The local high school is collecting electronic waste this weekend. I am jettisoning two old Windows machines that have been shoved under my desk for a few years.
As I removed the hard drives (to protect personal data) I thought about the advance of technology and our relative sense of value.
My first personal computer was a Zenith Z-89, purchased by my partner and I for our Miami PR firm. At the time Lanier, Wang and IBM sold stand-alone Word processing machines for $15,000 and up.
We bought the Z-89, a line printer and a copy of WordStar for $7,000. This was so cutting edge we were featured in the Miami Herald business section. “Local PR firms buys computer” was the headline. This was 1981.
The computer had one large floppy drive (8″ and truly floppy) and 48k of RAM. To write a document, we had to insert the floppy, boot the computer and load WordStar, then swap in a floppy to save our document. After a few minutes of writing and saving, we’d get prompted to re-insert the WordStar disc so it could fetch some code, then switch back.
We loved this machine. It saved us the cost of a typist.
My latest Windows machine cost $800, came with 12 gigabytes of RAM and a 2-terabyte hard drive.
In between came various computers, each faster and more capable. Those I’m giving away are ten years old. Ten years ago, I reveled in their power and functionality. There is nothing wrong with them. They can still do the same work.
And yet they are junk to me. But what about someone in the Third World? Might not a 10 year old Pentium computer, compared to having no computer, be a great blessing? It sure was to me at the time. I wish I could deliver my junk to them.
We measure things in relative terms. My junk computers are only junk compared to my newest machine. In absolute terms, those old computers are not junk at all. They are orders of magnitude better than the Z-89, the machine that thrilled us in 1981.
Progressives apply the same approach to “social justice.” In relative terms, I am dirt poor compared to Warren Buffet or Michael Bloomberg. So what?
In absolute terms, a poor person in the USA today is wealthy by international standards. And he’s well off compared to American standards of just 50 years ago. Yet by progressives’ relative yard stick, he’s to be pitied.
Progressives focus on gaps. Gaps between the 1% and the 99%. Gaps in wages. Gaps in technology (remember the fretting about the “digital divide?”) Gaps in access to broadband.
This has its place, I suppose. But if we only evaluate ourselves based on what others have, we’ll always feel poor. Politically this is useful. In 2012 Obama demonstrated the power of stoking and exploiting a sense of grievance.
But if we’re not careful, we can make ourselves miserable. For most of us, someone will always have more money and better stuff. There’s wisdom in the adage that poverty isn’t a matter of what you have, it’s about what you still want.
How amusing that “progressives” are so attached to 19th century technology. Could it be that, as incorrigible meddlers and know-it-alls, they just hate the idea of people going where they feel like it, when they feel like it?
So much better to jam them on trains.
A defense contractor better known for building jet fighters and lethal missiles says it has found a way to slash the amount of energy needed to remove salt from seawater, potentially making it vastly cheaper to produce clean water at a time when scarcity has become a global security issue.
The process, officials and engineers at Lockheed Martin Corp say, would enable filter manufacturers to produce thin carbon membranes with regular holes about a nanometer in size that are large enough to allow water to pass through but small enough to block the molecules of salt in seawater. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.
Because the sheets of pure carbon known as graphene are so thin – just one atom in thickness – it takes much less energy to push the seawater through the filter with the force required to separate the salt from the water, they said.
The development could spare underdeveloped countries from having to build exotic, expensive pumping stations needed in plants that use a desalination process called reverse osmosis.
“It’s 500 times thinner than the best filter on the market today and a thousand times stronger,” said John Stetson, the engineer who has been working on the idea. “The energy that’s required and the pressure that’s required to filter salt is approximately 100 times less.”
There are still issues to be solved before this becomes an actual product. But if it does, this “small” story in today’s news could be turn out to be a world changer.
Just think, you can annoy people with your opinions from the grave. But can your views “evolve” when you’re six feet under?
A new application will soon allow users to keep posting Twitter updates from beyond the grave, independently using intricate knowledge of your online character to create a virtual continuation of your personality after you die.
“When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep tweeting,” says the new application’s tagline.
‘LivesOn’ will let users pursue ‘life after death’ on their social media profiles, letting the deceased communicate with loved ones. LivesOn will keep posting after you kick the bucket, following the example of the DeadSocial platform.
