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Archive for January, 2009

Tool of Advertising

January 28th, 2009 Comments off

According to CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi, Kevin Roberts, I am a tool incapable of making my own decisions.

With no trace of irony, he writes;

We still need advertising to guide us through the complicated world we live in. We need advertising to help us make smart choices. We need advertising to connect us and entertain and inspire us with the possibilities of the future.

Apparently the movies are actually mere filler for the entertainment of the advertisements that precede them and my cellphone is no longer sufficient to connect me to my friends and family. God forbid I actually do something as low-tech as go see them in some location that precludes his persistent message. I wouldn’t really be connecting with them at all!

Having reminded us of our own short comings, he then tells us that in actual fact, we are so very clever after all, because the next sentence states;

We need advertising because it is based on the simple idea that people can be trusted to make their own decisions.

The obvious point is that we can only make good decisions – ‘good’ in this context obviously being that which betters ourselves and the economy by buying more consumer goods with no production value and as a completely accidental side effect, keeping him employed – when it’s been repeatedly beaten into us, Joseph Goebbels style. Clearly the only rational response is to abandon our own decision making processes in favour of the pre-chewed decisions from our benevolent intellectual masters at the advertising agencies.

It’s simple, as soon as we stop saving money, and start maxing out our credit cards again, this global financial crises will be over.

Categories: Life Tags:

Happy Snappy

January 28th, 2009 Comments off

I would like to recommend Snap Internet for your interwebs, especially if you are after naked DSL. They don’t have a call queue on their 0800 number, and their staff have answered all my retarded questions about billing and technical questions without fuss. When I dropped some technical questions about the state of my ATM and PPP connection, I got a real answer immediately instead of the run around by a monkey with a script.

(As it turns out, the problems were all at my end – a combination of wrong password, misbehaving Ethernet adapter, and a false-negative on the ATM loopback test.)

Categories: Tech Tags: , ,

Linux, Netbooks, and ARM

January 8th, 2009 Comments off

There’s a storm brewing in a small hot beverage container on OSNews over Freescale’s announcement of their ARM based MX515 CPU for the exploding netbook market. ARM isn’t x86. In practical terms, it means that any netbooks built on Freescales hardware won’t be capable of running Microsoft Windows. The argument on the article’s forum essentially boils down to; “Do people need Windows on netbooks?” with the implied “If we people were forced to run Linux on their netbook, would they really care?”

Well, maybe.

The buying public has the annoying – some would say innovative – habit of not doing exactly what the manufacturer expect with a given product. Users are supposed to browse the ‘net, and perhaps do some light document editing/reading. In other words, a PDA with a browser and the ability to do ‘real’ computing work if you need to.

The second part is the bit that can give people trouble. The chief market for netbooks thus far does not appear to be the enterprise. For an enterprise, the perception so far, whether real, imagined, or simply spurious, is that netbooks are simply not powerful enough for your average corporate user. The potential savings in hardware costs by providing users with a netbook to go along with their desktop instead of a dockable business class laptop are minimal when compared to the cost of providing administration and software licenses for two pieces of hardware.

For this reason, netbooks appear to be very much a consumer product. Some people will use them as their only machine, but most people are probably looking to use this as a portable device to supplement their existing desktop experience.

It seems fair to say that for web browsing, most users won’t notice the difference between MS/IE and Linux/Firefox (except for the lack of spyware and viruses), and given the minimal hassles I’ve had with the Ubuntu 8.04 desktop I set up for a non-technical friend this early last year, I’m inclined to take the position that the question of Linux on the desktop is more closely connected to the users perception than anything technical.

This perception is apparently quite deeply rooted in when a given user was given control over their first computer. The average Windows power user, who has clocked up enough time to have owned a computer with a CRT is probably deeply concerned that the Linux desktop isn’t exactly like Windows – and is mystified that Linux programmers don’t care. Someone who has only used Windows at work in a controlled corporate environment is likely to accept what ever they get, as long as it works. The average child who has yet to hit teenage-hood, for whom the Internet has always existed, and is likely adept at manipulating the wildly varying interfaces on various cellphones and game consoles is probably not going to even notice.

It’s this last set that I think Freescale is targeting. Sure, many parents spoil their kids, but when it comes to buying a new netbook for each progeny, the majority of parents are going to buy the USD$199 netbook with the eight hour battery over the $399 netbook with the six hour battery as a matter of simple economics.

Possible Part Two coming eventually.

Categories: Tech Tags: , ,

Albums I Like

January 5th, 2009 Comments off

I purchased a bunch of music in 2008. As in, actually purchased physical CDs. Here are some that I thought were quite good, along with the tracks that I liked. Some of these might be a bit different.

  • David Vandervelde – The Moonstation House Band
    • Jacket*
    • Moonlight (instrumental)
  • Anika Moa – Thinking Room
    • Good in My Head
    • Youthful
    • Harry & Leena’s Song
  • Nina Simone – Gold
    • I Put a Spell on You
    • Ne Me Quitte Pas
  • Cold War Kids – Robbers & Cowards
    • We Used to Vacation
    • Saint John

* I had this song set as my ring tone for my work phone when I was on call in my previous job. Now, every time I hear it, I think it’s 3am and the call center is ringing me to tell me a server is down.

Categories: Music Tags:

New Year Resolutions

January 3rd, 2009 2 comments

I have never really had new years resolutions before, but wishing to jump on the bandwagon, I present the following, not in any particular order.

In 2009, I resolve to;

  • Worry less about the consequences of my actions.
  • Alter my see-food diet, and allow myself not to clean my plate.
  • Not undo all the hard work I did at the gym last year.
  • Write more (again).
  • Accept that deep down inside I am a geek and probably always will be.
  • Learn how to dance something other than ceroc.
  • To not drink all the beer in the fridge.
  • Keep my coffee consumption below five cups a day.

And finally, one that I was given at the new years party;

  • To stop misusing (or was it abusing?) whipped cream – and start misusing chocolate spread instead.

Happy new year!

Categories: Life Tags: ,

Don McGlashan has take up Residence in my Head

January 2nd, 2009 Comments off

This song has been in my head for four days now. Out!

Categories: Music Tags: , ,