A GUI love story

Macintosh Stories  is one of those sites (like TV Tropes) that you can just get lost in, surfing from story to story, or section to section, randomly learning and/;or being entertained by practically everything you run into. Lots of great stories about the computer that changed everything.

BTW, speaking of insanely great Apple products, I really love my iPod Touch (with a 3G/WiFi hotspot as a holder), but if you ever decide to get around to reading “Infinite Jest,” I strongly recommend not reading it in the form of a pirated e-book translated via Calibre to Stanza so that you can’t access the endnotes and lots of words are misspelled or weirdly punctuated and you’re not quite sure if the weirdness is coming from Calibre/Stanza or from the author. I’m just sayin’ …


Grieve for Steve

The first computer I ever used was the Apple IIe my parents bought for us (and for them). The first computers I ever used in a job were a Mac SE (for writing and editing) and a Mac IIci (for page layout). The first computer I ever bought was a Mac SE/30. The second computer I bought was another Mac, and the first 2 laptops I bought were PowerBooks. The first mp3 player I ever bought was an iPod (and so were the second, and third, as well as the fourth, an iPod touch that I don’t use for music but just carry with me as my “Internet in a pocket” device).

Steve Jobs influenced me without even knowing it — consider this quote from 1985, a good 7 or 8 years before I tumbled to the same realization: “The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it to a nationwide communications network. We’re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people––as remarkable as the telephone.”

That’s the reality that changed my life, and changed my career, and even paved the way for the career change I was forced to make after I got thrown out of journalism nearly 3 years ago (arguably brought about by the same changes Jobs foresaw 26 years ago). (pic via Jonathan Mak)

The company you keep

In pretty much every election, there’s a theme — sometimes organic, sometimes overlaid by the media and popular perceptions (both of them feeding and feeding off each other). Sometimes the theme has a catchy title like “Hope” or “It’s the economy, stupid,” and other times it’s more of a general, hard-to-describe-exactly feeling.

I’m beginning to wonder if the theme for the upcoming presidential election might be that it’s a referendum not on the candidates, but on their supporters. Rather than people asking themselves and each other if they want to vote FOR a Republican or a Democrat, perhaps they’ll be asking if they want to vote WITH the GOP or the Dems.

I’m thinking of the recent GOP debates, in which the crowd itself has been a big part of the story every time. So far, Republican crowds have cheered for executions, booed a soldier (above), and yelled “let him die!” and “yes!” when asked if someone without health insurance should be refused medical treatment.

Is it too much to hope that voters might ask themselves not only “do I want to vote for Republicans,” but “do I want to vote WITH Republicans”?

Too much of a good thing

What’s really impressive about this collection of phrases we owe to the Bard of Avon isn’t that it’s got so much stuff in it, but that there’s so much left out. It’s basically a hastily assembled collection by an “English Lit geek,” and yet if it were actually a complete list of one person’s contributions to the English language it would still be really, really impressive. (via English Muse)

R.E.M. was never my favorite band, and “You Are The Everything” was never my favorite song. But still …

Here’s a scene
You’re in the back seat laying down
The windows wrap around
To sound of the travel and the engine
All you hear is time stand still in travel
And feel such peace and absolute
The stillness still that doesn’t end
But slowly drifts into sleep
The stars are the greatest thing you’ve ever seen
And they’re there for you
For you alone you are the everything

… something about that just grabs me, even more than most of their other songs, most of which I love. Sure, the lyrics can be obtusely weird (“I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my Orange Crush”? What the hell kind of a checklist is that?), and they probably paved the way for a bunch of mediocre alterna-garage-type bands, but for 31 years R.E.M. created fiercely individual music that always challenged, even when they were at the height of their mainstream popularity. They’ll be missed.

Beware Canadia

Sorry for the prolonged absence, but I’m trying to focus on getting some IT certifications in anticipation of a possible professional opportunity. But since it’s Canada Day, I guess I’ve got time to pay tribute, courtesy of Nerdcore founding father MC Frontalot.

Bonus joke: How do you spell “Canada”? You spell it “C, eh? N, eh? D, eh?”

So, I’m watching a VH-1 Classic documentary on Queen, a band I like a lot (though not as much as my wife does). And in the documentary, they have a couple New Pornographers on and one of them is talking about Queen’s late-period reign in stadium rock, and says something like “they were right up there with the Beatles.”

Um … no. Just no.

Queen was great, no question about that. I bought “Night At The Opera” when it first came out (or shortly thereafter), and followed through the years. I remember laughing to “Fat Bottomed Girls,” and roller skating (don’t ask) to “Another One Bites The Dust,” and kind of going “hmmm” when Freddie started looking like the leather guy from the Village People (who also made me go “hmmm,” since I was living in the Midwest and not quite able to believe that what I suspected they were all about was actually what they were all about), and then being incredibly sad when he announced he had AIDS just before he died, and without question Queen was one of the great bands of the ’70s.

But if you want to talk about someone being up there with the Beatles, I want to see the Billboard chart where all 5 of the top 5 songs were from that one band. Not to mention the other 7 they had elsewhere in the Top 100.

There’s a whole lot of headroom between “amazingly great band” and “up there with the Beatles.”

(pic via Litman Live)