Critical Section

Archive: September 2010

<<< August 2010


October 2010 >>>


Wednesday,  09/01/10  10:35 PM

Dodger Stadium - the Center of the UniverseIn the middle of the world's longest week, sitting in on a sales training class at Aperio, and doing a few hundred other things in parallel :)  but of course I have time to make a filter pass...

Last night we took our sales team to Dodger Stadium - aka the Center of the Universe - to watch the Phillies beat the Dodgers.  Final score hot dogs 3 beers 5.  A great time was had by all.

And so Apple announced:

  • They have shipped 120M iOS devices.  Wow.
  • iOS 4.1.  Bug fixes (!), HDR photos, HD upload, TV rentals, Game Center.  Yawn.
  • iOS 4.2 (for iPad).  iOS 4.1 stuff + Airplay media streaming.  So be it.
  • new iPod ShuffleRedesigned iPod Shuffle.  Cute.  So be it.
  • new iPod NanoNew iPod Nano.  Touchscreen!  But no camera, and no video.  And it is *not* an iOS device.  Huh.
  • New iPod Touch.  Retina display, front and back cameras, Facetime, HD video recording.  An iPhone4 without the phone.  Expected, but nice.
  • iTunes 10... new logo :)iTunes 10 with "Ping" social network.  Interesting, this I could see using myself... what are my friends listening to, and how do they like it?  Also interesting, they changed the logo to get rid of the CD.  Hah.
  • new AppleTV...and one more thing... A new AppleTV!  Teeny, cheep ($99), no internal disk, rental only.  New UI but not an iOS device, no apps.  Interesting.

A classic Jobsnote, enjoyed watching/listening to the master :)  it was notable that he alluded to some failures or non-successes too; the bug fixes in iOS, bringing buttons back on the shuffle, AppleTV being a "hobby".  It worked.

ArsTechnica posted their usual nice overview of the announcements.

[Update: Ping is a big disappointment.  It might get better, but right now I have no friends, and there's no there there.]

In the real world, worst August for stocks since 2001, not to mention problem bank list climbs to 829.  So much for that "Summer of Recovery", huh?


catching up

Saturday,  09/04/10  11:17 AM

Getting caught up here after a long week away... woke up in Carlsbad this morning, drove home, returned my loaner Porsche (about which I will have more to say - yes, I have my little car back, yay!), and here I am back on deck, literally and figuratively, trying to get caught up.  It was a great week but also a sad week, and somewhat thought provoking, as some reality intruded into my weird little world.  Anyway it will be nice to have a long weekend, hang out with my family, and get in a little R&R.  And a little blogging...

Tech note: I discovered to my chagrin that Twitter is now forcing OAuth for their API, which means when I post to my blog it doesn't automatically Tweet, and hence doesn't automatically post to Facebook.  This scheme didn't work well anyway and I guess this is my chance to fix it, but coding an OAuth interface was not on my menu for this weekend.  I guess I'm going to have to post manually for a while... so be it.

the fat lady sings - summer is *over*...Last weekend I declared the end of summer, but some say it isn't over 'till the fat lady sings (that is, Sept 22).  I must admit, sitting outside on this beautiful morning, it *does* still feel like summer.  But school has started, football is being played, and it's Labor Day; in fact, after this weekend I can no longer wear my white jacket :)  so it is over, baby.  Sad though that may be...

Google Chrome - two years old!Can you believe?  Google Chrome is two years old.  It has not replaced Firefox as my primary browser, but I often use it to check FB and for other JS -intensive tasks.

Apple had a great week, but Ping seems to be a dud so far.  It suffers badly from the "now what" problem; I signed up, and there was nothing to do, and I will probably ignore it from this point forward.  Integration with Facebook would have solved this problem, and apparently at one point Facebook Connect was part of Pink, but at the last moment Apple took it out.  So be it.

How to succeed like Apple: ignore your customers.  Really?



the Panamerica - sheep in wolf's clothing

Saturday,  09/04/10  11:34 AM

the Porsche Panamerica - sheep in wolf's clothingLast weekend I reported the  awesome folks at The Auto Gallery have loaned me a brand new Porsche Panamerica!  I have driven it all week and returned it this morning.  It was a pretty amazing vehicle and I thought I'd share a few thoughts...

