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Archive for May, 2005

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Happy Birthday, Avery!

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

My oldest son, Avery, is five years old today. He’s been so excited for his birthday to arrive, and then this morning he woke up with a fever of 104. I felt horrible at the beginning of the day, but then you realize the thing with kids – he was just as happy spending the day watching TV with his mom & brother as he was going to school, going to dinner, etc. All we needed in the end was a birthday candle, a scoop of mint-chip ice cream from Dairy Queen, and a cool birthday present from his brother, Brandon. Instant birthday joy.

It also occurs to me that this day marks the five-year anniversary of my being a dad. I will resist the urge to wax philisophical, except to say this: I’m convinced I’ve got the best kids in the world. I’m also convinced that as long as I continue to believe that, and treat them as though I believe it, I will ultimately prove myself right.

Happy 5th, Avery. It’s been a great ride. Somehow, though, I get the sense that the next five years will make it pale in comparsion…

Categories: Family Matters | 4 Comments »

Twin Mini

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

It seems a Taiwanese company called AOpen, acting at Intel’s request, has built a machine that looks very similar to the Mac Mini, in the sense that it looks exactly like the Mac Mini.

Interestingly enough, analysts are pooh-poohing it right out of the gate. Roger Kay of IDC says “I don’t think the two — Mac mini and whatever Intel puts out — are really in the same market; that is, of course, unless Apple starts running OS X on x86 hardware.” Huh? What about all that stuff I read when the Mini came out about it’s form factor, it’s place as an appliance rather than technology, etc.? Was that all just cover-up for “it has a great OS?”

He also questions whether anyone will be able to market the machine with an Intel Chip & Windows XP and still hit the $499 price point set by Apple. To that point, I say don’t underestimate Intel & Microsoft’s ability to buy market share. If they think the Mini is going to be a serious challenge, both of those companies are in a position to give these things away and make their money on the peripherals, home networks, and software.

All of this is not to say I think that either product will be all that successful. The Mac Mini will sell like hotcakes for a while, but once it’s no longer the newest toy on the block, someone will invent the true computing appliance – one that doesn’t require separate KVM’s to get them working…

Categories: Tech Talk | Comments Off on Twin Mini

Breaking News – You Can Tape Stuff Off the Radio…

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

Remember the good old days when everybody was stealing digital music? Then iTunes came along and made it so easy (and cheap) to buy music, that stealing it actually became more of a hassle than it was worth? Well, in what should have been an obvious next step, that state of affairs appears to be short-lived:

Lawyers, others questions radio TIVO-like devices – Yahoo! News

Various devices that enable listeners to record Internet radio streams and then convert them into MP3 files are catching on and making Web radio and streaming services more appealing to the general public.

But some legal experts say the recording software may violate digital copyright laws and does little more than promote piracy.

I must admit, I never understood how Digital Rights Management (DRM) was going to last. When I was a teenager, I knew the 50 ways to hack through Apple II+ copy-protection so I could copy my friend’s new video game. Nowadays, I’m just an old fogey at 35, relegated to reading about today’s teenagers, who hack into massive government or corporate networks and cause millions in damages. Still, even *I* can figure out how to break DRM protection. Simply play the DRM-laden song on the PC, have the PC record straight from the sound card into an (unprotected) MP3 file, and then “Save As…” Voila! Instant cyber-thief. So if I can figure this out, why is the rest of the world pretending the teenagers are even breaking a sweat?

Tools like Replay Radio put the issue in the forefront, though. Music is different than TV. It’s portable and personal. A copy of a TV show still requires a TV, and usually, if you’re lucky, someone to watch it with. A copy of a song, though, is the whole package. It’s a 100% replacement for the purchased product. Not to mention the fact that you could conceivably go to work/school and leave Replay Radio running all day, then come home and cherry-pick the songs you want to add to your collection. A few weeks and some creative choices of radio stations, and you could fill an iPod for free.

Jay Cooper, a veteran entertainment lawyer, is quoted in the article singing that old refrain: “[This] Technology’s way ahead of the law.”


