iPod to blame for increase in bad taste
The iPod has been blamed for a number of things: an increase in pedestrian-related traffic accidents, the swelling of Steve Jobs’s ego and an overall sense of human misanthropy, but this is a new one. David Hockney, a British artist known for his unique sartorial approach (i.e., he looks like he dresses in the dark), is blaming the music device for an overall decline in contemporary art. You might assume he’s referring to an increase in the number of people who listen to Fergie droning on about her “Humps,” and in a sense, you might be right.

According to this article: “He insists that today’s society is ‘all about sound,’ and even mentions that people are turning off their eyes and ignoring contemporary art whilst ‘plugging their ears.’ Put simply, he believes the modern ‘decline in visual awareness’ rests heavily on Apple’s own cash cow . . .”

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Keep you ear to the ground
Speaking of the iPod, some people take their love for the device to the grave – more specifically, the iPod’s grave. Flickr is littered with images such as
this. I suppose the iPod is too big to flush, but there’s such a thing as becoming too attached to an inanimate object, even a dead one. (Sometimes I can’t believe I have to write this stuff.) The fact that I have been tending to an Apple Newton graveyard since the 80s is completely immaterial.

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Big chicken once terrorized dinosaurs
Once in a while, Insider likes to feature a story with really no relation to anything all that technical, technology-related, or indeed anything to do with the Apple iPod. But when you happen to glance over a
headline that includes the words “1,400 kg chicken,” you really have to stop and take a gander (no pun intended).
The chicken is not a genetic mutation, nor the result of intense gamma radiation (like the Incredible Hulk), but roamed the earth 85 million years ago. A fossil hunter recently unearthed the bones of such a creature, leading scientists to rethink their current take on evolution. Me, I was just hoping for something I could toss on the barbecue.

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A whale of a time
Never fear, Insider’s here! Did you miss me? If you didn’t even notice I was gone, then please go back to blogging about your cat or yelling at 14-year-old weasels on Xbox Live or shredding accounting reports or whatever it is you do during work hours.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Is there anything worse than whale faeces? Well, Windows Vista isn’t much to shout about and Insider isn’t all that thrilled with the way the open source community has been whoring itself out lately, but other than that, I’d say whale faeces is pretty bad. But the folks at Popular Science have a slightly different view. There are at least nine things worse than giant mammal doody. They include: being a forensic entomologist and collecting urine from athletes. OK, fair enough. You can read the whole list here.

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Browser hunting with Safari
Apple’s in the spotlight again with a new browser. Well, not so much a new browser as an old one (Safari) but this time for Windows. As
this article accurately describes, competing in the browser market is a zero-sum game. Kind of like Paris Hilton crying to her mommy that jail is hard. Sure, you’ll get people’s attention but you’re hardly likely to gain an ounce of consideration. Remember Netscape? Nope, me either. Apple’s got its work cut out. Safari is so far off the radar, it might as well be on a different radar. Personally, I think Apple is making a stink about the browser just to grab more ink in which to publicize that friggin’ iPhone thing. No free publicity here. No, sir. Not for iPhone. Nope. (Send demo models to Insider, c/o IT World Canada, 55 Town Centre Court, Ste. 302, Scarberia, Ont., M1P 4X4. For a positive review, send cash.)

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Drink up
This story isn’t exactly funny – and I’m sure you come to Insider for a chuckle – but it’s just so darn cool. A Danish firm has invented a drinking straw that renders all water potable (drinkable to you and me). For only US$3 a straw (
this article describes it as a blue kazoo, which in itself is worth three bucks), people around the world without access to safe drinking water can just dunk themselves into the nearest source and have a wee drinky. It’s hard to imagine an invention costing so little and achieving so much. “You have to suck pretty hard at first to get it moist, but after that it’s easy,” says the CEO of the company that manufactures it. (I don’t make these quotes up, I only pass them along.)

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