Thursday, June 5, 2003

The New Germany

UPI reports that more Jews are flooding into Germany than any other country, including Israel. Meanwhile, Germany's top Jew-baiter and all-around Idiot-Aryan, Jürgen Möllemann, has died in a well-timed skydiving "accident" that smacks of suicide.

Coincidence? Not to the Tinfoil Hat Brigade, of course. Rumors already abound that the Mossad had something to do with this. Then again, I can think of a more innocent explanation for the timing of these two stories. Maybe the reason the Jews think it's safe to go back to Germany is that they know the last Nazi is finally dead? That could explain why they pick Germany over, say, Austria, whose own version of Möllemann (Jörg Haider) is alive and well. Or, conversely, maybe Mölleman himself got an advance copy of the forthcoming UPI report on Jewish immigration, read it, and decided he just couldn't take it anymore?

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Putting Blog*Spot Out Of Our Misery

If you were able to find this page without cheating, then your nameserver has found my new domain. Goodbye and good riddance to Blog*Splat, the AOL of blog hosting "services."

For those unfortunate souls left behind on B.S., Dean Esmay has extended a very generous offer you can't shouldn't refuse. My guess is that he's pretty swamped by now, though, so today I am officially joining his jihad with a slightly less generous offer of my own. Any regular readers of this blog ("regular" as defined by me) who would like to leave B.S. behind once and for all are invited to drop me a line. [Irregular readers are free to request the same, but I may have to say no if I get too many requests.] Your job is to find a host that supports Moveable Type (I can vouch for Hosting Matters), and email me a temporary password for your old BlogSpot account and your new host. My job is to get you up and running with MT and help you move your blog to the new site. All I ask for in return is the benefit of being able to read your blog without waiting hours on end for pages to open. Deal?

Tuesday, June 3, 2003

TiVo: The Best Marketing Department Replay Ever Had

TiVo, the company whose digital video recorder (DVR) was praised by FCC Chairman Michael Powell as "God's machine," appears to have sold its soul to the devil. According to today's A.P. wire, TiVo proposes to sell information about its customers' viewing habits to the very advertisers whose annoying ads the devices were intended to help us avoid. Oh wait, did I say "avoid?" I meant almost avoid. For all their ads about the joy of skipping commercials, TiVo is the one DVR manufacturer whose unit does not actually do that. All you can do about a commercial on TiVo is to speed things up. If you were planning on skipping commercials entirely, you'll need Replay instead. Or, if you like satellite TV, there's always the Dish PVR, which I use. No, the "P" in that name wasn't a typo. Everyone in the industry except Dish may call these things DVRs, but Dish calls them PVRs instead, based on the name "personal video recorder." I guess they figured a name like "Dish DVR" would have too much alliteration to be taken seriously.

Anyway, as DVR/PVRs go, I've been using Dish for almost two years now, and I'm very happy with it. My only complaint about the PVR is that the system could be made a little smarter, so as to track shows by name rather than blindly recording whatever starting and ending times you've programmed. Nine times out of ten, that doesn't matter, but once in a while a programming anomaly can come back to bite you. For example, Mrs. Xrlq and I missed the second and final hour of The Practice, that way when we forgot to reprogram it to catch the two-hour season finale. That may be the downside to not having to pay an extra fee for programming as our DVR happily recorded the same one hour segment that would ordinarily have covered the entire show. I don't know if this is an inherent limitation in that unit's technology, or just a programming feature Dish hasn't gotten around to adding yet. I hope it's the latter. Whatever it is, I'm sure it's not a crass, P.T. Barnum move akin to TiVo's deliberate decision to leave the 30-second "ZAP" feature off the menu.

If you're considering any of these devices, I really can't think of any reason to prefer TiVo over Replay, though admittedly I've never used either of them myself. I do know that TiVo's retail prices sound much cheaper than they are, while their competitors' units are priced more honestly. For example, you can buy a TiVo DVR for $249, but plan on spending an additional $299 if you are thinking of actually using it. By contrast, Replay is currently offering its basic DVR for $329, and that includes the programming fees. Similarly, the DishPVR goes for $299 (assuming you actually pay full price rather than wait for the right promotion) and has no associated fees beyond the cost of receiving satellite TV at all.

It may be true that DVRs generically warrant such a superlative moniker as "God's machine." I'm not sure why Chairman Powell saw fit to single out TiVo in particular, however, unless he was trying to convert us all to atheism.

Monday, June 2, 2003

Another One Bites the Dust

MSNBC reports that Yosif Salih Fahd Ala'yeeri, one of the top 20 al-Qaeda operatives and the top operative in Saudi Arabia, was killed over the weekend. It seems that Mr. Ala'yeeri, who was also known as "The Swift Sword, may not have been so swift after all. Then again, maybe he was plenty swift, but just didn't see this raid coming. As President Bush might put it, "Either way, he's not a problem anymore."

UPDATE: Note to Maureen Dowd: Yes, this means that Mr. Ala'yeeri was an al-Qaeda member until he died. Yes, it also means that he did in fact die. And yes, most importantly of all, it also means that now that he is dead, he is not a problem anymore. Now the tricky part, which I will type really slowly: no, this does not mean that al-Qaeda as a group is not a problem anymore. Jeebus.