Politics

I Must Be Living Under a Rock

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Living in the Washington, D.C. area—hey, right off Connecticut Ave., baby—and tracking high-tech and the Internet for work, you’d think I’d know about what’s going on. Apparently, I have too much in common with Patrick the starfish from SpongeBob Squarepants. There’s a reason he lives under a rock, folks.

This morning, while checking the couple hundred or so RSS feeds I monitor, I stumbled onto this tantalizing headline, “Sex Scandal Rocks US Congress,” from Express India. So exactly how far around the world do I have to go to get local news: “Washington loves nothing as much as a summer sex scandal, and the season is off to an early start this year, as a Congressional aide was sacked after posting her lovemaking exploits on the internet”, according to the story, with a dateline of today.  Read More

Critters

Cicada Nation

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Washington, D.C., is now capital of the Cicada invasion. These bugs are everywhere, looking every bit the survivors of some prehistoric meteor that wiped out all other ancient species.

Saturday, while driving through an impending thunderstorm, my wife commented on how the wind whipped up so many leaves the road was barely visible. Those were Cicada shells, dearest.

The sound of the bugs harkens to those old science fiction movies. Best comparison might be the sound phasers made on the original “Star Trek.” To me, the Cicada hum seems the same, but goes on and on and on. If the Creator has adopted the strict kind of copyright and intellectual property right rules as companies here on earth, “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry might have some explaining to do there in the afterlife.

Photo Credit: Joe Calhoun

Apple

When Less Means Spending More

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Over the weekend, I picked up a new computer for my wife. She had used a Dell Dimension PC for about a year and half and could have continued doing so. But she’s not as computer savvy as my fourth grader or me. Increasingly concerned about viruses and spyware, I had long considered moving her off a Windows XP PC and onto a Mac. Since I’m giving up my main domain and she was losing her e-mail address, I reasoned now was the right time for the Mac. She would get a new computer and .Mac e-mail address.

Ideally, a $799 eMac should have suited her needs. With a 1GHz PowerPC G4 processor, 256MB of RAM, 40GB hard drive, and DVD/CD-RW combo drive, the computer packed plenty more power than she needed for her main activities of doing e-mail and surfing the Web. For $200 more, I could have set her up with a faster processor, 20GB more storage, and a DVD burner. What’s not to like?  Read More

Web

Strange, But Liberating

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This week I agreed to relinquish my original domain name, editors.com. The new owner says he will use the domain to establish a site for editors and writers to commiserate. Oddly, I don’t care much how he uses the domain. When I acquired editors.com in August 1995, I had in mind to create some kind of writing site. Instead, the domain established a single e-mail identity that hadn’t changed for almost nine years.

Relinquishing a domain used primarily for e-mail is lots of work. Besides notifying a couple thousand people of the change, I have to track down every website I ever established a log-in or purchase account and change the identity or default e-mail address—many cases they’re the same.  Read More

Pulp Media

OK, I’m a Sucker

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A friend recommended that I rent “Kill Bill”, which I missed at the theatre. So, one Netflix rental later and I’m watching “Kill Bill: Vol. 1” last night. Of course, I had to see “Vol. 2” this afternoon.

OK, I’m sucker. You have to be pretty dimwitted not to see the coincidal release of “Vol. 1” on DVD and “Vol. 2” to the theatres as a way of helping sales of both.

I liked the first movie, better.

Apple Digital Lifestyle Marketing Microsoft Software

Must Be: Familiar, Approachable, Extending and Better Enough

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My prevailing thinking on why high-tech products succeed or fail boils down to four criteria. Editor’s Note 2/8/2014: I expanded the number to eight and wrote book about them: The Principles of Disruptive Design.

A product must:

  1. Build on the familiar
  2. Do what it’s supposed to do really well
  3. Allow people to do something they wished they could do
  4. When displacing something else, offer significantly better experience

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Blogging Journalism New Media

Corporate Blogsite: Marketing Veiled as News

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I have been pondering the implications behind Microsoft’s Channel 9 blogsite. The deal: Last week, Microsoft developer evangelists put up Channel 9, which is supposed to provider developers with “a way to listen to the cockpit of Microsoft”. Apparently, the listening includes dispensing Microsoft news and inside views.

The timing is interesting. Channel 9’s official launch occurred during Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional (MVP) event, which makes much sense considering the site is for partners. But the debut also came a couple days before Business Week published a story saying that Microsoft was in the process of trimming next-generation-Windows Longhorn features to make a 2006 ship date. The story also offered up details about other upcoming stops on the Windows roadmap, such as something called Windows XP Premium, which soon will ship on new PCs.  Read More

Apple

Bad Apples

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Yesterday, while on business in the vicinity of my local Apple Store, I stopped in and purchased a wireless mouse and keyboard. Only tonight, when I took the mouse out, I found that the seal on the box had been broken, the mouse plastic wrapping opened and batteries inside the device.

My problem: This is the second time in two months, I bought a supposedly new item from the store that had been used. The other item was a Timbuck 2 bag for my PowerBook G4. The nice new tag misled me, I guess. When on the road traveling, I found a bunch of business cards in one of the pockets—looks like from the person that owned it before me.

None to happy am I. New is supposed to be new, right? I guess not always at my local Apple Store.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Johnson

Music

No Light Weight

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Gordon Lightfoot is among the iTunes Music Store’s “Featured Artists”. Sorry, but Mr. Lightfoot is showing his years—it’s the mileage, I think. His aged voice is raspier than the singing on the 1974 version of “Sundown”. But, there’s authority, strength and resolve in that voice. The younger singer sounded more Canadian, though.

Apple’s music store features a video of “Inspiration Lady” from the “Harmony” EP. For men that love women, the video is a treat.

Blogging

Not How Many, But Whom

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Microsoft employees are prolific bloggers, and I’m surprise the company hasn’t really developed software tools supporting the phenomenon. I understand that blogging hasn’t reached mainstream momentum, yet. But, sometimes, it’s not the “how manys” but the “who they are” that matters more.

In 1966, I accidentally discovered “Star Trek” on a CBC station out of St. Johns, New Brunswick, Canada. When I was a kid, local TV station WAGM, in Presque Isle, Maine, had the unique distinction of being three network affiliates: ABC, CBS, and NBC. WAGM was the only American broadcast TV station serving Maine’s largest but sparsely-populated county, Aroostook, which spanned about a fifth of the state. WAGM didn’t air “Star Trek”; some show from another network made the cut instead.  Read More