Archive for the ‘General’ Category

 

iBand

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Apple would appear to be readying itself to announce something rather large. I have some ideas about what it might entail. Yes, it’s the iPhone 6 plus some sort of wrist device, which I’ll call the iBand here, since I don’t think it’s (primarily) a watch. My record on Apple prognostications has been rather poor, so take this with a grain of salt.

Lightening, Beats
Listening to Gruber’s Talk Show podcast, apparently the Lightening port is water proof. This explains a lot. iPhones have not been waterproof to date because the ports are not waterproof. But if Lightening is waterproof, and it has the bandwidth to do music and video out of it, then it makes sense to eliminate all other ports in its favor. If the iPhone 6 had a standard headphone jack, then it will be the last iPhone to have such a thing.

This also explains the beats acquisition. My guess is they asked beats to make lightening jack headphones, beats initially refused, and Apple responded with an offer to buy the company. With beats on board, the lightening jack has a good chance as being adopted as an industry standard, burying other jacks, perhaps across the entire industry. Lightening won’t be an open standard, but like Bluetooth, it will be one everyone uses and Apple will collect its royalty on it. Pretty brilliant if you ask me.

Also, if the lightening jack is waterproof, then it will clearly be the means by which the iBand is charged. More on that in a bit.

Automobile, iBand
If the iPhone has only one input, this makes connecting to the audio jack of a car difficult, because you won’t be able to plug the audio and power in at the same time. Unless, of course, Apple makes a companion car charger. The car charger would have an audio jack that you would plug the car jack into, so that only the lightening port comes out into the phone. That cuts down on the number of wires and the number of things you have to plug into your phone, both of which sound like very Apple-like goals.

But what about cars with Bluetooth sound? Well, screw that. The problem with Bluetooth in the car is that invariably the microphone sucks, and Siri can’t interpret what is going on. Hands free driving is a must, and Siri is very good at dialing when you use the built-in mic on the phone. So turn off your car’s bluetooth, plug the audio input into the Apple car charger, and use your new iBand as your hands free mic. That alone is a product right there. But we’re just beginning.

The auto charger can now sense proximity to the iBand. Which means it can send a signal to lock your car doors when you’re not there, or to automatically open them when you are. Just program your car keys into the Apple car charger and you’re good to go.

iBand outside the car
So the iBand becomes a proximity device that can be used to signal all sorts of home automation things. I suppose it will tell the time, but if it has a display it’s strictly eInk or something that is equally power efficient. This means that you could use it to turn on lights in your home, to unlock your laptop and iPhone, etc. And of course, it will have all the standard health tracking gizmos.

The hint that Apple gave about the unveiling is “We wish we could say more”. This is a reference to the fact that you will be talking into your iBand to activate Siri, but I imagine that it will include the ability to control the AppleTV as well. This will make voice commands more prevalent throughout the Apple home automation platform.

The iBand will also have NFC and a fingerprint sensor. NFC will be used to program the device, but it will also be used to affect mobile payments. I could see it working in one of two ways. One way is to tap the wrist onto the payment platform to make a payment, while holding a finger on a fingerprint sensor to validate. The other way is to hold your fingerprint onto the sensor built into the payment terminal, which then uses the proximity features to validate. Either way works fine. The open question is whether Apple is building this as an open platform for 3rd party payment processors to utilize, or are they going to build their own payment platform with an eye toward killing visa and mastercard. Let’s hope it’s the latter, but I suppose those are not mutually exclusive things.

One piece of evidence that it could be the latter is Apple’s refusal to allow bitcoin wallets onto the App store until recently. I would theorize that this was because they wanted to launch their own payment processing platform, and didn’t want the competition to get a foothold. Now that they are about to launch, Apple felt they had better relent on their stance for antitrust reasons.

So that’s it. It’s a wristband/health monitor/payment processor. My guess is Apple has a ton of major retailers lined up, and probably has an easy iPad app for smaller retailers to use. If killing Visa and Mastercard is part of their plan, then it’s a plan I support. Let’s just hope Apple doesn’t get greedy with the fees, because they have a tendency to do that and it would undermine the effort.

 
 

12-12-12

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Lots of twelves.

 
 

Just Who On Earth Do You Suppose You Are Kidding?!?

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

So the campaign manager for the Mitt Romney campaign wrote a full scale apologia in the Washington Post today. Too bad that it’s premised on insane lies. I’m just going to fisk the relevant paragraph here:

I appreciate that Mitt Romney was never a favorite of D.C.’s green-room crowd or, frankly, of many politicians.

