Archive: May 12, 2004

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Wednesday,  05/12/04  01:06 AM

This is so cool - Apple has the story of a nine-year old boy suffering from leukemia who designed a computer game in which the hero kills cancer cells.  The Make-a-Wish foundation jumped in to help, and now Ben's Game is available for download.  You've got to love that!

Well, the Lakers showed up again last night, especially Kobe Bryant, beating the Spurs by 8 in a game that wasn't that close, after another overwhelming third-quarter run.  So we have a series.  Interestingly this series parallels the Lakers-Spurs series of a year ago; the Spurs won the first two in San Antonio, then the Lakers won two in L.A.  Last year the Spurs went on to win out at home, we'll see what happens this year...

In other L.A. sports news, the Dodgers won - again - but the Angles lost a thrilling rain-delayed extra-inning game to the Yankees.  So now the Dodgers and Angles are tied for the best records in baseball.  Yippee.

Global IQ: 1950-2050.  Animated extrapolation from IQ and the Wealth of Nations, reaching the same conclusion I did, that average global IQ is declining rapidly.  [ via Jason at GNXP, which has an interesting comment thread. ]

Russia's new space agency chief is an optimist: he predicts Russia will have a manned mission to Mars by 2013.  Good luck.  Sending people to Mars is really hard, but it is even harder to send them back.  This is not going to happen.

African frogs threaten San Francisco.  (Looks like an Onion headline, but it's not.)  "California biologists are alarmed over the latest invasive species to take up residence in [San Francisco]: African clawed frogs, which eat just about anything and tend to breed like crazy.  Even worse, they're kind of cute - and thus more likely to be whisked away by children and dumped into other ponds, where they spread even more."  Hide your children!

Another looks-like-Onion-but-it's-real headline: The return of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'.  Warm up the Tivo for this one.  There's a great line from Desi Arnaz in this article: "How many people do you think you entertain when you're on television?  Four.  The mother, the father and [two] children..."

Adam Curry posted this great picture of Bill Gates, at an iMac.  "no comment".

Sony Vaio 1TB PVREvery once in a while I have to relay gadget news: Sony has announced a PVR with 1TB of storage and seven tuners.  What!?  It is Japan-only, for now...  [ via engadget ]

[ Later: Matt Haughey comments... ]

Cult of Mac reports online marking firm DarkBlue will award an iPod to the person who earns Google's top search ranking for the nonsensical term "Nigritude Ultramarine."  So be it.

Eric Sink's latest Business of Software column is up: Closing the Gap, part 2.  If you hadn't already, you might want to read Closing the Gap, part 1 first.  Great stuff - Eric is so down to earth.  At the highest level, to close the gap between your customer and your product, you must:

  1. Make Sure Customers Know About Your Product
  2. Make Sure Your Product Is Something Customers Want
  3. Make Sure They Can Afford Your Product
  4. Offer a Full-Featured Demo Download
  5. Answer the Customers' Questions
  6. Provide a Place for Community
  7. Make It Easy to Buy Over the Web

So be it.  If I had to fault Aperio, it would be (6) - we have a blog, but our customers are not using its comment facility to interact...

Wired: Endless Summer (on demand).  "Kerry Black is bringing world-class waves to the malls of America.  Grab your board - surf's up 6 a.m. to midnight, 365 days a year."  Am I the only one who thinks it won't quite be the same?

Finally, I'm not quite sure what to make of this, but it's cool.  More evidence, if any were needed, that some people have too much time on their hands...  [ via Doc Searles ]



Wednesday,  05/12/04  11:08 PM

George Packer, in Mother Jones: the Revolution will not be Blogged.  "To see beyond their own little world and get a sense of what's really going on, journalists and readers need to get out of their pajamas."  This is the argument that we're all in a little echo chamber, writing for each other, ignoring the bigger world outside.  Which is ignoring us.  Wishful thinking on the part of a Luddite, methinks.  But read it and form your own opinion...

Want an example of blog dialog?  Charles Johnson quotes Joe Lieberman: "a marginalized and ignored voice in a party which increasingly caters to its most extreme elements, [who] reminds me why I used to think of myself as a Democrat:  Who’s really owed an apology?"  Mark Frauenfelder put the same event a bit differently: "Fake democrat Joe Lieberman sucked up to his true allies during Rumsfeld's testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week."

So who's right?  Well, that's up to youYou read, you decide.  That's the power of blogs.

I really like this post from Halley: Come Away From the Window.  I can so see that little girl.  Or is it a little boy?

John Robb: "Everytime I get concerned about offshore outsourcing, I go back and read Marc Andreessen's e-mail to me on America's strengths."  Read it yourself, it makes me feel better, too :)

Of all Marc's points, the most insightful is this one: Risk-friendly culture (this is hugely important).  The "hugely important" is Marc's comment on his comment, and I agree.  This enables the memetic variation which provides the grist for selection.

Mark Cuban: Success and Motivation, part 3.  "...what was done, was done...  I had to get my ass back to work, and do so quickly.  That’s exactly what I did."  Follows part 1 and part 2.

Joz has more on that missing Stradivarius cello.  "A grainy surveillance camera videotape from a neighbor's home showed a man lugging the 4 1/2-foot-tall silver-colored cello case in one hand as he tries to ride away on the bicycle.  A few moments later, there is the sound of a crash as he apparently runs into some trash cans on the sidewalk."  Ouch.

Apple is sponsoring a competition for bioinformatics projects, and they're giving five bioinformatics workgroup clusters away as awards.  This is really cool.  I'm going to apply on behalf of Aperio; these systems would be perfect for running pattern recognition algorithms on large virtual slides.

Dare Obasanjo has Some Advice for the Bloggers @ Google.  I agree with all of them, especially #4: "Provide an RSS feed.  I understand that Evan and the rest of Blogger have had their beefs with Dave Winer but this is getting ridiculous.  If an evil Microsoft employee can turn the other cheek and rise above holding grudges, I don't see why Google employees whose company motto is 'Do No Evil' can't do the same."  Amen.  [ via Robert Scoble ]

This could be really important: the Internet archive has announced FreeCache, a free HTML caching service.  "FreeCache works by moving content 'hot spots' on the web closer to users.  This provides several advantages to various parties involved: Users get faster downloads, content providers pay less for Internet-bound traffic, and ISPs pay less for Internet-originating traffic."  This is so simple it is going to work.  Say you have a page and suddenly everyone wants to download it.  You build a URL like this:<your_original_URL>.  The freecache servers get the page from your site, cache it, and serve it to users.  You don't have to do anything else. is the market place for video news.  They have an RSS feed with enclosures.  [ via Adam Curry, who notes: "perhaps the revolution will be televised after all?" ]

And on another video-on-demand front, CNet reports Disney to expand MovieBeam service.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the movie, is in production.  And the production team has a blog.  So, I loved the book, but I'm unsure about whether it's going to translate well into a movie.

Tim Bray has some awesome pictures of Mount Fuji.  (be sure to scroll down.)  "Sometimes you just get lucky."  Yeah, right.  There's a lot more than luck going on here...



(new yorker, 5/10/2004)

Wednesday,  05/12/04  11:28 PM

(you never know when you'll need a crème brûlée torch)


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