Due to be launched in March, the LivesOn application will keep tweeting after you pass on. The service will utilize advanced analysis of your main Twitter feed, to carefully select appropriate subjects, likes, or articles that would have been likely to interest you, posting them on your behalf for your friends to read.
Pre-existing applications so far have only allowed users to schedule prepared updates…
Clinton’s DOJ went after Microsoft for anti-trust violations, egged on by jealous competitors. Recently Google had the same trouble, this time with Microsoft egging on the DOJ.
As the WSJ’s L. Gordon Crovitz writes, Milton Freedman saw the tech industry committing suicide.
In 1999, economist Milton Friedman issued a warning to technology executives at a Cato Institute conference: “Is it really in the self-interest of Silicon Valley to set the government on Microsoft? Your industry, the computer industry, moves so much more rapidly than the legal process that by the time this suit is over, who knows what the shape of the industry will be? Never mind the fact that the human energy and the money that will be spent in hiring my fellow economists, as well as in other ways, would be much more productively employed in improving your products. It’s a waste!”
He predicted: “You will rue the day when you called in the government. From now on, the computer industry, which has been very fortunate in that it has been relatively free of government intrusion, will experience a continuous increase in government regulation. Antitrust very quickly becomes regulation. Here again is a case that seems to me to illustrate the suicide impulse of the business community.”
Or at least invented it.
Every color digital camera in use today works because of the invention of Bruce Bayer, who worked at Kodak at the time.
He died November 13. The video explains how Bayer’s invention works.
I’ve been getting emails about an election conspiracy — how could it be that Mitt got fewer votes than John McCain in 2008? First, Obama got fewer votes than in 2008.
But Team Romney flopped big time with its get out the vote software, named Orca.
It crashed along with millions of conservative hearts.
What is Project Orca? Well, this is what they told us:
Project ORCA is a massive undertaking – the Republican Party’s newest, unprecedented and most technologically advanced plan to win the 2012 presidential election.Pretty much everything in that sentence is false. The “massive undertaking” is true, however. It would take a lot of planning, training and coordination to be done successfully (oh, we’ll get to that in a second). This wasn’t really the GOP’s effort, it was Team Romney’s. And perhaps “unprecedented” would fit if we’re discussing failure.
The entire purpose of this project was to digitize the decades-old practice of strike lists. The old way was to sit with your paper and mark off people that have voted and every hour or so, someone from the campaign would come get your list and take it back to local headquarters. Then, they’d begin contacting people that hadn’t voted yet and encourage them to head to the polls. It’s worked for years.
From the very start there were warning signs. After signing up, you were invited to take part in nightly conference calls. The calls were more of the slick marketing speech type than helpful training sessions. There was a lot of “rah-rahs” and lofty talk about how this would change the ballgame.
Working primarily as a web developer, I had some serious questions. Things like “Has this been stress tested?”, “Is there redundancy in place?” and “What steps have been taken to combat a coordinated DDOS attack or the like?”, among others. These types of questions were brushed aside (truth be told, they never took one of my questions). They assured us that the system had been relentlessly tested and would be a tremendous success.
On one of the last conference calls (I believe it was on Saturday night), they told us that our packets would be arriving shortly. Now, there seemed to be a fair amount of confusion about what they meant by “packet”. Some people on Twitter were wondering if that meant a packet in the mail or a pdf or what. Finally, my packet arrived at 4PM on Monday afternoon as an emailed 60 page pdf. Nothing came in the mail. Because I was out most of the day, I only got around to seeing it at around 10PM Monday night. So, I sat down and cursed as I would have to print out 60+ pages of instructions and voter rolls on my home printer. Naturally, for reasons I can’t begin to comprehend, my printer would not print in black and white with an empty magenta cartridge (No HP, I will never buy (more…)
Holman Jenkins on the rising western resistance to Chinese tech giant Huawei:
China may not see it thusly, but the deep problem is China’s own status as global society’s No. 1 intellectual-property thief and source of many of its cyberattacks.
