It's rather obvious that I am a complete and total Macintosh whore. I worship Steve Jobs, and fall in love with everything that comes out of Apple. If I were very wealthy, I'd buy a dozen of each product they make.
Today was the annual MacWorld show in San Francisco. As usual, Steve Jobs had a killer keynote that gave me entirely new Apple gear to fall in love with.
iPod Shuffle. When I get to work each morning I have a daily routine that involves opening iTunes, selecting a playlist, setting it to shuffle, then hiding iTunes and never looking at it again. I mean, why would I? I've already got a playlist... there's nothing more to do. Now I can do this exact same thing with a $100 skip-free MP3 player that's so tiny and lightweight as to be unnoticeable. For travel, this is a brilliant, brilliant thing...
Yes, yes, I know. There are other companies making similar shit for cheaper, and I've already read some scathing reviews criticizing Apple for not putting a screen on it and, if you feel that way then fine... DON'T BUY IT! But for me, this is exactly the iPod I've been waiting for. Exactly. Now, before a trip, I can just plug the iPod Shuffle directly into my laptop, select a playlist to upload, then forget about it. I've got 12 hours of music with 12 hours of battery life and nothing to think about. Then, for the next trip, I just pick a new playlist and go. It's simple. It's elegant. It's perfect. It's Apple.
Of course I ordered one, even though I don't have the money to be doing that just now. Click to see it at Apple.
Mini Mac. Apple has long been criticized for having expensive products. Personally, I find their stuff grossly underpriced for how amazing it is, but that's just me. Well, now anybody who already has a monitor and keyboard can get a pretty decent Mac for just $500. As if that weren't enough, it's astoundingly small, just 6.5-inches square and 2-inches tall...
The size factor has me pretty excited. I want one in my car that I can hook up to a small display and my stereo system (load up maps, music and even video and you're good to go!). I want one on top of my TiVo to stream video to my TV and music to my stereo. I want one at work to sit on top of my desktop Mac so I can switch to it while I've got an intensive graphic rendering. I... just... want... one. People are going to do remarkable things with this little box. The fact that it comes with iLife for free is just icing on the cake. A pity I don't have $500 so I could buy one to play with. Click to see it at Apple.
Software. After watching Steve's demo for the new features in the next version of OS X Tiger, I'm dying to possess it. After seeing the enhancements to iLife, I placed my order. After watching Steve demo the new features of his Keynote presentation software in iWorks, I put in a requisition for it. Nobody does software like Apple, and that's just one of a billion reasons I thank the computer gods every day that I don't have to use Microsoft Windows.
Wow. Never a better time to be a Mac addict, and it just keeps getting better.
I've always wondered how my life would change if I had a billion dollars. Knowing me, I'd probably start buying out companies that compete with my interests and then threaten foreign governments just because I could. I mean, hey, after all I've got a BILLION dollars in the bank! People with that kind of money should be able to do whatever they want, right? Who cares if that makes me look like a three-year-old with an ego the size of Montana.
Oh, wait a second, it appears that Bill Gates has beat me to the punch.
It would seem that he purchased a software company in Denmark, and is now extorting the Danish government to vote for the EU software patent bullshit... or else he'll close the company and fire all 800 employees (read the entire scary story over at Groklaw). What a monkey-spanking pig-f#@%er.
I wonder if it's possible for me to never, ever use another Microsoft product for the rest of my life? The bugs, security breaches, vaporware, delays, and multitude of other sins all pale in comparison to extorting a government. Not just any government... DENMARK! A friendly government. As if the USA didn't already have enough problems? I want so badly to believe that this story is not true. But, given Gate's history, that's probably just a pipe-dream.
And I thought Apple's legal crack-down on rumor sites was bad, sheesh. Bill Gates must have a dick the size of a mosquito.
UPDATE: Now Boing Boing has it.
UPDATE: And now Boing Boing is reporting that Microsoft denies it will be closing the company. They do not, however, deny that Bill Gates made the threat (so who knows?). In any event, Microsoft Windows still sucks ass.
Coming back from a trip is always chaotic, even when it's just four days long. Add to that the fact that I leave again this weekend, and it's just that much worse. There's so much I want to do... so much that needs to be done... and just not enough hours in the day to make any measurable headway. The only reason I have time to even write this is because I've got a backup running on my work files for the next twenty minutes.
Oh well, here's my day so far...
Bush: The oddest voicemail was awaiting me at work. Somebody from Congressman Tom Reynolds' office called on behalf of the National Republican Congressional Committee and left me a vague message about my attending some kind of dinner with the president. Thinking it was a mistake, I called back to see if they had meant to leave the message for somebody else. As it turns out, they didn't. They specifically had my full name. Furthermore, the dinner wasn't with the president of the NRCC, it was with the President of The United States. I could not figure out why they had my name, considering I am... 1) Not a Republican, and 2) Not a resident of New York, which is where Tom Reynolds represents. Anyway, when I explain all that to the lady at the NRCC, she replied "you don't need to be a Republican to have dinner with the President." Which made me laugh out loud, because I'd probably end up being shot dead. Something tells me that my overwhelming urge to bitch-slap President Bush so hard that his lips are smacked off his face would not be looked kindly upon by the Secret Service. I vehemently disagree with the man on so many levels that I simply can't imagine being at some kind of dinner function with him (no matter how much of an honor something like that is supposed to be).
DSL: I am a long-time supporter of EarthLink Internet Services. For years I've been a happy subscriber because EarthLink is a big supporter of Apple Computer, and is always up-to-date on the latest Macintosh OS foibles. Then last year they lowered their monthly price from $49.99 to $39.99... for everybody except me, and I was (needlessly to say) very upset. I called three times to have them fix this error so I could save $120 annually on my internet bill. Each time they promised to do so if I would renew my contract for a year, which I was happy to do. But every time they didn't process the adjustment, and I ended up continuing to pay $49.99. Finally, Verizon offered me a $29.99 price I couldn't refuse (that's $240 a year in savings!) and I called this morning to dump EarthLink. When I explained the situation, the lady tried to convince me to stay and said she would honor the $39.99 price I was promised. I told her I'd agree if she's give me a credit for the $120 I've lost from their screw-ups, but apparently they didn't want my business that bad. Oh well. Hopefully I won't be without DSL at home for more than a day or two.
State: Ever since driving through Alabama, I can't help but think they got shafted. I'm sure there's a very good reason for it, but why is it that Florida stole most of Alabama's coastline? Greedy bastards. I mean, they've already got ocean on three sides (not to mention Disney-World)... what do they want with Alabama's only real shot at beach-front property? Surely Alabama could benefit from the tax revenues that come out of Pensacola and the entire Fort Walton Beach/Destin resort area? Kind of sad really. When I complete my world domination, I'll have to fix that...
Toob: What in the heck is up with Veronica Mars?!? As the show played out last night it was just one shocking revelation after another... The Russian Mafia? Logan has a sister played by Alyson "Willow" Hannigan? Veronica finds her mother? Duncan and Meg? Veronica and Deputy Leo? And the most shocking possibility: VERONICA AND LOGAN?!? And now it looks like it's on hiatus for several weeks, which is a huge bummer. Such an amazing show. And speaking of amazing... Betty White is killer on Boston Legal lately. They keep giving her a little more to do, and the latest "born again" angle to her maliciously wicked Catherine Piper character is icing on the cake.
AppleTiVo: The rumor mill is running overtime that Apple is wanting to acquire TiVo, with TiVo's stock price jumping 17% as a result. That would rule the earth, because finally TiVo would have the proper financing, technology, and drive to innovate itself out of the horrible mess they've gotten themselves into. My only hope is that if something like this were to ever actually happen, Apple would 1) release TiVo files as protected QuickTime format rather than the stupid proprietary format their using now, and 2) give us an "iPod Video" to play them on. Given their success with audio in the iTunes/iPod arena, it seems unthinkable that Apple wouldn't want to get in on video too. Absorbing TiVo would be a good start, and give us something cool as an alternative to "Windows Media Center" crap. Next would be an iVideo store where we could buy movies and TV shows. I am giddy in anticipation. Yes, giddy as a schoolgirl.
iPod: Speaking of iPod... Apple updated it's lineup today. iPod Minis have been given brighter colors, more memory, longer battery life, and a cheaper price. iPod Photo was reconfigured in two much less expensive models. The original iPod looks to be on the way out, since there is only one model available now... I can only guess this means all iPods will eventually have color screens and "photo" capabilities.
The exciting bit is that Apple is also releasing an iPod Photo "Camera Connection Cable" in March which will allow you to transfer photos from your digital camera directly to the iPod. That's so compelling that I may actually have to think about buying a new iPod next month... not for music (for which I am much happier using my iPod Shuffle) but for the storage and photo backup features while traveling.
Switch: Speaking of Apple... on the way home from Seattle yesterday, I stopped at the SouthCenter Mall to see the new "Apple Mini Store" that they dropped in. It's really sweet and, like every other Apple store, joyfully packed with potential Windows switchers. While I was waiting in line to ask about AppleCare repairs on my PowerBook, I saw two Mac Minis, a PowerBook, and a few iPods sold in just thirty minutes. They could have sold at least a half-dozen iPod Shuffles in that time as well if they had any in stock (the phone was ringing off the hook with people wanting them). Every time Apple opens a new store, it's like printing money. Because once people get a taste at just how amazing a Mac is compared to the Windows shit they've been using... they're going to buy. The guy who bought the PowerBook was a musician who stopped by to "check out the Mac" and ended up making a purchase after playing around with Garage Band for just fifteen minutes. He just kept saying "this is so cool" and "I can't believe it" over and over and over again. I thought he was going to pass out when he asked "how much extra does it cost for the Garage Band software?" and was told it was included free with the computer. "It's really FREE? How can they do that?!?" Well, it got you to buy one of their computers, so that's how. I just hope he didn't get into an accident rushing home to start playing with his new Mac.
Yargh. Whatever am I going to do without internet tonight? Just my luck that this is when some Trackback spammer is going to slam me... it always happens when there's nothing I can do about it.
Turns out that Be Cool, while interesting in parts, is pretty much a retread of Get Shorty, but not as clever. Oh well, it was a nice diversion on a Sunday afternoon.
After the movie, I really wanted to take my motorcycle out, but I had some work that badly needed tending to. Unfortunately this would involve trying to fix my crap Windows XP system, because that's the crap OS that the crap software I need is crap required to run on. Since the only way to actually fix a Windows problem is to reformat the drive and reinstall everything, that's what I had to waste my time with. After finally getting everything running again (over an hour later), I got to work...
