Low market share is badge of honor, as far as Mac faithful are concerned
By Mike Langberg
Here's a multiple-choice Apple Computer trivia question:
How much has the Mac's share of the worldwide personal computer market increased since the beginning of the second Jobs era? Choose from:
A. Market share is up 50 percent.
B. Market share has doubled.
C. Market share has tripled.
OK, pencils down. The correct answer is:
D. None of the above.
Oddly enough, that's OK.
From First Things:
God on the Internet
Jonathan V. Last
Copyright (c) 2005 First Things 158 (December 2005): 34-40.
Even diligent students of the papacy may be unfamiliar with the pontificates of Michael and Pius XIII. Pope Michael, born David Bawden, was crowned on July 16, 1990. He has spent his papacy mostly at home, in Delia, Kansas, where he writes self-published books such as Imposter Popes and Idol Altars. Pope Pius XIII, born Earl Pulvermacher, was elevated on October 24, 1998, and currently takes Springdale, Washington, as his seat. Both popes appear in traditional papal vestments, both trace the origins of their particular schisms to the misdoings of John XXIII, and both—ah, yes—maintain websites from which they carry out their ministries.
On Pope Michael’s webpage, for instance, you can sign up for his email list, order his writings, and follow links to his sister site, Vatican in Exile. Pius XIII’s website is even more elaborate, boasting a lengthy biography of the pope, a catalogue of his encyclicals, and extensive works on the catechism and other aspects of Church life, dating back to when Earl Pulvermacher was a mere Capuchin priest.
In a simpler time, these two men might have been town eccentrics, doing no more than attracting the snickers of their neighbors. Today, thanks to the vast wiring of the world, their pages have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, by onlookers from around the globe.
Council pres. removes Easter bunny from St. Paul, MN city hall
From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
March 25, 2006
A cloth Easter Bunny holding a sign that said "Happy Easter" was removed from the lobby of City Hall in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The city's human rights director, Tyrone Terrill, requested that the display be removed because it could offend non-Christians, but also said that no one had complained to him about the display.
"This has just gone too far. We can't celebrate Spring with bunnies and fake grass?", said Council member Dave Thune.
"As government, we have a different responsibility about advancing the cause of religion, which we are not going to do," said council president, Kathy Lantry.
The display was put up by a city council secretary and no city funds were used to buy the display. For nearly ten years, the same secretary put up decorations in the same lobby to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, Christmas, Valentine's Day and Fall.
Don't forget to Spring Ahead this Sunday AM.
And, just in case you thought you knew it all, read this, from Wikipedia:
Through the end of 2006, the United States starts its DST on the first Sunday in April (April 2, 2006), and changes back to standard time on the last Sunday in October. Beginning in 2007, it will start DST on the second Sunday in March, and change back to standard time on the first Sunday in November. Under Section 110 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the U.S. Department of Energy is required to study the impact of the daylight saving extension no later than nine months after the change takes effect. Congress has retained the right to revert back to the daylight saving schedule set in 1986 if it cannot be shown that there are significant energy savings from an extension of daylight saving time.
Okay, Mac Users, check out the following free programs:
Long live VHS.
I went to Half-Price Books this past weekend and found a whole cart of clearance VHS cassettes, for a dollar each, minus a discount coupon I had in hand. So, then, in no particular order, here's the list of the dozen videos I picked up, for a total of what ended up being just about ten bucks:
For the first time ever, global spending on prescription drugs has topped $600 billion, even as growth slowed in Europe and North America.
Sales of prescription medicines worldwide rose 7 percent to $602 billion, according to IMS health, a pharmaceutical information and consulting company. The United States still accounts for the lion's share of that, with $252 billion in annual sales, but sales in it and the other nine biggest markets grew by only 5.7 percent. But emerging markets such as China, Russia, South Korea and Mexico outpaced those markets, growing a whopping 81 percent.
What is Elbows?
Elbows is a collection of great mp3 blog posts and is meant to provide you a snapshot of what's going on in this new genre of blogging. Please take the time to visit each of the blogs listed on this page to learn more about new artists and buy their albums and, when you're through buying up all the CDs or iTunes tracks, click on some of the blog's sponsors so that they may keep providing us with such great information."
