technology

Ride the Apple Wave

Even champions of Microsoft Windows are switching over to the Mac. But that isn’t news anymore, what is interesting about this MIT Technology Review article is what caused Erika Jonietz to leave the PC behind. In her own words:

Ironically, playing around with Vista for more than a month has done what years of experience and exhortations from Mac-loving friends could not: it has converted me into a Mac fan.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again— Vista might be the best thing that ever happened to Apple. Vista’s high cost (in terms of both the OS, the hardware upgrades needed, and the inability to use many older peripherals— like a printer) coupled with increased limitations to counter “piracy” make it unappealing. Add to that the fact that many of the tauted “innovations” in Vista are already built into Mac’s OS X 10.4, which will be soon be replaced by OS X 10.5 (full of new features for Microsoft to add to the next version of their own OS due out sometime between 2015-2050).

People don’t want to monkey around with their computer just to get it to print, or spend hours removing adware, malware, viruses only to have their computer crash— as Erika puts it they “just want things to work, and with [the] Mac, they do.”

[tags]mac os x, microsoft vista, mit, switchers, vista reviewer[/tags]

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flight, seattle, travel

Well *Ding* You Southwest Airlines

I’m not the most experienced flier, but I’ve flown enough to know what I don’t like.  On that this of things is lining up as soon as I get to the gate in the desperate hope of not getting the worse seat on the plane.  Another thing is being in an uncomfortable seat for several hours and being offered only gross snacks on a fairly long flight.  What does all this mean?  I don’t like flying on Southwest Airlines!

I flew from Seattle to Las Vegas to Manchester and then from Manchester to Las Vegas to Seattle, clearly not the most direct way to get back and forth, but it was (just barely) cheaper than some other flights. The trade off is having to stand for an hour to fight for a seat, and then sit in an uncomfortable Boeing 737 uncomfortable for the duration of the flight (6+ hours in my case).

Seating works like this: there are no assigned seats, you print a boardpass from the interweb the day before, it has either and A, B, C, or D on it depending on how many people already printed their boarding passes. Once you get to your gate you line up like cattle in lines labeled A,B,C, and D.  If you want to be at the front of your line you must get there powerfully early, don’t expect people to sit down until just before boarding.  Even if you are in line A you probably won’t get a very good seat, and if you are traveling with a large group don’t expect to sit together.

And bring your own food, unless you like those bread sticks with the fake gross cheese that I used to get packed in my lunch when I was a kid— those were good then, but they’re a punishment now.

I don’t know what it is about the seats, but I they are just unpleasant.  I know airplane seats are luxury, but for me these go above and beyond the normal discomfort.
The only pleasant part flight was the witty and snappy flight attendant on the flight into Manchester, though I’m guessing his routine is only enjoyable the first time.
I won’t even go into how much I hate the Las Vegas airport and paying $3.50 for a slice of the most disturbing pizza-like food I’ve ever eaten. I’ll leave it at this: STAY CLEAR!

People keep talking about JetBlue, so I think I’ll try them out next time.

[tags]airlines, travel, southwest airlines, jetblue, 737, las vegas, breadsticks n’ cheez[/tags]

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environment, whatnot

The Heart of Oil

It’s a tricky situation, but the gist of it is this— Exxon still hasn’t fairly compensated the people it hurt when the Valdez poured between 10.8 and 30 million gallons of poison into the Alaskan coastline on March 24th 1989. Exxon has various silly reasons for saying they don’t have to pay the people affected by one of the most destructive environmental disasters in history. Mostly they’ve said it was an accident and that they paid to clean things up and they think that is enough.

If a kid plays with matches in a field and accidentally burns a farmer’s entire crop, would cleaning the coals and paying for the seed be enough? Probably not. Imagine the farmer tried to get fair amount of money from that kid, and the kid responds that he has paid a lot already for the seeds, but you know that his parents have chipped and the amount that it cost him has been exaggerated a bit. Who do you feel sorry for? The kid or the farmer? Imagine now that while the farmer tries to get the kid to pay a fair amount he puts that amount in the bank. Imagine that the interest he makes on that money, the money that people agreed is owed to the farmer, has already doubled, but the kid just won’t pay.

exxon oil bird Today the Seattle PI reported that courts say Exxon doesn’t have to pay the $5.4 billion that was awarded to the people hurt by their mistakes. The reason is that there are new rues about caps for punitive damages. Exxon has said it payed enough, but insurance and, tax write offs have reduced their losses. The $5.4 billion Exxon owes folks has been set aside earning interest, most folks think the interest has exceeded $5.4 billion by now.

Exxon is coming out of the storm with a scratch, the people who depended on the natural resource that they completely screwed up are missing limbs. Ten percent of those who should have been compensated have died, that is how long this fight has been going on. Children born after the spill are preparing for college.

If you want to see the heart of oil, a heart that still beats at the same cold pace today, look no further than this. Fault has never been clearer, indifference to harm caused couldn’t be less stark. The question is will we learn to hear this twisted heart’s pumping elsewhere?

[tags]big oil, environment, exxon, oil, oil spills, valdez[/tags]

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seattle, travel, whatnot

Walkabout

I went for a walk around Seattle’s downtown. Travis & Monica live within walking distance, which means that I didn’t have to take the bus, I am a little afraid of the bus so that’s a bonus, and besides I like to walk.

Seattle has a nice enough downtown, or at least that is how it seems with my very limited experience. I went straight until I saw water, then I just ambled this way and that. Going straight to water put me right at the end of Pike Place Market, where I saw a protest against Free Trade with Korea. I also saw a weird totem pole, that wasn’t quite a real totem pole but a pole with a totem facade. I saw people singing on the street. I saw poor people sleeping on a little grassy spot while not-so-poor people took breaks from shopping. I saw mountains and water and stadiums. I saw a lot of stuff.

seattle skyline w/stadiums

two guys seattle snapour friend the totem

street piano

werid spot where some people sleep and others make puppy eyes

shanty town behind fancy hotel

The one thing that struck me at first was how few homeless people I saw. Then I saw a homeless man and within seconds a cop was helping away from the tourist filled area. Then it struck me how there are quite a few homeless people in Seattle but they are hidden, in many cases hidden in plain sight. There was a *huge* police presence. I know this is old news, but I forget that it happens sometimes, Northampton, MA was full of homeless people, but the police there just ignore them so it’s an easy thing to forget after a few years. The craziest instance was when I saw the shanty town behind an oceanside luxury hotel (see below). What a contrast.

[tags]downtown, free trade, homeless, korea, pike place market, qwestfield, safeco, seattle, tourism[/tags]

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