It’s been a while since I’ve gotten to see The Daily Show, but here are the highlights from the week of January 28, 2010:
President Obama is far too attached to his dual teleprompters
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The Supreme Court eases the rules on corporate political donations
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The Wall Street doesn’t like getting regulated after loving getting bailed out
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Elizabeth Warren explains why Wall Street needs to be regulated better, I bet Wall Street will be THRILLED!
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After seeing the keynote (watch it here), there were some interesting things I noticed and wanted to talk about with this new device. First off though, I currently use a 4+ year old Dell Inspiron 700m laptop and I carry around a 60gb iPod Video. Both of which I will need to replace sometime soon as both are starting to slowly die on me. With that, I’m always looking to see what I can replace each device with without breaking my rather small bank account in half as a poor medical student.
The most surprising part of the whole announcement for me was that this iPad is running an Apple customized A4 processor. So, Apple is almost completely vertically integrated now, they make their processors, their own batteries, their own multi-touch technology, they control every piece of hardware that goes into their machines, they write their own operating systems and control their own online store where you can buy music, movies, television shows, applications, games, podcasts (free), educational materials (iTunes U) and now electronic books (iBookstore). Jobs now claims that Apple is now the largest mobile devices company by revenue… something that should concern Jobs at some point because the US has laws against monopolies and while being as vertically integrated as I mentioned just now is fine for a small company, once that company gets large enough, that kind of power starts to get noticed by government officials.
This new iPad is very similar to the iPod Touch/iPhone (it just doesn’t have a phone). The iPad basically runs on the same operating system as the iPod Touch, it’s just BIGGER (almost 10inches compared to the 3.5inch iPod Touch), can play HD video and with a longer battery life (10 hours of use with 1 month of standby time). The iPad will also run virtually all of the 140,000 applications that are already available for the iPhone/iPod Touch.
Since Apple’s current 3.5inch hardware has 2 different skews that have been immensely successful, it’s not too surprising that there are going to be 2 separate skews for the new iPad, a wifi version that starts at $499 (basically a GIANT iPod Touch) and a version that also has a 3G internet data subscription option starting at $629 (almost like a GIANT iPhone, just minus a phone or camera).
The other thing I noticed that was interesting after reading Engadget, is that Apple now has a way for you to buy into their vertically integrated ecosystem for almost any amount of money. To gain direct access to all the different online stores from Apple’s mobile hardware you can pay as little as $99 to buy an iPhone (with a 2 year contract), you could pay $199, $299 or $399 for an iPod Touch, now you can pay $499, $599 or $699 for a wifi iPad with 16, 32 and 64gb of storage space respectively, you could buy any of those previously mentioned iPad with wifi models and add 3G internet access from $629 – $829, after that if you shell out $999 you can spring for their basic 13inch Macbook and from there you can pay buy into the 13inch Macbook Pro for $1199, the 13inch Macbook Air for $1499, $1699 for their 15inch and $2499 to start for their 17inch Macbook Pro and you can customize those laptops to your hearts content to set the price to any amount under $6,500 FULLY loaded for a single purchase. So it seems that Apple is basically bridging the price gap between their $399 iPod Touch and their $999 Macbook to give customers new ways to access all of their online stores.
From previous experience with the iPhone/iPod Touch, I was not surprised when the wifi only iPad didn’t have a either a front-facing web camera (for video chat) or a rear-facing camera (to take pictures) since the iPod Touch doesn’t have either of those features, BUT I was VERY surprised that the iPad with 3G DIDN’T have either or BOTH of these cameras since all iPhones have rear-facing cameras and ALL of their laptops have built-in front-facing web cameras. Maybe this is a feature that will come later, maybe not. Who knows?
It is also disappointing that with the larger screen and faster processor that you can only run one application at a time. That means you can’t surf the web while also keeping a chat client open.
I am not going to try and guess how successful this device will be since Apple has done quite well ever since Steve Jobs returned to Apple, but at this point, when I replace my 6ogb iPod and my old Dell laptop, I will probably just go with a new iPod Touch and a Windows 7 laptop for now, iPad or no iPad.
**Update 2009-1-28 – Upon further analysis it will also be interesting to see how specialized industries, like the medical profession write applications and start utilizing this type of device, it is specialized markets like this that have already shown the willingness to utilize tablet technology in the past. Maybe companies like Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health will write special charting applications to use for accessing medical records in a more hands-on sort of way. Time will tell.
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In President Obama’s first State of the Union address (full text), there were many interesting things I wanted to take note of, but watch/read his full speech. That is much more important than my analysis of his speech. I will just note some of the highlights from the speech.
