Courtesy of Dunkin Donuts – Manchester, NH

“I think it’s ridiculous that you can’t watch a movie without seeing sex, nudity or extreme violence. I don’t understand why they’re trying to keep that in there.”

Those were the words of Daniel Thompson, founder of Clean Flicks, the Utah company that sanitized Hollywood movies for people who want all of their thinking done for them. Major directors, such as Steve Spielberg, sued Clean Flicks for rampant copyright violation (you can’t paint underpants on Michelangelo’s David for example).

Well, it now seems that Puritanical entrepreneur Daniel Thompson is in BIG TROUBLE – lots more trouble than when he was convicted for selling unregistered securities a few years back. Authorities believe that Clean Flicks was a front for a pornography studio and that Daniels had solicited sex from 14 year-old girls (after all, they’re not old enough to watch “Saving Private Ryan”). The girls were also asked to appear in one of his movies. Authorities say that Daniels paid two 14 year-old girls $20 for oral sex for himself and a friend. A 16 year-old girl helped Daniels recruit underage “talent.” There is reason to believe that he tried to get girls intoxicated as well.

A former employer who fired Danies from managing a clothing store said, “He was always talking about fighting Hollywood for the good of the children.” Touching stuff!

The Daily Herald newspaper also reports the following:

Thompson also was founder and former member of Truth in Politics, a group started in 2006 purportedly to expose the people behind anonymous political attacks. The idea for the group was conceived at Thompson’s former CleanFlicks dealership in Orem.

Daniels is the latest moralistic scold to be exposed as a jerk. He joins Hypocrite Hall of Fame members Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Bob Livingston, Henry Hyde, Newt Gingrich, Rudolph Giuliani and Rush Limbaugh. Unlike the others, Daniels faces serious jail time.

Teach your kids to run away from men who lecture your family on how to behave.


In tonight’s non-binding Florida Democratic Party, one million VOTERS may have cast their ballot for Senator Clinton.

Keith Olbmermann, Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough on MSNBC made all sorts of juvenile snarky remarks about what they view as Clinton’s phyrric victory. They talked over her speech and cut away in the middle of it so they could tell the country that a million votes and substantial victory over Senator Obama do not matter.

CNN didn’t broadcast Clinton’s speech at all. This is inexcusable!

It’s not as if the windbags on the cable news networks have lots of Britney Spears stories to discuss. They each dedicate hour upon hour to Florida Primary coverage.

In case you are wondering how one million votes cannot matter. Here is a synopsis…

Last spring, the Florida Republican Governor and Legislature decided to violate party rules and move the state presidential party from March until January in order to have a greater impact on the process. Both parties threatened to decertify the primaries, but only the Democrats decided to play by their established rules. Therefore, Florida delegates are not supposed to be seated at the Democratic convention, thereby making the primary a straw poll rather than delegate-awarding primary.

All of the Democratic candidates promised not to campaign in Florida, yet Barack Obama broke that pledge and ran frequent commercials across the state (more here & here). I personally saw them last week while working in Florida.

Sure, I wish that Senator Clinton was not asking for the Florida delegates to count now that she won. The voters of Florida should sue to reclaim their franchise. However, since her opponent is getting so much favorable press and so clearly broke the party rules regarding campaigning in Florida, Clinton had very little choice, but to give voice to the wishes of the electorate who chose her by a huge margin.

One would think that an activist with a commitment to civil rights, like Senator Obama would 1) play by electoral rules and not run expensive commercials across Florida and 2) fight to make sure that the votes of Floridians count.

By the way, not one pundit pointed out that Senator Clinton’s Florida thank you speech was made without the need for the TelePrompTer relied upon by Senator Obama.

*****
Read more about the Florida Primary mischief at www.makeitcountflorida.com

PS: Rudolph “9/11″ Giuliani (who came in 3rd in his must-win primary) just said that he ran a “positive uplifting campaign.” Those TV commercials featuring the attack on the World Trade Center didn’t seem uplifting to me. MSNBC is running Rudolph Giuliani’s entire speech. I guess losers deserve more respect.

Tough guy Rudy just got choked up when he said, “Reagan.” The biggest loser just came out for school choice (including home schooling and parochial schools too). Great stuff!

This just in! MSNBC cut away from Guiliani (we’ll have to wait for whether he stays in or quits like he did when Hillary Clinton won her Senate seat). They cut away for the Great Rudy for 2nd place Romney’s speech. That must really sting.

