Thursday, December 27, 2001

It's been really slow... no news over Christmas.

Except on the Enron watch. They just tried to buy some favor from the Democrats by tossing them $100 grand right before going under. A nice touch, but before that, they gave $5.8 million to the Republicans. If I were one of the Democrats, I'd be, like, all, "screw you. Where's the other $5.7 million?" Bastards... like KPMG. In a very cool move, the Democrats are trying to find a way to give that money to laid off Enron employees.

In further proof that there's nothing on TV, a burning log won ratings in New York. This is real. I heard about it on TV before I read this.

Oh, and if you hadn't guessed... Sprint PCS still sucks... in Seattle, New York and Los Angeles.

Hey, Merry Christmas everyone! My wife gave me this cool pen that has a light on it that blinks whenever my cell phone rings. It's from Sharper Image. It doesn't work as well as advertised. Don't get one. Get a Nokia and go to the mall and get those guys at the kiosk to put lights in your phone instead. I have a Motorola, piece of junk can't even do custom ring tones. But at least the reception is good.

Thursday, December 20, 2001

No one has yet stepped forward to adopt the cat. Please?

Recording Companies suck... Pressplay goes live - Pressplay, one of the record company's Napster-replacements have gone live. It costs a lot if you want to actually burn any songs onto CD. But it beats some versions that you can only listen to on your computer... In fact, some versions will corrupt all your downloads if you stop being a paying subscriber. And still another that limits the number you can have downloaded at any time... Universal releases copy-protected disc - Don't even think of trying to copy tracks off the album for the movie The Fast and the Furious... that's right, you can only listen to it on CD players and Windows computers. (They've put the songs on the disc twice... once in the standard CD format and once in a special format only recognized by a special player also found on the disc. Apparently doesn't work with all versions of Windows.

Speaking of Windows, WinXP sales trail Win98. Why is this news? The economy isn't as great, and most people's current computers are really really powerful. Many don't feel the need for a faster computer. On the other hand, Dell will be getting an order from us right after Christmas. Woo hoo speed.

Hey, guess what? SprintPCS sucks in San Diego. (Ok, disclaimer, I bought stock in Verizon yesterday.) Speaking of Verizon, the wireless division just bought another company to bolster their national coverage footprint.

Speaking of sucking, and of stocks I own, Microsoft (which doesn't suck) is thinking of joining AOL's (which does suck) Liberty alliance. When all is said and done, this is great. It can only mean more convenience and a more useful product for consumers.

Still on the topic of stocks I own, Comcast gets AT&T's cable and broadband system, sort of... a new company will be formed, AT&T Comcast Broadband or something like that. I think this is a great move, enough to give me the confidence to buy a little bit of AT&T and Comcast yesterday.

Let's talk Wireless... here's a great article explaining the basics of wireless. Is that a nipple? Or a beauty mark? Or perhaps a close-up on her nose? You'll soon be able to get porn on your Palm (ha!) or cell phone courtesy of Playboy. How bad off do you have to be to find this appealing and worth the money? And speaking of Playboy, NBC is going to have a Playmate Fear Factor two-parter. The first part will air during the half-time show of the superbowl and the second half will air right after the superbowl, opposite Malcolm in the Middle. Bastards!

And speaking of NBC, here's an interesting article on their policies for accepting hard liquor ads. Pretty sound, if you ask me. But I find it funny that it's actually news, since local stations have been allowed for some time to accept the very same advertisers. And Ad Critic is dead. How sad.

Remember the original crude computer animation from the old days? You had little blocks to work with and a single color. Well, those days are here again. Only you're working with an office building. That's right, if you're cool enough, you can create designs that show up on a building. Computer controlled lighting in each office turn the lights on and off to show the pictures. How cool is that?

And from my friend Kevin, here's a bit of weirdness... this place has been archiving the internet for years. Type in a URL and it will show you what it looked like years ago.

This just in... "We're racist and we're not in favor of making airline travel safer!" — The Airline Industry.

Speaking of flying, how about flying cars? Basically, this guy is proposing a rapid transit system that takes you where you want to go, while you sit in your car. The best of both worlds. Fast, safe, convenient, environmentally friendly. In Europe, they've got a similar system for parking, allows them to park a lot more cars in a smaller area by putting them on moving platforms... and they're thinking of putting bigger batteries in cars... would make things a little more dangerous for mechanics, but would improve fuel economy and help the environment.

