze, and so on. Everything that would give an IBM human resources director a boner, that's a flattener. The catch here is that Flattener #10 is new communications technology: "Digital, Mobile, Personal, and Virtual." These technologies Friedman calls "steroids," because they are "amplifying and turbocharging all the other flatteners."

11:58 PM


6:16 PM

Water forms floating 'bridge' when exposed to high voltage:

When exposed to a high-voltage electric field, water in two beakers climbs out of the beakers and crosses empty space to meet, forming the water bridge. The liquid bridge, hovering in space, appears to the human eye to defy gravity.

Upon investigating the phenomenon, the scientists found that water was being transported from one beaker to another, usually from the anode beaker to the cathode beaker. The cylindrical water bridge, with a diameter of 1-3 mm, could remain intact when the beakers were pulled apart at a distance of up to 25 mm.

6:16 PM

New AT&T terms of service: We'll cut off your Internet connection for criticizing us - Boing Boing:

AT&T has brought down new Terms of Service for its network customers. From now on, AT&T can terminate your connection for conduct that "tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries." So AT&T customers aren't allowed to write/podcast/vlog critical things about AT&T, its billing-practices, or its cooperation with illegal NSA wiretapping, on pain of having their connections disconnected.

2:36 PM

Birmania FREE!!!

2:36 PM

Space Case: The New Yorker:

Sith. What kind of a word is that? Sith. It sounds to me like the noise that emerges when you block one nostril and blow through the other, but to George Lucas it is a name that trumpets evil. What is proved beyond question by “Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith,” the latest—and, you will be shattered to hear, the last—installment of his sci-fi bonanza, is that Lucas, though his eye may be greedy for sensation, has an ear of purest cloth. All those who concoct imagined worlds must populate and name them, and the resonance of those names is a fairly accurate guide to the mettle of the imagination in question. Tolkien, earthed in Old English, had a head start that led him straight to the flinty perfection of Mordor and Orc. Here, by contrast, are some Lucas inventions: Palpatine. Sidious. Mace Windu. (Isn’t that something you spray on colicky babies?) Bail Organa. And Sith.

What can you say about a civilization where people zip from one solar system to the next as if they were changing their socks but where a woman fails to register for an ultrasound, and thus to realize that she is carrying twins until she is about to give birth? Mind you, how Padmé got pregnant is anybody’s guess, although I’m prepared to wager that it involved Anakin nipping into a broom closet with a warm glass jar and a copy of Ewok Babes. After all, the Lucasian universe is drained of all reference to bodily functions. Nobody ingests or excretes. Language remains unblue. Smoking and cursing are out of bounds, as is drunkenness, although personally I wouldn’t go near the place without a hip flask. Did Lucas learn nothing from “Alien” and “Blade Runner”—from the suggestion that other times and places might be no less rusted and septic than ours, and that the creation of a disinfected galaxy, where even the storm troopers wear bright-white outfits, looks not so much fantastical as dated? What Lucas has devised, over six movies, is a terrible puritan dream: a morality tale in which both sides are bent on moral cleansing, and where their differences can be assuaged only by a triumphant circus of violence. Judging from the whoops and crowings that greeted the opening credits, this is the only dream we are good for. We get the films we deserve.

2:20 AM

flying high

1:41 AM

Gawker Underminer: "Have A Little Bit More Of A Social Life, Instead Of Sitting At Home In A Pair Of Shorts, Trying To Give Yourself Hepatitis" - Gawker:

Let me guess: you got that top at Uniqlo, you are picking up a salmon patty at Whole Foods, and you are going home to watch amateur porn while wearing a Biore nosestrip.

Ha! No, I am not psychic, silly. But I AM a chief executive at the new internet phone venture, Pudding Media! As you know, we offer cheap phone service through the internet like Skype, but we use voice recognition technology and listen in to your conversation, and then deliver ads that pertain to what you are talking about. They pop up on your laptop or cellphone, lickety split!

As my co-executive Ariel Maislos said in the New York Times, we did LOTS of research and found that most people are doing something else while they talk on the phone -so we came up with a way to sell people advertising during those previously ad-free moments. I know, it's brilliant, right? We saw a niche, we saw a niche.

1:40 AM

Friday, September 28, 2007

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» Blog Archive » How I got ‘thrown’ out of Glasgow’s Apple Store:

“We have people who take care of Apple’s imaging,” he assured me. Smirk. Well,” he said, “I’m going to have to ask you not to take pictures in the store.” I opened my camera bag, slipped my notebook into it and pointed to the lens cap of my camera, firmly in place.

“If you’re finished…” he continued, gesturing me towards the staircase. I nodded that I was, put my earbuds back in and resumed listening to The Mountain Goats, walked down the curving glass staircase and out of the store.


* taking business calls while in the Glasgow Apple store is suspicious
* taking notes in a notebook while in the Glasgow Apple store is suspicious
* taking photos of Apple products is prohibitted in the Apple store
* posting photos of Apple products online is illegal
* Flickr users beware - Apple will be contacting you

5:48 PM

Apple Features

5:43 PM

1:08 PM

Why have municipal Wi-Fi networks been such a flop? - By Tim Wu - Slate Magazine:

Setting up a large wireless network isn't as expensive as installing wires into people's homes, but it still costs a lot of money. Not billions, but still millions. To recover costs, the private "partner" has to charge for service. But if the customer already has a cable or telephone connection to his home, why switch to wireless unless it is dramatically cheaper or better? In typical configurations, municipal wireless connections are slower, not dramatically cheaper, and by their nature less reliable than existing Internet services. Those facts have put muni Wi-Fi in the same deathtrap that drowned every other company that peddled a new Net access scheme.

Today, the limited success stories come from towns that have actually treated Wi-Fi as a public calling. St. Cloud, Fla., a town of 28,000, has an entirely free wireless network. The network has its problems, such as dead spots, but also claims a 77 percent use rate among its citizens. Cities like St. Cloud understand the concept of a public service: something that's free, or near-free, like the local swimming pool. Most cities have been too busy dreaming of free pipes to notice that their approach is hopelessly flawed.

The lesson here is an old one about the function of government. When it comes to communications, the United States relies on a privateer system: We depend on private companies to perform public callings. That works up to a point, but private industry will build only so much. Real public infrastructure costs real public money. We already know that, in the real world, if you're not willing to invest in infrastructure, you get what we have: crumbling airports, collapsing bridges, and broken levees. Why did we think that the wireless Internet would be any different?

12:40 PM

Thursday, September 27, 2007


11:38 PM

Brooklyn — “The parking lot gate was open, and we ran in with the skateboard.” — [ hitotoki ]:

One evening as we drank our second bottle of wine on our stoop in Fort Greene my husband decided he wanted to teach me how to skateboard. The rain had stopped, and the light of summer had turned a deep gold against the sycamore trees. We have lived in our apartment together for five years, and though dust of renovated brownstones is in the air, generations of families remain on the block, which is unusual. It’s the first place I’ve lived where I know my neighbors well. The escalating real estate drove me out of Manhattan, where I dwelt among artists and social workers until the city began to change and my building filled with transient business types. I’ve seen friends come and go, through the city’s revolving door, all in search of the rare commodity of space.

2:16 PM

Childish moments

2:16 PM

Court Strikes Down 2 Key Patriot Act Provisions:

A federal district court judge struck down two key pillars of the Patriot Act Wednesday, ruling that using a secret spying court to wiretap and secretly search Americans' homes for criminal prosecutions violates the Constitution's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Federal district court judge Ann Aiken struck down the government's ability to get orders from the secret spy court for anything other than acquiring foreign intelligence activities, saying that using that court and its lowered standards -- instead of getting a traditional criminal wiretap order -- violates the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. The ruling applies to Patriot Act changes to wiretapping laws and to so-called sneak-and-peak searches, where the government can search someone's home secretly and never have to disclose the search to the individual.

2:43 AM

2:42 AM


2:25 AM

Watching the Dem Debate:

This happens every time. The moderator (in this case, Russert) asks Hillary Clinton a hypothetical (in this case, whether she’d support Israel if it decided to attack nuclear facilities in Iran) and Clinton refuses to answer, saying it’s a hypothetical. Inevitably, the moderator protests, trying to get Clinton to answer the question anyway, and Clinton engages, sticking to her guns, talking over the moderator, telling him, basically, to shove it—and, however you feel about her not answering the question on the excuse that it’s a hypothetical, Clinton comes out looking tough. Or, at least tough enough to talk over and nearly shout down a big-ego Washington pundit.

