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Clerks. This time it's even less personal. ^_^

A suite of remarkably beautiful Earth images courtesy of NASA. The "land and city lights" image towards the bottom tells of human activity quite well, particularly in Australia, with the focal points being the Eastern/SE coastal cities. It's a wonderful little ball.

Should be interesting to see if this report of a sub-$500 Mac comes to pass.. MacWorld San Francisco is just under a fortnight away (Jan 10-14, with the keynote at 9am on Jan 11), so any announcement would certainly be there. If true, I'd imagine it'd likely be promoted as an A/V component, and shaped as such, whilst still remaining a full computer. Perhaps multiple models, with $499 getting one with only wired networking, and $599 for 802.11g and Bluetooth too. (And with specs way beyond my 'books, of course.. still, for a system over six years old, my ol' Wallstreet continues to be a fine workhorse, despite many miles on the clock)

Track for the day probably must be The Jamaican Calypsonians - Dr Kinsey (2.9MB MP3). It's simply not often enough one hears a calypso on the Kinsey Report.

Ah, have two. ^_^ Originally posted on Aurgasm, but now expired, Venus Hum - Soul Sloshing (2.2MB MP4) is like a melding of Yazoo, Goldfrapp, and a very peppy Björk, wrapped in some gorgeously bouncing basslines and unabashedly synthetic rhythm. (I keep wishing it were only longer than 3m48)

On a whim, I decided to check where the busiest airport in the world is to be found. This page noted some other tidbits, like the largest covering an area of 81 square miles, in Riyadh. By number of passengers, Atlanta is now the busiest, at 76m/yr, surpassing O'Hare at 66m/yr, and Heathrow's 63m/yr. Combining a city's airports, London - Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, and London City - wins, with a combined 120m, or twice the population of the UK.

kaysho recently penned a memorable ode to the winter holidays. ^_^

Health risks are, apparently, but one peril of smoking.. ^_^;;
Clerks is set in my county! I have pictures of the Quick Stop in Leonardo, and I've been to Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank a time or two. ^_^
Hee! Don't suppose you've managed to get the photo signed? ^_^ (And just how did Leonardo Leonardo get the Quicker Stop through the zoning committee anyway? Though if you've not had the pleasure of the animated series yet, that won't make any sense :)

I don't have my copy of Clerks with me, but I do have the animated series - think it's time I saw some of that again. How on Earth they managed to convince NBC to green light the project I've no idea, but I'm pleased they did.. ! (And the commentary tracks are as much fun as the actual shows!)
A suite of remarkably beautiful Earth images courtesy of NASA.

Wow! That full Earth picture is breathtaking. There's the Sun reflecting somewhat diffusely off the water around the tip of the Baja peninsula.

Health risks are, apparently, but one peril of smoking..

I've noticed before how smoker's keyboards got their keys so dirty so fast. I guess they need to wash their hands more. :-P
Nicely caught! Mm, I need to prowl (insofar as a panda can) around NASA and ESA's sites more - they both seem to have such a lot to offer. (Ah, to experience zero gravity for myself.. looks like too much fun :)

how smoker's keyboards got their keys so dirty

That put me in mind of Smoker being a sort of companion to The Real Ghostbusters' Slimer, able to incapacitate bad guys with a single exhalation. ^_^

Happy New Year! :)
And to you too. ^_^ Here's hoping!
Should be interesting to see if this report of a sub-$500 Mac comes to pass..

If it doesn't, I'm going to be pretty pissed for having plunked down $10K to buy 152 shares of APPL yesterday! ;-)

IMO, Jobs et al. should have done this years ago. I've long been of the belief that if Apple would just match the PCs' low price point, gazillions of disaffected Wintel users would bail in favor of the MacOS. Most wouldn't do it if they had to pay >$1K to make the switch (obviously), but if the playing field were levelled...oooooh. That's another story entirely, and one I'm willing to bet money on!
Hopefully you actually bought AAPL, though. ^_^ Eep! That's a chunk of change.. !

This article, I feel, makes the case well. Not much I can add to it, but I'll agree that the marketing needs to promote it as a "solution" - a box which simply works, and performs all the usual browsing/email/image viewing very well, without getting into numbers of processor speed or suchlike, which to most people, are quite irrelevant. Ma and Pa Kettle don't need a terahertz processor for eBay and replying to spam, after all.

As for whether it'll bring in current Windows users - it's possible. There seems to be something of a halo effect from the iPod as is, and having a low priced system there in the store could be enough of a temptation. The network appliance is something quite a few companies have shot for in the past, but the time and company might be right this time, just as it proved - quite dramatically - to be with the iPod.

