TEXTISM, MOZILLA AND SHIGERU MIYAMOTO

My boss pointed out a blog of sorts that I remember seeing years ago in Shift Magazine but I completely forgot about: Textism – an incredibly funny, erudite blog about random topics involving web culture, writing and whether or not anyone will ever get Francis Bacon’s paintings. Who knows. It’s a very dry, biting site in terms of the humour, but it’s worth checking out.

FIREFOX 3: The good folks at Mozilla have Release Candidate 1 out and ready for use. I’ve been using the Beta 5 model and now RC1 regularly; I can’t imagine using any other browser at this point. I really can’t stand Internet Explorer for one, but I do use the AOL Explorer browser sometimes. In any case, if you don’t use Firefox, you really should.

SHIGERU MIYAMOTO: The New York Times had a great article on the weekend profiling Nintendo’s resident genius Shigeru Miyamoto. Just a quick primer – he’s the driving force behind some of the gaming world’s most important innovations of the past 20 years, including the Nintendo Wii and the Wii Fit (which, by the way, I’m now using – it’s really excellent to use and tremendously fun, but it actually, you know, helps you exercise, which is great!).

Finally, is anyone else getting tired of hockey? Seriously, as much as I resent the Detroit Red Wings, can’t hockey be done in four straight victories so we can have no hockey this year in June? Please and thanks.

UPDATE: Dick Martin of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (not the most original comedy in American history, but still pretty good for the time) has passed away.

WHY YOU SHOULD STICK WITH XP

As most tech people know, there’s a lot of reasons why going with Windows Vista is an exceedingly bad idea for anyone looking to upgrade their PC. There’s not much to like about Vista, unless you’re a complete and total Windows fetishist (and even some of them haven’t exactly turned into Vista converts).

So here’s a list of reasons why you should buck what Windows wants you to do and insist on XP before product support is officially terminated by Microsoft in less than 40 days.

XP is faster, more efficient and runs better than Vista.

For anyone who has used Vista or installed it on their computer, you already know it’s like trying to drive a Panzer tank with a Pontiac engine: there’s nowhere near enough power to support it to run at peak performance. XP, while not as sexy as Vista in terms of the features it offers, is better scaled to suit most computer users’ needs. Fact is, people are not going to dump their computers for Vista.

It costs less to stick with XP than to embrace the overpriced and overhyped Vista.

Why is Microsoft charging exorbitant prices for Vista at all levels of service (personal, professional, whatever) when you can get XP for a fraction of the price?

Service Pack 3 for XP essentially gives you the best qualities of Vista without all the crap that comes with Vista.

While there’s nothing dramatic about SP3 in terms of what it does to XP’s set-up, the changes include Network Access Protection, Product-Key-less install options, Kernel Mode Cryptographics Module and, uh, “Black Hole” router detection algorithims. This isn’t particularly interesting to the average user, but really, they’re good to have on the XP code.

Vista has too many features nobody uses.

I don’t need to go into detail about Vista’s features – the Aero application alone is cool to look at, but it’s not exactly essential – but if you really want usefulness, go for Office 2007 – it is a major step-up from previous editions of Office.

Microsoft has finally woken up and smelled the proverbial coffee – they’re moving faster on OS upgrades with Windows 7 expected in 2010.

Even though this is Microsoft we’re talking about and product delays are practically daily rituals, it seems like Microsoft has finally realized they can’t take years and years and years to develop an operating system in lieu of Apple’s near-yearly system updates, the rise of open source operating systems like Mandrake and the shift to “in-the-cloud” computing. It’s just better business sense to move faster now.

JUSTICE FOR MEGAN MEIER?

Normally I’m a pretty level-headed person when it comes to issues of law and justice. I’m usually, unless it is a particularly nasty or overwhelming case against someone, careful to reserve judgment until the case has made it through the courts.

But this news just made my day – Lori Drew, one of the most hated people in America, is finally being indicted for her role in the death of teenager Megan Meier in 2006.

I won’t go into major details about the case – this link here will provide a very clear synopsis of the story – but needless to say, it’s good to see the U.S. Attorney-General moving on this. This case must send a strong message against people like Drew to think twice about their actions online.

FROM RUSSIA WITH HATE, WEBBY AWARDS AND OTHER STUFF

To start off this week, here’s a couple of items of interest:

FROM RUSSIA WITH HATE: here’s a video that you really should take a look at if you have even a small interest in the ongoings of Russia – the disturbing rise of far-right hate groups throughout the country. They’re really making their voice heard now, unfortunately, through the web and offline through public rallies (!). Xenophobia and outright hatred of foreigners never seems to go out of style in some places, does it?

Anybody else feeling more uneasy now about the new, angrier, more right-wing Russia? And doesn’t anyone else find it ironic how these guys use images of Stalin as icons of Russian might? Strange times indeed…

WEBBY AWARDS: This year’s best of the web awards came down and there were very few surprises – Facebook, Apple, Flickr and Digg ruled the awards, along with Post Secret and other blogs. The awards’ web site is down right now, but I’ll post a link regardless.

OTHER NEWS: I start my new job in a little more than a week. I’m very excited about this fact. Good times.

MICROSOFT IS GUNNING FOR EVERYONE NOW, APPARENTLY

News has come down that Microsoft, the spurned, would-be former buyer of Yahoo!, may just yet be making a pitch to buy my old employer, AOL.

Very interesting new development in the search engine/portal buy-up wars. One of the sidebars of this little business psychodrama is that Google owns five per cent of AOL. Google’s not going to go quietly into the night over this potential move of Microsoft’s, and really, what’s stopping Google from buying AOL outright themselves? This might just be the push Google needs to snatch AOL away from Microsoft.

One thing’s for sure: heads will roll soon at Microsoft if there’s no successful bid by the company to enter the ad-dominated portal/search market more effectively than the company has done in the past.

MAD MEN IS RETURNING

A lot of my recent posts on here have been very personal news-oriented as of late. This is mostly because I’ve been a bit self-indulgent with telling the world about my oh-so-fascinating life… well, enough of that. Things are much better now. I want to talk about a show that, if you haven’t seen yet, you must.

Oh Mad Men. It’s been almost a year since Season One came out of this amazing show, but with the DVD release of Season One scheduled for July 1st and the much-anticipated second season coming out this summer (we hope), the hype is rebuilding for Mad Men.

Why is this show so damn good? Well it’s unbelievably well-written – the dialogue is so snappy that you have to watch each episode more than once to catch everything. And the acting is pretty amazing too – Jon Hamm is quickly becoming a fan favourite of the ladies.

I’d say the best part of the show, however, are the sets and art direction. The commitment to authenticity in designing the sets of Mad Men is extraordinary. The overall design really does harken back to 1960 New York City in an amazingly true-to-life manner – it’s hard to believe Canadian TV could produce something of this calibre (even if the resources devoted to producing TV shows in America are far bigger than anything Canada can muster up).

If you haven’t seen this show yet, you must. It’s on reruns on AMC at the moment, but download or get the series DVD when it comes out. It’s so unbelievably good.