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Archive: June 2010

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Week of 5/31, redux

Sunday,  06/06/10  12:02 PM

Bongard Problem #6Blogging from Chicago, where it is raining...  and where I am for the day, having flown out overnight on a red-eye for a single two-hour meeting, after having ridden a double metric century yesterday (report to follow), and from where I will return this afternoon.  Whew.  You are tired of reading me report that I had the world's busiest week ever, so I won't say so (but I did), and you are anxious to read my recap of the week in the blogosphere, so here it is!

SpaceX Falcon 9 reaches orbit!Big big news: SpaceX Achieves Earth Orbit.  Yee haw!

And in other space news, Scientists find a 'hint of life' on Saturn's moon Titan.  All right!

I like this a lot: Bayes Theorem Illustrated.  Previous to reading this article I thought I understood Bayesian Statistics, and I wasn't wrong, but my understanding was incomplete.  This is great.  (Not much math, but lots of details and diagrams...)

Scott "Dilbert" Adams pounds another nail through the wood: The Adams Theory of Content Value:  "As our ability to search for media content improves, the economic value of that content will approach zero."  In other words it is distribution and access that determines the value of the content, not the content itself.  Hmmm...

how to plug the oil leak in the gulfThis would be funnier if is was less true: How to Plug the Oil Leak in the Gulf.

Classic, in response to Microsoft's recent reorganization of its Entertainment & Devices Group: Ballmer just opened the second envelope.

Fred Wilson: I prefer Safari to Content Apps on the iPad.  A great point of view, showing that for users there is an advantage; we already knew there was a compelling advantage for vendors.  I wonder how this will end up, especially with Android's popularity on the increase?

MG Siegler: Why Google TV may push Apple to build Televisions.  There is an analogy here, they do like to control the entire experience...

Latest from Eric Raymond, in his ongoing effort to show how Android will defeat iPhone: Steve Jobs' Snow Job.  We have to admit, he did call this; AT&T is offering tethering for the iPhone and has scrapped its "unlimited data" plans.

Here's Jason Snell's summary of Steve Jobs' D8 Appearance...

Meanwhile, Brad Feld is Loving the HTC EVO.  I liked this: "And – for the payoff – I can make a f**king telephone call on this thing. I can’t remember the last time I looked back after a day and thought 'wow – I didn’t drop a single call today.'” Now the only dropped calls I’ve had are when I’m talking to someone on an iPhone and they drop."  Ouch.

From New Scientist: Tacit Knowledge: you don't know how much you know.  A rather recursive truth :)  I find the observation that tacit knowledge is relational to be particularly true.  But then, you already knew that...

dolphin uses iPad to communicate with humansThis is awesome!  Dolphin uses iPad to communicate with humans.  (I will refrain from wondering whether the target user base for this device has finally been identified :)

I'm linking this purely for the headline: Magic Nucleus Gives Clues to the Origin of Heavy Metal.  It's actually an article about particle physics, *not* Black Sabbath :)

blown call costs pitcher perfect gameThis sucks: Blown call costs pitcher perfect game.  I think it sucks, but I don't think they should retroactively fix it.  Perhaps this is an argument for instant replay however...

And this sucks too: Former UCLA Coach John Wooden dies.  He was 99, and there is nobody I mean nobody who had more respect from his peers and players.

A great article by Jeff Atwood: The Vast and Endless Sea.  How do you motivate programmers?  The results may surprise you!  "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.  – Antoine de Saint Exupéry"

ZooBorn: rare white baby antelopeZooBorn of the week: a [rare] white baby antelope.

Wrapping up, want to know the secret words?  "You are so hot"  Works for me :)


Ojai Valley Double Metric

Sunday,  06/06/10  01:43 PM

Yesterday I rode the Ojai Valley Double Metric Century - 200K = 129 miles, with about 8,000' of climbing.  This ride started as a century, a big 100 mile loop up past Lake Casitas and into Santa Barbara, then down the coast to Ventura, across to Santa Paula, and up and over the hills back into Ojai.  I rode it that way a couple of years ago and it was really nice.  Recently they've added a Double Metric option, wherein you start by going 15 miles straight up route 33 to Mount Rose, then turn around and descend it, and then ride the century.  And that's what I did... it was excellent.  Took me 10:30 elapsed, with 9:20 riding time.

In case you're interested, here's the obligatory photo gallery:

Ojai Valley Double Metric Century

And below please find selected pictures from the ride:

the route: 129 miles, 8,000'; note the way it starts!

the climb up route 33 to Mount Rose; 15 miles at 5%

first checkpoint! at top of Mount Rose; it's "all downhill from here"...

paceline along Lake Casitas

descending route 150 into the fog at Carpinteria - yay, arm warmers :)

checkpoint in Carpinteria
this ride offers 100K, 100mi, and 200K options, and all the riders converged here

powering along the shore in Summerland

my favorite: riding the 101 freeway; trucks on the left, beach on the right

the lead group assembles at a stoplight in Ventura before powering along to Santa Paula

best part of the ride: popcicles! at the final SAG stop atop the Ojai grade

Among other things this ride was hot; summer is definitely here, or at least on the immediate horizon.  I went through about ten bottles and burned my arms.  Yay!


the key to life

Sunday,  06/06/10  02:09 PM

I just realized the key to life. 
Happiness comes from liking yourself. 
Anything you can/must do to like yourself better is worth it. 
That's it.


week of 6/7, redux

Saturday,  06/12/10  07:25 PM

Bongard Problem #7Today was the greatest day imaginable; I did *nothing*.  You cannot know how long it has been since I have done that on a Saturday; between business travel and cycle racing and everything my weekends have been lost.  Today sanity reined.  It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed it :)

And in the meantime, it *was* rather an interesting week...

