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Archive: March 5, 2008

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Wednesday,  03/05/08  06:52 AM

A morning coffee post, as I prepare to return from Denver...  I am in recovery mode from Sangria, Stout, and Stoli, so please calibrate this post accordingly.  (Note: if you find yourself in Denver and want a great Tapas restaurant, open the 9th Door.  You will not be disappointed :)

So Hillary Clinton is still alive!  Wow, good for her, and - dare I say - good for John McCain.  Somehow the Barack Obama bandwagon's music is turning flat for me, I actually, actually found myself thinking I might prefer Clinton to Obama.  (Slaps self in face.)  I still wish there was a Democratic candidate I could support, but it is what it is.

Ann Althouse foresaw: "I don't see how this doesn't send us into a six-week-long battle for Pennsylvania."  I don't see how it doesn't, either.

Megan McCardle on Obama: "Well, I certainly hope he's lying, because I think he's going to be the next president of the United States. But of course, as I've said before, I do not like it that politicians seem to feel the need to lie shamelessly to the electorate."  [ via Glenn Reynolds, who comments: "Generally, you have to hope that most of what most candidates say is a lie. Fortunately, it usually is..." ]

LGF reports Wilders film to air, Dutch government terrified.  This is such a good thing.  They should be terrified of an environment in which any film terrifies a government.

the Earth and the Moon seen from MarsPicture of the day: The Earth and the Moon, as seen from Mars.  Wow.  This brought tears to my eye in a "pale blue dot" sort of way.  Imagine all the crap stuff going on here, and it is all contained on that little ball...

Badness: the historic Paris-Nice cycling race starts Sunday, and it is still up in the air who will compete in it.  This race is run by the ASO, the same organization which runs the Tour de France in July, and they are at loggerheads with the UCI, pro cycling's international federation.  Both are threatening teams and riders with suspensions.  The whole thing sucks.

Randall Parker: Low testosterone boosts depression risk.  Wow, that would be depressing :)  I must say this does not seem to be one of my problems...

Blog title of the year (so far): Cory Doctorow says Toxic waste gets birds laid.  Yeah, go ahead, read it, but don't forget to savor the multiple meanings.

Jeff Atwood posted a fascinating dissection of the difference between Actual Performance and Perceived Performance (in software applications :)  Inevitably the discussion shifts to Vista: "Don't make the same mistake the Vista development team did. Think more holistically than mere benchmarks alone. Consider the user's perception of the process, too."  I totally believe this; Aperio's ImageScope viewer is carefully designed to appear as fast as possible (well, it is designed to perform as fast as possible, too, within the limits of bandwidth etc.)

I always knew Airborne was a fake, and now they've shown it.  But you knew that already, right?

Perhaps it would have worked even better if it was more expensive?

Finally, coat hangers sound just as good as Monster cables.  But you knew that already, right?  Riight?


United Express angel

Wednesday,  03/05/08  11:28 PM

A lot of times on blogs you read about bad customer service.  This is not one of those times.

My Treo has a nifty feature; when you're in another timezone, it not only reports the local time, but it converts everything on your calendar to the local time, too.  I started the day in Denver, with all my times off by an hour.  I had a plane flight at 11:00, which the Treo helpfully converted to 12:00.  I realized this at 9:30, while in my hotel room.  Yeah.

United Express JetI packed in 5 minutes, dashed to the airport (of course Denver's airport is way outside the city), returned the car (of course the Avis lot is way outside the airport), impatiently waited my way through security, ran through the airport (of course my gate was in Outer Mongolia), and barely got there just to watch them close the door.  Crap :(  But an angel disguised as a United Express agent talked the pilot into reopening the door and they let me on!  Even reopened the cargo hold to throw my bag in there.  How golden was that?

I know airlines don't get a lot of credit for customer service, but it all comes down to individual people and whether they care.  And one person caring sure changed my life today.  Thank you unknown United Express angel!


driving while phoning - (New Yorker 3/3/08)

Wednesday,  03/05/08  11:44 PM

driving while phoning

For my friends with iPhones :)

Update: I just felt the need to add, this is all very funny, but truly not being able to type one-thumbed on the iPhone is a deal-killer for me.  Over the years I've become really good at typing on the teeny little Treo keyboard with my thumb(s); I can text and email without any problem.  I love many things about the iPhone - almost everything - but I do not love the keyboard.  And that's such a big part of how I use my phone, that I would not consider replacing my Treo with an iPhone.

I know a lot of people agree with me, so it might be fruitful to speculate what Apple is going to do about this.  Clearly they are committed to a non-hardware keyboard, but if they could just provide some kind of tactile feedback, that would be great.  When your thumb is 5x larger than the button it is trying to push, you need tactile feedback to center on the key; visual feedback does not do it.  (Not to mention, it especially doesn't do it when you're watching the road :)  I suppose they could try audio feedback - a beep that rises in pitch as you center on the key - but that seems klunky.  Any technology that dynamically gave tactile feedback would be tricky and expensive, but how about just lightly etching some dots on the iPhone screen where the keys are?


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