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Monthly Archives: September 2008

The Wall Street bail out bill got rejected today, for better or for worse, as Bo and I were visiting the Capitol. Unfortunately we missed actually witnessing the vote take place on H.R.3997* while we were standing in line to get into the House of Representatives’ gallery. Representatives were scurrying around the building and gallery visitors rushed out after the vote. A small contingent of demonstrators dressed in pink were holding a noisy “Tax Revolt” outside. We saw democracy in action today. All in all a very good day to visit the legislative capital of the USA!

*A revised bill H.R. 1424 passed the floor a few days later.

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This is the challenge …

If you’ve ever wondered about the balance between intellectual property and public domain you might enjoy playing this theoretical game online: The Free Culture Game, A Playable Theory. Read More »

Some South Africans celebrate National Braai* Day on September 24th: We did so tonight in our own off-beat fashion with fish burgers grilled up on the Weber.

A couple of eggs, a bunch of fresh parsley chopped, a diced onion and a flaked can of tuna all folded into a firm, somewhat dry, batch of potato pancake mix. Roll into balls and flatten on the grill plate. Cook five minutes a side to make crisp cakes ready for the bun. Speaking of which, while gently warming the buns, whip the zest of lemon and a good squeeze of the juice into half a cup of good mayonnaise and then dress up both sides of the bun with this tangy sauce. Slide the fish burger pattie in between and enjoy!

Alternative endings: Substitute sardines, boneless and skinless, in oil, for the tuna if you enjoy the real taste of fish or flaked, smoked crab meat for a pretty awesome crab cake burger.

*Barbeque

The reasons might be many, but I’ve come to believe that there are just a few key overlapping issues which separate Adobe and Apple on the issue of Flash …

User Interface (UI): Adobe is developing its own cross-platform graphical user interface (GUI) for their applications which is different from Apple’s standard. Its a laudable and sensible thing for Adobe to be doing for end-users, but something which dilutes the value of Apple’s unique and easy to use interface. If the application UI between Wintel, Linux and Apple boxes are essentially the same there is less incentive to pay a premium for Apple hardware. Apple can’t like that much. There’s not much they can do about that on the Mac but they sure can spoil it spreading to the iPhone.

Bypassing the App Store: Since entire web applications and games can run in a Flash player inside a browser there will likely be fewer applications sold via the App Store — and less revenue for Apple. Worse though, since Flash would run those same apps on other phones and computers, this would dilute the uniqueness of the iPhone. Let’s face it, given the choice most developers would prefer to develop cross platform than for a single platform only.

Adding those two things together I can better see why Apple is pushing back on Flash — but of course I wish that they wouldn’t!

Suggested reading: Two years later the Wall Street Journal comes to a similar conclusion “Flash would also allow iPhone and iPad users to consume video and other entertainment without going through iTunes. Flash would let users freely obtain the kinds of features they can only get now at the Apple App Store.” To bypass WSJ’s paywall — at the time of writing — just Google “The Microsofting of Apple?” (with parenthesis) and you’ll find a link to the full version at WSJ’s site.

This is a geek project, to recover a few major parts from a scrap PC to make a clamp on cooler to chill a highly caffeinated beverage. The aim is to take a canned drink at room temperature and cool it in less than 5 minutes to a crisp, refreshing 8 degrees Celsius. Read More »

Apple’ Newton had a menuless select-cut-copy-paste mechanism …

September 3rd, 2008: It’s taken me an hour on the phone to AT&T’s support line to discover that AT&T is having a country wide outage on their 3G and Edge data networks! Your phone and SMS are likely still working, but Mail, Safari, Weather, Stocks, App Store etc. won’t.

Other blogs and AT&T forums confirm that the problem is prevalent in the North East.

If this problems has inconvenienced you too, you deserve a service refund. That plus the more it hurts AT&T to fix their network, hopefully the sooner they’ll get around to investing in it. Dial 611 on your iPhone, ask to speak with a customer representative and ask for a service credit in the amount of $25. You may get an argument along the lines of “your plan is $90 a month, therefore that’s worth about $3 a day. What would you say is fair?”. Explain that “in the absence of information posted at AT&T’s website, or the courtesy of receiving a service outage SMS from AT&T, something they could easily have done in a data outage, that you have spent frustrating hours troubleshooting your iPhone. What’s that worth? I’ll take the maximum $25 only because you can’t offer me more, or can you?”.

Suggested reading: Chicago Tribune’s AT&T wireless data network goes out in eastern half of U.S.; iPhones affected | Wired’s IPhone Users Report Network Outages; Second 3G Lawsuit Emerges | TechCrunch | And for a complete lack of any service adviseries, go to att.com/wireless | Justin McLachlan writes Apple and AT&T misrepresented the iPhone, says lawsuit |