aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Liberalism’s sad loss
Molly Ivins, the liberal newspaper columnist who delighted in skewering politicians and interpreting, and mocking, her Texas culture, died [Wednesday] in Austin. She was 62. [...]
Ms. Ivins died at her home surrounded by family and friends.
In her syndicated column, which appeared in about 350 newspapers, Ms. Ivins cultivated the voice of a folksy populist who derided those who she thought acted too big for their britches. She was rowdy and profane, but she could filet her ideological opponents with droll precision.
Via her friend and admirer Siva Vaidhyanathan, “I have never met a more romantic patriot. She truly and deeply believed in the goodness and greatness of Texas and the United States. Her entire life was devoted to exposing the gaps between what we were and what we could be. She specialized in illuminating the ways our cynical leaders manipulated our weaknesses and kept us short of our full potential.”
Google Book Search concerns
There is this concern:
A federal court in New York is considering two challenges to the project, one brought by several writers and the Authors Guild, the other by a group of publishers, who are also, curiously, partners in Google Book Search. Both sets of plaintiffs claim that the library component of the project violates copyright law. Like most federal lawsuits, these cases appear likely to be settled before they go to trial, and the terms of any such deal will shape the future of digital books. Google, in an effort to put the lawsuits behind it, may agree to pay the plaintiffs more than a court would require; but, by doing so, the company would discourage potential competitors. To put it another way, being taken to court and charged with copyright infringement on a large scale might be the best thing that ever happens to Google’s foray into the printed word.
Emphasis mine. The Google VP heading the project said, “The suits that have been filed are a business negotiation that happens to be going on in the courts… We think of it as a business negotiation that has a large legal-system component to it.”
Not very comforting:
Google’s advantage may well be cemented if the company settles its lawsuits with the publishers and authors. “If Google says to the publishers, ‘We’ll pay,’ that means that everyone else who wants to get into this business will have to say, ‘We’ll pay,’ “ Lessig said. “The publishers will get more than the law entitles them to, because Google needs to get this case behind it. And the settlement will create a huge barrier for any new entrants in this field.”
In other words, a settlement could insulate Google from competitors, which would be especially troubling, because the company has already proved that when it comes to searches it is not infallible. “Google didn’t get video search right-YouTube did,” Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School, said. (Google solved that problem by buying YouTube last year for $1.6 billion.) “Google didn’t get blog search right-technorati.com did,” Wu went on. “So maybe Google won’t get book search right. But if they settle the case with the publishers and create huge barriers to newcomers in the market there won’t be any competition. That’s the greatest danger here.”
When was the Times here?
Coming in the
Book Review NYTimes Travel Section this weekend:
I had no fixed destination, just a plan to follow a back road to some weedy field in time to watch the sun go down on Flannery O’Connor’s Georgia.
Somewhere outside Toomsboro is where, in O’Connor’s best-known short story, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” a family has a car accident and a tiresome old grandmother has an epiphany. The fog of petty selfishness that has shrouded her life clears when she feels a sudden spasm of kindness for a stranger, a brooding prison escapee who calls himself the Misfit.
Of course, that’s also the moment that he shoots her in the chest, but in O’Connor’s world, where good and evil are as real as a spreading puddle of blood, it amounts to a happy ending. The grandmother is touched by grace at the last possible moment, and she dies smiling.
“She would of been a good woman,” the Misfit said, “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”
O’Connor’s short stories and novels are set in a rural South where people know their places, mind their manners and do horrible things to one another. It’s a place that somehow hovers outside of time, where both the New Deal and the New Testament feel like recent history. It’s soaked in violence and humor, in sin and in God. He may have fled the modern world, but in O’Connor’s he sticks around, in the sun hanging over the tree line, in the trees and farm beasts, and in the characters who roost in the memory like gargoyles. It’s a land haunted by Christ - not your friendly hug-me Jesus, but a ragged figure who moves from tree to tree in the back of the mind, pursuing the unwilling.
Many people - me for instance - are in turn haunted by O’Connor. Her doctrinally strict, mordantly funny stories and novels are as close to perfect as writing gets. Her language is so spare and efficient, her images and character’s speech so vivid, they burn into the mind. Her strange Southern landscape was one I knew viscerally but, until this trip, had never set foot in…
As small as our town is, you’d think I would have heard that he was here.
Fun Google flyover photos thwarted by air traffic control
Scores of Sydneysiders who took up Google’s challenge to make a spectacle of themselves in an aerial photo shoot staged over the city on Australia Day are likely to be disappointed.
A plane chartered by Google to take the images never made it over some of the designated areas or arrived hours later than expected by which time, many of those who had been waiting below had moved on.
The high-resolution images were to be added in about four to six weeks’ time to the popular online mapping service Google Maps
But the flight plan was hastily changed on Friday morning after Sydney air traffic control denied the twin-engine Aero Commander permission to fly over parks and beaches in inner Sydney and the east due to air safety concerns [...]
Among those missing out on the photo opportunity of a lifetime was a company that had spent $10,000-plus on a sign, an environmental group which organised 200 supporters to form themselves into a slogan on Bondi Beach and a man who drove from Wollongong to Sydney with a message that he hoped would help win back his estranged wife.
“The positive public response to this initiative has been overwhelming and we are very grateful to everyone who took part,” said Lars Rasmussen, the head of engineering at Google Australia. “While we made every effort to capture as much as we could on the day, unfortunately some people may be disappointed.
He said Google would shortly update a web page to show where and when the plane had been able to take high resolution imagery.
The Sydney flyover was to be the first time the internet giant had attempted such an exercise on this scale. Usually photos are taken without people being aware that it’s happening.
Meanwhile, Microsoft got in. They used a helicopter.
God didn’t make little green apples
And neither does Steve Jobs.
Jobs and the PR wizards at Apple have done a fantastic job of positioning the company as the technological haven for the hip, the progressive and the revolutionary. But when it comes to the environment, Apple is out of touch.
In December of 2006, Greenpeace released a report ranking the overall environmental policy of major technology companies. Dell was at the top but Apple found itself at the bottom. While top companies like Dell and Nokia have made great strides to eliminate the most toxic chemicals from their products and offer strong recycling programs, Apple has not.
NOTE: I promise to stop with the old song references.
This post’s title is from Roger Miller’s Little Green Apples.
A farewell to the floppy
When you can get a 2GB USB flash drive for $18.95, who’s going to buy a floppy?
Computing superstore PC World said it will no longer sell the storage devices, affectionately known as floppies, once existing stock runs out. [...]
It is not the first time the death-knell for the floppy has been sounded. The first nail in the coffin came in 1998, when the iMac was revealed without a floppy disk drive.
Then in 2003, Dell banished disk drives from its higher spec machines.