What to say about today? I ... can't. But it was really nice :)
Once again the biggest April Fools were the ones trying too hard to be foolish. My feed reader was clogged with their dreck. I did like "mastering 'cat'" :)
Wired has an interesting story about the Paul Allen Institute: Scientists map the brain, gene by gene. The story doesn't mention Aperio, but PAI are [now] a big customer, using our systems to address a key need: "The next challenge was finding a way to digitally photograph every slide. Given the output of the lab, it was obvious that robotic microscopes would be required. Unfortunately, no such technology existed, which meant that the institute had to build its own. The researchers rigged 10 Leica 600B microscopes with glass-slide loaders, barcode readers, and small computers running image-analysis software." The italics are mine; such technology does now exist (!)
This is really sad (and no joke): Silicon Graphics declares bankruptcy and sells itself for $25M. Not only was SGI a Silicon Valley icon - the company that Jim Clark founded, which built that amazing campus now occupied by Google - but their computers were really cool; fast and slick and unique and definitely great looking. I remember visiting Digital Domain in 199x and seeing a computer room full of Onyx servers and it was so cool...
Happy Birthday to the Westlake Yacht Club, my home port, which is celebrating its 40th birthday. Amazingly I was there at time zero, as a little kid sailing sabots. You can't say it is the greatest sailing club - a lot of the members spend more time at the bar than at the helm :) - but it is a great little club with a great location. I certainly had some great times there, including getting married (!)
John Gruber analyzes Apple's iPhone trajectory: Complex. "There’s a formula to Apple’s success over the past 10 years... start with something simple and build it, grow it, improve it, steadily over time. Evolve it." Really good to keep in mind as I begin working on my, er, service.
Greetings, blog readers! And there are many of you today, as I see that once more StumbleUpon are featuring several of my posts. Do not be frightened by what happens here, nobody gets badly hurt. So today I had a nice quiet day of work: several presentations, a few bugs, some design reviews, and a bit of coding; the usual mix. And then escaped for a nice ride through Hidden Valley, and then attended my homeowner's association board's meeting (I am an elected member) and spent several hours discussing unleashed dogs in the park, and whether a neighbor should be allowed to park their RV in their back yard. Oh, and then blogged... so, onward, let's make a filter pass, shall we?
TheScientist asks an excellent question: Why Sleep? The two main theories: 1) crystallization of sensory information into memory, and 2) replenishment of resources. I have my own weird theory, unsupported by evidence, that the mind needs down time for prospectively trying out "what if" scenarios.
Isn't is weird how yawning is contagious? I keep looking at that little baby, and I keep yawning. Yawn...
Farewell "mark to market", we hardly knew ya: Did DE-regulation Just Turn Around the U.S. Economy? My friend Peter has been saying this was the key to an economic turnaround, it will be interesting to see if he's right... (he did call this whole "toxic asset" thing dead on...)
Looks like the Palm Pre is going to be able to emulate classic Palm apps... that is really cool. It not only shows market smarts but technical proficiency. I'm sure just about all the functionality available in classic apps will be rewritten natively for the Pre given time, but in the meantime people like me now have no barrier to upgrading. I want my Pre!
Apparently Google is about to buy Twitter. So be it. I'm sure they'll turn the Twitterverse into a gigantic conversation to be searched and indexed, and we will learn ... nothing from it.
Robert Scoble thinks this is the worst thing for Twitter. "Remember, Google is the company that bought Jaiku and then did nothing with it. It’s the company that bought Dodgeball (a company that had a service very similar to Twitter that was out before Twitter). And did nothing with it (the founders of that company also wrote a “we’re leaving” letter to Google.)" Yeah, not to mention, this is the company that bought Blogger and did nothing with it.
My yesterday was good... how was yours? Worked through a few people issues, and ended up in a good place. I'm still on a little high from this week. Did a little coding. Took a nice ride. And best of all, I was able to spend some time on...
Project Q. That's what I'm calling it - for now anyway. I know, I know, I haven't said anything to you about this yet, sorry for the tease, but until there's a there there I don't want to preannounce. Please stay tuned.
So we have a house full of girls - all of our kids have been home this week, including Nicole, visiting from Sicily with her fiance Chris - and yet last night they all went out, and Shirley and I were alone (!). Whew. We had some wine and chess and watched Catch me if you can. The movie was okay, but the quiet night together was excellent.
It isn't our biggest problem - at all, compared to say the economy - but President Obama's foreign leader protocols seem a bit weird. I would have to agree with Mark Steyn: "The First Lady hugs Queen Elizabeth as if she's some granny at a seniors' center photo-op, but the President of this republic prostrates himself before King Abdullah as if he's a subject of the Saudi pseudo-Crown. This is a very weird presidency." Giving the Queen an iPod was cool but weird, too.
I'm going to Chicago tomorrow, on Delta, and I check in online, and I discover that I have to pay $15 to check a bag. One little bag. They call it "excess baggage". I am never flying Delta again. What slimeballs.
Note to airlines: charge me $15 for a sandwich, like Virgin does, and you're okay, and I look to fly you again. Charge me $15 for a checked bag, like Delta, and you're slimeballs and I'll never fly you again. The optics are entirely different.
I'm actually not using Facebook anymore. First I stopped going to see what my friends were doing, and now I've stopped going to see whether my blog items are posting correctly. Their redesign has actually changed the service into something I don't want. Blech. Not all redesigns work out (e.g. the recent Tropicana fiasco); it would be interesting to know what Facebook's traffic numbers look like...
Oh, to be a kid again... Here we have Giant Star Wars Pool Toys. There could very well be one of these floating in my backyard this summer. How awesome are these?
Okay, okay, I know you want one: the ZooBorn of the day: a newborn Giraffe. Have you ever stopped to really look at a Giraffe? What an incredible animal. They are commonplace so you don't really think about how strange they are, but man, they are strange. I love 'em though, especially little ones :)
Okay; that's it. Now off for a day of coding on Project Q! While watching Connecticut and Villanova win, of course - fXf...
At this point, with Louisville out, I'm going to pick Connecticut to go all the way. I have it as UConn over Michigan State, Villanova over North Carolina, and the Huskies to win it all. Amazingly my bracket is still in pretty good shape (except for UCLA winning, that is :) Anyway next weekend we'll see how it all ends up; stay tuned...
An awesomely bad call; Michigan State won a hard-fought battle over Connecticut, and North Carolina rolled Villanova. And now my bracket is no longer in pretty good shape; it was great while it lasted, (and I did okay considering I had picked UCLA to go all the way,) but things have finally fallen back to Earth.
The Michigan State / UConn game was weird; all through the first half Michigan State outplayed UConn and they took a small lead into halftime, but you had the sense that UConn was the stronger team and could power ahead at any moment. But the second half was different; the teams played even until about the ten minute mark, at which point Michigan State slowly but surely put the game away. It is hard to call the Fridge Score* but I am tempted to make it 8:30 or so; it wasn't as close as it felt. And yet and yet; UConn did make that late run with about two minutes to go. So we'll say FS=01:30. I really think if UConn had started using the press they deployed at the end of the game earlier they could have pulled this one out.
The North Carolina / Villanova game was really never in doubt (after tipoff, that is :). North Carolina immediately took a 10+ lead and pretty much held it all the way, looking like clearly the better team. In fact in the second half there were a couple of moments when Villanova pulled closer, but it was only because NC seemed to let up, with the game securely in hand. I make it FS=20:00. I didn't see any weakness at all in North Carolina, they have a complete team and they play as one. At this point I'd have to pick them over Michigan State.
