Friday, September 21, 2012

Apple, Obama and Likeyness

So the iPhone 5 is out and people are once again standing in line to get one. Apple received two million pre-orders in 24 hours and expects to sell 6.5 million units this weekend alone. Sales that are the envy of many product manufacturers/retailers to be sure and designs/appearances that outpace the competition.

Who are these clamoring masses of Apple groupies and why do they gleefully pay a premium for their beloved devices when other brands of Smart phones provide as many, or more features for better prices?  Why Apple?  Well I’m sure there are detailed consumer profile reports out on the internet dissecting the psyche of the Apple buyer. But my shortcut answer: Apple is Cool and if cool is high on your priority list, if you can’t live without being thought of by others as cool, if you must be one of the beautiful people, there’s apparently only one choice. Money be damned. Competing features be damned. Full speed ahead, Admiral, and damn the Jones; we’ll leave those suckers in our wake.

From a 2008 Metafacts brochure advertising their Apple user profile report for that year:

Apple's customers are like no others — a rich blend of the most sociologically elite with those seeking elegant, simple computing. Apple's panache has enabled them to maintain some of the highest margins in the industry, while also sustaining a brand loyalty level which is the envy of many.
… Apple's users have a unique profile in the ways they use their personal computers. Unlike users of Intel/Windows computers, a significant portion of Apple's users are active, exploratory, avant-garde and early adopters. The activities they enjoy are unique in the way that they more-often incorporate rich media such as video and music as well as more-active procurer behavior than many more-passive Windows users.
And of course what does Apple have in common with our current President? Well, the coolness factor of course. Obama is an Apple while Romney is a Droid. Obama/Apple have got coolness locked up – copyrighted in fact. And Coolness = Likeyness. The American consumer cannot resist Likeyness. In America, Likeyness is a winner.
“Obama supporters are like no others – a rich blend of the most sociologically elite with those seeking elegant, but otherwise empty, leadership.”
November 6, 2012 – the Likeyness Election is Coming to a Polling Place Near You.

The Inside Is Outside

The Inside Is Outside and I Cannot Find the Door. So went a “poem” that one of my college roommates claimed one of his former roommates wrote for a class assignment. That’s it, that’s the entire poem. You gotta love the 60s, right?

But I was reminded of the poem today when after my wife gave me a haircut, I shook out my (otherwise clean) black pull-over shirt in the shower stall, even turning it inside out to shake out any loose hairs. Then I put it aside while I showered, shaved and dressed. I apparently forgot to turn it back right side out because when I went back downstairs my wife pointed out that I was wearing it inside out. “Your seams are showing,” she stated matter-of-factly. After confirming she was totally correct (she usually is), my only possible response was “That’s the story of my whole life!”

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Moxie Chaser

Posted Sept. 08, 2010, at 6:27 a.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — The host of television show “Man v. Food” has taken on Maine, surviving an encounter with an eight-patty burger chased with a can of Moxie.
Adam Richman’s July trip to Maine will be featured Wednesday at 9 p.m. on the Travel Channel.

The Portland Press Herald says his road trip took him to the Tradewinds Cafe in Arundel, Nosh Kitchen Bar in Portland and the Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth.

At the Tradewinds, Richman took the “Manimal” challenge by scarfing down two dogs, an order of fries, an eight-patty cheeseburger with grilled onions, a can of Moxie and a one-pound butter pecan milkshake. At the Nosh, he ate a rich burger with American cheese, seared pork belly, cured bacon and foie gras.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I Can Do Math and Stuff

I do love the series of TV commercials for the Hopper – a DVR device for DISH satellite TVs. Especially the wacky extended family with the strong Boston accents (Dorchester maybe?). “I’m SMAAHT. I’m wicked SMAAHT.”

I spent much of last week with lots of truly smart people at Canberra Industries, makers of a wide array of radiation detectors for the nuclear industry and others. Lots of engineers there, but I’m use to working in an engineering culture, so that wasn’t anything new. But Canberra employs about 60 radiation physicists at the facility. Now that’s egghead city with super clever folk running up and down the aisles! They can do math & stuff.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Aging Gracefully

Brash Brit pop artist Nick Lowe is aging pretty gracefully I’d say. I should hope to do so well (minus the musical talent of course). Looks like he still has fun for an ol’ bloke. Keep up the good work, Nick.



Back to Church Rap

Humorous Video produced by the Evangelical Covenant Church.  You go, Faye!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

DNC Convention Themes You Didn’t Hear

No one asked me of course, but if I had orchestrated the DNC Convention I would have added some musical accompaniment to each of the major speakers. I was thinking of cover songs of classics that might be appropriate. My selections for:

Sandra Fluke – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Cindy Lauper)

Michelle Obama – My Guy (Mary Wells, or maybe channel Whoopi Goldberg from Sister Act)

Joe Biden – I’m Bad (Michael Jackson)

Bill Clinton – If I Ruled the World (Sammy Davis Jr)

Barack Obama – Give Me Just a Little More Time (Chairmen of the Board, 1970)

Give me just a little more time
And our love will surely grow
Baby please baby
Baby please baby

Or maybe, Too Late to Turn Back Now (Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Perfection is Hard to Come By

“The closer you get to perfection, the easier it is to screw it up.” Ain’t it the truth? This statement has a world of applications, but it was uttered by a researcher interviewed in an NPR story. He was referencing the careful grinding of critical lenses for a telescope located in Tucson, AZ. If you remember back to the launch of the Hubble telescope, Perkin-Elmer of Connecticut (no slouches when it comes to scientific optics), made a miscalculation in the primary lens grinding that left the Hubble producing subpar images initially.

Analysis of the flawed images showed that the cause of the problem was that the primary mirror had been ground to the wrong shape. Although it was probably the most precisely figured mirror ever made, with variations from the prescribed curve of only 10 nanometers; it was too flat at the edges by about 2,200 nanometers. This difference proved catastrophic, introducing severe spherical aberration, a flaw in which light reflecting off the edge of a mirror focuses on a different point from the light reflecting off its center. It had to be corrected by a later shuttle flight and crew.

A commission established that the main null corrector, a device used to measure the exact shape of the mirror, had been incorrectly assembled—one lens was wrongly spaced by 1.3 mm. During the polishing of the mirror, Perkin-Elmer had analyzed its surface with two other null correctors, both of which correctly indicated that the mirror was suffering from spherical aberration. The company ignored these test results, as it believed that the two null correctors were less accurate than the primary device that was reporting that the mirror was perfectly figured.

Perfection is hard to come by when human beings are involved, apparently.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Wide Awake Fish

Who says Starbucks doesn’t have a global impact? National Geographic reported earlier this summer that caffeine was detected in the seas of the Pacific Northwest. But don’t get too cocky East Coast readers; caffeine was also detected in Boston Harbor. I guess at some point those pesky colonists switched from dumping tea to coffee in the Commonwealth’s public waters. And two+ decades ago in doing work on trace contaminants in the environment, I came across a study that had found caffeine in the Delaware River water. So NatGeo can’t claim first dibs on the information (and Al Gore, don’t even think of going there). Actually of course, all the caffeine originates in wastewater, one way or the other. So the root cause, as we might say in the quality circle world, is not roots but beans and their extracts guzzled by us Dunkin’s Donuts/Tim Horton/ Maxwell House consumers and, shall we say, “released” back into the environment.   

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lizzie the Angry Schoolmarm

Getting lectured by an angry schoolmarm on national TV. How bizarre. “The system is rigged.” Always, “the system.”  Break out the tin foil hats again, ‘cause you know, Neil Armstrong didn’t really walk on the moon like those conservatives claim. They are e-v-i-l.