mobileme

What do desktop companies do when challanged by web 2.0 companies like Google? Compete, and tie those services heavily to their desktop experience. From TechCrunch –

As was widely speculated before Steve Jobs’ keynote address today, Apple is relaunching its .Mac service as mobileme. The service syncs emails, photos, contacts, calendars, and other information between your iPhone and different computers. It works not only on Macs, but also on Windows. It will cost $99 a year, with 20 Gigabytes of online storage. The service, which will replace .Mac, will be available in early July.

Apple calls it “Exchange for the rest of us.” Interesting positioning. Usually Apple does not aspire to be like Microsoft.

Both Microsoft and Apple are in the same “fight of their lives” on this one, so similarity in their approaches is easy to understand. Apple’s $99 per year though, I don’t think that’s going to work. I don’t see how they can compete with all the free email/im/sync services out there that cost nothing. It has to be free. My guess is it will be at some point. This is “old Apple”, my guess is it will take Jobs leaving the company before they’ll give up approaches like this.

Nixing Moderated Debates

McCain and Obama shut down the idea of a moderated Town Hall debate in New York. I’m really starting to like both these guys, maybe they should join together on a single ticket. Throughout this campaign, the MSM has shown a complete inability to do it’s job, resulting in both candidates getting the shaft at one point or another. Now both sides look to be putting a little smack-down on the MSM – great to see.

I See White People

“Oh you liked Batman? Yeah, I didn’t see it, I’m really into Serbian film now. They had a great retrospective at the Vancouver Festival.”

Stuff White People Like

From the L.A. Times –

By “white people,” Lander doesn’t actually mean the more than 221 million Americans who check that box on the decennial census. But that’s part of the fun. Lander is doing to whites what scores of journalists and politicians do to non-white minorities every day, “essentializing” complex identities — that is, stripping away all variety and reducing them to their presumed authentic essences.

One irony-deficient reader complained that the blog was less about white people than it was about yuppies. And without knowing it, she was cutting to the heart of the joke. Lander is gently making fun of the many progressive, educated, upper-middle-class whites who think they are beyond ethnicity or collectively shared tastes, styles or outlook. He’s essentially reminding them that they too are part of a group.

Link

Unintended Consequences

Unemployment shot up last month to 5.5%, the highest since Ocober of 2004. A majority of the increase was in minimum wage earners –

“There is a substantial flow of workers, particularly young workers, into the labor force during these months,” said Phillip Rones, deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate for teenagers surged to 18.7% from 15.4%, the largest increase since the data were first collected in 1948.

Link

The elephant in the room no one seems to be mentioning – The U.S. Congress raised the minimum wage last year, and will do so again each summer for two more years –

The last increase on July 24, 2007 was the first of three steps of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. It was signed into law on May 25, 2007 as a rider to the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007. The act will raise the federal minimum wage twice more: to $6.55 per hour on July 24, 2008, and to $7.25 per hour on July 24, 2009. The bill also contains almost $5 billion in tax cuts for small businesses.

Wikipedia Link

I’d be willing to bet this will worsen the economic downturn we are experiencing. Which is why I always advocate leaving minimum wage laws to the states. You can’t “get it right” at the federal level.

On the side – the “Fair Minimum Wage Act” was passed along with “U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations”… WTF?

Not So Safety Deposits

California raids banks to pay the bills –

California law used to say property was unclaimed if the rightful owner had had no contact with the business for 15 years. But during various state budget crises, the waiting period was reduced to seven years, and then five, and then three. Legislators even tried for one year. Why? Because the state wanted to use that free money.

“That’s absolutely correct,” said California State Controller John Chiang, who inherited the situation when he came into office. “What we’ve done here over the last two decades has been dead wrong. We’ve kept the property and not provided owners with the opportunities — the best opportunities — to get their property back.”

Chiang now faces the daunting task of returning $5.1 billion worth of unclaimed property to people. Some states keep their unclaimed property in a special trust fund and only tap into the interest they earn on it. But California dumps the money into the general fund — and spends it.

Link

SquirrelFish

SquirrelFish is a register-based, direct-threaded, high-level bytecode engine, with a sliding register window calling convention. It lazily generates bytecodes from a syntax tree, using a simple one-pass compiler with built-in copy propagation.

SquirrelFish owes a lot of its design to some of the latest research in the field of efficient virtual machines, including research done by Professor M. Anton Ertl, et al, Professor David Gregg, et al, and the developers of the Lua programming language.

Link

Sunspider perf numbers for WebKit trunk, Fx RC1, and Opera.

Green Just Got A Little Less Fugly

GM – Hummer nixed, four North American truck plants to close, and the Volt is a go for 2010. More on the Volt on Wikipedia. I believe this will be the first commercial plug-in electric hybrid available, and a fairly well styled one at that. Sweet. The batteries will be Lithium Ion and are designed by a private company called A123 Systems. They have some pretty smart people and a lot of good backing, including Sequoia. I’m a little paranoid of LiO since they can be explosive, but hey, so is gasoline. We’ll have to wait and see.