Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The New iMac is here

Apple just unveiled the new iMac models at a Paris trade show. The design is quite a bit different than the pole lamp look of the current iMac. The new model, using the powerful G5 processor looks like a tablet PC on a reversed L-shaped bracket. All of the electronics are built into the base of the display. The main unit is only about 2" wide. At prices ranging from $1299 for the base model with a 17" screen to $1899 for a 20" model, the new iMac is on the expensive side for home computers, but then again Macs have always been about 20% more expensive than Windows PCs. The ease of use and built-in software, not to mention the style factor can make up for the difference.

My first impression is that Apple made a big mistake in shipping the computer with only 256 MB of DRAM. If you are selling a computer at a premium price, you really should put enough memory in it to function at a premium level. I have the same opinion regarding the Bluetooth wireless card, which is optional. If you design a product so that a key atribute is reducing the cord clutter to a single power cord, then you should not charge an extra $49 just so users can add a wireless keyboard and mouse.

By the time you get done adding memory and bluetooth, you're looking at paying at least $200 more than the base price.

Apple - iMac G5

Friday, August 27, 2004

Starved for Ken Jennings Jeopardy! news?

Here's an article by a Sports Illustrated writer who actually beat Ken Jennings - in a group Quizbowl competition. If anybody is going to beat Jennings on Jeopartdy!, the most likely candidate will be one of his Quizbowl peers.

FYI - Taping started on August 9 for the season starting September 6.

SI.com - Quintong: How I beat Ken Jennings - Tuesday July 27, 2004 5:24PM
Bush's Brain

Here's a review of the new documentary film, Bush's Brain. The focus of the film is Karl Rove, Bush's political director. Shall we say "Kommissar"?

Entertainment: Reviews Article | Reuters.com
Chrysler's Minivan Summer Games

The New York Times article linked below describes Chrysler's first (annual?) minivan olympics. Contestants could win a minivan and a vacation by participating in events like throwing water balloons through the two sliding doors. Why wasn't I invited to this?

The New York Times > Business > The Minivan Is Getting a Makeover

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Dave Matthews Band dumps on Tour Boat

The bus driver for the Dave Matthews Band allegedly dumped the sewage tank onto a metal grid bridge just as a tour boat was passing underneath.

I can relate to those poor unfortuante souls. A band crapped on me too, I bought the CD only to find out it just had the one good song . . .

MTV.com - News -Dave Matthews Band May Face Criminal Charges Over Bus Stink

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Hurricane at Walt Disney World

What's it like to be at Walt Disney World when a hurricane hits? Click on the mouseplanet link below to find out out. Hint: You better have your own food.

WDW Update August 23 - 29 2004
Fresh Bushisms - Wisdom in Wisconsin

Apparently GWB had a banner day in terms of creating new "bushisms" on August 18 during a campaign stop in Wisconsin. www.dubyaspeak.com has several from this particular day. Here's my favorite:

"Let me tell you an interesting story, and then I promise to answer some questions. If Laura were here, she'd be giving me the hook. That's the way it is. Anyway, the Oval Office door opens up and in walks seven men from Iraq, all of whom had had their right hands cut off by Saddam Hussein. They had been to Houston, Texas, where a newscaster had -- a quite famous newscaster -- raised money and set up a foundation to help people. ... Anyway, so these guys walk in, you know, and I was emotional, they were emotional. And I said, why you? He said, that Saddam dinar had devalued and -- he was a merchant, a small businessman. I don't know if he was a sub-chapter S corporation or not, but he was a small businessman. And he had sold dinars on a particular day to buy another currency, euros or dollars, so he could buy gold to manufacture his product. And because the Soviet Dinar had devalued, Saddam Hussein plucked this guy out of society to punish him, and six other small merchants, for the devaluation of their currency. He just summarily said, you're it, come here -- and cut his hand off. " [And now the dubyaspeak commentary.]
-- Featured here is inappropriate goofiness in relation to the subject of people losing their limbs under repression in Iraq, culminating in a completely unnecessary reference to sub-chapter S corporations, and just for fun, Dubya invents a new currency: The Soviet Dinar. Hudson, Wisconsin, Aug. 18, 2004

DubyaSpeak.com %3A Fresh Dubya

Monday, August 23, 2004

Dodge Kahuna - In my woody I will take you, everywhere I go . . .

2003 Dodge Kahuna and Avenger concept cars

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Listening to George W.

If you're looking for GWB's greatest hits (and misses) in his own words (audio), check out


DO NOT type

www.dubyaspeaks.com - This is the URL that I typed in first, and it seemed to be trying to take over my computer.

Here's another one, www.toostupidtobepresident.com

Thursday, August 19, 2004

William Hung Update

What did American Idol wannabe William Hung do on his summer vacation from USC-Berkley? He toured Hong Kong and made a movie. Apparently he's also recording a Christmas album.