2:14 AM

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

8:25 PM

444554821 03226481F6 O

2:43 PM


2:27 PM


10:53 AM


3:50 AM


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1:30 AM

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Respectful Insolence: Frolicking in the shadow of hell:

The photos provide a stunning counterpoint to what up until now has been the only major source of preliberation Auschwitz photos, the so-called Auschwitz Album, a compilation of pictures taken by SS photographers in the spring of 1944 and discovered by a survivor in another camp. Those photos depict the arrival at the camp of a transport of Hungarian Jews, who at the time made up the last remaining sizable Jewish community in Europe. The Auschwitz Album, owned by Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum, depicts the railside selection process at Birkenau, the area where trains arrived at the camp, as SS men herded new prisoners into lines.

The comparisons between the albums are both poignant and obvious, as they juxtapose the comfortable daily lives of the guards with the horrific reality within the camp, where thousands were starving and 1.1 million died.

For example, one of the Höcker pictures, shot on July 22, 1944, shows a group of cheerful young women who worked as SS communications specialists eating bowls of fresh blueberries. One turns her bowl upside down and makes a mock frown because she has finished her portion.

On that day, said Judith Cohen, a historian at the Holocaust museum in Washington, 150 new prisoners arrived at the Birkenau site. Of that group, 21 men and 12 women were selected for work, the rest transported immediately to the gas chambers.

5:56 PM

prepped for launch

5:56 PM

My Business Failure - AnywhereCD:

With CD sales slumping sharply, I thought it would be a good time to approach the record labels with a new idea to spur sales. Obviously $1 song sales on iTunes are ongoing, but losing a $15 CD sale means a $14 net loss for the music business. I thought the labels would be receptive to the proposition of reinventing the CD by making it Internet friendly. In our web-savvy world, people expect everything immediately -- we want to bank, shop and communicate in real time. While we can buy a CD on the web immediately, we can't listen to it immediately -- instead we have to wait for the postman to show up with the plastic. It's no wonder that fewer and fewer people are buying CDs.

But what if anyone could buy a CD and immediately get the corresponding MP3 tracks to play anywhere? I assumed the labels wouldn't be too excited about users getting MP3 tracks, but CDs are perfect digital copies anyway so customers wouldn't be getting anything they couldn't already have. To entice the labels my strategy was to pay the wholesale price for CDs plus give them $2 for the digital tracks.

I met with all of the major labels (Universal, EMI, Sony, and Warner Music) and they seemed open minded to new ideas. One had a cautious 'wait and see' type of attitude. Another wanted millions of dollars up front. One insanely asked me if I would embed the purchaser's credit card number in the song files they bought. (I pointed out as politely as I could that no one would shop at Barnes and Noble if they printed your credit card number on every page of every book you bought. And, um, oh yeah, I'd be breaking a variety of federal and state laws!)

4:53 PM

I Believe I Can Fly

4:53 PM

Moon Rising over the Seattle Waterfront

4:53 PM

Thoughts Had While Reading Garfield With Charlie (Age 6):

1. This is my duty as a father, to encourage my son's interests even when there is nothing remotely funny or entertaining about Garfield.

2. Why does Garfield hate Mondays? He doesn't even have a job.

3. Jon can't hear Garfield's thoughts can he?

4. You know what's worse than Garfield? Nothing. Nothing is worse than Garfield.

5. How about his fixation at age 2 with "Barney Goes to the Pet Shop"? Cause that was pretty bad.

6. No, this is worse.

7. This is much worse.

8. Is the house that Jon and Garfield live in completely full of counters? Cause almost every strip they're in involves sitting at a counter of some sort. Are there counters on every single wall?

10:27 AM

Good Luck Chuck - New York Times:

I’ve occasionally heard Dane Cook, one of the stars of “Good Luck Chuck,” described as a comedian. I find this confusing, since my understanding is that comedians are people who say and do things that are funny. Perhaps Mr. Cook is some new kind of conceptual satirist whose shtick is to behave in the manner of a person attempting to be funny without actually being, you know, funny. Or maybe he answered an ad in the back of a magazine and sent away for a mail-order license to practice comedy. Whether Jessica Alba, his co-star, acquired her acting credentials by similar means is an issue that will be addressed if she ever tries to act.

10:17 AM

Correfoc - Fire run

10:17 AM

The Typing Life: Books: The New Yorker:

It is a shame that Wershler-Henry, so willing to generalize about our experience with the typewriter, does not spend much time on the difference between that and our relationship to the personal computer. Consider, for example, our physical involvement with the typewriter, which stands in relation to our connection with the P.C. as a fistfight does to a handshake. On the P.C., we use the same typing skills that we used on the typewriter, but the contact is not the same. We run our fingers lightly over the keys, making a gentle, pitter-patter sound. On the typewriter, by contrast, we had to stab, and the machine recorded our action with a great big clack. We liked that. (As Wershler-Henry tells us, a silent typewriter was put on the market in the nineteen-forties, and nobody wanted it.) The noise told us that we had achieved something. So, in larger measure, did the carriage return—another line done!—and the job of changing the paper—another page done!

Which brings us to the white page. Mallarmé spoke of the uncertainty with which we face a clean sheet of paper and try, in vain, to record our thoughts on it with some precision. As long as we were feeding paper into a typewriter, this anxiety was still present to our minds, and was revealed in the pointillism of Wite-Out, or even in the dapple of letters that were darker, pressed in confidence, as opposed to the lighter ones, pressed more hesitantly. A page produced on a manual typewriter was like a record of the torture of thought. With the P.C., the situation is altogether different. The screen, a kind of indeterminate space, does not seem violable in the same way as the page. And, because what we write on it is so effortlessly and undetectably erasable, the final text buries the evidence of our struggle, asserting that what we said was what we thought all along. Wershler-Henry suggests that the P.C.—with some help from Derrida and Baudrillard—ushered us into a world in which the difference between true and false is no longer cause for doubt or grief; falsity is taken for granted. I don’t know if he was thinking about the spurious perfection of the computer-generated page, but it would be a useful example.

9:10 AM

Every Fall

9:09 AM

It's fascinating to me that the right always accuses the left of hating America--it seems to me that at both ends of the political spectrum there's plenty of focused hate to go around. This is from the Values Voter Debate, and isn't a marginal event--you can see presidential candidates standing behind the gospel choir singing about how God should turn his back on America now that it's a godless place.

Why should God bless America?
She’s forgotten he exists
And has turned her back
On everything that made her what she is

Why should God stand beside her
Through the night with the light from his hand?
God have mercy on America
Forgive her sin and heal our land

The courts ruled prayer out of our schools
In June of ‘62
Told the children “you are your own God now
So you can make the rules”
O say can you see what that choice
Has cost us to this day
America, one nation under God, has gone astray

8:58 AM

Daring Fireball: Hacking the iPhone Notes App for the Admittedly Nit-Picky Purpose of Changing the Text Font to Helvetica:

I can’t recommend doing this. Binary files are fragile; make a mistake while editing and it’s likely, very likely, the application will no longer work properly. Plus, any changes you make to MobileNotes today are going to be overwritten before the end of the week, as Apple has already indicated that the next iPhone software update is imminent.

On the other hand, if you have the urge to hack around on your iPhone, you might as well do so now, as I strongly suspect that this week’s imminent iPhone software update is going to render inoperable the existing ways of hacking/jailbreaking the iPhone. Notice how no one’s yet figured out how to install or modify the software on the iPod Touch? Whatever Apple’s doing on the Touch in this regard, I expect them to begin doing on the iPhone this week. (I’d love to be proven wrong.)

8:48 AM

Monday, September 24, 2007


10:43 PM


7:39 PM


3:24 PM

Why knockoffs are good for fashion - Boing Boing:

James Surowiecki (author of the great book The Wisdom of Crowds) has a fantastic, tight little article about copyright and fashion in this week's New Yorker. Fashion designs aren't covered by copyright, and this means that couture designs are knocked off and sold at huge discounts in department stores and shops like H&M within seconds of appearing on the runway. This upsets many designers, but there's plenty of evidence that it's good for the industry as a whole -- the knockoffs sell to people who'd never buy the couture originals, so they don't really cannibalize sales; what's more, by making a hot new look ubiquitous, the knockoffs contribute to making it look tired and boring, which creates the market for next season's clothes.