Steven Den Beste: What a difference a year makes.  Indeed.  The bloom is entirely off the rose, including Another stumble in the Gulf.  Obama's lack of experience is exposed nearly every day.

SpaceX Falcon 9 achieves orbitOn June 4 as reported: Space X achieves orbit with the Falcon 9, on their first flight...  press release with a bunch of pictures.  Congratulations to them, what a fantastic accomplishment.

Michael Lewis' latest, The Big Short, is now out on Kindle...  got it!  Will have to wait until I finish The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, though; I cannot put that down...

I must tell you, today I had occasion to watch the World Cup outside in the backyard on my iPad (via Tivo, via Slingbox, via Sling Player), and the screen was pretty marginal.  Meanwhile I read my Kindle and it was brilliant in the sunshine.

Apple's WWDC 2010 - and the iPhone 4 is announcedAnd so we had Apple's WWDC, and so Steve Jobs gave the keynote and to noone's surprise announced the iPhone 4.  So be it.  Yawn.  I must tell you neither the announcement nor the content announced stirred my interest.

Although as John Gruber notes, it has been quite a year for Apple...

Wine 101: what is decanting?News you can use: Wine 101, what is decanting...

The Adams Complexity Threshold is the point at which something is so complicated it no longer works.  A useful concept.  Keeping things simple is hard.

Meanwhile Gold hits $1,250 an ounce, wow.  At least for some people it is an uncertain world...

The Oatmeal on customer support: would be funnier if it weren't 100% true.

South Africa's stunning green stadia...Getting ready for World Cup 2010: South Africa's Stunning Green Stadia...

I *try* to love soccer (ahem, football), really I do, but then I watch a match like England / U.S. and wonder what the fuss is all about. England scored easily and convincingly 4 min in, the U.S. got super lucky 40 min later, and that's it? 1-1? I'll keep trying...

Abby Sunderland sails around the worldAnd so everyone is asking me, "would I have allowed my daughter to go sailing alone around the world like Abby Sunderland."  Yes.  A conditional yes, based on maturity and experience and preparation, but, yes.

BTW she was found and will be okay.

Zooborn: sea lion pupZooBorn of the week: a sea lion pup...


Caltech E&S

Saturday,  06/12/10  11:43 PM

One of the joy of being a Caltech alum is subscribing to E&S, Caltech's quarterly compendium of interesting "stuff" happening there... and it is indeed amazing.  The latest issue features "random walk", a bunch of short notes about life on campus, an article about the search for dark matter in the universe, the cover story about Cassini, as it explores the rings of Saturn, and a great story about the Netflix competition to build a better recommendation engine.  Great stuff.

It is all available online, too, in a spiffy flash magazine-like format.  Check it out!


vertical flight through blog time

Sunday,  06/13/10  12:42 AM

vertical flight through blog timeI have been blogging for eight years now, which means on any given date I can see what I posted a year ago, two years ago, ... back through eight years ago.  And this is fun!  One of the best features of having blogged so long...  It would be even cooler to see a combined "vertical flight" back through all those years; what I posted on this date in each year. 

And so it is that I have created a page which does just that; click on "flight" in the navigation bar to the right, and on any date you will see a "vertical flight" of all posts for this date in each year.  You're welcome :)


Sunday,  06/13/10  09:50 PM

So yesterday I did nothing, and today I did something even more rare: I worked on something other than work.  In between I worked on my family (we had a great brunch at the lake) and my tan (cycling leaves weird tan lines, so sitting out by the pool occasionally is a must).  And also my blog...

Uganda Map (click to enbiggen)Tomorrow Alex is off to Uganda on a mission with Oaks Christian school.  We're not terribly religious but we like Oaks a lot, it is a great school, and opportunities like this are a big part of the reason.  What an experience it will be for her... can't wait to hear all about it, and to see all her pictures.  Did you know...

  • Uganda is about the size of Oregon, landlocked in the middle of Africa
  • Uganda has about 30M people
  • Uganda's capital is Kampala
  • The official language is English
  • 51% of the people live on or below $1.25/day

I have been reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, the third and last in Steig Larsson's fantastic "The Girl Who..." series, and have loving it...  I cannot tell you why they are so addictive, but they are...

