DOWNLOAD: A really gorgeous background of the clouds and sky

February 27, 2007

Normally, I wouldn’t post something like this but it’s so tremendously beautiful, I thought those of you with Windows Vista machines might like it.  A customer pulled this image off of an article he found on FARK.COM and he couldn’t find it again (otherwise, I’d link to the original).  It’s an extremely high resolution photo above the clouds and it makes a beautiful background.

My customer pointed out that if you look really carefully, you can make out stars in the sky if you zoom in.

If you want to download it, it’s 6MB compressed as a ZIP file here.

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Steve Jobs on Education: And they say WE stick our feet in our mouths

February 21, 2007

Gizmodo reports that Steve Jobs had stern words for the Teachers Union:

Well, Maybe Steve Jobs Doesn’t Know Everything
"Not content with simply railing on Windows Vista, a few days ago his Jobsness blasted teachers’ unions as the major cause of education problems in this country."
http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/steve-jobs/well-maybe-steve-jobs-doesnt-know-everything-238311.php

Their source is here:

Apple CEO lambasts teacher unions
"I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way," Jobs said.  "This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy."
http://www.dfw.com/mld/startelegram/news/state/16717129.htm

First of all, I come from a long line of teachers.  More than half my relatives are teachers, principals, or school counselors.  If it hadn’t been for computers, I probably would have become a teacher.  I sometimes think about trying to become a substitute teacher when I retire.

Personally, I think Steve Jobs is being presumptuous, talking about a topic that I don’t think he has any real experience in. Just because you sell computers to K-12 schools doesn’t make you inherently knowledgable about education itself – especially when it comes to an entire group’s profession.  I’m not exactly wild about any unionized labor however the biggest challenge with Education in America has less to do with the unionization of teachers and more to do with issues such as a our legal system and the prevailing social climate that teachers have to teach in.

OBSERVATIONS ON SCHOOL CHALLENGES TODAY
After growing up watching teachers all my life, (like waiting in the back of my Mom’s classrooms) my thinking has been that schools need to minimize the variation in child aptitude per class so that every group of students can move forward and progress together.  Dumping one problem child into a classroom hurts the educational quality of the whole class… much less dumping 3 or 4 problem children. Children with special needs have to be dealt with by teachers that are focused on dealing with them. Children with ADD, children with serious behavioral problems, children with developmental issues… having these children in the same classrooms as high performing students is completely par for the course.

And the imbalance of a constructive learning environment between "Home" and "School" is another big issue. Too many parents use school as ‘day care’ and really don’t care if their kids do their homework, live with appropriate social & behavioral boundaries, or adhere to strong role models.  Personally, I think all schools with the most difficult issues should switch to become boarding schools with uniforms to begin to enforce the basics of structure & boundaries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Also most curriculum has been uninspired.  Bill Gates has been focusing on new ways and new environments to teach in, other than the chalkboard, cubby hole, and student desk we see in the typical classroom today.  The reduction/elimination of programs like music, art, drama, and after school activities have created even less structure for students while diminishing their opportunities to flex their learning aptitude while still being given good guidance.

And then there’s all the red-tape, legal regulations, and litigation concerns that teachers have to go through.  Frankly, I think a lot of that could be fixed just by America going to a "loser pays" model for litigation:  If a parent sues a school, and they lose, they’re responsible for the legal fees and labor income lost associated with the trial.  Every other modern country in the world has this principle in place and lawsuits don’t run rampant there as they do in the US.


LINK: Macs vs PCs – South Park style… from “IStartedSomething.com”

February 19, 2007

Yeah… this is about right.

Hi I’m a Mac. And we’re the PCs.

Originally created and posted at Long’s blog:
http://www.istartedsomething.com/20070218/macs-vs-pc/


VIDEO: Joe Rogan of “Fear Factor” vs. Carlos Men”steal”ia of “Mind of Mencia”

February 16, 2007

UPDATE 2/23/2007: 
First of all, here’s a recording of Joe Rogan on the Mikey Show and it’s fantastic:

Joe Rogan talks to Mikey about Carlos Mencia (part 1)
Joe Rogan talks to Mikey about Carlos Mencia (part 2)

So here’s the good stuff:  Carlos calls back in the next day to "set things straight"… and proceeds to make an nonsensical goof out of himself.

