Thursday, 6 September 2007

It's an Apple what?

Wow, the first major redesign of the iPod since the first one, and I'm not counting moving the buttons to the wheel or repackaging the Nano or giving it a colour screen:

iPod Touch.

It's shiny, it's cool, it's.... An iPhone with different innards and, from the looks and common sense of it, not particularly different at that. It has WiFi, so it doesn't even go without all radio hardware. It looks like it's got a (presumably modified) version of the same OSX-lite operating system complete with Safari and, by peering closely, I see the YouTube client as well, it presumably has the same storage hardware, it's obviously got the same touch screen and, one suspects from that page and without even reading anything, the same motion-sensing automatic screen reorientation. iPhone does the music player stuff, so that's all clearly the same. It is, not to put too fine a point on it, an iPhone with the phone part excised. Maybe the microphone and speaker as well.

This is why Apple is doing so well and can offer so many cool products: They know how to reuse everything. Why develop a new case if you've got one to hand? Everyone thought that the iPhone would look like an iPod, but no, they've been cleverer than that: Bring out a new image-raising product and make the iPod look like that, instead.

Actually... If this has WiFi... and if that version of Safari can handle Google Docs... Can you get a wireless keyboard to talk to it? I'd be interested!

Normally I would laugh and move on, but this one I have to share.

Please, please, PLEASE use pdfs

Here's a tip for everyone who has to electronically distribute newsletters, flyers, announcements etc. and wants to do it in a pretty format that email alone won't cover.


In particular, do not use brand new Word that spits out a .docx which is a zipped xml collection that older Word (which is most people, particularly in the cash-strapped non-government service sector) can't open without going to Microsoft and downloading a plugin, after first downloading all the available other fixes, and who's got the time for that? I had to email one newsletter to myself so that when I got home I could try and open it in OpenOffice, and that only complained about the format being incorrect and the file not being valid.

Acrobat may be expensive, but PrimoPDF is free and so is OpenOffice, which comes with its own PDF exporter. I use PrimoPDF because it's faster than Acrobat, and so far it's worked flawlessly. The saving on network traffic alone will make sysadmins like you, and the ease of use for your recipients will stop them from having such a low opinion of your competence at your job that you'll have sabotaged yourself for the next year.

Thank you for your consideration.

Art imitates Life

This is massively cool. There is so very little that cannot be imagined that has not been tried, even if unsuccessfully or not for very long, by the forces of random mutation assisted by natural selection and a soupcon of luck.

Remember how the aliens in, um, Alien(s etc.) had two jaws, and the big one which could take your head off would open and a small one capable of biting your nose off would come off purely, it would seem, to terrify people even more before killing them. Maybe stressed meat tastes nicer.

Nope, that wasn't a new idea either.

Moray eels do it too. (Courier Mail)

Yay! Go evolution!

Ironic physiology

I enjoy finding aspects of the human body that either don't make sense our are counter-intuitive or counter-productive. Well, I don't always enjoy this, since a lot of it directly impacts upon me. The design of knees, for instance. Or the massive susceptibility to error of the eye (how the hell can Intelligent Design apologists claim that the eye "must have been designed". They're denigrating the whole idea of an omnipotent designer!)

And now this:

Chronic sleep deprivation is increasingly damaging the male libido. (Courier Mail)

Umm... What's one of the most effective methods of getting to sleep???

Monday, 3 September 2007

Quotes of the times.

As an insight into my mental state recently, these are my two favourite quotes at the moment:

"I'm sorry sir, I appear to have bypassed my good-taste chip" - Kryten, Red Dwarf, just after saying "We could go back to Dallas in 1963, stand on the grassy knoll and shout 'Duck!'"

"I've always been of the opinion that people who never see any justification for the death penalty are showing a lack of imagination." - my colleague.

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