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


Strange, But Liberating

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This week I agreed to relinquish my original domain name, 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 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


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