Archive for November, 2006
Thursday, November 30th, 2006
I love it. 70 degrees outside at 7 at night, 92% humidity. The windows are open, a nice breeze is blowing. It smells like the ocean. Couldn’t ask for a nicer fall evening.
Thursday, November 30th, 2006
I was originally of the opinion that the textualist judges of the Supreme Court were at fault here. It stands to reason, if the suit in Kelo was specifically aimed at deciding whether or not a state government has the right to take property for public use, a textual interpretation says that they do in fact have it, assuming just compensation is provided to the owners.
Turns out the suit was more specific, and questioned whether a state government has the right to take property from a private owner and hand it over to another private entity for commercial development. The activists won out, in a 5-4 ruling:
On June 23, 2005, the Supreme Court, in a 5–4 decision, found for the City of New London. Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the majority opinion; he was joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Justice Kennedy also penned a concurring opinion setting out more detailed standards for judicial review of economic development takings than that found in Stevens’ majority opinion. In so doing, he contributed to the Court’s trend of turning minimum scrutiny–the idea that government policy need only bear a rational relation to a legitimate government purpose–into a fact-based test.
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote the principal dissent, joined by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Justice Antonin Scalia, and Justice Clarence Thomas. Justice O’Connor suggested that the use of this power in a reverse Robin Hood fashion—take from the poor, give to the rich—would become the norm, not the exception: “Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms.”
Clarence Thomas also penned a separate originalist dissent, in which he argued that the precedents the court’s decision relied upon were flawed and that “something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution.” He accuses the majority of replacing the Fifth Amendment’s “Public Use” clause with a very different “public purpose” test: “This deferential shift in phraseology enables the Court to hold, against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a ‘public use.’”
Strange world we live in isn’t it?
Tuesday, November 28th, 2006
If I see one more big and ugly web form like this –
..on some stupidly named web 2.0 startup site, i’m going to throw up. Is this what the web has come too? Didn’t we learn anything from pets.com? Stickis? WTF is a stickis?
Stickis brings into your browser what you care about, wherever you are on the web, letting you create commentary, conversation and community everywhere you browse.
I read my friends blogs, I add comments to thier posts, they do the same here. That works. This doesn’t.
I’m just going to go ahead and say it, and never comment on this stuff again. I hate web 2.0. It’s just, well, so.. very.. pointless.
Tuesday, November 28th, 2006
Found this post on Somewhatfrank rather humorous today on TechMeme –
I have been traveling quite a bit lately and have had to rely on public Internet access. Much to my dismay I have found that most hotels and airports still do not offer free Internet access. Why isn’t airport and hotel Internet access a standard free feature?
I think one commenter summed it nicely –
“It costs money to offer and maintain those services. Ass.”
Exactly. Why isn’t everything free in this world? Because if something is sought after, if something costs money to provide, companies charge for it and in most cases look to make a profit off the service by marking it up. Ultimately the free market and competition may well be this guys savior, when other hotels and airlines start offering free access as a competitive measure, others will follow.
The Internet is a series of tubes and is here to stay – therefore it should be looked at in the same light as television service since for many travelers Internet access is a necessity.
It will, but I find it annoying this guy can’t grep the basic reasons why.
Tuesday, November 28th, 2006
The Cutler Era has officially started. Coach Mike Shanahan ended the speculation Monday by elevating the rookie to starting quarterback for the rest of the year, sending Jake Plummer to the bench.
“He’s our future, he’s our present,” Shanahan said.
Cutler, the 11th pick out of Vanderbilt in the draft last April, hasn’t taken a snap since the preseason. But Shanahan is hoping a quarterback change can ignite the Broncos’ struggling offense. The team is 7-4, but ranks 26th in the league with 171 yards passing per game.
Nice. now Lets see what we can do with the rest of this season. I’m looking forward to this Sunday more than any other game this season. Going into games has always been tainted with the idea that “this might be one of the games Plummer chokes in.” Not anymore. The skys the limit.
Saturday, November 25th, 2006
Sorry man, but two straight losses against weaker teams, with more turnovers than touchdowns? Time to hang it up dude.
Now the Broncos believe the time has come to turn over their offense — and really their franchise — to Cutler. Broncos assistant coaches who have repeatedly watched the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Cutler through the preseason and into the regular season say their quarterback is more poised and polished than any rookie they have seen. His disposition is said to be perfect for the position. But there still remains the question of how he will play in games.
If the preseason is any judge, it should be superbly. Cutler completed 40 of 62 passes (64.5 percent) for 561 yards, four touchdowns, one interception and a 108.3 quarterback rating. During the same preseason, Plummer completed 19 of 34 passes (55.9 percent) for 226 yards, one touchdown and no interception for an 86.2 quarterback rating.
Plummer’s quarterback rating this season has plummeted to 69.7, the lowest it has been in Denver and his worst figure since his last season at Arizona in 2002. He is now the 29th-rated quarterback in the league, trailing such quarterbacks as Tampa Bay’s Bruce Gradkowski, Seattle’s Seneca Wallace and Cleveland’s Charlie Frye.
