Merry Thanksgiving

November 19th, 2014 · General Detritus

I’m just about in full pissed off mode. The only thing that keeps me from firing randomly into the crowd is this inexpensive organic red wine. Well, that and the fact that I’m tired. And have you seen the price of ammo? If you can even find .40 cal FMJ for plinking, it’s spendy, and never mind jacketed hollow points. Those bad boys are a buck a round if you can even find them.

Anyway, the thing that has my dandruff up is that we just cleared Halloween and everybody is all Jingle Bells and Santa Claus. I haven’t even started thawing a turkey yet.

Ten or fifteen years ago I went into a Sears store in a pretty nice shopping mall. It was mid-September. They had a Christmas tree trimmed. Ever since that day, not one penny has moved from my pocket into any company or business that I knew dealt with Sears. Not. One. Red. Cent. Christmas advertising before Thanksgiving is wrong. Christmas advertising before Halloween is beyond irritating. Christmas advertising before Labor Day is no improvement over the store manager posting photos of his hemorrhoids in the lobby.

And don’t even get me started on the dogdamn mountain of catalogues we already have with green and red and snowflakes and pictures of ribbons and bows, and  fat, white-bearded pedophiles on the covers.

There’s an article over on Reuters that says the FBI claims that Apple’s secure encryption is bad because children. Children. Homicide. If the government can’t have access to your private conversations and data it will result in children being beaten, raped, murdered, deprived of Cap’n Crunch, and forced to learn English.

As soon as I hear, “It’s for the children,” from a federal person of any job description, I field strip a pistol and oil it.

Apple. There isn’t a lot of news.

Last week I was reading something that I thought was just about the dumbest-ass thing I’d ever read, on PC Mag. Out of curiosity I decided to look at the byline. It was John C. Dvorak. In Mr. Dvorak’s parallel dimension, John Sculley was a great Apple CEO. And now, John Sculley is somehow associated with another company that’s going to make a $25 phone. Apple needs to buy this company because John Sculley or something. You can read it if you want. I read it twice, hoping to make sense of it before I read the byline.

When I bought my first Mac, an SE, in 1987, JC Dvorak was writing the back page of MacWorld. I loved him, then, because I thought he was a humorist. I never thought he was serious. Now I realize he’s fooled people into thinking he has something real to say. He makes a living writing shit like that.

It’s sad.

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November 10th, 2014 · General Detritus

As is my new habit, my vacation plans involve Texas. We’re in Texas for the week to visit Jas in her new digs. Unfortunately, the vacation was planned when she lived in San Marcos. Now she lives nearer to Austin. We’ve had to commute some. Learning to drive in Texas is a steep learning curve.

I have learned, so far, that if someone honks the horn at you in Texas it can mean one or more things. This important to know because people honk horns a lot in Texas.

It may mean:

  1. You have cut me off.
  2. You are ahead of me and I would prefer that you were not ahead of me.
  3. You are ahead of me and going slower than I think you should be going.
  4. Hey! Look! I have a horn.
  5. All of the above

I have learned that the posted speed limit on interstate highways is entirely a tongue-in-cheek comment by the state of Texas for the amusement of residents in the form of laughing at tourists.

Case in point: Jas was driving to work one morning and looked in her rearview mirror to see a state policeman close behind her. She was traveling at 78 miles per hour – eight mph above the posted limit – in the far left lane. Fearing that she was about to be pulled over, she moved over one lane. The policeman passed her and waved politely on his way by.

This does not happen in Washington unless Dunkin’ Donuts is having a big sale at the next exit.

There are interstates and there are other roads in Texas. We got off the interstates and drove around on some other ranch roads and farm roads on Friday. I think I got to see some actual Texas. Also, nobody seemed willing to kill us on the back roads. On the interstates, everyone seemed willing, if not eager, to merge their cars with ours.

One thing not about driving. Before arriving, I had never heard of Gruene (pronounced: green), Texas. Now, I’ll recommend it. The oldest continuously operated dance hall in Texas is in Gruene. Pat Benatar played there while we were here. Willy Nelson is going to be there next week. Next time we’re in Texas we’re bringing the kids to Gruene. The Gruene River Grill is excellent, as is the Grist Mill.

Texas drivers are not the worst in the country. Boston still holds that distinction. Texans may be bad drivers, but they’re still nice people. They’ll honk at you, then pull up next to you and ask if you need to leave the turn-only lane. Then they’ll wave you on in front of them. That actually happened to me. I haven’t tested it, but I think they’ll probably honk at you again at the next light.

