You Will Never Again Experience MfBJN The Way It Was Intended

Firefox 23 nixes support for outdated blink HTML tag:

Mozilla announced on Tuesday that Firefox 23, the latest version of its browser, will not support the HTML tag blink.

I’ve used that tag for years, off and on, on this blog. I’ll be sad to see it go.

Frankly, it’s just a case of the cool designers finally promulgating their disdain for a particular tag. Heaven forfend the hipsters start thinking that italics look weird.

(Link via VodkaPundit.)

A Small Worldview, Exposed

Dustbury linked to another one of those technology articles written in the hip, modern style that indicates an arch with-it fellow shaking his head at the backwardness of others.

The piece is entitled 12 obsolete technologies Americans still use. Mostly, it’s about the author of the piece ticking off items that he does not use any more. Hence, they are obsolete to him. They include:

  • Dial-up Internet
    In the rural areas of the country, which is most of the country but very little of the country where technology writers live, you have two choices, and it’s not fiber or copper or DSL or cable. You get to choose between dial-up, which is slow but inexpensive, and satellite, which is more expensive, slightly faster, and sometimes spotty. So, yes, many people still use it. Because it makes sense, and it probably suits their needs.
    Yes, I know, cellular offers a more technically challenging and sometime viable solution, but it’s not available in all areas either. Have you ever seen the little marker on your smart phone that says data is unavailable in an area? I have.
  • Dot matrix printers
    The author himself mentions multi-part forms, and that’s a no-brainer for me. The author must not have worked in an environment where this makes sense.
  • Landline phones
    It might make some fiscal sense for me to give up our residential landline phone, but the telephone works when the power goes out, brothers and sisters. In the event of a disaster, it might be your link to the world when your Internet and your cell phone chargers are unavailable. I’ll cling to it until such time as the phone company takes it away from me.
  • VHS and cassette tapes
    The author talks about the cloud and downloading music, but I’ve had enough hard drive failures and have seen enough services shuttered that I wouldn’t trust the Internet with my data anyhow. Besides, you can rip them to bits if you must, and you’ll find them very cheap at garage sales. So instead of ‘renting’ a movie for $2.99 or downloading a whole song for a buck, you can find whole albums for a quarter and movies you can watch over and over for a buck.
  • CRT TVs
    Confession: I just removed our last television with a picture tube. Not because it was not working, but because we dropped a dish box and now it was more important to hook in a DVD player and VCR (to play obsolete VHS tapes!). Also, I had an extra television I’d used as a computer monitor for a while. Otherwise, I would still have it. You know why? It still worked.

    If you hit any number of yard sales or thrift stores, you’ll find any number of old console televisions from the 1960s, complete with picture tubes, flickering some broadcast television. And you know what? They still work. Compare that to the longevity of other types of televisions. No contest, hey?

Oh, I could go on, but it frankly boils down to this: The ‘obsolete’ things still work. Vinyl records, cassettes, televisions, fax machines, the whole lot of them still fulfill a function and still work, so yes, people will still use them.

It’s easy to have the disposable attitude, I reckon, if you’re young and have not accumulated a number of things that work (which might never happen to today’s young, I reckon. Wait, instead of repeating ‘I reckon,’ I mean ‘by crackey.’). Or if you’re someone who trades in a phone every two years or a car every three. It’s a new mindset, one that most people outside the tech industry don’t share.

Facebook as Official Communications Channel

Perhaps you’ve seen the video of the concealed carry motorist in Ohio who tried to inform the police officers that he was carrying a concealed weapon, only to be interrupted each time by the tough cop until such time when the weapon was discovered, whereupon the officer threatens him with bodily injury and death. I’ll tuck the video under the fold.

Courtesy of a Hot Air update, I see the police department has issued a statement on its Facebook page:

I want to assure our citizens that the behavior, as demonstrated in this video, is wholly unacceptable and in complete contradiction to the professional standards we demand of our officers. As such, appropriate steps were placed in motion as dictated by our standards, policies and contractual obligations….

I have to ask you, do you take postings on social network sites from official government entities as the truth? As an official in a government entity, do you think this really is the forum for official statements?

