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Archive: November 28, 2009

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about nothing

Saturday,  11/28/09  12:56 PM

This morning I did something very unusual - nothing.  I woke up at 6:30, and instead of getting up or going back to sleep, I grabbed a book my Kindle and started reading.  That led to a long lazy morning of reading, a long lazy shave while reading, and a long lazy session of sitting and doing nothing with Bo on my lap (our guinea pig).  Finally I had enough of long laziness and here I am in my office blogging about nothing.  The day is not off to a flying start.


about smartphones

Saturday,  11/28/09  01:02 PM

The other day I noted Tim Bray's observation that he could use his Android smartphone for consuming content, but not for creating it.  Which sparked an email exchange with my friend Gary:

{G} Note that I posted on my blog in 2004 with my Treo.

{me} There’s “blogging” as in the technical act of making a post (which I’ve been able to do for a long time too), and “blogging” as in the creative act of sitting and reviewing links and reading pages and editing photos and assembling an interesting post (which I still cannot do from my smartphone).  I will say with my Pre I am closer than I was with my Treo.

{G} Because the Pre/iPhone/Android phones allow a level of browsing and interactivity that were previously reserved for PCs.  Really, smart phones are the biggest threat to MS ever.  OTOH, for creating content, you want a PC, as you've observed.

{me} I accept that more and more of what could only be done on a PC before can now be done on smartphones.  And I guess I figured eventually everything which could be done on a PC would be doable on a smartphone.  Years ago I moved from a desktop to a laptop and never looked back.  Still, when docked I do have a fullsize keyboard, standalone mouse, and [maybe most important] a 24” monitor.  Sometimes on the road when I am using my laptop, I miss my desk.

{G} Well, there's a Nikon camera for sale now that has a projector built-in, and projectors are shrinking, so that could work.  But since my current NeXT machine (iPhone) is really the same as the one I had in 1990, but has more storage and processing power, I think the more likely scenario is that I just lay the phone on the desk (or really, keep it in my pocket) and my keyboard and large screen light up, and I continue computing, with a desktop metaphor as we have today, if that remains useful.

my blogstation - note Pre circled at centerI’ve been giving this a lot of thought.  An interesting subject.  Consider my blogstation, pictured at right, with my Pre circled in the center.

I think the difference with a phone is the communication bandwidth.  You can view just about anything now, but you still have a teeny view of it.  Perhaps when we have projectors built into phones (which I’m sure are coming) then you can view more of it, and consuming content will be more or less the same as with a PC.  As far as input, multitouch is all very exciting, but most content creation involves typing, and typing on a phone just isn’t like typing on a PC.  Yet.  If it ever will be, the physical size of fingers is what it is.  Seems like there are breakthroughs yet to be made there (virtual keyboards?).  Maybe it will take a mind-to-device link other than physical finger motion.

There was a time I would have found it amazing to be reading and composing email on a phone, and yet...  maybe next I'll be reading RSS and posting to my blog.  Stay tuned!


Saturday,  11/28/09  08:58 PM

A really nice day - it started lazily, and it's ending that way (I'm watching yesterday's Colorado/Nebraska game, with two games from yesterday and three games from today left to view!), and in between I actually accomplished some "stuff".  Best of all, I rearranged travel for tomorrow (I'm flying to Chicago for the RSNA conference) so that I'm flying on a redeye instead of all through the day.  So I get tomorrow back!  For more laziness :)

Flip video cameraCyclelog: back up Rockstore, with a wrinkle; I attached Megan's Flip video camera to the handlebars, and I got some great footage of the climb and the subsequent descent down Decker.  Now I just need to install Premiere so I can edit it, and then YouTube here I come...  stay tuned.  The Flip is a wonder; so clean and easy, and it *works*.  Created a new product category all by itself overnight.

It just came to me today, suddenly: Wow, it's almost my birthday!  Huh.  Last year as I was about to turn The Big Five-O (dum dum dum) it was very much on my mind, as a bad horrible not so good thing.  This year, so far, is the big so what.  0x33 :)

L'Hydroptere vs KitesurferVideo of the day: L'Hydroptere vs Kitesurfer...  in a sailing speed bake-off.  Excellent stuff.  I still think L'Hydroptere is the most amazing sailboat I've ever seen, and that includes Alinghi's mega-cat and Oracle's mega-tri.  This thing goes 50 knots in waves, stably, for miles on end.  Amazing.

I am heading off to Chicago - downtown, featuring the Michigan Ave. shopping district (aka The Magnificent Mile) - and it will be most interesting to see how busy it is with pre-Christmas shoppers... the combination of the economy and online shopping seems to have diluted the "black Friday" flood this year, and I doubt it means everyone is just late; I think it means everyone is holding back.  The recovery is not uniform and not trusted, especially with the Obama administrations missteps in every direction.

Antonio Rangel studies the neural basis for self-controlCaltech's excellent Engineering & Science Magazine has a new electronic format, check it out, very nice.  A Flash player which doesn't suck.  In the latest issue an article which is most relevant on Thanksgiving weekend: The Neural Basis for Self-Control.  Antonio Rangel (pictured at right): "Many of the world’s problems are the result of faulty decision making. If we could understand how the brain makes decisions, then maybe we could make better choices... I’m interested in self-control, which is at the core of many of the most pertinent public-policy and health issues in the United States."  I'm interested in pumpkin pie myself :)

Can I just say, eBay really sucks now?  Okay, thanks, because it does.  Yeah it is still *the* place to buy and sell online because of the huge network effect, but the UI is horrible.  So complicated, so many little nickel-and-dime extra options.  I can remember when it was not so; eBay's UI was a marvel.  It has cruftified badly over time.

Interesting...  a company like eBay creates a network effect by out-executing its competition, but then stops executing, because it doesn't have to anymore.  Like Microsoft.  Like IBM before Microsoft.  Could Apple be next?

PS gave up on Colorado/Nebraska as it is now 24-7 Huskers at the half.  On to Boise/Nevada on the blue carpet.  In pouring rain.  As Boise jumps ahead to a 13-0 lead halfway into the first quarter, may have to switch again...  (I love Thanksgiving weekend!)  Um now it is 19-0.  Wow, Boise are for real.


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