Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Geek Wednesday: zzzzzzZune

Hey everybody, it's Night the Cat here with Geek Wednesday. My human thinks he might have finally found a job with—get this—a credit card company. Well, if you knew this guy like I do, you'd be laughing too.

Anyway, now that it looks like the tuna will be rolling in as usual here, let me show you my new Zuna. Heh, heh, had you fooled there for a second, didn't I? Well, if you're nuts (and if you're a human, you are) or just like to have the latest thing, they're $250 for 30GB—exact same price as the iPod, wouldn't you know. Microsoft, they're sooo creative.

So let's move on to the big geek questions of the week. What happened to the Diebold voting machine fix that we've been warning you about here? Well, one theory is that the GOP took a dive. Or it could be that these guys are so incompetent that they can't even cheat correctly. Or maybe they rigged the boxes to swing an average of five per cent and they lost most of their races by more than that.

My theory is that the machines rebelled. Hey, you've seen it happen; and as our buddy Nearly Redmond Nick has said, "sometimes I swear these machines have souls." But not this kind of soul.

Speaking of soul, here's the Woz reminiscing about the early days of Apple and PC's.

Even today, a week before the formal release of the candy-coated anti-operating system, there are still a few geeks out there who can make some elegant hardware and software. If you've got a Mac, check out The Omni Group. There's nothing these people do that isn't cool. The OmniWeb browser is like a blueblood Firefox; it delivers web pages with blazing speed and a cool grace. Here's a screen capture. The browser's now on sale for ten bucks, and it's worth every penny and more. If you've got a Mac, you won't regret having OmniWeb in your dock.

While you're there, check out their other stuff, especially Omnigraffle, which has all the features and functions of Visio but with a fun, user-friendly whiteboard interface; and OmniOutliner, which is an essential tool for writers, artists, and organizers. We got the Productivity Bundle here, which includes all of the above plus their Disksweeper utility. It's another great reason for using a Mac: the third-party stuff is just more creative, more useful, more fun, and in the end, cheaper, than Windoze garbage.

Don't have a Mac yet? Think they're too expensive? Wait till you see what you'll have to spend on hardware to run Vista (which could explain why Dell gobbled up Alienware). But there's lots of cool new features to it, like the "black screen of near-death" which the C-Net reviewers talked about (link above). After you're done looking at those wonderful new things from the anti-OS, check out this video. Then remember that for $600 you can get a kickass desktop machine that sports an Intel Core Duo processor and an operating system that really works (keep an eye out—the Core Duo 2's may be coming to the Mac Mini very soon).

Or you can go out on Black Friday and get a $99 laptop with a lame Celeron processor and a world of future headaches and expense. Your choice. See ya, humans.


Well done, puss. The tuna's in the bowl and black's my favorite color. I've been thinking about what to tell people at the office as I prepare to leave after 3 years. Being a psychotherapist, I suppose it's natural to think foremost of the dysfunctional characters who inhabit the top positions there, and what they need to know in order to round off their sharp edges and recover some natural sense of humanity. Here are some notes I made for a message to the CIO:

Act from your center. Tolerate mistakes—those of others, but especially your own. Build consensus by example. Accord with yourself first, and others will effortlessly find common ground beside you.

Remember that technology is made by and for humans; robots are still the stuff of science fiction movies and search algorithms. Zero and One do not write the code; people do. Remind your colleagues of this, and especially, keep reminding yourself.

Above all, nurture humility. There is no quality so necessary, or so absent, among corporate executives today. But in order to nurture humility, you must first learn to recognize it—that is, to feel it within you. It is the affirmation of the individual in the context of the universal. It is the self-realization that finds its worth through a perspective on the whole; but it is never self-abasement.

I can only imagine how far you feel from it now, absorbed as you are in fear, hatred, paranoia, and aggrandizement. But none of us is ever far from humility. In a single moment's effort; with the instant it takes to demolish the black wall you've erected between your heart and its Source; in the second needed to call clearly through the cloud of ego for the help you need from the invisible realm—the great delusion is penetrated and humility is, in that moment, achieved.

When you find that moment within yourself, you will also discover the natural qualities of leadership that you have always thought are distant and separate from you. Learn to guide yourself, and you will become a leader to others.


Miss Bitty said...

Congratulations on the (possible?) good news! Glad to read Night the Cat will continue in the lifestyle to which s/he has become accustomed. Downward mobility for us humans is hard enough, but for cats...well, it is not to be contemplated.

Miss Bitty (blogger's bloggered and not letting me sign in)

Brian Donohue said...

Thanks Miss B. I've got the new "beta-blogger" (not the cardiac medication) and Google's got a few things to fix with it, Comments signon included.