Monday, February 15, 2010
The Headline Says It All, ...
... especially when you remember that, in 2001, "Loaded, Hijacked Passenger Jets Hit Targets, Intentionally Killing 3,000 Innocent Civilians:" "NATO rockets miss target, kill 12 Afghan civilians."
The same, non-American parties are responsible for all these deaths.
Genie Out, Apple Trying to Cork Bottle
Regarding the recently released Apple iPad which seems to this author to have gone down in flames*, I recall two essays by venture capitalist/software coder Paul Graham. Together, they explain why a company would even consider releasing a device lacking such things as USB ports and the ability to play YouTube videos.
First, in "Apple's Mistake," an essay about the iPhone App Store software approval process, he writes:
They treat iPhone apps the way they treat the music they sell through iTunes. Apple is the channel; they own the user; if you want to reach users, you do it on their terms.Second, in "Why TV Lost," about how television networks misjudged the opportunities presented by the emergence of the Internet, he elaborates on what is wrong with the "broadcast" business model:
One predictable cause of victory [of four --ed] is that the Internet is an open platform. Anyone can build whatever they want on it, and the market picks the winners. So innovation happens at hacker speeds instead of big company speeds.And later,
After decades of running an IV drip right into their audience, people in the entertainment business had understandably come to think of them as rather passive.Has all the adulation Apple usually gets from its customers similarly caused it to regard them as ready for anything it puts out? Perhaps this is why, in this day and age, Apple is apparently trying to graft the television broadcast business model onto the new media.
A self-described "working mom" describes her reaction to this particular misreading of the consumer electronics market:
... I am not buying any device that is intended to become my primary media consumption tool when it won't display most video that exists online, or that someone might want or need to show me. That would be nuts. I get that Apple wants to force everyone to begin offering an Apple video alternative online, along with or instead of Flash-based video, but I am not going to spend $600 or more to be their consumer battering ram on this issue. If I spend that much money on a piece of technology which is primarily designed as a way for me to look at things online, I darn well better be able to see ALL the video that's out there, and see it easily and without hassle.So far, the answer to my earlier question about the iPad would appear to be "nowhere fast."
* Update: Commenter Adam points out that my use of the past tense is a little bit premature: "I agree with your thoughts on the iPad, but it hasn't been released yet, so I don't think it's fair to say it has gone down in flames."
That said, if Apple has any sense, it will make a few changes before release.
This Might Get Interesting
Last Friday, neurobiologist Amy Bishop gunned down several colleagues, three fatally, after a faculty meeting. News reports made it sound like she had just been denied tenure, but that was actually old news. She was denied tenure in April and was completing her terminal year at University of Alabama, Huntsville.
What I found disturbing, on top of her previous record, was the fact that she seemed successful in her research, and yet apparently she still may have had enough personality problems to be denied tenure anyway. (That would be saying something for a scientist.)
... Dr. Bishop was a respected scientist who nevertheless had trouble getting along with colleagues. As members of the biotechnology program, students have to pass core classes in biology, chemistry and chemical engineering. But Dr. Bishop became convinced, he said, that the chemical engineering professors were trying to keep biology students from succeeding by making the classes too difficult.On the one hand, many scientists are socially awkward, and this could just be the New York Times looking for whatever red flags it could find that should have tipped people off earlier to the fact that Bishop was mentally unstable, but on the other hand, she could just as easily have been someone UAH would have liked to get rid of long before last April.
"It was one of those things that ultimately became irrational with her, in my opinion," Dr. [Krishnan] Chittur said.
Some students also had problems with Dr. Bishop's teaching style, saying she simply read from the book in class but then tested them on material that she had not covered.
She was "very socially awkward with students" and never made eye contact during personal conversations...
... She was involved in an effort to censure the university president, David B. Williams, over that and other policies, according to Richard Lieu, a Distinguished Professor of Astrophysics at the university who sits on the Faculty Senate.
If the latter turns out to be the case, one fertile question may be this: Why wasn't she shown the door long ago? Another fertile question, on why she was not even charged for fatally shooting her brother in 1987, is already being asked.
Neither Jacksonian Democrat Nor Conservative
While Democrats try to tell themselves that Barack Obama's recent electoral disasters simply reflect the disaffections of "Jacksonian" Democrats, and Republicans seem to think they can absorb the movement into the GOP, this movement is looking like trouble for the incumbent Republican governor of Texas.
Could the Republican primary for Governor in Texas end up in a runoff between Rick Perry...and Debra Medina? Medina is coming on strong and polls now at 24%, just four points behind Kay Bailey Hutchison's 28%. Perry continues to hold a double digit advantage at 39%.Further success on Medina's part could lead to a runoff with Rick Perry, despite his earlier populist noise about secession.
Worth noting is the fact that Perry's secessionist babbling came right around the time the Tea Party Movement was being felt in Texas, and that the tea partiers apparently haven't just snapped up the bone that Perry was obviously tossing their way. I guess that for whatever they lack in explicit understanding of the philosophical basis for limited government, they at least partially make up for it in not being so easily fooled..
Update: Dismuke comments on Medina:
Actually, your news article on Medina was written just before she had a DISASTROUS interview with Glenn Beck in which she hesitated and refused to answer when asked if she thought the 911 truther movement (which holds that the World Trade Center collapse was a US government plot) had credibility.Here's a link. Medina sinking in the next poll would lend support to my point.
Update 2: A look at the Medina website -- linked in comments -- indicates that she is a social conservative candidate with a poor understanding of the nature of property rights.
Today: (1) Corrected section on Apple iPad. (2) Added update to article on Texas Republican gubernatorial primaries.
2-16-10: Added additional note on Debra Medina.