Carlos Mencia Responds to being Banned from the Mikey Show

In the same vein, Joe does an interview with Jim Breuer on Sirius Satellite’s "Breuer Unleashed"
discussing some of the biggest joke thieves out there, not the least of which being Carlos Mencia, whom Jim Breuer on the record backs up Joe Rogan on his assertion that Carlos steals other comedian’s bits:

Jim Breuer & Joe Rogan talk about Joke Thieves – Carlos Mencia & Dane Cook
http://media.joerogan.net/audio/Joe_Rogan_About_Mencia_2.mp3
(Taken from Joe Rogan’s Web Site)

——————-
UPDATE 2/22/2007: 

Apparently, A DJ named Mikey interviewed Carlos on their radio show in San Diego and asked him about the feud between him an Joe Rogan.  Carlos, in a nutshell, denies the whole thing.  He says that Joe Rogan’s just jealous, he never cites any actual bits that Carlos supposedly steals, and that there’s no credibility to any of his claims. 

He then proceeds to do a comedy routine that was a carbon copy of a bit that Mikey knew came from some DJ’s in Miami.  Mikey hangs up with Carlos and OUTS HIM ON THE AIR.  He says he can’t have Carlos on the show any more because Carlos just proved that he’s a joke thief to him right on the air.

Carlos Mencia strikes again
Carlos Mencia Banned from the Mikey Show in San Diego
(Taken from Digg)

———————–
ORIGINAL POST:
Oh man… have you guys seen this?  This is fantastic!

Joe Rogan confronts Carlos Mencia for stealing other comedian’s material
http://soapbox.msn.com/video.aspx?vid=4559c7f1-49bc-441d-a3d7-701074d4bdb0

This has been talked about all over the Internet:  It’s 10 minuntes of material and it all just happened right here in Hollywood a few days ago on Sunset Blvd.  Joe Rogan recorded everything on video camera that a friend was using at the time.  Joe essentially confronted Carlos Mencia at the Comedy Store right there on stage because Carlos apparently has been ripping off the material created by other comedian’s and presenting it as his own on stage.  Apparently, the folks in the comedy circuit all hate Carlos because he’s notorious for "bit-stealing".  

After some back and forth arguing, Joe proceeds to bring up other comic witnesses on stage to accuse Carlos of using their comedy.  Joe talks then about how George Lopez punched Carlos out at another club and slammed him against the wall a few months or so ago for stealing 13 minutes of George’s Las Vegas act and using it as his own on Carlo’s HBO special.  In fact, Joe includes a recording of Howard Stern interviewing George Lopez specifically about this apparently well-publicized incident and George pretty much laid out what happened & how Carlos stole from him.

There’s also a video clip in the above link of Bobby Lee formerly of MadTV who’s a friend of Carlos Mencia and even he says Carlos stole jokes from him.  Comedian Ari Shaffir rips him one on stage for stealing one of his jokes from back in 2002, which Carlos then used in 2006.  (They show the proof in the video)  What is sad is that Carlos proceeds to claim, "Do you really believe that a Jewish comedian (Ari) came up with that joke?"  (It was a joke about illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican/US border)

This is frickin’ awesome stuff and it get’s better:  Joe Rogan outs Carlos for being a fake on yet another level – Carlos Mencia isn’t even his real name.  It’s apparently Ned Losman.  When "Carlos" was an up and coming comedian, the management at the Comedy Store felt that he needed a more ethic name to appeal to the Los Angeles latin community so they created a stage name for him and even a "Mexican persona", even though he’s actually half-German & half-Honduran. 

The aftermath hasn’t been pretty.  Joe’s since been banned from the Comedy Store now and his agent dropped him because he represented both Joe & Carlos as well and he had to choose one or the other apparently:  "Carlos & Mind of Mencia" or "Joe & Fear Factor".  (http://www.joerogan.net)


INFO: Where is Microsoft’s financials going?

February 12, 2007

I thought this was a fascinating bubble chart done by the New York Times that really shows where our revenue is broken out and what direction it’s headed it. 

I think it’s most interesting that while Windows & Office (the bulk of our revenue) have continued to climb, their share of our overall revenue has fallen not because Windows & Office "haven’t kept up" but more because of the incredible growth of Server and Xbox revenue.

