Thursday, March 31, 2011

David Foster Wallace's Posthumous Novel 'The Pale King' - TIME:

Wallace's papers for The Pale King form a remarkable record of an idiosyncratic mind at work. He began by taking notes in, apparently, whatever notebook was within arm's reach; one of them has a Rugrats character on the cover. He switched pens practically every paragraph. The notebooks contain scattered words, character names and observations, as well as what appear to be personal admonitions. (One note reads: "If I wanted to, the solution is to get up early and go to the library.") They're chewed over and bent and practically charred by the intellectual energy Wallace expended in them.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

BrightestYoungThings: PLAY DC: "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" @ Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company:

With The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, monologist Mike Daisey tackles Apple fanboyism and the untold sacrifice it requires. Daisey, a commanding performer, does this not as an outsider who turns his nose up to those who rush for the latest technology. As someone whose love for Apple wanders into obsession, he’s knee-deep in the company’s latest combination of computing power and intuitive industrial design. His tone changes constantly yet never falters; broad humor and unsettling insight almost occupy the same breath. By its end, Daisey announces how he’s changed the audience’s outlook and I doubt anyone would disagree with his power.

Jokes (and the Marginalized) «

Think Spalding Gray meets Louis Black. Laugh out loud, large-scale and shameless, but also an intricate non-fiction piece on the ethical (or rather, unethical) activities of Apple and other tech companies.

It reminded me of why I went into writing, and why I wrote my first dramatic nonfiction piece (on protest, about 10 years ago). I wanted to “get my hands in it,” as Daisey puts it. It is a beautiful experience, and certainly can be a funny one, too.
I remember when I was writing on coal ash, I met a guy who was dying of cancer and kidney failure. He led me around his house showing me where ash was deposited, all the while joking about “doing it” in the bedroom and how long it had been since a pretty girl had been in there. His wife, who was about two feet away and who also had just survived cancer, laughed and made sure I knew if I tried anything he’d die of heart attack, and that I didn’t want to be responsible for that.

Mark Chamberlin: World Class Theatre Artist - Just Wrought:

Just recently Mark read something of mine which was part of a quarterly public evening of prose pieces written for performance. A week or so ago I was asked to submit another piece for the next quarter’s offering. I began crafting it with Mark’s voice in mind. This is just a habit I have. I start to shape words for a particular actor’s mouth whether or not I know they will be ultimately speaking them. It helps me hear the music. I have worked on the piece since learning of Mark’s death, and I am still, sadly, writing it with him in mind.

And that brings me to what actors like Mark Chamberlin do for theatre. Beyond making plays possible by being in them, great actors make new plays conceivable by being the living suction that draws the words and stories out of the playwrights who know their talent. Mark was one of my many muses who live, and yes, die in this city. This is my selfish understanding of Mark’s inestimable loss. Muses are hard to come by. And while I have many here in Seattle, the loss of one so generous and so fine leaves me shaken and humbled and, also, strangely somehow more determined to carry on. After all, I believe that is what Mark would do.

Domonique - Sits M Style on a Speakerless Stereo in Ripped Tights Behind an O Shaped Chocolate Cake In Front of Rusty Scissors Hanging on a Chain Link Fence & a Fox Coming in for a Look
I Have Gazed Into the Depths of Zack Snyder's Soul | Slog:

The dialogue is all terrible—Phantom Menace-terrible. But the worst part of Sucker Punch, and, really, all you need to know, is that it thinks it's being deep. Snyder believes he's unpacking misogyny by being misogynist. He thinks he's making the next Fight Club when he's really just rebooting a lame Muppet Babies episode. And he packs the soundtrack with atrocious covers of great songs, without even realizing that that is the truest part of the whole Sucker Punch experience; it's a bad cover of a bad cover of a bad cover of a bad cover, to the point where the original text is reduced to meaninglessness.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Prodding the Masses: Mike Daisey at Woolly Mammoth | The Georgetowner:

Beware of what he says. I don’t mean to suggest that Daisey is not truthful, because he is painfully so. It’s just that most things he does, says, writes about and performs about on stage are so layered and crosswired as to defy any sort of coherent and sane description. The ability to connect and pull together, not always in a perfect fit, is a special gift of Daisey’s.

On stage—and I’ve only had the discomfiting pleasure once—he roils you up and carries you along with him like a runaway horse. He gets in your face and reconstructs your thinking a little. He makes you think, and it feels sometimes like he’s writing a novel right in front of you.

