Archive for March 15, 2008

Quote: Jean Rhys

March 15, 2008

I must write. If I stop writing my life will have been an abject failure. It is that already to other people. But it could be an abject failure to myself. I will not have earned death.

— quoted in “The Dramatist” by Ken Bruen

Reference: Google Book Preview

March 15, 2008

This is the search syntax:

inauthor:[first name] inauthor:[surname]

Example: inauthor:Ken inauthor:Bruen

Who, by the way, everyone should read.

Not every book or writer is available for preview.

Is Podcasting Dead?

March 15, 2008

Oh lord, I tried to listen. Honestly, I did.

But the amount of information versus time spent was so low compared to reading, that I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Aside from that, many I sampled were being done by people who clearly had no business being in front of a microphone. They would breathe into the mic. They would cough. They would Um, Ah, Um precious seconds away. And they were unorganized.

And if you emailed them and complained about this less-than-even-amateur production quality, they took umbrage!

There was one podcast that was just about pro-level quality. It was organized and a joy to listen to. But I even stopped listening to that!

Because I just don’t have the time.

And I wonder who does.

Do you listen to podcasts? Does anyone?

Seeing this report made me wonder.

The Jackboots Of The CopyNazis Advance

March 15, 2008

Japanese ISPs Agree to Ban Pirates from the Internet

In 2006, a Japanese ISP decided to plan measures to stop their subscribers using file-sharing software, by tracking their activities and disconnecting them from the Internet. The plan didn’t come to fruition as the government stepped in and said that such monitoring might have privacy implications.

Now, under huge pressure from the movie, music and software industries, the four major ISP organizations in Japan are at it again, and have agreed to take drastic action against online pirates.

As this stuff wends its way across the world, I hope the EFF is preparing to stop it here.

If an ISP sees me using AllPeers (which, alas, no longer exists, but let’s say), and deems that a “tool of infringement” and cuts me off, what recourse would I have?

And if the ISP comes into court to defend itself against my lawsuit with evidence of what they believe to be Copyright infringement, would having that “evidence” be in violation of wiretapping and privacy laws?

I’ve clearly and openly stated what I used AllPeers to get. Show me the infringement. Show me the monetary damage. If they won’t let me buy it, what other bloody choice do I have?

Gasoline On March 15, 2008

March 15, 2008

I’m wondering if I should create a Category for this. Things seem to be popping in some parts of the country.

Today I just noticed (because I do not drive) that Super Unleaded was going for $3.61/gallon locally.

Red Headlines For March 13, 2008

March 15, 2008

I was placing these under C.O.A.T – Money, but they’ve gotten hard to find. I’m creating a new Category for them: Red Headlines. Those of you with RSS might have messy feeds as I go into the prior posts and place them in this new Category too.

The New York Daily News and NY Newsday opted out of economic front pages. The New York Post has the bottom one-third dealing with Bear Stearns, but that graphic isn’t on their website, so I have to settle for this screensnap of the article:

nypost031508.jpg

The New York Times:

nyt031508.jpg

Apple Has Magic The Others Don’t

March 15, 2008

Revisiting Apple’s iPhone strategy

Apple’s tightly bound software and hardware provides unique differentiation in a world of mostly undifferentiated PCs and mobile devices. RIM’s Blackberry also has had success by controlling its entire product.

Oh stop it!

There’s a certain Finnish company I will never mention by name. It has control over its hardware and software.

It’s no Apple. It will never be Apple.

It’s more than just having hardware and software control.

Some of the secret ingredients are:

1) Not mimicking what everyone is doing.
2) Not settling for second-best.
3) A burning desire to change the world.

    The Finnish company has dominated the cellphone world not because its products were world-class or trend-setting. It managed to get to the top because its competitors were just absolutely awful.

    No one ever looked at the Finn’s phones and gasped, “Yes! Yes! That’s the way it should be done! My God! It’s so obvious!!”

    In other words, they never had an iPhone. And they never will.

    He also states:

    On other hand, it would be interesting to see what developers could do if Apple open sourced the iPhone software. The mobile Web experience is the new center of attention and R&D spending in the tech industry. Google’s Android will be a good test case. If Android were to become successful, due to its openness and developer community, Apple would feel the heat. An army of smart developers with Google behind it could create a next-generation mobile Web operating system and application platform that challenges Apple far more than the current set of incumbents.

    He’s conflating two vastly different things here: the web and handheld access to it.

    We’re definitely in Bubble 2.0. The valuations of web services are just laughable. It’s financial musical chairs all over again. And just because some services are seemingly hot today doesn’t guarantee they will remain hot — or even remain.

    For instance, how many “social networks” do they really think people have time for? I’ve already gotten MySpace fatigue — and I like MySpace! This is the techmeme narcissism in full-play. They think their all-tech lives are forerunners of what everyone else will be doing. Puh-leeze!

    As for Android, someone I quoted earlier is worth reading again:

    You see, that palpable fear I associate with Microsoft products is the fear that no one company is truly accountable for the Microsoft experience.

