Saturday, June 30, 2007


The jury is still out as to whether I'll see Sicko, Michael Moore's new mock-documentary about our health care "crisis." After all, the gist of the "movie" has already been detailed in the media, so other than the "entertainment" value or the social experience of participating in Moore's ranting, what's left to see?

I would watch the movie if it was free and on the Web, but paying commercial movie admission for what is really a one-sided political and social commentary seems too obscene to me.

I almost saw it when I was in New York City a week ago, but my decision to skip it was facilitated by the simple fact that I would have had to wait two and a half hours for the next showing at the Lincoln Square theater on Manhattan's Upper West Side, which is definitely Michael Moore country. I opted to see You Kill Me starring Ben Kingsley and Tea Leoni instead, whcih definitely was more entertaining than I expected Moore's "film" would be.

Who knows, maybe I'll see it tomorrow at the Lincoln Square theater here in downtown Bellevue, WA. Or maybe not.

I simply don't feel comfortable paying my own money to participate in one of Michael Moore's political and social campaigns that misleadingly masquerades as a documentary. That's how I felt after I saw Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. No more political and social commentary masquerading as either entertainment or documentary.

-- Jack Krupansky

The iWhat?

Thankfully, the hyper-hype over the "coming" iPhone from Apple is now all behind us after the introduction of the iPhone last night. Sure, we'll hear a lot more about it in the coming weeks, but the shrill pitches about how wonderful it was "going" to be are now all behind us.

I'll wander by the local Apple store at the Bellevue Square mall here in downtown Bellevue, WA in a little while to see if I can sense any real "sea change" in store traffic, but I don't expect much. I strongly suspect that all of the diehard Apple gadget geek technosexuals sated themselves last night, but we'll see.

Personally, I wouldn't even want an iPhone if they gave it to me... at a minimum 2-year service contract of $59.99, that's over $1,400. Way outside my budget.

I'm quite sure that the iPhone will be a very successful product for Apple and that the gadget geek technosexuals will find it to be a thoroughly satisfying experience, but that's a different world than the one I live in.

-- Jack Krupansky

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Are you a technosexual?

I've always been baffled as to why so many people were so enamored with the Apple Mac and iPod, but now I've found the answer: I'm not a technosexual. According to the Wikipedia, a technosexual is:

A person (usually a male) with a strong aesthetic sense and a love of gadgets. In this sense, it is a portmanteau word combining "technophile" and "metrosexual", which was first promoted by creative professional Ricky Montalvo[1] to describe "a dandyish narcissist in love with not only himself, but also his urban lifestyle and gadgets; a straight man who is in touch with his feminine side but has fondness for electronics such as cell phones, PDAs, computers, software, and the web."[2]

I have absolutely zero aesthetic sense or even tolerance of aesthetics and I am usually offended by much of what is passed as "aesthetics" and the thought that people should be forced to pay extra for it, and I am attracted to gadgets only if and when they have significant utility for me. Mere mention of the word "style" makes me cringe. I have only two devices, this two-year old notebook PC and a five-year old Sony/Palm PDA. They work for me, they perform useful functions, so I keep them. I don't even have a cell phone (actually, I have a work phone, but usually it stays hidden away in my backpack) or a wristwatch or TV or DVR. For the most part, I consider devices to be an annoyance and certainly not an object of "desire." I frequently "fantasize" about replacing my PDA with a stack of 3x5 index cards and I cringe at the thought of lugging even a lightweight notebook computer around.

I am definitely not a "technosexual" and most certainly am not attracted to whatever they might be attracted to.

Sigh. (That's a sigh of exasperation, not desire!)

At least I now know the name of this insidious form of dysfunctionality.

My apologies to the technosexuals of the world: you're just not my type.

-- Jack Krupansky

Monday, June 04, 2007

The iPhone is coming in only 26 days

I don't think there is anybody who isn't excited to see the arrival of the new Apple iPhone on June 29, 2007. Especially competitors who want to see how high the bar has been raised. People everywhere are chattering about how well all of the features will or won't work in this "version 1" of a new product line.

There is one thing that I can absolutely assure you about the iPhone: I will not be getting one. Not because I wouldn't want one, but simply because it is way too expensive, starting at $499. And, even if it was free, you still have a two-year contract at some unspecified rate, including the data plan.