An excerpt from the book, courtesy InformIT:
Turn on your television and you will see calls for money to help the world’s 4 billion poor—people who live on far less than $2 a day. In fact, the cry is so constant and the need so chronic that the tendency for many people is to tune out these images as well as the message. Even those who do hear and heed the cry are limited in what they can accomplish. For more than 50 years, the World Bank, donor nations, various aid agencies, national governments, and, lately, civil society organizations have all fought the good fight, but have not eradicated poverty. The adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by the United Nations only underscores that reality; as we enter the 21st century, poverty—and the disenfranchisement that accompanies it—remains one of the world’s most daunting problems.
The purpose of this book is to change that familiar image on TV. It is to illustrate that the typical pictures of poverty mask the fact that the very poor represent resilient entrepreneurs and value-conscious consumers. What is needed is a better approach to help the poor, an approach that involves partnering with them to innovate and achieve sustainable win–win scenarios where the poor are actively engaged and, at the same time, the companies providing products and services to them are profitable. This collaboration between the poor, civil society organizations, governments, and large firms can create the largest and fastest growing markets in the world. Large-scale and wide-spread entrepreneurship is at the heart of the solution to poverty. Such an approach exists and has, in several instances, gone well past the idea stage as private enterprises, both large and small, have begun to successfully build markets at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) as a way of eradicating poverty.
Televangelist Robert Tilton has made mockery of Christianity with his over-the-top brand of Prosperity Gospel teaching for over two decades. Even after having been exposed as a fraud by investigative reporters for Primetime a number of years ago, he can still be seen on BET several times each week, and is apparently still bringing in millions of dollars a year from the old, infirm, and gullible. He has been the object of ridicule for years, and the following is a clever example of that scorn, something that's been circulating on the internet for years. If you imagine that you might be offended by the sounds of flatulance superimposed upon images of a disgraced televangelist making outrageous statements designed to get elders to part with their Social Security checks, please do not watch the video below. On the other hand, it's pretty funny, so go ahead, take a peek:
It's cold and cloudy Saturday night in my world, and I'm in a slight funk, so what better to match the mood than the video clip of the title track of the only studio album released in Jeff Buckley's lifetime: 'Grace,' followed by a couple of live versions of the same song.
And when you're done watching the videos, get out your copy of 'Grace' - you do own it, don't you? - pour yourself a glass of wine, put the headphones on, turn down the lights, and listen to 'Hallelujah.' Or at the very least close your eyes and listen to it here.
(As usual, if your net connection is not keeping up with the video feeds below, click 'pause' and let the whole thing load, and then hit 'play' again.)
From Yahoo News:
Illinois Man Fined For Piggybacking On Wi-Fi Service
In Illinois, riding piggyback on someone else's Wi-Fi could cost you some money.
David M. Kauchak, 32, pleaded guilty this week in Winnebago County to remotely accessing someone else's computer system without permission, the Rockford Register Star newspaper reported. A Winnebago County judge fined Kauchak $250 and sentenced him to one year of court supervision.
I went to see Dr. S for a physical today for the first time in over three years. He had been my doc for several years, and I always found him to be the kind of doc I liked and could trust. Shortly after he completed my last full physical exam in late 2002, I switched insurance plans and haven't been able to see him since. But when my current plan announced it would cover his clinic as of the start of this year, I jumped at the chance to make an appointment to see Dr. S again.
Since I'm at home this long weekend tending to the girls while Mrs. Muzzy is working, my F.I.L. came over this afternoon to watch the ever-lovely three year-old LK for me. I drove downtown, found a free parking spot just down the street, made my way up to the second-floor clinic offices, and was pleasantly surprised to be summoned from the waiting room in record time, before even getting the chance to pick up a magazine. The nurse weighed me, measured me, and announced my BP a relatively normal 125/81.
When the nurse was done, a smiling Dr. S strolled in and shook my hand. He asked lots of questions, told a few jokes, and thumped and poked and prodded - yes, he said 'turn your head and cough' - but in the end he pronounced me healthy enough to send back home under my own steam, instead of in an amubulance or a hearse. So, even though I am eventually most definitely still destined for an appointment with the embalmer one fine day, Dr. S apparently believes I'm healty enough to be able to put off that routine exploratory colonoscopy for yet one another year.
