Sunday, April 30, 2006

Spam

Just got some spam that contains the phrase "I am ready to kill myself and eat my dog".

Maybe spam's not so bad, after all.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Subversion

Subversion is a version control system typically used on software projects, but it can be used to maintain version control for virtually any type of document-based project.

Here's an interesting screencast about Subversion, which includes some nice info on version control systems in general.

Link courtesy of TUAW.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Rebuild the Twin Towers

I received this e-mail today, and wanted to pass it along:

Dear Twin Towers Supporter,

There is no good reason to leave the Twin Towers where the terrorists put them. One man wrote in 2002: "Just as I want my wife back, people want their towers back. The main difference is the latter is possible, the former, not . . . That's what they want . . . don't let today's fears control tomorrow's dreams."

Clear-headed and far-sighted analysts have noted that the economic and strategic benefits of new Twin Towers would be enormous. In fact, nothing could compare.

You understand that, which is why you signed the original Team Twin Towers petition. And now that the ill-conceived framework for Ground Zero is failing, the Twin Towers Alliance is ready to redirect attention where it belonged from the start.

The picture at Ground Zero needs to be reframed. Mayor Bloomberg recently said that the critics are "not very helpful" and are emboldening Larry Silverstein to hold his ground. But it is the dissension at Ground Zero that has prevented a terrible mistake from being made. If only they had honored the people's participation to begin with, instead of staging that elaborate sham, the Towers would already be rising -- lifting, at the same time, the spirit of the city and the world beyond.

Instead they have given us a pitifully chaotic and uninspiring alternative that reeks of a sell-out. We won't accept it. There is so much more at stake than real estate and city planning.

If this is not worth standing up for and being counted, even if to begin with you are out in front of the crowd, then what would be? It's not too late -- the timing is just right, but without your name on the petition all the striving could be in vain.

If we haven't won you over, then we'll keep trying. But, if you close this email, go to the petition, and sign your name before you do another thing, we'll have a true shot at success. You will be strengthening the alliance, others will follow, and united we will stand for something great.

Austin Tobin, a man who personally sacrificed a great deal to raise the Twin Towers the first time, would often invoke the words of Daniel Burnham, the architect who built New York's Flatiron Building, when trying to build support for the World Trade Center: "Make no small plans -- for they have no power to stir the blood." Those words echo the core principle of the Alliance: "Dream no small dreams" for they have no power to stir the human heart. Small plans and small dreams have no place at Ground Zero. That is what this is all about.

If you were told that you had it in your power to decide whether the Towers would rise again just by joining the Twin Towers Alliance, would you think twice? It really is as simple as that. Each of us will either be part of the solution or part of the problem. We are hoping that your commitment to new Twin Towers will translate into solid support.

This may be the loftiest cause many of us will ever serve. We can win. We could lose. We need you on our side.

Thank you.

Team Twin Towers/The Twin Towers Alliance

VOTE TO REBUILD!
www.twintowersalliance.com

17" MacBook Pro

Apple announced the 17" MacBook Pro today, and it's pretty much what everyone expected- a 17" version of the 15" MacBook Pro. Two notable improvements, however: the 17" has a dual-layer DVD burner, and it's got a FireWire 800 port, both of which the 15" lacks.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Coca-Cola Blak

Hmm- not as bad as I expected.

I don't really see a need for it, but for a Coke/coffee hybrid beverage, it beat my expectations.

Coke Zero, though- that's what it's all about.

Dave Winer on Rocketboom

Love him, hate him- ladies, I'm sure he'd love you to date him- check out Dave Winer- more or less the inventor of RSS- on Rocketboom.

Vista's failures are "legion"

That's according to Paul Thurrot, a Windows-centric PC industry journalist who runs the SuperSite for Windows as well as a blog.

Many people consider Paul to be nothing more than a Microsoft shill, though in recent years he's leveled out a little bit- mostly, I suspect, because it simply became too difficult to defend Microsoft all the time.

Seeing Paul tear into Vista the way he has is the equivelant of Dick Cheney holding a press conference to declare that George W. Bush's policies are stupid. Or something like that.

I've written a lot about Microsoft's serious problems, and seeing Paul Thurrot write with such bitterness about Vista feels really good.

And mind you, Vista is still at least 9 months away from consumer release- at best- and things can only get worse from here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

History of e-mail

Here's an interesting rundown of the history of e-mail, written by Tom Van Vleck.

Courtesy of Hawk Wings.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

About Intel's Core Duo processor...

Great review.

The Core Duo (which, along with its Core Solo brother, is the processor in the new Macs) is a seriously impressive chip. The only significant functionality drawback with the initial versions is a lack of 64-bit support. That's coming in a subsequent update later this year, which Apple will presumably use in their workstation products (as well as future iterations of the MacBook Pro).

Software compatibility issues aside (namely, Adobe's difficulty in porting Photoshop), I think it's safe to say that the Intel transition has been, to date, a remarkable success, with even better things on the horizon.