  • It was fun having an *unusual* car; everywhere I went people commented.  But nobody thought it was beautiful.  It was always like ... "huh, so that's the new four-door Porsche."  They successfully incorporated the Porsche design cues from the 911, but they did not end up with a great looking car.
  • The 3.8L six has plenty of horsepower for daily driving, but it does not excite the senses.  You can't hear it roar, and you can't feel it throwing the car forward and smashing you back into the seats.  It is not a Turbo Carrera.
  • The interior is beautiful and beautifully laid out.  Nothing bad to say.
  • The electronics are first-rate.  The touch-screen Nav system is excellent.  The iPod link is perfect.  The sound system is quite impressive for a "stock" stereo (although, like the engine, it will not blow you away).
  • There is plenty of room in the back seat for two full size people.  Is is not a 2+2, it is a true four-door four-seater.  And the trunk arrangement is very nice, plenty of room under the hatchback and the rear seats fold down easily for even more room when you need it.

I guess I'd sum it all up by saying it is a Lexus sedan with Porsche styling, a sheep in wolf's clothing (and a very luxurious sheep, too!).  If that's what you're looking for, here you have it :)


discovering the third quadrant

Saturday,  09/04/10  11:54 AM

Last night I shared a bottle of Chardonnay with my friend Jay, and he introduced me to a most significant concept: the third quadrant:

importance vs urgency

This little 2x2 matrix plots tasks we have to perform on two axis - importance, and urgency.  In quadrant one we have important and urgent tasks, and we do these first.  In quadrant two are tasks which are urgent but not important, and we do these next due to their urgency, even though they aren't important.  "Busy" people tend to accumulate a lot of quadrant two tasks.  That would be me.  In quadrant four are tasks which are not important and not urgent, they are in fact optional, and often "fun".  These are the tasks you do when you are procrastinating from doing... the tasks in quadrant three, which are important but not urgent.  Because they aren't urgent we don't make time for them, and because they're important, they're "scary" and "hard" and not "fun".  And the pitfall is that we often don't get to them at all.  That would be me.

Realizing this doesn't necessarily help - after all, I'm blogging right now, a quadrant four task if ever there was one, despite having plenty of quadrant three tasks waiting for my attention - but it is a great concept.  The main takeaway for me so far is that I must avoid quadrant two tasks to make time for quadrant three.  I will of course continue to set some time aside for quadrant four tasks :)

PS amazingly and interestingly, this insight occurred at the 3rd Corner, how cool is that?


plugging back in

Monday,  09/06/10  06:37 PM

the view from China PeakI'm plugging back in after a long weekend spent largely unplugged, pretty nice.  I will do so more often.  This is one of those things, nobody says on their deathbed "I wish I would have spent more time checking email".  I have much to do, but much of it is quadrant two stuff, and the things I did do were more quadrant three, like cycling (pic at right taken from China Peak) and working out and going to a Dodger game with my family.  We'll see whether this lasts... in the meantime, some quad4 stuff like making a filter pass!

Urgh!  The U.S. Treasury's End-of-Summer $50B Bonfire.  We are spending too much money we don't have, and it will take too long to recover.

Igor Anton leads Vuelta a Espana after 9 stagesI must tell you I am *not* paying attention to the Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain), which is taking place right now.  They lost me when they didn't invite Team Radio Shack I think.  I see that Igor Anton is leading, good for him, and the next "name" is Frank Schleck at 1:47.  Tom Danielson is at 1:52.  So be it...

The Driver's Seat - Which car is right for you?I liked this: The Driver's Seat (PDF).  Which car is right for you?  The choice of a car is much more than the choice of a vehicle, it says a lot about you, and determines a lot about how you see yourself.

A great review of great books about a great man: Finest Hours (PDF), The Making of Winston Churchill.  Of all historical figures, the one I would probably most like to meet would be Churchill, a brilliant, intelligent, charming, and [by most accounts] delightful man.  It would be my finest hour :)

Trend of the future: The Up! Personal Portable 3D Printer.  Now just $1,500.  Man I might have to get one of these, how fun :)

Auguste Rodin's Gates of HellScott Loftesness is playing with HDR, and shoots the Gates of Hell.  That would be the famous Auguste Rodin sculpture in the Stanford sculpture garden; I know it well and have admired it many times.  He says the black & white version is more powerful but I disagree.  I remember so well seeing this piece in a rainstorm, with water streaming off it, and it was a powerful experience.

