Impeaches are in season.

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

Ah, a breath of fresh air after driving through the state of my birth and the states immediately north and south thereof. Sam and I had a nice walk this morning through our neighborhood and down to the park, and we passed dozens of vehicles creatively registering their discontent with the current administration—and even one that said “God is not a Republican…or a Democrat.” Not only would a supreme being not by definition be on your side, I seriously doubt he or she is registered to vote, and if you’ve formed a comfortable fantasy that Jesus is cosmically tampering with Diebold voting machines to assure that the righteous triumph, perhaps you have a particularly warped view of how busy his calendar is.

As a designer, I thought this was a particularly nice piece of iconography. Yes, the phrase represented by the acronym starts with “Impeach the…” and ends with “..Already!” And speaking of peaches (I’m remembering a Robert Grossman comic drawn for New York Magazine in the impeachment season of 1974, but never mind), it’s good to see that even some Republicans might have enough issue with the attorney general that they’d go after him with the legislative branch’s supreme eject button. I’m gonna have to look up which other members of the executive are subject to impeachment…might be quite a party.

Nice to be home.

Shelter from the storms.

Friday, May 26th, 2006

I’ve been told that posting from a Panera Bread is What Folks Do These Days, and sure enough, here I am, sitting in a Panera in Dublin, Ohio, watching a fierce downpour outside.

It’s a rainstorm not unlike the one I drove through yesterday, heading down I-71 from Cleveland with my father, after accompanying him to his home town (located in extreme NE Ohio) for his annual Memorial Day visit. That thunderstorm, experienced at freeway speeds, was a lot scarier, accompanied by dramatic lightning and almost-cyclonic gusts of wind. All this was after a gloomy, sporadically rainy morning that gave way to a sunny afternoon that gave way to…well, rain like this.

I’m making this Panera my Friday outpost as Sammy drives up from Atlanta for a rendezvous, and from here, it’s, of course, on to Michigan. I’m sure Sam will have braved rainy freeways on her way up, and we’ll probably have further soakingness before the day’s travel is done, but I’m glad I spent some quality time with my father, and will have some quality time with Sammy’s parents (her mom’s birthday is on Monday) as well.

I’m using this morning and afternoon at the laptop as an opportunity to catch up on some reading, and I’m also finding myself, in extra browser tabs, googling people I’ve gone to high school with…an experience that’s sometimes painful when, as in one case, I find that a fairly sensible friend from those days has married someone who is a beyond-right-wing religious ACLU-hating nut case who has taken as his calling the perpetuation of his fanaticism while (as he says on his site) his wife works teaching handicapped kids to keep food on the table as he fights his Goliaths.

Hand me the large polo mallet of common sense, please. I guess it’s one pathetic way of dealing with a midlife crisis—report to your wife that Jesus wants you to have her become the breadwinner while you fight for prayer everywhere, abortion nowhere, and apocalypse soon.

Is the Columbus I’ve come back to visit now more predominantly filled with beyond-right-wing religious ACLU-hating nut cases? Yeah, I think so. Does that make my complex, diverse, flawed, intelligent, contentious southern city intown neighborhood feel just a little bit more like a haven, a shelter, a place to keep from drowning in intolerance?

Yes. For now, for sure.

Mega, giga, tera-driven.

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

I bought a 20MB (megabyte!) drive on October 23, 1985 for $1,942.50. That may well have represented the peak of my desperation to shell out for “the right tool for the right job”—my humble Mac Plus was starved for storage, I was filling up floppies as if they were going out of style, which, I guess, they were. 20MB represented an endless horizon of elbow room. Now it’s not fit to hang off of my keychain.

But that was, of course, not the end of my Quest for Storage. It’s almost too painful to do the math, but, all right, my outlay has plummeted from $97.12 per megabyte to $0.00061130581 per megabyte (the most recent half-terabyte drive stores 476,815.36 megabytes.)

