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This Links Post is All Marketing and No Engineering

The links of the day post you’ve all been waiting for.

Reuters: Sony’s UMD format is on the way out

Tell me something I don’t know. Yet again, Sony comes out of the technological gate with a great technology that might be useful in some kind of application, makes it proprietary, restricts it to the point that no one can really do anything about it, makes it compatible with only one kind of device and markets it as though it is the next big thing.

The difference between Sony and Apple is that Apple does this to product that people actually want.

As I’ve mentioned before in the site blog, if this sort of thing happens with the PlayStation 3, I think Sony can kiss both the video game generation and Blu-Ray goodbye.

HD Beat – Creating your own component cables

Something every home theater buff should take a look at. When I was selling at Circuit, I would recommend the Monster stuff to people based on the fact that, if you’re a regular consumer, and you don’t have access to this equipment and/or really don’t know what you’re doing, Monster Cables are actually not as bad as some people make them out to be. They are expensive, sure, but you do end up with a good quality cable, and that’s more than most people would pick if they had their chance.

But people who know better and aren’t afraid to take some chances every now and then should look into buying their own cable equipment and making their own runs of good quality cable. I know that I’m going to either be doing this when I nab that high-quality HD set a little down the road, or I’m going to be buying custom lengths from Blue Jeans Cable, who use exactly the same equipment, cabling, and connectors in their products.

Dennis Forbes: A study of the availability of .com top-level domains

Great read here on the statistics of domain name registration, and more specifically, how sad it is that so many domain names are snapped up by speculators with the hope of driving up those prices or offering services that no one really wants or needs. For the wondering, yes, markel.com is already taken by one of these wonderful companies. They’ll sell me an e-mail address! Oh, joy!

These stats are broken down quite well and make for a great “did-you-know” topic to read over a few minutes.

Home Theater Blog: What about Bose?

Read this if you have ever thought that you’d really like one of those cute little Bose systems in your living room. Yes, they are small. Yes, they market them very well to appeal to people who don’t want a lot of clutter.

Yes, your retailer is being offered incentives to sell them – and the markup is quite extraordinary.

But the quality on Bose products is middling at best compared to other products in that price range. I have a pair of Bose bookshelf speakers, and if I hadn’t picked them up on absolute closeout sale, I would have felt completely ripped off. Just read the article if you have any interest in buying home theater equipment. You’ll be more informed as to their marketing and sales tactics – which are effective, but questionable at best.

Digg: Thousands of free video game soundtracks for download

I knew this place existed, and have been using them for quite some time now. I just wanted to link this article because there are also some useful links to other sites within the comments, including a cheat to get some of the great Square soundtracks to show in the listings on Galbadia Hotel. It can take some time to download the music, and I’v efound some of the files to be of meh quality, but it’s still a very nice resource for some of the most off-the-wall music you will find.

Some of these guys are true artists and demand more appreciation for their work. Trust me.

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The Greater Dalmuti Commands You To Check Out These Links

It’s been quite a while since I’ve managed a links post like this, but it’s been a pretty good day for finding random awesomeness, so I’ll begin:

Funagain Games Item Entry: The Great Dalmuti

We’ll open with quite possibly the best news I have seen in a good while. Hasbro/WotC have decided that it is within their good graces to reprint The Great Dalmuti, which has been unbelievably, incomprehensively out of print for a good six or seven years, to my knowledge. This is, quite possibly, one of the best pure games I have ever played. It is simple to learn, plays quickly, gets people interested and involved easily, and is a great deal of fun.

It also leads to spontaneous insults and derision of fellow players. This is a good thing. You have a responsibility to order three copies of this amazing card game immediately.

K2

This is an “upgraded” version of the Kubrick base WordPress theme, intended to be easier to use, edit, and twist into your own creation. I believe I will be using this to shift around my themes to something I like a bit more. The default is eh, and my updated theme I was using is a little behind in support for a few of the things I like in WordPress. Ah, well.

Respublica – Up close and personal etiquette

When I was at Concordia Seminary, they made us take a course with Ruth Ann Johnson, who was the wife of the Seminary president. It was a kind of briefing into etiquette and the kinds of things people should know before they go out into polite society.

Trust me when I say that people who are students at the Seminary need this sort of information. Honestly.

Amanda and I wondered what they were going to do with this meeting once President Johnson packed up and left for browner pastures up at our alma mater. Well, apparently, they hire an outside etiquette expert, as well as some people from Men’s Wearhouse to show these guys how to dress for professionalism.

Who knew?

Wikipedia’s entry on “leet”

Anything and everything you ever wanted to know about perhaps the most irritating fad on the modern Internet – leetspeak. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, perhaps you should read this article and find out. And be scared.

If you do know what I’m talking about, you should definitely read this article for a frank discussion on the origins of leetspeak and linguistic features of such a strange medium.