There were some points of humor in the speech: bailouts as popular as a root canal and when Republicans didn’t clap for cutting taxes on 95% of Americans, “I thought I’d get some applause for that one.”
He framed an argument against BIG BUSINESS for those companies giving out big bonuses again to charge them fees to return the rest of the money, while proposing tax cuts for both large and small business as well as getting a jobs bill on the Presidents desk immediately got universal standing applause. Also it was no surpise to see raving applause for Obama stating that he didn’t want America to strive for 2nd place… just about the easiest applause point for the night.
A surprising point came with Obama pushing for NEW nuclear power plants, offshore gas/oil development as part of a comprehensive energy bill to be passed in the Senate even if senators are skeptical of scientific evidence of climate change because it will keep America a world leader.
In higher education reform he proposed ending subsidies to banks for education loans to turn those savings into tax subsidies and tuition forgiveness for students paying back loans for 2 decades, 1 if the student goes to work in the public service sector.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff did NOT look to happy when the President announced that he would work to allow homosexuals to serve in the military this year.
OK, that’s all from me.
Enjoy the full video thanks to MSNBC
I call this 18 hours of med school hell. First off, I did a bad thing, I hard shut down my 4+year-old WinXP Dell laptop because I had to rush out to meet my friend. I went back after an hour and turned my computer back on only to get a blue screen of death (BSOD) during Windows startup.
I tried multiple different startup settings after hitting F8 during startup, but none of them got me anything other than a BSOD. I knew this was not good. As a medical student studying in Grenada and I went to my suitcase to get my XP recovery CD… too bad once I opened my bag I found it cracked in half. With all the studying I do, I didn’t exactly have time for this kind of problem, but who WOULD want to deal with this problem anyway, right?
I wasn’t too worried though, since I have been a longtime listener of Steve Gibson‘s audio show Security Now (subscribe here) and I knew that he created SpinRite. At that point I just wanted to go to bed and told myself that I would get SpinRite after class in the afternoon. So, once I got out of lecture, I headed over to our school library to buy SpinRite. I bought it and loaded it on my USB flash drive which I got from my good friend Sara, but once I tried booting from the USB I got an error message that the Pen Drive Does Not Have an Operating System, so I emailed the SpinRite tech support and got a response less than an hour later that totally fixed my problem.
Once SpinRite got up and running, it took about 3 hours for it to scan my hard drive and move files around and fix or mark all the errors on my drive and now it’s back up and running. So thank you Steve for SpinRite! It is worth every penny.
Thanks to Just Ask the IT Guy for the above pic.
I recently watched the award-winning short film Skin and Bone and thought it was great. Especially when I found out that it was made for only $500! The film spends a day in a hectic critical cardiac care unit in New England and ends up with some very surprising results along the way. I don’t want to give too much away, so if you want more, I’ve included the trailer at the bottom of this page.
The creators of the movie, Philip M. Magcalas and Lucy Harrison are medical students a little farther along than I am and the idea of filming, producing, editing and showing this kind of short film all throughout medical school just baffles my mind, both are very smart cookies.
I just got word that Skin and Bone has been released for sale on DVD now for only $7.99 and I wanted to help get the word out. I’ve already ordered my copy and with recent events regarding the Haitian earthquake, they have decided to donate a portion of all their proceeds to help bring aid to Haiti.
US Health Reform Comparison of the final versions of House Bill H.R. 3962 and Senate Bill H.R. 3590 from AAOMS.org
There has been a lot of debate over the House and Senate versions of the US healthcare reform bills, but most people can’t keep up with what the differences are between the two bills or even what’s written into each bill.
Here is a good comparison of the final version of both bills (H.R. 3962 and H.R. 3590) after both bills passed their respective branch of Congress that you can view and download created by the American Association of Oral and Maxofacial Surgeons.
I stumbled upon Snopes.com, the internet’s rumor debunking website, think of it like a one stop shop for internet investigative journalism, usually revolving around news stories that swarm bulk email inboxes. I’m including a handful of interesting stories I came across tonight on all types of political rumors, some true, others untrue and still more that are a mixture of fact and fiction:
3. A recent executive order by President Obama grants INTERPOL diplomatic immunity and will now be able to investigate any American without having to adhere to American’s constitutional rights: Mixture of truth and falsehoods
Lastly, my favorite article of the night:
Thanks to Snopes for providing an evening of quality learning entertaining.
1) The US, UK, Canada, Australia, France will apologize to the world for our interference’ in their affairs, past & present. You know, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Noriega, Milosevic, & the rest of those ‘good ‘ole’ boys’, we’ll never ‘interfere’ again.
