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Articles: 2009 January

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Page 1

25 Things About Me (Facebook Meme)
Saturday, 2009 January 31 - 2:46 pm
I've been tagged a couple of times in Facebook to write 25 random things about myself. The idea is that you write the 25 things, then you tag 25 other people to do the same thing, until the entire pyramid scheme collapses and the federal government bails you out. And so while I've been tempted to just post 25 links to entries in my blog (e.g., "Good old Post ID 518! Oh, how I miss that one."), I guess that would be recycling, and that would be bad for the economy. So here goes... click through to find my list.

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Posted by Ken in: funnyhahalife

Still No New Macs
Tuesday, 2009 January 27 - 8:21 pm
The 25th anniversary of the Macintosh has come and gone. And Tuesday is Apple's usual product announcement day, and now that's come and gone too. No new iMacs, no new Mac minis, no new Mac Pros.

Kill. Ing. Me.

Apple's desktop sales have declined 25% since last year, and a large part of it has to be due to people like me, who are anxiously awaiting a desktop refresh.

An analyst has now come out with a prediction that new iMacs will come in March... or June. JUNE. I may be dead by then.

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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

Apple Announces Record Revenue and Profits
Wednesday, 2009 January 21 - 11:36 pm
$10.17 billion in sales. $1.78 per share in profit. After this afternoon's earnings announcement, which blew past consensus analyst estimates, Apple stock surged ten bucks in after-hours trading.

Did I mention I bought some Apple stock this morning? Yay me!
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

Apple Watch: MacBook White Quietly Upgraded
Wednesday, 2009 January 21 - 12:01 pm
This is a surprise. The "old" white polycarbonate MacBook has been upgraded to Nvidia 9400M graphics and 2GB of RAM. This means that for $999, $300 less than the entry-level aluminum MacBook, you get nearly the same performance. You give up the aluminum case and the LED-backlit display, and you get slightly slower RAM, but hey, 300 bucks, man. Oh, also, you pick up a Firewire port, and you get a regular mini-DVI port instead of the DisplayPort connector.

This machine seemed like a clearance item until today. Now it's got some real appeal. Does Apple simply have a lot of leftover polycarbonate cases to get rid of?
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

Inaugural Moments
Tuesday, 2009 January 20 - 6:22 pm
A few notes:

1. Since John Roberts screwed up the recitation of oath of office, that will give Republican wackos ammunition to claim that Obama isn't really President. And what's up with calling him "Senator" at the start of the whole thing?

2. This might have been the oddest phrase ever spoken in a benediction: "Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right." (An immediate protest was lodged by the Blue Man Group.)

3. Obama's speech seemed to make W awfully uncomfortable out there. I suppose that's understandable, since the speech was essentially "we've been screwing around for eight years, now let's finally do something right."

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Nortel Freezes Severance
Thursday, 2009 January 15 - 12:38 pm
Nortel Networks announced that recently laid-off employees would not receive their severance packages. The packages are frozen as part of the bankruptcy proceedings, and it's likely that after other debts are paid, there'll be nothing left for severance.

People who have been laid off within the last sixty days are most heavily affected, since there's a sixty-day period from the time of the layoff until severance pay begins.

Pension funds and vested 401k accounts should not be affected by the bankruptcy.
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Posted by Ken in: commentary

Steve Jobs
Thursday, 2009 January 15 - 9:56 am
From Steve Jobs, yesterday:


I am sure all of you saw my letter last week sharing something very personal with the Apple community. Unfortunately, the curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction not only for me and my family, but everyone else at Apple as well. In addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.

In order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June.

I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for Apple's day to day operations, and I know he and the rest of the executive management team will do a great job. As CEO, I plan to remain involved in major strategic decisions while I am out. Our board of directors fully supports this plan.

I look forward to seeing all of you this summer.


There are a panoply of irritating responses to this memo.

1. "We'll SUE Apple for not disclosing this earlier!" Give me a break. You'll sue someone for not disclosing a personal, private health concern that he didn't know about until this week? And inflict further harm on the company that you're so heavily invested in? Good luck with that.

2. "What will happen now that Jobs is gone?" Jobs is not gone. He'll be back in a few months. He didn't announce his death, he announced a leave of absence.

