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Think Different

By rusty in Culture
Mon May 28, 2001 at 04:16:18 PM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)

"He and Miguel climbed down into the pit and set their birds down on the short lines so that they faced each other. They held them by the tails and waited for Earle to give the signal to let go.
"'Pit them,' he ordered." --Nathaniel West, Day of the Locust

I don't know what I was expecting. Probably something resembling Nathaniel West's dark and ghoulish description of cockfighting in the California scrub country in "Day of the Locust." Grown men doing violence to each other by proxy, this time with homemade animals of plastic, aluminum, and steel, wielding sharpened pneumatic hammers and screaming spiked flails.

I was supposed to be writing an article on the Worldwide Apple Developers Conference. It had all gone wrong from the start, a doomed cross-current of misconstrued email and eerie legal threats. It was clear that Fate had no intention of putting me anywhere near the smiley plastic Applefest in San Jose, but that still didn't explain what the hell I was doing in the middle of San Francisco Bay, watching robots fight.

It started innocently enough. Robin Miller asked me if I'd like to buzz down to San Jose and check out the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, an annual shindig where Jobs and co. spread the gospel to all the Apple faithful, and introduce them to that year's new crop of APIs or standards or "experiences" or whatever it is they're pushing. OSDN was supposed to be a special guest this year, with the advent of the BSD-based OS X, a new age of openness and software freedom was purportedly spreading from Apple's Cupertino headquarters.

This new spirit of freedom was first communicated to me via email forwarded from some Apple minion, which read, in part, "Keep in mind that the person attending MUST sign up with the Apple Developer Connection in order to get the ticket. This means that they will have to go online and agree to the nondisclosure agreement contained in our terms and conditions of membership."

I went to the Developers Connection sign up page, and read the NDA that such special effort was made to draw my attention to. It said, in standard vague legalese, that any information about Apple or any of its products received by a "Registered Developer" may or may not be top-secret, and that no information was to be repeated to anyone, ever, lest this be the case. To be fair, they did specifically exempt information about open source software they might be using.

This didn't bode well. Suddenly the oft-repeated exhortation to "Think Different" took on new and ominous notes of command in my mind. I certainly had no intention of signing a non-disclosure for this. Hell, Newsforge wasn't even paying me to do this. I tried to work my way around it. Robin made a developers account, but the Apple overlords didn't even respond to my requests to issue a ticket to "Robin Miller, Assistant Treleef Woozler for Intergalactic DeOxygenators Inc." Clearly, I was going to have to go about this assignment in a somewhat more unorthodox way.

The conference was from Monday through Friday. It was already Thursday, and I was exactly nowhere. Luckily, I happened to catch a notice in the paper that BattleBots was being taped all weekend out on Treasure Island. Something clicked. My journalistic integrity demanded that I be there. I knew there was a connection here, but what? Where?


"The dwarf had been watching Earle's lips and he had his bird off first, but Juju rose straight into the air and sank one spur in the red's breast. It went through the feathers into the flesh. The red turned with the gaff still stuck in him and pecked twice at his opponent's head." --Ibid.

To get to Treasure Island from the Haight, you take a bus all the way downtown to First and Market. You pass the strip joints and all-night movie theaters, the hulking Virgin Megastore, the old men, freaks and junkies playing chess by the Library. The tourists clustered, shivering in their shorts and tank-tops, in line to ride the cable cars at Powell.

Get off this bus, walk a block down First street to the Trans-Bay bus terminal, and go upstairs. The trans-bay terminal is one of those creepy bus stations that seems more like a wharf than a place for land vehicles. Naked iron girders hold up a translucent roof of corrugated plastic, which filters the foggy sunlight and makes everyone look green and ill. Sit down on the bench next to an enormous transsexual smoking Virginia Slims, and wait.

The bus rattles and clumps halfway over the Bay Bridge, pulling off at the Treasure Island exit, where suddenly everything goes quiet. The roar of lower-deck bridge traffic is replaced with chirping birds and shushing wind through the trees. The feeling of peace and serenity lasts exactly thirty seconds, because that's when you pass the first guard post and realize that Treasure Island is basically one big military base.

BattleBots is a tournament, televised on Comedy Central, in which individuals and teams build remote controlled fighting vehicles and pit them against each other in an aluminum and plexiglass ring called the "BattleBox." Tickets for the preliminary rounds are ten bucks plus bus fare. This is clearly not a big money deal. The venue is what appears to be a small airplane hanger, anomalously placed nowhere near any kind of airport. The military is always doing that kind of thing. Who knows what it's normal use is. We just know it as "Building 180."

There are no signs at all, and the will-call desk is a folding church table. The whole experience reeks of a college band-night, right down to the blue wristbands that designate you a paid ticketholder. It all looked appropriately seedy and dangerous. I went inside.

Earlier in the week, I had read about the new Apple Store in Tyson's Corner VA. As we've come to expect from Apple, it's as sleek an experience as you're likely to get anywhere. It's open and friendly, artsy and cool and restrained. Customers (I have to forcibly restrain myself from reflexively calling them "guests") are encouraged to wander around, play with the hardware, watch the techies at work at the "Genius Bar."

Apple has taken to copying Disney's winning formula of providing fun through corporate fascism. Beneath the clean perfection of both Disney and Apple's corporate images lurk phalanxes of jack-booted lawyers and handlers, carefully spinning and controlling every bit of information to present one unified squeaky-clean face. Disney is about Childhood (TM), and Apple is about Art (R).

I emailed a journalist friend and pointed this out, asked him what he made of it. While conceding that "Apple will always be a creepy company in artsy drag," he also pointed out that artists are always roots-down freaks, and Steve Jobs is an artist, who's canvas is the IT industry. So maybe Apple is run by a "psychotic and paranoid control nazi." Open source darling of the week IBM, he said, is "a patent-crazy industrial drone with whole buildings full of lawyers who can't wait to end the honeymoon. Just wait."


"Juju climbed again, cutting and hitting so rapidly that his legs were a golden blur. The red met him by going back on his tail and hooking upward like a cat. Juju landed on him again and again. He broke one of the red's wings, then practically severed a leg." --Ibid.

Sitting on the hard uncomfortable metal bleachers in building 180, I am reminded of that email. There are no amenities here, unless you count porta-johns and three dollar hot dogs. There are hardly any ordinary spectators at all. The bleachers are filled with violence-prone nerds in robot-related t shirts. Bill Nye isn't on the scene, and there's only one lonely looking cameraman taping the action. These are the preliminary rounds, the rounds where the cheap, the weak, and the pathetic get stomped and go back home to Tucson or the Upper Peninsula and get to work on next year's bot.

But there's no feeling of danger, no edge-buzz, like I expected. There are lots of children here, and no money is changing hands over the outcomes of the matches. Dangerous drunken thugs are nowhere in sight, and the most prominent host is decked out in metal arm-guards and gauntlets, and would almost certainly get hammered to a pulp if he showed up in any self-respecting biker bar wearing that sci-fi crap.

