Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I've been able to put my hands on iLife09 less than a day after its formal release. During the month of January we've seen most it could do in those detailed video tutorials in Apple's site but it's an all different ball-game to get to test the soft on your own gear. I must admit, I take extra pleasure in using iLife in general as it works superbly together with my AppleTV for clips, slideshows and more, in HD Ready quality, which is all I care about, really...

What's my verdict you may ask... I tried iPhoto and iMovie first. I'll deal with iPhoto some other time, since I'm not a big fan, as I use Aperture and Lightroom for my photographs most of the time. 'Places' and 'Faces' is fun but it's more the kind of thing for my bride... I'm much too advanced prosumer to seriously fall for it. I tried geotagging for kicks and it seems to work fine. Books are fun too but far more expensive than the equivalent from Blurb. Facebook works... except, I'm not too regular facebooker... So, whatever...

I liked a lot iMovie though... Watch this clip above and try to see through a number of its functions. Of course, the clip's original quality is severely damaged by the Adobe Flash format conversion on Youtube, but anyways... it still shows you the good parts. I shot the footage with a HDD AVCHD Sony camera, relatively new. Upon connection with the Mac via USB iMovie recognized the footage in a heartbeat and allowed me to select the scenes I wanted.

I tried movie filters, slow-mo and image stabilization. I was amazed by how stable, relatively speaking, the resulting scenes were rendered after a slow-mo filter and image stabilization were applied. Not to mention the speed by which these conversions took place. People are really going to enjoy these functions. Watch the scenes as I was moving the camera around... you might have the impression I was carrying a Steadicam! The slow-mo was also extremely smooth. For kicks, try to figure out which scenes I put on slowmo. Hard to find out if you don't know. As for the titles and transitions, cool and smooth too. More than you'll ever need.

I know most serious amateurs 'hate' iMovie. I don't. I loved it from day one. I can do a quality video in terms of resolution, transitions, titles, etc, in fractions of the time I'd need with FCP, AE or Premiere, not to forget Sony's Vegas on Windows. No way I'd ever go back to those. Most reasonable amateurs prefer to pay a lot of attention during shooting and follow some best practices so that their footage won't need too much fiddling around. Then, with a package like iMovie you can do miracles within minutes that you can then show off to your neighbors to make them die of envy...

The final fun part in my case is the interoperability between the Mac and my AppleTV. Once the clip is ready on my MacBook, wifi takes over and the clip is played with impeccable (HD) quality on the Bravia flat screen via the AppleTV box. Wunderbar. No need for copying over, or burning DVDs for that matter. Environmentally friendly as well, so to say...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

GOP Partisanship

Republicans must really be very 'bad losers'. They can't handle loss even if their opponent happened to be someone unusually superior and practically unbeatable, like Barack Obama. They nowadays appear to 'pretend' supporting him in his bipartisan policy while he tries like a modern day 'Bluetooth' Viking King Harald to unify his tribes over the entire country. One one hand they grilled Treasury Secretary nominee Geitnner for days because of a 50K debt he 'forgot' to pay to the taxes but on the other hand, with grandpa American hero McCain risen from the dead and waiving the flags, they are looking to create more jobs by lowering taxes and extending Bush&Co special tax cuts to the super rich. How do you reconcile this? They critisized heavily Obama's extra spending on helping local States in Police Force and Schools related spending and prefer tax cuts as a tool to just benefit the upper middle class and the mega rich instead (5% max of US population). What world do these people come from, honestly! Which schools did they attend? What were they told when they were children? Do they still believe regular folks live in a Doris Day and Rock Hudson ecosystem? Do they care about anything else than themselves? At all? Really!

At the end of the day, I believe Republicans viciously pay lip service to 'helping Obama succeed' whereas the only honest among them, Russ Limbaugh, at least publicly admits he wants Obama to fail. What a bunch of useless freaktards... They won't go away from their libertarian ideas that markets will eventually regulate themselves (in the meantime we're all dead) without intervention from a central authority while all we saw their Bush@Co policy of laisser-faire did the last eight years was to create more greedy Wall Street sharks who'd sell their own children just to make another billion, and bring everyone else down the drain.