*FS = Fridge Score: the time at which the game is no longer in doubt. (Hat tip to Chickie :)
So we'll see what Monday brings... stay tuned!
(PS blogged from the friendly skies over Nevada, in route to Chicago via Salt Lake City...)
Greetings - blogging from Salt Lake City, en route to Chicago... thank you Sprint EVDO. Mood = good despite my teams having lost yesterday; there are certainly things more important than basketball, right? (right?) It was great fun having Nicole out for the week, and Megan has a spiffy new [short!] haircut, and all my girls are good. And Reggie was purring this morning too; very important to keep your cat happy. And so a brief filter pass...
Unbelievable that it was only last Sunday I was recovering from the Solvang Double. Time is passing so s l o w l y at the moment... I guess that's good, right? I blame Project Q which is occupying a lot of my think time :)
If you have to ask... Is YouTube a big money loser? Well of course it is! Tons of bandwidth, tons of server storage, and no real revenue model; what do you want? We were all scratching our heads over this back when Google bought them, and there has been no magic since. These "buy a bunch of eyeballs" acquisitions are always mysterious; see eBay buying Skype for another example, or Yahoo buying Flickr. There has to be a business model. I will say Google can absorb the losses better than anyone, and they have time to figure it out.
LGF links a great video on The Basics of Evolution. If you're reading this blog you probably don't need to watch this (!) but you might want to keep it handy for friends...
Last weekend I noted Microsoft's now-infamous 'Lauren' ad, aka "I guess I'm not cool enough for a Mac", and now we have a follow-up. But I must tell you I didn't find 'Giampaolo' nearly as compelling. Price is a big differentiator but tech specs not so much, and Giampaolo even says how sexy the Macbook is... nope, not nearly as good.
Hey they're boarding my plane... I'm off. Please stay tuned...
Blogging from Chicago... a little drunk and a lot tired... you have been warned :)
Had a magnificent meal tonight at Blackbird. Highly recommended in downtown Chicago. And if you go there, have the cheese plate for desert with Madeira. Heavenly...
Project Q report: 0 cycles invested. Sadly.
The Dodgers began their 2009 stretch run today, beating the Padres 4-1. Yay. Opening day is always a cause for optimism... not time for me to be a baseball fan yet; first we get the NBA finals, and I turn into a Lakers fan, and then I switch back to rooting for the Dodgers...
Related: Tech firms eager to gobble stimulus funds. "President Obama's staggering $787 billion economic stimulus package, passed in February, could be a financial oasis - especially for an industry facing a precipitous drop in tech spending by economically ravaged corporations and consumers. It allocates tens of billions of dollars for tech upgrades to energy ($4.5 billion for smart grids), health care ($20 billion for electronic medical records), broadband deployment and education." Ready, set, consume!
OMG! Do you remember Quadrophenia? Boy, I do, I can remember lusting after quadraphonic hi-fi systems... that really brings back memories. And so does Kraftwerk.
Here's an interesting post on TechCrunch about Facebook's cost of operations, for bandwidth, storage, and servers, and how a technology called Haystack can help cut the cost. Like YouTube and Flickr, Facebook gets a ton of traffic but doesn't earn a ton of revenue, and hence is fundamentally loss-making...
Oh no, Mr. Bill! Tivo rolls out pause menu ads. Maximum yuk. The good news though is a cheat code which permanently disables them, write this down: SELECT-PLAY-SELECT-PAUSE-SELECT. Okay, thanks for the info. This might be a good solution for them; mainstream consumers won't care enough to complain, and won't find out about the cheat, while people like me who might otherwise complain will find the cheat and stay silent.
I didn't have the heart to blog about it last night, but the Madness Final was the worst blowout you could imagine. Possibly worse than that... I watched from an IBM reception in a bar, and I must tell you five minutes in you could tell, it was over. I mean seriously the Fridge Score was 35:00. Sometimes you have a team that just matches up perfectly with another, and so it was with North Carolina against Michigan State, everything they did worked, and there was nothing Michigan State could do about it. All the adjustments were for naught. It's kind of too bad because there was a whole storybook aspect to Michigan State, how they were a #3 seed, but were on a great run, they were playing in Detroit, Magic Johnson was there, etc. Didn't matter. North Carolina played like the #1 seed they were, and blew them out. It was so lopsided that the final score of 89-72 is deceptive; the whole second half was extended garbage time.
Well so be it, another year's March Madness is past; onward...
What a mad day, still at HIMSS conference in Chicago, rushing around from presentation to meeting to reception to meeting to reception to ... whew. (See my report on my Aperio blog for details.) I think my presentation went well, and it was a big relief; I was nervous, but then I was late, and I was so preoccupied with getting there on time (I did, barely) that my nervousness was forgotten, and before I knew it I was done. So be it.
Tonight I dined at Graham Elliot. They say if you can't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything, and I can't, so I won't.
Bill Whittle has a message to the rich. Man, I must tell you this stuff really raises my blood pressure to dangerous levels. Eject Eject Eject!
Astana have announced that Lance Armstrong is good to go for the Giro d'Italia in May. Wow, that's pretty cool. Also, possibly, pretty optimistic. I am totally rooting for it; if Lance goes, he could win, and if he wins, he could ride for Levi in the Tour de France. Otherwise we get a team with three leaders (Alberto Contador too), and that doesn't work.
Had a travel day, woke up at oh-dark-hundred in Chicago, missed my flight, standby for the next, wrong city, standby on the next, waitlisted, run run run, catch the plane, standby on the next, run run run, etc. But I am home (yay) and was able to squeeze in a ride (yay) and am now off to sleep (yay). But first, blogging.
Project Q report: 0 cycles. Boo. Well okay I thought about it. A little.
If I say "wooden car", what do you think of? Probably not this... how excellent! [ thanks Craig ]
Hungry for a new book? Try this one: In-n-out burger. I love it (and, I love their burgers...) [ Glenn Reynold's take: I heard people rave about these for years before I ever ate one, and I have to say they live up to the raves. ]
Whew, a l o n g day yesterday, up early, drive to Vista, meetings... and then a cool bike ride from Dana Point down to the Camp Pendleton and back before dinner with a friend (thanks Mark!) and heading home...
I have a riding breakthrough to report - you will think this is ridiculous, but I must tell you; so I do quite a bit of riding at night, and it can be cold... and riding kit is, well, not warm. Mostly my fingers and my face do not like it. I have definitely spent time riding while freezing. So I bought some riding gloves with fingers (fingers! who knew?) and a cotton hat for my head (cycling helmets have a bunch of holes designed to keep your head cool, not warm). In combination these keep me nice and toasty. Last night it was in the low 50s along the beach, and I was really comfortable. How excellent is that!
Project Q: 0 cycles.
Today my daughter Alexis is getting her learner's driving permit. Yikes! Man do they grow up fast, eh?
Tomorrow I have an unusual riding program: I'm competing in the Mulholland Challenge, a long hard century featuring 12,000' of climbing (!)... and then tomorrow night at midnight I'm riding in the Midnight Express, a 50 mile ride with 6,300' more of climbing. Whew... but I must tell you I am looking forward to it. As usual stay tuned for a full report :)
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan, offers ten ways to avoid black swans... good stuff. I especially agree with #1 which is pertinent to software systems' design: "What is fragile should break early while it is still small."
