Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Why iPod Will Stay Number One For a Long Time.

article that led to this post

The iPod has entrenched itself so deeply into the culture of generations born between '70 and '90+ that no matter what superior similar media device performs better, people just don't/won't care. We can only speculate on why iPod is so entrenched.

1 - Itunes: People use iTunes because people want to use a standard digital music application. The program works adequately compared with its competitors.
a - Itunes integrates seamlessly with iPods.
b - Itunes sells music files that can only be played portably on an iPod.
2 - Used and new iPod accessories widely available.

3 - Major style points: Let's admit the fact that owning an iPod makes an average person feel at least 26 points cooler on a 25 point scale. Apple has been successful in desinging their products with trendy colors, seductive plastic curves, and a futuristic tiny form-factor. People first bought iPods to listen to their huge digital music libraries that they had recently downloaded off of Napster, etc. Those early adopteres found that the technology was worth the cost.

But the next wave of adopters not only loved the functionality of the device, but to a great extent they began choosing their dollars for just the opportunity to pop the trendy white ear buds in their ears--to show their friends that they have the "status symbol." Dr. Seuss called it "stars upon thars." People wanted to be part of the iPod group. The style value is different completely, and it's nearly impossible to for competitors. I know people who value the iPod and other electronics highly for largely their aesthetics. My satirical advertisement for the new iPod

4 - Ipod was the first brandname in mp3 players to ride the fad wave. It was good enough to stay atop a wave for a few years. Ipod has become what Kleenex is to facial tissues, what Q-tip is to cotton swabs, what Coke is to carbonated beverages, what Palm is to PDAs, what Karo syrup is to corn syrup, and what Crisco, Clorox, Saran, and Zip-loc are to shortening, bleach, plastic wrap, and resealable plastic bags.

How long will iPod be the #1 music player?

I dunno. I don't like the isolation it creates for users considering the benefits are small. I'm trying to talk to users sometimes, and I have trouble interacting with them. I've been snowboarding and bicycling and seen fellow riders listening to iPods/clones. What is this about? When did ceaseless music become so important? I think it will cost the generations that use it or similar portable devices because they are abused by some.

Four Societal Costs:
1. Users trade quiet moments that could generate personal reflection for music pop-music listening.
2. Users trade away valuable opportunities to interact with humanity for music.
3. Users handicap their sense of hearing, failing to protect themselves from hazards.
4. Users will no doubt have decreased permanent hearing ability.

Societal Benefits:
1. You can listen to any music at almost anytime and it distracts the user from the worries and stresses of normal life.
2. It makes you look cool. (Wait, that's not a societal benefit... how did you get in here #2?)

Am I jealous that Jobs is making lots of money instead of me? Yeah, a bit.

Does that make me a little biased? Yeah, sure. Take this for what it's worth.

Do I think iPods should be outlawed? No, not on this side of winged-pigs.

Do I aspire to be as successful as Jobs? I have a way to go, but yeah, at least.

Final note:
Our money is better off in Jobs hands than in the government's coffers. Everybody go start a business if you can. Think up a good idea, make a plan. Hire anybody who will work.
Ready... break!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Fifty Nifty United States

(the USA map by population density and political party)


How fast can you put the states together?

My fastest time was 2:15, but then I kept trying and I got a 1:26.67.

Get on it!

Friday, January 27, 2006

The end of the Alamo Mastercard Bowl game this year...

was crazy. Michigan was trying to get into the endzone and fans and bands were coming out onto the field during the final live play. Michigan was lateraling the football back across the field and wrenching out every last ounce of their individual wills to get to their team into the endzone. They came pretty close, and it felt good to see such an effort--Michigan left it all out on the field.
The game ended on a bizarre play, with Michigan's Chad Henne throwing a short pass and his teammates lateraling eight times up and down the field before the play fizzled out with Titus Brothers shoving Tyler Ecker out of bounds at the Nebraska 13. Extra players and some coaches from both teams were on the field as the play finished.

Today I came across video footage of a game that ended similarly.

1982--Cal vs. Stanford.
John Elway was QB for the Stanford Cardinals, and was on his way to greatness. Unfortunately for him and his team, they had little time remaining and it was 4th and 17 from their own 13 yard line.
The game ended similarly to the Michigan game. I think the 6 min version of video is definitely worth watching if you've never seen it. (Yes, a trombonist gets knocked over.)

Sony also made a funny commercial based on the game ending play:

Monday, January 09, 2006

Arrested Development and TV buzz theory

I have a theory. Here's my theory:

Arrested Development will return to a network in one or two years.

The other day i was telling a co-worker about AD
and they said they'd never seen it, but that they'd tune in on Monday to watch it. I thought about it, and then said, "You'd probably laugh harder if you rented the first season first."

So my theory is that FOX thinks the same thing.

People need to watch the earlier episodes to appreciate the richness found in the current episodes. People interprete much of the writing in current episodes as random and unnecessarily zaney. That shows in the saging ratings (not that I've actually seen the authoritative ratings). All I know is that AD is not on tonight, and this is when it usually is. I also know that using yahoo! tv listings search, I find no future airings in the database.

The ratings are suffering b/c new viewers didn't watch the first season and can't appreciate the "call-back" humor. ("Call back" humor is the equivalent of inside jokes with your friends but is instead between a comic and his/her audience.)

