Lots of talk about Windows XP N in the news again today. As you may remember, the European Union thought it was bad that Microsoft bundled a media player into the operating system - presumably because Real thought it was killing their business. Having worked with Real on plug-ins for Communicator back in the day, I'm fairly certain that the reason Real failed wasn't due to massive conpiracy on Microsoft's part, but due to the simple fact that RealPlayer sucked. So, I find myself thinking about two things:
1. What would it be like if Apple were legally prohibited from shipping a version of Mac OS X without, say, GarageBand or iTunes? It isn't a perfect analogy because there never was a lot of competition for Mac media players, but I imagine one could argue that Real was harmed because Apple gave away the server component of their streaming platform for free and bundled the client part with their operating system. The only difference vis-á-vis Microsoft is that Apple has about 3.4% of the non-server operating system market in the US, and Microsoft has about 96%.
2. Where would we be today if these sorts of battles had cropped up in, say, 1992? I'm sure many of you remember that operating systems didn't come with TCP/IP stacks - you had to buy them from a company such as Mice and Men or FTP Software [or Apple if you had a pre-System 7.5 Mac]. Me, I'd love to see someone argue that TCP/IP networking functionality should continue to not be included with the OS in 2006; imagine if Windows 98 had shipped in a "Windows 98 N" version with no TCP/IP stack. Would you have been interested in that product?
Spring Thaw weekend came and went and I barely saw any of it. I spent some time at the Cuff on Saturday night; all I learned is that yes, you can play the Melvins' Houdini on their jukebox, but if you do it's going to cost a lot of money and it will take a little over three hours until it plays any of it for some reason. Because I'm such a nice guy, though, I did forgo playing Spread Eagle Beagle. I suspect people were confused by the intrusion of Honey Bucket into the non-stop Mariah, Madonna, Mary, Macy, etc. mix, but that's probably just wishful thinking on my part. I do find other men more attractive depending on the music, though: it'd be interested to do a research paper on showing gay men pictures of other men with different soundtracks [country, diva house, grunge, etc.].
At the Cuff, I also learned that tiny drunk Asian men all find me incredibly attractive, but apparently no one else. Ah well. At least it got to be kind of funny after the first couple of times. Even so, I wonder what's wrong. I bet it has something to do with being generally reticent, stand-offish, and unwilling or unable to do anything in a public place other than indirectly hint I might find you attractive and wouldn't mind going somehwere more private, etc. Hmmm.
I also learned that Heineken Light isn't half bad. I wonder if it's low alcohol? Oh, and I saw sonoranbear's friend Joe out. I was surprised; I hope he's doing OK but didn't feel comfortable saying anything more than "hello." It's best not to start conversations by saying "dude, sucks that your partner died. oh, and that money stuff? sucks too. so, you getting any this weekend?"
Dan and I had chiles en nogada for dinner on Saturday night, but I'm not sure if it was really supposed to taste like that or not. I'll have to try it again in Mexico someday.
Apple's new 17" MacBook Pro is nice. It commands about a 38% price premium compared to a Dell laptop. That's about par for the course, I reckon.
Back at work, we're still waiting for the endless slow-mo reorg to sort itself out. I have no idea what I'll be doing but I suspect it won't involve flipping burgers for some time to come.
My WSU wine certificate arrived in the mail last week; it's an off-center color inkjet print that looks distinctly tacky. I was bummed to see that it doesn't even fit the standard WSU diploma frame; I assembled it today and found myself depressed. Yuck. I hope the UC Berkeley diploma frame I ordered looks better, though [assuming I can even find my diploma, which is probably hiding out in a box downstairs somewhere].