... only to find out that the program refuses to run under the new install. I played around trying to get it going for a couple of hours, but nothing I did worked out. All I managed to do was break the system AGAIN.
I can see now that there is truly only one solution for "fixing" Windows XP...
WTF?!? I mean, seriously. You can call me a Mac whore, Steve Job's bitch, or an arrogant Apple bastard... but my Mac ACTUALLY WORKS when I need to get something done. Windows XP is nothing but a bloated piece of shite that I spend more time working ON than I actually spend time working WITH. Why? Why do people who use Windows actually put up with this crap? Do you know the last time I had to reinstall the MacOS X on my laptop? NEVER!!!! It has been upgraded several times, but there's never been a reason to install the OS since the day MacOS X was released! On top of that, I never turn my PowerBook off... I just put it to sleep. My uptime is MONTHS, not mere days. If it weren't for updates and software installs, I'd probably NEVER have to reboot it.
So I just wasted an entire afternoon trying to get caught up, but instead get further behind AND missed an opportunity to ride. Just when I think Windows couldn't possibly suck more ass than it does, Microsoft proves me wrong.
I like me. I like me a lot. I'm one of the most clever, charming, intelligent, engaging people I know. If the laws were to change, I'd marry me in a heartbeat. I'm that just that amazing. As you can imagine, criticizing somebody I like as much as me is not an easy thing to do. I mean, what's not to like?
Something I like almost as much as me is Apple computer. Granted, part of the reason I love Apple so much is because the Microsoft alternative sucks ass so badly, but still, I've got a lot of love for my favorite fruit-themed computer company.
But not so much that I can't criticize them from time to time. It's a tough love.
Apple has a service called ".Mac" (A.K.A. "dot Mac") which is a wholly remarkable thing. I can sync my address book, web browser bookmarks, calendar appointments, and such across multiple computers AND access them from any computer on the internet. More than a few times .Mac has saved my ass because I didn't have my PowerBook with me and don't carry a PDA.
Another handy feature of my $99 .Mac service is something they call "iDisk." It's a storage space on the internet that allows me to store documents and other goodies in a remote place so I can access them anywhere I have internet available. It's remarkably handy and easy to use. Unfortunately, it also has a tendency to suck from time to time. Many, many times when saving a file to my iDisk, the process will hang as it is "closing the files" and then take out the MacOS as well. Other apps still run fine, but the OS "Finder" is toasted until you reboot...
A $99 service BY Apple that causes your Apple product to crap out? WTF? They keep saying that they will be improving .Mac services in the next version of the MacOS (code-named "Tiger"), but I've heard that line before with "Panther," and serious problems still persist. So the question ultimately comes down to this: will Apple finally fix their .Mac crap, or will we be continuing to pay an annual $99 fee for something half-assed?
I certainly hope they can fix it. They are expanding .Mac syncing to 3rd-Party apps and other System pieces, which totally rocks. But if it's going to continue causing problems because of fundamental flaws in the way it's married to the OS... what's the point?
Well, the day has finally come to send in my PowerBook so that the worn-out latch can be repaired. This is very difficult for me, because she's been a constant companion for several years now. I don't know how I'm going to manage carrying on with my life without her by my side... even for this brief time. = sob! =
Is it too much to ask that everybody out there think happy thoughts for my PowerBook's full recovery, quick turnaround, and safe return?
Here's the letter I sent in with the repair...
Dear Apple Service,
I love this PowerBook. It has been around the world with me numerous times and we've been on many adventures together. Newer PowerBook models have come and gone, but my love for the classic Titanium G4 has not diminished.
I have tried my very best to care for my PowerBook by buying her nice padded cases and special cleaning cloths and screen wipes. I've always treated her gently and made sure she was never put in harm's way. Despite my efforts, the latch button has slowly worn out... it started by not latching securely from time to time, but now it won't latch at all, so I am unable to keep my beautiful PowerBook closed.
I am hopeful that you can find some way to repair her, as I would be heartbroken if I were forced to purchase a newer, bigger, clumsier, Aluminum PowerBook (I'm fairly certain that she doesn't want to be tossed in a dumpster either... she's grown quite fond of me as well, I can just tell).
They tell me at the Apple Store that my PowerBook is still under AppleCare protection. Her serial number is XXXXXXXXXXX, and the Administrative login is "XXXX" with the password being "XXXX" -- If you have any questions or require any further information, please don't hesitate to call me.
Many Thanks and Best Regards,
David Simmer II
One whole day without my PowerBook. It's been tough... really tough. No sitting on the couch working while watching television at night. No laying in bed 'til late catching up with blogs and seeing what's new in the world. No waking up and grabbing my PowerBook first thing to run through all the Trackback spam I've accumulated overnight. Nope. No PowerBook lovin' for me (on the plus-side, it did force me to download all the latest upgrades for my PowerMac G4 Cube!).
Which brings up an excellent point raised in a comment from Karla on my last entry...
Girlfriend? Hmmm... it's been a while, but I think I am better off with the PowerBook. Time for a comparison chart, methinks...
|Always busy getting ready.||Always ready to get busy.|
|Never shuts up.||Has an off-switch.|
|Needs constant attention and entertaining.||Doesn't mind being ignored and does all the entertaining.|
|Insists you be nice to her bitchy friends.||Shows you porn.|
|Insists you accompany her for stupid activities like shopping.||Shows you porn.|
|Eventually becomes defective and mentally unstable after use... requires replacement.||Bug patches can be applied to fix any instabilities, thus ensuring a long and happy relationship.|
|A risky venture into freaky sexual diseases that can really ruin your day.||Can't pass viruses to you and is easily cleaned of any it contracts.|
|High maintenance... constantly requires expensive gifts.||Low maintenance... only requires an occasional upgrade.|
|Smells nice. Sometimes lets you have sex with her.||errr...|
Okay. I see your point. Any mentally-stable women out there who can iron and are seeking a relationship, please submit a resume and psychological evaluation to me via email as soon as possible.
This was not starting out to be a very good day. Which is not surprising considering how my evening went yesterday. It all started as I was driving home for work... a nice drive through town, minding my own business. When all of a sudden I notice some white chick in cornrows flipping me off with an obscene gesture while two of her skanky friends watched. Ordinarily I would just think to myself "whatever" and keep driving, but this time was different. I slam on the brakes, open my window and shouted "WAS THAT JUST A RANDOM ACT OF DEFIANCE, OR DID I DO SOMETHING TO PISS YOU OFF?!?" She was genuinely startled for a second, but quickly regained her composure and shouted back "f#@% OFF A$$HOLE, I WASN'T TALKING TO YOU!!" To which I shouted back "ALRIGHTY THEN... CARRY ON YA GANGSTA-BITCH WANNABE!!" This caused her friends to crack-up laughing, which threw her into a rage of obscenities.
I ignored her and drove off, but then got to thinking about how sad it is that some small-town cracker white girl can honestly think that randomly flipping people off and shouting obscenities while done-up in cornrows makes her bad-ass cool. If she were to ever encounter a real gangsta-bitch, her pasty white ass would be served to her on a platter. I'd love to fly her down to East L.A. and drop her off on a random street corner and see how many minutes she could survive. Call me a horrible person, but THAT would be a great idea for a reality television series!
Things just went downhill from there. By the time I was ready for bed, I was so freaked out that I ended up taking a sleeping pill so I could manage a few hours sleep. Naturally, this meant I woke up in a drugged-out haze. At least I was in a drugged-out haze until I stubbed my toe on the bookshelf. Then I banged my head in the shower. Then I jammed my elbow putting on my shirt. Then I couldn't find my security key dongle for LightWave. Then I forgot what I had done with my lucky hat. Eventually I made it out the door, but I was not a happy camper.
After getting to the office and checking my email, I notice a message from a friend who is a fellow graphic designer that said "IM ME RIGHT NOW DAMMIT!!" Thinking that it was some kind of joke, I replied "Yeah, I'm me right now too dammit!!" Within seconds of pressing the "send" button, his reply hits my inbox... "IM = Instant Message you dork. Turn on iChat!!" And so I did. Turns out he ran into a tricky design problem and needed some advice on how to handle it. Fortunately, things like this are easy to solve with a little face-to-face video chat, and we managed to figure everything out in a few minutes.
After expressing his gratitude for my assistance, he went on to say "I hope you get your PowerBook back soon... you're looking a little grumpy today."
Hmmm... I do look a little grumpy today in a serial-killer kind of way. But all that changed the minute I looked up the repair status for my PowerBook...
AppleCare is da bomb! Can you believe it? One day turn-around repairs!! This means I just might get her back tomorrow (which is the best birthday present I could ask for!). Of course, from previous experience, I have learned never to count on Airborne/DHL for on-time delivery... but, at the very least, I should have my laptop back in time for the weekend.
Now I can't seem to wipe the smile off of my face. It's going to be a good day after all.
And by "wow" I really mean "WOW" because I am typing this on my newly repaired PowerBook. It arrived today, which means that AppleCare Service received it, fixed it, then shipped it out all in the same day.
Boy, just when you think it's impossible for Apple to kick any more ass than they already do, they go and prove you wrong. I guess I should really expect things like this from them, but it's difficult to believe that one company can be so freakin' amazing considering how terrible the service is getting to be with other companies now-a-days.
The AppleCare extended warranty contract may be pricey, but it has certainly paid for itself... the latch mechanism that wore out was part of the entire top case assembly, so the painted trim that was starting to peel on the edges has all been replaced as well. She feels like an all-new machine. She even smells fresh and new. About the only negatives are that the power adaptor plug doesn't quite fit as well as it used to, and Apple assessed my battery as "failing" which is bizarre because it's less than two months old (though it's not an "official" Apple battery, but instead a third-party "high-capacity" model, so maybe that's why their diagnostics failed it?).
I'm really happy right now. Apple rules the earth.
Hah I say!! I just got off work and needed me a Kitty Spangles Solitaire fix... and got my highest score ever right off the bat! Kitty Spangles is so my bitch now!
I should also mention that I got a nice note from the husband-and-wife team of David and Sheryn Wareing, the devious minds who came up with Kitty Spangles. They were kind enough to tell me that they saw my previous blog entry on their game, and wanted me to know that "Kitty Spangles loves you too!" Isn't that nice?