Seriously? Now that may have been true when he ran in 2008, but by 2012 he had lined up every conceivable endorsement imaginable. He had the full backing of the RNC from the get go. Remember how they kept screaming that this guy was electable? For Romney’s handlers to now claim that he was some sort of outsider to the RNC political circuit just compounds the rank dishonesty that mired the candidate and his campaign.

That’s why, a year ago, so few of those people thought that he would win the Republican nomination.

No, that’s why he was being called Mr Electable by every pundit and RNC consultant that Romney’s money paid for. The claim is especially rich when the Washington Post’s own Jennifer Rubin was perhaps the single biggest Romney apologist in print. Perhaps the author believes that the Post’s readers will have forgotten her incessant whining and defense of the man with whom she was smitten.

But that was indicative not of any failing of Romney’s but of how out of touch so many were in Washington and in the professional political class. Nobody liked Romney except voters.

Except when tehy had an opportunity to vote for someone else, anyone else, sure, the voters. That’s why they lurched form one “not Romney” to another “not Romney” until they all had fallen by the wayside in scandal or due to a lack of money. But yeah, they liked him, they really liked him…

What began in a small field in New Hampshire grew into a national movement. It wasn’t our campaign, it was Romney. He bested the competition in debates, and though he was behind almost every candidate in the GOP primary at one time or the other, he won the nomination and came very close to winning the presidency.

He may have bested Obama in the debates, but that’s not saying much. It certainly can’t be said he decisively won any of the primary debates.

Romney was a rotten candidate, who convinced many libertarian minded voters that he wasn’t substantively any different than Obama, and that they thus shouldn’t vote for him or the party apparatus that demanded he be nominated. That is why so many house seats were lost to Republicans, but could have been won had the Libertarian candidate’s votes gone to the Republican. Seats like those lost by Mia Love and Richard Tsei. Romney not only lost, he had negative coattails.

There is nothing to crow about in the Romney candidacy, either with respect to the candidate or with respect to the campaign. His campaign manager should be ashamed of what he did, and certainly shouldn’t be publishing defenses of it. What we need is not an apologia, but an apology.

 
 

Nope

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Not celebrating this year. Nothing to be happy about particularly.

 
 

Another Bush Appointee Proves Himself To Be A Liberal

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

So Obamacare was constitutional after all, apparently. Now we are going to have to elect that douchebag Romney in order to get it repealed. But make no mistake about it, we live under a federal government that now claims power to compel you to do anything at all, no matter how minute.

I am reminded of an Ann Coulter column on John Roberts back when he was being nominated. Not that I’m a huge fan of Coulter, but her words were prescient, and deserve repeating in full at this time:

After pretending to consider various women and minorities for the Supreme Court these past few weeks, President Bush decided to disappoint all the groups he had just ginned up and nominate a white male.

So all we know about him for sure is that he can’t dance and he probably doesn’t know who Jay-Z is. Other than that, he is a blank slate. Tabula rasa. Big zippo. Nada. Oh, yeah … We also know he’s argued cases before the Supreme Court. Big deal; so has Larry Flynt’s attorney.

But unfortunately, other than that that, we don’t know much about John Roberts. Stealth nominees have never turned out to be a pleasant surprise for conservatives. Never. Not ever.

Since the announcement, court-watchers have been like the old Kremlinologists from Soviet days looking for clues as to what kind of justice Roberts will be.

Will he let us vote?

Does he live in a small, rough-hewn cabin in the woods of New Hampshire and avoid “womenfolk”?

Does he trust democracy? Or will he make all the important decisions for us and call them “constitutional rights”?

It means absolutely nothing that NARAL and Planned Parenthood attack him: They also attacked Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy and David Hackett Souter.

The only way a Supreme Court nominee could win the approval of NARAL and Planned Parenthood would be to actually perform an abortion during his confirmation hearing, live, on camera, and preferably a partial-birth one.

It means nothing that Roberts wrote briefs arguing for the repeal of Roe v. Wade when he worked for Republican administrations. He was arguing on behalf of his client, the United States of America. Roberts has specifically disassociated himself from those cases, dropping a footnote to a 1994 law review article that said:

“In the interest of full disclosure, the author would like to point out that as Deputy Solicitor General for a portion of the 1992-’93 term, he was involved in many of the cases discussed below. In the interest of even fuller disclosure, he would also like to point out that his views as a commentator on those cases do not necessarily reflect his views as an advocate for his former client, the United States.”

This would have been the legal equivalent, after O.J.’s acquittal, of Johnnie Cochran saying: “Hey, I never said the guy was innocent. I was just doing my job.”

And it makes no difference that conservatives in the White House are assuring us Roberts can be trusted. We got the exact same assurances from officials working for the last president Bush about David Hackett Souter.

I believe their exact words were, “Read our lips; Souter’s a reliable conservative.”

