Apple Gives Microsoft the Smack-down

Via the Apple “Startup Page” on my Safari browser, I came across this Twin Cities Press dot com article, “Vista’s pretty, but it’s a shameless Mac OS X imitator.” I just think it’s so, I dunno, pissy that Apple decided to have this on their web site the day of the big Vista roll-out.

Of course, it has been pretty-well documented that the headline here is true– that is, that Vista is pretty much like the Mac with a few windoze features thrown in. Which leads the folks at the Twin Cities Press to make this observation:

Vista hardly rocked my world during weeks of testing. It’s a fine Windows upgrade, but it’s also a shameless rip-off (and not quite the equal) of another major operating system, Apple Computer’s Mac OS X.

That begs the question: Why not just use OS X?

Those upgrading from XP likely will have to get a new computer anyway because Vista doesn’t work properly on most older PCs. (See my recent column, “Take your time buying that new computer,” for details on this.) So, instead of purchasing a Windows PC, they could — and typically should — get an Apple Macintosh computer running OS X.

Really, I don’t care if PC users in general convert or not, but if it is true that the new Windoze/Vista is basically the same as the Apple OS, then I can imagine a future where I have students who aren’t completely stumped with the Macs in our computer labs.

A blog reading round-up

I’ve been totally swamped the last week or so with all sorts of different life and school things lately (thus my lack of blogging here). For one thing, I’m behind (though getting caught up) with my online teaching. For another, I’m being paperworked to death because I’m applying for promotion this year, which mainly means putting together a report and a thick binder of materials to make my case. So that’s why I haven’t been around here lately.

But I decided to try to do a little blog reading at least this morning. Here are a couple of links to things I found, some stuff to read later, some things that were interesting, etc.

  • Collin has a post here about reading/re-reading John Trimbur’s 2003 article “Changing the Question: Should Writing be Studied?” He links to posts by a couple of others thinking about this stuff too. About a month or two ago, I wrapped up my very small part of a collaborative editing project of a forthcoming issue of Composition Studies that discusses what a writing major might look like, and I’ve got a meeting later today about changes we want to make to our own undergraduate major in writing. So to me, the answer to Trimbur’s question (without really reading what he had to say or even too closely what Collin et al have to say) is “yes.” Of course, what’s more interesting is why the answer is yes, and that’s why it’s worth reading Collin’s, Jeff’s, and Donna’s posts.
  • Speaking of things I don’t have time to read right now but I’ll have to come back to later: Bitch PhD posted her MLA presentation, something that I wrote about here a few weeks ago.
  • Via Anne 2.0, I like this post, “The Most Tiresome Cliché in Technology Today,” which is “Make it easy enough for my mom to use.” To quote briefly: “I doubt any of my three kids will ever say that. They might say ‘make it easy enough for my dad to use’ because in our house it’s dad who’s the more technologically clueless.”
  • The new issue of Kairos is out, and, just browsing the TOC, I can see one (possibly two or three) articles to include in my current online graduate course. More things to read later.
  • John Walters says there’s a bunch of audio in the Ong collection available online now. Something to listen to while I’m reading these other things I’m going to read later. Actually, this might also be a good thing to have for teaching Ong, too.
  • And finally, I relate quite a bit to Jeff’s YouTube surfing efforts.

Oh, and in the spirit of somewhat random YouTube sites and academia mashed together, I give you Derrida talking about writing:

Restaurant Review: Vinology

What and Where:

Vinology | 110 South Main Street | Ann Arbor, MI 48104 734-222-9841

Ratings (1=terrible, 5=mind-blowingly great)

  • Tastiness: 2.5
  • Service: 2
  • Price (1=super cheap, 5=super expensive): 5
  • Value: 1.5
  • General vibe: 3
  • Comments

    • My millions of regular readers will know that it’s been a long time since I’ve done a restaurant review in quite a while. Why? Well, mainly because I haven’t been any place new worth writing about one way or the other in a long time. Until Vinology.
    • I went here on a work-related event with three other people. Which was good because a) I got to hear about a few different dishes in one stop and b) I didn’t have to pay for it (in theory, because I need to be reimbursed for the bill, but that’s another story).
    • Overall, the food isn’t that good and it is horrifically over-priced.
    • They promote themselves as a wine bar, and indeed, they’ve got lots of wine. They have this kind of cool wine menu scheme where they have a very user/amateur-friendly wine drinking menu, but the problem is that a glass of wine on the low-end in this place is $8, and on the higher-end, it’s $15.
    • We ordered a cheese appetizer that I think was at least $12. It was a choice of three different cheeses, which was nice. But if it added up to 8 ounces of cheese, I’ll chew on the glass the wine came in. I mean, I don’t want to be a cheapskate here, but this just seemed out of line to me.
    • They have a “small plate” menu, but we all had main courses. One diner had the Kobe steak, and she loved it. Another had a roasted chicken, and her impression was that it was “okay.” A third diner had the cobb salad. He said he ordered this based the menu description that promised lobster, but he said it was mostly lettuce. I had a duck dish that I thought was kind of on the icky side– far too sweet, odd chunks of meat, and, inexplicably, it included white bread toast. So one for four.
    • We all split a desert, some kind of hazelnut torte thing, and that was pretty tasty.
    • The service was, well, earnest I suppose, but it was pretty slow, and this on a night where the place was pretty empty.
    • So the verdict from me is this is a good place to go and get a glass of wine (and maybe a desert) after you eat someplace else.

