Archive: April 11, 2010

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week of 4/5, redux

Sunday,  04/11/10  08:53 PM

I'm baack...  whew.  Quite a week, in Europe, what with riding and watching the Tour of Flanders, and then meetings in Utrecht, Netherlands, Bonn, Germany, and Zurich, Switzerland.  In between I managed to screw up trains in every way possible; in one case, I took the right train to the wrong station, in another, I got on the wrong half of the right train (yes, they separate the cars, and off you go in the wrong direction), and in yet another I took the right train to the right station but got off at the wrong place.  It was all great :0  Have I ever told you I love trains?

And so now I am back, and it's all happening...

Bill Whittle: Vigilance and the Siren Song of the State

Here's the Velonews replay: Cancellara conquers Flanders.  And not content with that, Cancellara cruises to Roubaix triumph, again defeating Tom Boonen and the usual cast of classic characters.  Wow, that's awesome, winning Flanders and Roubaix on consecutive weekends.  He can take the next weekend off :) 

Interesting question: Cancellara to challenge Leipheimer for California Crown?  Too much mountain climbing in the TOC for Cancellara, I think, but it is hard to put anything past him... 

Meanwhile, Chris Horner gets his txapela, wins Basque tour.  Good for him, that's cool.  Probably his biggest victory as a pro. 

Ted Dziuba undergoes a blog upgrade.  I sometimes think about switching to a standard blogging software, but then I read stuff like this and the feeling passes :) 

Earthquakes!  7.2 in Baja California.  Yikes.  Felt all the way in Holland; I was visiting relatives and my Mom called to report the news and check if we were okay.  Ha.  And not to mention 7.8 in Sumatra, Indonesia.  Double yikes. 

Here's some important research: would a Lava Lamp work on Jupiter?  Featuring a homemade test rig: "The centrifuge is a genuinely terrifying device. The lights dim when it is switched on. A strong wind is produced as the centrifuge induces a cyclone in the room. The smell of boiling insulation emanates from the overloaded 25 amp cables. If not perfectly adjusted and lubricated, it will shred the teeth off solid brass gears in under a second. Runs were conducted from the relative safety of the next room while peeking through a crack in the door."  Yes, you must view it in action.  

BTW the conclusion is...  yes!

Fox: It's a fact, sex makes you do stupid things.  Depends on the definition of "stupid" :) 

Yes: smooth jazz version of Metallica's Enter Sandman, with James Hetfield on vocals.  Surprisingly not terrible, and interesting for being so different.  I have an Ottmar Liebert version of Led Zeppelin's Kashmir which is similar. 

Today's iPad pundits include: 

  • Paul Thurrott: "Anyone who believes this thing is a game changer is a tool."  Just call me hammer.  [ via Daring Fireball, for likely reposting as claim chowder :] 
  • Eric Raymond: "And the thing that has me scratching my head, two days after the iPad announcement and knowing it has sold 300K copies in that time on the strength of Apple’s brand, is that I can’t find a real use for it either."  Overall he doesn't like it, and doesn't get it.
  • Dave Winer: "Most of this is negative, and it reflects my feeling about the iPad, which is generally negative, even though I have a lot of fun discovering the problems with the device."  Overall he doesn't like it, though he thinks it is important.
  • Glenn Reynolds: "So I tried out an iPad today and I'm kinda lukewarm."
  • John Gruber: "There’s something fundamentally strange about how fast the iPad feels considering how underpowered it is versus a modern PC or Mac."  Overall he likes it.  A lot.
  • Ars Technica: "Truthfully, this device is one that can only really be understood by playing with it firsthand (we know, it took us more than 18,000 words to tell you that)."  Overall, they like it.
  • Xeni Jardin: "Apple's iPad is a touch of genius."  Likes it :)
  • Cory Doctorow: "Why I won't but an iPad (and think you shouldn't either)."  An anti-DRM rant.
  • Fake Steve Jobs: "An open letter to the people of the world."  First of all, you're welcome...

Can't wait to get mine... waiting for me at my office.  Stay tuned!

