Macbook Airs, Android phones and other updates

Cuisinart grind and brew coffee makerI’m in the process of kicking up the activity here and I started by overhauling and updating my “tools of the trade” pages. That’s my attempt to keep a running tally of the hardware and software I’m actually using on a daily basis, a kind of personal “best in class” list.

Read about the too many computers in our house, software and web services I use, printers and peripherals as well as a grab-bag of other hardware ranging from phones and cameras to the favorite coffee maker.

Next on the agenda? Figuring which page should list the iPad. Is it a computer or does it belong in the other hardware category? Maybe a whole new page for mobile devices?

Lion upgrade today? No way

Over on my commentary blog, The Orange View, I’m laying out the case to wait on installing the Mac OS X 10.7 Lion upgrade for a couple of days to let the bugs out: Lions eat guinea pigs for breakfast. Don’t be one.

It’s the same solid advice I gave in one of my very first posts here, back on April 29, 2005:

In the history of personal computers, there is one iron-clad rule: never, ever, no matter what, do not,, no-how, nada, NEVER install an operating system upgrade the day it comes out. Brand new operating system upgrades are for loons, people who use computers mostly to watch the cute screen savers and reviewers who get paid to, in the words of author Jerry Pournelle, do these silly things so you don’t have to.

And it’s still true today.

Narrowing the focus

I changed the tagline on this blog tonight to “Notes on gadgets, software and web services.” That’s because I’ve set up a new blog,, to carry the weight of commentary, analysis and debate on tech issues of the day.

Here, I’ll narrow my focus to reviews and how-to’s, letting you know about the best — and worst — new gadgets, software apps and web services that come my way. Blogging here will still be a once-a-week-ish affair. Posting on TOV is many-times-a-day. Thanks for stopping by.

What a year – more ideas and more clicks

It was another year of growth for the GravitationalPull blog in 2010, with total visits up about 25% to 45,000 and total page views rising 23% to around 54,000 according to Google Analytics. I wrote 45 posts, up slightly from the 42 you got in 2009. As per the last few years, traffic spiked dramatically for just one or two controversial posts. Last year, it was my recent post on switching from an iPhone to the Google Nexus S running Android that sent the visitor count off the charts.

The top 10 posts by traffic in 2010 were as follows:

  1. How to fix a stuck keyboard backlight on a MacBook Pro
  2. Using a new HDMI  Mac Mini with my TV: Early days
  3. Best way to sync Mac and Google contacts? There isn’t one
  4. Find the best Blu-Ray movies ’cause some don’t look so good
  5. Apple’s Time capsule plays nice with Verizon’s FIOS
  6. What it’s really like to switch to the Nexus S Android Phone from an iPhone
  7. Kindle for Mac review: Just the basics
  8. Page: Physics of Gravity
  9. Apple LED Cinema display is the best dock for a MacBook Pro
  10. Google slashes price of online storage vs. Apple, others

(The list excludes my front page which got a total of about 8% of views)

Some of those old 2008 chestnuts are still hanging in, including the simple how-to on unsticking the keyboard backlight and the look at how Time Capsule and FiOS mixed. A couple of my favorites from the year just passed didn’t make the list, particularly “Sexting, your lack of privacy and the iPad” and “How true is The Social Network? Entirely and not at all.” But the revised side column with a list of five of my favorite posts did nothing to attract clicks so I’ll have to revisit that strategy. I think the whole side column here could use a good re-think in 2011.

Thanks should be given to those (beyond the search engines) who sent visitors, led by the useful headlines site, my pal Shabbir Safdar’s personal blog and all of the good ebook folks at

Visitors in 2010 mainly used the Safari and Firefox browsers with Internet Explorer falling to an all-time low market share of under 18%. Chrome showed up at 12%. Surprisingly, Mac and Windows users were equally split at about 46% each. Only about 6% of visitors were on mobile devices, with iPhones and iPads comprising the vast majority. We’ll have to watch the Android trend line because it starts from a low base of 0.49% in 2010.

Just as an aside, the spoof/ego-feeding self-interview I did based on/as an homage to Wafer Baby’s the SetUp interviews, got another 1,000-ish views and 900 or so visitors on its own, thanks largely to Wafer baby adding it to his page of links. And he’s since changed the format — oh well.