From the ruins, lonely and inexplicable as the sphinx, rose the Empire State Building and, just as it had been a tradition of mine to climb to the Plaza Roof to take leave of the beautiful city, extending as far as eyes could reach, so now I went to the roof of the last and most magnificent of towers. Then I understood—everything was explained: I had discovered the crowning error of the city, its Pandora’s box. Full of vaunting pride the New Yorker had climbed here and seen with dismay what he had never suspected, that the city was not the endless succession of canyons that he had supposed but that it had limits—from the tallest structure he saw for the first time that it faded out into the country on all sides, into an expanse of green and blue that alone was limitless. And with the awful realization that New York was a city after all and not a universe, the whole shining edifice that he had reared in his imagination came crashing to the ground.

-F. Scott Fitzgerald
Mike Daisey takes on Apple and Steve Jobs — DC Theatre Scene:

Instead of trudging through the ranks of various theater companies, it seems like you’ve very much created your own space for yourself as a performer. Do you have any advice for other prospective monologists or otherwise ambitious performers?

I do! My largest piece of advice is to cheat. It’s very important to cheat. People are prone to not cheating, but they need to cheat. The system of the theater as it’s designed is to prevent people from rising, because there are more people, more artists, more actors, more people who want to work in the theater than there is capacity. So the theater is actually dedicated to getting rid of as many people as possible. The dominant paradigm is actually to get rid of people.

So if you follow all the rules – if you go to the right grad schools, if you do everything exactly by the letter – you’ll probably fail, because the system is built to get rid of 99.999 percent of the people… Everyone I know who’s been successful in the theater is so because they cheated in some way or another. They discovered what advantages they had that no other people could emulate, and they worked to exploit those things. They used the talent they naturally have, but they also found edges and angles other people couldn’t exploit or emulate to game the system.

I really think that people who want to be successful in the arts have to carve a space out for themselves. The only way to do that is to follow unconventional wisdom. If people truly want to be successful, they have to learn how everyone is supposed to do things, and then figure out how they’ll subvert it.
More of the 'Kill Team' War-Crimes Photos:

Cpl. Morlock, who pleaded guilty last week and will testify against other "kill team" members, posing with an Afghan child. "At one point," the Rolling Stone caption reads, "soldiers in 3rd Platoon talked about throwing candy out of a Stryker vehicle as they drove through a village and shooting the children who came running to pick up the sweets."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Two Infuriating Things About Youth Prisons | Slog:

Running prisons for private profit has to be one of the most immoral things our country does in our already wildly immoral justice system. It's sick on it's face, and indefensible.

If you have a little more time for outrage this weekend, check out this week's episode of This American Life, in which Ira Glass reports on the drug court in Glynn County Georgia, a program designed to provide a treatment-based alternative to hard time for drug addicts who commit crimes, but instead is run by Superior Court Judge Amanda Williams in a mind-bogglingly punitive way. The story follows Lindsey Dills, a kid who forges two checks on her parents' checking account at 17, one for $40 and one for $60, and ends up in drug court for five and a half years, including 14 months in prison and some of that time in solitary confinement.

Another girl is sent away for possessing 2 prescription pills, which belonged to her mother. Kafka would be proud.

'Black Swan' double claims Natalie Portman only did '5 percent' of full-body dance shots in the movie | Inside Movies |

Lane disagrees. “The shots that are just her face with arms, those shots are definitely Natalie,” she says. “But that doesn’t show the actual dancing.” Lane admits that she was never promised a particular title for her six weeks of work on the film, though she was disappointed to see that she is credited only as as “Hand Model,” “Stunt Double,” and “Lady in the Lane” (a brief walk-on role).

Lane also says that Black Swan producer Ari Handel specifically told her not to talk about her work to the press, even though she claims there was no such stipulation in her contract. “They wanted to create this idea in people’s minds that Natalie was some kind of prodigy or so gifted in dance and really worked so hard to make herself a ballerina in a year and a half for the movie, basically because of the Oscar,” says Lane. “It is demeaning to the profession and not just to me. I’ve been doing this for 22 years…. Can you become a concert pianist in a year and a half, even if you’re a movie star?”

Friday, March 25, 2011

Harsh reality behind Apple scandal | China Watch:

While fans eagerly await the release date for iPad 2, which Apple Inc is keeping secret, a Chinese worker in a plant that produces Apple components has his own secret.