Wow, Facebook has 200M users. That's pretty incredible... you can argue about whether it has value, but obviously a lot of people have checked it out; there is a there there. Time will tell whether it has legs.
I guess it did all its breaking when it was small, because it seems to stay up now; impressive scalability. (Especially compared to Twitter, which is far less complicated and far more fragile.)
Evan Williams, founder of Blogger, Odeo, and Twitter, gives his startup advice: Do Something Awesome. It is great advice - I'm hoping Project Q will be awesome (!) - but interestingly neither Blogger nor Odeo nor Twitter are particularly awesome. Their adoption and usage were awesome, much to Evan's and his teams' credit, but the products themselves were dead simple. And that is good underlying advice - for Project Q :)
Mike Arrington on the CrunchPad Tablet. I can't believe this is real, but it looks ... real. What a coup if they are really able to get this thing built and launched. Wow. To be clear, my skepticism is around the price, I have no doubt they can built it, but $250 is a tough price point.
So, the next America's Cup is going to take place on February 8, 2010. Mark your calendars... "The obvious question now is to see where the match will take place. Ernesto Bertarelli has stated various times that his intention is to hold it in Valencia while on the other hand the city's and region's authorities will do whatever they can to convince Alinghi's owner. In any case, one thing is for sure, BMW Oracle's monster trimaran will come to Valencia this summer. Tom Ehman, GGYC's spokesman, had stated last December the 90ft trimaran would come to Valencia if his team won the legal case, something he confirmed again today when we contacted him." Yay, we're going to see Trizilla in action!
ZooBorns of the day - and they are amazingly cute - Hoglets!
Today I competed in the aptly named Mulholland Challenge. 109 miles, 12,000', whew. I can honestly say this was the hardest century I have ever ridden, not one section was flat. Just eating and drinking were a challenge since you were either climbing painfully or descending furiously at all times. My entire body feels like rubber. Even typing feels weird, like my fingers are not under control.
Here's the route map (click to enbiggen):
The ride took place in the Santa Monica Mountains, my local stomping ground (the red circle at the center top is my house). To orient you this area is NorthWest of L.A, the area surrounding Malibu. That long road which runs East/West through the Mountains is Mulholland, familiar to some of you from my daily ride pictures; it gives the ride its name. You will notice that 100% of this ride was in the mountains. That purple circle in the middle is the famous Rockstore climb.
See that orange circle towards the lower left, on the stretch from H back to G? That is Decker canyon, again familiar to some of you from my daily ride descriptions. The ride reached point H on PCH at the 80 mile mark, and we had to climb Decker; it is a tough ascent at any time, 4 miles at 10%, but after 80 hard miles it was impossible. I think I averaged about 4mph for those 4 miles, and honestly questioned whether I'd make it. In the end it took me 6:56 - definitely not my fastest century :)
Point B: up with the sun, Malibu Canyon at PCH
Point C: early morning on PCH, turning onto Topanga Canyon
Point D: cresting Old Topanga
Stretch D-E: Mulholland at Las Virgines Canyon
Stretch D-E: climbing the Rockstore grade
(the purple circle)
Stretch D-E: view of Westlake Village from Yerba Buena
Point E: descending Deer Creek (15%+)
Stretch E-F: the Pacific Coast Highway...
Point F: climbing Mulholland
Point G: checkpoint at fire station on Decker Canyon
Stretch G-H: view of the coast while descending Encinal Canyon
(after reaching the coast, will climb Decker at orange circle; sorry, no pictures of that!)
Stretch H-A: the Rockstore itself, after descending the grade
(the purple circle, this time in the easy direction)
Point A: at the finish! Everyone stretches out and relaxes... whew!
So as you know I had planned to ride the Midnight Express ride tonight, 50 miles at midnight. That is not going to happen. I may not be able to move at midnight, let alone ride 50 miles! It is time for eating and relaxing... and later, sleeping...
Versus camera work was incredible!
(click to enbiggen)Just finished watching the Paris-Roubaix bike race tonight, aka "the Hell of the North", a 250km marathon that includes 46 stretches of cobblestones, narrow winding roads, steel climbs, and thousands of maniacal cycling fans leaning across the riders' path... amazing. The Versus coverage was incredible, with awesome "you are there" camera work by the acrobatic cameramen perched on the backs of motorcycles. And of course Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin did their usual entertaining job of calling the action.
Tom Boonen repeats!
(click to enbiggen)Congratulations to Tom Boonen, last years' champion who won the race decisively, consistently staying in the lead pack and out of trouble until the field was whittled away to a six-man break, and then pulling away with 15km to go to seal the victory. Sentimental favorite George Hincapie was in the mix until about 30km to go when he flatted at the wrong time, had a longish tire change, and then couldn't get back into the peleton in time to participate in the decisive break.
Happy Easter to y'all! Hope you spent the day hanging out with those you love, and had a great time. I certainly did; ate and drank and talked and played guitar (!) and hid eggs and tried to find them and then ate and drank some more.
Project Q: zero cycles this weekend. Really hard to make progress at this rate :(
ZDNet considers why Apple doesn't make a netbook. I really don't see why this is such a mystery. Apple never enters a market at the bottom, they always enter from the side, with a specific angle that makes their product different, so they can hold a margin. Really what would they bring to the netbook table?
So in the innermost echo chambers of the blogosphere the talk has all been of the new DiggBar, which automatically shortens link URLs using a Digg-based shortener... Ted "uncov" Dziuba says it is a howl of desperation. It does sort of make one wonder what Digg are thinking - seems to have more value for them than for any user...
I've been trying so hard to ignore the Pre tease activity, but it is getting hard; Fox has a first look at Palm's new Pre smartphone, and concludes "I'm happy to report that all the hype from the gadget shows is true. Palm's got a winner on its hands and Apple's got a challenger for first place among smartphones." It sounds great, but I can't wait. Well I guess I have to, but you know what I mean...
In Seattle... cold, rainy, crisp, clear... it was an effort to get here (almost missed my plane, left my jacket on board, couldn't retrieve my luggage, car rental didn't have a car, took a wrong turn on the highway while retrieving voicemail instead of paying attention, etc.) but well worth it.
David Clunie, a major contributor to the DICOM medical imaging standard, has a blog! And says to push or to pull; that is the question... focus is on Radiology imaging [as you would expect] but implications for Pathology images also...
... and I see where eBay lets StumbleUpon fly free. So after paying $75M for the business two years ago, they're selling it back to the original founders and a consortium of investors. Interesting. I wonder if this will be part of a trend, where "bad" acquisitions get unwound; speculation has Skype in the same position. Will YouTube be next?
Jeff Atwood considers the esoteric yet crucial issue of code formatting: death to the space infidels! Truly no arguments are more entrenched than various groups of engineers arguing about the placement of spaces, tabs, braces, etc. within code. The only thing everyone can agree upon is that some style is good, and consistency is a virtue.
Still in Seattle; had a great day visiting the Allen Institute for Brain Science, a large and impressive customer for Aperio. Amazing what they are now trying to do (map the human brain, 10X over), and how they are going about it. Otherwise enjoyable although, you know, life on the road...
Dinner: Canlis. Absolutely beyond my ability to say, it was so excellent. An incredible experience...