I dunno. Since it’s so easy to hack or spoof the social network sites, I don’t it’s a good idea. But I’m an old man. NOW GET OFF MY LAWN!

Continue reading “Facebook as Official Communications Channel”

As If Thousands of Technohipsters Suddenly Cried Out In Terror At Once And Were Suddenly Silenced

How do you like it, technohipsters? WaPo: DOJ preparing antitrust probe for Apple, among others:

Apple, Google, Yahoo! and Genentech are subjects of a fresh antitrust investigation surrounding hiring and recruiting practices among companies in the tech industry, according to Washington Post staff writer Cecilia Kang.

“By agreeing not to hire away top talent, the companies could be stifling competition and trying to maintain their market power unfairly,” antitrust experts said in the article. Hiring and recruiting can sometimes be a touchy affair, as Apple found out late last year when trying to hire Mark Papermaster. The investigation may suggest some kind of written agreement among large tech firms to not hire away each other’s top talent.

Your cherished icons are businesses, and your cherished administration has determined they are evil.

An Idea Whose Time Hasn’t Yet Come, And Probably Never Will

Behold the mighty Fugoo:

Soon that “networked home” (once the stuff of animation and science fiction) could become a reality: This summer a group of personal computer veterans will start selling Fugoo, a brick-size box that will plug into specially outfitted home appliances and connect them to the Internet — and one another — via broadband wireless systems.

You know, that sort of thing has been available for several years–if not a decade–through the Smart Home catalog.

How does the latest and the greatest work?

Here’s how it works: Each Fugoo box is loaded with a Via Technologies processor and the Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) operating system. It retails for $99. When a box is installed, appliances that have been outfitted especially for Fugoo are then able to talk to one another over a Wi-Fi network. The appliances can also retrieve information from the Internet, so your alarm clock could also tell you the weather, for example, or provide a traffic report. Once appliances are connected to the Internet, you can do all sorts of cool things: use a smartphone to remotely program the coffeemaker to have a fresh pot waiting for you when you get home from work, say.

The devil, you say! An alarm clock that can provide weather and traffic reports! Probably even specifically tailored to your local region through a complex proprietary algorithm. Wow! That’s so much more advanced than the $10 alarm radio I got as a Christmas present 20 years ago and continue to use today. And a coffee machine that automatically makes coffee. Wild!

The problem, though:

Before that can happen, though, Fugoo will need to cajole appliance makers and software developers alike to produce products that work with the Fugoo box, in much the same way Intel had to persuade the computer industry to embed Wi-Fi chips in laptops.

The company hopes that in the future, device manufacturers will simply build Fugoo capability into their products the same way that, say, your car might have a docking station for your iPod.

Do cars have iPod docks? I’ve seen the alternative input jacks, but not proprietary things like iPod docks.

Every couple of years, some company chases this pipe dream and gets some press coverage. But, really, do you want to hook your home appliances up to the Internet and its attendant hackers? I do not, and I don’t see any value in using a smart phone to check if my laundry is done.

Apple Is Mandatory

Class lectures? There’s an app for that: Journalism school to require iPod use:

Kayla Miller isn’t sure why she would need an iPhone or an iPod Touch in her courses at the University of Missouri, but she likes the idea of the school requiring students to have them.

“I don’t really see a need for them, but I think it’s cool,” she said.

After all, Miller, 19, said, if the devices are required — as they will be for all incoming journalism majors starting in the fall — many parents will feel like they have to buy them for their teens. Even though she’ll be a sophomore next year and won’t be required to have one, Miller said she might urge her parents to buy her one for her journalism courses, anyway.

The MU School of Journalism is requiring that all incoming freshmen have iPhones or iPod Touch devices to “help students adjust to freshmen year,” Associate Dean Brian Brooks said. “It also would allow them to record lectures and review it. Many schools are doing it now, and it seemed like a great idea to us.”

See, while you’re looking at Halliburton and Blackwater, the corporations favored by the cool and the hep are becoming mandatory.

And the worst part is the well-conditioned student who is in favor of compulsory iPods even though she doesn’t see the need for it. She just accepts that the authorities are compelling students for the better.

