2006 prediction: Apple will ship two generations of iPods. The first new generation, released in April, will have a satellite receiver built-in. The second will have a low-power FM transmitter built-in.
Mike Arrington: "Christmas with my parents is never perfect." I wonder if Mike's mom reads his blog. Mine reads mine, so everything I write here is Mom-proof.
BTW, my favorite Christmas meal is pot roast. I'm building one for the dinner we're having at Sylvia's on Sunday, the local Berkeley Jewish enclave. We're going to do the usual. Chinese food for lunch, a group hike, a movie, then stuff our guts on garlic-filled food and belch and yell about stuff, loudly. Sylvia are plotting and scheming on a manifesto about gender co-equality. It's something like Confederacy of Dunces, which is required reading, after Microserfs. Totally 1.0.
Kevin Burton reviews the new Attensa aggregator.
According to this prediction list, I will get EVDO for my laptop. Okay, I'm ready. What do I need to buy?
Follow-up, Rex Hammock on the strange culture of Mac enthusiasts. It's strange to me too. I thought the people had gotten over their blind obedience to Apple, but apparently not. C'est la vie. I'm going to keep narrating my work, and telling you what I like and I don't. That way when I say I like something you know I mean it. I wonder about people who conclude from my writing that I hate iTunes, the iPod or Apple. I would never trust what they write given how they interpret my writing. Alan Kay once said the Mac was the first computer worth criticizing. People don't generally criticize things they don't use. For seven years I wouldn't touch Apple products, and in that time I almost never wrote about them. Earlier this year I got a Mac, and then another, and I'm getting ready to buy another. If you miss the point, then you're just plain stupid. I only write about these things because I care. You don't see me writing too much about Windows or MSIE these days, do you? Mac people, get a clue already. Geez Louise.
ZDNet UK: "As the phones ring off the hook at Opera, the browser vendor insists rumours that Microsoft is buying it out are unfounded."
A case study illustrates why the iPod is too fancy for its own good
Let's say I bought an audiobook, it comes on eight CDs, I rip it into eight folders, write a script to name the files 001.mp3, 002.mp3, 003.mp3, etc. From there, if I copy the files to the Archos, it does the right thing when I start playing the first file, it goes to the second, then to the third.
But the iPod can't be made to care what the filename is, so it plays them in the order of the ID3 info, which is almost completely random because the ripper has no idea that the eight CDs are actually one big document.
So the Archos wins, I can use it to listen to this book because it's a Really Simple MP3 player. The iPod which adds a layer on top of the filesystem, manages to remove just enough functionality as to make it completely useless for this task.
Rex Hammock: "Another person in my office lost all of her Apple iTunes store purchases when her PowerBook's hard drive crashed. Despite the obvious fact that Apple knows she has purchased these tunes and that her problem was caused by an Apple hardware problem, their response is: You should have backed it up. Huh? To what?"
Seems like some folks aren't understanding what Rex is saying, and maybe I don't either, but here's my take. The user interface on iTunes is awful. It's the worst piece of crap I've ever used. People would tell me when I was a Windows user that it was because the Windows version of iTunes is crap but the Mac version is easy. Well, both programs are head-up-butt impossible to figure out. The user model makes no sense. When is something on the iPod? How many copies of the music do I have? Where the fcuk are they? How do you delete something? Is it really gone? Why does it wipe out the contents of the iPod when I don't say it's okay to?
I don't understand how they get people to buy so much music on their store, I wouldn't give them a dime. I buy the CDs and scan em in. Someone bought me a copy of Alice's Restaurant as a present when I got the new iPod. Well that was gone in less than a week, never got to play it once. What did I do wrong? I swear, I have no idea, and I'm a professional software designer. What about the poor schnook who is just a user?
So maybe this has something to do with the reason Rex says you gotta burn the CDs or else you'll be sorry. I go one step further. Skip the store, buy the CDs, and rip them into the iPod. That way when you lose the iPod all you'll have to do is waste a bunch more time scanning the CDs.
However, lest you think I don't like Apple, you should know I just gave Uncle Steve about $1000 for Christmas presents. I can't say more or else I might spoil the surprise for some deserving folk.
Yesterday Mike Arrington told me a story about a Silicon Valley pundit that reminded me that most of the people in the software business are putzes and that's why I moved out of Silicon Valley in 2003 and never once regretted it.
Had to go to the post office yesterday and waited in line and everyone was ho-ho-ho'ing, and the radio was playing some Frosty the Snowman shit, and I was sitting there while every person who came in wished everyone a Merry Christmas as if this were a Jimmy Stewart movie and not downtown Berkeley. I had a good half hour to think about this while I waited. I thought to myself, you know I'm a pretty friendly guy, and that's 365 days a year, and most of these people are bastards most of the time, but could they really be this nice for a few days a year? Could I bring myself to ho-ho-ho along with them and not ask them if they'll be so holly-jolly in a couple of weeks? Nahhh. I just sat there reading my book and pretended it was March or April or something like that, a good month with no big happy holidays in the middle.
I don't like Christmas, maybe that has something to do with not particularly liking Christians. Let me explain. It's not the people I don't like, it's the Christianity of the people. It's so confusing. Are they right-to-lifer's? I can't figure that out. Do they favor the death penalty? I think they do. Why are they so happy for one week, and so pissed off the rest of the time? And for what it's worth, I don't believe the happy bullshit for one second. I've had the privilege of being inside on a few of these Christian Christmases, with shicksa women I was dating, and let me tell you, if you haven't had a chance to see the inside of the holiday, it's pretty pissy and angry, you know, like people really are, not like they pretend they are. So I guess I don't like it because it's basically dishonest and because Christianity, in my eye, has gotten a bad rep.
I heard somewhere that most Christians are basically liberals, but it's just a few nasty dickheads that ruin for everyone. Sounds likely to me, but what do I know.
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