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November 2004

ecto: now with Amazon links.

Holy crap, this is cool:

First, open an existing entry or start a new draft. Optionally select the text you want to find Amazon products for, then go to the menubar's Edit -> Create Link -> Amazon... (shift-command-A is the keyboard shortcut). A new window opens, ready to query Amazon. Enter a search text if the search box is empty, choose a product line (books, music, dvd, video, games) and press the “Search” button. The first 10 results, ranked according to relevance, are shown with thumbnails, title, author/artist/director/publisher, and the listed price (note that amazon usually offers discounts, so the listed price is not necessarily the lowest price). To get more results, use navigation buttons at the bottom of the window.

I love a good implementation of a fantastic web service. That being said, I am typing this entry using the wonderful (but in beta) MarsEdit. I wonder what the chances are that some similar will find its way into MarsEdit.

The one thing that would make my life much easier is if I could define a custom style for my uploaded and inserted images (and yes, Brent this is a feature request!).

Wired: Crappy Advice, but hey, it didn't cost you anything

red-apple.jpgGeorge at 90% Crud posted about a 1997 Wired article called '101 Ways to Save Apple' in his post called I got 101 problems but Apple ain't one, an idea which he stole from Matt Haughey, so I thought I would steal it too.

So let's take a look at some of the REALLY bad ideas suggested in the article:

1. Admit it. You're out of the hardware game. Outsource your hardware production, or scrap it entirely, to compete more directly with Microsoft without the liability of manufacturing boxes.

Obviously no one could predict the phenomenon that is the iMac, but having this as the first in a list of 101 is not a good sign.

8. Buy a song. Last year, it would have been "Respect" by Aretha Franklin. This year, maybe it's "Ain't too Proud to Beg."

A silly suggestion, mostly in reaction to Microsoft using 'Start Me Up' for the Windows 95 launch. However, one might argue that with the iTunes Music Store Apple has bought much more than one song.

17. Build some decent applications that the business community will care about.

Apple has started doing this with Mac OS X server and the Xserve, but it is not where Apple should be focusing on (and they aren't). Office is the defacto standard and nothing short of Jesus himself saying he only accpets documents written with AppleWorks will change that. Apple is doing the right thing my creating applications for prosumers and digital media enthusists.

21. Sell yourself to IBM or Motorola, the PowerPC makers. You can become the computer division that Motorola wants or the alternative within IBM. This would give the company volume for its PowerPC devices and leverage for other PowerPC offerings.

Nowadays people say Apple should buy Motorola in order to ensure that they will still be around to provide them with processors.

23. Create a new logo. The corporate graphic of the multicolored apple was tired in the 1980s, now it's positively obsolete. Plaster the new logo on hats and T shirts to be worn conspicuously by Andre Agassi, Nicolas Cage, and Ashley Judd.

This wasn't a bad idea, it was an awful idea. It is true that Apple has changed from being multicolored to monochromatic, but it still has the same silhouette, and is one of the most easily recognizable logos on the planet. Dumping the Apple logo would have been insane!

27. Relocate the company to Bangalore and make it cheap, cheap, cheap.

You're either with us Wired, or you're against us. I have my eye on you, you Bangalore lovin' fools.

34. Port the OS to the Intel platform, with its huge amount of investment in hardware, software, training, and experience. Don't ignore it; co-opt it. Operating systems are dependent on installed base; that is your biggest hurdle now. It is not the head-to-head, feature-set comparison between Windows and Mac OS.

Bad, bad, bad idea. Apple makes most of its money from what, class? That's right, hardware. Apple can't compete with Dell, or a guy building his own machine, and running OS X on it. Also, in order to maintain the integrity of the 'Mac experience' Apple needs to control both hardware and software. Why do you think the iPod was Mac only to begin with?

59. Invest heavily in Newton technology, which is one area where Microsoft can't touch you. Build voice recognition and better gesture recognition into Newton, making a new environment for desktop, laptop, and palmtop Macs. Newton can also be the basis of a new generation of embedded systems, from cash registers to kiosks.

With the PDA market being what it is at the moment, I think one of the smartest things Jobs did on his return to Apple was cancel the Newton (though the Newton will never die).

60. Abandon the Mach operating system you just acquired and run Windows NT kernel instead. This would let Mac run existing PC programs. (Microsoft actually has Windows NT working on Mac hardware. It also has emulation of Mac programs with NT running on both Power PC and x86.)

Windows NT? On my Powerbook? Yuck! What a second, number 1 was get out of the hardware business, and number 60 is get out of the OS business. That doesn't leave much (other than the trillions that can be made with Newton technology).

64. Team up with Sony, which wants to get into the computer business in a big way - think Sony MacMan.

How about the Apple iPod. OK, so much like the iMac no one could predict the iPod, but teaming up wit Sony would be a bad idea no matter what. Sony doesn't know what to do with itself, let alone what it would do with Apple.

81. Merge with Sega and become a game company.

Huh? Sega isn't even making consoles anymore. But in '97 is someone told you Microsoft would be one of the leading consoles you probably wouldn't believe them.

