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Month: September 2007

Voĉo el pasinteco

While researching the previous post, I was surprised to find that the most recent reference to me in USENET is in soc.culture.esperanto from 2004:

[Ĉu] estas pluraj “Esperantistoj en MIT kaj Harvard”? En mia tempo
(malfruaj sepdekaj jaroj) estis nur po unu – respektive iu Russell Finn,
studento pri komputiko, kaj mi.

— Angelos TSIRIMOKOS, Bruselo

Are there multiple “Esperantists at MIT and Harvard”? In my day (the late seventies) there were only one at each – respectively, a computer science student named Russell Finn, and I.

— Angelos Tsirimokos, Brussels

I’m amazed that Angelos remembers me after all those years. I had learned Esperanto in my teens, and had made an abortive attempt to form an Esperanto club at MIT, but as I recall I knew Angelos only through meetings of the Boston Esperanto Club. I remember him, of course, but I haven’t thought of him in years. It’s been years since I was active in Esperanto, too.

Saluton, Angelos. Mi devas baldaŭ retpoŝti al vi… kaj jes, nun ekzistas MIT Societo por Esperanto!

To learn more about the international language Esperanto, visit the World Esperanto Assocation or Esperanto-USA (formerly the Esperanto League of North America).

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USENET archeology

Via Chuq von Rospach: What is your earliest USENET post on Google Groups?

Mine dates to October 17, 1983 and was posted to net.sport.baseball [sic].

Boy, am I old or what.

Unrelated note: I’ve never met Chuq, but based on the odd photo of him I’ve seen from time to time, I look somewhat like him. I’m a little taller, I believe, and not quite as heavy — although if I don’t get off my butt soon, he’s going to pass me coming down. Also, compared to his current weblog page, I have less forehead and much less gray in my beard. 😉 That’s OK, because I believe he’s got a couple of years on me too.

No significance to any of that, except it’s fun to have some connection to a bone fide net.god. 🙂

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A Brief Summary of the Macalope's Fisking of David Berlind's Comments on the Next iPhone

David Berlind: Based on an off-hand comment Steve Jobs made at the iPhone U.K. intro, I predict the next iPhone — you know, the phone designed to be different from all the other crappy phones out there — will add all that stuff that the other phones have.

The Macalope: Dude. Are you even paying a little attention?

(Oh, and as far as I can tell the site Berlind quoted got the quote wrong. They have Jobs saying “You can expect a 3G iPhone later next year”, but the quote I saw elsewhere — sorry, can’t find it right now — was more like “You should not expect a 3G iPhone before late next year”, which makes more sense.)

(Oh, and of course Apple’s going to have a 3G iPhone out sometime next year. Duh. Wake me up when the 3G EDGE network comes to town, and then we’ll talk.)

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Arrr! Hoist the mizzen!

Once again it be [Talk Like a ](http://www.talklikeapirateday.com/)[Pirate Day!](http://www.talklikeapirate.com/) Do yer duty!

(What’s that? Only nine posts since last year? Ne’er you mind that, ye landlubber! Get back to work — them decks don’t swab themsel’s, ye know!)

— Mad Russ Greybeard

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Yankee fan of the week: John Gruber

[I’d have said “Jackass of the Week”, but that would be redundant. Ba-da-bing.]

By responding to John Gruber’s comment on the Shelly Duncan autograph incident, I know I’m opening myself up to the same criticism of humorlessness; but it ticks me off every time I read it.

For the record, I’m an Orioles fan — there, I said it — but I have ties to the Boston area through both ancestry and schooling, and so whatever bias I may have in the situation is toward the Red Sox. (As would anyone else not a Yankees fan, I dare say.)

I think most people would agree that there’s a point at which writing “Red Sox suck!” on an autograph for a Red Sox fan is clearly intended as a good-natured jibe, and a point at which it is clearly inappropriate. For a 37-year-old beer-bellied bleacher dweller, for instance, it’s clearly a joke. For a four-year-old little girl with a red balloon, it’s clearly inappropriate. Agreed?

Now the question becomes where you draw the line. I think a 10-year-old boy pretty clearly falls on the “inappropriate” side of the line. Gruber apparently disagrees. I think if the boy had been a teenager — 14, at least — I would be more inclined to see it as a joke, however lame and unsubtle.

Of course, Duncan offers no apology, as quoted in the followup story:

> “I thought I was back in middle school or high school, where you try to make a joke or say something funny, and you end up saying something that gets you in trouble,” Duncan said … “I try to rile ’em up and be fun. I don’t expect anybody to make a big deal about it. Nobody ever has before.”

“It was just a joke! Can’t you take a joke?” *I* caused offense, but it’s *your* fault.