Robert Scoble interviews Scott CookRobert Scoble interviews Scott Cook.  It's an interesting interview ("Continual entrepreneurship is necessary to reengineer success") - Cook is always interesting, a truly fascinating guy - and Scoble notes he has been leader of Intuit longer than Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been alive.  Wow.

People who know me are generally struck by a couple of things, first, I eat a lot, and second, I don't sleep much.  Now TheScientist reports hungry flies ok with less sleep (PDF).  "When flies are starved, they are able to stay awake for long periods of time without suffering the negative outcomes of sleep deprivation, including cognitive impairment."  I will leave it to others to decide if there is any parallel :)

Onward!  have a great week...


weak sync

Friday,  09/10/10  05:48 PM

Another long week, my blogging sync is sporadic, I know.  If I were a news service this would be worse, but I'm an opinion service, so ... you get what you pay for :)  It was a great week personally, as the hard work of my team is starting to bear fruit (and a couple of great new people joined it, too).  Oh and I have my little car back, good as new, and that makes me happy!

life in the third quadrantI am *still* trying to focus on third quadrant activities but failed miserably.  My current hope is to resist new quadrant two tasks and eventually break into the clear.

Today was interesting; my first day of work at home in two weeks.  Man did I get a lot done.  I have to figure out how to get this kind of productivity going while I'm in the office...  meanwhile, it's all happening...

the speed of gravityWhat is the speed of gravity?  If you think it is instant, you might be Isaac Newton.  If you think the answer depends on how fast you're moving, you might be Albert Einstein.  And if you think this kind of question is massively interesting, you might be me :)

"waistline" vs waistlineWant to know something else which is relative?  How about... the waistline of your pants.  Apparently the actual size of 36" pants is not 36" - it varies, somewhere between 37" and 41".  Wow.  I wear 34" jeans and of course they are actually 34"...

Notre Dame launches first paperless 'iPad class'.  Someday soon this will not even be news, but right now it is kind of cool.

California schools replace math textbooks with iPads.  Well that didn't take long, did it?

Google Instant searchThis weeks' big news: Google Instant.  I mostly use the search bar in Firefox, I rarely visit the Google home page, so this announcement is of mostly esoteric interest to me.  I think my overall reaction is "huh" rather than "wow".  What about you, has this changed your life?

This Google Instant ad is pretty awesome.  BTW I still find it weird that Google runs ads for search.  I guess they do have competition - from Bing, and Yahoo - but doesn't everyone try Google first?  Maybe not [anymore]...

The weeks' other big news: Apple are new allowing cross-compiling to App Store apps!  YAY.  This means there is some chance Aperio can use Adobe's Flash-to-native-app cross-compiler to migrate our WebScope digital slide viewer, which would be most excellent.  Stay tuned.

John Gruber analyzes the new App Store license agreement.  Seems like reason has taken over, which is great.

As does MG Siegler.  It does feel like a human being wrote them, which is refreshing, e.g.: "we don't need anymore Fart apps" and "if you run to the press and trash us, it never helps".

The weeks' other big news: Band on embryonic stem-cell funding ended.  YAY.  As LGF notes: "This is excellent news for American science; the opposition to embryonic stem-cell research has been fueled almost entirely by the irrational, anti-science religious right, and it's long past time to get their boots off our necks."

The Covenant - Francis Collins as Director of the NIHI had been meaning to link this: The Covenant, a great article in the New Yorker about Francis Collins, President Obama's choice to head the NIH.  He seems like an inspired choice, since these issues require diplomacy and compromise.

Logorama!This is way cool: Logorama.  An Oscar winning short film, presenting online in its entirety.  Check it out.  [ via Kottke ]

I must agree with Jon Udell: Twitter kills the password anti-pattern, but at what cost?  I have not [yet] implemented OAuth in my blog's auto-updater, and I'm not sure I'm going to anytime soon.  Too much work.  By making it harder, Twitter has broken something important.

