Time Off.

As there were some bad feelings over my escapades with the Swedish women’s gymnastic team in the company break room, I’ve decided to give the staff the rest of the week off. I think with John off exploring the wonderful world of waffles, it’s a good idea to let everyone rest up as much as possible since he’ll probably be being chased by hordes of killer automatons when he gets back.

And we’ll be doing a little weapons training next week so I want everyone to be alert. Not like the last time.

Also, the Norwegian women’s volleyball team arrives in an hour and I thought it would be best just to clear everyone out.

I understand it’s traditional to not leave you without something to talk about and, never fear, I have something prepared. Your homework is to discuss the following equation.

Please show your work.

Why Does Printing Suck?

Since the dawn of time man has asked three eternal questions.

Why am I here?

Is this all there is?


Why does printing suck so badly?

I mean, WTF? It sucks whether I’m using OS X or Windows. It possibly even sucks on Linux. It’s a little hard to say, though, as Linux is only used as a desktop operating system by four trolls living under a bridge in Norway.

And I don’t mean “troll” in the sense of the forum pejorative. These are actual trolls.

But anyway, I am uniquely qualified to address this question as I was there when printing was invented. And it was not at all like you have heard. Or can imagine.

Until I tell you about it. And then you’ll probably be able to imagine it. Or at least get a fairly good idea. Not perfect, of course, but directionally correct.

Yes, I saw the Navajo god Aychpee cast the ASCII characters upon the fire and conjured them to appear on sheets of birch bark left hanging from the roof of the sweat lodge. Sadly, the conjuring of spirits is not easily translated to the world of ones and zeros.

Works a little better with analog, but that’s not really relevant to this story.

Attempting to take printing to the digital world got off to a rocky start. When Wang (stop giggling) forced the first printer driver coders to spend 18 days in the desert in nothing but a loin cloth and do mescaline to try to get in touch with their spirit guides, the result wasn’t exactly user-friendly.

Actually, it was 142 pages of Wingdings. It was only after the second attempt where they had some park rangers stand over their shoulders and put in the occasional semicolon or squiggly bracket that they actually got the printers to respond.

And that was on the Wang (stop giggling), which only used four characters.

Those characters were…


No. It was a, e, t and the ampersand (stop giggling).

But that was over 40 years ago. You’d think they would have gotten it right by now, right?

Sadly, discord between competing furies continues to cause things like Print Center or Printer Setup Utility or whatever it’s called this week. Even Apple’s continued attempts to appease these furies by naming its operating system releases after big cats has yielded them little.

There is hope for the future, however. Apple’s web site currently lists one opening entitled “Shaman”, another “Dark Mystic” and a third “9th Level Warlock”, although the latter is thought to be to deal with the evil goat.

Printing. Alas, we are stuck with it.

Until Apple releases digital paper with tiny bubbles that change color that can be reused as many times as you like.

Which, fortunately, is going to be next week.

Macworld Itinerary from Thor.

John has asked me to post today. Quite frankly with the number of people currently doing searches on “Apple rumors” we don’t really need to post a damn thing to get the same amount of traffic we usually get.

But we have news! News in the form of our itinerary for this the 2007 Macworld Expo.

Tomorrow is the big show and we’ll be there (really, we mean it this time) which means there won’t be any live updating. Contrary to myth, there’s no ubiquitous wifi in the Moscone Center presentation hall.

There are also no Apple Bunnies. I actually have a hand in starting that myth as I appeared at Macworld 1997 with several Playboy Bunnies in my entourage. I am the sole CARS contributor who has been to Macworld before, having attended each one since they began (John’s statement is still correct as I am a contributor, not a regular staff member).

After the keynote, John will be down on the showroom floor to hand out some “Phil Schiller has a posse” buttons.

So, if you see someone lying on the floor of the showroom with a bunch of buttons, that’s probably him.

When the buttons are gone (he’s got 100 of them), he says he’ll be attempting to touch as many Apple executives that he can.

Just touching them. He’s going to run up and touch them and then run away giggling like a school girl. He said “That’s just the way I roll.”


On Tuesday night John hopes to make it into Macworld Blast! even though he doesn’t have a ticket and it’s apparently sold out. If you’re looking for him there, you might try the roast beef line and see if the guy with the electric knife has a pin on his shirt that says “MY NAME IS JOHN.”

Just wink at him. If he winks back, then it’s him. If you get a strange look, it’s probably not.

Masako will, of course, be spending her time in several technical sessions and then running a networked game of AlephOne, and Howard’s actually teaching some of the session in the photography track.

Ugluk says he’s going to lurk under the stairwells and jump out and scare people. That, as you can imagine, is the way he rolls.

I will be behind stage during the keynote, of course, offering moral support and mai tais to Steve and Phil and all the rest. After, I’ll be in the conversation pit with my very special guests Scarlett Johansson, Salma Hayek and Jennifer fricking Connelly to get their topless reaction to the day’s announcements.

And, finally, Chet said he’s going to watch the whole thing from a van parked down the street. We still had some Stroh’s and Cheeze-Its left over from last year. Knock three times and then give the password which is…


Are you serious?

He says the password is “Kevin Federline rulez.”

He swears it’s ironic but I’ve seen his iPod.

Anyway, we’ll see you under the big top!

C4 Reveals Seamy Underbelly of the Mac World.

[Crazy Apple Rumors Site sent its high society reporter Thor Samson to C4 over the weekend to cover the “it” Mac conference of fall 2006.

