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The Fog of War

Having the subject rattle on in their own ego-laden, self-incriminating monologue is sometimes the most revealing intelligence one could ever gather. That’s what filmmaker, Errol Morris apparently does best. His latest documentary titled The Fog of War investigates the life of Robert McNamara, the former Secretary of Defense and Vietnam war showrunner, and gives an interesting perspective to this key player of twentieth century history. Instead of badgering him with questions or trying to trap or discredit him, Morris merely sits back and lets McNamara reveal suprising truths quite readily.

Like the Apple switch ads he directed (along with a laundry list of other notable commercial work), Morris exhibits a natural talent for allowing empirical evidence to rise to the surface in the most unassuming way.

No soapbox. No pulpit. No disrespect. Just straightforward and compelling truth.

Also related:


The iPod Mini – Nope, Not Yet

As I can imagine, like many others, I’m also disappointed and confused at the opening price point for the new iPod Mini. Here I’ve been waiting for the price to come down, only to see it drop incrementally in cost and drastically in capacity.

It kinda reminds me of the decision to buy a soft drink at most movie theaters these days. Gee, do I want the way small that-willl-barely-quench-human-thirst size for five bucks or the ridiculously oversized cups-runnith-over-into-a-veritable-swimming-pool size for a mere 50 cents more? Sounds like a no brainer to me (that is unless, like my wife, you feel slightly uncomfortable wheeling your drink around on a dolly in front of other people).

Compare to the 15 Gigabyte Dell DJ, which goes for the same exact price as the 4 Gig iPod Mini, and you have to wonder what the hell Apple was thinking. If they introduced these little babies at $200 bucks a shot, that would have been reasonable and competitive. This, though, just puts it far enough out of reach to make it unthinkable, and damn if that isn’t disappointing.


technology

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Yet Another MacWorld 2004 Prediction

At the risk of breaking up a near perfect run of double entandre in the titles of my last three entries, here’s my big prediction—well, not really a prediction, more of a wish, really—for the upcoming MacWorld Expo.

Smaller, snazzier, lower priced iPod’s would certainly be a welcomed announcement. Both my proverbial pocketbook and my pocket have been waiting since the original announcement some two years ago for the prices on those slender, little, white gadgets to drop down to an affordable level.

But what I would really like to see is not necessarily a smaller iPod, an iPhone, an iPod AV, an Apple-branded 8 foot plasma television, nor any other such nonsense. What I’d rather like to see happening on the hardware side of things is something like an Apple TiVo. Think about that one for a moment…

Now that the iTunes Music Store has proven such a bona fide success, it makes sense for Apple (at some point anyway, not necessarily tomorrow) to branch out into the realm of video and home entertainment. But while additional video support for an iPod wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, it’s not really the piece that’s needed to fulfill the digital hub promise. An Apple approved Tivo device (they already have been building an alliance together through Rendevous for some time now), however, could be such a tasty and irresistible device. Hooked up wirelessly over an Airport Extreme network, broadband users could (one day) conceivably download entire movies and play them on their regular home entertainment setup. Add to that the features of a traditonal DVR (TV scheduling, deletion of commercials, etc) and you’ve got yourself one killer digital hub strategy that ups the ante entirely on the words "trojan horse."

Apple’s already proven that they can take a simple hard drive based technology and literally change the music industry with it. Eventually, if they’re able to make the same deals with the entertainment industry as they did the music guys, and if they can make such a device affordable enough, they just might be able to find their way into a few more homes using video in the near future.


culture

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PowerPoint ‘Stops Making Sense’

David Byrne is still one of rock’s pre-eminent artistic minds. With his book/DVD entitled Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information (or E.E.E.I for short), he loftily explores an unlikely artistic arena — that of a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. But within this seemingly innocuous concept dwells enough cause to provoke actual dialogue and philosophical debate concerning things like software hegemony, human cognitive structure, and the process of creativity itself. While he dismisses this work as not a "serious statement about anything," I can’t help but think that the amount of attention it’s getting is proof that the software medium has been long overdue such heady inspections.


politics

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Dems Fightin’ Words

I just knew I saw General Wesley Clark cursing it up on TV this weekend. Doing his candidate rounds after a town hall meeting in New England, he gave a rather zealous response to an elderly veteran’s question. At the time, I thought he was talking in broad terms as a candidate against Bush, but according to this source the question was actually directed towards how he would react should anyone question his military record.

“I’ll beat the shit out of ‘em,” the General replied blithely.

I also noticed sometime afterward, that the live C-Span broadcast lost sound for about two minutes. Coincidence?


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