9:32 AM

9:22 AM

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MITM Podcast #56: Mike Daisey and Jean-Michele Gregory:

On today’s show, I’m joined by award-winning storyteller and bestselling author, Mike Daisey, and his wife and director, the inimitable Jean-Michele Gregory. The three of us discuss shrinking kilograms, handy accidents, and lucky dogs.

8:39 AM

8:39 AM

As the Fall Season Arrives, TV Screens Get More Cluttered - New York Times:

Kyra Sedgwick, star of “The Closer” on TNT, walks under a police tape and scans the screen with her flashlight. And every time she does, she makes Gretchen Corbin, a technical writer in Berkeley, Calif., irate.

The promotional ads for “The Closer” run in the bottom right of the screen during other TNT programs — a graphic called a snipe. But for Ms. Corbin, who sometimes watches movies that have subtitles, the tiny images block the dialogue.

“Some ad just took over the entire bottom of the screen so I missed what the characters said to each other,” said Ms. Corbin, describing a recent experience. “And it’s TV, so you can’t rewind.”

Snipes are just the latest effort by network executives to cram promotions onto television screens in the age of channel surfing, ad skipping and screen-based multitasking. At first, viewers may feel a slight jolt of pleasure at the sight of a new visual effect, they say, but over time the intrusions contribute to the sense that the screen is far more cluttered — not just with ads, but with news crawls and other streams of information.

For better or worse, viewers say, the additions are making the experience of watching television more closely mirror the feeling of using a computer.

That may be so, network executives say, but the extra content is here to stay. The snipes — not to be confused with bugs, those network logos that pop up in screen corners during shows — are important enough to the beleaguered television industry that the networks plan to tolerate the backlash.

8:37 AM

8:37 AM

Mime Legend Marcel Marceau Dies at 84:

A French Jew, Marceau escaped deportation to a Nazi death camp during World War II, unlike his father who died in Auschwitz. Marceau worked with the French Resistance to protect Jewish children, and later used the memories of his own life to feed his art.

He gave life to a wide spectrum of characters, from a peevish waiter to a lion tamer to an old woman knitting, and to the best-known Bip.

His biggest inspiration was Charlie Chaplin. In turn, Marceau inspired countless young performers—Michael Jackson borrowed his famous "moonwalk" from a Marceau sketch, "Walking Against the Wind."

8:31 AM

Sunday, September 23, 2007

800Px-Submarine Cables

1:15 AM

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Naomi Wolf: Fascist America, in 10 easy steps | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited:

They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy - but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.

As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration.

Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even considering that it is possible for us to become as unfree - domestically - as many other nations. Because we no longer learn much about our rights or our system of government - the task of being aware of the constitution has been outsourced from citizens' ownership to being the domain of professionals such as lawyers and professors - we scarcely recognise the checks and balances that the founders put in place, even as they are being systematically dismantled. Because we don't learn much about European history, the setting up of a department of "homeland" security - remember who else was keen on the word "homeland" - didn't raise the alarm bells it might have.

It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable - as the author and political journalist Joe Conason, has put it, that it can happen here. And that we are further along than we realise.

1:35 AM

anti-gravity freedom

1:35 AM

Friday, September 21, 2007

Heading East: Late Last Night...:

After a few minutes a very tall girl with long brown hair who I would later learn was a Parsons design student, broke social convention, turned to her fellow benchmates, and said, "My God, wasn't today beautiful." At first she just got a few quiet affirmations,"yeah, gorgeous", "best day yet" etc, but then a young woman in a business suit again broke social convention and revealed personal information: "It was so nice, when I woke up I decided I didn't want to feel miserable about anything, and broke up with my boyfriend. I ditched him at 7:30 in the morning. He didn't know what hit him." This revelation shattered the dam of silence and soon the entire group: a couple from Denmark, the Parsons student, the businesswoman, a somewhat scruffy writer named Mike, a lady carrying a violin, and a young tough-looking couple from Coney Island were all chatting. In short order we covered breakups, design books, Facebook, muggings (The Danish couple were surprised to learn none of us had been violently mugged...), and Thai food in Brooklyn. Another half hour passed. Finally Mike, said, "screw the train, let's walk, my car is on the other side and I can take some of you home." We immediately lost the Coney Island couple ("That's foolish man. Foolish.") but everyone else was on board. The violin woman slipped out of her heels into white tennis shoes and we headed out into the night.

7:05 PM » Oversimplification is confusing (or, Don’t ask stupid questions):

Sometimes I notice things in software that raise the same kind of questions. Here’s the dialog you get when you save a file in Photoshop CS2:


When saving a file, you have an option to “maximize compatibility”. The thing is, they never tell you what the alternative is. Why would you ever choose to not maximize compatibility? Even worse, the dialog explicitly warns you that turning the option off is a bad idea. Seems like a stupid question then, doesn’t it?

6:55 PM

Colour for Sale

6:50 PM

This means I'm gonna have to watch all season, doesn't it? |

One of the contestants on the new season of Survivor (yes, it's still on the air) is a Christian talk radio host. The first episode began with a ceremony at a Buddhist temple, and immediately I said, "there's no way she's gonna do this." Many evangelicals would happily attend such a ceremony without actually worshipping, as a simple sign of respect and politeness, but those are not qualities that get one a job as a talk radio host, and sure enough Leslie walked out after a few minutes.

When Jeff Probst asked her about it, she said, "I'm not a religious person, but I have a relationship with Jesus Christ" — totally confounding all the other players, and, no doubt, most of the audience. What you need to know is that evangelicalism today is all about being "not religious." It's a trope that started among the younger, hipper set ("the emerging church," or at least one definition of it) who wanted to distinguish their intense and dynamic personal relationship with Jesus with what they saw as the static and uninspired blandness of "religion" -- that is, mom and dad's church with all its habits and rules and consumer trappings, which had more to do with man than God. The youngsters who first expressed this probably meant it, but by now it's become so entrenched in the language of evangelicals that it's, well, just another habit. If anything, declaring yourself "not religious" is really a way of saying "more religious than you."

6:48 PM


4:35 PM

Giuliani: Excuse Me While I Take This Call - The Caucus - Politics - New York Times Blog:

It’s unclear whether Republican presidential candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani, whose previous positions on gun control are likely to make his presidential candidacy a tougher sell to members of the influential National Rifle Association, scored points or lost a few today when he decided to take a cell phone call from his wife in the middle of a speech to the group.

“Hello dear. I’m talking to the members of the N.R.A. right now. Would you like to say hello?” he said, apparently speaking to his wife, Judith. “I’ll give you a call as soon as I’m done. Have a safe trip. Bye bye.”

Though there was some scattered laughter, the audience was mostly quiet as Mr. Giuliani ended the call and added: “This is one of the great blessings of the modern age – to always be available.”

4:21 PM

Skull and Crossbones!

4:21 PM

EB: I think it's changing so dramatically, I mean, just two years ago none of us were talking about YouTube - now it's part of everybody's daily life. Who knows what technology is going to come out in six months from now, or two years from now. That's going to revolutionize the way we think about watching films. You know, the idea that people watch a movie on an iPod for someone my age, that's insane, yet I recognize if you've grown up watching small images on your laptop or you've been downloading via friends to your phone, an iPod is a pretty good invention. So, I think it's changing and you have to embrace it. You know, digital cinema is coming at us fast and furiously, film will die, day and dark releases are here already, and like I said, people go to movies for different things.

Reporter: I just can't imagine watching "The Godfather" on iTunes for the first time.

EB: But you know what? I think it's analogous, in a way, to music. You know, you have to embrace the change because I know, like, our parents did not buy albums, they only listened to the radio. And then in the '60s, albums came out and people were obsessed with the LP. And then when CDs came out, all the purists were like ‘What the fuck is this? I'm never going to listen to a CD,' and CDs are over now, and nobody buys full length albums when they download it digitally anymore, so it's almost like we come back to the way your guys' grandparents listened to music where it was an individual song by an individual artists that was playing on the radio as opposed to the computer. So it's that thing that happened in 70 years of music that I think is happening now for us in movies, and we'll just have to see where it goes.

