It’s been too long. There’s stuff in my link pile that I’m pretty sure is good,
but I can’t quite remember what it was about. Well, feh. Here’s some stuff I
discovered just yesterday:
James Lileks closed his web site a
while back due to bandwidth issues, but it’s mostly returned since the last
time I visited, which is great. Lileks.com is full of great stuff, and it’s
one of the deepest humor sites I’ve visited. I don’t mean deep in the sense
of profound, either, but just in sheer scale. You can easily dive through
five or six layers of hierarchy in places.
I discovered this after I was directed to this
super-sarcastic swipe at a
attempt to read the soul of America or something. I haven’t actually read
the original piece, but the segments Mr Lileks quotes are… I’m not sure how
to describe them. The author, Matthew Engels, seems to be complaining about how
Americans don’t understand the rest of the world, but in doing so reveals that he’s
just as ignorant of the non-European world.
Anyway, read it (the screed, that is; not the original). It’s fun.
I found that piece through a
link from Dr Frank, whose
weblog I was browsing because of an earlier
reference by Ken Layne, whose discussion of the
Grammys was mentioned by Doc Searls.
Got that? Good.
Speaking of the Grammys, I understand that the soundtrack to O Brother,
Where Art Thou? got five awards, despite virtually no airplay. I loved
that movie, and I thought the music was great, and I’m happy they won, but
I’m surprised that they did win. I mean, this is an eclectic bunch of
acoustic traditional music stuff that even the country radio stations won’t play.
(It did well at the country music awards as well, I’m told.) What does it mean?
I can’t imagine we’re in for a big bluegrass revival, although it could be a
(I wonder if the popularity of Moby’s Play is related?)
On the subject of music, Mr Layne looks at the
industry’s fights against customers and artists in a piece with
so many links it’s almost distracting. (Almost.)
Dr Frank responds first with praise
(“I urge everyone who hasn't already done so to read it and follow all the links
as you go.”) and then with skepticism (“As for whether [the collapse of the recording
industry] will ultimately benefit ‘fans,’ I have my doubts about that too.”).
The problem, as always, is that music (and movies and books) don’t simply
appear. Someone has to create it, and that someone is a lot more likely to be
a talented person who can put a lot of time into it if there’s money involved.
Here we hit the problem. The industry is trying to overcharge the fans
and underpay the artists. The fans are sick of this and have learned how to
get music without paying anyone. At some point, it won’t be worth it for the
artists to keep creating—which screws everyone. It’s bad news all around, and it’s
not clear what can be done about it.
(At least people are starting to
fight unnecessary extensions of copyright.
There! I got something off the slushpile!)
It’s great when it works
Just after midnight on the morning of February 7, I ordered a new computer.
A PowerBook G4, the widescreen ones with the titanium cases. I got the high-end
model, since I tend to keep computers around for quite a while and because the
whole package still came to less than what I paid for on my current desktop
machine and monitor.
It arrived the following Monday, February 11, and I quickly started playing
around with it. It was my first experience both with the model (the “TiBook”
as some call it, making a clever reference to the Titanium in its case and its
less powerful sibling, the iBook) and with Mac OS X. Getting used to
the touchpad took some effort, and made the new operating system seem less
familiar than it probably deserved, but I persevered and generally poked around.
The problem, as I saw it, was that all my files and software and stuff are on
my old computer, and I didn’t have any way to transfer them to the new one.
Supposedly, the ethernet port on the TiBook can sense when it’s hooked up to another
computer instead of an ethernet hub, so that crossover cables are unnecessary, but
I couldn’t get that to work.
It turned out to be a moot point, since that Friday, February 15, the screen
stopped working. I left it alone for a little while, in case it magically started
working again, and then called Apple.
On Tuesday, February 19, the box they sent me arrived. (It would have been Monday,
except that was a holiday.) I packed up the TiBook, called the delivery service,
and sent it on its way.
That’s the last I’ve seen of it. According to Apple’s customer support web site,
they looked it over on Friday, February 22, and put it aside to wait for a part
to come in. Nothing since then.
It’s frustrating. I try to keep perspective by remembering the things that went
wrong with my current machine (unbalanced fan that made it sound and vibrate like
a lawn mower, a power supply that mysteriously died one day) but the fact is that
I want the new machine. More than that, I want the new operating system. For some
reason, I’ve been getting a lot of web browser crashes lately, and every time I see
one I think, “If this were the PowerBook, I could just restart the browser and
continue instead of having to wait for the whole system to reboot.”
Also, I picked up an iPod along with the TiBook, but there’s no way to get
additional music onto it or even recharge the battery without the TiBook which
is an incredible frustration, since the iPod is so convenient it puts my
portable CD player to shame.
I’m patient. At this point, the computer’s been in the shop for the majority
of the time since I bought it. It works well, when it works.
More of the bizarre
I mentioned the religious
implications of The Simpsons before, but here’s a recent
blurb in the Guardian about how Our Favorite Family has been
embraced by church leaders.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like there aren’t religious themes in
The Simpsons nor good moral messages with subtle presentation
(more so in the earlier seasons). It just still strikes me as a bizarre
juxtaposition. (Remember: “bizarre” ≠ “bad”.)