William Hung
Daydream Believer - A Monkees Tribute band

I'm fascinated by the whole concept of tribute bands - as opposed to cover bands. A cover band plays songs made famous by other artists, but with a variety of artists. A tribute band tries to recreate the experience of the original artist. Think Elvis impersonators.

The Monkees were my first favorite group as a child, and I still enjoy their music. I am amazed though that grown men would devote a large portion of their working life to recreating the monkees experience, but that's just what the band Daydream Believer does.

There are some photographs and some MP3 song samples on their website. I don't think the performers look particularly like Davey, Mike Mickey and Peter, but from a distance, that might not be a problem. The vocals aren't spot on, but are close enough to be enjoyable. The thing that really struck me about the music samples is the quality of the drumming. DB's drummer has down pat the rapid-fire style of session ace Hal Blaine, who played on many of the Monkees' hits.

Bottom line: if Daydream Believer stopped in my town, I'd probably check them out. You can check out the website at the link below.

Daydream Believer%3A a live musical-comedy tribute to The Monkees %28Monkees tribute band%29
Unprotected PC lasts 20 minutes before infection

A study just released says that on average, a personal computer that is connected to the internet but is not protected by a firewall and the latest security patches will last on average 20 minutes before it is infected with malware.

Study%3A Unpatched PCs compromised in 20 minutes - News - ZDNet

Friday, August 13, 2004

The Great Communicator Jr. - Ron Reagan in Esquire
It came as a bit of a surprise when presidential son, Ron Reagan, spoke out in favor of stem cell research at the Democratic convention in Boston.

Ron Reagan goes way beyond that in a far-reaching (but excellent) indictment of the Bush administration in an essay for Esquire magazine (linked through www.michaelmoore.com below).

Ron seems particularly perturbed by the lies associated with the war in Iraq as well as the policy of torture as a recreational pastime.

A few snippets:

Fanciful but terrifying scenarios were introduced: Unmanned aircraft, drones, had been built for missions targeting the U. S., Bush told the nation. "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud," National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice deadpanned to CNN. And, Bush maintained, "Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists." We "know" Iraq possesses such weapons, Rumsfeld and Vice-President Cheney assured us. We even "know" where they are hidden. After several months of this mumbo jumbo, 70 percent of Americans had embraced the fantasy that Saddam destroyed the World Trade Center.

ALL THESE ASSERTIONS have proved to be baseless and, we've since discovered, were regarded with skepticism by experts at the time they were made. But contrary opinions were derided, ignored, or covered up in the rush to war. Even as of this writing, Dick Cheney clings to his mad assertion that Saddam was somehow at the nexus of a worldwide terror network.

And then there was Abu Ghraib. Our "war president" may have been justified in his assumption that Americans are a warrior people. He pushed the envelope in thinking we'd be content as an occupying power, but he was sadly mistaken if he thought that ordinary Americans would tolerate an image of themselves as torturers. To be fair, the torture was meant to be secret. So were the memos justifying such treatment that had floated around the White House, Pentagon, and Justice Department for more than a year before the first photos came to light. The neocons no doubt appreciate that few of us have the stones to practice the New Warfare. Could you slip a pair of women's panties over the head of a naked, cowering stranger while forcing him to masturbate? What would you say while sodomizing him with a toilet plunger? Is keeping someone awake till he hallucinates inhumane treatment or merely "sleep management"?

He's not just on Bush for his inept foreign policy though. Here's RR taking GWB to task on domestic issues:

And chances are your America and George W. Bush's America are not the same place. If you are dead center on the earning scale in real-world twenty-first-century America, you make a bit less than $32,000 a year, and $32,000 is not a sum that Mr. Bush has ever associated with getting by in his world. Bush, who has always managed to fail upwards in his various careers, has never had a job the way you have a job—where not showing up one morning gets you fired, costing you your health benefits. He may find it difficult to relate personally to any of the nearly two million citizens who've lost their jobs under his administration, the first administration since Herbert Hoover's to post a net loss of jobs. Mr. Bush has never had to worry that he couldn't afford the best available health care for his children. For him, forty-three million people without health insurance may be no more than a politically inconvenient abstraction. When Mr. Bush talks about the economy, he is not talking about your economy. His economy is filled with pals called Kenny-boy who fly around in their own airplanes. In Bush's economy, his world, friends relocate offshore to avoid paying taxes. Taxes are for chumps like you. You are not a friend. You're the help. When the party Mr. Bush is hosting in his world ends, you'll be left picking shrimp toast out of the carpet.

I hope Ron Reagan seriously gets out on the stump and kicks some number 43 ass. Here's a tip Ron: If you're out on the stump, avoid sentences like: "This Möbius reality finds its domestic analogue in the perversely cynical "Clear Skies" and "Healthy Forests" sloganeering at Bush's EPA and in the administration's irresponsible tax cutting and other fiscal shenanigans. "

Möbius reality? It sounds like an industrial music band name.

