Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Pacific NW weather this summer

Summer weather this season, courtesy Weather Underground. With the absence of any days in the 90's in Seattle (though several were close), and no days in the 100's in Portland, along with unusually mild May and June weather, overall this would be considered one of the "cooler" summers.

Portland 2005:

Days in 80's: (May: 2; June: 3; July: 11; August: 15; Sept: 4)

Days in 90's: (May: 1; June: 0; July: 7; August: 7; Sept: 0)

Highest temp the whole season (August 4th): 96

Precip (inches): (May: 3.81; June: 1.79; July: 0.41; August: 1.05; Sept: 1.68)

Seattle 2005:

Days in 80's: (May: 2; June: 0; July: 9; August: 12; Sept: 0)

Days in 90's: (May: 0; June: 0; July: 0; August: 0; Sept: 0)

Highest temp the whole season (August 14th): 88

Precip (inches): (May: 3.32; June: 1.63; July: 1.03; August: 0.29; Sept: 0.41)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Nano Nano

Mork may not have trademarked "Nano," but how is it that Creative didn't when they released their Zen Nano Plus back in April 2005?

Along comes the iPod nano almost six months later and... nothing, no controversy. Could it possibly be because one is capitalized and the other isn't?

If I was, say, Mazda, could I make a Mazda prius and not upset Toyota? I don't think so. Could Creative have been so stupid as to not protect the name? Perhaps, for some reason, they couldn't? Is "nano" in the public domain?

I'm sure the matter has been vetted by Apple's legal team, so there must be something basic here that I'm misunderstanding.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Bloglines Plumber

So I logged on to Bloglines tonight and received the following, which was so cute that I didn't even mind that Bloglines was down for maintenance:

I'm the Bloglines Plumber. Bloglines is down for scheduled maintenance. We will be back at 10:15PM Pacific Time, Friday Sept 9, 2005. Bloglines will be all better when I'm done with it.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Doing the Smart Shuffle

Quoteth Paul Thurrott on Internet Nexus:

I've written several times in the past that, contrary to the stated goals of the products, the shuffle algorithm employed by Apple in its iPod portable audio players is not even close to being random. A number of readers have written in about this, with a few defending Apple's "randomness," while the majority have expressed similar experiences to mine. Now, in iTunes 5.0, Apple seems to be throwing in the towel. One of the new features of this release is Smart Shuffle, which lets you set the "randomness" of iTunes' shuffle feature on a sliding scale. So let me ask you something. If it was "random" to begin with, why was this feature needed?

I'm not sure why that feature needs explanation, since it gives itself away: "Smart Shuffle allows you to control how likely you are to hear multiple songs in a row by the same artist or from the same album." In other words, with iTunes 5.0 you can set it to be effectively less random than before by having it check to make sure that the song about to be played by luck-of-the-draw isn't one related to the song just played, either by artist or album. At least to the extent that is possible given the set of songs. Is it so hard to imagine that before such a feature existed you would easily get adjacent songs that were related?

Incidentally, I would have simply left this as a comment on his blog, but he doesn't have that feature enabled, even though the software he uses, Blogger, has a word verification feature that easily eliminates comment spam. I suppose any question he poses is thereby rhetorical, but oh well. Also, email sent to the address posted on the site bounces with a "554 Sorry, message looks like SPAM to me" message.

Major Disasters of Bush Administration A-Z

We learn something every day. This week, courtesy of The Daily Show, I learned that the Bush administration is taking its missteps alphabetically, with a plague of locusts being next up.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Bloglines on the mend?

Quoteth Bloglines about the recent problems with some feeds not updating in a timely fashion when read through Bloglines. I hope this does the trick:

Feeds Not Being Crawled
We have discovered a problem with our RSS crawlers that caused many feeds to not be crawled. The issue started yesterday morning after one of the crawler machines crashed. We have fixed the problem, and all feeds should be crawled within the next two hours. We apologize for the problem, and continue to work on improving the Bloglines system. Thu, 1 Sep 2005 22:00:00 PST

Microsoft Vista's ties to Pearl Harbor and Nagasaki

Quoteth Paul Thurrott in Wininfo:

Microsoft now plans to ship Windows Vista Beta 2 on December 7, 2005, about three weeks later than the last schedule I obtained….

…Microsoft currently plans to release Windows Vista to manufacturing on August 9, 2006, and make the product broadly available by November 15, 2006.

Not that I’m normally overly suspicious, but two of the dates in this article—which purports to be a leaked schedule revealing the timeline of Microsoft’s upcoming “Longhorn” operating system now called Vista—jumped out at me. The dates are far enough in the future that there’s a certain arbitrariness about them; they could have chosen any other nearby dates without making a whit of difference, yet we have Pearl Harbor and “Fat Man” Nagasaki, on December 7 and August 9, respectively.

What does it say about Microsoft that it schedules the two most important dates in the product’s development (Beta 2 and Release To Manufacturing) to two of the most decisive bombing missions in world history? The first effectively starting WWII (for America) and the second effectively ending it.

Could Microsoft be a little confident, perhaps? Maybe trying to make a statement?

Shock and awe.