A beautiful article summarizing the Apple experience.
October 2, 2003 (Thu)
October 3, 2003 (Fri)
Slashdot has a discussion about “expensive geek toys”. One of the threads lead me to Kevin Kelly's (of Whole Earth fame) Recommendo, featuring all sorts of cool, interesting, and wacky links to books, things, and ideas.
One of the links on the front page was to the Galls catalog, which looks like a great source for public safety equipment and apparel.
I'm on day three of not being at work. M had been sick for about a week, but I thought I might miss this one, as it sounded like something I've had before. Alas, it was apparently a variant, so I went from a headache and a mild sore throat on Tuesday to a full-blown sinus thing on Wednesday.
Being out of work for three days straight would, you might think, give me a chance to just whip through Quicksilver, Neal Stephenson's latest tome. While I am about two-thirds of the way through it, I haven't really gotten much reading done over the last few days—pounding headaches and reading don't mix, especially when your glasses exacerbate the sinus pain.
Still, as I say, I've read about two-thirds of the book, and it's really good. It reminds me most of Pynchon's Mason & Dixon. Stephenson even has a character go a bit mad and experience a vast song-and-dance number in seventeenth-century France.
If you liked Cryptonomicon or Mason & Dixon, you'll probably like Quicksilver. If you don't know anything about European history, prepare to wing it, as there's a lot here, some real, some not so real. Be careful about standing up in class and making assertions based on Stephenson without checking them out in other references!
October 16, 2003 (Thu)
We have tickets to see Michael Moore tonight with some friends. Should be good—he's been doing the rounds to support his new book, and he's pretty cool. I suppose there's a certain amount of preaching to the choir going on in shows like this one, but it can sometimes be nice to be reminded that you're not the only sane person in the world, especially here in deepest SoCal....
Slashdot talks about the upcoming Porco Rosso and Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind DVDs, due out next year. I've never seen Porco Rosso, but I know M would like it (the main character is a pig!). Nausicaä, on the other hand, I've had in manga form for several years (although I just discovered that there's a fourth book that must have come out after I'd moved to Canada—I knew the story shouldn't have ended so abruptly!). I've never seen the anime, though, and I'm looking forward to having the chance.
We picked up most of the rest of the Miyazaki films available in the States a couple of months ago. Beyond the ones that had made it to theatrical release (Mononoke Hime and Spirited Away), and, of course, Tonari No Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service (airships! cute witches!), I especially liked Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky (more airships!). Castle of Cagliostro got us watching Lupin the Third on the Cartoon Network (different, but similar), which led us to a bunch of the other anime showing there and on TechTV, giving us something to watch during the summer.
October 17, 2003 (Fri)
There were apparently some conservative types (“neocons”, presumably) handing out pieces of paper claiming that Moore was a liar, focusing on the whole “getting a rifle for opening up a CD” scene in Bowling for Columbine. Apparently these folks are right there with the woman trying out for The View who hassled Moore about the scene, and with sources like that, you know they must be right.
Actually, one of their big sources is
their source was an article in Forbes
(“Bowl-o-Drama”, 2002 Dec 9), which certainly has no interest in
discrediting the left, right?
[And no real interest in consistency, either—witness Daniel Lyons's article that explains how the FSF shouldn't be trying to protect their intellectual property interests under U.S. copyright law. Lyons, of course, also wrote this article, where he defends SCO's IP lawsuits (which are generally seen as having little or no merit).]
Anyway, one of Michael Moore's bits was about the new electronic voting machines brought to us by Diebold. Not only have there been accusations of massive security holes in these machines, but there's this little fact that the CEO of Diebold, Walden O'Dell, a Bush campaign “Pioneer”, sent out a letter inviting people to a Republican fund-raiser stating that he was “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes for the president [Bush] next year”.
- Texans for Public Justice on the Bush Pioneer–Ranger Network
- Ohio Plain Dealer article on Michael O'Dell's political activism
- Wired on Diebold's alleged unauthorized patching of voting machines before a contested election
- Bruce Schneier on electronic voting
- Rebecca Mercuri on electronic voting
- BlackBoxVoting site, created by Bev Harris, author of Black Box Voting: Vote Tampering in the 21st Century
Moore persists in believing that America is a left-wing country, citing the number of Americans who support abortion on demand; shorter work weeks; living wages; better, universal health care; and other “liberal” ideals.
Living in L.A. County and watching American television, it's sometimes hard to believe that could be true. But visiting Seattle earlier this year was a refreshing break. Maybe Seattle isn't alone.
Moore is also not currently endorsing any particular candidate. He's urging people to push the Democratic candidates to take strong liberal positions on issues rather than appealing to the right-wingers by moving to the right. In particular, “Anybody But Lieberman”, a sentiment I heartily endorse. If you want a Republican, vote for one who's honest enough to admit he is one.
October 24, 2003 (Fri)
Yes, the hills are aflame again here in southern California, and, weirdly, we're getting ashfall from a fire that's actually much further away than the fires last year. Air quality, of course, is horrible, but the smoke and ash are causing some amazing effects on the sunlight—everything is tinted a yellowish-orange. Sunsets, we can assume, will be spectacular.