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January 31 to February 6, 2005
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I broke down and got one of the last iPod shuffles - the 1GB model - at the Ala Moana Apple store. Its competitors tout radio and recording capabilities, but on such gadgets the line-in recording quality sucks and I don't listen to non-digital ClearChannel-dominated radio anyway, which is a wasteland these days (outside of college and public stations). With the Apple-supplied headphones, the bass response is great, and as usual the design is outstanding.

It's sad how behind the times car stereo manufacturers are when it comes to portable digital music. All I want is a cheap $50 preamp with a minijack line-in and perhaps a USB port to stick my shuffle in. I don't need or want a radio, CD player, or equalizer. I'd make it myself if I were any good at electronics. Is that so hard? I bet the company first to market with such a device could sell hundreds of thousands of units.

While I'm on a rant, why can't digital camera makers emulate the design of the iPod and allow charging via the USB/firewire cable? I hate having to buy a separate cradle and power brick just for charging! And I hate buying landfill-populating batteries that have to be replaced or recharged all the time! Imagine this gadget with one minijack input and volume buttons:
New Tech
A nanoscale "crossbar latch" from HP's Quantum Science Research labs may one day replace the transistor:
A new industry group has been formed for holographic discs, which may store up to 1TB - that's one terabyte, or about 1,000GB!
The first artificial neon sky show. Unfortunately, implications for advertising:
This was popular - the sushi chef that prints his food from an inkjet:
The U.S. now has over 830,000 net phone subscribers:
Modern Life
Microsoft is mad about all the Apple iPods that employees are buying and using at work:
Mark Morford asks, why isn't everyone on a Mac?
Wal-Mart gets slammed again on "The Daily Show". Hawaii's Wal-Mart is mentioned as well:
Intellectual property lawyers are destroying the military model industry. Aren't defense contractors making enough money these days?
Information on the effort to free the seminal civil rights documentary "Eyes On The Prize" from intellectual property limbo:
Everybody learned that you no longer have the right to publish photos of the Eiffel Tower at night:
The music industry sued an 83-year-old dead woman for file sharing:
The Rich Get Richer
Sales of $1 million-plus homes in San Francisco grew an amazing 73% last year:
Oahu home prices hit $500,000:
Boat ("pleasure craft") sales grew 12% last year:
Dwell magazine, once a design magazine for the budget conscious masses, is now selling ads to the upper class:
Here's a great guide to traveling light:
Blogs! Need more blogs? Here's a blog about blogs:
Terrorism and You
One in three high school students think the First Amendment "goes too far" in the rights it guarantees:
Meanwhile, prisoners at Guantanamo Bay aren't getting any of those rights, despite federal rulings and the Supreme Court:
"There Is No Tomorrow"
Bill Moyers on the unfortunate mix of ideology and theology:
Here's one French artist's succinct refusal to tour in the U.S. thanks to "exceedingly probing" security questions:
This Week's Gloom and Doom
"World's Glaciers Slowly Disappearing":
"Global Warming: Scientists Reveal Timetable":
"Climate Change Desiccating the Planet, Researchers Conclude":
The largest climate prediction experiment ever harnessed 90,000 home computers around the globe. The result? Global warming will be worse than expected:
Try using these climate change bumper stickers:
Make your own fires in the coming apocalypse with this gadget:
At least the U.S. Department of Energy is trying to put automatic-off sensors in lights:
California's explosion of autism cases worsened last year:
Personally, I think mercury in fish over long periods could be a factor:
New modular, great looking, eco-friendly rug systems:
How the Atkins diet is affecting fast-food menus:
Art must survive to nourish the spirit. Here's blast wall art in Baghdad:
Brian Dear wrote a funny review of a Laurie Anderson concert he went to recently, in the form of a Laurie Anderson monologue:
Yet even more bad album covers - here's a top ten list:
The McNipple, from artist Casey Weldon:
Cool little animated movies from sheepfilms:
A film about Nomi, the strange yet influential bleeding-edge 80's artist:
Turn your Mac into a streaming music station with Nicecast:
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