Verizon’s stingy 4G Internet pricing and other downers of the week

I had a really busy week at work and I’m just catching up on some of the tech news of the week. None of the stories are positive developments for we the denizens of Internet nation, sadly.

Headline A that caught my attention was Verizon Wireless announcing pricing for its new super-fast, fourth-generation mobile broadband service. I’ve long been a customer of Verizon’s current 3G service, which is more dependable and widespread than the service I get either from AT&T (with my iPhone) or Sprint (with an Overdrive). But for 4G, Verizon has decided to go with data limits that make the service’s super-fast speeds practically useless. They are going to charge $50 a month for 5 gigabytes of data or $80 for 10 gigabytes. As a headline from PC Magazine noted, you can blow through your month’s data allocation in 32 minutes!

I’m slightly surprised by the news, since my 4G-capable Sprint Overdrive costs $59.99 a month for unlimited 4G downloads (though it carries a 5 gigabyte cap when it defaults down to 3G speeds). Supposedly one part of the appeal of mobile 4G networks was relief from overcrowding that hampered 3G networks and required all these onerous bandwidth caps in the first place.

Of course, the Journal’s spin was more upbeat, as they noted that the new 5 gigabyte cap was priced $10 a month less than the old Verizon 3G plans with the same data limits. But since the whole point of getting on a faster 4G plan is to download more, to me, the fact that the cap is the same is a killer. It reminds me of that line from the movie You’ve Got Mail that the purpose of a VCR is to record TV when you leave the house but the whole point of leaving the house is to skip out on watching TV. The reason to get a 4G connection is to download more data but the reason for Verizon’s stingy cap is to prevent you from downloading more.

Things became clearer when the paper explained some of the thinking behind the pricing.

Verizon Wireless is able to offer the five-gigabyte plan at a lower rate than its 3G plan because it costs less to deliver that wireless traffic on 4G, Chief Technology Officer Tony Melone said. But he expects most people to sign up for the high-capacity $80 plan because the higher speeds will lead to more usage.

I don’t know if they’re serious but the market for people who are willing to pay $80 a month for mobile Internet service can probably fit in the front pocket of Tinkerbell’s blouse. I mean, really. The fact that 4G is fast enough to replace wired home broadband connections for many people — like those millions sold by Verizon — might explain some of the pricing strategy.

Another downer this week came from broadband provider Level 3. The company just grabbed the contract to send Netflix customers streamed movies and TV shows. But Comcast, which is now the largest retail broadband provider, is demanding some mega-payments to allow Level 3 to send Netflix streams to Netflix customers who use Comcast.

The debate quickly descends into some pretty technical historical details of the connections among different kinds of Internet and broadband service providers. But suffice it to say that if Comcast can price Level 3’s Netflix customers away from NetFlix, they’ve gone a long way to protect their lucrative cable television franchise. Hmm, sensing a theme yet?

The back and forth prompted law professor Susan Crawford to cut through the crap and get to the point with some painfully pointy rhetorical questions.

The takeaway from today: No market forces are constraining Comcast – or any of the other major cable distributors, none of which compete with each other. How will consumers and innovation be protected from their machinations? The FCC is currently facing two defining moments in US telecommunications policy, and it’s unclear what the Commission is going to do in either case. Will the FCC act to relabel high-speed Internet transmission services, reversing the radical Bush-era deregulatory turn? Will the FCC block the Comcast/NBCU merger? Can we expect that anything will happen (at all) to ensure that local monopoly control over communications transport isn’t leveraged into adjacent markets for devices and content?

What will the legacy of the FCC be, as the looming cable monopoly stops looming and starts muscling levers into place?

Finally, whatever you think about Wikileaks and its controversial founder Julian Assange, the way big Internet companies have reacted scares some free speech and civil rights advocates. Dan Gillmor, writing for Slate, warns that online, the censors are scoring big wins. Internet hosting and address companies booted Wikileaks out so quickly and so cavalierly that Gillmor worries for the future when we all depend more and more on information stored in the “cloud.”

The WikiLeaks affair is highlighting the Internet’s soft underbelly: the intermediaries on which we all rely to store our information and make it available. We are learning, to our dismay, that we cannot trust them. Combine that with increasing government intervention, we’re also learning that the Internet is somewhat easier to censor than we’d assumed.

