Saturday, May 31, 2008

Blog Notes: May 2008 Contents Are Up

Contents: Month 05, May 2008

This points back to WordPress.

I'm not doing a version for here.

Once is hell enough.

Month Five Is Dead

This is the final post of May. I went to YouTube to find something fitting. I had hoped for something Gerry Anderson-related. Or maybe music.

But I found my fingers typing in "Jeff Hawkins."

And look what I found:

Computing Beyond Turing - Jeff Hawkins

I don't put this here to continue snarking over the failed Foleo.

This is about his thinkware project, Numenta, which I find fascinating.

It's a one hour and thirteen minute talk. And only 258 people have been smart enough to watch it.

I think you lot are smart enough to appreciate it.

So go watch.

Speakers UP! For kIM NOVAk

kIM NOVAk / Female Friends

I need to disappear to start wrestling with May's Contents.

Let this be your solace.

What A Difference A Year Makes!

Palm Foleo in the sweaty paws of Ed Colligan

Palm Foleo
* 416MHz Intel / Marvell PXA27x processor
* Marathon 2700G graphics accelerator with video output
* 128MB of RAM (for running apps) plus 256MB of non-volatile memory
* Dual expansion slots (CompactFlash and SD)
* Dual wireless (Bluetooth and WiFi support)
* One USB port
* 10 inch 1024 by 600 pixel screen
* Proprietary Linux-based OS
* Couldn't play YouTube or any FLV web videos
* Handful of specialized applications at launch
* $599 ($499 with initial $100 mail-in "rebate")

MSI Wind in the dainty hands of Laptop magazine's Joanna Stern

MSI Wind U100
* 1.6GHz Intel Atom (Diamondville), 512KB L2 cache, 533MHz FSB
* Intel 945GSE, Intel ICH-7M
* 1GB of RAM; 2GB maximum
* 80GB hard drive
* 4-type card slot
* Dual wireless (Bluetooth and WiFi support)
* Three USB ports
* 10 inch 1024 by 600 pixel screen
* Webcam and microphone
* VGA out
* Ethernet port
* Headphone and microphone jacks
* Open Linux OS or Windows XP
* Can play YouTube, FLV, and DiVX AVI videos
* Any damned Windows XP app you want, baby!
* Linux 1337s can morph the OS at will
* $400-$620 (estimated, depending on model)

Here's an object lesson for every American company: the world no longer revolves around you!

Palm rushed the Foleo to market not because they heard of the Asus EeePC. They had heard about the Windows Mobile-compatible Celio Redfly, which was from another American company.

And then along came the Asian company Asus and pulled the rug out of the entire notebook industry.

All those Asian companies building all the stuff that goes into American products? Those Asian companies can put them together into cheaper and better systems themselves.

And as Asus has shown -- and now MSI as well -- they can generate their own cool.

There's Only One Choice For President

And John McCain isn't it!

McCain's YouTube Problem Just Became a Nightmare

At time of posting: 1,615,888 YouTube views.

Meet, Support Ralph Nader For President!

New MSI Wind Blog Has Theme Music?!!?


Oh, so you're going to play that game, eh?

Well, this isn't a tech blog, but I've decided on its theme music:

Nobarbies - Nobarbies

Let's see ... five kick-ass killa women punk rock musicians from Argentina versus a few seconds of a weak sythesizer riff.

I win!

Still, have some charity in your heart and visit MSI Wind Updater.

And go visit Nobarbies MySpace.

Writer Nathan Singer Has News

I did brief writeups of two of his brilliant novels.

Now comes word that his latest novel, In the Light of You, has gotten a review.

The book's cover looks like this:

I had hoped to get a ginormous image I could plant here at 440-pixels wide, but the publisher's promotion department apparently never got around to that.

Hint, hint.

(And if they ever do get around to that, it'd be nice to know if it will also appear as an ebook!)

MSI Wind Video Review From Italy

Watch it! They show the insides! Plus they break the NDA by not only mentioning the Intel Atom processor, they also show it! Bravo, PC Professionale!

MSI Wind U100: il concorrente dell'Eee PC - video review

I just love this sentence in their (Google translated) write-up:
[...] the large keyboard that allows a beating sufficiently comfortable.

Yeah, that's what I want. A keyboard that's a masochist!!

Philips: You Suck And You Cheat!

It's bad enough they're charging US$20.00 for what is essentially crap. But they're selling crap under the label of their brand -- which used to be known for quality products.

And how sleazy have they become?

If you pop in "keychain" as a search item on their site, it won't bring up the camera.

But I found a link on a forum and look at how these cheating bastards have disguised the fact they're whoring themselves by shilling shit:

Click = much bigness

Here's the important part:

Hey, Philips, that's real nice. You can defend yourself when caught by saying you have been selling it but also hide that fact because people have to be as crooked as you are and type "keychain" as "keychn" to uncover your guilt!

Yeah, I didn't pay for this crap. It was given to me. But that person shelled out twenty bucks. And what value did you give in return?

A camera that erases all photos in memory if hooked up to USB while off!

A camera that can't survive a simple drop to the pavement!

You guys must be real proud of yourselves.