Unfortunately, like most things in life, Kitty Spangles' love is not free. Just like a phone-sex hotline (ahem, or so I've heard), you get 5 minutes at no charge, but then you have to whip out your credit card if you want to play with her anymore. Yes indeed, Kitty wants $19.95 for the pleasure of her company.
The little whore.
Oh well. I went ahead and ponied up the cash because once you've had Kitty Spangles, you just can't go back to regular solitaire games again. She's like crack (ahem, or so I've heard), and my Kitty Spangles addiction is ruining my life. The good news is that, now that I'm registered, I can take my time with her instead of having to rush against that 5-minute deadline. I mean, I am good... really good... but it's difficult to perform under such pressure every time we play.
Besides, just look at how happy she is now...
It won't last. Soon enough she'll be wanting more money for upgrades and a new pair of shoes. And I'm sure "Kitty Spangles Cribbage" is just around the corner.
Now if only I could teach her how to play a nice game of Canasta...
As I cruise around the blogosphere I have to ponder over all the bloggers hopping on the Apple-bashing bandwagon over their attempt to protect trade secrets by forcing rumor sites to name their "confidential sources." For the longest time I was just going to wait it out but, now that bloggers I actually respect are weighing in, I guess it's time to throw out my two-cents...
Do I think Apple is going too far this time? Yes, I do. It should surprise absolutely nobody that this type of heavy-handed approach is going to backfire. Apple is making enemies out of die-hard supporters, and they need all the support they can get (they always have -- heck, according to the media, Apple's been dying for twenty years now!). Despite the iPod's success, the Mac needs to build on the momentum that's been keeping fans loyal and converting a new breed of users... everybody from hackers to home users. It's a time to be kind. People are dying to know your secrets only because they love you. Apple, you should love us back.
All that being said, who can possibly blame them?
For YEARS Apple's lawyers have been writing to "rumor sites" kindly asking them to remove proprietary information (as is their legal right). I can only guess that they've grown tired of constantly firing off the same letters again and again and again to these same people, and decided to explore a different approach. I mean, come on! The sites in question KNOW when they put up confidential information that it's not a very nice thing to do and Apple is going to ask them to remove it, but they put it up anyway because the extra hits will bring them more advertising dollars. Since they never seem to learn, what was Apple supposed to do?
The only thing they can do, and what any other company would do: explore every legal avenue available to them in order to protect their trade secrets. It is, after all, the American Way. Yes, I think that this was a bit extreme on Apple's part, but I have no idea what steps they have been taking within their company to stop the leaks. Maybe they've tried everything and this is a last resort for them? But heaven forbid we should ever give Apple the benefit of the doubt. It's much more fun to crucify them and threaten to not love them anymore and scream loudly about "un-switching" to a crappy Windows PC because "Apple is evil."
Yeah, whatever. If you're going to be such a whiner, at least whine about stuff that actually matters (how about "where is the G5 PowerBook?" for a start). Turning Apple into Microsoft for vilification just doesn't do it for me. Maybe if their products sucked a lot more, I could try and sympathize. But Apple makes great stuff! And if legally protecting their secrets is what they have to do to keep on making great stuff in the cut-throat computer business... well... I suppose it's better than hiring ninjas to start killing people (though not quite as cool).
And before you decide to fire off some hate-mail to me crying about how "Apple's actions are the death-knell for free speech on the internet," save your breath. Because do you want to know how I respond to this laughable rhetoric?
If Apple was secretly building nuclear weapons or killing kittens for ingredients used to build their iPods, or even using a monopoly to force computer manufacturers to only install their OS, then sure... these are newsworthy events that should be investigated, and people should be told. But posting proprietary trade secrets gleaned from law-breaking employees bound by an NDA that could potentially damage a company?
Excuse me, but exactly who is supposed to be the victim here? Do you honestly believe that companies should spend millions of dollars researching a new product, only to have all their hard work dumped on some rumor site for their competition to pour over? If you had spent millions and untold hours, would you? Breaking a non-disclosure agreement to spill company secrets doesn't make you a whistle-blower unless there are laws being broken (or perhaps an ethical violation), it just makes you a spy and a theif. If you publish it, that makes you an accessory to theft. Don't go walking on some journalistic high ground, because you're not serving the public interest... you're only serving yourself, no matter how you candy-coat it.
Free speech is a luxury that everybody should feel to abuse whenever they feel like it. Heaven only knows I do. But if companies can't do everything they can within the law to uphold legally-binding non-disclosure documents, what good is an NDA in the first place? This doesn't change the fact that I think Apple has gone a little crazy here, but going after people who publicly release information they know to be covered by an NDA (and those who broke such an agreement in the first place) is something I can certainly understand. And forgive.
Oh, and by the way... if anybody has any details on Apple making a video iPod or a G5 PowerBook, my email address is in the top-left corner of every page.
As a graphic designer, Adobe software is a critical part of my work. I use Illustrator and Photoshop continuously every day. I use GoLive and InDesign at least once a week. 90% of everything I do has Adobe somewhere in the mix. Because of this, I love Adobe and the things they do for me.
But not really.
I loathe the fact that Adobe refuses to address the numerous bugs in their apps. Illustrator crashes several times a week and has serious clipboard export flaws that have existed for a decade. GoLive is utter crap that has such shitty CSS support that it can barely be said to exist at all (and don't get me started on the FTP server that can't go 5 minutes without crashing). Photoshop is by far the most stable, but still has pen tool flaws and other very basic problems. InDesign is by far the most messed up, because just activating it will screw up the font display of the entire system.
And are any of these problems addressed? No. Adobe is too busy working on the next version to fix problems with the current versions, and that sucks total ass because I have PAID for the current version... I am USING the current version. You need to FIX the CURRENT f#@%ING VERSION!
But despite it all, I stick with Adobe because the software really is miraculous, and I can't imagine doing my job without it.
Right now, not only can I imagine my life without Adobe software, I am fantasizing about it. All because Adobe has gone and done something worse than ship buggy software, they're punishing me for purchasing their buggy software in the first place. Adobe has gone the way of Microsoft, and is requiring mandatory activation registration for all of their future products. To be truthful, that's annoying but, given the rampant piracy out there, that's not what I have the problem with. My problem is that you can only register two computers for use with a single serial number.
But I have four computers. A work machine. A home machine. A laptop. And a backup laptop. At one time or another all of them get used, so I am totally boned here. I am not a software pirate, I am a paying customer... so long as I only use one copy of the software at a time, I should be able to activate it on as many computers as I need for my work. As far as I am concerned, Adobe is illegally interfering with my licensing of their software with this stupid crap.
I guess I can take another look at Macromedia's software to see if it can handle the job but, odds are, I'll have no choice but to bend over and invite Adobe to have their way with me. I wonder how long I can go without upgrading?
Adobe just announced that they bought out Macromedia! I am in a state of shock here, and will probably never get to sleep now (even though it's 1:30am!). This means that Adobe has a total monopoly over creative design applications in print, web, and whatever other media they want. I can only guess that this means DreamWeaver will be absorbed into Adobe's Creative Suite (pushing out GoLive), and everything else will be dumped?!? This pretty much leaves Quark as the only big player left, but they've been trounced by Adobe's far-superior InDesign page layout software, so I guess it's game over.
Sheesh. I suppose when I think about it... I should have seen it coming, but it's still difficult to absorb.
Oog. I just spent the last 2-1/2 hours processing a bunch of T-Shirt orders from the Artificial Duck Co. Store. I was going to call in my order with the screen printer tomorrow, but now I think I should wait a day or two until things die down a bit. Nothing drives sales faster than quality merchandise at insane prices!
Anyway, when I fired up ecto (the amazing blogging tool I use to write this stuff) it notified me that a new version 2.3 has just been released. Wow. In addition to piling on new features and being a free upgrade, it's dead sexy. I'd say it was perfect now, but I said that about the last version and was proven wrong. And that brings up a very good question...
How is it that just one guy (that would be Adriaan Tijsseling) can constantly find new ways to improve his software... release bug fixes within hours of having them be reported... and provide world-class service for his customers... when mammoth companies like Adobe and Microsoft with thousands of employees suck so badly at it? There are bugs in Adobe Illustrator that I have been BEGGING them to fix for nearly a decade, and they have never been addressed. I send Adriaan a feature request and it arrives fifteen minutes later. WTF?!?
And it's not just ecto, there are plenty of other shareware developers that are equally astounding in their dedication to their customers. I wish that people would remember this when they find themselves using an unregistered piece of software over and over and over again. Hard work like that deserves to be rewarded.
After a very long and annoying day, I wanted nothing more than to make a batch of chocolate-almond ice cream and veg-out in front of the television. But then the Cuisinart started leaking all over the place, so what I got instead was a chocolate-coated kitchen. Seriously, it was like Chocolate Armageddon over here. There was chocolate all over the countertops. There was chocolate running down the drawers. There was chocolate splattered on the floors. Everywhere you looked was chocolate...
Apparently, there are limits as to how much liquid you can put in a WHIRLING BLADES OF CERTAIN DEATH Cuisinart machine. I really do need to read that manual one day. Undeterred, I forged ahead whilst ankle-deep in chocolate, and made a new batch.
So now I sit here waiting for my ice-cream maker timer to beep, letting me know that frozen chocolatey goodness is waiting for me.
Checking my email, I see that Apple has shipped my copy of MacOS X 10.4 via FedEx today. The courier gods willing, I'll have it tomorrow. I'm pretty excited about that, but not all is coming up roses for Apple... the loser ass-clowns at "Tiger Direct" are suing Apple because MacOS X 10.4 is code-named "Tiger" and they claim that it will "cause confusion, mistake and deception among the general purchasing public." This is laughable on so many levels, I don't even know what to say. First of all, the Apple "Tiger" code-name has been in existence for YEARS... but they wait until the day before Apple ships the product before firing off a lawsuit and injunction? Dumbasses. Like anybody is really going to confuse the Mac OS with a lame reseller. Like anybody even cares.
I was able to make an appointment at the screen printers today... it's set for next Tuesday. That means I can start sending out all the fabulous prizes from the Blogiversary 2 contest next Wednesday. Watch your mailbox!
Ooooh! Time to add the almonds - ice cream is almost ready. ICE CREAM! IIIIICE CREEEEEEEAAMMMM!!
Well, it's finally here... MacOS X 10.4, also known by the code-name "Tiger." Though I've only been using it for a day, I have to say that I am very, very impressed. Installation was a snap, and I've run into no major problems so far. It's as if MacOS X has finally left beta and is now starting to mature as an actual OS rather than just a pretty experiment.
