Yes, That is The Reason

IO9 asks: The failure of Jennifer’s Body at the box office punctured the myth of Megan Fox, but in doing so left Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen’s epic success even more inexplicable. You mean that everyone who went to see that genuinely wanted to see giant robots fighting for the right to appear in a story that made sense instead of Megan Fox’s ass? Really?

To answer that: yes. I went to see Transformers 2 despite Megan Fox, not because of her. I went for no other reason than to watch a bunch of giant robots beating the shit out of each other. I contend that there was too much story and not enough robot on robot violence.

The takeaway? Fighting robots are fun and Megan Fox is not hot. At all.


Enough Already

I’ve been hearing stories like this for what seems like years now. The problem isn’t that we like to listen to music, or even to sing badly along with our favorites. The problem is that the corporate music industry appears to be of the opinion that no one should listen to their music.
At all.
That’s why corporate music should be dead to us all. We should all just keep to public domain and CC music. If the record labels don’t want us listening to their shit, we should honor their wishes.


Ah, What Fun

So after yesterday’s post, I got a response, and its about what one would expect. Its kind of funny to look at the similarities between the new Mac user and the recently ex-Mac user. To the new Mac user, everyone who used a Mac (or Apple product of choice) before they did is a fanboy. To the ex-Apple user, everyone who’s still using Apple kit after them is a fanboy living in Steve Job’s RDF.

To put things in perspective, our chinless hero Mike Doyle (O’Dolye RULES!*) used Apple gear exclusively for 15 years and never explored any alternatives. He doesn’t really ever get into what set him off, but it seems to me that he’s pissed because he’s not cool for using Apple kit anymore. I contend that he was never cool and no amount of consumer electronics will ever change that. Anyway, the comments:

Mike Doyle:

Timothy, Paul has said nothing that a.) hasn’t already been said in the comment thread of this series; b.) I haven’t already responded to; and c.) isn’t entirely one sided–not to mention ironic.

All Paul has done is write a highly emotionally charged (boy is he angry about the things I say about Apple) defense of Apple–as if Apple needs him to defend it–to tell me that I’m too emotionally involved with the OS. The sad part is none of these over-eager Mac fans get that that’s what they’re doing. Funny, too.


Mike, sorry, when did sarcasm equal emotionally charged? Anyway, I did point out quite a few things that haven’t been brought up and that you haven’t addressed. You said things like the Apple ecosystem is completely closed, and I brought up specific examples of how it isn’t, including helpful links. I pointed out that Apple does nothing to hold your data hostage. All of your PIM data in open the open file system using open standards. Your iTunes library is open and accessable to you or third party software.

The App Store is closed, and that is a problem, potentially to Apple’s detriment. There is a lot of cool software that can’t exist on the platform right now, and that’s driving people away. But it’s not driving tons of people away yet. But unless Apple gets its act together, I’ll be taking a good long look at Android and WebOS when my contract’s up.

You still haven’t explained exactly why its a bad thing for Apple to include useful software, but OK for Linux distros to do so. Or why its bad for Apple to build mice, keyboards or monitors. Its not like Apple forces you to use them. Is Dell wrong to include Dell mice? Should Microsoft not sell Microsoft-branded mice?

I also just pointed out that it takes work to use Linux. I’ve been doing I for over a decade, so I know what I’m talking about. I also pointed out that, in your zeal to accuse Apple of being a closed proprietary vendor, you missed the many open source projects that Apple controls or contributes to. You also seem to have missed the minor detail that Microsoft isn’t exactly known for its friendliness to FOSS. And you missed the fact that cloud services, especially Google’s are neither free nor open. Just ask Richard Stallman.

You rail again the iPhone for being closed and Android for being open, but the only difference between them is Apple’s terrible review process and refusal to allow side-loading and Android’s (limited, but better than the iPhone) ability to run background apps. If your primary need is to run Google Voice, then clearly an Android phone will always beat out an iPhone. But don’t make the mistake that you’re using open source or free apps. All of Google’s Android apps are just as closed and proprietary as Apple’s. Google even forced Cyanogen, the leading Android ROM hacker to stop distributing its apps with his ROMs.

