Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thinking Outside the Unbox

The big thing today was, bar none, the grand opening of Amazon Unbox. I wanted to come up with a dumb title for this post to reflect how stupid I think this name is. What the hell is an unbox? What does that mean? Just that it's no longer in a DVD box? Well guess what Amazon, a computer is also called a box, so it's still in one! Anyway, this was clearly favored by movie studios given all the DRM behind it and the variable pricing allowed by Amazon as opposed to Apple's still forthcoming flat pricing. Here's the big problem: you still can't put the movies on DVDs and pop them in your DVD player. This still leaves Amazon vulnerable to having their butt handed to them by Apple should they pull of their media center. Not only that, but you have to use their player or a Windows Media video portable devices. I don't want to totally rip on them though since I like the $1-$2 pricing on movie rentals, and it sounds like they made an effort to make sure that everything was high quality. Still though, I don't think it's worth paying the same amount as the hard copy of these movies to get this restrictive digital copy, and I think that Amazon has a ways to go before this service catches on. Meanwhile, I'm sure that Apple has been thinking outside the unbox for a while now, and I hope that they'll have something to show for it very soon.

I was tempted to make today's main topic Joel Spolsky's latest blog post on recruiting programmers and how to impress them. I totally agree with almost all of what he's saying, except that I think there's value in an open environment in some cases. I think that some developers may feel slightly reclusive to have their own little office, though a cubicle is too conforming and obtrusive. Also, I wish I had a better chair while at TI (I can appreciate a good chair), so I also buy into his point on that. Speaking of cubicles though, Apple has filed a patent for a device that looks suspiciously like a cube Power Mac. Obviously that brings with it speculation that they're looking to revive the cube design, and I wouldn't be surprised, though it would have to be pretty small and relatively light. It's so rare that I find good things about Vista that I just have to post about it when I do: Microsoft is incorporating audio enhancement so that your volume level doesn't go all over the place just because your media isn't volume leveled. There's also more features for room correction and volume adjustment for various audio sources. There's one idea they finally didn't steal from Apple. Speaking of Apple, one site has a pretty good analysis of the pricing on the iMacs and how reasonable they are, though they're mysteriously $1000 off on the 24" one. Anyway, still a good read. Lastly, I have a couple of neat online web apps to share. One allows you to convert pdf files into text files so that they're easily snapped onto your clipboard, which is quite handy. The other one is a simplistic online alarm clock. That's great for napping at your desk.

Not much movie news to cover, once again. There's a pretty decent trailer for Casino Royale out now over at Moviefone, and it's quite a bit better than I would have expected. I think it does a pretty decent job of conveying the intended tone and plot points of the movie, and I can only hope that the movie itself is good. The other thing I have is a really messed up but really brilliant poster for Unholy, an indie horror flick. Check out the freakiness:

Click to enlarge

Now for the 3x Thursday:

What are the 3 most important things/people going on/in your life right now? Why?
The Ohio State game is huge because I've been waiting on it for months and it's just two days aways. Unfortunately, I got screwed in the draw so I can't go to the game itself, but I'll be there in spirit. Another big thing is Physics, which I'm worried about because I was having a hard time with the first homework assignment. How can I be so good (not awesome or genius, I can just handle it) at CS proofs and upper division math but not at lower division physics homework? Maybe I just have to get used to the class and I'll be fine. Lastly, an important thing for me is my brother's wedding in November, for which I'm going to go to some latin dance lessons for on Sunday and for several more weeks hopefully. As a bonus, NSC has been pretty big for me as well, sucking up way too much time. It's ok though, I enjoy it (especially web applications).

Bonus Question: Mickey's a mouse, Donald's a duck, and Pluto's a dog....what's Goofy?
A large dog?

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