And a few last random ones...
Chip implants, anyone?... Housing starts up... Spinning toy tops, now available... only $50!!!

Monday, December 17, 2001

Tinsel the cat meows too much. Otherwise, she seems to be improving. Does someone want to adopt her?

Despite the anthrax scares, people are still sending cards the old fashioned way. Which is good. Because we sent out real cards. And if you send us an e-card, you don't get a real card next year. e-cards are for "Happy January 12" or "Happy Thursday" or "Hi, felt like bugging you with this funny card day", not for Christmas.

And Vivendi is buying USA Networks. Not sure what exactly this all means yet, but it combines some big names and puts the USA Networks guy Barry Diller (reportedly a hard man, but a really smart guy) in charge of the new operation.

The State Department has created a 9/11 pictorial. It's accused of playing on people's emotions and basically creating propaganda, but I say, go for it. I guess there's no sign of Osama Bin Laden yet. I wouldn't be surprised if he's somewhere in the Bahamas laughing as we trash Afghanistan.

This is an interesting story on other ISPs being connected through AOL Time Warner's cable system. The only reason this is happening is because it was one of the very few things required by the wussies at the FTC in approving the merger of the two companies. What I don't understand is why it was a big deal to get connectivity so that anyone can use the cable lines to connect to their ISP, but yet there's still a monopoly by AOL Time Warner, or AT&T or Viacom or whoever has your local cable. You can chose your local phone company, you can chose your power company. But you're still stuck with a single cable company, or going with a satellite system. And even there you'll soon only have a single choice. The regulators in this country are getting paid to do jack.

Yahoo!'s introduced something called "Buzz" which you can subscribe to. Basically they're saying that they can
predict trends, based on what people are searching for. Interesting idea. This is something I'll watch.

And I gotta say a big thank you to everyone who's shopped online. The first week in December, purchases online were 91% higher than the week prior. Let's get those presents ordered and shipped. Forget the mall. Now if we could only get our apartment leasing agent to stop taking lunch breaks when the UPS guy is about to show up, so we could actually get our packages.

And, like predicted, Ford is laying off workers and seeking cash, $10 billion dollar's worth. They've gotten hit and I take this as a sign that economic recovery isn't right around the corner like they keep predicting.

What if you work in a really large tower? What do you do differently? How do you cope? Well, you position the new interviewees so they don't face windows so they can't see planes, among other things. An interesting article on the Sears Tower.

And lastly, Sprint PCS sucks in Detroit/Grand Rapids.

Friday, December 14, 2001

Oops, apparently I forgot the link in my last post. Well that was dumb. I don't still have it, but doesn't look like too many people are watching my blog right now. You know what they need? An "identify me when this page changes" thing. I'm sure that exists somewhere. Suggestions? Please email me!

The other night my wife and I were out walking. We walked past a street and saw lights on a house part-way down. So we decided to walk down the street so we could see the Christmas lights. My wife saw a cat sitting on a driveway and we called to it and it ran right over meowing. We petted it and realized it was literally nothing but skin and bones. Everytime a car drove by, it would run towards the car. We think it was dumped. I took it to the vet yesterday and they said it was probably about 10 years old and it had a heart murmur. They also thought it might have a thyroid problem, where its metabolism is so sped up that no matter how much it ate it would continue to lose weight until it died. (It's only 5-3/4 pounds.) Reminds me of how koala's die... their teeth get worn down so they can't chew up the leaves and if they can't chew up the leaves they can't digest them so by the end of their lives they're eating leaves non-stop but lose strength and die. Anyhow, we could have tests done or just watch it for a few weeks and see if it gained weight. We did, however, have it tested for FL and FIV since we already have cats. We named the cat Tinsel and we'll have to find a home for it pretty soon, but right now we're waiting on the tests. It's also smelly. I cut off a lot of its hair with scissors yesterday and have been trying to get parts of it washed but I haven't tried too hard because it has front claws. Say a prayer for Tinsel.

So you know how you can turn your computer into part of a giant network searching for alien life? Or a cure for cancer? The one I like is Hyperbee. It's not yet live, but it will be a distributed search engine spider. Which could just possibly create the best picture of the entire web yet. I can't wait until it launches.

So AOL is now telling the government that it still can't figure out how to get its Instant Messaging software to work with competitor's programs, like MSN Messenger, Odigo or Yahoo! Messenger. I have an easy solution for AOL. STOP SCREWING WITH IT. A year ago MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger and Odigo could all interface with it and AOL made moves to block it. I don't know why Trillian still works, but that's pretty cool.