And I'm grateful for small blessings.
Feedburner offers up a whole lotta free public domain movies formatted for the video iPod, but will play on any modern Windows or Mac with Quicktime installed.
The Internet Archive also has hundreds of public domain movies available in MP4 and other formats, in a variety of categories. Download them, or watch them online.
A bored Canadian bureaucrat fed up with office drudgery is seeking C$1 million ($860,000) in donations so he can quit his job and "do something that makes a difference in my life and the lives of others."
The unnamed man, who claims to have worked for a large civil service organization for over 10 years, has set up a Web site -- SaveABureaucrat -- on which he explains he is desperate to escape his job.
"After a while it starts to sap the energy and soul out of you and you realize that you have become a true bureaucrat ... I feel like an old curmudgeon frustrated by having to deal with paper being passed around at a snail's pace," he writes.
From USA Today:
Australia has last laugh in advertising campaign row in Britain
LONDON (AP) — The nation that created Monty Python and Mr. Bean apparently has no sense of humor when it comes to the "B" word — "bloody" that is.
Britain's advertising regulators have ordered the slang term stricken from an Australian tourism campaign designed to lure Britons Down Under with a TV commercial featuring bikinis, beer and the Great Barrier Reef.
The commercial closes with the question, "Where the bloody hell are you?" — or at least it does outside of Britain. Viewers here were told last week they would hear a version in which the offending word is expertly excised.
In the days since, Australia's Tourism Minister Fran Bailey has fired off a barrage of statements ridiculing the decision and this week jetted to London to urge regulators to overturn the ban.
Remember Balance of Power? If you were into gaming in the late 1980's, you do. It was the thinking man's shooter, where power was projected in more subtle ways that merely blowing something to smithereens.
Well, BOP game designer Chris Crawford has made the sequel to it and several other of his titles, such as Guns or Butter - sorry, Mac only - available for free on his website.
I tried out BOP under OS X's Classic mode and it works just fine, thank you. But since you'll be playing it in glorious Black and White anyway, I recommend you snag the free Mac Plus emulator Mini Vmac to take full advantage of all the game's features.
(You'll need to have an, ahem, legal copy of the Mac Plus ROM image to run the emulator - yes, I actually do - and that's all I'll say about that, except that it works like a charm, even on a Wintel box.)
Parodies of parodies: now that's what made this country great, I say. In response to SNL's 'Lazy Sunday (Chronicles of Narnia),' check out the West Coast 'Lazy Monday,' the Monopoly Coast 'Lazy Monday,' and the Middle Coast 'Lazy Muncie.' Righteous work, dudes. Peace, out.
I recently decided to send a good friend some duplicates of various books (non-fiction, all) from my personal library. Here's what I'm sending them, and a blurb about each.
- Trashing The Planet - Dixie Lee Ray
Former governor of Washington state, chair of the Atomic Energy commission and university zoology professor, Ms. Ray makes the case for science and rationality over emotionalism in environmental affairs.
- The End of Sanity - Martin Gross
Mr. Gross has written several books the state of affairs in modern times, in these United States. He writes lucidly, with candor and conviction, ducumenting thoroughly the zanies who would rob us blind. He and ABC's John Stossel are both national treasures of the can-you-believe-this genre.
- Eat The Rich - PJ O'Rourke
Satirist and commentator O'Rourke's work has been published in The Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone, National Lampoon and other outlets. His rapier wit and command of issues skewers the sacred cows of the both left and right. I have been a fan of his for nearly 30 years.
- California's Place Names - Marinacci
An interesting account of the Spanish/Mexican history of Califonia, thru the names of cities and towns of that great state.
- Certain Truths - The Center of the American Experiment
A collection of various writings by conservative authors who've been featured by the influential Minnesota think tank in recent years.
- The Cluetrain Manifesto - Levine, Locke, Searls, Weinberger
This started out as a rant on the Internet, and evolved into a book and a movement, offering a new way of thinking about business models in the post-internet age.
- The Age of Louis XIV - Will Durant
Volume VIII of Durant's massive thirteen-volume series. In typical splendid fashion, he provides a comprehensive exposition of the age of the Sun King. Astonishingly good.