Could be quite an interesting keynote. ^_^ Wonder if that audio interface ("Asteroid") will see the light of day there too? Seemed like quite a nice little unit, and not a bad price at all. And there really ought to be some sort of PowerBook news, though that'll likely just be a nudge in speed, unless the PBG5 is actually ready to roll, as the Freescale dual-core G4s aren't ready for volume production yet.
Hopefully you actually bought AAPL, though. ^_^

Heh! You're right. Actually, all I told the broker was 'buy Apple'. He told me I bought it for 64.39, which is what AAPL closed at yesterday, so he did buy the right stock for me. ;-)

And you're right, that is a lot of money. BUT, I think if this inexpensive iMac is marketed intelligently (and why else develop the box unless they are going to pitch it as a 'solution'?), Apple's market share can do nothing except go UP. Personally, if I were one of their ad men, I'd pitch the phrase 'Enjoy Worry-Free Computing!' to the masses. Not 'It Just Works'. Hell, that's what Windows boxes already do! (They just work.;) When I sit down at my Mac, I don't have to worry about a damned thing. Is there a new virus out there today? No. Is my computer infected with spyware? No. Etc. Etc. Etc. With my Mac, I can just start it up and do what I want to do with it, and not have to worry about anything else. This is an experience that most Windows users have never known. So, I not only think it has the potential to snag savvy iPod users, I think it also has the potential to bring people back into home computing who have given up on computers entirely (and there are millions of such people out there). Maybe they've seen the Mac as a possible alternative for some time, but asking them to shell out at least the better part of $1K on an experiment was way too much. Price it at $499 and make it possible for them to simply hook up their old monitor to it and GO... now that's mighty tempting...

IF this new iMac is an initial success, after that, it will simply be a matter of word-of-mouth that makes Apple's market share go up Up UP. And the more problems people have with Windows - well, if there's finally a cheap (and better) competing product out there, Microsoft's OS market share can only go DOWN Down down...
Someone posted quite a nice mockup of the device here. (It's being called the xMac there, though I prefer others' "iMac mini")

Another point someone made in an Ars Technica thread was mooting the use of .Mac to provide TiVo-like abilities. That might make sense, as it'd be an optional thing - it'd be perfectly functional without - and provide Apple with a subscription revenue stream, helping offset the lower cost of the base unit. Another option might be for it to simply interface with one's existing TiVo or other Firewire-equipped set-top box, leaving all the video encoding and suchlike to that device instead. And indeed, this posting suggests the pieces are ready.

(That same Ars thread, earlier on, also suggested iTunes 5 will sport quite a cool new interface)

Also, "Ashby" posted: "Not sure if it's time yet, but the obvious solution is for Apple to sell TV shows & Movies & Documentaries just like songs on iTMS. If you run out of room on the HD, just slap another FireWire HD on the box. Want to take a film over to a friend's house? Transfer it to your iPod..." To me, this makes sense - you're not going to find an iPod with ethernet (although 802.11g would be nice), so let a box with all the networking gubbins take care of sucking down The Incredibles movie from the iTMS, then letting you slurp it up onto your iPod. Playing it could then just be a matter of hooking it up to your friend's iMac mini, playing directly off the iPod's drive - it'd be trivial for the box to automount the filesystem like any other Firewire drive, and present the music and movies available on it.

And: "Visited the an Apple Store today (not online), and noticed an unusual distribution of products. Full size Apple stores are organized into four bands, from doorway to cash register. Upon entering, the first band consists of PowerMacs on the left wall, powerbooks on the left island, ibooks on the right island and iMacs along the right wall. Typically the second band is more iPod oriented, and it was today as well, except that both the right and left walls were almost bare. Sure, they had a couple of iPods on each, but no where near as much stuff as normal, and less than on the islands. This suggests that whatever is being introduced at MW will be advertized as a consumer electronics device (even if it is a computer)."

Again, just idle speculation - the ThinkSecret report mentioned a 40GB drive. That's a bit on the small side for anything TiVo-like, though not impossible, as they're in the order of 1GB/hour for plain recording; but, what if this is some sort of video iPod? What would fit easily into that space, and still give loads of choice sitting on the drive, and not be suitable for just an iPod - how about music videos? Encoded well, particularly if QT7's H.264 were used, I could see them weighing in around 15MB - or, 2000 videos in 30GB.

From one simple rumor posting on ThinkSecret, later joined by AppleInsider, this story spread within hours to the general computing sites, and the newswires. The US could practically derive all its power requirements from the hydroelectricity from the drool. ^_^ Will it be a cheap Mac, an iPod extension, or both? Tuesday will hold whatever answers there may be.. !
Heehee! Glad you liked it! :)