Microsoft has been fighting this war for years, in patient ways that respect China’s sovereignty and laws. In a recent shopping trip, Microsoft bought 20 PCs around China, most running pirated versions of Windows, four of which came preloaded at the factory with viruses to enable somebody somewhere not just to steal user information but to hijack the machines for botnet attacks on third parties.
…done without a government grant. Consider the layers of educational bureaucracy that have been working on this problem:
Department of Education
State Boards of Education
County Boards of Education
Community Boards of Education
Education departments of universities and colleges
…and what brilliant ideas have emerged?
Regulators are not entitled to create their own laws or expand their own turf. But that doesn’t stop the liberal fascists from marching on.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski defended his agency’s role in regulating broadband Internet, saying that the FCC needed to act like a “cop on the beat.”
“We need to protect and promote competition,” Genachowski said at a speech to media firm Vox Communications in Washington on Tuesday. “We know from decades of experience that when it comes to competition in the communications sector, the FCC needs to be a cop on the beat.”
Genachowski said that part of this “cop on the beat” approach meant putting rules in place that “prevent anti-competitive practices.”
“Protecting competition sometimes means putting rules in place to prevent anti-competitive practices – rules we adopted last year by majority vote to ensure broadband data roaming is one example,” he said.
Genachowski also cited controversial net neutrality rules as one way the FCC prevents anti-competitive behavior.
“Sometimes government has to act to preserve platforms for innovation – that’s what the open internet/net neutrality debate was all about – doing it in a smart, market-oriented way that recognizes the realities of the marketplace, the fact that we really want an open platform for innovators and we also really want robust, fast networks that require capital investment.
We have it, and we have it because the government was not involved.
I’m feeling dumber as the years pass, so it’s a good thing the stuff around me is getting smarter.
A team at the University of Manchester in the UK has developed a carpet that can detect when someone has fallen over or when unfamiliar feet walk across it.
Optical fibres in the carpet’s underlay create a 2D pressure map that distorts when stepped on. Sensors around the carpet’s edges then relay signals to a computer which is used to analyse the footstep patterns. When a change is detected – such as a sudden stumble and fall – an alarm can be set to sound.
By monitoring footsteps over time, the system can also learn people’s walking patterns and watch out for subtle changes, such as a gradual favouring of one leg over the other. It could then be used to predict the onset of mobility problems in the elderly, for example…
Forbes says China’s manufacturing edge is waning as robots become more capable. But who will build the robots?
There is great concern about China’s real-estate and infrastructure bubbles. But these are just short-term challenges that China may be able to spend its way out of. The real threat to China’s economy is bigger and longer term: its manufacturing bubble.
By offering subsidies, cheap labor, and lax regulations and rigging its currency, China was able to seduce American companies to relocate their manufacturing operations there. Millions of American jobs moved to China, and manufacturing became the underpinning of China’s growth and prosperity. But rising labor costs, concerns over government-sponsored I.P. theft, and production time lags are already causing companies such as Dow Chemicals, Caterpillar, GE, and Ford to start moving some manufacturing back to the U.S. from China. Google recently announced that its Nexus Q streaming media player would be made in the U.S., and this put pressure on Apple to start following suit.
But rising costs and political pressure aren’t what’s going to rapidly change the equation. The disruption will come from a set of technologies that are advancing at exponential rates and converging.
These technologies include robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing, and nanotechnology. These have been moving slowly so far, but are now beginning to advance exponentially just as computing does. Witness how computing has advanced to the point at which the smart phones we carry in (more…)
Web site owners want to rank high in Google searches. Google wants its users to find relevant web sites. The two goals are often in opposition.
…There is internal and external SEO. Internal makes up about 15% of the process (I’m told it may be much higher now) and it means to design your site so it follows the best practices proven to rank high on Google. External SEO used to mean to write articles, press releases, blogs, comments, and content with embedded keyword “backlinks” to your site. Now it is changing fast to include social media strategies.
SEO has been traditionally divided into “white hat” or “black hat.” Black Hat is the obvious villainous practice of gaming the system by doing things to raise rankings that Google doesn’t want, and White Hat is just more subtle.
But what does Google want? They want relevant, real content on the internet that people want to read and tell other people about. If Google doesn’t bring you the most relevant content when you search they aren’t doing their job.