Let me help out by enhancing the slogan beneath your logo:

Previously here:

The Philips Crapcam Is Fatally Wounded
Photo Album: The Last Of The Philips Crapcam?
Note For The Philips Crapcam
When Signs Are Not Good

The Philips Crapcam Is Fatally Wounded


I pressed down near the lens to see if that would put right the optics.

I didn't press hard, dammit.

And now it won't take more than one picture!

Philips, you rot!

Micro Fondle: Lenovo U110, Dialogue Flybook, Asus e900

I was in the area again this morning, so I stopped into J&R.

They finally had in the lust-o-licious Lenovo U110 Ideapad.

Except, in reality, it is not lust-o-licious.

The red metal lid is very nice. The pattern etched into it is very subtle and can only be seen if held up to the light at an angle. I didn’t even feel the texture until I rubbed my finger over it to make sure it was there.

It’s thin and light. Nice build.

The screen is good. I can’t say much more than that because it was running Vista. Vista has the crappiest, fugliest, sickeningest colors I’ve ever seen. It look like a drunk’s vomit. Once again Microsoft lives up to Steve Jobs’s assessment: “The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste[.]”

The heartbreak is that shiny black plastic Lenovo used. It’s terrible. It’s slick. And do you know what it looks like after a few hundred people have fondled it? Like a freakin biohazard! It picks up this sliminess from all the fingers that have molested it. I’m not kidding! Between your finger and the plastic is this layer of finger slime. Disgusting! That probably won’t matter much to an individual user except you’ll be frikkin giving this thing a wipe at the end of the day! Maybe several times a day.

The keyboard is crap. The keys are all square, extremely flat like Scrabble pieces, and slick. Tactile feedback didn’t matter to me because their alignment didn’t match up with my fingers at all. It was horrible trying to type on it.

Sometimes you have to see a thing in person. Seeing the U110 in person has scratched it off my list completely.

J&R got in the Dialogue Flybook! This is an expensive critter ($2,500!!) a bit larger than an Asus EeePC with a keyboard that actually seems smaller. Like the Everex Cloudbook, it has no trackpad below the keyboard. Instead it has a pointing nub at the top right with two circular mouse buttons to the left of it.

The keyboard is crap to type on. Worse than the crampedness of the EeePC. It also has harder feedback. But the killer is having to move your hand all the way up to that right hand corner. I can see why people disliked that arrangement on the Cloudbook.

The screen can be twirled and placed flat over the keyboard, turning it into a tablet. Big deal.

Like the Lenovo, it was running Vista. Again, the drunk’s vomit colors.

Then I went back to the Asus EeePC e900 running Windows XP. Yeah, it’s out of stock. They’ve removed the price information to reflect that. I’m surprised they haven’t sold the demo model (which is still in pristine shape!).

This time I looked to see what was actually installed on it.

Man, what the hell did Asus agree to in order to get a discount for XP? Microsoft made them install all this Microsoft Live crapware on it. It also has the Microsoft Works suite plus another suite of stuff from, I think, Sun? Out of the 12 GBs of storage, only about 4GB are left free!

I was glad to see MS Paint was on it, because I use that to save screensnaps (hmmm… I neglected to look for a PrtScreen key — EeePC owners, is there one?).

The e900 still holds my heart. That screen is gorgeous. Everything about it is gorgeous. I looked carefully at the keyboard this time. I also looked at the black and white keyboards of the original EeePC. If I’m not mistaken, the black keys are square, whereas the white keys are nearly rectangular on both the original EeePC and the white e900 (which is the demo model J&R had). Someone with both units and calipers can probably prove that (hello, Joanna Stern!).

I can say right now that if I don’t like the MSI Wind, I’ll be getting that e900.

Photo Album: The Last Of The Philips Crapcam?

All photos taken today, May 31, 2008.

Rays of sun breaking through the clouds near 7AM.

More rays of sun. Can you tell?

One of those dumbass aquariums installed in the Ferry Terminal.

This was supposed to be a nice shot of an ad promoting HTC’s new branding strategy. As you can see, aiming with the crapcam isn’t precise!

Trinity Church. It probably has as much money as the frikkin Vatican. It owns a lot of southern Manhattan real estate.

Another aiming failure. Only part of the rah-rah poster for all the construction happening down there.

Another aim FAIL. Someone pasted up a newspaper spread showing the World Trade Center site before and after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Ground Zero reconstruction taken via the World Financial Center pedestrian bridge.

Stalkers, rev up your PhotoShop! That’s me me me in the reflection.

Right, I’ll save you time, here I be:

I was carrying the crapcam with my pinkie in its keyring. I went to open a door and inertia took over. The crapcam went off my finger and onto the ground. The side split open. I squeezed it back together but I think the damage is done. Just look:

That’s supposed to be a very sharp picture of a Cruise ship crawling up the Hudson River!

This one too.

On the other hand, it seems the optics misalignment has given it a new macro mode:

There’s Spike, a neighborhood cat.

Don’t mess with Spike. He’ll purr you to death!

Gasoline On May 31, 2008

There it is.

Super is $4.39/gallon.

Diesel is a whopping $5.19/gallon.

If you don't think the price of diesel matters to you, think again:

When it goes up, so does everything shipped by truck. And that's ... everything!

Previously here:

Gasoline On May 26, 2008
Gasoline On May 21, 2008
Gasoline On May 18, 2008
Gasoline On May 18, 2008
Gasoline On March 15, 2008
Oh. My. God.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Android Devs: Sorry, But Try Again!

