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July 4, 2007

iPhone demonstrates why Oscar Wilde was right


He wrote, "A cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."

I got to thinking about that last night (Tuesday, July 3) after I read Adam Bryant's July 1, 2007 New York Times "Ideas & Trends" essay entitled "iSee Into The Future, Therefore iAm" which explored, among other things, what it is that makes something special and therefore valuable.

I know — there's no excuse for the 48-hour delay in getting to the Sunday Times.

My bad.


The final three paragraphs of the essay, especially, caused me to rethink my diatribe of this past Monday (July 2) about Apple's iPhone pricing — specifically, the $100 differential for 4GB more of flash memory when such memory is available retail for $35 and wholesale for around $10.

Here are the three paragraphs.

    iSee Into The Future, Therefore iAm

    ... There are benefits to the hype surrounding products like the iPhone, said Edward Tenner, author of books about the role of technology in society, including “Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity,” and “Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences.”

    It helps build the kind of demand, he said, that is needed to pay for the enormous research and development costs of building a product like the iPhone.

    “With the stakes going higher and higher, the mechanics of hype are born,” Mr. Tenner said. “It’s the only way something like this can be marketed.”


The value of something is what someone is willing to pay for it.

If you've ever tried and failed to sell a house, reluctantly lowering the price step by step until finally someone concurs with your valuation, you will know this to be true.

Others, you'll just have to take my word for it.

So if Apple decides to charge $100 more for the 8GB iPhone than than 4GB, and 95% of those buying one choose the 8GB version (as has been the case for the first 700,000 [!] sold) then that $100 increment is fair — at least, to those who've had to earn the money to pay the difference.


And that's all I have to say about that.

July 4, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mango Nectarine


Don't get your baggies in a twist just yet: this new fruit (above and below) is no relation to the mango, despite its name.

Stephanie Witt Sedgwick reviewed the new entry to the produce section in today's Washington Post Food section, as follows.

    Market Pick: Mango Nectarines

    The mango nectarine has a delicious case of multiple personalities. It has the taste of a mango, the color and shape of a golden plum.

    Luckily for fruit lovers, this California-grown treat — no relation to the mango, despite its name — is a wonderful combination of flavor and texture. Sweet, juicy and slightly fibrous, it's great eaten out of hand, diced in a fruit salsa or salad, or grilled. More ambitious cooks might want to sample its unique taste in a homemade cobbler or ice cream.

    Sadly, it has a short season. The fruit just started heading to markets late last week, according to Robert Schueller, spokesman for Melissa's World Variety Produce in California, which distributes the fruit nationwide. He says mango nectarine season should last until the beginning of August.

    Look for the fruit first in Wegmans, where produce managers expect to have it in stock this week. Schueller says the nectarines will make their way into more markets as the season goes on. Magruder's will carry it as well. For recipe ideas, go to www.melissas.com.



Heck, we just want to taste 'em!

No problema.


Two pounds (10–12 mango nectarines) are $27.75 here.

July 4, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

'Tear down this wall' — Free online access to The Economist


I can't understand why it is I've not read about this anywhere.

I mean, The Economist is probably the single best weekly newsmagazine (it calls itself a newspaper, but no matter) on our blue planet.

When I read some years back that The Economist is the only publication Bill Gates reads cover to cover I figured at least I could have one thing in common with him so I subscribed.

And now it opens up to one and all, absolutely free.

That's the good news.

What, you thought you were getting a free lunch?

Not likely.

The bad news: "Now you can get free access to the Economist.com by viewing an advertisement."

More: "In effect, the advertiser pays for you to have full access to the site for 24 hours after viewing the advertisement."


Look for this "free" access model on all media websites very soon.

Go for it.

July 4, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack



A river runs through it.

Katie, grand panjandrum (panjandra?) of the late, lamented whereismygoat.com, was the only individual to correctly identify the skyline (those who followed her and agreed are not considered to have "identified" it in the strictest sense, since they stood on the shoulders of Katie to do so. But I digress).

In response to the electrifying news that she'd won, Katie responded, "Highfive! Perth is a beautiful city... relaxed, clean, huge river waterfront, beautiful white sand beaches, premium wine regions nearby... a very nice place to spend some time. Keep on Joeing."

Will do.

July 4, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Ted Nugent on 'The Summer of Love' in the Wall Street Journal

His op-ed page essay in yesterday's paper was bracing; it follows.

    The Summer of Drugs

    This summer marks the 40th anniversary of the so-called Summer of Love. Honest and intelligent people will remember it for what it really was: the Summer of Drugs.

    Forty years ago hordes of stoned, dirty, stinky hippies converged on San Francisco to "turn on, tune in, and drop out," which was the calling card of LSD proponent Timothy Leary. Turned off by the work ethic and productive American Dream values of their parents, hippies instead opted for a cowardly, irresponsible lifestyle of random sex, life-destroying drugs and mostly soulless rock music that flourished in San Francisco.

    The Summer of Drugs climaxed with the Monterey Pop Festival [top] which included some truly virtuoso musical talents such as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, both of whom would be dead a couple of years later due to drug abuse. Other musical geniuses such as Jim Morrison and Mama Cass would also be dead due to drugs within a few short years. The bodies of chemical-infested, braindead liberal deniers continue to stack up like cordwood.

    As a diehard musician, I terribly miss these very talented people who squandered God's gifts in favor of poison and the joke of hipness. I often wonder what musical peaks they could have climbed had they not gagged to death on their own vomit. Their choice of dope over quality of life, musical talent and meaningful relationships with loved ones can only be categorized as despicably selfish.

