Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I've been pretty quiet about it, but Lion is a mess. I'm finding bugs almost daily; some are small, some are real head scratchers how they got thru QA. Perhaps I was spoiled by 10.6 (which wasn't a dramatic update over 10.5), but I guess 10.5 had its problems too. It is just that after nearly 4 years, I don't expect such regressive releases. It has gotten so bad, that I'm not even logging bugs, because I'm so suspicious that some of them are intentional (but unspoken) changes in Apple's OS roadmap.

10.7.1 hasn't fixed things. The fact that it wasn't even seeded to developers, I think, speaks volumes.

Overall, 10.7 is a disappointment. And the regressions are simply not acceptable for the 8th release (10 years in) of a modern OS.

Sniper rifle
Thus speech is basically presence. It is something alive .... The word is never an object you can turn this way and that, grasp, and preserve for tomorrow or some distant day when you have time to deal with it .... The word exists now. It is something immediate and can never be manipulated. Either it exists or it doesn't.
—Jacques Ellul, The Humiliation of the Word
IMG_8194 Pismo Pier, Pismo Beach, CA

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Art vs. Nature: Round Five by Brendan Kiley - Seattle Theater - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:

The day's most exclusive performance was a three-course dinner for 20—ties required and provided—in a large tree house, prepared by the people of Cafe Nordo. Prospective diners had to search the farm for a mysterious and stern maître d' who took $20 "bribes" in exchange for reservations. "There will be beef and there will be heights," he pronounced. He also admonished diners to wear rugged shoes and remain sober until the dinner seating.

After arriving at the designated meeting place, the lucky 20 were blindfolded, bundled into cars, and driven to an undisclosed location, where they were greeted by a "wild man" (who ducked in and out of the forest in a loincloth with a machete) and loud barks and howls from dogs somewhere off in the woods. After a champagne toast and a steep walk up and down the wooded hills, they ascended some stairs to a large platform in the trees, which had been built by Seattle schoolchildren as part of the farm's Fortnight Summer Camp.

There was beef and heights as promised, as well as a frozen granita "salad," zucchini and garlic soup, homemade ricotta with local berries and honey from the farm's beehives, and ghostly serenades from musicians hidden in the forest below. After descending, the diners rejoined the rest of the attendees dancing around a bonfire to a marching band and stumbling around in the dark, looking for light installations.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

MacNN | AT&T filing hints only $3.8b, not T-Mobile, needed for goals:

AT&T on Thursday accidentally posted a filing (since pulled, available below) that called into doubt one of the core arguments for its buyout of T-Mobile. While it has publicly said it could only get to 97 percent coverage of the US population with LTE by spending $39 billion to buy T-Mobile, an estimate included in the document instead showed that it would only need $3.8 billion in network expenses to go beyond the 80 percent it wanted otherwise. Senior management claimed that the deal would let it "better absorb the increased capital investment," according to AT&T counsel Richard Rosen, but couldn't explain why spending ten times more on a T-Mobile deal made this sound.

The same document also notes unusual timing. AT&T had decided against building to 97 percent on the cost argument at the start of January but was already making a proposal to buy T-Mobile on January 15, two months before it reached a deal in public. Its process implied, though didn't confirm, that AT&T had withheld the expansion to make it an incentive to put in front of the FCC.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

MacNN | Patent proposal depicts more advanced iOS gestures:

Another newly-exposed Apple patent application suggests adding more complex gestures to iOS, notes Patently Apple. The commands would help "manipulate and organize various graphical objects" in a style similar to "conventional personal computers," Apple's filing indicates. Some examples include "digging a hole" or "opening a trap door" to put files into, or even "shredding" documents with multiple fingers, triggering a secure deletion process.

One of the more unusual gesture ideas involves wireless transfer between devices. By tracing a circle around files on an iPad, for instance, a person could mark those items for transfer, and then "pour" them into a nearby device. Apple has already made easy local file exchange a minor feature of OS X Lion in the form AirDrop, although no gestures are involved.

The application may help fuel speculation that Apple is planning to merge Mac OS and iOS within the next few years. Lion already incorporates many iPad-like interface elements, such as Launchpad, while iOS is being made more independent. After this fall's iOS 5 update, the platform will be capable of functioning without syncing to a computer.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Sorry to hear that Apple is destroying another small business but they have done this to thousands before you. As one of the former Apple resellers that helped save Apple from the horrendous product failures of the 1990's, our payoff was Apple opening a store at an upscale mall 1 mile away! They assured us that it would not "compete" with our business and there would be many opportunities to "partner" with them. The net result was a cannibalization of half our business because they offered "deals" not available to resellers, cut our margins to almost nothing and then the termination letter a year later when we failed to meet our sales quota. No warning or promised help. Just termination. We survived and no longer have anything to do with Apple products but 3 people lost jobs. Apple's monstrous success is built on those it has destroyed.
Sands of Time
Who left Lion, and reverted to SL? - MacRumors Forums:

But if you use your mac as a serious tool... well... Here's a list for you:

•It's slower. (Post indexing, on both a Late 2008 Unibody 15" MBP, 2011 13" MBP)

•The new gestures are disgusting. The thumb pinch is impossible, and the 2 finger swipe clashes with scrolling and doesn't work properly outside Safari.