Romney just said that America is competing against “countries like Asia and India.” Perhaps Obama can lend Mitt his TelePrompTer?

A mobile US Post Office parked in front of Zabar's in Manhattan.

Each day it parks in a different location.

Who knows? Perhaps in the future, services will come to you :-)

Stephen Colbert, Ambassador Andrew Young, Malcolm Gladwell and a gospel choir sing a rousing spiritual on behalf of striking WGA writers in celebratin of Dr. King’s birthday.

Fact, fiction, history, comedy, civil rights, satire and social justice all come together in one bizarre, yet entertaining package.

Watch clips here

In preparation for Educon 2.0, please use this tool to create a graphical metaphor for teaching and learning.

Don’t be a digital tuber!

First of all, there seems to be some confusion regarding the governance of the MacWorld Expo. Apple Computer does NOT run the conference. They are a paying vendor, just like all others. Therefore, if your badge was not ready or you waited 3 hours to get into Steve Jobs’ keynote without the line moving an inch, it is NOT Apple’s fault. Blame IDG, the company that produces MacWorld.

A wise person once said, “No matter what it says on your business card, you’re in sales.”

If this is the case, then my two days at MacWorld Expo generate reason for concern about the future of our economy.

Sure there were plenty of iPod doo-dads, screen protectors and USB drives shaped like Yul Brenner, but it was remarkably difficult, at times impossible, to actually make a purchase. Worse yet, receiving an intelligible response to a question asked of a vendor was excruciating and frustrating.

I am not talking about the companies who hire attractive women to dispense booth-side beer. I don’t expect them to provide technical support.

I do expect companies to employ folks for booth demos with communication skills, properly installed software and some knowledge of how the product works.

When I take out my credit card to purchase an item being sold to me I expect:
1) They have stock of the actual product they are selling me
2) They can work a credit card machine
3) They can make change when I agree to take a less desirable color and not use a credit card
4) I am not asked to come back in a little while, if the corporate representative cannot define “while”
5) They don’t wait on 174 other people before completing my transaction

On several occasions I wished to purchase an exciting new product and the booth representative told me to go to a vendor selling that item on the show floor. Upon reaching that reseller, I was informed that the product isn’t even shipping yet.

One representative of LaCie told me that I could buy one of their drives immediately while the colleague next to them told me that the product was not shipping yet. Can you folks please have a meeting before the show?

One of my favorite companies, Griffin Technology, sent me on a similar wild goose chase in which I failed to surrender moolah. Incidentally, Griffin’s new Evolve Wireless Sound System for iPod, was one of the most impressive products I saw at MacWorld.

I attempted to purchase two sets of RAM and two internal hard drives from OtherWorld Computing. This required an elaborate process involving:

1) Go to one counter, complete order form and receive claim check from one employee
2) Wait on line at cash register
3) An employee gathers and bags your order
4) You pay for the order

After navigating this consumer obstacle course, I realized that they did not charge me for the two drives. I then had to wait several minutes for two people in line ahead of me telling their life stories to another employee before I was granted the privilege of surrendering another $300. That earns me good karma, correct?

Well, not so fast. Upon returning home, I realized that they only sold me one order of RAM in two packages. Therefore, I now have to call the company back and do even more business with them.

I suppose that one of the first tenets of sales technique is “Don’t make the customer feel stupid.” Well HP, you failed. I have been severely inconvenienced by my HP scanner inoperability since Mac OS Leopard came out in October. I check the HP web site every week or so looking for the necessary driver updates. I check other web sites as well for news of drivers.

When I went by the HP booth, I first had to find someone who “worked scanners.” I asked, “When will there be Leopard drivers for the J5780?” and was told first that they don’t produce such a model and then taken to two different computers to look for the drivers he was confident I just hadn’t found.

The HP driver page for my scanner indicated that a software update did exist, but my suspicion was aroused by the fact that it was dated October 2007. I know that there have not been drivers available for that long. Eventually I stumbled upon an HP engineer who said that the drivers had just recently been made available. I’m not a crazy liar after all. Thanks HP!

Since I praised Apple earlier, I will now share an annual pet peeve. Apple’s paranoia regarding secrecy means that their employees frequently know less about the new Apple products than the customers who attended Steve Jobs’ keynote. This is a great disservice to customers and journalists, like myself who are on deadline and have questions that go beyond the name of the new product.