I am not an economics expert but I'm only trying to use some logic and grasp a bit of the situation. Democrats want more spending in government led infrastructure projects in many areas of the American landscape and of course much lesser tax cuts. Also, tax cuts, if any, should benefit the mass, not the few who already have plenty of money to feed a few generations of siblings of their own. Makes sense. By spending money domestically, most of it is going to construction and engineering companies that are bound to create new jobs domestically too, without the shadow of a doubt. Who's gonna do the construction? Imported Chineze workers? Forgetaboutit! Illegal Mexicans? OK, maybe some. And by the way, those illegal immigrants live in the US, that means they buy products locally, they go to the movies locally and they spend most of their money locally (some they send back home, fine!). The more jobs are created domestically the more money is earned to be spent and the more taxes go back to the government for future spending and/or repaying the debt. In the meantime infrastructure works (roads, bridges, schools, energy, ...) improve conditions for future prosperity and growth of the local economy. The more jobs are created, the more demand for products and services grows, as more and more people earn more to spend on food, clothes, houses, leisure, cars, health and new taxes. Some of these newsold products may still come from China, certainly, but in the meantime the local economy has had a boost and a jumpstart. And probably, as the American economy gets stimulated and innovation flourishes, leading to better quality and productivity, it is quite likely that domestically manufactured products get eventually more competitive than those 'made in China' labels.

Now, what happens if you don't do much of that government spending but give cash back to the masses thru tax cuts instead? You'll then hope that this will create more demand because you'd believe people will get out immediately to go spend it on US products and stimulate demand! F@ckin' daydreaming. In the current climate, every penny anyone from middleclass gets in his/her wallet, he/she puts aside or spends it on cheap products from Asia, as most Americans already lost confidence in their system. And, BTW, if you got millions of folks on unemployment benefit, it won't do any good to cut back taxes since the unemployed and homeless have got no job or related income to pay taxes on anyway. Republicans do believe that if more money comes to the pocket of Joe the plumber he'll rush out to buy 'American' which will then create more jobs for his fellow neigbors. What a naief bunch of idiots.

'I won' said Obama to them as a joke, the other day. He better stop then that silly bipartisan approach and go ahead with his spending plans with or without them, freaks. Because the rich always had two main goals in their miserable lives. Power, and money. But just for them... them alone... and bleedin' no-one else.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Baba O'Riley and House MD.

Not only the acting, scripts and cinematography (loads of 3D modeling to animate medical incidents) of this TV series are unquestionably the best Sunday evening entertainment money can buy but also the series makers' taste of music is exceptional too. Scores of The Who and Massive Attack! Wow! Sounds like a rock music wet dream!

A stunning Hugh Laurie (my Goad, remember him as a comedian in Black Ader?) acting in US English accent as Dr. House, probably in his best role ever, with such a convincing performance that makes Medicine students worldwide consider him the greatest champ and a role model, a sort of Barack Obama for Hospitals... Enjoy the YouTube clip; it's good fun and has been already watched by more than 1.1 million people by the time I found out. I was actually looking for the title of The Who's song and accidentally fell upon the House pot-pouri on YouTube. BTW, I have just watched the episode shown in the clip's opening scene where House is playing the B.O'R keyboards on a imaginary piano, while the fatso Chairman of the clinic's BoD enters his office... to cut his pleasure short!

The story of Ron Wayne...

As I was surfing the web I came across this article which basically repeats old news but still makes it worth to pause for a second and think about it.

In a few words the story is about Ron Wayne, the third founder of Apple Computer from Atari who joined the 'partnership' in the spring of 1976 by getting 10% of Apple (in today's depressed rates still more than 7 billion dollars worth, and more than 12 Billion under 'normal' market rates); but then he decided to leave the company to the two Steve's (Jobs and Woz) because of fear that he'd lose all his money in the partnership... he returned his 10% and received 800 bucks, a part of the profit Apple had turned around by then.

Reminds me of Forrest Gump who received a few shares of a 'fruit' company by his partner with the money they made in fishing and selling Baba shrimps! That company was Apple... mind you!

I've been searching on the net to find out more about this genius Ron... only historians, quiz masters and some romantic technology reporters talk about him nowadays. Anyways, he appears to have written Apple's first manual and he invented that Apple's first and quite funny logo with an apple falling on Newton's head that made him 'think different'. I wonder whether that was the reason they called the company Apple... not thinking of the troubles they'd get with The Beatles shortly there after...