I’m not defending Apple or attacking Google or Linux. I’ve been using Apple since I was a kid (although not between 1999 to mid-2002. Apple was a real mess then, and so was its product line.). I’ve used every version of Windows since 95 and various Linux distros since 1997, including full time while I wasn’t using any Apple gear. This isn’t to impress people like you, but because I’m really into computers. Apple is in no way perfect, and I thought I was clear about that in my last post.

I use a Mac because I like Apple’s laptops the best. I prefer OS X and Linux over Windows because I prefer the unix way of computing over the Windows way. I ran Vista since the beta until the Windows 7 beta because I like the new shiny. He’ll, I’ve used the same Kensington Turboball for the last 11 years (outlasting 4 PCs and 2 Macs) because its thatbgreat. I am hardly an Apple fanboy.

Again, I could care less about what kit you’re using or planning to buy. I think that its a good thing that you’re trying something new, and that everyone should do it. I just pointed out that a bunch of what you said is bullshit and presented actual evidence to back my position up. I just think you’re a waffling new media douchebag desperate for attention. If you were really serious about switching, you should just buy a PC and be done with it. Its not like they’re hard to find.

You can call me a fanboy and ignore everything I’ve said, but that doesn’t chang the fact that I’ve been living in a hybrid ecosystem that includes Apple and non-Apple hardware and software for over two decades. And you’ve been living the fanboy life.

*Sorry about the Happy Gilmore reference. It seemed appropriate.


You Tell Me

I don’t know if its just me or not, but I think that this truck might just be a cylon is disguise…


Visiting an Old Friend

You had to know him, but a Halloween visit would be right up his alley!


Monsoon Orthos

Another quickie. I have my Monsoon orthos, screen grabbed from Lightwave. I also included a beauty shot of my first try and of Lars Joreteg’s final model. I don’t remember exactly where I got Lars’ mesh, but that last one is his. What a difference textures make!

I suppose that’s the difference between profession and amateur work! That and actually taking the time to finish. 🙂

Actually, the big difference is in all of those small details. The actual geometry between Lars’ mesh and my own isn’t actually all that different. He just put lots of finishing touched on his mesh that I never got around to like beveling out the gun barrel, adding support structures and a bunch of other stuff. That’s what really makes a model pop and look great. Perhaps I should actually follow through…


Dark Clouds

Over the past year or so, there has been way too much ink, electrons and air spent on cloud computing. The only constant through all of this hype is that no one really knows exactly what the hell it all means other than it has something to do with the web. I’ve heard stories about how The Cloud will render all PCs to little more than thin client shells running everything out of a futuristic browser or less insane stories about how just our data and bandwidth-light applications will live in the cloud. I personally don’t buy the hype and think that the future of teh cloudz will be far different that what the hype machine is making it out to be.

For people who have paused long enough to catch their breath, cloud computing is nothing more than server-side computing available over the open internet (rather than a LAN). The thing that makes this round of server dominance is the rise of wireless internet, particularly cellular data networks, which allows you to get the internet anywhere. The idea is that given the availability of data everywhere, the ever-increasing speed and robustness of wireless networks and the power of distributed computing, you’ll be able to do all of your computing through the browser.

The thing is, most of the people who are so into cloud computing already live in their browsers. When all you do is troll around on the web for news, live in Gmail and do some light text entry, then yes, doing everything in the browser seems quite doable. If you combine your Google Docs with Pandora and use an Android phone (or a Pre in a week or so), upload all of your pictures to Flickr, then guess what? You’re already living in the cloud! Congratulations! You know what else? You have ceded control over all of your data to someone else, usually a large corporation.

That’s my biggest problem with the cloud. I am fully aware of the irony of complaining about this on a blog hosted by someone else, but bear with me. Sites like Flickr and Facebook are notorious for deleting content and banning users, often by deleting entire accounts, which can have far-reaching consequences. Or, they might decide that they own your data and content in perpetuity. Or, the company that’s holding all of your super-encrypted backups or your RAW files just goes out of business, giving you a day to get your stuff back. You and everyone else who has files on that server, that is. 24 hours doesn’t seem quite like enough time for any given server to upload how many terabytes, especially over American intertubes.

And then there are the ISPs. American internet connections are slow and expensive and cellular data is even worse. The future does not promise to get any better, as the large cable companies are still pushing towards tiered connections with ridiculously low data caps, all at a higher price. How many videos do you plan on editing online when you have to count your bits after a YouTube binge?