Categories: Tech Talk | 2 Comments »

Home Networking – Now with More Wires!

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

Here’s a prediction: As soon as I get off my butt & configure a wireless network in the house, this will become ubiquitous.

Categories: Tech Talk | 5 Comments »

Highway Blogging…

Friday, May 27th, 2005

I’m in the car on the way to a cousin’s birthday party, and basically just want to see if e-mail initiated blogging is everything it’s cracked up to be.

Don’t worry, I’m not driving. Although, to be fair, there wasn’t a lot of driving to be done in the last couple of hours. The NJ Turnpike folks decided that Memorial Day Friday would be a good time to fix the shoulder by Exit 8. Backed up traffic in both directions by around 30 miles.

Anyway, last time I tried this, the formatting was all screwy. If that’s the case now, pardon our appearance while we strive to serve you better. I’ll clean up the mess next time I’m at a PC…

UPDATE: Well, the formatting was indeed all screwy, but the good news is the blogger tools let me fix it from right here in the car. In fact, for those who are HTML geeks, what it did was automatically bracket each paragraph with a class called “mobile-post”. So, when I do get back to my PC, I can actually define that class in my style sheet to be the same as a regular blog post (or, if I desire, a snazzy new mobile style!). The possibilities are mind boggling.

Anyway, kudos to the blogger tools once again…

Categories: Blogging about Blogs | 1 Comment »

Hello World – Redux…

Wednesday, May 25th, 2005

I finally sent an e-mail out to some friends telling them about this blog (it was a soft-launch for a few weeks). So I’m re-posting my first entry for their benefit.

Categories: Blogging about Blogs | Comments Off on Hello World – Redux…

Primetime TV Update #3

Wednesday, May 25th, 2005

Call it 1 for 3.

I went with Bo for American Idol, but it seems Carrie pulled it out. I stand by what I said, though – the winner got a recording contract, fame and fortune. The loser will get, well…a recording contract, fame and fortune.

On the upside, the fall season is now basically done. What will I do with all my free time? Probably post a little more around here, I bet…

Categories: Primetime TV | Comments Off on Primetime TV Update #3

(Grease) Monkeying around with the web

Saturday, May 21st, 2005

Almost as if the whole controversey around Google’s new toolbar didn’t happen, now there’s a tool for Firefox browsers called Greasemonkey, which lets users write client side scripts to change the way a web page looks or functions directly from their browser.

Examples include a script that removes all stories about Michael Jackson from a Reuters newsfeed, and one that makes the Chicago Transit Authority map a background on the Google Map of Chicago.

Watch for the intellectual property rights police to jump all over this one…

Categories: Tech Talk | 7 Comments »

Laura weighs in…

Friday, May 20th, 2005

Laura Bush agrees with me.

Categories: Political Rantings | Comments Off on Laura weighs in…

News cataloging, Part Deux

Friday, May 20th, 2005

OK, so they’ve got pictures of Saddam Hussein in his underwear. Here’s what his lawyer said:

“In our opinion this is a violation of all international agreements and human dignity, therefore we must sue the people responsible and the providers of these pictures, because if you look closely you can see that they were taken from his prison cell,” lawyer Ziad Khasawneh of Saddam’s defense team said.

“This is considered as another Abu Ghraib and we will take the necessary legal actions which we have already started,” he told Reuters in Amman.

Fine. Sue ’em. I hope he wins. Whoever published these pictures was being infantile and gets what he deserves. But this was no Abu Ghraib.

Yes, publicly displaying pictures of him in his underwear is embarrasing. But it’s junior high-school embarassing. He wasn’t being humiliated by his captors like the Abu Ghraib detainees were. In fact, he wasn’t being mistreated at all. What was awful about Abu Ghraib was what they were doing, not the fact that they photographed it.

Nonetheless, Mr. Khasawneh knows that this will only be an amusing side-story unless he can get it lumped into the “America Absuses Prisoners” meme, so it gets repeated over & over again by those who wish us harm.

Categories: News and/or Media | 4 Comments »

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