Oh, the good ol' times!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I came across this technology almost two years ago when I was asked to assist in the development of a proposal for EU R&D funding about personalized spectacles. Long story short, we eventually won an RTD funded project that will produce some stunning results in the next four years. One of the key technologies that we shall use is presented in the clip above. It's been called eyemade by its inventor, Catalan company Indo. As it is explained in the infomercial, lens geometries for progressive lenses, destined to aid complex eye deficiencies (quite common in older age demographics), are typically based on some half a dozen standard lens designs. What Indo together with IBV, a Research Institute in Valencia, discovered five/six years ago is that, via the combined head and eye movements, each one of us has a unique way of looking at objects, literally! That's what they called a person's 'visual strategy'. Visual strategies, depicted by what Indo baptized 'visual maps' are found to be as unique to each one of us as our fingerprints. In the clip it is shown how a typical map looks like. Based on that information, Indo R&D engineers managed to create progressive lens design methodologies that create 'personalized' lenses (eyemade: made for your eyes, that is) mapped one to one with a person's unique visual strategy. The result of this invention not only yields broader and sharper visual fields but also shortens immensely the period a person needs to adapt to a new pair of personalized progressive lenses. Indeed, end users of conventional progressive designs have a tough time during a considerably long initial period to have their eyes adapt to their new lenses. Dizyness and vomitting are common phenomena during this time. This all seems to go away in a heartbeat with the 'eyemade' personalized lenses. Cool, innit?

I am not that 'blind' to need such lenses yet but I had the testimony of a great friend of mine whom I'd trust with my life. The poor sod has got combined myopia -6.5 with presbyopia +5 and some serious degree of astigmatism for a very long time. For many years he's been using all sorts of designs and spectacles with average to low level of satisfaction. Then he tried the eyemade line. He told me that the first time this happened it felt like 'I saw the light' all over again. So, folks, this thing seems to work as specified.

There's a problem though... there's always a problem. If you decided to go to your local opticians and talk about this technology next time you'll need progressive lenses you are likely to find them totally unaware of the technology. Indo has done very little investment to launch this outside of Spain. Here and there you can find some opticians who seem to have heard about it. I am talking about Belgium, that is. Thankfully, I was lately told that this was about to change. There's been a recent management overhaul that put some new general management and marketing mavericks at the steering wheel of the company. These new kids seem to be quite seasoned marketeers. I've already seen a major improvement on their homepage, which is by all means worth a visit if you are interested in the subject matter. I always argued, if 'eyemade' was invented in some big shot place, like Stanford or MIT, the entire planet would have known. I don't get it why we have always been so modest and low key marketeers in Europe!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ever seen Georgie Walker doin' this?

I doubt it. Notwithstanding, there's always an ambitious reporter to show off by asking a question in the wrong place and time, just to irritate the man. Name of the wrongdoer? Politico's reporter Jonathan Martin. A slightly irritated Obama said, "I came down here to visit. See, this is what happens. I can't end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I'm going to get grilled every time I come down here."

Martin's query was "How do you reconcile Bill Lynn?" William J. Lynn III, a former Pentagon official under President Bill Clinton and Obama's choice for deputy secretary of the Defense Department, spent the better part of the past two years lobbying for defense contractor Raytheon, per federal records. See, the guy needed a job and lobbying pays superbly. However, Obama's ethics rules state that ex-lobbyists in his administration cannot work on issues they lobbied on for two years. So, Mr President, Martin kinda suggested, why don't you take your own medicine? Well, nobody's prefect!

Say what? A Nanobama?

I thought this was interesting. So, that's what this promising technology, with machines made at the molecular level (like Richard Feynman dreamed of in the sixties), is good for: Nanobama's!

I also did this blog because of a great personal friend of mine, who, by the way, as one of the senior managers of the European Commission's RTD Directorate General, manages the part of FP7 (Framework Programme 7 - total of about $20B until 2014, I think) assigned to advancing European know-how in Nanotechnology. Great stuff are awaiting our kids and grandkids folks... Beyond our wildest imagination.

Between you and me, I still got no clue how these Nanobama artists did their gig. Or what they actually did, for that matter. I just thought it sounded kinda cool, what they did, that's all...

Of bubbles and banks...