Google has published the list of fifty finalists in some Apps-for-Android competition.

Click here for the PDF version (recommended over the web version).

Out of all of those apps, only two caught my attention.

Really, these are pretty sad.

Four of the finalists requested not to be published.

Those are probably the best ones.

Or so I hope!

Fudzilla: MSI Wind Gets Thumbs Up!

MSI Wind notebook starts the storm
We tried to surf the net, connect on wireless networks, type, listen to music, publish stuff at Fudzilla, write articles and watch some YouTube videos and the machine worked just fine. It can even cope with normal divx Video. We couldn’t really try a DVD, as there is no DVD drive in this tiny machine, but you won’t really miss it. When you play DivX AVI you have to count on 20 to 30 percent CPU time, which is not that bad considering that this CPU has 4W Thermal design power.

The bad part?
The only bad part is the plastic. It doesn’t look as cheap and doesn't squeak as the one found on Asus Eee PC, and the display is far better than the 7-inch Eee PC 701 that we've seen before. However, the Wind PC casing still acts as a magnet for fingerprints. MSI needs to bundle a wiping cloth and to replace this plastic at its earliest convenience. Another good thing is that MSI changed its logo and this new one looks much more attractive than the previous one.

Hmmm... maybe I should rethink my craving for the black one?

I also wonder about this:
We managed to run a few tests and we've found out that only thing that really doesn’t run that fast on this notebook and CPU is video and audio encoding. This goes much slower than on a normal Celeron CPU.

Maybe I might have to forgo using Audacity. That's a bit of a grumble, but doesn't kill my desire.
We can highly recommend it to anyone who can live with a 10-inch display and really likes ultra mobility.

And that would be ... me!

Joanna Stern Makes My Heart Skip A Beat

No, not the fact that she mentioned me by name in a post.

No, not the fact that she's going to Computex next week.

It's the sentence she casually throws out in this post:
I have been playing/testing the Wind for the last week and putting it through its paces.

She's had it in her hands for a week?!!?

And Nate, get this!
Below the spacious screen is an adult-size keyboard. If the Eee PC’s keyboard is a one-bedroom apartment, the Wind’s is a mansion. The keyboard is very spacious and doesn’t require me to type in a hand-puppet shape. The matte keys aren’t as soft as the HP Mini-Note’s, but they provide solid feedback.

That is great news!

There's a video and some new pictures!

I'm very excited by this. My Lust Meter reading has gone up again!!

Live jkk & Chippy!

Holy cow. I got to both UMPC Portal and jkkmobile in time to find out there was a live video chat going on! I came in with about fifteen minutes left, but I was still impressed as hell. I'd never seen anything like that before.

Here's a screensnap:

Click = ginormous!

Jaysus. I remember when Telstar first went up and beamed live pictures from Europe!

When I was a kid, we had to use the Operator to place a long-distance call!

Now look at what people can do from their homes!

I love the Internet!!

Quote: David Card

No Way to Build an Operating System
So, apparently, the 2009-2010 version of Windows will still not have the next-gen file system I was writing about more than 10 years ago -- when "Cairo" was the lead codename -- let alone a microkernel with modules for OS "personalities" and compatibility.

You're gonna fend off Google and cloud computing with a touch screen?? Good luck. I do hope there's a skunkworks Plan B in the labs. No wonder buying Yahoo "isn't strategic."

This is simply more evidence for the folder I'm marking "Microsoft is Obsolete."

Apple Owns The Mobile Me Trademark

Suddenly the Internet is in a tizzy over this?

Apple has owned "Mobile Me" as a trademark since January 5, 2006.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has four records of this.

In addition, they've owned the trademark "The Mobile Me" since April 26, 2000.

Interestingly (or not), the mark "MobileMe" (one word, which might not be as I've typed it) was abandoned by another company and is now dead.

I knew this because from time to time I pop into the USPTO TESS search system to see if Apple has yet filed a trademark claim for "iPod Air."

Not yet.

By the way, I can't seem to find a way to link to the USPTO filings I cite. Just hit the TESS link above and pop "mobile me" into the basic search field and you'll get all of them.

"iPod Air" returns no results. But then I also try "iPod" to see if there's something new that way.

It's Now All Down To Apple Vs. Google

Listen, Microsoft isn't even in this battle. Vista was a self-inflicted wound of such magnitude that the term Vistaster (think disaster with a V) has been coined. Microsoft only thinks it's still a factor. It's time, like Nokia's, has passed.

Palm is not a factor, either. No matter what it devises, it can't become a factor. ACCESS with its ACCESS Linux Platform was never a factor.

The epic battle is now between only two companies: Apple and Google.

The recent demonstration of the vastly revamped Android OS makes it clear that the intimidating geniuses formerly from Be, Inc. and PalmSource are intent on finally having a global Win. They're now with a company that has unleashed them.

Apple, of course, has the iPhone. And the iTunes Store. And Apple TV. And the iSDK. And the upcoming App Store. Its Macs. The iPod. And even possibly the iPod Air and a subnotebook Mac. Plus, let's not forget the custom chips -- probably including the memristor breakthrough -- that will allow Apple to do things competing companies can't. While everyone else buys off-the-shelf components that everyone else can buy, Apple can Build Different.

