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20 March, 2004

Microsoft Music

From CNET: Microsoft cues up Net music store.

Microsoft said Friday that the second half of the year will see the launch of its online music store, a long-expected entry into an increasingly crowded business dominated by Apple Computer's iTunes.

And this:

The store will also let buyers transfer their music onto portable playback devices.

Oh, how kind of them. Microsoft will actually allow their customers to do something that that they should be allowed to do.

About 60 percent of portables currently support Microsoft's Windows Media audio format, Gurry said. She added that Microsoft has not decided whether to extend its song portability to non-Windows Media devices

Yeah, right. Microsoft is going to support something that's non-Microsoft. In other words, these suckers will be buying propriety DRM formatted crap.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Anybody who buys DRM-crippled music is a fool. And anyone who buys if from Microsoft is even more of a fool.

Posted on 20 March, 2004

I Hate Microsoft

Yeah, I hate Microsoft. Most of all, I hate their stupid OEM policies. I wasted a good four hours today, and spent $200 that I should not have had to pay.

We had a power outage, and my system turned itself off. When I rebooted, everything was screwed up royally. The only app I could run was the DOS command line window, and that ran in super slow-mo. Fine, I thought, I'll just reinstall Windows. But it turns out that reinstalling Windows requires the "System Restore" CD from Gateway. And if I do that, the system is truly restored, i.e, it will be in the same state as when I bought the system. In other words, I lose all of my data. and I'll probably have some worthless MSN and AOL icons on my desktop. My important stuff is backed up, but I really didn't want to start from scratch.

So, in order to reinstall Windows, I had to go out and purchase another copy of Windows XP ($200), and wait for an hour while it does its thing -- all the while watching their stupid text telling me how great their product is.

And then there's the drivers. I have an unusual video setup: A SGI 1600 x 1024 monitor and a Revolution 4 video card. So the installer used the generic Microsoft driver --which is about 50 times slower than the driver I had installed. I downloaded another driver, but Windows didn't recognize it as being better because it was not signed. I eventually figured out how to override the all-knowing Windows and actually install the better driver. But it was not at all obvious.

My system is now back to normal, but my impression of Microsoft is at an all time low. Sorry, Microsoft. There is really no reason why I should have to buy your overpriced OS two times for one system. And forcing me to type your worthless 25-character product key is an insult to someone who just wasted $200.

How in the hell can they justify charging $200 for a copy of Windows XP? This is one of the biggest selling products of all time. How much profit do they make for each unit sold? For most items, a huge volume means a lower price. But not for Windows. For my $200, I get a CD, and a fancy package filled with marketing hype. That's it. At most, it should cost $25. Maybe if they charged a reasonable price, they wouldn't have to worry about piracy and they could have saved lots of money by not using the absurd product activation.

You know what? If I knew how to get a pirated copy of Windows, I would do it, and I would have absolutely no moral qualms about doing so.

Yeah, I hate Microsoft. I really do.

Posted on 20 March, 2004

Making Sausage

From Sausage Mania: Homemade Sausage. Lots of photos.

Nothing in these photos is staged - these are not slick "food studio" shots. These photos are of a real, down-to-earth, day-long sausage-making session involving two families. an annual event. We don't sell what we make -- we eat what we make. And so can you, too!

Mmmmm. Fire up the grill.

(via Information Junk)

Posted on 20 March, 2004

Movie Leads To Fight

From The Smoking Gun: Couple Moved To Fisticuffs After Watching "The Passion". Mug shots are available.

Meet Melissa and Sean Davidson. The Georgia couple have been charged with simple battery on each other following a March 11 showing of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ." According to a Bullock County Sheriff's Office incident report, the Davidsons left the theater and began debating the movie, which led to an argument about "the mentality of each other's parents."

Melissa, 34, then "jumped on Sean, and they started fist fighting." While she suffered injuries to her left arm and face, her 33-year-old husband "had an alleged scissor stab on his hand and his shirt was ripped off." Passion, indeed.

Posted on 20 March, 2004

National Corndog Day

Today is National Corndog Day. Plan your meals accordingly.

For those of you who may be first timers at this grand event, let us describe it as the happiest day of Basketball and meats on sticks that you'll ever have. National Corndog Day coincides with the Saturday of the final 32 teams in NCAA basketball tournament. This Saturday is the only day all year that one can watch a quadruple-header of college basketball games from start to finish without having to change the channel.

Wow, that does sound exciting.

Posted on 20 March, 2004

Concrete News

From Optics.org: Concrete casts new light in dull rooms.

The days of dull, grey concrete could be about to end. A Hungarian architect has combined the world's most popular building material with optical fiber from Schott to create a new type of concrete that transmits light.

Posted on 20 March, 2004

Web Site Surveys

Doc Searls talks about Web site surveys -- specifically one for United Airlines: First, don't do surveys. Just read your damn email.

Big company Web site user surveys invariably suck. They tend to be too long, to ask the wrong questions, and to be done by outside companies that don't have relationships with users.

I usually avoid surveys too. But I have attempted to take several surveys from Microsoft. I've never completed a single one. I always get frustrated because it's obvious that the survey was designed by a moron, and there is absolutely no way that the results can be meaningful -- except maybe to support their current agenda.

Posted on 20 March, 2004

Recycled Links, Part 23

These links were posted on the J-Walk Blog about a year ago. Good stuff that you may have overlooked.

Posted on 20 March, 2004

The Logo Game

The Logo Game: You're presented with 26 letters (A-Z). Your job is to guess which company logo each the letters come from. I got seven out of 26 before I got bored. I could have paid $15 for the remaining answers, but it didn't seem worth it.

Tip: The letter shown here is from IBM's logo.

(Thanks Craig)

Posted on 20 March, 2004