Click on the graph for a detailed and sharper view. Well, that's the name of the game... the blue bubbles represent the market cap of these companies in the second quarter (March) 2007. The respective tiny green bubbles inside the blue represent the market cap of same companies (banks) in January this year; what a difference 24 months and a viciously tolerant Fed under the Bush&Co Administration can make... along with Madoff and the numerous white collar gangsters of Wall Street, that is...

An Apple a day keeps the doctor away...

That's right! That's my own preferred catchphrase to remember, since Obama didn't supply us with another one in his inauguration pitch. Look at Apple Inc's quarter ending December 08 financial performance! Whereas mighty Microsoft plunges into mediocrity (ok, let's not exaggerate too much, they can still turn in one quarter the profit that Apple makes in a year... right?), and most bluechips out there are busy laying off workers in the hundreds of thousands, Apple represents the single brightest spot in our economy. Despite the good vibes though, retarded analysts have been rushing for months now into negative predictions of Apple's performance, more out of vicious envy and stupidity I'd say, than pure logic. Because, even in his/her worst state of misery a consumer thinks like the ancient arena going citizen of Rome. Food and games! In our times this translates to hamburgers and gadgets. And, to quote John C Dvorak, El Jobso (or say Apple for that matter) has an incredible capacity to feel what gadget consumers want. He's second to no one on this.

Apple has always been suffering of high volatility. Still pays the sins of the nineties before His Jobsness joined them as an interim CEO, remember that? In the meantime, in ten years time, he managed to bring the company to an iconic status. And raise himself to Semi-God. Nevertheless, greedy gamblers just love shorting a stock like AAPL to make some real good dough on the way down. I sometimes wonder what service, if any at all, shortsellers do to the world other than enriching themselves filthy and cowardly. In this unique historically economic downturn, they only proved they can destroy perfectly sane companies by spreading rumors, panicking the flocks of average investors and pushing stocks to levels unseen before. And in the process, they cause phenomenally negative leverage upon those depending their retirement on a modest mutual funds investment. I honestly don't understand why market regulators allow short selling to the levels they do. And above all, most newsmedia carry more than their fair share in this negative climate. Once I argued that a leader (maybe BO is the only one with testicles sufficiently large to go do that) should be courageous enough to either seriously censor them or shut down their economy related negative reports until relative calm comes back to town. I still do believe that. More than ever.

I also believe that we shall all become a lot more resilient to this negativity and eventually turn deaf to the hearing of disaster news. Tell me somethin' I didn't know, kinda thing...We are almost there. Three years ago, on a typical day, 5% of today's average reporting about the economy would have moved the market down by 30% in a heartbeat. I don't know about you folks, but the market news these days are far worse than four months ago... nevertheless we appear nowadays to be far more resilient in terms of Dow and S&P 500 performance compared to the numerous 500+ daily point crashes we witnessed in September and October last year.

As for Apple, it will continue to grow gloriously, with or without his Jobsness, because it appears to know exactly how to play those sensitive chords in a man's mind and soul and make him cut down on everything but his iPod and his iTunes music! And, something many forget, most consumers out there, despite the dark times, deep in their soul, wouldn't settle for anything else than the best. That's why, whereas other MP3 players stagnate or sink, Apple's iPod sales figures catapult thru the roof. In times like these Apple's MP3 products seem to be the ultimate panacea. As the saying goes in Dublin..."An Apple (iPod) a day keeps the doctor away!"

BTW, have you recently heard about the 15 thousand apps available on App store, and the half a billion downloads since its launch last July? How many freaktard reporters already spoke about that then, eh?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The long awaited 'catchphrase'...

Apparently, there wasn't any. People around the globe were watching breathless for the Obama catchphrase to be on equal foot with the Roosevelt "fearing the fear" or JFK's 'doing stuff for your country' but eventually da man disappointed us on this item; no catchphrase at all... some mentioned his saying about 'pickin' yourself up, dusting you off and get going' was the one we were looking for but I doubt you can make any descent campaign poster with this sentence. I personally liked the following I heard at Katie Couric's CBS news yesterday, unfortunately not by Obama himself, but by a young Brit watching events on TV: 'Suddenly we got a... smart guy running the US'.

Catchphrase or not, Obama's pitch was inspiring. I wish I could write things like that. Short sentences, simple but powerful words, short pauses and putting the right emphasis as we are used of him... no McCain style going to Washington to fix the economy and fire a few bullshit talk; eat your heart out George Walker. My Gosh, I heard he'll be writing a book soon. I hope it'll be print on soft paper and not too expensive to buy as I'd like to get a few copies for our restrooms at home...