Here's something you might find useful: how to think like a rich person.  Unsaid, but critical; rich people thought like rich people before they became rich.  Whether this helped them to become rich, I leave to you.

downward facing kittehDownward facing kitteh.  For the Yoga aficionados among you.  I love it.

ZooBorns: Santa Barbara's baby ottersZooBorns of the week: Santa Barbara's baby otters.  Yeah I know we run otters a lot, but man are they cute.


RIP Edwin Munger

Friday,  09/10/10  06:12 PM

Edwin Munger, Caltech Professor of GeographyI just saw an obituary for Edwin Munger in the Summer issue of Caltech's Engineering & Science magazine, and wanted to add a few personal notes.  I took several classes from Professor Munger while at Caltech in the late 70s, and I venture to say that they were among the most important and formative of any I took, despite being concerned with "Africa studies", while I majored in Biochemistry.

Prof. Munger's classes were relatively unstructured; he taught via anecdotes, of which he had a limitless supply, and often invited visiting African dignitaries to come and speak and answer questions.  (A sample assignment: think of at least one good question to ask the President of Namibia.)  There was a fair amount of reading involved - this was pre-Internet, pre-Google, so finding relevant material involved spending serious time in the library - and a fair amount of writing too.  I remember being struck that Prof. Munger always read and edited everything I wrote, and was as concerned with style and logic argument as with facts and knowledge.  He had a great sense of humor, and his criticisms, while plentiful, were of a kind and constructive nature.  I think my approach to learning and communicating was strongly influenced by taking his classes, and those are things which have been most useful in my subsequent career.

Prof. Munger influenced an entire generation of Caltech scientists-to-be in this way, and leaves an immense legacy.  He will be missed.


never forget

Saturday,  09/11/10  09:02 AM

I never will



Sunday,  09/12/10  09:26 PM

I am reloading after a great weekend; slept in (what a luxury), went mountain biking, saw Pat Benatar with all my girls (Megan's first concert!), and brunched at the Lake, with useful amounts of uninterrupted work time in between.  I needed that!  Just wish I had another day just like it... and man I have a busy schedule; Vista next week, Boston + Baltimore the week after, Chicago the week after that.  You may never hear from me again :)

...but I will squeeze in a filter pass while I can...

Pat Benatar and Neil "Spyder" Giraldo at the Canyon ClubSeeing Pat Benatar was awesome... and the Canyon Club is a perfect venue, an intimate dive with the perfect ambiance for this kind of show.  Pat hasn't lost her kick; check out this video of "Heartbreaker".  And her husband Neil Giraldo (aka "Spyder") still has a blazing guitar.  Coolest thing was being able to shoot this video with my Pre phone in realtime, and then immediately upload it to Facebook, while I was there.  It isn't HD but the technology to do this at all is amazing.

A highlight from the show was Invincible, which Pat introduced nicely, alluding to 9/11; "we can't afford to be innocent, it's a do or die situation, we will be Invincible".  Chills.

New Yorker 9/24/01It was a quiet 9/11, huh?  And a quiet 9/12, too... there were remembrances and tributes, but it was all rather muted.  I know I will never forget.  Let's hope we all don't, collectively. 

I liked Gerard Vanderleun's remembrance, including that fabulous New Yorker cover from Sept, 24, 2001...

Glen Reynolds had a nice little collection of links, too.

Rotterdam Football Club's headquartersThis is awesome: the Rotterdam Football Club's headquarters.  How cool is that?

I have not really been following the Vuelta, but I see where Carlos Barredo won stage 15 up the famous Lagos de Covadonga climb.  I remember it well!  Looks like Vincenzo Nibali has a 4s lead over Joaquim Rodriquez in the overall GC.  So be it.

Telemedicine is totally becoming a reality; Randall Parker considers the possibilities of teleanesthesia.  Like other specialists the logistics of having anesthesiologists present makes scheduling surgeries more difficult.  Perhaps someday an entire surgery will be conducted remotely.  For sure digital pathology is making remote intraoperative consultations feasible!

