Guardian Unlimited | Online | Why VHS was better than Betamax, where a self-righteous pontificating wanker discusses how he's right and everyone else is wrong*. His argument is that VHS was better than Beta since the "whole product" was superior. Which is bullshit - both the argument and the premise.

When people say Betamax was superior, they're saying it was a better technology... full stop. They're not saying "Beta had more options in the video store and a huge amount of technical support"... they're saying "Beta was a better format than VHS". What you have to remember is that geeks do this all the time - they say something; that's what they mean. They're not saying "X is better than Y and becuase of that Z is true". They are JUST saying "X is better than Y". If they have an opinion about Z then they'll fucking say it.

Besides that; VHS didn't have a better total package. At the beginning, each format had an equal chance; but the physically smaller, very slightly higher quality format lost out because some poor business decisions were made. The whole product for VHS only became superior AFTER this occurred.

The other thing is... mostly people are not saying they actually give a toss about the difference. We all could have saved some shelf space with smaller tapes; but hey. Ultimately it's often just an observation that superior technology doesn't win. Which agrees entirely with what the guy was trying to prove in the first place. GAH!

[*] The irony of me posting that statement is acknowledged. | US tightens net copyright (January 28, 2003). No doubt Australian pollies will ask how high Australia should jump this time, please sir?

This is a bad thing for all aussie net users; since it forces ISPs into an ever-nastier corner. The ISP is being set up as a scapegoat for many things it can't control. Sure, they can block every single port you can think of. But that's like closing the phone exchange because someone might commit a crime involving the phone. Sure, if you can't call anyone at all you can't do anything wrong. But it means you don't have a phone anymore.

Editors and Lobbyists Wage High-Tech War Over Letters. The net has made it easy to find pre-written letters stating something you believe. Many publications, however, don't think such letters should be printed; since they aren't actually written by the sender (a fair point for a newspaper's Letters page). The people setting up the letters are getting smarter, though. Mix and match terms and paragraphs are just one of the ways they've figured out to vary the message enough to get past editors and into print.

I suspect the papers may have to cave into these eventually; perhaps reproducing a single copy of the message, noting that it was received several times. It's still a valid message; since the people who sign and send a prewritten letter often agree very strongly. In short, it's their point of view expressed in a prewritten letter. It may even be expressed in a far more eloquent and properly-researched manner than the sender has time to prepare. The downside is that you can't tell if it was just someone coerced into sending a copy; or if they didn't read it properly and maybe don't agree with some or even all of the letter's content.

I tried to post something about this the other day, but blogger ate the post. In any case, Zeldman has made a post about the guy who stole zeldman's design. Particularly galling is the thief's tagline "powered by creativity". Sure it is; just not his own creativity.

Every once in a while I cruise on by to Cruel Site of the Day. Often they're a bit ho-hum (I think my cruelty threshold has gone up over the years, at least where the net is concerned), but other times there are some gems. These amused me, in that cruel way.

Haven't done one of these for a while....


You are red. You are impure, but noble. You are precious and true to yourself and others. When you love, you love entirely, and will do anything to make your love happy. You are sure of your identity, therefore, you cannot change others or be changed. You are a true prince, you may be forgotten, but without you, none of us could go on.

What inner colour are you?

Uh huh.

Australia lagging on high-speed internet - The report, Australia's Broadband Connectivity, says "perceptions about price" of broadband are a barrier. However, the Communications Minister, Richard Alston, said yesterday that Australia's prices for broadband were among the cheapest in the world.

Even if it's "among the cheapest" it isn't cheap. Quite apart from the extreme setup cost (usually around $200), IF they will install to your home (if you're in a unit, no cable for you!), $75+ per month for crap broadband is not justifiable. If you want more than 500meg/1gig of download then you're looking at more than $75. You can get pretty much unlimited dialup access for $25/month or so. Even if you connect twice a day, at $0.25 per call, you're still online for $40/month. A lot of broadband is shaped back to 28.8k modem speed after your download limit; so you'll get a few days of fast internet followed by the rest of the month slower than you'd be on 56k dialup.... for double the cost. Alternatively you start paying massive rates for further data. Good deal? Not on my fucking planet.

A new games console....? Could it stand any chance against established systems like the PS2 and Gamecube, or be able to beat the lumbering whale that is Microsoft Xbox? It'd have to be something pretty special. It claims to have a massive games catalogue and looks to be relying on broadband net-gaming for its killer app.

If it was April 1st you'd write this one off. But it appears serious. | Disc slug sought to offset piracy (January 21, 2003). The worst quote? "Every kid does it, so let's facilitate some standards in the marketplace.". Every kid? Seriously? So what about the people who want to put DATA on their CDs? The article suggests they'd have to apply for a rebate; so basically what would happen is everyone would have to pay more for blank media - which will do absolutely nothing to stop piracy, it'll just give money to people who didn't earn it.