So I've been working out at my hotel's gym each morning, and they have CNN Headline News showing on these big monitors hanging on the wall, but the sound is [mercifully] off. It is pretty interesting watching the "talking heads". You can see how stereotyped network "news" has become; we have the pretty girl (who smiles while reporting the deadly plane crash), the serious anchorman, the jovial analyst, the angry expert. Each made up, dressed, and framed to correspond to their type. It is all so phony, so stale. They might be talking about Obama's economic plans or Lindsay Lohan's lover, and they look and act just the same.
This pisses me off: FDA urged to ground type of small sports aircraft. I don't know any of the details, but I know the schema of this; somehow it is the government's job to protect ourselves from ourselves. If there are enthusiasts who want to fly small sports aircraft, and it happens to be dangerous, so what? Let them do it. If they kill themselves, so be it. It should not be the government's responsibility to protect us from ourselves.
"Everyone" views Google's YouTube acquisition as a big success, but apparently YouTube costs $1.65M per day to operate. That's not surprising, considering the server space and bandwidth required, but it does make you think; so why again is this considered a big success? There is no business model anyone has proposed which gets all that money back.
Meanwhile, "everyone" views eBay's Skype acquisition as a big failure, but Skype isn't losing money, and now it is apparently going public! So why again is this considered a big failure? eBay is going to make some money on that IPO, you can bet on it...
Dave Winer comments on an survey of Twitter in Slate: "It's the best of a class of commentary that says that Twitter is something you can skip if you aren't interested in periodic 140-character reports on mundane people's lives. As I read the piece it made sense, so I was left wondering why I was and still am attracted to Twitter and use it, daily." I am left wondering why he was and still is attracted to it also. The entire attraction is hidden to me.
My colleague and I had a little time today between a meeting with a customer and our flights, so we checked out Seattle's Experience Music Project (if you've ever been in Seattle, this is the Frank Geary -looking collection of colorful buildings at the foot of the space needle). This is sort of a hands-on music museum featuring a lot of Seattle history (like Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, etc.) and some cool ways to try and play instruments. I really enjoyed the little sound rooms where you could play the drums, guitar, bass, and keyboards. They have sound mixers you can screw around with too...
The EMP also has quite a collection of rock memorabilia, show banners, costumes, instruments, diaries, etc... and have a large collection of old concert movies. I really liked seeing and hearing early Soundgarden, for example (Paul, if you're reading this, yeah, they were great) and it was cool to see Pearl Jam, and Nirvana, and so on... oh yeah, and Heart (Heart!) remember them? I do, I can remember them opening for Peter Frampton at the Shrine Auditorium in L.A.; I had never heard of them, and there were these two girls (a girl on lead guitar?), and man did they kick ass. I'm not the biggest Hendrix fan but at some level we're all Hendrix fans because there is no denying, he changed the way people play electric guitar forever after.
I'm going to say it wasn't the coolest thing ever, but it was engaging and interesting and certainly worth doing [once]. If you have kids who are interested in music, or who might be interested in playing music as opposed to merely listening to it, then it would definitely be fun; I could see my daughter Alex having a blast.
I'm baaack! Tired, but back. Tired and happy and way behind on email, blogging, etc., and back. Whew.
Project Q: zero cycles all week. And a board meeting tomorrow, and important partner visit Friday. This is not working people... crap!
So today I had a flight booked back from Seattle at 6:30, on Alaska, and was standby on an earlier flight at 4:30. Turned out the only seat available on the standby was in first class. Oh well! Alaska's new motto is "North of expected", and they certainly exceeded mine. Happily enjoyed a glass of Chardonnay (well, okay, two :) and blogged! No WiFi but plenty of room for a laptop...
I've flown Alaska before and found them unremarkable. This time they seemed to have a different, better spirit. From an admittedly insufficient sample of two flights, it appears the motto has had a positive effect on the employees. Interesting how that works!
Back to Project Q, well, sort of; the interestingly named InfoQ asks: Is Five the optimal team size? And goes on to discuss whether it isn't really seven (but certainly not eight). These discussions never seem to yield genuine insight to me, as the actual workings of a small team are so dependent on the individuals involved. I guess we can all agree that fifty is not the optimal team size, nor twenty, and perhaps I am discovering that one isn't either...
While driving to work I received an email from my friend Gary titled "what makes you think Twitter is useless?", linking the office chair which tweets when its occupant farts. (My response: "sometimes the farts from that end are more insightful than the other")
Later while in a board meeting (!) I received the following "CNN Breaking News" alert: Ashton Kutcher is first to reach 1 million followers in Twitter contest with CNN.
That's it, I said to myself. Twitter has jumped the shark.
I feel energized today... I can't say it was a great day, but somehow the events of the day conspire to make me restless, like, I have to do something. I'm back from Seattle, but immediately drove down to Vista for meetings, and later had a nice dinner with my friend/colleague Nick, and then a nice bike ride as the sun was setting, down from Solana Beach into La Jolla...
... feels like a sleepless night ahead ...
Gerard Vanderleun has pictures of the Seattle Tea Party yesterday. Wow, I was there, I could have gone... and actually I almost met Gerard; we got as far as exchanging email, but I'd already made other plans... seems like this tea party thing has legs, people are mad as hell and they aren't going to take it anymore.
Glenn Reynolds reports on a tea party in Greenville: "They will be selling the 'Obama burger' - you pay for one and they cut it in half and give the rest to the guy behind you for free!" That's not as funny as it could be.
Dave Winer: random thoughts over morning coffee. One of his most though-provoking posts in a long time. I follow some bloggers for news, and some for entertainment, but I follow Dave because he makes me think. It is clear that he likes what Twitter was, but not what it has become.
Decision time for Facebook: Term sheet received at $2B valuation. For those not keeping scoring at home, that is slightly lower than the $15B valuation at which they took money from Microsoft. I don't see how they can take that without either compensating Microsoft or making them look bad, or both.
can you write elvish, if so I need desperately the FULL verse from the lord of the rings, ie, 3 rings for the elfs, 9 for men, 7 for dwarve lords etc etc, as I already have the 1 ring to rule them all 1 to find them 1 to bring them all and in the darkness bind them, tattooed on my arm I now want the Full verse to accompany this, ie, the above 5 lines above my tattoo and the 1 line (in the land of mordor where the shadows lie) under it, but it has to be in the exact same style as on page 63, of the lord of the rings, the shadow of the past, I am willing to pay you , my next question is if you can do this, can you do it before Friday the 24th April as that is when I am booked in to get this tattoo, please help or if you can't please can you put me in touch with someone who can, regards mark barnes
Interesting day; I did not sleep, as anticipated, and was somewhat of a Zombie at times, but nonetheless it was good and productive and parts of it were excellent...
... had to replace my tube three times to get in a ride, but did, and the ride itself was amazing, including watching the sunset over Camp Pendleton...
How to raise our IQ. Almost certainly the dumbest article you will read today, in fact, merely reading it may lower your IQ. In fact, merely posting about it may lower my IQ. In fact, merely reading about it on my blog might lower your IQ :) Logic anyone?
My name is E. Yet another way to exchange business card information electronically. This one actually looks interesting. Any experience with it?
