16 October 2012

Amazing Week, Day 2: Internet shopping

Part of Amazing Week 2012 During my teenage years I developed a taste for electronic music, of the kind that generally didn’t go anywhere near the charts — except for a few years in the early 80s. Several times a year I would travel up to London and trawl around all the big record stores. The Virgin Megastore, the HMV Store, Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus, sometimes more. I’d go through the racks from A to Z, looking for anything on my list of obscure wants. ... Read more

15 October 2012

Amazing Week, Day 1: Digital audio

Part of [Amazing Week 2012][1] In 1981 I was watching the BBC TV show “Tomorrow’s World” when the CD player was first introduced to the UK. The presenter demonstrated the system, and showed how dirt and dust would simply rinse off the disc and it would still be completely playable. He talked about how the disc was read by a laser and would never wear out. I later read more about the system in hi-fi magazines. ... Read more

7 October 2012

In defense of not voting

Harper’s Magazine this month has a spirited defense in favor of not voting: Try to imagine, if you can, candidate Barack Obama in 2008 running on a platform of balancing the budget and appeasing Wall Street by reducing Social Security benefits, restricting Medicare and Medicaid entitlements, increasing the retirement age, and never challenging the established hierarchy of the Democratic Party but rather returning members of the old Clinton regime to positions of power in his administration, especially those advocates of unregulated capitalism who did so much to bring on the economic crisis in the first place. ... Read more

24 September 2012

Why did they ruin Thunderbird?

On trying to use Thunderbird 15: That tab bar is a terrible waste of space, especially for anyone using Thunderbird in 3-pane mode. There’s an option to turn the tab bar off unless it’s actually needed, but for some reason there’s no UI to turn on that option. It’s slow. Really slow. I mean, I thought Apple Mail was slow, then I tried Thunderbird 15. Sending e-mail seems to take an eternity. ... Read more

23 September 2012

Dear Apple: It’s not me, it’s you

Apple is asking for another $707m in damages from Samsung, in addition to the $1b they were already awarded in the ludicrous patent trial. They also asked for a permanent ban on 29 different Samsung phones — i.e. all the phones that are successfully competing with the iPhone. Meanwhile, Apple’s new iOS 6 purges YouTube and Google Maps. The former is now available as a separate app, but the latter has been replaced with Apple’s own mapping app — which is apparently disastrously awful. ... Read more

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