2) We’ll withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with Germany, South Korea, the Middle East, & the Philippines. They don’t want us there. We would station troops at our borders. No one allowed sneaking through holes in the fence.
3) All illegal aliens have 90 days to get their affairs together & leave. We’ll give them a free trip home. After 90 days the remainder will be gathered up & deported immediately, regardless of whom or where they are from. They’re illegal!!!
4) All future visitors will be thoroughly checked and limited to 90 days unless given a special permit!!!! No one from a terrorist nation will be allowed in. If you don’t like it there, change it yourself and don’t hide here. Asylum would never be available to anyone. We don’t need any more cab drivers or 7-11 cashiers.
5) No foreign ‘students’ over age 21. The older ones are the bombers. If they don’t attend classes, they get a ‘D’ and it’s back home baby.
6) The US, UK, Canada, Australia, France will make a strong effort to become self-sufficient energy wise. This will include developing non-polluting sources of energy but will require a temporary drilling of oil in the Alaskan wilderness. The caribou will have to cope for a while.
7) Offer Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries $10 a barrel for their oil. If they don’t like it, we go someplace else. They can go somewhere else to sell their production. (About a week of the wells filling up the storage sites would be enough.)
8) If there is a famine or other natural catastrophe in the world, we will not ‘interfere.’ They can pray to Allah or whomever, for seeds, rain, cement or whatever they need. Besides most of what we give them is stolen or given to the army. The people who need it most get very little, if anything.
9) Ship the UN Headquarters to an isolated island someplace. We don’t need the spies and fair weather friends here. Besides, the building would make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens.
10) All Americans must go to charm and beauty school. That way, no one can call us ‘Ugly Americans’ any longer. The Language we speak is ENGLISH…learn it…or LEAVE.
11) ‘The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.’ She’s got a baseball bat and she’s yelling, ‘you want a piece of me?’ (THIS is an actual Robin Williams joke, by the way.)
Now, isn’t that a winner of a plan?
Thanks to Snopes for the above pic and thanks to my father for sending me this “plan.”
I watched the new movie Avatar in 3D recently (not the IMAX version, but the 3D digital version). I would have written this up earlier, but I’ve been having so much fun being back in NYC that this has been a bit delayed.
My initial response to this movie goes with pretty much all the other 3D movies I’ve seen in theaters, that the 3D was almost totally unnecessary and didn’t help put forward the story and I wish I had watched the film in 2D instead of watching the 3D gimmick. I went to this movie with a friend of mine and after she came back from going to the washroom within the first 5 minutes of the film starting, she just never put back on the 3D glasses and just watched the film in slightly blurry (because of the double imaged) 2D. I watched the whole thing in 3D because I couldn’t stand watching the blurred double vision from the screen when I took off the glasses, but I wish we had just gotten tickets for a 2D screening.
Now that I’ve gone over my 3D movie views, in regard to the movie itself, I really enjoyed the experience. The story wasn’t terribly original and the script felt a bit weak at times, BUT it was an immersive experience and was a fun ride with an entertaining story. There was some funny bits to this movie, including that the mineral that the humans were mining for was called unobtainium and towards the end of the film, it is hinted that Earth (our unshown home world) was a broken world that now lacks any traces of green anymore. I’ve said it before with other movies, but the effects of this movie were emaculate, it was almost hard to believe that the 8 foot tall aliens that the film revolves around were effects, especially when one of them almost has the face of Sigourney Weaver. I’d recommend that anyone who wants to watch a fun ride of a SciFi movie should plunk down the money to at least go to one of the 2D screenings. I don’t think this film has a whole lot to offer though on a small screen, so see it while it’s still in theaters. I don’t think that 3D is going away from theaters as long as it keeps bringing more people to the cinema (at ever increasing ticket prices as well), it’s just not my cup of tea.
I think that James Cameron with this movie, with all of the in-camera effects and the performance capture technology going into this film, was able to pull off what will be seen as a milestone of digital effects cinema.
**Update 2010/1/19 – I just returned from watching the 2D version of Avatar here in Grenada and I think after tonight, if ever given the option, I will ALWAYS choose to see any movie in traditional 2D instead of in 3D. I realized just how much more I was into the movie without having to put on the glasses and manage objects flying out of the screen. The film’s story may be flimsy and unoriginal, taking much from Last of the Mohicans, but regardless, the movie draws me in, which is surprising since we are basically asked to side with an insurgent group trying to repel a contractor-based military force that is trying to obtain natural resources (sound familiar America?). All I know is, that the movie is compelling, visually stunning and 2D is the way to go!