    Substitute Google/Android for Microsoft and you have a good peek into the future. Yeah, good luck with that!

    The iPod Touch Has A Mystery!

    March 15, 2008

    Update: There is a follow-up post, if you just want to cut to the chase.

    Those of you who think an iPod Touch is simply an iPhone stripped of several hardware features are, I believe, wrong.

    This morning I went to Apple Store Soho to do a test of the iPod Touch. Previously, I did a test post here from an iPhone. I wanted to see if I could also do so from the iPod Touch.

    You see, I’m strange that way. While most people will simply assume there would be no difference, I like to see for myself.

    And, oh boy, there was a very big and very stark difference between using the iPhone and the iPod Touch! And yes, I was very, very surprised!

    I wound up trying four different iPod Touch units. 8GB and 16GB.

    Overall, it took a lot longer for Safari on an iPod Touch to build the WordPress web interface post page I am now using at my desktop.

    By each attempt:

    1) I got into this web interface. But the page build wasn’t completed, according to the Safari progress bar (which, for those who don’t know, is a blue fill indicator in the URL address field of the browser; when a page is fully built, the blue disappears). However, I was impatient and decided to go ahead. It was dreadful! In the Headline field, I wanted to tap Test Post From iPod Touch. I got so far as typing T-e-s-t — which took close to a minute! I hit T and the enlarged keyboard T popped up and stayed there! WTF? I couldn’t get it to pop back down. So I then hit E (lower case). It didn’t do a thing. I hit E again. Nothing! I hit S. Still nothing. Suddenly, the page build completed and I wound up with something like Teesstt in the Headline field. OK, my fault for not waiting (but honestly, it was taking like three frikkin minutes to complete the page build!). I cleaned up the Headline field text. Then I selected the Body text field and began to type. I got as far as one letter when Safari went POOF! and I was back at the iPod Touch Home Screen. OK. This didn’t really bother me much. I figured this was a demo unit and the memory had been mucked about by prior use and Safari needed to dump everything to get clean. Fine. I tried again … but the build time for this web interface page was so damned slow, I gave up. I went to another iPod Touch.

    2) I waited for the page build to complete this time. I was good to go. But something was still wrong. There was a lag after I tapped a letter. Instead of the large letter popping up and then disappearing right quick, there was like a one-second lag! WTF?! When I selected the Body field, Safari again went POOF! This was Not Good!

    3) Was an exact repeat of #2!

    I got fed up and went to an iPhone. I figured, if all of this repeats on the iPhone, then what’s probably going on has to do with changes done on the WordPress side, because I hadn’t had any problems like that with my previous iPhone test post.

    Guess what?

    I had no problems whatsoever from an iPhone. None! Everything worked just as it did for the original test post! The page built significantly faster than on the iPod Touch. And there was absolutely no lag in using the keyboard!

    OK, this got me really frustrated (I’d like to use a different word there!).

    I went to another iPod Touch, the fourth frikkin one!, to try again.

    4) Again, the page built v-e-r-y slowly. I waited. And, as you can see from the post before this one, I succeeded. But still, there was a significant lag with the keyboard!

    So what exactly is going on here?

    I can think of three possibilities:

    1) The iPod Touch has a slower processor than the iPhone

    2) The iPod Touch has less RAM than the iPhone

    3) Safari is somehow different on the iPod Touch than it is on the iPhone

    I have no idea which of these things might be true. I’ve looked at web teardowns of the iPhone and the iPod Touch. There are different markings on key chips. Could that be significant?

    This was all very disappointing to me personally. After reading up on the iPod Touch for the past several days, I was thinking that perhaps I should get one and forgo the additional benefits of the iPhone. After all, wasn’t it “simply an iPhone stripped of several hardware features?”

    I don’t think so!

    I think someone needs to replicate the benchmarking done here on an iPhone.

    I think the iPod Touch is a different beast.

    If any of you can solve this mystery, leave a Comment!

    Update: There is a follow-up post.

    Test Post From iPod Touch

    March 15, 2008

    Let’s see if this works. Fourth attempt to post from an iPod Touch. And I’m telling all of you right now, there is some sort of significant difference between an iPhone and iPod Touch. Apple is hiding something!

    Another iPhone Test

    March 15, 2008

    Posting from Apple Store Soho. This didn’t go as smoothly as the first test. Plus,I wasn’t able to post at all from an iPod Touch. I don’t know why yet. I think Safari might be fussy about dealing with the WordPress web interface. Doing this with my two thumbs is not nearly as bad as I would have expected it to be. I wouldn’t want to try a lengthy article. But who knows? If I was stuck somewhere with only this to use, I’d make an attempt. I could go on, but I’m standing up and my neck is protesting being tilted like this!

    Update: The “lack of smoothness” I mention up there was my fault.  To get into the post entry web interface, I have to use a different route than on the desktop.  For some reason, Safari can’t understand the WordPress Dashboard’s drop-down menus.  So I have to tap on the hotlink to go directly to this blog first, then tap on Write to call up the post entry interface.  Other than having to remember to do that, everything was just swell.