Thursday, November 23rd, 2006
Probably the best thing about the Zune is the cover art and screen. When your cruising around listening in shuffle mode it’s really nice not to have to read any text to figure out what your listening too. The screen is also incredibly bright, so even when I’m driving around in my car on a sunny day I can see what album I’m listening too.
A few other pros:
0- The user interface is slick, and easy to use. Hands down the best mp3 player user interface I’ve worked with.
0- The surface of the device is really nice, I’ve been carrying it around in my back pocket for 3 days straight as well in the dash of my Z4 and so far no damage what so ever. The translucent skin is really cool to look at in the sunlight.
o- I read some folks were having problems with the install of Marketplace, but for me the install went perfectly. The software synced my entire media library with my Zune as soon as the app came up.
o- I never once had to squint and enter a player id number in the Marketplace install. That was something that really annoyed me when I install Nano’s software.
o- Marketplace is basically a reskinned version of Media Player 11 with added features for the Zune. It’s now the default media player on my system and is working well. Marketplace is also much more lightweight than iTunes which is really nice.
A few cons:
o- For some reason when the device is connected to Marketplace I can’t access the ui on my Zune. Mildly annoying.
o- The car pack fm transmitter could be more powerful. It works well as long as your in a wide, empty FM range. If you happen to land in between two weak stations your going to get interference. Also the FM scanner in the car pack needs to be stronger. Sometimes it lands right on a weak station signal.
That’s about it! Overall, I’m totally digging it!
Tuesday, November 21st, 2006
This particular exploit targets a vulnerability in the way that most Macs process files ending in “.DMG”, a file type commonly encountered when Mac users download a software install. Clicking on the proof-of-concept DMG file listed on the MoKB homepage with a brand new Mac OS X 10.4.8 installation caused the system to throw up a prompt telling me that I needed to restart my computer by holding down the power button or restarting the machine.
Sounds like an innocuous enough bug, to be sure, but the crash report generated after I used Safari to click on the file indicated that the exploit had indeed resulted in a “kernel panic,” which in most cases means that if someone wanted to use the exploit to install malicious code, they could do so regardless of the security settings or precautions already present on the machine.
Feeling adventurous? Crash your Mac by clicking here.
Monday, November 20th, 2006
Microsoft tends to take a back seat and let things speak for themselves. I’m going to do the same. Defending something against early criticism means you think it’s threatened.
I don’t need to defend Zune.
Simply put, it works, perfectly. Packaging, the player, software, experience. I am not concerned about the future of this device one bit.
If Steve Jobs says he’s not worried? Sounds great. All the more time to do damage until he finally realizes it’s too late.
Zune rocks. Go get one.
Update – ..and the pre-loaded content kicks ass!
Monday, November 20th, 2006
NYTimes: “Howard Stringer, you have a problem. Your company’s new video game system just isn’t that great.”
Ouch. It doesn’t get much better either -
Sadly for Sony, the best way to explain how the PlayStation 3 falls short is to explain how different it is to use than its main competition, Xbox 360. When I reviewed the 360 last year, I wrote: “Twelve minutes after opening the box, I had created my nickname, was in a game of Quake 4 and thought, ‘This can’t be this easy.’ ”
And so it is a bit of a shock to realize that on the video game front Microsoft and Sony are moving in exactly the opposite directions one might expect given their roots. Microsoft, the prototypical PC company, has made the Xbox 360 into a powerful but intuitive, welcoming, people-friendly system. Sony’s PlayStation 3, on the other hand, often feels like a brawny but somewhat recalcitrant specialized computer. (Sony is even telling users to wait for future software patches to fix some of the PS3’s deficiencies.) The thing is, if people want to use a computer, they’ll use a computer.
eww hewww! Yes!
Microsoft is fun to kick around, especially on first releases of products. How many times did I hear the doom sayers claim the XBox was going to be huge flop? Yet the console snatched up 20-30% of the market. 360 is poised to do even better, and with reviews like this of their main competitor, even better than expected (or predicted).
I have to wonder if the current clan of doom sayers proclaiming the demise of Zune are the same group that kicked Microsoft around on the original XBox release, and I wonder if they will be equally wrong in their predictions.
Through the decades of the Walkman and the Trinitron television, Sony was renowned as the global master of easy-to-use, seamlessly powerful consumer electronics. But recently Sony seems to have lost its way, first in digital music players, in which it ceded the ergonomic high ground to Apple’s iPod, and now in home-game consoles. For now Sony’s technologists seem to have won out over the people who study fun.
Computer software companies edging in on old school home electronics behemoths. Convergence, It’s inevitable. Microsoft’s 360, Apple’s iPod, Tivo’s Linux based PVR. Old school meets new school. The guys who aren’t playing along are all going to end up curbside.