This should worry anyone who believes that we’re going to move our data and online lives into the fabled “cloud” — the diffused online array of hardware and services where, proponents say, we can do our online work, play and commerce without the need for storing data on our own personal computers. Trusting the cloud is becoming an act of faith, and it’s time to question that faith.

And that’s it for GravitationalPull dot net today. Hopefully, cheerier postings ahead.

Free Kindle apps getting magazines, lending coming too

I’m not sure what Kindle whiners are going to have left to whine about by next year (well, yes I do, DRM, but I digress…). Some big news emerged on Amazon’s Kindle discussion board the other day.

First, the Kindle team revealed that you’re soon going to be able to read electronic newspapers and magazines on any of the various Kindle apps. Right now, you can only read subscriptions on a hardware Kindle. That’s going to be huge in establishing Kindle’s position as the leading e-reading ecosystem. Many is the time I have wished to read a New Yorker article on my iPhone but my Kindle subscription won’t go there. The post explains:

“Our vision is Buy Once, Read Everywhere, and we’re excited to make this possible for Kindle periodicals in the same way that it works now for Kindle books. More details when we launch this in the coming weeks.”

In addition to being a great feature, this goes right to the heart of a common misunderstanding of the Kindle ecosystem. Amazon is running both the hardware reader business and the e-bookstore business as separate, money-making operations. It’s not a razor blades and razors business.

The second big change sounds great but will likely be less great in practice. Starting soon, you will — in theory — be able to lend out ebooks you’ve bought to anyone else who has a Kindle acount. Loans last for 14 days and you can’t read an ebook during the period you’ve loaned it out, obviously.

Why great only in theory? Amazon has to give publishers a say in whether the lending feature will be available on any particular ebook. Based on how few ebooks support Kindle’s read-out-loud feature, I’m guessing most major publishers will be hitting the “no lending” button all the while continuing to spout off about the value of books. Blech. They’d have a lot more credibility if they treated customers with respect and offered the same economic bargain available with print books, including lending and resale rights.

Most popular and favorite posts of the year here


Another year is in the books, so here’s a quick look back at some highlights of the last 12 months of posts at the Gravitational Pull dot net blog. I was proud to see that total page views doubled in 2009 from the prior year to about 44,000 and total visitors also doubled to about 36,000. The growing audience came even as the total number of posts shrank by more than half to just 42.

My top 10 most-read posts during 2009 (not necessarily written in 2009) as measured by Google Analytics were:

1. How to fix stuck keyboard backlight on Macbook Pro
2. God is god: Ron Moore’s most excellent end for BSG
3. Stay away from Circuit City’s bogus “sale”
4. Apple’s Time Capsule Plays nice with Verizon’s FIOS
5. Verizon Mifi connects laptops, iPods, whatever to broadband
6. Page: Physics of Gravity
7. Reading Infinite Jest on Kindle
8. Amazon Kindle competitor eReader slashes ebook prices
9. Best way to sync Mac and Google contacts? There isn’t one
10. Mac users should stick with online backup Mozy

(The list excludes my front page, which got about 10% of total views for the year.)

No surprise that the simple how-to on unsticking the keyboard backlight written in September 2008 is my most popular feature. That’s the kind of thing that search engines spit out to endless queries from frustrated users all the time. The Time Capsule-FIOS post is also a vintage 2008 inclusion.

It’s a credit to my friend Shabbir Safdar that my ruminations on the last episode of Battlestar Galactica came in second. His post linking to mine sent over about 75% of the traffic, and continues to send a steady stream of 3 to 5 visitors a day. Amazing. Also, many thanks must go to a couple of aggregation blogs that sent a lot of traffic my way led by the irreplaceable and super- comprehensive Thanks!

I’m glad to see such a mix of topics and post styles in the top 10. In addition to a couple of how-to’s and a couple of reviews, there are also a few of my newsier posts and some cranky ones, too.

There’s also a lesson about the power of domain names. The phrase contained in my domain name obviously is most directly associated with physics and gravity and all that. So I get a fair number of hits every year from key word searchers hoping to find out why the moon orbits the earth, how fast you’d get sucked into a black hole and so forth. I created a fixed page for those visitors and it’s on the top 10 list every year.

