I voted in this little sideline survey on the Washington Post’s political cartoons web site just to see what the outcome would be. At least with the Post’s well defined demographic, there is near unanimity. I somehow doubt that Fox viewers are quite as polarized. Had Fox any balls, they probably would ask.
The writer does not write this piece out of a sense of anger, a feeling of resentment or sheer snootiness. The writer is, indeed, grateful–positively, unreservedly and absolutely thankful–that the United States Department of Justice has taken a step to prevent further consolidation in the beer brewing industry in order to keep the market for that elixir that the writer loves competitive.
It is easy to be cynical about this apparently responsible act on the part of a governmental agency that has hardly acknowledged the anti-competitive nature of the telecommunication industry, that did absolutely nothing during the financial meltdown, that refuses to undertake any substantial prosecution of top executives in the aftermath of the financial meltdown, that doesn’t dare prosecute the hierarchy in the Catholic Church responsible for fostering centuries of sex abuse, that threw the book at a defenseless young idealist and drove him to suicide, and that is all to happy to use the PATRIOT act to collect unwarranted data. The same DOJ elected to intervene forcefully, however, to protect the public from higher beer prices. Why is beer so important? So special?
Beer, Benjamin Franklin proclaimed, is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. It is easy to argue that the “happiness” induced by beer is desirably by the DOJ. Given its failures in restraining large corporations from preying on the general populace and its appetite for harassing those who would entertain the notion of counteracting the prevailing corporate order (as enumerated above), a sober populace might be tempted to take the federal department ostensibly dedicated to the dispensation of justice to task. Absent any relief from inflation driven by a devaluing dollar and high oil prices, a cheap high, one might argue, is the only escape left for the average citizen. If it were to disappear, she or he might finally build enough anger and thus gather enough energy to inquire as to why it is that she or he must forfeit every penny earned to profitable concerns that are never held accountable to moral, ethical or economical standards. Why the average citizen must take pleasure–when the citizen’s prospects in the absence of a job are concerned–in toiling arduously daily under the strictest of supervision and face the most dire consequences for his or her failure to dispense his or her duties while the reckless disregard of the most powerful corporations for moral–not even ethical–behavior is rewarded with impunity and material wealth?
The posing of the question is a demoralizing. Pondering its answer is petrifying. It is, therefore, indeed, better to drink beer and to be merry. The DOJ has in this rare instance of wisdom and charity preserved this right for the average citizen. Let’s not drink to that.
Let’s just drink.
Apple is the most powerful company in the world. Microsoft software is still pretty awful, but it is quite stable. In fact, the latest revisions of Windows are arguably more stable than Apple’s OS X. Nevertheless, Apple feels compelled to keep the blue screen of death alive on every single copy of OS X sold for the last few years. I first noticed it last year, and on a recent trip to Hawaii, I grew to appreciate the lengths to which Apple has gone to keep the blue screen of death alive.
The public wi-fi network at the hotel in Maui allowed computers to browse the local network. Ever civilized, Mountain Lion neatly organized all the local network computers it found in the appropriate section in the Finder applications, and, low and behold, many blue screens of death appeared in radiant blue and rendered in gorgeous, flawless vector format. Of course, if these computers are broadcasting themselves on the network, they are functioning perfectly, and not displaying the blue screen of death, but that doesn’t stop Apple from representing its competitor–and its savior!–with the most embarrassing emblem any company had ever had the misfortune to earn.
Rivalry is good and fine, and one can never shed a tear for a company that has thrived by emulating, destroying and acquiring its competitors (Microsoft), but it might be high time for Apple not to disrespect the competitor that saved it.
It’s still a damn good joke, though.
I ran with the iRunner app for the first time yesterday. Just about everything about this app is amazing, but it was the totality of the experience that blew me away.
At every mile, the iRunner app would very politely turn the music down slightly and announce in a female voice like Siri’s the time it took for me to run that mile, my total run time and my average pace. It would then allow the music to resume at its old, pleasant, loud volume.
About midway through the run, my mother called. The iPhone gently halted the music, announced the phone call, which I answered by clicking on the function button of the Beats headset. I spoke with mom briefly, and when she hung up, the iPhone gently resumed the disco house music playback through the di.fm app without my doing a thing.
Throughout the whole process, iRunner kept track of my run, and generated the statistics below.
I am not a betting man (nor am I a gaming man; that euphemism is perhaps the corporate correctness term I hate the most; it’s akin to calling ecstacy Pez; “gaming” avoids all of the serious consequences that gambling contains), but had someone bet me that I would be keeping complete track of my workouts while I listen to CD quality disco music piped via the internet and answering phone calls–all with a device strapped to my arm–five years ago, I would have taken the losing side of that bet.
If I had the iPhone 4S, of course, I could have been dictating my novel as I run, too, supposing for a moment that I were writing a novel.