As for Gruber’s comments: well, they’re exactly what I’d expect to hear from a Yankees fan.

> When I was 10 I would have laughed my ass off if some player from the Red Sox had given me a “Yankees suck!” autograph.

Yeah, sure, because when you were 10, you were a punk-assed kid whose favorite team had won 26 World Series in the last sixty years. That’s pretty big of you. Suppose you’d been a Red Sox fan — but no, that would be impossible for you to imagine, rooting for one of the little teams that’s supposed to just roll over and play dead before the mighty pinstripes.

I speak from painful observation — although I am a part-season ticket owner, I haven’t attended a Yankees/Orioles game in years, because I don’t care to see ten thousand arrogant, foul-mouthed, drunken Yankees fans invade my home ballpark and ruin my afternoon. I certainly wouldn’t take my children there.

(I’ve stopped going to Orioles/Red Sox games, too, because the Red Sox Nation has become nearly as insufferable, and there’s even more of them, if that’s possible. Camden Street looks like Kenmore Square. And yes, I’m all too aware that the Orioles have brought this on themselves, for the twin crimes of organizational incompetence and being in the AL East.)

I don’t even really hate the Yankees. (Well, maybe Rodriguez. And Jeter.) I just want the Yankees to lose — in as humiliating a manner as possible — to piss off the Yankee fans. Ah, 2004. Sweet, sweet 2004… but of course that only put the tiniest dent in their insufferable arrogance. I’ve seen the T-shirts: “Still 26 to 1.” Hmmph.

That’s OK. I know of plenty other ways a baseball team can be humiliated. (Did I mention I was an Orioles fan?)

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Well, maybe not… but then again…

I was seriously considering an iPod touch to replace both my current iPod and my Palm TX, until Apple somewhat arbitrarily decided not to permit editing calendar events on the iPod (although you can add and edit contacts … huh?). So now I’m not so sure.

Would it be completely absurd to purchase a refurbished iPhone for only $50 more than the “equivalent” 8GB iPod touch, and thereby get all the extra applications? Not just full-featured calendar, but weather, stock quotes, Google maps, etc. (Plus emergency 911!)

Is that worth $50? Maybe… I’d have to activate it and then cancel the AT&T service, but that seems pretty well documented. Many commenters mocked people who wanted to do this with their $600 iPhone, but for $349 it seems more reasonable. (Plus I’d have something to develop applications for… yeah, right. That’s what I said about the last three Palms I bought, too.)

Bonus notes from perusing the online features guide:

* “[To] quickly type a period and space: Double-tap the space bar.” Cool! Does the iPhone do this too?

* “[To] enter a pause in a [phone] number: Tap [some symbol], then tap Pause.

Pauses are sometimes required by phone systems—before an extension or password,
for example. Each pause lasts 2 seconds. You may need to enter more than one.”

They took editable contacts out of the iPod touch, and left this in? Hello, McFly?

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Nonsense up with which I shall not put

I understand that some media companies feel the need to monetize their value propositions (to misquote the inestimable Merlin Mann), but isn’t this taking things a bit far?

Picture 1.png

Yes, that’s right: after exactly one sentence of the story, a full-column ad (about three column-inches high). Not shown: the banner ad that, combined with the video box, pushes the first sentence of the story a good six inches below the top of the page (if I wasn’t using a 24-inch Cinema Display, in fact, I’d probably have to scroll down to see it); or the vertical banner add down the side of the page.

We wouldn’t put up with this in a print magazine; why should we have to do it in a web magazine?

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Thoughts on the new iPod lineup

  • Silver is the new white: With the new iPod classic coming in Black and Silver, it looks like the only remaining iconic white product in Apple’s lineup is the MacBook (unless you count accessories like the AirPort Express or Extreme).

  • Is there anything more ridiculous than the early iPhone adopters whining about how Apple is being disloyal to them with the $200 price cut? What is this, high school? Was Apple supposed to not cut their prices, to show how much they care? What do they think all this whining is going to get them, anyway?

    Oh, OK. Huh. Hey, Beelzebub, send me up another iced tea, please. (I wonder if that will work elsewhere. “Hey, Mr. Honda, I bought this Accord a couple months ago, and now you’ve knocked $5000 off the price? I want my five large back!”)

  • As a longtime Verizon Wireless customer, the iPod touch has just about exactly solved my next electronic device purchasing dilemma. Now (a) I don’t have to switch carriers, and (b) I can stop carrying a Palm PDA with me, as the iPod touch will do everything I need the Palm for, except doing crossword puzzles and letting my daughter play Bejeweled — and since the iPod touch presumably runs the same OS X that the iPhone does, those are just a matter of time. Bye, Palm; it was fun, but I’m getting off here. Have a nice journey into irrelevance.
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