Critical Section


Saturday,  08/13/05  08:33 PM

Hey, guess what?  I'm becoming more popular!  Yay!  Nothing is more annoying than naked self-congratulation, so let's see if I can make a real point out of this.  My blog hits have been climbing, and more interestingly the hits on my RSS feed have increased, too.  Either more people are discovering this blog or maybe there's just a sort of rising tide effect, where there are more people reading blogs in general, and therefore at random more of them end up here.  Weird.  Anyway thanks for dropping by and reading.  This is an ego-driven blog, I write for me and you!

oil prices in real dollarsSteve Verdon points out that we are experiencing record inflation, but we are not experiencing record old prices.  "Sure it is a record in nominal dollars, but this is like looking at your paycheck and saying you are rich because you are earning so much more than you did 25 years ago.  You see, 25 years ago the price of oil was just under $40/barrel.  So what is $40 from 1980 worth today?  Ninety four dollars and 42 cents."  (According to this graph, during 1978-1986 oil prices were higher than today.)  Of course he's right, but I must say I think we are going to be experiencing record oil prices "soon".  We have a finite resource, the supply of which is decreasing, and the demand of which is increasing.  You do that math.  [ via Megan McArdle ]

Of course I have to point out as I always do, the nuclear option is our best option.

Christopher Hitchens wonders if the left really wants us to lose the war.  "There is a sort of unspoken feeling, underlying the entire debate on the war, that if you favored it or favor it, you stress the good news, and if you opposed or oppose it you stress the bad.  I do not find myself on either side of this false dichotomy."  Indeed.  Let the truth out, and it is what it is.  Of course this ignores the unpleasant fact that people vote based on perceptions rather than reality.

I love Australian Prime Minister John Howard.  He isn't fooled, and sets a reporter straight.  "Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq.  And I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq."  Fire on 'em, John!

Talk about a setup line: California beach boast world's pickiest females.  This would be fiddler crab females.  In my experience, human females in California are considerably less picky :)

My recent positive experiences watching OLN's coverage of the 2005 Tour de France have reinforced for me how great it will be when we have iTunes for movies.  I've always been one to say people consume video differently from audio.  You can listen to music anywhere and when you're doing other things, but watching video you do in your family room, in a dedicated way.  I'm starting to think that isn't quite right.  I've watched quite a bit of the Tour on my computer, while working.  (Maybe "listened" rather than "watched" would be the right verb, except that of course when something happens you can back up and watch.)  An awful lot like the way I consume baseball; I Tivo the game, and watch it while I'm working or blogging or something.

I'm really sure Apple is going to do this.  They aren't dumb, and they're in the catbird seat to make it happen.  Only question is when?  Will it be this winter?  I think so, but that could just be wishful thinking :)

super-hearing aidThis is pretty cool and entirely expected: Hearing Aids for the Unimpaired.  "Technology may soon give us superhuman hearing, recorders that prompt names at cocktail parties, and even ear devices that look fashionable."  Of course the trend is going to continue, the same technology which corrects deficiencies in our senses can also enhance them beyond normal.  Soon we'll have glasses with a heads' up display inside them, fed via bluetooth from your personal computer (which is also your mobile phone).  We'll have hearing aids which let you hear across the room, translate from foreign languages, recognize people, etc., again connected to your personal computer.  Does anyone really doubt this will happen?  In the next ten years, even?  Of course it will!  What a great time to be alive.

A lot of the information you'll see inside your glasses or hear in your ear will come from Google.  People are doing the coolest things with Google Maps, such as combining them with U.S. census information.  Want to know how many people live on a given block?  Now you can.  [ via Cory Doctorow ]

Denny Wilson, aka Grouchy Old Cripple, uncorks a rant.  (And when he rants, he rants.)  With which I completely agree, by the way.  [ via acidman, who agrees, too... ]

Seems Clive Thompson agrees with me about the uselessness of the space shuttle: Houston, we have a problem.  Indeed.

The other day I noted Andrew Grumet's comparison of the iPod Mini to the Zen Micro.  FastCompany has an interesting article about the companies trying to compete with the iPod.  "The iPod -- with its sublime design, intuitive usability, and unparalleled cool quotient -- set a new standard by which all other MP3 players would be judged.  Six rivals talk about designing their answer to an icon."  A classic example of a failed strategy comes from the Sony product manager; her first line is "At Sony, we believe what customers really want is choice."  WRONG.  No customer wants choice, they just want the perfect product.  Choice is what you do when you can't design one product which is perfect for everyone.

Dave Winer: Why the customer is always right.  He's right :)  Seriously, the market is always right.  That's why it is silly to argue that the iPod isn't a great product.

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