Google has its search engine, its spy satellite mapping, its ad revenues, Blogger, Picasa, and a whole slew of online things that I've not paid much attention to because they're all stamped Beta -- and also because they seem to announce something new every freakin week. They've also been busy with a syncing strategy (something Apple desperately needs). And to tie it all together in the outside world, Google now has the Android OS. Which has suddenly leaped ahead of both Windows Mobile and PalmOS. (Even the clunky early demonstrations on Small Square Screen prototype phones made it leap ahead of ACCESS. For Google actually had companies signed up for it.)

The Internet is going to be the new telephone. But moreso: the transfer of information and entertainment is something that the pre-computer telephone couldn't do. With music, photos, movies, and more transformed into digital data, the Internet has become sort of like Star Trek's transporter. What used to be thought of as things -- DVDs, books, magazines, newspapers, et al -- can now be instantly "beamed down" to a receiving device.

And the primary receiving device is going to be an Apple iPhone or a Google Android OS phone.

Google sees what Apple has been doing. Google will try to replicate that as much as possible. There's already rumors of an Android App Store. That's unsurprising.

There is really only one area that's still up for grabs and it will be interesting to see who jumps in first.

Because whoever jumps in first is going to set the standard.

The remaining area is ebooks.

I've called again and again for Apple to step up and embrace ebooks. Apple would give them the legitmacy they gave to music downloading. It's still unclear if Apple will do so. Apple most likely has been considering the same issues that Sony studied before it released its BroadBand eBook (BBeB) file format. For reasons other than ebooks, Cringely has called upon Apple to purchase Adobe. Such a purchase would immediately give Apple the ebook high ground.

On the other hand, Google has already been doing ebooks for years, but no one has really noticed that (other than David Rothman and a few other folks who specialize in covering ebooks -- well, also the libraries that have supplied the books!). Has Google's massive scanning of books been part of a long-term plan to capture that market in a way no one else has considered? They've already got libraries and libraries of books digitized. Forget what you see right now when they serve it up on a screen. All of those image files are, I'm sure, also in a text format of some kind, waiting to be poured by the jillions into whatever ebook file container Google creates or annoints. At some point, Google's ebook inventory is going to make Amazon's printed book stock look like a forlorn corner bookstore.

And here's where Google can snatch ebooks away from everyone else, legitimize them, as well as deliver them in a manner that is consistent with the alleged openness they claim their Android OS touts: embrace the ePub file format.

The ePub file format is designed to be used on virtually any kind of display device. Whether someone accesses an ebook over the Internet or has it in hand as a purchased item on a subnotebook or phone, ePub is the standard that permits that.

What Amazon offers with its Kindle is a proprietary format that Kindle owners can't even read on their desktop computers. Sony's BBeB is likewise proprietary but does allow ebooks to be displayed on a desktop or notebook computer -- but it's limited to Windows. What both Sony and Amazon count on are continued sales of their razors -- dedicated eInk reading devices -- and the continuing profits from the razor blades (ebooks). This is already an outdated and obsolete strategy. Prices have not dropped to the point of being an impulse purchase. And even though an iPhone and an upcoming Google Android phone can be just as expensive, both of those have more than a single purpose.

Amazon, Sony: Expecting people to buy a dedicated eInk reader for ebooks is like still expecting people to buy a CD Walkman to listen to music!

Apple already has its Internet access points out there: its hardware. Millions of iPods. Millions of iPhones -- with millions more to come. The probable iPod Air. But Apple is not the Internet. Apple is just its iTunes Store, its App Store, and whatever revamp of its .Mac service is unveiled next month. For Apple to spread out into the Internet, to challenge Google on its own turf, it will have to turn its stores into platforms that any merchant can set up. By doing that, Apple can relent on its standard pricing model and allow each merchant to catch hell for its own pricing.

Google already has the Internet in so many ways. It's just beginning to get its access points out there via phones running the Android OS. Don't, however, make the mistake of considering Android an operating system only for phones. It's not. I'm sure the frustrated geniuses have planned all along to extend Android into other types of hardware. Perhaps the first real "netbook" will be the one running Android OS -- deeply tied into everything that Google offers already (and in the future) on the Internet.

The future is going to be determined by these two companies for at least the next decade or two.

Which one of them is going to blink and reveal itself by grabbing the ebook prize?

Who Hasn't Emailed Me?

MSI hasn't replied. Despite the fact I emailed two people!

The Amazing Kreskin hasn't replied.

And still no change from last time:

Dubai never replied, despite promising to. That country can drop dead!

Yorkshire Television still hasn’t responded.

Pastor Manning hasn’t either.

Nor has the alleged original owner of the ipodair domain.

No, I don’t forget. Nor should you.

Note For The Philips Crapcam

Turn on the Philips crapcam before plugging it into USB.

If it isn't already turned on, all the photos are erased!

I've already lost about sixty photos because of that.

You frikkin eejits.

And Blogger Is Back

Bloody hell.

First it was WordPress.

Then Blogger momentarily goes belly-up.

Consider all this when you trust your data to web apps!

Cyst Removal Has Come far In 25 Years

Some of you will have noticed far fewer posts today than usual.