Killers - mindless entertainmentThe other night Shirley and I watched "Killers", quite possibly the silliest movie of all time.  (Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 0% :)  The plot made no sense, the characters were cardboard cutouts ... and yet, it was fun.  Watching Katherine Heigl is always fun (!) and Shirley would say the same about Ashton Kutcher, Tom Selleck and Catherine O'Hara was great, and best of all the entire opening took place at the Hotel du Cap in Cap d'Antibes, France.  What can I say, mindless entertainment, but at least it wasn't pretentious...

We continue to enjoy our "old" AppleTV, which is perfect for impulse buying movies; we were watching within five minutes of having had the idea.

Motto for the week: Two weirds don't make a normalCheers!


powering back up

Thursday,  09/30/10  06:52 AM

Ole takes ChicagoGreetings blog public!  I have not, as rumor may have it, stopped blogging, nor has anything horrible happened to me (but thanks for all your emails asking).  I have returned from a 12-count-'em-12 day road trip on business, having attended the Pathology Informatics conference in Boston, visited customers in Baltimore, and attended the College of American Pathologists conference in Chicago.  And in between attempted to enjoy the cities and the company of my colleagues and customers as much as possible :) 

Anyway sorry for the gap; there may will be more to say later, and I will resume my regularly scheduled blogging shortly...  Please stay tuned!


booting I: week of 9/13, redux

Thursday,  09/30/10  09:41 PM

Spinning back up to speed, here's a filter pass on the week that was 9/13/10, which I spent work work working in Vista.  Came home for a day Friday, reintroduced myself to everyone :) and then Saturday it was off to Boston.  Already seems like a zillion years ago, actually, so I'll filter accordingly.  Here we go:

Slate helpfully points out People who make $250,000 a year can afford a tax hike.  This must have been written by people who make a lot less than that.  The whole idea of a progressive income tax - wherein people who make more not only pay more, but pay a higher percentage - is unfair.  And bad for the economy.  Take it to the limit and you have pure socialism, and we all know how well that works...

how massive is Google?Just how massive is Google?  This infographic tells all...  [ thanks, Rebecca ]

telemedicine - the wave of the futureMy field of digital pathology (in which my company Aperio is the leader) is sometimes called telepathology, which is a component of telemedicine, the practice of making diagnoses and administering therapeutics while remote from a patient.  FuturePundit reports on a new advance: teleanesthesia, with remote anesthesiologists.  Wow, how cool is that?

In other medical news: Scientists make artificial skin.  The key advances here are tactile feedback.  We have the technology... we can rebuild him :)

Scott "Dilbert" Adams considers Future Searching: "I think the economy has an unimaginably higher gear in it, and we'll see that engage when Internet search goes to the next level, maybe in ten years... The future could be utopia, because everyone will easily find what they need, from love to careers. Or it might be the end of civilization because capitalism depends on barriers to entry, and those will disappear when everyone can find whatever resources they need."

Me and my PreThis is so classic: my post on June 10, 2009, in which I got my Palm Pre.  It has now been well over a year - a lifetime for a smartphone - and I still love it.  In fact on my recent trip my trusty Fuji camera died (!) and I had to resort to using my Pre, and it wasn't half bad.  The ongoing worst feature is poor battery life, which is only partly mitigated by carrying a spare battery.

I don't have a lot of Apps, but there are a few I love, including Open Table, Facebook, and Pandora.  And my absolute favorite built-in App is the Sprint-specific navigation, which is cooler than anything from Garmin, Tom Tom, Magellan, etc. - even incorporates realtime traffic.  Included for $0 and worth the entire price of the phone.  My favorite "dumb" App is a bubble gage; useful for leveling foosball tables and getting a few laughs at dinner :)

steampunk insectAwesome: Steampunk nature, photoshopped.  The talent on display here is breathtaking.  How do these people find the time?  [ via Boing Boing ]

Eric Raymond continues his series on the smartphone wars, Apple vs Google vs everyone else.  "Microsoft actually had the audacity to throw a shipping party that included a mock funeral for the iPhone. All that really needs to be said abut this is that the event was recorded by an Android phone."  I love it, and you will too; click!

the USB typewriterHere we have ... the USB typewriter, a "groundbreaking innovation in the field of obsolescence".  I am not making this up.  I especially love that it can be used as a dock for an iPad.

