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July 29, 2005

Has there ever been an industry as deeply, thoroughly, pervasively and persistently corrupt as the music industry? Honestly, I'm amazed that organized crime isn't involved in some way -- the industry practices are more or less the same.

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If somebody like this can get a six-figure book deal from her blog, the only real question is why Dooce isn't a millionaire yet.

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July 26, 2005

So they've started production on the next series of Doctor Who, and there are two developments of note:

  1. The new Doctor wears Chucks.
  2. Sarah Jane!

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July 22, 2005

The Economist's style guide is online. I especially like their page on Americanisms to avoid.

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July 21, 2005

Sure, it's great being a movie star, but what Brad Pitt really wants to do with his life is architecture.

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July 15, 2005

Speaking of custom keyboards, there's also Zboard, which allows you to swap out all the keycaps for custom sets for popular games (here's the Doom 3 keyset). I don't know why they don't make keysets for productivity apps -- seems to me there's money to be made there.

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July 14, 2005

This keyboard prototype in which the key caps contain little color LCD displays seems like a pretty compelling idea. But it also seems like it could go wrong in lots of ways nobody's thought of.

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July 08, 2005

PowerPC vs. Intel Macs: buy now or wait?

There are lots of good reasons to buy that new Mac this year rather than waiting for those shiny new Intel Macs.

How often do you buy a new computer? For most active users, it's about every 3 to 5 years. So any computer you buy in 2005 probably needs to last you until 2008-2010.

Apple will still be selling PowerPC machines up to the end of 2007 -- 2 1/2 years from now. At that point, Intel machines might make up as much as a third of the installed base. In mid-2008, we can expect Mac OS X 10.6 (cat name TBD). That's only six months later, so there will still be way too many PowerPC Macs out there for Apple to drop support in the OS.

The installed base won't really start tipping toward Intel until the last generation of PowerPC Macs gets upgraded. That process will start in 2009, but won't really pick up until 2010. So that year is the earliest point at which we can reasonably expect developers to start producing Intel-only applications.

And the major vendors, being naturally more conservative, will probably go Intel-only in another year or two -- if ever. If Apple makes it easy enough to compile to both platforms, it doesn't make any sense to stop doing so unless you really need something you can only get on Intel (i.e., speed) and until you can be sure that most of your customers have made the switch. So we're easily looking at 6 years or more before there's an Intel-only version of, say, Photoshop.

There's another reason you might want to buy now rather than wait for the first Intel Macs to roll off the line: Apple's first stab at any new product almost invariably has quality control problems, as anyone who's seen the paint job on my first-generation titanium PowerBook or the screen on Lane's first-generation Aluminum PowerBook can attest.

Moreover, early adopters of the Intel Macs will be running the majority of their software in emulation, which is likely to nullify any performance advantage these machines might have. By buying now and waiting for the second or third wave of Intel Macs, you can skip straight on to better hardware with a wider selection of native software.

The first Intel Macs will be faster than their immediate predecessors, but it won't be a quantum leap forward. Apple's move is not about "right now". It's about later. Apple's trying to change course before they get too far behind the rest of the industry. This is exactly the sort of forward-looking strategic action people were pleading with the company to take in the early '90s.

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