"Paying homage to his childhood pal, Corey Feldman showed up in classic Michael Jackson garb to "Larry King Live" on Thursday."
You miss significant elements of the posts if you visit this site via RSS (youtube and anything else embedded, outgoing links, other stuff). I might fix this in the future.
I'm not saying don't use RSS -- it's just that despite my best efforts, stuff on the main site won't necessarily appear in your feed reader!
Apparently death does not come in threes. Unless it is also tiered. Quick, someone check for other people who died falling off the precipice of success into the mostly shadowy canyon of fame.
"Y'all can't see me."
Tampa police say Billy Mays, the television pitchman known for his boisterous hawking of products such as Orange Glo and OxiClean, has died. He was 50.
Authorities say Mays was pronounced dead this morning after being found by his wife at home. There were no signs of a break-in, and investigators do not suspect foul play. The coroner's office expects to have an autopsy done by Monday afternoon.
Mays' wife, Deborah Mays, says the family doesn't expect to make any public statements and asked for privacy.
Mays was also featured on the reality TV show "Pitchmen" on the Discovery Channel, which followed Mays and Anthony Sullivan in their marketing jobs.
Lately, there has been some buzz through the Internet over a few things that Microsoft has been doing to promote two of their products, namely Internet Explorer (version 8 is here) and Microsoft Windows, especially with respect to the increasingly popular class of portable personal computers, netbooks.
What follows is a post that's much longer than I thought it'd be.
The picture above is the only picture in the entire post. Please enjoy and then take a deep breath.
You may have heard that Microsoft has a "get the facts" website wherein they discuss the differences between Firefox, Chrome, and IE8, and of course, why IE8 is the best of these browsers. In chart form! I don't need to explain why this is wrong. Some of you know that based on IE's history, this might be inherently wrong. Others have taken a more objective approach to the issue and have been able to show why the statements at the "get the facts" website are intentionally misleading and false. Microsoft, in a somewhat unique position for the first time in many years, is now being forced to try to compete with the open source browsers that were being developed in its shadow — browsers that have ultimately grown out of that shadow and captured significant market share as well as the favor of the web-savvy community. Oh, and word of mouth from these other browsers is really chopping away at IE's enormous install base.
Microsoft has never exactly been known as a paragon of business integrity, especially with respect to their Internet Explorer practices. See here for a long-ass video where Bill Gates, in 1998, is being interviewed for the big antitrust lawsuit of the 90s. (He kind of lies his ass off at some point, and might be construed as being intentionally difficult. there's a youtube video somewhere that focuses on that — and him rocking back and forth in his seat — but I cannot find it at the time. The point is that they were dishonest then, and now, although there is some degree of balance in the market presented by the wide variety of better products out there, they are still being dishonest, and things are not nearly as balanced as they should be at this point. If Microsoft offered a browser that was as good as any of the many other offerings available, or at least published accurate comparisons, we would not be complaining as loudly as we are. True, open source software makes me happiest, but a great closed-source product is worth praising too. Lying, however, is not worthy of praise. If you haven't been paying attention, Microsoft is lying. This is only one of many instances of Microsoft intentionally deceiving their customers in an effort to retain and bolster repeat sales and market dominance against the threat of increasingly capable and attractive alternatives.
How about Netbooks? The Netbook industry is booming right now. Once upon a time, not too long ago, it was possible to get an Asus brand netbook with Linux pre-installed on it. Today, that is not the case. I'd really like to know if there is any truth to what I've heard about Microsoft's bullying of the Netbook manufacturers, or them attempting to change the common name for this entire class of computers to "low cost small notebook pc." To me, this is an attempt to reposition this class of computers in the consumer's eyes. "Low cost small notebook pc" is a lot less catchy than netbook, and implies less value. Netbooks don't exactly do the best job with Windows Vista and Windows 7. I won't argue that these new versions of the Windows OS are more important to Microsoft's future success than IE8, but some might. If Netbooks were to continue to sell with Linux, and enough consumers use them as their primary computer, which would have been feasible (and still may be, with Intel's help especially with the promising Linux-based Moblin OS), there would be no room for Microsoft products anywhere in the increasingly large Netbook world. Unsurprisingly, it's almost impossible to get a new Netbook with Linux installed, these days — totally impossible to get them from Asus and other major Netbook manufacturers. Some of the links I've provided here should do a good job of outlining why this has happened.