At $500 to $600, the iPhone is priced well above most Windows Mobile smartphones.

Nevertheless, I can't wait to see one in the "flesh."

I have no doubt that it will be a very successful product, but I have my traditional complaint about Apple computers which I can transfer to their iPhone: Why won't Apple build a smartphone that I would buy? Maybe Apple "gets it", but I won't be able to get it. Sigh.

-- Jack Krupansky

Sunday, June 03, 2007

What did Hurricane Katrina have to do with global warming and climate change?

I continue to come across references to Hurricane Katrina that misleadingly link it to global warming and climate change. First, even though Katrina was at one stage a "powerful" Category 5 hurricane, there is nothing that unusual about Cat 5 hurricanes. Sure, they aren't that frequent, but they have certainly occurred in the past. More importantly, people continue to misguidedly suggest that the damage to New Orleans was due to Katrina being a "powerful Cat 5" storm, when in reality the damage in New Orleans was due to poorly designed and constructed levees, and that Katrina was a lot weaker than Cat 5 when it hit New Orleans. An article dated December 22, 2005 in the Washington Post by Peter Whoriskey and Joby Worrick entitled "Report Revises Katrina's Force - Hurricane Center Downgrades Storm to Category 3 Strength" tells us that:

The National Hurricane Center released a summary report on Katrina this week that downgraded the storm's intensity at landfall in Louisiana on Aug. 29 from Category 4 to Category 3. The winds in New Orleans, which lay to the west of the storm's center, were probably even weaker than that, at Category 1 or 2 speeds, the report said.

So, contrary is widely-spread and widely-believed mythology, Katrina was only a Cat 3 at landfall and weaker than that when it hit New Orleans.

There is simply no credible excuse for using the victims of poor levee design in New Orleans as the poster children for the global warming/climate change movement.

More importantly, there is simply no credible excuse for the promoters of the global warming/climate change movement to continue to suggest that the extent of the damage in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina was "caused" by global warming or is "evidence" of global warming.

-- Jack Krupansky

Hybrid-electric vehicles gaining ground

One small bit of evidence that free-market technology and free-market economics is leading us in the direction of greater efficiency, and hence accomplishing more than a little bit of what the global warming alarmists are trying to force upon people through heavy governmental, inter-governmental, and non-governmental regulation, is the growth in interest in hybrid-electric vehicles. An article in The New York Times by Nick Bunkley entitled "Cars Outsell Light Trucks for First Time Since 2002" tells us that:

Sales of the hybrid-electric Toyota Prius rose 184.9 percent, according to Autodata. Dealers in parts of the country are again reporting waiting lists for the fuel-efficient model, even though Toyota has doubled production from last year.

This is amazing progress, with more to come.

We can only hope that government, politicians, activists, and alarmists will keep their distance and let free-market forces work their magic.

The economic benefits of efficiency is an exceedingly powerful "invisible hand."

-- Jack Krupansky

Global meltdown?

There is an interesting article on global warming in the latest issue of the AARP Magazine by Andrew Revkin (of The New York Times) entitled "Global Meltdown." I don't subscribe to all of his assertions and conclusions, but at least it is a semi-fair discussion of the current state of the "debate" over greenhouse gases, global warming, and climate change.

I'm still waiting for somebody, anybody, to show that there is truly robust science that proves that our environment would not be able to adjust quite well to whatever level of carbon dioxide might accumulate in the atmosphere over the next century, especially given likely changes that would probably occur over that period. There are simply too many social, technology, economic, political variables for a so-called scientific "consensus" to credibly conclude that the future of the environment is as certain as they are claiming. Mechanically projecting from current trends out decades into the future is a fool's errand.

Besides, simple economic and efficiency considerations coupled with likely social changes over the coming decades will probably have many of the beneficial effects that the so-called alarmists are clamoring for anyway, and without the need for any significant economic or social disruptions. And definitely without the potentially disastrous "climate engineering" proposed by some apparrently well-meaning scientists, such as dispersing particulate clouds to "cool" the atmosphere, which have the potential hazard that if they work better than expected could result in a dangerous and unnatural cooling of the atmosphere.

Let's not fall prey to "quick fixes", but rather let us put more faith in the natural evolution of our social, technology, economic, and political systems.

The only "crisis" before us is the need to avoid succombing to the alarmist calls for "action now."

-- Jack Krupansky