CNet's (crappy) UMCP vs. Newton review

CNet (UK) has up a slightly tongue in cheek comparison review of a 1997 Apple Newton and a 2006 Samsung UMCP thing. Blah blah, the Newton wins. Cue “Wasn’t Apple great back in the day?” kind of response from all reading.

Actually, although I’ve never actually used a Newton (I did see one once…it had Daleks!), it does seem like it should have been the success story of the mid-90s Apple. Considering how far ahead of its time it was, with better marketing it could have been the iPod of its day. I presume. Pity Steve had to kill it when he returned, or whatever.

Anyway, back to this “review”. It’s a waste of time. Rather than actually looking at the two devices, they only compare the technology and potential of the devices. No actual investigation of what the two things do is shown. What’s the point in that?

Sure, I think it’s unbelievable that the Newton has 30 hours battery life and costs $50 on eBay, and is seemingly still fairly usable (read, connectable) today. But maybe its handwriting recognition is in fact 10 years behind, or maybe the Samsung UMCP really doesn’t have any software worth using on it to take advantage of the device. Maybe if the review was comprised of someone new to both platforms taking them around with them for a week and comparing those experiences, it’d be a worthwhile read.

But jeeze, comparing the glossiness of the plastics of their cases is much more interesting to me, right?

It would be exciting to see Apple take another strong interest in this market, though. Come on, 30 hours of battery life? That’s amazing, when the music players of today boast less than that. It would be a pity if all the people that did the great design of the Newton are long gone from Apple, though.

So, in summary: Newton good, wish it was newer. CNet review bad, wish they didn’t waste their time with images of people punching each other.

A bit of humour required

Sometimes people take things a little too seriously. Come on, it’s just an ad!

Here’s something a little more worth complaining about.

But I guess there are more important things to worry about than bitching by bloggers.


Gartenberg's iPod vs. Zune podcast

I was just going to link this in del.ici.ous, but I wanted to make a couple of comments on it. Someone has interviewed Michael Gartenberg on Microsoft’s Zune, and I actually listened to the podcast “Analyst Doubts Zune Will Include Gaming”. (Dumb title.) I reckon this Michael guy’s pretty clue-y.

First thing’s first: don’t you reckon the girl in the beginning of the podcast sounds exactly like the radio morning broadcast at the beginning of “The Journeyman Project”? (Okay, that’s a memory from circa 1994, so it might be a little hazy. P.S. I never got anywhere in that game. I was lame at age 13.)

Way to go off-topic. Secondly: Podcasts suck for listening to when trying to do other stuff at the same time. But who wants to listen to them tomorrow when I’m walking to work? Transcripts are so the way to go. Video blogging, on the other hand, might have something to it. Ha.

Oh, so what about that Gartenberg guy? Great points, to sum it up:

  • Microsoft can only differentiate themselves by adding things like wireless and satellite radio.
  • Users don’t care for such niche stuff.
  • Steve Jobs is always one big step ahead.

Frankly, I’m appalled that Microsoft’s being so blatant about the whole thing (come on, competing against your partners? That’s so immoral), and Gruber, as usual, has it right on the nose.

The Year of Nicola Tesla

How did I only find out about this in July? I used to be, shall we say, somewhat enthusiastic about Nicola Tesla in my undergraduate years. Such an amazing and tragic life. I just read on Wikipedia that somehow scientists have managed to confirm that he did in fact communicate with Mars in his later, more esoteric, years. (Unless I misinterpreted.) Can you imagine? Pity there was no-one listening.

Anyway, check it out: it’s Nicola’s 150th birthday this year, and UNESCO proclaimed 2006 to be the “Year of Nicola Tesla”. Yay.

I discovered this reading about Sun’s financial situation from their CEO Jonathan Swartz, who — funnily enough — writes on the internet. I’m really amazed by this guy, because he comes across as candid, when all of the other “blogs” I’ve read of such important people tend to sound like marketing spiels for their companies. Sure, he’s biased, but his enthusiasm for his company really shows though. Based on his word alone, I wish Sun all the best.

Wait, I never finished my story. Jonathan mentioned his wish to own a “Tesla car”, or something. That’s exciting. Go efficient, electric cars. Or, um, efficient air-powered cars. Powered by the wind!

Well, I’ll leave this with a link to Tesla’s “The Problem of Increasing Human Energy”, a highly recommended read: (but I would say that, wouldn’t I?)

The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter–for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way.


Lemon honey ginger chilli (garlic) drink

Having come down with a terrible cold, I thought it appropriate to write up my recipe for a hot drink that may or may not be of benefit to treating such an ailment. Beats doing the dishes, which is next on my list of things to do while staying at home in an effort to recover.

The recipe’s simple. You’ll need, in order of importance:

  • 1 lemon
  • Honey
  • Chilli (liquid or fresh)
  • Ginger
  • Garlic

Omit garlic except when you want maximum recuperative properties, as it makes the drink a bit gross. The ginger’s not extra important, but I like it. I use about one thin slice of a hunk of ginger, cut into small pieces.

I’ve got this great chilli liquid (Dragon’s Blood) that I use for the chilli (one teaspoon’s worth, or to taste), but fresh cut chilli also works (one small, hot, chilli).

Preparation: Cut the lemon in half, squeeze both halves into a mug to get the juice. Seeds can be fished out if desired. Add the chilli, ginger, and garlic, using a tea strainer (like this one) for anything solid. Fill the mug with boiling water, and add generous amounts of honey to taste. Yum. The strainer can be re-used for at least one more mug of the drink.

Okay, I don’t drink this so much when I’m healthy, but it certainly beats any sort of cough medicine you might be prescribed.