Saturday Stew: Lisa, Labor, Balls, and Breasts

Observation StewIt’s Saturday, and it’s time to clear out the links list. So without further adobe, let’s go…

  • A Birthday, Misremembered. Given I just did a post on Birthday Songs, let’s start with a birthday in the news: Everyone has been talking about the Mac’s 30th birthday. They talk about how the Mac was a revolutional user interface — the first of its kind, and the world wouldn’t be the same without it. The problem is: that’s all a media lie, promoted by Apple to remove all memories of Mac’s big sister, Lisa. I have soft spot for the Lisa; we had one at Quadratron, and I used it all the time (with the incredibly slow twiggy drives). Lisa just turned 31, so take a few minutes to read up on the revolutionary product that was the Lisa. By the way, all of the articles focus on the LisaOS system, forgetting that Apple also provided a version of Xenix on the Lisa (this was in the heyday of 68000-based Unix systems), and it was on Xenix that the Quad software ran.
  • Another Forgotten Product. In other Apple news, this week Apple reported disappointing sales, and so people are talking again about whether the iPod is dead. This is something I don’t want to see: I depend on my iPod Classic as a music player for my entire library (I still have 27.3 GB to fill, and I’m currently just over 33,000 songs). Until Apple comes out with an affordable 256GB or more iOS product, with a reasonable form factor (a pad is too big for a music player; it must fit in a pocket), I’m sticking with the Classic. They day they announce its death is the day you see me at Best Buy picking up a backup iPod Classic.
  • Slavery on the Field. February brings the Super Bowl — you know, that game where two teams (Denver and Seattle) go out on the ice and chase a little ball. But all is not as it seems. The Oakland Raiders are getting into trouble for how they are treating their cheerleaders. Evidently, all is not as it seem in Raiderette land, and those young women are being treated as virtual slaves. I hope the Raiders abuse of the labor laws catches up with them (and that the Rams move back to LA)
  • Balls Out for Good. The Super Bown brings betting, and betting takes you to Vegas. The last time we were in Las Vegas, I had a lot of fun visiting the Pinball Hall of Fame. Here’s a great way to still use quarters in machines, and to have some entertainment at the same time. It’s a labor of love, and the LVRJ has a great report on all the good those quarters are doing in the community.
  • Baring it All. A few moments ago, we mentioned the Raiderettes: nowadays, cheerleading is all about exposed skin. We view female exposure and nudity very different than the same exposure for men. Here’s an interesting essay about why female nudity is so powerful — and so scary to many men. You might not agree with it all, but it is certainly worth thinking about.
  • Entertainment News. Two entertainment items. First, a Back to the Future musical is being developed in London. It will be interesting to see if it succeeds. Second, Elton John’s Las Vegas concert, “The Million Dollar Piano“, has been taped and will be in theatres on March 18. We saw the concert in Las Vegas, and it is well worth seeing.
  • What Goes Around, Comes Around. Now that Obamacare is out, guess what… it’s only so-so. For many it is a benefit, and for others, its a bust. The Republicans have tried to repeal it almost 50 times, and have failed. The Dems have constantly asked the Republicans to provide an alternative instead of repeal. So the Republicans have. Guess what? It looks quite a bit like Obamacare. Actually, that’s not surprising. Any system based around the existing for-profit and non-profit insurers will look like Obamacare, simply because of the economics of the things. There will be differences in what minimal coverages are, but economics is economics. The radical — but correct — solution is along the lines of single-payer (or more likely, the lines of single-price-setter).
  • Disney and Privacy. Lastly, here’s an interesting article about the newest thing at the Walt Disney Resort in Florida: Magicbands. This is the latest salvo in the war for your personal data — the NSA is not the enemy, “big business” and “big data” are much more of a threat. This new Park Pass/Fastpass approach provides the mouse with loads of data on all your movements. Phone records are nothing compared to what private companies are gathering. You’re right to be scared, but be scared of the real risk is. The government uses its information (if it can find it, and if it can talk to itself) to protect you. Big business uses its information to sell to you, to get more money, and to consolidate its power.