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Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, November 22, 2006. Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Werner Vogels on the Dutch election. Blogs are playing a big role in Netherlands politics. (Vogels is Amazon's CTO.) Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Fresh Air interviewed Ed Burns of The Wire today. They play a clip with one of the most terrifying Season 4 characters, a kid who kills people with a nail gun. The salesman in a hardware store explains the product to him, in the opening scene of the season, as it dawns on him that he's selling a murder weapon to the kid.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Kevin Murphy, via email, says the nasty murdering kid is actually played by a girl!  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

New toys arrived today from Amazon. 1. Bluetooth mouse. 2. Logitech surround-sound speakers. The new music, below, sounds really cool on the new hardware, and one less wire on the desktop is nice too.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named love.gifI pre-ordered Love, the re-mix of Beatles stuff, by George Martin. I couldn't stand the wait, so I downloaded it through BitTorrent, as I imagine many people are doing. Listening now. Some of it is very weird, but it's also generally really good. You could almost imagine that they might have mixed the music this way the first time around. Of course it's controversial.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

It's got a heart-breaking rendition of While My Guitar Gently Weeps, one of George Harrison's anthems. Anyone who says this album is bad has no fucking heart. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

And I hired a wiring company to install Ethernet between the den downstairs and the office upstairs. They did a professional job, at each end is a wall plate that I plug the cable into. I bought another Netgear router for the office upstairs, so now we're styling. Now I gotta hire a Berkeley-based programmer (I have someone in mind), and we're off and running.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Kevin Tofel: "I've already got podcasts on the Zune and it was a simple matter to be honest." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Dylan: "Don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Scoble explains the diff betw TechCrunch and Valleywag. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The Wire peaked sometime in Season 3 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named thewire.jpgI'm now just beginning the fourth season of The Wire, the one that's currently being shown on HBO. Somewhere in the third season something changed, and the plot no longer surprised. The great thing about the first two seasons is that you had to watch every scene carefully and tune into every single word, because the damn thing moved so quickly, and the plots were so tricky, and rich, the betrayal so delicious, by everyone from the police to the drug kingpins and the stevedores and the Greeks and Russians, everyone is so damned evil on this show, and death comes so quickly, one second in the middle of a conversation the character is apparently just passing the time and boom, he's dead, and that's it, never to be seen again. And sometimes you can see it coming, episodes in advance.

There are no flashbacks, time marches forward relentlessly, they never go back and explain what happened, if you missed it, you missed it. That is until season 3 when it loses its edge. You can wash the dishes, flip through a B&H catalog, eat some soup, all without missing a thing. There were times when I wanted to turn the damn thing off, or just skip to the end of an episode, I was so disappointed. This doesn't seem to appear in the reviews of the show, or did it? Maybe it's just me, and I figured it out, and it no longer has the power to suprise?

Now that's not to say that there aren't delicious moments in season 3, there are. But the first two seasons are the best TV I've ever seen.

Mike Arrington is wrong on this one Permanent link to this item in the archive.

And so is Jason Calacanis.

First, read this bit by Mike, who takes Nick Denton apart for daring to challenge some assumptions that Jason Calacanis has left out there, just aching to be challenged.

Now Mike is wrong in so many ways, I don't think I'll be able to list them all, but I'll try.

First, there's nothing wrong with what Nick did. Jason is a public figure and made a lot of public statements about netscape.com, most of which weren't examined more than superficially, and as long as Nick discloses that they are competitors, in case anyone is confused about where he's coming from, he can say whatever he wants. I thought the question he raised deserved a straight answer from Jason, without the obfuscation that came from both Mike and Jason.

Did the experiment at netscape.com work? My guess is that it didn't. Why? First, for the obvious reason, people don't quit so quickly when their latest venture was a success. If it worked (and note that Jason doesn't say that it did) why quit so soon? Because there's new management at AOL? With all due respect to Jason, that doesn't make much sense to me.

Denton asked the only question worth asking, and backed up the answer with numbers. If Jason has other numbers, let's see them. I want to learn what worked and what didn't because I'm always thinking up new things to do with the Internet, and it helps to know what other people's experiences were. The new Valleywag (which Mike disses, and I don't think he's right about that either) is providing that new service, where the old one just focused on who's zooming who, as if Silicon Valley was some kind of Hollywood. I lived in Silicon Valley for 20+ years, and trust me, there's not much to report on there.

And Mike, isn't it good that Nick is focusing on business instead of the salacious stuff? Wouldn't it be nice to go to the bathroom at a conference and not worry about whether your sanitary habits might appear in Valleywag (true or not). Maybe Mike is protesting because the new Valleywag is getting a little close to TechCrunch? Nahh, couldn't be.

Note that Nick has more or less said he's aiming Valleywag at TechCrunch. So when Mike gives Nick grief for challenging a competitor well, Mike ought to be careful about that, because he appears to be doing the same thing.

And finally, I'm glad someone is digging in on these things. The more this happens, the more likely that bullshit is exposed, quickly -- the more careful people will be with slinging bullshit. And believe me, Silicon Valley has no shortage of that!

A picture named turkey.gifPostscript: I think the world of Mike and Jason. They're both great guys. Alan Kay once said the Macintosh was the first computer worth criticizing. Jean-Louis Gassee said that as the monkey climbs the tree, the more people can see his derriere. Mike is at the top of the tree these days, what he says matters. And I say competition is good, it keeps you on your toes, and no one loves you as much as your competitor. And I also say it's good to take a break once in a while, to get your thoughts in order. I love talking with both of these guys, they're smart, they're curious, and they learn. Both of them would be more than welcome at the Bronx Science for Adults. And I don't know Nick as well, but I suspect he would be too.


Last update: Wednesday, November 22, 2006 at 7:49 PM Pacific.

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