This week we've seen a lot of the "fail whale," the cartoon cetacean that Twitter uses as a placeholder when its servers are swamped and its millions of tweets are inaccessible. Part of it's because, as Twitter has said, they've needed to do some crucial infrastructure repair this summer. That hasn't been made any easier by the global frenzy surrounding the World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa: World Cup goals are delivering knockout blows to Twitter, and surprise results of games can be even worse. Right around the Netherlands' unexpected victory over Brazil … Read more
There has been a lot of commentary following last week's New York Times op-ed by Dick Brass, a former Microsoft executive who claims that the company is bogged down by process and infighting, and has hence lost its ability to innovate.
One of the most interesting follow-ups comes from Groklaw, which dug up some e-mails placed into the public record a few years ago during an antitrust case against Microsoft. (These materials have been a treasure trove of interesting and sometimes-embarrassing internal communications, including then-Windows chief Jim Allchin's 2004 admission that he would have bought a Mac over … Read more
As I noted on the day the iPad was released, the fact that another company may be the one to make the tablet computer a mass-market consumer device has to leave plenty of folks in Redmond smarting.
But while most of that frustration has stayed private, one former Tablet PC team member has lashed out publicly. Dick Brass, a former Microsoft VP who left the company in 2004, lashed out at Redmond in an op-ed piece that ran Thursday in The New York Times.
As some have questioned what the release of the iPad means for Amazon, Brass said he … Read more
Microsoft, apparently, is not for everyone. Dick Hardt, the founder and former CEO of Sxip Identity and ActiveState, and a recognized expert on digital identity, is on his way out of Microsoft just 12 short months after going there.
When he left for Microsoft, Hardt argued that he "was recruited to Microsoft because (he is) an independent thinker."
That independence may have collided with Microsoft's company culture. Hardt doesn't go into much detail as to why he left, but describes his year with Microsoft as "the Year of Darkness," presumably referring to his lack … Read more
Call me astonished.
But Fred Berenson, a clearly fascinating research associate at New York University, has managed to gain sufficient funding to attempt a project that I feel sure none of you has contemplated.
For Berenson has decided to rewrite a veritable whale of a book, "Moby-Dick," entirely in emoticons.
This enterprising cove used Kickstarter to impress those who might have money to drown in such an eccentric quest.
He describes, with quite fetching enthusiasm, how he intends to turn all 6,438 sentences of the great Herman Melville opus into Japanese Emoji, rather picturesque emoticons that are … Read more
Will consumers one day pay for every megabyte they use while downloading video, streaming music, or updating their Facebook statuses?
They just might. The notion of metered billing gained a major supporter Tuesday when Verizon Communications' CTO Dick Lynch told press and attendees at at fiber-to-the-home industry conference in Houston that broadband service providers "cannot continue to grow the Internet without passing the cost on to someone," according to Telephony Online.
In the future, broadband service will likely be sold in packages based on how much bandwidth a person consumes, Lynch said during that press conference at the … Read more
This is Part 2 of a list of my favorite sounding CDs of late, in no particular order. My preference is for realistic-sounding recordings, recordings that allow the band to sound "live." And sure, I still like a lot of recordings that are heavily processed, but I wouldn't by any stretch use them to "test" the naturalness of a speaker.
The first half of the top 10 CD list appeared in the previous Audiophiliac.
Savage Aural Hotbed, "Wreckquiem"
Talk about heavy metal, Savage Aural Hotbed is a (mostly) industrial percussion group. They rhythmically hit, scrape, or smash pipes, barrels, tenor and baritone snorkelhorns, electric power tools, and drums. I love SAH records for their dense textures and searing dynamics and this new one will give your system an aerobic workout while dazzling your ears with its mesmerizing charms.
Rosanne Cash, "10 Song Demo"
OK, this one's from 1996, but it's withstood the test of time. True to the title, it's just Cash accompanied by a small group of players, Production is minimal, so if your system is good enough the music can sound very, very real. The music's a perfect 10.
Gerald Clayton, "Two-Shade"
Clayton's nimble piano trio delivers hard-driving pieces and explosive improvisations that'll push your hi-fi to the limit. The piano, bass, and drums balance is, musically and sonically, as good as it gets. It may be Clayton's trio, but it's a band of equals. The stereo image is set back, behind the plane of my speakers, so it doesn't have the claustrophobic, up close perspective of most contemporary jazz recordings. … Read more
This week we've been celebrating the victories that 52 year old racing veteran Mark Martin has enjoyed in this current season of NASCAR. For the final installment in this tribute, I've dug up some vintage Mark Martin footage doing short track racing at Slinger Speedway in Wisconsin circa 1985.
This vintage vid comes from early in Mark Martin's career prior to racing in NASCAR's Sprint Cup series. For the early part of the 1980s, Mark Martin raced for the American Speed Association (ASA), and during this time he won over 20 races and claimed four championships. … Read more
We want to thank all of our listeners for the tons of mail we received over the break, it really means a lot. Here's to making 2009 the year of The 404!
So sit back, relax, and enjoy our first episode back. There won't be a show tomorrow, but we'll be broadcasting live everyday from CES 2009 beginning this Wednesday at 8pm eastern.EPISODE 252 Download today's podcast … Read more
Rana and CMC join the show for a "what's up" with iPhone apps and a warm farewell to the last dick. Is Steve Jobs alive? Will New Yorkers pay tax on their iPods? Will Guitar Hero ever add death metal tracks? All these answers and more on The 404. Did we mention that we've got two flesh and blood females on the show? Make sure to stick around until the end of the episode when we find out that Rana has a secret celebrity crush...EPISODE 249 Download today's podcast… Read more