Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Newsies

Though I could have told you this two years ago, when I worked at PalmSource, it should by now be clear to pretty much everyone that the PDA market is dying a slow but certain death. This is just one more nail in the coffin:

gandell writes "CNET is reporting that after only two years, PalmOne is spending $30 million dollars to become "Palm" again. From the article: "PalmOne, which makes handhelds bearing the same name, plans to change its name to Palm later this year, the company said Tuesday. At that time, its product line, which currently includes the LifeDrive, Treo, Tungsten and Zire devices, will be branded under the Palm name..."
-- slashdot.org

The tough times have continued for PalmSource. Its chief executive, David Nagel, abruptly resigned Sunday without giving a reason, and for the first time devices shipped using Microsoft's handheld operating system surpassed the Palm OS for the year in 2004, according to research firm IDC... More troubling is the fact that traditional handhelds are still the major source of PalmSource's revenues. That's not the way it was supposed to be.
-- CNET News.com

Note to Palm*: nobody cares about handheld organizers. We want handheld computers with digital cameras, full wireless capabilities, and enough CPU to play video games with 3D graphics while listening to mp3's and downloading the latest episode of Lost. Sony dumped PalmOS because they knew they were going to make a killing with the PSP. Get smart or get in line.

Across the pond, the UK Guardian's Rafael Behr explains why men love science fiction so much:

Science fiction has a hold over the imagination that is both obsessive and conservative. Star Wars, Dr Who, Star Trek all inspire loyalty in audiences completely disproportionate to their artistic merit. Deviation from the established formulae - the rules of the fictional universe in which the drama unfolds - is despised by the hardcore fans...

[T]he appeal of the sci fi system to the ordinary fan lies not just in its orderliness, but in its finiteness. As with any holy text, the science fiction universe is knowable in its entirety. You can watch every single episode of Star Trek and learn everything there is to know about it. You can contain an entire universe in lists and DVDs. The kind of universe that is knowable by heart is much less threatening than the real universe outside, off screen, full of unpredictability and disorder...

Science fiction appeals to geeks because it effaces all remants of the grown-up world. It is a parallel universe conducted entirely within the confines of childhood. Plus laser guns and space ships. And that, sadly perhaps, is sufficient to keep a lot of men very happy for a long time.

And though he might need to check into an anger management program, or just go see his therapist more often, the SF Chronicle's Mark Morford does make some keen observations:

Thank the great Sith Lord above that the massive computer-driven marketing hellbeast that is the overblown "Star Wars" epic is finally over... Episodes I-III are mostly one thing and one thing only: huge exercises in CGI acrobatics, manic video games writ large... [I]t's all just a little embarrassing.

Poor Ewan McGregor. Poor Natalie Portman. Poor Liam Neeson. Fabulous actors so completely drained of nuance and character you are left wishing Obi Wan would shoot heroin and dive into a toilet and have a deformed religious experience, and that Neeson might veer off and start asking Princess Amidala what her favorite sexual position is and how many orgasms she has in a month and what she really thinks about when she sees Vader's throbbing red lightsaber...

Harrison Ford carried the first three movies, period. Carrie Fisher was amusing enough, the droids were cute and infinitely annoying, James Earl Jones' Vader voice work was nearly a character unto itself. But no one topped Ford at delivering a cynical line or expressing incredulity or offering up that famous "Who, me?" look that would later come to such wondrous fruition with Indiana Jones. "Star Wars" without Ford's dry humor and bewildered mug is like a cheesy pinball machine without the ball: all bells and whistles, few genuine pleasures.

Finally, if you've got $80 burning a hole in your pocket and want to look like an ub3r h4xx0r (even if you're just a script kiddie), check out Das Keyboard, "an enhanced 104-key USB PC keyboard equiped with 100% blank keys mounted on precision and individually weighted key switches."

Me, I'd rather spend that money on an Indium LED Torch, which will at least be useful for The Game in July.
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