There are too many roadblocks and bridge trolls in the way for cloud computing to really ever take the place of local computers. The question that I never hear asked is why? Why do I need online storage when 1TB HDDs cost less than $90? When my two year old iPhone has more storage, RAM and processor than the Mac I had in college? When my old-ass Quicksilver G4 (or a Mac Mini) makes a perfectly adequate server? When Amazon suggests that you buy your own drive, fill it up and mail it to them because networks are that much slower and unreliable than FedEx?

Not good enough? How about because anything you put on a remote server can be looked at with a court order because your data doesn’t deserve Fourth Amendment protection when its on someone else’s box? Your TCP/IP requests aren’t protected and neither is your email. I use Gmail like all the other cool kids, but I’m fully aware that the stuff I send and receive is there for everyone to see. That’s why I use because Google doesn’t give you this:


Cloud computing is seriously over-hyped and under-thought. Yes, there are things that live on the web that should live there. Yes, the browser is becoming increasingly powerful. But the fact is that client-server computing is not going to be better than native apps on increasingly powerful and cheaper hardware running operating systems that are super-optimised to take advantage of that hardware. I think that this is all a fad, but one that will be quite persistent.

I think that people will be utilizing web-based apps in greater numbers as web standards become more powerful and are adopted by browsers. I also think that native apps will always have their place and will always be better, first-class citizens. There will always be serious compromises when using remote apps over native, not the least because web apps will always be somewhat lowest common denominator unable to take advantage of local hardware to any significant extent nor interact with the native OS in a first-class way.

Finally, there’s the security issue. If you want to be in control of your own shit, then you leave it on a box that you physically control. End of story. That’s not to say that persistent data access is a bad thing. Next time!



I’ve been re-trying my hand at the creative thing. Trying to learn the Wacom tablet, draw some concept art and get good at Lightwave again. I did a lot of fan renders back in the day and have a bunch of half-finished models. One of the ones I came pretty close to finishing is my version of Lars Joreteg’s Monsoon class gunboat. I’m not going to get into the details of the ship, since this is all about me. 🙂


Click to enlarge.

A radiosity render with the generic Babylon 5 panel texture.


Click to enlarge.

A lightdome render with no texture, but I was playing with metal surface settings.

I’ll add some orthos next time, then my first attempt at this bad boy. Hopefully, I’ll be able to put up some fresh meat soon!


Addendum to my Gadget Lust

Or: Why it pays to do some basic research before bitching about stuff.

Yesterday I vented my feelings about how while I very much want an iPhone 3G, I won’t be getting one. The big reason basically boils down to the cost of the family plan. The Death Star lists their family plans starting at $129/mo for 2 lines with 700 shared minutes. I was under the impression that that was one 3G iPhone and one regular phone. I also thought that there was no plan with fewer minutes, as my and Nicky’s combined anytime usage averages less than 100 minutes/mo. Add the whole texting thing and I was looking at a huge bill, which I am just not willing to pay.

So guess what I did today?

After shopping at the local Victoria’s Secret (yum!), we walked over to the Apple store so I could chat with one of the retail goons. The goon I caught pointed out to my surprise that the listed family plans assume two 3G iPhones. I’m not sure of everyone else in the world caught that or not, but if I don’t know it, its news to me. So come the questions about going from my plan to a family plan and switching phones between two people and I confused the hell out of the goon, who was as clueless about AT&T’s policies as I. (I should point out that this guy was actually very polite and helpful; I just call all retail people goons. It’s how I felt when I was a retail goon). 

Anyway, now that my interest was piqued, I headed over to the closest AT&T store to get some more info. And of course, here’s where the problems begin. It seems as if I can use the lower plan, add a line and switch the phones, but only if one or the other of us gives up a number and the 2G iPhone loses its plan. 


This isn’t what I’ve heard from other sources, including official Death Star communications, so I get to figure out what to do. I think that I’ll combine our numbers into a family plan first, then upgrade myself to the 3G and hand down the 2G to Nicky later. Perhaps splitting all the complex BS into steps will lessen my pain, but in any case, my resolve has gone from “Not gonna happen” to “Wait and see.” That’s much better.

I’m also going to see how well MobileMe works in the wild. That calendar sync and idisk will be damned useful to the two of us, but I want to see how well it integrates with the various Google services I use before  I plunk some cash down.