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July 2004

June 2004

Hitler is ok to use for good

I don't usually post about politics but this post at Scripting News and I feel compelled to point out something. Firstly the post from Scripting News posted on 6/27/2004:

Bush is an awful leader, but so far there's no indication that he's comparable to Hitler. But he's running an ad with pictures of Hitler, between pictures of John Kerry, Al Gore, Richard Gephardt and Howard Dean. How could someone want to win so badly that he would be willing to do that? What are we supposed to think about this? Does he know that Americans have families who were murdered by Hitler? Is this what compassionate conservativism is? What does he stand for? This should be question #1 at the next Bush press conference

Now, here is a post about the very ads that are featured in the bush ad, posted on Scripting News 1/5/2004:

People who support Bush apparently don't like the MoveOn.Org comparison of Bush to Hitler. I haven't seen the ad, but I don't find the idea offensive. It's about time people outside the blogging world started ringing the bells. Wake up. They're taking the Bill of Rights apart. Get your priorities straight. An ad with some imagery you find offensive is nothing compared to what the Republicans are doing. We live in amazing times. The professional press isn't covering the laws that are passing in Congress and being signed by the President.

Most people will agree that the use of images of Hitler in any political advertising is not a good idea, but it looks like Dave only finds it offensive if he doesn't agree with the candidate.

Why is it ok for a Democratic organization to use offensive imagery to attack the President, but it is very offensive if the President responds to the attacks and tries to turn them around?

Pablo makes a Gloss Lamp for me

Pablo's Gloss Lamp is pretty darned nice, and the price isn't too horrible, especially when you consider that he makes these lamps himself.

Why, oh why must I have designer taste and an Ikea budget?

You know what, I am tired of buying the cheap stuff because I am young. I am 27, it is time that I own some nice things other than my computer equipment.

Damn it, I'm buying an expensive lamp, and no one can stop me!

A Genius vs. Moore - Bradbury: Change 'Fahrenheit' title - Jun 21, 2004

Ray Bradbury is demanding an apology from filmmaker Michael Moore for lifting the title from his classic science-fiction novel "Fahrenheit 451" without permission and wants the new documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" to be renamed.

"He didn't ask my permission," Bradbury, 83, told The Associated Press on Friday. "That's not his novel, that's not his title, so he shouldn't have done it."

It is too bad you can't trade mark titles, but I think out of respect Moore should have asked.

He links me, he really links me

I know this blog may seem like a Robert Scoble lovefest, but is it my fault he has good taste in blogs?

My Esther Dyson encounter made Scobie's main blog in this post, and man is it generating a heck of a lot of traffic.

Now, I am what is known as a link whore, I want people to link to this blog in the vain hope that one day someone will say, hey let's give this guy lots of money to do this all the time. It seems that some people aren't as exicted by the prospect of becoming well known thanks to their blogs. Of course this begs the question, if you don't want people to read what you are posting, why the hell are you posting it in the first place?

Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame

Even though I have never been to the Pacific North West, it appeals to me. I am not a bug fan of East Coast summers, and it just seems more laid back in Seattle.

Also, Seattle is home to the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, which, if not a good reason to move to Seattle, is a good reason to visit Seattle.

I wonder if Microsoft is interviewing, if they like me they will fly me out, and I can visit the museum on their dime.

Scobie likes it, and so does Phillip Torrone.

And of course I need to see if before I turn thirty...

Esther Dyson

This post by Scobie reminded me to relate my Esther Dyson story, but first an excerpt from Scobie's post:

Second, Esther is in the top tier of most powerful people in the industry. You can read her resume here. Let's put it this way, she has the ability to make or break products and companies.

So, off to Esther's office we went. She works on the 20th floor of a New York City Office building. Walking in you see tons of evidence of someone who's been important in the industry since when I was in junior high in the 1970s: hundreds of books, a mound of badges from industry conferences, piles of newsletters.

Now my story starts:

During my recent trip to Russia I was tasked with making sure all the AV requirements were met at a conference; a conference in which Esther Dyson was speaking.

When it became clear that I was going to meet her I was as giddy as a school girl. I kept saying to my co-workers, "I get to meet Esther Dyson" and they would respond:

"Who is Esther Dyson?"

What a buzzkill. If you are interested, here is her bio.

Not letting my co-workers drag me down, I prepared to meet her. Our meeting would consist of me asking her if she had a power point presentation, but still it counts!

Esther was early for her panel, and so I was able to ask her one on one if she had a presentation. She told me she didn't have anything, I thanked her and moved on, thinking to myself, "Her father invented the Dyson Sphere!"

I stood in the back of the room and waited for the rest of the panelists to show up and situate themselves on the dais. Once they were all seated I asked each of them if they had a presentation. The first two people said no, and then I got to Esther. I asked her again to be polite, since she had told me 10 minutes ago that she didn't have a presentation I expected a negative response. She looked me in the eye and said,

"I don't have a power point presentation, but I do have a video tape I would like to play."

