It Won’t Sharpen Your Knives, But It Will Answer Your Questions

I love the way attempts to recommend things for me to buy based on other things I’ve bought or looked at or things that other people have bought. I love it not because it’s useful but because it occasionally produces comical results. For example, here’s one of today’s helpful suggestions, generated after I looked at the knife sharpener on the left some weeks ago:

Essay About Apple

There’s an essay here that discusses (at some length) a point I’ve started ranting about to anyone who will listen to me: Apple seems to have adopted an active strategy of gradually excluding third-party developers. It’s a strategy that I can understand in some sense, but I believe it’s not a good one for Apple. (Consider, for instance, the legal complaints filed against Microsoft over their bundling of applications with the Windows operating system. These complaints are generally based upon the argument that such practices are anti-competitive. However, while it is still entirely possible to write a third-party media-playback app for Windows, it is not possible to write third-party apps for the iPhone, iPod, or Apple set-top box.) Obviously it’s not a good one for people such as myself who make their living in part by writing software for Apple’s computers. On the other hand, once you notice that most of their money is being made not by selling computers, and then you recall that they dropped the word “Computer” from the name of the company recently, it’s all fairly self-consistent. read more

Audio Damage Releases Fluid

Yes, another goofy title; but yes, another new Audio Damage product. This one’s called Fluid. It’s a chorus plug-in for creating those larger-than-life stereo effects. Chorus plug-ins are usually rather anemic and dull-sounding, but this one is something special (if I may say so myself). Read about it, see a screen shot, hear audio demos and buy at its product page here on the Audio Damage site.

More Leek Abuse

It was nearly a year ago that I posted an entry here about the enigmatic animation of someone singing and twirling a leek. Through the odd evolutionary forces of the web, we now have a new version from Japan, sung by voice-synthesis software:

Thanks go to MusicThing for this; the original post with some amount of explanation is here.

Photo Gallery Back Up

My photo gallery is back online. I took it down awhile ago because it got hacked and finally got around to patching it up today. It’s still a little rough around the edges but it should all work. I have disabled the comment mechanism altogether because I don’t trust it. (The authors of Gallery go on at great length about how secure their software is, but the fact remains that my installation of it was hacked.)

You can reach it by clicking here or clicking the handy Photo Gallery link under the heading Adam’s Stuff in the right-hand column of this page. read more

Troubleshooting a Really Obscure Windows XP Problem

Lest I give the erroneous impression that Apple is the sole source of my computer woes, I spent all day (fairly literally) yesterday troubleshooting my main PC after what should have been a simple hardware upgrade went awry. I purchased a new graphics card and a new sound card. The graphics card went in without a hitch and dazzled me with both its performance and its nearly inaudible fan. After convincing myself that all was well so far, I put in the sound card.

I still don’t know exactly what I did wrong. It could have been that I connected the cables for the front-panel jacks and the CD drive incorrectly. It could have been that the new card collided in some manner with the motherboard’s native audio hardware or the serial-port card I use for microprocessor firmware development. (I’ve since removed both.) It could have been some weird fluke. read more

Apologies I’d Like from Steve Jobs

I’m faintly non-plussed by the flap over the price cut of the iPhone. If you consider the price reduction of $200 in the face of the $3000 required to operate the phone for two years, it’s a less than 10% drop. If you were dumb enough to lay down $600 for a cell phone in the first place, well, I don’t have much pity for you, I’m afraid.

But that aside, Steve Jobs making a public apology for the change was an interesting event. Does it mean that we can look forward to more apologies from Steve when Apple screws their customers in various ways?Here are some issues with Apple products which I believe are far more significant for which I never received any apology: read more