Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Tale Revealing the True Nature of Wives

A man wakes up in the hospital bandaged from head to foot. The doctor comes in and says, "Ah, I see you've regained consciousness". Now you probably won't remember, but you were in a huge pile-up on the freeway. You're going to be ok, you'll walk again and everything, but.... your penis was severed in the accident and we couldn't find it.

The man groans, but the doctor goes on, "You've got $9000 in insurance compensation coming and we now have the technology to build a new penis." They work great but they don't come cheap. It's $1000 an inch.

The man perks up. "So," the doctor says, "you must decide how many inches you want." But this is something you should discuss with your wife. If you had a five before and get nine now she might be a bit put out. If you had a nine before and you decide to only invest in five inches now, she might be disappointed. It's important that she plays a role in helping you make a decision.

The man agrees to talk it over with his wife. The doctor comes back the next day, "So, have you spoken with your wife?"

"Yes, I have," says the man.

"And has she helped you make a decision?"

"Yes," says the man.

"What is your decision?" asks the doctor.

"We're getting granite bench tops."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Apple is Bad. But . . .

OK, I don't like Apple. I used to, having cut my teeth on a ][e (how long since I typed that!) and admiring the young Jobs. But now their Evil Empire attitude & legions of zombie fanboys have put me right off. I don't want a fragile, sealed-in battery, sealed-in apps, iPod or iPhone even though I love the interface. So why am I just a little excited about Jan 27th? Why do I really want to see this tablet thingy? If that's what it is. Because I'm weak. And a geek. And there's still a little bit of hope that Jobs might slide a beautiful slate out of his envelope and announce that it's been tested for six months by carefully selected Violent Mountain Gorillas without being scratched or broken. And the battery comes out just here, where you put the SIM card in. And it will cost $399.95 in Australia. Tomorrow.

Or I could just go and get a quickpick in the Lotto. And a Guinness.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why the Kindle deserves to fail miserably

I really want an eBook reader. Trouble is, my concept of such a gadget is light-years away from the #1 seller, the insipid Kindle. Words fail me when I contemplate the stupidity of the Amazon business model - clearly inspired by Apple.


It's like PCs if we were forbidden to run any software that wasn't sold by Microsoft, or even to advise others on how to do it. According to Amazon I should have a Kindle to read their stuff, a Nook to read anything from Barnes & Noble, a Spring Design Alex (Nook-like but better) for Borders etc, et-bleeding-cetera.

Apart from a gazillion real books (roughly 7k?) I already have about 5000 e-books, in formats including ePub, pdf, cbz, cbr, txt, rtf, doc, html and probably others I can't recall. Many are from Gutenberg, or are articles rather than books, even more are out of print or unobtainable in any other format. And since I prefer paper, I've tried 2nd hand bookshops on line & locally. So what would be my ideal e-book reader?
  1. Screen big enough to read a magazine page at full size without scrolling.
  2. Full colour.
  3. Pages that turn as fast as paper, and by a similar motion, thus -
  4. Touch screen, preferably capacitive but I'll take resistive if I have to.
  5. Can run 'reader' software for the above formats, plus DRM protected files from ANY bookseller/publisher, thus -
  6. Windows 7 OS, though I'd be happy with Android or any flavour of Linux as long as it works.
Since more functions = more value for us geeks, I'd also like
  1. WiFi web browsing with a 3G option.
  2. Local storage by SDHC or SDXC (Can't believe SD cards are going to 1TB soon)
  3. HD video decoding with HDMI output.
Sounds to me like a netbook in a tablet format with an 11" or 12" screen? Battery life doesn't greatly concern me. I already have solar and wind-up rechargers and would rarely use it far from power anyway. The screen can be LCD, Pixel Qi, OLED or whatever. Couldn't care less as long as I can read it (modern LCDs don't seem to cause any problems). So what are my chances? Is that too big an ask? Should I get a 2nd hand netbook on ebay and start modding it? The only thing I'm sure of is that the Kindle and its proprietary, restrictive, monochrome ilk don't tempt me in the slightest.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Merry Madness - or - Gift Guzzling

Ah, the Curse of Christmas is past, the guests - having arrived early and left late - are gone and the wrappings are in the bin. I'd thought the stories about parents buying masses of gifts were a bit of a beat-up until Der Tag. You could have wrapped a tennis court with the paper alone. Kids of 4, 2 (almost) and 6 months? I swear the gift-piles were larger than the kids - really! Never mind that most of it made no impact, created little interest and was discarded in favour of boxes and wrapping to play with. Babies do not need or benefit from this expensive junk.

On the other hand, Think Geek (unpaid plug) provided the usual range of tasteless and yet usable gifts for me offspring. The matching bathmat and shower curtain in white with 'Psycho' style footprints, splatters, hand-prints and streaks in a sort of blood red. The Star Trek 'red-shirt' t-shirt with Expendable thereon. Gifts to cherish and remember.