Understandably, my ramblings about Tiger are probably of little interest to many of you, so I've tucked it away in an extended entry after today's movie quote.
After going through a mile of bubble-wrap to get all of the fabulous Blogiversary 2 prizes packed up (just waiting for the T-shirts!) I thought I would update my Mac G4 Cube to Tiger and watch a little TiVo and a couple of NetFlix DVDs.
First up was Shaolin Soccer, which kicks so much ass that you almost need a new genre of film to describe its ass-kicking proficiency. If you've ever wanted to know what would happen if a soccer game took place in The Matrix, then this film is your answer. Really cheesy dialogue also makes this one of the funniest films I've seen in a while. The DVD had both the shitty, butchered "American" version and the vastly superior "Chinese" original (with English subtitles).
Next was Erasure: Hits!, filled with incredibly bad videos that are so gay that even gay people must think "wow, those are some pretty gay videos!" I am really schizophrenic when it comes to the music I listen to. At home, in my car, and on my iPod are groups like Radiohead, System of a Down, Depeche Mode, Oasis, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, and Pearl Jam. While at work, I am strictly synth-pop with groups like Erasure, New Order, Thompson Twins, Pet Shop Boys, and Moby (which is why my AudioScrobbler profile looks the way it does). Of all of them, Erasure is easily the undisputed queen of bubblegum synth.
Sadly, not a single video in the entire Erasure canon is worth a crap (the low point is when both Andy and Vince are dressed in full drag as very ugly women singing Abba's "Take a Chance on Me"). It's really too bad given they are capable of such beautiful music... "You Surround Me," "Joan," "A Little Respect," "I Broke it All in Two" and so many more. Why can't their videos be as lyrical and beautiful as the songs they depict? Sad.
Lasty, I watched the two-part Enterprise episode: In A Mirror Darkly. It's where we get to have the boring Enterprise characters all evil and interesting (finally) because they're in the Star Trek "Mirror Universe." It's fun to see Archer gone all insane... but even more fun to see Hoshi as a power-crazed whore in a belly-shirt who will sleep with anybody to advance her career. Delicious. I also found it a bit touching to see T'Pol and the other aliens attempt a coup against the evil humans, knowing they would fail completely in order to maintain continuity with future Star Trek series. If the show were this good for the past four years, I might have actually bothered to watch it (and so would everybody else, which means UPN wouldn't have had to cancel it).
Which begs the question... why is it that Trek producers just don't understand what Star Trek fans want to see? We want action! LOTS AND LOTS of ACTION! Don't have characters sit around in decontamination chambers and talk for an hour straight... blow some shit up! The reason Captain Kirk was so cool was because in any given situation he would either fight with somebody, shoot somebody, or have sex with somebody. THAT'S IT!! That's all he did, and we loved it! But now all we get for action is people sitting around the bridge saying stupid shit like "let's re-route the EPS conduits" and then pressing a bunch of buttons so they could go back to boring talk again. Stupid. I have every last episode of the original Star Trek on DVD and watch them all the time. I don't own any of the other series, and usually won't be bothered to watch them for free on television either. Why? Because when I tune in to Star Trek I want to actually be entertained (and there wasn't much of that to be found in anything that followed the originals, except the movies #2, #4, #6, and #8). Please, if there is a god of science fiction television, let Paramount fire the dumbasses who have been running Star Trek into the ground for the past 20 years and get somebody who will actually entertain us with the next series.
And now for a few more MacOS X Tiger observations in an extended entry.
One of the (many) things to love in the new MacOS X Tiger release is the new High Definition video codec that's built into QuickTime 7. The technical name for it is "H.264," whereas the "H" stands for "Holy crap this is amazing-looking video!" At first I had a little trouble with playing samples from Apple's HD Gallery, and assumed it was because my computer wasn't fast enough. But I think that might have just been because Spotlight was indexing in the background at the time... now it works great on my Dual 1.42GHz G4 Mac.
All the clips are amazing (and big!), but the movie trailer for "Serenity" is just jaw-dropping. I must have watched it a dozen times now. Each and every frame looks like a hi-res photograph instead of the blurry mess you get from regular video compression. Just look at the detail...
Every pore in her face... ever hair... is clearly visible. It's almost surreal. Now compare that to the previously released "large-sized" trailer...
Incredible. It doesn't hurt that the movie looks like it's going to kick huge amounts of ass when it arrives on September 30th. I was not a real fan of the cancelled "Firefly" television show, but I will absolutely be going to the feature film sequel.
Right now, QuickTime 7 is only available for the Mac, but a Windows version is promised soon.
I so want a $10,000 HD video camera right now.
I am in an incredibly bad mood today, mostly initiated by the installation of Adobe's "Creative Suite 2" on my computer yesterday. Sure it's got some glamorous features which might be fun to play with one day but, in the meanwhile, I've got work to do. And I can't work because CS2 has f#@%ed up everything beyond all comprehension. Temp files are being created and tossed everywhere (then not deleted when you quit)... fonts are so badly screwed up in Adobe Illustrator that I've had to go back to the CS1 version... the text rendering engine has been updated AGAIN, causing horribly nasty problems with every file I open. Does anybody test this shit before shipping it out the door? At first I was thrilled that they finally managed to fix the clipboard export bug that's been in Illustrator FOR A f#@%ING DECADE, but now I'd be happy if I could just work.
And now that Adobe has purchased Freehand, it's not like there's an alternative out there. For better or worse, Creative Suite 2 is all we've got. I wonder if the Windows version is this bad?
Things only got worse from there, and I thought for sure that an episode of Veronica Mars would save me. But Veronica sucked ass last night. You finally found out who "raped" her, and it was EXACTLY as I expected. So that was disappointing, but not nearly so much as the stupid yo-yo relationship with Veronica and Logan. It was fun at first, but COME ON! Stop the never-ending make-up/break-up cycle, because it's really lame and tired. And of course Lilly's accidental killer is all too easy to figure out now... the only question left is who else knew she did it? Alas, I am still very much looking forward to the season finale next week. I hold a faint hope that I am wrong about everything so there will be some surprises left.
I finally figured out why my laptop was in meltdown once I reinstalled everything this morning... turns out it was the "Virex" virus-scanning software. Ironically enough, Apple distributes the program for free to all .Mac members. Once Virex is removed, the heat levels are back to normal and the fans don't run all the time. There's 2 hours of my life I'm not getting back, all because Apple didn't test a piece of software they pass out to everybody?
But the icing on the cake of my day was when I got a call from an old girlfriend as I was re-installing my PowerBook. Guess who finally found my blog?
What followed was not a pleasant conversation, and I still have no idea what the f#@% she was going on about. I don't write about other people in my life (or out of my life, as the case may be), so what does she care if I have a blog?
*** SECTION DELETED ***
Well that was quick... just one hour to get an apology. And you are welcome!
I just downloaded the first bug patch for MacOS X 10.4, and am not impressed. The biggest pain in the ass problem with Tiger has not been fixed at all.
Web logins are not remembered. Not in Safari, not in Firefox, not in ANYTHING. Login to eBay, and you are forgotten instantly and have to keep logging in over and over again. Amazon... the same. EVEN APPLE'S SITE forgets your login. WTF?!?
But the most dumbass example is with Movable Type. In order to approve a comment I have to login. Then I have to login to get to the comments. Then I have to login again after clicking the "approve button." Then I have to login to process the approval. Then I have to login again to get back to the comments section. And repeat again and again and again.
This is some stupid shit right here.
Even worse? Myself and several-other-people have reported the problem in Apple's discussion forum and NO REPLY IS OFFERED. Does Apple even bother to cruise their own forums? Who the f#@% knows! All I do know is that if I wanted my problems completely ignored and left unfixed, I would go back to using a Microsoft Windows piece of shit. I guess since it doesn't seem to affect everybody, Apple thinks we can just wait.
There are, of course, other minor problems that drive me nuts, but not to the point of wanting to kill somebody like this login bug does. If Steve Jobs was standing here, he'd definitely get a bitch-slapping.
Holy Marklar! Today Marklar announced that Marklar will be using Marklar instead of Marklar in their Marklar. I guess that the Marklar were true. As I said, I don't give a Marklar if it means we'll end up with cheaper and faster Marklar.
Also today I finally managed to get my motorcycle back out of storage after over a month of being trapped in cars and planes. The only problem is that I'm not used to riding it. And I'm old. This means I don't ride the motorcycle... the motorcycle rides me. I was out for only a half-hour and feel half-dead... mostly in my legs, which are not used to stretching like that.
In other news... I've decided to rename all the constellations.
The current names are all Greek gods and stuff, which is kind of boring. I'm going to name them all after myself and stuff I think is cool. Things like "Daveon: The Dave" and "Macinopolis: The Macintosh" and "Lizobethia: The Elizabeth Hurley" and "Cheeseora: The Cheese Sandwich." I'm thinking of keeping "Draco: The Dragon," because that's already kind of cool-sounding.
Next up: I'm renaming all of the mountains and rivers of the world. Oh yeah... and all the countries and cities too. Trust me, it will be much better this way.
I went and saw Mr. & Mrs. Smith today, and it has to be the most entertaining movie I've seen this year. It also has the highest body count. Angelina Jolie was stunningly hot, and this was the first role since 12 Monkeys that Brad Pitt has done that I've enjoyed (a pleasant surprise). The only problem was the ending, which fell a little flat, but getting there was so good that I didn't much care. I am embarrassed to admit that I am secretly hoping for a sequel. I could watch Angelina Jolie blow stuff up and shoot people for hours. I could especially watch her shoot the dumbass behind me WHO MADE A MOBILE PHONE CALL DURING THE MOVIE!!
Whenever you think you've seen the ultimate depths of human rudeness, somebody comes along to prove you wrong. One day that idiot is going to end up with his mobile phone deeply impacted into his ass. That would rule.
My love and addiction for Kitty Spangles Solitaire is well documented. But Kitty and I drifted apart after I upgraded to MacOS X Tiger, because she refused to play anymore. I had forgotten about it, but then Swoop released a Kitty upgrade, so I wrote and got a working serial number and she's all better now. There's a few improvements in the new version. One option is that a pig comes out and tells you when there are no more moves...
It's great at first. You don't waste any time running through a deck when there's no cards you can play. But after a while, all I want to do is bake that little ham when he comes on and tells me I'm a loser. That's pretty drastic considering I'm a vegetarian...
