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Jeff Bezos is the New Steve Jobs

By Tim Butler | Posted at 23:22

Gruber writes:

Om Malik argues that Bezos is the inheritor to Steve Jobs’s crown. I agree. Not because Bezos has copied anything Jobs did, but because he has not. What he’s done that is Jobs-like is doggedly pursue, year after year, iteration after iteration, a vision unlike that of any other company — all in the name of making customers happy.

The jury is still out on whether the new Kindle Fires can be the first real competitor to the iPad. But, Amazon already has the only alternative vision to Apple's that is compelling on its own right. The expansion of Prime makes it easier and more enjoyable simply to go to Amazon for everything. If Amazon can get the Kindle Fire software to be mature enough to stand up to iOS, I wouldn't want to have to compete with Amazon.

Confirms My Polling Thoughts...

By Tim Butler | Posted at 0:14

I've been rather surprised to see numerous comments this election cycle about Rasmussen's alleged Republican bias in polling data. This was a surprise to me, since I've always found Rasmussen's polling rather accurate, probably in no small part because of Rasmussen's finely tuned robocalling strategy. The rationale for the alleged bias — other than the higher numbers Republicans sometimes receive in Rasmussen's polling — seems to be two-fold: Scott Rasmussen provides analysis for Fox News and is known to be a Republican.

The first issue is circular, since Rasmussen's alleged bias factors into the analysis of Fox News's own bias. Is Alan Colmes biased towards Republicans, too? The second issue is a red herring. Every pollster is biased, but that doesn't really have anything to do with his data unless his data is shown to be inaccurate. A Fordham University professor looked at 20 major polls to see which one most accurately reflected the actual results of the 2008 Presidential Election and found Rasmussen and Pew to be the only ones to match the real results. Rasmussen consistently showed McCain-Palin as stronger than the other polls did, but that wasn't a bias — it was an accurate prediction of how actual voting would go.

I personally don't follow pollsters because I agree or disagree with them, but because I think this or that one gives me better data. Isn't that what most folks (other than a politicos looking to gain momentum) want from polling data?

HT: Houston Chronicle

HP Introduces the New iMac

By Tim Butler | Posted at 14:45

A brilliant headline for an on spot article. To be sure, it isn't an exact clone, but to the average consumer, it would be easy enough to confuse the new HP Spectre One with an iMac — it has many design cues that originated with the Apple iMac. Most blatant of all are the keyboard and trackpad, which are inexcusable knockoffs of the Apple Keyboard and Magic Trackpad. I'm sure many of the same people who defend Samsung for its most dubious acts of iOS cloning will defend HP too, but I don't really see how anyone wins when some of the biggest technology companies spend more time trying to create fake Apple products than they do innovating.

What if HP had kept producing its innovative WebOS product line instead?

HT: Gruber

Speak Softly...

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:16

Quoth Lesa Jansen:

It's still a mystery why President Barack Obama was holding a baseball bat during his telephone conversation with Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan earlier this week. An official White House photo shows the president with the bat in one hand and a phone in the other.

What was it Teddy Roosevelt said again?

The Canon EOS EF-M

By Tim Butler | Posted at 7:11

This looks exactly like the sort of exciting compact bodied interchangeable lens camera that I have been hoping to see from Canon. While there may end up being disadvantages to using a full APS-C sized sensor in this body with regards to how small the EF-M lenses can be made, the fact that this camera shares a sensor with the EOS Rebel T4i also makes it a theoretically more capable than most of its peers. Assuming that the production version fixes some of the bugs that the press ran into with the early samples yesterday, I think this could prove to be a camera that any Canon EF system user will be mightily tempted by.

Late Night Haiku XLVI

By Tim Butler | Posted at 23:40

CXXXI. The Lightning flashes
Like a giant firefly,
The dark wood watches.

CXXXII. Light, but no thunder —
A fury held back by space,
As plants strain to reach.

CXXXIII. I thought it was so,
He said, head resting in hands.
He strain'd in silence.

How Do We Pray?

By Tim Butler | Posted at 0:15

It is so easy for us to become wrapped up in how we pray — an emphasis on our own “prayer skills” — that we can come to believe that our act of praying, our choice of words and our “faith” is what really matters. Karl Barth addresses this misunderstanding nicely:

Grace itself is the answer to this question. When we are comforted by the grace of God, we being to pray with or without words.

How wonderful it is when we see that prayer is not ultimately bounded by our foundation but God's grace!

Late Night Haiku XLV

By Tim Butler | Posted at 22:45

CXXVIII. Crickets chirp softly.
The warm summer air flows 'bout
Their mournful old tune.

CXXIX. What is their secret?
E'ery summer, they chirp anew,
The old melody.

CXXX. Tell me now what is —
I only wish to understand —
What lingers. Again.

Petition the President on the TSA

By Tim Butler | Posted at 23:30

A We the People Petition on the White House web site aims to involve the president in the debate around the TSA's full body scanners. The petition reads:

In July 2011, a federal appeals court ruled that the Transportation Security Administration had to conduct a notice-and-comment rulemaking on its policy of using “Advanced Imaging Technology” for primary screening at airports. TSA was supposed to publish the policy in the Federal Register, take comments from the public, and justify its policy based on public input. The court told TSA to do all this “promptly.” A year later, TSA has not even started that public process. Defying the court, the TSA has not satisfied public concerns about privacy, about costs and delays, security weaknesses, and the potential health effects of these machines. If the government is going to “body-scan” Americans at U.S. airports, President Obama should force the TSA to begin the public process the court ordered.

Since I signed earlier today, I've seen several thousand more signatures go on the record. We need 17,331 more to “require” the president to respond to this petition.

Spider Elimination

By Tim Butler | Posted at 22:39

This is one of the strangest news stories I've seen in a long time:

An attempt to remove spider webs ended with a charred home at about 1 p.m. Saturday.

Eiliya Maida used a propane blowtorch to clear cobwebs in the backyard of his 811 Coit Tower Way home before dry plants ignited and started an attic fire, said George Basbous, Maida's brother-in-law. While Maida went into the front yard unaware, Basbous noticed smoke rising from the top of the house.

HT: Mark Ryan.

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