A great video: America Rising.  Check it out!  [ via Powerline ]

Farewell, Dr. Demento!  This weekend was his last broadcast, after 40 years on the air.  Wow.  You might be like me, you might say "wow, he's still on the air?", but I can tell you as a teenager I loved his show.  Awesome.

foiling cat - on Sailing Anarchy...Yippee I have fixed the Sailing Anarchy RSS feed.  I know you've been waiting - for months - but it's working again.  To celebrate, here's a picture of an awesome foiling cat, looks like of like the same principle as l'Hydroptere, where the foils help resist heeling as well as reducing wetted surface drag.  Cool.


sucking at Dance Dance Revolution

Monday,  06/14/10  12:49 AM

Dance Dance Revolution...And so tonight we played Dance Dance Revolution - for hours! - and I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that I suck at it, and despite my best efforts was only able to improve marginally.  At least I provided great entertainment to everyone else, and it *is* good exercise.  There is a humbling effect which may also be beneficial.  As a reasonably fit reasonably coordinated guy who enjoys dancing, I would have expected to be better...  My downfall was an ongoing inability to be Perfect; I kept getting a kazillion Goods.  Perhaps a metaphor; my timing must be off, or something.  Further practice seems indicated...  Anyway it was great fun :)


happy Flag Day

Monday,  06/14/10  08:05 AM

Long may she wave!Good morning to y'all and Happy Flag Day!

As I'm fond of noting, June 14th is always quite a day for me; not only a day on which to celebrate the American Flag and all that it stands for, but my father's birthday; today he would be celebrating his 87th.  Always nice to remember my Dad, a Dutch-American who truly appreciated the United States and its freedoms and opportunities.

This is also the 19th (gasp!) anniversary of my first date with Shirley.  Unbelievable that so much time has passed, and so much has happened in between, and yet I can remember it clearly.  Surely we must celebrate :)

And this afternoon our 16-year old daughter Alexis leaves for Uganda on a mission with her school.  Amazing.  Comparing the U.S. to Uganda certainly puts our life in sharp focus, wow.

Well it will be quite a day for me, I hope it is for you, too!  Cheers!!


fine art, by Maserati

Monday,  06/14/10  10:12 PM

fine art by Maserati

the Maserati musical instrument

(please click to hear it played)



extending the lifespan of middle-aged mice

Monday,  06/14/10  10:24 PM

Fortune magazine published an interesting article on what they call the anti-aging revolution, accompanied by this picture of a bunch of middle-aged mice on the drug rapamycin:

anti-aging middle-aged mice

Somehow this just touched a nerve for me; first, the concept of "middle-aged" mice (mice typically live about two years, so these would be what, a year old?), second, the idea that their lifespans could be extended (what will they do with the extra time?), and third, the picture itself, you've got to love that little guy on the left doing pull-ups, trying to stay in shape while his friends watch.  I wonder if they take up cycling?


Monday,  06/14/10  10:58 PM

mini cooper!And so she's off!  Alex is on her way to Uganda... the emotional center of a nice day in which I got a reasonable amount done despite having a lot of distractions.

(The picture of the Mini is for Alex :)

Abby SunderlandI keep being asked about Abby Sunderland; she's 16 and Alex is 16, she's from Westlake Village like we are; here's a nice overview of the controversy from Sail World.  I've decided if it were my daughter, I probably would have let her go...

From The Scientist: Brain Paintings.  "An artist and a neuroscientist are plumbing the depths of human perception to create works of art that explore quirks in how we view the world."  Whoa.  I'd like to see them analyze Escher :)

the most common uses of ironyFrom The Oatmeal, the rather recursive Three Most Common Uses of Irony.  I love it.  (Irony: a deliberate discrepancy between what is said and what is meant...  perfect for misinterpretation and debate :)

flipper bridge between Hong Kong and ChinaThis is pretty cool: a "flipper" bridge between Hong Kong (where cars drive on the left) and mainland China (where cars drive on the right).  I wonder what happens inside the chunnel?  Something similar, surely.  You'd have to think anything like this would be accompanied by a lot of warning signs, too :)

Google Earth, cyclists' editionGoogle Earth: the cyclists' edition.  "Today, Google Earth released a new edition of its desktop app which hikers, runners and cyclists are going to love...  One of the new features allows you to recreate the path of a hike or bike ride by ingesting geo-data from one of your GPS devices. The visualizations show you the speed, elevation, and other stats from your ride, which you can see as an animation inside Google Earth."  Awesome.  Now I just need a Pre app to capture the data!


gone drinking

Wednesday,  06/16/10  08:47 AM

Paso Robles AVAGood morning, lab rats!*  Just wanted you to know that Shirley and I have gone drinking; we will be doing serious amounts of nothing in Paso Robles for a few days.  I plan to forget about work, read**, hang out, do a little wine tasting, work on my tan, and think.  Pretty much in that order, and with that priority :)

Cheers and see you this weekend...

* a great line from A Good Year, inspiration for our trip
** The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, A++ so far


I'm back! + enjoying Father's Day...

