Friday, December 29, 2006

Feeding Frenzy
I, Cringely

The most sublimely yet stupidly profitable periods for the recording and movie industries, respectively, were when music transitioned from vinyl records to Compact Discs and when home video transitioned from VHS cassettes to DVDs. Everybody bought new stuff -- the same stuff we already had but rebuilt using the new technology.
Great Robert Cringely column, as usual.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

2006 Foot-in-Mouth Awards
Wired News

You, the readers, have sent us your picks for the lamest quotes from or about the world of technology during this eventful year. We have selected the "best" of those and present them to you now.
Wired News did a lot of good 2006 lists and this is one of the shorter, but still funny ones. Here's a sample:
I want to squirt you a picture of my kids. You want to squirt me back a video of your vacation. That's a software experience.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Prius in Every Garage
I, Cringely

In case you don't remember, the U.S. Government came up with the idea of wiring first schools and then homes, primarily with fiber, with the goal of bringing high-bandwidth communication everywhere. The mechanism by which this was to have been accomplished was by encouraging through tax credits for telephone companies to upgrade their networks and by imposing a tax on telephone users to support the wiring of schools.

It didn't work.
I love Robert Cringely's columns because he's been around long enough and paid enough attention that he actually knows what he's talking about. So I'll probably end up posting a link to every one of his columns here. This one's been sitting in my drafts queue for a while, and I know there's a newer one I'll link to.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Noah & Eddie's Podcast: Our First Christmas

Only one podcast dares to publish on Christmas Eve: The Lame Show!

Episode 8: A Very Lame Christmas

In this very special Christmas Eve episode, Noah and Eddie look back at this year's past episodes (all seven of them!) and choose both the lamest items and their picks of the year.

Eddie also finds some gift ideas in SkyMall and finds time to rant about Blogger. And Noah has two Mexico Moments for this episode, including the return of the bus system.
Two weeks after our longest episode ever, here's our shortest episode ever. It's still chock-filled with Noah & Eddie goodness, though. And there's no hideous static this time (only moderate audio compression artifacts for Noah).

Episode 8: A Very Lame Christmas (30:50)

The Lame Show on iTunes

Friday, December 22, 2006

At 66, 'Zuzu' Thinks Life Is Wonderful

Karolyn Grimes jokes that she left her coat open, like her character Zuzu Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life. A more likely culprit is the holiday crunch of appearances by the former child actress from a Victorian festival in Puyallup, Wash., to the Colorado Country Christmas Show and now to Seneca Falls, which claims to be the inspiration for director Frank Capra's mythical Bedford Falls.
This article has probably appeared in everyone's daily newspaper, but you might not have read far enough through to get to this interesting note about It's A Wonderful Life
The film about a suicidal, small-town money lender was a bit of a dud after its December 1946 release. Wonderful Life got a second life in the mid-'70s when a lapsed copyright allowed television stations to show the movie for free. The movie gathered iconic status through constant showings.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Trailer Blazer: 'Transformers'

Uh, so where are the Transformers of my childhood? For one thing, there are too many d*** people in this movie, from the looks of this trailer, and not enough robots. ... Where are the autobots at?! I swear, they are only in the trailer for like five seconds; the rest of the time its Shia LaBeouf and another actor running away from things falling out of the sky.
Entertainment Weekly blogger Sophia Asare pretty much sums up my thoughts on the trailer for Michael Bay's Transformers movie.

Entertainment Weekly columnist Dalton Ross asks the same question I have:

... it was just announced this week that the halftime musical act will be none other than... Prince! And all I can say is, have the folks at the NFL lost their minds?!? We are less than three years removed from the Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake Nipplegate, and now the league — not to mention CBS, the same network responsible for the cheese nip — is signing up Prince to entertain an audience of approximately 1 billion people from more than 230 countries?
He just has a lot more specific evidence:
Exhibit A: ''Erotic City.'' You know what, I don't even need to reprint the lyrics here. Suffice it to say Prince and Apollonia are talking about doing things to each other which I'm pretty sure CBS doesn't want to broadcast on national television.
Read the full post at 2 Crazy 4 Me, where he also addresses reader reaction to his list of The Five Worst Comic Book Superhero Movies Ever. But he didn't respond to my nomination of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze. (shudder)

Christmas 2006 Newsletter

The 2006 edition of the Hargreaves family Christmas newsletter - The Informer - is now available online. It is a 1.6MB PDF file, which translates into a 4-6 minute download for you dial-up users but should be unnoticable to those with high-speed Internet. Whether it loads in your browser window or launches Adobe Acrobat/Reader, don't forget that you can zoom in if it displays too small for your taste. So if you didn't get a printed version in a Christmas card, here you go:

Informer 2006

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's not my fault!

No new posts have appeared on this blog since Thursday, Dec. 7, and this time it's not due to my lack of attention. Google apparently made some changes to Blogger recently, which broke my ability to publish. Of course, they didn't inform me of these changes. I clicked around in Blogger's Help section for quite a while, but the error messages I received did not show up in the search results, and the few results that seemed to be related only seemed to point the finger at my ftp host (EarthLink). My repeated entreaties to their Customer Support went unheeded.

I finally found another blogger who posted a message in the Blogger Help Group about having to make a settings change from / to ./ in order to regain publishing abilities. Success! Now both new and backdated posts are showing up.