99. Reincorporate as a nonprofit research foundation. Instead of buying computers, customers would buy memberships, just as they do in the National Geographic Society. They'd receive an Apple computer as part of their membership perks. Dues would be tax-deductible. Your (eventual) profits would also be tax-exempt, and the foundation could continue its noble battle to keep Microsoft on its toes.

This is just odd, why not declare the company a legitimate religion and let people join the real 'Cult of Mac.'

Of course there were many points that were very spot on, but my favorite is:

101. Don't worry. You'll survive. It's Netscape we should really worry about.

Of course I just saw a commercial for Netscape Internet service, so you never know.

This is very good to know

Especially since one of the first things I was going to do after Thanksgiving was upgrade our AV server. According to IT Notes says:

Let me just start out by saying "Do not, I repeat, do not upgrade a Symantec CE AV Server with version 9.01". That is the latest public version visible on the website, but it has a bug that may cause the server to create a duplicate server group. So if you have a server group named SYMCE, you will see a duplicate group named SYMCE (2).

Forta on CFPARAM in Blackstone

Now, I am not the programmer that say, Terry or Dan are but I do enjoy playing around with ColdFusion, and Blackstone (the next release of ColdFusion) looks very good indeed.

Ben Forta, the god father of CF, talks about CFPARAM in Blackstone and I am excited about the email type and regular expression support (even though I don't know much about regular expressions [I do have a book though]).

Christmas Music

You may be surprised to find out that I am a big fan of Christmas music, and Christmas in general (yes, I know, it is so unique of me). Last year for some reason I wasn't filled with the Christmas spirit, but this year I am going to enjoy the hell out of the season even if it kills me!

More Cowbell has some great Christmas songs by some indie bands just waiting for you to download them (and I think it might even be legal).

The Barenaked Ladies (one of my favorite kinda mainstream bands) has a new Christmas album out entitled, cleverly, Barenaked for the Holidays (this link goes to the iTunes Music Store where I purchased this album from).

I am endeavoring to make a Christmas playlist in iTunes, and this is what I have so far:

Continue reading "Christmas Music" »'s Editors' Top 50 books of the year Best Books of 2004: Top 50 Editors' Picks

Best Books of 2004: Top 50 Editors' Picks, and I have read none of them.

I do own Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation and I would like to read:

I need more time and money so I can read everything I want to read.

More good news for Apple

With Apple's stock at an all time high, the iPod the hottest Christmas present once again, and now Apple's global developer community grows 2.5 times:

Apple has grown the size of its global developer community by 2.5 times over the past two years, with much of the credit going to the Unix-based Mac OS X, reports Australian IT. Apple’s entry into the open source community also helped spur developer interest, the article adds.

“That’s one place where we did a lot of work,” Ron Okamoto, Apple’s worldwide head of developer relations, told Australian IT, citing the Safari Web browser as an example. He added that the BSD-Unix base of Mac OS X has also made it attractive to Linux developers, while compatibility with Java is also attracting interest.

A platform is only as good as the developers that create cool software for it, and I think it is safe to say that small Mac developers are some of the best software people in the business.

A new category for you

Thanks to the recent purchase of Magnetic Poetry, and the placement of said Magnetic Poetry on my office door, I have added a new category to Blankbaby, 'Magnetic Inspiration,' to which I will be posting the best (in my opinion) of the poems created on the door.

First up, one of my very own masterpieces:

If I may read in bed I would recall her smell but mistaking beauty for lust is like sleeping on a diamond

This Thanksgiving I am making something

Usually, I go to my mother's house, kick my feet up and await bountiful food to be delivered to me. This year I want to try something different, I want to help out!

In fact, I was watching the Food Network's All Star Thanksgiving and I saw Tyler Florence make Artichokes with Pork Sausage, Lemon and Sage, which just looked very tasty.

First let me point out my list of Food Network personalities I don't like:

I find them all annoying in their own way, however, I think Tyler Florence and Jamie Oliver are both good at what they do (that other three, not so much). If this dish tastes as good as it looks I will take Tyler off my list of Food Network personalities I don't like.

Isn't this exciting?

I will take pictures, and post my reaction as well as my mother's and brother's.

It'll give you something to look forward to.

Interview with the inventor of Robosapien

I wanted a Robosapien for awhile, but calmer head prevailed and I didn't get one. However, I can read this interview for free:

We were lucky enough to catch the attention of the Robosapien's creator and Robotics Physicist, Mark W. Tilden. Mr. Tilden also created the B.I.O. Bugs toy robots, worked at Los Alamos National Labs, and has consulted for NASA. He happens to be a really nice guy with a sci-fi flair, and he recently sat down with us to answer some of our questions about the Robosapien, the Robosapien2, and if androids really do dream of electric sheep.

A fellow Regian has a blog

It looks like this young man is a freshmen at Regis, here is his quick take on the school:

The important thing is that I am a freshman in Regis high all boys high school in New York City. It's pretty sweet bein in high school, especially since I live in Jersey and am havin fun wanderin aimlessly around NYC. Regis has a hell load of work though and I can almost positivly tell you that, for about 80% of you, no matter how challenging your high school is...mine is worse. The workload is insane and I barely have any free time. But Regis is still pretty sweet.

