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


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.


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


I’m in Cold Shock

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Okay. This is depressing. Buzzing around the iTunes Music Store, I read the bio for band Coldplay. Argh. Two of these guys were born the year I graduated high school and the other two the year after.

I’m talking 1977-78, and those were good years for music. Signs disco’s reign would finally collapse gave way to some buzzworthy bands: Elvis Costello, Sex Pistols, and Talking Heads, among others. Strange that early 2000-century rock is so reminiscent of 1970’s punk and New Wave.

I’ve always favored music with edge, but, hey, I’ve got eclectic tastes. I pound for Coldplay.

Photo Credit: Alex Bikfalvi

Culture Responsibility Society

Spanish Solidarity

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I would like express my solidarity with and condolences to the people in Spain whose lives were ripped apart by this week’s devastating and unconscionable bombing.

But, watching Spaniards fill Madrid streets with grieving and protest elicits great regret. Americans acted more like victims following the 9-11 attacks that felled both World Trade Center towers. Rather than outrage, Americans withdrew—from traveling, spending, and living. Raised fingers looked to blame everyone but ourselves.  Read More

Aspiration Culture Living Science

The Odds on God’s Existence

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A story in today’s Guardian says the odds favor God’s existence. The three writers cite work by Dr. Stephen Unwin, who used a 200-year-old formula used to “work out the likelihood of events” to determine with 67 percent probability that God exists. Yesterday my wife saw Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ“. She’s a believer. Hell, I am, too. (Yeah, use of hell there is supposed to be wry, dry humor.)

Apple Digital Lifestyle Gear Music

iPod Zombies of New York?

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My buddy Jim Dalrymple told me about the so-called iPod zombies of New York. He’d read a post somewhere about how so many New Yorkers used iPods that the streets had become a sea of white bobbing headphones—zombies floating along oblivious to all living things. So, on a trip to New York last week, he saw the horrid reality for himself; gasp, it’s true!

I’m headed to Manhattan this week on business and will see for myself if this iPod counterculture movement is for real. That’s counterculture as in counter to normal social interaction. Surely there’s a PhD for someone somewhere willing to write a thesis on the iPod’s growing social—excuse me, antisocial—effects on the streets of New York and elsewhere.

I hit the San Francisco streets last week, where I saw nothing like the so-called New York phenomenon. Plenty of people using PowerBooks were in view and that new downtown Apple Store was wall-to-wall people (how do you get to merchandise that’s five people deep—as in no degrees of separation).

Photo Credit: Brad Lindert

Humor Microsoft

Listen to the Trolls

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The tech sites are all abuzz about something called “Windows XP Reloaded”. Wild rumors have Microsoft releasing a Windows XP update later this year, ahead of successor Longhorn. Seems like some folks forget that Microsoft already had two Windows XP upgrades on tap for 2004: “Lone Star”, a new version for tablets/notebooks, and “Symphony”, for Media Center PCs.

Reloaded, lamely lifted from Martix Part Deux, is more an evangelism effort, as Microsoft attempts to convince the majority of people running older Windows versions they really belong with the minority running XP. We’ll see how that goes. But if Three Dead Trolls are right, “Every OS Sucks“.


A Switcher Confesses

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Last week, I bought Apple’s 15-inch PowerBook, marking my most-recent switch back to the Mac. The decision, nearly five years to the day after buying my first PowerBook, marked the final chapter in my back-and-forth switch between Macs and Windows. I’m a Mac user now, although Windows will remain vitally important for work.

My struggle ensued, in part, because of Microsoft’s success at creating, for non-Windows users, barriers to entry—to the Internet and key software categories. I also wobbled back and forth because of concerns using a Mac would hurt my work, first as a reporter and later an analyst covering Microsoft.  Read More

Apple Marketing Music

RIAA Taketh, and Pepsi Giveth Away

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The Pepsi ad promoting the big iTunes Music Store 100-million song giveaway debuts tomorrow during the Super Bowl. The spot [Editor: original link replaced] features 16 kids busted by music industry copyright cops for illegally downloading or trading tunes. The ad’s music bed is “I Fought the Law”, which artist I don’t recognize.

Plenty of rip-roaring versions are out there, from Bryan Adams, The Clash, Dead Kennedys, Stray Cats, and others. Oh, and the Bobby Fuller Four broke into the Top 10 with the song during the mid 1960s.  Read More

Blogging Fair Use Free Speech News Media Web

Whatever Happened to the Free Spirit that spawned the Modern Internet?

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This afternoon, I was reading a story about cancelled flights—more concerns about terrorist threats—over at MSNBC. The story included an interactive element that lets the reader try out being a baggage screener for two minutes. Beneath the interactive element, “Can You Spot The THREATS?” is this option: “License this Interactive for your Web site.” Clicking through leads to Rights Links (powered) by Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. The cost: $99 for a single Website. Yeah, you read that right. MSNBC is charging for that interactive element.

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