Bill Gates losing it

I’m admiring Bill Gates for his new project, Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Rich people everywhere should learn from him: Give away all (or most of) your money.

But I seriously think Bill should leave Microsoft now. Why wait until July 2008? Now he’s just making a fool of himself. This is what he told Steven Levy of Newsweek the other day:

NEWSWEEK: If one of our readers confronted you in a CompUSA and said, “Bill, why upgrade to Vista?” what would be your elevator pitch?

Bill Gates: The most effective thing would be if I could sit down with them and just take them through the new look for a couple of minutes, show them the Sidebar, show them the way the search lets you go through lots of things, including lots of photos. Set up a parental control. And then I might edit a high-definition movie and make a little DVD that’s got photos. As I went through, they’d think, “Wow, is that something I could use, would that make a difference for me?”

That’s it? You have a sidebar with widgets, sorry – gadgets. You can search things, photos too? You have parental control? You can edit in HD? You can make DVDs? Come on. That’s it?

Lying in front of people

Bill also thinks Apple got all their ideas from Longhorn:

NEWSWEEK: In many of the Vista reviews, even the positive ones, people note that some Vista features are already in the Mac operating system.

Bill Gates: You can go through and look at who showed any of these things first, if you care about the facts. If you just want to say, “Steve Jobs invented the world, and then the rest of us came along,” that’s fine. If you’re interested, [Vista development chief] Jim Allchin will be glad to educate you feature by feature what the truth is. I mean, it’s fascinating, maybe we shouldn’t have showed so publicly the stuff we were doing, because we knew how long the new security base was going to take us to get done. Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine. So, yes, it took us longer, and they had what we were doing, user interface-wise. Let’s be realistic, who came up with [the] file, edit, view, help [menu bar]? Do you want to go back to the original Mac and think about where those interface concepts came from?

What an utterly STUPID thing to say! I’m speechless. This must be the most stupid lie Gates ever has told. “Security guys break the Mac every day?” Plain lie.

I’m sure Vista is much safer that XP. And if it’s safer than Mac OS X, then a big applause! Good for computers, good for people. But the CEO of one the world’s biggest companies can’t lie to Newsweek.

I’m a PC, I’m a Mac

Then Gates talks about the “I’m a PC, I’m a Mac” ads.

NEWSWEEK: Are you bugged by the Apple commercial where John Hodgman is the PC, and he has to undergo surgery to get Vista?

Bill Gates: I’ve never seen it. I don’t think the over 90 percent of the [population] who use Windows PCs think of themselves as dullards, or the kind of klutzes that somebody is trying to say they are.

I can understand that lots of people don’t like the ads (and some of them ARE lame). But they’re not about PC users! They’re about the machines!! There’s a clue here. The ads always say “I’m a PC”, not “I’m a PC user”. Bill Gates doesn’t get it.

PC users are not klutzes. And not dullards. But PCs are more complicated to use than Macs, even though I understand that Bill Gates can’t admit that.

Bill Gates lying

John Gruber at Daring Fireball and Peter Cohen at MacWorld came to the same conclusion: Bill Gates is lying.

Or simply FUD – Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. My dictionary on FUD: “fear, uncertainty and doubt, usually evoked intentionally in order to put a competitor at a disadvantage”. Exactly. Joy of Tech is spot on.

Why Vista

I have a Windows Media Center with XP. Is there any reason why I should upgrade to Vista? The PC is wicked, so that’s not an issue. Are there any really good reasons to spend lots of money upgrading the Media Center?

Buy the Oscar movies

Apple has put up a great page with all the nominees of the 79th Oscar awards. With links to trailers in HD, soundtracks in iTunes etc.

Oscar movies at Apple.com

Now, mr. boss of huge movie company: Let me buy the movies! I have my credit card ready. I’m willing to let my computer download all night to get the movies in HD. I would even tolerate DRM (but would prefer not). I find it absolutely amazing that here we have an industry that doesn’t want to make money.

And when (if ever) you start putting whole movies in HD in iTunes… check your atlas. Or wikipedia. There are 6.5 billion people on earth. 300 million in the US. You do the math.

Mr. Winter, you’re fired

Meg guest posts at Kottke:

Please consider this letter notice of your termination, effective immediately. Despite clear expectations and requirements — January temperatures not to exceed 40° F, consistent snow and blustery conditions, minimum of one blizzard with white-out per annum, &c. &c. — you have failed to date to meet expectations and deliver even rudimentary winter weather. A forecast high of 72° today in New York City is clear proof of your failure to do your job.

Make a template, a form, a petition – whatever. I’m so gonna sign this too, Meg!

