ESC!Webs Blogitorials

Monday, June 27, 2005

Dumb Things Corporations Tell Us #1

Found under Cooking Directions on Kraft's Jack's Naturally Rising Cheese Pizza (found in your frozen food aisle)

"Do Not Eat Pizza Without Cooking." (emphasis Kraft's)

Are we that dumb, that American corporations now have to tell us we should cook our frozen pizzas before eating them?

And, what if I WANT to eat my pizza frozen? Is there some sub-molecular change that occurs in cooking that would make it less dangerous to eat than when it's frozen? I mean, frozen or not, the ingredients are the same ... aren't they?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

"Mike you rock..."

It's not often, at age 38, I get to hear those words -- and as my 5 going on 6 year old daughter ages I'll hear it less and less, only to be replaced with eye-rolling -- but I read just that only a few moments ago. Let me explain....

Earlier this evening I was reading one of my favorite blogs, "The Sneeze", and his post today asked the simple question: "Open up your iTunes and take a look at the "Top 25 Most Played" playlist. What's the #1 song, and more importantly how many times have you relentlessly put it in your ears?"

My answer was that I more often listened to tunes on my iPod but if I opened up iTunes and checked the Top 25 list I have the following as my Top 5:

1. Goodbye Baby Blue - Ray Wilson
2. 15 Beers Ago - Deaf Pedestrians
3. Girl U Want - Devo (Tank Girl Soundtrack)
4. Gotta Get Up from Here - Ellie Lawson
5. If I Can Dream - Elvis Presley

By chance I went back to the page later in the evening and found that "someone" (the handle they used to post) said:

"And Mike you rock one of my close friends is the daughter of one of the members of deaf pedestrians."

As I said, finding out that I still "rock" at my age is a great way to end the evening. Thanks "someone" for making my day!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Virtual Coffee House

In the past few months I've been putting together a plan to offer a new way of spreading the works of ESC! Magazine's contributors to a broader audience. Read on to learn how you can participate!

Introducing "Coffee House to Go."

What is Coffee House to Go? CHTG, an ESC!Cast produced and hosted by the publisher of ESC! Magazine, will be a monthly Podcast of poetry and short fiction read by the original authors, interviews with folks active in the small press community, news from the world of independent literature, audioblogs and, since it's an audio broadcast, a featured song or two from unsigned bands. I expect the length of the shows will vary quite a lot depending on the content, but most shows will be about 20 – 40 minutes long.

In addition to exposing your work to all of our listeners through the show, each Podcast will include (through online shownotes at our website or as part of the show itself) the information needed for listeners to order your poetry, book or CD. So, as a contributor to the Podcast, your work will not only be exposed through your performance but potentially through sales of your small press endeavor as well.

"Umm, excuse me but ... Podcast?? ... Podcasting??"

Podcasting derives its name from the combination of "iPod" and "broadcast" – though a common misconception is that you need an iPod to listen to it. You don't. Podcasts are typically released in the widely used MP3 format which is supported by a wide range of listening devices including many car and home audio systems. I guess a great way to describe a Podcast is to say it's the online equivalent of a radio broadcast – stored at our site for you to “subscribe” to and automatically download on your own schedule. Once downloaded, Podcasts are available for you to listen to at your convenience.

By subscribing to Coffee House to Go and other Podcasts using a program like iPodder or iPodderX, you literally become your own program director!

I've listened to Podcasts covering a wide range of topics from Disney to wine vintages to techie geek shows (okay, mostly techie geek shows). As for literature, I've found Podcasts devoted to science fiction and fantasy as well as a very small handful of Podcasts covering poetry. What I have not found, however, is a Podcast devoted to the broad range of general fiction and poetry that ESC! Magazine publishes.

Ramping Up

As part of getting ready for our first Podcast, I've registered both COFFEEHOUSETOGO.COM and ESCCAST.COM. will take you to where you need to go to subscribe and listen to our show as well as share all the latest information about the show.

At, blog entries will cover the software you'll need to listen to our broadcasts, how to "subscribe" to our site feeds, as well as the best way to record and submit your work to Coffee House To Go.

Becoming a regular contributor to the ESC!Cast blog is easy! Drop me a line with your ideas, articles or other content you think might benefit the Coffee House to Go listeners along with a writing sample and we'll talk.

How To Make Your Content ESC!Cast Friendly?

If you'd like to participate in the Coffee House to Go ESC!Cast, I would love to hear from you! If you've already got a handle on making recordings using your computer and would like to start submitting your work, please feel free to send me your recordings now.

