Archive for October 21, 2008

OMFG!!! INTERSTER!!!

October 21, 2008

Words, words come to me … I’m so excited!!!

It’s late, I’m winding down the blog, and I check my emailbox.

There’s an email titled Interster.

I open it and there’s a lengthy write-up from someone who has seen the series, knows some of its broadcast history — and has three video clips!!

I don’t have time to do a full-length post tonight. I will get on to it first thing tomorrow.

But I didn’t want to leave Gerry Anderson fans in suspense.

Here are some quick screensnaps I took from the videos:

I can just say this right now after a first glimpse:

1) This really is impressive work

2) The theme is an immediate earworm; it’s synthesizer but really shreds the Terrahawks theme — also synthesizer — in comparison

More tomorrow!

In the meantime, whoever owns the rights in South Africa — for God’s sake, if you won’t release it on DVD, at least put it online, maybe in the Apple iTunes Store, for us to buy!

Previously here:

Interster Still M.I.A.

At the old blog:

Calling Out To The World Wide Web: Send Me Interster!

Linux: The Best Reason For Windows XP

October 21, 2008

Wayne MacPhail recently bought an Acer Aspire netbook with Linpus Linux Lite on it.

He was quite pleased with it in the beginning. His tweets were happy.

Then he tried to actually get more stuff onto the device and hit the wall today.

Wayne is a tech-savvy guy too. He’s doing a course that includes live streaming video, online coursework and discussion, the works. All of that stuff he set up on his own.

So for someone with some tech savvy like him to give up — well, that says volumes.

I have my own Linux scars, from the Nokia 770 Anti-Internet Tablet.

You couldn’t pay me to touch Linux ever again.

Now stripping Windows XP off one of these netbooks and installing Mac OS X — let’s go!

Apple Sells 10M iPhones. Psychopath Increases Meds.

October 21, 2008

Apple Reaches 10 Million iPhone Sales Goal for 2008

Prior screeching from demented former employee of failed cellphone OS:

Desperation? You’re the one peddling the wacky conspiracy theories to try to gloss over the apparent fact that the iPhone ain’t gonna sell no 10 million units in its first year, like Chairman Steve promised. I’m just pointing out the eighty or so reasons that they don’t hold water.

Fact is, there are a whole big bunch of iPhones sitting in inventory, on AT&T’s shelves, and elsewhere. Sales have slowed considerably, and they aren’t picking up again, even with price cuts and memory expansions. It looks very much like those first weeks (mostly media-fanned: very few people who stood in lines waiting for days to ensure that they’d get an iPhone actually needed to, they were never in particularly short supply) pretty much saturated the market for nice-looking phones that do very little at an extremely high price point. There’s a surprise.

Emphasis added by me.

Oh, and as for people standing in lines?

iDay 2008 + 1 = LONG Lines!!!
iDay 2008 +2 = Still Lines!
iDay 2008 + 8 = Apple Store Soho Line

Now let’s see the lines for that niche OS of FAIL:


The symbol of FAIL.

Sony Reader: Germany In Spring 2009

October 21, 2008

Sony to offer e-reader in Germany from spring 2009

Frankfurt – Sony is to offer its e-book reader, a replacement for paper books, in Germany from the spring of next year, the Japan-based media company said Wednesday at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The Sony Reader device went on sale in the United States in 2006 and in Britain last month.

Sony said it would link with a German book wholesaler, Libri, and a retailer, Thalia, to market the device, which downloads books from personal computers.

And:

Libri, which is to oversee sales of books in German that can be read on the device, said it aimed to have thousands of titles available at launch. No euro price for the 260-gram device was announced.

At the time of this post, the Libri site wasn’t up.

Thalia site.

Previously here:

Price-Fixing Germany Laughs At eBooks
eBooks In Germany: Price-Fixing And Sony Reader

PETA Leaves Sanity Behind

October 21, 2008

Some people will argue they did that a long time ago.

But this — is this a freaking joke?!