Finally, I don't know about you folks, but I found Pastor Rick Warren's invocation pitch phenomenal. Unfortunately, due to the controversy surrounding him, very little positive commentary was made about it on the networks, in both US and abroad. Pity really. Such a shame he's so insanely against gays and lesbians and a shame that most News networks and TV anchors are so petty when talking about him. Especially my favorite MSNBC lesbian anchor, Rachel Maddow. God bless her...

Check this out kids!

Microsoft Labs (or is it CNN? anyways, the technology is MSFT) published a cool photosynth set from yesterday's inauguration. Go check it out and navigate along the crowds... zoom in and out and move around; you might recognize an old friend, your cousins or your grandpa experiencing the moment while you were having beers and Doritos on your sofa in front of your plasma HDTV!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama - A BLACK Man in the WHITE House!

Finally, the man was sworn to his throne. We saw it on TV. Live coverage, that is. I wonder how many billions around the globe watched him pronounce 'I Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear...'. However, I still do believe very strongly that half of the millions assembled at the National Mall in Washington DC went there to witness not so much the arrival of a new President but the departure of the old one. After eight years of world misery we saw the monsters depart! Rejoice people! Bush and Cheney are no more. The hawks departed... vanished into the darkest pages of world history along with the likes of Adolf and Caligula. I need to admit... there were moments in the recent past when I been sh#tscared that the morons of the Bush&Co criminal gang would go as far as to establish themselves dictatorially in power for ever. Thankfully for us, the founding fathers of the US of A, when they designed US style democracy with all its checks and balances, and done that hundreds of years ago mind you, created a political ecosystem in which, even the worst gangsters possible, could never do what Franco did to Spain, Hitler to Germany and Pinochet to Chile... And so, all's well what ends well: Bush and his... Dick departed with rock-bottom approval ratings of just 22 and 13 percent respectively, making place for the new entrant of Hope with approval ratings of over 83%. Sweet taste of revenge! You just can't f@ck around with the peoples of the world anymore. Point blank!

And, btw, the Wall Street smart money started shittin' their underwear. Almost simultaneously as the final 'So help me God' was pronounced by President Obama the freakin' Dow Jones touched it's lowest point of the day, 250 points down on last Friday's closure. I only hope the BO dream team goes after these bloodsucking bastards real bad and chains the freaktards for ever in the bottom of the deepest ocean...

Monday, January 19, 2009

He's da man!

Watch this clip folks! The man just sounds like music to my ears. Above all, the man is wired! He talks media. He talks cybernautics. He talks web! He's one of us. Not like the 'pipes' Ted Stevens and 'the Google' G.W. Bush idiots . And watch this: never, not in any moment, he talks about himself, other than to say that the celebration is not about him at all but about the win of all Americans. Eat your heart out you Texan moron with all your gangster like manners like-a 'that's My political capital, which I'm gonna spend because that's My style!' F@ckin' Tony Soprano cowboy! Tomorrow is probably the most historic moment I'll ever live to see in my lifetime... tomorrow's inauguration of President Obama, marking the beginning of a long period of fat cows, for all of us... not just the greedy and filthy rich of the last 8 years of Bush&Co!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Harmony 525

This is one of the family of devices I hesitated for too long to buy. Universal remote controls. First of all you have those real cheap ones that never seem to be able to take over functionality of half of your current remotes. They are too complex to program or learn instructions via infrared communication between your old remotes (the teachers) and the 'universal' pieces of junk you just bought (the students). So, being a sucker for electronic gadgets and all sorts of gottahavits for almost forty years, I became a conspicuous exception to the universal law of geeks by not having tried the Harmony family of Logitech remotes yet. Until yesterday. In all honesty, there was the price factor too. Too much money, I always thought, for a remote that I was convinced would be as difficult to operate as anything else I had and would never ever be able to functionally cover all those weird remotes of mine...

But yesterday, as I was window-shopping at an electronics shop (that didn't go broke yet) I saw that piece, the Harmony 525, which had two things that made me go for it. A beautiful form factor (I hate most of the other pieces in the Harmony line for looking like obese versions of Barbie dolls) and of course a price of 69 euros (sexy!) incl. VAT. What the heck, I thought. Worst could happen that it worked like sh*t... 69 euros lost, no big damage... less than a dinner for two at a mid-market tent.

