Monthly Archives: October 2001

Waking Life

I have no words for this movie. I only know I feel restored, and that it does something good for my faith in the union of art and technology, which so often fails to actually accomplish anything.

Ditto the 10-minute Bjork video (Pagan Poetry) before the movie.

Coming out of the theater, encountered some drunk teens in shoddy, half-baked halloween costumes and spiked goth hair walking down Shattuck, one (probably faking it) in a wheelchair. A girl among them asked me for two dollars. No. A dollar. No. A cigarette. No. “PUSSY!” she yelled at me. Then she spun around in a circle and fell on her ass.

No bin Ladens for halloween. But there were some cute little fire fighters and fairy princesses. Even a queen (Queen Esther, she called herself).

Wensleydale

Last few days before work starts, trying to get lots of things checked off my list. Paperwork, phone calls…

Finally built a search engine for The Archive of Misheard Lyrics. Starting to realize what Mac heads mean when they complain that things look great on their Macs, shitty when viewed through Windows.

    

Starting to love working in BBEdit rather than HomeSite. But this whole type/creator bullshit on the Mac is driving me crazy. I railed on it in the BeOS Bible, and now I’m living it. All I want is for any text file to open in BBEdit when double-clicked. It’s just not possible. It bums me out – Apple solved so many of the old Mac problems when they created OSX. Why didn’t they break with the past and give users a real filetype panel, with complete association control. Keep the filetype attribute, dump the creator attribute. It’s not only useless, it’s counterproductive and ridiculous. The app that created a file has no right to claim ownership of it, unless it’s a proprietary file format. Am I the only Mac user who sees this as a serious impediment to workflow?

Had to laugh when this ad showed up on kissthisguy. How about “Red Cross Under Attack?”

Pulled good old Wensleydale (a 30GB drive full of MP3s that was a wedding gift to Amy and I from a bunch of people in the Be community, instigated by ) out of the Linux server and into the G4. Spent most of its life as a BFS drive, the last three months as a FAT32 volume mounted in a Linux machine, now it’s HFS+. Was impressed that OSX recognized and mounted it immediately, even though it was FAT32. Reinitialized it as HFS+ anyway, and copied all the same music over to it. That frees up the 60GB “Havarti” for digital video work.

Engaged in a bunch of conversations with people on the American Liberty mailing list. Very articulate people, but I just don’t get what makes them tick. Turns out they’re anarcho-capitalists, rather than libertarians. I think the reason I’m always at odds with people like that is that they believe completely in this dog-eat-dog, Darwinian, strongest survive thing, even as applied to society and economy. I know that’s the way the universe works, but I have higher hopes for humanity, and think we can do better. I believe our government is screwed up in a lot of ways, but I strongly believe that government *is* the people and vice versa, and that we are trying to do best for ourselves. I believe we build protections into the system to shield ourselves from predators. The anarcho-capitalists believe that if the predators swallow up the people, then, well, that’s just the way the universe works. It makes me sad that extreme libertarianism seems to be gaining, rather than losing currency these days.

Cheap Memory as an Excuse

Imagine if memory still cost today what it cost a few years ago. Would Apple have still released such a RAM-hungry OS? At old RAM prices, only the richest owners could use OSX with reasonable performance. It’s as if Apple thought to themselves, “RAM is cheap, let’s take advantage of the situation and do all kinds of creamy stuff with it” rather than “Lean-ness is one of our goals.”

Patched Twice

At the hardware store, looking for a pull-chain switch for the overhead light in the pantry. The first one lasted 40 years. The second one lasted six months. They don’t make ‘em like they used to. An old man working there commented on my Ben Davis work shirt. He could relate to it.

Tennis with Mike and Chris. Three-way. Good sweat.

Patched a hole in bicycle tire tube. Replaced in wheel. Pumped it up. Hisss… dammit. Remove wheel. Remove tube. Find another hole in the tire itself. Patched it too. No more hiss.

Downloaded a zillion faces for Audion .

InfoArchy ran a follow-up to my bootloader piece.