From the theater of the absurd category, the Republican National Committee’s “talking points” on Roberts provide this little tidbit:

“In the 1995 case of Barry v. Little, Judge Roberts argued ? free of charge ? before the D.C. Court of Appeals on behalf of a class of the neediest welfare recipients, challenging a termination of benefits under the District’s Public Assistance Act of 1982.”

I’m glad to hear the man has a steady work record, but how did this make it to the top of his resume?

Bill Clinton goes around bragging that he passed welfare reform, which was, admittedly, the one public policy success of his entire administration (passed by the Republican Congress). But now apparently Republicans want to pretend we’re the party of welfare queens! Soon the RNC will be boasting that Republicans want to raise your taxes and surrender in the war on terrorism, too.

Finally, let’s ponder the fact that Roberts has gone through 50 years on this planet without ever saying anything controversial. That’s just unnatural.

By contrast, I held out for three months, tops, before dropping my first rhetorical bombshell, which I think was about Goldwater.

It’s especially unnatural for someone who is smart, and there’s no question but that Roberts is smart.

If a smart and accomplished person goes this long without expressing an opinion, he’d better be pursuing the Miss America title.

Apparently, Roberts decided early on that he wanted to be on the Supreme Court and that the way to do that was not to express a personal opinion on anything to anybody ever. It’s as if he is from some space alien sleeper cell. Maybe the space aliens are trying to help us, but I wish we knew that.

If the Senate were in Democrat hands, Roberts would be perfect. But why on earth would Bush waste a nomination on a person who is a complete blank slate when we have a majority in the Senate!

We also have a majority in the House, state legislatures, state governorships, and have won five of the last seven presidential elections ? seven of the last 10!

We’re the Harlem Globetrotters now ? why do we have to play the Washington Generals every week?

Conservatism is sweeping the nation, we have a fully functioning alternative media, we’re ticked off and ready to avenge Robert Bork … and Bush nominates a Rorschach blot.

Even as they are losing voters, Democrats don’t hesitate to nominate reliable left-wing lunatics like Ruth Bader Ginsburg to lifetime tenure on the high court. And the vast majority of Americans loathe her views.

As I’ve said before, if a majority of Americans agreed with liberals on abortion, gay marriage, pornography, criminals’ rights and property rights ? liberals wouldn’t need the Supreme Court to give them everything they want through invented “constitutional” rights invisible to everyone but People for the American Way. It’s always good to remind voters that Democrats are the party of abortion, sodomy and atheism, and nothing presents an opportunity to do so like a Supreme Court nomination.

The Democrats’ own polls showed voters are no longer fooled by claims that the Democrats are trying to block “judges who would roll back civil rights.” Borking is over.

And Bush responds by nominating a candidate who will allow Democrats to avoid fighting on their weakest ground ? substance. He has given us a Supreme Court nomination that will placate no liberals and should please no conservatives.

Maybe Roberts will contravene the sordid history of “stealth nominees” and be the Scalia or Thomas that Bush promised us when he was asking for our votes. Or maybe he won’t. The Supreme Court shouldn’t be a game of Russian roulette.

BANG!

 
 

Daphne Crawls To Daddy

Monday, May 28th, 2012

 
 

Les Trois Mousquetaires Baltic Porter

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

from Instagram: http://instagr.am/p/HKjfyME5AA/
 
 

Home made pretzels for Super Bowl

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

from Instagram: http://instagr.am/p/obxZY/
 
 

The Republican Race

Friday, January 6th, 2012

I think I’ve figured out what’s going on.

What we have is a three way race between the libertarian wing of the party, the religious wing of the party, and the asshole wing of the party, otherwise known as the establishment. Ron Paul is the libertarian in the race. He was hoping to bridge the gap between the libertarians and the religionists by virtue of his libertarian policies and personal religious conviction. Unfortunately, the religionists seem to be demanding a candidate who begins every sentence with reference to God and/or family. Hence the rise of Rick Santorum. However, Santorum makes no bones about his disdain for the libertarian wing of the party and their policies, and hence is incapable of attracting their votes. Romney represents the wing of the party that is bought and paid for by crony capitalist lobbyists. He is unacceptable to the majority of the grassroots. He is still the likely nominee.

One question remains: can a fusion candidate emerge in time to unite the libertarians and religionists to defeat Romney? This is why Rick Perry is staying in the race. Also Gingrich I suppose. I would guess that it is possible for one of them to emerge and unite the base against Romney, but time is running out. I still think Romney will be the nominee, but anything is possible.

 
 

Home brewed christmas beer, a spiced Baltic porter

Monday, December 19th, 2011

from Instagram: http://instagr.am/p/aLW-C/