And a quartet of links from MAKE:

MAKE: $14 SteadyORB
MAKE: Ethernet-controlled LED lamp
MAKE: $6 homemade pop filter
MAKE: LED dining table

There’s some fun stuff here that wouldn’t take a whole lot of time or effort to make (or money, except for the LED dining table), and I wouldn’t mind doing some of this myself. LED projects are all over the place now with costs coming down, and some of them are downright awesome. These two are no exception.

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The Demise of Apple is Greatly Exaggerated

From John Gruber’s Daring Fireball blog:

The iPod Juggernaut

A very insightful look at the portable music player market and Apple’s stranglehold thereof. He’s right on all points, of course: as an iPod owner and user and general Apple evangelist in my geek life, I’ve heard many of the arguments against the iPod, and this pretty much takes care of all of them in many of the same ways I’ve thought the truth must lie.

Gruber is often extremely right and very keen in his analysis of Apple and their business, and I believe this is no less so.

I’ve always just said that anyone who rips on the iPod just wishes they had one.

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That Depends on What You Mean By “Open”

From Daring Fireball:

There’s a line in The Usual Suspects where Kevin Spacey’s character Verbal Kint says, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

The greatest trick Microsoft has gotten away with is convincing the public that the Wintel PC platform is open.

Great defense to the number-one defense Wintel PC users use to defend their platform against the Macintosh.

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Those Shoes Really Are That Expensive, Trust Me, I Know

Now you too can dress like The Steve!

The best part is the link in the lower-right-hand corner:

Click here to sue, please.

Classic.  But in the meantime, if you want to go around clothed like the most understatedly fashionable CEO in the business world, you be my guest.

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It’s Funny Because it’s True

If you have ever worked with a corporate mindset, been interested in marketing, or are even just a geek in general, you owe it to yourself to check out this link.

Found via digg.

I will say for the record that this is exactly what I expect when we get around to shopping for Windows Vista, seeing as how it’s going to be available in six different SKUs.

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Work is good

Work is good.

It’s not exactly what I thought it would be based on the job description, but i would say that no one should take that as a bad thing.  It’s definitely more work than I thought it was going to be at first blush, but keeping me busy is usually something that people need to try and do, so I’m not complaining about that.

That, and it’s nice to have a job with a regular schedule, and get paid to the point that it looks like we don’t (in general) have to worry about basic needs anymore.  We can get by, and we don’t have to be nervous about whether or not we are going to be able to pay bills.

I am thankful for that peace of mind in more than one way.

I went from basically being a software tester to being a product manager in the span of about two weeks or thereabout.  What happened is that I started asking a few questions that didn’t have any answers, and when it came time to figuring out who was going to anser them, the basic response was that I was going to be the one who was going to do so.

Neat-o.  So I’m now basically the guy in charge of what’s called Lutheran Service Builder, and it’s a software product that scheduled to come out sometime in the late part of this year.  There’s a lot going into its development as an application, and a lot of work that needs to be done in testing and promoting and all kinds of areas that I didn’t originally think I was going to get into, but now it’s kind of exciting to be able to flex a little bit and work into all different areas of the existence of the product.  I think the end goal is that I will be the ultimate “go-to” guy when it comes to the product, and that is perfectly fine by me.  I’ll even get to use my mad presentation skills sometime this summer when we begin making presentations on what it is and how it works.  It’s very exciting.

I have more to say about other things, of course – including the demise of my couch – but I will get to those in other posts tonight.

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WordPress 1.5 final released.

As announced here, the final version of WordPress 1.5 has been released.

This site has been operating with the beta versions of 1.5 for some time – even when it was still 1.3 – and I can fully recommend it, especially over and above 1.2; it’s a pretty big step up in terms of functionality and coolness factor.

If you are using WordPress 1.2, I would suggest you go ahead and move to 1.5 as soon as possible. Be aware that the default site template has been changed, but the updater should move your old template into a new directory and transition you into the new system with ease. There’s a lot of neat things that work differently in 1.5, and a lot of new features that are really useful – many of them are detailed on the linked post.

If you are at all interested in blogging, and use a different system, I would encourage you to move to WordPress and use it as your primary system. I have been operating with it for quite some time now; probably about a year; I used Movable Type before that, but Six Apart sold out, so I decided to move elsewhere. If you need assistance with setting up a WordPress installation, or even are a friend of mine and need a place to host it, I would be more than willing to help you out with that.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and install 1.5 final myself over the nightly build I’m using now.

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Viva WordPress!

WordPress just closed an ordered list tag I left open without me having to do anything.

Nice.

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WordPress/ecto

I just got an e-mail back from the WordPress team (wow, was that fast!) confirming that there’s a break with ecto’s compatibility, and that they will be checking it out in the nightly builds to see what’s caused it. Good thing – I thought I was just insane, because I couldn’t find any reports of similar behavior at all on the web.

Might just be because I use nightly builds and most people don’t.