Liveblogging the liveblogging of the Macworld 2008 keynote

Again, you ask what keynote? I intend to live­blog the live­blogs. You won’t get every moment of the keynote from me, for that, check out the pre­vi­ous post of mine. But I do intend to update this post with my thoughts as the keynote pro­gress­es. As well as, you know, what I’m hav­ing for lunch while I do it.

I’ll be doing the trendy reverse order post­ing, but then I’ll re-reverse it at the end and I can’t imag­ine re-order­ing all the updates, so just start at the bot­tom

12:42 pm — It is over. Let the Apple site have it!

12:31 pm — Sounds like Steve is wrap­ping things up. Will there be One More Thing? Yes! It’s Randy New­man! Will they raise the lights? Will they unlock the doors? Will every­one get a Mac­Book Air under their seats for stay­ing to lis­ten?

12:27 pm — So, it’s all wire­less, all the time. Which means, no Eth­er­net (don­gle alert!). I men­tioned that as a rumor to my wife last night, and she thought that would be a deal break­er for her, since she can’t get a decent wire­less sig­nal in her cam­pus office, or in her lab. And her cam­pus is not the only one I have been on where wire­less access is less than ubiq­ui­tous. Hm.

12:20 pm — Hm. This note­book is look­ing good. Full-size key­board (Mac­Book style and back­lit). 13.3 inch (widescreen) dis­play. Reg­u­lar hard dri­ve (80 GB) avail­able, as well as the rumored flash dri­ve (64 GB and $1 mil­lion, prob­a­bly). Only 1 USB port… no chance it is USB 3, right? I see a mar­ket for USB-hub-don­gles! 5 hours bat­tery life (with 80 GB dri­ve, or with flash dri­ve?).

12:11 pm — The fourth thing is the new sub-note­book, the Mac­Book Air. Will it become part of my house­hold? Is this the one? Giz­mo­do is talk­ing about how Steve said it would fit inside a “vanil­la enve­lope.” Mmm. I like vanil­la.

12:07 pm — Bor­ing guest star (20th Cen­tu­ry Fox chair­guy) has been on for five min­utes. Make that six min­utes.

12:02 pm — Whoa. Now Mark’s got to be pleased. The new Apple TV fea­tures are a free soft­ware upgrade! That means the Apple TV he bought on a lark will get all this, mak­ing it an actu­al func­tion­al device. Good on you, Mark!

11:56 am — Demo dol­drums. I’m eat­ing a very nice Hon­ey­crisp apple for lunch today. Two, actu­al­ly, as they are very small. Deli­cious.

11:51 am — So, now Apple has how many… four dif­fer­ent inter­faces (oper­at­ing sys­tems?) to main­tain? The Mac OS, the orig­i­nal iPod, the new iPhone/touch, the Apple TV, and a fifth one if you count the iTunes Store. Are they spread­ing them­selves too thin? Are these mutu­al­ly exclu­sive cus­tomers? Are they so good at mak­ing inter­faces that it does­n’t mat­ter if one cus­tomer has to learn five ways to inter­act with Apple?

11:47 am — So, right, item num­ber three is iTunes. The movie rentals and a new Apple TV. Which is to say, a new “Apple TV” set-top box, not a new TV from Apple. It no longer requires a com­put­er (it had bet­ter have more hard dri­ve space) and can buy/rent con­tent from iTunes direct­ly. Rentals are $3 and $4, and HD con­tent is avail­able for $5. Same idi­ot­ic rental rules apply.

11:46 am — Is it “synch­ing” or is it “sync­ing”? Any­one?

11:42 am — A lit­tle hubris. From Steve. Wow. Turns out the iTunes movie and TV sales are below their expec­ta­tions. Not that we did­n’t know that. And Apple appar­ent­ly hopes mak­ing movies rentable from iTunes will help this. Lots of movies, avail­able 30 days after they are released on DVD (wow, that’s not good) and you have thir­ty days to watch, but only 24 hours to fin­ish. That’s the TiVo mod­el too, and it sucks. If we start at 8:30 one night, but fall asleep, we can’t start again the next night until 8:30 again (what with putting the kids in bed). So we’re S.O.L. The whole indus­try real­ly needs to make the lim­it 36 hours, not 24. What, they don’t have kids? Oy. End rant.

