Friday, 13 May 2005
|1707 - Three quickies from CNN|
1) Microsoft's new Xbox came out yesterday, called the Xbox 360. Will the next version be called the Xbox 370? Then Xbox 390, Xbox 9000, and z/Xbox?
2) Hyundai picked XM over Sirius in large part because they got a lot of unsolicited comments from folks they surveyed saying they didn't want Sirius because they didn't want to have to deal with Howard Stern. Of course, neither Stern nor Sirius will take this, well, seriously.
3) No US airport made the top 10 in a list of the world's best airports and airport lounges. The highest was MSP, at number 20. FWIW, I do think MSP has a lot going for it, especially compared with places like ATL, ORD, and DFW...but there's always room for improvement.
current mood: busy
Man, that geek humor was OBSCURE. I doubt there's that much crossover between the Xbox crowd and the mainframe crowd, but hey, *I* got it, so at least the joke wasn't completely wasted.
Re: US airports... my only overseas airport experiences have been with Gatwick, Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam, and I'll take ATL over any of those in a New York Minute.
I bet it's the TSA that has people (ahem) up in arms over US airports, rather than any of the actual facility issues.
I don't get it....:(
Hey, you read J Maynard as well! Who woulda guessed?
I would have. Mr. Maynard has actually made and worn a costume of one of Howard's characters (general Xinchub).
Not only that, but I consider Howard a friend that I don't get to spend nearly enough time with.
Man, that geek humor was OBSCURE.
Whaddya expect from a mainframe geek?
Of that list, I've only been through Schiphol, but I'd say it beats ATL. More stuff to do and variety in places to eat, if nothing else. I thought you'd been to other airports in Europe and South Africa, though...
I think they were comparing on the quality of the amenities and the overall layout, rather than the security and such. I will say that MSP is easier to deal with than ATL or ORD (especially the latter! $DEITY, what a mess), and on that scale, Schiphol does have its advantages.
Worst airport I've ever been to is the one in St. Louis. it's got this one little knot where the food court (with 100% awfultastic food), the two terminal branches, and the security gates all come together.
Yeah, STL bites. At the other extreme are LAX, DFW, and JFK, which are so spread out that you can't go from one concourse to another inside the secured area - which means that going to the Northwest WorldClub when you're flying American, as an example, isn't worth the hassle.
MSP is trying to join this club, BTW; its current expansion plan is to move everyone but Northwest and their alliance partners (currently Continental, Delta, and KLM) to another terminal building across the runway. That will be a royal pain.
There's something horrifically stupid about people wanting to not get a 100-channel radio service because they "don't want to have to deal with" having someone be on one of those 100 channels for a couple hours a day. Do these people really not know how to change the channel?
Perhaps. OTOH, it could also be considered "voting with their dollars".
Voting for what, censorship? The idea that it's better to shut someone up entirely than to just change the channel and listen to one of the 99 others available? The whole idea of having such variety is to be able to offer something for everyone at the same time; Sirius prides itself on offering a selection of both liberal and conservative choices for political programming, but if one side is stupid enough to refuse the entire network simply on the grounds that it dares to also offer programming to the other side, without making them listen to any of it, then it destroys the whole concept, and the ability to provide variety in the first place.
XM, last I used it, only offers basic prepackaged solutions for political broadcasting, such as ABC News Radio and their offerings of Sean Hannity and such, and NPR. It has no equivalent to, say, "Sirius Right" and "Sirius Left". This kind of action doesn't just silence the addition of unique "liberal" voices to satellite radio if successful, it silences the addition of any unique programming entirely.
I know Sirius has been courting Rush Limbaugh for a long time, and he'd make an excellent counterbalance to Howard Stern, and the only reason he hasn't signed is that he doesn't want to move exclusively to a paid service. But if people manage to censor out the addition of someone like Howard Stern, it'll inevitably lead to the network also dropping any conservative equivalents they might also end up picking up.
That's what these people don't really get; they're not just shutting up "the opposing viewpoint" by taking actions like these, their actions are going to lead to the offering of opposing viewpoints including their own. And Sirius would inevitably be forced to dump all their unique political programming, right and left, for fear of any program that might turn away a listener that'd be perfecly happy with the 99 other channels they have.
I wonder if these same people refuse to pay for cable TV because one of the cable channels features Howard Stern on it for an hour a day, since all the cable carriers tend to carry E! as part of their basic programming. It's the same concept, but there I'm pretty sure they manage to simply tune him out in that case and move on to the next channel, rather than cancel their access to Fox News in protest. So why can't they do the same with satellite radio?
Voting against Howard Stern and his gratuitous offensiveness. It has nothing to do with Stern's politics (the details of which I am unaware of and indifferent to). I tried listening to the guy a couple of times, and each time had to turn the radio off within just a few minutes because I simply couldn't put up with it. One time, it was because he spent the whole time I listened bitching about someone in the studio swiping his bottled water.
XM's lineup includes both America Right
and Air America Radio
, right next to each other on the dial.
Howard Stern is doing an excellent job of positioning his fight to remain crude, vulgar, and offensive as being one of the Right trying to silence the Left, but that's not it - and some of the folks on his side of the argument (see my entry on Jim Ladd
) think he's hurting their cause by being associated with it. It's not about what he has to say, it's about how he says it.
But free speech is both about what you have to say and how you say it. And that's the rest of the observation I'll make here.
However, being free to say it in any way you choose, including as offensively as possible (which seems to be Stern's goal), does not include the freedom to force others to listen, or to support it. Hyundai's customers are well within their rights to avoid Sirius if it means supporting someone they do not wish to. I know that my next vehicle will have XM built in, and not Sirius; that's mostly because I'm familiar with XM, being a long-time customer, but being able to tell Stern that I'm not giving him a nickel of my money is a consideration.
If Stern has a message, it's getting drowned out by his delivery. If he actually wants people to listen to what he has to say, he should consider that.
As I said, nobody's forced to listen to anything. But there's a difference between changing the channel and shutting someone down just becuase you don't want someone on any channel.
Opting for a competing product to avoid sending payment that will partly go to someone whom one does not support is hardly shutting someone down. It is simply people deciding how they wish to spend their money. Can Mr. Stern be on a channel? Sure. Is a person required to pay for that channel? No. Since there is no ala carte system in place to make it possible to de-select the channel Stern is on from ones possible listening and certain payment, the only way to exercise that option is not to use Sirius at all.
And if XM picks up someone who offends these people, as they're inevitably going to if they keep adding new programming, what will they do then?
Then it is likely it will be put up with, though with grumbling. What will have happened is that Sirius and XM will have become equivalent with neither being a better choice, on that criterion, than the other. This is much the same condition that now exists with cable and satellite TV: Unless it can be handled by the packaging or tiering, they are equivalent. However, that is not the case now (or not yet) for Sirius and XM and market forces can show the difference. Since the message CAN be sent now, it IS being sent now. Should that change, then if it's a commercially supported channel, pressure can be directed to advertisers - though that is not as direct as the current direct vote by choosing where to spend ones dollars.
There's currently only two things in that Xbox press release I care about.#1
: Detatchable panels. Yes, Microsoft, I want my Neon Pink Xbox and I am going to be a VERY unhappy camper if I don't get it.#2
: The new Morrowind Game. It looks pretty.
Let's home the first release isn't a bug-filled monstrosity this time, but at least it should be possible to download patches (Unless MS insist on being an ass and don't let people who use Linux on their desktop computer use Xbox live)