I’m not saying I fear for the future of this country, because that might imply I think this country has a future. Instead, here are real estate listings for Sandpoint, Idaho. Good luck.

(Hat tip to gimlet.)

Irony That’s Lost On A Technical Recruiter

Classic Craigslist job listing: VAX VMS/COBOL (St. Louis):

We are a Fortune 1000 company with 60,000 employees globally and 2.5 billion dollars in revenue. We provide software solutions and business consulting to global corporations, using some of the world most sophisticated and advanced technologies.

. . . .

Work Experience requirements:

Minimum 5 years programming experience on VAX/ALPHA Machines

Minimum 3 years experience with COBOL/OPEN VMS

Must have hands-on experience in Datatrieve, CMS, COBOL, DCL, RMS and DecForms

Experience with usage of System Service and Run-Time Library Functions on Open VMS

Yeah, the technical recruiter did not even know these things don’t go together.

Point/Counterpoint, Unintentionally

ComputerWorld runs two stories this week which illustrate a point/counterpoint, albeit unintentionally.

First, an editorial shrieking about how not having electronic medical records is dangerous:

The medical data that might have saved me several hours of terror sat unused. It was unavailable to doctors outside of Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Keene clinic, except by mail or fax. And even if the clinic could transmit my records, Charlotte Regional Medical Center’s systems were incapable of receiving them. According to its records department, the hospital still uses paper-based processes for its medical records.

On the other hand, here’s a frightening story about online medical records:

University of Miami officials last week acknowledged that six backup tapes from its medical school that contained more than 2 million medical records was stolen in March from a van that was transporting the data to an off-site facility.

Perhaps someone in the know weighs the chances of a faulty diagnosis against the chances of the data being stolen and determined the risk of theft is greater. Perhaps not.

But that’s a consideration to make, ainna?

Wait! Facebook Will Change Everything!

I suppose that Web 2.0 will change everything in this instance:

Time may be running out for lawmakers hoping to pass a controversial civil union bill this year, but supporters are getting some untraditional help to boost interest: a “Facebook” army of more than 8,000 supporters.

This is meaningful because it supports the narrative and preferred mindset of the journalist. I mean, it’s 8,000 names on an Internet bulletin board or Internet petition.

Object Lesson About Online Services

EMC offers an object lesson to people who would become dependent upon online services:

EMC Corp. this week confirmed that it has notified customers that a massive price increase is about to kick in for users of its hosted MozyPro backup and recovery service.

Call me a little less than Web 2.0 enthusiastic, but I’m not a fan of paying every month for software (Software as a Service, or SaaS) or relegating functions I can do locally to services that can go dark with no warning or raise fees at a whim.

Of course, I’m not a fan, either, of taking prescription drugs for indefinite periods, either.

Meet Your New Project Manager, Clippy

Remember Clippy? Remember how you could turn him off? Well, get ready for Microsoft’s Clippy the Project Manager:

A unique monitoring system and method is provided that involves monitoring user activity in order to facilitate managing and optimizing the utilization of various system resources. In particular, the system can monitor user activity, detect when users need assistance with their specific activities, and identify at least one other user that can assist them. Assistance can be in the form of answering questions, providing guidance to the user as the user completes the activity, or completing the activity such as in the case of taking on an assigned activity. In addition, the system can aggregate activity data across users and/or devices. As a result, problems with activity templates or activities themselves can be more readily identified, user performance can be readily compared, and users can communicate and exchange information regarding similar activity experiences. Furthermore, synchronicity and time-sensitive scheduling of activities between users can be facilitated and improved overall.


Subscription Rate for Hipness: $100 / month

He’s Steve Jobs, bitch!

“But we want to make the iPhone even more affordable for even more people this holiday season,” Jobs continued. “So we’re going to do something about that today. We’re not going to sell it for $599 anymore.”

Instead, as a giant screen behind him vaporized first the 4GB version of the device, then the price of the 8GB model, he dropped the bomb. “We are going to price the 8GB iPhone at just $399.”

For being the first people on the block to have one, you’ve paid an additional $200. How do you like them Apples?