In the past, when Microsoft was well known for these sorts of unscrupulous practices, it was to the tune of great financial benefit for the company. Today, it seems like they're just struggling to maintain the status quo. The money appears to be bleeding out, not coming in. Though it appears to be a struggle, my main concern is that they might win, in spite of the presence of better software from elsewhere — that these somewhat unscrupulous hegemony-maintaining practices might win out over the virtue of good software, and that market share will not continue to be gained by the best products available. Of course, "winning out" would take an incredible expenditure — but as the company is worth billions, Microsoft has that kind of money and time to spare. A larger concern is that these practices do nothing to promote fair competition in the software marketplace. Ideally, the best software would win. In Microsoft's world, it appears that the strategy is to squelch the best software and produce at one's own pace.
Of course, this isn't just between Microsoft and the open-source software community; there's also Apple to consider. I don't know what sort of a threat Microsoft considers Apple, but their approach is certainly different to how they deal with the OSS community. But, to return to the Microsoft strategy, what I said before wasn't entirely fair. If you look at other divisions in Microsoft, innovation is clearly taking place. They have interesting research going on in a variety of areas. See various projects at microsoft live labs, especially this video of a TED talk given a couple years ago. Nothing short of impressive. Further, Microsoft arguably dominates the console game market with the Xbox 360 console, and appears to be innovating, or, at least, improving upon existing technology with a recent motion control technology announcement that has garnered a lot of press from the game news sector.
The existence of productive innovation and anti-competitive bullying under the same corporate umbrella seems to point to a classic case of the condition where "one hand does not know what the other is doing" — Microsoft is company that is so large that it doesn't seem to have any unified vision to motivate any of the behaviors going on inside of it. The good is mixed with the bad, and no one knows what to do with the company as a whole. I can imagine a world that might be better if Microsoft were forced to split up into a bunch of smaller companies, but who is to say if that would really be best for the world, for competition, for innovation, and ultimately, for the consumer? I'd like to endorse this idea, but a part of me thinks that the oppressive and adverse conditions that Microsoft has created for other software developers have contributed to a spirit of perseverance and desire to continue to innovate in other software companies that might ultimately be the most important factor in what makes us love the special software that makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside, no matter who might be developing it.
PS - there's a shitstorm going on in Europe over Microsoft's decision not to include any browser at all in Windows 7 after the Norwegian Opera Software Company made a complaint based on the unfair practices probed in the 1998 antitrust case prompted an investigation there.
San Francisco conceptual artist and journalist Jonathon Keats is trying to rejuvenate literature in the age of hyperspeed media by writing a story that will take a millennium to tell.
The catch? The story, printed on the cover of the recently released Infinity issue of Opium Magazine, is only nine words long.
“I’m interested in exploring deep time,” the thought experimentalist and Wired contributor explained in an e-mail to Wired.com during a visit to Europe, where he is probably concocting a scheme to wormhole Paris or something.
“Like most people, I live my life in a rush, consuming media on the run,” said Keats, who has copyrighted his mind, tried to pass a Law of Identity and attempted to genetically engineer God.
“That may be fine for reading the average blog,” he said, “but something essential is lost when ingesting words is all about speed. My thousand-year story is an antidote. Given the printing process I’ve used, you can’t take in more than one word per century. That’s even slower than reading Proust.”
The printing process in question is a simple but, as usual with Keats, pretty clever idea. The cover is printed in a double layer of standard black ink, with an incrementally screened overlay masking the nine words. Exposed over time to ultraviolet light, the words will be appear at different rates, supposedly one per century.
“The precise quantity of ink covering each word is different, so that the words will appear one at a time,” Keats said. “Provided that your copy of Opium is kept out in the open, and regularly exposed to sunlight over 1,000 years to be read progressively by the next dozen or so generations. Or very, very slowly if you happen to be Ray Kurzweil.”
The odds are very good that Keats’ brainy game will outlive print itself, at least as far as magazines are concerned. But will the pages of Opium last long enough for his story to be told?
“The high-quality acid-free paper on which Opium is printed will certainly last that long,” Keats answered. “Whether humankind will, of course, remains an open question.”
Nearly 800,000 calls were received by a federal hot line this week from people confused about the nationwide move on Friday to drop analog TV signals and broadcast only in digital.
The Federal Communications Commission said that about 317,450 calls went into the help line, 1-888-CALL-FCC, on Friday alone, the day analog signals were cut off. Another 102,000 came in Saturday by 6 p.m. Eastern time.
The total is still below the 600,000 to 3 million callers that the FCC expected in early March would call on transition day.
Health and life insurance companies in the US and abroad have nearly $4.5 billion invested in tobacco stocks, according to Harvard doctors.
