nullstream weblog - News

Paul wants a flying car


July 26, 2007 11:59 AM PST

Flying car.jpg

Ok Jetsons fans, the future is now, or at least coming soon. This is supposed to be the worlds first production flying car. And it could be yours for a mere 180 shares of Google stock. For safety they are going to limit them to 50 MPG and only 10 ft off the ground. Also they look unstable as heck (from the video), but who cares? It flies man.

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The end of BSG


June 1, 2007 11:15 AM PST

The next season will be the last.

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Apple and EMI Sell DRM Free Music


April 2, 2007 05:32 PM PST

Apple DRM

Apple and EMI agree to sell tracks that are DRM-free online. EMI can sell them independently in any format, and Apple will charge a $0.30 premium for the DRM-free tracks ($1.29 per track) in AAC format.

Initially, the thought was that Steve Jobs' Thoughts on Music essay was the catalyst to this deal, but it's now coming out that EMI wanted to do this independently. Regardless, it's an interesting move that deserves discussion. Since we never got around to discussing Jobs' essay, feel free to bring that in too.

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John tanks MS Stock Price


May 16, 2006 11:10 PM PST


As some of you already know I left Microsoft a few weeks ago after working on Vista for the last couple of years. I knew that some people might not understand this decision, but I could not have predicted how strongly Wall Street would react to this news. The day after my departure the stock fell sharply and still has not recovered.

I would like to take this time to publicly respond to the recent rumors floating around the web, and allay any unnecessary fears regarding the future stability of Microsoft Corporation. Regardless of what you may have heard, Steve and I did not get into a fight over Vistaís internal architecture. I categorically deny any allegations of name calling, chair throwing and keyboard kicking. These things simply are not true. Furthermore I would like to state for the record that I left Vista in good and capable hands. They will be fine without me, honest. And finally I want to make it clear that I still believe in Vista, and have no doubt that it will be rock solid and delivered on time.

So please everyone, just calm down, buy more MSFT stock and be happy.

-Move along people, thereís nothing to see here.

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iPod HiFi (?)


March 1, 2006 09:04 AM PST

This post is mostly for your comments. I'm pretty unimpressed by the iPod HiFi from a strategy standpoint. Why is Apple spending engineering resources for something that could (and is) readily available in the iPod ecosystem? Greed? Hubris? Apparently there's no one out there who can design mp3 players like Apple, so why aren't they sticking to their core strengths? Leave the stereos and leather iPod skins to the 3rd parties. How about a sweet controller/faceplate/voice navigation system for using your iPod in the car?

New Intel based mac-mini was announced. It's pretty impressive that they got this built already. They're moving fast and executing well on the transition (although let's see how the benchmarks look). The achillies heel of the new mini seems to be the built in Intel graphics processor. I suppose it could be OK for "the market" it's in - will have to wait for benchmarks on this. I would hope it can at least do the Quartz UI and play 3d games (all 3 of them on the mac) decently at perhaps lower resolution. This is actually an issue with PC based platforms too - Intel seems to be taking control over more of the chips on the motherboard, and they really can't compete in some areas. They probably provide good pricebreaks for buying the whole solution from them, and the manufacturers have no problem using this junk for the baseline specs and charging upgrade prices to get the graphics that really should be included. I suppose it makes sense, but is frustrating - it's the core competency thing again, this time with Intel.

Also, the price raise is I hope just a premium for the new mini machines vs. an actual component cost increase. Otherwise this bodes poorly for a potential iBook line, and also the trend of Apple going after a lower price point consumer market to increase market share.

Your thoughts?

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MGM v. Grokster


June 27, 2005 12:28 PM PST

Ars Technica has a good overview of the ruling today in this case. Basically it seems the rule now is that p2p apps are OK, as long as they're not marketed for illegal filesharing. It also looks bad if you make money on ads in your p2p app that's marketed for illegal content.

The decision doesn't say that any explicit action must be taken to prevent the sharing of copyrighted materials, just that the app can't be marketed as such.

So how are secure p2p apps marketed? Do you have something to hide?

Now, how does this affect the iPod? 15,000 songs in your pocket! I suppose it's marketed at those spending $15 grand at the iTunes store. ;-) Large capacity hard drives, CD/DVD burners, DivX hardware and mp3 players are basically all riding the filesharing wave, but are smart enough not to advertise it.

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Joel's Apprentice


May 12, 2005 06:59 PM PST

Joel on Software is sponsoring a documentary of new product development by interns. paints it as an apprentice type show, but my take is that it's more likely to be similar to or e-Dreams - two stories of .com companies that went boom and bust.

Not that Joel's company will suffer the same fate; like many others in the computer industry I find a well thought out blog about the software development industry. I'm really looking forward to this DVD documentary being released in the Fall.

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Telesym, RIP


April 17, 2005 09:09 PM PST

George sent in a link to this on Telesym:

Software startup TeleSym calls it quits

I hate to see it. Telesym was one of the local mobile devices companies I have been following. I was really hoping they would pull through.

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WinXP Updates BSOD


April 13, 2005 09:53 PM PST

BSODI applied today's updates to my Shuttle MiniPC running XP SP 2 and after the requisite reboot - it displays the low res XP loading screen then does a BSOD for not long enough to read, and the system reboots. I've tried all the modes - safe, last known good, etc. Nothing works.