For 13 months, Hu Jie has painfully kept from his wife and daughter the fact that he's one of 137 employees harmed by exposure to a toxic chemical at an Apple supplier factory in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.

Employees of United Win Technology suffered muscular atrophy and damage to their nervous system after using a chemical, n-hexane, to clean touch panels from August 2008 to July 2009. The company is owned by Taiwan-based Wintek Corp, which produces iPhone components for Apple.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Facebook Starts Targeting Ads in Real-Time:

Here's how it works, according Ad Age: "Any utterance will become fodder for real-time targeted ads. For example: Users who update their status with 'Mmm, I could go for some pizza tonight,' could get an ad or a coupon from Domino's, Papa John's or Pizza Hut."

Awesome! And if a user types "Man, I am super depressed by the encroachment of commerce into my most personal interactions," an ad for Xanax could pop up. If you type, "Whoa, why the hell is everything I say being targeted instantly with an ad," an ad for the self-help book "Dealing with Targeted Advertising" pops up. And if you type "Seriously, STOP IT... I'm so afraid," an ad for a remote country farm pops up, where you can go and live in obscurity for the rest of your days, un-targeted by advertising but completely friendless.

The Anti DC: stuff on stage: Mike Daisey's The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs:

But seriously, this man was good. For a woman who still often thinks the phrase "killer app" simply means "I'm hungry," the fact that I didn't just enjoy The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, but vociferously loved it, says something about Mike Daisey's skill. Part humorist, part journalist and part storyteller extraordinaire, Daisey's performance hooked me from the beginning like a DC elementary school kid on crack.

I mean, this man made me care about technology. He made me care about why I use it, how I use it, how I'd feel if I didn't have it, how I feel because I do have it. This man made me care about how I feel about technology that doesn't even exist yet, technology that I don't even know I'll need (or at least feel like I need). Most importantly, he made me feel something about how it's made. (Surprise! It's all handmade by 12-year-old kids and not machines in Shenzhen, China.)

And while Daisey ended on a note of activism, handing out single sheets of paper containing Steve Jobs's email address among other things, his monologue never came across as naive. Clearly, he doesn't expect us to boycott Apple or any other technology firm (all of which, by the way, manufacture most of their products in the same way as Apple with kids in Shenzhen), but he does expect you now to think about this part of your life and become a more aware consumer human being.

Maine's Governor Removes Huge Labor Mural:

The new Tea Party governor of Maine, Paul LePage, is apparently so offended by a "36-foot mural depicting the state's labor history" in the state's Department of Labor that he's ordered its removal, according to the local station WMTW.

Also, those conference rooms named after people like Cesar Chavez, who has a state holiday dedicated to him in certain parts of the country? Those have to go, too: "In addition, the LePage administration is renaming several department conference rooms that carry the names of pro-labor icons such as Cesar Chavez." Too worker-y!

Of course the problem here isn't that the mural and conference rooms upset the delicate aesthetic sensibilities of the average Maine citizen. It's that some businesspeople started whining, which always requires immediate action: "LePage spokesman Dan Demeritt says the mural and the conference room names are not in keeping with the department's pro-business goals and some business owners complained."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs at the Woolly Mammoth | NDN:

I went last night to see a preview of "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," which will run at the Woolly Mammoth theater in Washington through mid-April. When you open the program, you're warned on the first page that "This is a work of nonfiction." More than that, this one-man, two-hour story is a storm of first-hand investigative journlism, popular history, social activism, comedy and drama.
Craig Federighi Succeeding Bertrand Serlet as Apple's SVP of Mac Software - Mac Rumors:

Apple today announced that Bertrand Serlet, senior vice president of Mac Software Engineering, will be departing the company in order to "focus less on products and more on science", although his specific destination remains unknown. Serlet joined Steve Jobs at NeXT in 1989, and transitioned to Apple in 1997 when NeXT was acquired and Jobs brought back to lead Apple.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Supply is Not Going to Decrease (So It’s Time to Think About Curating) « Art Works:

I take the view that, whatever the merits might be of reducing supply, there is virtually nothing anyone—funders included—can do to actually make it happen. For one thing, conversation about supply and demand breaks down a bit when the suppliers have an intrinsic motivation to be in the marketplace. Classical economic models assume that suppliers don’t have any particular emotional attachment what they’re supplying—all they really want to do is to make money. As a result, if they’re not making money, they’ll exit the industry, leaving more to go around for everyone else. As we see from Kirk Lynn’s contribution to the discussion, however, many artists (especially artist-entrepreneurs) have far too much passion for their work to consider exiting solely for financial reasons. The result of this lack of exit is a surfeit of fantastic art that few aside from its creators have time to take in.
Loleatta Holloway dies after a brief illness:

Monday evening following a brief illness. She was 64 years old.