•Mission Control, while a good feature of its own accord, is not a replacement for Spaces and Expose. Why did Apple have to take these features away? What's wrong with having both Mission Control and the old Spaces/Expose? They don't seem mutually exclusive to me...

•The new autosave document model might be "the way of the future", but when it comes to network devices and removable storage, YAY for holding on to billions of file handles and ****ing up my battery life, sleep routines, and general chi.

•iCal peaked in 10.4. Ever since, it's been going downhill in terms of usability. This new leather feel is just another kick in the guts.

•The multi-monitor issues. Display colour profiles not working on multimonitor systems, fullscreen apps not working on multimonitor systems, mission control being spastic on multimonitor systems... where's the quality control?!

•There have been numerous issues with regards to upgrading from old installs. While it's always a bit of a hot topic, it's just another thorn in the side.

•Safari 5.1 has serious issues. Memory leaks galore leaving me with no available RAM and causing my system to swap like a mofo. Extremely uncool.

•Finder. Oh dear. "All my files" has no place on the system of anyone who knows what a file is, and this new grouped inline coverflow view is both tacky (like Coverflow itself), and extremely slow.

•Finder's sidebar is now even less useful. Compare and contrast to Windows 7. Sigh.

I expected a lot more. I was looking forward to some of the cooler features of iOS - like saving application state, and good integration with things like GMail. I certainly didn't expect my operating system to start making decisions about which of my apps to keep open. I know this better than any algorithm ever will, Apple.

What really irks me is the cavalier attitude Apple are now taking toward more professional users like myself. Previous editions of Mac OS X didn't really take away features; certainly not ones as prominent as Spaces and Expose - yet they are content to simply wipe the board clean with new UI tools that I believe one could empirically prove worse.

In the past, OS X felt like it was built by a team of interaction designers. People that understood how both novice and expert users work with computers, and who were able to craft a solid experience across the whole spectrum. Now, OS X feels like it's drawn by graphic designers and animators, who are concerned with flashy eye candy and have little regard to the human-computer interaction.

I love my Macbook Pro. There's nothing even remotely close to the form factor in the PC world. But I find myself longing for the utilitarianism that is Windows.
The Annotated "Touch of Grey":

This from Robert Hunter's online journal, January 8, 2006:

Flipping through a green hardbound 1980 notebook I come upon a run of pages in which I discover "Touch of Grey" - dozens of verses that gradually fall away until the familiar ones emerge. As I read, I'm not otherwise than the person who wrote it down. It's the blear light of dawn after being up all night. I sit at the kitchen table in a 16th Century house in rural England, turning what I feel into images, awash in that writing trance in which I spent, and spend, so much of my life; a place that doesn't have much relationship to the nominal time stream. If I could slip back physically and change anything, perhaps I'd rip out those pages. No getting the genie back in the bottle.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


I don't believe this shows a lack of Apple forethought, but, on the contrary, shows great forethought -- unfortunately that forethought does not benefit its user base in emergency situations. It does, however, advantage Apple's agenda for greater control.

One past design job found me in the mountains, working on my Laptop. The primary internal drive failed, and the laptop booted from the backup FireWire drive. Unfortunately, CS3 and Quark required re-authorizations, which failed for lack of an internet connection. To solve this, I first called Quark, appraised them of the situation, and gave them my serial number. Quark tech then directed me to their authorization repair utility in the QuarkXpress app folder, and I was up and running. Adobe, on the other hand, informed me that without an internet connection, re-authorization is impossible. Sorry. Though their software ceased to function on my job, my money, however, was still working just fine in the bank of Adobe.

Apple must believe that they have achieved critical mass in the number of Apple users who both have an internet connection and neither care or do not see the implications of buying into an internet-only corporate agenda.

Monday, August 08, 2011

An International Fairytale in Need of Translators: You Can Help Ai Weiwei | Slog:

When a thousand and one Chinese citizens all traveled en masse to Kassel, Germany, in 2007, they did it for an artwork called Fairytale, conceived by the artist Ai Weiwei. Ai would later be jailed for 80 days by the Chinese government; the BBC reported yesterday that he's begun Tweeting again despite a prohibition—but back in 2007, he had the cooperation of the government in exporting a living artwork temporarily.

