July 24, 2006


Today Microsoft confirmed Zune, their portable music player, in response to the iPod.

How well this will work with their WMA Plays-For-Sure format(s) is yet to be seen, but I read one report (that sadly I cannot find right now) that alluded to it not working completely with it.

And if they want it and URGE, their joint venture with MTV to take off, they had better play nice with each other.

Now, I don't think they'll beat out the iPod. The iPod is a great success for a reason - it looks nice, is easy to use, and it works damn well.

But what I find noteworthy is that while they haven't knocked off the iPod's look completely, the white color and the big, wheel-like button are clearly influenced.

One good thing is that at least it doesn't look like this Register-linked parody, which is more than just slightly rediculous. (original source).

I remember Microsoft Bob. I'm not going to lie, I had some fun with it when I was a kid. I think it shipped with Windows 95 when we first got it.

Wow, I remember that, even though it was 11 years ago. I was only 11 or 12. Wow.

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I don't really pay much attention to the news.

I occasionally read the State News, but only really because I can get it for free on campus, the crossword is pretty good, and a friend of mine is one of the music writers, and I like to read what he writes. Generally, I find it a poor publication, but I pick it up sometimes.

I also won't pay for a newspaper, much less find the time to sit and read it.

Don't even get me started on television, I rarely turn mine on unless I'm putting a DVD in.

As a result, I get my news online.

Forget CNN and MSNBC, or any of that crap. I go straight to the BBC, who I think has some of the best coverage of America on the planet. Kind of funny huh?

I also don't own a car, so I don't pay too close attention to gas prices. Occasionally I put gas in my girlfriend's car, so sometimes I notice. But I generally get around on a bike, unless someone (usually the girlfriend) gives me a ride.

So I took some notice when I read this article on the BBC, stating that US gas prices are at an all-time high.

Not that I hadn't noticed that gas prices were a whole hell of a lot higher lately, but I feel like and old man when I say things like "I remember when I started driving, and gas was so much cheaper...". I feel like an old man enough, so I don't need that shit.

And apparently while I'm seeing places selling gas for more, the US average is only $3.015 a gallon. It almost doesn't seem that bad any more, since its been higher than that here, and its raised so gradually. Unbelievable. Its times like this that I love my bike.

The U.S. vs John Lennon

I have mixed feelings about this. Not that I don't want to see it, or that I don't think what its saying (drawing certain parallels between Vietnam and our situation today and between Nixon and Bush, as well as presenting a portrait of John Lennon, whom I think was a wonderful musician as well as a wonderful public figure) is nessisarily illegitimate. I have mixed feelings in that it makes me excited to see it, and to hear his music, and to (frankly) learn more about this man that I have some admiration for, but it also scares me.

The classic saying that they repeat in the trailer is that "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" and in some ways that is sadly and scarily true. It applies to us today, and that makes me sad, scared and uncomfortable.

Maybe that's good, complacence is death, and we shouldn't get complacent. I certainly don't want to. We have a long way to go, and maybe that's what we need to know. Maybe this is a reminder.

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July 19, 2006

Information Week

Another thing I recently discovered at work. Information Week is a shit magazine.

We've recieved this magazine at the office for probably as long as I've worked here, but it never really got much of my attention. It was just there on the table, every week.

There have been several cover articles in the last couple of months that got my attention and convinced me to pick it up.

First, there was an article on the cover of the June 12 Issue that discussed the trial of a former UBS PaineWebber employee (who allegedly inserted malicious code into one of their servers), and promised to discuss the importance of internal security.

Then there was and article in the June 19 issue discussing Bill Gates and his decision to leave Microsoft.

I found both articles (and keep in mind that these are the cover articles) really uninteresting. I understand the significance of these two stories, but after reading these particular pieces, neither seemed to important to me. It was like their staff chose to do as much as they could to make them seem unimportant, while still filling up a lot of space. When I was done reading, I felt (despite my knowing better) as if they didn't garner enough importance to warrant being on the cover.

And that has nothing to do with what they were about, as both stories were a big deal. It has everything to do with being written... I won't say poorly, just in a rather uninteresting manner. Two weeks in a row. With stories that I was really interested in knowing more about.

I got a glass of water from the other room today, and once again saw the cover of this weeks issue (see right). Its an article on making IT attractive to the next generation of tech-minded youth. I was tempted to pick it up.

I hesitated briefly, and walked back to my desk. Like so many things, if they dissapoint you frequently and hard enough (no matter how interesting or exciting it might seem from the get go) and you're going to stop trying or caring.

Good luck Information Week.

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I found this today. Hilarious. If you dig Star Wars and know who James Earl Jones is, you owe it to yourself to watch this.

[quote]This video mashup is of Star Wars, but with sound bytes from other movies James Earl Jones did.[/quote]

Dave sent me a link on The Best of YouTube today, and digging around there I found that.

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July 05, 2006

Superman Returns

Laura and I saw Superman Returns last night.

All in all, it was really good. Not having seen all of the Christopher Reeve movies (I'm sure I saw one or two of them when I was little) I didn't have much context for a few things, like the fact that Lois and Superman had slept together. Well, they did, and Lois had his child. A kid who is apparently allergic to a lot of shit, but ends up proving who his father is when he throws a piano at a bad guy to save his mom.

Kevin Spacy was a great Lex Luthor, and Parker Posey was great as Kitty Kowalski. They were my two favorite actors to watch for the whole thing. Not that Kate Bosworth was a bad Lois Lane or anything, but I just didn't find her that remarkable. Brandon Routh was pretty good. Laura thinks he's cute. I think that he looked like they really did him up for the whole movie. He seemed really forced into the close he was wearing as Clark Kent. As Superman, its forgiveable.

Superman is a bit of an exaggeration to begin with, so when his face looks perfect to the point that when he's flying you can't tell if its him on a green screen or if its entirely CG, its okay. His costume is silly, naturally - he's in tights. He wasn't amazing either, but he was good.

While I enjoyed it quite a bit, it didn't give me the chills that the teaser trailer did. I mean, seriously, watch this shit and try not to get goosebumps:

Was it the best thing I've ever seen? No, but I'm really glad I went to see it. It was a lot of fun, and I'm very happy that they're reviving the most popular superhero of all time.

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Tom Waits

So I'm super excited.

One of my all-time favorite musicians is touring for the first time since... '99 I believe? I've never had the chance to see him, but now Tom Waits is going on tour.

He's playing both the Detroit Opera House on August 11, and the Auditorium Theater in Chicago on August 9. I don't know which show I'm going to but I will make it to one.

I generally have rules about how much I'll spend on concert tickets, but for Tom Waits? I'll pay a LOT more. I'm so fucking geeked.

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