“It’s the combined taxidermist and veterinarian approach: either way you get your dog back,” says David Himmelstein, an internist at the Harvard Medical School and co-author of a letter published in this week’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The largest tobacco investor on the list, the 160-year old Prudential company with branches in the US and the UK, has more than $1.5 billion invested in tobacco stocks. The runner-up was Toronto-based Sun Life Financial, which apparently holds over $1 billion in Philip Morris (Altria) and other tobacco stocks. In total, seven companies that sell life, health, disability, or long-term care insurance, have major holdings in tobacco stock.
Why is it a big deal? “If you own a billion dollars [of tobacco stock], then you don’t want to see it go down,” says Himmelstein, “You are less likely to join anti-tobacco coalitions, endorse anti-tobacco legislation, basically, anything most health companies would want to participate in.”
But with $4.5 billion still invested in Big Tobacco, many insurers are reaping profits from a cancer-causing industry. As Himmelstein puts it, "Is this who we want running our healthcare system?"
If you're a Linux user, you are aware that there are two main competing desktop environments: KDE and GNOME. To this day, I cannot understand why people use KDE. GNOME has never been "too simple," as some claim and its usability is high. It's fucking awesome. GNOME is awesome! GNOME is the reason that Ubuntu is the top Linux distro. GNOME is a reason to get up in the morning. GNOME "just works." GNOME is the Light and the Way. But enough about that; there are fish to fry in this post.
My brother was getting excited about KDE 4 back when they were announcing some of the features of plasma; it let him down. It let him down so bad that he no longer even fucks with Linux. He has become a Windows Guy. I weep for him. But back to KDE: can someone please explain to me what about Plasma was supposed to be impressive? It's likely that KDE is slowly eroding the Linux market share that has taken so long to build up. Sometimes people buy a Mac and then realize their desktop doesn't have to be ugly. This understanding spreads throughout the populace -- even to Linux users, who are (wrongly) assumed to have the aesthetic sense of Robocop.
It seems that Apple has set off a trend where users have become aware that their desktop can be great looking and pleasant and, increasingly, should be pleasing to the eye. Unfortunately, KDE is pretty much the visual equivalent of Noia 2 eXtreme, and I can't really think of any worse user interface insult than that. Seriously. They have a lot in common. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of KDE users also use a Noia 2 Extreme theme in their web browsing in Windows because they "miss the look and feel." I wouldn't trust a KDE user to be Stevie Wonder's fashion consultant. KDE might just be open source software's worst enemy. We have met the enemy and he is us.
But this post isn't about why KDE isn't good. It's about why GNOME is made even better with GNOME Do. As I understand, it's based on Quicksilver for Mac and a little like Launchy for Windows, if you're familiar with either one of those. Launchy is pretty bad, but that's to be expected of Windows software. Quicksilver was okay when I tried it -- but Docky is better for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you've heard of GNOME Do. But have you updated it recently? Do you use it? Have you given it a chance? Or are you just another Linux Curmudgeon?
Around the start of 2009, Do got a big update in the form of Docky. What Docky consists of is basically an OSX style Dock with all the powerful abilities you've come to expect from Do. It's a much better dock than Avant Window Navigator, which, until Docky, was the best choice for those of us who wanted a nice GNOME dock. Recently, an update to Docky was announced on one of the developers' blogs. If you follow the directions on the page, you can upgrade to the latest version of Docky. If you've read this far, you know you want to do it. If you can't figure it out maybe leave a comment here and I'll try to help you out. To make things short, Do is even better here than it is in most official software repositories. It has an intelligent hide feature that hides the dock based on whether or not the focused window would be obstructed by the dock. This is smart usability. Docky is the end of your frustrations about the lack of polish in your open source desktop software. Docky is aesthetically pleasing. Truly, Docky is the Light and the Way.
Fast food hamburgers are comprised of little meat (median, 12.1%). Approximately half of their weight is made up of water. Unexpected tissue types found in some hamburgers included bone, cartilage, and plant material; no brain tissue was present. Sarcocystis parasites were discovered in 2 hamburgers.
"She got us a table in the back and gave me some money to order a large Orange Julius, which is like orange juice but with an egg and foam in it."
Leon: Well.. I-I worked in this store since it was an Orange Julius, so.. no, I don't..
Leon: Look, Mister, you seem nice, but.. the truth is, I don't, I don't got much, you know? [ piano music over background ] A couple years ago.. I was working.. at Julius, and I was a bigshot! I really was. But then they shut us down.. and I tried to open my own Orange Julius, but everyone got sick, really sick, and some died and everything. But.. I don't know.. maybe I'm just not a lucky guy.. and, and, and, and.. maybe, a guy like me doesn't deserve anything like that..