To make the start up of this effort as seamless as possible, I would prefer you make a digtital recording of your work and e-mail it to me in MP3 format (128kbps or higher quality please) or send it to me on CD. I will consider audio tapes as well, but will try my hardest to avoid them at the outset. While there are exceptions to every rule, when faced with works of equal quality, the decision of whether to include a piece that will take just a little effort to use (MP3) or to include a piece that would require an analog to digital conversion before I can use it (tape), I will go with the electronic one every time.

Recordings should be no longer than 10 – 15 minutes. What this means is in most cases you're not going to be able to send me your entire short story. If you can, great! Otherwise plan to excerpt your favorite section from the story and be sure to let me know where people can get the rest if they're interested. If you'd like to serialize it, be sure to divide it so there is a natural break between the installments and I'll run it over a number of Podcasts.

To most effectively promote your chapbook, book or CD, I recommend you make it available to order through the Internet. In general, people are much more likely to make an impulse purchase if they can do it right away rather than having to put the order together in an envelope, stamp it and mail it off to some unknown address. I know I'm that way ... how about you?

Coming Up!

The first show is in production and will be released very soon, but by getting the information out to you now, you'll have time to send content in for our second show.

So tell me what you think of Coffeehouse To Go and the idea of ESC!Casts in general! Leave a comment below or e-mail me directly if you'd like to discuss any ideas you have.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Bruised Apple?

So the big news today is that Apple is going to move from using PowerPC processors to Intel processors - the processors used by every Windows PC out there. And since everyone has been weighing in on this topic over the rumor-filled weekend, I thought I'd throw my hat into the ring as well.

On the whole, I'm not so sure this move is the best Apple could be making at the moment. With the recent push to get more switchers, it seems telling all those folks the new Mac mini or iMac they just bought is not the future of the company is a bad move.

It's true new Apples will not be sold running Windows. They'll be running OSX. The same operating system the Apples run now. The general buying public, however, does not understand the differences between processors or even operating systems, so Apple will have an even tougher row to hoe convincing buyers that the Apple computer running an Intel processor is different than the Dell computer running an Intel processor. On the other hand, the whole GHz to GHz comparison will now be a moot point. You'll literally be able to compare Apples to ... hmmm ... let's go with lemons.

You see, it's not the processor that makes the computer useful, friendly, safe and secure. It's the operating system. And, whether OS X is running on an Intel or a PowerPC, it will still be infinitely more powerful and secure than anything running Windows.

And that's what is really bothering me.

Should Apple decide to make their computers capable of running Windows as well as OS X, we'll have a whole lot of people who slap Windows on it just so that it's "more familiar" rather than run the much better OS X. And then, my friends, the same issues plaguing commodity PC users running Windows today will plague Apple computer users running Windows tomorrow.

Even if Apple says "No way" to running Windows on their hardware - which is unlikely - there will still be some enterprising hacker who gets Windows to run on it anyway.

What should Apple do?

Apple already invests heavily in the open source community. I'd like to see Apple really dump a ton of cash and development time on the WINE project. Wine is an environment for Linux desktop computers that allows them to run Windows applications without running Windows. Cool huh? You bet!

If Apple were to put its development muscle behind the project, they might be able to create a nice, Windows compatibility layer for OS X Leopard on Intel (a la Classic mode in OS X) that would allow folks to go ahead an install most of their Windows applications without needing Windows itself. And then, with that capability, if they further "sandboxed" those apps to keep them from interfering with the core OS, they would have a KILLER combination on their hands!

In the mean time, we have to wait until 2006 to see a bigger glimpse of what Apple has up their sleeve.

*ASIDE: Undoubtedly there are a couple big motivations for Apple to move from the PowerPC platform. One is cost. Intel chips, by the nature of their production volume, are much cheaper to procure than PowerPC chips.

The other is technology. Currently Apple is having trouble bringing their notebook line to the G5 processor and their desktop line to the 3 GHz mark. By moving to Intel, they could achieve this goal right now.

But what does that do to their arguments that the PowerPC processors are superior to the Intel processors? Have they been lying to us this whole time? Definitely not. The PowerPC processor IS better ... for now. But Apple's question to IBM is, where will the PowerPC be in two years? If there is an answer, it's surely one Steve Jobs didn't like.

With all the pros and cons of moving to Intel aside, my question to Apple is, "Who's going to buy a PowerPC Mac in the next 12 months knowing that the Intel Macs are coming out so soon?"