11:40 am — And we’re off again! Demo over, and every­one is rac­ing to catch up. Turns out the new stuff for the iPhone is also for the iPod Touch, which I also don’t have, but might have some­day. So, bul­ly for me. Sucks if you already have one though, as it’ll be $20 to join the crowd. End of item num­ber two.

11:37 am — Update on the live­blog­gers. MacRu­mors is rock­ing the socks off every­one else in terms of live updates. Mac­world is turn­ing out to be fast and inter­est­ing. Both Engad­get and Giz­mo­do seem to be suf­fer­ing under the load.

11:34 am — These are the live­blog dol­drums, where Steve is on stage doing a demo of what­ev­er soft­ware he has announced, and the live­blog­gers are either watch­ing it and not blog­ging, or scratch­ing their heads about how to exact­ly con­vey the “excite­ment” of watch­ing some­one else use a com­put­er. The live demos are right up there with the Guest Stars from Adobe, or Microsoft in terms of live­blog­ging slow­downs.

11:28 am — The sec­ond thing is the iPhone. Blah blah mar­ket­ing blah. Is 4 mil­lion iPhones a lot? And the announce­ment is… new soft­ware! That falls a lit­tle flat, since every­one has known about the 1.1.3 soft­ware update for a while now, and some folks have even seen it on iPhones. Since I don’t have an iPhone… well. Let’s move on to num­ber three, Steve.

11:21 amTime Cap­sule which is a wire­less base sta­tion with a 500 GB or 1 TB dri­ve built in for use with Time Machine. Huh. Can it back up more than one machine? Can it back up my Apple TV? It seems Steve has no answers to my ques­tions. That’s the end of the first thing.

11:18 am — Steve is onstage. There will be four things, and the first is: mar­ket­ing filler about Leop­ard. Very suc­cess­ful, blah blah. Some secu­ri­ty guard told the Giz­mo­do guys that they will be escort­ed out if they take pic­tures. Does­n’t seem to be stop­ping any­one else.

11:06 am — Here’s my set­up. I have Safari open with my blog post in edit­ing mode in one win­dow, the MacRu­mors AJAX feed in anoth­er win­dow, and in a third win­dow, all the “refresh to see updates” sites, so I can just reload all those tabs at once. Then I can switch between the win­dows with Option-Tab via Witch.

11:01 am — The jostling for seats has begun. Appar­ent­ly there was a line, now there’s a mob, and once the media have been let in, they open the doors to the throng. I hope some­one is tak­ing video of the first peo­ple in. I bet it’s fun­ny. Every­one looks so sedate (if a bit wired) in all the keynote videos I’ve seen. But then, they are already seat­ed. Giz­mo­do gets points for call­ing it the “run­ning of the media.”

10:51 am — Sor­ry for the long break. I had to gath­er snack food (nee, lunch) and then clear of a spot for it on my desk (no small feat). Now to increase the base font size in my brows­er…

10:26 am — I’m about to go take a show­er, hav­ing swept and mopped the floors in the house. Please let this not be the first time ever that Steve starts ear­ly.

How I will watch the keynote (and how you can, too)

What keynote, you ask? For shame. Do I know you? This keynote.

Dur­ing the event, I will be fol­low­ing along with the “live” text feeds on the fol­low­ing sites. My com­ments (based on pre­vi­ous years) are attached. I may also keep my own (snarky) run­ning com­men­tary here on my site. You’ll have to come back to find out.

  1. MacRu­morsLive — Awe­some feed, uses AJAX to make page refresh­ing obso­lete.
  2. Ars Tech­ni­ca — I like their offline opin­ions, but last year I had trou­ble get­ting a con­sis­tent stream of news from them. Maybe they’ll step it up this year.
  3. Engad­get — Last year they did their best, but they had two guys (a writer and a pho­tog­ra­ph­er) and they kept dou­ble post­ing, and it was hard to fol­low. I’ll try again this year.
  4. Giz­mo­do — Haven’t tried their feed before. Best of luck to them. Looks like they’ll be post­ing pic­tures, too, which is nice.
  5. Mac­world — Ven­er­a­ble paper mag posts a lit­tle slow­er than the oth­ers in their “live” cov­er­age, but they use Real Eng­lish with Prop­er Punc­tu­a­tion, so that’s a bonus.