So I couldn't update this blog for nearly two weeks thanks to that stupid settings change that they still have not informed anyone of or noted in their Help files. You're so going on the Lame List, Blogger.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Crunks '06: The Year in Media Errors and Corrections
Regret the Error

Gather ’round for our annual collection of the funny, shocking, sad and disturbing media errors and corrections from the past year. From typos that celebrate Queen Elizabeth and her remarkable egg-laying abilities, to media hoaxes, unreliable sources, the Sago disaster and apologies for mistakes nearly 120 years ago, it was a good year for Regret.
I'm not the first (nor even the fifth) person to link to this, but it's just too satisfying a read not to share. The Oregonian and the Sacramento Bee both got in this year, although their mistakes were mild compared to some of these. One of my favorites:
There were several student journalist plagiarists this year (see our round-up), but the Exponent, a student newspaper at Purdue University, came up with a rather surprising fact about U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito, then a nominee:

Cars Advent Calendar

The Disney web site in Britain has a cool, animated advent calendar for the movie "Cars."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Whatever Happened to Online Etiquette?
Pogue's Posts

I’m OK with criticism, I’m fine with disagreement, I’m perfectly capable of handling angry mail.

But what's really stunning is how hostile *ordinary* people are to each other online these days.
I had a discussion with family members recently about how online posts seemed to be more mean-spirited than ever and David Pogue basically confirms it here (he's been online as long as I have). Some of his thoughts on 'why' are standard and jibe with my own (anonymity) but some are new and interesting (young Internet users simply don't know anything different).

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Killers - Bones video directed by Tim Burton

Someone at work told me that Tim Burton had directed the most recent video for The Killers and I was shocked that I didn't already know about it, being a fan of both. So I'm a little late to the party, but if you follow the link above you can watch it in streaming QuickTime at the Island Records web site (now there's a record label web site I haven't been to since the late '90s).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Scot Finnie responds

A Windows expert opts for a Mac life, Part 2

Some Macintosh folks took umbrage to a sentence in the conclusion to the first story in this series. I wrote:
I expect to wrap up with a final assessment [on] whether the Mac is a viable alternative for real people with real jobs.
This story was referenced on and by numerous blogs around the Internet, including the Apple Blog, Cnet's Blogma, and the MacUser blog. In most cases, commenters to these blogs took the opportunity to read that one sentence and get spitting mad that I was apparently dissing the Mac. Reading it out of context, I can understand their ire. But it really wasn't meant that way.

I'll repeat here part of what I wrote in response to Derik DeLong's MacUser blog post, "Another Windows guy looks at a Mac":
Of course real people with real jobs use Macs! And have done so since the beginning (1984). I was one of them in the '80s. As a writer, I chastise myself for using hyperbole -- when, clearly, the Mac side of my audience didn't get it. The sentiment I was conveying was actually a gentle chiding of Windows users, some of whom may tend to think that there's no software on the Mac. If you read the whole story, and connect the dots, I think you'll see there's a connection to other things written in the story that support what I'm saying. I agree, the hyperbole was too subtle though.
I'm not sure why he responded to the MacUser post, since my post at The Apple Blog (and its subsequent post) preceded that, but I appreciate the response nonetheless. He also took the high road by blaming himself for using hyperbole instead of blaming stupid, rabid Mac users (who clearly exist). What he's really pointing out, I think, is that business people consider themselves to be 'real people with real jobs' and the rest of the country/world is not.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Noah & Eddie's Podcast: Episode 7

Episode 7 of The Lame Show is now available.

After first discussing the over-the-top Apple iPod Phone rumors, Noah & Eddie discuss the cracking of TiVoToGo's encryption, the failure of iPod video to catch on, the downloadable Superman Returns DVD options available at Wal-Mart, the willingness of a major music label to offer unrestricted MP3s and Microsoft's assertion it will sell one million Zunes by June 2007.

The truly burning questions are asked: Did Homer's brother even deserve to be a CEO? Does Bill Gates know the prices of all the versions of Windows Vista? Why does the Mexican Power System hate Noah?
For every step forward we've made since the first episode at improving the quality, we stub our toes on something. For this episode we managed to completely avoid the lag issue, giving true banter a chance to occur and allowing hopes to grow concerning future guest voices. But more than halfway through the recording, Noah had a power surge, shutting down his computer and destroying the audio recording he'd made. And the backup file I had was riddled with unpredictable static. So please forgive the poor quality of Noah's audio for the first 30 minutes of this episode. If it becomes too bothersome, skip to minute 30+.

But even if you skip a lot, you'll still get to hear plenty, as this one stretches to nearly 70 minutes -- our longest ever!

Episode 7: Unlocked (1:09:02)

The Lame Show on iTunes

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Buffy the Vampire Slayer TM & (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. Dark Horse Comics is a registered trademark of Dark Horse Comics. All rights reserved.Buffy the Vampire Slayer Is Back: The Complete Joss Whedon Q&A

Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan alert — the Scooby Gang lives! If you've been waiting since 2003 for the answer to little sister Dawn's series-ending question ("What are we gonna do now?"), it's finally on its way. Creator Joss Whedon is preparing Buffy: Season 8, but this time around the adventures are in comic-book form, arriving in March 2007 from Dark Horse Comics. We talked to Whedon about Buffy, today's TV and his many other projects.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Kicking off December with a real short piece at The Apple Blog:

Mac users aren’t ‘real people with real jobs’

Computerworld recently posted an advance excerpt from the newsletter of Windows expert Scot Finnie, detailing how he was making a MacBook Pro his main work and personal computer for 1-3 months.

My 10 Classic Features to 'Bring Back' to OS X piece prompted a number of comments on both theappleblog and digg. But one reader (a 19-year-old member of Apple's Developer Community) actually wrote a more lengthy response to each feature on his own web site:

Opinions on “10 Classic Features to ‘Bring Back’ to OS X” from the Apple Blog

This was a nice approach and kinda reflected some of the things that I mentioned that I would like to see appear in Leopard
He admits that he never much used Macs prior to OS X, and I think it's hard to realize the usefulness of these features if you've never experienced them firsthand. But it makes for an interesting perspective.