A different way to view the year is by my favorite posts of the year, regardless of traffic. Here’s my list:

1. God is god: Ron Moore’s most excellent end for BSG
2. Reading Infinite Jest on Kindle
3. Best way to sync Mac and Google contacts? There isn’t one
4. Apple gives stage to overpriced ebook developer Scrollmotion
5. Nook Delays: Why Barnes & Noble hates its customers
6. The messy, the missing and the mistakes: Adventures in iTunes Plus upgrading
7. Too many black boxes, too many power cords
8. Stay away from Circuit City’s bogus “sale”
9. Page: Messing with and canned

And since my traffic-based top 10 includes some 2008 posts, I’ll throw in one on my hand-selected list, from November 2008, that I’m still quite proud of:
10. Facebook isn’t a web site (or a spaceship), it’s a time machine

A couple of other fun stats for the year included that 51% of visitors were on machines running Windows, 44% Mac, 2% iPhone and 2% Linux. Browser usage was a little more varied, with 35% for Firefox, 35% for Safari, 23% for Internet Explorer and 4% for Chrome. Visitors mostly came from the United States followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany and India.

Hope your 2009 was fun and see you around in the year to come!

Nook Delays: Why Barnes & Noble hates its customers

features_einkv4Back in October, when Barnes & Noble finally took the wraps off its Nook E-Reader, I expected to see David Pogue, Walter Mossberg and the whole rest of Gadget World publish their reviews within a few days. After all, Barnes & Noble was happily taking customer orders (and customer money) on their web site. At that point almost no one had seen the Nook except at the press conference. Barnes & Noble was promising early orders would be in customers’ hands within a month and working models would be in stores soon.

But then nothing happened. There were no reviews. There were no working models in stores. There were no units delivered to customers. October turned to November. November turned to December. And only now, fully seven weeks since the Nook was introduced and no doubt after tens or even hundreds of thousands of pre-orders, has Barnes & Noble put working Nooks in its stores and, more importantly, handed out review copies.

And the reviews are pretty savage. Here’s just a smattering:

Overall, after testing the Nook for about a week, I don’t think it’s as good as the Kindle, at least not yet. At launch, the Nook has the feel of a product with great potential that was rushed to market before it was fully ready. –Walter Mossberg

Those missing features are symptoms of B&N’s bad case of Ship-at-All-Costs-itis. But the biggest one of all is the Nook’s half-baked software. To use the technical term, it’s slower than an anesthetized slug in winter. And it’s buggy. –David Pogue

I’m glad I didn’t pre-order. Disappointed, but glad. If the Sony Daily Edition or the mythical Apple Tablet can’t top this, then I’ll just stick with my Sony 300 and iPhone ’til things have had a chance to mature. Being a gadget hound isn’t all that fun if the gadgets don’t behave to function… –Jean Kaplansky on TeleRead

If Gadget World had its own justice system, B&N would be tried and convicted of heinous abuse of its customers and sentenced to years of solitary confinement. So does Barnes & Noble hate its customers or what?

And just to throw one more log on the fire roasting the Nook, before you buy a Nook be sure to check out the comparison Inkmesh did of ebook prices. Out of some 11,604 ebook prices they checked on a handful of sites, Amazon had the lowest price by itself on 3,263 and tied for the lowest price on another 5,329. B&N had the lowest price on a whopping 463 and matched low prices on 4,837. Sony was by far the worst, showing the lowest price just 18 times and matching low prices only 423 times.

N.B. Thanks, as always, to the excellent Teleread blog for linking to all the reviews and generally keeping us up-to-date on all things e-bookish.

With growing Apple tablet excitement, misguided Kindle whining returns

imagesWe’re coming up fast on the 2nd anniversary of the introduction of  Amazon’s Kindle e-reader. Yet despite the many improvements and price cuts in KindleWorld, we’re still subject to the same weird, off-base complaints we first heard back before anyone even had even gotten their hands on one. Recently, my favorite Mac guru, John Gruber, and my favorite, favorite curator of interesting web matter, Jason Kottke, offered their own takes of the same-old, same-old. The usual quality of these fellows’ writing makes their anti-ereader rants all the more puzzling. Gruber’s most recent post was very short, though it’s hardly his first¹. Here’s Kottke at greater length:

But all these e-readers — the Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, et al — are all focused on the wrong single use: books. (And in the case of at least the Nook and Kindle, the focus is on buying books from B&N and Amazon. The Kindle is more like a 7-Eleven than a book.) The correct single use is reading. Your device should make it equally easy to read books, magazine articles, newspapers, web sites, RSS feeds, PDFs, etc. And keep in mind, all of these things have images that are integral to the reading experience. We want to read; help us do it.