A couple interesting things are still on the horizon:

  • Xbox 360 going to .65 nanometer processor masking in April
    This will drastically reduce the cost of the processor, the most expensive component of the Xbox 360.  Essentially processors are created on massive plates of silicon and going to a smaller trace size makes the processor smaller, allowing for more processors to be created per silicon plate, creating greater yields of processors for the same cost of production.  Additionally, the reduction in size reduces the heat dissipation from the processor itself making the consoles run cooler, and potentially reducing the cost of the cooling fan of the unit.
  • Xbox 360 CPU/GPU convergence
    This merges the tri-core PowerPC processor with the ATI graphics processor cutting the cost of the processing units conceivably in half.  This is the trick that Sony used to drive costs of production down on the PS2, and the reason why PS2s are so cheap while still making money for Sony.  Taking a play from their playbook, we’re doing the same thing with this generation of consoles.
    Note:  This was something we COULDN’T DO with the original Xbox because we used an Intel Pentium processor and an nVidia graphics processor – neither of which, their licensors (Intel & nVidia) would provide the designs for to enable us to pursue such a CPU/GPU convergence strategy.
  • Windows Vista Adoption, Office 2007 Adoption
    Obviously, neither product has been widely deployed however, unlike past revisions, these products serve at least 2 key needs that businesses really need to fill:
    – DESKTOP/LAPTOP SECURITY:
    Companies need to encrypt data, not just to protect their users & customers, but to COMPLY with goverment regulations like Gramm Leach Bliley, Sarbanes Oxley, and HIPAA.  In other words, business don’t have a choice:  In order to remain in business, they must comply with privacy and protection laws and the easiest and most readiliy available way to adhere to many of these provisions is to adopt Windows Vista for it’s drive encryption technology, aka BitLocker, its intrusion detection technology and managable audit facilities, etc.
    AUTOMATED DOCUMENT GENERATION:
    A major trend in the computing industry is the autogeneration of documents.  This has been possible in Office before but it was fairly difficult (and proprietary) to accomplish, using Visual Basic for Applications, a rudimentary subset of Visual Basic.  With Office 2007, the new OfficeXML document format makes it much much easier to create, parse, and filter upon document content and because Office is now automated programmatically by the Visual Studio Tools for Office, which leverages the actual Visual Studio development suite, any professional developer can leverage Office to automate document creation through the very development practices that they use for standard Windows applications.

COMIC: I’m a PC, and I’m armed

February 8, 2007

Ran into this on the Internet.  Had a quick late night chuckle…
http://blogs.siliconvalley.com/photos/uncategorized/imapcandimarmed.jpg


Steve Jobs’ speech against DRM = “Fool’s Pandering”

February 7, 2007

UPDATE 2/8/2007:
What a surprise:  Jon Lech Johansen a.k.a. DVDJon agrees… Jobs is being disingenuous, especially on the topic of not wanting to license Fairplay DRM on the premise that it would "endanger it’s security":

As one who has already reverse engineered Apple’s FairPlay technology, Johansen takes issue with Steve Jobs’ claim that opening up FairPlay to others would endanger its security. DVD Jon points out, “Microsoft’s Windows Media DRM 10 (marketing name PlaysForSure) has not had more security breaches than FairPlay despite the fact that it has been licensed to dozens of companies,” adding that Microsoft’s decision to make the Zune DRM a closed system was a business decision and had nothing to do with DRM security.

LINK:  http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=6012
——————–

ORIGINAL POST:
By now everyone’s heard of Steve Jobs’ rant about how DRM is bad and, why oh why does the music industry "force him" to use DRM.

I’ve never linked to the Inquirer because they’re the bastion of bad journalism – but this is a link to an editorial commentary (and it’s labelled as such on their site) about Jobs real motivations and to be honest, they read my mind.  Why?

  1. Apple is the largest proponent of DRM with it’s Fairplay technology.  Fairplay effectively forces user to only use iTunes, iTunes Music store, and iPods because once you’ve made any sort of investment in iTunes, it’s not feasible to leave for another services or device type since your music is tied to Apple.
  2. Apple needs DRM otherwise, people would, heaven forbid, be able to go to any other music store and purchase music without having a tie to Apple.

"DRM has been very good to Apple, but very bad for the end user."

This article couldn’t be more dead on.

LINK:  http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=37492