This is the IBM of sporting events. Dumb and mean-spirited, yes, but unabashedly nerdy and unvarnished too. If Apple were a sporting event, it would be a cross between this and the XFL. You'd still have machines bashing each other with stone-age weapons, but they'd be dressed in sleek plastic shells and driven by young men in black turtlenecks and wire-rimmed glasses. Half naked supermodels would strut around the BattleBox whipping the crowd into a frenzy of drooling fury. "KILL!" they'd scream, "BASH ITS WHEELS OFF! USE THE SAWBLADE!" At just the right moment, the laser light show would fire off, inscribing "Think Different" in the smoke-free air above the crowd.

My recollections from the event are a little hazy, and I wasn't keeping notes. The basic format is this: Two robots go into the box, when cued by a drag-race style christmas tree, they surge across the ring at each other and attempt to smash, grind, or pierce the other into oblivion. A robot that can no longer move is declared a knockout, and loses, so many builders opt for a wedge shape, hoping to sneak under a taller lumbering opponent and incapacitate it. There is, unfortunately, nothing less interesting than two wedge-shaped fighting robots blindly ramming into each other for three minutes. At the end, if there's no clear winner, some judges award points, usually to the robot that garnered more crowd interest.

A few matches stick out in my mind. Like the fight where a robot named "Count Botula" was so brutally maimed by its opponent, which resembled Vlad the Impaler's colander, that by the end of three minutes it only had one functioning wheel, and its batteries were dragging by wires behind it. But astoundingly, it was still moving, still trying to clamp down on that pasta strainer from Hell. Every time it got near enough to, it lost some more pieces. By the end, three event staff were in the ring picking up scattered chunks of it. Ordinary people spend hundreds of hours in the garage and thousands of dollars creating these high-tech platforms which carry and deploy, essentially, either clubs, spikes, or sawblades. Attending BattleBots is like watching a Noh drama about the entire twentieth century.

While I was sitting there, it finally came to me. I had to get into the conference, and nothing had worked so far. I had to get the story somehow. I'd just fake it. I'd walk right in and go up to the counter.

"I'm from OSDN," I'd tell them.

"I'm sorry, you don't seem to be on the list..."

"What? How's that? Let me see. Hmm. No, I should be right there between Forrester and Fowler. Dammit, they told me this was all taken care of!"

"Well, if you're not on the list..."

"Ok," I'd say, leaning close, conspiratorially, "I'm not supposed to tell you this, and you have to swear to secrecy..." I'd break off and glance around.

"What? What is it?"

"No, no, I've already said too much. They might have cameras. Shotgun mikes, infrared. Forget it."

"There's no one around. What is it? You can trust me."

"Ok. If this gets out, I know who leaked it." You can always count on a sense of paranoia when Apple's involved. Anyone who's not walking around like a secret agent is either dumb or really scary. "I'm here on orders straight from Steve himself. He wants to make sure that all the developers are getting their proper dose of different thinking. We can't afford to lose anyone! Not one! So I'm here to wander around, make sure everything conforms to the Apple experience."

"Oh, you're making this up."

"Am I? Am I indeed? Well, you can believe that if you want. But I'm not the only one. I can personally guarantee that you've dealt with at least one of Steve's other moles, just today. I've been watching, and don't think he's not watching either!"

At this point, the keeper of passes would tremble with the knowledge that Steve's people are everywhere, all the time. Nothing escapes his steely eye. Nothing. I would be in like Flynn.

I had had enough of robot fighting. These brutes could go on pounding the silicon snot out of each other all night, for all I cared. The next day I was off to San Jose, to fish sleeker waters. To join the sharks.


"Once more the red tried to rise with Juju, pushing hard with its remaining leg, but it only spun crazily. Juju rose, but missed. The red thrust weakly with its broken bill. Juju went into the air again, and this time drove a gaff through one of the red's eyes into its brain. The red fell over stone dead." --Ibid.

San Jose is hot and ugly. The reason there are so many conferences and trade shows there is because no matter how boring or painful the event is, going outside where its not air conditioned is unthinkable. San Jose is the forced-corporate-networking gulag of the United States. Siberia in reverse.

I crawled down 101, through the evil moribund sprawl of the valley, but I hardly even saw it. I was going to get into this conference, despite the lawyers and confusion, and even despite having to go to San Jose to do it. Traffic crept slowly south, four lanes of winking plastic glacier, and when my turn to rubberneck finally came, I saw that the holdup was due to a three-car crash in the northbound lanes. A white pickup had gone into the cement barrier, and ambulances were on the scene. Looming high above all was another of the omnipresent Apple billboards... Martin Luther King Jr. urging us to Think Different. I just hoped no one had been killed.

In San Jose, you can drive for an hour and still be within view of where you started. It's like if LA were jammed into a black hole, and compressed to a tiny, super-dense pinpoint of heat and smog and traffic and bad manners. Every light was red, and car horns were banshees wailing of my impending failure.

I never even found the conference, let alone had the chance to crash the thing. I thought I'd just look for all the convention-goers, but everyone in San Jose looks like a convention-goer. It's a kind of hell as imagined by Tony Robbins. After an hour and a half of this, I admitted defeat, and fled north on 280, back to the blissful fog of the city.

I don't know what the real story of the Worldwide Developers conference was. I never got there. I can't tell you much about Apple's plans for open source, or it's commitment to software freedom. Apple remains, for me, an enigma, wrapped in a mystery, wrapped in an egg-shaped plastic shell the color of smurf puke. Apple is a fundamentally schizophrenic entity. It is, by turns, open, paranoid, generous, litigious, artsy, and thuggish. It's certainly not the worst company out there, and on bad days, I still think it might be one of the best.

The San Jose feeling of evil was just starting to dissipate when I got to Cupertino, where the 280 goes right by Apple HQ. Another giant MLK mural presides over the freeway, surrounded by the blank stare of turquoise glass and white columns. Apple was still watching me, and I looked right back at it, wondering if behind those blank windows there was cunning and love, or only madness. For better or for worse, looking at Apple is like peering into the future. Hope, fear, beauty and crazed excess, all wrapped in a curtain of possibility.

Right then, though, I didn't care. I flipped it the bird and mashed the gas pedal.


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Related Links
o Nathaniel West
o Worldwide Apple Developers Conference
o BattleBots
o Tony Robbins
o Also by rusty

Display: Sort:
Think Different | 97 comments (78 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
history (3.50 / 4) (#2)
by alprazolam on Sun May 27, 2001 at 04:22:50 PM EST

You probably ought to have tried to grab a piece of broken robot. Just in case it ever makes it big and wins on TV. Then you could use it to impress friends and pick up women, I'm almost sure of it.

Not really possible (none / 0) (#4)
by rusty on Sun May 27, 2001 at 04:46:58 PM EST

The BattleBox was fully enclosed all the way around, even on top (to vent exhaust from gas-powered bots), so grabbing a piece wouldn't really be feasable.

Thank God I don't need any more women, eh? ;-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Robot bits (none / 0) (#85)
by chroma on Thu May 31, 2001 at 04:10:25 PM EST

Roy, the guy in the armor, was handing out little bits to the audience.

