Monday, January 31, 2005
The original iPods provided a previously unseen level of portability for music (and data) and were a niche unto thenselves.
The iPod mini--introduced at MacWorld a year ago--was specifically designed to go after the high-end flash-memory based MP3 player market. It has captured nearly its entire niche--catapulting Apple's market share from 30% to nearly 70% in one year.
In this year's Keynote Address, Steve Jobs explained that the iPod Shuffle is specifically designed to go after the remainder of the flash-memory based MP3 player market.
In comparison, typical MP3 players have 256Mb or 512Mb of memory and cost $99 or $149 respectively. That level of memory represents about 60 (256Mb) or 120 (512Mb) songs.
The iPod Shuffle provides two 'flavors'. The 'small' one is 512Mb of memory (120 songs) for $99 and the 'large' one--with an unheard of 1Gb (240 songs) worth of memory--is only $149!! Apple is bringing their slick user interface combined with double the memory--per relative pricepoints--of their competition.
The loss of a display is a small sacrifice for the amazing practical value.
As to the signal-to-noise ratio argument, except for those songs that eventually get old through repetition, the iTunes store--Apple's online music store--sells individual tracks for 99 cents each. Gone are the days of ripping an entire album into the computer to capture a few choice cuts. (Although I don't know anyone who still does that with the built in abilities of iTunes to selectively import tracks from any given album.--Ed.) That online storefront has recently passed 250 million downloads.
In this case, the 'Long Tail' is in the heads of late adopters. Those of us who embrace the Mac and Mr. Jobs' concept of the digital lifestyle get it. Got it?
Now if Jobs and Co. can only replace the Newton...
Go read the whole thing.
About 2.8 million people went to the polls in Washington State on November 2, and what happened after the voting became one of the most vertiginous political roller-coaster rides in recent history. On election night, Rossi was slightly ahead. By the next day, as the votes from heavily Democratic King County, home of Seattle, continued to come in, Gregoire took a lead that grew as large as 16,000 votes. By the morning of November 9, that lead had been cut in half. But at that point, more than 200,000 ballots had not yet been counted. Later that night, results came in from a number of Republican-leaning counties, and Rossi took a lead of about 2,000 votes. The day after that, it stretched to 3,500.
About 85,000 ballots were still uncounted. Most of them were provisional ballots, meaning they were cast by people who came to the polls and could not show that they were registered to vote. They were allowed to cast ballots anyway, with the understanding that the ballots would be counted later if it could be shown that those voters were indeed registered.
On November 15, the count moved in Gregoire’s favor when King County announced that it had 10,000 more ballots to count than election officials originally thought (it’s still not entirely clear how that happened). Those votes went heavily to Gregoire, putting her in the lead by 158 votes. It was a kick in the teeth for Republicans, but Rossi remained calm. “We still knew how many ballots were outstanding in the counties that we had,” Rossi told National Review recently, “and we were confident that we were going to win.”
Sure enough, when those Rossi-leaning counties sent in their final totals, the Republican pulled back into the lead. On November 17, the counting was finished, and Rossi had won by 261 votes.
COUNT AND COUNT AGAIN
A recount was guaranteed: Washington State law requires a recount if an election is decided by less than one-half of one percent of the total votes cast. The recount was done by machine. It might seem obvious to say that it was intended to recount those ballots that had already been counted in the first round, but that fact was not obvious to officials in King County. They decided to “enhance” some ballots that had not been legible or otherwise countable during the first go-round. More and more ballots went into Gregoire’s column. The King County votes cut into Rossi’s lead, but not enough to put Gregoire into the lead. By the time the machine recount was finished, Rossi won by 42 votes.
Gregoire refused to concede. Democrats wanted a hand recount of all the votes, but the law required that they pay for it, which meant they would have to raise nearly $1 million. For a while, Democrats wondered where the money would come from, but their worries were eased when checks came in from John Kerry, who donated $250,000 in unused campaign funds; from MoveOn.org, which pitched in another $250,000; from the Democratic National Committee, which sent still another $250,000; and from former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, who raised about $200,000 for the cause.
The recount began December 8. At first, it seemed to make little net change in the vote totals. Rossi appeared to be headed for a final, unquestionable victory when King County officials announced they had found 573 “new” ballots, which — they said — had been mistakenly disqualified. Republicans went to court, arguing that the time for counting “new” ballots was past, and that to count them now would require changing the rules in the middle of an election. But the state supreme court ruled against the GOP. The “new” votes were counted, and in the final tally Gregoire won by 129 votes. On December 30, she was certified the winner.
Republicans were stunned. “We thought that if it was a straightforward operation, a hand recount would work for us,” Rossi says. “But King County kept finding ballots and finding ballots and finding ballots until they had enough to win.”
What should the GOP do? Rossi and his allies began collecting the voting records from several counties around the state, and found what might be charitably called serious irregularities. They found counties where the number of votes cast exceeded the total number of registered voters. They found counties that had made mistakes in the counting of provisional ballots. And they found counties in which — shades of Daley’s Chicago — dead people apparently cast ballots."
