Wired: Kid Robot and the World of Tomorrow. "Kerry Conran spent years rendering retrobots on his home computer. Now his garage blockbuster starring Gwyneth & Jude is hitting the big screen." The cost of video production is coming down, and distribution is being disintermediated by the 'net, just like music. Watch out!
And 2004 is definitely the year of the video blog.
Here's a worthwhile post by Rebecca Ryan: The Front Porch. "What role do porches play in building cool communities? I just moved into an old house with a cool porch off my kitchen facing the street... I can sit on my porch and mind everyone's business... I think my sense of community is stronger here... thanks in part to my front porch." Fascinating. I've never had a front porch - but I love sidewalk cafes, and I think the same sort of thing is happening there.
Last night at 2:00AM there was a whole lot of shakin' going on... magnitude 4.6, off the coast of Santa Barbara... Doc Searles reports.
Knowledge@Wharton wonders Does Venture Philanthrophy Work? The short answer - it depends. "What seems so new about venture philanthropy may have been the sizzle, not the content... Venture philanthropies have underscored the fact that helping others is not simply a matter of dispersing money but of making a deep, long-term commitment and casting a hard eye on results."
David Burbridge considers Evolutionarily Stable Strategies. A nice summary. "As usually defined, an ESS is a strategy such that, if all the members of a population adopt it, no mutant strategy can invade." The ideas of strategy sets and ESS are key contributions from John Maynard Smith, who passed away recently.
Interestingly, the concepts of ESS are not specific to genetic evolution, they are applicable to any evolutionary environment, including especially memetic evolution. Can memes have evolutionary stable strategies? You bet.
Do you remember The Spot? If you were online in 1995, you do. In its day it was an exciting new experiment; I remember the articles wondering if this type of "show" was the future of online entertainment. It was way ahead of its time, and ultimately suffered a dot-com demise. For a long time the site sat on the 'net, unchanged, frozen in time. But now The Spot is back! And now the timing is perfect - it was (and is again) an online reality show, featuring extensive audience participation. "You are now part of an extraordinary online project called THE SPOT. By reading these words, you are already part of the story. How involved you want to become is completely up to you." Excellent!
Introducing The Iron Blog. By analogy to The Iron Chef, the great face-off show on the cooking channel. And the first contestant steps into the, er, kitchen... it's Battle Rumsfeld...
No so quick thinking: Cult of Mac reports on Apple's 6.5.1 Quicktime updater; "the file weighs in at a whopping 33 Mbytes, which is exceptionally bloated. Some genius at Apple added 15 MBytes in the form of 15 identical QuickTime logos, each weighing 1 Mbyte each; the same image is DUPLICATED for each language in the installer." Nice.
I don't often report hardware news - there's too much of it, and you can monitor Engadget and Gizmodo same as I do - but the recent announcement of Hitatchi's 400GB drive is worth noting. 400GB for $400. Wow. (Perfect for storing Virtual Slides :)
Looks like I'm never going to get a plasma TV. Just as my salivation over 80" plasmas was reaching critical mass (and their prices were coming down from the stratosphere), on the horizon we have LCD TVs! Sharp now has a 30" model for $4,500. So now these are going to get bigger, and less expensive, and they are inherently better quality than plasmas...