Michael Moore.com : Mike's Message : Mike's Latest News

Porter Goss - "I am not qualified"

While you are at michaelmoore.com checking out Ron Reagan's essay, read the article about Porter Goss, GWB's pick to head the CIA. He was interviewed by Moore for F-9/11 and said

"I couldn't get a job with CIA today. I am not qualified."

Ok, I took the statement out of context, but it's still interesting.

The My Pet Goat Mystery

When I found out that GWB was reading a story called "My Pet Goat" when news broke about 9/11, I could have sworn that I had read the book. (I have two young children after all.) Doing a Google search, I found out that bloggers around the world are upset that they can't find the book! I could have sworn that I read it in a paperback book all by itself; however the only listing that I could find for it was as an included story in a reading textbook: Reading Mastery - Level 2 Storybook 1. The amazon.com link is below.
$37.50, ouch, at minimum wage, it would take seven hours to buy this book. The actual title of the story is "The Pet Goat".

Amazon.com: Books: Reading Mastery - Level 2 Storybook 1

Back to Cars - the Chrysler 300C-SRT-8

The Chrysler 300C-SRT-8 has a lot of initials. It also has a lot of horsepower, 425 to be exact. What more is there to say?

The Car Connection [ The Web's Automotive Authority ]
G5 Imac Rumors - A step backwards in design?

Thinksecret.com has the first concrete rumors including details of the forthcoming G5 iMac computer. I've been eager for the release of the G5 iMac, wanting to rejoin the world of Mac users that I left about 5 years ago. Unfortunately, the details are not encouraging. The Thinksecret report says the G5 iMac has the components built into the back of the screen rather than in the weighted base as on the current iMac. This can result in a clunky computer like the Sony Vaio W700G. With the electronics on the screen, you lose the elegance and versatility of the swingout arm of the current iMac. I'm sure it's cheaper to make, but it seems less distinctive and less useful.

I don't see how the Sony unit has any advantages (and has quite a few disadvantages) over a conventional laptop/notebook computer.

Think Secret - Exclusive specs: New 17 and 20-inch G5 iMacs to offer 1.6 and 1.8GHz speeds

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Cat hijacks Airliner

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Plane forced down as cat let out of bag
Are Mac users smarter than PC users?

In the analysis by Paul Murphy of www.linuxworld.com and published in macnewsworld.com, he compared the readability level of comments posted in PC forums versus Macintosh forums. He came up with a grade level of 8.8 for the PC users and 10.7 for the Mac users.

Mac News: Commentary: Are Mac Users Smarter Than PC Users?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

2005 Honda Odyssey spyshot from USA Today

On August 4, USA Today published the clearest spyshot I've seen of the closely-guarded 2005 Honda Odyssey. Honda has enforced an information blackout on this vehicle that the Pentagon would do well to emulate. About all that has been confirmed is that the engine will be a modified version of the current 3.5 liter v-6 with cylinder deactivation to improve fuel economy.

From this shot the vehicle looks non-descript. To my eyes it looks like a stretched & widened version of the out-going Chevrolet Venture. Certainly the styling is nothing to brag about.

USATODAY.com - An unauthorized look at new Odyssey
Why I'm not buying Google Stock

I love the Google search engine. I use it every day. I'm not buying the stock, though. Why? It's too expensive. I learned a long time ago that when high price multiples are built into stock, it's really hard to make a profit. This New York Times article goes into detail why. (free subscription required)

The New York Times > Technology > Seeing Google With the Eyes of Forrest Gump

Monday, August 09, 2004

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Inevitable: Chapter 1
The Hotrod Hybrid Prius

Toyota Debut's Prius GT Prototype at Goodwood Festival of Speed - News - Auto123.com
Holy Toledo! DC to invest $2 Billion in new Ohio plant

Suppliers will be contracted for much of the component operation, with DC doing the final assembly.

The Car Connection [ The Web's Automotive Authority ]
What's in a Player's Name: EA Sports' NCAA FOOTBALL 2005
Videogame giant Electronic Arts is doing a heavy marketing blitz for its title NCAA Football 2005. I'm troubled by the inclusion of amateur atheletes in such a commercial title without compensation to the athelete. EA leaves the players' names off the jerseys in NCAA Football 2005, but there are sites on the web where a player can get rosters incorporated into the game. See the link below. I wonder how long it will be before these sites get sued for the right of publicity / tortious misappropriation?

The NFL Players' Association has negotiated a deal with the videogame makers for compensation in exchange for the right to use the players' names and likenesses. Because the retired players do not have such a deal, EA had to leave their names and even numbers off of the jerseys for the historical teams.

NCAA Football 2005 Rosters and March Madness 2005 Rosters