Well, I signed up for the Darth Vader wake-up call from Target, and at precisely noon on Thursday, I got a call from...some random imperial trooper, saying that "Lord Vader commands" me to go to Target, and that an imperial shuttle would be waiting in the parking lot! What, the Dark Lord himself was too busy to call? Was he canoodling with Heidi Klum? Or maybe he's worried about how next year's movie release will affect his image.
Would like to be woken up by Heidi Klum? How about, er, Darth Vader? If this is your dream, you're in luck. Just go to Target's web site and sign up to get a call from Klum, Lord Vader, or any of several other folks. Target wants you awake and in their stores on Friday for the commencement of the holiday shopping binge.
Friday night Barbara and I were sitting in a coffee shop in Berkeley before the Laurie Andersonconcert when my cell phone rang. I didn't recognize the incoming phone number, but I answered anyway.
Caller: I called to heap praise upon you.
Me: (intrigued) Go for it.
C: 'Do I look Arafat in this coffin?' Brilliant! Your best work.
M: OK. Well, thanks, but I don't know what you're talking about.
C: You have come through again. I called to heap praise upon you.
M: I appreciate that, but I think you have the wrong number.
C: (confused) Huh? What? Oh, I have...oh, wrong number?
M: (thinking maybe I know this guy and he dialed the wrong number from his cell phone) What's your name?
M: (nope, I don't think I know him) Hi Rob, I'm Scott.
C: (embarrassed) Hey Scott. Sorry. Take it easy.
M: OK, bye.
I think it was the Laurie Anderson reality distortion field.
In 1984, Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats got a bunch of musicians together to record a benefit single for African famine relief. I have the "making of" video of "Do They Know It's Christmas?", and I've always been impressed at how they pulled this thing off, songwriting and all, in about 24 hours. The video is lots of fun to watch and features impossibly young people, including Bono, Simon Lebon, and Sting. And I love the song, too.
Now Geldof and Midge Ure have put together an updated version, with lots of folks I haven't even heard of (because they correctly picked young singers, and I'm too old). The song has been recorded and is going to be played tomorrow and put on sale November 29th. Check it out!
A long time ago, in a galaxy very near Mountain View, I worked at a great company called General Magic. We worked with Sony to make a cool little box called the Magic Link (and there were a few others, like the Motorola Envoy). We called it a "personal communicator" because in addition to great PDA features, it did very fancy e-mail using a service built by General Magic and AT & T, sent faxes, and could hook up to your telephone, although it managed to just barely miss on that whole web browsing thing. That's one of the reasons why General Magic isn't around any longer despite terrific people and wonderful ideas.
I was reminded of General Magic this week when I encountered this Magic Cap freeware page. It's full of lots of great software like Timo Bruck's Whack-a-Rabbit game, John Sullivan's Scramble (the one true killer app for Magic Cap), and a custom application for ordering food from La Costeña, a burrito joint in Mountain View. It's instructive to note that while General Magic is long gone, La Costeña is still going strong.
By the way, my wife Barbara has been in love with Magic Cap since she saw it and wrote the first book about it. She still uses her Magic Cap communicator (a DataRover 840) as her PDA, and she refuses to give it up. Anybody else out there still using Magic Cap, or is she the last one?
Congratulations to reader and pal Bryan Stearns on his new gig at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF). Bryan escapes the evil empire...sorry, leaves Microsoft...aargh, I hate it when my Silicon Valley upbringing gets into a fight with my vestigial implant! Anyway, good luck, Bryan, and have fun at OSAF!