Critical Section


Wednesday,  07/30/03  10:44 PM

Charles Krauthammer in Time: The Sleepy Superpower Awakes.  An interesting discussion about the changing military strategy of the world's only superpower post-9/11.

Steven Den Beste is in rare form considering fanmail from flounderers:

"Well, let's try a little thought experiment.  Let's schedule a debate, and invite a lot of voters.  The first speaker stands up and makes a case for one position, laying out his explanation of why the problem happened, and then saying what he thinks needs to be done to solve it, and explaining why he thinks it will help.  Then he sits down.  His opponent, on the left side of the stage, stands up, grins at the audience, and pulls his pants down and moons the first speaker.  He then returns his pants to their customary position and returns to his seat.  End of debate.  If the audience was not partisan ahead of time, which advocate is more likely to have convinced them?"

I love it.

Here's a strange feedback loop...  The Houston Chronicle reports: "Global warming, which most climate experts blame mainly on large-scale burning of oil and other fossil fuels, is interfering with efforts in Alaska to discover yet more oil."  [ via collision detection ]

Clay Shirkey ponders the backchannel.  "It doesn't matter if the Wifi backchannel is a bad idea; it's not going away."  I had the exact same reaction he did to the famous "calculators in school" debates, and I have the exact same reaction he does to the WiFi backchannel.  It is what it is - move along.

John Robb thinks AOL's new strategy is a lot like Time Warner's old strategy - exemplified by the famous pathfinder.com debacle.  "For those that don't remember Pathfinder circa 1996, it was an attempt by Time Inc. to bundle and repurpose all of its media properties into a single destination site.  It was a monumental failure.  Its return in AOL 9.0 is testament to the evaporation of AOL's braintrust."

Dave Winer: What changed with RSS?  "Okay, so RSS needs defenders and explainers.  Good news, it has them."  This is the kind of thing Dave is talking about: How to Create an RSS Feed With Notepad, a Web Server, and a Beer.  I suggest Heineken Dark.  Meanwhile, Mark Pilgrim gives an Atom API primer.  Although I think Pie -> [N]Echo -> Atom is getting another new name...

Dave also claims to be working on an the long-delayed unified spec for the MetaWeblog API.  Excellent.  As someone who has tried to code for it, I could have used it.  Heck, by the time I was done, I could have written it, and almost did :)

Ottmar Liebert has experience with the Sony Glasstron I blogged about: "I thought the image quality wasn't very good - you could see the pixels - and using it made my stomach queasy!"  So be it, another device ahead of its time, technology-wise...

the PrismiqHere's another cool gadget: the Prismiq.  "Play MP3s and video files, view photos, stream Internet radio, chat with friends, and browse the Web - all from the comfort of your home entertainment center."  Can anyone seriously doubt that this type of device will be part of every TV at some point in the near future?  [ via PVRBlog ]

Canesta light keyboardAnd here's another technology of the near future: the Canesta light keyboard.  This addresses the biggest UI restriction of handheld devices; you could easily imagine this type of keyboard becoming part of every 'phone and PDA.  It might not have the same tactile feedback as a "real" keyboard, but it is much better than a little teeny thumbboard.

BW ponders Verizon's Gutsy Bet.  We're talking fiber to the home, the last mile.  "'This is not a trial.  It's a deployment,' says Bruce S. Gordon, president of Verizon's consumer division.  'The decision has been made, and it will happen.  There's no going back.'"  Excellent.  There may be a day when cable modems and DSL seem as anachronistic as, well, dial-up modems.

Meanwhile, Cox tests Internet Phone Service.  "Cox Communications will begin testing different voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) telephone subscription plans later this year."  Yeah, I bet VOIP will work great once we have fiber to the home :)  So will multiplayer gaming.

Wrapping up, from the WSJ we have the latest trend: spotting trends!  I am not making this up.  "Suppose that all of a sudden, everyone, everywhere stopped following trends.  Would that in itself constitute a trend?"  How the heck did we keep up with all these trends - like avoiding trends - before the Internet :)

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