Our congratulations to the Iraqis for what appears to be a wildly successful election. My wife grew up in Communist Romania and had tears in her eyes watching Fox News' coverage of the voting in Iraq.
Perhaps the Iraqis, the Afghanis, and the Ukranians can send us some help here in Washington State so that we might also enjoy free and fair elections.
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Go, visit. Read. Repeat.
"On this crucial day in Iraq, we must also remember two sets of non-Iraqis. The first set, we must apologize for, and nobody represents them better than Sen. Edward Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts. The man has gone from being a killer, to a buffoon, and now to criminally irresponsible. Next July, Mary Jo Kopechne would have celebrated her 65th birthday; she probably would have grown children and be a grandmother. She, however, will always be 28 years old, thanks to Ted Kennedy, the man who killed her in 1969 just days before her 29th birthday; tried to cover it up; and then lied and used his family's considerable political power to evade punishment. From killer he went on to buffoon: Who can forget his absurd run for the Democratic nomination of 1980, or, his pontificating about women's rights during the Clarence Thomas nomination hearings? As he has aged, he apparently has begun experiencing a second adolescence, in other words, he's returning to his 1969 persona, to wit, he wants people, American people to die or, at best, doesn't care if they do as a consequence of his actions. How else can one explain his comments about pulling out of Iraq -- gleefully replayed by Al Jazeera? For a Kennedy to compare Iraq and Vietnam is doubly obscene: not only are the facts on the ground completely different, but it was JFK -- Teddy's elder brother -- who got us into Vietnam with no exit plan."
Seriously. Go, now! What are you still doing here?
From Balloon Juice.com--The Shifting Goalposts
Matthew Yglesias writes:
"Looks reasonably successful so far, no mass casualties, turnout low only in a few trouble spots. It's time to prepare for three weeks of gloating from the hawks before they realize that nothing has really changed and they return to previous hawk practice of not mentioning Iraq. The interesting thing to watch, I think, will be whether or not Shiite political unity starts to break down now that the elections are behind us."
To which Balloon Juice responds:
"Pessimism masquerading as realism should not be regarded as insight, and you should note the real cause for concern- hawk's gloating. We aren't gloating, we are just happy and relieved, and no one thinks this is the final step for our involvement in Iraq. It is, however, an important real and symbolic victory, and everyone should be happy."
"John Kerry, btw, was on Meet The Press this morning, and did everything he could to piss all over the administration and the election. According to him, we need to have a massive outreach to the international community in order to make sure the election is viewed as legitimate. And the Democrats wonder why they are the minority party. "This is the last chance for the President to get it right." Go fuck yourself.
I am so sick and tired of playing Charlie Brown to their Lucy."
Ah, well. Massachusetts must be so proud.
Saturday, January 29, 2005
Iraqi-American Haider Ajina fills the void:
I have read a number of articles in Iraqi newspapers reporting on senator Kennedy’s speech at Johns Hopkins University. (They call him a senior senator)
They are quoting him using words like “war of liberations, armed resistance, war of independence” to describe the terrorist acts in Iraq. Also asking for our complete withdrawal from Iraq by 2006 and describing what we did in Iraq as a calamity.
I think that AlZarqawy could not have rallied his troops with a better speech. What is he doing giving speeches like this so close to the elections in Iraq? Iraqis will brave threats to their lives to vote in hope that we will stay with them till they are ready. Now a U.S. senator tells them we must pull out quickly and leave the Iraqis with no help.
Thanks to Instapundit for the original link.
What is wrong with the people of Massachusetts (and California Re: Barbara Boxer) that they continually re-elect such a buffoon as Ted Kennedy and his even more-Liberal counterpart, John Kerry?
Subject: Living in the Now
This is reality in Fallujah.
In response to the news blurb about the Marine who put two rounds in a wounded insurgent's head in Fallujah, here's a response from a Marine:
It's a safety issue pure and simple. After assaulting through a target, we put a security round in everybody's head. Sorry al-Reuters, there's no paddy wagon rolling around Fallujah picking up "prisoners" and offering them a hot cup a joe, falafel, and a blanket. There's no time to dick around on the target. You clear the space, dump the chumps, and moveon.org.
Are Corpsman expected to treat wounded terrorists? Negative. Hey libs, worried about the defense budget? Well, it would be waste, fraud, and abuse for a Corpsman to expend one man-minute or a battle dressing on a terrorist. Its much cheaper to just spend the $.02 on a 5.56mm FMJ.
By the way, in our view, terrorists who chop off civilian's heads are not prisoners, they are carcasses. Chopping off a civilian's head is another reason why these idiots are known as "unlawful combatants." It seems that most of the world's journalists have forgotten that fact.
Let me be very clear about this issue. I have looked around the web, and many people get this concept, but there are some stragglers.
