Great article by Rob Walker in the NYTimes about the development and impact of Apple's iPod. As mentioned below, it's sometimes hard to remember what life was like before a terrific invention like this - and it's true. I think back to the day it was announced - early one early November morning and BLAM - people have asked about it, adopted it, lusted after one, made it a part of their every day life. And isn't that what innovation is really all about?
Bruce Claxton, who is the current president of the Industrial Designers Society of America and a senior designer at Motorola, calls the device emblematic of a shift toward products that are ''an antidote to the hyper lifestyle,'' which might be symbolized by hand-held devices that bristle with buttons and controls that seem to promise a million functions if you only had time to figure them all out. ''People are seeking out products that are not just simple to use but a joy to use.'' Moby, the recording artist, has been a high-profile iPod booster since the product's debut. ''The kind of insidious revolutionary quality of the iPod,'' he says, ''is that it's so elegant and logical, it becomes part of your life so quickly that you can't remember what it was like beforehand.''
11/29/2003 11:20:00 PM
Weather not withstanding, the Apple Store in Toyko has just opened! We await photos and reports from attendees. In the meantime, get your iSight and other video cameras ready to chat!
Twenty-seven to go! Tonight I finished ironing the seams open and then I sewed the centermost vertical seam to make one big quilt top. Post haste - I sewed the first horizontal seam. Then the second one. Then I hung it up and admired it for awhile. It's amazing what a few less raw edges will do for ya.
The current quilt is now in two pieces with all the columns of squares sewn together. It was tempting to sew the two halves together but I know from past experience that it's easier to iron the seams down if you do it in chunks. Iron both sets, sew the middle seam, press that and move on.
Speaking of the Soup Lady, my own soup endeavors turned out all for the good last night. From one smallish (12 lb) turkey, a few onions, some celery, carrots and whatnot, I ended up with two gallons of mighty fine soup that needed no additional salt whatsoever.
Soup like this requires a bit of pre-planning. Roast the turkey. While that's happening, simmer the neck and parts (not the liver and heart of course -- you roast that and reserve for the felines). When the turkey's done, deglaze the pan and keep the simmered broth and pan additions until you're ready for the next step.
Remove the meat from the bones, removing the legs, thighs and wings at the joints. I cut most of the meat in big pieces, setting aside the leg, thigh and wing meat and smaller pieces for the soup itself. It's possible to break a turkey carcass in half just rear of the rib cage. That usually helps it fit better in even large pots. Place the carcass along with leg, thigh and wing bones and the wing tips in a really large pot. Put in
2-3 whole onions
5 whole celery stalks
4-5 carrots cut in half if you like.
I use a "mulled cider" teaball like thing to make a sort of bouquet garni -- the ball is about 4" across and holds
5 or so whole garlic cloves (skin and all)
2-3 bay leaves
a tsp of whole peppercorns
a handful of parsley
Bring to a boil and simmer until all the veggies are limp and the bones are well-cooked with the meat coming off. Probably 2 hours or so. Skim off any foamy stuff and you can corral as much fat as you like at the same time.
Strain the stock into a clean container and discard the bones and veggies. This is a good stopping point if you're doing this over a couple days. If you refrigerate the stock at this point (which should be golden brown and yummy all on its own) you can remove more fat if you like. Starting again, add
2-3 onions diced
5-6 carrots diced
4-6 stalks celery diced
refill the teaball thing with fresh garlic, bay, peppercorns and parsely
Remember that now you're really making the soup. Before you were making stock. While the veggies are simmering in the stock (you can choose to saute them before adding to the stock but I don't do that) cut up the meat you're going to add. Make some rice to add later. when the veggies are cooked but firm, add the meat and simmer for awhile longer.
Warning: you can end up with a lot of soup so have a thought to what you'll store it in, how you can freeze it, whose life you can improve by gifting with a quart of good soup.
More important warning:
One of the worst things you can do while making stock is boil it. It must take something from the bones after awhile. The soup will be cloudy at worst and have a different flavor. Better to bring to a boil and then simmer. Ditto with the soup itself. No need to boil it. Keep it well heated but not boiling.
Add the meat towards the very end. It's already cooked and cooking too much long will dry it out.
Don't store the rice or pasta in the soup. Add it before serving and heat through or if it's hot, put it in the serving bowl and add the soup to the bowl.
It's cold, it's blustery, there's that snow stuff going on. So that must mean it's time for a good hearty soup. I'd made a small turkey the other day with the express intent of making soup so the whole house smells good at the moment. The turkey carcass is simmering with some onions, a whole lotta garlic and some celery and carrots and in a bit I'm going to strain it and put some nicely chopped veggies in along with the chopped turkey meat. I will make some nice rice and put that in at the last moment to heat through. And what's not to like about that. It's a good winter meal, even if winter's not really here yet. The weather says otherwise. And I think the Soup Lady would agree - it's good for you, body and soul.
