Apple’s New Thingy

There’s nothing like press lead-time to spoil an much-hyped product announcement. Here’s the cover of the January 14th edition of Time Canada:

Here’s another picture:

And here’s a snippet:

The new iMac, which Time took for an exclusive test run recently and which will be unveiled at the annual Macworld convention in San Francisco this week, could be just the thing. Like many PCs today, the new iMac is built around a flat-panel display. But instead of taking up precious desk space like a typical flat monitor, the iMac’s screen floats in the air, attached to a jointed, chrome-pipe neck. It’s also rimmed by a “halo,” a translucent plastic frame that makes you want to pull it toward you-or push it out of the way. Jonathan Ive, chief of Apple’s ID lab, says he designed it so that you would want to touch it, want to “violate the sacred plane of the monitor.” The chrome neck is articulated and bends while maintaining the angle of the screen; it connects to the computer, an improbably small hemisphere at 26.4 cm in diameter-somewhat bigger than a halved cantaloupe. The machine bears an uncanny resemblance to Luxo Jr. – the fun-loving, computer-animated swing-arm lamp that starred in a short film by Pixar, the fabled computer-animation studio that Jobs runs. (Pixar creative chief John Lasseter has also made the first new iMac ad.) “It looks a little cheeky,” says Ive. It looks alive.

So there you have it — the iMac, Mark II. Unfortunately, Time doesn’t have any specs for the machine. I suppose we’ll all have to visit Apple’s tomorrow to see what’s inside. But what’s outside is very nice (and yes, in my not-so-humble opinion, while what’s under the hood is important, style does matter), and it looks like it would look very sharp on my desk.


Chicks Dig It!
(and I dig it too)

Late 1998/early 1999 marked the start of a very good period of my life, especially as far as music was concerned. For the first time in about four years, I started playing musical instruments again — first, my trusty Korg Wavestation synthesizer and later that year, a dusty old Titano piano accordion given to me by my friend Rob. I also did more clubbing back then, and one spot I hit often was We’ave. We’Ave was an unusual club. It was in a little brownstone located not in the club-and-bar district, but near University and Dundas: an area where downtown Chinatown meets with an older residential neighbourhood, across the street from the Art Gallery of Ontario. In addition to its unusual location, it also had an unusual night called Chicks Dig It.

Chicks Dig It was a showcase of women DJs that took place every Monday night. Being a Monday, the evening would start out a little more slowly, but as it got later in the evening, the place would be almost full enough to convince you it was Friday night. The crowd was a friendly mix of students, bar staff and DJs (who work weekends and often go out on Monday night), people with flexible working hours (such as me) and those who just didn’t give a rat’s ass about sleep. The tunes were good dance club fare, naturally, but an even spread of the sub-genres: drum and bass, house, upbeat electronica, ambient, funk and hip-hop provided by DJs Chocolate, Freedom, Denise Benson, my friend Lady P, and the incredibly cute AMtrack. I went there often with those friends of mine whom I could drag out of the house on a Monday night. I’ve had really great times there, and one bizarro date that ended with her curled up in the fetal position screaming at me (hey, it never occurred to me to demand Rorschach and urine tests before the date, okay?).

With the demise of We’ave came the demise of Chicks Dig It. They tried a change of venues — Beat Junkie on Richmond Street, deep in clubland — but that didn’t work out because the roster of Chicks Dig It DJs had grown to an unmanageable number, among other things. However, Chicks Dig It is returning, not only to the scene, but to its old formula of a smaller DJ roster and the use of a club that’s slightly off the beaten track: Temple Bar (King Street west of Spadina, in the alley with the glowing red cross). It happens every Monday starting January 7th (that’s only a couple of days from now, folks). DJs Freedom, Chocolate and AMtrack will be there, and I believe I will too.

Recommended Reading

The eye magazine story on Chicks Dig It. eye also ran a review of Chicks Dig It in its earlier incarnation here.

Sister SF: Women DJs and MCs in San Francisco and beyond. Here’s a story about them that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle.

pinknoises: “The one-stop web resource on women + electronic music”.

Spinsters: A documentary film on Toronto women DJs and their experiences. Featuring DJ Wasabi, DJ Heather, Misstress Barbara and the legendary Denise Benson.

Going Illbient Underground with NYC’s Women DJs: W.i.g. magazine’s coverage of the other cool city’s women DJs.

Goddesses of the Turntables: Jive magazine’s story on women DJs.

sisterdjs: A mailing list and DJ Dazy’s “safe place to ask questions about DJing will help the growth of women dj’s out in the world.”

