Unmistakable Marks

Warranted Genuine Snarks

Dear Comment Spammers: Suck It.

I don’t use an off-the-shelf blogging tool, which means that anyone who’s comment spamming me is doing so by hand, rather than using some click-a-button script kiddie tool. Amazingly, I still get comment spam — maybe a dozen a week, all of which I delete instantly. But irritatingly, there’s always been the knowledge that if comment spammers were sneaking their comments in when I wasn’t looking, they might sit there for a few hours and maybe even get spidered by a search engine.

Now, though, the spammers just can’t win. Even if I let one go for a bit, it still won’t help their search results, as I’ve implemented the “nofollow” thing in my comment pages. So that’s cool.

Comments | January 19, 2005

Why does the NBA hate America?

Miss Manners, always a bit old-fashioned, condemns the use of torture:

It is then that most people have to be reminded that no matter how bitter the contest, the boundaries of civilized behavior must be respected. This is crucial not only to preserving our humanity but also to preserving the possibility of resolving the conflicts and returning to peaceful coexistence. Nothing can be settled otherwise, unless one side is able to prevail by utterly destroying the other.

That seems rather sensible and conservative in that pip-pip-old-chap sort of way, but...

Miss Manners has never shared the naivete of believing that it is the task of athletes to live their lives as roles models of character and propriety. All she would hope is that they conduct their own business of playing sports in such a way as to again provide their fans, as well as people in other adversarial situations, with the example of good sportsmanship.

... I’m not entirely clear why Ron Artest and Randy Moss should be taking the blame for war crimes possibly-technically-legal interrogation.

Comments | January 11, 2005

Wall writing

So there’s this article where some guy suddenly realizes that, holy fuck, Microsoft is totally going to be the dominant player in the media and portable electronics space. The quote wherein he Gets It:

It doesn’t matter that Microsoft doesn’t lead in music downloads right now, though if you combined all the different WMA music stores, it might come close to Apple’s iTunes. What’s important is that Microsoft *owns* the alternative to Apple and is already branching out to areas like movies and home-recorded content. It’s amazing to see history repeating itself, no? Apple lost the PC desktop because it refused to license its Graphical User Interface and now they’re going to lose the Consumer Electronics market because they’ve failed to license their FairPlay DRM technology.

Everyone was laughing at Bill Gates’ gaffs this week at the CES. The bluescreen of death, etc. But did you *see* what they were showing off? They have set top boxes, mobile phones, PDAs, portable video players, game consoles and more all running Microsoft software, and most importantly, all supporting the same Windows Media codec and DRM. The final piece of the puzzle was the TiVo To Go announcement. Now it’s not just content you buy, it’s your personal content as well.

Now iPod fans will say, “Who cares? The iPod is still the best player.” And (if you don’t care about compatibility), they’re right. But a) the chances of one single company continuing to make a product that is better than those produced by every other consumer electronics company in the entire world are not high (already, other players are a lot closer to the iPod than they were two or three years ago); and b) that little parenthetical about compatibility isn’t such a little parenthetical, as Apple has learned in other contexts.

But I don’t want to make it sound like this is all about Apple. TiVo is fucked, too:

The next version of Microsoft’s Windows XP Media Center Edition due out in Q3 will support cable card and content protected HDTV content over digital cable services, making this device actually useful from a HDTV standpoint.

Note that Microsoft is saying they can support CableCard and HD DVR functionality in six months; TiVo, which obviously has a huge headstart in DVR technology, thinks it can maybe do it by some time in 2006. And, of course, the Microsoft product won’t be nearly as limited as the TiVo — it’ll tie in with all your stored and purchased media, with your portable player, with your Xbox, with your cameraphone/PDA, and (oh yeah) your computer.

And yeah, the Microsoft product may be late, buggy, or expensive. But who cares? In five years, it’ll definitely exist, be much less buggy, and not at all expensive. It’s not a matter of whether Microsoft will reign supreme over every form of device known to man, it’s a matter of when. (It doesn’t seem particularly insightful to note that Microsoft’s products are ubiquitous and will crush their competition, so I can’t help but feel like I’m stating the obvious over and over again. But for whatever reason, this simple point is still viewed as controversial, so what the hell.)

Comments | January 10, 2005

Consider this the poor man’s RSS

So I’ve never gotten around to retrofitting RSS onto my booklog, which is a bit of a shame, since I actually update it regularly.

So consider this a little RSS ping to those of you who would normally read it, but prefer to get notifications via RSS. And for those who don’t read it, you might want to check out my year-end wrap-up, wherein I realize that I read an awful lot of graphic novels but also give out my non-coveted annual awards.

Comments | January 4, 2005

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