Saturday, September 27, 2008


After a fleeting relationship with coffee, I've mostly given it up. For whatever reason, since moving to New Zealand I've gotten hooked on coffee. It's not that Missoula had bad coffee--quite the contrary. It's just that coffee is pretty much the only sort of casual social / business engagement that people do here.

I had grown to like my new persona as a coffee drinker. Despite lightening up my wallet considerably, it's not a bad drink. Unfortunately, coffee has really started to disagree with me. The brutal acidity and the diuretic effect of the coffee finally caused me to give it up.

To help cope with the coffee cravings I've taken back up with an old friend from my Missoula days: Yerba maté. Yerba maté is a relative of holly grown in South America. Dried, ground up, and steeped in hot water, yerba maté is strong stuff. My preferred method of brewing is to add some cold water to my Planetary Designs half-liter "desk press" mug add some boiling water and then add a generous quantity of yerba.

My preferred method is not, however, the traditional method. In Argentina they suck the tea through a slotted silver straw from a gourd. In solidarity with South Americans everywhere, I have purchased a gourd (the maté) and a bambilla (the straw). Following the proper methodology I have seasoned my gourd and consumed my first traditional yerba maté.

My first thought when I read how full you are supposed to pack your gourd was, "holy crap, I'm going to go broke buying maté for this thing." Then, after discovering that you are supposed to refill your gourd with water until the flavor is gone, I realized that my maté gourd is way too big. This is clearly a social gourd and not a solo model.

The effect of consuming maté in this concentration and quantity is that I can now fold space-time with my mind, much like the shipping guild in Dune.

Friday, September 19, 2008

McCain's brain fails mainly to locate Spain

Sorry, it's election season--both here in NZ and in the US. This one was too good not to pass on to my throngs of adoring readers:

Click the link for the English audio version of the interview. Priceless. Good to know McCain is willing to work with friendly governments in Latin America. But seriously though, what about Spain?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Economist on Palin

My friend and brilliant budding economist, Ben, recently pointed me to this article about Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin.

The Economist is hardly part of the "liberal media." If you know someone in danger of voting McCain / Palin this year, please point them to this article.

Here's hoping reason will prevail.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Why I use a Mac

I'm a long-time *nix user. Back in the mid-nineties I blinged my fvwm (not fvwm2, you nancies) with the best of them. I rolled with the *BSD crowd for quite a while back then too. Back then, that's where the pipe-cutting mofos of computing hung out because that's where the action was.

Somewhere along the way, Linux stopped being the place cool stuff happened. On the server side, Solaris has been sexier for some time. On the desktop (where I spend most of my time) OS X seems to be the only place where innovation is occurring.

I think part of the reason the Mac is more appealing to me these days than Linux is that OS X has figured out how to create both a viable open source and a viable commercial software ecosystem.

Here's a graphic illustrating what I perceive to be Apple's platform advantage:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Red Cross: Bush administration committed war crimes.

I ran into this video this morning. In it, the MSNBC commentator discusses a report made by the Red Cross wherein they unequivocally describe the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo as constituting war crimes.

Let's all take a moment of silence to remember what war crimes mean. Here is a nice bit of historical background on war crimes just in case anyone intends to make light of them.

Will any formal investigation ever be made? Most of the kiwis I meet cynically say they don't think so--just look at Henry Kissenger. If we all remember and we all demand it, it could happen.

The Red Cross says that the US has committed war crimes.

The Red Cross says that the US has committed war crimes.

The Red Cross says that the US has committed war crimes.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

No iPhones for the wicked

Apple's iPhone is one sexy bit of tech paraphernalia. Despite trying to ween myself off of a tech-obsessed lifestyle, I can't resist the iPhone. The thing is like a Newton but cooler!

Thanks to Vodafone New Zealand, I don't have to be strong. Err, that is they've given me sufficient economic incentive to resist the iPhone's charms.

Apple announced a global price point of $199USD. Vodafone liked that price point so much that they made the 8 GB iPhone $199NZD! The only catch is that you'll pay $250 per month. . . for 24 months for a paltry one gigabyte of data transfer.

No thanks, Vodafone! You found my price point and sailed right on by.