Now it’s raining cats and dogs again. It’s supposed to be -10 C (14 F). My daughter said today “Dad, do we have something we can cover the snow fortress with?”. A friend and her collected absolutely ALL the snow in our neighbourhood, to make a snow fortress that covered both of them – if they were flat on the ground and didn’t move (it was 30 cm/a foot tall). This is miserable winter.

The beauty of Christmas (and holidays)

I was looking through my contacts pictures of Flickr today, and saw this picture by Mary-Anne. The text under it reads…

My sister is visiting from halfway across the country. I asked her how long she’s staying. She said “Till Sunday.” And I realized… that meant absolutely nothing to me.

This is a good thing. A thing worth celebrating. I had (for that brief time) achieved a state of blissful disconnection from the Real World… to the point where I truly had no idea what day of the week it was. Woo hoo. Here’s to holidays from clocks, calendars, and duties of all kinds.

That is the real beauty of holidays: A “blissful disconnection from the Real World” – what a wonderful expression. And having “…no idea what day of the week it was”.

Thanks, Mary-Anne! You put words on something I have been feeling the last days.

Mobile phone (not cell phone)

24ways.org makes this good point:

If you’re a U.S. resident, listen up: You must rid your vocabulary of the term “cell phone”. We’re one of the few economies on the planet to refer to a mobile phone accordingly. If you care to find yourself in any of the worthwhile mobile development circles, begin using terms more widely accepted: “mobile” or “mobile phone” or “handset” or “handy”. If you’re not sure which, go for “mobile”. Such as, “Yo dog, check out my new mobile.”

I live in a country where 102,5% of the population has a mobile phone. That doesn’t mean that all have, but that many people have more than one number (and a few still doesn’t have a mobile). In comparison, 82% of all homes have a landline, and 44% have a DSL (or faster) broadband connection. Even with 5 and 6-year olds, 6% of Norwegian kids have their own mobile. By the age of 8, the number is close to 40%, by 12 the number is over 90%.

Make sure your site look good on mobile browsers. I just installed a WordPress plugin for mobile browsers on brilliantdays.com. There’s also a similar plugin if you want to make your site look good when browsed on a Wii.

Beatles on iTunes

Ok, so the big news on CNN today is that Beatles will be on iTunes soon. At the same time, BBC reports that the copyright in Britain will NOT be extended:

But an independent review is to recommend the terms are not extended, a well-placed government source has said.

Gee, let me think. So “Love me do” will be out of copyright in 2012? Out of copyright as in f-r-e-e? Hmmm. Better start selling…

Tag your photos with GPS positions

Sony today announced cameras that tag photos with GPS data.

Adding GPS data to your photos, Sony GPS-CS1

Excellent. Just as I predicted in april 2005:

In a few years, most cameras and cameraphones could have small GPS units inside, that stores the exact location every picture is taken.

It’s nice when the future (for once) comes faster than predicted. Now, let’s have those flying cars, full meals in pills and holiday houses on the moon.

BTW, Eirik claims it was his idea. 😉

Possibly not, but four years ago I travelled through Alsace in France with a digital camera and a Garmin GPS. After the trip I matched the time stamps in the GPS track with the time stamps of the images from my camera.

If you have an old-fashioned camera that doesn’t tag your photos, have a look at “Adding GPS data to your photos”.

And Sony: Pleeeeeease hire someone creative to name your products. The new GPS unit is called “GPS-CS1″. Hello? You make a unit to tag pictures with GPS and then name it the same as the previous version of the world’s most used app for editing the same photos; Adobe Photoshop, now in version CS2. Lame, lame, lame. You don’t have to name every single Sony product “three-letters dash two-letters-and-a-number”…

The small things

Scoble is doing his exit interview:

A asks: “What would you say is the biggest flaw at Microsoft?”

Its inability to see small things when those things are still small.

Hello every boss out there. Copy. Open new text document. Paste. Select all. Font size: 300 pts. Print. Put on wall in front of desk. Read loud every morning.

(And the word “Microsoft” is not the important word. You can replace that with almost any company or brand name I can think of – a few excepted).

xxl.no

[rant_mode on]

Here’s a promise: I will not shop at XXL more. Period.

XXL is a chain of huge shops with sports equipment. They sell shoes, sportswear, bikes, skis, tents, helmets, rackets, balls etc. They have a quite good website at XXL.no where you can buy sports equipment online. Almost every week all households around their shops get a 10-20 pages thick “newspaper” with the latest offers.

XXL claim they’re the cheapest on the market in Norway, and also have the biggest selection (which explains the name).

So far, so good.

Empty

So I get their latest ad, and head off to buy shoes for the kids. Empty. “We’re sold out”, “It was extremely popular”, “It’s saturday” (what??), “We sold many because of the ads” (no really?), “We have lots of them at Sandvika” (30 kms to drive), “We didn’t get enough from the importer”, “It hasn’t arrived yet. You’re too early” (I’m too early????)