Then, when it is all over, I’ll be check­ing out the re-broad­cast by Apple.

Josh Holloway should = Snake Plissken

[This post was draft­ed last sum­mer. But unlike a bunch of oth­ers I just tossed, is still sort of inter­est­ing. Caveat lec­tor.]

So, we were watch­ing A Cap­i­tal Fourth on PBS, and while we could stom­ach Tony Dan­za, Elliott Yamin was so awful we actu­al­ly looked to see what TiVo had record­ed for us on its own. Turns out, it had a movie for each of us.

The wife had seen Last of the Mohi­cans once before, and she had fond mem­o­ries of a sweaty Daniel Day-Lewis run­ning bare-chest­ed through the woods. Even on AMC, rid­dled with com­mer­cials, and with the sound cut­ting in and out of stereo, I have to admit those par­tic­u­lar scenes were well remem­bered. I had nev­er seen it before, so while I did surf the Inter­net while we watched, I did also watch, and it was pret­ty good.

My choice for the evening was Escape from New York, at which point my wife prompt­ly announced she was going to bed.

Now this is a clas­sic movie. I mean, Ernest Borg­nine and Isaac Hayes! And Don­ald Pleasence! Man. But as I was watch­ing it, I could­n’t help but think that it could do with a remake. Yeah, the ear­ly eight­ies camp is fun (I espe­cial­ly like the Logan’s Run-style com­put­ers with strobe lights) but there’s a lot that could be improved with a big­ger bud­get. Bet­ter effects, a bet­ter ruined city (would they dare keep the World Trade Cen­ter from the orig­i­nal movie?), bet­ter cars… but what, I won­dered, would they do for a cast. Ernest Borg­nine is nine­ty years old, Isaac Hayes is a Sci­en­tol­o­gist, and Don­ald Pleasence is twelve years dead. And besides, how would they replace Kurt Rus­sell? Sure­ly he’s too old to do it again? (Har­ri­son Ford notwith­stand­ing.)

A lit­tle sleuthing and I dis­cov­ered that, of course, there is a plan to remake Escape from New York (bite me IMDB), pos­si­bly with Ger­ard But­ler in the lead role (despite what you may have heard). I’m sure he’d be fine, but as I watched the movie tonight, it seemed to me that Kurt Rus­sell was chan­nel­ing Sawyer from Lost for his por­tray­al of Snake Plissken.

So, to John Car­pen­ter, who is pro­duc­ing this remake, I beg of you, dis­pose of your pret­ty-boy Scot and get Josh Hol­loway to do it. He was born to the role.

The elder Ned

Just fin­ished watch­ing the lat­est episode of Ghost Whis­per­er, and they have changed the actor who play’s Cam­ryn Man­heim’s son, Ned. Instead of being a four­teen year-old, geeky boy strug­gling with his home­work, he’s now a high-school nerd-hunk who wears leather jack­ets and slouch­es cute under his tou­sled hair.

He’s a fine actor, the new Ned, and it cer­tain­ly gives the show a few more avenues to explore. In this episode, for exam­ple, they had oppor­tu­ni­ties for Ghost Assis­tant Ned, help­ing Melin­da in her work (hub­by is too busy work­ing to sup­port Mel’s antiques habit, and Jay Mohr is too expen­sive to have on screen much). Hunky Ned has a bit of a naive charm about him, but he cer­tain­ly let’s Melin­da act all hip with the kids and what. Per­haps they are just try­ing to avoid the curse of becom­ing our gen­er­a­tion’s Mur­der, She Wrote.

Jury is out on what old Ned is doing now (he real­ly is 14, so he may just be tak­ing a break from being type­cast to go to real high school).

