Friday, November 28, 2008

Stephen Fry hates the Blackberry Storm

Stephen Fry hates the Blackberry Storm: "stephen-fry.jpgIn his Twitter feed, Stephen Fry — my favorite dropsied, dandyish British comedian with the BMI of a bowl of congrealed oameal — devastated the Blackberry Storm in less than 432 characters.

Been playing with the BB Storm. Shockingly bad. I mean embarrassingly awful. Such a disappointment. Rushed out unfinished. What a pity.

Yes, I blame n'works more than RIM. Problems are terrible lag: inaccurate t'screen, awful, slow and fiddly text input. I SO wanted to like it.

Plus the GPS maps won't work - issue with BIS connections. I see from forums postings this is widespread in the UK. iPhone killer? Ha!

That last 'Ha!' is just so scathing. The upper crust British aristocrat's answer to screwing in his monocle and saying 'lolwut!'

Stephen Fry slams the Blackberry Storm [Gizmodo]


(Via Boing Boing Gadgets.)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Why CNN Struggles to Cover The Economic Panic

Why CNN Struggles to Cover The Economic Panic: "The current economic collapse is a difficult story for TV. It's a peculiar period in between an election and an inauguration. This most important story, this great-or-not-so great depression, is also the hardest for CNN to tell. I have more than enough reasons why in this late-night rant.

1) It's not a hurricane so Anderson Cooper of CNN is unable to position himself in the middle of the storm for optimal drama. In other words, TV anchors can't get wet and windblown, while viewers worry about their safety. The state of the economy is a disaster but not a natural disaster. Nobody's leaving the studio for this one. There's no place to go.

2) It's like a war and we keep losing ground each day. In the place of casualties, we have falling stock indices but it's hard to show the real damage. There's only so much you can do with oversized charts to tell a story. The war on terrorism featured a real enemy. We've just never been able to find them, no matter who goes after them. (Maybe it's not so different.) Campbell Brown ('No Bull, No Bias') should say that what the capitalism's finest did to themselves and to us was worse than any terrorist could have imagined.

3) Few CEOs, fewer economists, and almost no one in the financial industry, want to step forward and say with conviction what will happen. A year ago we couldn't get them to stop telling us what great things to expect in the next quarter. Not now. They don't know what's coming and they aren't willing to say even that much. They are MIA. Insider information is at an all-time low.

Memo to all American CEOs: don't presume in ten years' time to write business books about your leadership skills; maybe there's a gripping survival story to be told about how you held on to your job.

We want them to face the music. Even the Watergate hearings, which had a large cast of characters, were compelling to watch day after day.

4) There is not a President at the center. Bush is just not there. Like us, he's watching TV to find out what to think. Reporting from the White House doesn't have any relevance today. Moreover, the satisfaction in blaming Bush for everything is diminishing.

In addition, with the election over, reporters can't simply ask the candidates to react to the day's bad news. It seldom produced much insight anyway but it filled time. Now Obama is filling time, and he keeps repeating that 'there's only one President' but there's really not a President. There's a leadership vacuum waiting to be filled by Obama. (BTW, this story is much bigger and more important than Obama's election and I think he understands that.) Bottom line is we're waiting for a central figure to emerge.

5) Real experts are hard to find, especially ones with big hair. So over-present talking heads such as Suze Orman ramble on and on in front of Larry King and others. Here's an incredible ramble from Suze Orman on CNN:

People feel they need medication because they are panicking.

It’s as if the economy right now is in the I.C.U. unit of a hospital. We are in intensive care and they are throwing everything type of medication at us to cure what is going on. They are panicking because why? Nothing is working. They tried this, it didn’t work. They tried that medication, it didn’t work. They are running out of prescriptions to give it. We are going to be in the I.C.U. unit for a while. Eventually, I don’t know when that will be, six months, a year, year and a half, we will get out, we’ll be in the hospital then. We’ll stay in the hospital for about a year or two. After another year or two we will end up in rehab and then we’ll be okay. This is a long stretch. People have to stop panicking.

CNN link

Makes me think of Amy Winehouse singing 'They try to make me go to rehab, I say no, no, no.' Rehab is taking place over on CNBC.

6) Where are the winning and losing teams? We have learned more about Al Queda cells and Saddam Hussein's Elite Guards than about the people in power behind CITI, Goldman Sachs, Lehmann Brothers, AIG, etc. We know more about the New York Jets than we do about CITI Bank. Are the slow-moving Detroit Manufacturers competing head-to-head against the fast-talking Wall Street Financiers? Please tell us more about these teams as we're entrusting them with such large amounts of public money. Maybe we need to start thinking that, as with football, we care because we're betting on teams to win. We have our money at stake.

7) I can almost hear producers wondering each night if there isn't a better story to lead with. 'Isn't there a story we can do on Sarah Palin? Like her or hate her, people can't get enough of her.' At least that appears to be the thinking behind her getting the most air-time in the week following the election. Would you rather hear about Sarah Palin pardoning a turkey or David Gergen saying no one knows what to make of the economic mess? At least, the Palin piece will have something interesting going on in the foreground and the background.