11:38 AM

I posted this years ago, but I think it might be the finest thing on YouTube, so I'm posting it again today.

11:34 AM


1:28 AM


1:24 AM


12:03 AM

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pub customers happily line up for drug testing - Boing Boing:

Police in Bicester set up a drug testing station in a pub, and swabbed the palms of every customer before they were allowed to enter. The swab was checked for drug residue. Anyone who tested positive was searched on the spot for possession of drugs. 150 people submitted to the test.

The police explained that it was part of a crackdown on violent street crime. But for some reason, they did nothing to stop the patrons from ingesting the drug that the pub was selling -- alcohol -- which is often found in the bloodstream of people who commit acts of violence.

6:57 PM

Constant Advice:

Guess what? People don’t wear clothing to be comfortable. People wear clothing to be attractive.
If comfort was our only goal as a species, we’d all be wandering around in velour sacks, idly masturbating, and eating fistfuls of pudding. So don’t wear your pajamas around campus.

5:14 PM

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

5:14 PM

Call Me Fishmeal.: iPhone & iPod: contain or disengage?:

So it is with iTunes. Apple has engaged two of the most cock-thirsty and money-grubbing conglomerates in the United States -- the movie and record industries -- in what we all wanted to believe was an attempt to engage and contain them. And, initially, we all agreed Apple was doing good: they had, for the first time, made legal downloads more compelling than stealing music. For a single data point, I've personally bought 915 songs from the iTunes music store, and hundreds of TV episodes and dozens of movies. I own six iPods and have bought 18 iPhones to give away.

And we all took heart when Steve published that letter saying how much he hated DRM, and how he'd drop it if the labels would, and even if the rumors are correct and EMI was already planning to drop DRM and Steve just rushed in and took credit, it was still a bold stance for him to take; a challenge to the rest of the industry. And I immediately upgraded all the tunes I could to iTunes Plus, and bought a bunch more albums. And it was good.

But recently, well... the generous view would be that Apple's screwing up, and the non-generous view would be that they are just plain getting greedy.

4:27 PM


2:35 PM

Thanks to everyone who came out to the show last night--it was a big night for us, and thank you.

10:18 AM

Thanks to everyone who came out to the show last night--it was a big night for us, and thank you.

10:18 AM


4:11 AM

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


It's opening day for TONGUES WILL WAG--this will be the first time this monologue gets performed in NYC, and we're delighted to be doing this one-night presentation at Ars Nova, with whom we've had such success with TRUTH and THE UGLY AMERICAN.

The show is completely sold out, but I have talked to box office and they will be having a wait list at the door, so that if any seats do become available you'll have a chance of seeing the show.

I'm off to prepare--more posts tomorrow!

2:28 PM


2:24 PM

Amy Thone - Pullout - Genius Awards - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:

Some of it's how she dresses—leather shoes, jeans, slightly billowing button-up cotton shirts, the kind of clothes you could raid a ship in. Some of it's her person—thin and muscular with dark, curly hair and a strong, unflinching posture. Some of it's how she talks—direct and untactful and with many swear words.

Amy Thone on being a mother: "It's contact improv with a psychopath."

Amy Thone on pretentious theater: "If you're going to take a risk, it has to be supported by discipline. Some people just pull out their dicks and jump off a diving board, and that's just boring, jackass behavior."

Amy Thone discussing a line from Two Gentlemen of Verona with one of her students: "Fuck that 'farthingale' shit. What the fuck is going on with that? Cut, cut, cut!"

12:46 PM

12:14 PM

Co-host of The View doesn't know if Earth is round or flat (video) - Boing Boing:

The View co-host Sherri Shephard told her other co-hosts that she does not believe in the theory of evolution. Whoopi Goldberg then asked her if she thought the world was flat. Here's the transcript of the conversation that followed.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Is the world flat?

SHERRI SHEPHERD: Is the world flat? (laughter)


SHEPHERD: …I Don’t know.

GOLDBERG: What do you think?

SHEPHERD: I… I never thought about it, Whoopi. Is the world flat? I never thought about it.

BARBARA WALTERS: You’ve never thought about whether the world was round or flat?

SHEPHERD: I tell you what I’ve thought about. How I’m going to feed my child–

WALTERS: Well you can do both.

SHEPERD: …how I’m going to take care of my family. The world, is the world flat has never entered into, like that has not been an important thing to me.

ELIZABETH HASSELBECK: You’ll teach your son, Jeffery, right?

SHEPHERD: If my son, Jeffery, asks me ‘is the world flat,’ I guess I would go…

JOY BEHAR: You know, didn’t some person already work this question out? I mean, why are we doing this again? (laughter, applause)

11:59 AM

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


11:33 PM

Terror Dry Run... NOT! [Zentastic!]:

I've been debating for a while whether I should post this or not. This photo was taken in flight in the washroom of an airplane after passing through security at an international terminal. Yes, that's a box cutter, like what was used in the 9/11 attacks (taken on accidentally). Not only that but they searched the bag that contained it and missed it. Not only that, but they did require pouring out a coffee that had been bought at the entrance to the security line-up. Well, that made me feel safe.


11:16 PM


11:07 PM


11:00 PM

What's That Smell? | Slog | The Stranger | Seattle's Only Newspaper:

For all the painful proximity of the dirty stuff itself—stained carpets, brown pillows, cracked mirrors—the one artwork that was totally distant was C. Davida Ingram’s cooking performance, the one I most wanted to see/smell/taste/touch/talk about.

I could only look through the window of the room to see a set table with wine bottles and a bowl of cut cucumbers on it, and behind that, the occasional glimpse of Ingram cooking in the kitchen. A sign on the door said “Private,” because Ingram was cooking for groups of pre-assigned people (I’d have signed up, but I was out of town), and they decided whether they wanted their meals private or public. The whole thing was based on an ad Ingram put out that said,
“Black woman willing to make your favorite meal. You share the recipe. I prepare. Come hungry.” The text of that last sentence splayed on the window expanded the racial implications of the premise into startingly sexual territory, as did the “private” sign on the motel room door. Even without getting in, I loved the piece. (Does anyone care to share what went on inside?)

9:41 AM

Way too much coffee man

9:41 AM

Times to Stop Charging for Parts of Its Web Site - New York Times:

The New York Times will stop charging for access to parts of its Web site, effective at midnight Tuesday night.

The move comes two years to the day after The Times began the subscription program, TimesSelect, which has charged $49.95 a year, or $7.95 a month, for online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives. TimesSelect has been free to print subscribers to The Times and to some students and educators.

8:53 AM

It's Coming on Autumn

8:53 AM

Ayn Rand’s Literature of Capitalism - New York Times:

One of Rand’s most famous devotees is Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, whose memoir, “The Age of Turbulence,” will be officially released Monday.

Mr. Greenspan met Rand when he was 25 and working as an economic forecaster. She was already renowned as the author of “The Fountainhead,” a novel about an architect true to his principles. Mr. Greenspan had married a member of Rand’s inner circle, known as the Collective, that met every Saturday night in her New York apartment. Rand did not pay much attention to Mr. Greenspan until he began praising drafts of “Atlas,” which she read aloud to her disciples, according to Jeff Britting, the archivist of Ayn Rand’s papers. He was attracted, Mr. Britting said, to “her moral defense of capitalism.”

8:51 AM

Monday, September 17, 2007

How Computers Transformed Baby Boomers:

This summer I was talking to some young Google employees, and at one point the conversation somehow turned to the antediluvian document-creation processes of an older generation: mine. So I (born 1951) told these twentysomethings that there was a time when people wrote on machines called typewriters, beginning at the beginning and plowing through until the end, at which point they would mark up the manuscript with pen or pencil for the next run through the typewriter. If there was a need to recast a couple of sentences or even an entire paragraph, you would type on a new sheet of paper, cut the new text from the page with scissors and use Elmer's glue to paste it over the original not-so-hot lines. "Oh!" said one of the Googlers, of 1980s vintage. "So that's where 'cut-and-paste' came from!"

1:16 PM

aisle 10, USA

1:16 PM

Top Murdoch Critic Flees Journal | The New York Observer:

While at the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, Tunku Varadarajan was one of Rupert Murdoch's toughest critics—especially regarding News Corp.'s relationship with the Chinese government.