The wonders never cease, and the rapid pace of progress is astounding. This will positively become a regular workout routine, whether I’m biking or running, because all this technology literally allows one never to miss a beat.
The “pothead” is a very lovable guy or gal: sweet, harmless, funny, easy-going, occasionally profound, even keeled, sporadically active and stupid. This last characteristic is up for debate, of course, because it is one of those insulting attributes that we espouse in stereotypes. Every stereotype contains at least one horrendously negative and insulting property, and those properties are usually the result of the human tendency to want to believe the worst about one’s neighbor at least part of the time.
The stupidity of the pothead, however, may be getting some scientific support. The above study suggests that lighting up earlier in life may be correlated with a lower measure of intelligence later in life. Believing this proposition may say more about one’s faith about the reliability of the intelligence quotient than the truth of diminished mental capacity of potheads. Nevertheless, kids should take this lesson to heart: wait until your brain is fully developed before you experiment with it.
In September, 2007, the New York Times had one of the most hilarious articles I have ever read. The subject was the highlights and the lowlights–meaningless ascriptions, really–of the 2007 Air Guitar Championships in Finland. To laugh at the contest even more, watch the video of the
grand champion runner up from that year below.
The following passage is the least funny in the article:
The contest showed the participants’ individual styles and approaches, from the polished routine of Mr. Litz to the improvised moves of Mr. Stathatos, who tended to play more with his hair than with his air guitar. (He finished last.) Contestants played their nonexistent guitars behind their backs, jammed on their knees and leaped into the air. There was a lot of crotch-grabbing, lip-licking and tongue-flicking.
Leading the American comeback this year was a fine fellow who dressed up like a viking and rocked the crowd with his antics. You can see that video in the BBC article linked above. I plan never to attend this fiasco, but I am eternally grateful for all of the laughs it provides every year.
This baby was sighted for the second time on the company parking lot on my way to work. One day she or he will be big and mean enough to eat the adorable quail and bunnies that also call this place home. It’s damn adorable in its childhood, nevertheless.
The author of the volume has a Russian sounding name. The description is likely an innocent mistake. “Corrected and enlarged edition” lends itself awfully well to many jokes.
I’ll say it applies to my ego. This past year has been good, after all.
It’s not often that one encounters judicial rulings of this sort. British judges are not authorities on fashion, style or design, but this particular judge may well have finally entered into the official record what every design expert has been saying about the “coolness” and the “elegance” of Apple design.
“[Samsung products] do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design,” said Judge Birss.
“They are not as cool,” he said. “The overall impression produced is different.”
Ironically, this ruling nullified Apple’s attempt to block sale of the Samsung Galaxy S3 in the United Kingdom. It is the ultimate hollow victory for Samsung: the judgment denies Apple’s contention that Samsung is copying Apple by declaring Samsung’s design inferior to Apple’s. It is undoubtedly the compliment Apple never sought.
This is exactly what every single patron of the Galaxy S3 booth at The Grove shopping mall in LA was implicitly saying yesterday. The pitchmen repeatedly had to compare Galaxy features with the iPhone’s: “The voice activated feature called [some forgettable name] is just like Siri”, “You can post to Facebook, just like you can on the iPhone.”, “The Galaxy S3′s screen goes all the way to the edges. It has much narrower borders relative to the iPhone.”, “blah, blah, blah, just like the iPhone”.
One man’s physical juxtaposition of his iPhone with the Galaxy S III made the “elegance” and the logic behind the Apple design even more salient. Who cares to put a thinner, small flat screen TV to their ear? A phone is still, after all, a phone! A retina display of exactly the right size is what an elegant device needs.
Let’s put a rest, then, to all the ridiculous rumors that Apple will be diluting its brand with a giant-screened iPhone 5 or a small-screened iPad “mini”. The existing models have exactly the right size for the purpose that each serves. There is no money to be made by Apple in designing a tablet with the same form factor as the Kindle. The iPad is designed to replace the computer for most people. The Kindle is designed to direct people to amazon.com. Apple has nothing to gain from this latter proposal. It is already directing enough traffic to iTunes and the App Store. The designs are already exactly right. The iPhone 5 will have a marginally larger screen at best, and no iPad “mini” will ever be made.
The codification of Apple’s coolness will lend truth to only one Apple rumor: that the stock will hit $1000 per share soon. This rumor is further bolstered by Apple’s successful bid to impose an injunction against the sale of Google’s Galaxy Nexus, and Google’s desperate revision of the Android operating system to nullify the root cause of the injunction. Apple is being copied because it has achieved and patented—most unfortunately—the right design. The competition wouldn’t be copying it slavishly if it were the wrong design, or even the imperfect design.
For the record, I am an Apple stockholder eager for this outcome.