Archive for February 7, 2008

Seeds, By Sherwood Anderson

February 7, 2008

This is one of my all-time favorite short stories.

It is one of the greatest short stories ever written.

If you don’t understand this story (and I will not explain it, so don’t ask in comments), you won’t understand this blog.

Sony’s In Worse Shape Than I Thought

February 7, 2008

Apple Can Restore Sony’s Groove With Mega-Merger: William Pesek

This article posits a possible acquisition of Sony by Apple. Frankly, I don’t think Steve Jobs would want that headache (even though I think he could dramatically transform that company in five years).

Here’s the bit that jumped out at me:

After 2 1/2 years with Howard Stringer as the firm’s first foreign boss, Sony is now worth about a third of its market value at the start of the decade.

Whew.

Even worse:

Sony is having trouble getting its groove back. Even after falling amid subprime-loan turmoil in markets, Apple’s market value is $107 billion to Sony’s $44 billion. Operating margins really tell the story. Sony’s was 0.86 percent at the end of March 2007 versus 2.48 percent in 2003. Apple’s was 18.37 percent at the end of September versus 0.40 percent in 2003.

Ken Kutaragi, your time to strike is approaching! Patience, Sensei. Get the cheaper PS3 out there first to gut XboX and dent the Wii. Then you can get rid of the gaijin Stringer and the throne will be yours!

Rumored Apple Event: iPod Air?

February 7, 2008

This just in:

Apple Rumored to Hold an Event Soon

TUAW has received an anonymous tip suggesting that an audio/video company has been reportedly been contracted by Apple to work on an event at the end of February.

Hang onto your money, baby!

Is the iPod Air coming?

February 24th is the Academy Awards. If the Writers Guild strike ends — or if they grant the MPAAS a waiver (doubtful!) — Apple will jump on it to air an ad for their latest product. Just as they did last year with the iPhone.

Everything is falling into place
.

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Some Apple Mysteries: Keyboard, Order Trims

February 7, 2008

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I came across this review today. Then Judie Lipsett of Gear Diary lorded over my approaching Alzheimer’s(!?) by telling me this keyboard actually came out last year. Page two of that review shows a picture of it with an iPhone!

I have absolutely no idea how I managed to miss that.

I did an old blog post in late September mentioning a portable Bluetooth keyboard would have to be released. And it was — in August!

I flabbergast myself with that miss!

I still believe that the release of the “iSDK” will bring with it the ability to pair an iPhone with a portable Bluetooth keyboard. Knowing Apple, that probably isn’t the keyboard. But I hope that it will be able to pair with the iPhone — because the people who already have that keyboard will immediately get on the Net to report about how well it works and what the experience is like.

Additionally, there are reports that Apple has cut its manufacturing orders for some products. Some people have interpreted this as plummeting sales. Others think Apple has some inside track on the economy imminently tanking.

I think Apple is taking steps to protect itself from the self-cannibalizing of sales that will occur from a new product.

I think February will bring not only the “iSDK” but the iPod Air too.

Whatever revenue Apple expects to lose from decreased iPhone and iPod Touch sales will be overcome by huge sales of an iPod Air — and a new portable Bluetooth keyboard.

A Car That Runs On Tap Water

February 7, 2008

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Futuristic toy car runs on tap water

A remote-control car produced by the toymaker Corgi is the first household item to be powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology.

The car, called H2GO, uses hydrogen derived from tap water as its fuel and was developed by the Leicester-based company in partnership with Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, an international firm based in Shanghai that hopes to extend the technology to home appliances.

I was one of jillions of kids who lusted after Corgi’s toy cars in the 1960s.

To find out more about this one, see here.

What’s This About Bill Bryson Then?

February 7, 2008

The bugger has apparently fled America again for England and gotten a position with a regular paycheck!

Author to record promo podcasts
Best-selling US author Bill Bryson is to record three podcasts praising the beauty of Teesdale.

Dr Bryson, Chancellor of Durham University

That’s a neat trick. Why settle for a professorship, mingling with icky and disrespectful students who can’t spell? Go straight to the top of the pile, with a job that only demands meeting fretful and/or rich parents from time to time. And with the fringe benefit of being able to boss around those writing professors who long to live off their weekend mystery novel writing royalties! How’d he get himself that Doctor title?

I can see him really lording that over people:

Bryson: “Hello, there. I’m The Doctor.”

Parent: “Who?”

Bryson: “No, not that one.”

And what’s this he’s got his thumb in now? Let’s see:

Dr Bryson, Chancellor of Durham University, will soon be heard talking about the region through the recorded messages to be put online.

He’s got a bit of a slog there. I went to the Discover Teesdale website and found it with some cobwebs:

Eat Teesdale Lamb this Christmas
Forget turkey – make it Teesdale lamb this Christmas. Link to Eat Teesdale to see where to order yours now.

Er, it’s moving on to Easter time, lads! It makes me wonder if we won’t have these podcasts until next year!

In the meantime, go get his last this book, which I wrote about here.

He has a YouTube trailer too:

Both Sony Connect and the Kindle Store have him in ebook editions.

Supplemental:

Bill Bryson website
Bill Bryson BBC News Profile
Bill Bryson wikipedia entry

More Writers Getting Screwed

February 7, 2008

An author’s dues
The work of many authors is borrowed more than bought and deserves subsidy

Writers of non-fiction for children may feel even more strongly, as a majority of them receive only a one-off fee for their work from UK publishers — many receive no royalties or subsidiary fees at all. However, often their work is subsequently reissued in new editions, adapted or transferred to electronic media. Sadly, professional writers’ organisations have been unable to remedy this injustice, having little leverage against large publishing corporations.

Emphasis added by me.

They’ll wind up with wardrobes like Poe.

As you can see, this is the UK. Things usually begin in England and metastasize here.