Holloway’s death was confirmed Monday by her manager, Ron Richardson.

The lady with the big voice got her start as a gospel singer, recording with Albertina Walker and the Caravans. In the early 1970s, she signed a recording contract with the Aware Recrods. Holloway recorded two albums for the label, both of them produced by Floyd Smith—Loleatta (1973) and Cry to Me (1975). Holloway later married Smith. Her first single from the second album, the ballad Cry to Me (video below) rose to No. 10 Billboard R&B and No. 68 on the Hot 100, but before the label could really establish Holloway, it went out of business.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bugwalk: No Returns, No Exchanges:

The next day, Steve and I went to visit Ann and Mac; Tom had gone skiing. Ann let me play her piano a little, which was a treat, and then she drove me and Mac to Berkeley for lunch at the Bistro Liaison and then they treated me to Mike Daisey’s show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs at the Berkeley Rep. I was under the vague impression that this might be a comedy in which Mike Daisey plays Steve Jobs, and, since I don’t believe in getting a program (in order to maximize any surprises there may happen to be), it took me a while to figure out that this fellow, Mike Daisey, had personally schlepped to China, done an investigation on labor practices there, including some undercover work, crafted a two-hour (no intermission) monologue about it, and was at that very moment performing the same with tremendous skill: a true triple threat. I left the theater in tears, vowing to buy no electronic device that I don’t truly need, though there is no such thing as living a life that does not include increasing the misery of a thirteen-year-old Chinese girl. It cannot be done.
Daring Fireball: A Rule of Thumb: Pricing Should Be Simple:

I don’t know that a simpler, lower-priced digital subscription plan would work for The Times, but I feel strongly that it would be more likely to work than what they’ve announced. I have a bad feeling about this.
Hacking Humanity by Paul Constant - Books - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:

For a little over a decade now, we have crowded into bookstores and swarmed around stacks of attractive hard cover books so that we could witness Conventional Wisdom Being Turned on Its Head before our eyes. In the process, we have turned a very small selection of titles into best sellers, which has in turn transformed a smaller-still group of authors—Malcolm Gladwell, those Freakonomics douches—into a league of rarefied gurus who specialize in some sort of amorphous, flabby social science. Their work is couched in the language of science and discovery, but really it consists of a string of generalizations padded with statistics. These generalizations often confound our first impressions (which Gladwell puckishly announced were almost always correct in his magazine-article-pumped-into-a-flimsy-manifesto Blink) and so leave us slack-jawed at their contrarian wisdom for a moment or two. Then we set the book down and promptly forget everything about it except for that brief moment of wonder we felt when Conventional Wisdom Was Shot Dead, and so the legend of the book grows.

Apple. Cash. In. Hand. US$26,900,000,000.00 26.9 b i l l i o n s.


It *is* time for Apple to lay off the people who have gotten them to where they are.

They *can* afford to avoid making their supporters' lives a misery, again, of adaptors, of work-rounds, of finding information on what to do & how. Just to do some work.

I started the tax records legalities discussion. Then I said that Ubuntu looks better every time I fire it up ('or words to that effect'.)
Put bluntly, after 26 years of supporting Apple (users), when they, Apple, didn't do much, I am coming to realise that I have been used, in a fashion that I am now finding uncomfortable to accept. I will not mention all my financial outgoings in support. They were my decisions at the time.

It was a great marriage, with some wonderful moments, but as with so many relationships these days, if backwards support is eliminated one more time, I'm out the door.

The Playgoer: Protesting Arts Cuts with...Art!:

But imagine here? Who will write the first play about the life of an average Wisconsin schoolteacher?

What I might commission is a series of short plays, each dramatizing somewhere federal funds still will go: oil company subsidies, "abstinence-only" classes, ethanol farms, etc. Expose the "budget austerity" hypocrisy and show the power of lobbying.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Text of Theresa Rebeck Laura Pels Keynote Address:

Last night I saw someone do something very brave. My friend, Theresa Rebeck, a very successful playwright, TV writer and novelist, got up in front of a group of theatre people and talked about gender. She talked about how her career has been hampered because she is a woman. She talked about how she became toxic after a bad NY Times review. She talked about the abysmal number of plays produced by women. She talked about the missing women’s plays.

