July 26th, 2006

Boss Coffee

On the road

No, not me...the Bride is doing a road trip West, and in this post she reflects briefly on the pleasures of driving through the Midwest.

It's one of the things I enjoy myself about being out here - cruising through the farmland in the spring, summer and fall before the harvest comes in, particularly on the US highways where you're right down in it. The Interstates aren't as much fun - all the scenery is way off to the side, though once in a while you get a huge open stretch that shows you just how enormous the land is, how big and beautiful the sky is with all the cumulus clouds puffing up slowly from the humidity.

There's not so much of that down home. Washington blends into its suburbs as Arlington passes into Alexandria and the surrounding towns of Fairfax County, one subdivision and shopping center after another until you find yourself breaking free of all the houses and office buildings and shops out by Dulles and Front Royal. On the other side of the Potomac, you have a hard time finding any open country until you get out past Rockville in the west, and there's none at all to the east until you're over the Bay Bridge into the Eastern Shore...though the last time I was there was almost a decade ago, and for all I know people have started moving out there to avoid the crush of the Annapolis and Baltimore suburbs, to say nothing of the taxes in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties.

All the open space...I'm going to miss that when I leave. When I come back for Convergence (and possibly for AI) I may tack some extra time onto the trip so I have some extra drive time to just be out there in the open, but that's something I'll worry about when the time comes.
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the mark

It's the software, stupid

So stuckintraffik and I were arguing about the Microsoft iPod killer a couple of months ago, and he bascally won the argument when he said Apple's big win with the iPod had less to do with the device itself than the whole iTunes music download system, which was the killer app for the iPod just as HALO was for the XBox. Well, lookee here. Apparently the Zune is going to have WiFi capability, and judging from the WaPo article the record companies have thrown in the towel on file sharing since they're not making horrified noises about people peeping at each others' Zune playlists and swapping music.

Worse news for Apple may be that the boys in Redmond are planning on leveraging the Zune with some social networking software a la MySpace, allowing people to build music communities that integrate with their Microsoft Media Centers and XBox 360s and presumably with their Windows Media Player software. I'm not writing off Apple by any means, but I daresay people aren't laughing so much at the idea of Microsoft horning in on the MP3 player market any more.