Archive for July, 2009

Tanning Beds “As Deadly as Arsenic”

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

The International Agency for Research on Cancer yesterday moved UV tanning beds and ultraviolet radiation to its highest cancer risk category, removing any ambiguity about their threat by labelling them “carcinogenic to humans.”

Living on Long Island and the Jersey Shore has opened my eyes to the incredible number of people willing to risk cancer for a short-term aesthetic benefit.

Possible Microsoft Store Concept Leaked

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Microsoft’s very real brick-and-mortar stores are not too far off now, and it looks like Gizmodo got its hands on a Powerpoint presentation purportedly from “design and brand strategy” consultant firm Lippicott for how these retail outlets might turn out. The presentation overall is reminiscent of Apple’s stores, complete with its own “Answer Bar” for troubleshooting.

The designs look both legit and appealing, but still raise the question “Why?” Bryan Chaffin explains just how Microsoft is setting itself up for failure:

For one thing, Microsoft doesn’t have a lot of stuff to sell. Microsoft is, at its core, a company built around two products: Windows and Office. Yes, there is Xbox and peripherals like mice and keyboards, but the vast majority of the company’s business comes from Windows and Office, and having its own retail locations won’t help peddle these products.

In comparison, Apple has iPods and Macs and iPhones it can sell, and that’s a big part of why Apple’s retail locations have been so materially profitable for the company.

The other major purpose the Apple Store serves for Apple is as a base of operations to educate consumers. Apple needed high-profile locations to show off its products in the hands of employees under its control, that it trained.

Those are simply problems Microsoft has never had.

Leonid Afremov

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Flickr photostream from one of my favorite present-day impressionist painters, Leonid Afremov.  Absolutely beautiful.

Would someone please fix the music business?

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Bigger than my frustrations with the bloated iTunes application is the distribution of revenue. Put succinctly: my money currently goes to assholes I don’t care about. [...] A $9.99 iTunes purchase gives 56% to the label, 30% to iTunes, and a paltry 14% to the artist.

That’s right, for my iTunes purchase, [the artist] gets $1.40, while Apple gets $3.00 and Columbia gets $5.59. [...] Call me crazy, but I think this is completely backwards. Given the ease of getting music for free, purchasers of music should have more say in how their monies are distributed.

The Last Days of Scary Go Round

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

This is a brief announcement to say that Scary Go Round will be ending in September. [...] If your claw-like fingers are rending your clothes to rags as we speak, I would ask you to be calm. I have a new project in mind and, like the transition from Bobbins to Scary Go Round back in 2002, it won’t all be new, all different. I could probably have got away with making the change with no fanfare at all and kept the name the same.

Scary Go Round, a fantastically creative comic strip by the talented John Allison, has been a staple of laughter, encouragement, and imagination since I began reading it over four years ago.

Apple has 91% market share for…

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Apple has 91% market share for $1000+ PCs. ( The only market they haven’t claimed is low-end PCs, which they don’t make.

“La La Lie” by Jack’s Mannequin

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

From their 2005 album Everything in Transit (iTunes):

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Added a “Like” option to posts…

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Added a “Like” option to posts on; notably did NOT add a “Dislike” option, because you would be far too enamored with it.

This dentist office is fancier…

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

This dentist office is fancier than Starbucks, and it serves coffee too. Isn’t that, uh, bad for your teeth?

Trailer for District 9

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Thirty years ago, aliens made first contact with Earth. Humans waited for the hostile attack, or the giant advances in technology. Neither came. Instead, the aliens were refugees, the last survivors of their home world. The creatures were set up in a makeshift home in South Africa’s District 9 as the world’s nations argued over what to do with them. Now, patience over the alien situation has run out.

(Synopsis from IMDB)

Charging for Access to News Sites

Monday, July 20th, 2009

I wish [news sites] good luck with this, and I mean that sincerely, but I believe this is a fundamentally flawed strategy. People bought (and continue to buy) real paper newspapers and magazines because it feels like you’re getting something worth the price. A real physical object.

John Gruber hits the nail on the head, as usual.  I also like his end quote from Upton Sinclair:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

Anybody interested in a slight…

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Anybody interested in a slightly used, well-loved 3rd-generation iPod (20GB)? I’m using it as a paperweight and don’t have a lot of paper.