That's because I had to go have a cyst removed.

I didn't plan on it happening today.

I thought the dermatologist would look at it and schedule a future date.

Instead, nope. Do it now!

Just about twenty-five years ago I had to have a cyst removed. It became inflamed and infected and was hurting like hell. It grew to twice its size, making it four times the size of the one I had evicted today.

The doctor back then shot the area up with Lidocaine and then used I swear to God this frikkin torch that is used to construct battleships to burn out the cyst. He actually put on goggles! The room flared with blue light and there were these godawful crackling noises like out of Herr Doktor Frankenstein's lab and this horrible smell of burning flesh (hey, that's my burning flesh!) and me involuntarily screaming not because of pain but because I was hoping to God he wouldn't miss with that terror lance! I swear it felt like it took at least fifteen minutes for him to get rid of the thing! I was drenched in sweat and pale afterwards. I think everyone in the waiting room wondered what the hell had happened to me.

So when the dermatologist today said he'd remove it Right Now, my knees almost sorta kinda buckled.

He shot me up with Lidocaine.

I braced myself and said, "Say when."

He said, "I'm already doing it!"

I said, "You're kidding me!"

He said, "I'm almost done."

From the time of the injection to him saying he was done was all of maybe two minutes.

There was no blue light, no crackling sound. But yeah, there was burning flesh when my nose happened to go over the area.

But no pain. No anguish.


So if anyone out there has a cyst that needs to be exterminated, go do it!

It's fast, painless, and easy!

Take it from a medical coward that it is so!

Android's On Fire!

OK, look, I get it already!

Google's Android OS Is Important.

I can see it by the second day of huge traffic here for that Android post.

I guess everyone was impressed as all hell by that demo and are now scurrying all over the Net to grab whatever bits and pieces of info are available so they can get ready to hop aboard that express train.

I'll have more to say about Android later today.

In the meantime, did you see that teleread's David Rothman saved Android?

Previously here:

Quote: KokuRyu & jscott
Android Mania!
Android: Show Me The CC&P!
What eChanges Will High Oil Prices Bring?
HTC Advantage Running Google Android OS!
Your Phone Might Rat On You
iPhone Continues To Swallow The Internet
I Hate You Frikkin Tech Bloggers. I Do!
Reference: Android Site
Google’s Android OS Now Worth Watching
David Rothman Just Saved Google’s Android OS
Apple Has Magic The Others Don’t
Like This Is A Surprise?

It's Foleo Day! Did You Celebrate?

“In my opinion, the Foleo is going to be the most successful and the most significant product that Palm has done.”
– Ed Colligan

Yes, dear hearts, it was one year ago this very day that Palm unveiled its Foleo!

I can't think of a better column to read to commemorate this day than this one.

MSI Wind Function Keys

The manual I downloaded is rather generic even though the illustrations clearly show the MSI Wind. But it doesn't really specify things we already know about the Wind, such as the button for Turbo mode.

Here are the only Function keys that are mentioned in the manual:

Click = Bigger

Update: Brad Linder over at Liliputing found specific MSI Wind info in the manual. I guess I should have put on my damned reading glasses!

The Daily YahooMail Still Sucks Post #7

I didn't get around to posting one yesterday.

And now I understand why it sucked: they did a massive tweak to the Classic mail system (the one I refuse to budge from!).

I wish they had alerted us. There's email!

Everything is running quickly and smoothly.

I hope it will stay that way.

Previously here:

The Daily YahooMail Still Sucks Post #6
The Daily YahooMail Still Sucks Post #5
The Daily YahooMail Still Sucks Post #4
The Daily YahooMail Still Sucks Post #3
The Daily YahooMail Still Sucks Post #2
The Daily YahooMail Still Sucks Post
I Accuse YahooMail Of Deliberate Delays
Is YahooMail EVER Going To Be Fixed?
YahooMail Is Still Screwed
YahooMail: Redefining Suck

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The MSI Wind Manual!

The opening greeting:
Congratulations on becoming an user of this notebook, the finely designed notebook. This brand-new exquisite notebook will give you a delightful and professional experience in using notebook. We are proud to tell our users that this notebook is thoroughly tested and certified by our reputation for unsurpassed dependability and customer satisfaction.

Well, the excellence in translation missing is.

Nonetheless, I've screensnaped the specs from the PDF!

Want your own copy?

Click here, baby!

-- via MSI Wind Das Portal

Uh-Oh! MSI Wind With 3-Cell Battery Only?

Battery Shortages feared

A retailer tells a customer that initial MSI Wind shipments will have the 3-cell battery only.

If you recall, the XP version is supposed to have the 6-cell battery.

How will MSI handle this? If we buy one with the 3-cell, are we SOOL because we wouldn't wait for the 6-cell in the box?

If this keeps up, I'll probably have an iPhone before an MSI Wind!

-- via

Nikki Finke Has Deadly Accuracy

You must read: Digital Big Media vs Prehistoric Hollywood

R.I.P. Harvey Korman

'Carol Burnett' star Harvey Korman dies at 81
LOS ANGELES - Harvey Korman, the tall, versatile comedian who won four Emmys for his outrageously funny contributions to "The Carol Burnett Show" and played a conniving politician to hilarious effect in "Blazing Saddles," died Thursday. He was 81.