I'm not gonna review this one here as there are piles of tech-reviewing sites out there, just google Harmony 525 and you got millions of responses, I guess... Only things I'd say though are the following:

I'm finally sold to Logitech's intelligent remotes. Honest! I actually replaced with this ellegant 525 ABOUT ALL my other remotes (almost a dozen, I think). Even obscure and totally unknown devices like a HDMI switch were recognized and with a little assistance the 525 learned few of their instructions it originally lacked in its database. Its most phenomenal add-on, especially for automation illiterate spouses and pensioners, is the Activities functionality. Instead of messing around with four or five remotes to set up the workflow (in my living room you almost need an engineering degree to streamline signals on the TV, with the Cable set-top, the Bose 321 and Apple TV via an Icy Box HDMI switch) the Activities give you access to simple commands (that you pre-programmed via a PC or Mac on the remote) that say things like: Watch Cable TV, or Watch Blu-Ray DVD, or Watch Podcasts (via AppleTV, that is), or listen to Music (Radio and CDs via Bose, MP3 via AppleTV). Even an iPod docking station with any of my iPods docked there proved to work fine.

The 525 proved actually quite simple to understand. It does two things quite well. Ok, may be more than two. But lemme tell ya! It first accepts the description of all your electronic and digital boxes (type, suppliers, models) and since it can call home via an interconnected PC or Mac it gets all the commands for these devices from an immense database of suppliers and products worldwide, available to your fingertips in a heartbeat. It then assembles the right instructions with the help of a rather primitive scripting language. It does this to achieve useful tasks for you. For instance, in my case, I got the following situation. I got a brand new Sony Bravia Full HD 40 inch LCD TV (well, 8 months old now). Poor sod, it was a week old when a lightening strike our chimney and burnt almost all my gear, in June 2008. Bravia gone to repair, back, not good yet, to repair again and 2 months later back again. Eventually, it was left with a permanent damage that out of its 3 HDMI inputs only one was left working. So I had to go buy a HDMI switch to serve the Apple TV, the Sony Blue-ray DVD player and the Telenet HDTV digicorder box. In order to watch a regular TV channel, I need to activate the HDMI switch to input 1, turn on the Telenet settop and activate the TV into its (sole working) HDMI-1. To switch to Apple TV from that, I need to shut down the Telenet settop, activate AppleTV and select input 3 on my Switch box while keeping the Bravia on HDMI-1. In times I've been absent for business for a couple of days and then came back, it used to take me some time to remember how to get them going again. Or, my bride kept calling me abroad to say that the DVD player was broke as there was no signal on TV... Go figure...

All of that seems to be gone now. The 525 displays target activities in plain English (or Dutch in my case) that I need to select and it then takes all the necessary steps sequentially to achieve my ultimate viewing and/or listening experience. Unbelievable! I'd be the first to admit. It works like a charm!

525's form factor is extremely effective too. Piece of tiramisu, to learn! Keys are organized in simple functional blocks. First from the bottom up, the (alpha)numeric keys with the four colored dedicated to Teletext at the bottom. Then, an OK key in the middle surrounded by four cursor-move directional ones as well as the commonly known chn+ and chn- (on the right) and vol+ and vol- (on the left) keys arranged in a cute circular configuration, separated by a 'Glow' button to turn all other keys and the LCD display visible in the dark. Above those, a set of long horizontal rubber keys for pre-programmed functionality with stereotypical functions found in most remotes I know: mute, exit, guide, info, etc... Above those, two rows of VCR type keys for play, stop, pause, rewind, fast forward, etc... Supercool! Finally the LCD display, turning blue with backlight in the dark, surrounded by four hard buttons, two on either side, that take their functionality from what's shown on the LCD's display. And at last, on top, three proprietory Logitech keys of critical importance, Activities, Devices and Help. Oh, yes. Almost forgot! Top-left, the universal power-off button that turns all active devices to 'off' when you'r done watching and/or listening.