For Fairytale, the expenses of the Chinese volunteer travelers were paid. They were allowed to wander the city of Kassel, but not to leave it. Their experiences, while being observed by an audience from around the world, were the artwork. They were given beds and uniforms, and 1,001 wooden chairs were placed for them inside the international art exhibition Documenta (which takes place every four years in Kassel). Documenta is huge, and famous for making your feet sore as you wander through it—the chairs were places for the Chinese audience to rest. Even when they weren't there, their presence was suggested by the empty chairs scattered amidst all the other art seen by a roving international audience. (In some cases, people liked the chairs better than the proper sculptures, paintings, and drawings.)

For many of the travelers, it was their first time outside mainland China. They were average people: parents, factory workers, students—all with very personal perspectives. (Ai has said that Fairytale is not a single project but 1,001 separate projects.) But they were also representatives of China's rising world power, brought to Europe to observe, and to be observed.

Books Without Borders by Paul Constant - Seattle Features - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:

For better and for worse, Borders was my college experience. I behaved badly—fucked, drank, and did drugs with everyone I could. My fellow employees snuck me into bars when I was underage, and then cheered when, during my 21st birthday party, I wound up facedown in the gutter sobbing about how my heart had been ripped in two by an ex-fiancée. I was not alone in my bad behavior: Every week, different employees were hooking up, having affairs, breaking up, recoupling, playing drinking games that involved comically large hunting knives, getting in fights, getting pregnant, and showing up drunk for work.
What is Lion's weakest new feature? - Page 2 - MacRumors Forums:

i know how to use the terminal, i have been a SUN solaris UNIX sysadmin for 14 years now. I just don't like the new defaults in lion where they hide the advanced stuff in the GUI. if i wanted to tinker on the command line to make my desktop usable i would have stuck with Slackware and FreeBSD on my desktops and laptops and not buy this EUR2000,- MBP.

I know i can make the library files visible, reverse that odd scrolling, ignore the existence of launchpad and mission control, turn off application state resume, turn back on the traffic lights in my dock, untick 'restart apps' at every shutdown and 'really' close apps using the keyboard ...... but it's just that if i do all that then what am i left with?

yes indeed .... with SL again, just without spaces and with some serious memory issues.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

We Can't Teach Students to Love Reading - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education:

Rarely has education been about teaching children, adolescents, or young adults how to read lengthy and complicated texts with sustained, deep, appreciative attention—at least, not since the invention of the printing press. When books were scarce, the situation was different: The North African boy who later became known to history as St. Augustine spent countless hours of his education poring over, analyzing word by word, and memorizing a handful of books, most of them by Virgil and Cicero; this model was followed largely because no one had many books, so each one was treated as precious. Augustine's biographer Peter Brown has commented that some of Augustine's intellectual eccentricities are the product of "a mind steeped too long in too few books"—something that can be said of almost nobody today.

Even after Gutenberg, this assumption of scarcity persisted, as George Steiner has noted in an anecdote about one of the leading scholars of the Renaissance: "The tale is told of how Erasmus, walking home on a foul night, glimpsed a tiny fragment of print in the mire. He bent down, seized upon it and lifted it to a flickering light with a cry of thankful joy. Here was a miracle."

Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Comeback That Wasn’t:

In the boom years, Stewart’s ­extravagances could reasonably be seen as the cost of doing business. But with MSLO losing money, the clash between business imperatives and Stewart’s perfectionist aesthetic became increasingly problematic. “The entire workday would come to a halt so we could discuss the virtues of sea-foam green over more of a blue-green, and would take literally 30 minutes,” remembers an editor. “Susan [Lyne] would say, ‘I’m sure you guys can make this decision.’” Despite the cash crunch, Stewart would not hesitate to send staff members to, say, India, to obtain a certain piece of fabric. The company kept three separate test kitchens. Stewart herself retained “nine personal assistants,” says a former executive. “Nine. That number is untouchable. I broached it with her, and I almost lost my job that day.” (A source close to the company calls the number “highly exaggerated.”)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Economics and Politics by Paul Krugman - The Conscience of a Liberal - NYTimes.com:

The US 10-year bond rate is now down to 2.5%. So much for those bond vigilantes. What this rate is saying is that markets are pricing in terrible economic performance, quite possibly a double dip. And it also says that Washington’s deficit obsession has been utterly, totally wrong-headed.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Monday, August 01, 2011


The 1984 Mac, and mid-eighties developments in graphic user interfaces generally, were breathtaking improvements that held out vast promise for the future. That promise has largely not been kept; there's been a slow, inexorable regression. Software vendors have managed to squirm out of providing software support, so there's no pushback in support costs. Instead of software getting easier to use, people accept the necessity to take "computer literacy" courses.

And everyone now expects to treat computer software as an adventure game, where you discover how things work -- and trolls lurk at every bridge, because the old 1980s "Inside Macintosh" goal that _everything_ should be undoable went by the board a decade or so ago.