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Apple and Microsoft Renew Vows

Jobs and Gates at Macworld 1997

MACWORLD — It’s 1997 all over again! Microsoft and Apple have renewed their marriage vows for another five years, Microsoft said on Tuesday.

Apple and Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit have signed a formal “commitment agreement” deeming Microsoft to continue developing Office for Mac for at least another five years, Microsoft said.

“We wanted to comfort our customers around the world that we are in this for the long term,” said Scott Erickson, the Mac BU’s director of product management and marketing. “It makes sense to really publicly show our commitment to the platform.”

The blissful marriage between the two companies looked rocky after Steve Jobs announced Apple will be switching to Intel chips, which may or may not also run Windows. Plus, Apple has been developing its own software to compete with applications traditionally developed for the Mac by Microsoft — Safari, Keynote, etc.

“We’ve been in the Mac software business for more than 20 years,” said Erickson. “And it’s been a great business for us.”

Erickson said the deal was signed in November 2005.

The “commitment agreement” is reminiscent of Macworld in 1997, when Bill Gates joined Steve Jobs’ keynote speech via a satellite linkup. Looming large and Big Brother-like, Gates said he was happy to invest $150 million in Apple, which was in trouble at the time, and sign a five-year commitment to continue developing Mac software.

In addition to renewing its vows, Microsoft said it will enhance Entourage in the spring. The Mac email, contact and calendar software will synchronize with iPods, among other devices.

Mr Macintosh’s Macworld Doo

Gabe McIntyre's Macworld Doo

It’s Macworld, which means it’s time for Mac haircuts.

Here’s Gabe McIntyre, who said he’s always getting his hair styled with one theme or another, usually Apple related.

Above is the haircut he had for Apple Expo Paris in 2004, and below are various haircuts honoring Apple’s operating system updates — Jaguar, Tiger, etc.

“I feel like while I still have hair, I might as well make art from it,” he said. “I feel like I’m doing performance art with my hair… Plus I am a diehard Apple geek.”

McIntyre is such an Apple geek, he said his students call him “Gabriel Macintosh” rather than McIntyre.

McIntyre is a 30-year-old film professor from Amsterdam, Holland, who also directs and edits films and commercials with his business partner Gabriel Bauer.

An American living in Holland, McIntyre teaches video podcasting at the College of Arts in Utrecht (HKU). His business site is Whisper Media; his video podcasts can be found at Gabe & Gabe’s World (personal videos) and Xolo.Tv (his video podcast news and review show).

His girlfriend styles his hair.

“(She) loves it and can’t wait for my hair to grow out so she can do another haircut,” he said “She used to be a PC user till she met me. Now she’s an Apple geek as well… My hair is a way to get her creativity out sometimes.”

Mr Macintosh’s Macworld Doo

Mr Macintosh’s Macworld Doo

Mr Macintosh’s Macworld Doo

Mr Macintosh’s Macworld Doo

Infinite Loop Around Infinite Loop

Apple's Infinite Loop

Take a (virtual) walk along Infinite Loop — the road that loops around Apple’s campus, courtesy of Redbug Technologies, a company that makes virtual reality tours.

The Apple Campus tour is the 3rd down on the left.

Redbug’s Andrew Hagenbuch writes: “Built with love by two Mac users. Kinda cool for those who haven’t been there. Mac love at its best!”

Nothing on iTunes TV

What a weird bunch of crap Disney is rolling out with its latest expanded TV offerings for iTunes.

ITunes will feature a couple of dozen shows, snippets and shorts from several Disney-owned outlets like ESPN, ABC Sports, Disney Channel and others.

Except for the sports, which I personally have zero interest in, the list includes gems like the 70s kids cartoon “Schoolhouse Rock,” SOAPnet’s biog show “Soapography,” and bits of “Good Morning America.”

Good grief America. The only thing I’d take the trouble to download is Ebert and Roeper, which I never catch when it’s broadcast on TV.

I know on-demand video is supposed to be all long tail and niche, that’s half the point, but where’s the HBO? Or Seinfeld? The Shield? Or anything worth watching?

IPod Gloves

Tavo iPod Gloves

Accessories for the iPod seem to be getting more and more niche. There’s the iPod boxer shorts, of course, and now here’s a $35 pair of gloves with special electrically-conductive fiber in the thumb and index fingertips. The fibre allows control of the iPod clickwheel without taking the mitts off.

As retailer J&R explains:

“The clickwheel on iPods functions by detecting the minute electrical charge in fingers and tracking it as it moves from point-to-point. Gloves adds a layer of insulation between fingers and the clickwheel’s surface, blocking the electronic sensors. Tavo’s new gloves allows charge to pass through the gloves from fingers to iPod’s clickwheel.”