There’s a new iOS malware thingy out there. It’s called Masque. You can catch it if you have unprotected sex with an Ebola nurse in an unclean mens room in Sierra Leone and then cough or sneeze without covering your mouth, then eat something made with GMOs, brominated vegetable oil, soy milk, and high-fructose corn syrup. In that order. Masque is evil.

Masque makes your children want to wear their pants with their ugly boxer shorts showing. And that’s just the girls. Nobody is even saying what it does to boys.

Masque puts six-month-old take-out Mugu Gai Pan in the back of your refrigerator

Masque makes the thing you just set down right frigging THERE vanish without a trace.

Masque clogs the sink.

Masque turns your tighty-whiteys pink.

Masque makes your yolks break and your toast burn.

If you’re in Sierra Leone, eat lunch first.

Same thing with the new malware that’s attacking OS X 10.10 Yosemite Sam. WireLurker. If you download pirated software while sacrificing a virgin goat to the Prince of Low-Wattage Bulbs, you’ll get a WireLurker thingamabob trojan whatchamacallit on your computer. That would be bad. Don’t. Sorry for getting so technical.

As long as I’m in Texas…



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Profiles in Courage

October 30th, 2014 · General Detritus

Tim Cook announced, today, that he’s gay. Several people have applauded his courage.


We’ve had a mediocre football player kiss his boyfriend on national TV to celebrate being selected in the NFL draft. We have openly gay talk show hosts, senators, congressmen, governors, and mayors. The performing arts are awash in openly gay performers. I personally know and am friends with several people who are openly gay.

What the hell is so courageous about coming out in today’s culture? Courage is joining the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps. Courage is putting on a badge and a gun. Courage is running into a burning building to save the lives inside. Courage is putting sliced jalapeños on your peanut butter and cheddar cheese sandwich.

The public announcement of sexual preferences may be uncomfortable, but next to the mountain range of bravery it’s a low foothill. Now, if he moved to Iran, and then publicly announced it, that would be brave. Dumb, but brave.

I still think Tim Cook is an awesome CEO who’s making me money and providing me with cool toys. What he does in his free time has no effect on my life.


I didn’t want to know, and now that I do know I don’t care. Moving right along.

I have heard from DC and Baxtrice that they think iOS7 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite Sam suck.

I respectfully disagree. The interface looks different, but it still does all the same stuff. Some of it has a learning curve to it. I’m thinking some of it had to change a little to accommodate some of the newer stuff like Continuity and Handoff and the Stockmarket Trend algorithm that guarantees 20%/year returns. You just can’t squeeze all that into an OS without making some adjustments along the way.

The Aqua interface has been dying a slow death for quite a while, and it’s finally gone completely. I never really wanted to lick my computer, anyway, but that temptation has been almost completely done away with in the new, flatter interface. Photos of Megan Fox in a bikini or Chrissie Hynde performing Brass in Pocket are rare exceptions, but they don’t have much to do with the function of the OS.

CurrentC is all over the internet. It’s a big threat to  Pay. Lots of big retailers are going to turn off their NFC doohickeys to block  Pay because they have their own system, CurrentC. They have all sworn to the Holy Committee that they will only worship at the shrine of CurrentC.

CurrentC is going to be the first  Something killer. We’ve had iPod killers (remember the Zune?), iPhone killers, iPad killers. But now Apple is ditching the “i” in favor of “.” Why? Well that’s easy. There’s an “i” in front of so much stuff these days that it no longer means a dogdamn thing – not that it ever did.

The CurrentC Cartel has a lot of big companies. Walmart, CVS, Rite-Aid, and a bunch of other big retail companies. They’ve all signed in blood that they will not accept other e-payment schemes like Google Wallet, and  Pay. I just read that one member of the cartel, Meijer grocery stores, is going to accept  Pay. The Cartel has said there won’t be any penalty against them for that. This bears watching. If  Pay users start to leave these retailers in large numbers, and there’s no penalty for defecting, I suspect CurrentC to be to  killing what the Zune was to the demise of “i,” an early, expensive, humorous flop.

The most important aspect of CurrentC that makes it an  Pay killer is the most obvious one: it doesn’t exist. It’s supposed to appear in 2015. So,  Pay has at least a three month head start, and early reports say it already works pretty well.

Another fatal flaw is that it’s being designed by a committee, and the committee is composed of people from companies who compete with each other. Each member has only the profit of one company as a motivator. I’ve been to committee meetings of people who all shared, at least officially, the same goals for the same company. The very best ones do no measurable harm.

I suspect the motto of the CurrentC committee is something like, “We’re all pulling the same oar.”

I’ll bet my whole collection of silk neckties CurrentC isn’t even in the news this time next year.


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The Comparison

October 25th, 2014 · General Detritus

Apple’s stock price went up again. The punditbots are saying some incredibly stupid things.