[ Parent ]
Just so ya know.... (3.60 / 5) (#3)
by SvnLyrBrto on Sun May 27, 2001 at 04:40:52 PM EST

>The venue is what appears to be a small airplane hanger, anomalously placed
>nowhere near any kind of airport. The military is always doing that kind of
>thing. Who knows what it's normal use is. We just know it as "Building 180."

Treasure island used to be a major seaplane base.... back when the navy used the things. Every now and again, they would need to do maintainence on the things. For the larger seaplanes, they actually used to have drydocks... just like for ships. Smaller seaplanes, OTOH, could just be hauled up out of the water and repaired in a hangar.

Or, it could be a quanoset hut... an invention of Buckminster Fuller. The military used to be madly in love with the things, especially back during the WWII era. Quanosets come in all sizes, are reasonably sturdy, quick to set up, and easily mass-produced prefab for rapid deployment anywhere. And they greatly resemble aircraft hangars.

Or, of course, it could be juse another government screw-up.


Imagine all the people...

Correction, fun link (5.00 / 3) (#7)
by slaytanic killer on Sun May 27, 2001 at 06:03:14 PM EST

Or, it could be a quanoset hut... an invention of Buckminster Fuller.
They're called "Quonset huts." And it wasn't an invention of Buckminster Fuller, but instead NYC's George A. Fuller Construction Co. in 1941. Here's a link to an enjoyable site that has an article on this topic.

[ Parent ]
Ah! (none / 0) (#22)
by Anonymous 6522 on Mon May 28, 2001 at 02:14:19 AM EST

Now I finally know what those ugly little art buildings on my campus were used for! I aways thought they were some weird old barns.

[ Parent ]
Ugh... my bad... (none / 0) (#58)
by SvnLyrBrto on Tue May 29, 2001 at 02:20:08 PM EST

When I think of the name "Fuller" wrt/ anything
engineering related, "Buckminster" is almost automaticlly
attached, without even thinking. ESPECIALLY, as we're
talking about really cool structural engineering here.

Must suck to be any other structural engineer with the last
name "Fuller". I know I'm NOT the only one to make this


Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Quonset Huts (none / 0) (#51)
by wiredog on Tue May 29, 2001 at 10:10:29 AM EST

When I was stationed in Korea, with 2nd Div, in the mid-80's, I lived in a quonset hut for a year. Heated in the summer, air conditioned in the winter. Morale was much higher there than it was at Ft Polk, where we had central heat and air and cable TV. In fact, the morale at Polk was mostly non-existent. God, I hated that place.

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
[ Parent ]

BSD (1.70 / 10) (#9)
by delmoi on Sun May 27, 2001 at 06:57:52 PM EST

OS X is not 'based' on BSD, it has a BSD compatablity layer.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Not so (4.20 / 5) (#11)
by Nick Ives on Sun May 27, 2001 at 09:16:39 PM EST

OS X is based on BSD running on top of the Mach microkernel. You dont honestly think that the OS X developers wrote a whole new OS from scratch and added a "BSD compatability layer" just out of a love of Unix do you? That "compatability layer" is because OS X is actually based on BSD. Its what they started with when they were writing OS X.

Just felt the need to explain the "1", would have been like, rude otherwise. Or something.


[ Parent ]

Um (none / 0) (#20)
by delmoi on Mon May 28, 2001 at 01:11:09 AM EST

Not everything uses the BSD layer. Native OSX and Mac OS apps do not. That's like saying Linux is based on POSIX or something. I'm not aware of any other *BSD that runs on top of a Mach kernel. As far as I know, the BSD kernel runs 'along side' other parts of the OS. Neither above or below them.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Um (3.00 / 2) (#21)
by regeya on Mon May 28, 2001 at 01:32:32 AM EST

AFAIK all they did was shoehorn the MacOS crap into a NextStep system, then added new things and eyecandy. I really don't know that much about it, but everything I've learned about it implies that OS X is indeed a BSD system. Saying that OS X just has a BSD compatibility layer would be like saying that MkLinux is just a Linux compatibility layer.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

OS X *is* based on FreeBSD and Mach (4.50 / 2) (#37)
by Carnage4Life on Mon May 28, 2001 at 05:16:58 PM EST

Not everything uses the BSD layer. Native OSX and Mac OS apps do not. That's like saying Linux is based on POSIX or something. I'm not aware of any other *BSD that runs on top of a Mach kernel. As far as I know, the BSD kernel runs 'along side' other parts of the OS. Neither above or below them.

I suggest reading the Apple Darwin FAQ as well as the Architecture of Mac OS X website to get a clearer picture of the Mac OS X architecture. The Carbon and Cocoa APIs are loaded as modules above the Darwin layer but even though they don't use BSD directly considering that a lot of the OS uses the FreeBSD stuff then it is very likely that they are using it indirectly either for networking, file system interaction, etc.

[ Parent ]
What the hell is this? (1.71 / 21) (#10)
by 2400n81 on Sun May 27, 2001 at 07:03:56 PM EST

You know K5 has gone downhill when Rusty has to resort to trolling.

Color me confused... (2.50 / 2) (#13)
by rusty on Sun May 27, 2001 at 11:27:02 PM EST

...by this comment.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
the article was confusing (4.66 / 3) (#42)
by core10k on Mon May 28, 2001 at 11:45:44 PM EST

Your article was very nearly incoherent, that's probably what he was getting at. Additionally, it hardly had anything to do with the title ('Think Different') which makes things even more confusing.

[ Parent ]
Actually, I loved the Parallel (4.00 / 1) (#56)
by craser on Tue May 29, 2001 at 01:39:22 PM EST

Maybe it was just me, but I thought that the whole idea was that he did end up at the Apple convention, in a way. Even if he had made it to the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, he might as well have ended up watching BattleBots.

The battling robots surrounded by screaming fans (again, to me) is really symilar to a bunch of Apple zealots getting together: A potent combination of worship and bloodlust fills the air; the single binding thought seems to be: "This machine is beautiful, it is true, and we will drive this truth and beauty right through the blasphemous heart of the unbeliever!" Belief in free thought and lust for world domination have never existed in closer company.

There are more parallels to be enjoyed here, but I think the thing that I enjoyed the most is the telling of the story. Often the trips you end up on are far more interesting & enlightening than the ones you plan.

I really enjoyed this story-- it was great to see something "different" on the Front Page. I started reading K5 (yes, I'm a /. refugee) several months ago, and this is the first story that I've been genuinely impressed by. Whatever drugs you're on, keep taking 'em, Rusty.


[ Parent ]

Yes (2.00 / 1) (#60)
by rusty on Tue May 29, 2001 at 04:44:13 PM EST

You got the idea, there. Apparently it pretty much sailed past a few people... but I kind of expected it would. Actually, I was hoping it wouldn't just sail past everyone and leave me looking like a ranting maniac.

Whatever drugs you're on, keep taking 'em, Rusty.

Heh. If only. The sad truth is, I'm completely (illegal) drug-free. Yes, I actually have to live like this all the time. Think about that for a while.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

yes (none / 0) (#74)
by Delirium on Wed May 30, 2001 at 05:15:30 PM EST

Well, I got the parallelism, but I must admit it reads as a much more amusing (though less insightful) story if one fails to grasp it. The "rusty was wandering around San Jose heavily medicated, missed the apple conference, and ended up in some battlebots competition that he wrote about instead" angle is rather humorous. To me anyway.

