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The Roundup July 8

Microsoft Google bomb

And just how prophetic was Sara B’s Microsoft Google bomb, eh?

Now that’s a Google bomb.

The final element in Google’s drive to reshape the computing landscape fell into place on Wednesday when it unveiled plans for a PC operating system that would compete directly with Microsoft’s Windows. . . .

Given Windows’s deeply entrenched position in computing, however, most analysts said that Google would find it hard to unseat the software group. “This isn’t going to be something that is going to hurt Microsoft very quickly, it’s going to take some time before it really makes a dent,” said Mike Silver, an analyst at Gartner.

More than 70 per cent of the software applications used by the typical company run on the Windows operating systems, he said, making it expensive and time-consuming for companies to consider changing to a new operating system.

(“Google to launch PC operating system,” Financial Times, July 8) Okay, the last Google bomb launched at Microsoft was a “No Windows” icon that appeared in Microsoft’s Google Maps image (conveniently reproduced here). That was a feisty “Sara B” with too much time on her hands and too many bees in her bonnet, and Google, it seems, was not amused. But what a prescient little Google bomb that was, indeed. It seems that “no Windows” is exactly the goal Google is aiming at, and the entire gaggle of anti-Microsoft bloggers, like TechCrunch, is all over this as if Jesus himself had announced a new OS straight from big man himself. But, really, what is Chrome OS but yet another Linux install. Hell, if that all it takes to come up with a new OS — just a bit of dib-dabbing and adding your name to a Linux install — then Jesus himself probably will be announcing a new operating system. If you have Windows, Linux is probably not in your future. If you have Linux, why do you need Chrome? The new Google operating system will be, for all practical purposes, a nice little charitable contribution from Google full of sound and fury and signifying nothing. Witness Google’s last go at a hyped-up Linux operating system, unhappily named Gos. Or the Chrome browser, which has barely made a dent in the browser market (while Microsoft Bing is still grabbing market share from the Google search engine) — in fact, even the buggy, soggy, totally useless Firefox 3.5 in its first week in release managed to outpace Google Chrome. Netizens, it seems, would rather have crappy than Chrome. So taking on Windows? Say goodnight, Gracie.

What the hell have they been smoking?

So could legalized pot keep California from closing parks and cutting school funding in the state’s current budget crunch? Folks at the Marijuana Policy Project say yes — and they’ve launched a statewide ad campaign today to reach Gov.Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers in California as they wrestle this week over the yawning $26 billion-plus deficit.

Controversy has followed the ads even before they hit the airwaves: they were rejected by the NBC affiliate in the San Francisco Bay Area, and by ABC affiliates in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The fear among some broadcasters: they appear to advocate drug use. . . .

They star “an actual California marijuana consumer,” Nadene Herndon of Fair Oaks, near Sacramento, who says that “the governor and legislators are ignoring millions of Californians who want to pay taxes. We’re marijuana consumers. Instead of being treated like criminals for using a substance safer than alcohol, we want to pay our fair share.”. . .

“It could be done any number of ways, we’re not locked into any particular number or method. I don’t think there would be any objection to a regular, garden variety sales tax. (Government officials) says they seized over $11 billion worth of marijuana last year. Obviously that number isn’t exact, but if it’s close, just a 9% sales tax would be about a billion dollars worth of revenue. Nobody denies this is a very large business, and to leave it outside the system is just demented.”

(“New ad says pot smokers ‘happy to be taxed’,” SF Chronicle, July 8) Well, A for effort, I’ll give it that. It puts a whole new spin on doing your high-minded civic duty. Once weed is decriminalized and taxed, expect millions of Californians to put forth that extra effort to help close the budget deficit. Even after the state is in surplus. Like Sarah Palin “quitting for Alaska,” we’ll all be “flying for California.”


And if you thought that ad was funny, how about Amazon dropping it into your copy of Twilight?

Hoping to attract more e-book fans, has sliced $60 off the price of its six-inch Kindle 2 electronic reader. Meanwhile, an online media and marketing site reports that recent U.S. patent applications show Amazon might be ready to insert advertising in the pages of e-books.

(“Amazon drops Kindle price, will it drop ads into e-books?,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 8) It still costs too much. And there is absolutely no way I will shell out money for an e-book reader that pelts me with ads. That’s all I have to say.

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