The Internet Explorer 7 public beta has been released. First impressions? Slick, though slower than IE6 on equivalent hardware (although that may be due to debug code.) Mainly I see it as a catch-up play to the current browser king, Firefox. Actually, surprising how many Firefox features have been incorporated into IE7.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Thursday, January 26, 2006
While I’m no fan of Hamas, I can certainly understand why they did so well in the Palestinian election. Fatah (the current ruling party) is its own worst enemy. At best inept and at worst (more likely) a criminal enterprise that would make Tony Soprano blush, Fatah has does nothing for its constituents. While the same could be said of the Nazi party and Mussolini’s Fascists –hey, they did make the trains run on time- at least Hamas provides social services, doesn’t have the stink of corruption nor does it have the taint of running things further into the ground (amazingly even possible) that Arafat’s erstwhile party has.
So, here’s to hoping that there’s a silver lining to this dark cloud. It’s been said that nothing tempers a radical group like the requirement to actually govern. This maxim has proven to be patently untrue –as has every other political colloquialism- in the Middle East. Let’s hope (however futile) that the metaphorical Nixon can go to China on this one. (If that’s too obtuse for my readership, let me know & I’ll elaborate.)
Monday, January 23, 2006
I’m not a regular viewer of the Daily Show. As of late my right-leaning tendencies have been at odds with Mr. Stewart’s regular lampooning of the current administration. It’s not that I disagree; I just don’t need to be reminded of our country’s political incompetencies on a regular basis. To be fair, his show is on Comedy Central and not, say, CNN, but my idjit-box time is limited and I’d rather watch pure escapist drivel such as My Name is Earl on the DVR than the quasi-news/comedy shows -no matter how funny or topical. But I digress, the point I started out making is that I’ve been flipping channels and catching Mr. Stewart interviewing –on separate occasions- Former CIA Director James Woolsey and, today, Former Administrator Paul Bremer. Both are pitching books (Funding Evil and My Year in Iraq, respectively.) Both were engaging, witty and enjoyed an excellent rapport with Mr. Stewart. I was impressed by the level of the dialogue and only wished the interviews lasted longer. Way longer.
SIDEBAR: Why can’t my upstairs neighbor get a handle on the physics of toilet use? I’m getting tired of –literally- cleaning up his crap.
Friday, January 20, 2006
The phenomena of DVD sales and alternative channels (read: iTunes video sales) means that fans of marginally popular shows such as the erstwhile canceled Firefly, Family Guy and now Futurama can have a prospect of new material. It seems the key ingredient (besides quality) is low production and (re)startup costs. Cartoons fit the bill especially well because voice actors get paid a lot less than live-action actors and -well- cartoon characters don’t age. [Plug for a voice talent that I know here.] Mark my words (or any other media pundit, for that matter) the future is in these alternative channels. I’ve always maintained that the real reason George Lucas (AKA the Flannelled One) made the new Star Wars films is to foot the bill for a massive investment in digital filmmaking. Digital filmmaking is key to the future of low-cost, live action productions. Expect to see more of niche shows that have marginal followings on scheduled television slots but make up for the shortfall in the alternative channel.
ALSO: Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet deliver surprisingly soulful performances in A Lot Like Love.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Monday, January 16, 2006
As of late my infomania has directed its attention to the airline/aerospace industry. Those who know me know that I have always been fascinated by airplanes since an early age and, in fact, had dreams of being an aerospace engineer that were only thwarted by reality and my apparent lack of spatial reasoning ability. In particular, the blog enplaned is a fascinating read on the airplane/airline business. Some salient points that interest me at the moment:
- The upcoming Boeing 787 Dreamliner, by virtue of its all composite (read: plastic) construction will have a game changing customer experience. Think: panoramic windows (possible due to the higher strength of the fuselage) space-age design flourishes and –most importantly- a higher atmospheric pressure cabin (again, due to the higher strength of the composite fuselage) that will translate into higher cabin humidity levels and the attendant greater comfort and lower incidence of getting sick from the ride. Also, the plane’s efficiency should allow for lower ticket prices overall. I, for one, can’t wait.
- Contrary to those who look at the mess that is the domestic airline industry and point the finger of blame all the way back to the Carter administration’s deregulation -deregulation has been a good thing. As enplaned points out, the point of the whole exercise was to rescue the consumer. Who can argue that airplane travel has increased exponentially in the past quarter-century or so while inflation-adjusted prices have only gotten lower and lower? The relative health of the European market carriers only points to the looming shakeout they will experience as they deregulate –which is happening in fits and starts- and not the superiority of their business model.
- The Eclipse 500 VLJ (Very Light Jet) marches on towards getting its expected type certification this year. This plane is another game changer that, when certified, will be mass produced by the thousands. At a measly 1.5 mil a pop for a twinjet that seats 4 and flies from the tiny municipal airports that dot the landscape around this great country of ours, the dream of being able to charter an air taxi for a point to point trip to anywhere for about the price of a business-class seat is about to become a reality. Goto Dayjet or Pogo for reservations… Prediction: if this market takes off, expect Honda to jump in with its own mass-produced VLJ. For now, the market belongs to the aforementioned Eclipse and the Adam 700. Potential fly-in-the-ointment: the FAA’s creaking air-traffic control system may hobble the concept.
As you can tell, I’m juiced about the aerospace business. I firmly believe that aviation and aerospace –with the recent democratization of space access- will be a big growth area in the not too distant future. Credit goes to Rich Karlgaard and an article about Eclipse a few years ago (that I can't find anymore) for my resurgent interest in the field.
DULY NOTED: I've switched my blog posting toolkit to the (free) Blogger for Word add-in. Try it!
Monday, January 02, 2006
BLUE: In an odd premonition, our Betta, Blue, died last Thursday. Today I learn that Actor Patrick Cranshaw, who played Blue in Old School has passed. "You're my boy, Blue!" RIP.
SHOUT OUT to my "big sister" Wendy in Chitown. Vendela? what's with the guy holding the Beagle? Nu? (asked to the tune of Madonna playing Linda Richman's friend Liz Rosenberg.)