[ Parent ]
Nice Douglas-Adamsism... (none / 0) (#61)
by sab39 on Tue May 29, 2001 at 05:07:46 PM EST

"Often the trips you end up on are far more interesting & enlightening than the ones you plan."

Reminds me of Dirk Gently, whose method of navigation was to simply find a car whose driver looked like they knew where they were going and follow it. He found that he seldom went where he wanted to go, but often ended up exactly where he needed to be.

"Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
"Quinze" -- Amélie

[ Parent ]
Apparantly.. (none / 0) (#46)
by pallex on Tue May 29, 2001 at 08:21:04 AM EST

"provoking a response" == trolling now.

[ Parent ]
And what the hell is this? (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by Defect on Sun May 27, 2001 at 11:53:44 PM EST

Inanity strewn about in *gasp* topical web space?

Only one course of action can be taken now, the "post better shit or this will happen every time as you should already know" 0 rating smackdown.

Have a nice day and enjoy the high signal.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't say trolling. (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by Foolish Assistant on Tue May 29, 2001 at 08:52:26 AM EST

I would say this is more of a rambling, "What I did on...." type of post. It would have been much more appropriate as a diary entry. I think rusty was just testing to make sure that people still had the proper knee-jerk rusty=+1FP reaction.

Don't get me wrong. This is as elegantly written as anything I've read here in a long time. But that doesn't change the fact that it has no central theme, it says absolutely nothing about anything, and it conveys absolutely no knowlege or information whatsoever. Sorry, nothing to see here.

A masochist and a pyromaniac meet in a forest....well, you know the rest.
[ Parent ]

knee-jerk +1FP reaction (none / 0) (#54)
by slaytanic killer on Tue May 29, 2001 at 11:39:02 AM EST

I was aware of the "knee-jerk rusty=+1FP reaction," but it would have gotten the FP anyway. Definitely at the intersection of tech & culture.

Look through the FP and you'll find even more ramblin' words thrown about. Literature, especially which hits the intersection of the two topics, is definitely material for an article.

What will you really find that is both worthwhile and not covered by outlets like CNet? If you want the REAL OpenSource Man in the Street's impression of Apple, you've got it here. Not the whining pseudo-reporter's need to find Luminaries who will beg Apple for scraps of kindness.

Apple uses very stable free code with no strings attached. Duh. No brainer, and counts for nothing.

[ Parent ]
Um, (none / 0) (#69)
by Foolish Assistant on Wed May 30, 2001 at 08:28:06 AM EST

You do realize that you said far, far more than the article did, don't you? Frankly, all I got out of the article was that rusty was heavily medicated and lost track of whether he was complaining about what a suck-job Apple was or how much he disliked Battle-Bots. The whole thing says NOTHING.

Granted, I suppose it is possible that saying nothing is right up the alley of the average K5er. Frankly, if I wanted nothing I would turn on CNN.

A masochist and a pyromaniac meet in a forest....well, you know the rest.
[ Parent ]

Perhaps... (1.00 / 1) (#72)
by slaytanic killer on Wed May 30, 2001 at 04:14:47 PM EST

You do realize that you said far, far more than the article did, don't you?
Good. The metric of a good article on K5 is the discussion it generates.

I understand where you're coming from... This article is not very informative in a left-brained way. I see it as more of a cultural marking about what an individual sees about companies rather than what most people are conditioned to see.
Frankly, if I wanted nothing I would turn on CNN.
And there's nothing on K5 that is worthwhile? Nothing on CNN that is ever worthwhile? The main difference is that you can more easily make K5 worthwhile; if you look closely, the interface was designed around you taking charge and being able to "touch" everything in sight.

But what I understand from what you write is that K5 may getting pretty big to the point where people consider it an institution, and theorize what K5' "intention" is or "should" be, rather than what they can make of it. Of course, it could just be the shadow of your words rather than any reality.

[ Parent ]
Or (none / 0) (#80)
by Foolish Assistant on Thu May 31, 2001 at 08:26:28 AM EST

Maybe, just maybe, you could see it as what it actually is. I made a statement claiming that THIS article said nothing. I still believe that THIS article says nothing. If you want to twist that into meaning something about K5 "THE INSTITUTION", go for it monkey boy.

As to quality of conversation....
....I won't be holding my breath on that either.

A masochist and a pyromaniac meet in a forest....well, you know the rest.
[ Parent ]

And (1.00 / 1) (#83)
by slaytanic killer on Thu May 31, 2001 at 12:30:03 PM EST

Maybe, just maybe, you could see it as what it actually is. I made a statement claiming that THIS article said nothing.
Hmm. You sound like someone I knew once. Told me that I didn't "see her points" (mainly cause I disagreed with her), just going off into abstractions.

Fun as hell. I unfortunately didn't care that much for her.

We agree to disagree, and if we don't, we disagree. You can have the last word, if you need such things.

[ Parent ]
I think... (4.33 / 12) (#12)
by Zeram on Sun May 27, 2001 at 10:53:54 PM EST

from here on out I'm going to take to calling you Rusty S. Thompson

Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
Yup (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by AmberEyes on Mon May 28, 2001 at 05:21:33 AM EST

Having just reread Fear and Loathing a week or two ago, I must say, regardless of doing it on purpose or not, Rusty got the writing style down beautifully.

I wish more people would write in this style - I laugh almost the entire way through the article they wrote when they do.


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
like, wow (4.00 / 1) (#32)
by Glacky on Mon May 28, 2001 at 11:42:09 AM EST

The resemblance is uncanny.. rusty whatever you took that day, it was good stuff. buy some more ;)

/me imagines rusty in pith helmet and big 70s glasses...

[ Parent ]
customers, not guests.... (2.50 / 6) (#19)
by ocswing on Mon May 28, 2001 at 12:04:45 AM EST

where do you work? toys r us or something? i bet you do. I don't know of any other companies that have their employees call customers "guests". *shrug* just wondering where you got that from. i'm out.

Disney (none / 0) (#27)
by rusty on Mon May 28, 2001 at 05:36:00 AM EST

My sister worked at a Disney store for a while, and I think they had to do that. I didn't really think about where that word came from, just that I kept wanting to imagine them using it there, but on further consideration, I'm pretty sure it was a subconscious connection of the apparent attitude at the new Apple stores with the Disney retail franchise.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
tangent... (none / 0) (#52)
by tympanic on Tue May 29, 2001 at 10:32:28 AM EST

As I recall, Disney also doesn't have employees. Everyone who works for Disney is a "cast member". Odd...

