1999: “The one thing Apple’s providing now is leadership in colors. It won’t take long for us to catch up with that, I don’t think.” — Bill Gates
2006: Zune. Brown.
NASA has a huge picture up of the storm that hit Burma this week…
An Oregon couple received a frightening phone call from their son in Afghanistan when he inadvertently called home during battle.
Stephen Phillips and other soldiers in his Army MP company were battling insurgents when his phone was pressed against his Humvee. It redialed and called his parents in the small Oregon town of Otis.
Sandie Petee, Phillips’ mother, and her husband, Jeff Petee, weren’t home at the time of the call. They returned home to find a three-minute voice mail on their answering machine.
Let me summarize:
Clinton logic: if I didn’t win, it doesn’t count.
Fiscal Pressures Lead Some States to Free Inmates Early, says the Washington Post. Across the United States, a financial crisis is brewing in our nation’s correctional systems. California, which has the largest prison system in the nation, (housing 170,000 inmates with a capacity of only 100,000), plans to increase the budget for new prison construction by 7 to 14 billion dollars, on top of releasing 22,000 nonviolent prisoners on unsupervised parole. Other states, especially Michigan, face an even more dire situation…
…Michigan, which spends more money on prisons than higher education and where 1 in 3 state employees work for the prison system, is facing a prison-related economic crisis. 20 cents of every dollar in the state’s general fund are being diverted to the prison system: “Even without further growth, we’re choosing to keep putting 20 percent of the state’s general fund into corrections, which means continuing cuts to higher education, revenue sharing and social programs that could prevent crime,” said reform advocate Barbara Levine. “It’s not the sort of investment that will make Michigan a desirable place to live and work.”
Yet despite these challenges, the chances of any large-scale release of non-violent offenders is slim to none. “Sen. Alan Cropsey of DeWitt, the state’s most influential Republican voice on prison policies, continues to defend tough rules that have prevailed since the 1990s and added 16 prisons to Michigan’s landscape. That unbending opposition from Cropsey, law enforcement professionals, victims’ families and other lawmakers convinced Gov. Jennifer Granholm to back off her three-year campaign to ease harsh sentencing policies and save $92 million by releasing more than 5,000 inmates.”
“Cropsey, whose district includes several prison facilities, helped shape the policies that led to the prison buildup. He said he doesn’t believe they should change, and his agreement likely would be required for major revisions.” Instead, Michigan Republicans have proposed a plan that would, among other things, cut pay and overtime for prison guards, outsource many prison services and increase funding for faith-based programs.
There are a few interesting questions in the thread:
I think it was Twain who said that for every school that was closed, a prison would have to be built.
I’d love to see a graph of education funding vs. prison funding in the US over the past few decades.
Atop that plot, I’d like to see how much tax money is increasingly spent on privatization of lower education (including vouchers for religious schools and homeschooling) and prison complexes. I’d bet the climbing numbers are staggering.
Michigan’s jobless rate went from 3.5% in 2000 to 7.9% in March 2008. Adding “tougher” sentencing has contributed to their overall incarceration rate.
So Windows is just a disaster to write programs for. It’s miserable. It’s quite nice if you want to use the same techniques you learned 15 years ago and not bother to change how you do, well, anything, but for anyone else it’s all pain. I thought before that Microsoft cared about people like me. But it doesn’t. And it makes programming on Windows painful. Microsoft is great at backwards compatibility—you can take really old programs and compile and run them on a brand new Windows—but terrible at design and terrible at providing a good experience.
And it’s not just third parties who suffer. It causes trouble for Microsoft, too. The code isn’t just inconsistent and ugly on the outside; it’s that way on the inside, too. There’s a lot of software for Windows, a lot of business-critical software, that’s not maintained any more. And that software is usually buggy. It passes bad parameters to API calls, uses memory that it has released, assumes that files live in particular hardcoded locations, all sorts of things that it shouldn’t do. If the OS changes underneath—to prohibit the reuse of freed memory, to more aggressively validate parameters, to stick more closely to the documentation without making extra assumptions or causing special side-effects—then these programs break.
So Windows has all sorts of bits of code which are there to provide compatibility with these broken applications. It’s hard for MS to maintain and fix this code, because it means the code no longer does what it’s documented to do; it does that plus some other stuff. It’s hard to test, because there’s no knowing exactly what broken things programs are going to try to do. And it makes things more expensive; Microsoft has all sorts of special behaviours it needs to preserve. This means that not only can it not make the API better—it can’t even easily make the API’s implementation better. It’s all too fragile.
This gives rise to particularly stupid things like the name of the “system” folder, where all the Windows libraries and programs are kept. In 16-bit Windows, it was called system. In 32-bit Windows, it was called system32. In 64-bit Windows it’s called, er, system32 again. Because although there’s an API call that programs can make to find out the name of the folder, there are enough programs that don’t bother using it and just blindly assume that it’s called system32 (even when compiled as 64-bit) that it was better for backwards compatibility to leave it, even though it’s chock full of 64-bit files.
32-bit files in turn go into a directory named syswow64. Right, it has 64 in the name, because it contains 32-bit libraries. Make sense? Only in Redmond. All these strange behaviors and clumsy APIs that they’ve built up over the years have just been plonked wholesale into 64-bit Windows. There’s no escape from them.
Third-party applications very much seem to follow suit. There might not be as much third-party software for Mac OS X as there is for Windows (a pleasing operating environment can only do so much to mitigate a 3 percent market share), but the quality of the applications is a great deal better. Third-party developers on Mac OS X strive to make applications that work in a way that’s consistent with the OS itself, with first-party applications, and even with each other.
