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Nincompoop of the week: Acer creator Stan Shih

September 9, 2010

Via Electronista:

Apple’s products are “mutant viruses” that need to be cured, Acer’s creator Stan Shih claimed to reporters late Wednesday. Shih saw Steve Jobs’ insistence on revolutionary hardware as creating rampant but short-term growth for devices like the iPad and iPhone. While initially successful, the approach would eventually be defeated by competition that “evolves naturally” and becomes “immune” to the Apple effect, the executive insisted.
Desperation.
Cannibalization is a bitch.
Also, the very logic in those beliefs seems nonexistent.  Come again … Apple’s products are “mutant viruses” that need to be cured.
What does that even mean?
The news article goes on to point out (partially clarifying the “mutant viruses” thing):
He trotted out the repeated example of the Mac and implied that it was marginalized in a similar process. Supporting an “open” platform like Windows helped competitors evolve to be larger than Apple. A similar effect happened with VHS versus Sony’s in-house Betamax format, Shih said. The executive assumed Android was having a similar result and would help “isolate” Apple.
This is an oft-used juxtaposition (the olde Mac vs. PC operating system platform war that eventually marginalized the Mac as a niche, boutique computing alternative), fast evolving into a wet firearm — especially because Apple reversed their policy guidelines today to allow third-party development tools for iPhone developers.  As of September 9, 2010, iOS has become so much less a closed platform for existing and potential developers it’s not even funny.
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Thank you, James Jay Lee

September 1, 2010

For fucking up my commute today.

And get this — according to a DCist post dated to February 22, 2008:

James Jay Lee, the man better known only as “Lee”, organizer of a lengthy protest against The Discovery Channel, has been arrested by Montgomery County police. Lee appears to have spent thousands of dollars in advertising his protest plans in publications such as the Express and hiring homeless people to beef up his presence in front of the cable network’s Silver Spring headquarters.

WJLA reported that Lee was arrested yesterday on charges of littering and disorderly conduct. The littering charge may have stemmed from Lee reportedly having literally thrown money at people on the street so that they would gather around his protest site on Georgia Ave.

It’s hard not to suspect at this point that Lee, 40, is at least to some degree mentally disturbed, so we hope this arrest leads to him getting some help. At the very least, it appears as though he has the financial means to take care of his legal troubles.

Er, apparently, he never got any of that help.  Roughly two years later, he walks into the Discovery Communications building with either an explosive device or a gun and holds several employees hostage.

According to Dan Morse and Christian Davenport‘s Washington Post article hyperlinked above, Lee’s list of 11 demands (seen here) to Discovery Channel is prefaced and contextualized by the following Post-quoted savetheplanetprotest.com excerpt, a domain that is registered under his name:

All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions […] In those programs’ places, programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility must be pushed. All former pro-birth programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth, not encouraging it.

Ehhh, hm?

Here’s my personal favorite:

World War II had 2 Billion humans and after that war, the people decided that tripling the population would assure peace. WTF??? STUPIDITY! MORE HUMANS EQUALS MORE WAR!

Wait, no, I think we have a new contender:

For every human born, ACRES of wildlife forests must be turned into farmland in order to feed that new addition over the course of 60 to 100 YEARS of that new human’s lifespan! THIS IS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE FOREST CREATURES!!!! All human procreation and farming must cease!

Must … save … the … forest … pixies.

Soooooo … a number of Discovery Communications employees’ lives are dependent on the fulfillment of these exceptionally cogent demands?  I can just imagine a Montgomery County Police negotiator on the phone with Lee right now:

“Mhmm, gotcha, lemme write this down, mhmm, ‘parasitic human infants,’ gotcha.  No more false heroics, OK, got it jotted down here.  New era of human sterilization, gotcha … more than just your typical vasectomy, right.  Mhmm.  New race of eunuchs … copy that.  Save planet from global warming, check.  Prepare for 2012, Armageddon, writing … that … down … now too.  Wait, pen ran out of ink, lemme get another one.  OK, go on.  Mhmm, fix immigration problem, overpopulation, reverse economic recession by 6 PM Eastern Standard Time, gotcha.  World peace, mhmm, go on.  Prevent the extinction of the Forest Pixies, gotcha.  Alright Mr. Lee well we’ll get right on it.  My people call your people in 5?”

Clearly, this should have never happened.  But that’s beside the point.  Hindsight is always excruciatingly 20/20 and no one’s really to blame.