    Apparently, Isocrates was not a sports fan

    Lillian Bowles posted this quote on the wpa-l mailing list from one of my favs of the ancients, Isocrates:

    “Many times have I wondered at those who first convoked the national assemblies and established the athletic games, amazed that they should have thought the prowess of men’s bodies to be deserving of so great bounties, while to those who had toiled in private for the public good and trained their own minds so as to be able to help also their fellow-men they apportioned no reward whatsoever, when, in all reason, they ought rather to have made provision for the latter; for if all the athletes should acquire twice the strength which they now possess, the rest of the world would be no better off; but let a single man attain to wisdom, and all men will reap the benefit who are willing to share his insight.�

    From Isocrates, Panegyricus, Volume I, p. 121, translated by George Norlin. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP, 1980.

    Yeah, but what smart guy is going to get a bunch of complete strangers in the same place and inspire them to do the wave?

    Interesting article on an IRB Blog (aka, "Human Subjects Review")

    Quite an interesting piece in the January 19 issue of Inside Higher Ed: “Reviewing the Reviewers,” which is an article mostly about a blog called “Institutional Review Blog” started by a George Mason University historian named Zachary M. Schrag. There are a variety of interesting issues that strike me here.

    • This blog that Schrag has set up is actually pretty interesting for a whole bunch of different reasons (though, I will admit, they are all pretty academic reasons). And Schrag is clearly not some crackpot, either.
    • When I was in my Ph.D. program, I took a course that was specifically about research methodologies like this that involve subjects. As far as I can tell, I was the only one of the students in that class who a) went through the official channels at BGSU for getting my study approved, and b) did something vaguely quantitative. Interestingly enough, that’s the only Ph.D. -level course I took where I got a B.
    • In part because of problems with this sort of review, I quite purposefully decided to do a project that did not involve people because I didn’t want to deal with the paperwork. Things worked out for me fine, though it does make one wonder….
    • In my experience, this sort of review (which at EMU is referred to as “Human Subjects Review”) varies tremendously from institution to institution, and even within the institution. At EMU, I think the process is relatively painless, I suppose because we aren’t a “Research I” with a medical school or something like that. Of course, I’ve only put myself through this review process once or twice.
    • Speaking of which: one of my many “to do” list items is putting together the paperwork for review of my blogs as writerly spaces project….

    Some assembly required….


    Originally uploaded by steven_d_krause.

    I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, but I’ve been distracted by pesky things like work, life, etc.


    I ended up spending up quite a bit of the MLK holiday assembling various products. Because, after all, what else was Dr. King talking about other than putting together various consumer goods?

    The first project was the result of a Christmas present from the Wannamaker grandparents, a Star Wars lego model that had (I shit you not) over 1,000 pieces, and mostly itty-bitty pieces, too. The second was an Ikea purchased kitchen island/cutting board sort of table/station.

    A bit about this second project: essentially, our dishwasher (one of those deals that hooked up to the kitchen sink via a hose and such– that is, it wasn’t built-in) died. Since we’re likely to move in about a year or so, it didn’t seem to make a lot of sense to go out and buy a new dishwasher. So we decided to buy a piece of furniture that would replace the dishwasher’s duel function as a counter top, that would add shelving, and that we could take with us.

    Ikea, as I am sure most of you know, is a wonderful wonderful place for a wide variety of consumer good needs. Indeed, I found it kind of bizarre that they had a couple of model home set-ups where everything (including the flooring!) were things you could buy in that store. I suspect you could point to one of these rooms, say “I’ll take one of those,” and have the whole thing loaded into a truck that you could take home.

    In any event, it was loads of fun to visit the store, and we were pleased with our lunch (and you see in the picture at the top here of Will and I enjoying some Swedish meatballs) and our purchases.

    I know that Will and I made several mistakes with this Star Wars walker thing– we had both extra pieces and missing pieces. But it still looks pretty cool:

    Star Wars Walker

    By the way, this is about 18 inches or so tall.

    The second piece was the more utilitarian Ikea hunk of furniture:

    How to compare these pieces? Well, in many ways, the furniture was dramatically easier to put together than the lego project. I mean, the lego thing took days to finish and involved at least 100 “steps,” maybe more. On the other hand, putting together the cutting board thing involved a couple of rather physically demanding steps– well, demanding for someone like me who a) didn’t have the right tools in the first place, and b) is a whimp.

    I’m sure we’ll enjoy both of these things for a while, so I guess it was an MLK weekend well-spent. Though I’m not sure what one actually does with a lego star wars walker….

    I wonder if Mashup Camp is for me?

    Via Anne 2.0,I learned this morning a bit about something called Mashup Camp. Truth be told, I found this rather indirectly on Anne’s blog since her entry is mostly about getting to the airport.

    After being sucked into the title, I quickly have learned that Mashup Camp is not for me. Probably. This is much more of a computer programmer/software developer kind of affair, and not so much about content. It certainly doesn’t seem to be about education. Of course, maybe this is something these people could use at this conference….

    Beyond all that, one thing I very much like is the use of a wiki for providing content about the conference itself. Just a little hunting around here reveals some “about” info, the layout of the conference, schedules, sponsors, etc., etc., and also some links to the mashup pieces of software that are subject of the conference. A good use of a wiki for sure.

    Begin Snarky Comment Of course, the CCCCs has this awesome blog… End Snarky