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Geeks in the land of “Are We There Yet?”

October 27, 2004

Slate’s Paul Boutin talks about the new Photo iPod and XM’s new “MyFi” portable satellite radio recorder.

Why is it that new technologies always fall just short of the mark?  The new Treo 650 doesn’t have WiFi (the old one had a puny display and no bluetooth).  The Photo iPod has a tiny screen, and no video capabilities.  Meanwhile, nifty devices like the iRiver players have decent sized tiny screens, but no AAC, no iTunes Music Store, no iSync, etc.  XM freaked when people started playing “pvr” games with the XM PCR and pulled it off the market, to be replaced by a device that’s portable and timeshifts, but only within proscribed limits.

The technology is constantly just shy of our expectations, and what things could be.  When the the idle hands of the nerd’s workshops get together to try to make lemonade with the lemons we’re offered, they run afoul of manufacturer’s pullouts and lockups, or DMCA and lawyers.

And so it goes—such is the paradise of the techno-wonks, toiling in the vineyards of “if it just did this…”

Podcasting is yet another hopeful sign, or it will be as soon as the content arrives, and until the lawyers turn up in its wake, but as Boutin points out, it’s still not real time—he quotes Adam Curry as saying to him “If Osama Bin Laden gets caught, you won’t learn about it from your iPod.”

Right. So there’s a bright spot after all, then…

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Streaming Chillout

October 27, 2004

I think I finally found a downbeat streaming music station that I like as much (if not more) than SomaFM’s Groove Salad—RadioMax’s Chillout & Ambient stream.  Shoutcast and Windows Audio streams up to 256kbps.  The Shoutcast stream (I didn’t check the other) has full metadata embedded in it, so you could use your favorite net radio capture software can at least know what you’re listening to.

So far, the playlist has a few clinkers in it, but not terribly many…

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Politricks

October 1, 2004

God knows, I’ve strongly avoided inflicting my personal politics on folks reading this site.  There are a metric shitload of political blogs out there, and people don’t need to come here to find my take on things.  Besides, my political leanings tend to annoy most avid consumers of realpolitik, as they can pretty much be summed up as “Both sides owe favors to the same people.  All the rest of it is noise meant to distract people into believing they have an actual choice that will affect the outcome of any significant decision.”

So, I mostly don’t talk about it.  On the other hand, having just been asked for the bazillionth time whether I watched the debates (hey, are you kidding? When the major news outlets get caught filing their coverage hours before the debate itself, you know there ain’t going to be much actually newsworthy going on), I decided that I’d fill up some of the recent silence here with a few of my favorite H.L. Mencken quotes…

“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it.  And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.”

No, I don’t agree with Mencken on everything.  I don’t even agree with ME on everything.  These seem to me to be as apt for our times as they were nearly 100 years ago, however.

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Search Engine Tune-Up

October 1, 2004

Search Engine Tune-UpMuch of your most valuable traffic comes from search engines, but are you doing everything you can to make sure that search engines find and index your pages properly? In this free teleclass, you will learn the basics of how to properly optimize your pages for maximum search engine impact. Join Chuck Lawson of Insanely Great Sites! for this exciting and informative one-hour teleclass!

Upcoming Sessions
Tuesday, February 8th, 9-10pm Eastern/NY

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Do’s and Don’ts of Hiring Developers

October 1, 2004

Do's and Don'ts of Hiring DevelopersHiring someone to work on your small business web site can be either a blessing or a nightmare. The more prepared and better informed you are, the happier you are going to be with the results. This free Teleclass will show you some simple but powerful things to do (and things to avoid!) when hiring web development. Join Chuck Lawson of Insanely Great Sites! for this exciting and informative one-hour teleclass!

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