On my tech blog: Another E-Book Flop, This Time From Amazon.
First streaming movies, now e-books. It's like they have a checklist of things that lots of other tech companies have failed at, and they're desperate to fail at the same things by making the same mistakes everybody else did. Now all they need is a tablet PC that costs twice as much as a laptop, a portable music player that doesn't play MP3s, and a clamshell smartphone/PDA with an operating system nobody else uses.
If you own a Mac laptop, you might like coconutBattery. At the very least it'll help you keep track of the gradual decline in your battery's capacity. It'll also keep a log of your battery's maximum capacity, so you can see how effective reconditioning is, as a means of maximizing the capacity that the chip inside the battery knows about.
Intersting: What only babes can hear talks about mosquito ringtones: secret ringtones that you can't hear unless you're a kid. I can barely hear the 16.7MHz sample if I crank up the volume (which is probably not a wise thing to do). 17.7MHz is completely inaudible: I can hear the hiss of the audio clip but not the tone!
Interesting: car sharing services Zipcar and Flexcar are merging.
To me, all gangsta rap is silly and fake. Check it out: Notorious MSG is in on the joke.
Damon Lindelof is Mourning TV. I have a digital video recorder too, and though I skip most commercials, I still see some of them. I also pay about $57/mo for cable TV, even though I could just watch the same videos on ComedyCentral.com. Anyone who has used the World Wide Web for more than 30 seconds knows that advertising is alive and well online. You can filter ads, but most people don't. You can get software that lets you download clips from YouTube, but most people don't. You can brew your own coffee and drink water from the tap, but Starbucks is doing fine, as are all the sugar-water companies who now sell water sans sugar for more money. Convenience, perception, and a nice experience are powerful enough to overcome cheapness.
TV is not dead, and will be totally fine. The only difference is that the transport mechanism will be Internet-based, and you'll have a lot more sources to choose from. The studios just need to hurry up and jump in the pool. It's only when you get in a millimeter at a time that it seems so hard to do. Of course, it could be that they realize this already, and are just playing dumb so that they can screw over the writers. They wouldn't do that... would they?
Movie studios, though, have a right to be scared; movie theaters should be the most terrified of all. Movies aren't ad-funded; they expect you to pay for them up front. But movies is not really in trouble. Filmmaking is a vibrant art form these days, with the caveat that copyright overzealousness makes clearing rights for films such as documentaries a total nightmare. But while college kids may pirate movies like crazy, normal people still are migrating toward home theater, and still pay for DVDs and movie rentals. The future of film is home viewing, and there's no reason that the aforementioned $57/mo Comcast fee, plus the $18/mo I (and many, many other folks) pay for Netflix, can't become the revenue source for movie studios. Music lovers complain about pop albums with one good track and a dozen crummy fillers added to pad the price paid to buy that one song to $15. How is that different from cable TV? Comcast charges $6 extra for HBO, but you can't get just HBO for $6. Meanwhile, Comcast wants $44.99 for a showing of three boxing matches that's on their current calendar. Really? A big boxing match (plus two extras thrown in to make it look like a better deal) is over 7 times as much as an all-you-can-watch month of HBO?
The demand for movies that cost money to watch is there, and the delivery mechanism (broadband internet access) is already in place. All that remains is to break up the pricing model so that it works like cell phone pricing. Subscribers would pay a base rate for a certain number of credits (whether you use them or not), and then content owners could bring all their content online so that customers can spend, spend, spend. There's no reason why the TV and movie industries can't survive on a measly $75/mo subscription fee per household, plus ad revenues, plus DVD sales revenues.
The only question is how long it's going to take them to figure that out, and how many more failures like MovieLink and CinemaNow, Netflix Online, and Amazon Unbox we'll have to indirectly pay for (since it's our money that pays them to fund these lame services) before they wise up.
Apple stock is going through the roof. It's kind of crazy to think that this is the same company that was in so much trouble for so long that the word "beleaguered" was used in enough stories about them to become a cliche.
Things have changed, though. What seemed obvious at the time turned out to be The 15 Dumbest Apple Predictions Of All Time. Sun buying Apple (in 1996!) seems like a terrible idea in hindsight; better for both of them to feel the pain of competing with Windows 95 (Apple's pain) and NT 4 (Sun's pain) separately and to learn how to compete again. There were IBM rumors too - can you imagine? Then, it seemed plausible, but only because of a CPU relationship that has since fizzled; today it seems utterly ludicrous, especially with the wildly different directions IBM and Apple have taken. (How many IBM Global Services consultants does it take to rip your CD collection and load it onto your iPhone? WebSphere music store?) The Apple Death Knell Counter keeps counting, though. I don't get it.
I do wonder what Apple is going to do next; their roadmap as they've been presenting it for the last year or so is pretty much all used up. The iPhone shipped, Leopard shipped, and AppleTV shipped; all of them could use some improvements (3G service, bug fixes, and a tuner, respectively) but they're all out there already. Basically I'm wondering out loud on my blog if I should sell my Apple stock now while it's flying high, and maybe put the money toward a Facebook or Revision3 IPO. :)
Funny: Scottish Star Trek.
I upgraded to Mac OS X 10.5 ("Leopard") today. I cloned my hard disk with the excellent and recently released Carbon Copy Cloner 3.0 to an external drive, and installed Leopard there. It didn't boot (!!) at first due to an incompatibility with Application Enhancer, which Audio Hijack Pro uses for its optional "Instant Hijack" feature. No biggie there; I just booted from my Tiger installation and deleted Application Enhancer, then booted successfully into Leopard.
So far, I like it; there are a number of annoyances that are fixed. It's basically a no-brainer upgrade; it's smoother for me than Pather to Tiger (10.3 to 10.4, the previous upgrade) was. I have had a couple of apps (OmniGraffle in particular) need updates, but the new Terminal is so good that for a developer it's a must have update.
Funny: another game review by the same guy: Halo 3.