Bozhe moi! Women DJs are all over the world, even in St. Petersburg, Russia!


It’s not a real profession until it has its own magazine

Speaking of dropping leaflets in Afghanistan, there’s a magazine called Falling Leaf, “an invaluable source of news, articles, and information about aerial leaflet propaganda.”


Photos I Found While Waiting For My Programs to Compile

Osama’s Makeover,
or “I Kiss You!!!”

CNN and ABC news are talking about the US armed forces’ latest psyops action: flying over The ‘Stan and air-dropping leaflets sporting a Photoshopped image of a clean-shaven, Westernized bin Laden with the text “The murderer and coward has abandoned you.”

Looking at the photo, the muderer and coward has run away and turned himself into Mahir “I Kiss You” Cagri!

Quite a likeness, eh? And don’t you just love the Ricardo-Montalban-from-Fantasy-Island suit?

You know that some kind of donut-holder accessory is coming soon…

While New Year’s Eve is still topical, take a gander at this photo of Boston cops trying out their brand new toys while keeping the peace at the First Night celebrations:

Personally, I think the last thing the officer in the middle needs is some machine that’ll do the walking for him.


Nerdity Quotient: 57.4%

That’s what this test says. This score may be distressingly high for some people’s tastes, but I’m relatively Shaft-esque compared to say, this guy.

It doesn’t tell me where I am on this hierarchy, though.


Woof woof!

I would argue that Cosmo the Dog is National Review’s best columnist. Here’s my proof.


I Hereby Resolve to Kick It Old School in 2G2

I’ll be the cat who won’t cop out when there’s danger all about

New Year’s Resolution: When I’m ever in a tight situation, I’ll ask myself: What would Shaft do?

(By the way, I’m referring to the Old School Shaft. Samuel Jackson is a badass, to be sure, but the New School version was missing something.)

Shaft: Warms my black heart to see you so concerned ’bout us minority folks.

Lt. Androzzi: Oh, come on, Shaft, what is it with this black shit, huh? (Holding a black pen to Shaft’s face) You ain’t so black!

Shaft: (Holding a white coffee cup to Androzzi’s face) And you ain’t so white, baby.

Daaaamn right.


OS X and 256 MB of RAM dropped into the old school iBook? Check. Copy of Mac OS X Programming? Check. Project Builder and Interface Builder? Check.

Latest XP patches and version of Microsoft Visual Studio? Check. Accelerated C++? Check. Programming Windows with MFC, Second Edition? Check.

Red Hat 7.2? Check. Latest Python? Check. wxWindows? Check. Linux Socket Programming? Check.

New Year’s Resolution: Be the progammer equivalent of Shaft. “It’s my duty to make software kick booty.”

Social Singing

First, an observation from a nifty blog, How To Learn Swedish In 1000 Difficult Lessons (which I found while reading another nifty blog, Objectionable Content):

The Swedes are not a skeptical people. They have an endearingly childlike willingness to participate. They believe in joining in on reindeer games.

Take an office party, just as an example. An office party could start off with everyone drinking vodka cocktails, followed by an office choir singing traditional Swedish and American Christmas carols. Then, everyone could sit down and a toastmaster would present the evening. Then two old guys from the office could get up and play electric guitars and sing songs about the company, but to the tune of “Alice’s Restaurant.” And everyone, but everyone happily joins in on the choruses, and starts to clap along.

If it were America, everyone would be looking around to see if anyone else was clapping. As for singing along, well, social singing is a lost art in America I fear.

New Year’s Resolution: Do my part to revive the lost art of social singing in North America. I’m sure Isaac Hayes (who wrote Theme from Shaft) would approve.

Practice, practice, practice

I’d been meaning to get more accordion practice and I have a really good reason now — I’m going to be backing a singer/songwriter named Lindi at her CD release party on January 31st.

It’s just one of those lucky coincidences that happens when I bring my accordion with me when I step out. I was at my friend Eric’s party, and Lindi saw the accordion and asked if I would like to gig with her. For my friends and other Toronto-area folk, the location hasn’t yet been finalized — it’ll be at either the Rivoli or B-Side. Details soon.

New Year’s Resolution: Practice accordion more often. At home and on the street. Yeah, on the street. Just like Shaft.

It’s a longshot, but what the hell…

Very Unlikely-to-happen New Year’s Resolution: Seduce incredibly sexy British TV cooking show host Nigella Lawson. Hey, Nigella, I’m pretty good in the kitchen, and some other rooms in the house to boot…

“Oh that a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a Heaven for?”

Robert Browning

Besides, it’s what Shaft would do.