Here's how one anti-Murdoch screed began: "Rupert Murdoch, a master practitioner of the corporate kowtow, has instructed his son James perfectly in the craft of craven submission to the communist regime in China."

So it's strange that when the New York Post reported today that Mr. Varadarajan is leaving the Journal for academia, his criticism of Mr. Murdoch—who also happens to own the Post—wasn’t mentioned.

12:36 PM

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Spare Us Oprah Winfrey's "Ethical Dilemmas":

There was a moment about halfway through yesterday's Oprah show about If I Did It where Oprah Winfrey turns to the Goldmans and says that in the 13 years since the double homicide of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson, "we've been able to move on with our lives," and I thought to myself, wow, Steve Almond was right, she really is a "zillionaire narcissist." And the irony of a woman who just last year spent an hour publicly humiliating a memoirist because she felt personally betrayed by the extent of his artistic license suggesting that a family who had lost a son and brother in a brutal killing by a man who had escaped punishment thanks to the bungling of the two prosecutors plopped on stage across from them ought to be ready to find some peace along with everybody else?

8:41 AM

Gran sabana

8:41 AM

Alan Greenspan claims Iraq war was really for oil - Times Online:

AMERICA’s elder statesman of finance, Alan Greenspan, has shaken the White House by declaring that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil.

In his long-awaited memoir, to be published tomorrow, Greenspan, a Republican whose 18-year tenure as head of the US Federal Reserve was widely admired, will also deliver a stinging critique of President George W Bush’s economic policies.

However, it is his view on the motive for the 2003 Iraq invasion that is likely to provoke the most controversy. “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,” he says.

8:34 AM


12:29 AM


12:29 AM

Curbed: Court Street Blockbuster: Big Macs Set to Attack?:

We have news that is sure to bring great joy to both Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill. No, Trader Joe's isn't opening early. A tipster, with sources on the inside, reports that McDonald's is coming to Court Street. Where, you ask? In the big storefront vacated by Blockbuster, between Douglass and Degraw, whose fate has the been the subject of much neighborhood speculation and, even, a previous McMuffin rumor.

12:22 AM


12:22 AM

Saturday, September 15, 2007

MisShapes’s After-Party: A Global Nightlife Brand Tries to Grow Up -- New York Magazine:

This spring, they were flown to Miami to D.J. a private 18th-birthday party. When they toured the boy’s bedroom, they saw that his walls were covered with printouts of every MisShapes party photo that had ever been posted online. The teen had built a cardboard model house and labeled it HOUSE OF JEALOUS LOVERS (after a song by the band the Rapture). It contained pictures of the MisShapes and everyone they had dated and broken up with—information he had found online. “It was really, really bizarre,” says Nicol.

8:06 PM

The Blackwing 602 - Final Chapter:

The Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602 has been a favorite among artists, designers and writers for many years. I have received many, many emails from users looking for them and wanting to know if they are still available. The Blackwing has been discussed in forums, and has been the subject of newspaper articles, most notably a Boston Globe article in December 2002. Buyers and sellers have been using eBay and The Pencil Pages classifieds to transact Blackwing deals, with prices exceeding $20.00 per pencil.

What is so special about this pencil that its devotees will accept no substitute and make them willing to spend $250.00 for a box of them? It has a sleek and unique design, and if you've ever used one, you know it is a very smooth-writing and easy to use pencil. Its famous slogan "Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed" is no exaggeration. It is also the last of a line of pencils featuring a distinctive rectangular ferrule with a unique, replaceable eraser. I am no artist, but I know that professionals rely on quality and consistency in the tools they use, and the Blackwing was one that could be relied upon.

2:26 AM

360 of three-six-five

2:26 AM

New iPods reengineered to block synching with Linux - Boing Boing:

This is all par for the course, of course. Businesses have taken countermeasures to prevent competitors from interoperating with their products for decades. Apple had to break Microsoft's file-formats to give Numbers, Pages and Keynote the ability to read Office files -- they're enthusiastic participants in "adversarial compatibility." Decades ago, IBM lost a high-profile lawsuit against competitors who'd been making compatible mainframe accessories and selling them for less than IBM, wrecking IBM's business-model of selling cheap mainframes and charging a fortune for accessories. The law of the land has generally been that compatibility is legal, even if it undermines your profitability -- making a product does not create a monopoly over everything that your customers might do with that product.

That was then. Now, Apple has the Digital Millennium Copyright Act on its side, which makes it illegal to "circumvent an effective means of access control" -- that is, to break DRM. I don't know if Apple will invoke the DMCA against people who break this latest measure (they threatened Real with the DMCA before) but I guarantee you that the attorneys and investors advising potential iTunes competitors are going to be very conservative about this. The upshot is that iPod owners and the public interest lose out, because competitive products that expand the utility of the iPod are less likely to come into existence, thanks to the DMCA and Apple's locking technology.

2:22 AM

Tea kettle 2

2:21 AM

Friday, September 14, 2007

Concorde - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Concorde flew fast enough that the weight of everyone onboard was temporarily reduced by about 1% when flying east. This was due to centrifugal effects since the airspeed added to the rotation speed of the Earth. Flying west, the weight increased by about 0.3%, because it cancelled out the normal rotation and, with it, the normal centrifugal force and replaced it with a smaller rotation in the opposite direction.[27] Concorde flew high enough that the weight of everyone onboard was reduced by an additional 0.6% due to the increased distance from the centre of the Earth.

Concorde's cruising speed exceeded the top speed of the solar terminator. Concorde was able to overtake or outrun the spin of the earth. On westbound flights it was possible to arrive at a local time earlier than the flight's departure time. On certain early evening transatlantic flights departing from Heathrow or Paris, it was possible to take off just after sunset and catch up with the sun, landing in daylight. This was much publicised by British Airways, who used the slogan "Arrive before you leave."

5:10 PM


4:22 PM


4:21 PM

No Exit, No Strategy - New York Times:

Once again, it is clear that Mr. Bush refuses to recognize the truth of his failure in Iraq and envisions a military commitment that has no end. Congress must use its powers to expose the truth and demand a real change in strategy. Democratic leaders, forever parsing polls, are backing away from proposals to impose a deadline for withdrawal and tinkering with small ideas that mostly sound like ways to enable the president’s strategy of delay.

After all, it seems the burden of ending the war will fall to the next president. Mr. Bush was clear last night — as he was when he addressed the nation in January, September of last year, the December before that and in April 2004 — that his only real plan is to confuse enough Americans and cow enough members of Congress to let him muddle along and saddle his successor with this war that should never have been started.

11:57 AM

What do you think?

11:57 AM


3:42 AM

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The New Language | Slog | The Stranger | Seattle's Only Newspaper:

Amazing, because it seems to me, these kids have unwittingly invented some great new expressions.

One student wrote, “post dramatic stress” instead of “post traumatic stress” (and no, not on purpose.) This is a great new phrase.

Suffered through a histrionic acquaintance’s latest trauma recently? Next time they set out to bend your ear just say, ” Sorry, I’ve still got post dramatic stress.”

4:42 PM


4:42 PM

Lessons on the surge from economics 101: Rutland Herald Online:

Economics professors have a standard game they use to demonstrate how apparently rational decisions can create a disastrous result. They call it a "dollar auction." The rules are simple. The professor offers a dollar for sale to the highest bidder, with only one wrinkle: the second-highest bidder has to pay up on their losing bid as well. Several students almost always get sucked in. The first bids a penny, looking to make 99 cents. The second bids 2 cents, the third 3 cents, and so on, each feeling they have a chance at something good on the cheap. The early stages are fun, and the bidders wonder what possessed the professor to be willing to lose some money.

The problem surfaces when the bidders get up close to a dollar. After 99 cents the last vestige of profitability disappears, but the bidding continues between the two highest players. They now realize that they stand to lose no matter what, but that they can still buffer their losses by winning the dollar. They just have to outlast the other player. Following this strategy, the two hapless students usually run the bid up several dollars, turning the apparent shot at easy money into a ghastly battle of spiraling disaster.

Theoretically, there is no stable outcome once the dynamic gets going. The only clear limit is the exhaustion of one of the player's total funds. In the classroom, the auction generally ends with the grudging decision of one player to "irrationally" accept the larger loss and get out of the terrible spiral. Economists call the dollar auction pattern an irrational escalation of commitment. We might also call it the war in Iraq.

