"That which is overdesigned, too highly specific, anticipates outcome; the anticipation of outcome guarantees, if not failure, the absence of grace."
-- William Gibson, All Tomorrow's Parties
July 2, 2007

My family was visiting last week, and Saturday my mom decided it would be fun to go up to Hershey. We are not that big on amusement parks, so we just went on the "Chocolate World Tour." Unsurprisingly it was unadultered corporate propaganda. You get on this little car that goes around a circuit, nominally to discover how chocolate is made, but mainly you are shown how totally awesome Hershey supposedly is. There were singing animatronic cows. Their song was a total rip-off of one of the bits from Little Shop of Horrors. Apt, I thought.

It was entertaining taking a road trip like we did when I was a kid. We ate at a good diner outside Hershey (Kreiders), discovered that Hershey was going to be outsourcing its chocolate production to China (hilarious), and drove around Lancaster looking for Amish and not finding them (it's pretty sad when your philosophy becomes a tourist attraction).

That morning, my razr died on me twice. It tends to only do that when I'm using it, so some might suggest it's not that big of a deal. We had to go up 76 to get to Hershey, which goes through King of Prussia, which has a Big Freakin' Mall and an Apple Store. I asked if anyone minded if we stopped there and I ran inside to see if I could get a new phone.

I was in the Apple Store for perhaps five minutes. One of the reps intercepted me, went back and got a 4G iPhone for me, and I was out the door. Didn't even wait in line.

Nine hours later, when I got home, I started the activation process. It took about two and a half hours.

< solios> I think we should start a pool on how long it takes you to bitkata your phone.
<@bda> >:|

So far I am happy enough with it. I am slowly becoming proficient with the keyboard (which is however totally useless when you are in a car; I imagine it would be just as hard to use when walking). rjbs noted yesterday that the key buttons do not change case when you press shift/caps.

Many common features are missing, but that is well-documented elsewhere. No doubt featurelack will be addressed in coming updates.

I've managed to crash the mail app a few times (with OpenBSD security and system check cron mail of all things -- it is all plaintext!). The maps app could be a little better, I think, but overall is pretty nice. It needs a reset button, or a more obvious one if such does exist.

I really wish you could tell Safari to constrain a website to the size of the screen. Lots of pages I would read are text-only. Zooming in to something legible and then having to scroll left and right half a dozen times to read a line is very tedious.

Since it's just a 4G model, it took me over an hour to fill it with music. All my previous iPods have had enough space to house my entire music collection. This, though, I ended up dumping albums and then pruning them from a playlist. It's still a little bloaty, but eh.

I do not think it will be difficult to relegate my iPod to bag residence and keep the iPhone alone in my pocket for music purposes. I just need to get a little smarter about it (maybe start rating and build a smart playlist keyed off rating for n size or something).

Anyway. It is a neat little device.

And yes, I said I wasn't going to get a Rev A. But I seem to say that about a lot of Apple kit I end up getting. Mmf.

8:29 AM | Technology
July 13, 2007

Working on Lathe for the first time in a while, and Sympathy for the Devil comes on. w t f, iTunes.

Led me a great remix/video, though:

12:06 AM | Writing
July 16, 2007
5:40 AM | Linkwhore
July 18, 2007

Oh, Queen's Village Wawa. Why are you closed? From 0000 to 0500 of all times? Did you not know I had not eaten all day and really wanted a breaded chicken sammich and some pickles?

And closed for a technology update? You have all the technology you need to deliver unto my face a delicious sammich full of chickeny bread. You have touchscreen LCDs by which I can order some food, so I don't have to talk to the people who will give me some food. You have lights so I don't trip over the scary people or knock into the coffee island and burn myself. You have an ATM so I can get money at any time to trade for the sammich of chicken.

Alas, you insist on "upgrading" your "technology" across the city, and while you are perhaps doing rolling updates so your users don't experience a total service outage, no other Wawas are as conveniently located to my palace of me.

For your sake, Wawa, you'd better be getting a nanotech replicator installed, a la Lucky Dragon, or I will be sad, sad panda.

2:16 AM | Life
July 19, 2007

My last few Netflix deliveries have been very disappointing. From the ridiculously derivative Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane to the so totally unwatchable I didn't even try to watch it Dead Man, I have not been the happiest monkey with the quality of my past self's film choices.

Thankfully, Northfork is a really, really odd movie. Is is also really good.

The cinematography, costuming, and premise are all excellent. The incredible strangeness of the story and its various sub-plots work really well next to the backdrop of 1950s era dustbowl nowhere.

James Woods is, as always, totally awesome.

Nick Nolte as a priest is... great, actually. More than a little frightening, that.

I kept expecting Darryl Hannah to get naked and strangle someone with her thighs. Twenty years later, I'm really glad she didn't.

Recommended.

12:05 AM | Movies

And Pachabel throws the horns.

Dude definitely wore a pink tux to the prom. No frilly crap, though. Gotta keep those lines streamed.

6:25 AM | Music

Adam O'Donnell and Ralph Logan on yet more DNS hackery to keep the botnet candles lit.

rjbs grumbled a couple weeks ago about how annoying it is the vast majority of software and network problems are simply caused by people being jerks.

Forsooth.

6:32 AM | Linkwhore

Got spam from Dell this morning, about their new lineup of small business laptops and workstations:

No trialware.

Customers said they hated trialware, so we took it away. Vostro systems come without annoying trialware pre-installed. You only get the software you want.

Really? This is an advertisable feature and not a standard?

The amount of useless crap that comes with OS X systems has thankfully been kept to a minimum -- and you can just uncheck any that is there during install.

Poor Windows OEM carriers.

6:40 AM | Systems Administration

From earlier this week.

<@bda> I'm starting to get a headache. Want to go home.
<@bda> Fucking Marathon Migraine on Friday.
<@bda> uuugh.
< vai> I was typing with eyes closed the other day. first migraine ever I think.
< vai> bright blinky lights on my eyelids.
<@bda> vai: "aura"
< vai> is that what they call it?
<@bda> The lights? Yeah.
< vai> and the thing trying to squish bits of my headmeats into a tin can was some psionics nut right?
<@bda> That's just life.

Been getting some real screamers lately. Hope it's just the overly variable weather and not, say, the brainworms.

8:14 AM | irk
July 22, 2007

At First BBQ Of The Summer (pt. 1) yesterday, Nick Kirsch mentioned that Max Barry (Jennifer Government, Company) had written a blog post reviewing books he has not actually read, and why.

I find it somewhat hilarious that I have yet to read Phineas Poe for the exact same reason.

I have an entire bookshelf dedicated to books I have not gotten around to reading, for one reason or another. Some have been on there for years. When it comes to my reading list, seniority obviously does not matter.

Also happy to say that Max Barry is back on my daily reads, even if he gave a positive review to Hammerjack, which was pretty awful.

Not sure how he managed to sneak off my bookmarks.

3:20 PM | Books

Japanese Sewers Photo Gallery

The tunnels are sized so it's easy to move the giant robots around.

Or, you know, so when a xenomorph infestation breaks out, they'll have appropriate environments available.

4:00 PM | Linkwhore