I’m so fed up on their lame excuses. The best one was the one I got today: “It’s saturday”. Ok, that explains everything. On friday nights, shoes go into their little shoecaves, deep below the mall, and don’t come out again until monday morning.

Shopping wisdom for free

So to help the managers at XXL and others selling sports equipment, here’s some wisdom from yours truly. It’s for free. And you can copy and paste it and publish it as much as you want.

  1. When you advertise a product, people will come to buy it (especially if you put your ad in the mailboxes of 1,5 million people
  2. People shop on saturdays. Yes, the day the shops are open, and most people don’t go to work.
  3. Some shopping malls have 25% of their weekly sales saturdays between 14 and 18.
  4. if your shelves go empty on saturdays, you will lose lots of customers.
  5. If your normal trained staff have saturdays off, and all the people working in your shop on saturdays are 14 year old kids, you will also lose lots of customers.
  6. Saturdays are chrunchtime. This is where the best show where they are made of, and the loosers loose (XXL has lost every saturday I’ve been there).
  7. If you are selling footballshoes (that’s soccer if you’re in the US), you will always sell more of the sizes used by the “first-time players”. Here in Norway most football schools start at 7 or 8, so naturally you will sell more shoes of that size.
  8. If you work in a shop that fails to deliver on saturdays, pleeeeease give customers a decent answer. Not “we sold many because of the ads”. Try “sorry, but our shop manager doesn’t know how to plan ahead. I’ll promise to tell him how stupid this is.”

[Rant_mode off]

Most stupid ad ever made

If you have a blog, MySpace, LiveJournal, whatever… DO link to the most stupid ad ever made. And feel free to call the link “most stupid ad ever made”.

Here are the slogans that ends the first of two 60-second “masterpieces” (you can see both of them on the page as both QT and WMV).

Carbon dioxide. They call it pollution. We call it life.

I can’t find words for how UTTERLY stupid this is. It’s like someone at Comedy Central or Saturday Night Live made a parody, but couldn’t make it funny enough. And just forgot about the whole thing. But these people mean it. Seriously.

Most stupid ad ever - by Competitive Enterprise Institute

(still from the most stupid ad ever made)

You should think that people in an educated country as USA should be smart enough to not produce plain stupid things like this. But no. Amazing.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide is an end product in organisms that obtain energy from breaking down sugars or fats with oxygen as part of their metabolism, in a process known as cellular respiration. This includes all plants, animals, many fungi and some bacteria. In higher animals, the carbon dioxide travels in the blood from the body’s tissues to the lungs where it’s exhaled.

Carbon dioxide content in fresh air is approximately 0.04%, and in exhaled air approximately 4.5%. When inhaled in high concentrations (about 5% by volume), it is toxic to humans and other animals. This is sometimes known as choke damp, an old mining industry term, and was the cause of death at Lake Nyos in Cameroon, where an upwelling of CO2-laden lake water in 1986 covered a wide area in a blanket of the gas, killing nearly 2000.

BBC gets it

BBC will redesign their site, bbc.co.uk, to focus on three concepts: Share, find and play.

The site should be bulit up around usergenerated content like blogs and videos, hoping to become the public service version of MySpace.com. BBC also plan to their entire programme catalogue online.

Ashley Highfield, BBC director of new media and technology says the new site will allow users to “create your own space and to build bbc.co.uk around you”, according to Guardian Unlimited.

At any time you will be able to download any programme from the eight BBC channels and watch it on your PC and, we hope, move it across to your TV set or down to your mobile phone to watch it when you want.

Either the BBC plans a new clever DRM model, or they simply drop the whole DRM thing and let their users do what they want with their programs. If the latter is true, it will be a whole new way of thinking from a major broadcasting company. And a way of thinking that will challenge other public service channels and also commercial channels.

See what other quality sites say about this at TailRank.

Search

BBC today also unveiled a search engine with everything they made: Their own words: “Info about every single BBC programme, ever. It’s a vast catalogue, but it’s not comprehensive. A guarantee of accuracy. We’re very proud of it, but we know there are mistakes.”

Creative future

Now, imagine if all DRM and copyright rules were dropped for one month. All over the world.

Just copying others work and selling it would still be illegal. But making your own versions… Editing it. Adding. Subtracting. Changing. Mix. Fix.

What would happen?

The world would see the most creative month in the history of the world.

Yes, lots of money would be “lost” for the people holding copyrights.
Yes, it would be impossible to change the rules back after a month. Because the results would be mindboggling.
Yes, it would the legal mess the size of Jupiter.

But if I’m elected “One ruler of all humans and planets orbiting the sun”, I would gather the wisest women, men and dolphins on the planet and have them think how this can be done – letting creative people still make lots of money. And at the same time let you and me explore and find new ways to use all the signals surrounding us.

