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January 14, 2005

'Life is random' - 'It's existential marketing with maybe even a touch of nihilism'

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So said Roger McNamee, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, quoted in Wednesday's New York Times story about Apple's marketing slogan for the new iPod shuffle.

Then there's "Give chance a chance,"

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which I just happened on at Apple's website.

Except when I just checked on the link to make sure it's correct, the slogan had changed to

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"Enjoy uncertainty."

So Apple's even extending the idea of chance and uncertainty and randomness and play to its own marketing campaign.

Clever - and stylishly done.

Maybe Jorge Luis Borges is directing this campaign from wherever he is.

I'm sure he's enjoying it, regardless.

You could do far worse than visit Nassim Nicholas Taleb's website, if the role of chance and accident in life are of interest to you.

Taleb's the author of a remarkable book entitled "Fooled By Randomness,"

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which I recommend without reservation if you're interested in making fewer major mistakes in the future.

He's also a bookofjoe reader from way back in the day.


January 14, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wook Kim

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This Brooklyn-based textile artist plays with traditional ideas of wallpaper by inserting oddly placed animals within traditional patterns and motifs.

The animals appear only occasionally in the overall pattern.

The wallpaper is printed on 26-inch vinyl strips and comes with adhesive backing.

So you won't need the proverbial one-armed paperhanger, who's always busy anyhow.

Unless you really want him or her: there's also a traditional, non-adhesive version.

Designs with custom elements are $24/square foot; off-the-shelf styles run $20/square foot.

There's only one actual, physical place in the solar system you can buy the stuff: Matter, at 227 5th Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-230-1150.

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It's also available online via the designer's website.

[via Katherine E. Nelson and the New York Times]

January 14, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

MorphWorld: Tanith Belbin into Julia Roberts

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The female component (above) of Belbin and Agosto, the finest ice dancing team in the U.S., is just 20 years old; as she matures she grows ever more beautiful.

I noticed this morning, glancing at a picture of her taken at the ongoing U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Portland, Oregon, that she bears a striking resemblance to Julia Roberts.

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I suspect the likeness will become even stronger over time.

January 14, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Dead Company Walking: TiVo

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Sometimes it's not enough to be first.

TiVo shook up television when it introduced its digital video recorder (DVR) in 1997.

The technology's taken a while to catch on: only 6% of U.S. homes have one.

But those who have them rave about them.

It's estimated that they'll be in at least 50% of American homes by 2010, but that won't be enough to save TiVo.

DirecTV has begun marketing its own brand of DVR to its customers.

Time-Warner's cable division and EchoStar (Dish Network) are also selling their own versions.

So it's not surprising that the rats are jumping ship: TiVo's co-founder, Michael Ramsey, this past Wednesday announced he's quitting as CEO.

Might as well; sooner's generally better than later with this sort of thing.

The company's stock, as high as $12.93 during the past year, is down 31% for the year, having closed Wednesday at $4.23.

During the past fiscal year, the company recorded an $80.4 million net loss on revenue of $107.3 million.

As you know, I am not a stock market guru or adviser or cheerleader.

But I would like you to take the rest of your chips off the TiVo table, sell what you've still got, and go out and buy yourself something nice with the money.

Sure, you paid a lot more than $4.23 a share for your stock; I know that.

But you have to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.

And this tent's collapsing, so your best bet is outside.

I cannot repeat this often enough: advice is worth precisely what you paid for it.

Refresh my memory, would you?

What, exactly, did you pay here?

January 14, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

PanicPhone - Just push to call 911

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DesignTech's Guardian 911 Phone, due in April, is a small wearable cordless handset (fits in the palm of the hand) that connects to a base station for the sole purpose of summoning 911 help with a push of the phone's single button.

It has a microphone so the user can talk with the operator.

Works just like a cordless phone, because that's what it is.

The range is said to be 800 feet - that's about 1/6 of a mile.

It's also waterproof, so you can wear it in the shower

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after you've watched "Psycho."

No monthly fee.

List price is $139.95.

I think these are gonna be extremely popular when they go on sale in April, and not just with the targeted market of the elderly.

No more

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"Sorry, wrong number," when it matters most.







January 14, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South'

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Title of a show at the Chicago Art Institute,

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up through January 30, that's been drawing rave reviews from all who've seen it.

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The show poses a challenge to the established dogma

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that the American landscape was a primeval vista when the first Europeans landed.

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Rather, it demonstrates that what is now the United States was once, millenia ago,

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home to highly advanced cultures and cities comparable to those of Mesopotamia and the Aztec, Inca, and Mayan empires.

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This is history which has yet to become part of common knowledge,

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and thus hasn't begun to penetrate American textbooks.

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The show moves to the St. Louis Art Museum after Chicago and then on,

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this summer, to Washington, D.C.'s American Museum of Natural History, where I plan on seeing it.

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The carved stone head just above was made in what is now Kentucky, between 200 B.C. and 400 A.D.


January 14, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Lose The Bustle' - BMW finally gets the message

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Sing it to the tune of ""Do The Hustle" [click on #27].

When BMW's new flagship 7 Series (above) came out three years ago, with its ridiculous-looking humped trunk which appeared as if someone had stuck it on as an afterthought, I wasn't the only one who couldn't believe this company could have made so major a mistake.

The howls of dismay over the simultaneous introduction of the i-Drive, a fiendishly difficult-to-master central single control wheel for the tricked-out car's myriad complicated functions, were even louder.

BMW then dumbed-down the i-Drive a bit, after a continuing crescendo of criticism that even the Teutonic masters of the company, safely ensconced in their corporate castle in Munich, could no longer ignore.

After U.S. sales of the 7 Series fell 21% last year, the company finally decided it was time to stop the bleeding.

Earlier this week, at the North American Auto Show in Detroit, BMW CEO Helmut Panke said a "face-lift" of the 7 Series is on the way, with the first photos to be released January 27.

Panke said BMW is not "walking away" from its new design philosophy.

Rather, it's making adjustments in its look.

Bet one of them is losing the bustle.

[via Neal E. Boudette and the Wall Street Journal]

January 14, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Spinning apartment

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Suite Vollard (above) is an apartment building in Curitiba, Brazil unlike any other in the world.

Each of the 11 floors is a 3,000-square-foot apartment that rotates on command, at adjustable speeds and in either direction.

The bathrooms and kitchens are housed in the fixed central core, as are the fireplaces.

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It's the only building on Earth where each floor can spin independently of the others.

The apartments start at $300,000.

Oh, I didn't realize you were seriously interested.

Hold on... OK, the phone number for more information is 011-55-41-3013-1234.

[via Stephen Treffinger and the New York Times]

January 14, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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