Steven Manes has a sad-but-true editorial in PC World about the continued crummy state of personal tech “user-surliness,” here in the early hours of the 21st century:
Concepts that seem obvious to those of us who cultivate technical savvy are utterly alien to the nontech majority–with good reason, since most products, services, and technologies aren’t nearly as simple as techies and tech companies would like to believe. Just ask anybody with half a dozen remotes on the coffee table and a spouse who merely wants to watch a pay-cable show–even without the complication of getting it to play through a home audio system.
Read the rest of the piece here.
Before we port it off to the right nav panel, we wanted to remind anybody who hasn’t yet to please fill out our Street Tech Marketing Survey. Read our earlier groveling plea here. We promise we’ll love and cherish you forever, keep you in our prayers, sacrifice goats on a Heathen altar, whatever you require.
It’s not often that I get really excited about a piece of hardware that I spent under $20 on and want to tell all of my geek buds about. But such are the bargain hardware joys to be found in the Ultra Products’ Ultra 3.5″ Hard Drive Enclosure…
Read the rest of my review…
Microsoft astounds me, or confounds me, might be the better verb. Certain companies have corporate instincts that seem utterly off the mark to me. Microsoft is chief among these. I just did some tech support this weekend for a friend, working on a new Sony Vaio I’d helped him buy. It was my first experience working with Vista. I expected Vista to be much better looking, easier to understand and operate, etc. than XP. I hated nearly everything about it. And the numerous security messages and dialog boxes that popped up as we attempted to get an external HD and a scanner to talk to the machine were as befuddling and muddling as any in previous MS OSes. This is a company that just don’t seem to get user functionality for normal humans.
I took this weekend experience with me (and all attendant prejudices) to a video the Wall Street Journal sent me this morning, a sit-down with MS’s new chief research-and-strategy officer, Craig Mundie. This is the guy who’s supposed to be looking into the future, getting MS and the rest of us excited about technologies in the pipeline. I was bored senseless watching this video. Maybe there’s a lot more here than meets the eye, but Mundie seems like he has all of the charisma and innovation mojo of an ’80s mid-level executive at Big Blue. He makes Bill look like a party animal.
Here’s the WSJ video.
Here are the items I blogged this week on MAKE:
Wiimote as car accelerometer – Link
Six-button capacitive touch pad – Link
HOW TO – Make a simple fly trap – Link
Home roasting rigs building contest – Link
Make your own Moonbeam – Link
HOW TO – Track (and document) currency – Link
Huge lens: project or paperweight? – Link
Green steam – Link
Of Moonbeams and motorcycles – Link
Tools you didn’t know you needed – Link
Personal blimps – Link
Wii telescope control – Link
BEAM bots with complex behaviors – Link
Game machine hacking at Vienna Dorkbot – Link
Ordering PCBs from China – Link
Wow. That was a lot (Phillip was away at OSCON).
The game-obsessives over at Kotaku have been doing a fine job covering this year’s totally sold-out Comic-Con in San Diego. Above is from their piece on a new Hasbro Transformer PlayStation controller, due out next month.
Of all of the nerdgasms possible at this year’s Con, the thing I wish most I could have seen is Shannon Wheeler’s “Too Much Coffee Man: The Opera.” Gee, do you think it’s coming to Broadway? Hey, stranger things have happened.
UPDATE: I found out more info on TMCM: The Opera. After the jump, find Shannon’s Press Release. Coming back to Portland in Spring ’08!
Brady Forrest has a short item on O’Reilly Radar about how to improve the battery-time on your Vista laptop by using an app called (funnily-enough) Vista Battery Saver. The maker of the app claims that you can improve battery life by as much as 70%.
You know what’s really, really sad is how much trouble this tote bag would really, really get you into if you tried to take it onto a plane. Remember the scene in Lily Tomlin’s “The Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe,” where she’s trying to explain to her “space buddies” the different between a Warhol painting of a soup can and a can of soup? Welcome to a similar search.
Street Tech pal Mark Pesce has put together a great little video wrap-up of Rocketcar Day 9. Totally sweet. Takes me back to my reckless youth when we used to strap Estes motors onto anything and everything. There’s nothing like a rocket engine whirly giggin’ around your feet to get your attention!