This afternoon, I merely loathe being a downtown Silver Spring resident, partly because it’ll be a bitch getting home.

Update: As reported by The Washington Post, James J. Lee was shot and killed at 4:48 p.m. yesterday afternoon.  The erstwhile hostages remain unharmed.

I wonder who’s going to direct the inevitable film adaptation.  Dog Day Afternoon Redux, anyone?

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Brian Lam(poons) Himself via Twitter

August 23, 2010

As you likely know by now, Gizmodo editor Brian Lam locked his twitter account today:

This would have been real karma: the lady who found his phone would have realized what she’d got her hands on, then offered his phone to the highest-bidding (and least scrupulous) media outlet willing to pay for it.

After the transaction, whoever paid out the most for Lam’s phone would have dissected it, then posted photos and videos of the aftermath online. Next, they would have posted all of Lam’s contact info on their site, opening him to ridicule and jeopardizing his career. As a final indignity, they then would have sent a letter to Lam’s lawyer assuring that he’d get the (now broken) phone back as long as he publicly admitted it was his phone.

That would have been karma.

If you think it was idiotic of Mr. Lam to post such a tweet, it’s because he’s an idiot.

[via Daring Fireball]

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Schadenfreude High of the Day: RootMusic's BandPage Application for Facebook May Mark the Death of MySpace

July 20, 2010

Rebecca Dirks of Premier Guitar’s June 2010 issue:

If you have a band, there’s a good chance you’re still on MySpace, despite countless reasons to ditch the dying social network.  For starters, music profiles were not included in the site’s 2.0 redesign in 2008, leaving musicians to navigate the same clunky, outdated layout the site launched with […]  When RootMusic (rootmusic.com) launched its BandPage Facebook application in March, it seemed like the answer for musicians looking to migrate to the wildly popular social networking site.

You can bet that my younger brother and I will happily create a BandPage profile for Child of the 20th (our side project) within the next week, especially now that a handsome and dynamic new Facebook-friendly alternative is available. 

My only trepidant caveat-within-a-question is: What social networking site will fulfill the role of effectively sponging the narcissistic, fast-food-addicted, adolescent dreck of the American teenage wasteland if ad-bloatware extraordinaire, MySpace, actually gets buried?

Facebook users do not want that kind of migration. 

Or should I say … invasion?

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Harvey Pekar Dies at 70 in His Cleveland Heights Home

July 12, 2010

One can (and ought to) safely assume that the brilliant-yet-curmudgeonly mind behind American Splendor had lived a long, interesting, unique and ultimately fulfilling life (particularly as an early septuagenarian).  Despite that consolation, though, it still bums me the fuck out.

SeattlePI.com reports:

Although the cause of Pekar’s death is not yet known, Cleveland Heights Police Capt. Michael Cannon said the writer had been suffering from prostate cancer, asthma, high blood pressure and depression.

As we’ve seen in Sheri Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s film adaptation of Pekar’s Our Cancer Year, the cult writer beat cancer once before.  At the end of the film, however, the Real Pekar wisely notes that, in the end, life is less about triumphing over the “war,” and more about winning a few skirmishes along the way.

I remember meeting Harvey at a book signing in Barnes & Noble in Bethesda, Md., closely after the film adaptation of American Splendor was made.  When my turn in line came to humbly request that Harvey sign my copy of a volumed paperback edition of selected works from his American Splendor series, I shyly asked him (not verbatim):

“How do you feel about the film now that it’s released and how well it’s been received by critics?”

His response (not verbatim) was: “I dunno man, I guess it made me quite a chunk of change.”

Pekar in a nutshell, folks.

And as far as his notorious guest spot appearances on Late Night with David Letterman in the late ’80s, fuck General Electric.

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And The Most Befuddling Launch of an Online Magazine Award Goes To …

July 9, 2010

Inpsire … al Qa’eda’s new English-language PDF magazine.  The debut issue’s cover allegedly showcases the photograph of a silhuouetted man with a slung machine gun, its composition superimposed by this front-and-center line: “Make a Bomb In The Kitchen Of Your Mom.”

Even as discombobulating as having a Contact Us page may be, I wouldn’t expect much specifity in the way of bylines or mastheads.

Not surprisingly, the pub has had a shaky and rickety launch.  I’d bet it’s little to do with the how the economic recession has impacted the print magazine industry, and more to do with American people’s notorious love of their mothers and kitchen-safety standards.

Mommy?

