Archive for January 23, 2008

Morrissey: You Have Killed Me

January 23, 2008

Because sucks when it comes to Morrissey. Just one track.

Because these two are the most energetic clips of this song on YouTube.

Istanbul, Turkey:

Guadalajara, Mexico:

And because this will be a fitting final post, if it comes to that.

Is Apple’s Tablet The iPod Air?

January 23, 2008

Can the Touch Revive Apple’s iPod Sales?

“We view the iPod market as bigger than the market for simple music players,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer. “We believe one of the iPod’s future directions is to become the first mainstream Wi-Fi mobile platform.”

Emphasis added by me.

Do any of you understand the boldness of that statement? And what was just tipped?

James Kendrick at JK on the Run noticed something even before the above was published:

Having an iPod Touch with largely the same functionality of the iPhone proves to me how savvy Apple is about this stuff. They will have effectively removed the carrier, something that no company such as Apple likes to play ball with, from the iPhone in the iPod Touch. Sure you won’t have all of that Edge goodness in the US, but you don’t have AT&T to worry about either. Jobs is so crafty.

Oh he is!

Everyone hailing the new MacBook Air as The New Thing has it all wrong. It’s just a lighter notebook. Sure, perhaps a secondary computer, but how many people don’t already have that?

I think Cringely is right about how limited that market is:

It is very doubtful that Apple will sell a million Airs in the next year. It is doubtful Apple will sell even half a million Airs and Steve Jobs knows this. What’s important here is not the subnotebook computer but the bits of it that will likely make their way into much more interesting Apple products to come.

I see Apple notebooks all over the place. Apple just sold a ton of them last month as Christmas gifts. I don’t see those people getting rid of a month-old brand-new notebook for the Air.

Cringely especially understands how the chip business works:

Take that specially packaged Intel CPU, how did that come about? Steve Jobs didn’t beat the heck out of Intel CEO Paul Otellini to get a little CPU that would go into fewer than half a million boxes. Steve did what he always does. He beat the heck out of Paul Otellini with the promise that this little CPU — for which we can expect Apple will hold some exclusive for the next six months — will end up in millions and millions of Apple products, nearly all of them costing a lot less than a MacBook Air.

Emphasis added by me.

The thing that Apple has sold in the “millions and millions” is the iPod.

Even people who don’t understand or even like computers have iPods.

Just as “Macintosh” has come to symbolize a certain je nais se quoi, so has the term “iPod.”

Ask the few Zune owners how many times they’ve had people ask where they got “that brown iPod.”

The iPod has established itself in the minds of everyone in these ways:

1) You don’t need to be a geek to use it

2) It’s just about as simple to use as a TV

3) It’s inexpensive enough to buy on an impulse

Apple has slowly been expanding the definition of the iPod from a single-purpose music-player to a device that can display a calendar, show photos, play games, and now view video.

At the top of this iPod continuum sits the iPhone.

As we’ve seen with the introduction of the iPod Touch, the iPhone really is a next-generation iPod with an embedded cellphone. With all the publicity the iPhone has received, with all the sales it has had (and still does; I was in an Apple Store Monday and people were buying iPhones!), Jobs is making headway in stretching the definition of what “iPod” means.

Jobs made the bold move of leapfrogging his established iPod models for the iPhone and then adding a phoneless iPhone to the iPod lineup. A two-prong approach that redefined the scope of what “iPod” means and what an iPod can do.

What is missing in Apple’s product lineup is exactly what the rumor mill has stated a few months ago: a tablet computer.

And I think that tablet computer will be called the iPod Air.

Apple has already established the “Air” moniker as connoting lightness, svelteness, and portability.

A tablet computer called the iPod Air would ride on those marketing coattails very easily. And it would further broaden the idea of what the iPod is by linking the idea of “iPod” (easy, un-geeky) with the idea of “Air” (a sexy computer).

I’ve got a idea for a TV ad that would nail the iPod Air in everyone’s mind:

FADE IN: That now-famous manila envelope on surface

NARRATION: In January, Apple unveiled the lightest computer ever …

MacBook Air being pulled out of envelope

NARRATION: … the MacBook Air.

MacBook Air being opened

NARRATION: And now we’re doing it again.

iPOD AIR pulled from INSIDE the MacBook Air

NARRATION: Meet the new iPod Air. A computer as easy to use an as iPod. And as light as Air.

OK, maybe it’s not the best way to do it, because I can see eejits wondering if you need to buy a MacBook Air to use the iPod Air (just as everyone thought they needed to buy a Treo to get any use out of the Foleo!). I still put that example here because I believe mostly non-eejits will be reading this post. Apple’s marketing department and ad agency will come up with the defining image. A smaller envelope, maybe? A fanny pack? A Daytimer?

Nevertheless, I believe that the Air designation will not be limited to the new MacBook. I firmly believe that an iPod Air is coming and that it will be the rumored tablet computer from Apple.