The gloves also feature a “Gripper palm” to stop you dropping your precious music player in a big puddle of slush.

Dick Cheney’s IPod Monomania

Dick Cheney and his iPod

The Associated Press has the most incredible story about Dick Cheney’s travels to Iraq and Afghanistan in a silver, cargo-plane mounted Winnebago, and the precedence the charging of his precious iPod took over all other matters.

The vice president is an iPod fan, and keeping it charged is a priority for his staff.

Normally that isn’t an issue, even when he’s flying around the world. Air Force II is equipped with outlets in each row of seats.

But when Dick Cheney was traveling home overnight Wednesday from his diplomatic mission, most of the outlets went on the fritz.

Working passengers began lining up their laptops to share the power from a couple of working outlets — particularly the reporters who urgently needed to prepare their articles to transmit during a quick refueling stop in England.

But when Cheney said his iPod needed to be recharged, it took precedent above all else and dominated one precious outlet for several hours. The vice president’s press staff intervened so a reporter could use the outlet for 15 minutes to charge a dead laptop, but then the digital music device was plugged back in.

That way, Cheney got his press coverage and his music, too.

Of all the iPod nuts I’ve met, and read and written about, this description of Cheney beats them all. In fact, the story is so preposterous, it beggars belief. But maybe it tells a lot about the man: his power, the self-absorbtion, a surprising obsession with music.

If previous reports are true, the iPod was a Christmas present from his daughters.

Happy Holidays: The Gift of Music

The Snowman

Happy Holidays one and all!

In thanks for reading this rubbish all year, I give you the gift of music.

Here’s the best holiday song ever: Walking in the Air, sung by 11-year-old Declan Galbraith, who’s blessed with an extraordinary set of pipes.

Of course, the song isn’t available anywhere on iTunes, or I’d buy it in a second (nothing I want ever is).

I did find this though: an excellent version of Carol of the Bells by MystiQuintet from the Christmas Re-Grooved album.

(Via Robotwisdom)

For Sale: Every Newton Ever Made

Every Newton ever made

John Venzon, curator of the Newton Museum is shutting down the website and selling his collection of every Newton ever made.

Venzon has run the website since 2001. Venzon said his collection includes “one of every Newton ever made plus every developer scrap of paper, software and manual.” The collection is for sale through eBay.

“I’m closing up shop for the very prozaic reason that my wife and I are remodeling our house, and the collection is housed in a room we are tearing out to make space for a family room,” Venzon said. “The sale is also helping to pay for it. My hosting is up in June, so I’ll be passing it on to the person who buys the collection, if they want it.”

Venzon added: “I still use my original Newton I bought in 1993, though. I’m keeping that!”

Update: I emailed Venzon to ask how much he thought the collection was worth. Venzon, a feature film editor, replied:

“I don’t have any idea how much money I plan to get, as it’s kind of bittersweet to hope for anyway.

I’ve been collecting, really, since I bought my first Newton back in 1993.

Alex Olivares and I used it as a film calculator on Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers.

We were assistant editors on the movie, and since Oliver was shooting so many different formats, we had to know how the 16mm footage would end up once it was blown up to 35mm.

We used a beta version of GoFigure to do much of the math. The guys at Dubl-Click software were great, and would tweak the code as we used it.

Ah, Newton, is there nothing you can’t do?

IPod Tops Google Zeitgeist Shopping Search

Google Zeitgeist

Google’s year-end Zeitgeist — a roundup of the year’s most popular search terms — is full of iPod action; at least, the “Froogle” section, which is devoted to online shopping, is. The iPod’s various flavors crop up in four of the top 10 Froogle searches, including the number one position.

1. ipod
2. digital camera
3. mp3 player
4. ipod mini
5. psp
6. laptop
7. xbox
8. ipod shuffle
9. computer desk
10. ipod nano

Free B-Movies for IPod

King of Kong Island

Public domain Torrents has links to more than 500 movies in the public domain available for download via BitTorrent. Most are compatible with the video iPod.

There’s a lot of silent-era stuff, but also a rich vein of kitsch trash, including clunkers from Ed Wood (Plan 9 from Outer Space), George Romero (Night of the Living Dead) and a Russian psychotronic/cult/camp sci-fi oddity called Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women.

King of Kong Island seems typical. According to the IMDB review:

An Italian Spanish Co-production with America’s own Dick Randall involved in the ‘presenting’- King of Kong Island mixes horror movie, nudie-cutie and jungle adventure with toppings of National Geographic stock footage- all set to a jungle beat of exotica.