Watch: This Apple video from 1987 about 1997

Back in 1987, Apple made a (cheeky) video predicting what 1997 would be like. In it, Apple predicts that they will be basically the biggest company ever. Of course, we know that by 1997, they were basically bankrupt. Let’s at least be happy that basically none of this came true, especially the glasses (or Vista Mac).

Make sure you catch the Pepsi joke, as that’s where John Scully was CEO before joining Apple.

Breakfast Octopus

Go ahead and read these two paragraphs (go ahead, I’ll wait for you):

So there sat Bezos at the breakfast table, faced with a question for which he was apparently unprepared. Many painful seconds passed without an answer. Rutledge let the pause lengthen as long as he could bear it and was just about to tell his host to forget it, when Bezos finally spoke. 

He looked down at his plate. Bezos had ordered a dish called Tom’s Big Breakfast, a preparation of Mediterranean octopus that includes potatoes, bacon, green garlic yogurt, and a poached egg. “You’re the octopus that I’m having for breakfast,” Rutledge remembers Bezos saying. “When I look at the menu, you’re the thing I don’t understand, the thing I’ve never had. I must have the breakfast octopus.”

It’s from a fascinating profile of Woot founder Matt Rutledge, and the story of Woot’s founding, its sale to Amazon, and Rutledge’s future endeavors. I’d say it’s worth a read, but I suspect you’re already reading it.


Why is the Spotify player such a piece of shit?

Spotify is a pretty decent service. For free, you can listen to practically anything that’s ever been released commercially (sadly, no RVIVR, but that’s on them because they’re UP THE PUNX), as long as you’re willing to listen to some ads once in a while.

And I’m not against listening to ads once in a while.

The problem is, for a tech company with so much data, they use it horribly. Or they don’t use it at all. You’ll be listening to a sweet Biber partita, and get thrown a massively loud advertisement for ADVANCED AUTO PARTS. Listening to Old Crow Medicine Show? How about you try listening to LIL WAYNE’S NEW HIT ALBUM?

The worst, though, listening to something classy at work or church or school? How about TROJAN MAN?

Look, the first thing you can do is have a setting for (N)SFW ads. The second is, while a little harder, make the ads less annoying, by paying attention to what I listen to. This shouldn’t be difficult: I’m always looking for new music!

Now, you’re probably thinking: You know, you could just pay for it and get rid of the ads. Well, I’m not going to pay for this, and the annoying ads are part of the reason. I’m not going to incentivize you to annoy me into submission. Second, give me a decent product to go with your decent service. The application is a piece of fucking shit.

What do you think happens when you click on this red X?

spotify 1

If you guessed “act like every other Windows* program” you’re wrong. Pretty much all programs act the same way when you click the red X: It quits the application. Not so for Spotify! No, it just minimizes the player. Seriously. You’re like “I need to stop the player from playing, let me click the quit program button” and Spotify says “Fuck you, you can’t quit me” and you go “I WISH I KNEW HOW TO QUIT YOU!”

Because you actually have to go to the menu and select “Exit.” And the menu is fucking thin and impossible to click on correctly:

spotify 2

The rest of the UI is spacious (in fact, most of it since last week’s redesign is wasted space).

What about when you click the play/pause button—do you think clicking it does what you expect? Well, about half the time. Because, yes, back to ads, if there’s a display ad, you have to click twice. Why? I have no fucking clue. Probably to be like “Fuck you, there’s an ad here that’s more important to us than you.”

And speaking of that, the fucking turd of it all: When an audio ad plays, it you mute your computer or otherwise turn down the volume, the ad actually pauses.

So, Spotify, fix your shit. Make your application like all other programs. Make it actually work. I might pay.

Oh, and fix the shit where if two bands share a name, they get the same page, or if a band has a “the” for some reason there’s a page for it with and a page for it with out the “The.”

P.S. I have a sweet Spotify playlist of new music that I update periodically.

All this is applicable to the OSX version of the player as well.

No more printed Oxford English Dictionary?

CC photo by Flickr user thrig

Sad news for bibliophiles: The Oxford English Dictionary as we know it may never be printed (in full) again. Nigel Portwood, the CEO of the Oxford University Press, told the Sunday Times (behind a pay-wall, damn you Murdoch), via the Telegraph:

“The print dictionary market is just disappearing, it is falling away by tens of per cent a year,” Nigel Portwood, the chief executive of OUP, told the Sunday Times. Asked if he thought the third edition would be printed, he said: “I don’t think so.”