Just wait and see what applications start appearing when Apple releases the iPhone/iPod Touch SDK. Especially wait to see what new iPhone/iPod Touch applications come from Apple at that time.

I still expect two things to happen:

1) iSync being revised

2) A portable Bluetooth keyboard

People will want an iTunes-simple way of getting stuff into an iPod Air and also have the peace of mind of not losing important stuff.

People like me will scream (have been screaming!) for a Bluetooth keyboard because an on-screen keyboard for anything more than SMS/texting is not fun.

If either of those two things happen, Apple will have further revealed its hand. Just as their number cruncher, Oppenheimer, surprisingly did in that earnings call.

Math Was Created To Humble Us

January 23, 2008


It took a few days for my humiliation to dissipate after my math fiasco here.

Today I came across a Professional Website that also screwed up math.

And it was simpler math too.

I feel better now.

All The Music You Want For Free

January 23, 2008

Free the Music

As of today, you can play full-length tracks and entire albums for free on the website.

Oh. My. God.

I’ve never been to even though I’d heard of it. I found this proclamation as the lead item on techmeme and decided to give it a try.

I entered the name of a song. It got all confused. Apparently searches must be done by artist’s name or band name.

OK, so I put in the name of a band.

Then the player got confused, said it was having trouble streaming what I wanted to hear.

OK. I selected an alternate track from that band, a song I’d never heard.

Before hitting Play, however, I set up a certain piece of software I have.

I set it to Record.

Then I hit’s Play button.

Three minutes later, I had a copy of that song. I played it back. Sounded the same. It might not have, though; there could have been some digital magic to prevent that.

A minute after playback, I had my copy saved as an MP3 with a sample rate of 22050 Hz and a bitrate of 128 kb/s. If I had ripped it from a CD, I would have used a higher bitrate. (I’m not sure if the software I used can do that; I might or might not bother to see.)

Now I can play it as many times as I want.

And that band is screwed.

No more payment after that single play I did.

So no, I won’t say anything about how I did this. It was an experiment. I was checking for DRM. It doesn’t seem to be there. There might be watermarking, though, so anyone who grabs a bunch of stuff and puts it up on P2P is an eejit deserving of the hell they get. So Don’t Do That.

As for that track I ripped? Hang on a bit. There. Sent to the Recycle Bin. Deleted.

And Comments are closed for this post.

I don’t want to be bothered by eejits asking me how to do that. I won’t say.

Artists should be paid.

Their damned landlords are.

The Cure For Gadget Envy

January 23, 2008


I’ll skip the details of the dendritic manner in which I came across these posts and just put them up as links:

Tech Lust: How to Cope with Gadget Envy

Is gadget lust a struggle for you?

Oh how I used to have it.

Luckily — very luckily — I could not afford to indulge it.

The apogee of my gadget lust was during the days of PDAs.

Sony seemed to be coming out with a new CLIE every other month and developers were trying to keep pace by releasing applications that took advantage of the latest new features: MP3, increased screen resolution, video, etc.

Then it all collapsed. Sony dropped their CLIE line. HandEra never really got going. Palm bought Handspring and let their PDA line atrophy as they concentrated on their dream of being the next Nokia.

Things imploded on the Microsoft-led side too. The Pocket PC OS was rechristened Windows Mobile and congealed into one GUI that was suited more to cellphones than to PDAs. All the licensees followed suit by either dropping their PDA lines and getting out of pushing the OS altogether or moving to cellphones.

Then came the first nail in my Gadget Envy coffin: the Nokia 770.

The final nail in the coffin was my getting a LifeDrive.

Oh I had some big plans for using the LifeDrive. All of those posts can be found in the old blog under this Category.

So what happened?

Palm OS 5 and the LifeDrive itself.

While Palm OS 5 on the LifeDrive is more powerful than OS 4 on my old S320 CLIE, overall it really has less productive functionality. That’s because OS 5 killed all the Hacks I was using, such as the one that could open a Memo at the same time I had a DOC open. That was something I would do several times a day. The LifeDrive took that away from me. It also took away my PopUp Clock (yeah, I know there’s such a beast on the LifeDrive, but it’s Just Not The Same) and my Clipboard hacks.

And then the delays began.

Look at this video:

Yeah, I have that! Even with the Microdrive replaced by CompactFlash!

When it’s not that bad, it’s still bad enough: five seconds to get to a Memo when all I want to do is see something for one second. That kind of overhead is just unacceptable. And it happens just about All. The. Time.

For the overall lack of speed the S320 had, it just murders the LifeDrive as a device designed to be a productivity tool. And being able to do things with Hacks made it fun to use too.

The LifeDrive has made me less productive and it is simply no fun to use, period.

When in the course of a day I’d eagerly pull out the old monochrome CLIE to jot down a quick note, I now dread pulling out the LifeDrive.

