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Monday, July 21, 2003

looks like hollywoods winning the digital battleTech companies bow to entertainment world in device features
surprise...music cos following apple's leadYahoo! News - Rivals Ready to Take a Bite of Apple
just what we really needed - a friends spinoff

Post-'Friends' gig for LeBlanc
so this is what woz was up to - a super tracking technology think i prefer Apple Co-Founder Creates Electronic ID Tags
In case you're interested i'm using google's the blog this toolbar to log my day today. this story is about how amazon wants to add a searchable databae of book texts partially to head off a future challenge from google

Amazon Plan Would Allow Searching Texts of Many Books
I'm too scared to see this movie...sounds to realEven Later, `28 Days' Hedges Its Ending
today I got up at 5.15 am to watch the tour de france - the best race in years in an athletic competition that is mind blowing in the demands it makes of riders.

i'm getting an early read of the papers -
here's the bbc cuicide scandal Scientist Who Killed Himself Was Source of Report, BBC Says

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

not to mention INtels optimism Yahoo! News - Intel Shares Rise on Earnings Optimism
so for all thos yanks losing sleep over the supposed demise f silicon valley here's some good news from Rand:RAND News Release: RAND Report Forecasts U.S. Will Continue to Lead Information Revolution: "
Santa Monica Washington Pittsburgh New York Leiden Berlin Cambridge

Office of External Communications
703-413-1100 x5117 and 310-451-6913
oec@rand.org

FOR RELEASE
Wednesday
July 16, 2003

RAND REPORT FORECASTS U.S. WILL CONTINUE TO LEAD INFORMATION REVOLUTION
The United States will continue to lead the information technology revolution for years to come because U.S. businesses are focused on innovation, Americans readily accept change, and the U.S. government provides an environment hospitable to IT business development, a RAND report issued today predicts.
'Unlike many other nations that concentrate on protecting existing businesses and institutions, the United States presses ahead with change even when it means 'creative destruction' of companies that drive its economy today in order to build a stronger economy tomorrow,' said Richard O. Hundley, lead author of the study by RAND's National Defense Research Institute.
Looking at IT around the world, the report finds:
Asia already dominates IT manufacturing, accounting for 70 to 80 percent of total world output of a wide range of important IT materials, components, and products. China is rapidly emerging as a major IT player in Asia and the world. Over time, it could possibly leapfrog many nations that today are more advanced. Japan is one of the world's leaders in IT today, but its future course is unclear. If its current economic stagnation brought on by governmental and societal rigidity persists, Japan could gradually fall behind nations in the IT vanguard. This could lead to a power vacuum in Asia 'likely to be filled by China.'
Europe is taking a restrained approach to the information revolution, at"


Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Today my plate is full with analysing the impact of Kraft's fat reduction strategy on fast food lawsuits. I'm also taking a look at T3 - yet another imbecilic, formulaic, badly-acted, effects-laden piece of Hollywood crap that dominate the box office for a week or two.

In between I will be tackling a project that's closer to my heart - building a new room on the back of my house. There's something about all that planning, measuring, hammering and sawing that I find deeply satisfying. The project also represent something of a philosophical turning point for me. Mu usual handywork technique has relied on the botch - improvising solutions that are sometimes brilliant but usually just good enough. They all have a Rube Goldberg like quality - which given the name might be fitting, but which don't stand the tests of time, permanence or thoroughness. Another inspiration: W Heath Robinson

So this project, which I'm facetiously calling Zen and the Art of Home Construction, is going to be different. No cutting corners, no ignoring of details, no lazy compromises. I will be accurate, thorough, comprehensive, thoughtful, creative and aware - not bad attributes for a journalist either. I'll keep you poste don my progress.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Last year at Comdex I watched with a sense of dissapointment as Sony honcho Nobuyuki Idei outlined his company's vision for the future which was based around allowing easy transfer of any digital info wirelessly between intelligent devices. He also unveiled a prototype linux-based media center - which looked as though it was put together by a graphically challenged 14 year old geek tinkering in his bedroom.