Maybe even cooler than tablets... flexible screens. You can roll it up. Pretty neat, that's all.

What? SprintPCS sucks? No kidding.

So Enron pays its top executives hundreds of thousands of dollars to stay with the company and see it through the bankruptcy proceedings, while shafting lots of other employees. And now Congress wants them to testify. Their response? Nah, we don't think we'll testify. I say drag them in by the elastic on their underwear. (The first link is from Slate and also talks about Polaroid, but still pretty interesting.)

The economy's not done being miserable. I know I reported recently about how GM is screwing Ford by keeping up the 0% offer. Well, apparently they're about to collectively further screw the economy as well. As soon as they stop doing 0% deals, they're going to stop advertising. And that won't be pretty. Not to mention that car sales have been propping up the stats to date.

Speaking of cars, Toyota's about to launch a third brand and they're thinking of heavily relying on the internet to get the word out. They say they're targetting the younger crowd. I thought Toyota's (like that crappy Echo) were for 16 year olds who didn't know anything about vehicle style. So who are they targetting with these new cars? Kids who can sign on each week and earn pennies towards the day that they're old enough to start driving?

Kids are using health websites. A lot. I guess it beats "Yeah? Well that's not what my cousin's best friend said. They almost died!" In fact, more power to them. Using the internet to find out if there are any side-effects to all that porn they're viewing.

And Yahoo!'s going to try to buy HotJobs. Which rules because was trying to buy HotJobs and I'm tired of big companies swallowing up other companies on the internet and no one at the DOJ saying "Hey... wait a minute." Like, Rent.Net and (all now). I know Yahoo! buys everything and ruins it (like eGroups), but it would still mean two large players instead of just one large player. Because what the heck does a monster have to do with jobs? Monsters are supposed to be scary (or perhaps just collect screams for their power company) and finding a new job should be promoted with calmness and encouragement, not with monsters waiting to jump out and scare you. Especially stupidly drawn monsters. Disney should sue

I had no idea how huge gaming is. Kind of cool... apparently video games now take about $10 million to produce.

Microsoft has entered into a deal with Predictive to learn more about viewer's habits. Basically, without knowing anything about who you are, they would find out more about what you liked to watch. Ultimately it would lead to commercials more tailored to things you were interested in. It would also lead to onscreen guides that were most likely to show you the types of things you'd like to watch. As long as it was smart enough to know when my wife was using it to show E! and Animal Planet and when I was watching to show HGTV, TLC and Discovery Channel, that would be very cool. Some people say there is privacy issues, but this technology is already being used on the internet. They don't know who you are, they just know what you like and strive to give you more of it. Heck, I'd even be willing to give them more information in order to get even more customized results. Don't show me beer commercials or commercials for United, Sprint PCS or AOHELL.

And Israel has cut off ties with Arafat. I just want to go over to Israel and slap every single Israeli and Palestine right across the face and say "Knock it the hell off!" I'd give Israel 30 days to give back the land they snagged however long ago it was and then I'd claim some of the land for the United States, some from what I'd give to Palestine and some from Israel. And I'd destroy all of their airports and build one big international airport on that land I'd claimed for the United States. I'd make it very commercial friendly so that companies would locate around it giving jobs to Palestines and Israelis. I'm tired of their stupid fighting. And I've been tired of it since before it spilled over into our country (sort of). The word is today that Osama is most likely surrounded and soon to be captured. It's just too bad there's really nothing we can do to him. I think we should put him into a small windowless cell adjacent to a prayer room. People of all faiths would fill the room 24 hours a day praying for him aloud. A translator would make sure he could understand what they were saying.

Monday, December 10, 2001

Just a quick one while I wait for Airborne Express...

Sent to me from a friend, the last paragraph is somewhat funny due to the omission of a single word. TNT lays people (off).

Thursday, December 06, 2001

Let me just start by saying the people at KPMG are a bunch of buttmunches. A bunch of their people were hired to help with a project I worked at that was supposed to be the next greatest thing on the internet. Now it's just another joke that comes right after the phrase "failures like pathfinder and". Anyhow, they're annoyed when people link to their site without permission. Buttmunches.