Sarcasm of the day/week/year: Microsoft changes name of next-gen mobile OS from 'Windows Phone 7 Series" to "Windows Phone 7", and John Gruber comments: "Good to see Microsoft having just as amazing a weekend as Apple."  :) 

Also would be remiss not to link The Macalope's Fools of the Year.  "If you’re someone who’s written something intensely stupid about Apple in the past year and your name is not on this list, please, please don’t think we didn’t notice your effort."  ROFL... 

The thrill of flying the SR-71 Blackbird.  Awesome! 

Scott (Dilbert) Adams contemplates The Happiness Button.  "Suppose humans were born with magical buttons on their foreheads. When someone else pushes your button, it makes you very happy."  An interesting analysis which results in a deep conclusion, with which I agree entirely: "I can't think of any imaginary situation in which long term happiness could come from other people. The best you can hope for is that other people won't thwart your efforts to make yourself happy.

From NewScientist: Enter the matrix: the deep law that shapes our reality.  Some classic non-science as we get a dose of BS around "random matrix theory".... 

It's about time: Slashdot reports C programming language back at number 1.  Primarily due to the decline of Java.  Ha! 

The teeniest ZooBorn yet: a French Polynesian tree snail


clash of the Titans: Apple vs Adobe

Sunday,  04/11/10  09:36 PM

Unless you've been traveling at lightspeed to another galaxy, you must have heard about the great Apple vs Adobe tweetle beetle battle*.  The iDevices (iPhone, iPod Touch, and now the iPad) do not support Flash, and will not support Flash.  Ever.  So Adobe created a Flash-to-native-iDevice converter.  And now Apple have announced iPhone OS 4.0 (in yet another magnificent Stevenote, yes, you must watch it), and the terms of the new developer agreement prevent cross-compiling apps originally written in languages other than Objective C, C, or C++.  Wow.

Sure, we can all see why Apple wants to prevent Flash web apps - that would route around their App Store monopoly - but I can't quite see why Apple wants to prevent native iDevice apps originally written in Flash.  I wonder if this will have the intended effect...

Anyone who is creating apps for iDevices now has two choices, create a native iDevice app, or create a web app using AJAX.  The third way of creating a Flash app which also runs as a native iDevice app seems shut.  Writing an iDevice app means learning Objective C and creating a decent native app from scratch is a pretty big development.  And at the end of the day it would be iDevice-only; you couldn't also run it on Android or WebOS or whatever.  Creating a web app with AJAX means it might not be great – probably less great than a Flash client – but it would run on iDevices, Android, WebOS, or whatever, and might make having a Flash client unnecessary for PCs and Macs too.

This is the problem with Apple’s strategy.   There will be people who take their existing Flash apps and rewrite them as native apps.   That’s what Apple wants.   But there will also be people who just switch to AJAX.   I can’t see why that helps Apple.  Overall the user experience is going to be worse.   Wouldn’t the Flash-to-native-converter approach have been better?

A final point.   Apple reviews all apps before letting them be published in the App Store.   Presumably if an app is super ugly or crappy or buggy or just doesn’t look like it belongs on an iDevice, they won’t approve it.   Since they have that level of control, why do they care about the underlying technology?   If the app was written in Flash (heck, if it was written in COBOL) and cross-compiled, and it looks and behaves like it belongs, who cares?

* from Fox in Socks


Mark Burson, RAAM competitor

Sunday,  04/11/10  09:48 PM

You might remember I've posted about my friend Mark Burson before...  he's a cyclist who had to have his hip replaced, after which he became a significantly more serious cyclist.  He got me into ultra cycling, and in 2008 we completed the California Triple Crown together, just before the first anniversary of his artificial hip.

Mark Burson and I during our sixth double century, in 2008

So he hasn't stopped there; he's gone on to ride the Race Across the West, and is now entered as part of a four-person team in the Race Across America (RAAM), possibly the most arduous cycling event of them all.  Congratulations and best of luck to him and his team!


Stargazing: the Umbrella Galaxy

Sunday,  04/11/10  10:21 PM


Today's Astronomy Picture of The Day is the awesome Umbrella Galaxy
we see these pictures and they just don't seem "real"; but
imagine you are flying and you look out your window and there it is
it would take a little while to reach it, 35M years at the speed of light


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