12:20 PM

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Magicians innovate without IP law - Boing Boing:

Jacob Loshin, a law student at Yale, drafter a paper exploring how stage magicians protect the secrets behind their tricks, and continue to come up with great new ideas, without getting caught up in the insanity of intellectual property law. Basically, magicians police themselves based on a set of norms for treating secrets, presentation styles, and techniques of making magic. Violate the norms by, say, stealing a trick or not giving credit where it's due and you'll be shamed and shunned by your fellow magicians.

12:25 PM

The Swimming Nun - Part IV

12:25 PM


I posted that Chris Crocker Britney rant yesterday--turns out my friend Elis Sanders did a fascinating expose on him a while back, which is really worth reading here.

11:59 AM

1351402643 Bc2E075635

11:40 AM

Daring Fireball: Ways in Which iTunes's Just-Released Official Ringtone Support Is Weird, Rude, and/or Just Plain Buggy:

Think about how weaselly this wording is. It’s like a politician who’s asked a pointed question about topic A, and responds with a non sequitur talking point regarding topic B.

User: I’d like to turn this song right here into a ringtone.

iTunes: You can turn some of those songs over there into ringtones.

Perhaps whoever wrote the copy for this dialog was simply too ashamed to spell it out: iTunes will not allow you to use any non-iTunes Store audio file with its built-in Create Ringtone feature.

11:37 AM

JPG Magazine

11:37 AM

Late For Summer Weather

He has on
an old light grey Fedora
She a black beret

He a dirty sweater
She an old blue coat
that fits her tight

Grey flapping pants
Red skirt and
broken down black pumps

Fat  Lost  Ambling
nowhere through
the upper town they kick

their way through
heaps of
fallen maple leaves

still green-and
crisp as dollar bills
Nothing to do. Hot cha!

William Carlos Williams

11:28 AM

MacRitchie sunset

11:02 AM

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yes and Yes and More and Yes and Why - Theater - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:

There is a hand-drawn map of Smoke Farm on the wall. Everyone has seven copies of the map to take notes on where to enter, how fast to run, when to attack the audience. "The barn where the audience will be sitting is 160 feet long and has 20 windows," says codirector Mandie O'Connell. She sounds military, like a general briefing her troops on an impending invasion.

The military feeling, the level of control, is a little surprising. Implied Violence's plays are chaotic, an explosion of words and incongruent costumes and music and goop.

This is a theater company that hates most theater, dreams of poetic spectacles, is in love with Gertrude Stein and the Wu-Tang Clan, and, according its mission statement, "loves nothing more than a good pie in the face." O'Connell and Ryan Mitchell (the other codirector) met while studying at Cornish in 2003. They started working together, doing thorny, sometimes inscrutable plays by Sarah Kane and German expressionists, and now make thorny, sometimes inscrutable original work.

3:02 PM

This kind of makes my brain giggle, and the choke on the giggles.

2:55 PM

It has a title.
2:37 PM

The Truth About Britney Spears: A Nation Reflects - Gawker:

It's an excellent point, and one that even those who don't consider themselves feminists should give some thought to. Is it proper to judge a young woman—whose success is based solely on the purity of her singing voice and the depth and passion with which she conveys emotions such as "But I thought the old lady dropped it into the ocean in the end"—on her physical appearance, even if she was dressed like a truck-stop hooker after a day-long chicken and waffle binge?

11:25 AM

11:25 AM


Riding the Elevator Into the Sky

As the fireman said:
Don't book a room over the fifth floor
in any hotel in New York.
They have ladders that will reach further
but no one will climb them.
As the New York Times said:
The elevator always seeks out
the floor of the fire
and automatically opens
and won't shut.
These are the warnings
that you must forget
if you're climbing out of yourself.
If you're going to smash into the sky.

Many times I've gone past
the fifth floor,
cranking upward,
but only once
have I gone all the way up.
Sixtieth floor:
small plants and swans bending
into their grave.
Floor two hundred:
mountains with the patience of a cat,
silence wearing its sneakers.
Floor five hundred:
messages and letters centuries old,
birds to drink,
a kitchen of clouds.
Floor six thousand:
the stars,
skeletons on fire,
their arms singing.
And a key,
a very large key,
that opens something –
some useful door –
somewhere –
up there.

Anne Sexton

9:49 AM

she unlocked the stairway to heaven

9:48 AM

UW IMAP software--IMAP Toolkit Frequently Asked Questions:

6.20 Why should I care about compatibility with the past?

This is one of those questions in which the answer never convinces those who ask it. Somehow, everybody who ever asks this question ends up answering it for themselves as they get older, with the very answer that they rejected years earlier.

8:13 AM

disintegration (infrared)

8:12 AM

Monday, September 10, 2007

O'Grady's PowerPage - Your Mobile Technology Destination:

And despite some incredibly cool new features as well as an overall speediness on my quad-core Mac Pro, I came across a new disk utility mode wherein the operating system can take a hard drive that's otherwise inaccessible to other OS X operating systems and utilities (including Mac OS X 10.4.10, DiskWarrior and Data Rescue II) and was able to mount and work with the disk in a limited capacity.

This came in handy recently when a client handed off a hard drive from her iBook G4 that was, for all intents and purposes, pretty much croaked. Target Disk mode wouldn't mount it, Mac OS X 10.4.10 somewhat saw it but never brought it to the desktop and other utilities only noticed it as a distant volume; nothing that could really be read from and written to.

Short of a miracle, nothing was getting her documents, resume, music, pictures and life's data back.

Flipping over to the Leopard partition, I loaded the drive into an external USB 2.0 hard drive carrier, plugged the device into my Mac Pro and hoped for the best. Mac OS X 10.5, which quickly flashed a dialog box mentioning a utility mode stating it would work with the drive in a limited capacity, brought the drive to the desktop and mounted it where nothing else had been able to do so before.

From there, I nursed the files off to a reliable partition, sometimes one folder or one folder at a time until at least the Users folder had been preserved for transplant. Where every utility I had thrown at the problem had failed, a beta build of the upcoming Mac OS had succeeded and helped save my client's data without having to send it to a recovery service.

6:10 PM

2:40 PM

Phoenix police burn down a house and kill puppy over traffic citations - Boing Boing:

In less than 30 minutes, [Maricopa County Sheriff Joe] Arpaio's special forces unleashed an unprecedented wave of violence on this quiet community. Consider this:

• Just after the tear gas canisters were shot, a fire erupted and destroyed a $250,000 home plus all the contents inside. (The home's occupants believe the tear gas canisters caused the fire. Phoenix fire officials say the blaze was probably started by a lighted candle that was knocked onto a bed during the confusion.)

• The armored personnel carrier careened down the street and smashed into a parked car after its brakes failed.

• And in the ultimate display of cruelty, a SWAT team member drove a dog trying to flee the home back into the inferno, where it met an agonizing death.

Deputies then reportedly laughed as the dog's owners came unglued as it perished in the blaze.

2:36 PM

James Braly: Withdrawal:

Unfortunately, as my kids don't know I smoke, I had to wait till that night, after they had fallen asleep, and I slipped out to the sidewalk outside our flat. It's very different than the sidewalk in Edinburgh, for in Berlin you feel watched. Because you are watched. Making you even more nervous. Requiring even more cigarettes to reach the desired effect. (And buying new ones isn't easy, as my children are constantly around me.) We're living in what's known here as a Hitler House: an apartment building built before WW2. The house rules include no noise after 8PM, and even before 8PM there is a muted, beige auditory affect on the street that feels as if we're all living in a library. It makes you want to scream. But of course you can't scream, because you'll be evicted...or worse. The neighbor upstairs came down one day to inform us that her son was epileptic, and that if my sons continued to play loudly with each other during the day, her son might die of the shock brought on by their noise.

2:14 PM

1:41 PM


12:04 PM

Sunday, September 09, 2007

803531245 25969E9633

10:35 PM


10:57 AM

Nessun dorma - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The Prince:

No one shall sleep! ... No one shall sleep!
Even you, O Princess, in your cold room, watch the stars, that tremble with love and with hope.
But my secret is hidden within me, my name no one shall know ...
No! ... No!... On your mouth I will tell it when the light shines.
And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine! ...

The Chorus of women:

No one will know his name and we must, alas, die.

