Archive for March, 2007

 

Emperor Sama

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

You are The Emperor

Stability, power, protection, realization; a great person.

The Emperor is the great authority figure of the Tarot, so it represents
fathers, father-figures and employers. There is a lot of aggression and violence
too.

The Emperor naturally follows the Empress. Like an infant, he is filled with enthuiasm, energy, aggression. He is direct, guileless and all too often irresistible. Unfortunately, like a baby he can also be a tyrant. Impatient, demanding, controlling. In the best of circumstances, he signifies the leader that everyone wants to follow, sitting on a throne that indicates the solid foundation of an Empire he created, loves and rules with intelligence and enthusiasm. But that throne can also be a trap, a responsibility that has the Emperor feeling restless, bored and discontent.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Now I just need an empire.

(via blogblivion)

 
 

Joost on AppleTV

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

AppleInsider and TUAW report that Joost is running on AppleTV. It’s unclear if this is a plugin or just a hack, but if AppleTV is flexible enough to run things like Joost, then it may be a bit cooler than I’d initially thought.

 
 

The Problem With Fred Thompson

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

There has been WAY TOO MUCH HYPE over Fred Thompson running for President as of late. He supposedly has positions or characteristics that the existing roster of candidates don’t, and therefore is the true “conservative” in the race. I find this notion baffling, particularly coming from online quarters. More on that in a bit.

So let’s review the open positions that the candidates have taken:

  • Abortion/Gun Control: So this crack is against Giuliani, who holds positions that are a-typical for a Republican, and maybe secondarily against Romney, who came to hold these positions later, but still, 2/3 of the top declared candidates hold the “right” positions for the party now. But who cares? Is this election about abortion and gun control? Isn’t it about that war going on?
  • Campaign Finance Reform: This crack is primarily against McCain, but Giuliani also has come out in support of it, and oops, so has Fred Thompson!!! Sorry folks, but if this issue matters to you, your only candidate among the top three (four if you include Thompson) is Romney.
  • Taxes: Thompson’s a tax cutter. Then again, so is Giuliani. Romney is a fake on that count (at least from what I’ve observed up close in Massachusetts) and McCain is a flip flopper.
  • The War: So how about that war? Well, all of the top three (four) candidates are sufficiently in favor of pursuing the war on terror, and none are in favor of a cut and run in Iraq. But who has the executive experience to run a war? Surely Romney and Giuliani have that experience, and at least McCain experienced war first hand in a way that likely makes him qualified to run one. Thompson? I suppose he plays a good commander on tv…

And what about that whole TV thing? John Dickerson puts it well in his piece today on the Case Against Thompson [emphasis mine]:

Thompson’s chief appeal is emotional. Until now, many conservative Republicans have had to wince when they thought of their plausible presidential choices. Giuliani is too liberal, McCain is too unpredictable and too well-liked by the media, and Romney seems like a flip-flopper on the issues they care about. The possibility of a Thompson candidacy excites the Republicans I talk to. He’s an “outsider”—having left Washington for Law and Order before the Beltway rot set in. He’s a good communicator, which means he can sell conservative policies and has the star power to battle Hillary or Obama. Though he hasn’t been through the press-vetting process, his voting record and talk-radio performances suggest he holds conservative enough positions. Oh, and he can raise Hollywood cash.

Right, he’s a Hollywood guy. So let’s ask a few questions of a Hollywood guy:

  • Where do you stand on the DMCA? Do you think that it should be repealed, or at least scaled back in some way to allow people to make copies of their own DVD’s to store on their computers and watch on their AppleTV’s? Or should end-users not have that right?
  • How do you feel about the Sonny Bono Act? Is 90 years a reasonable length of time for a copyright? Or is a length of time longer than the human lifespan a bit absurd?
  • And for that matter, how do you feel about orphaned works? Should the title held by intellectual property owners trump the rights of those who would maintain and utilize abandoned content?
  • How about fair use? Is Google ok to take snippets of books to help people find what they’re looking for? What about of news articles? Is the entertainment industry trying to destroy all notions of fair use, or are techies and their companies being abusive of the rights of copyright holders? In that vein, how do you feel about the matter between George Orwell’s estate and the now infamous 1984 anti-Hillary ad?
  • Finally, where do you stand on the whitespace initiative, supported by Microsoft, Google and others, to open up unused bandwidth in the television portion of the spectrum? Is this a good way to democratize the airwaves, or is this an intrusion upon the rights of television broadcasters?

Now admittedly, NONE of the other candidates have answered any of these questions, and they should. And we should insist that every one of them do so. But it seems to me that the candidate who would be least likely to come to the right answer on any of those questions would be one connected to Hollywood, whether they take money as donations or as a salary.