She challenged the theatre community to acknowledge that it has a gender problem and to do something about it.

In the Glow

Friday, March 18, 2011



I totally believe you are entitled to your opinion.

I do wish that your comments made clear that what you saw last July was a singular night, and was in fact the very first time any of this story has ever been told. No pre-writing, no scripting, nothing. All live.

The fact that the story had never been told before, in any form, and was being born that night is why the show ran the length it did, and accounts for a degree of slackness and its need for cohesion and editing. This fact was disclosed clearly to all who came in all the materials, and was in fact reiterated by the director in no uncertain terms before it began.

There is a reason works-in-progress are not usually subject to review in the theater--it's actually where delicate work is happening, especially when the writing is live as well. So it is disappointing to see how callously you equate what you saw one night in July with the work that I've dedicated eight months to since then.

I invited you in to my roughest rough draft, and you shit in my living room. And you know what? Be my guest.

I am a huge partisan for our bright new online world.

The fact that you managed to walk down to the theater and stumble inside gives you the unalienable right to talk shit about it, even though what you saw isn’t the completed work, even though you were told this repeatedly and clearly. It even gives you the right to post it as a review, rating it on this site as though it is a fucking commodity that can be bought or sold, and that is the way it is.

But by that same token, it allows me to write you directly and let you know just what a shit you’ve been. Not that you know you are a shit—you don’t think about it on your way to review the next boutique hamburger sauna or new tapas-and-yogurt joint. There are so many things to rate in the world, after all, and you've reviewed 267 things on Yelp so far.

Perusing your reviews, I wanted to see what gets good reviews from you. Who is Steve "Batman" L?

I see you were much more impressed with this well-known establishment:

Check out Steve "Batman" L! High roller at the Cantilly, VA Hooters!

You roll deep for the Hooters --you go to multiple locations, you know which ones have the best food, you compare and contrast the women like meat--this is clearly where your critical facilities lie. This is your metier, the song that speaks to your heart. Maybe if we met at a Hooters and I tipped the waitresses enough someone would surreptitiously touch you in the back in a special place and you wouldn't need to review so many Hooters restaurants.

Then there was this strikingly low review:


Oh Steve "Batman"L, you are hilarious! I remember so many beer pong playing guys in college who loved Hooters--they are, in fact, my core demographic! It is so surprising that my work didn't speak more deeply to you!

There is so much more--the review of the doctor who got a low score from you because of your denial that your cat is giving you allergies, the night club reviews that boast about the "great chick to guy ratio" and "awesome hotties" filed a few brief months before you wrote reviews about your honeymoon suite after your wedding, the fact that all your socializing revolves around Yelp events...I think I love you. You are like a gift that keeps on giving.

But no matter how much you make me love you now, you were a shit.

Because clearly this wasn’t open to review. And you did, because why not? Why would an audience member have any responsibility in the relationship we forge in the space? With so much of our world commoditized, we start to believe this is a master and slave relationship.

And it's not like there would ever be any consequences, right?

As a rule I don’t write letters like this to reviewers, no matter what, not ever. But I don’t often have my rehearsals audited and used to publicly judge my work, so I thought I’d be crass and base and do a bad thing.

But I do know how to hold myself accountable in our digital landscape, and ensure I don’t get too addicted to writing trolls like you. I’m posting your review, and this response, to my site to ensure it gets the readership it deserves.

I am a huge partisan for our bright new online world.

But I do not have to roll over for you fuckers.



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Big Idea: The internet as a distraction machine – What's Next - Blogs:

There was no consensus on whether or the not the internet is making our lives worse, but there was a general sense in the overflowing room that people who use the internet constantly need to unplug once in a while – out of respect for each other if nothing else.

“When people are out and they’re amongst other people they need to just put everything down,” said Anthony De Rosa, who works for Reuters and runs a popular blog called SoupSoup on Tumblr. “It’s fine when you’re at home or at work when you’re distracted by things, but we need to give that respect to each other back.”

Carr wondered aloud whether SXSW has turned into a conference of people who are in close proximity but who never speak because they’re too busy tapping on their phones.

We’re “alone together,” he said.