The Prince:

Vanish, O night! Set, stars! Set, stars!
At dawn, I will win!
I will win! I will win!

4:33 AM

Saturday, September 08, 2007


2:45 PM


2:34 PM

Friday, September 07, 2007

I, Cringely . The Pulpit . The Puppet Master | PBS:

While I suppose there may have been some legal reason not to talk, I really doubt that was the issue. Rather, Steve Jobs just liked snubbing the world’s richest man. It was classic Jobs, and I should have seen it coming. We both should have. So the Vanity Fair story never happened.

One thing that Gates told me in that interview was he didn’t understand why Jobs had gone back to Apple at all. “Why would he do that?” Bill asked. “He has to know that he can never win.”

Okay, we’re back in 2007, eight years after that interview with Bill Gates and the subsequent snub by Jobs and the question being asked about Jobs is still the same: "Why did he do that?" And the answer is still the same: "Because he can."

This week’s iPhone pricing story, in which Apple punished its most loyal users by dropping the price of an 8-gig iPhone from $599 to $399 less than three months after the product’s introduction, is classic Steve Jobs. It wasn’t an accident. It wasn’t a thoughtless mistake. It was a calculated and tightly scripted exercise in marketing and ego gratification. In the mind of Steve Jobs the entire incident had no downside, none at all, which is yet another reason why he is not like you or me.

7:35 PM


12:21 PM


2:53 AM

Thursday, September 06, 2007


First picture from my iPhone--it's of Jean-Michele, with her iPhone, which is playing a YouTube clip, downloaded in realtime from servers a continent away. Tonight I am living in the future.

Also, our phones have reception in our apartment--FINALLY--so it is doubly a triumph.

11:05 PM

Back to school

11:42 AM

Email ain’t going away « Scobleizer:

Here’s one of my conversations lately (this conversation pretty much happened this way the other night):

FAMILY FRIEND: “Can you email me photos of your new baby as soon as possible?”

ME: “I’ll put them on my Flickr.”

FAMILY FRIEND: “What’s that?”

ME: “It’s where I share my photos.”

FAMILY FRIEND: “Why are you being a jerk, just email them to me!”

ME: “I will put them on my Flickr account. Flickr is a much better place for you to look at photos, plus I can get them there from my cell phone without doing any work so you’ll get them faster.”

FAMILY FRIEND: “How do I get to your Flickr account and why can’t you just email me your photos?”

ME: “Just visit my blog, I link to my Flickr feed there.”

FAMILY FRIEND: “I don’t know where your blog is.”

ME: “Go to Google and search for my name and you’ll find my blog.”

FAMILY FRIEND: “I don’t get why you can’t just email me them. Well, can you at least let me know when your new baby arrives via email?”

ME: “Yeah, I’ll do that on my Twitter account, which will also show up on my Pownce account, and on my Facebook account, among others, just watch those places with your RSS Reader.”

FAMILY FRIEND: “GGGggggaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh.”

2:04 AM

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


4:07 PM


10:41 AM

Interesting Times: George Packer: Online Only: The New Yorker:

If there were a threat level on the possibility of war with Iran, it might have just gone up to orange. Barnett Rubin, the highly respected Afghanistan expert at New York University, has written an account of a conversation with a friend who has connections to someone at a neoconservative institution in Washington. Rubin can’t confirm his friend’s story; neither can I. But it’s worth a heads-up:

They [the source’s institution] have “instructions” (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don’t think they’ll ever get majority support for this—they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is “plenty.”

True? I don’t know. Plausible? Absolutely. It follows the pattern of the P.R. campaign that started around this time in 2002 and led to the Iraq war.

10:30 AM


10:30 AM

An Angry White Guy in Chicago: DVD Review: The Bridge:

In 2004, 24 people chose to end their lives by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Producer/Director Eric Steel read an article in The New Yorker that declared the Golden Gate as the most popular suicide magnet in the world. After watching the devastation of 9/11 over and over (including those who jumped from the burning structure), Steel decided to place two cameras in place to film the bridge 24 hours a day for a year. One camera was a fixed point of view - a postcard picture of the bridge. The other utilized a high-powered telephoto lens and focused on the thousands of people who stroll across the bridge, leaving it up to the camera operator to fix upon certain individuals who seemed likely to jump.

All in all, the cameras captured 15 of the 24 recorded suicides from the bridge in 2004.

Once Steel had the footage of the deaths, he contacted loved ones and family members of these suicides and interviewed them to ascertain a more specific picture of these despairing individuals. The Bridge is the result.

12:29 AM


12:29 AM

Rat Sass » Actor’s Dramaturgy:

Nelson’s rant and cause was always a red herring; the institutionalization of this process begins at a level much deeper than the culture surrounding American regional theatre. The whole of the education and training for theatre “professionals” is involved in what in business would be called a pyramid scheme.

“Professional” playwrights most often earn their bread-and-butter working as teachers in drama departments around the country. So they have as much invested in the status quo of this institutionalized process of play development as anyone else. I put the word “professional” in quotes because there is only a handful of writers actually making a living in theatre but there are thousands of playwrights in schools and elsewhere teaching others how to write a “good play.” These teacher playwrights, including Richard Nelson, are serving effectively as salaried dramaturgs for their student playwrights. So if there is truly a need to scapegoat the “institutional dramaturg” for the ills of theatre culture, here would be the place to begin.

12:24 AM

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

For my RSSing readers, who may not check the sidebar, I have a couple of events this week to celebrate being back in NYC. Tonight I'll be appearing at Speakeasy Stories at the legendary Cornelia Street Cafe:

Ecard 09.04 New

And tomorrow night I'll appear at The Moth's season opening show:

Guess What?! Stories of the Unexpected

Our brightest blazes are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks."
Samuel Johnson

Join us for stories of the unpredictable. Hear tales of the unforeseeable: the knock on the door, the gunshot in the night, the chatty monk. The search for A or B that miraculously leads to the discovery of X. The unanticipated circumstance that alters plans so drastically, life is forever changed.

The Players Club
16 Gramercy Park South
Doors open at 7:00 PM
Stories start on stage at 8:00 PM
$20 tickets available now at or by calling (212) 868-4444
Tables are $135 for members and $150 for non-members. Please call The Moth office at (212) 742-0551 to reserve a table.

Featuring stories by:

Amy Cohen
Mike Daisey
Dion Flynn
Gary Gorman
Jack Hitt

Andy Borowitz (host) is a comedian, actor and writer whose work appears regularly in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and at He is the first winner of the National Press Club's humor award and has won five Dot-Comedy Awards for his website, He appears on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Sunday, CNN's American Morning, VH1's Best Week Ever and has acted in the films: Marie and Bruce starring Julianne Moore and Matthew Broderick and Melinda and Melinda starring Will Ferrell and directed by Woody Allen. He is the author of five humor books, including Who Moved My Soap?: The CEO's Guide to Surviving in Prison, The Borowitz Report: The Big Book of Shockers, a 2005 Finalist for the Thurber prize for American Humor, and the recently published Republican Playbook.

Amy Cohen was a writer/producer on the sitcoms Caroline in the City and Spin City, a dating columnist for the New York Observer, and the dating correspondent for cable TV's New York Central. She is the author of The Late Bloomer’s Revolution, published in July by Hyperion Books. She lives in New York City.

Mike Daisey has been called "the master storyteller" and "one of the finest solo performers of his generation" by the New York Times for his monologues, including 21 Dog Years, Invincible Summer, TRUTH, Great Men of Genius, Monopoly!, The Ugly American, Wasting Your Breath, and I Miss the Cold War which he's performed Off-Broadway, across the country and around the world. He's been a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman, his work has been heard on the BBC, NPR and the National Lampoon Radio Hour, and his groundbreaking series All Stories Are Fiction is available through Currently he's a commentator for NPR's Day To Day, a contributor to the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Slate and Salon, and his writing appears in the anthology The Best Tech Writing 2006. His first book, 21 Dog Years: A Cubedweller's Tale, was published by the Free Press and his monologue series Great Men of Genius, about ge nius and megalomania in the lives of Bertolt Brecht, P.T. Barnum, Nikola Tesla, and L. Ron Hubbard, will play in Joe's Pub at the Public Theater this November.