It really was embarresing and I couldn't help thinking at the time that Sony should get together with Apple as the only way to stop the Microsoft juggernaut from contolling every last inch of consumer computing - but this interview at the impressive always on site run by ex herring Tony Perkins explains why this won't happen - (geniuses aren't good at cooperating with other geniuses it seems).

At least the open source comunity isn't sitting around waiting to eat Microsoft pie. Today big companies like Phillips, Matsushita, NEC and SOny anounced the formation of a Linux consortium to make it more user friendly for home entertainment devices.

It's a welcome move but we don't have to wait for these guys to get their act together.

A lttle delving on the internet alows you to find any number of x-box mods that turn the games machine into a fully functioning home media center that functions as a Tivo and can channel music, pics, movies and TV shows from the PC to the TV, and stero etc . Problem is MS doesn't like this hack and it could get you in legal trouble.

There's also another soluion that a friend is about to install. Myhtpc - which you install atop windows XP and which turns your humble number cruncher into a neat home theatre personal computer (Hence myhtpc). Ofcousre you could always fork out between 1500 and 3000 bucks for the factory model from hp, but where's the fun in that?

Friday, June 27, 2003

this week the NYT discovered the existence of metrosexuals - men of differing sexual identities who adopt behaviour patterns traditionally ascribed to women. The chief evangelist is David Beckham.

A little digging (well typing the term into Google actually) reveals that the story is the result of a questionable study by a marketing group that ripped off the term from British journalist Mark Simpson. He coined the term in 1994 as a tongue in chek observation at how the mass media and its corporate partners were encouraging men to adopt more feminine and gay practices so they could sell them more clothes and cosmetics.

It has since become unquestionable that men are adopting more touchy-feely attitudes. Now if you'll excuse me I've got to go pluck my eyebrows.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

as someone who observes the movie scene with semi-professional interest I'm keenly aware that Hollywood seems to have perfected the art of the blockbuster: massive marketing efforts create a sense of a must see event that is hyped through every possible media channel. But how does that account for the unprecedented popularity of movies based on comic book heroes - or more acurrately flawed antiheroes like spiderman, X-Men and now the Hulk-?

One reason is technological - CGI has finally given filmakers the tools to insert photorealistic superhuman characters that can perform feats that were simly impossoble to portray without the use of powerful digital technology. BUt there is also a deeer cultural attachment as philosopher Crispin Stratwell notes in todays L.A. Times. His theory is both frightening and hopeful and one that fully jibes with my observations of my teenage son. these characters first gained popularity in the 1950's and 60's when there was a growing sense of distrust with powerful but unscrupulous conservative regimes.

"We seem to be in an era of uncritical acceptance of the power of institutions, in which a president can rally a people to war and those people are actually unconcerned about whether he's telling the truth about the reasons. It seems a pretty sunny and conservative and confident moment, despite a hangover of vulnerability from 9/11 and the recently stalled economy. Or perhaps this, like 1963, may be a transitional moment in which the possibility of subversion lurks just under the surface.

That's precisely the time when antiheroes are needed and comprehensible.
though a movie is not a social movement, a popular movie is a pretty good index of people's longings. That's why the return of the alienated superhero hints at interesting possibilities — huge, green, fearsome, incredible Hulk-like possibilities."

Thursday, June 12, 2003

interesting story here about massively multiplayer role playing games - the ones where you with thousands of others on line. the bigest mystery to me is not who plays , will the genre become a killer app, or any of that stuff. It's how so many people have so much time to indulge.

wash post story about the forged letter used by Bush on WMD before the war. Surprising how the story goes out of its way to avoid blaming the administration for a cock-up that should have caused the president to resign on the spot. Story quotes one CIS spook as saying "Information not consistent with the administration agenda was discarded and information that was [consistent] was not seriously scrutinized." Also shows that Cheney and his staff had serious doubt about the letter's authenticity. WHo knows what that guy is up to? I have a sneaking suspicion that he's engineered the whole WMD brouhaha to totally discredit the Dems by pulling them out of a hat when they booing reaches a crescendo.


SO Bill Gates is entering the anti-virus business which bad news for everyone else who currently rovides those valuable services. Also for Linux users because the company Gates bought will stop selling its popular linux protection. Will be interesting to see how ashcroft handles it - he got them off the last antitrust case and he'll likely do it again.

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