This isn't what I said. I spoke instead about why more theater should be about living issues in the world now, concerning the things that matter and are affecting our lives in this moment.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Eliminating support for software not written for Intel hardware? Eliminating Rosetta? I can't believe Apple is doing this. I guess this is what happens to a company when they go through hard times like they did back in the late 90's (almost being bought out by someone else) to a point of where they become the stars of the show. It all eventually goes to your head. Call it ego or whatever you wish. It's not about making insanely great products anymore, it's sheer laziness and the $$ factor of less development costs and resources needed to continue to support older hardware and software.

Apple is forcing upgrades down people's throats these days and I'm telling you, this is going to seriously backfire on them once their financial results begin souring a little more every quarter just as they did when Gil Amelio was at the helm. Perhaps this is what is needed so that Apple can start to humble themselves a little bit. These are very tough economic times. Real tough. I see a lot of people literally living off their VISA cards in order to survive.

After reading all this, there's no way in the world we will move to 10.7 until we have absolutely no choice. Our family has spent thousands on Apple equipment over the last 5 years and now, after reading this on MacInTouch, we're going to have to go out and spend thousands once again? I'm not impressed at all with Apple's "too big for their britches" attitude as of late. I expressed my opinion to Apple using the feedback link MacInTouch was kind enough to provide. I doubt that it will make any difference, though.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Obama's new executive order on Guantanamo - Glenn Greenwald -

It is true that Congress -- with the overwhelming support of both parties -- has enacted several measures making it much more difficult, indeed impossible, to transfer Guantanamo detainees into the U.S. But long before that ever happened, Obama made clear that he wanted to continue the twin defining pillars of the Bush detention regime: namely, (1) indefinite, charge-free detention and (2) military commissions (for those lucky enough to be charged with something). Obama never had a plan for "closing Guantanamo" in any meaningful sense; the most he sought to do was to move it a few thousand miles north to Illinois, where its defining injustices would endure.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Rolling Stone Interview: Stanley Kubrick in 1987 | Rolling Stone Culture:

He didn't bustle into the room, and he didn't wander in. Truth, as he would reiterate several times, is multi-faceted, and it would be fair to say that Stanley Kubrick entered the executive suite at Pinewood Studios, outside London, in a multifaceted manner. He was at once happy to have found the place after a twenty-minute search, apologetic about being late and apprehensive about the torture he might be about to endure. Stanley Kubrick, I had been told, hates interviews.

Lauren Weinstein's Blog: New Facebook Feature Empowers the Dangerous "Comment Nazis":

Greetings. Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg has been quoted as saying:

"You have one identity. The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly … Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity."

This statement, particularly the latter portion, could only have been made by someone supremely self-confident -- and so young that they haven't accumulated much "life baggage" as of yet.

In fact, it is an extremely alarming statement, one that would have gladdened the hearts of despots and government spooks all through human history. Coming from the man child who controls the Facebook empire, such a quote should trigger alarm bells of concern for every person, everywhere, who cares about free speech and civil liberties.

Monday, March 07, 2011


Quoting Topolsky:

"The company is forcing consumers to ask if they even still want or need something called a PC (while of course making sure to point out that the competition is playing the same old game). And really, that's all part of the plan. Apple is in the process of making the iPad the de-facto standard for what the next stage of computing looks like, from the look and feel to the kind of software and experiences you have on the device. Apple doesn't just want to own the market -- it wants to own the idea of the market. We've seen this act before, and we know how it ends."

If this is indeed Apple's strategy, which seems plausible, then Apple has a major interest in keeping the platform experience as consistent and homogeneous as possible. This renders anything harking back to the days when 'the Mac was just a kind of PC, only different' obsolete and counterproductive. Does this mean it is legitimate for Apple to leave behind faithful users from PPC and Classic days? No, but this puts these users -- us! -- on a different point in phase-space than where Apple wants to be, and where it wants to lead. Our legacy problems are entirely peripheral to their cone of vision, and fading fast.

The legacy question is much more complex than the sum of our individual worries voiced here, and it deserves more careful analysis some day, starting with the fact that the commoditization of personal computers atomised the sustainable systems approach spirit once embodied by engineers like DEC's Ken Olsen.