Save the Sea Kittens


Click = big

Hey, PETA! I’ll continue to feed my grown-up land kittens canned sea kittens!

The Distorted Lens

October 21, 2008

Father-of-two can’t get a job – because employers think he’s ‘too ugly’

I just want to work – I don’t want to be claiming benefits. I’m prepared to work and I need to work, if it means retraining in another job I will do it.

And:

Edward worked at a food factory near his home in York for nearly ten years until last month when he was made redundant due to a restructuring of the company.

Christ, the guy’s a father. What are his kids going to think? Not to be seen with Dad because he would embarrass them?

This is yet another reason I despise the distorted image of people Hollywood and celeb culture disseminate. I call those highly-photogenic specimens Beauty Mutants. Real people don’t look like that. And if it was illegal to have beauty-surgeries, all of you would be in for a hell of a shock, seeing what those stars look like naturally.

Go look at old black and white movies. Those were average-looking people who became legendary — and immortal — stars. Clark Gable, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Myrna Loy, Bette Davis, Jean Arthur. Today’s images make them look like sub-humans! Morlocks against Eloi.

You’d think people would have the frikkin sense to figure out, “Hey, if this guy has this job, he can’t be ill with something I’d contract.”

Eejits.

I can’t stand looking at pretty-looking people, because I don’t think that’s what people really look like.

— Scenario magazine, v4 #2, interview with Pi director Darren Aronofsky, pg. 94

Writers Chatting: Cliff Burns & Pat Bertram 2

October 21, 2008

Part two is up now!

Cliff has an interesting view of the future of print publishing:

BURNS: The era of corporate book publishing is coming to an end. Media giants swallowed up various publishers in the 1990’s, hoping to milk them for as much profit as they could. Unfortunately, business models don’t work that well with publishing; book-lovers are notoriously eccentric and eclectic in their tastes and it’s hard to predict or graph or pie chart a bestseller. J.K. Rowling came out of nowhere. Profits are not nearly as high, stable or predictable enough in publishing, which is why I think many of the Big Boys will be dumping their publishing arms in the next 3-5 years. And, as I’ve written, this is the best thing that could happen for readers and writers. Smaller, more intimate and committed publishers will supplant the media giants and better books will be released as a result.

And don’t forget Cliff’s blog.

Previously here:

Writers Chatting: Cliff Burns & Pat Bertram

Another Article To Savor And Save

October 21, 2008

If you didn’t print out or otherwise save that Money/CNN article pointed to in the last post, you should skip this one. You missed the point then and you’ll miss it now too.

THE SPECIAL JOYS OF SUPER-SLOW READING

Once more, super-slow reading had given me not only pleasure but perspective, and helped me in my everyday affairs.

I discovered its worth years ago, in the infamous Changi prisoner-of-war camp in Singapore. I was 19, an artillery sergeant, when the city fell to the Japanese on February 15, 1942.

Waiting with other Australian POWs to be marched off, I tried to decide what I should take in the single pack permitted. The only limit was what a weary man could carry the 17 miles to Changi. Our officer thoughtfully suggested, “Each man should find room for a book.”

So I stuffed into my pack a copy of Lin Yutang’s “The Importance of Living” — a title of almost macabre appropriateness — and began a reading habit that was to keep me sane for the next three and a half years. Previously, if I had been really interested in a book, I would race from page to page, eager to know what came next. Now, I decided, I had to become a miser with words and stretch every sentence like a poor man spending his last dollar.

A wonderful article I tripped across on the Net years ago. I’m glad it’s still available. I carry it in my LifeDrive.

Excellent Article About Excellence

October 21, 2008

Why talent is overrated
The conventional wisdom about “natural” talent is a myth. The real path to great performance is a matter of choice.

Even in purely mental work, the best performers observe themselves closely. They are able to monitor what is happening in their own minds and ask how it’s going. Researchers call this metacognition – knowledge about your own knowledge, thinking about your own thinking. Top performers do this much more systematically than others do; it’s an established part of their routine.