- The History of Philosophy - Will Durant
The paperback version is a bit harder to read then the larger hardback one, but it's still a marvelous overview of a subject most students take a semester to grasp.
- The Passion of Jesus Christ - John Piper
Twin Cities pastor Dr. Piper has written dozens of best-selling books. This volume was given away to any and all when the Gibson movie came out.
- The Content Of Our Character - Shelby Steele
Professor Steele writes one of the most thought-provoking books on race and race relations I've ever read. Many of the view I have on the subject today had their genesis in the reading of this and his second volume.
- A Dream Deferred - Shelby Steele
- Modern Times - Paul Johnson
British historian Johnson offers this comprehensive survey of the history, society, art and politics of the modern age. Like Durant before him, Johnson has the uncanny ability to synthesize a variety of subjects into a cohesive whole.
- Intellectuals - Paul Johnson
Johnson provides compelling evidence that not only do the plans and schemes of the intellectual class - those who profit from hatching of ideas - often fail spectacularly, but that their personal lives are just as often morally bankrupt, as well.
- A Mencken Chrestomathy - HL Mencken
A marvelous introduction to the writing genius that was Mencken, picked by his own hand. I maintain that Samuel Clemens aside, HL Mencken was the finest writer of non-fiction prose this country has ever produced.
- The American Language - HL Mencken
The one-volume original - later expanded - survey of American English that brought Mencken back into vogue in the 1930's. The subject may sound dry, but that's because you've not read this book.
From Vanity Fair:
By JAMES VERINI
In two years, MySpace has become the most popular social-networking site on the Web, a virtual city of sex and youth culture, with its own celebrities, Casanovas, and con artists. But MySpace's most unlikely character may be its conservative new owner: Rupert Murdoch
On the second level of a shopping mall in Costa Mesa, California, a short drive down the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles, is a nightclub called Sutra Lounge. Don't let the location fool you: to the partying young suburbanites in these parts, there is nothing incongruous about a nightclub in a shopping mall. (Shopping is fun; clubs are fun; there you have it.) And anyway, once you're inside Sutra, you could be anywhere—anywhere in the vicinity of Los Angeles, that is.
At around one a.m. on a Monday, Sutra is pulsing with that special brand of synthetic Southern Californian abandonment. Tanned, toned girls in denim skirts no wider than cummerbunds rub up against surfers and real-estate pashas as actress-waitresses pass by carrying trays loaded down with bottles of Grey Goose vodka. Professional dancers make mock love to assorted poles and railings. There is enough silicone bobbing around to improve the Statue of Liberty's self-image.
Even in this place, though, Jeremy Jackson stands out. A child actor turned club promoter, Jackson is one of the most shameless voluptuaries on MySpace, the social-networking Web site that, according to ComScore Media Metrix, had more page views in November than Google or eBay.
And even on MySpace, a haven for shameless voluptuaries, Jackson stands out. His profile page is plastered with photographs of him out on the town in a series of increasingly preposterous getups, like a walking Zoolander outtake, accompanied by one busty woman after another—some of his 1,818 "friends." His name assaults you in an oversize pink-and-black font that could have been ripped from a Def Leppard album cover.
Jackson, 25, does not disappoint in person. He meets me at the door of Sutra clad in a designer camouflage-pants-and-jacket number, a handcuff awash in gold and bling on one wrist and a watch with a giant fake-gold dollar sign covering its face on the other. Jackson's hair is exactly as advertised on MySpace: a spiked mullet that adds four or five inches to his stature.
"Wassuuuup!?," Jackson yelps in a boyish voice that calls to mind his best-known character—David Hasselhoff's son, Hobie, on the syndicated lifeguard drama Baywatch. Leading me through the labyrinth of sofa-lined alcoves, he makes it known that he is the toast of the club. Every passerby high-fives or hugs him. He breaks out into a spontaneous dance every few seconds. And, before long, he is extolling MySpace.