His final point – no good rendering of images – is at least a fair criticism given the lack of color e-ink screens. But the rest is more than a bit off. Mind you, we don’t even really know what the user experience will be like on the Nook or Sony Daily Edition.

Even if you grant Kottke his weird premise that book reading shouldn’t be the primary focus of ereaders², he’s still missing the target, particularly for the Kindle. It’s incredibly easy and pleasing to read magazine articles, blogs, miscellaneous web postings, RSS feeds and PDFs on my Kindle DX. I subscribe to The New Yorker and love how it gets delivered Sunday nights with all the stories and tidbits and even the CARTOONS. I regularly use the included browser and FREE mobile 3G access to read RSS feeds on the mobile version of Google Reader. There’s also the much-loved Kindlefeeder service, though I don’t use it personally.

And have I somehow not raved enough about how incredibly useful Instapaper‘s “Send to Kindle” feature is? Well, some but clearly not enough. Super short version: Find a long article or posting on the web you want to read later on your Kindle. Hit your “Read later” bookmarklet. Turn on your Kindle. That’s it. Brilliant. B-R-I-L-L-I-A-N-T. And p.s. Instapaper (and Tumblr) developer Marco Arment, in his own post shooting down Kottke, mentions that he’s about to unveil a “much better version” real soon now.

So I guess the question is why are they so off? Sure, there’s been a lot of hype around the new Nook and Sony’s revamped ereader line-up and hype naturally draws a backlash. But I think the deeper answer is the rumored, imminent Apple tablet which some people think will slay Kindle and Nook and all their single-focused brethren. It seems like some usually bright commentators have been fixating on how great the tablet will be that they have already decided that it’s is a “Kindle Killer.” And since the tablet is still vaporware, with exact pricing and features unknown, that precognition is seeping out into general dissing of the current crop of ereaders. Too bad, because taken on their own terms, ereaders are a great product. And they’re best suited for avid readers who buy a lot of books and sometimes read on the go. That’s likely not as many people as own iPods or cell phones, but its multiple tens of millions of people.

Prior coverage:

Apple still isn’t going to kill Amazon’s Kindle, or any other ereader (9/12/2009)

Instapaper’s instantly useful for sending articles to Kindles (3/17/2009)

The Kindle is for readers, the Kindle is for readers (6/20/2008)


¹Gruber’s been wrong about the Kindle since Day One: “After chewing it over all day, I’ve concluded that Amazon’s Kindle is going to flop.” He also pointedly disagreed with my more optimistic view that day.

²I’m not a big fan of the “what about my needs” school of product criticism.

Apple still isn’t going to kill Amazon’s Kindle, or any other ereader

jobsSteve Jobs’ latest mouthing off about the market for electronic books and dedicated ereader devices like the Amazon Kindle has sparked the usual conflagration of comments, interpretations and predictions. Some are way off-base, others quite savvy. But after seeing a bit on Techcrunch claiming that everyone was misinterpreting Jobs, it seems like some further clarity is needed. Top Apple folks like Jobs sometimes speak less than honestly about the company’s views and intentions. But in this case, Jobs was just stating the obvious and getting in a few digs at Amazon. There’s still not going to be an Apple-branded ebook business and Apple’s still not going to “kill” the Kindle.

So where to start? The story really begins back in January, 2008, when Jobs first commented publicly about the Kindle. But let’s go in reverse chronological order, starting with the goofy Techcrunch post by MC Siegler:

Basically, most people are interpreting what Jobs said about eBook readers to mean that Apple plans to completely stay away from the market. But that’s not actually what Jobs said at all…Translation: We’re making a tablet, and eBooks will be a part of those. Jobs isn’t saying Apple isn’t interested in eBooks, he’s saying that Apple isn’t interested in making a stand-alone eBook reader.