Classic Graffiti is just rotten on it. Recognition errors are often fifty percent. I’m back-swiping to erase an incorrect letter just as often as I’m writing a correct letter! And I’m not being sloppy with my strokes, either. I’m doing exactly what I did with the CLIE — an old machine that would give me 99.9% accuracy!

Both the Nokia 770 and the LifeDrive are gadgets I lusted after. I envied those who would have them.

Then I discovered the truth of having them.

There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.
Oscar Wilde

And in the course of learning that truth, I also discovered perhaps the most important truth: Never trust the opinions of other people when it comes to gadgets.

Even if a person is being strictly honest and is not leading sheep to slaughter, the overarching factor against relying on other people is this: Perhaps no one else will use that tool the way you will.

I’m the only person I’ve come across, for example, who has just about 3,000 Memos in his Palm device. My need — and it is that — to overlay a Memo over a DOC file is something others rarely use. Even the way I use the Date Book is unique. Most people use the To-Do list instead. Many people extolled Date Book+ and its many wee icons to help them better grasp their day. I saw no need for that. I don’t even use the Categories in Calendar!

There’s probably someone out there who does plenty of traveling and could see my LifeDrive as a great thing because it can play video to pass the time. I’ve long ago stopped using that feature. It’s just too much trouble to convert files or simply transfer compatible files. I’ve still got a ton of video stored on the LifeDrive. But that’s due more to inertia than need. I’d sooner pull out my cheap jWin MP3 player to pass time.

I also long ago stopped using the LifeDrive for writing. The Bluetooth keyboard I was toting was adding weight and bulk to my shoulder bag. If I’m going to do that, I might as well go all out and get an Everex Cloudbook or Asus EeePC. I’d have more storage, a faster CPU, larger screen, and far more capability. Plus, I wouldn’t have to put up with the keyboard unpredictably not working! (For the record, that happened with the Palm Wireless Keyboard too.)

My advice for curing Gadget Envy is this:

1) Know what you really need to do

2) Try the gadget yourself to be sure it can do what you need

3) Get really disappointed at least once by something you’ve really wanted!

That last point is key: There’s nothing like being slapped in the face by yourself to make you step back and see reality.

Do I still have some gadget lust? A little. But I know the tools I need and I’m not going nuts about it. If I don’t get them today, there’s tomorrow. And tomorrow always brings an improvement to just about every gadget (sometimes that improvement could simply be a drop in its price!). (And that price reduction might not be from the manufacturer, either.)

I just know you’re wondering, so here it is: I’d like to get an iPhone and an Everex Cloudbook. (Yeah, I know I’ve written about the HTC Advantage, but Windows Mobile really isn’t my thing. Plus I think the iPhone will be able to do more than that once its SDK is released.) (And no, I have no MacBook Air lust.)

And despite my lingering wee gadget lust, I can wait.


Bird Flu Has Popped Up Again

January 23, 2008

Over 2000 complain of fever, govt says ‘it means nothing’

Kolkata, January 22 About 2,324 cases of people suffering from fever have been reported from the Birbhum district — Ground Zero of the bird flu outbreak in the state — in the last five days.

“The West Bengal Government is failing to understand the gravity of the situation,” said Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare P Lakshmi, during a visit to Birbhum on Tuesday.

Lakshmi, who is currently in the state to get a first hand assessment of the culling operations, did not find adequate health infrastructure to combat the bird flu threat. She criticised the state government for acting irresponsibly and lacking seriousness to fight the disease.


Don’t worry too much about the economy. You could be dead next winter anyway.

Warren Ellis, Terrorist Gardener

January 23, 2008

My Guide To Gardening

You see, the Earth’s natural tendency is to fuck with you. This is the secret of gardening. The planet does not want to give you anything. Mulching the soil is like waterboarding Gaia. It’s the Human saying to the Planet, “give me what I want or I will continue to drown you in handfuls of shit.” Be merciless.


From what I understand, he grows his own stuff (which I think might include food), so he knows how to coax the dirt to thrive.

WordPress Goes To 3GB Free Image Storage!

January 23, 2008


It was previously 100MB. Which I used up very quickly on the old blog and had to shell out $20 to get another 1GB.

Well, that 100MB limit is now 3GB for free!

And my old blog, which is dead dead dead, is sitting there with a whopping 8GB of image storage space!

I’ve also been told some infrastructure work is being done on the image upload area. It’s really a buggy and pathetic thing. It needs a big overall to make it easier to find images I’ve uploaded.

Also, WordPress needs to accommodate more embedded video! Right now all it can do is YouTube. I really need it to do Veoh too. I’d like to see it do every video service out there — GUBA, DailyMotion, etc. Even MySpace TV!

Since WordPress just raised $29.5 million in capital I guess some exciting additions will be in the works.