Sunday,  06/20/10  10:30 AM

Ole & Shirley in Bernick's bar in Paso Robles, watching the Lakers beat the Celtics in game 7Good morning y'all, I'm back!  (pause to allow cheers to subside)  Last night Shirley and I returned from our brief soiree to Paso Robles, relaxed and happy, and not at all ready to return.  We ate a lot, drank a lot more, and did a considerable amount of nothing.  In between we watched the Lakers beat the Celtics, yay (that's us in a bar at right, waiting for the game to start), did some poolside reading, and drove through a lot of vineyards.  We even did a bit of wine tasting, discovered some new grapes (Wild Horse negrette, who knew?) and took a tour of "the caves" at Eberle.

2005 RubiconThe high point might have been dinner last night at the Stonehouse at San Ysidero Ranch in Montecito, featuring a 2005 Rubicon paired with Steak Diane, preceded by an asparagus salad and followed with unbelievable spearmint ice cream (!), wrapped up by a wonderful cheese plate and some Warre's '70 port.  The meal of the world...

The low point was watching email pile up, and my todo list getting longer and longer...  I have look into this delegation stuff.  I was gone three days and it will take me three more days to catch up.

Sitting poolside, reading my Kindle*, looking out over a magnificant view of Paso Robles vineyards, I was struck by an exchange in A Good Year:

"This place does not suit my life
"No, it's your life that does not suit this place

So true.  I must find a way to hit <pause> from time to time...

And today is Father's Day!  Yay.  You may be sure I will be poolside once again, drinking a blue drink :)  And perhaps later I will retire to the blogitorium, as there is much to post...  stay tuned!

[ Update: Jordan has mastered making blue drinks - we call them "blue J's" :) and I had way too many, and am not qualified to post or indeed do anything.  Mostly I just toasted myself today in all senses.  And tomorrow I am leaving for Boston (!) for a few days...  so we'll see about posting, but please do stay tuned... ]

* The Girl Who Kicked Over the Hornet's Nest was excellent.  A perfect ending to a great series.  I cannot put my finger on why these books were so compelling, but they were...


I'm back... in the real world

Monday,  06/21/10  07:50 AM

"blue J"Well yesterday I was back physically, but today I am back mentally, landing back in the real world with a crash after a pleasant few days off and a nice Father's Day.  Back to working out every day, back to scheduling myself every hour, back to checking email every minute (!), and back to worrying about many things in parallel continuously.  And back on the road - in a few minutes I leave for Boston for a few days of meetings.

I feel this way at the start of each summer; reading blog posts past, the feeling is the same.  I must get in front of this feeling, focus on the positive and enjoy my journey through time.  I quote Dr. Suess once again:

Some days are yellow, some are blue, on different days, I'm different too...

So today is a blue day, following a day of blue drinks; I must make the most of it.  Onward!


(New Yorker, May 31, 2010)

Monday,  06/21/10  11:27 PM

the sounds of summer :)


Monday,  06/21/10  11:32 PM

Posting from Boston, which finds me in an excellent mood... my day started rather blue but ended up being unexpectedly great, despite the fact I spent quite a bit of it flying.  Sometimes that happens, yay :)

Yeah I know, it has been a week since my last filter pass - sorry! - and so here we go...

Great important news; Alexis and her classmates have arrived in Uganda.  One of the teachers has established a blog as a way to facilitate two-way communication while they're there.  Excellent!

Obama's BP spill speechSo, did you watch our President's speech?  You know the wheels are coming off the Obama bus, when even his supporters think he's done.  The BP disaster might be the last straw, but there have been so many, and hardly anything has gone right.  The overwhelming impression is inexperience and incompetence, much as I feared...

Why this isn't being called "oilgate"?  (Or "spillgate"?)

the regulation crisisJames Surowiecki on The Regulation Crisis... "it’s hard to think of a recent disaster in the business world that wasn’t abetted by inept regulation."  Despite this observation he does make a good case for regulation, and some useful observations about how it fails and how to have regulators succeed.  I find it interesting that he notes the FDA as an example of good regulation.

The Shallows - what the Internet is doing to our brains...Yikes! - Our cluttered minds, a NYTimes book review of The Shallows, what the Internet is doing to our brains...  you should immediately stop reading blogs.  Stop!  Stop now!!

Yay the Lakers won the NBA championship against their archrivals the Celtics, and now we can start legitimately comparing Kobe Bryant to Michael Jordan.  A conclusion: "Kobe is great beyond telling, but if he had Jordan’s pathology, he would be the greatest basketball player who ever played. Greater than even Jordan himself."  This is an unfamiliar use of the multi-meaning word "pathology", but I think I can see what they're getting at...