Rumsfeld's a goner

Much like Harriet Miers and Mike Brown before him, Rumsfeld is facing enormous (and bi-partisan) demands for resignation. Now that Bush has (for the second time in a week) publicly supported him in strong and certain tones, I predict a resignation coming within the next month or so.

That's been the pattern.

The sooner Rumsfeld's gone, the sooner we can begin healing our armed forces and making some long-needed adjustments to the fiascos they've been forced into. On the other side of the coin, the sooner Rumsfeld's gone, the stronger Republicans will be in November.

And that, I submit, is precisely why his fate is sealed. Rumsfeld becomes the "Mike Brown" of Iraq and all that ails us from a foreign policy perspective- though Bush will defend him to the end and leave it to others to place the blame.

Sometime in the near future:

George W. Bush stands in the Rose Garden with Donald Rumsfeld. He looks into the cameras and squints. "Donald Rumsfeld has lead our armed forces through challenging times. No president wants war, but on September the 11th, 2001, war came to our shores. Over the past 5 years, Don Rumsfeld has shaped our military to combat the threat posed by terrorists around the world, and has brought the fight to their shores so we don't have to fight them here. He has overseen successful battles in Afghanistan and Iraq, and has lead numerous activities in other nations, both known and unknown. Difficult times require strong leaders who have the courage to do what's necessary to defeat the enemy. Don Rumsfeld has served with my full confidence and support, and deserves the respect of all Americans. But there are some in this country who would rather turn away from our responsibility than take action. There are people who look at the global war on terrorism, and see the challenges before us, and have decided that we should not fight this war. Some of these people are in our armed forces, and their cries of retreat have been aimed at Don Rumsfeld. This morning, Don offered me a letter of resignation. I didn't want to accept it, but Don's patriotism and determination to win this war have lead him to believe that he has become a distraction from the important issues themselves. In order to win the war, Don has offered to stand down. This is the ultimate act of courage, and sacrifice. History will judge us by our determination to win the global war on terror and spread democracy through the darkest corners of the world. No one has served with more determination than Don Rumsfeld, and I am sad to see him go, but we must move forward."

Or something like that.

Presidential Incompetence

Carl Bernstein hits a home run with this essay in Vanity Fair.

Key sentence:

"We have never had a presidency in which the single unifying thread that flows through its major decision-making was incompetence—stitched together with hubris and mendacity on a Nixonian scale."

BlackBerry BrickBreaker

25240.

Monday, April 17, 2006

"What time is Family Guy on TV?"

You won't be able to hear that without breaking into a sweat after watching this video.

Got the link from TUAW.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Whoa

Open your Terminal (command prompt) and type this:

telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A quick note about all the wars...

Between 9/11, Iraq, Iran, and all of the other international catastrophes that have befallen our country since 2001, we're clearly going through a period of time that will be looked back on as a pivotal moment in American history.

I would argue that many, if not most, of our government's actions will be judged harshly.

I have two primary theories about what's going on at the top echelons of American foreign policy to explain why we're screwing things up so badly. The first- the less likely of the two- is that there is some sort of cynical, quasi-conspiracy being orchestrated by certain people to create a dynamic in the Middle East (and a specific American reponse to it) that benefits certain American power and business interests. These interests are not aligned with the overall goals and hopes of typical Americans- in fact, these interests benefit from America doing things that ultimately harm America as a whole.

I think that's quite possible, but not likely. And I think if it does prove to be the case, George W. Bush is probably not one of the people orchestrating the "master plan".

The second theory, which is what I actually believe, is that the brunt of the problems we are facing as a nation stem from the fact that our president is, literally, a stupid, uninterested, cowardly, defensive idiot.

Clearly, George W. Bush is not directly responsible for all of our problems. But imagine, just for a moment, how different things could be if our country were being led by an intelligent, well-spoken, thoughtful person with true leadership qualities.

Compared to what we've got, that's a fantasy, but I truly believe a real leader would have been able to take all of our challenges and woe and help lead our country, more or less united, to do things that would inspire most of us, and most of the world.

We are literally being mislead- and all angles of that pun are in full effect.

And one more thing: since when has war been the only serious solution to serious problems? I'm not even making a war vs. diplomacy argument- I'm making a "war!" vs. "tough-ass stuff behind the scenes" argument.

America made its way through the Cold War, doing all kinds of things (both overt and covert) to defeat a formidible foe with a minimal amount of outright "war".

Do you mean to tell me that America, the world's only superpower, the pinnacle of high-tech know-how and can-do ingenuity, can't figure out how to degrade Iran's ability to build nuclear weapons without fighting a war over it?

Mac OS X "Leopard" (10.5) features?

Here's some interesting, probably inaccurate speculation.

Final Cut Studio 5.1 benchmarked on Intel

The results are impressive.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

It's all about the management

Joel Spolsky has a fantastic essay about what it takes to successfully run a software company.

