Mull over this.

Monday, November 7th, 2005

CNN, in what seems to be an approach straight out of the old parse-the-tea-leaves-at-the-Kremlin days, announced the departure of Aaron Brown by not announcing it…they issued a release describing Anderson Cooper’s new schedule and Wolf Blitzer’s new schedule and if you put all of that through the parse-o-matic and divide the number of anchor chairs by the number of available anchors, well, you’d find one name missing.

And so Aaron Brown, smart guy anchor, fellow college dropout and world champion muller, moves on. I lift my ABC World News Now coffee tea and soup mug in his general direction (doubly ironic, since his replacement, the guy CNN has placed its bets on, is of course, also an alumnus of the wacky ABC late night news show.)

I’ll admit it, I want smart people reporting the news. I want people with depth who aren’t afraid to use that depth when putting complex subjects into context. My pride in being associated with CNN (way back at the dawn of time) is way diminished with each broadcast of The Situation Room (Keith Olbermann: “Wolf, we get it, you own a lot of TVs.”), along with the accumulated vapidity of Paula, Kyra, and Daryn and the turgid Lou Dobbs. Nowadays, when CNN carries a brief hour or so of CNN International, it’s as close as I can get to the network of old: a 24 hour news channel dedicated to news of the world.

Aaron brought his intelligence to work, along with (occasionally) some other emotional baggage. In the modern era where television newspeople of substance are becoming a threatened species, his writing skills and on-air processing of complexity were most welcome.

Some other voices:
Harry Shearer: ‘The most trusted Name in what, again?’

Don Imus: “Which means there will be, very soon, ‘The Aaron Brown Report’ here on MSNBC [he’s kidding], because the MO for MSNBC is [that] anybody at either Fox or CNN who can’t get it done, they hire ‘em here, thinking I don’t know what… A television insider recently described MSNBC as ‘an elephants’ graveyard.'”

And there’s an online petition, but, y’know, why bother?

Map wars.

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

Okay, this just in, the do-no-evil pioneers of Google Maps has been joined in cartographic battle by the feisty newcomer Yahoo Maps!

Behold! (if you will), the javascript spittle flying in all directions! Behold the similar errors on both sites (since they use Navteq and Teleatlas for the data)…like Atlanta’s Interstate 285 perimeter referred to as only ‘state route 407’. Behold a stunningly sililar color scheme, although the further you zoom out on Yahoo, the crunkier the type looks. And behold the odd floating-ish navigator thingie that I bet Yahoo is quite proud of. Behold Yahoo’s live traffic! Behold Google’s satellite imagery! Behold twin APIs…that is, the Application Programming Interface where other developers can mess and mash and come up with odd mutant varients on these maps to their heart’s content!

For a kid (like me) who used to dream in longitude and latitude, this is almost an embarrassment of riches—that is, of course, until the massive coordination between browser, javascript, and server breaks in a fiesta of AJAX-y failure. Or, you simply move out of range of your broadband connection.

In the future, as long as you’re online, life is good. And you know where you stand. Down to a couple of meters or so.

Pod sveltosity.

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

iPod generations

Originally uploaded by iLounge.

From iLounge’s Flickr page, a look at iPod generations. Mine’s on the far left. Right now, my lovely 20GB iPod does a great job of playing sounds and music, although it likes to be left plugged in as long as possible because its battery’s charge tends to dribble away. So we pamper it, a bit. We keep it warm in its protective case. I try not to drop it too often.

Just like any venerable piece of electronics, I guess.

So am I tempted by any of these newer upstarts? Well, if you’d asked me before the release of the latest one with video out, I would have been unequivocal, but now, maybe I do need one to take up some of the slack. And yeah, output photos and video. Maybe. If you’ll excuse me, I need to tuck the wool blanket around our old pod.