Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Brain Dead Thing about Technorati

I love Technorati. I play the tag game. I check my blog rankings. I know some of the folks there. I like them. They're very smart. But...

They sort everything on the blogosphere into one of these five topics:
  • Entertainment
  • Life
  • Sports
  • Business
  • Tech
Just those five. Nothing on current events, news, or politics. So, under which of the five does politics show up?

If you guessed Entertainment, you are correct.

Technorati home page this morning, under What Everyone is Blogging About (Entertainment): I find:
That's Entertainment? I was expecting, maybe, the clown with his pants falling down or the dance that's a dream of romance or the scene where the villain is mean. Wasn't expecting the scene where the screamer is Dean.

Maybe they're making a profound editorial comment on the vacuousness of political discourse. Democrat or Republican? It's just casting. The script is the same and the show must go on. Maybe they're saluting the quip that "politics is show business for ugly people" (which Google tells me is Leno's or Carville's—but whoever came up with it, have your lawyers call these guys, who are trying to make a buck out of it).

MSM is talking about how the bloggers are hijacking political discourse, and the world authority on blogging doesn't have a tab for politics? Hmmm.

Guess what, Technorati? Of your top 20 blogs this morning, six are political blogs. You'll find them at numbers 5 (Huffington Post), 6 (Daily Kos), 10 (Crooks and Liars), 12 (Think Progress), 13 (Michelle Malkin), 17 (Instapundit). Of your 30 hot tags as of this writing, nine are political.

Mickeleh's Take
: Maybe they're afraid of alienating righties or lefties. Or maybe its an oversight. But I'm calling them out on it. And I'd like to see an enhancement. Please give us a Current Events tab.

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cross-posted on Mickeleh's Soapbox

Friday, September 22, 2006

The joke that took me six months to write

Back when I was doing standup, I jotted a premise for a joke onto an index card. There was something funny in it, but is wasn't a joke yet. I wrote this:
A scratch-and-sniff map
And I put the card away. Six month's later, I went through my joke premise cards and I was suddenly hit with the punchline:
... of New Jersey
. Why do I bring this up now? Because Gawker has a map to the smells of the New York subway

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Cory: Amazon Unbox "galling for its evilness"

Cory Doctorow on Boing-Boing went through the terms of service for the new Amazon movie download offering, "Unbox." He found a nest of vipers in there. His summary:
Amazon Unbox's user agreement isn't just galling for its evilness -- it's also commercially suicidal. No sane person will agree to this. Amazon Unbox user agreement is only a couple femtometers more dignified than being traded to another inmate for a couple packs of cigarettes.
Click through for the nasty details.

Mickeleh's Take: Sadly, sane people will agree. Because they're busy. Because they trust Amazon. Because they're so eager to get the candy, that they won't stop to read the warning labels. Once again Mac users dodge a bullet, because Amazon has based the service on Windows Media DRM, so we're not eligible.

Big thanks to Cory for raising a flag that will be noticed by some minority of potential customers and a hat-tip to Judeleh for her take on Mickeleh's take.

BTW... what's the user value to this download service vs. buying the DVD from Amazon or renting it from Netflix? Even without the galling evilness, I don't know why anyone would want this.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Apple is in Your Pocket (with a siphon)

My favorite slide from Steve's presentation yesterday:

Back in the day, Microsoft marched to the mission: "a computer on every desk" (running Microsoft software). How quaint. Today there are many more opportunites than desk tops. Apple is targeting your desks, home entertainment centers, autos, pockets, shoes, and, of course, your pockets. Especially your pockets. (So, is Microsoft, of course, but that's another topic.)

Mickeleh's Take:
  • iPod marches on with significantly more bang for the buck and cool features such as games and gapless playback. Missing in action: the rumored widescreen iPod. It looks like enough new for a nice Christmas bump to Apple's sagging iPod sales, but you have to wonder if the market is close to saturation. (I don't need a new iPod right now.). Oh, and the new shuffle is an adorable little tyke.
  • iTunes gets hot new browsing features, including Cover Flow and now it will download cover art to you--even for music you don't buy from the iTunes store. (It's free, so I'll download it for sure).
  • the store adds movies from Disney (which I'm boycotting because of ABC's airing of that deceitful schlockudrama on 9/11,) How's the value on the movies? Well, they're pricing higher than a rental, but lower than buying the DVD (but offering lower resolution, and no "DVD extras"). Maybe useful for plane trips. And, Steve, please throw some board and shareholder weight around at ABC and get them out of Bush's pocket.

As for the "one last thing": Steve put a new product on the vapor list, scheduled to ship next year (code-named iTV)? Brilliant. It's the missing link between media stored on your Mac or PC and your TV or home entertainment center. Wireless or wired networking built-in and all the audio-video outputs you'd want (HDMI, component, optical digial audio out, etc.). And it provides slick Front Row browsing of your content.

