Sunday, May 27, 2007

52 Reasons to stop using Windows 2000

It is memorial day weekend, so I doubt many will see this, but thought it might be good to generate a little traffic.

A quick story. My nephew's Win2kPro machine quit booting -- blue screen on bootup (drive missing error! -- which is of course not true -- because it was booting from the drive to get that message). Yeah, a virus had mangled the master boot record -- fixed that.

Lots and lots of viruses -- lots. I used Avast Home Edition (not a plug here, but it does work and it is free) to remove stuff.

Windows Update Installer however doesn't work -- you see -- it was disabled as well by the virus software. I spent at least 45 minutes in microsoft help figuring out what to do (clean registry, spin 3 times, clap hands, take a drink of water, throw salt over my shoulder).

After many gyrations, I uninstall it, and install a new version. After a couple of reboots, it works!

So, as the title goes -- Windows then proceeds to download 52 updates in one sitting.

A reality check is good once in a while.

I have Vista installed under Parallels on my Mac. I am sure it will be better.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Ethics and Cocaine

This post on the blog "Innovation Online" (humpf) about the energy drink "Cocaine" was interesting, but perhaps not for the reason that the author wanted to be.

I find the moral indignation expressed slightly offputting. Really. Is naming a drink after a illegal substance a violation of ethics, or simply in Bad Taste? And who gets to decide?

This popped into my head, because I know there have been other products named after illegal acts/substances (Grand Theft Auto, the perfume "Opium"). I am sure they caused outrage as well, but they certainly didn't cause our society to collapse.

It seems to me that the outrage that this author expresses is quite misplaced. Instead of targeting a specific energy drink that likely tastes quite bad (citric acid and high fructose corn syrup), let us talk about some REAL violations of ethics. There are much worse things to focus on than a tacky energy drink. I will leave it up to whoever reads this to make up their own imaginary list -- mine is brief, but I am sure you can think of what it might contain.

The reason I write this is that more than ever we are distracted, we can't keep our eye on the ball. We expend mental energy over a badly named energy drink, because we can't seem to fix the bigger problems. The violations of ethics are so large that we can't see them, so we fret over a badly named energy drink -- but it is really just a distraction.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Mixed Media

You know it has hit prime time when educators talk about "mix culture", a term that has been used by many (including Lev Manovich) to describe the phenomena of combining media sources in unexpected ways -- creating juxtapositions -- hybrid creatures. In music, mix culture goes back a long, long ways -- as soon as crufty 12 bit Mirages hit the scene -- a decent sampler everyone could afford. HipHop was important to it. But we can go back even further to composers in the 30's, 40's and 50's who used "found audio" (Cage et al).

Most think of mix culture in the context of YouTube, or techno music, but it is more profound that this. I give you Okapi, who I think shows what this really means.

The music is clever, juxtaposed, but it is very musical. It leverages acoustic sounds much more than most who work in this medium -- it is a nice refresh from the usual remixed drone. It seems to me to be at times quite cinematic.

So, again, like Edith Frost, you can download a nice packaged sample of his work, or you can actually buy one his CD's.