1993-09-08 1GB drive $923.00
1994-11-22 1.2GB Fujitsu drive $680.00
1995-12-23 1GB drive (JPB) $295.74
1998-01-10 Fujitsu 9GB SCSI drive $961.93
1999-01-16 IBM 9GB drive $533.93
2000-05-14 Maxtor 61.4GB drive $275.10
2000-10-04 10GB drive  $94.34
2001-05-10 Maxtor 80GB drive $220.25
2001-05-10 IBM 20GB drive for laptop $125.25
2003-04-04 120GB drive $190.79
2004-03-18 SATA 233GB drive $207.98
2005-02-15 USB2 300GB drive $233.19
2006-04-04 SATA 500GB drive $291.48

Heck, they’re almost paying me to buy the drives now. And my G5 certainly appreciates the real estate…it creates files willy-nilly and fills up space as if it only cost six hundredths of a cent for a megabyte of storage.

Way beyond ‘we’re eating more beets’

Thursday, May 11th, 2006

On the morning after the death of longtime Timesman Abe Rosenthal—USA Today—the anti-Times, the newspaper-in-a-TV-box, the ‘McPaper’ parodied and mocked routinely by real journalists, broke news about a wanton usurping of our civil rights in the name of post-9-11 security.

NSA has massive database of Americans’ phone calls

The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

Kudos to journalist Leslie Cauley and her paper. This is a big, scary story that needs to be explored in greater depth. This is a story the Times didn’t have (in fact, their front page was about as soft today as you’d expect USA Today’s to be.)

So…will the Times pick up the baton?

Na pograniczu kiczu i absolutnego piekna.

Sunday, May 7th, 2006

Well, according to the New York Times (quoting an American Apparel PR person), it’s a Polish expression that roughly means “On the brink of kitsch and absolute beauty.”

Which, on a rainy rainy Atlanta Sunday morning, is about right. It’s certainly better than any number of Banacek old Polish sayings, and contains a lot more nuanced wisdom than I ever learned from my Polish grandparents.

U-turn in Jackson.

Friday, May 5th, 2006

From Engadget comes word of two incidents in the last two weeks where British drivers have trusted their GPS driving instructions over their own eyes, and have attempted to pilot their vehicles across river bridges that exist in the database but not in real life. Doesn’t work well, as you might expect.

Sammy and I tend to leave the “Turn right in 200 yards!” instructions off on our GPS and use it in conjunction with our brains, eyes, and a well-thumbed Rand McNally Road Atlas…but one time driving a straight stretch of road east of Jackson, Michigan when we did have the turn-by-turn activated, we received insane instructions to make a U-turn mid-freeway…and, being stubborn and unwilling to turn south to go north, we did not comply.

On the other hand, driving in the UK is filled with those byzantine turn-south-to-go-north realities, so maybe your average UK driver is open to those computer commands. Me, I kind of prefer the approach of “here’s where you are with great precision on the planet earth…now you figure out what you want to do.”

The Engadget folks mention these incidents while reporting on the large (in this case, huge) new dash-mounted displays that seem destined to serve as yet another distraction layer for drivers who already have too much on their plate.

Without boot.

Monday, May 1st, 2006

Hello in the waning minutes of May first. Happy Mayday, happy Reboot day (caution, annoying music), it seems as well.

Apparently there’s some sort of generalized agreement among, well, some web designers to have their act together enough to redesign their site each and every May first, while displaying as much tasty goodness and usefulness in as standards-compliant and, like, y’know, good a way as possible.

And, well, clearly I didn’t get the meme. Or the memo. But hey, there’s always next year…and there may well be some cause to substantially tighten up the sites I do have…I guess we’ll see about that. I’d like Positively Atlanta Georgia to be an even more comfortable home for you to visit and browse. I would, for example, like to make the photos section more enticing (hmm, maybe fresh content would help?) and make the Media Rare section read more like what it is…a series of columns ripped from alt/weeklies I wrote for here and in Ohio.

I’d like this to be more than a place where I grumpily diss those who use adverbs improperly.

I’d like whirled peas, too, but…well.

Until then, let me point you in this and this direction…just two of the rebooted sites who have me thinking about elaborate css and ajax and things above the fold and grids and all else in the land of web design, about a million miles away from sticky border tape, bloody x-actos, fragrant late-night waxers, and fragile handfuls of IBM Composer type rammed into clay-coated paper.