8) 'Why can't this be happening to Russia or China? If it was only happening there, and not here, we would know how to cover it.' CNN would send Christiane Amanpour there. 'Live from...'. We don't have visuals like people knocking down walls, rushing into the streets or standing in lines. The Fall of the Berlin Wall is the Fall of Communism, the fall of Saddam's statue -- now these are stories of new freedoms. In America today, we have a big fall without a distinctive symbol, without a video loop, without an exotic locale.

Also, how do you explain that China is providing the bail for the bailout? As David Gergen said tonight on CNN, 'China's become our banker.' Even harder to tell that kind of 'freedom' story.

9) The problems aren't going away and there's no timeline. So, where's the equivalent of 'America Held Hostage: Day XN'? Nightline evolved from a special report to become a nightly hard-news program to follow the ongoing story of Iran holding American hostages during the Carter Administration. Why isn't this economic story played front-and-center in the same way? Isn't there a TV journalist saying 'Holy Christ, this is the biggest story of my career and I'm going to bring it to you every night'? Ted Koppel, Edward R. Murrow, where are you?

Here's my list of names for a new Nightline-like special series on the economy:

  • America's Panic Attack

  • The Joke's on US

  • Invisible Hand-Wringing

  • Capitalism on the Ledge

  • The Economy on the Couch

  • Future Shock & Awe

  • Hitting the Wall And Falling on the Street.

  • America Sucks Right Now

  • US: Out of Order

10) Lastly, the TV media is no better off than we are at understanding this complex crisis. On a gut level, viewers know what the story is, that it's about them, their future and their children's future. They have specific questions that are difficult to answer (see the Suze Orman blog on CNN where it is promised that she'll answer these many, many questions; she doesn't, of course.) and they have general worries (should I panic?) that are hard to resolve. While we try to absorb as much information as possible, we keep having the same conversation over and over:

Q. What's going on?

A. I don't know. It's hard to tell.


(Via Boing Boing.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Frying pan with built-in thermometer

Frying pan with built-in thermometer: "e624_digital_thermometer_pan.jpg

There's much to dissuade you from purchasing this pan: it's fifty bucks; you have to remove the thermometer from its handle before washing; you can buy an infrared thermometer for nearly the same price that would work on all your pans. Yet for some, this pan could be just the thing for teaching the basics, for learning the difference between sweating and sautéing, frying and burning.

Digital Thermometer Pan catalog page []


(Via Boing Boing Gadgets.)

Power On Self Test: Baron Impossible

Power On Self Test: Baron Impossible: "baronimpossible.jpg

[via Concept Robots, sister blog to our favorite Concept Ships]


(Via Boing Boing Gadgets.)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Minuscule: CGI bug videos

Minuscule: CGI bug videos: "

Kurt sez, 'Minuscule is a co-production of French national TV and the Disney channel. It's a combination of real world sets and CGI insects, sans dialog. Personally, I think the lack of dialog makes the creatures more humane, and adds incredible opportunities for visual humor. Few opportunities are missed, and few fail.

There are episodes all over YouTube, and when those whet your appetite, please buy the DVD and support these comedic geniuses.'

(Thanks, Kurt!)


(Via Boing Boing.)

The Morning After

The Morning After: "Morning-After.jpg

'The Morning After,' copyright Zina Saunders 2008, from The Party's Over, a 'hilariously scathing visual chronicle of the McCain/Palin presidential campaign. (Via This Isn't Happiness.)


(Via Clippings.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Onion takes on Snow Leopard and Windows 7

The Onion takes on Snow Leopard and Windows 7: "the-onion-snow-leopard-vs-windows-7.jpg

The Onion turns its eye to next summer's Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7 showdown, and heaps scorn upon both in equal measure. 'Weird Euro-Internet cafe' may be the most pitch-perfect dismissal of the Windows target market I've ever read.

OS X Snow Leopard vs. Windows [Onion]


(Via Boing Boing Gadgets.)

The Morning After

The Morning After: "Morning-After.jpg

'The Morning After,' copyright Zina Saunders 2008, from The Party's Over, a 'hilariously scathing visual chronicle of the McCain/Palin presidential campaign. (Via This Isn't Happiness.)


(Via Clippings.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

That new sound

That new sound: "

I was 12 years old when The Clash had their first big hit on American radio: ‘Train in Vain,’ that weird hidden track tacked on to the London Calling album. (You know the song. Everybody thought it was called ‘Stand By Me.’)

That summer of 1980 it got heavy play on WIFI 92.5 in Philadelphia. I loved the song, took my allowance to the record store at the mall and bought the 45. And played it a bunch until it finally started to wear on me.

Eventually I got curious and listened to the B side. (To those who don’t know: 45s were small records with one song on each side. The A side was the hit; the B side was just some song from the album.)