Ahh, those were the days.

I wonder if there are any other Regians with blogs out there. If you know of any, shoot me an email, or leave a comment on this post.

Pirate Riddles for Sophisticates

McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Pirate Riddles for Sophisticates:

Q: Whom did the pirate vote for in the Haitian election? A: ARRRistide.

Q: Wait. Why did they let a pirate vote in the Haitian election?
A: Remember, the nation was taking its first halting steps toward democracy, and balloting procedures were rather chaotic. The pirate just slipped in somehow. Arrr.

Q: I don't buy it. Pirates care nothing for participating in the electoral process.
A: Look, can we finish this up soon? I'm having those phantom pains in my wooden leg.

You can't beat pirate humor.

Here is a pirate joke told to me by Elisa (I think):

A pirate walks into a bar.

The bartender says, 'Hey, do you know you have a steering wheel down your pants?'

The pirate replies, 'Arrr, it's drivin' me nuts.'

Comedy gold, people.

Evolution vs. Creationism

I can remember very clearly the moment that I realized that everyone didn't see evolution as a very good theory to explain how we humans came about.

I was sitting in the quad of Lower Cents (right outside of Carothers, my freshman dorm) with Chris. We were talking about a lot of different things; we had just met each other a little while ago and since we were on the same floor it made sense to get to know one another (little did we know that we would be living together for the rest of our Lehigh careers).

Somehow, the topic of evolution came up and Chris was vehemently opposed to it. My little mind couldn't comprehend that a seemingly intelligent guy could think that the Bible was literally true and that man was created just as was told in the Bible.

I asked him to explain the dinosaurs, and why there are two versions of the creation story in the Bible (two versions that don't mesh with each other I might add). His faith was unshakable (not that I thought I would turn him from his faith on that particular evening, nor was I trying to. I was just asking questions).

Now, keep in mind I was raised Roman Catholic, and many people thought I was going to become a priest (I was not one of those people, but no one asked about my opinion on the matter so I didn't share it with them). I was incredibly faithful in God until I went to high school.

During my time at Regis critical thinking about all matters, including theology, was fostered, not too surprising considering that Regis is a Jesuit institution.

We had to write exegesises on several verses of the Bible, and these exercises really got me thinking about my personal beliefs, and how the Bible is a great book on morality, but (in my opinion), it was written by ordinary people and not by God (which if you ask me makes it all the more powerful). Applying a critical eye to the Bible and treating it as a text allowed me to grow as a person and make an informed decision about my faith. That is something that I will always be grateful to Regis for, and that has served me well so far in life.

Chris' beliefs were so totally different than mine, and they still are. I may not agree with what he believes, but I respect his faith immensely and that evening was, to coin a phrase, the start of a beautiful friendship.

I have no idea what prompted me to write about this, but here is a fun fact about biblical exegesis: St. Jerome is credited as its founder (funny the things one remembers from high school).

The Persian 'Immortals'

I was just watching a show on the History Channel about Alexander the Great (specifically about the Battle of Gaugamela) and it mentioned the The Persian 'Immortals', a little Googling and I found that link which says, in part:

a body of picked Persians under the leadership of Hydarnes, the son of Hydarnes. This corps was known as the Immortals, because it was invariably kept up to strength; if a man was killed or fell sick, the vacancy he left was at once filled, so that the total strength of the corps was never less -and never more- than ten thousand.

I am fascinated by ancient history, and if it weren't for my inability to master any language other than English (and I am pretty shaky with English) I would have majored in ancient history, and I would probably at this very moment, be working on my PhD.

Too bad it is all greek to me.

Another geek accessory

iamblogging.jpgAll this talk of dressing more like a geek made me go check out Thinkgeek, a repository of all sorts of cool little toys, gizmos, and geek accessories.

This t-shirt is something I have been thinking about buying, but I don't really wear t-shirts all that often. However, the second phase of 'Project Healthier Scott' (Phase one being the Great Pepsi Ban of '04) is going to the gym and working out (ug) at least thrice a week, and who works out in a button down shirt?

More details on the Second Phase as they become clearer to me, but no doubt I won't enjoy them... but I will be blogging them.

Burberry for your iPod

burberry.jpgStyle and fashion are not amongst my strong points, however, I do like Burberry an awful lot. I have a Burberry suit and a Burberry sportcoat (both acquired from Boyds of Philadelphia by the way, my favorite upscale department store with the largest selection of big and tall designer wares this side of the Mississippi), so I thought I would link to this Burberry iPod Case which I have no interest in getting, but I thought was funny enough to link to.

I think I would like to get a bottle of Burberry Brit for Men though, but it is a little pricey. Luckily, Christmas is just around the corner. I mean, just read this description and tell me that I am not the first person that pops into your mind:

Epitomizing the modern, British man, Brit For Men captures a relaxed elegance and effortless style. This fresh, oriental woody fragrance that blends juicy green mandarin and freshly cut ginger with wild rose and spicy hints of cedarwood to create a confident, sexy, masculine scent.

It is like they extracted the essence of me and bottled it. Mmmm.. bottles.

Who knew I would wax on so poetically about Burberry? I certainly didn't.