Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, December 16, 2021

Amplifying the fatalistic streak that’s already implicit in eco-tourism, more travelers are visiting remote natural landscapes with the idea that it’s pretty much now-or-never:

From the tropics to the ice fields, doom is big business. Quark Expeditions, a leader in arctic travel, doubled capacity for its 2008 season of trips to the northern and southernmost reaches of the planet. Travel agents report clients are increasingly requesting trips to see the melting glaciers of Patagonia, the threatened coral of the Great Barrier Reef, and the eroding atolls of the Maldives, [travel industry trade journal editor Ken] Shapiro said…

What these travelers are chasing may be a modern-day version of an old human impulse — to behold an untrammeled frontier. Except this time around, instead of being the first to climb a mountain or behold a glacier-fed lake, voyagers like the Woodses are eager to be the ones to see things last.

It’s sort of like embarking upon a collector’s quest of the macabre. Imagine the photo slideshow: Here I am standing in front of some Amazonian fauna (that’s now extinct); here I am kneeling on top of Greenlandic tundra (it melted away ten years ago)…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 12/16/2007 09:19:41 PM
Category: Science, Society
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After watching too many television commercials touting Ford’s Sync in-car mobile device communication system, I started to wonder: Given that Sync was designed by Microsoft, is it safe to assume that it wouldn’t play all that nice with Apple’s iPod?

Imagine my surprise to find out that not only does Sync work well with iPods, it actually prefers them over Microsoft’s competing Zune player:

Zune: You connect it, it says “Connected” on the screen just as if you hooked it up to a computer. However, it seems when you play a track, it will read it over the USB and play it through the Sync system itself. If you try to fast forward a track through the Sync system, it goes achingly slow. By achingly, I mean seconds at a time. So if you have a long track, it’s going to take you a long time just to fast forward a few minutes. I thought this was the norm for the Sync system. Then I bought the iPod and used that.

iPod. You connect it, and the screen actually changes. It shows the Ford logo on the screen of the iPod itself, not just a basic generic message. Then I noticed something else too. It actually will load up your current on-the-go playlist if you left one on the iPod before connecting it. The Zune doesn’t support that. Then I tried to fast forward…. the Microsoft Sync system actually uses the iPod to play the track, and then just pumps the audio signal through USB. That means it looks like the fast forward command goes straight to the iPod and plays the track on the iPod, unlike the Zune which seems to just go through the Sync system itself.

So apparently, not even Microsoft’s individual business units (in this case, the Automotive group) want anything to do with the Zune.

Seriously, I’m surprised MS didn’t try to leverage this placement to at least make iPod interfacing buggy, in contrast to a smoother experience with a Zune or other media players. I’m guessing Ford pretty much insisted on no funny business, recognizing the iPod’s ubiquity with the public, including prospective car-buyers.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 12/16/2007 06:55:04 PM
Category: Tech, iPod
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