So by definition even the word Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means to “game” the Google search engines (and others) to get your valuable content ranked higher than it would be if left alone to the forces of the Web.
Google proved Adam right one month later (to the day) with the “Penguin release” that is a code name for the algorithm that decreased search engine rankings of companies who were using schemes to artificially increase their rankings. Google decided to change the weight of their emphasis from “backlinks” more towards social media likes, shares, tweets, reddits, and 1+ (Googles obvious favorite.) In the world of digital media the emphasis is on follows, comments, and views as well. (Note: I have changed the wording slightly to clarify my meaning and make it more precise since I wrote it four days ago.)
What does that mean? Google used to think if you linked to someone on the Internet they must have valuable content. Now Google seems to believe that if you promote content with social media it is more indicative of relevant content and less likely to be faked. Though many point out social can be faked as well.
The bottom line is that all external SEO efforts are counterfeit other than one:
Writing, designing, recording, or videoing real and relevant content that benefits those who search…
When The Getty Center first opened its doors in 1997, a local billionaire remarked that it was “too good for Los Angeles.” Luckily, the J. Paul Getty Museum knows better. Nothing is too good for Los Angeles, and no works of art are too good for the people who admire them.
For thousands of years, powerful people have commissioned artists to venture into museums, churches, temples, and ruins around the world to make copies for their private collections. Today, with 3D scanning, photo-stitching, and printing, that tradition is poised to evolve and spread faithful reproductions of treasured artwork far beyond the walls of elite palaces.
Leading the trend, on June 1, 2012 The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced its collaboration with MakerBot Industries to scan and share data models of objects in the Met’s collection. Free, open-source, printable scans will be shared freely on Makerbot’s object file-sharing site, Thingiverse.com.
The technological changes happening right now are going to up-end traditional notions of a museum’s purpose as well as challenge intellectual property concepts and practices across many industries. This terrain is shifting very, very quickly: Autodesk has *already* released an iPad version of their 3D capturing app.
Forward-thinking institutions like the Met have already begun to realize that these new technologies will increase the importance of their objects’ provenance relative to their (more…)
In 1967, the airlines were flying Boeing 727s and Douglas DC-8s. Air travel was still special, and the airlines were raking in cash. But a problem loomed, and it was potentially calamitous. The airlines had placed their orders for the first wide-body aircraft—the 747 and the DC-10—and these giant planes would dramatically boost the number of people arriving simultaneously at customer service counters. So to prevent chaos at those counters, the airlines had to find a way to speed up ticket sales and passenger processing.
Banks, too, were facing difficulties. Bank-backed credit cards were surging in popularity, and merchants were swamped with paperwork: Every time a customer charged an item, the merchant had to write out a charge slip and make a phone call to get the charge authorized. And all-night convenience stores and even the growing popularity of late-night television meant that people were no longer satisfied with banker’s hours and expected banks to make services available on evenings and weekends.
The only way to solve these problems without hiring hordes of staff, for both the airlines and the banks, was to let customers serve themselves, with the help of a computer. For banks, that meant the ATM. For airlines, a similar kiosk could track reservations and dispense boarding passes. It would be easy enough to design a machine to spit out money or documents. But to get customers to trust these machines, engineers would first have to come up with a way to let users identify themselves that was fast, easy, and secure.
The answer turned out to be the magnetic-stripe card. Developed by IBM, it rolled out in the ’70s, caught on globally in the ’80s, and was essentially ubiquitous by the ’90s. And in North America especially, it has withstood many challenges over the years to become one of the most successful technologies of the past half century. Consider the numbers: In 2011 alone, 6 billion (more…)
Terence McCoy in The Atlantic on how political campaigns have you figured out. Check out the full article for graphs showing how your habits define your politics. Or vice versa.
On a clear day in February 2001, a trim mid-career political analyst named Matthew Dowd landed in Washington, D.C., from Austin, Tex., and hurried into the White House for a meeting with Karl Rove. Inside a manila folder, he carried a sparsely-populated bar graph. The few numbers it had hit Rove like a bomb.
“Really?” Rove asked, snatching the document and glancing back at Dowd. “Man, this is a fundamental change.”