What Thor discovered about the conference celebrities may shock you.

Or not, depending on how jaded you are.]

I went to C4 with my mind as open as my expense account. These events are great because they allow the Mac community to showcase its stars in their element, right?


Many of these so-called “stars” of the Mac community are ne’er-do-wells at best and criminals at worst. Let’s take a look at C4’s “luminaries”.

John Gruber: Long considered the most respected Mac blogger, recent evidence indicates Gruber is addicted to online gambling.

Not a lot of people know this, but only descendants of the founders of ARPA can open online casinos, as they are considered Internet natives who have to put up with the rest of us yahoos who invaded their homeland.

Now, sources say, Gruber is in six large to these online tribes and is being forced to shill for online gambling to avoid having Daring Fireball repossessed.

Just don’t lend him any money.

Jonathan “Wolf” Rentzsch: The organizer of C4, Rentzsch actually is a lycanthrope as his nickname implies and must shave his face and hands six or seven times a day. By my reckoning, he devoured eight C4 attendees and a waiter at Jaks Tap.

Also, he seems to think it would be really funny if Mac users adopted goatse as their gang symbol.

Clearly, the pain of living with the knowledge of the havoc he has wreaked up on humanity has driven him insane.

Brent Simmons: Simmons’ dark secret is not so secret: he sold out to the man. Further compounding his guilt, however, he has also been accused of not keeping it real and a failure on numerous occasions to holla back, despite repeatedly being given the opportunity.

Drunken Batman: Drunk? Frequently. Batman? No.

So there you have it. The Macintosh community is full of gamblers, werewolves, sellouts and frauds.

OK, that sounded a lot more surprising when I wrote it on Sunday night…

Avie Tevanian: The Exclusive CARS Interview!

A devastated Macintosh community read the news yesterday that Avie Tevanian is stepping down as Apple’s Chief Technology Officer effective March 31st to “pursue other interests.”

I spoke with Avie at his home over the weekend as we both took Swedish massage from twin 17-year-old Japanese pearl divers while watching a private screening of The Fast and The Furious III: Tokyo Drift.

I was also high on mescaline but Avie was just having a two-olive gin martini with Quintessential as he had to get up early to do naked Tai Chi with Scarlett Johansson.

THOR: Avie, thanks for meeting with me.

TEVANIAN: Thor, it was the least I could do since you pulled me out of that burning building all those years ago.

THOR: Oh, that. Pff. It wasn’t anything. I’d forgotten all about it.

TEVANIAN: Well, I haven’t. Saved my life. And then you ran back in and saved every one of those fish in the aquarium! You’re amazing!

THOR: Well, I didn’t have to be at that charity event for the little leper children until later. I had the time. But let’s talk about you. I’m sure what’s on the mind of most Mac users out there is “How does Avie’s departure affect Apple, OS X and my personal belief system based on a universe that manifests itself as a constant flux between negative and positive energies?”

TEVANIAN: First of all, I’d like to say that Mac users have no need to fear for the continued success of Apple or OS X. I’ve been phoning it in for the past couple of years.

THOR: Really? That’s very candid of you.

TEVANIAN: Well, I don’t want anyone to worry unnecessarily. I know how Mac users are. I have a reputation as the “father” of OS X or the Mach kernel from my work at Carnegie Mellon. But the truth of the matter is I farmed all the real coding out to an Indian firm. Under the terms of my contract with them and as part of an independent study in business I was doing, I was able to claim the work as my own.

THOR: Now, that I did know. You were a pioneer in outsourcing to Asia.

TEVANIAN: I was. I was doing it long before consumers throughout the U.S. were spending hours on hold waiting to talk to Ranjit. Now the last part of your question about the state of the universe being an ongoing dischord between competing furies I’d like to answer through interpretive dance.

THOR: I was hoping you’d say that.

[Tevanian lifts himself off the massage table and performs a three-hour interpretive dance depicting the infinite saga of the struggle between life and death, darkness and light, good and evil. The finale consists of Tevanian waving sparklers in the air as a neon sign blinking “USA!” lowers from the ceiling.]

THOR: That was marvelous.

TEVANIAN: Thank you!

THOR: Avie, why now? Why are you calling it quits?

TEVANIAN: Well, truth be told, you don’t see a coworker get devoured by beavers and not have it affect you. I realized that life is short. And precious. And fragile.

THOR: Particularly compared to pack of bloodthirsty beavers.

TEVANIAN: [sniff] Yes.

THOR: Some have said that Jon’s death angered you so much that you’re going on a beaver hunt.

TEVANIAN: Um… actually that was something else they were talking about.

THOR: Ah. Oh. Well.


THOR: So, what is in store for Avie Tevanian?

TEVANIAN: Well, when I was younger I always wanted to take a few months and backpack across Europe.

THOR: Backpack? Really?

TEVANIAN: Yes. But I’m 44 now and I have a whole crapload of money so I think instead of backpacking I’m going to do it in a really bitching car going about 120 miles an hour with a couple of naked girls. Do the whole thing in a couple of days.

THOR: Hmm. So, uh, that’ll get you through the weekend. What are you going to do next week?

TEVANIAN: Um… I dunno. Uh… maybe hang out by the Gas-N-Sip. See what Gary’s up to. I dunno. I borrowed a buddy’s copy of the first run of Powers. I might read that.

THOR: Don’t you, well, don’t you think you should get a job?

TEVANIAN: I dunno.