July 2008

Mobile Tech19 Jul 2008 12:09 pm

Message boards are buzzing with angry iPhone 3G owners (myself included) who have discovered that many iPhone 1.0-compatible products are not fully compatible with the iPhone 2.0. Specifically, many third-party devices, and a good number of Apple-created devices as well, will access the data stored on the device, but does not recharge its battery.

Given the terrible battery life I’m experiencing on the new 3G phone, it’s all the more critical that I be able to charge my phone at every opportunity. But I’ve come to find that the three most important places in which I would normally recharge my phone will not do it: the dock I use for my phone and iPod at my desk, the iPhone adapter in my car (which both BMW and Apple promoted as a great new feature of that model year), and the great (and expensive) Bose speakers/docking station on my bedside table.

Folks posting to various message boards have said the snafu is a hardware problem, having to do with the rearrangement of some wiring in the connector port as a consequence of shifting from Firewire to USB 2.0.

Rumor has it that Apple is working on some kind of adapter, but that’s going to be impractical for some devices, and just downright awkward for others. (Oh, and you can be sure that Apple will charge through the nose for it too.) In any event, this is something that should have been spotted during QA at Apple, if not much earlier.

And whichever twit at Apple didn’t spot this as a potential issue, or decided that it wasn’t such a big deal, needs to be horsewhipped with all the charging cables that are now useless.

Miscellany11 Jul 2008 12:41 pm

Corn starch, water, a cookie sheet, and a sub-woofer. Enjoy!

News & Culture09 Jul 2008 11:47 am

I really enjoyed today’s blog posting from Steve Friess, the perpetrator of one of my favorite podcasts, The Strip Podcast.

Steve is an incredible freelance journalist, writing for many major publications (New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, etc.) from his home base in Las Vegas. His husband Miles is also in the news biz, as a producer for the news hour at the NBC affiliate in Las Vegas.

In today’s blog posting, however, Steve tackles an issue that is a huge peeve of mine: the irrational loathing of Las Vegas. Case in point: some twerp who edited a major travel industry publication, who bad-mouths Vegas but hasn’t been there in ages.

I am so sick of people whose first reaction to a mention of Las Vegas is, “Ugh, I hate Vegas!” When you probe further into their dislike, you almost always find that they’ve, a) never actually been there; b) went there once about 15 years ago; or, c) are total cheapskates and think the steak house at Circus Circus is an indefensible splurge.

It takes particular chutzpah to criticize a place that you have never been, or haven’t been to in nearly a generation. With its incredible pace of change and vibrant growth (even in these difficult economic times), five years in Las Vegas is like 20 in many other major cities.

Vegas today is an entirely different animal. It has more Michelin Guide-rated 2 and 3 star restaurants than Los Angeles, and some of the most luxurious hotels and spas anywhere in the world. It remains one of the world’s top travel destinations for people from all over the globe.

And there’s tons of fun to be had even if you never set foot on a casino floor.

I commend to your reading Steve’s dismemberment of the dufus former editor of Budget Travel magazine, and the general trend of irrational Vegas-hating.

Politics03 Jul 2008 09:47 am

Here’s one for your McCain supporter buddies. This week he took credit for the new GI Bill, despite having opposed it. He was for it… after he voted against it? Sounds like John Kerry. (Was there something in the water in Vietnam that makes presidential candidates flip-flop later in life?)

Below is a summary of two dozen glaring flip-flops on major issues. You can see a video review of it, including notes on sources here:


Over the weekend, Senator McCain said, quote, “this election is about trust and trusting peopleā€˜s word and, unfortunately, apparently on several items, Senator Obama’s word cannot be trusted.”

Our third story tonight: Judging candidates based on their consistency. You see where I’m going with this?

The signing of the G.I. Bill not the only time Senator McCain was against something before he was for it, or vice versa or both. You may want to get pencil and paper and write these down.

On political reform, McCain last January opposed a grassroots lobbying bill he once supported. In 2006, the New York Sun reported that his presidential ambitions led McCain to reverse his support of a campaign financial bill called… “McCain-Feingold”.

Last October he said he would vote against the “Development, Relief and Education for Alien Miners Act” that he co-sponsored and then said he would vote against an immigration bill that he introduced.

In 2006, he said on Hardball, quote, “I think that gay marriage should be allowed.” Then after the commercial break he added, “I do not believe that gay marriages should be legal.”

On abortion, 1999, publicly supporting Roe v. Wade, privately opposing it in a letter to the National Right to Life Committee. In the 2000 debates, he would change the GOP platform to permit exceptions for rape, incest, the life of the mother. May 2008, no he won’t, ABCNews.com reported.

Storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain? Flip.

Military action against rogue states? Flip.

Negotiating with Kim Jong-Il? Not acceptable… until President Bush did it last week.

With Fidel Castro? Acceptable in 2000, not 2008.

With terrorists? Appropriate when Colin Powell went to Syria and in 2006 when McCain said, “sooner or later we’ll talk to Hamas,” but not appropriate now.

Unilateral action against suspected terrorists in Pakistan? “Confused leadership” when Obama suggested it, but not when Bush did it.

Warrantless wire taps? Six months ago, presidents had to “obey the law,” …not anymore.

Torture detainees? No way! …Except for the CIA. Hold them indefinitely? Wrong in 2003, the “right move” in 2008.

The Iraq war? “The right course” in 2004, “stay the course” 2005. Today: McCain has “always been a Rumsfeld critic.”

Tax cuts for the rich? In 2001, he “could not in good conscience” support them. Now he can.

The estate tax? 2006, “I agree with President Roosevelt” who created it and who had passed away. In 2008, “most unfair.”

This month not for privatizing Social Security, never has been. In 2004, he didn’t see how benefits will last without it.

In February, promised a balanced budget in four years. By April, make that eight years.

In May, “glad to look at” the windfall profits tax. By June, “that was Jimmy Carter’s big idea.”

In 2000, no new off shore drilling. Last month, it would take years to develop. This month, “very helpful in the short term.”

The Bush fund-raisers McCain called “coyotes,” were breaking the law in 2000. By 2006, they were co-chairing McCain fund-raisers.

Buddy Jerry Falwell, “an agent of intolerance” in 2000. [Video of McCain receiving honorary degree from Falwell in 2006.] The Reverend Hagee in, then out, this year alone.

In 1983, opposed Martin Luther King Day. Today, not as much.

In 1986, opposed South African divestment. This month praised it.

And in 2000, defended South Carolina’s confederate flag as “a symbol of heritage.” Two years later, McCain calling it, quote, “an act of political cowardice” not to say the flag should come down. Quote, “Everybody said, look out. You can’t win in South Carolina if you say that.”

McCain’s campaign says his positions… “evolve.”

Ironically, in 2005, McCain said alternatives to evolution should be taught in school… “evolving” the opposite position he had taken in 2000.