I did empty the trash can while it was downloading the updates (but not while the updates were installing). I normally wouldn't do anything while downloading updates "cause I'm paranoid", but I didn't realize it had started the download. I noticed that the can was still "full" after I emptied it, so I tried again and it asked if I wanted to delete "SYSTEM". Uh oh. I opened the trash and it showed no files in the files list. I figured it would work itself out after the updates installed, and it was something the updater was doing with temp files.

I would recommend holding off on installing these updates for a few days to see if this is a reported problem out there. Oh, and blame google for the inset image - it was on the first page of the image search results - not my fault!

Update April 20, 2005:
I've been able to recover the disk enough to back up the data. The lesson is:

Do not automatically install windows updates. Once they are downloaded (if there are multiple), select each one individually, shut down your running applications and install each update one at a time. Before you install any of them - write down the issue hotfix numbers (KB*) so you can look it them up later should any hose your system on reboot.

Most of the Windows support sites I looked at recommended that you should not do anything else on your machine while updates are installing. I agree this sounds superstitious, but after nearly losing my data - I will follow this method. This didn't happen on any of my other machines, so I can only conclude that it was an interaction with something I was doing while the updates were happening. Read on for the gory details, and how this same hotfix hosed me on a second machine!

Continue reading "WinXP Updates BSOD"...

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Star Trek Enterprise Cancelled


February 2, 2005 11:54 PM PST

So Star Trek Enterprise is finally off the air. The biggest problem with this show (besides the producers) is Scott Bakula. From the first time I heard he was going to be the captain, I knew it would be bad. He's just completely unlikeable and unrealistic as someone the crew would follow. It doesn't help that he's also "Quantum Leap guy". At the end of last season I really, really hoped that he wouldn't be back on the show. The rest of the crew actually shows a little promise if they could get out from his shadow. And the actual premise could be interesting. They just failed to create a sense of comraderie on Enterprise or Voyager, and it doomed them.

Given the choice, I'd rather have this on the air, than not. But maybe the cancellation of the show will force the franchise to reevaluate, and open up some space for much better Sci-Fi. I've been meaning to do a mini review of Farscape and Battlestar Galactica, so that will be coming up. It still really hurts they cancelled Farscape, but I guess it made it a year longer than Enterprise...

The inset photo is from the infamous "sonic shower" that was used whenever the ratings dipped. Another "titillating" photo after the jump. Trip's expression is priceless.

Continue reading "Star Trek Enterprise Cancelled"...

Comments (6) Part 2?


February 2, 2005 10:42 PM PST

As reported everywhere on the planet, Robertson is making a second attempt at the online music business. This time it is called MP3Tunes. While I'm impressed with his persistence I'm not sure I believe. For one I was a big fan of and I'm still steamed that he screwed that up. But mostly I already think that anything over .50 a song is too much for commercial music. I'm pretty sure that .88 a song is too much for unknown, unsigned artists. What do you think?

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Sun Twitches


January 26, 2005 10:34 PM PST

Sun has announced the launch of OpenSolaris. This is their answer to Linux, and will be released under a 'CDDL' license that is much friendlier than the GPL. They still plan to brand and sell the proprietary version of Solaris (building on the open source developement). They don't have the code up on the site yet, (just a single module), but it is planned for the end of this month. Additionally they have opened some 1,670 patents to open-source developers. Iím getting a feeling of deja vu here. Feels like netscape all over again. You can read more about this here.

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Bye bye Yahoo Money Manager


December 17, 2004 11:19 AM PST

I tried to log into Finance section today to check on my stocks and got this:

"Service Announcement
We regret to notify you that we are closing Yahoo! Money Manager, effective February 1, 2005..."

I'm not surprised as the service stopped pulling updates automatically from my accounts about two weeks ago. I am disapointed though. By dropping yahoo finance I no longer have a reason to make my home page and main portal. I guess it's finally time to move to my.msn. Sigh. I've used them for a long time and I admit to a sort of nostalgic attachment. By this time next year I predict we'll be yodeling a different tune: "Ya-Who?-ooooooo".

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Suck It Down, Blockbuster!


December 14, 2004 10:37 PM PST

Blockbuster is going to drop late fees so that they can compete with Netflix. This move will cost them around $300 million US each year.

Now for a local take...

When I lived in Bellevue, I used to go to the Blockbuster across from the Wendy's right near GoAhead. Very convenient. But it sure felt like there was a late fee scam going on. It seemed that every single time I went there, someone in line ahead of me was being charged late fees. Most people feign a bit of indignance, then cough up the dough because there is usually a long line and they don't want to embarrass themselves arguing over over a few bucks. The system is designed to use social pressure and people's general discomfort of arguing to charge them an additional few dollars.

But this happened so often that I suspect that there was something else going on. So I made sure to never ever return movies late to see what would happen. Eventually, while renting a movie, I got the tap: "You have unpaid late fees..."

Continue reading "Suck It Down, Blockbuster!"...

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SCO site hacked again


November 29, 2004 09:47 AM PST

Always favorite target of hackers, SCO gets a nice new image on its front page.

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