Mickeleh's take: iTV is not only smart about what it includes (the right output ports, slick U-I, and PC connectivity as well as Mac), but it's also smart about what it leaves out. There's no attempt to duplicate the DVR--which most people will get from their cable or satellite provider anyway (or maybe the new TiVo Series 3). The big gotcha: the home entertainment center is going high definition, but iTunes movies aren't even as sharp as current DVD and not even close to HD resolutions. Is there an HD upgrade path? (Jobs was silent about which flavors of 802.11 wireless will be supported.) I'll probably be in line for one when it ships. Of course, if you have a Media Center PC and an Xbox360--you pretty much have this capability and more (except you won't have access to Apple's Fair Play locked content. Gotta love the dueling DRM standards that Apple and Microsoft are imposing.). But this product isn't shipping until some time next year. Why did Steve show it so early?

Links for the Apple-obsessed:

If you missed the keynote, Apple is streaming it.
  • Product details at Apple.
  • Smart perspectives and food for thought from Scoble, Om, Kevin Marks
  • Analyst round-up of iTV prospects -- and Apple's prospects in the nascent, but already crowded movie download market by Mark Ward (BBC News). He tackles the question of why Apple broke with its recent practice of keeping hardware very close to the vest until it's ready to ship. Hint: the message wasn't for the consumer--it was for the movie studios.
  • Detailed analysis of iTV by Daniel Eran (also see his analysis of why Apple is winning at media downloads)
  • First look at new iPod from Ryan Block (Engadget) (BTW: it looks like the old iPod, but there are some neat screenshots of new games)
  • One last thing: hot new TV spot.
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Friday, September 08, 2006

Skip Photoshop: Now cameras can lie all by themselves

CNET reports on cameras that are designed to record enhanced images--slimming the subject, adding a tan, removing lines and blemishes. (slide show side bar included.)

Mickeleh's Take: Now that the retouching can be done in the process of recording the original digital image, "photography" as a record of reality is dead. There's definitely a market for unreality. "We can't handle the truth." But how new is the death of reality? As Paul Simon noted, there's spin even in the ol' silver halide: "Kodachrome, They give us those nice bright colors...Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, Oh yeah."

(tags: Digital Photography, Photography, Cameras, Reality)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

How to Dress Like a Mac

Chanporty Firth has sourced the wardrobe worn by Justin Long in the "I'm a Mac" commercials.

If you'd like to dress like your favorite computer, he has the items, stores, and prices.

Mickeleh's Take
: Forget dressing like a Mac. I want to wear the devil and angel suits worn by John Hodgman as "PC." Can you help me, Chanpory?

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Where is Steve Jobs on the Path to 9-12?

Thoughts on the countdown to ABC's airing of a distorted, anti-Clinton dramatization of the Countdown to 9-11:

Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder of ABC's parent company. He's also a member of the board of directors. He sold me the magnificent computer I'm using right now. And he also sells ABC and Disney product at the iTunes store. Boy do I have mixed feelings about this. I wonder if he does.

Back in 2000 near the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where Democrats met to nominate Al Gore, Apple Computer honored five progressive heroes in a twelve-story billboard, as part of the "Think Different" Campaign—Cesar Chavez, Martin Luthor King, FDR, Robert F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt.

There's a beautiful shot of the billboard here on Flickr.

Today, having sold Pixar to Disney, Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder and a member of the board of the parent company of ABC.

I wonder if Mr. Jobs has anything to say about the distortions in the upcoming mini-series, "Path to 9-11."

It's worth noting that 9-11 is directly on the path to 9-12, the day Apple is planning a major product announcement. Observers expect it to include a movie download service on iTunes. Disney movies will almost certainly form the heart of the first offerings

I wonder if this mini-series will also be offered on iTunes.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

And you think Katie got Fauxtoshopped?

These two pubs were in the supermarkets just a few weeks ago.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New in the GigaOm empire: Web Worker Daily

Newest addition to Om Malik's blog cluster: Web Worker Daily. Presented with a clean, vaguely soviet-era design, the service shows us that Om is no mere journalist. He's a revolutionary. Or a savvy marketer.

Workers of the world log on! You have nothing to lose but your cubes.

Have wi-fi. Will travel.

We don't need no steenking health plan. We buy at Whole Foods. No pesticides, no illness. If illness, then homeopathy.

BTW… can anyone here explain why our language is inverted. Why do people who work in an office say they work “out of” an office? And when they work at home say they work “out of my home”?

BTW… can anyone here explain why it’s cool to use Soviet and Bolshevik imagery in an ironic way, but not cool to use Nazi imagery?

Mickeleh's take: I think Om has found an audience, a need, and a great opportunity to fill it. I'm subscribed.

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