Interestingly, even while we compare Kobe to Michael as the greatest player of all time, there is a decent discussion to be had as to whether he's the greatest Laker.  You have Magic, Kareem, Shaq, and Baylor in that conversation, not to mention Mr. Clutch :)

Of possible use while you're watching the World Cup: the command line streaming vuvuzela filter.  I love it.  And I must tell you, I love the vuvuzelas; okay, they're white noise, but they add color :)

Scott "Dilbert" Adams unleashes another fantastic rant: Charged with Salt and Batteries, regarding the news that Afghanistan has huge valuable minerals reserves including Lithium.  Please but down sharp objects and hot liquids before clicking through :)

The Economist considers Virtual Friendship.  A worldwide phenomenon.  I haven't made too many virtual friends overseas yet, but I'm sure that time will come, particularly as automated language translation technology continues to improve.  I'll bet quite a few of you are reading this post from outside the U.S., and I wouldn't be surprised to find some of you were reading it in a language other than English.  (If you are, let me know!)

the 747 houseThis is amazing: Retired 747 transformed into striking Malibu home.  Click through for more pics of the plane parts themselves, as well as the design.

Dave Winer revisits a key point he makes well: May the source be with you.  The ability to see what other websites are doing and how they're doing it remains one of the most compelling aspects of HTML.

the new Model S Tesla factoryTesla blogs about their new factory where they'll make the Model S, their four-door "moderately priced" Sedan.  If they can really pull that off, it will be something.  We're all staying tuned, that's for sure...

Bill Burnham notes Telsa is worth $1.7B, according to its bankers, as it files for an IPO.  Amazing, another Elon Musk success story, following on Zip2, PayPal, and SpaceX.  Who among us are not rooting for them?

Starbucks to offer free WiFi.  To go with all that high-priced caffeine.  Excellent.  Except that with cell providers' 3G, who needs WiFi out in the wild?

At this moment I am in my hotel room in Boston, and I don't know or care if my hotel has WiFi, whether it's free, whether it's fast, or anything.  My trusty Sprint card establishes an Internet connection in seconds wherever I happen to be, and it is plenty fast enough for surfing and emailing... and blogging!

Salon claims Cabernet Franc goes from workhouse to show pony.  I don't know about that...  I grant you other "finishing" grapes from Bordeaux have made the jump, most notably Malbec, which can be wonderful (at least in Argentina), but I have yet to have an excellent Cabernet Franc.  Still who knows.

Google Earth for the iPad is awesome!Google Earth for the iPad is awesome.  The first time you launch it, and see it rotate to exactly your spot on the Earth, that's cool.  And then when you zoom all the way in to exactly where you are, that's really cool.  And then when you tilt and pan around the horizon, that's awesomely cool.  Something not even science fiction could have dreamed about twenty years ago, and yet it is available to everyone FREE.

BTW your Mom wants an iPad, did you know?  Mine does, and I have no idea how she even found out about it!

Well that's it, I have more to post, but must sleeep...  good night!


vuvuzela hero

Monday,  06/21/10  11:44 PM

Earlier I noted I like vuvuzelas, and so here we have vuvuzela hero!

vuvuzela hero!

How cool is that?  And here we have a vuvuzela hero of a different sort:



will it make me happy?  (New Yorker 5/31/10)

Tuesday,  06/22/10  11:35 PM

indeed - that is the question


Tuesday,  06/22/10  11:40 PM

Tired and sore and happy in Farmington (CT) after a great day; a couple of productive meetings in Boston, got some work done at my hotel, drove down into Connecticut to get here, and then tonight did something I haven't done since I can't remember when: I went for a run.  My legs were wondering what the heck was going on, but it was really fun; a light warm rain was falling, and the air smelled wonderful.  Pretty nice, but we'll see how I feel tomorrow morning :)

Orange Beach oil spill - yikes!Yikes: Jamie Zawinsky notes The oceans look delicious now.  It's horrible to contemplate that bad as things are, and difficult as they'll be to clean up, the situation continues to worsen each day.

Inhabitat: What happens if BP never plugs the oil spill?

Drudge: BP CEO goes sailing, Obama goes golfing.  Nice.

From Salon: the 10 best moments from Pat Benatar's memoir.  "By all accounts, Benatar is shockingly normal."  I've always like Pat - her music, as well as her - and it is great she's so abnormally normal...

Toy Story 3DCrunchGear reviews Toy Story 3.  They love it, like everyone else...  seems like a must-see.  I must tell you I loved Toy Story 2; much as I like *all* the Pixar movies, it might have been my favorite.  (BTW, TS1 was 1995, and TS2 was 1999, how time flies!)  What a track record they have, amazing...

Kottke: Athens' modern Olympic ruins.  "Many of the stadiums and venues from the 2004 Athens Olympics are now lying abandoned, unused since the Games and symbolic of the dysfunctional Greek economy."  A cautionary tale for any would-be Olympic hosts.

Frank Geary -designed brain research center in Las VegasThe Frank Geary -designed brain research center in Las Vegas.  Check that out...  Well, what else would it look like?  Awesome!

Russell Beattie prophesies the end of WIMP and the rise of touch.  Huh, I don't know... seems to me there is still room for a big monitor and full-size keyboard, and WIMP supports that environment pretty well.

Lance Armstrong finishes second in the Tour of SwitzerlandLance Armstrong finishes second in the Tour of Switzerland!  But plays down his chances in the Tour de France.  Frank Schleck won in Switzerland by the way; amazingly making a great run in the final days' time trial.  Johan Bruyneel says "we don't have to win the tour", but I think he really wants to; they're sandbagging Lance's chances.