Robert Scoble is chasing the magical experience. "In all the hype about celebrities over on Twitter and Facebook we’ve forgotten something: experiences you have with crowds of other people are rarely magical unless it’s a concert and, even then, I’ve seen musicians give concerts to four of my closest friends and then go out and give concerts to thousands of people. I would rather have the small experience EVERY TIME." Amen.
What we have here is pretty amazing, the entire text of Douglas Hofstader's Gödel Escher Bach.
This happens to be my favorite book of all time, and here it is for you to read.
Actually I wanted to share just the Birthday Cantatatata dialog.
The rest came along for the ride, courtesy of Scribd.
(No, it isn't my birthday... I'm just feeling a little omega-incomplete :)
Oh and if you'd like to hear Bach's Birthday Cantata, here you go.
Greetings... I spent the entire weekend on Project Q, and that makes me happy. It is going slow but going; after two weeks of doing nothing (well, I was working, but not on Project Q :) I was finally able to make some progress. It happened to be a gorgeous spring weekend outside and I did escape for a little ride yesterday before we had friends over for dinner, but today I contented myself with looking out an open window while coding. So be it.
Did you enjoy my Scribd excerpt from Gödel Escher Bach's Birthday Cantatatata? The technology is kind of cool, isn't it? I had read about Scribd as a text analog to YouTube but I couldn't imagine why it would be useful, and yet for this purpose it was perfect. (Of course we have to wonder, is there a business model?)
GEB was published in 1979, and I've read it literally hundreds of times, but it still feels "fresh" to me; I learn more from it every time I pick it up, which is often (my copy is an old paperback, a rather large paperback, and it is pretty tattered). This is one of the few books I can open to any random spot and start reading, and enjoy a page or two or ten, and then put down. So today I picked it up, and opened it to the Birthday Cantatatata dialog, and I thought wow I should share this, and so I did. In case you don't know, each chapter of GEB is preceded by a dialog which introduces the concepts of the chapter. A great mnemonic device; interesting that it hasn't been copied elsewhere.
I have shared GEB with many friends and there are two reactions, first, some try valiantly but are completely mystified by the book, and second, others can't put it down and are enthralled by it. Which are you?
Onward, a filter pass if you please, robo-Ole...
Philip Greenspun: show me the money. Links several interesting graphs about how the federal reserve is spending money to improve our economy. As you can see, the stimulus bill and company bailouts are small feed compared to asset purchases and new lending. Wow.
And meanwhile, Venture Capital is under attack. Not that it needs to be bailed out, but the startup ecosystem needs help. "Lastly, and critically, if the data I began with is as compelling to you as it is to me, we need to make sure every legislator and policy maker knows: Venture capital is how America wins."
Is telepresence our best bet for exploring space? Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute seems to think so, and he might be right. With sufficient improvement in man/machine interfaces, who could tell the difference? And it sure would be cheaper and safer to send robots "out there"... not to mention, we don't have to bring them back...
The annual Coachella rock festival took place yesterday, and apparently Paul McCartney stole the show with a fantastic performance. Good for him.
So the pre-Pre media blitz is on, including publicity for Sprint's "Now Network". I would like to see a countdown timer for when the device will be available. The demand has been created - now please fill it!
I would like to interrupt my regularly scheduled programming for an announcement: Orbitz sucks. (What's the use of having a blog audience if you can't rant every now and then, right?)
The details don't matter but I booked through Orbitz for a recent trip to Chicago and had a terrible experience. Never again. I had to change my return flight, the other return flight didn't get cancelled, I didn't get a promised refund, etc., and every interaction with them required difficult navigation through their phone system and long waiting periods before talking to non-English-speaking reps who don't listen and aren't helpful. I'm talking about you "Amanda", and you "Cody", and you "Lola", and especially you "Teena" (a supervisor).
Travel is complicated, and services like Orbitz should encapsulate the complexity and make it easier. Instead, Orbitz layers onto the complexity and makes it harder, so that's bad. But the reason I'm upset - to the point where I'm motivated to post about it - is because of poor customer service. That's inexcusable.
Quiet day of work and contemplation... beautiful warm sunny day... got in a nice ride in the late afternoon (started slow and mellow, ended fast and aggressive). And stayed away from the jelly beans; hey, it's not Easter anymore, could we maybe get rid of them?
Project Q: 0 cycles argh!
Oil falls to $45. Remember last summer? Wow, how the mighty have fallen... and who would have predicted...
News of the day: Oracle buys Sun. At first glance this makes sense, a perfect fit, maybe better than IBM buying Sun. Eric Schonfeld thinks this means Oracle has become IBM (I don't know about that). Tim Oren thinks ORCL+JAVA < IBM+JAVA, and he makes a strong case; does this make Sun's hardware or Solaris any more compelling?
From Caltech's News: Redshift turns Gold for Maarten Schmidt. As I've previously mentioned, Dr. Schmidt was a friend of my father's and our families were close when I was young. Great to see him get so much recognition, and even greater that he is still an active researcher. Clearly a product of time dialation :)
At what point does a 'model' rocket become just a rocket? One man's quest to honor America's Saturn V. "On April 25, 2009, history will be made. At Higgs Farm in Price, Maryland, Steve Eves will enter the history books as the person who flew the largest model rocket in history. The rocket will weigh over 1,600 pounds, it will stand over 36 feet tall and it will be powered by a massive array of nine motors: eight 13,000ns N-Class motors and a 77,000ns P-Class motor." Excellent.
Scoble: The newspaper industry just gave away another free meal. "I’ve been pretending in my head that I’m a newspaper exec. When I do that I keep beating myself around the face. Why? Because the newspaper industry keeps giving the geeks free meals. Let’s study the free meals..." Their problem is, it isn't so much that they're giving it away as that the meals are there for the taking... The music industry has the same problem. When your product is bits, the marginal cost of distribution has become zero.
News you can use: How to demo Twitter. "One of the great challenges for anyone who loves Twitter is to show other people why they should love it too. Often it’s like explaining something you find funny: “You had to be there.” The contextual, ever-changing, and high-volume nature of Twitter makes explaining it difficult." I need to explain it to myself. I have not yet found a means of Twittering which makes the tweets themselves more meaningful - or less inane.
I'm really going to give this a try, I've downloaded and installed TweetDeck. This gives me a chance to try a desktop client for Twitter, and also incidentally to play with an Adobe Air application. Stay tuned...
Google News Timeline. Cool. Not sure if it is useful, but cool. (Maybe it will be more useful when you can scroll into the future :)
Prezi does look cool, but is it useful? How often do you find yourself wishing there was an easier way to create online presentations? Although I grant, sometimes with this stuff supply creates demand. Anyway it does look nice, and the insight that any presentation can be created by zooming in and out of a a single large plane is really cool.
So today was the nicest day in terms of the weather, but it didn't turn out being that nice for me. I guess it was too boring, or I wasn't productive enough, or something. Better a sunny day in which I sat outside and read, or a rainy day in which I hunkered down and got a lot done. Sigh.
I did get in a nice ride as the sun was going down, and even managed a self-portrait as I barreled down Hidden Valley...
A visual comparison of the Obama federal budget deficit, and the requested spending cuts. The largest orange circle represents the FY2010 budget, while the little dot at the top represents the cuts. I point this out not because I think there should be more cuts, or because I think the cuts should be proportional to the overall budget, but just to show how preposterous it is to defend the size of the overall budget by saying there are also cuts. Which Obama's economic team are doing...
