Apple hits back at Sony’s ‘misleading’ Walkman marketing

ATRAC3 at 48Kbps is nowhere near CD quality,” said Joswiak. “It’s especially interesting that Sony really acknowledges that with the fact that their jukebox software (default setting) and their online store both deliver music at 132Kbps. It’s certainly an acknowledgement that it’s the minimum bitrate you need with ATRAC3 and yet they chose to play a little marketing game and take their bitrate way down to make people believe their player is a higher capacity than what it is. We just find that to be misleading.”

I thought Sony’s claims seemed a little fishy given my understanding of ATRAC and it’s comparative audio quality levels at various compression rates. More later…

Almost Firefox

Almost, but not quite.

I almost switched from Safari to the Mozilla Firefox web browser over the weekend. Firefox is coming along nicely, and some of the extensions are incredibly helpful. I use the browser all the time, and for a brief period this weekend had switched the system default over to Firefox.

First of all, the thing that made me switch back to Safari was Firefox’s lack of spell checking capability in web forms. I’m sure that it’ll get implemented eventually. Scribe is a nice Firefox extension that has plans to add this feature in the future. There are hacks that seem to work out there, but they’re not quite ready for lazy bastards like myself. As soon as someone can implement this, I’ll try switching back. I do too much impromptu typing in form fields and I’m rather addicted to Safari’s inline spell checking – I need my crutch!

Well that’s not the only reason – there are a few keyboard shortcuts that I’m fond of in Safari that are missing in Firefox, like switching tabs with Command+Shift+(Left/Right) Arrow. And a few rough edges still lurking here and there. Nothing major mind you, but it was just enough for me to decide it wasn’t there yet and wait for the next release to try again.

What I do love about Firefox is it’s extensibility. Stuff like the totally awesome Web Developer Extension which has made my life a lot easier already, the Sage extension for reading RSS and Atom feeds, and the essential Venkman JavaScript Debugger. These goodies already have me using Firefox at least part time on my Mac. On my Windows XP box, Firefox has already become the default.

Another thing I appreciate about Firefox is it’s use of standardized form element styling behavior. As much as I enjoy the camp and shameless branding exercise of having all my menus and form buttons appear in Aqua, it’s a forced, tired, and overdone look. There are some CSS2 provisions for styling form elements, which Safari politely ignores. I say, keep the aqua flavors to the menu widgets, but let me at least color the button with a cherry red background and lime green text for my holiday greetings, thank you!.

And while I’m wishing, it would be nice in Safari to implement that Undo command for form typing sometime.

On the other hand, Safari does support my favorite CSS2 eye candy, namely text-shadow. Plop this together with being able to style my form menus and buttons in Aqua using CSS2 and we have a sexy browser!

The last thing I’ll say about Safari vs. Firefox is that Firefox’s handling of JavaScript is significantly faster than Safari’s implementation, as of this writing. However, the rumor mill seems to indicate that this situation may change soon enough.

Well, it’s nice to have choices. Heck, it’s nice not to have to use Micro$oft Intermittent Exploder as my forced default browser/file system/security hole! With just a bit more spit and polish, Firefox stands to be a very compelling web browser. Sure, the name is a bit hard to get used to, but heck – there’s even an extension for that problem. And judging from the plans in store for Safari, it will probably be a toss-up for me for the foreseeable future. And that’s a Good Thing™

Taiwan Constitution Campaign

Taipei Times: Lee launches constitution campaign

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday led hundreds of supporters to launch the “Action for a Taiwanese Constitution (台灣制憲運動),” a private, non-governmental effort to campaign for the creation of a new Taiwan constitution. Lee said that the constitution should not contain the name “Republic of China” (ROC) and must assert Taiwan’s independent sovereignty.

Addressing the campaign’s inauguration ceremony, Lee, the general convener of the action, yesterday said this was an important moment for the people of Taiwan to begin building a real independent and sovereign country, which will be necessitated by the creation of Taiwan’s own constitution.

The new Taiwan constitution will ensure that Taiwan will become a normal country. This new constitution will deal with whether the country should adopt a three-branch governmental system and will define the relations between the administrative and legislative departments and ensure the impartiality of the judicial system. But above all, Taiwan’s national status must be defined clearly; that is, Taiwan is Taiwan, and not a part of China,” Lee said.

Of course, detractors will claim that this is reckless provocation and will upset the status quo. But would you have said the same to the American Founding Fathers when they drafted their constitution two hundred yeas ago?

Half Million Protest in Hong Kong

Another massive democracy march in Hong Kong: Yahoo! News – Hong Kong Stages Massive Democracy March

Of course, they are up against a frighteningly obtuse mentality from the mainland overlords:

In Hong Kong, a mainland visitor, 30-year-old accountant Bob Zhuang, watched the early morning demonstration for a few minutes and called the activists “stupid.”

Should such a protest really be allowed in this territory?” Zhuang asked, waving a red Chinese flag.

There you have it, tongzhi. Just wave a litte red flag and dismiss those silly half a million protesters in your little newly-claimed territory as “stupid.” Don’t bother taking the time to ask questions and try and understand what all the commotion is about, what the issues are, or why so many would brave sweltering heat and humidity to demand freedom and democracy. Just wave your litte red flag like a good little borg, dismiss everyone around you as stupid because they are contrary to your narrow point of view, and have another sip of your lemonade.