The truly independent voting bloc, Dowd’s data showed, had dissolved from one-fourth of the electorate in 1984 to just 7 percent. That meant the years of work leading up to the 2000 campaign and hundreds of millions of campaign dollars during it had focused on just 7 percent of voters — fewer than 8 million people. Everything next time, Dowd told Rove in his second-floor office, would have to be different. Forget independents. Find the Republicans hidden among the Democrats. What Dowd wanted, he would say years later, was “Moneyball for politics
He got it. Paired with a blond-haired pollster, Alex Gage, they marshaled a campaign strategy for the re-elect entirely divergent from anything in 2000. They named it “microtargeting.” The goal: Unearth every available fact on individual voters — what they eat, drive, buy their kids, who they really are — and use that information to persuade them to vote for George W. Bush. Use it to make them angry. Because more than any other emotion, rage and fear propel people to the polls. It worked: Just as they predicted, Americans worried by the social implications of gay marriage turned out in droves in 2004.
“But we were like kids playing with Play-doh,” said Gage, who directs TargetPoint Consulting and was Mitt Romney’s 2008 lead microtargeter, in a recent interview. “We thought we were pretty smart — but today? It’s mind-boggling. Someone handed us a magnifying glass and we said, ‘Oh, We can see some people.’ Then someone said, ‘Try a microscope.’ And now we’re using electronic microscopes.”
Inside microtargeting offices in Washington and across the nation, individual voters are today coming through in HDTV clarity — every single digitally-active American consumer, which is 91 percent of us, according to Pew Internet research. Political strategists buy consumer information from data brokers, mash it up with voter records and online behavior, then run the seemingly-mundane minutiae of modern life — most-visited websites, which soda’s in the fridge — through complicated algorithms and: pow! They know with “amazing” accuracy not only if, but why, someone supports Barack Obama or Romney, says Willie Desmond of Strategic Telemetry, which works for the Obama reelection campaign.
Entertaining and baffling discoveries abound. For example: Soda seems to count a great deal. Diet Dr. Pepper evidently indicates a Republican who votes, while apathetic Democrats drink 7up, according to National Media Research Planning & Placement. Beer, too, matters. Relatively uninterested Republicans go for Busch Light. Additional findings reveal that the most politically-motivated Republicans visit foxnews.com (no surprise there) while Democrats who couldn’t care less attend mtv.com or scour dating websites (OK: no surprise there, too)…
President Barack Obama insisted Thursday that without government spending, “Google, Facebook would not exist.”
Obama made the remark at a campaign fundraiser while criticizing the budget passed by House Republicans. Obama said the Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget would, among other things, cut funding for research.
“I believe in investing in basic research and science because I understand that all these extraordinary companies that are these enormous wealth-generators — many of them would have never been there; Google, Facebook would not exist, had it not been for investments that we made as a country in basic science and research,” Obama said. “I understand that makes us all better off.”
True, the Pentagon’s DARPA invested $1 million to fund research that eventually led to the Internet. But the ‘net remained largely the province of academics until Netscape introduced the first popular web browser.
Then the entrepreneurial genius of the world was unleashed and a decade the modern Internet was invented.
Had the government been in control, per Clinton and Gore’s plan, today’s Internet would look like America online — and we’d never know what were missing.
As for Google, when it came into being in 1998 there were multiple search engines: Yahoo, Alta Vista, Lycos, Inktomi, Excite, Go and Ask Jeeves.
Can you imagine some government Internet Czar giving Page and Brin the go ahead to introduce yet another search engine?
A source with close knowledge of Twitter’s financials leaked us revenue, profit, and other figures from the company’s recent past. They are not encouraging.
It’s notoriously hard to build a profitable tech startup, even in these bubble times. But Twitter, the business, has been provided a huge leg up by Twitter, the technology platform. It counts somewhere north of 100 million global active users. But more than the numbers, it’s the quality of users that should have the company raking in ad dollars.
Twitter is provided a huge quantity of free celebrity content that sites like the hugely profitable Facebook would kill for, from the presidents of the United States and Russia to top film and TV stars like Tom Hanks, Steve Martin, Oprah Winfrey, and Ashton Kutcher, all the way down to gossip magnets like Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian. It has also raised an insane amount of cash, with net inflows of around $760 million. The company, now six years old, has had plenty of time to experiment with extracting gold from its enviable mine of content.