From the Scientist: Cancer research, stimulated. "The US federal agency tasked with tackling cancer has laid out a plan to double the number of cancer research projects it funds, prioritizing first-time grants to young researchers and emphasizing genomic approaches to understanding the disease." So be it, excellent. One of the best things that could be done with stimulus money, IMHO. It would be great if they also emphasize funding innovative small companies with excellent technology for cancer researchers :)
An interesting project from Google: Similar Images. Next up will be content-based image retrieval - searching for images using images. And that will be really useful. If it works :)
One thing Google can do with their image database is run the algorithm backwards; they have a lot of keywords indexing images, and now that they can match images to each other, they can associate common keywords with matched image sets. Eventually you'll be able to take a picture of something and Google with it, returning a text description.
According to AskMen.com (!), here are the Top 5 Cool Things in Space. Their coolest was the Horsehead nebula, which I have to admit is pretty cool... (but how about a color photo, eh?)
Here's something even cooler: Saturn, as seen from Cassini. I just never get tired of looking at these, they are so amazing. There are some nice pictures of Titan, too!
Well I'm off to bed... let's hope tomorrow is as nice as today, but ends up feeling nicer...
Today wasn't as nice weather-wise as yesterday - although one must admit it was nice - but I got a lot done and so it felt much nicer. Squeezed in a nice ride too, and then took my kids out for dinner, and that was nice... (okay, too much niceness, I know!) And hopefully after a bit of blogging I can spend some time on Project Q, poor stepchild that it is...
... but first, a filter pass ...
(I generally read my RSS feeds twice a day, once in the morning, kind of a quick skim, and once at night, as I'm making a filter pass, and I've noticed I am much more likely to blog about something if I read about it in the night pass. Pretty much I'm reading for news in the morning, and for features at night. Huh)
Today was Earth Day, and Iowahawk celebrated with a wonderful virtual cruise-in, with readers submitting photos of their gas guzzlers in action. I particularly enjoyed the various "hot rods"; a great blast from the past... The giant two-cycle diesel engine was pretty amazing, too (check out the footholds so people can climb into the cylinders).
I'm linking this for the gratuitous Creedence Clearwater reference: and I wonder, still I wonder, who owns the rain... You need to know that Cosmo's Factory was the first record I ever bought with my own money, and I listened to every song a million times... at a volume which distressed my parents. Note Fogerty on the bike. I love it. It might not be the best rock album of all time, but it belongs in the conversation...
Apple announced blowout second quarter results - congratulations to them, and in a recession, too - and Apple COO Tim Cook talked about Netbooks. This was reported as "Apple to Netbooks, drop dead", but that's a terrible headline; what Cook actually said was "if we can find a way to deliver an innovative product that really makes a contribution, then we’ll do that". That's the key. Apple doesn't do anything if they can't deliver innovation and make a contribution. That's why they had a blowout second quarter!
This Windows 7 Starter Edition stuff is kind of weird, isn't it? A cheap version of Windows ($15) which only runs three apps. Seems like Microsoft is doing exactly what Apple won't: they're releasing an inferior product at a low price. Linux is going to rule this category, and maybe it will be a launching point for a Christensenian "attack from below"... remember, poor customers make poor customers.
So, there's a new Jawbone headset out, which makes me wonder: when will bluetooth headsets work? You know, like, really work? Everybody I know tried them for a while, and just about everybody I know doesn't use them anymore. Bluetooth kits in the car, yeah, they work, bluetooth headsets, no. Maybe Jawbone will break the code with this one.
BTW don't bother sending me email telling me your headset really works. We both know you're lying :)
ZooBorns of the day: baby Capybaras. The world's largest rodent, but their babies are still cute :)
I'm getting ready for riding in the Wildflower Century this Saturday, pretty excited about it, actually. It isn't necessarily a hard century - no century is easy, but this one has "only" 6,000' of climbing, which is pretty reasonable - but this ride has the reputation of being amazingly beautiful; all on back roads with little traffic, rolling hills, great weather, and of course wildflowers! (Yes I will be bringing my camera as usual so please stay tuned...)
One of the cool tools for getting ready for a long ride on a course you don't know is Google Earth. You can see the lay of the land, where there are cities and towns, how far the checkpoints are from each other, the kinds of roads, and of course check out the climbs and descents. Here's a view of this ride, from high above in the virtual air:
Creston is East of Paso Robles, pretty much in the middle of nowhere; this is a view looking South into the mountains. There are hardly any towns anywhere in there; who knew there was so much open land between I5 and California 101? It does look like there is plenty of up and down even if there aren't any fierce summits.
And yippee the weather looks like it is going to cooperate also. So now I just have to eat a lot tomorrow - as much as possible, protein and carbs - and get enough sleep. Oh yeah, sleep... well first a little blogging, and then sleep :)
Hi blog readers, what's up? I hope you had a nice day... I did, was able to finish some stuff, and that always feels good... and got in a nice hard ride, "Malibu CC" in 1:58, so that felt good (more Wildflower prep), and had a rather startling revelation about myself which was scary but now that I've had time to absorb, good. More on that when I'm less scared :)
Okay, onward, make a filter pass we shall, eh?
So, about Tweetdeck. First, it's a nice app. Although the fact that it is written in Air makes it a resource pig, it performs just fine (of course, it isn't exactly compute bound). I must tell you, using a desktop app for Twittering doesn't make the tweets any more interesting. Maybe I'm just following the wrong group, but the signal to noise remains perilously close to zero. However there was a weird and unexpected silver lining: Tweetdeck is a great Facebook client!
Jeff Atwood (@codinghorror): "I hate meta-discussion so much. Podcasts about podcasts. Blogging about blogging. Stack Overflow posts about Stack Overflow. KILL ME NOW"
Me (@OleEichhorn): "Not to mention tweets about meta-discussions"
Today I had to send a fax - a 53 page fax - and it was weird... I have a phone line wired into my docking station (from 100 years ago) and so I selected Fax as my printer, and poof it "just worked", but the whole experience was like watching a black and white movie. Listening to the phone ring, and the modems little beeping and whistling, man, it was like something from my childhood :) And then of course it took over an hour to send. But it did work, whew, so I guess I shouldn't complain...
My daughter Meg is practicing a dance for school based on Michael Jackson's Thriller, which of course meant I listened to it again, and I must tell you it doesn't really hold up for me. Not like CCR's Cosmo's Factory, which is older and cornier and yet somehow fresher still. Or maybe less tied to a time; Thriller seems so "disco" and that seems so "80s". I still like Billie Jean, always my favorite from that album, but I can't say overall it's one of my favorites...
From Kottke: RIP, Geocities. Man, I remember Geocities, in fact I had a Geocities page at one time. Wow, what a blast from the past. Interesting to be reminded that Yahoo paid $3.5B for Geocities in 1999; hard to say they got their money's worth, eh?
I see where some are saying Facebook supplanted Geocities, but that's not right, and even MySpace was pretty different. I think blogging supplanted personal websites, and so Blogger and Typepad and Wordpress and LiveJournal are the real successors...
Apropos: here we have the top 15 web properties of 1999. AOL was #1, with Microsoft and Yahoo at #2 and #3, so that's not a surprise. But some of the names are history, like Go, and Excite, and Lycos, and AltaVista, and Snap, and Xoom, and ... Geocities ...