That said, I kept wait­ing and wait­ing for the inevitable inside-joke line about Ned grow­ing up so fast. Even­tu­al­ly Cam­ryn Man­heim got the call, in a tear­ful pas­sage about her lit­tle boy becom­ing a man. I had my mon­ey on Jay Mohr, snark­i­ly not­ing how boys grow like weeds or some­thing.

My New Year’s Resolution: Curse more

We rent­ed Knocked Up a cou­ple of weeks ago, and enjoyed it quite a bit (not as fun­ny as 40-Year-Old Vir­gin, prob­a­bly because it came across as more believ­able). One of the things I real­ly enjoyed was all the curs­ing. Foul lan­guage for its own sake is a bit banal ($10 word!), but used well, a curse word can be fun­ny, enlight­en­ing, or well-deserved (or all three!). When we were done with the movie, I turned to my wife and said some­thing like, “I haven’t enjoyed that much curs­ing since we last saw Mar­cia and Rus­sell. I miss them.” And so, I resolved that for my New Year’s Res­o­lu­tion, I would curse more. Damn it.

Who wants John Kerry’s endorsement?

So, today John Ker­ry endorsed Barack Oba­ma for Pres­i­dent. And my wife and I both thought, is that a good thing? John Edwards released a state­ment to the effect that he thought Ker­ry could endorse whomev­er he want­ed, while sure­ly danc­ing a jig that the Monot­o­ne Drone would not be “cam­paign­ing” for him this time. Appar­ent­ly Ker­ry want­ed to do this before Iowa, but Oba­ma’s cam­paign asked him not to. Now with a week until SC, maybe they fig­ure there’s time to box him back up in DC where he can do lit­tle last­ing harm.

The best baby toy: big blocks!

I know I have waxed on about these blocks before. And I know they are ter­ri­bly expen­sive ($128 for a set of five, we bought two sets). But these are, bar none, the best toy we got for our baby.

Update to make the “buy these blocks at Con­struc­tive Play­things for $129″ link more obvi­ous.

These are huge, vinyl cov­ered foam blocks. They are big, bright­ly col­ored, and light, so you can stack them high and knock them down with­out fear of dam­ag­ing your baby. They come wrapped in black plas­tic, like a set of tires from Cost­co (or is that just a myth?), and ours arrived a lit­tle dusty. Our boy has always loved build­ing things, and we’re not sure which came first, the blocks or the desire. But he’s almost five now, and still using them as much as he did when he was younger.

Here are just a few pic­tures of what we have done with them:


Longneck dinosaur


The rest of the pic­tures are on Flickr.

Why I still don’t like Hillary Clinton

She won in New Hamp­shire, report­ed­ly, because she showed her soft­er side. But, as report­ed in the Boston Globe the day before the pri­ma­ry, she also showed anoth­er side: the fear-mon­ger­ing side. Rip­ping a page out of the Cheney-Bush play­book, Clin­ton point­ed out that vot­ers should be con­cerned about how the next Pres­i­dent would deal with an inevitable ter­ror­ist attack. Let me para­phrase the Boston Globe sto­ry. “Vote for me! I am strong! I will pro­tect you from Evil. That oth­er guy is weak. He will leave you open to the ter­ror­ists!” This dis­gusts me, and rein­forces my belief that Hillary Clin­ton does not promise us a bet­ter coun­try, just a sim­i­lar coun­try to the one we have now, run by Democ­rats instead of Repub­li­cans. I’ll take that if I have to, but at the moment, I don’t have to.

Powered by Gravity: Hot Wheels and Line Rider

While on vaca­tion in Flori­da, we passed a bill­board that had a very cool car on it, at a down­ward angle, and the tag line read, “Real Cars are Pow­ered by Grav­i­ty.” In the cor­ner was a Hot Wheels logo. I thought that was awe­some. Then, a few days lat­er I saw some­thing pass by in my RSS read­er about Line Rid­er, the game. And a moment of adver­tis­ing syn­er­gy was born. Hot Wheels (nee Mat­tel) needs to license a ver­sion of Line Rid­er that uses a car instead of a sled.