"I've noticed success tends to mean making sure people's expectations are low and then exceeding them" -David Simpson
[ Parent ]

Reminds me of Irvine Welsh (none / 0) (#79)
by keyeto on Thu May 31, 2001 at 07:36:00 AM EST

From "Acid House"

'disnae matter' is a riotous two-page tale of a redundant Scottish worker who spends his redundancy money on a family trip to Disneyland; he ends up punching a bear-suited Disney employee square in the gob: "Anywey, it this fuckin Disneyland shite, this daft cunt in a bear suit jumps oot in front ay us ken? Wavin ehs airms aboot n that. The bairn starts fuckrn screamin, gied ur a real fright, ken? So ah fuckiir panels the cunt, punches the fuckin wide-o in the mooth, or whair ah thought ehs mooth wis under thit suit, ken. Too fuckin right. Disneyland or nae fuckin Disneyland, disnae gie the cunt the excuse tae jump oot in front ay the bairn, ken." The bear suit nearly loses his job but is forgiven by the hero, and it's pretty much a Disney matter that... disnae matter.

This was shamelessly ripped off from here.

"This is the Space Age, and we are Here To Go"
William S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]
Er.. (none / 0) (#45)
by pallex on Tue May 29, 2001 at 08:19:42 AM EST

...his email adr may give you a clue! :)

[ Parent ]
Blockbuster (1.50 / 2) (#59)
by jayfoo2 on Tue May 29, 2001 at 03:59:37 PM EST

They call customers 'guests' at blockbuster now, or at least they do at the one near my house.

I'm wondering if that means I can crash over there if my girlfriend ever gets really mad at me...

[ Parent ]
guests (none / 0) (#64)
by coffee17 on Tue May 29, 2001 at 07:39:18 PM EST

They also called customers guests at the YMCA (shudder) and Target (shudder) ... at least they did 6+ years ago when I was in highschool, I can't imagine they backflipped.

I think it's probably general marketroid warm fuzzies to start calling customers guests.


[ Parent ]

I don't understand (3.15 / 13) (#31)
by jdtux on Mon May 28, 2001 at 11:00:27 AM EST

I don't understand the point. Maybe this would be better as a diary entry?

Perhaps. (none / 0) (#57)
by Requiem on Tue May 29, 2001 at 01:44:14 PM EST

But I can think of a good reason why not: this is an incredibly well-written piece. While I read some diaries here from time to time, I don't have the time (or inclination, really) to read them all. Personally, I think it'd be a bit unfortunate to miss a piece like this. Congratulations, rusty, you're a talented writer.

[ Parent ]
Church of Satan and Apple (3.66 / 9) (#38)
by erotus on Mon May 28, 2001 at 07:19:24 PM EST

Well, I was not sure if you're article was about Apple or Battlebots, but either way, here goes. I am neither a satanist or a member of the Church of Satan. I do not use MacOS, however I do see tremendous potential for OSX. That being said, let me tell you why I bring this up. The "Think Different" slogan is apparently appealing to those who choose to in fact think differently. They are appealing to the artist, thinker, creator, except if that person is a member of the Church of Satan. Certainly these people think differently than most so why is Apple discriminating against them? Oh, you have not heard? Here is the link to the article on the Church of Satan website. I highly encourage you to read the details as I do believe Apple is discriminating against them.

"Suddenly the oft-repeated exhortation to "Think Different" took on new and ominous notes of command in my mind."

Yes, just as it did with the Church of Satan. Many members of the church, including it's founder Anton La Vey, are loyal Macintosh users. The trouble started when the church put Made with Macintosh emblems on it's website. Apple has encouraged those who create their websites with Macintosh OS's to proudly display these symbols on their websites. When the Church of Satan proudly displayed these symbols on their site Apple's lawyers wrote cease and desist letters to the church claiming that their use of the apple emblems "constitutes dilution in violation of the Federal Anti-Dilution Act." Apple also claims "use of the MADE WITH MACINTOSH badge also violates the terms of [their] license agreement with Apple for use of these badges."

Well, the MADE WITH MACINTOSH site encourages and clearly lays out how anyone should display their "made with mac" badges. I may not agree with the church or it's belief system, but as any other organization or religious group they are just as entitled to display this logo under our legal system. I do believe that Apple is being discriminatory in this case. Satanists, at least those that belong to La Vey's church, are not devil worshipping, child sacrificing heathens. They don't even believe in the existence of a being known as Satan. They are law-abiding citizens and deserve the same level of respect as anyone else.

Again, please read the main article at the Church of Satan website before you make any comments to my post.

Hunh? (1.00 / 1) (#39)
by jungleboogie on Mon May 28, 2001 at 10:53:07 PM EST

What the fuck does this have to do with the story?

[ Parent ]
Well, (4.00 / 3) (#47)
by Foolish Assistant on Tue May 29, 2001 at 08:47:31 AM EST

It had about as much to do with the article as any one sentence of the article had to do with any other sentence. In other words, not one damn thing.

A masochist and a pyromaniac meet in a forest....well, you know the rest.
[ Parent ]

hmm, can I read or not ? (2.50 / 2) (#44)
by mami on Tue May 29, 2001 at 02:12:01 AM EST

First paragraph from the homepage of the Church of Satan.:
we are the first above-ground organization in history openly dedicated to the acceptance of Man's true nature-that of a carnal beast, living in a cosmos which is permeated and motivated by the Dark Force which we call Satan.

We Satanists are our own Gods

So, can you tell me, how that fits together with your statement:

Satanists, at least those that belong to La Vey's church, are not devil worshipping .... They don't even believe in the existence of a being known as Satan.

Don't you think they worship themselves and they consider themselves as Gods and Satan, acknowledging as quoted above Man's true nature-that of a carnal beast ?

Hmm, someone who calls himself the Church of Satan not worshipping Satan.... ooouuh keaey.

Can you tell me why you did post this comment in reference to Rusty's article ?

I have read the Church of Satan article and your claim that MacIntosh is discriminating against the Church of Satan. I think their argumentation is bogus.

The slogan of the MacIntosh Trademark "Think Different" and their badge for sites, who develop on a MacIntosh, can only be intended to mean, that MacIntosh's "Think Different" invitation relates to thinking different about the tools you use to create your website.

Their invitation to "think different" doesn't suggest that you should start thinking differently in any direction about anything else other than the usage of a different computer than the majority of computer users (the herd) usually uses, i.e. using a MacIntosh.

Taking the "Think Different" slogan into a badge in combination with the "Church of Satan" is clearly an invitation to think different about the perceived herd's usual religious affiliations.

Therefore the Church of Satan misused the slogan for promoting a meaning MacIntosh had not intended. Contrary to the Church of Satan, MacIntosh didn't see in the usage of their slogan in this context a humorous satire, but possibly as a defamation of their reputation and marketing intention .

MacIntosh doesn't need to agree to the usage of their slogan to invite people to think about the goals of the Church of Satan. By not agreeing to this usage of their slogan, they don't discriminate against the church, but make a claim for using their slogan for a cause they don't support. I think they have the right to do this. The Church of Satan could use a slogan like

"Think for yourself".
No problem there, and the meaning of that slogan similar and fitting and no conflict with a trademarked slogan. IANAL, but it would amaze me this couldn't be backed up legally.

[ Parent ]
Church of Satan (1.00 / 2) (#49)
by mindstrm on Tue May 29, 2001 at 09:10:27 AM EST

Well, to enlighten you about the Church of Satan.