And, just like Apple's widgets, you can flip him over to get a quick link to everybody's favorite blog...
Overall I'm quite pleased with my first widget. If you own a Mac running OS X 10.4 Tiger, and want to try it, CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD. If you don't own a Mac, then you need to run right out and buy one so you can have Dave's wisdom readily available to you. Or I suppose you could just become an Apple developer so you can get your hands on OS X for Intel, then install it over your Windows or Linux OS (and no, I don't know where to download it). Hmmm... probably easier to buy that Mac (you'll be glad you did!).
In any event, here is the discaimer I include with the ReadMe file:
DISCLAIMER: The Ask Dave widget is just for fun. Any resemblance to actual advice is purely coincidental, and should not be taken seriously (much like Dave himself).
Have fun with your own personal Dave. Try not to abuse him too badly.
I really try to be a nice guy. I don't always succeed, but I do try.
Which is why when I see two idiot kids picking on another kid because he doesn't have a nice bike and expensive clothes... well, I don't understand it at all. It isn't you, so why do you care? You've GOT the pricey bicycle and sweet threads, so what does it really matter that some other guy isn't as fortunate? Is your life really so pathetic that you feel the need to belittle somebody over what they don't have and can't change? Bizarre. But they are just stupid kids, so what are you gonna do?
Though it kind of makes me wonder if things really change once we've grown up.
Probably not, but the dynamics do. When you're a kid, you rely on your parents for the things you have, so it's really out of your hands. As an adult, it's all you. I can't decide which is the least desirable situation to be in.
Since people probably make fun of what I choose to wear, I think I'd rather go back to being a kid again.
At least way back then, my biggest problem from Microsoft would be DOS instead of the whole Windows fiasco.
Today I was forced to test a document to be sure it would work on a WindowsXP PC. The problem is that my Windows machine died with the last "Critical Update" and I don't feel like blowing two hours of my life doing a complete reinstall. So I borrowed another machine, only to find that it was begging for a round of "Critical Updates" too... which I ignored (not wanting to repeat the demise of my own machine on somebody else's). It was all downhill from there...
At this point, I quite honestly don't know what to do. I am forced to use Windows on occasion, and I accept that... but HOLY CRAP!! HOW DO YOU WINDOWS USERS GET ANYTHING DONE?!?? I am constantly fighting the OS in order to make things work (e.g., on the Mac, the menu bar is always at the top of the screen, so you can never "over-shoot" it... with Windows, there's such a tiny area to hit that menu bar within the window, that I end up working with windows "full-screen" to save my sanity). And that's just the beginning... there are dozens of things so stupidly unintuitive and ridiculous, that I just marvel at the absurdity of it all.
My real problem is that I'm so used to having everything so easy on my Mac, that Windows is very much like torture for anything past surfing the web or checking email. To do actual work requires hopeless periods of lost productivity that I just can't afford. I have to wonder how many man-hours Microsoft is responsible for pissing away on a daily basis... and I'm not even including down-time from corrupted system files, viruses, spyware, and everything else you have to deal with. Sheer insanity
Is it all my fault? Am I using it wrong? Would it help if I were to go buy a Windows for Dummies book? Something tells me the answer is "no," but I figure it's only diplomatic to look for an alternative to making fun of Windows because it's wearing a ripped-out pair of 70's bell-bottom jeans and riding a busted-ass tricycle that was rescued from the dump.
John C. Dvorak is a long-time Macintosh basher that has been predicting the demise of Apple for years. He's also a long-time tool, but that's beside the point. People listen to the ass-wipe because PC Magazine continues to publish his bullshit. His most infamous attack on Apple was when he declared that the Mac should be "discontinued" and Apple do something different. Never mind that the Mac is a highly profitably chunk of business for Apple, Dvorak is Dvorak, and stupid shit like this gives him the attention he craves so badly. Like I said, he's a tool.
But now the Mac faithful are all in a tither because Dvorak's latest column slams Microsoft's next OS release ("Windows Vista") as "the end of the line for Microsoft's dominance in the OS business." He then goes on to say that "the Mac OS is already better than Windows in its modern look and feel as well as its functionality" and "I see too many smart people with Mac laptops nowadays." This follows still other Apple-friendly jibes that would almost lead you to believe that Dvorak is changing his stripes.
Personally, I don't buy it.
Dvorak can safely slam Windows NOW, because "Vista" is over a year-and-a-half away. Basically, he's attacking vapor until Microsoft ships the product, so what's the danger?
But once "Vista" is released... even if it's total shit... Dvorak will undoubtedly change his tune...
If I were more talented, I would have drawn Dvorak blowing Gates at the same time as eating his shit. Not that I blame Dvorak. I'd blow Gates for his couch money (well, assuming he's lost a couple of million in pocket change down there)... but I'm not a journalist, so whatever.
Anyway, once "Vista" is finally unleashed, Dvorak will be all "Windows was worth the wait" and "surely the Mac is dead now" and "no other OS experience can touch it" - yadda yadda yadda. He's an attention whore, willing to say anything to make waves and grab the spotlight. Today it's bashing Microsoft because it's safe to do so. Tomorrow it will be something else. A year-and-a-half from now, he'll be back to Mac bashing again.
It's what he does.
So to any Macintosh fans thinking that the battle has been won, I'm sorry to say we're most certainly not that lucky. I think that day won't come until Dvorak is dead. DEAD LIKE THE WIND!!!
Err... you know what I mean.
I really needed a good night's sleep so I could be fully functional this morning. So last night I did something I rarely do: take a couple of sleeping pills. Unfortunately, a pack of barking dogs decided to set up shop under my window at 2am, so my slumber was rudely interrupted. I did manage to get back to sleep, but now I feel like a zombie... sluggish and unable to concentrate.
I don't usually start into the Coke with Lime until much later, but I am hopeful that drinking a couple of caffeine-laden cans at 7am will sufficiently drive the sleeping drugs from my system. Until then, I thought that I would wander around the internet for a while and see what's new.
Still in a narcoleptic state, I read the news that Apple has FINALLY released a two-button mouse. Needless to say, I thought I must be delusional. Especially when I see that they have named it "Mighty Mouse." But, alas, it's real...
Sure it still looks like a one-button mouse but, you know Apple, they can't ever do things the easy way... they had to go and use touch-sensors instead of unsightly buttons. On top of that, they decided to one-up the scroll wheel with a "360° scroll ball" and add couple of squeezable sensors on the sides as well. Sounds nifty-keen.
Of course, I simply had to have one, so there goes $50 I probably didn't need to be spending. Such is the price for being an Apple whore.
Oooh! As a long-time roller coaster fan, I've always wanted to play the game "Roller Coaster Tycoon" where you get to design your own roller coasters, and then run them at an amusement park. Unfortunately, it's never been available for the Macintosh. Until now (well, November, actually). From what I understand, you can view your coaster design from every conceivable angle, and see how your customers react to riding it. Make it too bland, and people will be bored and stay away. Make it too vicious, and people will get sick and throw up. Hopefully, you can also make coasters that crash and hurl people off the track, because there's a sadistic side of me that would really get off on something like that. I can't wait.
In other amusing news lighting up the blogosphere, Jacqueline Mackie Paisly Passey is looking for a "travel companion and lover" to accompany her on a world trek, beginning in Costa Rica, for up to a year. I was rather intrigued, because it's not like she's totally unattractive or anything... but then I found out I had to actually bring my own money for the trip, and that kind of killed the idea of getting me a sugar-momma real quick. If I am going to have to pay, I'm afraid it is ME who will be dictating the requirements of my "travel partner with benefits"...
Hmmm... something tells me I should stop now before I say something that will have my female readership calling for my balls (and not in the good way).
This has been a very odd week for Macintosh users. It started with Mac-faithful attacking their own, and ended with a mouse.
I have long enjoyed the writings of Cory Doctorow over at Boing Boing. But earlier this week he blind-sided me with a rant aimed at Apple that just didn't make much sense. It was all bizarre paranoia and speculation that had no basis on fact or historical context. I had started to write a lengthy rebuttal rant, but ultimately decided against it given that Blogography's readership is about a millionth of that of Boing Boing, and most people here wouldn't care anyway. Fortunately, John Gruber (an increasingly rational voice in the blogosphere) wrote up a better rebuttal than I ever could today over at Daring Fireball.
About the only thing I can add is that it seems unlikely Doctorow has suddenly gone crazy, and more probable that he is simply using the power of Boing Boing's popularity to threaten Apple off a course of action they may (or more likely) may not be pursuing. A dangerous road to start walking down, but since he's as big a Mac fanatic as I am, I guess he felt he had to try.
On the entire issue of Digital Rights Management, I am surprisingly neutral. Sure I wish we didn't have to live with copy protection on our music and media, but I fully realize that something has to be done to minimize theft, and it's something we just have to accept. When it is unobtrusive and allows me reasonable access to materials I have purchased... like music through the iTunes Music Store, I don't care. When it prevents me from accessing content I've legally paid for... like television shows on my TiVo which only Windows users can access, I am outright hostile (if I had wanted to be forced to use Windows shit, I would have bought a Windows Media Center PC, you TiVo dumbasses).
With this in mind, I want an Apple iMovie Video Store and Video iPod. I want an Apple-friendly Digital Video Recorder that allows me to catch up on television shows while I travel. I want them bad. Really, really bad. And if the DRM is as unobtrusive as the iTunes Music Store, and the pricing is reasonable... I won't have a problem with it. Because as our digital lifestyles becomes ever-more entwined with our computers and mobile devices, there has got to be an option for Macintosh users to have access to commercial video content past the DVD. It's the big missing piece that Microsoft is addressing that Apple is not, and failure to do so is going to hurt far more than any anti-DRM rant.
In happier Apple news, I love me the Mighty Mouse!
Well, THAT Mighty Mouse is okay, but I'm talking about the new Macintosh Mighty Mouse...
For Apple's entire existence, the concept of a two-button Mac mouse has been nothing more than a pipe dream. Apparently Steve Jobs felt that they were too complicated and too ugly for the Mac, so the Mac faithful either bought ugly 3rd-party alternatives, or made do without. I had tried a couple of two-button mice, but always went back to my Apple mouse and using the "CTRL" key to get that ever-elusive "right click."