Hey Apple, how about having a meeting on the show floor with your employees before the hall doors open? This way you can answer our questions in an intelligent fashion.

The following questions put to Apple representatives were met with bewilderment, “I don’t know,” “talk to that person over there,” and half-hearted attempts to make up something.

• Does the USB port on the back of Time Capsule allow for external drives to be connected and accessed?

• Is there any way to connect Apple TV to a composite (regular) TV so it may be used in hundreds of thousands of classrooms without them purchasing HD televisions?

• Does the $1,000 solid state drive upgrade for the MacBook Air increase the performance speed of the laptop?

The last question was answered with responses like, “I imagine that it should.”

I spoke to a person who was introduced as an iPhone expert and asked, “When can we expect copy/paste and searchable contacts?” The answer I received was, “We receive a lot of suggestions from customers.” Being able to copy and paste is hardly a cure for cancer. If they can make GPS work on the iPhone, surely making apps behave as they have for 20 years should not be too difficult.

It would also be great if you could design the booth in such a way that customers can actually see the products. It would also be helpful if you had help desks where a few representatives could answer sophisticated questions, rather than making me play 20 questions with dozens of Apple reps. By the 2nd day of MacWorld, Apple personnel had a look of defeat in their eyes and they were of even less assistance than when the show began on day one. Perhaps they’re being overworked, uninformed or under-motivated.

The best customer service I received at MacWorld came from the following companies.

Xtrememac where a mechanical engineer not only did an enthusiastic and expert job of demonstrating new products, he seemed generally interested in our thoughts. They need to hear from educators who need the superb MicroMemo recording peripheral to continue being produced. Incidentally, their new Luna X2 iPod clock radio is a brilliant piece of engineering and design.

VMWare, maker of Fusion – software that allows you to run Windows and other operating systems on your Mac with full drag-and-drop functionality.


Prosoft Engineering
whose data protection and recovery products save my life with all-too-frequent regularity.

Solio – makers of solar-powered recharging devices. I bought one!

Boombags – the one piece of hardware I could not live without. I have used their luggage with integrated speakers, mixer, amplifier and subwoofer for three years all over the world. They keep making the product better too!

Notes from the press room – 4th row!

Time capsule – wireless router and server with hard drive for Time Machine
Airport express – 500 GB/$1000GB drive in Feb ($299/$399)
iPhone SDK in late Feb. for developers
iPhone sold 4 million units – 20% share in 1 qtr.
New iPhone apps – maps with location
Web clips let you pan and zoom a web page and make a button on iPhone menu page. Up to 9 menu pages fully configurable

iTunes
iTunes sold 4 billion songs, 20 million on Xmas day alone
Chapters, subtitles and languages in video + lyrics for music
125 million TV shows sold

New movie rentals
All major studios, 1,000 titles by Feb. Begin playing in less than 30 sec
Start watching within 30 days and then for 24 hours on any of your devices
Watch on computer, put on iPod and hit the airport
$2.99 for old movies, $3.99 for new releases 30 days after DVD release

Apple TV Take Two
Watch any iTunes content on TV without a computer, including podcasts, Flickr and .mac photos
One button rental from Apple TV Take 2
Lots of podcasts in HD
Go to your own or other people’s .mac photo albums with soundtrack or use as screensaver
Movies from .mac galleries may also be accessed from .mac
Recipient of this content doesn’t need a computer
Look at Flickr photos – even those of their contacts/friends
Free software upgrade in 2 weeks for existing Apple TV owners
Price drops from $299 to $229 in 2 weeks
20th Century Fox is putting a digital copy of their movies in their DVD packages.


MacBook Air

Fits in a manilla envelope – world’s thinnest notebook
13.3 inch backlit instant-on display with full size backlit keyboard and multi-touch gestures
Pinch, zoom, change images with the trackpad like the iPhone
Motherboard is smaller than a pencil
80GB 1.8″ HD standard. 60GB solid state HD as option
1.6 GHz Intel core duo standard – 1.8 option
$99 USB2 bus-powered optical drive
Install software wirelessly from another computer via remote desktop
iSight camera built-in, 2 GB RAM, plus MagSafe connector
Recyclable, toxin free aluminum
$1,799 – pre order today, available in 2 weeks

Apple reduces need for hard media with today’s Apple TV, iTunes and MacBook Air

Special musical guest – Randy Newman