Pointless Mac fun

Daring Fireball: WaitingForLoginWindow. To get your very own login window to pop up at any time, go to the Terminal and type /usr/libexec/WaitingForLoginWindow. And enjoy the hilarity. The link at Daring Fireball explains how it works, and how to kill it.

Sound off

I realized the other day, just as I was falling asleep, that I link far too often to official “media” and far too rarely to other bloggers. And I don’t comment on other people’s blogs nearly often enough. And I certainly don’t respond to comments on my own blog very quickly. Which may explain why sometimes I feel like my only audience consists of my friends and the SiteMeter stats page. It’s just that I spend too little time trying to get to know the rest of you. And I know you’re out there.

So, consider this an open thread. If you find this site interesting, and you blog, and you’d like a link, and especially if I haven’t blogrolled you already, please post a comment. (Note: I know part of the problem is that comment links generally fail on my static site. So if all else fails, try commenting here—though you’ll have to register to do so.)

Sleater-Kinney, back and blogging

In happier music news, Sleater-Kinney released their seventh album (wow!) (and their first on Sub Pop) yesterday. In checking out the publicity for the release, I made my way to their official page, where I found the Sleater-Kinney blog. Yep, all three members of the band writing about touring, Revenge of the Sith, breaking feet (get well, Carrie), being interviewed, and other fun stresses of the road. No comments, alas, and no RSS, but it’s definitely a start. Notes on the album when I actually get a chance to listen to it. (I love my new company, but the open floor plan isn’t the most conducive to rocking out.)

Get well, Alan

I somehow missed this, but Low’s Alan Sparhawk wrote on the band’s forum at the beginning of the month that the band has cancelled its shows for May and June (and probably beyond) because he is coping with undiagnosed mental distress, probably depression. As much as it hurts to see someone go through this, I’m really glad that it’s playing out this way and not with a police report, as it did for Elliott Smith. Alan, take all the time you need to get well. We can wait to hear the music.

Schooled by Scoble, and my response

Scoble commented on my piece yesterday on MSN Virtual Earth and gently points out, through a link to the Channel 9 interview with the team behind Virtual Earth, that there’s considerably more to the new offering than following what Google did with Google Maps. I agree; certainly the eagle-eye view is impressive (if not destined for the first release; it would be rude to call it vaporware, though), as are the hybrid view and the UI work. I probably misspoke in calling this a “me-too” release; several of the features are brand-new to the market. I’m not sure that changes the main point I made, though.

Launching a product isn’t just features, it’s time to market. Shimon commented that there’s no question that Microsoft will keep innovating in this space and lap the competition. My question, as in my first post, is what took so long? Certainly the first feature, combining satellite and map in the same interface, is something that Microsoft could have done years ago. But from all appearances it took the arrival of competition for the company to deliver that value to customers.

My point is that the competition is good—for customers, for the company, and for its shareholders. And that brings me dangerously close to a hobbyhorse that I’ve been on and off for a long time. Microsoft can’t be the only company in a space and still deliver maximum value, because it generally does its best work in response to competition. That’s not a reflection on the company’s technical skills but on its great organizational strength: the way it responds to a challenge.