The reason they chose the name 'Church of Satan' and metaphorically worship 'Satan' instead of calling themselves 'the church of man alone' and worshiping themselves, is simply in order to OFFEND, in order to draw controversy, and most importantly, I think, to show that you really DON'T believe in christianity et-al. After all, if you like their ideas, but are squeamish about calling yourself a satanist.... then obviously you have some old beliefs to let go of.

Now, of course, any good Christian will say 'but they worship themselves over God! Therefore they worship the devil!'.. nobody can argue with that logic.

[ Parent ]
I am enlightened (2.00 / 2) (#50)
by mami on Tue May 29, 2001 at 09:30:06 AM EST

to hear that I obviously have to let go of some old beliefs... Says who ?

[ Parent ]
Hmm... (none / 0) (#55)
by slaytanic killer on Tue May 29, 2001 at 11:45:55 AM EST

Not you in particular. He was using the general form of "you." One has an interesting problem if he believes in Satanism's philosophy while recoiling from using its name. Doing so contradicts certain parts of the philosophy.

BTW, despite my name, I have no interest one way or another. Satanism's just all about shock value, but I respect the fact that there are people who desperately need to emphasize their point by rebelling.

[ Parent ]
This is.. (3.50 / 2) (#40)
by tokage on Mon May 28, 2001 at 11:01:53 PM EST

One of the best stories I've seen on k5. As one may have gathered from my .sig, huge Hunter fan - whois fearandloathing.org ;-) many a long boring night at work h2odragon and I will quote obscure f&l dialogue, scaring and confusing the natives. Scope out rageboy for some insanity along that vein. All your story was really missing is the drugs..though I imagine dealing with Apple people while twisted on acid would be every bit as bad as the Police conference. If the pigs were gathering in Vegas, I felt the drug culture should be represented as well. Me and a thousand ranking cops - why not? Move confidently into their midst.

You better pray to God there's some Thorazine in that bag, otherwise you're in bad fucking trouble.
Outstanding (none / 0) (#53)
by ubu on Tue May 29, 2001 at 11:04:15 AM EST

I was trying to remember what this article reminded me of... and then you hit the nail on the head: bad peyote trip.


As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
"All rights end at the school house doors.&qu (1.80 / 5) (#41)
by InstantKarma on Mon May 28, 2001 at 11:43:41 PM EST

I think the most important factor is is the very lenient requirements that a school must have to justify its actions. Officers of the law are bound to provide "probable cause" before searching someone's home or person. School administrators, on the other had, are only restricted by a "reasonable suspicion." Now you may say that it is only a technicality that separates the two, but any examination of the connotative value of those two short phrases leads to an entirely different meaning. The first requires some justification for the action. IE, they can't break into your house to find some parking tickets. Although they might have probable cause to send you a nasty letter. The schools, on the other hand, must merely have a "logical" suspicion (and suspicion isn't a very logical thing) This doesn't require any weighting of means vs. the end. Anyway, I'm rambling.

Did you mean to post here? (none / 0) (#43)
by fluffy grue on Tue May 29, 2001 at 12:31:04 AM EST

That's a perfect comment for the previous article. The one on zero tolerance. It has nothing to do with battlebots. :)
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Shhh! (4.00 / 5) (#77)
by elenchos on Thu May 31, 2001 at 12:00:56 AM EST

Don't disturb him. He's thinking different.

"Why would anybody want to leave the Republican Party? It just doesn't make sense." --Donna Thompson, Homemaker.
[ Parent ]

Bah.. Too rusty-centric (3.66 / 6) (#63)
by Sheepdot on Tue May 29, 2001 at 06:53:34 PM EST

It's real great all your IRC buddies can go vote your story up, but you might want to try to make stuff like this this appeal to those of us that don't live in the area, or generally care about what you think in your head as you watch Battlebots.

Seems like you started a diary entry and then decided, "Ah what the hell, I'll post it as a story since I've spent so much time on it already and I know I can get it on the front page."

I suggest trying to fit over 10 subjects/topics into the next one you submit, keeping it under 500 words, and see if it still makes front page.

Or better yet, try making a second account and posting a story sometime under a different name, write it your best, but in the same fashion (explaining directions to places most of us will never go, etc.).

No, this is not a troll or an attempt to upset you, I just find it funny that I didn't even get a chance to vote this down. Too many, "rusty post! +1 FP" people on here.

quick voting? (none / 0) (#66)
by Delirium on Tue May 29, 2001 at 10:31:16 PM EST

No, this is not a troll or an attempt to upset you, I just find it funny that I didn't even get a chance to vote this down.

That's funny, because I was surprised it sat in the queue for so long. Maybe it's just my obsessive reloading, but it seemed like it was in there for quite a good deal of time. At least 24 hours or so anyway.

[ Parent ]

About 24H (4.00 / 1) (#67)
by rusty on Tue May 29, 2001 at 11:22:48 PM EST

I submitted this on Sunday afternoon. I was posted, according to the timestamp, at around 1PM PST. So it was in voting just about 24 hours.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Yeah but (3.66 / 3) (#68)
by codemonkey_uk on Wed May 30, 2001 at 07:21:34 AM EST

All the lamest stories are voted up over the weekend when us serious egg heads are away from work.


Okay, I admit it. I enjoyed the article. It was good. But then, I do like Hunter S Tompson as well...
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

who is HST? (none / 0) (#73)
by Delirium on Wed May 30, 2001 at 05:10:59 PM EST

Who is this H.S.T., and why does everyone seem to know him and be familiar with his work? I'm pretty familiar with literature, but I've never even heard of him. Is he a contemporary sci-fi author (I don't read sci-fi) or something?

[ Parent ]
Woo for google (3.00 / 1) (#75)
by slakhead on Wed May 30, 2001 at 10:03:33 PM EST

I suggest you watch the movie "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." It is directed by Terry Gilliam (of Monty Python fame) and it pretty much tells the story of HST in the 70s. Very funny if not just a little drug induced.

You can also check out this site and this one for more info. A quick google search works wonders doesn't it?

[ Parent ]

Inventor of "gonzo journalism." (4.50 / 2) (#76)
by elenchos on Wed May 30, 2001 at 10:35:03 PM EST

I think his best known book is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but Hell's Angels is worth a look too, especially if you have read Tom Wolfe's Electric Kool Aid Acid Test. I enjoyed all the HST books I've read, as a matter of fact.

He was a newspaper writer enlisted in the Air Force in the 50's, mostly covering sports. He got in trouble a lot-- I don't remember if they kicked him out. He continued as a sports writer and began to develop his self-described "gonzo" style of journalism, which eschews objectivity as it's primary feature. He includes much of himself in everthing he reports, or if not himself, then an alter ego version of himself. Raul Duke is one such alter ego, which he used as the first-person narrator of many of his stories for Rolling Stone magazine in the 60's and 70's. This Duke persona (who is only a very slighlty more crazy version of the real Hunter S. Thompson) was blatantly ripped off by Gary Trudeau in "Doonesbury" but HST has had no luck in protecting his creation. Probably he deserves it, since another aspect of gonzo journalism is a total lack of mercy or restraint in attacking one's target. See, if it isn't muckraking, it is not worth doing, and certainly not worth going gonzo over.