Korman died at UCLA Medical Center after suffering complications from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm four months ago, his family said. He had undergone several major operations.

"He was a brilliant comedian and a brilliant father," daughter Kate Korman said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "He had a very good sense of humor in real life."

It was back when TV was still reaching for the biggest possible audiences -- in a friendly and non-sleazy way -- and variety shows were still (allowed) on TV.

He made me laugh so much.

We tend to think that someone doing something silly on TV is an easy thing that anyone can do. It's not. It's the incredible talent that makes it look easy. He was one of the best.

Wherein I Threaten MSI!

Nate in the [WordPress blog] Comments told me about a sneak peak CNet's Crave has done of the MSI Wind lust-o-licious cheap subnote.

I've finally had time to go look at everything.

Sneak peek photos

Sneak peek preview

Sneak peek video

First, let me get my cheap shots out of the way.

You can't reveal the CPU?! It's a secret?! Come on! Are any of us really going to be surprised when -- gasp! -- it's revealed to the the Intel Atom?!

What's this about the CPU going down to fifty per cent of its speed when off AC?! Do you mean to tell me the Atom's huge battery life is dependent on speed tricks like that?! If I ran it at one hundred per cent while on battery (is that setting even offered?), would the vaunted battery life times then be cut in half?

That keyboard looks a bit sketchy to me. I can see right off we're not dealing with the toothiness of the hp Mini Note's keyboard. It also looks frighteningly flat. I can't deal with flat keyboards. I think Toshiba at one time offered nothing but flat keyboards. My fingers tended to skid off the keys! The overall typing experience was also very unpleasant.

I hadn't considered that it lacks the hp Mini Note's protective screen covering. I don't know why I didn't consider that myself, seeing as how I drooled over photo after photo and all the videos, but I missed it. I like that the screen is naked.

After seeing the photos, reading the preview, and watching the video, the reading on my Lust Meter has jumped. I really really want to fondle that thing in person!

MSI, are you going to make that possible?!

This is where I am going into threat mode. I threaten that I am now going to email MSI to ask about what the deal is with retail store sales in New York City. I've already posted that their website is pathetic when it comes to U.S. retail store distribution. But if this thing is going to be parachuting into European retailers all over the place, the same thing should happen here in America. (All right, forget the rest of you: just parachute it into New York City! At least to J&R! I am a selfish cur on this issue.)

I'll let all of you know if MSI replies.

Mind-Reading Computer? FAIL!

Mind 101: We Do Not Work Like That!

Computer trained to "read" mind images of words
A computer has been trained to "read" people's minds by looking at scans of their brains as they thought about specific words, researchers said on Thursday.

They hope their study, published in the journal Science, might lead to better understanding of how and where the brain stores information.

This might lead to better treatments for language disorders and learning disabilities, said Tom Mitchell of the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, who helped lead the study.

"The question we are trying to get at is one people have been thinking about for centuries, which is: How does the brain organize knowledge?" Mitchell said in a telephone interview.

"It is only in the last 10 or 15 years that we have this way that we can study this question."

Mitchell's team used functional magnetic resonance imaging, a type of brain scan that can see real-time brain activity.

They calibrated the computer by having nine student volunteers think of 58 different words, while imaging their brain activity.

"We gave instructions to people where we would tell them, 'We are going to show you words and we would like you, when you see this word, to think about its properties,"' Mitchell said.

They imaged each of the nine people thinking about the 58 different words, to create a kind of "average" image of a word.

Wow. The people who funded this need some fMRIs done on their brains to see if any intelligence resides within them.

Given the near-limitless capacity of the human brain, it is the height of foolishness -- if not ouright con-artistry -- to even postulate that there is a one-to-one correlation between fMRI patterns and thought.

Given that so many parts of the human body have more than one function, it only makes sense that the same can be said of so-called thought patterns in the brain.

This is just as dumb as that portable lie detector.

But at least this "mind-reading" study can lead to some Red Dwarf-style humor:

Interrogator: Well what's he thinking about now?

Scientist: Either diapering a baby, overthrowing the government, or ...

Interrogator: Yes? Yes?

Scientist: A small cuddly bunny rabbit!

(All right then. Make up your own funny stuff!)

Meet, Support Ralph Nader For President!

I know you.

You've sat around, wanting someone who will do things.

Someone who isn't in the pocket of special interests.

Someone with a real record of getting things done.

Someone with principles.

You've sat there and wondered why we don't have another Lincoln or FDR.

Well we do.

And you can vote for him.

Make your vote mean something this November.

Give it to someone who knows its value.

