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  Monday, November 3, 2003

"Red Hat tells users 'No more freebies!'"

Yep, I got the above-referenced email today, not that many days after Red Hat's automatic subscription renewal hit me up for two $60/year bills for my two Linux servers. Which will buy me, oh some free trial versions of Red Hat Enterprise, which I don't want or need. Phooey!

One of the things I liked about Red Hat that kept me using (and paying for) their versions of Linux was the automated update service. Login periodically, get told what new software you need (bug fixes, application updates), download and install it automagically. Cool. But those days are over. I don't want, and certainly won't pay for, an Enterprise version. So when the updates stop next April I'll be looking for another Linux distribution that supports its users like Red Hat used to. Meanwhile, I'll take all the updates I can squeeze in.

7:59:00 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Mieville on Tolkien. Award-winning not-dead fantasy novelist China Mieville excoriates dead seminal fantasy novel JRR Tolkien in a most entertaining fashion:

Tolkien is the wen on the arse of fantasy literature. His oeuvre is massive and contagious - you can't ignore it, so don't even try. The best you can do is consciously try to lance the boil. And there's a lot to dislike - his cod-Wagnerian pomposity, his boys-own-adventure glorying in war, his small-minded and reactionary love for hierarchical status-quos, his belief in absolute morality that blurs moral and political complexity. Tolkien's clich[radical]©s - elves 'n' dwarfs 'n' magic rings - have spread like viruses. He wrote that the function of fantasy was 'consolation', thereby making it an article of policy that a fantasy writer should mollycoddle the reader. Link [Boing Boing Blog]

Tolkien is just an awful writer, IMHO. Pompous, verbose, lumbering. Awful. An overblown mangler of the language. The Lord of the Rings films are far superior to the novels. I trudged my way through Fellowship of the Rings, skimmed much of The Two Towers, and simply dread the thought of tackling Return of the King before December 17. The only reason I can think of to bother is to get reacquainted with the characters and determine if there are any new names to know before immersing myself in the film version.

There, now I feel better.

7:38:43 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Eno lecture in SF on Nov 14. Kevin Kelly sez,

Musician/producer BRIAN ENO will be giving a rare free public lecture next week at Fort Mason in San Francisco on Friday, Nov. 14, in the Herbst Pavillion. Coffee bar opens at 7pm, lecture at 8pm. Directions to Herbst Pavillion are here. [Boing Boing Blog]

Eno will be talking about The Long Now, a favorite topic of mine; if you haven't read Stewart Brand's book on the topic, please do. It will give you a whole new perspective on the short-sightedness of the quarterly-number sluts. This one might be worth the drive to the City.

7:27:43 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

SJ Mercury: Adding style to substance. It used to be that only high-end companies such as Apple Computer or Sony cared about industrial design -- the distinctive look and feel of their products. But in an age when hardware has become a commodity, many more tech companies are coming to realize that aesthetics matter. [Tomalak's Realm]

Not a very in-depth article, but it does address a recent upsurge in the visibility of industrial design, and hints at the large number of design companies in the Bay Area.

7:23:24 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

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