According to Fred Wilson A second market is emerging. This is a market for private equity, lying somewhere between an acquisition and an IPO as a potential exit for startup founders and early investors. Huh, interesting. I don't know enough to have an opinion about whether he's right, but it would be cool...
Here we have a giant windmill. I know, I know, you're thinking it's big, but check it out, it is BIG.
Not a ZooBorn, but baby of the day: a [frozen] baby mammoth! WOW. And that is not photoshopped, that is a Nenets boy petting the little guy. Presumably it was woollier when it was alive.
I must say " baby Mammoth" reminds me of George Carlin and "jumbo shrimp" :)
(Blogging after dinner #1 and before dinner #2. Final approach for the Wildflower :)
Don't know why but I feel listless. (What does that even mean, literally "without lists"?) I've been eating and drinking and had some good meetings and got some things done, and overall nothing bad happened, but, well, blah. So be it, sometimes that happens.
My excellent experiment with Tweetdeck is over. I like the app, I don't mind the CPU and memory it hogs, but following twitter all day just isn't my thing. I can just feel the brain cells oozing out of my head :)
MySpace has a new CEO, Owen van Natta, a former Facebook exec. This sounds promising: "One person close to the situation described the firing of DeWolfe and the hiring of Van Natta as resembling “retarded drunk people riding bumper cars.”" Great theater, even if it doesn't result in better products. Personally I think Facebook is taking a random walk down product lane; I find it noticeably less interesting now than six months ago. Perhaps MySpace will fill the void, we'll see...
Good news! Ford loses $1.4B. This quarter. No really, that is lower than expected, and much better than GM and Chrysler...
Yesterday I rode the Wildflower Century, in Creston (East of Paso Robles), and I am delighted to report that I finished in 4:58. This is the first time I've broken 5 hours for a century and I am quite pleased with myself :)
It was an "easy" century, 103 miles with about 6,500' of climbing overall and no big climbs or scary descents, but I am amazed that I was able to break 5 hours because there were no pacelines. This is a relaxed ride, thousands of riders participate but most just show up for the beautiful day (it was nice) and the amazing scenery (it was amazing). There were a lot of families, a lot of older riders, a lot of women, and a fair number of spectators. Not to mention, there are 75-mile and 50-mile options, and many took them. There wasn't a peloton of hard-core riders grouped at the start like usual, and I just never found fast riders to pace with. I always figured if I broke 5 hours it would be as part of a strong group (kind of like my 10:38 in the Solvang Double), but on this ride I set my own pace the whole way with no drafting.
Some pictures, of course, for your viewing pleasure:
early morning beauty among the rolling ranchland
this is an area you never think about, with vast estates in the middle of nowhere...
not a car to be seen - the road surface was a bit rough, though
meadows of wildflowers, the signature of this ride
just beautiful... mile after mile of peaceful meadows filled with flowers
spring lambs! how cute! they took no notice of cyclists flying by...
checkpoint 2 - 56 miles - the century riders merged with the 75- and 50-mile groups
halfway... 56 miles in 3:12, no idea yet I had a chance to break 5 hours
mile after mile of flat empty road - perfect for powering along...
gliding through vineyards - Paso Robles wine country - Chardonnay, I think
checkpoint 3 aka lunch - 72 miles - the bike parking area
a lot of expensive hardware on display
my 10-year old Kestrel is now regarded as a 'classic' by some :)
walked over to check out this little league field
just as I got here, my iPod selected John Fogerty's Centerfield I don't expect you to believe me but that's what happened
looked in the outfield and was almost surprised not to see Shoeless Joe :)
"Put me in coach, I'm ready to play..."
final "climb" of the day - I powered up it at 18+ mph, feeling strong
I passed one slow-moving group and a guy yelled "car back" as I blew by them
that was pretty funny
final descent into Creston; about 15 miles to go, and now I have the 5 hour mark in my sights
I was not careful on this descent, sorry about the blurry picture but I was doing 40mph...
4:58:52 - 103 miles, 6500'. Yay.
Well that was pretty cool - a great ride on a beautiful day, amazing scenery, and I broke 5 hours.
But no peace for the wicked (me), because next weekend brings the Breathless Agony, an appropriately named ultra century with 114 miles, 12,000' of climbing, and the summit is at 8,443' high above Big Bear Lake. This will be no walk in the park, and I will be riding to finish, not to set a personal best :)
Weighed down with nostalgia today; fixed a bug in my online picture gallery, and spent time looking at old pictures... really old pictures, like 10 years ago... fun, and yet sad. It all seems so long ago. (Pre blogging even :) Wow. 1999 was a year of great promise and expectation, the Internet boom was ON and we were living in Los Altos, right in the middle of it. Now it feels sort of like the 49er gold rush, something from ancient history, something you tell your grandkids about.
I can remember putting up a personal website, it was such a cool thing to have my very own site, dum dum dum. I can remember the Netscape 2.0 banner at the bottom and everything :)
Today I almost heated our pool. My daughter's birthday is May 6, and a backyard birthday party is the usual reason to start heating it... but the day was so nice, I almost did it today. Almost. Then I remembered how cold it gets at night, and I imagined my little pool trying to heat the neighborhood all by itself.
When I read about Google's O3D pluginof course I had to try it, so I did. Total dancing bear. Yeah, it is cool that it works, but it is so slow that it cannot be called useful. 3D visualization holds great promise, but either the technology isn't ready yet or this implementation isn't at the leading edge. I don't have the world's fastest computer but this sort of thing has to work on "everyday" equipment to have a chance of reading critical adoption.
If you're thinking you need a new computer, forward this on: Study: not replacing laptops can be very costly. "The use of outdated equipment also costs a company about $9,600 per laptop user in lost worker productivity over the two-year period, the study concluded." However, users with old laptops won't waste time playing with O3D :)
This article notwithstanding, I find that desktop/laptop computer performance has totally plateaued. I can remember when new machines were really faster than old ones. When was the last time you used a computer that was noticeably faster than yours? Remember my As the laptop turns adventure? (If you don't, please click through, I think you'll enjoy it :) Well you might remember the end of that adventure: I received a spiffy new HP nc8230 laptop. That was in May, 2005, four years ago. And I am using that same machine right now.
I thought this was pretty cool: Kaiser Permanente offers up medical records on a USB drive. "The read-only drive, designed for use while a person is traveling or during a health emergency, is a sort of stopgap effort as the U.S. works to build a national electronic health records system that can provide easy access to patient health information anywhere." I'm a big fan of online health records as you know, but somehow a thumb drive feels like it would be more easily accepted than an online record on some website. It will be interesting to see how well this works compared to Mayo's implementation of Microsoft Health Vault.
Some first impressions of Wolfram Alpha, a new search engine designer to return information rather than links to results. An interesting concept, but I wonder whether it will really work. I noted this: "Most of the data is curated". Hmmm... does not sound scalable.
In the course of playing with it, and also revisiting Cuil, which was another recent interesting new search engine, I realized that people don't pick search engines based on how good their results are, they pick them based on how bad they aren't. That is, you put in a few searches and you verify they don't get the wrong answer. For example I entered "Breathless Agony" into Cuil, and it didn't list the Breathless Agony website. Fail.
So, what do you think about this? Is Bio-Bak a cool web design, or what? (I must tell you these all-Flash interfaces are not necessarily my favorite, but some work better than others, and this one is pretty, er, interesting...)