I didn’t expect much — B sides usually sucked — but what I got was the song London Calling. I’d never heard anything like it before. Those driving drums with synced guitar chords. That growling bass that started in the underworld, climbed up, then climbed back down even lower. The raspy, pitch-approximate, yelling and howling voice detailing the end of the world.

‘The ice age is coming!’

That guitar solo that sounded like machines breaking down. And, finally, the end: ‘I never felt so much alive...’

I had never, ever heard anything like it before. It changed everything for me. That was the sound I’d been waiting for, without even knowing it. I didn’t expect it; it seemed to come out of nowhere; and I loved it.

And I still do.

In 2004 we were watching the Democratic National Convention on TV, and were mesmerized by a speech from a state legislator from Illinois. ‘Why aren’t we voting for him?’

I feel like, this year, I get to vote for the new sound I’d been waiting for without knowing it. It seemed to come from nowhere. There was no reason to expect it.

I never felt so much alive.



Donovan's Atlantis (and Greg Dulli too)

Donovan's Atlantis (and Greg Dulli too): "

Greg Dulli of Afghan Whigs/Twilight Singers/Gutter Twins fame just released a fantastic album, Live At Triple Door, which includes a phenomenal cover of George Harrison's 'Isn't It A Pity?' with a coda of Donovan's 'Atlantis.' After listening to that track (about five times in a row), I sought out the original Donovan tune on YouTube. Lo and behold, here is Donovan doing 'Atlantis' backed up by the Smothers Brothers, Peter, Paul, & Mary, Jennifer Warnes, and Mort Sahl. This version, too, is amazing.

Previously on BB:
Greg Dulli sings Sam Cooke

Gutter Twins music video: explosion porn


(Via Boing Boing.)

Bush Ocean Plan Is Criticized


Bush Ocean Plan Is Criticized: "President Bush's vision for protecting two vast areas of the Pacific Ocean from fishing and mineral exploitation, a move that would constitute a major expansion of his environmental legacy, is running into dogged resistance both inside and outside the White House and has placed his wife and his v...


(Via - Nation.)

David Lynch Plans Web Series

David Lynch Plans Web Series: "Web channel On Networks has landed David Lynch for a series based on his new book, 'Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity.'"

(Via Rotten Tomatoes: News.)

First results: Small town gives big win to Obama

First results: Small town gives big win to Obama: "Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama emerged victorious in the first election returns of the 2008 presidential race, winning 15 of 21 votes cast in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire."


Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Monday, even though I know some of you are probably hiding...

Happy Monday, even though I know some of you are probably hiding...: "I sat down to talk to Neil Gaiman"

(Via blog.)

My Guess on Tomorrow Night

we can only hope

My Guess on Tomorrow Night: "

At the end of the evening tomorrow, this is what I expect the electoral map will look like:

Note that I think this is a fairly conservative map, which is to say that when in doubt I’ve given McCain swing states. That said, I think it’s entirely possible that Obama will pick up Florida and/or North Carolina. I also think it’s possible that Ohio will go to McCain. I don’t think it’s likely Obama will pick up Indiana and/or Arizona, and I find it equally unlikely McCain will take Pennsylvania. I think the upper range of Obama’s electoral count is 353 (that’s him taking North Carolina and Florida along with everything else here), and the lower range is 291 (if he loses Ohio). Any of these gets him a win.


(Incidentally, I made this map using Real Clear Politics’ electoral map maker.)


(Via Whatever.)

This. Fucking. Election.

This. Fucking. Election.: ""

(Via .)

Amazon forcing manufacturers into less frustrating, more efficient packaging

Amazon forcing manufacturers into less frustrating, more efficient packaging: "

Amazon is launching a new campaign to make packaging less of a pain in the ass, specifically targeting hard plastic clamshells and tie wires. Items that are to be shipped by Amazon will get new packaging that's easier to open and less wasteful.

One of the first products to launch with Frustration-Free Packaging is the Fisher-Price Imaginext Adventures Pirate Ship, which is now delivered in an easy-to-open, recyclable cardboard box. The new packaging eliminates 36 inches of plastic-coated wire ties, 1,576.5 square inches of printed corrugated package inserts and 36.1 square inches of printed folding carton materials. Also eliminated are 175.25 square inches of PVC blisters, 3.5 square inches of ABS molded styrene and two molded plastic fasteners.

Small items, such as memory cards, are also good candidates for Frustration-Free Packaging. Typically encased in oversized plastic clamshells to deter shoplifting, memory cards are then placed inside larger cardboard boxes for shipment to customers. Working with Transcend, Amazon has eliminated the hard-to-open clamshell and the need for an additional box. Instead, the cards will now ship inside recyclable cardboard envelopes which use less material. Amazon is working to shrink the envelope size even further.

I am fine with this.

Frustration-free packaging press release [ via Technologizer]


(Via Boing Boing Gadgets.)