On Psystar, Apple And Conspiracy Theories

I was listening to this week’s TWiT on my commute in this morning when one of the TWiTs mentioned that they were taking a pass on the Psystar Open Computer (essentially a gray box hacked to run OS X Leopard) because the threat of an Apple lawsuit putting Psystar out of business is simply too great. As the discussion ensued, a question popped into my head: why hasn’t Apple sued Psystar into oblivion at this point? They’ve shown that they will file take-down notices/lawsuits against anyone running product info leaks, so why should a company making money off of illicitly-installed Apple products be free to run its business. Then it occurred to me: What if Apple actually wants Psystar to keep making “Frankenmacs”?
Follow me here. One of Steve Jobs’ first acts after returning as CEO of Apple was to kill off the Mac clone business. He essentially wanted to manage the brand, image and soup-to-nuts experience of Macintoshes and the only way to do so in a reliable manner was to make sure that all things related to the core Mac experience flow through Cupertino. As gatekeepers of the Mac platform, they could eliminate so many of the problems that the exceedingly heterogeneous PC platform incurs — badly written drivers, wildly varying hardware, multiple manufacturers, etc. Now, since the PCs of the mid-90’s were all running on x86 and the Macs of the time running PowerPC chips, no one took much notice. No dedicated Windows 98 user would even think of trying to run Mac OS on his PC — it was just plain impossible.
Then came Mac OS X and the Great Intel Switch.
All of a sudden, PC users took note of OS X. “Hey, it runs on Intel, why can’t we have it too?”, they wondered (“they” even including Dell CEO Michael Dell himself). Apple has never really made too much of a public fuss about the prospect, generally assuming a silent, stoic stance, ignoring all pleas from Vista-beleaguered PC owners.
Add into this mix the Psystar Open Computer. By all accounts, OCs are loud, generically appointed and unable to run standard Apple software updates. They also require a return trip to Psystar’s offices (and at least a $50 surcharge) should anything go wrong. Users cannot install Leopard by themselves (although none of the OC reviews make it clear whether this is by license or by some hardware hackery on their part).
So here’s my conspiracy theory: Apple, Jobs, et al., have decided to let Psystar live on, unmolested, as an object lesson to all PC users desirous of running OS X on their beloved mutant configurations. It makes the unified, well-oiled experience that is Mac OS X running on proper Macintosh hardware seem that much more attractive by comparison while simultaneously exposing folks that might not (initially) want to pay the premium prices legit Macs command. What better way to upsell geeks onto the Mac as a platform than to allow them a taste of OS X, albeit in a gray market, unsanctioned fashion?
The truly deep conspiracy theory, of which I have absolutely zero indicators or proof, is that Psystar is actually operating under the express permission of Apple in order to accomplish the above.
Call me crazy (in this instance, I likely am), but it makes at least a smidgen of sense to me.

“We’ve Replaced His John McCain With Some Fred Thompson. Let’s See If He Notices.”

So I have my problems with the Honorable Gentleman from Arizona — amnesty, Gang of 14, class warfare rhetoric in opposing Bush’s tax cuts, Gitmo idiocy, that execrable McCain-Feingold, etc. — but something strange is afoot. See, I somehow got onto his direct email list and some rather funny things have been slipping through the past few days, such as a little ditty on Tax Day that included the following:

I believe today, as I have always believed, in small government, fiscal discipline and low taxes. I believe that tax cuts work best when accompanied by lower spending. And I make the promise to you that if elected president, I plan to make the present tax cuts permanent, lower corporate rates from 35% to 25% and end the Alternative Minimum Tax, which will affect millions of middle class families.

Then I got this beauty this morning:

My Friends,
This week, I laid out an economic plan aimed at providing immediate and long-term relief for all American families. One of the key components of this plan is a suspension of the federal gas tax on gasoline from Memorial Day to Labor Day of this year.
The effect of this “gas tax holiday” will be an immediate economic stimulus – taking a few dollars off the price of a tank of gas every time you fill up. And because the cost of gas affects the price of food, packaging and just about everything else, this immediate step will spread economic relief to every family in America.

Both of these proposals are remarkably similar to policies that (my original choice for Pres.) Fred! D. Thompson was talking up, back before his implosion. Seems I’m not the only one thinking that way, either.
So who replaced my cranky candidate with a shiny happy person, anyways?
Continue reading ““We’ve Replaced His John McCain With Some Fred Thompson. Let’s See If He Notices.””