No, not the birds and bees, you goof, the Internet. Here's a fascinating 30-minute 1972 Flash documentary on the then-nascent ARPAnet, the primative incarnation of what eventually became the Web, which allowed low-life sleaze to make 'spam' a household name. It's a bit geeky, but well worth watching, I say:
From the Speech Accent Archive:
"The speech accent archive uniformly presents a large [500+] set of speech samples from a variety of language backgrounds. Native and non-native speakers of English read the same paragraph and are carefully transcribed. The archive is used by people who wish to compare and analyze the accents of different English speakers."
The Family Circus website maintains a gallery of Circus cartoons from the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's, up thru the current day. I just went back and read a few from days of yore and I gotta say - just as I remembered - TFC was just as not-so-funny then as it is today. (Yikes! Pogo, this ain't: we have met the enema, and it is us!)
Woz Raises $150 Million For, Well, Nobody Knows
Looking to capitalize on the Apple halo effect, three former company executives, including co-founder Steve Wozniak, took their new company, Acquicor Technology, public yesterday in an IPO raising $150 million. The money they raised is purely based on their reputation, as Acquicor Technology, is officially designated as a "blank-check" company (no, really, it's in their filings), meaning they don't do anything yet and can do whatever they want with investor money.
From The Onion:
Modern-Day John Henry Dies Trying To Out-Spreadsheet Excel 11.0
BALTIMORE—Office laborers across the nation are mourning the passing of Wallace Peters, 42, the mythic three-column accountant at Chesapeake & Ohio Consultants who pitted himself against Microsoft's latest version of the popular spreadsheet program Excel.
Although Peters was able to balance his sheet a full 10 seconds before the program did, the man celebrated in song and story as the "cubicle worker's John Henry" was pronounced dead of a coronary thrombosis late Monday evening.
"He died with his pencil in his hand," shift supervisor Thomas Kaptein said. "Wally Peters was an accounting-driven man."
Peters was known for remarkable physical attributes. Sources from Chesapeake & Ohio report that the accountant had a neck so skinny, his necktie had to be slung a dozen times around it. Those who worked closely with Peters say he had the strength of one-tenth of a man, could tabulate two tables of figures at once, and had thumbs and middle fingertips so calloused that he could sharpen a pencil with his bare hands.
 The essential dilemma of education is to be found in the fact that the sort of man (or woman) who knows a given subject sufficiently well to teach it is usually unwilling to do so. There are, of course, exceptions, but they tend to be confined to the higher levels, where even the most aloof savant may usually be prevailed on to take a few apprentices. His motive may be bad--in the average case, in fact, it is simply a desire to get some free helpers in his own work--but nevertheless he commonly makes a more or less diligent effort to instruct his pupils, if only because it increases their value to him, and he would be disgraced to have ignoramuses claim him as their master. But on the lower levels [of education] the average teacher really knows little about the thing he presumes to teach; he is simply a pedagogue. In the public schools, in fact, and also in the private schools, it is common to shift him from one subject to another, though they may lie miles apart, or to load him with two or three more that have nothing in common. Savages order this business better. The teaching of the young, in most tribes, in handed over to the leading men thereof. They are not pedagogues at all, in the civilized sense; they are rather men who happen to know. It may be objected that what they teach is mainly a series of customs and superstitions that have no support in the overt facts, but to that two answers may be made. The first is that these customs and superstitions, whatever their objective dubiousness, at least have validity and value for the young of the tribe, and the second is that the schoolteachers of civilization seldom inculcate any ideas that are clearly more rational.
At 5 am last Thursday I put Mrs. Muzzy and my two lovely hunny-bunnies on a plane, together with their aunt and cousin, and grandparents, to visit another aunt and cousin in the Carribean, for a week. They arrived safe and sound at their destination, and are having a grand time.
It's nice, in a way, to have some time alone, to have some quiet, to not have the constant demands on my time and energy that two little ones make. But I have to say, I miss them terribly. The house is way too quiet without them. Even the cat seems to feel it, walking room to room, as if trying to find them.
I know all parents say such things, but it's true: I'm astonished at how quickly the girls are growing up. And I am often astonished at how I've grown to love and admire them, flaws and all. They are amazing girls, and will be amazing women, and I feel lucky and honored at having been allowed by the Almighty to be their dad.
