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Showing posts from November, 2008

Hulu on Roku?

I'm listening to Cnet's great Buzz Out Loud podcast, and they just mentioned in passing that Hulu is rumored to be coming to Netflix's $99 Roku box. That's news to me; anyone else hear this? If this is the case, it's absolutely a complete no brainer, and changes Netflix's valuation in a huge way. Instead of being a DVD rental service, it vaults them into the realm of DirecTV and Comcast. Sounds promising...

The Multiple Personalities of Google

Let me just say, I'm a Chrome kinda guy. If you don't know about chrome, it's Google's own web browser. Yes, a web browser: like Firefox or even (gasp) Microsoft Internet Explorer. Why do I like Chrome? Simple: it's fast and powerful. It loads within a second of clicking it, and pages seem to fly up on the screen. I'm also a Google kinda guy, so I like anything that gives them a platform to build on. However, Chrome and I have a checkered relationship, like getting back together with a psychotic ex-girlfriend after years where she says she's "much better now." At first, you are amazed: it's all the good stuff, and none of the craziness; you question why it never worked out. Then, one day, innocuously, something happens, and it just flips. And welcome back to Psycho Town. You grab your shoes, and run for the door. Welcome to my Chrome world. See, Chrome started off great, but I noticed I couldn't use my scroll wheel on my Logitech TrackMan

Watchmen and Star Trek...Oh My.

The hell with the Xmas season for movies; give me Spring! We have not just one, but two incredible epics coming to the silver screen. First, the latest trailer for the Watchmen has been released. With every trailer, my amazement grows: the graphic novel that everyone said could never be turned into a movie (including me, as late as yesterday) looks to not only be true, but simply fantastic. See for yourself: The other is J.J. Abrams' reboot of the Star Trek franchise, with a prequel taking place at the Academy. The first real trailer has been released for the film, and it is...breathtaking: Now, I know purists of TOS (that's The Original Series, for those not familiar) will no doubt have significant issues with several of the elements in this trailer (the Enterprise being built on Earth? Spock as a violent Sylar-like combatant?), but this looks freaking awesome . 2009 is already shaping up to be a magnificent year for films!

Definition of Unaware

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present for you the former candidate for Vice President of the United States, sipping Starbucks and giggling, as she remains unaware of the darker side of the turkey grist mill behind her. Yep, she's that clueless.

It's Here.

Well, it was sure a painful wait, but today Apple released the long-rumored 2.2 update for the iPhone. Unlike past updates, which were mostly fixing bugs, this one adds some excellent functionality, including updates to Google Maps (Street View and the option of non-driving directions), as well as the unbelievably overlooked ability to download podcasts over the air. I don't sync with my work PC (except via Exchange), so I'll be installing 2.2 goodness tonight. Let's hope it's not an all night affair again!

An Interview With the Mars Lander

One of the more innovative uses of Twitter has been by NASA and JPL: they established a Twitter account for the Mars Lander, Phoenix . What was so revolutionary was the use of the first person perspective: Phoenix was "tweeting" as it made its discoveries. As a result, the Twitterati became enamored of it, and treated it like a friend. Thus, as Phoenix's mission ended and the Martian winter robbed it of it's necessary light, it tweeted it's quasi-final message, as seen in the picture to the left. And today, we get a glimpse behind the curtain of the wonderful "voice" of Phoenix, and how she came to develop the character, as a combination of whimsy, timing, and the limitations of Twitter. An absolutely fascinating read.

Happily Railroaded

Gizmodo points out that, in all of the other high profile CA state issues that went down to defeat, one victory was lost in the shuffle: Proposition 1A, which lays the groundwork for a bullet train between Southern and Northern California. I am a huge fan of any rail transit, but this one simply makes sense. Kudos to the supporters for making this excellent video which dramatically demonstrates the allure, the benefits, and the real expectations for what could be a monumental day of change for rail travel in this country.

Trained Adults

I traveled up to British Columbia this last weekend, to a real rarity: one of North America's last dedicated specialty model train stores. My friend Lloyd is an avid train builder, and particularly focuses on one specialized brand that is not easy to find. While he pored over the selection, I wandered the cramped and stuffed aisles to see the available options. The store owner came over and asked if I needed help; I responded, no, I was fine. He chuckled, and said, "I ask, as so many people get lost in the "adult" section." I had no idea what he referred to. With a point of the finger, he waved me to a display behind me. I was, as they say, gobsmacked. I had a choice that seemed just so out of place in any train set, it seemed it belonged as part of the movie Fight Club . My choices consisted of: A selection of nudists A wide variety of "Ladies of the Night," in intricate detail Various "sexy ladies" dancing However, the ones that took the c

Twin Titans of CE Have Fallen

Alas, the world of Consumer Electronics suffered yet more bad news this week. First, Circuit City surrendered to the inevitable in the first of what is sure to be a long series of death throes by closing 155 stores . This was long overdue, and is a direct response to the increasing dominance of Best Buy and Amazon. I'm amazed it took so long; I actually think they would be best served by closing these monster stores and go for the old Circuit City Express formats in suburban malls. As it is, the real estate costs will kill them in no time. The second is more sinister, and sad: Tweeter Etc. was purchased by a liquidator . Why this is sinister: they told all the company employees last week that they were shutting the distribution center, and arranging to have all shipments sent directly to the stores, saving them $12 million. This was received with, to say it nicely, some skepticism. Sure enough, they made a backroom deal to liquidate the stores, and got out of town before the pitch

Slowing Dash

The economy, she is a fickle beast. My favorite GPS company, Dash , has taken the hit, as well: they've laid off 1/3 of the staff , and decided to exit the hardware business. However, there are some fascinating points about their move, as GigaOM points out: It’s changing its business model from consumer-focused to business-to-business. As part of this change, it will stop making and selling its hardware. Instead it will license its platform to makers of automobile on-board navigation systems, smartphones, netbook-style mobile Internet devices and other consumer electronics. COO Rob Currie will replace current CEO and founder, Paul Lego. It will cut 50 jobs, or roughly two-thirds of its workforce. After the cuts, Dash will employ 30, mostly in engineering and support. Current Dash owners will continue to get their software updates and the Dash Driver Network will stay up. What I find fascinating is that the CEO essentially fired himself: he realized there was no need for a CEO and a