Friday, August 27, 2004

Why Real networks is oh-so hip. Not.

"Real is waging a grassroots battle where there is no grass. Apple is not Microsoft (MSFT). There is no sense of outrage among consumers. While it's tempting to cast Steve Jobs as a scheming, egomaniacal villain, the fact is that most people love Apple and its hip products. And shameless price cutting, even if it's just a short-term sales promotion, feels like the last refuge of a failed marketing strategy. It does nothing to enhance the company's prickly brand image, something that Real needs to improve as digital music gradually moves into the mainstream. "At the end of the day, starting a price war is going to bite RealNetworks on the ass," Peacock predicts. "Why would you want to Wal-Mart (WMT) your brand?"

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Superb crack-pot update in this missive from mathematical physicist John Baez:

"After [Roger Penrose's] talk, all the questions were actually harangues from people propounding idiosyncratic theories of their own, and the question period was drawn to an abrupt halt in the middle of one woman's rant about fractal cosmology. But I bumped into the saddest example when I was having a chat with some colleagues at a local pub. A fellow with long curly grey locks and round horn-rimmed glasses sat down beside me. I'd seen him around the conference, so I said hello. He asked me if I'd like to hear about his theory; at this point my internal alarm bells started ringing. I told him I was busy, but said I'd take a look at his manuscript later.

"It turned out to describe an idea I'd never even dreamt of before: a heliocentric cosmology in which the planets move along circular orbits with epicycles a la Ptolemy! And his evidence comes from a neolithic Irish tomb called Newgrange. This tomb may have been aligned to let in the sun on the winter solstice, but some people doubt this, because it seems the alignment would have been slightly off back in 3200 BC when Newgrange was built. However, it's slightly off only if you work out the precession of the equinox using standard astronomy. If you use his theory, it lines up perfectly! Pretty cute. The only problem is that his paper contains no evidence for this claim. Instead, it's only a short note sketching the idea, followed by lengthy attachments containing his correspondence with the Dublin police. In these, he complained that people were trying to block his patent on a refrigerator that produces no waste heat. They were constantly flying airplanes over his house, and playing pranks like boiling water in his teakettle when he was away, trying to drive him insane."

Friday, August 20, 2004

The long wait is officially over. Richard the Second is now available on DVD at Amazon.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Dan Kennedy on Nomar and why it's basically a good thing he's gone:

"Nomar was a great, great player, and he may be once again. But for whatever reason - and I'm certainly not holding management blameless - his situation in Boston had become untenable. Keep an eye on the off-season and see what he signs for. I'll bet it's for a lot less than the $60 million he turned down from the Sox - or even the $48 million "market correction" offer they later made."