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As Far As I'm Concerned

July 2, 2010

Did I just wake from a febrile hallucination?  Luis Suarez (of Uruguay) efficiently blocked the winning strike for Ghana today … with his hand.

Last I checked Soccer for Dummies, that’s sort of the goalkeeper’s job.

The hand ball violation that afforded Suarez the well-deserved red card was more than your run-of-the-mill, spastic, twitch reflex action.  It was a remarkable arc of a swat.  It was a distinct act of desperation.  It goes against years of training.  What the replay footage in slo-mo said was clear: Luis’ violation was a deliberate feat of ersatz martyrdom — and it only took a second.  It was disgusting.  It was Suarez’s inelegant, simian way of segueing the match into that edge-of-your-seat, penultimate phase of penalty kicks, thus granting the Uruguayan coterie one last chance to break free of a tongue-tied conundrum of a match and leap into the next round of the World Cup (as fugitives).  Preceding each penalty kick, you could cut the tension with a Vuvuzela.

In this context alone, the red card was worth it. Wasn’t it?  It was a small price to pay in lieu of a jingoistic, testosteronic (a.k.a. moronic) and macrocosmic cause.

Say what you will about penalty kicks.  Personally, I think they are unfair and a puzzling way to brusquely fast-forward the otherwise natural flow of a soccer match to its denouement.  It’s a Dues ex Machina.

Ghana should have made their penalty kicks; that much is clear. Particularly the freebie proceeding Luis (Goalie Wannabe) Suarez’s red card.  But that’s missing the point, and you know it.  The penalty kicks only took place on behalf of a delinquent and (let’s face it) immoral act, and that in itself throws the rulebook out the goddamn window.

As my eyes stung and burned at the sight of Ghana’s players bawling (virtually prostrate) over a victory unjustly usurped by Uruguay, a voodoo ideation spun in my head like broken vinyl:  Suarez, karma will have its way.

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Seattle Patrol Officer Ian P. Walsh Punches a 17-year Old Girl in the Face

June 17, 2010

If this post’s title sounds unsettling to you, it’s because it is.

Carlin DeGeurin Miller of CBS News.com reports:

Apparently they take jaywalking very seriously in Seattle.

The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild is saying Patrol Officer Ian P. Walsh was justified in punching a 17-year-old girl in the face after she shoved him during a dispute over jaywalking.

Rich O’Neil, president of the Officers’ Guild, said that Walsh used “appropriate” force when he punched the teen during a struggle with the teen and another woman, 19-year-old Marilyn Levias, according to local station KCPQ.

While an internal investigation is being conducted, Seattle Police in King County are justifying Walsh’s action of force because the women were resisting arrest and obstructing an officer of the law.  What makes matters more suspicious, however, is a previous incident on April 17, where video was leaked of Seattle Detective Shandy Cobane kicking an already-detained Latino suspect in the head, while promising to beat “the Mexican piss” out of him (covered here: http://thinkprogress.org/2010/05/11/seattle-police-mexican/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter).  

Detective Cobane later expressed a “tearful apology” following the incident (seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Qt5qB_y1tU&feature=player_embedded), likely because he was overwhelmed with guilt and not at all because he was caught on video. 

And: Last November, a 15-year-old African American girl was beat up in her cell by Police Deputy Paul Schene who–in March–pleaded “not guilty” to charges of fourth-degree assault (covered here: http://newsone.com/nation/associated-press/seattle-police-beat-15-year-old-girl/).  To be specific, Deputy Schene first kicked the 15-year-old girl, slammed her into the floor of the jail cell and proceeded to pull her hair. 

Sounds like a real gent, that one. 

Footage of Officer (Mr. Pugilistic) Walsh can be espied here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UatHtkJY3kc&feature=player_embedded

Judge for yourself, of course.

As far as this most recent footage, notwithstanding where the blame is officially placed in the eventual outcome of the investigation, what about Walsh’s handling of the jaywalking charge drove the two women to react so violently

And: What police officer (except out of sheer existential boredom) really enforces action against jaywalking?  Perhaps it’s an individual, geographic, metropolitan thing, because I’ve rarely (if ever) seen this violation rectified as a District of Columbian, where copious amounts of pedestrian traffic (such as in Chinatown) is largely uncontrolled.

Lastly: How far has our growing intolerance against racism as it relates to police brutality taken us since the 1991 Rodney King case?

In Seattle, not too far at all.

Let’s go ahead and file this under F for Fuck the Police.