Ted Dziuba celebrates the birth of his daughter (really): Will Oracle kill MySQL? Who cares? "As an open source project, MySQL is already a dinosaur... In fact, it is in Oracle's best interest to keep MySQL moving at a glacial pace... MySQL's performance on a multi-core machine is embarrassing, whereas a database like Oracle really shines on big iron." This sounds right to me, and is a reason I hadn't considered why Oracle bought Sun.
iPod killer? Dave Winer thinks Sony got it right. 4GB MP3 player for $80. But... it ain't an iPod. And it doesn't have the iTunes store behind it...
So be it, another day's useless days energy spent. Cold hearted orb, that rules the night. Removes the colors from our sight. And we decide which is right. And which is ... an illusion.
Last night I had the pleasure of attending the annual NAF Concert in Santa Monica with my Mom. Each year several young Dutch musicians are invited to tour the U.S. and play these concerts... the three who performed this year, Lilian Farahani, Soprano, Arthur Rusanovsky, Violin, and Sophiko Simsive, Piano, were each amazing. Lilian in particular; the emotion which flowed from this little girl into her powerful voice and on to the audience was incredible.
Sorry for the crummy Palm smartphone quality, but here's a short passage by Lilian to give you a flavor:
I'm not a major classical music fan but it sure can be enjoyable, especially at this level. I find listening to a concert like this to be really conducive to thinking, sort of like meditation. At first you're enthralled by the performance and paying close attention to the musicians and the music, but after a while you sort of drift off and the music carries you away. I can't say what I thought about exactly, but I was concious afterward of a whole raft of new ideas. Very cool.
PS the process here (for me later, as well as for you now): sync phone to computer, open with Quicktime, save as AVI, upload to YouTube, set thumbnail, build HTML. Pretty clean.
Weird restless mood - got in some serious think time during the NAF concert, which has left me, um, thinking... not totally happy with several things in my life right now, not totally sure what to do about any of them... well there's always blogging.
In the New Yorker: Money Talks. Essentially how President Obama is using the economic "crisis" to achieve many of his social goals, including redistribution of wealth. The article thinks this is a good thing, I do not...
ClimateBiz says It's Time for Nuclear Power. "If climate change is the greatest threat facing mankind, what are the odds of the big environmental groups rethinking their longstanding opposition to nuclear power?" The odds are long, but this is the solution... More as an alternative energy source than as a way to reduce emissions, but that's important too of course...
Razib considers The Green Beard of Sex. He doesn't quite explain why sex exists - and that's the problem he sets for himself at the start - but it is a fascinating discussion. Clearly sex is selected, but why?
Way cool: Honda: Let it shine... the content is cool, but so is the way they've blurred the line between the Flash player and the HTML page. Honda seem to innovate in marketing as in cars.
You do have to say, it is sad about Saab. At one time they were a good little compay, with good solid products. Then they were bought, amalgamated, widened, and absorbed. Reminds me of F.A.O.Schwartz and Zainy Brainy. It is hard to find many cases when a small company was bought by a big company where the users benefitted...
Did you read Michael Lewis' The Blind Side? In which a poor giant kid, Michael Oher, is given a new life because he's giant.. and can therefore play football... and can therefore be a soft of entertainer for the rest of us. Turns out he was drafted 23rd in this year's draft. And will therefore make more money in a year, as a kid, than I have in fifty. I should have been born bigger :)
Inside Sprint Now answers Some Palm Pre Questions. "Despite the fact that all of us that know the actual release date of the device are bound by a NDA and our job titles, we all know that it’s going to be soon… so I figured it might be nice to answer a few FAQ before it arrives." Thank you, this is great info. I so want a Pre...
Still feeling crappy, restless, high-energy but undirected... need a windmill to charge. When you don't like the position in which you find yourself, you have to move to change :) I did manage a great 40 mile ride along the beach from Dana Point down to Camp Pendleton and back (nearly averaged 20mph, but just missed); this is one of my favorite rides now, flat and windy, no traffic, watching the sun set over the ocean...
One year ago I was recovering my hard drive, and getting ready for a trip to Europe. Seems like approximately forever ago. If I had only known then what I know now...
Brad Feld reminds us don't confuse a conference and a trade show. What? We would never do that, would we? Actually I think the difference is more in the eye of the beholder than in the nature of the event. Sorry Brad.
Had a couple of really busy days, whew... working on some analysis tools to extract information out of data, and then writing up the results. I know it sounds dry and clinical but really it has been pretty fun. Just way behind, never enough time. This has been an excellent example of W=UH in action, I went about this one way, it was hard, but workable, and yet felt "wrong", and then I had a good suggestion and went about it another way, it was suddenly easier, and now feels "right".
The big news of the day is that my daughter Jordan (22) bought a car! Yep, she has her very own spiffy little BMW 320i. Very very nice. It is a welcome addition to the motor pool :) In addition to Jordan wanting her own car and working hard to be able to buy one, the impetus for this was the upcoming change in Alexis' (15) status to a driver. (dum dum dum) Whew.
Note to self: always buy a car on the last day of the month. Nothing like having a motivated salesperson :)
Old tech rules: I just (re)discovered that I can use IR to sync my Palm smartphone with my laptop! No wires, no bluetooth configuration crap, nothing. Push the button and poof it works. Yay I like it.
Not good: the GDP drops 6.1%. "Economists had predicted a drop of 4.7 percent, and the steep dip could dampen expectations that the pace of economic declines had begun to ebb. The decline was almost as sharp as in the previous quarter, when the economy shrank at a pace of 6.3 percent, its worst drop in a generation." But ... as Ann Althouse notes, it was stimulated.
I happened to watch some of President Obama's '100 days' press conference today, while waiting at the car dealership. He's a great politician, of that there is no doubt. I thought he handled the rather inane questions rather well. Unfortunately he seems to be better at handling the press than managing the economy ... at least so far.
David Letterman interviews Elon Musk of Tesla. Pretty interesting, but reinforces the general impression I always have of David Letterman, he's a jerk. Seems he's not really interested in his guests, it is all about him. Still Elon did a good job of working in some good information... and the car itself (the prototype sedan) looked beautiful :)
And so it seems the rumor of the day is the Palm Pixie / EOS / ????, a rumored smaller version of the Palm Pre, sort of a Centro with the WebOS running on it. Excellent, but I want my Pre... please?
Tim O'Reilly: reinventing the book in the age of the web. "But simply putting books onto electronic devices is only the beginning. As I've said for years, that's a lot like pointing a camera at a stage play, and calling it a movie. Yes, that's pretty much what they did in many early movies, but eventually, the tools of production and consumption actually changed the format of what was produced and consumed." Interesting, and quite true I suspect...
I'm sure you've heard about the great Air Force One photo-op fiasco, in which the plane itself was flown low over New York to get a PR shot of the plane with the Statue of Liberty in the background. You probably had the same thought as Will Campbell, why not just use Photoshop? Save Taxpayers $328,301, Prevent Nationwide WTF!? Yes We Can!
News you can use: how to be a successful evil overlord. My favorite tip, when you have the would-be-hero captured, kill him. Just pull the trigger. Yourself. Then you can laugh... ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ...
BTW, if your answer is "Windows 7", read this review of Windows 7 RC 1. I'm not saying it isn't a great advance over Vista, and perhaps I will upgrade from XP to Windows 7 someday, but I don't think it rises to cool.