Many people got the Family Guy on DVD and became fans. Fox brought the show back. Maybe AD will gain popularity slowly, and next year the show will make a glorious return to reign as king of TV comedy world.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Getting even better

Texas is going to be better than they have been for the past 35 years.

This is true for two reasons:
1. Vince Young is superman.
2. Air Conditioning

I might talk more about this later, but this national championship will have a greater affect on Texas' future than did the championship in 1970.

A light morning jog...

We all knew that Vince Young could play a great football game. We didn't know how easy he could make it look against #1 USC Trojans in a national championship game.

He threw for 267 yards and ran for 200 even. He averaged 10+ yards per carry, and completed 75% of his passes. He was never sacked, although one defensive back stuck to him once like a bug on a windshield.

Texas Defense
Texas' defense had the daunting task of stopping two Heisman trophy winners (Leinart and Bush), and their supporting all-star supporting cast. The Longhorn defense only stopped USC's offense a few times in the game; their defense forced USC to punt once, throw one interception, and miss two 4th-down conversions. Also, luckily for Texas, this years Heisman trophy winner, Reggie Bush made a poor decision and he attempted a lateral to a receiver that was expecting it less than even all the fans watching. Texas recovered. Also Texas had a pick that was erroneously called an incompletion. That one irked me since the ground can't cause a fumble. There was no official review of the play, either.

USC Defense
USC's defense performed: forcing and a few fumbles and recovering only one, forcing one turn-over-on-downs, forcing two punts, and forcing three field goal attempts (two were successful). The secondary of USC was surprisingly quiet. Please don't complain about the knee-down lateral in the second quarter. It would've changed very little in a game where Vince rushed 10+ yards per carry, and Texas would've had first and 10 from USC's 11.

Looks like the one turnover that counted most of all was the failed 4th-down conversion in the 4th quarter. Two yards were needed, but the Trojans were stopped by the All-American Longhorn defense for the second time on 4th down.

Pete Carroll
I'm going to defend USC's coach Pete Carroll on the 4th down and 2 conversion attempt; if they punted, they were only giving Texas bad field position. Vince Young won't be affected much by that. Pete had to go for it if he wanted to clinch the win, and Lendell White had rushed for 5+ yards per carry at that point.

Even then USC had a chance to stop Texas. After USC's drive (missing their second 4th-down conversion) and with seconds left in the game, on USC's 8 yard line, his team down by 5 points, 4th down and 5; Vince dropped back to pass. A quick scan revealed to him that he would have to "scramble" for the a first down. The team was risking turning the ball over on downs back to USC and a national championship loss. Anticlimactically, Vince jogged untouched for 8 yards and a touchdown.

The thing is Vince Young scrambling should not be called "scrambling." The word scramble never jumps into my mind. Many quarterbacks run like their very lives are on the line; rushing in a hasty and undignified manner. Vince runs with fluidity and with unwavering confidence: a football god. It's almost like he has some kind of magic to keep the defense from moving quickly. They should call it "gliding" for him. Vince glided for 200 yards tonight.

Vince at quarterback had more total yardage (467) than the sum of Leinart's passing and Bush's rushing (365 + 82 = 447).

Heisman Recount, Anyone?
If the Heisman voting were next week, then would Vince or Reggie win? I'd vote every vote I had for Vince after last night.

Vince has many more stages on which to dominate.

Only 12 teams [this year] averaged more than 467. And Young went out and got that by himself — against a team with a 34-game winning streak.

Obviously, USC's defense is not on the same level as its offense. But it is still plenty good. And Young chewed it up like Juicy Fruit.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

USC vs. Texas

The only reason I typed USC's name first is that they are the defending champs. I'll give them respect for that. They also have gone up against arguably stronger offenses. I'm also aware that the Trojans have better interview skills. Bush and Leinart have the microphone skills of Carson Daly, they've been on TV so much. I'm aware that they've had injurred players on defense that will now be playing. I am aware of these points. But it's not going to add-up for a win for the Trojans.

Texas is going to win the Rose Bowl on January 4, 2006 by more than 10 points.


USC's defense hasn't shown that they can do the job needed to stop Texas, whereas Texas has shown consistent, strong, quick, aggressive defense. Texas won't be effectively slowed by USC unless USC focuses on causing fumbles, attacking the confidence of the Texas rush offense. I doubt USC will focus on that. Note that USC does not have any All-American DL or LB players. Texas will have a huge night on the ground. They'll rush over 200 yards. They'll pass for over 200 yards.

USC will still score points, but not as many as Texas. They will score at least 10 fewer points, if not fewer. They'll be slowed down.

Jaws will drop when Vince Young stiff arms half the USC defenders on his way to the endzone. Eyes will widen when Ramonce Taylor grabs a pass on a slant and breaks free.

And when Reggie Bush tries to push Matt Leinart into the end zone (which is against the rules of football, by the way--apologies to Notre Dame), Leinart is going to get pushed right back and into the green turf of the Rose Bowl by All-Americans Rodrique Wright and Michael Huff.

Tonight will be electrifyingly shocking for the "Trojan Nation" and the Longhorns will probably still not get much respect. It'll be called a fluke, and I'll chuckle.

for an immediate laugh, here's a prediction for a writer at the LA Times:

USC 34, Texas 31: Vince Young pushes Selvin Young into end zone for go-ahead score but refs don't call it; Reggie Bush returns squib-kick for game-winning TD. USC flagged for having 12 men on field, but replay confirms officials mistakenly counted Bush twice.

- Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times