It's odd how much I resisted parenthood. Some of it was the fear of the inevitable demands on my time and money, and loss of a way of life I knew. But I guess the biggest part of it was the fear of the pain and devastation I would experience if I should lose them, like my father went through when my little sister drowned. Those fears are still with me, daily. But I've come to take what I can only consider a zen approach to all this, and to embrace my fears, rather than resist them. That seems to take the edge off.
Don't misunderstand, I would still be devastated if something happened to my girls, but I believe I would be sustained by the knowledge that I had been given the privilege of loving them for as many years as they were in my charge. Whether I'm given another day or thirty-plus years with them, it would not have been in vain. They have changed me, and I am a better person for it. I only hope that, as they grow up, they will feel the same way.
I driving home last night and tuned in to a few minutes of one of Air America's evening programs - it's hard to tell them apart - and I was astonished at what I heard.
The host was waxing eloquent about how those dastardly Republicans were going to eviscerate the Department of Education, and how this was going to cut the availability of student loans, making it impossible for middle-class students to go to school, and yet, somehow the lenders would be empowered to apply strong-arm tactics to collect monies they were owed.
So, on one hand there will be less money for students, on the other hand those students who do get loans are going to have to pay them back. This, of course, makes no sense. If there is money to be made, lenders will do so. And if lenders make loans, they should be able to be repaid.
As I struggled to understand just what the problem was, the host took a call from a woman who was apoplectic about the whole matter. What caused me to do a double-take was, in spite of her leftist bent, how conservative she sounded. Back in her day she got a free education; how could a country call itself decent that didn't offer such a thing to its young people; if she could only turn back the clock to the good old days; yada-yada.
But theres's the rub, innit? She honestly believes she received a free education. She didn't say the honest thing, that she was able to secure an education at no charge to herself, but instead she asserted that hers had been free. And that's so very often exactly how lefties view things like education, health care, child care. They cannot say that those things should be provided to them at no cost to them, paid for by others. They say those services should be free. And of course, they would be free, if we weren't paying for a war in Iraq, you see. Or something. And whatever it is, Halliburton and Cheney and Rove have something to do with it. Guaranteed. You can bank on it.
Free money. What a concept!
From The Teaching Company:
St. Patrick's Day — A Complimentary Lecture
Sometimes popular myths about a famous figure—such as the legend that St. Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland—can obscure that person's real accomplishments. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, The Teaching Company is proud to present Professor William R. Cook in a lecture that provides historical context and background to the biography of this 4th-century Christian saint.
Dr. Cook is Distinguished Teaching Professor of History at the State University of New York at Geneseo, where he has taught courses in medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation history as well as the history of the Bible and of Christianity. Two of his Great Courses for The Teaching Company are Dante's Divine Comedy and St. Francis of Assisi.
The lecture is free. You may listen to it at your computer by choosing to "stream" it, or you may download it to listen on your computer without being attached to the Internet. You may also burn it to a CD or load it on a portable listening device if you download it.
"Eight years into their career, the Hives rose from garage rock stalwarts to one of the trendiest bands of the early 2000s, along with the Strokes and the White Stripes. Mixing arty contrivances such as a strict black-and-white dress code and the guidance of a (possibly imaginary) Svengali named Randy Fitzsimmons with Stooges-inspired rock, the Hives -- Nicholaus Arson, Chris Dangerous, Dr. Matt Destruction, Vigilante Carlstroem, and Howlin' Pelle Almqvist -- formed in 1993 in Fagersta, Sweden, while they were still in their teens. After signing with a subsidiary of the Burning Heart label in 1995, they released their debut EP, Oh Lord! When? How?, the following year. The group switched to Burning Heart for their first full-length, Barely Legal, in 1997; that year they also embarked on their first U.S. tour. After the release of 1998's A.K.A. I-D-I-O-T EP, changes in the band's management put things on hold for a time. However, the Hives returned in 2000 with their second full-length album, Veni Vidi Vicious, which featured the singles "Hate to Say I Told You So" and "Main Offender." The album, along with tours with the like-minded International Noise Conspiracy and the Hellacopters, generated serious buzz around the group, leading to praise from stars as diverse as Noel Gallagher and Courtney Love and a deal with Alan McGee's Poptones label in 2001."