Apple’s Failed Initiatives

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Nowdays people think Apple can do no wrong. After their hits with iPods, Powerbooks, and the like they are certinaly at the top of their game and enjoy tremendous mind-share especially with audio players and usable computers.

But few people know about the products Apple made that didn’t really do very well. The “dreck” if you will of Apple products.

Unless you had an 8-bit computer you probably won’t remember the LISA which came out in the early 1980s. This one failed because it cost $10,000 at the time ($19,000 in 2005 dollars). Who want’s to pay that?

I already know some of you are going to flame me about the Newton. I can hear it now “That was like the coolest thing ever man! Way before it’s time man! I still have one man!” But, let’s be honest, it was before its time and was unsuccesful.

I bet you didn’t know that Microsoft wasn’t the first computer company to try and break into the game console market. Yep, Apple beat the XBox to market by 6 years with a fabpoopilous device called the Pippin.

Apple’s version of AOL. Enough said.

Just so everyone knows, I love Apple. I wish I had a MacBook Pro running that cooler than cool OS X. But I can’t afford one. I long for one, however, so if anyone wants to give me one I’ll gladly accept it!

By the way, Wikipedia has a list of other failed Apple initiatives that you can read at your own leasure.

New Sidebar Section: I’m Currently Reading

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People are always asking me what I’m reading. I’ve been thinking about adding something to my blog about the books I’m reading but I never quite figured out how to do what I want. (What I want is a database that would record the start and end date, the title and author of the book. It would also include an easy-to-use interface to update the information in my blog and link to view the history so one could view a list of all the books).

So in the mean time I’ve just modified my template on the sidebar (located to the right of the posts) just below the search function.

So there you have it–the books I’m currently reading.

Memorial Day Weekend BBQ

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I wanted to BBQ yesterday but the weather just didn’t cooperate. I shouldn’t complain, because the weather (rainy) got me out of doing a buttload of yard work that my wife wanted me to get done.

But today around noon it looked like it was going to clear up so I fired up the old Neu Braunfels smoker and threw in a pork shoulder to slow smoke some pulled pork later today. This is my first BBQ this year.

Then it rained. Then it rained again. Currently it is not raining and my pork is cooked and I’m just letting it sit in open smoke at around 210 degrees for a while to penetrate the flavor.

I’ve always put a container of apple juice or water in the bottom of the smoker to keep the meat moist but nothing keeps the meet moist like wrapping it up in aluminium foil. This time, I didn’t even bother with the liquid in the bottom I just wrapped up the pork shoulder in foil and it it nice and juicy. I suppose I could have put it in a brine if I had thought about it, but I didn’t, and I didn’t. Nevertheless, it turned out well.

I’m smoking with Oak today with a little Mesquite here and there. Where did I get that much Oak? It’s left over from when I re-floored the front two rooms a couple of years ago. It’s sad that I’m burning grade A 3/4 inch finishing oak but I couldn’t do anything else with it.

My favorite wood to smoke with is Hickory. I just like the smell and flavor.

Pretty soon here I’m going to get a good hot fire going and I’m going to sear some New York Strip steaks for Erin and I and put tube steaks on for the kids.

We’ll see how it goes.

Ode to Drew Allan Kaplan

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Not many people know who Drew Allan Kaplan is but in the 1980s and before he was practically a one-man show getting hot items direct from China and selling them at discount prices to the fine people in the USA. He was, in my mind, one of the pioneers of importing items from China ranking him right up there with Art Vandaly.

His company was named DAK, which were Drew’s initials and he not only scouted the items, but he took the pictures of the products for the catalog and wrote the copy. One thing was for sure, he really had tested and played with every item he sold. Not having met Drew personally I would be safe in saying that he likes computers, audiophile equipment and freshly-baked bread.

The first time I ever saw a stereo equalizer was in his catalog–an item that even today almost no one has with their home stereo or theater. The first automatic bread maker I found in his catalog (and am the proud owner of through a gift from a relative). The very first portable CD player I ever saw ANYWHERE I bought for about $150 (I think) back in 1984 (again I’m guessing). The fact that someone could own a CD player for less than $300 was incredible let alone the fact that it was portable! By the way, I still have that CD player and it still works.

My good friend, Shawn, had an infrared remote control watch from DAK that he could use to turn two things on and off with his watch. It was better than the Clapper!

Unfortunately, Drew had some financing issues and in the 1990s the company went belly-up, much to my sorrow. Drew still has a website, created in the same style as his famous catalogs at He really doesn’t sell anything anymore and I don’t think the site has been updated in years, but at least it’s still there.

If anyone has any stories or thoughts they would like to share about DAK, I would be happy to hear them. Leave them in the comments.

Drew, although we never met I consider you my friend and, had you been in High School with me I’m sure you would have been good friends with Shawn and myself. Drew, rock, rock on!

Audio Book Rentals

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I listen to a lot of audio books. I borrow them from the library but lately I’ve started to run out (of good books to listen to). I realized it was time to look elsewhere and, yes, pony up some money. So in searching through different services that rent audiobooks I came across a site that lists the different companies,

In the end I went with BooksFree because of their good Science Fiction section and the fact that they provide audio books in MP3 format as well as conventional CD. I was sure that I could handle the “checkout 1 book at a time” but I get the book in the mail, listen to it that same day or the next, then spend another 5 days sending it back and waiting for the next one. I think I’m going to have to upgrade to the 2-at-a-time package for five bucks more.

But it’s been pretty good so far. And I don’t have to go to the library and I can listen on my MP3 player instead on that 1st generation portable CD Player I bought from DAK in 1984 (and cost me $150 than you very much!)

While I’m on the subject, why in the heck are audio books so damn expensive? I mean, it is just a book in another form why do they cost so much more? For those who don’t know a typical paperback book costs, what, $7 to $10. The hardback version costs about $20-$25. But the audio book on CD runs about $60-$70! Don’t even tell me that CDs cost more becasue, in mass, we all know they cost just a few cents each. Sure the fifth Harry Potter book has 26 audio CDs in it but, comeon, that’s like about $5.00 maybe $10? I bought the hardback version at Costco for something like $18 but those precious CDs cost $70! I do love Jim Dale but come on… it’s a rip in the shorts! (I just want everyone to know that I’ve bought all the Harry Potter books both in book and in audio formats). But no one can explain why audio books are so much more. Seriously, what a scam. I’m sure the RIAA is involved somehow, dastards that they are.

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