Dion Flynn holds an MFA in acting from NYU's Grad acting program. He's performed improv with the Second City Revue in NYC and lent writing and on-camera commentary to VH1's Best Week Ever, Cheesetastic Video Tricks and Super Secret TV Formulas. He voices radio, television and Internet content. He co-starred in Fox sketch-comedy pilot Loose Camera with Jimmy Fallon, Logo's The Big Gay Sketch Show and appeared in the film Under Heat. You may have seen him in national commercials for Sprint and Virgin Mobile. He's half the improv team of Farahnakian and Flynn with former SNL writer and People's Improv Theater founder, Ali Farahnakian. Dion has acted at The Public, The Guthrie and in Shakespeare in the Park. He's performed stand-up all-around NYC and Korea. He's served as an improv teacher, an art therapist, a corporate improv trainer, a soldier and as singer/songwriter for the rock bands Empire and Sonhouse. Currently filming a leading role in t he independent comedy feature, Motherhead, he's completing his memoir: Other. Dion leads meditation at the senior residence near his home in beautiful South Orange, New Jersey with his gifted and loving partner Kristina. Dion helps to unblock and focus multi-talented artists at

Gary Gorman was born in Brooklyn 57 years ago and has lived there his whole life. He is married to a school social worker and has three married adult children, and six grandchildren. Mr. Gorman served in the US Army as 1st Lieutenant. He joined the NYPD after service and worked the 23 Precinct, then the Tactical Patrol Force (TPF), then after seven years was accepted into the NYPD's Emergency Service Unit. He retired and worked a few years for the NYS Workers Compensation Board then took various security assignments in private industry. In 2000 he became a NYC Licensed Tour Guide, which other then being a Police Officer, is the best job he has ever had. He is included in several books written by his former NYPD partners.

Jack Hitt was recently proclaimed by Bill O'Reilly on his national television program as one of the nation's greatest liars, denounced by Michelle Malkin as a threat to all that is sacred to America, and was awarded the Peabody Award for his hour-long program about Guantanamo on This American Life--the trifecta of modern journalistic achievement. He is a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine and Harper's. His last story for the Moth was about his Upper West Side superintendent, Bob, a man upon whom Hitt heaped unending scorn and ridicule only to discover that Bob's prior (long-term) employment was in Brazil as the leader of one of that country's notorious death squads.

Mazz Swift (violin) made her solo public performance debut at Alice Tully Hall performing alongside members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and later attended the Julliard School of Music. Since leaving in her third year to pursue a more organic approach to music making, she has performed and recorded with artists including Perry Farrell, Dee Snider, Moby, Yhe Yohimbe Brothers, Kanye West, Common, and Jay-Z. She devotes her time to three personal projects: Brazz Tree, Trigger and The Spondoolix. For more information, visit

1:57 PM

Legend Of Zelda Overworld

12:43 PM

The technology we need for digital photos.

12:26 PM

Magic Span 600

Science of Magic - New York Times:

“This wasn’t just a group of world-class performers,” said Susana Martinez-Conde, a scientist at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix who studies optical illusions and what they say about the brain. “They were hand-picked because of their specific interest in the cognitive principles underlying the magic.”

She and Stephen Macknik, another Barrow researcher, organized the symposium, appropriately called the Magic of Consciousness.

Sounding more like a professor than a comedian and magician, Teller described how a good conjuror exploits the human compulsion to find patterns, and to impose them when they aren’t really there.

“In real life if you see something done again and again, you study it and you gradually pick up a pattern,” he said as he walked onstage holding a brass bucket in his left hand. “If you do that with a magician, it’s sometimes a big mistake.”

Pulling one coin after another from the air, he dropped them, thunk, thunk, thunk, into the bucket. Just as the audience was beginning to catch on — somehow he was concealing the coins between his fingers — he flashed his empty palm and, thunk, dropped another coin, and then grabbed another from a gentlemen’s white hair. For the climax of the act, Teller deftly removed a spectator’s glasses, tipped them over the bucket and, thunk, thunk, two more coins fell.

As he ran through the trick a second time, annotating each step, we saw how we had been led to mismatch cause and effect, to form one false hypothesis after another. Sometimes the coins were coming from his right hand, and sometimes from his left, hidden beneath the fingers holding the bucket.

He left us with his definition of magic:
“The theatrical linking of a cause with an effect that has no basis in physical reality, but that — in our hearts — ought to.”

12:19 PM

This year's must-have pregnancy accessory

12:19 PM

Scientology faces criminal charges - Yahoo! News:

BRUSSELS, Belgium - A Belgian prosecutor on Tuesday recommended that the U.S.-based Church of Scientology stand trial for fraud and extortion, following a 10-year investigation that concluded the group should be labeled a criminal organization.

Scientology said it would fight the criminal charges recommended by investigating prosecutor Jean-Claude Van Espen, who said that up to 12 unidentified people should face charges.

Van Espen's probe also concluded that Scientology's Brussels-based Europe office and its Belgian missions conducted unlawful practices in medicine, violated privacy laws and used illegal business contracts, said Lieve Pellens, a spokeswoman at the Federal Prosecutors Office.

"They also face charges of being ... a criminal organization," Pellens said in a telephone interview.

11:54 AM

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KadmusArts - where culture speaks » Blog Archive » Belarus Arrests Free Theatre:

The Belarus Free Theatre, and members of their audience, were arrested this week during a performance of Edward Bond’s play Eleven Vests.

11:49 AM

Oprah vs. James Frey: The Sequel -- TIME:

Oprah Winfrey and Nan Talese are giants in their respective fields. Talese is a publishing legend whose imprint at Doubleday includes such prestigious authors as Margaret Atwood, Pat Conroy, Ian McEwan and Antonia Fraser. Oprah Winfrey is, of course, Oprah. The last time the two women met was on Winfrey's show in January 2006, when one of Talese's authors, James Frey, famously apologized for the lack of veracity in his book A Million Little Pieces as Oprah berated him and withdrew her Book Club's lucrative endorsement of the book. All the while, Talese sat next to her author, stunned and sidelined. The event made for great television. And it may now be ready for a sequel.

At a literary convention in Texas last weekend, after a speech by novelist Joyce Carol Oates on the nature of truth in memoirs, Talese took the opportunity to go after the queen of television. In an earlier discussion at the convention, Talese had already called Oprah's slap-down of Frey on television "mean and self-serving" and described it as an ambush. At the Oates event, she was even more outspoken, and her remarks were captured by C-SPAN cameras. The show may air as early as this weekend.

11:34 AM


Easter Island:

The undeciphered Easter island script Rongorongo may be one of the very few writing systems created ex nihilo, without outside influence. Alternatively the islanders' brief but very visible exposure to Western writing during the Spanish visit in 1770 inspired the ruling class to establish Rongorongo as a religious tool. Rongorongo was first reported by a French missionary Eugène Eyraud in 1864. At that time, several islanders still claimed to be able to understand the scripture, but all attempts to read them were unsuccessful. According to traditions, only a small part of the population was ever literate, Rongorongo being a privilege of the ruling families and priests. This contributed to the total loss of knowledge of how to read Rongorongo in the 1860s, when the island's elite was annihilated by slave raids and disease.

Of the hundreds of wooden tablets and staffs reportedly having Rongorongo writing carved on them, only 26 survive, all in museums around the world and none remaining on Easter Island. Decades of numerous attempts to decipher them have been unfruitful. The scientific community doesnt even agree on whether or not Rongorongo is truly a form of writing.

9:29 AM


8:23 AM


8:13 AM

Monday, September 03, 2007

Medeco Lock Vs. Screwdriver (techyum):

Engadget has a long, fabulous post about popping Medeco locks with a simple screwdriver; these locks have been long held as one of the best, most advanced and secure deadbolt locks in the world -- they have an estimated 70% share of the market, and supply the White House. As per a demonstration by the (admittedly kickass) 12-year-old Jennalynn at Defcon, the locks can be defeated in under one minute with a screwdriver. Supposedly video of *that* technique is being kept under wraps -- but here's a great video of Jennalynn doing a hammer demo.

2:34 PM

Sunday, September 02, 2007


6:31 PM

And it was indeed a fantastic wedding!
5:10 PM

Saturday, September 01, 2007


To the happy couple--looking forward to what is sure to be a fantastic wedding today for Kip and Heidi, two wonderful artists, neighbors and friends. I couldn't think of a better reason to return to America than this.

12:30 AM