On a different note, I got my reading glasses and they do indeed work for sewing. Saturday I'll get my new lenses for distance viewing. I can see a real advantage to bifocals, but I will tell any and all of my displeasure with the brief attempt at "progressives." What a joke. Oh yeah, they really improve your vision as long as you don't need more than about a 10" field of vision. I couldn't see much of anything. Not even both sides of my 12" powerbook screen. the floor moved. the cutting board wiggled like a circus funny mirror. Not good. And forget about seeing the horizon. Oh well. Does anyone really get used to that? I just like to see the world around me as it is and as much of it as possible.
11/13/2003 11:47:00 PM
here's how NOT to get customer support:
Call what should be not your first stop in getting phone support.
Talk very fast and resist any attempts by the person on the phone to get answers to questions like "what sort of computer?" "what operating system?" "Did you do this xyz?"
Say in a hissing kind of way "get me someone on the phone who knows something."
When asked "what?" repeat the previous statement.
Hang up when the support person puts you on hold to see if they can get an answer for you.
I'm about done laying out all those small squares. I know deep in my heart that a normal person probably wouldn't do this, but I think I prefer to get an idea of the color movements beFORE I start to sew it all together. And I did replace one of the blues, so it wasn't a complete waste of time. Film at 11.
Last night I finished cutting my blues and then I did what comes next. (I know you're all at the edge of your seats here) While pondering two other completely different projects, I tried to make a nice gradation of the blues I had cut. I needed one that used about 48 fabrics, and Boy George, that's what I got.
Now, what the heck am I doing pondering other projects while playing with these two inch squares of fabric? It's all about:
Preemptive multitasking is task in which a computer operating system uses some criteria to decide how long to allocate to any one task before giving another task a turn to use the operating system. The act of taking control of the operating system from one task and giving it to another task is called preempting. A common criterion for preempting is simply elapsed time (this kind of system is sometimes called time sharing or time slicing). In some operating systems, some applications can be given higher priority than other applications, giving the higher priority programs control as soon as they are initiated and perhaps longer time slices.
So it's not only about WHAT you're going to do, but WHEN you're going to do it, how LONG you're going to do it and what AMOUNT of resources (your time and effort) you're going to give it.
While I was getting this nice crisp definition for you, I ran across a link to something called "wall time". This is not, despite what you might be thinking, the amount of time a quilt in progress hangs on the wall to be admired or despaired over. Or at least, not exactly!
The 2003 Journal Quilts are ALL available on the QuiltArt web site -- many thanks to Judy Smith for doing all the grunt work of getting the images up with the names of makers etc. My own journal quilts are here (here for a larger view of the group mine were hung with) but you can see closer views via my own site, here. There are a lot of them, so bookmark it and go back often! These small quilts were made by subscribers of the QuiltArt mailing list, each participant making one small quilt a month from January to September 2003. We were encouraged to be experimental and try new things for us.
Here is a close up of my local friend Naomi's, and the group her quilts were hung with. I wish they had chosen her May quilt -- it was a wonderful view of a back view of herself when she has her hair all done in tiny braids with lots of "embellishments."
And thanks to this site no one must suffer needlessly for their art. Or at least, not over the damn artist statements. Here's the one I generated:
Work of Meta-Art in the Age of Generative Reproduction
The mind creates, the chaos permeates. In the synoptic reality, art objects are resurrections of the creations of the mind -- a mind that uses the chaos as an organism to materialize ideas, patterns, and emotions. With the synergy of the electronic environment, the mind is superseding a point where it will be free from the chaos to realize immersions into the machinations of the delphic reality. Work of Meta-Art in the Age of Generative Reproduction contains 10 minimal flash engines (also refered to as "memes") that enable the user to make textile audio/visual compositions.
measuring chains, constructing realities putting into place forms a matrix of illusion and disillusion a strange attracting force so that a seduced reality will be able to spontaneously feed on it
Mary Beth Goodman's work investigates the nuances of modulations through the use of jumpcut motion and close-ups which emphasize the Generative nature of digital media. Goodman explores abstract and gradated scenery as motifs to describe the idea of infinite reality. Using great loops, vectors, and allegorical images as patterns, Goodman creates meditative environments which suggest the expansion of space...
Your mileage may vary, but I have to say, I've read worse...
11/03/2003 11:42:00 PM
What do you do when you have lots of blue squares but not enough blue squares?
Rummage around and pull out more blue fabrics that's what!
The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved.
No problem should ever have to be solved twice.
Boredom and drudgery are evil.
Freedom is good.
Attitude is no substitute for competence.
On the other hand, even if I don't turn out to be a hacker per se, I think these are easily applied to other arenas and life in general. For instance it goes on:
Basic Hacking Skills
Learn how to program.
Get one of the open-source Unixes and learn to use and run it.
Learn how to use the World Wide Web and write HTML.
If you don't have functional English, learn it.
The hacker attitude is vital, but skills are even more vital. Attitude is no substitute for competence, and there's a certain basic toolkit of skills which you have to have before any hacker will dream of calling you one.
This toolkit changes slowly over time as technology creates new skills and makes old ones obsolete. For example, it used to include programming in machine language, and didn't until recently involve HTML.
One more great quote which charmed me:
... trying to learn to hack under Windows [is like] trying to learn to dance while wearing a body cast, I wasn't kidding. Don't go there. It's ugly, and it never stops being ugly.