Jeff Atwood: revisiting solid state drives.  "A solid state hard drive is easily the best and most obvious performance upgrade you can make on any computer for a given amount of money."  The idea of a solid / drive hybrid, in which you have both the capacity and the performance, is pretty compelling.  Hmmm...

Does Quid have the most pretentious website of any startup ever?  Yes.  "Secondary typeface!? How about a primary business model?"  I love it.


booting II: barnstorming Boston 9/18-22

Thursday,  09/30/10  10:19 PM

sewing on NewburySpinning back up to speed, here's a filter pass on the weekend+week that was 9/18-22, which I spent traveling to and in Boston*.  Wonderful weather - when I was able to escape - and some good times and excellent meals punctuated a busy week of attending a conference and visiting customers.  Probably the best thing that happened was I maintained my planned habit of working out every morning, probably the worst was that I didn't maintain my planned habit of blogging every night...

  • During a nice walking tour of Boston Common and environs, discovered an amazing store with tons of old sewing machines in the window (right).  How cool is that?
  • If you are ever in the market for bread pudding, may I recommend Stephanie's on Newbury?
  • It turns out that in Boston people seek out Dunkin Donuts for coffee, in lieu of Starbuck's (or Peet's!)  Who knew?

*A four-hour fog delay in Long Beach turned an eight hour flight to the East Coast into a marathon.

Vincenzo Nibali wins the 2010 Vuelta a EspanaI've been largely ignoring the 2010 Vuelta, but Vincenzo Nibali shows strength, smarts in defending Vuelta lead.  Good for him.  A day later he won the overall title, capping a most entertaining and interesting grand tour.  Congrats to Tyler Farrar who won the final stage and several other sprints besides.  I wish I had paid it more attention, the organizers have definitely shaken things up for the better.

the Matchbox that Ate the Forty-Ton TruckAn interesting book to seek out: The Matchbox that Ate the Forty Ton Truck.  *Not* on Kindle however - possibly because it has a lot of diagrams?  That will need to get fixed.

Scott "Dilbert" Adams' latest mindbomb: The Opinions of Attractive People.  "Imagine a web site that allows any adult to post a ten-second video that is nothing but a statement of opinion, showing only the speaker's face...  Visitors to the site would be able to vote on the videos, based on agreement with the opinions, or the general attractiveness of the speaker."  Interesting.  We definitely put more stock into the opinions of attractive people, whether we want to or not... look at celebrity endorsements.  I also love this: "If it sounds like the dumbest idea in the world, remember that you didn't think of Twitter."  Good point.

so you need a typefaceAn important infographic: So You Need a Typeface.  The first step is admitting you need to do this, the second is that you need help in doing so :)  [ via Boing Boing ]

Mobius strip comic stripMobius strip comic strip.  How awesome is that?  It does complicate distribution somewhat...

Restaurants using wine lists on the iPad are reporting increased sales.  I think we're going to have to concede there is a "there" there with the iPad; there's something happening here, but what it is isn't exactly clear :)  It just shows up everywhere.  [ via Kottke ]

Apropos: the time is now for digital textbooks.  As a parent with two  high-schoolers and one collegian, the time is *now*.  The iPad would seem to have the perfect form factor - color and diagrams and formatting preserved etc. - but the ecosystem hasn't formed yet.  It will.

23 great space missions all on one t-shirtI want one!  23 great space missions, all on one T-shirt.  Donations made to the Planetary Society.  How many of these can you name?

PS interestingly I went to the site to order one, and was confronted with a "size" drop down that had, like, 73 choices.  Too many!  I was confused and almost didn't buy one.  The website is *way* overdone and how lame is it when links aren't links.  They need a lesson is style and simplicity.

Race for the Cure signup page / usability nightmareI encountered a similar problem recently while trying to register for the Susan Komen Foundation's Race for the Cure.  Instead of having one option - register - they had eight; a usability nightmare.  I was able to sign up in the end.  I think.

Horse's Mouth: wave of the dayFrom the horse's mouth, the Wave of the Day.  Awesome!