    I literally had to step over stoned, drooling fans, band mates, concert promoters and staff to pursue my musical American Dream throughout the 1960s and 1970s. I flushed more dope and cocaine down backstage toilets than I care to remember. In utter frustration I was even forced to punch my way through violent dopers on occasion. So much for peace and love. The DEA should make me an honorary officer.

    I was forced to fire band members and business associates due to mindless, dangerous, illegal drug use. Clean and sober for 59 years, I am still rocking my brains out and approaching my 6,000th concert. Clean and sober is the real party.

    Young people make mistakes. I've made my share, but none that involved placing my life or the lives of others at risk because of dope. I saw first-hand too many destroyed lives and wrecked families to ever want to drool and vomit on myself and call that a good time. I put my heart and soul into creating the best music I possibly could and I went hunting instead. My dream continues with ferocity, thank you.

    The 1960s, a generation that wanted to hold hands, give peace a chance, smoke dope and change the world, changed it all right: for the worse. America is still suffering the horrible consequences of hippies who thought utopia could be found in joints and intentional disconnect.

    A quick study of social statistics before and after the 1960s is quite telling. The rising rates of divorce, high school drop outs, drug use, abortion, sexual diseases and crime, not to mention the exponential expansion of government and taxes, is dramatic. The "if it feels good, do it" lifestyle born of the 1960s has proved to be destructive and deadly.

    So now, 40 years later, there are actually people who want to celebrate the anniversary of the Summer of Drugs. Hippies are once again descending on ultra-liberal San Francisco — a city that once wanted to give shopping carts to the homeless — to celebrate and try to remember their dopey days of youth when so many of their musical heroes and friends long ago assumed room temperature by "partying" themselves to death. Nice.

    While I salute and commend the political and cultural activism of the 1960s that fueled the civil rights movement, other than that, the decade is barren of any positive cultural or social impact. Honest people will remember 1967 for what is truly was.

    There is a saying that if you can remember the 1960s, you were not there. I was there and remember the decade in vivid, ugly detail. I remember its toxic underbelly excess because I was caught in the vortex of the music revolution that was sweeping the country, and because my radar was fine-tuned thanks to a clean and sober lifestyle.

    Death due to drugs and the social carnage heaped upon America by hippies is nothing to celebrate. That is a fool's game, but it is quite apparent some burned-out hippies never learn.

July 4, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Diet Coke 25th Anniversary Silver Slim Can Debuts Next Monday, July 9, 2007


Save the date.

The cans will have the same shape at the new UK versions (above) sans color, with a more elegant silver tone.

Silver Surfer fans: your libation has arrived.

I must say I am kind of surprised Coke didn't see the marketing potential of this dream megamashup.

But perhaps that's why I'm writing this instead of hanging with the surf dude, what?


If my crack research team ever rouses itself, I'll put up a photo of the silver can.

Note added at 5:34 p.m. today:

Shawn Lea, head of my crack research team, clearly had her feathers ruffled by the snarky last line of today's 11:01 a.m. post: an hour ago, the following comment from her appeared in the sidebar:

"I have a picture [below] of the Silver Surfer Dude from the movie theatre. An actual picture. While doing actual crackpot research. On some movie that was playing. Really. I took notes. Does that count? ;)"



July 4, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

For Sale: Dracula's Castle


Long story short: The Bran Castle (above) in Transylvania, Romania went on the block this past Monday, July 2, and though no asking price was given, the company representing Archduke Dominic Hapsburg, the property's owner, estimates it will bring at least $135 million.

About 450,000 people visit the castle every year.

Let's see... at, say, $5 a pop, that's $2.25 million a year, which means that it'll only take 60 years to break even.

I wonder if people will still be buying souvenir T-shirts and baseball caps in 2067?

'Cause everyone knows you make your money on concesssions....

Inquire within.

July 4, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Radio Cooler


From the website:

    Rolling Cooler/Audio System

    This portable cooler eliminates the need to carry both a cooler and a portable stereo system to the beach, lake, or while tailgating because it incorporates a sound system into its frame.

    Made by Igloo, this 40-quart cooler can hold 58 16-oz. cans and accommodates 2-liter bottles upright.

    A layer of Ultratherm insulation is sandwiched between the durable polyethylene exterior and the stain- and odor-resistant polypropylene interior liner to keep contents cool for up to 51 hours.

    The cooler's sound system consists of an AM/FM radio and two 3-watt speakers, and is integrated into a removable nylon sleeve that fits over the cooler; a pouch in the sleeve accommodates an iPod or similar MP3 player.

    A telescoping handle provides easy transport and an elastic cord provides additional carrying utility.

    Requires four AA batteries.

    20"L x 17-3/4"W x 18"H.


But maybe right about now you're thinking hey, that's a cool idea — but pretty pricey.

I feel your pain.

If you're willing to to carry your tricked-out cooler instead of rolling it along, the alternative below, suggested by Robert Birming, my crack Stockholm correspondent and majordomo of geekalerts, might be just the ticket.


From the product website:

    Starry AM/FM Cooler

    Keep one hand free as you tote your tunes and your beverages in one handy unit, cranking up the style and the volume at the same time.

    A bold star pattern decorates this insulated cooler, sized to hold a six-pack; on the side, a battery-operated AM/FM tuner lets you chill out to your favorite music.

    The perfect summer picnic companion, it requires 4 AA batteries (not included).

    8"H x 12"W x 10"D; rugged carrying strap is adjustable.


July 4, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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