The panel was scheduled to begin in less than 3 minutes, and the room was not setup for video projection; no one had told me anyone would have a video. I quickly looked around and said, "OK." Instantly trying to figure out how to project this video. Perhaps I could fashion a VCR out of a few conference badges and some twine.. if only I had twine with me!

Esther saw the panic in my eye and she smiled. I think to myself, "Great, she is enjoying this. When I get home I am returning her book to Barnes and Noble."

She giggled and gleefully said, "I'm just kidding, I don't have anything."

I sighed in relief and chuckled. I was just Punk'd by one of the most influential people in the tech industry.

I related this story to one of the co-workers who had never heard of Esther and he said, "She really is a geek, huh?"

Indeed, she is, and so am I.

Engadget asks Where is the HP iPod?

Where is the HP iPod? - Engadget -

Ok, while we’re on the topic of HP, whatever happened to that special HP version of the iPod that Carly Fiorina was showing off at the Consumer Electronics Show this past January? Wasn’t the hPod supposed to have been out by now? Has it just been quietly dropped?

They made a big stink about this awhile ago, so where the heck is it? I want my blue iPod, and I want it now!

WXPN Singer Songwriter Weekend 2004

It is almost that time again, yes time for WXPN's Singer Songwriter Weekend at Penn's Landing. It is scheduled for July 16, 17, and 18.

I went last year and had a blast, but then again my favortie band They Might Be Giants were playing, so I was a little biased.

This year's lineup is TMBG free, but does include:

  • Fountains of Wayne

  • Nellie McKay

  • Michael McDermott

  • Old 97's

And that is just to name a few.

I am not sure if I am going this time around, I will have to think about it. There aren't any acts that I have to see, but it is a fan time.

Someone change the combination on my luggage

This is very, very scary:

The Strategic Air Command (SAC) in Omaha quietly decided to set the “locks” to all zeros in order to circumvent this safeguard. During the early to mid-1970s, during my stint as a Minuteman launch officer, they still had not been changed. Our launch checklist in fact instructed us, the firing crew, to double-check the locking panel in our underground launch bunker to ensure that no digits other than zero had been inadvertently dialed into the panel. SAC remained far less concerned about unauthorized launches than about the potential of these safeguards to interfere with the implementation of wartime launch orders. And so the “secret unlock code” during the height of the nuclear crises of the Cold War remained constant at OOOOOOOO.

There's a world outside of Yonkers, Barnaby

At Grand Central, Stuck After 1:30 A.M.:

Shortly before 1:30 a.m., the stragglers always break into a mad, sometimes wobbly dash. They must make it back to Scarsdale, or Greenwich, or Yonkers. The fleet and the lucky reach the gates just as the conductor shouts, "All aboard!" Sweaty and winded, they flop into their seats with self-satisfied laughter as the train pulls away.

But this is not their story.

This is the story of the people left behind on the platform when the last train late at night goes out of Grand Central Terminal. These tearful, angry and sometimes inebriated passengers blame that final mojito, a slow-moving high-heeled companion or a maître d' who swore that rail service to the northern suburbs of New York City never stops.

OK, so I linked to this article because I am a Yonkers boy at heart, however, it is an interesting read. I always knew taxi drivers were evil.

In Search of Stupidity

Mark Rittman has a great post about "In Search Of Stupidity: 20 Years Of High-Tech Marketing Disasters". Mark is kind enough to recap one of the stories, here is a highlight:

Esber looked at the development community around DBase, and saw this as a missed opportunity for Ashton-Tate; every utility developed by a third party was revenue lost to Ashton-Tate, and every developer working with DBase was taking money out of Ashton-Tate's pockets. This was particularly significant as DBase had a very loyal development and partner community, and it was in fact these developers and companies that added to the DBase functionality that made it the number one database application on the PC platform. Esber then went on a one man crusade, threatening to sue anyone who worked as a developer delivering solutions using Dbase, together with third-party vendors who sold applications that were compatible with Dbase. At one point, Esber stood up at a software developers conference and shouted 'Make my day!' while threatening legal action against anyone who wrote DBase-compatible applications.

Pop goes the Gmail

Thanks to people can get their Gmail via POP clients:

Pop Goes the Gmail is a program that sits between the web server and your email client, converting messages from web format into POP3 format that a program such as Outlook Express or Thunderbird can understand.

Pity, it seems that it is Windows only, but still very cool.

Interviewing Microsoft Style

This post over at has finally convinced me that I am not really smart enough to work at the Redmond Behemoth.

I know what you're thinking, but Scott you wouldn't WANT to work at Microsoft, would you?

It is true that I wouldn't want to work at Microsoft, but not because I have declared a jihad on Bill Gates and his evil company. I wouldn't want to work at Apple either. I don't like the whole corporate America deal, and do realize that Microsoft and Apple are probably not your average corporate America companies. I am very happy in Higher Education, thank you. Even at a Business School the attitude is very laid back. Work gets done but there is no pressure to make money, in fact we aren't allowed to turn a profit.

The downside is that I could probably make a lot more money if I were working at a large company, but there are the sacrifices you make to be happy.

But I hear you get free Pepsi if you work at Microsoft. Perhaps I have spoken in haste.