Good to know: It's finally summertime, on Titan.  After seven earth-years of winter.  And just as summer officially ends here...  let's go!


booting III: blazing Baltimore 9/22-24

Thursday,  09/30/10  10:58 PM

USS Constellation on the Baltimore Harbor WalkSpinning back up to speed, here's a filter pass on 9/22-24, which I spent traveling to and in Baltimore.  It was a great little interlude between two conferences, with some extraordinary experiences sprinkled in between customer visits.

  • So I get in to Baltimore late, Pier 5 hotel, right on the waterfront, and I discover room service is closed for the night due to a private party.  No problem, I get some not-horrible Pinot from the restaurant downstairs and order pizza, and set in my little balcony watching it rain lightly over the harbor.  A live band nearby are playing Creedence Clearwater's "who'll stop the rain" and doing a most excellent job on the cover, and the whole experience is great.  They go on to play more CCR tunes, and on a visit downstairs to reload Pinot I discover the band playing is Creedence Clearwater themselves, for the private party.  My "how did I get here" moment of the trip, so far...
  • Another highlight was a great walk around Baltimore's "inner harbor" on the Harbor Walk, which includes the U.S.S. Constitution (above right).  Most excellent.
  • I discovered that my new favorite super Tuscan may be Querciabella Camartina, displacing Tignanello and Ornellaia.  I must have some T and O soon, to compare :)

federal spending vs household incomeThe central issue of our time: Federal Spending.  One look at this chart, showing federal spending vs household income, and you know this story will end badly.  The only question is how badly, and who-all will get hurt.  The decrease in household income seems scarier than the acceleration in federal spending, but they are linked, of course...

President Obama and Vermont Governer Jim Douglas move a couch in the oval office, aka rearranging deck chairs on the TitanicAnn Althouse captions this photo of President Obama and Vermont Governor Jim Douglas moving a couch in the oval office "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic".  It cannot be much fun skipper this particular ship of state; the course has failed, and disaster is nigh.

Jon Stewart on Obama: I thought he'd do a better job.  So did I, frankly, even though I voted for McCain.  Glenn Reynolds comments "based on what, his experience"?

Revisiting Richard Nixon's Checkers speech from 58 years ago.  It is emotional now even across this space of time, and with the immense change in culture.  Good oratory is just lacking from today's politicians, isn't it?

Here's some important research: Science says men like shapely ladies.  "A UT research team interviewed 375 men and women and concluded that men categorize women with attractive, curvy bodies as short-term partners, whereas a woman with a pretty face would more likely be considered for a long-term relationship."  Further research seems indicated :)

Interesting Advice: Having relationship problems?  Try talking less.  No comment.

And I don't believe this one: Men Don't Notice When Women Wear High Heels.  Um...  I do!

Facebook eating GoogleJohn Gruber ponders How much is Facebook worth?  I can remember the same debates about Google, pre-IPO, and everyone's estimate was low.  But that was a different time...  still, Facebook could be worth more than Google.  Sure seems to be occupying a lot of cycles in the blogosphere.

Boing Boing runs a chapter from Douglas Rushkoff's upcoming Program or Be Programmed: Chapter 3: You may always choose "none of the above".  Reminds me of a quote from Robert Gruden (a good friend's favorite saying): "True freedom, when given a choice between A and B, is to create C."

ZooBorn: Peccary pigletWrapping up, how about a ZooBorn of the week: a Peccary piglet.


booting IV: channeling Chicago 9/25-29

Thursday,  09/30/10  11:08 PM

the Aqua building in Chicago's LoopSpinning back up to speed, here's a filter pass on the weekend+week of 9/25-29, which I spent traveling to and in Chicago.  The centerpiece of my trip, it featured some rather excellent encounters and meals with friends and colleagues amongst the College of American Pathologists' annual conference.  Aperio made a big splash with our Discover Your Path promotion - that was super cool - and although I was happy to come home, I was sad to have the music stop, so to speak; it was quite a voyage.

