Month: December 2007

My high school, in the New York Times.

As is my habit lately, I was flipping through the online version of the New York Times this morning, when I came across an article about the release of the matric results in South Africa. To my surprise, they focused on my old high school – Greenside – and included a quote from my old English teacher – Ms. Whyte.

The school’s top math and science scholar, a “brilliant” kid, is black, Ms. Whyte said. “In 1984,” she added, “he wouldn’t have been able to come to this school.”

I remember when I started high school in 1991, that we were the first year that had black kids (about 5) studying alongside the white ones. We had been completely segregated up to that point throughout the whole of primary school. High school was the site of many changes, and this one, which went mostly unnoticed at the time was probably one of the more profound.

Rockenspiel and the Roamin’ Catholics trumped by Skull Sküll and the Weekend Nachos

Worst Band Names Ever

Jason Santa Maria’s Best Band Names Ever list has just been topped by The Onion’s Worst Band Names Of ’07.

I was chuckling the whole time, snorting and hooting at certain points and wondering just how many of these seemed like great ideas after staying up for three nights in a row on mushrooms, speed and creative combinations of prescription drugs chased with bottom shelf vodka. Here are some personal faves:

Butt Stomach

Their MySpace page looks like it was designed by Homer Simpson.

Unicorn Dream Attack

Penguins With Shotguns

Now this is funny…

236 – News – If They IM’d: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Condoleezza Rice

While the release of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran has put the Bush White House on the defensive, it’s provided endlessly glib “I-told-you-so’s” from the chief horsefly at the neocon’s family picnic: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The situation is so grave that President Bush has tasked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with keeping the pressure on the gloating Islamic republic.

Several media accounts have exposed the war of words going on between Ahmadinejad and Rice. It’s a shame these two can’t meet face to face to hash it out.

Trying out Songbird Media Player

Songbird

iTunes is a fantastic media player that does almost everything I want, but when Raffel prodded me to check out Songbird, I knew this has the potential to be awesome. Here are some initial thoughts:

    A couple of gripes I had, (because it’s always good to start with gripes):

  • Keyboard shortcuts absent – can’t select it and start/stop/browse songs with Space / Arrow Keys.
  • It crashes. A fair amount. It’s still in pre-release tho, so i can’t start going off on that yet.
  • Weird lockups which are almost exactly like Firefox. Grrr. Can’t get away from the Mozilla core.
  • It keeps asking me to import my iTunes library – even though it’s already there.
  • Interface is slooooow to resize. At least on my aging Macbook Pro.
  • Too slow.
    Things I like:

  • I’ve only been using it for a short while, but I find myself returning to it regularly – a good sign! I particularly like the way it intelligently adds songs it discovers on sites such as The Hype Machine into the standard iTunes Store style. This is a fantastic innovation.
  • Overall, I love the design. It’s smart, thoughtful and not excessive.
  • Love the music browsing functionality. It’s smart that it figures out what you were listening to and adds that as a link.
  • Grrr. Locked up again.

There’s quite a few other things to love and I can see lots of ideas for how this could be vastly improved.

What I want to know is what their strategy for getting users / growing market share without hardware is. iTunes had the iPod, Windows Media Player had Windows PCs (and er… the Zune… heh.). What is Songbird going to do to change the game? iTunes is so entrenched right now with the iPod, iPhone and the iTMS crowd, that it’s going to be difficult to move in and take away that market share without tying this to a similarly strong hardware/software/media brand. This is still early days, but I have to say, Songbird Developer Pre-Release 0.3 – you’ve certainly made an impression on me.