Engadget’s Ross Rubin talks about ‘playforsure’

27 04 2005

Recently Microsoft launched their answer to Apple’s iTunes music service, called ‘playsforsure‘. The word around the coffee machine is that Microsoft will fail in this endeavor, mostly because they offer nothing over what iTunes + the iPod has, save that their service will run on more devices.
Over at Engadget, Ross Rubin has a wonderful column that takes on this topic, and puts out some great commentary…

The only choice that consumers really care about in digital music is choice in content. After all, consumers donโ€™t pick their cable or satellite TV plan provider based on what kind of set-top box theyโ€™ll get. They choose based on the kind and number of channels available. And here again, no Windows Media-based store offers a significant choice advantage over the iTumes Music Store; device platform market share means nothing since, unlike with software, there is practically no incremental cost to support a player with a particular piece of content.

One more nail in DeLay’s coffin.

27 04 2005

Yes, the masses can make a difference. Apparently the GOP yahoos have bitten off more than they can chew. Three months ago, as I had mentioned before, the house Ethics committee republicans made a set of 3 rule changes that were basically designed to protect Tom DeLay from further investigations.
The Daily Kos points to a Washington Post article saying the GOP, realizing they had really pushed things too far, are rescinding one of the rule changes.
The rule being rescinded basically says “If the ethics committee is at an impasse, and cannot resolve it in 45 days, then the complaint is dismissed.

The proposal will include a reversal of the January rule that would automatically dismiss an ethics complaint after 45 days if the committee is deadlocked.
“It’s gone,” an official said of the automatic-dismissal rule as he emerged from the negotiations.

Since one of the other rule changes is that an ethics complaint can’t be moved into an investigation without a majority vote, this isn’t really a major victory, but it is a step in the right direction.

Animeboston Ho!!!

26 04 2005

I’m gearing up for AnimeBoston, which runs this weekend at the Hynes Convention Center.
This is by far my biggest event, tripling the size of my next biggest event. We’re even renting hardware! This is the frist time I can’t provide all the equipment needed to make things work, so we’re working with Rent-a-PC to get a half dozen flatscreen monitors delivered to the hotel.
We start delivering things to the hotel tomorrow (Wednesday), with setup in the ballroom starting at 9am on Thursday morning. Registration opens at 5pm, and by that time we’ll have:

  • 3 Fargo Pro badge printers
  • 6 Operator terminals
  • 3-4 Administrator terminals
  • Server and console
  • Receipt printer for on-site registrations
  • 6-10 Kiosk terminals
  • Network and Power for everything.

Yay events ๐Ÿ™‚

Show us yer desktop!

25 04 2005

This is sort of buzzing about in blogland, sort of the equivelent of a Livejournal Meme.
I’ve been chattering about setting up my KVM and how things finally turned out. Thought it might be nice for folks to check out my digs.
This is where I spend untold hours a day either coding, browsing, chatting, gaming, but for the most part doing what I do.
The laptop is my IBM T40, which is basically my entire online life ๐Ÿ™‚ I do everything on it, from development, to email, to browsing, to chatting, to some gaming.
The Shuttle box has no name, and is a Windows XP box whose primary purpose is running high end games and doing the occasional Windows thing that I can’t do under Linux. At the moment, I’m doing some work for a company that is all Windows based, so I have to test / transfer my things under Windows on occasion.
There’s a hidden KVM that lets me switch the flatscreen monitor between the two (but nicely, while gaming, I can still keep the laptop screen open and see chat on IRC while I game ๐Ÿ™‚
BTW, the laptop is open because I run mostly wireless, and the antenna on T40’s is in the lid. If I close it, the signal strength goes down to where I start getting performance issues, not to mention randomly hopping over to the neighbors un-secured WAP.
And yes, that is in fact a Rokenbok stand that is holding up my laptop and power supply. Normally my printer is under there, but it’s getting ready to go to Animeboston.

Apple keeps messing with my head.

24 04 2005

Once again Apple is using their SINISTER MIND RAY on me.
My mom gets back from Florida next week, so, naturally, I wait until THIS WEEKEND to complete prepping the new Mac Mini for her return. See this article for some of my chatterings about it. In order to make sure everything is in place, I needed to copy all her bookmarks, files, documents, and games off the old iMac gumdrop and onto the new machine.
Now, for a machine that has no removable writable media, this may be problematic. I suppose I could find the files in the directories, ftp them up to my server, and then down again. Or I could set up file sharing between the two, and copy across that way. I groaned at this option. Nothing makes me want to flee to the antarctic faster than “Oh joy! Lets learn aNOTHER way a company redefined network access!”
But several folks said “Wait, just firewire the machine.” “Uhh, what?” – I knew what Firewire was – it was that cable / bus system that USB was spanking six ways from Sunday. But I also knew it was tremendously fast, and that Macs used it. Okee, fine. “But the drive in the iMac isn’t a Firewire drive.”
“Nonono. Just hook the 2 macs together with a firewire cable. On the iMac, hold down ‘T’ when booting. It’ll come up as one big Firewire drive. Trust me.”
So I did. I borrowed a cable from Thud, cabled them up, held down the ‘T’ key on the imac, and hit the power. Lo, the mac turns on, and quickly starts bouncing the little Firewire symbol around on the screen. Going over to the Mac Mini, I see… an icon grinning evilly at me that says ‘Firewire drive’. Double-clicking it, indeed, it was the other mac’s drive.
Copying files over was trivial – just drag n drop.
Now, doing this procedure on a PC or a Linux box is… well, not possible. The hardware issues alone would cause anyone trying to write this to go quite insane. But Apple has the advantage of owning things top to bottom. Hardware, software, and most of the applications. So they can do magic things like this.
But… single-vendor-solution BAD! Non-free systems BAD! NnnnggggglL! Must resist!

Another great idea on ‘solar’ power

23 04 2005

Saw this one over on GizMag

Want cheap, green electricity? The Australians have a simple answer. First, build a 20,000-acre greenhouse to trap and heat air. Then build a colossal tower 1 km (.62 miles) tall in the middle of it. The warm air from the greenhouse will rise through the tower as it would through a chimney, turning turbines and generating enough electricity to power 200,000 Australian homes. It may sound like science fiction, but the project is on track to get approved by the Australian government. If completed, the $800 million solar tower will be the tallest man-made structure in the world.

Time Magazine had it in their 2002 ‘Best Inventions’ category.
$800 million, powers 200,000 Australian homes, and uses up no fuels, and has very little maintenance. AND the greenhouses can be used for other things – all they have to be is hot. I’ll take it!

Summer, 1999.

23 04 2005

In 1999, my dad rented a house out on Fire Island, and invited the family to come out for a week or so. Zach was less than a year old, and I hadn’t seen my sister in quite a while. They came out, and we all spent a week together on the island.

It was an important time for our family. Many of us thought it was the last time we’d see Dad – we knew his health wasn’t that great, and wondered if this was his way of saying goodbye. In some ways it was, but he slugged it out another 2 years, including another week out at the house the next summer.

This visit was rough because Zach was so young and needed 100% of both Cat and my’s attention, and it was ALMIGHTY hot there – that summer-in-New-England humidity-laden-heat that makes it impossible to sleep well, let alone with a clingy toddler.

I remember when I was there, we actually ended up leaving early (after 3-4 days) because of the sand, heat, and the bugs, and I don’t remember anything particularly inspiring about it. But looking back now, it was an opportunity to get a picture like this one, an option we don’t have anymore.

In the front is me with Rosie, my dad’s dog.

In the back, from left to right, are:

My dad died about 4 years ago now. I think about him all the time.