The other day I noted I liked my Kindle poolside; the screen is great in the sun.  Whether that's the reason or some other, I don't think the iPad is going to displace it as the leader.  Neither does Om MalikJohn Biggs agrees too.  Especially now that it's down to $189, the razor's price is lowered, but remember Amazon makes money on the blades.

Okay, that's it; I'm tired and sore and sleeepy...  good night!


Danica Changing Lanes (New Yorker, 5/31/10)

Wednesday,  06/23/10  11:41 PM

The New Yorker ran an interesting article about Danica Patrick, who is Changing Lanes and switching from open-wheel Indy cars to closed-body NASCAR.  It's a great profile of an interesting athlete - accompanied by the great B&W photo below :)  I didn't appreciate the differences between Indy and NASCAR before, not being a fan of either, but drafting is far more critical in NASCAR, and the closed wheels enable far more bumping ("trading paint").  I also found her attitude about being a woman in a man's sport refreshing; she's not actually a feminist, more of a "neutralist", much to her credit.



Wednesday,  06/23/10  11:47 PM

(Yawn...)  And so tonight I am in Vista, having awakened in Farmington CT, got up and run again in the morning (!), had a couple of productive meetings in Hartford, drove back to Boston (at high speed!), barely caught my flight back to Long Beach, and then drove down here.  I am still sore from running, but I must tell you I really enjoyed it; the same endorphin high you get from riding but faster and different somehow.  Just don't know if I'll be able to walk in the morning :)

Okay, a quick blogging pass...

Wow what a post by Eric Raymond: A Specter is Haunting Genetics.  It defies sound-bite summary, but he makes a lot of valid points and summarizes the controversies and politics well.  Read it all!

The Oatmeal: minor differencesThe Oatmeal on a short list of minor differences (that aren't minor).  Dead on.

"breathing room III"Jamie Jawinski: Breathing Room III.  Wow.

A fascinating article from McKinsey Quarterly: When companies underestimate low-cost rivals (PDF).

Cool!  The U.S. survives the first round of the World Cup and advances into the knockout stage.  I have no illusions that they have a chance to go all the way, but it will be fun to see how far they go.

The New Yorker is coming to the iPad.  So be it.  I will continue to read the paper copy I believe, but we'll see.

Brad Feld: The magic of email conversations.  I like them too; and while I use Outlook and it doesn't do conversations, I use X1 to index Outlook and it does :)

Kottke: Kirk/Spock musical slash fiction.  Yes!  I have no idea who has time to assemble such mashups, but they're great...

Steve Jobs with Russian President Dmirty MedvedevI love this picture: Steve Jobs with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.  Could definitely be a caption contest...

Okay, that's it (yawn).  Good night and see you tomorrow Friday...


the return of MSDN magazine

Friday,  06/25/10  04:15 PM

You guys know I'm not a big fan of Microsoft, nor of MSDN (the Microsoft Developer Network), nor especially MSDN Magazine.  I've been a member of MSDN forever - it's the way to get access to Microsoft's development tools, and as a developer, well, you need the tools - and hence I've been a subscriber to MSDN Magazine since time zero.  Over the years it has become less and less about software engineering and more and more about Microsoft's tools.

Chainsaw DevelopmentBut they've turned over a new leaf, sort of, and I've found myself being more and more interested...  in particular they've added columns by Charles Petzold and David Platt, both pragmatic engineers, and I like it.  (Check out Chainsaw Development, for example...)

Excellent, the pendulum swings back.  Especially excellent since the demise of Dr. Dobbs and Byte :)


shorting The Big Short

Friday,  06/25/10  04:25 PM

The Big ShortOkay, I like Michael Lewis, Liars Poker was a classic, I liked The New New Thing, Moneyball was amazing, and The Blind Side was great too.  But I did not love The Big Short.  Maybe it was just too depressing, maybe I'm just not as interested in finance as sports, maybe the characters were not compelling; who knows.  The writing was great, the analysis was seemingly spot-on, and I learned a lot (who knew or cared what a credit default swap was before this?)  But it just didn't click.

As I think about it, the problem with this story wasn't the sad ending, it was the fact that the ending was sad for us, but not for the characters who were responsible.  Because of the government's incompetence while the fuses were lit and its panic after the explosions, those responsible got off with huge profits, while taxpayers like you and me were stuck bailing out their companies.

Your mileage may vary...


Friday,  06/25/10  05:06 PM

Man was it great to be back home today...  Paradoxically, I get way more work done at home than when I'm in the office, and I've spent the last two weeks either in the office or on the road (vacation in Paso Robles, and business trip to Boston).  So I needed clear time at my desk to get [somewhat] caught up.  With two more blessed weekend days left to hang out and get stuff done coming up, yay.

I *was* going to ride in the Grand Tour Double tomorrow, but I've decided not to; it's a rather pedestrian double which I've done twice already, almost duplicates the route of the Ojai Valley Double Metric I did two weeks ago, and I'd rather have the time home doing "stuff" and doing nothing.  So there.