In fact, all you need to understand in order to enjoy the most out of this 525 is the way it works via the prescribed Devices and the resulting Activities of your choice that interoperate those Devices. You get the best feel for it while you're busy programming it with the help of the accompanying software for the PC or Mac. Connect the 525 to your personal computer with a delivered USB cable, install the (driver) software and you're good to go. The remaining of the keys on the remote have been commonly used almost for ever in any remote I had operated before. It's kinda of funny, I only had the 525 for a day but it seems now that I even forgot my beloved simple Apple remote altogether and I only carry my MacBook with the 550 on my side any room I go to...

I'd even dare say that the 525 has much of an Apple Inc reminiscent form-factor. Well done Logitech. Eventually you've proven that you do more than just cool mice, I should admit.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

An iPhone for 1150 bucks!

I saw this at the Geneva International Airport and couldn't believe my eyes. I grabbed my mobile phone and shot the picture you see here. Of course the marvel was sold unlocked and was also available in its box to grab if you put the dough on the counter... but even I, a longtime Apple aficionado, had to smile at the price-tag! To those who fall for it and put the 1290 Sfr down, here's to you, suckers!

Anyways, what is true though is the following statement: You can't find shops easy that carry the item on inventory and ready to deliver to an anxious customer looking for it. Via one of the biggest dealerships in this country, carrying all of Apple's items, I found out recently that there's no way yet to go buy an iPhone in Belgium without ordering it first and waiting for a few weeks at minimum.

I have always had good laughs reading reports about current lower volumes and revenues as far as iPhone sales are concerned. I guess, if there are shops out there selling iPhones from inventory, let me know their address, please...

Anyways, the tax-free price at the Geneva International explains this all. Supply and demand! Name of the game...

Flight 1549

US Airways pilot Sullenberger did a great job a few days ago. Undoubtedly. New York Mayor Bloomberg was ecstatic. The US is so hungry for some good news! And this was just wonderful, with a perfect timing, a few days away from next (historic) Tuesday, Jan 20th 2009, where the first black US President ever is about to be inaugurated in his Washington throne.

I was cynically smiling when my favorite MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow, commenting on the crash, almost had an orgasm talking about the beauty of being American and heroic and reaching a status of resilience as result of focused training and preparation for the worst. That was just yesterday in her daily show, that is.

You know what? I heard them all talking about the unfortunate crash, about the heroism of the crew and the folks on the ferries, coastguard agents and Circle-Line staff rushing to the point of impact and helping as much as they could. And it is all true. Mayor Bloomberg already delivered numerous honors for heroism to those involved and was short of words to express his admiration for pilot Sullenberger and his handling of the incident. But still... there has been something missing... or it's just me, not having heard much about it...

It's the good ol' Airbus! If the aircraft was a Boeing or a McDonnell Douglas or anything else made in the USA we would have been deafened by now from the buzz about how safe these buggers are and that an aircraft of that size and mass managed to glide on the water surface without breaking up, etc... etc... But this aircraft was made in Europe, right? I haven't heard anything at all about the construction effectiveness of the aircraft itself, anywhere... That's because yanks, just being childish like their departing president, don't like the idea that this wonder aircraft was made by Europeans. Anyways, to their consolation, most of the modern day yanks have their roots back in Europe, so, the difference between Europeans and US Americans is much like the difference between Coca and Pepsi Cola.

So, our brothers and sisters in the US, rejoice, because this plane was as much yours as it is ours!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I was born in this place mid June, 1953, and left in 1971 to go study in Athens, like most of my fellow high school students, right after graduation. In the years that followed, I have returned just a few times only, and this for very short intervals, and since 1980 no more... until 2003! I spent 4 days then, meeting old friends and long forgotten places, the house I was born, and those two other houses we moved in later a couple of blocks away... my kindergarten, elementary and high school, our old football stadium, a few parks, the harbor, the lighthouse... An old friend, with whom I was raised as a kid, Takis Myrisides (we were like two brothers) spent good deal of my stay to show me around... how the town had grown, got a University, a large hospital, new residential areas, and, God forbid, a few monumental new Christian Orthodox churches!

As I was wasting weekend leisure time yesterday, I launched Google Earth and revisited via satellite imagery the town of my birth. To my surprise, I discovered dozens of Panoramio photographs of excellent quality attached to the most important parts of the town. Surprisingly, their resolution was sufficiently high to assemble them into a YouTube short clip, with some iMovie transition effects, background sound of my all time favorite Moody Blues song and simple opening and closing titles... A nostalgic contribution to a large part of my past life... that seems to have gone by, but not entirely perished...