Humor

Kindle Fire

Seen in a comment thread this morning:

Person 1: “Anyone know: what planet or star system is Jeff Bezos from?”

Person 2: “Kindle.”

Brilliant!

In all seriousness, the Kindle Fire looks like a very interesting device.

The iPad and Kindle Fire are two different things and will appeal to two different types of users. My guess is there will be plenty of room for both devices: the iPad will continue to grow its already large user base and the Kindle Fire will grow a large user base as well, some of which will be iPad users who want both devices.

It’s not all or nothing, one or the other. Framing it that way is a mistake. There will be room for many devices and different operating system styles in this category.

These types of devices are the first steps toward replacing general purpose and cumbersome computers with smaller, cheaper, and much less cumbersome tools for doing the same things. I use my iPad in places I would never carry the MacBook Pro and have used a MacBook Pro for many years in many places where one could not use a desktop computer. The fact that these devices are getting smaller and cheaper coupled with the fact that access to the internet is getting cheaper (free in many places) and more widespread seems to me to be a leveling of what used to be a rather tilted playing field.

I like the fact that people are tweeting the Green Revolution from the streets of Iran (with smartphones) and these tablet devices are another category of device that allows computing anywhere.

Never sell Jeff Bezos short, he may not be as charismatic as Steve Jobs (his laugh is hilarious) but he’s done amazing things with Amazon and I’m pretty sure the Kindle Fire is the beginning of something important for the industry and for us users, whether we ever buy one or not.

How Tall Is Jake Gyllenhaal?

David Rees over at Good posted a wonderful piece on our fascination with celebrities and how social networking on the internet interacts with it: How Tall Is Jake Gyllenhaal?.

I’m not the sort of person who thinks much about the height of celebrities. (I’ve always assumed most famous people are about seven feet tall.) The fact that I caught myself wondering about Gyllenhaal’s height suggested there was something uncanny about it, in the way an unsettlingly warm afternoon can bend one’s conversation toward the topic of global warming.

Beautifully written and my guess is that any of us who have ever used the web to get to the bottom of some obscure fact (pre-wikipedia) have experienced this sort of thing.

Note: wikipedia has nothing on Gyllenhaal’s height.

The History of English in Ten Minutes

This embedded player should play all ten 1 minute videos back to back. If not here’s the YouTube page that lists them singly: The History of English in Ten Minutes.

Where did the phrase ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ come from? And when did scientists finally get round to naming sexual body parts? Voiced by Clive Anderson, this entertaining romp through ‘The History of English’ squeezes 1600 years of history into 10 one-minute bites, uncovering the sources of English words and phrases from Shakespeare and the King James Bible to America and the Internet. Bursting with fascinating facts, the series looks at how English grew from a small tongue into a major global language before reflecting on the future of English in the 21st century.

Clive Anderson’s voice and the graphics remind me of Fractured Fairy Tales (part of the Rocky and Bullwinkle show). This is great stuff. Enjoy.

[via Devour]

Deconstructing Back to the Future

Four twenty somethings sitting in a diner talking about the movie Back to the Future. Amazingly, this movie holds up to this day because it’s a comedy and that gives it license to do whatever the story needs, even if that means Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) fogging illogical situations with a bunch of scientific sounding words that make no sense. Who cares, it’s great fun.

Writer and producer Bob Gale conceived the idea after he visited his parents in St. Louis, Missouri after the release of Used Cars. Searching their basement, Gale found his father’s high school yearbook and discovered he was president of his graduating class. Gale thought about the president of his own graduating class, who was someone he had nothing to do with. Gale wondered whether he would have been friends with his father if they went to high school together. When he returned to California, he told Robert Zemeckis his new concept. Zemeckis subsequently thought of a mother claiming she never kissed a boy at school, when in reality she was highly promiscuous. The two took the project to Columbia Pictures, and made a development deal for a script in September 1980.

[via Gizmodo]