Nader for President 2008 Rally
Friday May 30th 7pm

Ethical Society of Philadelphia
1906 South Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Contribution $10/ $5 Student
Contact (610) 506-5053

Luncheon/ Ballot Access Meeting w/ Ralph Nader
Saturday May 31st 1pm-2:30pm

Princeton, New Jersey
Contribution: $50 donation OR pledge to gather 100 signatures
RSVP (202) 471-5833

Fundraiser with Ralph Nader
Saturday May 31st 5:30-7:00pm

New York, NY
$100-$200 min Contribution
RSVP (202) 471-5833

Nader for President 2008 Rally
Saturday May 31st 7:30pm

Cooper Union
Wollman Auditorium
51 Astor Place (8th St.)
New York, NY 10003
$10 Contribution
Contact (570) 228-0181

Previously here:

The Deserved Fall Of General Motors
Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #112
Ralph Nader: Activist Presidential Candidate
Why Democrats Lose
Ralph Nader Now Has A Merch Store
East Coast Corporate Liberal
A Civics Quiz
Vote For Ralph Nader To Take Back America!
Ralph Nader: The President We Need
Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #017
Another Reason To Vote For Ralph Nader
Lincoln, FDR, Nader
Ralph Nader Tomorrow, March 9 2008, In PA
Just Say Yes: To Ralph Nader!
Ralph Nader On The Daily Show Tonight
Weasels, Part Three
Weasels, Part Two
Ralph Nader’s Big Birthday
Exxon Can’t Hide
Happy Birthday, Ralph Nader
To Name Three: McCain, Hillary, Obama
Now I Can Vote This Year: Nader Is IN!
The Presidential Candidate You Laughed At

And I'm Back On WordPress!

"I feel a new man!"

For those who don't know the several minutes of behind-the-scenes drama that was taking place, see this post on the Blogger back up: Locked Out Of My WordPress Blog?

I went to the WordPress Support forum and everyone has been experiencing problems today.

I guess this sign-on glitch was just the latest.

I've also noticed people complaining about becoming spam by Akismet.

That's happened to me!

I can't post on any damned site or blog that uses the Akismet spam filter! My Comments wind up in the Spam bucket!

Lest you think I only leave Comments on tech blogs, one of the places this has affected me is Nikki Finke's excellent Deadline Hollywood Daily site! (Which, by the way, all of you should be reading. The battle for the future of the Internet is being fought there.)

I've emailed Akismet.

Do you think they bothered to reply?

Nope. Not even with a form letter spam!

At some point, Akismet, you will be facing a class-action lawsuit for this crap.

I'm weighing my own legal options if things are not solved.

Locked Out Of My WordPress Blog?

App 5PM EDST on Thursday, May 29.

After blogging since this morning, I take a break to do some analog-world things.

Before I leave, I sign out of my WordPress blog.

I come back an hour later.

I try to sign in.

Nothing happens!

No "Your username is invalid" or "This account does not exist" or any other sort of message.


I refresh the page several times.

Same result!

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #115

I blew past this as a link in post #114.

It's important enough to deserve its own post.

This is another chart that should scare the living shit out of you.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has it in his blog, the post titled Whoops!
Greenspan has a lot to answer for.

I don't blame Greenspan.

It's all Dubya.

The Deserved Fall Of General Motors

GM says 19K US hourly workers taking its buyout offers
DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors Corp. said Thursday that a quarter of its U.S. hourly workers will take the company's latest buyout and early retirement offers, opening the door for new hires who will make less money.

The automaker said Thursday that 19,000 workers had agreed to take the buyout offers and leave the company by July 1. GM offered buyouts to all 74,000 of its U.S. hourly workers in February.

GM never said how many workers it hoped would take the buyouts, but under a new labor agreement reached last fall with the United Auto Workers union, GM may hire up to 16,000 non-assembly workers at half the old wage of $28 per hour. GM said it would fill job openings with current employees wherever possible, but would also be hiring new workers.

Different style of suit, same pinstriped-to-the-core bastards underneath.

GM suited punkass dragged before Congress -- when our government worked!

The GM bastards were spying on Ralph Nader!

Punkasses tried to act all innocent! Like all such Suit cowards!

Bastard Suits finally admitted it!

Nader sued! And won! They had to finance his ass!

Ralph Nader: The President we need today!

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #114

I love days like this when the Government contradicts itself and thereby shows that it's outright lying!

Economy's growth picks up slightly in first quarter
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The economy plodded ahead at a 0.9 percent pace in the first quarter -- slightly better than first estimated -- but still underscoring caution on the part of consumers and businesses walloped by housing, credit and financial problems.

The new reading on gross domestic product, released by the Commerce Department on Thursday, was an improvement from the government's initial growth estimate for the January-to-March quarter as well as the economy's performance in the final quarter of last year. Both periods were pegged at a 0.6 percent growth rate.

Gross domestic product, or GDP, measures the value of all goods and services produced within the United States.

The first-quarter performance matched analysts' forecasts and offered a somewhat encouraging sign because it showed the economy was still growing at that time. The figure didn't meet a definition of recession, which under a rough rule is two straight quarters of shrinking GDP, and might raise hopes the country can dodge a full-blown downturn.

Ah, so one part of the Government says, Yo, checkitout! No recession!

Then the other part of the Government confirms that's a lie with:

Fed to make fresh batch of bank loans
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Reserve announced Thursday that it will make a fresh batch of short-term cash loans available to squeezed banks as part of an ongoing effort to ease stressed credit markets.

The Fed said it will conduct three auctions in June, with each one making $75 billion available in short-term cash loans. Banks can bid for a slice of the available funds. It would mark the latest round in a program that the Fed launched in December to help banks overcome credit problems so that they will keep lending to customers.

The new round of auctions will be conducted on June 2, June 16 and June 30.

The smooth flow of credit is the economy's lifeblood. It permits people to finance big-ticket purchases, such as homes and cars, and help businesses expand operations and hire workers.