The new Apple "Mighty Mouse" has finally addresses Steve Job's reluctance to part with the elegance and simplicity of a single-button mouse. And it does so in a very ingenious way. You see, out of the box, it acts exactly like Apple's mice have always performed... a single-button mouse that's beautiful to look at (albeit with much nicer tracking and a smoother "flow" than Apple's old Pro Mouse). BUT, for Mac users who want more, your wish has been granted.
Though whether it works out for you will depend entirely on how you are accustomed to using a mouse.
If you are like me, who holds a mouse with two fingers covering the top of it, you'll do just fine. To "right-click" you simply lift the finger on the left-side, and push down. Genius. This means that people like myself can still click the ENTIRE mouse to get a "regular-click" and only have to make a slight modification to our mousing habits to get that magical "right-click." For Mac users accustomed to Apple's one-button mouse, this is golden. However, if you are accustomed to a "real" two-button mouse, this probably isn't for you... because, in reality, a "right-click" is in fact a "no-left-click", and different than what you use now.
In addition to being able to "right-click," the Mighty Mouse also has a tiny "scroll ball" on top that allows for window scrolling and "middle clicking." Most people are referring to this new feature as "the mouse nipple" which seems about right. For the most part, I love me the nipple. It is smooth and intuitive. And though "middle-clicking" takes some getting used to, once you manage to figure it out, it's very cool (I've set mine to bring up Dashboard, which is quite handy!). But all is not perfect in nipple-world...
The last new feature is the "squeeze-click." If you squeeze the two pads on the sides of the mouse (the same "hold pads" you use to pick up the mouse while click-dragging), you get a fourth button out of the deal. This seems a brilliant idea, except I have a bit of nerve damage in my hand, and it is difficult for me to squeeze tightly enough to make it happen. For most people, this is not an issue, and being able to have a fourth unobtrusive "button" will be a good thing. Like all buttons, the "squeeze-click" is programable to do whatever you want. Anything from pulling up the App Switcher to manipulating Exposé.
As I said earlier, how much you love the new Apple Mighty Mouse will entirely depend on how you are accustomed to using a mouse now. If you already have a two or three button mouse, and are happy with it, then the faux "no-left-click" is probably not for you. Personally, I do love it. It acts exactly like the Pro Mouse I am used to now, so I don't have to re-train myself... yet has added functionality that is much appreciated. My best advice would be to go to an Apple Store and play with one for ten or fifteen minutes before buying one. If you hold a mouse like me, and use a mouse like I do, you won't be able to go back to Apple's old mouse again.
I am becoming more and more convinced that the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica is not only one of the best science-fiction epics ever created, but perhaps once of the best TV shows ever. It's a bizarre hybrid of smart sci-fi and character-driven drama that lapses into absurd moments of current-day-earth reality at a moment's notice. This is both exciting and frustrating at the same time, but it's hard to argue with the results.
Until the new television season starts, it's the best show you're probably not watching.
In some respects, it's a voyeuristic guilty pleasure because so many of the characters are deeply flawed. Watching them fumble through their trials is fascinating entertainment which is filled with never-ending surprises. I don't think I am alone in feeling just a little bit dirty for having pried into their lives.
Where the show stumbles is in its failure to maintain a consistent "world" in which these characters can exist. Vehicles on other planets are just every-day earth cars, complete with license plates. Characters have nick-names like "hot dog" where hot dogs don't exist. Everyday US English idioms are commonplace, even though these people have never been to earth. Sure it helps the average viewer relate better to the show, but it's poor science fiction that is otherwise so brilliant in execution. On top of all that, soldiers aboard the Galactica are killed off at alarming rate, making you wonder when they're going to run out. How many can there be?
On the other hand, the acting, stories, and special effects are shockingly good... more than making up for any shortcomings. If that weren't enough, Cylons are bad-ass (or, in the case of Number Six and Boomer, bad-ass sexy!).
And now, from the opposite end of the sexy spectrum, comes the Dell XPS laptop. I keep seeing commercials where some idiot in a coffee shop sees another guy using the XPS and keeps trying to touch it because he thinks that it's so cool and sexy. This is baffling because, to me at least, the "XPS" must stand for "eXcruciatingly ugly Piece of Shit"! Just look at it!
You know when you go to the luggage store how there are three kinds of luggage you can buy? First there's the really amazing-looking expensive stuff that you can't afford. Then there's the average-priced nice-looking stuff that you settle for. And finally there's the cheap-ass-looking crap that you'd be embarrassed to be seen with? Well, Dell went for the cheap-ass embarrassing luggage look here, and not even the MacOS-inspired background on the desktop can save it.
The aluminum shed siding alone is hysterical, but the retro-futuristic lettering and clutzy duo-tone color scheme just pushes it way over the top. It looks like something a redneck would put out on the porch along with the refrigerator and a recliner! As if using Windows wasn't painful enough, Dell expects you to lug this pile of crap around with you? Jonathan Ive must be laughing his ass off thinking "THIS is my competition?!?".
But I'm just a Mac snob, so what do I know. Perhaps this is what the kids are considering "cool" now-a-days.
(If that's really true, I weep for the future)
I am hopelessly addicted to Rock Star: INXS in that I've watched the entire show from last night five times now. When you add that to the number of times I've watched the other episodes I've saved on TiVo, you might think that it's the only show on TV. It's like getting a new CD every week with music you can't get out of your head. Man I hope that they release the entire series on DVD and put the songs up for sale on the iTunes Music Store.
When you add that to my near-constant playing of the new Depeche Mode single "Precious"... it's been a good week for music.
The current meme-du-jur running around the blogosphere is "What's in YOUR Start Menu." Luckily, I don't have a Start Menu because I don't do Microsoft Windows. But I will share what's on my Mac PowerBook's Dock:
What's in YOUR Dock?
Interesting trivia about the above Blogography entry: This is not the entry I had originally written for today. I had started with a rant about something that made me so angry that I simply couldn't finish it. All I wanted to do was scream and type curse words. Eventually, I decided to stop writing and sleep on it. I'll be angry tomorrow.
But slightly less angry than I am right now.
UPDATE: Tonight's elimination round on Rock Star: INXS was way harsh... the bait-and-switch that Burke pulled between Ty and Suzie was just cruel. It is really beneath the show, and I hope that they cut out this crap and have a little respect for the performers from now on. Lame!
And the Apple domination of downloadable music continues. As absolutely everybody on the planet is probably aware of by now, Apple just finished up a media event to announce a new Motorola iTunes phone and the stunning iPod nano.
It's so sad, but I want one quite badly. This is despite the fact that I already own a full-sized iPod (which I never use) and an iPod Shuffle (which I use constantly). It's just too cool not to own one, and my life suddenly seems incomplete until I have one...
How do they do that? It's like the size of a cookie.
As for the iPod "ROKR" phone... well, I don't know that I really care to have one for the music capabilities. The reason I want it is because it's so tightly integrated with the Mac for transferring my address book and stuff. The fact that I have to dump Verizon in order to get it is not a problem, because it's not like Verizon has bent over backwards to service their Mac customers. If Cingular has the vision to support my platform of choice, then that's the company I want to be with...
I will miss Verizon coverage, which is sweet despite being the antiquated and crappy CDMA version instead of the internationally accepted GSM (finally, an international phone for me!)... but I won't miss their crap phone selection with their even crappier phone features (Bluetooth is only JUST NOW arriving in their phones which is a total joke). I also won't miss their greedy policy of charging me for features that should be free (e.g., you can't download photos you take, because they make you spend the money to email them to yourself, which is balls-stupid).
Hey Verizon... can you hear me now?
After a very full day at work, and a run to Wenatchee for a scary visa photo, I finally had a chance to watch the Apple Media Event that His Royal Steveness streamed via QuickTime.
It made the iPod nano look even more desirable.
All because the smaller size does not mean lesser functionality. They even added features to it. Usually, this would be a down-side to me because I feel elegance lies in simplicity... but since I don't lug around a clunky PDA, I am kind of digging the photo album, world clock, calendar, address book, and everything else... all in such a tiny nothing of a package. So very sweet for the wayward traveler.
I totally can't afford one because my "toy allowance" went to Katrina relief this month, but I suppose that's what credit cards are for.
I ordered mine in white, because it seems so much more classic.
After plunging myself into debt (yet again) I took some solace in the fact that the latest v5 release of iTunes was a free download. In the SteveNote, I could tell that Apple has started to diminish the now-antiquated "brushed metal" effect. What I couldn't see (until I installed it) was that the new streamlined look comes with a glaring bit of retro-harshness. The once beautifully rounded corners have bin nipped off with a clunky little edges that aren't even anti-aliased. Brutal.
I'm not sure what to make of the lack of window edges. It seems that if Apple revises their OS windows this way in the future, they'll all kind of blend together badly. That frame around the edge may make the window bigger, but it serves a purpose. The bizarre thing here is that it's yet another level of disjointed interface elements within the MacOS that keeps drifting further and further into clumsy abandon. If they keep mucking it up like this, soon we Mac users will be worse off than those poor Windows-using bastards we make fun of.
Did somebody accidentally toss out the Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines book at Apple?
UPDATE: Strange. I just noticed that iTunes 5 has the capability to store lyrics as part of the song information. How many minutes until somebody writes a tool that automatically downloads them from a lyrics server and pops them into the files. I wonder if there is a way to display the lyrics in lieu of the "visualizer" within iTunes?
Everything sucks today! E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G-!!
I woke up this morning sick to my stomach and wanting to puke my guts out. It only went downhill from there.
I got to work and had to use Microsoft PowerPoint most of the day. MICROSOFT POWERPOINT SUCKS ASS! After using the sublime elegance of Apple Keynote for Macintosh, being forced to use PowerPoint is the equivalent of getting kicked in the balls by a lumberjack in steel-toed boots. All the little niceties that Keynote provides to make work so easy are gone. And, adding insult to injury, PowerPoint creates the ugliest, most horrifying, most boring slideshows imaginable. Hard to work with. Nasty results. Somebody remind me once again why people use Microsoft shit when something so much better is available? Insanity.
During my overindulgent 15-minute lunch hour, I got to fill out forms for an immigration visa application. PAPERWORK SUCKS ASS! Ultimately, I had a hard time figuring out which blows more... the inconvenience of filling out the forms, or the abhorrent photo of myself I had to attach to the application. I don't envy the person at the embassy who has to open the envelope. I envision them pulling out the papers, seeing the photo, and then running screaming from the room. After a Xanax and a bottle of Abolut Vodka, they return to their desk and deny me a visa based of the fact that I am just too heinous to enter the country. Does ANYBODY take good passport photos?