Humans May Have Been Shrooming for 9,000 Years:

Based on what they think are depictions of hallucinogenic mushrooms in the Selva Pascuala mural in Spain, scientists Brian Akers and Gaston Guzman believe that our ancestors were having, like, major insights into what it means to be, man, as far back as 6,000 years. This would be the oldest evidence of humans completely freaking out because the ground is totally breathing yet found in Europe—but not the oldest worldwide. Another species of hallucinogenic mushroom is thought to be depicted on a mural in Algeria, which, if true, could mean ancient humans were aware that we are literally all made of stars, every single one of us, of fucking stars, dude, as many as 9,000 years ago.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Steve Jobs: The Agony and the Ecstasy | Identity Theft Tips:

While Apple is the focus of Daisey’s carefully constructed rant, his tale most likely could be told in some form about any company that designs and sells electronic devices. What makes Apple particularly culpable in Daisey’s allegations, in my eyes, is its very own history, intertwined with Jobs’.

Apple, lest we all forget, was once the upstart of the computer industry. Born in the shadow of IBM, and long languishing behind Microsoft, Apple is the company that announced its arrival with a legendary 1984 Super Bowl ad paying homage to the George Orwell classic novel “1984.” The ad depicted a revolutionary woman using a hammer to stop the broadcast of a brainwashing overlord being watched by throngs of expressionless drones. Fast forward 27 years, and Jobs appears to have assumed the overlord role.

In working toward his goal of making Apple devices the best designed and most ubiquitous in the world, Jobs at some point appears to have decided that supporting one of the most reportedly inhumane labor environments in the world is an acceptable trade-off. The hypocrisy is, to be blunt, alarming.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Valley of Fire Star Trails
The Caucasian Chalk Circle: A Cautionary Tale - Seattlest:

The two greatest contributions of Brecht to the history of modern theater are not his innovative Verfremdungseffekt or his Epic Theater stagecraft. They are his beliefs that audiences are intelligent and should be treated as such, and that actors are intelligent and should act as such.
What's with the New York Times Magazine adding editor credits to the end of features? - By Jack Shafer - Slate Magazine:

The New York Times Magazine's move reflects the growing fetishization of credit-making and -taking in our culture. As recently as the early 1950s, a motion picture would begin with a few brief credits to the artists, actors, and technicians who had contributed to it, and the closing credits would be nonexistent or confined to a list of the featured cast. But at some point—was it the biblical epics?—the crews grew larger and larger, and so did the closing credits. When did the endless credits that accompany fashion photo shoots become di rigueur? Or the inane credits that follow some public radio shows?! I'm sure that moms everywhere celebrate the credit explosion, but who else?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Apple iPad 2 is here and tablet rivals need to hit the drawing board - Chicago Sun-Times:

The second most powerful evidence of this happened just a minute ago, as I pulled out my iPad and keyboard here in my San Francisco hotel lobby to write this very same column.

“Looks like you’re going to have to buy a new one of those,” said an electrician as he passed by me on the way to his truck. “The new one’s coming out on the 11th.”

I didn’t tell him that I had attended the Apple iPad 2 press event that morning. No, sometime in the previous hour or two, this random stranger had heard about the new version of the iPad ... and he remembered the ship date. That’s how successful Apple’s been. Consumers aren’t just aware of the iPad ... they’re actually excited about it.

The Apple strategy tax:

This tension between being a platform owner and also trying to build new businesses on that very same platform is another thing that Apple shares with Microsoft. But Microsoft is also a perfect example of how this strategy can seemingly succeed (Windows won the war for the desktop and Microsoft's applications came to dominate the Windows platform) while blinding a company to the long-term failure scenario (a lack of competition allowed Microsoft's products to stagnate, and the next round of innovations happened someplace other than the Windows platform).

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Doubter: Laughter in the Dark:

To clarify: it has recently been brought to my attention that Brecht was indeed a “fun-loving” genius. In an audio book by monologist Mike Daisey entitled “Great Men of Genius: Bertolt Brecht,” the performer explains a list of the reasons why Brecht is always pictured with a cigar and a smile. Among these reasons are the incredible amount of sex he was known to have had, as well as the fact that many of his lovers became friends and close collaborators. The intimacy of such connections speaks volumes, and the fact that he was comfortable with these people, to me, signals that they too probably shared in Brecht's sense of humor. For, as we all know, sometimes the best way to deal with a heavy subject is through poking fun—and this is an excellent time for having those closest to you right there.
Jobs on stage in SF right now. The new iPad is "magical", and they can roll it out quickly "because of the Apple stores". Those of us in the know are aware there's a little something else that also helps them roll it out so quickly--tiny, tiny hands.