Dear Microsoft Entourage Team

I h8 you.

Sure, I have a lot more e-mail than most folks, and I understand that performance might be affected by the quantity, and for the most part Entourage still works pretty good with 200,000+ email messages (except where it hangs for 15 minutes at a time while it is doing something once in a while), but when I actually try to do the good thing, and start deleting mailboxes full of messages, it isn’t cool for you to hang there, deleting 40 messages an hour for HOURS. So, now I gotta delete messages in small batches so as not to upset whatever delicate balance there is in your poorly written software.

I guess the Entourage software interview process doesn’t include corner cases, huh?

[Update 2.24.07- Macworld finally provided a fix]

Why I sometimes hate Christmas

The flipside of the Seatac Airport Trees incident is the right wing’s continual battle against the non-existant War on Christmas. So the LA Times points out that this is really a nice cash making scheme for at least some on the right: ‘War on Christmas’ has a new jingle: money.

Now, as a Jewish person who grew up in an incredibly Jewish area, I used to get offended by those determined to ignore the non-Christian population of the world. Maybe because I’ve gotten older or maybe because I’ve been living in an area insensitive to Jewish culture (but not very Christian either) for the last dozen or so years, I’ve gotten used to the idea that many people don’t really have the religious connotations about Christmas that I have.

Then the “War on Christmas” comes up again, where the right wants to make sure that it is CHRIST MASS and not Christmas, and then I hate it all over again, and some store clerk wishing me Merry Christmas gets my wrath.

Wow, this seems to bug me every year: 2004, 2005

Maybe, feeling ok with it was just ’cause of the Democratic wins this November making me feel less under attack.

So to all my fellow chosen folk, Happy Belated Chanukah!

For everyone else: Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Enjoy Saturnalia, congradulations on the Solstice and whatever else anyone may dig this time of year…

Sony, you disappoint me

Back in 2000, I was looking at the coming technological convergence centered around the living room.

At the time, you had two players, Sony and Microsoft. (Apple hadn’t really entered the picture yet). There was no question who was going to win, it was Sony. Sony had just released the PS2 and it was impressive. There was talk about how you would be able to add a hard drive and turn it into a tivo-like thing. It was ready for the internet. It was going to replace your PC! The PS2 was a PC, but with an operating system tuned to media.

The XBox was also cool, but it was a game machine, and nothing more. Microsoft had released the XBox in a huge push. They knew that Sony was coming after the PC and they had to retaliate (they already had the MediaPC at this point). It is now six years later, and Microsoft is winning, and it is all Sony’s fault. Sony has followed in the immortal footsteps of Netscape, Real Networks and countless others who lost to Microsoft by throwing away their technological lead (rather than having Microsoft beat them). Sony lost before it really got in the game. XBox Live came out and it was sucky, but it got better. The Sony equivalent came out much later and it never got less sucky. Then the PSP came out, which I love, although most hate. I thought that this could have been an excellent move for Sony, but then they didn’t bother making it work with the PS2 or integrate with anything else in their convergence lineup, in fact they used it as an opportunity to foist yet another media type on the world, UMD. How’d that work out for ya, Sony?

Meanwhile, MS pumped out another console. It was another not-quite-there-but-got-better machine. Everyone said that the headstart the 360 had on the PS3 wasn’t going to matter, because the hardcore would wait. And I think they did, for the most part. And then Sony blew it again: a humongo price tag (you thought that the 360 was expensive?!?), half-done software, a new non-industry-standard media type, a trickle of production units, WTF Sony? To be fair, there are some serious issues with the 360 as well; but, by the time the PS3 had come out, Microsoft had fixed a bunch of them.

This irks me, because I really thought that if someone was going to make this work and seemless, it was going to be Sony. They invented the freaking walkman! They work both sides of the aisle, technology and content. They should have won this market years ago. I’m not ready to call them out yet: they are a huge company, they have a lot of compelling products. If they could finally stitch them together seemlessly, they could win. I don’t think they will though.

Now it is up to you Apple. You’ll win… if you don’t do something really stupid…

(disclaimer: I own Microsoft and Sony stock)

Apple Keynote Safety Dates

[via gizmodo]

If there is one rule for mac die-hards, it is do not buy any apple product in December or July. The reason why is simple: Apple makes big product announcements in August (at WWDC) and in January (at MacWorld). There are sometimes smaller announcements sprinkled throughout the year, but you gotta buy that new mac sometime, right? Gizmodo has created a nice calendar for those of you who can’t wait this year. The important dates: December 26th (you can still return and pay a 10% restocking fee) and December 30th (you can get the price difference without a fee if the price drops).

The Dresden Dolls

remind me why I listen to so much instrumental music.

I’m listening to “Yes Virginia” right now for the first time and the lyrics are coming straight out of the battered notebook of a high school goth wannabe.

They have great musicianship and a great branding thing with the costumes and whatever, but the minute I catch any of the actual words I feel dirty (like as in not clean) for even listening.

To hear this thing done much better go pick up the first Rasputina album instead.

tools and ideas for your blog

Add Links for, Digg, and More to Blog Posts at ExplodingBoy
I was looking for how to do this simply for WP, and here it was!

Creating a Basic Print Stylesheet at ExplodingBoy
I haven’t done this yet, I have to see the interaction with my blog pages, but I will when I get a chance.

LightboxJS V2.0
A useful script for showing images on top of your pages, now with fancy shmancy effects.

ThickBox on
this is similar to LightBox functionality-wise, but adds a lot of support for non-image types. It’s based on the jquery javascript library which looks like it might be cool.

Alternative Style: Working With Alternate Style Sheets at AListApart
Nice article on switching stylesheets at runtime.

The Trackback List plugin and Making comments stand out on Tamba2: I was interested in figuring out how to show trackbacks separately and these two articles were very instructive.

SECOND LIFE: A story too good to check – Valleywag

SECOND LIFE: A story too good to check – Valleywag

As someone who was very involved in the second wave of virtual worlds on the internet (it depends if you count Habitat or MUDs as the first wave or not), I’ve watched them periodically come up and die again with amusement. It was always obvious the first time around, that it wasn’t a technology problem. Sure, Alphaworlds, Black Sun, Microsoft Virtual Worlds and V-Chat (my project) could have looked better or been slightly more responsive, but their main failings weren’t polygon counts. The main failings were all about having no reason to exist. none. They were novel, they were amusing for a short time, but they didn’t really bring much to the table that wasn’t there before. In the end it was just providing a new way of text chat. Adobe Atmosphere came out, gave me and the V-World’ers I know a laugh, and then died looking for a market.

Then came Linden Labs. Especially when the first details came out, I was really unimpressed. It seemed like a technology built by cyberhippies with nothing new to offer except some vague notions of on-line togetherness. I read some articles about it, and then ignored it, expecting it to go away soon. It persevered though and grew. They took their economy seriously and started selling real estate and making it possible for people to easily make a living within world (neither of these things was their idea, both have been done before). They started making large deals and announcing incredible usage (not profit) numbers. Of course, it is all a sham. The above article does a nice job skewering the Linden Labs numbers. Does this mean Second Life is a failure? Nope, even their (corrected) meager numbers are quite nice. Does this mean that Second Life is the first viable (long term) virtual world? Well, depends on if you want to count the on-line RPGs. Those were successful and have been around a lot longer. The question is if a purpose-less (non-game) virtual world can make it.

I guess we’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out.