Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, January 13, 2021

I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Cafe Alma‘s mention in the St. Petersburg Times’ Best Tampa Bay Restaurants roundup for 2004.

Alma’s become one of my favorite nighttime hangouts in downtown St. Pete, probably tied with The Lobby. The caveat: I haven’t sampled much of the cuisine at either locale. I’m there for the drinks and decor, not to eat. But you have to start somewhere.

Incidentally, this article is repurposed over at *tbt, where an open comment form is provided for feedback. If you have anything to say about how things shook out, head on over and chime in.

As for the rest of the Times’ list: I estimate I haven’t been to some 90 percent of these joints. That’s more an indictment of me than the establishments. By coincidence, I had been contemplating my lack of fine dining experiences over the past few months; it seems like ages since I’ve sat down at a really good restaurant. I can think of worse things than making this my personal eating-out checklist for 2005 (limiting myself to Pinellas and Hillsborough — I don’t care how good Farmer John’s Pancake House is, it’s not worth trucking up to Brooksville).

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/13/2005 11:34pm
Category: Florida Livin', Food, Publishing
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With each inevitable patch release to fix the latest critical flaw in Windows, we hear admonishments from the geek-chic to abandon Microsoft’s buggy wares and go with the secure, stable and robust paradise that is Linux.

So, now that Red Hat and SuSE, two of the most popular flavors of Linux, have released patches to fix security holes reminiscent of Windows vulnerabilities, I have to question whether or not any OS can claim to be fully secure.

I realize the quest for total security is largely a fool’s errand. The equation doesn’t add up: Open-access network (Internet) + wide-ranging functionality (OS) + executable programs (multimedia content, including low-level ones like image files) = plenty of opportunity for maliciousness. The best endusers can hope for is the iminimization of vulnerabilities, and Windows’ bullseye from being the world’s dominant OS has more to do with its problems than anything else.

Still, it’s disheartening to think that Linux’s armor is already getting chinked. I guess there’s always Mac, but since OSX is Unix-based, I’m sure that’s just as prone to getting pegged.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/13/2005 10:10pm
Category: Tech
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Apple certainly made its customary big noise this week, as it unveiled two products designed to build its market share in the computer and music-player sectors. The iPod Shuffle and Mac mini both represent an attempt at drastically ramping up Apple’s user base, by establishing price points that are designed to appeal to the mass market.

Will it work? As computers become more and more commodified, the pricetag is what counts. If that’s the only barrier toward widespread adoption of Mac and its operating system, then the Mac mini should solve that problem. The Shuffle, similarly, should snare consumers who’ve lusted after iPods but couldn’t justify the price of the hard-drive based models (personally, I think this new entrant makes the tweener-like iPod Mini superfluous).

All this is apparent. Still, I’m not sure Steve Jobs had to state it so blatantly:

“People who are thinking of switching will have no more excuses,” Jobs told devotees during a keynote speech at Macworld Expo. “It’s the newest and most affordable Mac ever.”

You’d think a company with Apple’s heft would more tightly control the verbage that comes out of the mouth of its spokespeople, including the CEO. “No more excuses”? That has a distinctly accusatory tone. Even if it was being delivered to the choir, it’s unnessarily harsh.

I’m not at all tempted by the Shuffle; I’d rather go for the big storage of the regular iPods. But the Mac mini…

I happen to have a spare monitor and keyboard lying around, so all I’d need to buy would be the basic unit and a mouse. I never figured to go back to a desktop, after so many years of using notebooks exclusively. But part of the Mac mini’s hook is greater portability, so I could see using it that way. And I am considering going with a Mac as my next computer anyway, especially with Mac OSX‘s cool functionality.

It’s good to have Apple stirring up the computing pot. The next couple of years should be entertaining.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/13/2005 09:39pm
Category: Tech, iPod
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cookoo cola

That sums up my reaction to the prospect of Coca-Cola coming out with a coffee-flavored cola this year, with the possible moniker “Blak”. (That name would ensure a flop, in my humble opinion.)

But then again, I hate coffee, so don’t go by me. And despite the failure of Pepsi’s coffee-fied concoction, Kona, nearly ten years back, I have a feeling that the Starbucks-ization of America is so far along that people will now eagerly guzzle a coffee-cola hybrid.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/13/2005 09:13pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Food
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Maybe it’s the recent injection of a dastardly ferret into the storyline (I used to own such a rodent), but I’m enjoying Darby Conley’s “Get Fuzzy” a lot more than usual lately.

And in these juiced-up times, who doesn’t love a good steroid joke?

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/13/2005 08:19pm
Category: Comedy, Publishing
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A month ago, I mildly bitched about having too much vacation time as 2004 wound down. Since most people get to the end of the year with exactly the opposite problem, I’m sure I elicited little sympathy.

Get ready to hate on me a little more. I got my first pay stub today, and took note of the vacation time coming to me for 2005:

200 hours. That’s 5 weeks.

Not only that, I get another 40 hours of personal time. So effectively, that’s 6 weeks of paid-for downtime.

I guess, for a change, I should plan ahead for some travel. I’m sure I’ll still have leftover time come December, but I can at least make a serious dent in it before then.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/13/2005 07:21pm
Category: General
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