Chewing Fedora

I guess it’s time to eat my hat. Apple did come out with a pro laptop. Didn’t think that one would make the cut quite so early. Kudos to Apple for keeping that one under wraps. The new rumor of a Mac-powered HDTV plasma display was kind of exciting – I only heard about that one the day before, but it sounded awfully tempting.

What I don’t get is the branding change. PowerBook has been such a dominant brand name – why change it. Isn’t MacBook kind of dorky?

Also interesting: The initial release of only a 15″ model. Will we see again the ultra-portable 12″ or the Cadillac-sized 17″ units?

Most interested to know how apps such as Dreamweaver, Zend Studio, Photoshop, and Fireworks will perform via Rosetta, or if they’re going to be native any time soon. Other apps that aren’t so processor intensive won’t worry me too much, but I gotta code fast and not wait all night for basic graphics processing.

Love the MagSafe Connector power management. I just munched a connector to a power cable yesterday. I’ve been through several of those power supplies due to mishaps, and almost lost a PowerBook or two…

About the Optical Digital Audio: Finally a real portable PowerBook oops, I mean MacBook Pro digital recording studio possibility. I have a goal to rig a machine for recording digital audio directly. This is great. I would seriously would like to use a PowerBook as a mobile mixing board for recording Yingwen’s student recitals and my own gutar and double bass solos. All I want is a good stereo mic with a nice boom stand and some bonehead software to run the recording and convert to MP3 or AAC.

I love the inclusion of the remote. Instant presenter platform. Saw Keynote in action today again too – I’m impressed with it, and the combination of the two is very compelling to someone like myself that does a lot of training and presentations. Add in the inclusion of the iSight camera right in the body of the machine and you might be able to do some interesting stuff over the interent. Something like: (slides + video + wifi) - cables = happy_presenter.

Wow – no more PowerBook brand name then eh? Weird.

Just one more thing…

And the most interesting Apple development of all for today? Apple’s website now requires a browser maximized at 1024 x 768 pixels. Eeentresting…. Gotta push people to upgrade to those bigger better screens I suppose…

Old joke

Old bass joke to make you groan:

musicmutt: A fun little story

A friend of a friend of a friend of mine told me this little tale of one of our local symphony orchestras doing a rendition of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. There is a passage in this piece where the bass section has a fairly long break. Long enough, in fact, that the double bass players stocked up the green room with libations and when this break came, they would skip down to the green room for a little sheep dip. Well, as the rehearsals went on, they started cutting their return close enough that even they started to get a little nervous. So, they got a hold of the conductor’s sheet music, punched a hole in the bottom corner and tied the pages together to buy themselves a few extra seconds. So, come performance night, you could just feel the tension. There, at the bottom of the 9th, the score is tied, and the basses are loaded.

Global Censorship

Rebecca MacKinnon is my new favorite blogger: RConversation: Why Microsoft censorship in China matters to everybody

In my view, this issue goes far beyond China. The behavior of companies like Microsoft, Yahoo! and others – and their eager willingness to comply with Chinese government demands – shows a fundamental lack of respect for users and our fundamental human rights. Globally.

Microsoft, Yahoo! and others are helping to institutionalize and legitimize the integration of censorship into the global IT business model.

Do not count on these companies to protect your human rights, if those rights are threatened by the over-stretching hand of any government anywhere on the planet.

These are American companies, with global reach and global influence, that are enabling and participating in censorship and supporting totalitarian government. How they practice their business abroad affects us here in the United States, as well as any other country they do business in. And for the truly affected nations like China, they do their people no favors here.

MSN serves the Great Red Firewall

Rebecca MacKinnon has written an in-depth and well researched post on how MSN Spaces has offered up their own sacrifice of freedom of speech at the altar of the almighty dollar by censoring a controversial Chinese blogger to appease the PRC machine. In this piece, Rebecca tests out MSN‘s censorship algorithm herself by starting up Spaces blogs to see if obviously controversial words would get blocked, which indeed they did. Some posts containing certain words and phrases are automatically blocked, while others seem to get screened later on by a possibly human process. There is also some discussion at EastSouthWestNorth about how MSN may even be merely a pawn in this game; that a competitor used China’s security machine to give MSN a black eye in the market.

What intrigues me about the whole fiasco is not so much MSN‘s willingness to be a tool for the PRC, but more how that the situation shows how alive and well the idea that state persecution can be used as a weapon for demagoguery, vengeance, and for crushing one’s opposition. Rebecca finishes with this, which I found particularly poignant:

Can we say, snakepit? Its actually not uncommon in China for people in one company to actively tattle on their rivals and get them into political trouble in order to gain a competitive business advantage. I saw it happen several times in the media and entertainment worlds when I was living and working in Beijing. This is one reason the communist party will stick around longer than many outsiders think. Businesses get greedy and try to manipulate the authoritarian system to their advantage, rather than working together to make the whole thing more fair, accountable, and transparent. Microsoft clearly isnt taking the high road either.