The current printed dictionary, the second edition, which was released in 1989, comes in at 20 volumes: over 21,000 pages of definitions, usages, spellings, pronunciations and histories. Electronically, though, the whole thing comes in at a scant 540 megabytes, which would fit easily on just one CD-ROM (roughly five-and-a-half of them would fit on one of the new Kindles).

The third edition will likely find its way to some kind of internet subscription service. After 21 years of work, the 80 lexicographers working on the revision have completed only entries “A” through “Rococoesque,” (What do you mean, “rococoesque” isn’t in your dictionary, Firefox?) a rate of 0.83 letters per year. So, who knows if it’s even relevant news now. Indeed, the Oxford University Press quickly released a response to outcries that some folks’ favorite tome would be discontinued:

No decision has yet been made on the format of the third edition. It is likely to be more than a decade before the full edition is published, and a decision on format will be taken at that point.

Prince is pretty sure the Internet's fifteen minutes are over

Yeah I found a CC picture of Prince on the Internet
CC photo by Flickr user Nicogenin

Musicians and labels are finally learning how to use the Internet to sell records and build hype instead of getting robbed by it. However, Prince—hit musician and alleged culture and technology expert—has decided that Internet is just an old outdated fad and instead will stuff CDs into newspapers and magazines.

He explains that he decided the album will be released in CD format only in the Mirror. There’ll be no downloads anywhere in the world because of his ongoing battles against internet abuses.

Unlike most other rock stars, he has banned YouTube and iTunes from using any of his music and has even closed down his own official website.

He says: “The internet’s completely over. I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won’t pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can’t get it.

“The internet’s like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good.

“They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”

(LOL @ “There’ll be no downloads anywhere in the world.”)

So, the Internet is apparently over. I guess TV Hat is the future.

SEC Employees Fiddle With Themselves As Wall St. Burns

An internal audit of SEC employee computer use has uncovered some staggering details about exactly what employees and contractors were doing with their time and their laptops. The results:

“During the past five years, the SEC OIG (Office of Inspector General) substantiated that 33 SEC employees and or contractors violated Commission rules and policies, as well as the government-wide Standards of Ethical Conduct, by viewing pornographic, sexually explicit or sexually suggestive images using government computer resources and official time,” said a summary of the investigation by the inspector general’s office.

The aerial view presented in the above block is only the tip of the iceberg, which shows that several employees really were caught with their junk in their hands when the crisis hit. To wit:

  • An accountant logged onto porn sites 1800 times over a two-week period using her work-provided lappy, storing 600 images on it.
  • An attorney owned up to spending up to eight hours a day casting about the dark recesses of the internet looking for happy hand time shots.
  • This same attorney downloaded so much of the smut that he not only filled the hard drive, but also boxes (BOXES!) of CDs and DVDs with the stuff.

Like, whoa. Now, obviously, the SEC employs considerably more than 33 people, and these two are extreme outliers, especially the one guy who probably has a serious problem that requires therapy more than ridicule*. However, the lack of oversight that allows employees to lose entire work-days to finding porn is the same lack of oversight that allowed the banks they were supposed to be regulating to get away with causing the country’s worst financial catastrophe in at least 70 years. It’s a microcosm of the whole crisis: people more interested in getting themselves off than what they’re supposed to be doing, and no one engaged or clued-in enough to notice what was going on — what with the interest in getting one’s self off being paramount.

And now a conversation with the person who brought this to my attention:
Dr. Prof.: nothing mind blowing here…but take a look at the #’s
Dr. Prof.: that is a WHOLE lotta work porn
Ghost: That is a ton of porn.
Dr. Prof.: i mean, given that ANY work porn is a lot, like, 2 accidental seconds is too much
Ghost: Also, her!!!
Dr. Prof.:: i know!!
Ghost: “in boxes“!! As in more than one box!
Dr. Prof.: it really is a ton of work porn
Dr. Prof.: its a ton of porn for AVN convention, nevermind a federal job.
Ghost: Boxes! “I don’t even own a gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack!”

*Obviously, this didn’t stop the ridicule. But seriously: get help, anonymous SEC attorney with what is obviously a crippling addiction.