Paul Murray's weblog, with news you may have missed and my $0.02 worth on a number of topics.
"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it."
I bet you don't have a friend who's an acupuncturist
E-mail me: pmurray [at] despammed.com
Monday, July 30, 2007
From the "well, duh" file. I noted last week that Adobe removed the "Save As" button from the toolbar in the latest version of Adobe Reader, in favor of a "Print to FedEx Kinko's" button.
Turns out some people are even more irked than me, according to the Wall Street Journal (subscription required):
Adobe Systems Inc., the maker of Acrobat and Flash software, faces a wave of criticism from printing companies protesting a deal that gives FedEx Kinko's stores a prominent link on Adobe software.Adobe's corporate rationalization for how wonderful this arrangement would be can be found in this June 6 press release.
Update: CNET has more details of the brouhaha.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Worst commercial (current). No contest: it's the "Viva Viagra" spot.
Elvis is spinning in his grave, and I'm not feeling too good about it either.
Don't take my jokes, please. Hmm, two stories about comedians stealing jokes (Radar 2/17/07, LA Times 7/24/07). One more and it will be a trend.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Selling the toolbar. The newest version of Adobe Reader -- what we used to call Acrobat, but Adobe now reserves that term for its software to create PDFs, not merely open them -- replaces the toolbar's Save button with one to send the file to FedEx Kinko's for printing.
I understand that Adobe wants to make money, and I'm confident that's why this happened, but come on, folks: you eliminated the Save button for this? Honestly, which function will users need more often?
Fortunately, you can change things back yourself in a few seconds. Directions are here.
Keith Hernandez on his Seinfeld experience. Hernandez wasn't familiar with the show when his agent called with the opportunity, but the pay was good, so the recently retired ballplayer took it. "How lucky was I?" he says today:
In 1997, TV Guide ranked [the Seinfeld episode] "The Boyfriend" No. 4 on its list of the 100 greatest TV episodes of all time, and Seinfeld often cited it as a personal favorite.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Thinking critically about hybrids. Auto writer Lawrence Ulrich comes through with two great articles about hybrid automobiles.
In the July issue of SmartMoney, he finally writes the story I've been waiting to see: Why pay extra money (that you may never earn back) for a hybrid when you can simply get a modern four-cylinder car?
Who says that you have to buy a pricey and sluggish hybrid to show your environmental street cred? Thanks to new advances in engine design, four-cylinder engines are delivering more power — and better gas mileage — than ever before. Unlike the anemic four-bangers of old, which ran loud and rough and struggled to make it up long hills, today's small engines are strong, clean and reliable. Indeed, a 2007 Accord LX, like the one Benbow bought, has nearly twice the power of an Accord from the late '80s. The result: The once humble four-cylinder category now makes up one of the fastest-growing segments of the auto market.
I've been driving four-cylinder cars for more than 20 years. Sure, it would be fun to have a V6 or V8, but I don't need it, and it makes little sense economically or environmentally.
(Earlier this month, Micheline Maynard cited research into why a lot of people buy the Toyota Prius: "more than half [57%] of the Prius buyers surveyed this spring by CNW Marketing Research of Bandon, Ore., said the main reason they purchased their car was that 'it makes a statement about me.'")
And in the NYT, Ulrich deservedly shreds the truly idiotic 2008 Lexus LS600H L. It costs $30,000 more than the non-hybrid V8 version, has slower acceleration, yet only delivers comparable fuel economy. Oh, and it doesn't handle as well or drive as smoothly, either. But I'm sure Lexus will find 2000 wealthy brainwashed suckers who want to think they're doing something for the environment.
Before the enviro-brigade readies the guillotine, I hasten to add that this isn’t about hating hybrids. Electric propulsion is looking more and more like a winning technology. Companies from Toyota to General Motors are working to develop affordable lithium-ion batteries, which could deliver clean, efficient, renewable power in plug-in hybrids or purely electric vehicles.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Ouch. So ... did all the people rushing to invest in hedge funds ever consider this possibility?
Investors in two troubled Bear Stearns Cos. hedge funds that made big bets on subprime mortgages have been practically wiped out, the Wall Street firm said yesterday, in more evidence of the turmoil in this corner of the bond market.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Paddy Chayefsky was right. Further proof that television is steadily getting worse (as if we needed more) was provided yesterday by NBC's programming chief Ben Silverman:
In other deals, Mr. Silverman ... announced that NBC had bought the rights to what he called “the next great reality format”: a series from Israel in the “American Idol” mold that searches for what Mr. Silverman called “the next great mentalist.” One host of the show is Uri Geller, the magician and mentalist who has been the target of skeptics.
Why would anybody want to encourage this litigious jerk?
Uri Geller runs afoul of YouTube users
As long as we're on the subject, here's the clip of Geller failing miserably when Johnny Carson had him on The Tonight Show.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Puncturing a universal health care myth. Business Week finally points out the absurdity of the "universal health care forces people to wait for medical care" argument: we're already waiting longer than in most other countries.
The health-care reform debate is in full roar with the arrival of Michael Moore's documentary Sicko, which compares the U.S. system unfavorably with single-payer systems around the world. Critics of the film are quick to trot out a common defense of the American way: For all its problems, they say, U.S. patients at least don't have to endure the endless waits for medical care endemic to government-run systems. The lobbying group America's Health Insurance Plans spells it out in a rebuttal to Sicko: "The American people do not support a government takeover of the entire health-care system because they know that means long waits for rationed care."
For the record, I'm not necessarily advocating that we adopt universal health care, but we badly need to do something, and bad information and/or intellectual dishonesty doesn't help the debate. (via Washington Monthly)
Labels: health care