G4

Over the past 48 hours I have fallen completely, totally, and hopelessly in love with OS X.1 and this G4. As in, so in love I can’t pull myself away until the wee hours. Everything is so tight, so well composed, so _designed_, so coherent. I’ve complained publicly about MacOS for years. But almost every single complaint I’ve had about Macs has been addressed. I think they’ve really finally nailed it with OSX. It’s so invigorating to have that excitement about computing that I originally had with BeOS again. Only this time, it doesn’t feel like a futile battle. Apple has a chance, has industry momentum that Be never had.

This whole user experience is just so sexy…

I do have some complaints, so it’s not perfect. There are things that remind you you’re still using a young OS. But overall, it’s so on the right track it’s not even funny. I can’t say I regret dabbling in Windows after leaving BeOS behind, or the three months I just put into learning Linux – they were good educational experiences. But this feels like coming home.

Panna Cotta

Amy and I celebrated my bday last night with dinner at Mazzini – wonderful restaurant near our house where we sometimes go for special occassions. Discovered the miracle of Panna Cotta — basically cooked cream with a bit of gelatin sitting in a berry sauce. The mouthfeel is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted – I didn’t know the meaning of creamy until last night.

Came home and took digital pictures of things in and around the house, getting jiggy with the look of things. Reminded us of something we used to do years ago when we were first going out — the Otis Panic (now called Sito). Back in the 94 / 95 time frame, some of us were getting really excited about the collaborative aesthetic possibilities of the internet. On Friday nights we’d drop source images into an FTP dir. Others would grab them down, manipulate them in Photoshop or whatever, then re-upload them. It was fast and loose, weird, great fun. Amy and I used to do these Panics for some of our early dates. Hadn’t thought aboout that for a while.

Migration Notes

Bringing dad over to Windows was a mixed bag. On one hand, now he’s got a world-class browser and Eudora (my beloved Eudora…). On the other hand, the machine is much slower (because Win98 ignores his second CPU and because Win isn’t as efficiently designed in general). His modem drops connections sometimes under Windows – never did in BeOS. He says it “looks ugly” (this is a person who has used only MacOS and BeOS and has never used Windows).

But the biggest headache was in trying to find usable software for his digital camera. I was so proud the day he got his camera a couple of years ago, hooked it up, found the Camera app, and started using it with no help from me. I fully expected there to be a wide range of great camera apps for Windows. But the Camedia software that came with his camera is so arcane it’s almost unusable. The Adobe software that came with only grabs one image at a time and tries so hard to be user friendly that it backfires on itself. I downloaded three shareware apps that didn’t work at all. I read countless messages from people complaining about the terrible state of Windows camera apps out there. All over a slow mountain modem connection. Wasted half of yesterday. In the end, the solution he’s going to use is that he’ll boot to BeOS, download his images, and copy them to his Windows partition from there. What a freaking joke. I hear that XP finally addresses the camera issue fully. Great, but that’s not an option.

Since I stopped using BeOS a couple of months ago, I’ve only had occassional needs to boot into it. But every time I do, I feel like I’m missing something great. The same old refrains : how can something this great, this powerful, this usable, not have taken over the market? Of course I know all the answers to that question. But it still pains me no end. BeOS is still like a great orgasm for your computer.

R.U. Sirius on Feeling Conflicted

Very good essay by R.U. Sirius on the difficult position traditional leftists are in… torn between knowing how evil the Taliban is and how important it is that they be removed on one hand, and a deep distrust for the Bush regime and bombing campaigns in general on the other. I can’t say, as he does, that I feel stuck in neutral. I support the anti-Taliban effort whole-heartedly (though I pray for sanity and care). But I have been doing battle with my own emotions over all of this. I think a lot of people I know have been. Slowly, though, I am realizing that my complaints are basically irrelevant to the situation at hand. Sure, the U.S. has had problematic involvements overseas. Yes we’re responsbile for the death of innocents all over the world. That’s all important stuff and needs to be addressed at some point. But right now, we have more important things to do, like preserving freedom. Who cares if that sounds corny and jingoistic? It’s important, it’s real, and it’s here now.