Google Job Opportunities. Yep, Google is hiring. It'd be great to work there. You know what annoys me though? Google is probably the most-viewed page in the world; and its homepage is a pile of invalid tag soup SHIT. *ahem* What I mean is, the HTML is rotten. Would it kill them to hire a web developer? No. But what are they hiring? Programmers. Programmers and suits.


Boing Boing | Patriotic Traitors. An interesting roundup of what various US presidents have gotten up to. Quite sympathetic to Clinton... who, let's face it, was a good President; just a bad husband. He quite obviously preferred love* over war.

[*] Don't bug me about the meaning of "love", here.

Next Harry Potter book out in June - Mmmhmmm. Will believe it when I am holding a copy. I don't know why, but it's always pissed me off that Rowling never admitted to writer's block. It's not the end of the world if you say you need longer to finish the next book; she just obviously didn't want to admit she couldn't deliver on her regular release promise to fans.

The Web site that Nick built - Speaking as a self-taught turned professional web developer; this is a) too true and b) fuckin' funny.

I do have two "beg to differ" points though. 1) DON'T USE FRONTPAGE. Get your teenager offspring to "borrow" a copy of Dreamweaver MX off a mate if you really can't afford it. 2) You should learn to code by hand first anyway, if you have the time and inclination. You really will benefit later on if you know how to fix things directly.

A great new case concept... the I-Tee. A t-shaped case which makes it easier to work on and claims to reduce cable clutter. Comes in nifty colours, too; to top off the experience. Quite nice, although I can't find a price; which shits me off.

Foxtel Unencrypted Cable User-guide. Since it's so utterly overpriced, it was only a matter of time before people figured out a way to hack cable tv connections. Still not worth the effort, IMO.

Sidenote: for anyone outside Australia, cable services in .au suck really badly. They cost a lot, yet the tv shows are full of commercial breaks. The cable internet costs stupendous amounts, but the data caps kick in around 500megs on many plans. Yes, 500 megs.

Medical evidence that hip-huggers can be bad for you. I recently saw 3 mildly obese young women between the ages of 22 and 35, who had worn tight "low-rise" trousers (also called hiphuggers) over the previous 6 to 8 months. All presented with symptoms of tingling or a burning sensation on the lateral aspect of the thigh (bilateral in one case). [...] In all 3 patients, the symptoms resolved after 4 to 6 weeks of avoiding hiphuggers and wearing loose-fitting dresses.

Reuters | Dodge Offers 500-Hp Concept Motorcycle. DaimlerChrysler AG's DCX.N DCXGn.DE Chrysler arm on Monday unveiled the Dodge Tomahawk -- essentially the 8.3 liter engine from a Dodge Viper mated to a motorcycle frame. Chrysler executives said while the chrome-draped Tomahawk was outlandish, they were seriously considering whether to build a few hundred at a price of at least $250,000 each.

Holy. Crap. Look at that thing.

Slashdot | Breakdown of Bandwidth Costs? "What is the origin of the cost of bandwidth? For instance, if I'm being charged for an apple, I know that, theoretically, the cost of that apple is going towards the purchase of apple seeds, the land on which the apple trees are grown, the fertilizer and water that helps the trees grow, and the salaries of those who pick the apples, clean them, box them, and send them to market..."

What a great question. I have wondered this myself...

NY Daily News: U.S. disaster plans include cloned icons. US icons like the Statue of Liberty are being scanned so they could be rebuilt if they were destroyed; say, in a terrorist attack. It's a weird result of what could be called meta-terror (terror about terror). As an aside, it's interesting to read how many of these major works have no surviving blueprints or plans.

Of course, not all icons can be replaced. For instance, in Australia we've just had a vandal attack destroy the famous "Dig Tree". No 3D model can bring back a tree.

Upgrade now! - clagnut/blog. Should we still be including hidden upgrade messages? Some good points. Unfortunately no matter what you do; you still end up with emails and phone calls from self-righteous fuckwits who want to chew you out because they think it's a personal insult that the site "breaks" for them.

Boring Profs exposed by WiFi. Basically this points out what the professors should already realise.... if they're as boring as batshit, then students will amuse themselves however they can. You need to make your lectures interesting before people will be interested. Besides all that, students have never paid attention to boring lectures. We didn't have laptops, we just walked out. Still passed the exams....

Blogger + Blog*Spot is currently freaking this page out in some fashion. There seems to be a dud bit of code in one of the ads which totally nuked the page. I've cycled the template and that fixed it; but it could be coincidence. Why does this crap always happen when I was about to log off?? yeesh.

Holy crap! I've been linked. My pure heresy page (where i ponder, rant and generally waste bandwidth) is included in the addictions linkset at :: blog. I'm pretty chuffed... hell, it's just me writing whatever pops into my head, but someone likes it enough to link to it :)