But for years and years, Twitter has failed to do so.
Bossy folks on the American left want to the government to regulate the Internet. So do the worlds’ autocrats, although for different reasons.
On Feb. 27, a diplomatic process will begin in Geneva that could result in a new treaty giving the United Nations unprecedented powers over the Internet. Dozens of countries, including Russia and China, are pushing hard to reach this goal by year’s end. As Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last June, his goal and that of his allies is to establish “international control over the Internet” through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a treaty-based organization under U.N. auspices.
If successful, these new regulatory proposals would upend the Internet’s flourishing regime, which has been in place since 1988. That year, delegates from 114 countries gathered in Australia to agree to a treaty that set the stage for dramatic liberalization of international telecommunications. This insulated the Internet from economic and technical regulation and quickly became the greatest deregulatory success story of all time.
Since the Net’s inception, engineers, academics, user groups and others have convened in bottom-up nongovernmental organizations to keep it operating and thriving through what is known as a “multi-stakeholder” governance model. This consensus-driven private-sector approach has been the key to the Net’s phenomenal success.
In 1995, shortly after it was privatized, only 16 million people used the Internet world-wide. By 2011, more than two billion were online—and that number is growing by as much as half a million every day. This explosive growth is the direct result of governments generally keeping their hands off the Internet sphere.
Net access, especially through mobile devices, is improving the human condition more quickly—and more fundamentally—than any other technology in history. Nowhere is this more true than in the developing world, where unfettered Internet technologies are expanding economies and raising living standards…
“Don’t be evil” is Google’s motto.
But, using a con man in a sting, the Feds found them being bad.
Over four months in 2009, Mr. Whitaker, a federal prisoner and convicted con artist, was the lead actor in a government sting targeting Google Inc. that yielded one of the largest business forfeitures in U.S. history.
“There was a part of me that felt bad,” Mr. Whitaker wrote in his account of the undercover operation viewed by The Wall Street Journal. “I had grown to like these people.” But, he said, “I took ease in knowing they…knew it was wrong.”
The government built its criminal case against Google using money, aliases and fake companies—tactics often used against drug cartels and other crime syndicates, according to interviews and court documents. Google agreed to pay a $500 million forfeiture last summer in a settlement to avoid prosecution for aiding illegal online pharmaceutical sales.
Google acknowledged in the settlement that it had improperly and knowingly assisted online pharmacy advertisers allegedly based in Canada to run advertisements for illicit pharmacy sales targeting U.S. customers.
“We banned the advertising of prescription drugs in the U.S. by Canadian pharmacies some time ago,” the company said in its sole comment on the matter. “However, it’s obvious with hindsight that we shouldn’t have allowed these ads on Google in the first place.”
The half-billion dollar forfeiture, although historically large, was small change for Google, which holds $45 billion in cash. But the company’s acceptance of responsibility opened the door to potential liability for taking ads from other people involved in unlawful acts online, such as distributing pirate movies or perpetrating online fraud…
A lady buys a Honda hybrid. She doesn’t get 50 mpg, but she does get even.
On Jan. 3 she’ll take her case to Small Claims Court in Torrance, where California law prohibits Honda from bringing an attorney. She’s asking for the maximum of $10,000 to compensate her for spending much more on gasoline than expected. Honda said the Civic would get about 50 miles per gallon, but because of technical problems the car gets closer to 30 mpg.
What’s more, Peters is using urging Honda owners across the country to do the same. Peters’ DontSettleWithHonda.org website and a DontSettleWithHonda Twitter account include a link to state-by-state instructions for filing these lawsuits, which have low fees and minimal paperwork.
I did this to Gateway computer in the early 1990s.
Here’s what happened: personal computer makers were stuck selling 486 computers for three months leading up to the entry of the new, faster Pentium machines. So Gateway advertised a machine that could be upgraded to a Pentium by swapping out the chip, which they would provide.
I got one.
A year passed and the chip never materialized. I bugged Gateway about it and they basically said tough luck, sue us.
The original ad for the computer used the word “guarantee” and I knew their lawyers would squirm. But how to sue? I called a lawyer friend. He explained the process.