Wanting to avert a broader panic that could endanger the entire U.S. financial system, the Fed has taken a number of extraordinary actions to provide relief. In its broadest extension of lending authority since the 1930s, the central bank agreed to temporarily let investment firms obtain emergency loans directly from the Fed, a privilege that only commercial banks had been granted.

Emphasis added by me.

Do you get it yet?

The machine is dead. The economy is dead.

Your greed and corruption have killed it. For everyone!

The Fed is throwing money around like a drunken sailor hoping that the music doesn't stop.

The band has died on the stage, you eejits!

Let Atlas shrug so we can drag his ass off and hang him!

Educate yourselves!

If An Earthquake Isn't Twittered, Did It Happen?

Earthquake rocks Iceland damaging buildings
SELFOSS, Iceland (Reuters) - A strong earthquake of 6.1 magnitude hit Iceland on Thursday 31 miles southeast of the capital Reykjavik, damaging buildings in nearby Selfoss and sending terrified residents running into the streets.

Local police said no injuries had been reported.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 3:46 p.m. (11:46 p.m. EDT) at a shallow 6.2 miles beneath the earth's surface.

Where are the overweening Asshole-Listers to bray that they heard about this earthquake before the USGS alerted everyone?

What, you mean no one is Twittering in Iceland?

God bless them!

Gerry Anderson's UFO

I haven't seen this in ages.

What you have to do to enjoy it is basically forget every damn thing you know about science. Also whatever you might happen to know about things such as on-board radar.

The errors, omissions, and nonsense are absolutely legion here.

But, dammit, it's still great fun!

Some notes:

Those Moonbase purple wigs ...

... where have I seen those before?

Oops! Moon Zero Two! (But of course, Anderson's team did them properly and with their trademark class and perfectionist detail. Do you understand that? -- with a TV series budget they outclassed a movie budget!)

The co-pilot of the SHADAIR SST is Shane Rimmer, best-known as the voice of Scott Tracy in Thunderbirds.

Derek Meddings and his special effects team were at their peak here. Some of the effects are just breathtaking and put what I've seen done with CGI to shame.

UFO Identified

UFO Identified 2

UFO Identified 3

UFO Identified 4

UFO Identified 5

If you like what you've seen, go buy the UFO TV series DVD boxed set! It's cheap on ebay.

Writer Mark Billingham On eBooks, More

From the Eleventh Mark Billingham Newsletter (sent via email):
I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to the digital revolution and how it might affect the world of books, as my publishers, together with the rest of them, rush to embrace the new technology. The new generation of e-readers has produced some extremely nifty devices, but will they ever really take off? Will the downloading of books ever become as influential as the downloading of songs?

Certainly, they can come in very handy. Just imagine this handy little gadget containing all the works of Bellow, Roth and Mailer. How useful would that would be for students of American literature? One loaded up with the novels of Philip. K. Dick and Arthur C Clarke for science fiction fans. Or one containing the collected works of Jeffrey Archer, for soldiers to hand out to inmates at Guantanamo Bay, now that water-boarding has been outlawed. I’m joking, obviously! This collection of metal, circuits and software could never replace the printed works of Mr Archer.

Well, it doesn’t burn nearly as well, does it?

Mark is a funny guy. (He better be! He once made his coin doing stand-up comedy!)

Here's something that doesn't happen to everyone:

Those that recognise the Smiths’ lyric will know it comes from their moody masterpiece “Suffer Little Children” – a haunting song about the Moors Murders. These horrible killings, which cost the lives of five children in the mid-sixties still exert a powerful grip on the public imagination while the couple that carried them out, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, continue to loom large whenever ‘evil’ is discussed.

I have been filming a documentary about Brady and Hindley – one which concentrates on the two of them rather than the crimes they committed – in an effort to understand the twisted chemistry that caused this couple to do what they did. It has been a fascinating, if sobering experience, not least reading a letter which Ian Brady sent to me from the prison/hospital where he remains after forty-five years, waiting to die.

This is the first in a series of four programmes about couples who have killed and will go out on the History Channel’s ‘Crime & Investigation’ network sometime in October. I doubt that anything I see or hear during the making of the remaining programmes will make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up quite as much as the last words of Brady’s letter:

“The ball is yours…”

Read up on the Moors Murders via wikipedia.

Mark is one of those lucky writers whose books actually get TV ads:

Mark Billingham Death Message TV advert

That's for the latest in his series of crime novels featuring Detective Thorne.

For those who would rather sample Billingham without committing to an entire series first, he has a new standalone crime novel called In the Dark that hits the U.K. August 7th and the U.S. several months later. Visit his site for more details.

Previously here:

Mark Billingham: Writer, Crime Victim

They're Heeeere

Phone home: Purported UFO video to be shown Friday
A video that purportedly shows a living, breathing space alien will be shown to the news media Friday in Denver.

Jeff Peckman, who is pushing a ballot initiative to create an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission in Denver to prepare the city for close encounters of the alien kind, said the video is authentic and convinced him that aliens exist.

Oh geez. I bet this will turn out to be the same video I saw on YouTube.

Fake as all hell.

No, I don't recall the URL. I was just browsing around and came across a multi-part series about some guy out in the woods who accidentally shot an alien. Absolutely unconvincing.