Miscelleneous Bits & Gravy

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Late. Always. But I have a good excuse, this time. I had to be at home to accept a FedEx package — and I have no way to blog from home. Just the WebTV, and that really doesn’t work with Blogger.

I couldn’t use my laptop from home because I was waiting for my laptop to arrive via FedEx. Now it’s here — a brand new bouncing baby iBook. So, as I sit here and poke around at it I’m going to record a few of my thoughts and observations.

First, I’m at the Flightpath because they offer free wireless internet access. Since my new machine has the AirPort card included, I figure I might as well make use of it.

Cool thing #1: No internet set-up. I opened up the iBook at the Flightpath, and — bingo — the operating system automatically recognized the network and set itself up appropriately. Apparently (according to the manual that came with the computer) OS X is designed to auto-detect the fastest connection possibilty and auto-configure itself to use that. So nice! No more opening up the TCP/IP settings control panel each time I go someplace new.

So, I mean, I’ve had this little bad-boy for about an hour, now, and I haven’t really gone all the way through it. You’ve probably heard about some of the sassier features of the new OS — and as far as I can tell, all the rumors are true. Except the operating system doesn’t seem to run any slower than OS 9.1 on my older PowerBook. Maybe my standards are low to start with.

Cool thing #2: Everything is pretty. So far I haven’t found one part of this entire machine that I would consider unattractive. Even the connector that connects the power supply to the computer glows a pale orange or lime depending on what it’s doing.

So, I’m excited to use it some, now.

Took about six days to get here. Not too shabby. I placed the order on Wednesday, they sent the package out the door from Cupertino on Friday, and it got here today at about 12:30.

So far, it has beat my order, my James Stegall minibook that I’ve been so excited to take a look at, from So New Media by six days — and I still haven’t received that. And So New Media is in Austin! I feel like grumping about this for a bit because it seems so rediculous. I understand that SNM’s a small affair, run in the spare time of a couple guys just trying to have some fun. And that’s totally cool — I admire that, in fact — but, you know, I want my book. I think I get excited by something I see on the web, order it, and want to have it or that excitement might wear off some and I won’t be quite as happy to receive my package. Maybe other people work this same way.

Especially when you’re competing with content that provided for free anyway on the web, seems dangerous to wait so long to ship an order.

I will give SNM credit, though: Cote’ got his order last week and Ben Brown e-mailed me to let me know that I had just barely missed the tail-end of their last shipment cycle, so my order will take longer than most.

(See their site for a photo of the current shipment. Wow!)

A solution to this problem might be to make available a .pdf file of the work — or maybe just HTML-ified or plain-text versions of the work ordered — that can be downloaded and looked at while the physical minibook is on its way. Or maybe not. I can see problems with that, too. So, I don’t know how to help. Maybe there’s no good solution. Or maybe there’s no problem and I’m just being pissy.

Either way, I’m still excited to receive my So New Media minibook. I hope it comes soon!

(And, you know, it’s not as if I always deliver material when I say I will, right? It’s, what?, 3:00 by now?)

But, I have been going to the So New Media site on a regular basis to poke around. Found a couple interesting things.

First, Joshua Allen, who I slapped around for his lousy introduction to Strain 17 (a book SNM distribute), has a web site called Giant City that he has been working on for quite a while, it looks like. Concept seems to be this: Giant City’s a fictional city, and every so often (weekly?) Josh adds another story to the mix, feature different characters — and not, as far as I can tell, contributing to any major plot line (which is cool). I haven’t read many of the vignettes yet, but they seem well-written and, actually, quite apropos in style for the web. Well done.

Another quick observation about the iBook, before I continue: the screen’s still 1024x768, but it’s only 12.1” (rather than 14.1” of my older machine). So: everything’s tinier — and this will take some getting used to. The miniscule type I used to favor now sort of hurts my eyes to read. I know what this means: time to get another pair of glasses. Okay…

Second, SNM “friend” Alexis Massie has started something called AfterDinner, an attempt to create a criticm community on the web. Writers submit drafts of work, which readers the comment on using the AfterDinner web interface. An interesting idea. I would like to go into greater detail about it, but I can’t right now (unfortunately). Check it out yourself and maybe write something in your blog. I admit, reading about AfterDinner, I had a few opinions and impressions but I won’t share them now. They start with: I feel really uncomfortable commenting on anyone else’s art. I’ll share them after I hear a few other opinions, first.

But, everyone likes links — so there are a couple links for you.

In other news: I’ve been putting a lot of effort into the old thesis this past wek, despite not having a computer. I feel good about it — just a matter of getting it in on time.

And tonight is another AMODA Digital Showcase. I expect to see none of you there.


So New Media
Giant City