Still, it was a painful thought. I did nothing for six months. Then I realized the power of that new thing, the Internet. I found a Gateway board member with an Esq. after his name and wrote him a letter. I explained the deal, included the ad, and told him I was going to set up a sue Gateway website where angry customers could get step-by-step instructions and download the paperwork necessary to file suit. I promised to send news releases to the WSJ, New York Times, Barrons and all the computer magazines.
I got a phone call within 48 hours — from the board member no less. Sweet as could be.
They gave me full credit for my three year old computer, which in those days cost $4200, toward a new machine from them. I took the deal and insisted they make the same offer to my friend who’d bought the same computer on my advice.
How times have changed. I recently dumped my five year old XP machine for an Asus tower. I got an I5 chip, 12 gigabytes of RAM and a two terabyte hard drive for $800.
Obama has been taking a victory lap over the end of the Iraq war, as if he had anything to do with it.
On the contrary, he opposed every policy that led to this conclusion.
Bush negotiated the agreement that foretold the end. You may remember the signing of that agreement — it’s when some Iraqi OWS-type hurled a shoe at him. (That’s Dubya, ducking in the photo.)
Likewise, Obama continued the policies of Bush that led to the killing of Osama bin Ladin. Then he took credit for making a bold, daring decision.
Meanwhile, Obama sat pat when the US lost a drone to Iran. He was given options by the military to keep the Iranians — one of the nuttiest regimes on earth — from getting our sophisticated stealth technology. One option was to blow it up with a missile, but he demurred.
Time will tell how big a blow this is to the US, as Iran undoubtedly will sell the technology to the Russians and Chinese.
The Obama administration has sent a formal diplomatic request asking Iran to return the radar-evading drone aircraft that crashed on a CIA spying mission this month, but U.S. officials say they don’t expect Iran will comply.
“We have asked for it back,” Obama said Monday at a news conference in Washington with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. “We’ll see how the Iranians respond.”
That’s just too pathetic to be funny.
If it ain’t Apple, it ain’t golden — so think certain media elites. With Amazon’s Kindle Fire out for a month, the NYT took its shot:
The Kindle Fire, Amazon’s heavily promoted tablet, is less than a blazing success with many of its early users. The most disgruntled are packing the device up and firing it back to the retailer.
A few of their many complaints: there is no external volume control. The off switch is easy to hit by accident. Web pages take a long time to load. There is no privacy on the device; a spouse or child who picks it up will instantly know everything you have been doing. The touch screen is frequently hesitant and sometimes downright balky.
All the individual grievances — recorded on Amazon’s own Web site — received a measure of confirmation last week when Jakob Nielsen, a usability expert, denounced the Fire, saying it offered “a disappointingly poor” experience. For users whose fingers are not as slender as toothpicks, he warned, the screen could be particularly frustrating to manipulate.
“I feel the Fire is going to be a failure,” Mr. Nielsen, of the Nielsen Norman Group, a Silicon Valley consulting firm, said in an interview. “I can’t recommend buying it.”
I got my Fire on Nov. 15. I wanted it for two things: reading books and surfing the web while I watch TV. I have an iPod for music and plenty of cameras. I have a big screen TV for watching movies. The video on the Fire is fine, but I can’t imagine using it.
The shiny screen means it won’t do for reading outside. Just like an iPad. The issue with power button is trivial. When I’m reading, I just turn the Fire upside down putting the button at the top.
Jakob Nielsen complains that the Kindle Fire is too heavy. Let’s compare:
- Shakedown — a 450 page paperback weighs 23 ounces
- Portraits of Success — a 350 page hardback weighs 22.6 ounces
- iPad weighs 1.5 pounds
- Kindle Fire weighs 14.8 ounces
So far, I’ve read:
- Boomerang by Michael Lewis
- The Big Short by Michael Lewis (free from Amazon’s lending library)
- Bangkok 8 by John Burdett
- 24% of The Black Swan by Nassir Taleb
That’s in less than a month.
My only gripe is with publishers who need to get real with pricing. I will not pay $15 for an ebook that sells in paper for the same price. With ebooks, publishers:
- don’t pay for printing
- don’t pay for shipping
- don’t pay for warehousing or remaindering
- don’t need to manage inventory
- don’t see their book handed down from friend to friend