Case in point is the worst flame I have ever read, HST's scathing and climactic condemnation of President Richard Nixon, in Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, collected from HST's reporting for Rolling Stone. I'd look it up for you but if you just wanted to look things up you could have done that yourself instead of posting your question.

Other HST highlights I can remember are his running for Sherrif of Aspen, Colorado on the Freak Power Party ticket in 1968 I think, and losing only because at the last minute the Democrats realized that quite possibly a crazed libertarian gun-nut drug fiend literary maniac was about ride a wave of hippie-squatter electoral non-apathy into office. So they ordered their troops to vote Rebublican in an anybody but Hunter S. Thompson ploy.

I think it was in the late 80's that a porn star charged him with some kind of sexual battery (I think it was twisting her tit) at Thompson's Aspen ranch (he says he raises peacocks there) but he got off. There have been occasional drug, weapons and assault charges over the years too.

He still writes, AFAIK, and speaks on college campuses, or was a few years ago. All in all, I'd say I wish I was more like him.

"Why would anybody want to leave the Republican Party? It just doesn't make sense." --Donna Thompson, Homemaker.
[ Parent ]

HST a Libertarian? (4.00 / 1) (#78)
by keyeto on Thu May 31, 2001 at 07:16:32 AM EST

I don't think so. He's a loyal supporter of the US Democrats. For sure, he's a drug crazed gun nut, but not every drug crazed gun nut is also a Libertarian.

I liked the Freak Power idea itself though. I thought it was great that the only concession they made on their drug policy was to say that officers wouldn't take mescaline whilst on duty.

I also really liked his write up of Nixon's funeral. Now that was a vitriolic flame of the highest order.

"This is the Space Age, and we are Here To Go"
William S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]
small 'l' libertine variety (3.00 / 2) (#81)
by elenchos on Thu May 31, 2001 at 09:34:47 AM EST

He says fewer vile things about Dems than Reps, but HST's overall outlook is that he should be allowed to stick whatever he wants to in his body, or the body of anyone else even if she is only 15, own any kind of car, weapon or explosive, and pretty much never have to answer to anybody. One of his Freak Power platforms was that the only drug distributors that would be arrested were those who charged money for drugs. So clearly he does't agree with Libertarian economics, but then he isn't dishonest about his motives like them either.

He admits he just wants to have a good time and doesn't really claim to have all the answers to the world's ills. In fact, if you read between the lines, nearly everthing he's written is only nominally a satire on his ostensible subjcet. The real target of the satire it HST himself. That's the egoism part.

"Why would anybody want to leave the Republican Party? It just doesn't make sense." --Donna Thompson, Homemaker.
[ Parent ]

Not as far as I remember (4.00 / 1) (#82)
by keyeto on Thu May 31, 2001 at 11:47:30 AM EST

I seem to recall that he wasn't against charging money for drugs, but he was against dealers making a profit from selling drugs, and threatened to bring the full force of the law to bear upon such profiteering scum.

"This is the Space Age, and we are Here To Go"
William S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]
Money for Drugs (4.00 / 2) (#88)
by rusty on Thu May 31, 2001 at 06:56:53 PM EST

No, the original comment was right -- he was definitely against charging money for drugs. That bit's part of The Great Shark Hunt, lemme see....
"...it will be the general philosophy of the Sherriff's office that no drug worth taking should be sold for money. Non-profit sales will be viewed as borderline cases, and will be judged on their merits. But all sales for money-profit will be punished severely." --The Great Shark Hunt, pp 174
So, you're both right, pretty much. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Okay.. my bad then (4.00 / 1) (#71)
by Sheepdot on Wed May 30, 2001 at 10:32:56 AM EST

I was away for about a day over the weekend, I suppose that is my fault. It's not horribly written, its just a pretty good example of something I think others would *not* have voted up given it came from someone like myself, who has at most, submitted only one story.

[ Parent ]
Technology and Culture, from the trenches (4.00 / 6) (#65)
by johnny on Tue May 29, 2001 at 10:10:04 PM EST

Martin Luther King Jr, so far as I know, never endorsed Apple, MacOS, Steve Jobs, corporate ownership of our history, or any of the various evil bad doublethink bullshit for which Apple now holds the dear Winston Smith Memorial Chalice. Fuck them and their "think different" campaign. If Microsoft is Big Brother, then Apple is Goldstein, the officially sanctioned anti-Big-Brother "rebel." They are two sides of the same foul offal. I speet on their grandmother's grave.

(Best line ever from Bonanza: the Mexican housekeeper to Ben Cartwright: "I spit on your grandmother's shadow (ptoouie)." I forget the reason for her ire, but whatever it was it certainly was less offensive than Steve Jobs' public pissing on the greatist American statesman since Abraham Lincoln. (Forgive me, I'm a USA patriot. Yesterday morning, Memorial Day, found me in the Vineyard Haven cemetary for the laying of wreaths in honor of, and the 21-gun salute to, and playing of "Taps" for those who, like MLK jr, gave their lives for their country. Libertarians and non-United Statesers will have to use their imaginations to try to imagine just how offensive I find the Apple/cult-of-Steve "Think Different" campaign. Oh my oh my, how I would dearly love to see that prissy little man drafted and sent to boot camp.) (For whatever it's worth: I served my country as a Peace Corps Volunteer.))

Meta: I applaud Rusty for this fine piece. To me it is the essence of "Technology and Culture, from the trenches." I would have voted it +1fp had I seen it before it got up there. No matter who had written it. This kind of story is exactly what I come here for. If I wanted techno-hip cynicism I would read what all the high-schoolers at geekizoid have to say. (Aside to all the crybabies who think this story got voted up simply because Rusty wrote it: Well, maybe it did, and maybe it didn't. I think we all owe Rusty an enormous debt, and if I ever *do* see a Rusty story that I think sucks, I'll probably vote +1fp just on general principles. If you don't like Rusty's stature around here, take his code and build your own site.)

Let me sneak in one more meta: "its" is the possesive form; "it's" is the contraction of "it is."

yr frn,
Get your free download of prizewinning novels Acts of the Apostles and Cheap Complex Devices.

blissfully content free (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by jjones on Wed May 30, 2001 at 10:31:16 AM EST

Another Hunter S. Thompson wanna-be, except without the ether.

I couldn't help but be reminded... (none / 0) (#84)
by gblues on Thu May 31, 2001 at 01:23:05 PM EST

A few matches stick out in my mind. Like the fight where a robot named "Count Botula" was so brutally maimed by its opponent, which resembled Vlad the Impaler's colander, that by the end of three minutes it only had one functioning wheel, and its batteries were dragging by wires behind it. But astoundingly, it was still moving, still trying to clamp down on that pasta strainer from Hell. Every time it got near enough to, it lost some more pieces. By the end, three event staff were in the ring picking up scattered chunks of it.
Black Knight, anyone? "'tis but a flesh wound!"

... although in retrospect, having sex to the news was probably doomed to fail from the get-go. --squinky

Rusty overlooked something important (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by chroma on Thu May 31, 2001 at 04:24:51 PM EST

All BattleBot builders were required to sign a contract before competing. Included in that contract was a non-disclosure agreement that prevents us from discussing the results of the matches. So there's your connection.