Here is your situation Marine: You just took fire from unlawful combatants (no uniform - breaking every Geneva Convention rule there is) shooting from a religious building attempting to use the sanctuary status of their position as protection. But you're in Fallujah now, and the Marine Corps has decided that they're not playing that game this time. That was Najaf. So you set the mosque on fire and you hose down the terrorists with small arms, launch some AT-4s (Rockets), some 40MM grenades into the building and things quiet down. So you run over there, and find some tangos (bad guys) wounded and pretending to be dead. You are aware that suicide martyrdom is like really popular with these idiots, and they think taking some Marines with them would be really cool. So you can either risk your life and your fire team's lives by having them cover you while you bend down and search a guy that you think is pretending to be dead for some reason. Most of the time these are the guys with the grenade or vest made of explosives. Also, you don't know who or what is in the next room. You're already speaking English to the rest of your fire team or squad which lets the terrorist know you are there and you are his enemy. You are speaking loud because your hearing is poor from shooting people for several days. So you know that there are many other rooms to enter, and that if anyone is still alive in those rooms, they know that Americans are in the mosque. Meanwhile (3 seconds later), you still have this terrorist (that was just shooting at you from a mosque) playing possum. What do you do?
You double tap his head, and you go to the next room, that's what!!!
What about the Geneva Convention and all that Law of Land Warfare stuff? What about it. Without even addressing the issues at hand, your first thought should be, "I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6."
Bear in mind that this tactic of double tapping a fallen terrorist is a perpetual mindset that is reinforced by experience on a minute by minute basis. Secondly, you are fighting an unlawful combatant in a Sanctuary, which is a double No-No on his part. Third, tactically you are in no position to take "prisoners" because there are more rooms to search and clear, and the behavior of said terrorist indicates that he is up to no good. No good in Fallujah is a very large place and the low end of no good and the high end of no good are fundamentally the same ... Marines end up getting hurt or die. So there is no compelling reason for you to do anything but double tap this idiot and get on with the mission.
If you are a veteran, then everything I have just written is self evident. If you are not a veteran, then at least try to put yourself in the situation. Remember, in Fallujah there is no yesterday, there is no tomorrow, there is only now. Right NOW. Have you ever lived in NOW for a week? It is really, really not easy. If you have never lived in NOW for longer than it takes to finish the big roller coaster at Six Flags, then shut your hole about putting Marines in jail for "war crimes."
For those who would criticize this position, there is no question that the Marine's would take prisoners if the terrorists presented thenselves unarmed, hands open, and arms extended above their heads with their clothing open to allow inspection from a distance.
Barring that, the terrorists must be considered as hostile, imminently dangerous combatants. They choose to eschew the portions of the Law of Land Warfare that require combatants to wear a clearly distinguishable uniform and to use legally proscribed weapons for combat. These choices remove them from the protections of the Laws and Conventions regarding warfare and justify the actions that the Marines have taken to protect themselves.
Saturday, January 22, 2005
Although the SF City Council is considering banning the sale and possession of handguns within the city limits (current owners would have to turn them in--hello, Adolph; hello Uncle Joe), they already have a de facto ban. There are currently only TEN authorized CCW permits granted by the city.
How about requiring all residents to possess a firearm, at least at home, and see where the homicide rate goes? Let's get some hard data before making a decision.
Of course, if the denizens of the city handle weapons like their former Mayor--now Senator--Feinstein, maybe the ban is better. Diane's AK-47
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Did anybody tell him that the election is over?
The troops should stay until the job is complete. Other countries are helping--granted not at the level of funds that we have committed, but they're trying. And WMDs HAVE been found in Iraq!
Other sources suggest that the WMDs were moved to Syria.
Or by Syria to Lebanon.
Jordan's King Abdullah says WMDs found in Jordan are from al Zarqawi.
The Iraqi elections should go forward and if they aren't pristine, well, then they'll be on par with the gubenatorial effort here in Washington State. They can't do any worse short of having an outright coup. Apparently, King County (wherein resides Seattle and the core of the 'Blue' in this marginally Blue State) has more votes cast than voters who registered.
The number of King County ballots counted in the final tally was 899,199 — 3,539 more than the number of participating voters reported in the county's list.
Sorry, off topic. I'll write another post on the election.
Happy New Year.
Meanwhile, the UN is worried there won't be enough money:
"UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and emergency relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland expressed their gratitude for the promises of help from 45 nations. But both said they were concerned that some of the money would not be handed over. 'If we go by past history, yes, I do have concern,' Mr Annan said. 'We've got over $US2 billion, but it is quite likely that at the end of the day we will not receive all of it'."
Perhaps Kofi is concerned that his son will not be able to supplant his ill-gotten gains from the 'Oil-For-Food' program with monies from the Tsunami relief efforts? I wonder if the Norwegians are willing to levy additional taxes to relieve the Annans' apparent personal financial calamity?