I’m always a little suspect when someone claims to be refuting what “most people” are saying without identifying or linking to any of these supposed people. In fact, for the past three years or so, the question has never much been whether Apple would make a single-purpose, dedicated ereader device (Astute commenter Rex Hammock notes that there was such a debate in mid-2006 over an Apple patent filing but that predates the release of both the Kindle and the Sony Reader). The argument has always been over whether Apple would start selling ebooks on its own out of the iTunes Store, in its own proprietary format, as it does for music and movies. That would require Apple to negotiate directly with book publishers, as it does with the major record labels and Hollywood studios. So here’s what Jobs actually said¹ to Times’ reporter David Pogue the other day:

“I’m sure there will always be dedicated devices, and they may have a few advantages in doing just one thing. But I think the general-purpose devices will win the day because I think people just probably aren’t willing to pay for a dedicated device. You notice Amazon never says how much they sell; usually if they sell a lot of something, you want to tell everybody.

We don’t see that it’s a really big market at this point. And in the future, the more general-purpose devices will tend to win the day. I’m not sure that Amazon, as an example, really cares that much about being in the hardware business. If I were Amazon, I’d love selling stuff where I didn’t have to have a warehouse, didn’t need UPS.”

So does this somehow revive the theory, popular at one time, that Apple is about to start its own line of ebooks, one that will be so successful that Amazon would be forced to drop its entire Kindle effort, stranding Kindle customers with a dead format and useless hardware? Not at all. It’s the status quo all over again². Apple will allow others, including Amazon, to offer ebook readers taking a cut of sales when and where it can. There’s almost nothing newsworthy about what Jobs said!

I used to have to argue against this Apple ebook domination theory all over the place but then in March, 2009, Apple allowed Amazon to post a free Kindle-compatible ereader app in the iTunes app store (several less well known ereader apps had already been approved). That’s when people saw the writing on the wall and conceded. Apple was content to allow others to take all the risks, fight all the fights and see if there was a serious market for ebooks.

Jobs recent comments also sound like he was listening back in June when Jeff Bezos told the Times that Amazon planned to make profits from both Kindle devices and Kindle ebooks — that Kindle was essentially in two different markets:

“The device team has the job of making the most remarkable purpose-built reading device in the world,” Mr. Bezos said. “We are going to give the device team competition. We will make Kindle books, at the same $9.99 price points, available on the iPhone, and other mobile devices and other computing devices.”

Apple’s decision to allow others to sell ebooks for the iPhone/iPod Touch platform isn’t inconsistent with Jobs’ January 2008 comments. Like many others (cough – Forrester – cough, cough), Jobs predicted utter failure for the Kindle, also in an exclusive interview with David Pogue:

Today he had a wide range of observations on the industry, including the Amazon Kindle book reader, which he said would go nowhere largely because Americans have stopped reading. “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

Of course, the Kindle didn’t go nowhere and the whole conception was hardly flawed. And in Jobs more recent comments, he’s apparently upgraded his view of the ebook market from “nowhere” to not “a really big market at this point.” Maybe in another year, he’ll concede it’s “almost colossal” or something.

In Daring Fireball-fashion, I have two addendum/footnotes:

¹ As MC rightly points out, David Pogue’s post inrterviewing Jobs was altered from the original, deleting several comments. But the change is irrelevent to the points made here. Pogue cut the following direct quote: “We don’t see that it’s a really big market at this point. And in the future, the more general-purpose devices will tend to win the day. I’m not sure that Amazon, as an example, really cares that much about being in the hardware business. If I were Amazon, I’d love selling stuff where I didn’t have to have a warehouse, didn’t need UPS.” And he replaced it with this summary: “He said that Apple doesn’t see e-books as a big market at this point.”

² Please don’t bring up that story about the new music comic book in the iTunes store to argue that Apple’s getting into ebooks, either. Please. (Update: Internet smartie Rex Hammock brings it up in the comments. Frak! Now I’ll have to take a closer look but I think it’s more like fancy liner notes and digital “extras” to sell music tracks than the future of the next Stephen King novel)

Prior coverage:

Apple gives stage to overpriced ebook developer Scrollmotion (6/9/2009)

Insanely great Kindle on iPhone needs one big improvement (3/4/2009)

Apple will not slay Amazon’s Kindle, not even close (8/20/2008)