Thomas Hawk gets into “trouble” again…

He asks me if I *really* want him to call the police. Again, I answer nicely, yes. At this point he goes back inside. I go around to shoot the other side of the building and his boss comes out and he’s pissed. You’re not allowed to photograph this building he says. “Says who,” I say. “Says me, I’m the owner,” he says, you’re on my property.”

I like Thomas. Not only does he take great pictures but he’s also clever. And standing up to this “post 9-11″ scare stupidness is important. So because of 9-11 people should not be allowed to take photographs of buildings? Of course not.

But. What the hell? Post 9/11? What’s that supposed to mean? Let’s see, ok, so I’ve got photos of a building. Yep, there’s the door, yep, guess what, it’s got glass windows. Wouldn’t want those top secret photos of the building’s revolving doors to get out there now. Just imagine the strategic advantage that that door shot would give a terrorist! He could, well, he’d know how to get into the building for pete’s sake.

It’s just stupid. I’m tired of dealing with security at almost every single building that I shoot. News Flash! Photographing architecture is NOT a crime. It’s not illegal!

Read the whole post at Thomashawk.com.

Flickr group

And Thomas: I made a a new Flickr group for pictures like that. Not pictures about getting the finger in general. But pictures that got you in trouble beacuse someone “invented” new rules “post 9-11″.

Update:

Your rights

I’ve tried to collect some links to photography laws around the world here.

More “Africa” in your computer

Eirik posted about a Wired article from 1995, that we talked about a loooooong time ago. Brian Eno says (about computers):

“What’s pissing me off is that it uses so little of my body. You’re just sitting there, and it’s quite boring. You’ve got this stupid little mouse that requires one hand, and your eyes. That’s it. What about the rest of you? No African would stand for a computer like that. It’s imprisoning.”

Africa is still far away…

And now it’s 2006. Still no Africa in your computer. Maybe even worse than before. People sit still for hours and hours, using four fingers and their eyes locked at 45 cms. Bad bad.

So StepUI from Microsoft is a step (pun intended) in the right direction.

StepUI

There are lots of dance pads and alternative input devices out there. But the OS need to be able to use them in an effective way, or nobody will use them. I hope Microsoft and Apple will implement these things, and not just make fun projects of them.

EMIL!!!!!!

Also have a look at what I call EMIL – Exercise Machine Interchange Language, a new standard for storing data from exercise machines (treadmills etc.) and moving them between different machines and online storage.

Technorati messing things up

My blog is not indexed by Technorati at the moment, and they don’t answer support e-mails. That is NOT good. I really dislike companies that don’t answer when people contact them. After brilliantdays.com hasn’t been updated on Technorati for several weeks, I deleted it and tried to put it back in again. Nah. No, I get “blog can’t be claimed”. What a nice system.

If someone at Technorati happen to read this: Can you please contact me?

Update
After 77 days – yes, 77 days – Technorati finally managed to fix the indexing of my site. I’m happy that it now works, but 77 days??? The Technorati idea and system is a great idea, but you can’t have a system where people have to wait for 2 1/2 months, enter six support requests AND post on their sites before getting any attention from a human.

Honey, I shrunk the software!

Gizmodo reports that Apple has shrunk the box of the new iLife package.

“If there’s one thing that really stands out about Apple lately, it’s that its products keep getting smaller and smaller. Just as Apple shrank the iPod with the nano (and subsequently its packaging), the company’s latest consumer software offerings are also arriving in ultra-thin, super-small retail packaging. The retail boxes are now just big enough to house a single dual-layer DVD and documentation.”

Excellent. Like the author of the article, I have wondered why software boxes have been so big? Maybe it was to prevent theft? And of course to stand out in the shelves.

But the software industry should just agree to make smaller boxes. It saves them shipping, storage space, production costs – and trees.

Last summer I installed lots of new software, both OS, applications and plug-ins, on five computers. You wouldn’t believe the pile of boxes by my desk when finished. Most of the plug-ins were big A4-size boxes with a single CD inside. Fun for the kids (who played with all the boxes), crap for nature.

The worst ones are memory cards and accessories to gaming consoles. The last Xbox controller I got, was wrapped in a plastic that was amazing: No knife or scissor in our house could open it. I tried everything. And in the end I had to search in the woods for hours, until I found an old jedi knight living alone in a cave. After some nagging, he agreed to open the controller with his lightsabre. Which aaaaalmost broke during the operation. I’m sure they could make a space shuttle with the same material, with no problems with heating during landing.

So do nature a favor: Mail the URL of the Gizmodo story to your software developer.

“Apple has finally done software packing right and hopefully sent a telegram to the rest of the huge-friggin’ software box industry.”