In my mind, until Thompson declares himself otherwise, I have to assume he’s on the wrong side of all of those issues. And if he isn’t, then he sure ain’t getting any of that Hollywood money that apparently makes him so appealing in the first place.

UPDATE: Now that I think about it, I believe he was in the Senate when both the Sonny Bono act and the DMCA passed, which likely means he voted for both. No matter, I’d accept a change of heart having seen the consequences. But I’d still be surprised if he had one.

UPDATE 2: More on Thompson’s voting record from Congressional Quarterly.

 
 

This Doesn’t Seem Right

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

You Are Most Like George W. Bush


So what if you’re not exactly popular? You still rule the free world.
And while you may be quite conservative now, you knew how to party back in the day!

Via Ronald Reagan, who is having a baby boy BTW. Go congratulate him.

 
 

Edwards

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

If John Edwards has to drop out of the campaign today, as appears to be the case, then I predict all of his support will go to Obama, who will become the likely nominee for the Democrats.

You read it here first. And even if you didn’t, tell everybody you did.

UPDATE: Apparently, this never posted when I wrote it [it was written when Edwards was announcing his wife’s reccurance of cancer, and was expected to drop out of the race. In any event, it appears Tony Blankly agrees with me, in a sense. Obama wins with Edwards out of the race. And Hillary likely wins otherwise.

 
 

Improving Excel

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

A friend of mine came up with some ideas for improving Microsoft Excel:

  • They should make it so you can option-scroll, and toggle whether it’s smooth or jumpy in the preferences
  • I would have mine set so that option-scrolling jumps whole columns, and default is smooth
  • Everyone else can just do it the old fashion way if that’s what turns them on.

Not sure I agree with them all, but there you have it.

 
 

Great Quote

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

Thomas Sowell made me laugh out loud this morning:

One of the dangers in being a demagogue is that some of your own supporters — those who take you literally — can turn against you when you start letting your actions be influenced by realities, instead of following the logic of your ringing rhetoric.

That should be etched in stone somewhere.

Read Thomas Sowell.

 
 

Repeal The DMCA

Monday, March 26th, 2007

The Wall Street Journal has a tech column called “Real Time”. In today’s edition, they just about call for the repeal of the DMCA. To me, this is significant. If columnists in mainstream newspapers, an industry which tends to support strict copyright laws no matter what the cost, are basically editorializing for the repeal of the DMCA, then it’s only a matter of time before some positive legislative steps are taken.

Here’s Real Time’s key conclusion:

Right now that clarity is sorely lacking, because no one involved in the making of current copyright law seems to speak for users like you and me. And that’s what’s so fundamentally infuriating about the Cablevision decision, the flap over Internet radio, the argument over Google Book Search, and the weekly Whack-a-Mole of YouTube takedowns. In each case, regular consumers who would benefit from new products or services have been reduced to voiceless bystanders, mutely watching parade after parade of litigious foolishness and cynical negotiations through lawsuits.

Who speaks for us when these laws are made and these cases come before judges? Why are we reduced to hoping the interests of a cable company, radio conglomerate or Internet giant temporary align with our own? How much more of this must we endure before some fairness is restored? And when that day finally arrives — if it does at all — what will we have lost?

I’ve long thought that the Republican party was the one to make these changes, because they’re not as strongly connected to Hollywood as the Democrats. And now that they’re out of power in congress, maybe they’ll come to their senses and start campaigning on something like this (Incidentally, Fred Thompson’s connections to Hollywood are a good reason to be suspect of his candidacy to be President).

In any event, read today’s Real Time.

More from Glenn Reynolds.
Yet more MSM railing against the DMCA (in print) noted by Boing Boing.

 
 

Rudy Giuliani

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

Rudy Giuliani launched his campaign:

I’ll prolly vote for him.

Visit JoinRudy2008.com

 
 

It’s Hard Not To Laugh

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

At the troubles faced by the music industry today. At the same time, it’s good to see some people in the industry are moving on…

In a dramatic acceleration of the seven-year sales decline that has battered the music industry, compact-disc sales for the first three months of this year plunged 20% from a year earlier, the latest sign of the seismic shift in the way consumers acquire music.

The sharp slide in sales of CDs, which still account for more than 85% of music sold, has far eclipsed the growth in sales of digital downloads, which were supposed to have been the industry’s salvation.[...]

Jeff Rabhan, who manages artists and music producers including Jermaine Dupri, Kelis and Elliott Yamin, says CDs have become little more than advertisements for more-lucrative goods like concert tickets and T-shirts. “Sales are so down and so off that, as a manager, I look at a CD as part of the marketing of an artist, more than as an income stream,” says Mr. Rabhan. “It’s the vehicle that drives the tour, the merchandise, building the brand, and that’s it. There’s no money.”

Emphasis mine.

As I said, it’s hard to feel sorry for these people.

Read the whole thing here.