Metacognition is important because situations change as they play out. Apart from its role in finding opportunities for practice, it plays a valuable part in helping top performers adapt to changing conditions. When a customer raises a completely unexpected problem in a deal negotiation, an excellent businessperson can pause mentally and observe his own mental processes as if from outside: Have I fully understood what’s really behind this objection? Am I angry? Am I being hijacked by my emotions? Do I need a different strategy here? What should it be?

Emphasis added by me.

And:

The final element of the post-work phase is affected by all the others and affects them in turn. You’ve been through some kind of work experience – a meeting with your team, a trading session, a quarterly budget review, a customer visit. You’ve evaluated how it went. Now, how do you respond?

Odds are strong that the experience wasn’t perfect; in fact, parts of it may have been unpleasant. In those cases, excellent performers respond by adapting the way they act, while average performers respond by avoiding those situations in the future. That stands to reason. Since excellent performers went through a sharply different process from the beginning, they can make good guesses about how to adapt. That is, their ideas for how to perform better next time are likely to work. So it’s hardly surprising that they are more likely than average performers to repeat the experience rather than avoid it.

But where does the cycle start? Why do certain people put themselves through the years of intensive daily work that eventually makes them world-class great? This is the deepest question about great performance, and the researchers do not offer us a complete answer. We’ve reached the point where we must proceed by looking in the only place we have left: within ourselves. The answers depend on your response to two basic questions: What do you really want? And what do you really believe?

Emphasis added by me.

In regard to those two questions, I’m compelled to provide this excerpt from Ayn Rand‘s Atlas Shrugged:

“Where do you come from?”

“Buffalo.”

“Got any family?”

She hesitated. “I guess so. In Buffalo.”

“What do you mean, you guess so?”

“I walked out on them.”

“Why?”

“I thought that if I ever was to amount to anything, I had to get away from them, clean away.”

“Why? What happened?”

“Nothing happened. And nothing was ever going to happen. That’s what I couldn’t stand.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, they . . . well, I guess I ought to tell you the truth, Mr. Taggart. My old man’s never been any good, and Ma didn’t care whether he was or not, and I got sick of it always turning out that I was the only one of the seven of us that kept a job, and the rest of them always being out of luck, one way or another. I thought if I didn’t get out, it would get me-I’d rot all the way through, like the rest of them. So I bought a railroad ticket one day and left. Didn’t say good-bye. They didn’t even know I was going.” She gave a soft, startled little laugh at a sudden thought. “Mr. Taggart,” she said, “it was a Taggart train.”

“When did you come here?”

“Six months ago.”

“And you’re all alone?”

“Yes,” she said happily.

“What was it you wanted to do?”

“Well, you know-make something of myself, get somewhere.”

“Where?”

“Oh, I don’t know, but . . . but people do things in the world. I saw pictures of New York and I thought” — she pointed at the giant buildings beyond the streaks of rain on the cab window — “I thought, somebody built those buildings — he didn’t just sit and whine that the kitchen was filthy and the roof leaking and the plumbing clogged and it’s a goddamn world and . . . Mr. Taggart” — she jerked her head in a shudder and looked straight at him — “we were stinking poor and not giving a damn about it. That’s what I couldn’t take — that they didn’t really give a damn. Not enough to lift a finger. Not enough to empty the garbage pail. And the woman next door saying it was my duty to help them, saying it made no difference what became of me or of her or of any of us, because what could anybody do anyway!”

That’s one way to start.

Free eBook By Charlie Huston!

October 21, 2008

I’m gobsmacked by this.

Ken Bruen has recommended Huston. So Huston is in my Endless Backlog.

But now I can get one of his novels for free in PDF form!

Plus, two more are coming as free PDFs too!

Go here for the details and link: Charlie Huston returns to book shelves, and M&C is getting fans ready

— via Grasping for the Wind via Twitter from John Ottinger