American Greetings... the SprintPCS of greeting card companies... the AOL of greeting card companies... the KPMG's of greeting card companies... they're now charging you to send e-greetings. And they're buying their competition, like Blue Mountain Arts. Buttmunches. There will always be others offering free e-greetings, but for them to charge is just lame.

Speaking of e-cards, the Postal Service is predicting no drop in mailing this season compared to past seasons. Good for them. I love their commercials, hate standing in line at their branches.

Speaking of mail, here's a company that uses automated systems to open your mail, scan it and email it to you as a PDF. I think this rules. I would do it, if it were affordable.

WebRing is once again independent. But will it survive? I thought this was a pretty cool story on Salon.

Gerald Levin is leaving AOL Time Warner. I'm going to die of not surprise. Next, I predict that the name "Time Warner" will be mentioned less and less often until it's just "AOL". I could be wrong, but I might not be.

Should DirecTV and EchoStar be allowed to merge? Hell no! I wish GM weren't selling Hughes because I don't want an inferior company (EchoStar) to own a better company (DirecTV). Buttmunches.

This is funny... put your name on a stadium, go out of business. Southwest Airlines rules.

I predicted this... Microsoft has offered to back two different bids for AT&T's broadband system, to keep it out of AOL's hands.

Cool stuff... aka my wish list....

Have fun.

Monday, December 03, 2001

IT's finally been announced. Yes, IT. The thing that was a secret to the point that it got annoying.

Well, IT's not annoying anymore and I really want one.

I'm not a big fan of Macy's and the only time I go to Bloomingdales is when you have one of those annoying malls that force you to go through a department store maze on the way to the food court. Well, apparently even fewer people are going to, they just shut it down. And they fired some people from and are going to make it smaller. Bloomingdales and Macys are owned by the same company. Isn't that like a monopoly on overpriced stuff and stores with snooty salespeople?

In what I think is pretty cool news, people are finally using their debit cards more than their credit cards.

This isn't really news, but it's worth mentioning, for those of you who set your calendars by it... Microsoft announces a re-org. Big shock. I guess that's the only way to keep a big kettle of mud moving, stir it regularly. Yes, I'm a stockholder, but the company is big and tries to be nimble. I have high hopes for the XBox, but I dunno... some of the commercials have been cool, but some have been lame.

So if you're part of the majority of cable modem users, you might just be wondering when your connection is going to go down. Yes, Excite@Home's going down, and with less grace than the Titanic. I have Earthlink DSL. It doesn't work half the time and it's actually Covad, but at least when they went bankrupt, they somehow kept us online.

This is kinda cool... they've invented a jumpstarter for cell phones and PDA's. If you have a dead battery, you just plug this thing in and start it. Oxygen and zinc react and charge your phone in no time flat. Pretty slick. Expensive, but handy when power isn't.

It was hard enough actually selling cars online, and now MSN and Carpoint think there's a market for pre-ordering Volvo's. I priced and spec'd my car online with Carpoint, but I still ordered it from the dealer. And even then it took them a month to build (two or three weeks quicker than promised). And I'm told that most people don't even have the patience that I had to wait.

Where are you going to be February 3rd.? I know it's late in the year, but yes, this is Superbowl Sunday. Apparently lots of big advertisers are passing on Superbowl ads this year in favor of the cheaper Olympic Games ads. Me, I watch the Superbowl. I don't watch the games. And I watch for the commercials.

This isn't exactly new, but I guess it's finally happening... Verified by Visa... you set up a password for online stores, another level of security. Pretty cool. My American Express card lets me set up something even cooler. I tell it a dollar amount, it generates a one-time use credit card number for me. I use that at the site to shop and the site never knows my real credit card number. Because even if Visa has a password, someone could hack the database and use the card somewhere that didn't require a password. Whereas the semi-fake Amex number wouldn't work anywhere.

And lastly, something slightly cool... Turn your cell-phone into a remote control for a soda machine. Almost. Actually, you go to a website and you deposit money into an account. Then when you're out and about, if you're thirsty and find one of these enabled machines, you dial it up and enter a code and out comes the soft drink. Although some other quicker technologies also exist, like the radio wands that Mobil uses for FastPass and other similar devices. But it's a step towards not having to carry cash, and great for kids, not having to carry credit cards, either.

And those bastards at Disney are adding outtakes to Monsters, Inc., which I've already seen twice in the theaters. I guess I'll have to wait for the third or fourth DVD release to get all that bonus stuff.