Onward, because it's all happening...

Steve Jobs and Apple have remainded consistently great over timeFast Company have a great profile of Steve Jobs and Apple.  Ever want your company to be the "Apple of X"?  Now you can find out all their secrets...  seriously I would love for Aperio to be the Apple of Digital Pathology, that would be a great compliment.

Today I had to rediscover for the kazillionth time that working to music rocks.  I do it all the time while traveling and in the office, but in my office, where I have a great music setup, I forget.  Fortunately Pandora was there to rescue me.  No great discoveries today, except the magic of discovery itself...

And so the first round of the World Cup is over, and the Dutch are comfortably through, as only one of two teams which have won all their games (Argentina are the other).  Go Oranje!

the better mousetrapSomeone finally built a better mousetrap.  Excellent!  No moving parts, always catches the mouse but doesn't kill it, and makes it easy to dump the mouse outside.  And won't hurt human fingers :)

Brad Feld is discovering at least one awesome thing each day on his new Mac.  It isn't the big stuff, it's all the little stuff.

Congratulations to Josh Newman on four years with Jess.  I used to enjoy reading his blog for the dating stories, now I enjoy reading them for the married stories.  Either way his self-described self-aggrandizement is entirely rewarding :)

Finding supermodels in rural Brazil.  I am not making this up, and neither are they.

double lightning strike in ChicagoPicture of the day: An incredible photo of a dual lightning strike in Chicago.  Wow.

Bam!Four month anniversary of Bam (when I was hit by a car).  Best four months of my life, playing on house time :)


(New Yorker, 6/28/10)

Saturday,  06/26/10  07:02 PM


"I do"

another fantastic New Yorker cover
even more remarkable is what's on the back cover:

this is a [print] ad for Canada, formatted to look like a Facebook page
how awesome is that?



Saturday,  06/26/10  07:07 PM

Pastis RicardI did a considerable amount of nothing today, reading William Gibson's Idoru while rediscovering the pleasure of Pastis whilst reclining poolside.  Shirley and I definitely prefer Ricard to Pernod, but YMMV; either way I must tell you mixed with a splash of water over ice it is marvelous.

Did make time for a little spreadsheet work - before the Ricard, not after :) - and it was good.

The Financial Post: [Gulf oil spill was an] Avertable catastrophe.  In which it is seen that three days after the BP Deepwater Horizon platform exploded The Netherlands offered the U.S. ships equipped to handle a major spill, and were turned down.

who's paying for the U.S. healthcare bill?Bertelan Mesko links Who is paying for the U.S. healthcare bill?  If you have to ask who's the fool at the table, it's probably you.

Yesterday I mentioned Josh Newman; one his best posts ever was this one, about turning 25.  He notes that after 25 the second milestone is 40, something Mike Arrington is dealing with just now.  It all seems rather quaint when seen from 51.  I must tell you for me turning 30 was the big milestone, but that probably had more to do with getting divorced than anything else; I felt like I was starting over halfway into my life.

Nerd alert: my life as a square (pixel).  My experience with non-square pixels and planer video convinced me there were idiots afoot at IBM.  And I was not wrong.  Who among us cannot remember choosing between palette 0 (black/brown/red/green) and palette 1 (black/white/pink/aqua)?

Palm Pre overclocked to 1GZ! hot!Did you know your Palm Pre can double as a barbeque starter?  Simply overclock it from 600Hz to 1GZ.  It will be snappy but battery life will suffer, and an asbestos case may be helpful.

I love it, but where do these people get the time?

ZooBorn: arctic fox puppyZooBorn of the day: an arctic fox puppy!


posting out of time

Sunday,  06/27/10  08:45 PM

clogged pipes! the plumbing is too complicatedYeah, I know; my posts aren't syncing out again; the pipes are clogged.  Sorry!

I've been spending more and more time traveling which exacerbates the problem, and it is not fixing itself...  time to consider a different mechanism for blogging.

I currently use a great-but-dated WYSI(SO)WYG* tool called Citydesk from Fog Creek Software, wherein I compose posts and edit images and so on offline on my laptop, and then "sync out" the result to my server.  Over the years more and more of my post-processing has moved to my server for performance reasons and because it is easier to manage, to the point where I hardly use the Citydesk composing facilities anymore.

* what you see is (sort of) what you get

I've felt for some time the "right" way for me to post is simply by sending email.  I could do this from my laptop, from my phone, from here, from there, and from anywhere - no muss, no fuss.  No internet connection, no problem; the email is queued, and goes out when I'm back online.  Back in 2003 when I started blogging such a thing would have been weird and hard, but today it seems obvious and easy.  All mail clients send formatted HTML, and I could just filter it a bit, stick it in a post, and poof! we're done.  Update the home page, update the RSS feed, and the archive - all of that is done on the server already.