I don’t, as a general rule, link articles on the innertubes because I don’t like to contribute to things I find stupid. However, this is so incredibly inane that it’s funny. I just have to.

There’s a table in the middle of the typing that shows comparisons in processor speed between various tablets, including the Surface Pro 3 and the iPad Air 2. The iPad Air 2 scores 4547 something, and the Surface Pro 3 scores 5665 of those things, whatever they are. There are no units, just numbers and horizontal bars. 5665 of whatever the things are is better according to the typist.

Then, after the table clearly shows that one number is bigger than another number by making the iPad’s bar fire engine red, the typist goes on to explain how the iPad is playing catch up to the Surface. The typist goes on to say that the Surface Pro’s lead can also be seen in the fact that the NFL is using them. Never mind that the NFL is being paid an enormous sum of money to use them, and the sportscasters call them iPads on national TV because nobody says “tablet,” except in advertisements for tablets that are not iPads, or in articles comparing the iPad to “other” tablets.

The Surface Pro, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Sony Xperia, the Nvidia Shield all get filed under “other.” Their main feature is that they are not iPads, and this is important to those to whom “not made by Apple” is an important feature.

The typist has his picture below the article.

I point out that the comparison table has no units because unitless numbers are meaningless. It’s very important to include units.

Doctor: I’m afraid your condition is terminal

Patient: How long do I have?

Doctor: About 10.

Patient: 10 what?

Doctor: …9…8…7…

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I’m Late. So Sue Me.

October 22nd, 2014 · General Detritus

So anyway, Apple had an event last week. They introduced a 27″ 5k iMac. Once upon a time a 25″ NTSC Television was the centerpiece of the well-appointed American living room. I grew up in that era. My dear old Dad was a TV Repairman in those days.

I’m here to promise you that you could not stand to watch a football game on the best picture available in 1975. You certainly couldn’t watch it from across the room. Not after getting used to the HDTVs we currently watch.

Right now, 1080P is HD; 4k is way better than 1080P. Apple just introduced a 5K monitor than can probably (based on it’s 27″ diagonal measurement) be viewed comfortably from across a room. This is happening at the same time as some “traditionally” cable and broadcast content like CBS and HBO are moving to the innertubes with streaming content.


Apple branded TV? How about Apple making traditional television obsolete?

What are those great big data centers for? Nobody ever answered that to my satisfaction. It seems like they’d be really good to have if you were going to start massively distributing content, even beyond what iTunes does already.

Apple announced record earnings for 4Q14. The stock price went up.

I sense a great disturbance in the force. It’s as though thousands of anti-Apple punditbots suddenly cried out and then were silenced. I fear something awesome has happened.

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Trip the Light Fandango

October 15th, 2014 · General Detritus

So. There’s an Apple event tomorrow. Rumor has it that there will be some mention of iPads.

I still have a first edition iPad. I bought it right after Jas brought hers over on a visit from college. I still want a new one. I’ll get there one of these days.

Anyway, the big event is tomorrow. The slogan is, “It’s been way too long.” I don’t know what’s been way too long about announcing an update to the iPad. Seriously. WTF?

I’ve tried and tried to come up with something that’s been way too long. Nothing useful springs to mind.

  • It’s been way too long since the weekend.
  • It’s been way too long since somebody else was paying the bills and buying the groceries.
  • It’s been way too long since Ronald Reagan was president.
  • It’s been way too long since there was a TV series worth watching (M*A*S*H).
  • It’s been way too long since there was a really great movie (The Outlaw Josey Wales).
  • It’s been way too long since I started this idiotic list.

Possible Apple is going to introduce something really, really new. I’ve seen the notion of an Apple branded television set bounced around.

Maybe Apple is going to get back into the printer business. That would be cool. An Apple branded printer probably wouldn’t piss me off as much as the other brands I’ve used. And I’ve used them all. Brother, Epson, Canon, H-P, you name it. Every one of them could suck a baseball inside out.

You probably heard about all the stuff going on with GTAT, the company that was supposed to make sapphire stuff for Apple. They’re going bankrupt. It’s all Apple’s fault. The contract is onerous and burdensome or something like that. It seems GTAT signed a contract saying they would make stuff, and now they can’t make the stuff, and Apple still expects them to make the stuff before they’ll pay them. Bastards.

That’s like going to the store for a loaf of bread to find that the store doesn’t have any bread, and can’t make enough to meet your needs anyway. The store files bankruptcy and blames you for not paying for bread. You asshole.

Of course, the store owners sell a bunch of the store’s stock after the share price goes up based on your agreement to buy a shit-ton of bread.

And then you don’t pay for the bread they can’t make and destroy their business. You bastard.

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