His thesis is that there needs to be a "development abstraction layer" that sits above (or below) the developers- the key people who create what the company sells- that enables them to focus on doing their job (programming)- and nothing else. It's management's responsibility to see that the developer abstraction layer is in place and functioning properly all the time.

This thesis is true for almost any business, and it's very clearly and cleverly stated in Joel's essay.

Apple, Boot Camp, Windows, and Strategy

John Gruber of Daring Fireball has a great piece on his analysis of Apple's business model, and its implications as to what Apple may or may not do with regard to licensing OS X to run on non-Apple hardware.

Intel's new "Core" architecture

Ars Technica has a fantastic, in-depth review of Intel's new "Core" architecture, which makes up the guts of the next generation processors that will be powering Intel-based PCs and Macs beginning later this year.

One point of confusion that I have not been able to address- are the Core Duo and Core Solo processors that Apple (and other manufacturers) are currently using in their Intel systems based on the "Core" architecture? From what I can gather, I don't think they are.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Playing card fact of the day

I'm currently reading Chances Are..., a book about probability. There are some interesting facts in this book.

Did you know that if you properly shuffle a deck of cards, it is unlikely that anyone else in the history of the world has ended up with the specific sequence of cards in your shuffled deck?

In other words, there are so many potential combinations of cards in a shuffled deck that it's statistically almost certain that each shuffled deck is totally unique.

Over a long period of time, repeats will certainly occur, but given that 52 card decks were invented only a few centuries ago, it's unlikely that it's happened yet.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Take it off my tab.

Tab Energy sucks, Mike.

Damn the guest bloggers!

Put it on my tab.

I just picked up the new "Tab Energy" drink and although I was extremely skeptical, it's pretty damn good. I just read something online that compared its taste to watermelon jolly ranchers, and that's pretty much what it tastes like to me. The ingredients list is terrifying, but hey, only one calorie! Cheers!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Some quick thoughts

A lot has happened over the past few weeks, and I've been too slammed to write about any of it. Here are some quick thoughts on just a few things that come to mind:

Apple's Boot Camp seems like a pretty slick solution to the Windows on Mac hardware challenge. Particularly since it's just a beta. I expect to see greater integration with the Mac hardware- and presumably with OS X itself (re: cross-OS file sharing and possibly the ability to run both OSes at the same time) with Leopard (10.5). But beyond the technical coolness, the simple fact that Apple has released a Windows "solution" for Intel Macs is the coolest part of the whole thing. Apple is on its way toward successfully defining Macs and OS X as a true next generation total replacement for PCs running Windows (including Vista). Great news for Apple, bad news for Microsoft. John Gruber puts it quite nicely.

Windows Vista's release date was pushed back a few weeks- the consumer version won't be shipping until early 2007, at the earliest. This is not a surprise, per se, but Microsoft had gone through great pains to guarantee a 2006 delivery, and this latest slip is proof that Microsoft is still really struggling with Vista. I think Windows Vista is going to be the last "big" release of Windows that really matters- after Vista, the relevance of future major Windows releases will decline, and other platforms (the Mac, Linux, and possibly something else that Microsoft creates as a replacement) will take over mindshare for a growing majority of consumers. Windows will be around for a long, long time, due to legacy issues and sheer momentum, but it's clearly dying, and Vista is one of its very last big gasps.

This looks cool.

Apple celebrated its 30th anniversary as a corporation on April 1. Very cool. Check out this episode (48) of the This Week in Tech (TWiT) podcast for an interesting conversation with a number of Apple's founders, including Steve Wozniak. It's inspirational to listen to these guys talk about their passion for doing cool, useful things with technology.

And here's a great episode of The Gillmor Gang podcast, with discussion about Microsoft, Vista, problems, and so forth.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, April 07, 2006

"Everything is Illuminated"

I just watched this film, and am sitting in a stunned state of shock.

This is a great movie (based on what I hear is an even better book). There's a lot going on, and the film fires on many cylinders.

However, there's a critical part of the film's conclusion that I think is seriously flawed and has left me wide-eyed and confused.

This movie was leading up to an emotional, revelatory, redemptive conclusion- and almost got there- but took a strange and dark turn that I feel negates nearly everything the movie could have stood for.

I need to think about this a bit more, and I don't want to reveal the ending here, but I urge you to see this movie if you haven't and let me know how you feel.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Rollerskating Monkey

There's been a lot of fascinating news over the past few weeks, but the only thing I have time to post about right now is this video.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Apple does Windows after all...

Apple announced the release of the BETA version of Boot Camp on their website...

It's a free download and allows Intel Macs to run Windows at native speed and gives a bootup option for either Mac OS X or Windows XP. Apparently, it looks as though it only supports Microsoft Windows XP versions. This looks pretty good, hopefully it won't be very buggy...

The final version looks like it will be release with Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5).

- one