3. "How will Apple survive without Jobs running it?" It's funny how Jobs is perceived unlike every other CEO in the country, as if his 24-hour-a-day job were to sit in an ivory tower and magically generate innovative ideas for his underlings to produce. No, he has to deal with operational budgets and capital expenditures and contract negotiations and management structures; i.e., the ordinary management tedium that every company has. That's his day-to-day work, and the other executives at Apple are just as good at that stuff as Jobs, if not more so. Jobs can still axe bad product ideas while lying on a hammock in Cancun, and trust me, he will.

But you know what? Shareholders: please, go ahead and panic about this. I've got a bunch of cash that's waiting to jump on Apple stock once it's dirt-cheap.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

Nortel Files for Bankruptcy
Wednesday, 2009 January 14 - 12:04 pm
Nortel Networks filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today. Shareholders to be screwed first; employees shortly thereafter.
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Posted by Ken in: commentary

January 24
Tuesday, 2009 January 13 - 5:15 pm
That must be the date for new Macs to be introduced. Why? It's the 25th anniversary of the Mac's original introduction in 1984.

If not, I will continue wringing my hands in frustration.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

Succumbing to Marketing
Monday, 2009 January 12 - 12:54 pm
After being bombarded with ads for Burger King's "Angry Whopper" yesterday, I finally succumbed and tried one today. I'd characterize it as more of a "Mildly Annoyed" Whopper. On a scale from 0 to 5, with 0 being "not at all spicy" and 5 being "ridiculous to the point of not being able to taste anything else", it rates just a 1.

By the way, can someone who's worked in the fast food industry answer a question for me? Are the hamburger buns squashed on-site at each franchise location, or are they shipped from the factory that way?
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Posted by Ken in: food

Lenses, Joy of Ken's Desiring
Wednesday, 2009 January 7 - 9:58 pm
As my friend Scott predicted, I am already craving new lenses for my recently acquired EOS 40D. The one I really want is the 50mm f/1.4 IS USM lens. Indoor head-and-shoulders photography is probably what I'll be doing 75% of the time, and this seems to fit the bill perfectly.

It seems like the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens would be useful too, especially outdoors. When I went to Costa Rica, I remember wishing I had a high quality zoom lens for taking pictures of birds and crocodiles and such.

Did I mention my birthday is coming up in less than two months?
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Posted by Ken in: lifetechwatch

I Don't Want to Sound Rude
Wednesday, 2009 January 7 - 9:01 pm
This is by far my favorite sketch from "Man Stroke Woman". This got pulled off of YouTube for copyright reasons and hasn't been available on the BBC web site, but I finally found it on MySpace. (Facebook readers and RSS readers, click the link or go to if the video doesn't embed.)

Man Stroke Woman - Bloody Communal Leaving Cards!

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Posted by Ken in: funnyhahatelevision

No New Mac Desktops at Macworld
Tuesday, 2009 January 6 - 1:42 pm
FOR. CRYING. OUT. LOUD. How long will you make me wait, Apple?

Full Macworld keynote report later.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

You Have the Right to Remain Silent
Monday, 2009 January 5 - 9:49 pm
I'm generally fascinated by Constitutional law issues. I regularly read a blog called SCOTUS Blog, and today they listed several cases up for certiorari. The one that I'm particularly interested in is Illinois v. Lopez.

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Posted by Ken in: commentary

Macworld Eve
Monday, 2009 January 5 - 9:15 pm
On the eve of the Macworld keynote, the Mac blogosphere is abuzz with speculation about what will be announced. Most are along the lines of the predictions I made in my last post.

One noteworthy item that's already confirmed: Steve Jobs does not have a life-threatening illness. Apple posted a PR announcement about it. It's virtually unprecedented for a company to post a PR announcement about the private health concerns of its CEO, but when it comes to Apple, a lot of people were making a stink that shareholders had a "right" to know about Jobs.

I love Jobs' letter. It has kind of a "it's none of your damn business, but I'm telling you so you'll shut the hell up about it" air to it, and that's just perfect. Go Steve.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

Apple Watch: 2009 Predictions
Thursday, 2009 January 1 - 4:06 pm
My annual set of predictions regarding our favorite computer company.

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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

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