Once I finished up my PowerPoint ordeal, I then spent the next half-hour digging through loads of spam and other crap that had piled up in my email "In Box" during the day. Then I noticed an email from a friend telling me that Depeche Mode American tour dates had been released. This doesn't suck. This is the best news I've had all day. Until I look at the actual dates... only to learn that Depeche Mode lands in Seattle on November 16th. Of course, I'm not here on the 16th. I'm a couple of thousand miles away that day. NOVEMBER 16th SUCKS ASS! WTF? Am I not entitled to ANYTHING going right today? The best band in the universe, who I've been waiting to see on tour for a decade, finally comes to town and I won't be able to go. WAAAAAAAAAHHH!
Once I get home. I check on my blog only to find I have a shit-load of spam comments waiting for me. Turns out that SixApart's much-vaunted "SpamLookup" feature in the new version 3.2 of Movable Type doesn't work very well. In fact, it doesn't work at all, and makes things much more difficult than using good old MT-Blacklist (there's no one-click "mark as junk" anymore... oh no, now you have to navigate a drop-down menu and then click "Save Changes", which is lame). Banning commenters doesn't seem to work (no big surprise, I can't seem to get "trust commenters" to work either). It could be that I'm doing something wrong, but when I click on the "documentation" link to find out, there is no documentation. MOVABLE TYPE SUCKS ASS! Who the f#@% ships a product with essential... nay, F#@&%ING CRITICAL... documentation not available? It's like "here's your blog, good luck with that spam shit, because we've got better things to do than tell you how to deal with it... like adding features to non-paying LiveJournal users or something." This is lame. Manually marking up spam is not fun. Especially when it is so obviously spam in the first place.
You'd think after a day like this, I'd get to go home and relax for a bit. You'd be wrong. By the time I'm done, I'll have spent 6 hours trying to get my scheule for the next two months figured out. MAKING TRAVEL PLANS SUCKS ASS! Trying to coordinate flights from one side of the planet to the other, along with hotels, trains, tickets, and all the other crap that goes along with it is exhausting work. Right now, I have hotels without flights, flights without hotels, and a few days where I don't even know where I'll be, or how I'm getting to where I need to be going. I decided to take a break from the chaos to blog my day, but talking about it is only making me feel worse. If I make it to bed by midnight tonight, I'll consider myself very, very lucky.
Things had better be better tomorrow, or else I cannot be held responsible for my actions.
Much to my shock and delight, the iPod nano I ordered arrived today!
I've only had it for two hours, but it is already one of my most favorite gadgets ever. It has the functionality of a full-sized iPod, but the portability and unobtrusiveness of the iPod shuffle. It is, without a doubt, the finest MP3 player I have yet owned or played with, and once again catapults Apple to the top... nothing else can touch it. It is a stunning display of both design and functionality that has me wishing that Apple would move into other markets. What I wouldn't give to have an iToaster.
The sound quality is stunning... about on par with my iPod shuffle, and slightly superior to my 2G full-size iPod. Unlike the competition I've tested, the volume gets plenty loud as well. The only downfall is that Apple continues to include these suck-ass earphones. I mean, for what they are, they sound okay... but the only way to go is to use in-ear phones. Fortunately, I've got a great pair that really maximize the quality that iPod is capable of.
The display, despite its tiny size, is remarkably crisp, clear, and easy to read. This means that the teeny, tiny little picture of the album artwork is recognizable enough to be useful. Also, the miniscule cards are readily discernible in the included Solitaire game, and the world clock (something I will use OFTEN) is just beautifully rendered. I don't know how they managed it, but the iPod nano is also capable of displaying your photographs, and easily syncs with iPhoto to make it happen. Another nicety is that it will sync with your address book and iCal calendar as well, so it is quickly becoming part-PDA as well as music device.
The iPod nano includes aforementioned crappy earphones, a dock adaptor (THAT DOESN'T FIT MY DOCK!!), a USB-2 connection cable, and a CD with drivers and outdated iTunes software. No FireWire cable is included, which sucks so much ass that I don't even know where to begin... FireWire is a standard that Apple championed, yet they f#@% over the Mac faithful by tossing USB-2 in the box? WTF? Only the most recent rounds of Macs even support USB-2! This means I have to transfer songs over painfully slow USB-1 on my Titanium PowerBook (which is where all my music is). The included adaptor looks like it is supposed to convert my old full-size iPod dock (which has FireWire) to work with nano, but it doesn't fit right... maybe my dock is too old? Oh well, if you just jam it in the dock without the adaptor, it works just fine, which is all I care about (you can, of course, use the cable alone as well). Still, lack of FireWire support out of the box is a notable f#@%-up in an otherwise miraculously perfect product... especially if you don't have a previous model to "steal" from. Okay, this f#@%ING SUCKS... the iPod nano doesn't support FireWire AT ALL! Even if you use an older cable with a FireWire connector. When you plug it in, it comes right up and tells you so. You can still use the dock... with a USB cable... but FireWire is entirely forbidden. This is STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!! If Steve Jobs was here, I would bitch-slap the shit out of him for such a dumbass move. First Apple puts FireWire on everything, then stops supporting it? Thanks a lot f#@%ers. Shit like this is what turns faithful Apple whores into vengeful Apple haters. I am very, VERY pissed. F#@% APPLE... F#@% THEM UP THEIR STUPID ASSES!!!
I've seen some people complain that there isn't enough storage, which is crazy given the size of this thing. 1000 songs at a time is more than enough for me, and I've got a full-sized iPod If I ever want to carry my entire library around. I suppose the extra space would be nice for photos, but I don't think people will be using iPod nano as a substitute for a photo album considering there's no video-out and the small screen makes sharing difficult.
SURPRISES: The iPod nano comes with a stopwatch (with lap timer!), which I didn't see in any of the press materials. The small click-wheel is even more comfortable than the larger wheel on my full-size iPod. The calendar is actually worth using.
DISAPPOINTMENTS: Other than the missing FireWire support, there's only one other quibble... lack of a lanyard so you can wear the thing. Sure there's a "combo" model coming out that integrates headphones into the lanyard, but they're the same crappy earphones Apple is using already. I want a lanyard that lets me use my own earphones. No doubt there will be one soon, but this is a good reason to hang on to your iPod shuffle until something is released.
All in all this is a mind-blowing product. If you don't own an iPod, there are no more excuses, because the iPod nano is practically perfect IF YOU HAVE USB-2. If you already do own an iPod, then this is probably an excuse to upgrade IF YOU HAVE USB-2. Highest possible recommendation IF YOU HAVE USB-2.
If you are a Star Trek geek, then there is a screen saver called "System 47" by meWho that may very well be one of the coolest screen savers since Flying Toasters. It's available for both Mac & Windows, and is well worth checking out.
If, however, you are a Mac user with a multiple-monitor set-up, then "System 47" IS the coolest screen saver ever, and you should download it immediately (they brilliantly play the monitors separately, which was an unexpected bonus you don't get from most screen savers!).
Oh... did I forget to mention that it's freeware?
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go back to pretending that I'm a Starfleet Captain...
Packed: There's nothing more fun than packing suitcases for a trip! Today I am having maximum fun. At least that's what I am telling myself as I try to get my stuff together. Again.
Booked: One thing I am happy to be packing is some cool new reading material that was sent to me. Sure beats trying to find something at the airport! I rarely have time to read except when I am traveling, so big link love goes out to James for his much appreciated thoughtfulness!
Crypto: A while back Sven had mentioned in an email that I should get a security certificate so I can digitally sign and encrypt my email. It sounded really complicated, so I put it on my "to do" list and forgot about it. Then the other day while I was in the middle of a phone call, I went ahead and tried it because it didn't cost anything and I was bored. Well, my faithful Mac made it fantastically easy, so now all my email is digitally signed (verifying that I was the one who really sent it) and, if you have a security certificate on your machine, anything I send to you will be encrypted as well. It's all very cool, and the Mac is really smart in that it can manage your certificates for you automatically. Here are the easy instructions for Mac users (I'm sure Windows isn't too much more difficult). And speaking of Windows users... I am told that Outlook stupidly marks digitally signed email as having an attachment. So don't be surprised when Windows sufferers get mad at you for sending an attachment they can't find.
iStinc: Apple's .Mac service has the ability to sync your data between multiple computers, which is amazingly handy... in theory. Despite several upgrades over the years, syncing STILL doesn't work as advertised. Sometimes things don't sync properly, and sometimes they don't sync AT ALL. My beautiful new email security certificates refuse to sync, despite the fact that I have specifically marked the new keychain I made for them as syncable. I've tried everything, but it's a no go. Furthermore, manually importing the certificates works until the next sync, at which time they are erased. I wish Apple would fix this crap once and for all, because it's not just keychains that screws up... everything screws up in sync eventually: bookmarks, email accounts, address books, and all the rest.
Phoney: I'm getting quite a few Google search referrals wanting to learn about my new Motorola a840 global mobile phone. Well, there's not much to say. The phone works as advertised. You can use the default CDMA network where available, then switch to GSM service when it's not. You CANNOT, however, switch to a GSM service when Verizon CDMA is available. It is your "home" network and overrides all others. So if you are buying the phone thinking that you can switch between Verizon, T-Mobile, Cingular, or whoever... it won't work, even if you use one of their SIM cards. It's a good phone, but all is not perfect... the phone is MASSIVELY HUGE compared to every other phone I've used. Not bad, just MUCH, MUCH bigger than I would have preferred. Also, as usual for Verizon phones, Bluetooth support is missing (dumbasses). Still, if you travel the globe like I do, it is super sweet to be able to make and receive calls wherever you go over both CDMA and GSM networks (except Japan, natch)... all on one phone number.
Universe: A while back I answered some of the biggest questions in science. Among them was a "what is the Universe made of" type thing. In my answer, I said that so-called dark matter is actually residue from temporal shifts in the universe... not actual "matter" at all. Now scientists are starting to catch up. All I can say is that when they finally figure out that I was right all along, they had better use the name I had given to the buffer particle that keeps the Universe from collapsing on itself... the "Daveon Particle"... or I shall be very cross indeed.
