Floating computers

Like Don Park, I am less than impressed with the design of the new G5, even with the thought of a laptop with a 24 hour battery:

I can ducktape it to a small powerboat battery and use it as a laptop. Wow, a laptop with 24 hour battery life and replaceable keyboard. I am starting to like the idea.

Though an interesting design, the iMac G5 seems to ignore usability in favor of the “I’m so cool, and sexy, too” factor.

For instance, the monitor is firmly attached to the computer, which means you really can’t add or replace the monitor if you wish, as you can a traditional non-iMac desktop. You can’t do this with a laptop either, but a laptop you can take with you on the plane or to the coffee shop. I suppose you could swing this baby over your shoulder and take it with you, but I have a feeling this might trip security sensors. And probably revoke your warranty.

You could use it in your living room as a DVD movie player, but I would think a nice flat screen TV with DVD player would do better. Nothing says “floating in air’ like 50 inches on the wall.

I know the company is marketing to a new class of people with too much money to spend–the new generation iPod “Sex and the City” anti-geeks who drive heavily overpriced BMWs specifically because they’re compatible with their tunes devices–but no design, no matter how ‘enchanting’ is going to make up for overall capacity and cost effectiveness.

But then, I’m an old generation Ford Focus driver who hums under my breath as I drive.


Slashdotted AKMA

AKMA’s recent flirtation with breaking the law by using the open WiFi outside of the library has been Slashdotted. Contrary to many Slashdot stories, this one is amazingly free of invective, and has some very thoughtful responses.

In particular, when the story was submitted, the writer made specific mention of AKMA’s profession:

A policeman approached him and asked that he only access the Internet from within the Library and hinted that Federal Laws against “signal theft” were applicable. Oh, and btw, we’re not talking about a person that looked like your stereotypical ‘hacker’; AKMA is an ordained priest.”

(Oh, I would love to see a Gary Turner morph of AKMA into a hacker.)

This sparked additional commentary above and in addition to that generated by the policeman’s actions, including the following:

Actually, that’s a good point. We’re thinking “jerk policeman picking on innocent geek”, but it might have undercurrents of “jerk policemen who hates priests picking on innocent geek who is a priest”. We probably need to get over the idea that certain occupations are automatically respected (priests, doctors, COBOL programmers, etc).


Our friends for freedom

I’ve developed a re-awakened interest in World War II history due to conversations that I’ve been following in weblogging. I went to the library to check out a couple of books on the Japanese internment, and found five books on women’s participation in the war effort intermixed on the same shelf. I checked out books on both subjects.

One of the books makes liberal use of WW II posters, as demonstration of the contradiction inherent with women’s roles during the war. Going online, I found digital images of almost all of them, and they are fascinating to look at; particularly since most encouraged behavior in war that the country, as a whole, discouraged during peace.

For instance, in one set of posters, each features a photo of a man representing a country who was ally in the war. All of the posters had words to the effect that these people were our friends in the fight for freedom. Among those so honored were the very proud, and very black, Ethiopians; ironic, when you consider that blacks in this country weren’t allowed to serve alongside the whites in most situations until later in the hostilities.

In fact, when a small group of black nurses were finally allowed to volunteer at war’s end, they were assigned to tend German patients; laws on the books prevented them from helping American or other allied white men.