Ha! (none / 0) (#87)
by rusty on Thu May 31, 2001 at 06:46:39 PM EST

I actually wasn't aware of that. That's funny.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Question. (none / 0) (#89)
by thePositron on Thu May 31, 2001 at 11:45:57 PM EST

Offtopic but... Why did you take 101? 280 is a billboardless and pleasant drive.

Half an answer (none / 0) (#90)
by rusty on Fri Jun 01, 2001 at 01:55:17 AM EST

It's slightly easier to get to 101 from where I live. I also tend to take it for personal reasons... I used to commute that way, and I'm more used to it. I know that doesn't make any sense, but that's really the most accurate answer.

I did take 280 home, you'll note. I tend to do that too-- take 101 out of the city and 280 back. There must be deep-rooted psychological reasons for that, but I don't know what they are.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Thinking...at all (4.00 / 1) (#91)
by thePositron on Fri Jun 01, 2001 at 03:57:34 AM EST

Sorry I skim most of what I read so I missed your trip back :). I just read it.

I refuse to get on 101 for psychological reasons and I know what they are the are as follows.
1.I was in a 3 car pile up on 101 a few years back.
2. It is more industrial in nature than 280 so my mood generally darkens when I get on it.
3. The billboards make me feel, claustrophobic.
4. I believe the traffic on 101 is worse.
5. 280 was specifically designed for high speed commutes.
6. Traffic flows on 280 seem to be better than 101.


Its funny that you used the cock fight metaphor/ story. A friend of mine was once asked by an aquaintance of his to convince her brother to stop partaking in cock fights. My friend and his aquaintance proposed to do this by having him impersonate a police officer and to break up the cockfight. This was done to scare the participants without actually having to call the police. I guess this person's reasoning was that the fear of being arrested would intimidate her brother from participating in cock fights in the future.

Well it's pretty pointless..the meaning and the thinking are in the eye of thinker.. the whole thing cock fights, intimidation, nondisclosures. a secretive rigidly hierarchical organization masquerading as being open or "different". Or a company coopting the thinking and charisma of great individuals as their own through ads. Machines battling machines? It makes me feel like flipping the machine off to. (no pun intended)

Apples approach almost seemd like war is peace doublespeak to me. Or the other technique corporations have been employing lately acting like they are your friend or some bs like that.

While I attempt to think differently I envision a world without advertisements assailing me at every turn.

Interrupt Pathological, Media-Simulated Social Interaction
Maximum Participation Billboard Liberation

"The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words." -Philip K. Dick (1928-1982)

[ Parent ]
A Different Perspective of The Big Fruit (5.00 / 3) (#92)
by GandalfGreyhame on Fri Jun 01, 2001 at 06:52:08 PM EST

Its ever so obvious from the comments in the story about Apple and the comments themselves that most are coming from the free Unix/linux perspective. Which, while kinda amusing, gets boring reading the typically anti-translucent comments about Apple. So, here's something Completely Different: a view of Apple coming from a different side of things.

Those who are familiar with me know that I used to be a BeOS zealot. Needless to say, I've gotten a bit tired of all the stuff surronding the OS and its developer, Be, Inc. So, when the time came to look for a new laptop, I considered options other than Be. Run Windows on the laptop? I think not, even though Win2k is decent for gaming I have no desire to use it when I don't have to. How about linux? Ha! BSD? BSD is nifty, but even with FreeBSD and its massive ports collection, it would be troublesome to find decent office apps that I could depend on for taking notes in class and Just Work. Laptop hardware support was also an issue for me. Enter The Big Fruit.

While occasionally nausea-inducing, everybody with a Mac laptop I had talked to enjoyed it quite a bit, and they seemed to be solid machines, even if there was a slight premium. And, I was like many in the Be community, curious about this beast called Mac OS X. So I gave it a shot. And I liked it alot. The laptop itself is excellent (a second gen iBook SE) and OSX is a really nifty thing. Solid, decently fast (just get a cup of coffee while its booting, that's all), and fun to hack on. Even better, Apple seems to be delivering on their promises. Its finally here (yeah, they missed enough deadlines, but at least we've got it now), they promise DVD support, and what is really fantastic is they've been updating it once a month, sometimes more. From the land of Be where one wonders if we're even wanted, OS X is the land of milk and honey.

So, while Apple isn't like some companies used to be, and Steve Jobs isn't so colorful as JLG used to be, they're not as bad as they could be.


P.S. Its also REALLY FUCKING NICE to have a REAL BROWSER unlike in BeOS. Ahem.

Apple's like a Boston team (1.00 / 1) (#93)
by tapir on Sun Jun 03, 2001 at 09:28:19 PM EST

I grew up in New England, where the sports teams know how to be heartbreakers. From time to time, the Red Sox get in the world series or the Patriots get in the superbowl., or the celtics get in the championship. A lot of times it happens out of the blue. You haven't been following the team, then you're suprised they've been doing well. Next thing you know, they lose the big game.

Apple breaks your heart the same way. I knew a professor who had a dream of using the Apple Newton to deliver information about grounds management to people that manage gardens and golf courses. The Newton was a beautiful machine, practically mil-spec in quality. He bought one and spent a few hundred dollars more on the software development kit. They had the idea of having my girlfriend doing the development, but she couldn't make much sense of the manuals, and neither did I. About a week after they bought the thing, Apple came out with a new model that was ten times faster. A few months after that, Apple discontinued the Newton and left it's users high and dry.

Similarly, Apple controls about 2% of the streaming media market with the Quicktime player. They're trying as hard as they can to keep it that way, because you have to pay money to get the tools for encoding Quicktime -- it costs money just to evaluate the product, never mind using it. Both the Real and Microsoft players are free, so you evaluate the product for free and have the peace of mind of going with a market leader.

real robots (none / 0) (#94)
by rswelling on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 11:10:33 AM EST

battlebots? get real.
survival research labs
you wanna feel the fear of robotics in action?
"Their army is how much bigger than mine? Three percent? Well shucks, Bubba. Now is the time to establish a network and an attitude,"...We're still here." - Hunter S. Thompson
Rock on! (none / 0) (#95)
by utester on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 02:10:13 PM EST

This story is like a simile, wrapped in a metaphor. Ohh... the pleasures of San Francisco, harbinger of the droll, the hypereducated, and the double-plus-interesting... Translation: I went to BattleBots. It was boring. I was going to go to some Apple conference, but I didn't go. I got stuck in traffic.

Wouldn't it suck... (4.00 / 1) (#96)
by rusty on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 04:31:06 PM EST

Translation: I went to BattleBots. It was boring. I was going to go to some Apple conference, but I didn't go. I got stuck in traffic.

Wouldn't it suck if all of life was actually that dull?

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Thanx ... I almost read the stupid rant ! (2.00 / 1) (#97)
by tarkin on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 05:30:37 PM EST

Thanx man , I saw the length of the post and immediately scrolled down to see your summary ! You saved my life man !
Gimme a shell and I'll own the world ...
[ Parent ]
Think Different | 97 comments (78 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
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