These factors tend to reinforce each other. A good API makes it easier to write high-quality applications. High-quality, first-party applications set the standard by which third-party apps are judged and ensure that users have high expectations of the software they run. This in turn means that there is much more competition among third parties to produce something that’s great rather than merely acceptable. Regular updates to the OS keep developers on the upgrade treadmill; they work to make their applications fit in with the latest and greatest release, leveraging whatever new bells and whistles it provides, further improving the software ecosystem.
Chief Executive Officer Jerry Yang said he would be open to another bid from Microsoft Corp. or other companies at a price he considers appropriate.
No he isn’t. He’s just trying to woo shareholders, who are upset with the huge drop in stock price when Microsoft withdrew their bid.
Mobile phone group Vodafone scored its first deal to sell Apple Inc’s iPhone after the UK group lost out to Telefonica’s O2 to sell it in Britain.
Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile phone company by revenue, has been competing with operators and retailers to secure the right to sell the iPhone — the touch-screen device which combines Apple’s popular iPod music player, a video player and Web browser. Vodafone will sell the iPhone in 10 countries.
“Later this year, Vodafone customers in Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Italy, India, Portugal, New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey will be able to purchase the iPhone for use on the Vodafone network,” the British-based firm said in a statement without giving any more details.
Rumours are that the Netherlands will follow somewhere in 2008. It looks like Apple is about to line up a lot of interesting deals when they release the new iPhone next month…
INTERPOL is asking for the public’s help in identifying a man pictured sexually abusing children in a series of images found on the Internet and retrieved from the computer of a convicted paedophile.
The man, whose name, nationality and location are unknown is featured in approximately 100 images in a series of around 800, which are believed to have been taken in Southeast Asia and depict the sexual abuse of at least three boys aged between six and 10 years old. The first pictures of the man were originally discovered by police in Norway in March 2006.
“The law enforcement community around the world has done all it can to find this man who clearly presents a danger to young children, and we are now asking the public to help identify this predator and protect other potential victims from abuse,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.
Hillary Clinton appears to have taken a clear lead in the crucial primary state of Indiana while Barack Obama remains ahead in Tuesday’s other big prize — North Carolina.
On the national front, Obama holds a slight edge over Clinton.
Now that you’ve seen both quotes, go to the article, and compare how many percentage points Clinton leads in Indiana, with the number of percentage points Obama leads nationally.
Then come back and tell me CNN is neutral.
Countrywide Financial Corp. said Tuesday it lost $893 million in the first quarter, as rising loan defaults amid a deepening housing downturn forced the nation’s largest mortgage lender and servicer to sharply increase its provision for loan losses and book other credit-related charges.
The latest results marked the third consecutive quarterly loss for Countrywide, which reaped a windfall during the housing boom but has been struggling since last summer, despite predictions last fall by CEO Angelo Mozilo that his company would turn a profit in 2008.
Meanwhile, Mozilo, who co-founded Countrywide in 1969, was paid more than $22.1 million and cashed out $121.5 million in stock options last year.
In a 1927 interview with the magazine Nation’s Business, Secretary of Labor James J. Davis provided some numbers to illustrate a problem that the New York Times called “need saturation.” Davis noted that “the textile mills of this country can produce all the cloth needed in six months’ operation each year” and that 14 percent of the American shoe factories could produce a year’s supply of footwear. The magazine went on to suggest, “It may be that the world’s needs ultimately will be produced by three days’ work a week.”
Business leaders were less than enthusiastic about the prospect of a society no longer centered on the production of goods. For them, the new “labor-saving” machinery presented not a vision of liberation but a threat to their position at the center of power. John E. Edgerton, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, typified their response when he declared: “I am for everything that will make work happier but against everything that will further subordinate its importance. The emphasis should be put on work—more work and better work.” “Nothing,” he claimed, “breeds radicalism more than unhappiness unless it is leisure.”
By the late 1920s, America’s business and political elite had found a way to defuse the dual threat of stagnating economic growth and a radicalized working class in what one industrial consultant called “the gospel of consumption”—the notion that people could be convinced that however much they have, it isn’t enough. President Herbert Hoover’s 1929 Committee on Recent Economic Changes observed in glowing terms the results: “By advertising and other promotional devices . . . a measurable pull on production has been created which releases capital otherwise tied up.” They celebrated the conceptual breakthrough: “Economically we have a boundless field before us; that there are new wants which will make way endlessly for newer wants, as fast as they are satisfied.”
The stories in the news about inappropriate relationships between teachers and students have been overwhelming. There was even a substitute teacher in New Port Richey who got in trouble after investigators say she had a relationship with an underage student.
Well, another Pasco County substitute teacher’s job is on the line, but this time it’s because of a magic trick.
The charge from the school district — Wizardry!
Substitute teacher Jim Piculas does a 30-second magic trick where a toothpick disappears then reappears.
But after performing it in front of a classroom at Rushe Middle School in Land ‘O Lakes, Piculas said his job did a disappearing act of its own.
“I get a call the middle of the day from head of supervisor of substitute teachers. He says, ‘Jim, we have a huge issue, you can’t take any more assignments you need to come in right away,’” he said.
When Piculas went in, he learned his little magic trick cast a spell and went much farther than he’d hoped.
“I said, ‘Well Pat, can you explain this to me?’ ‘You’ve been accused of wizardry,’ [he said]. Wizardry?” he asked.