Gameable: For my upcoming trip, there will be a lot of mucking about on trains, so I thought that I would get a new "PlayStation Portable" PSP to pass the time between books. I gave one a try at a demo booth and discovered something strange... the games suck ass. I mean, there were a couple racing games that were pretty amazing, but everything else was kind of "eh." Since at most I would want just one racing game, I took a pass. Then when I got home I checked the game review sites, and they confirm what I had just found out: PSP games are mediocre. IGN reviews show NO perfect 10 games, just two 9-star games (racers), and a measly ten 8-star games (mostly sports)! That's just sad. I wonder if the much less cool Nintendo DS fares any better?
Back to packing...
A boring and uneventful drive over to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was salvaged by a fantastic flight on one of Northwest Airlines newer A330 aircraft, where everybody has their own personal entertainment center. Since this was a free flight, I was in coach, but there seemed to be slightly more room than usual on this plane, so I didn't mind much.
Thanks to dozens of movie choices and games, the flight to Amsterdam flew by (heh heh) in no time.
I got to see Batman Begins (great, seen it before), Fantastic Four (not nearly as bad as I had thought), War of the Worlds (interesting flick with a crap ending), March of the Penguins (cute, but I fast-forwarded through much of it), Bewitched (truly awful, and I fast-forwarded through practically all of it), plus play a few games of trivia and Bejeweled. I was still playing as the landing gear came down, and still can't figure out where the 9 hours went. THAT'S the way to fly international.
I was very nervous when I surfed by Apple's web site, curious to know what their "big announcement" was going to be and how much it was going to cost me. Turns out it won't cost me a thing. The new media features in the iMac G5 are nice, but I've already got both a Mac and a TV. The new video iPod isn't impressive enough to warrant purchase, and the new video offerings at the increasingly mis-named iTunes Music Store are shows I don't care about and are only being offered at a crappy 320x240 resolution. Sure that's fine for an iPod, but there are plenty of other media portables out there with bigger screens, bigger storage, and better resolution for me to pay $1.99 a pop for crummy low-res copies of Lost and Desperate Housewives. What in the heck is Apple thinking?!?
Oh well. I don't really have the money to buy a cool new toy from Apple just now. With that in mind, I suppose I should be glad that they didn't release a cool new toy I couldn't live without.
On a sadder note, a small bird seems to be trapped here inside Schiphol International Airport. He flies up to the skylight, realizes he can't get out, and then flies down to the railing and starts chirping... I am guessing in the hopes that some other bird will answer and he can go home (or at least get outside)...
The poor little guy just flies from rail to rail calling out for help... it really is heartbreaking (I seem to be having March of the Penguins flashbacks here). Hopefully he gets it all figured out. I doubt a diet of leftover french fries and being trapped in an airport is a very good life for one who is meant to fly free.
Left a cold and wet Venice only to arrive in a warmer, yet far wetter Rome.
This is making me really, really thankful that I had spots of fantastic weather when I did. If the entire vacation had been under this weather, I would be really depressed. As it is, I'm more sad about it coming to an end than I am over the weather. After five hours on a train, all I had the energy for was to walk to the Hard Rock for dinner, then drag my soggy ass back to the hotel. After a few hours out in the rain, I'm really ready for bed.
But I can't go to bed, because I've got five days of blog entries to upload.
I haven't decided what I'm going to do tomorrow. I'm sure it will involve being wet.
Two big releases happened whilst I was in the northern environs of Italia... first, Depeche Mode's latest album, Playing the Angel hit on Tuesday. Next, Apple released some new computers and an utterly brilliant piece of software called Aperture on Wednesday.
Sadly, Depeche Mode's latest was a bit of a disappointment after the initial beauty of the single release Precious (not to mention the long, long wait since the last album). I like half the tracks well enough... but it seems more of an experiment than a refined work. Dave Gahan's voice is amazing as always, it's the musical accompaniment that's lacking. I don't know if Martin Gore is in a phase where everything has to be disjointed, raw, gritty, and stuck in a feedback loop... but it does not "feel" like a Depeche Mode album, and that's a bitter pill to swallow after the long months of anticipation. Some pretty major DM fans are referring to it as "noise" instead of music. While I wouldn't go that far, I can definitely see where they're coming from.
Apple Computer's Aperture, on the other hand, is an absolutely astounding software release that is going to entirely change how I work with digital photos. I cannot wait to get my hands on it, and will probably never shoot in JPEG mode again. If you're a professional photographer, here's a link you really need to follow.
Time for bed.
I am so totally bummed. My PowerBook appears to be dying. I guess I shouldn't be surprised... the poor thing is three years old and has been drug around the world a dozen times over. I've grown quite attached to her, but the constant overheating and erratic behavior makes her unreliable, and I need a PowerBook I can count on.
Sadly, methinks it's time to consider a replacement. =Sob!= It seems like only yesterday I was waxing poetic over my Titanium-covered baby...
In the midst of my grief over my ailing PowerBook companion, I received an odd call on my mobile phone. Unfortunately for the anonymous bitch who called, I was in no mood for a wrong number, especially with her attitude...
Anonymous Bitch: WHERE ARE YOU? YOU'RE 30 MINUTES LATE!! WE'RE GOING TO ORDER WITHOUT YOU!!!
Dave: WELL I'M SORRY!! I crapped myself on the way to the restaurant and thought it would be better to change my pants and be late rather than show up smelling like shit! Order me a jelly donut and a fifth of Jack Daniel's and I'll be there in ten minutes!
Anonymous Bitch: WHAT? WHO IS THIS??
Dave: I SAID TEN MINUTES!! And that donut had better be fresh!
Can you appreciate how difficult it is being me? I am forever lashing out with smart-ass comments and then immediately regretting it afterwards. My only excuse is that I am so incredibly brilliant that my evil brain is capable of bypassing my sense of shame on its own accord. Either that, or I have no shame to begin with. Either way, it's just not my fault, so I suppose I should stop feeling bad about it.
There. I feel much better knowing that I am not to blame for my poor behavior.
The day wasn't all bad news, however... a big congratulations to James & Erin on the birth of their new baby girl! Welcome to the world Vivian Bow! I must admit to being a bit surprised that they didn't name their first-born child after me though.
Oh well. Even though "David Vivian Bow" has a nice ring to it, I'm very happy for the three of them.
Speaking of happiness, have you registered yourself on the Blogography Reader's Map over at Frappr? Other than sending me a million dollars, it's the easiest way to ensure you will be spared my wrath once my evil plan for world domination has been unleashed. Only by registering now are you assured of my benevolence come D-Day! Mwah ha ha haaaaah!
My sarcastic nature is forever getting me into trouble... mostly by people who think I'm serious about all the things I say. I had a girlfriend who once asked me "why do you always expect the worst?" to which I replied "years of conditioning." And, for the most part, that's true. When people, places, services, purchases, and everything else you encounter ends up sucking ass, you just come to expect it...
You expect your new Panasonic piece-of-crap DVD player will break after a week.
You expect the latest Rob Snider movie will be "stupid-stupid" instead of "stupid-funny."
You expect it to rain on your vacation.
You expect politicians to lie and break their promises.
You expect those french fries you just ordered will arrive all limp and greasy.
You expect that your hotel room will smell like ass and have funky stains on the sheets.
You expect that those penis enlargement pills you ordered off the internet won't really work... (ahem, or so I am guessing).
Continuous disappointment ends up conditioning you to expect the worst. Anything else is just a pleasant surprise. Call me a cynic, but I lead a much happier life by not getting my hopes up.
And, sure enough, that same girlfriend dumped me two days later to go back to her psychotic ex-boyfriend...
Yes it was disappointing, but also not wholly unexpected, so life goes on.
But now something has changed for me. My new Macintosh PowerBook is supposed to ship out today, and I can't help but be excited. Heaven help me, I am actually expecting good things this time. My Aluminum PowerBook will arrive and be totally perfect. I will fall in love with the speed and all the fancy new features and get over the heartbreak of my faithful Titanium PowerBook dying. It will be everything I desire in a laptop computer and I will be happy.
Life is good.
Though knowing my luck, FedEx will probably lose my PowerBook during shipment or run over it with a truck or something.
Hey, I tried to be optimistic there for a minute.
The Dave dropped his rugged frame into the uncomfortable chair with a grunt. His manly hands banged away at the computer's keyboard, tracking the shipment through the byways of cyberspace. After weeks of delays, today was the day his new PowerBook was due to arrive. Finally, all those bastards would pay.
As he waited for the requested information to appear, The Dave's testosterone-laden body heaved a sigh of indifference. The world may be going to hell around him, but the PowerBook was all that mattered now. He was blind to everything else.
Until the tracking data starting running across his display...
WHY! OH LAWDY WHY! WHY ME? WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS?
Trapped in Indianapolis for "International Shipment Release" by FedEx, there would be no new PowerBook delivered today.
The Dave pounds his massive hammer-like fist on the desk in a fit of unbridled rage. How dare they?
How. Dare. They.
Time passes, but the shock doesn't. Drunk on disappointment, The Dave staggers into the uncaring arms of a cruel night. Throwing caution to the wind, he drives home without his seat-belt on, laughing in the face of danger. The fine for driving un-belted is $101, but The Dave cares not.
Bring it on Johnny Law. Bring it on.
Took a forty-minute drive into Wenatchee this morning to retrieve my new PowerBook from Fed-Ex before having to head over Seattle-side. I had a half-hour to play before I left.
Unpacking an Apple product is an experience unto itself. Everything is so perfectly arranged to maximize the impact of your new PowerBook not as a piece of equipment, but a piece of your life. Just taking it out of the box makes you feel special (which, of course, you are... you're a Mac user now!).
The Aluminum PowerBook itself is quite nice, though I can honestly say that it's not as sweet to look at as my beautiful Titanium PowerBook that it's replacing. It's bigger. It's bulkier. It's less elegant. It lacks the classic stylings that makes the TiBook such a sexy piece of hardware. Even so, it's far, far, far better than anything to come out of Dell or any of the other Windows crap factories. I certainly won't be embarrassed to whip it out in public (if you know what I mean).
But outside of appearances... it's perfection. The denser pixel count of the screen gives me a larger desktop to work on. The screen is far, far bolder and brighter than my old PowerBook. The backlit keyboard is sweet (though my left-side Apple key is sticking for some reason). It is much quieter. It seems faster and more responsive (probably due to the 7200 rpm drive I upgraded to). The ATI Radeon 9700 graphics card allows all kinds of cool video effects. The nifty scrolling-trackpad is very handy.
So, while I am sad to say goodbye to my dying Titanium PowerBook, I think I will like working with my new Aluminum PowerBook just fine.
And now I am off to Redmond for some drunk and disorderly conduct.
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