[ Update: I started working on this today - in between about ten other things, including working on my tan and watching the world cup and attending traffic school and working on work - and while it isn't completely trivial, it's completely doable.  The hardest part is automatically cataloging images.  Please stay tuned... ]


Sunday,  06/27/10  08:55 PM

I think I'm back to full strength after three good nights of sleep back home, and three days of relaxation and work.  Getting caught up, and spending some time thinking ahead, instead of fielding interrupts.  Oh and actually did a little coding today, and it was good...  just wish I didn't have fires burning on so many fronts.  Man there's a lot to do.  Including blogging!

Eric Raymond is right: Reports of PC's Impending Death Greatly Exaggerated.  Laptops, tablets, phones, sure there are a lot of form factors for computing these days, but really for doing actual work a large monitor with a full-size keyboard is best, right?  It has to do with human econometrics, plain and simple.

NASA's supersonic "green machine"I'm linking this just for the cool artist's conception: NASA's supersonic green machine.

Watched a little of the World Cup's knockout round this weekend.  So, I'm not a futbol aficionado, but the officiating in these matches is horrible.  That English goal called back against Germany?  Could have decided the match.  And that offsides non-call on Argentina against Mexico was just as bad.  Give us good referees or instant reply!

Tomorrow's games are likely to be interesting; Netherlands against Slovakia (go Oranje!) and Brazil against Chile.  I think the favorites will win setting up a most interesting quarterfinal rematch between the Dutch and the Brazilians.  The winner of that could easily go all the way.

Facebook has a huge network effect, which is why it is hard to imagine even Google challenging them.  Google Me is all very exciting, but it won't dent the hood.

Schrödinger's kit: Tools that are in two places at once.  This is pretty hard to wrap your head around :)

ZooBorn: baby crested screamerZooBorn / cute chick of the weekend: a baby crested screamer.  What a fuzzball :)


Monday,  06/28/10  09:57 PM

Still nice to be home.  And even nicer; we have Alex back!  Yippee.  She is more tanned and [slightly] more serious but still Alex and man is it great that she's back from her mission in Uganda.  A great day.  Yes I did get a lot done but as with all Mondays somehow my todo list is longer now than it was 12 hours ago, yikes.

Go Oranje!  And so the Dutch are through, beating Slovenia rather convincingly (with some rather amazing futbol), and so are the Brazilians, brushing aside Chile rather easily.  Setting up an intriguing quarterfinal next Friday.  Wow...  either could go all the way.

Jeff Bezos playing chessJeff Bezos on the iPad: "it's really a different product catagory".  He's not wrong.  It really is.

Huh.  Why China is now the Leader in Genome Sequencing Capability.  "Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers will be surprised to learn that China is poised to become the world leader in genome sequencing! That’s due to the ambitious goals of BGI, a privately-operated institute that plans to make genomics a topic that matters for ordinary people."  I think there's a rather important disparity between the "poised to become" of the article and the "now" of the headline :)

Dave Winer: I buy fun domains.  Like  Of course, I never use "really" myself; would be so much simpler :)

NYTimes: Sixty Years in Dodgers’ Booth, and Scully Is Still in Awe.  Vin Scully is the best.  Period.

Good question: Why did so many successful entrepreneurs and startups come out of PayPal?  Having been there myself (and hoping to make the list of successful entrepeneurs someday :), I think it wasn't that PayPal changed everyone into being successful, it was that PayPal attracted successful people, or people who would someday be successful.  It was an amazing environment.


Tuesday,  06/29/10  10:11 PM

A productive day in which I avoided the spin cycle [mostly] and was able to focus on the stuff I had to get done.  Ran out of time at the end though, crud, I hate when that happens...  must *focus* and [somehow] avoid the noise and work only on the most important stuff.  Okay, will do, starting ... tomorrow ...

Leila's Cheese List - click to enbiggenHow do you know you're in a cool restaurant?  By their cheese list, of course.  Checked in from Leila's tonight, had Robiola, Ossau Iraty, Valdeon, Taleggio, and Garroxta.  They were all amazing and the Teleggio was transcending.  Accompanied by a Melville Pinot.  I am happy.

Tesla roadsterCongratulations Tesla!  IPO shares pop, open at $18, close at $24.  Yippee.  The first time a car company has gone public in fifty years, and they have an incredible disruptive technology as they are truly selling electric-powered cars (unlike hybrids, which are efficient gas-powered cars).

Do you have cellphone reception problems?  You could always put a small cell tower in your house.

vuvuzela!You have been warned: Vuvuzelas are now for sale on Amazon.  Bbbbbpppp!  I love that there's even an MP3 single of the Vuvuzela sound available :)

2010 Tour de France profile maps - click to enbiggenAre you ready?  ARE YOU READY!  This weekend starts the Tour de France, yay!  Velonews have helpfully posted profile maps of all the stages...  me and my Tivo are ready...

Did you hear?  Talking to yourself might be the highest form of intelligence.  Yeah dude, you're a genius...


addiction confession

Wednesday,  06/30/10  10:13 PM

Hi, I'm Ole, and I am addicted to M&Ms...

... perhaps now that I have found the courage to confess my weakness publicly, I can start to deal with it.
M&Ms are definitely a performance detracting drug - the more I eat them, the worse I blog.



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About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
The Nest
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained