Thursday, October 24, 2002

Jeff Bezos Can't Win

After years of being called a huckster, a money-burner, and a dot-com hype machine, today he was on Fox News' Neil Cavuto show to proudly talk about how well Amazon is doing. Neil Cavuto has just done a segment on how DC / Maryland / VA commerce has been devastated in the last three weeks by nobody going out of the home due to the sniper crisis. Neil Cavuto's lead in questions to Bezos? Something along the lines on whether Amazon has seen an upturn in the last 3 weeks in shipments to that area, and whether this kind of homeland terrorism would make Amazon a more profitable company since no-one wants to go out and shop.

Bezos quickly passed that over to talk about his company is executing well on the plans of selection, price, and shipment. "So Mr Bezos, Amazon is doing well. Are you dancing on the graves of DC booksellers?"

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Dad's Keyboard 7 Timezones Away


Dad called this afternoon, it must have been midnight over there. For what? His keyboard was not typing the letters he saw on the keys, and I had fixed that the last time I was over in July. I barely remembered what I did, but I talked him through setting his locality to NL, but his keyboard layout ot US English 101 in his properties. Since that went well, I also had to diagnose why he was getting no sound, ending up with teaching him how to make the sound icon appear in his task bar, setting the volume with the mouse, and using the special keys on his Compaq keyboard to adjust volume and mute. I told him this was a very expensive support call, he said not at all, if he wanted this support he would have to have someone come over for an hours minimum at 40 euros. I am kinda used to calls like these, my mother used to call me all the time to talk her through programming the VCR. Of course, that wasn't trans-atlantic.

Sometimes I have visions of standing in front of computer professionals and doing the Steve Balmer monkey dance, but yelling "USERS! USERS! USERS! USERS! USERS! USERS!" instead. I understand the sentiment of wanting to instill on a crowd something you think is incredibly vital: the identification of which population is the most underserved and is the key to getting the checks in the mail. In my case it is "USERS! USERS! USERS! USERS! USERS!"

Monday, October 14, 2002


So the new laptop came in from the insurance for the break in. Of course, the BestBuy claims handling dept.'s best match for our decrepit box comes in with a 30 gig disk, a 1400x1035 screen, and a 1.1 GHz chip. It's just a little overspecified to be our print server. A tad. I think Dean should migrate to it. Only problem is that this low-end Compaq laptop weighs plenty much.

Have to say that it was a joy to set up. Bright screen, and XP grew on me fast, actually. There's a very designed balance about its sensibilities: still cartoony like all WIMP environments are, but less superfluous 3D, less un-necessary constricting little black lines around everything, more letting solid colors function as boundaries. (In fact, it looks like Dean is migrating to it. The screen just renders text beautifully.) Tufte once wrote a tract for IBM of how he thought a WIMP environment should look. I think I could pummel XP into actually coming damn close to his vision.

Makes me want a big screen to work on too. The picturebook travels so well, but feels ... restricting. I can drive an external screen up 1600x1200 with it. Maybe I should get an LCD I ca attach to an arm on the wall in my little office corner in the room, so it can be swung out of the way when I am not working. Need more money. Then again LCDs be attached to standard VGA connectors?

New digicam came in too, the best they coukd patch my DSC-P1 with was a DSC-P7. O-kay!

Been reading Life of Riley, a webcomic influenced by Penny Arcade, but still finding its form. About as bad at gags as Penny A -- which is saying something -- but great mythical storyline. The kids in it make me want to partially dye my hair again. Feels ridiculois because a) my hairs is currently too short for foils, and foils is the only way to go for a good-looking partial job b) I am so past the station of a gaming kid starting out in adulthood that I think I'll end up looking like I am trying too hard c) can a lead integrator for a Nokia product group look like a gaming kid and still get people to take him seriously?

Christ, I need to be a researcher again. Industry is limiting my fashion choices.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Weekend FJ!!

Bought an MP3 player today (Their English site is down, so I had to link there). It does indeed need a special program to upload files to it, instead of just appearing as hard disk on the desktop and allowing drags. The management program is not obnoxious like OpenMG for Sony, the management program that decides to recode your MP3s to ATRAC before you can move them onto the Memory Stick for Stick walkmans. Meanwhile, audio dragged onto Sticks put into Sony's Palm machines play just fine. It totally turned me off a Memory Stick MP3 player, which I considered since my comp does Memory Sticks natively and I used them for my ex-camera.

I actually wanted the Nomad Muvo, which is a USB keychain drive that will just play MP3 files it finds. It needs no programs to upload data, and that would also make it a good floppy solution for my floppy-less Picturebook. But this iRiver 100 is cute and has a FM radio. 128MB internal, non upgradeable. I'll get to listen to radio statiosn again (my country kick will continue!) and load hard dance tracks to lift by.