It’s Friday, You Ain’t Got No Job, You Ain’t Got No Money

…But you sure-as-heck have stuff to do, namely: check these links! Foo!
All you Philly area WordPressers take note: Matt Mullenweg will be in town next week and attending a meetup on Thursday. Grab a stool and swing by (well, not in that order necessarily…).
Quaker Oats: Scottish Edition, possessors of the finest box logo known to humanity:
Perfect for stuffing a haggis!
A sysadmin’s worst nightmare:

I physically cringed upon viewing that video.
Continue reading “It’s Friday, You Ain’t Got No Job, You Ain’t Got No Money”

Celebrity Look-Alikes

During the last couple of weeks (the course of the NY Governor dustup), I’ve been recurrently bothered by Eliot Spitzer’s pictures. I wasn’t quite sure where the strong reaction came from. Then today it struck me:
That’s right. Slap a ‘stache on Spitzer and you’ve got Bill “The Chin!” Cowher. There’s only room for one jaw like that in the world and I’d far rather that Cowher be the one to possess it.

My Nominee For “Nobel Prize For Cunning Commentary (Web Edition)”

Noble Nobel.
Slashdot carried an interesting story today about Alexey Pajitnov, the creator of Tetris, claiming that Free/Open Source Software (F/OSS) destroys free markets and eliminates companies’ ability to “create wealth”, a dubious proposition at best, but one which spawned the following insightful comment from one “jbeaupre”:

Oddly, I see FOSS as an extreme example of capitalism. Reductio ad absurdum with a twist.
In a given market with profits, more competitors will enter until profits are driven down to the point the cost of entering just isn’t worth it. With software, this set point is a bit lower than many industries, because less capital is needed for production. FOSS lowers it further by reducing the barriers to entry (you get to reuse older code). Some people derive a non-financial benefit (and sometimes financial) that exceeds the cost of contributing, so there is a negative cost (a benefit). It’s still worth it to them to enter the market no matter what. So even assuming no profit, you get plenty of competitors.
The capitalist version of superconductivity. Against the rules except in unique circumstances.
What this guy misses are controlled markets with barriers to entry.

“The capitalist version of superconductivity.” I like the sound of that!

That’s Just About The Size Of It

On my commute home this evening, I noted a car ahead of me bearing a very well-worn Fred Thompson 2008 campaign sticker in the lower-left of their rear window. Tucked in next to the Fred! sticker was a far shinier, far newer Mitt Romney 2008 sticker. Now, if only the owner would post a “Soul-Crushing Sense of Defeat and Resignation to at Least 4 Years of Statist Government, Regardless of Party 2008” sticker next to the Romney bit, they’d pretty much have my progression through this wretched race nailed. Heck, I may just try to sell some of those myself on Zazzle. Might sell as well as the McCain ’08 Hold Your Nose Plugs.

Self-Flagellatory Behavior

Sometimes I think I ought to have my head checked out. See, I generally hit Fark for the strange news, Photoshop contests and sometimes funny/pun-y headlines, but then every once in a while, I’ll forget myself and click on a link leading to a story discussing at least one of

  1. American politics
  2. American tax policy
  3. Israeli-Palestinian relations
  4. Organized religion
  5. anti-Southern bigotry

…only to emerge from the sheer crapulence of the ensuing discussion feeling dumber, dirtier and generally uneasy about the depths of human stupidity and pig-headedness I witnessed. Facepalm-worthy behavior, indeed, on my part.
So let that be a warning to you: never start a land war in Asia, never go in against a Sicilian with death on the line, and never, ever wander into a Fark argument by mistake. You’re sure to regret it.

Pak. Chooie. BOOM.

Does it make me a horrible human being for cracking a smile at this story?

Suicide bomber falls down stairs …
A WOULD-be suicide bomber fell down a flight of stairs and blew himself up as he headed out for an attack in Afghanistan, police say.
The would-be attacker tripped as he was leaving a building apparently to target an opening ceremony for a mosque that was expected to be attended by Afghan and international military officials, said Sakhi Mir.
“Coming down the stairs, he fell down and exploded. Two civilian women and a man were wounded,” Mir said.

Wanted for questioning:
Pak. Chooie. Unf.
(Ref. The Terrible Secret of Space for those of you that are confused. Then read the original transcript to really bring it home.)