  • Sunday my colleague and friend Jared Schwartz, Aperio's Chief Medical Officer, was named the CAP's 2010 Pathologist of the YearThat was pretty cool.  We celebrated afterward with a private party at Timothy O'Toole's pub in their Guinness Room.  Some beer was drunk, some darts were thrown, and considerable fun was had by all.  I will have little more to say about that picture of me popping out of a limo :)
  • Among the many great meals on this trip, a quiet dinner with colleagues and friends at Spiaggia, "Chicago's finest Italian restaurant".  Most memorable.
  • I had a chance to see Jeanne Gang's Aqua building in person (pic at right).  Wow, just wow.  So beautiful, and so different to all the buildings around it.  Three stars: worth a voyage just to experience :)
  • I must recommend Bella Bacino's, on E. Wacker.  Excellent pizza, excellent Pinot, and the Lemon Ice is not to be missed.  I can confirm it's a perfect spot for great conversation.

From the 'truth is stranger than the Onion' file: U.N. appoints official representative for space aliens.  That isn't even the strangest thing they've done - electing Libya to chair the human right council tops it, for example - but it does make the list.  Wow.

And so I love this story: asked whether he was giving out candy, a candidate replied "no, get a job and buy your own candy".  And so another conservative was born :)

Four visions for the future of CaliforniaFour visions for the future of California.  Cool and thought-provoking.  The main obstacle to achieving any of them is public spending; we simply must reduce the size of our government and let private enterprise do its thing.  We are always a bellwether for the country, which has the same problem, perhaps we can show the way out...

Are houses the greatest threat to peace?  "Israeli settlers in the West Bank celebrated the end of the building moratorium by pouring concrete for a new day care center, the construction of which had been halted due to the ten-month ban. The notion that such construction is a threat to peace tells us everything we need to know about the "peace process."

John Wayne accepts the Oscar for True GritJohn Gruber links John Wayne, accepting his Oscar for True Grit.  Wow, now that is how you accept an award.  And check out Barbara Streisand as the presenter, and that lineup of nominees!  My how the mighty have fallen...

no unauthorized gathering of informationCheck out this sign outside a Lockheed Martin facility.  No unauthorized gathering of information!  Sign, sign, everywhere a sign, blocking out the scenery breaking my mind...

Some good advice: stop calling him honey and start having sex.  I haven't read the book, but the blurb feels so true.  I encourage all women to read this :)

Unbelievable Stacks of Chinese Goods Piled High on BikesPhoto essay of the week: Inhabitat's Unbelievable Stacks of Chinese Goods Piled High on Bikes.  Wow, I love it.  Please click through and admire the ingenuity on display.  Just when you think you've seen it all, you realize "it all" is so much more than you thought.

While I was out: Los Angeles breaks it's all time heat record.  113°F at high noon.  That is hot!

Bad news of the week: Jure Robic, the world-class ultra-cyclist (five times winner of RAAM) was killed by a car while riding his bike.  I love cycling, but I hate the car-bike collision danger.

Here we have the world's lightest bike: six pounds!  Wow, that's astounding.

Daily cycling is secret to 96-year old's health and happiness.  Mine too :)

coffee dogs on national coffee dayDid you know?  Yesterday was national coffee day.  ("In which we celebrate socially approved addiction" :)  I didn't know, but I celebrated by drinking coffee anyway :)

AOL has acquired TechCrunch, one of my favorite blogs / sources of tech info.  I know what you're thinking, does AOL even exist anymore?  Yes, apparently.  It has been years since I visited AOL.

More from the 'truth is stranger than the onion' file: Senior Advisor Plays Pac Man on his iPad during White House Meetings.  So be it.


back online: cheers!

Thursday,  09/30/10  11:18 PM

Ole in Chicago - maximum Cheers :)And so I am caught up and back online...  It was quite a trip, every day had its experiences and its learnings, and I have come back with resolve to change a few things, and with much to think about.

  • I worked out every day, during the busiest trip ever, and it was a great counterbalance to all the eating and drinking :)  I am happy with myself about that.
  • Despite best intentions I did not blog at all.  I guess it wasn't the most important thing, but I wish I had been able to make time for it.  Reading items from my RSS reader is taking longer and longer, too much chaff obscuring the wheat.
  • I had my camera with me and captured a lot of great shots, but a lot went by unshot, too.  And in the meantime my camera has died; I need a good replacement, and I need to use it.
  • Finally the main thing: I must avoid getting sucked into detail.  I'm a detail guy, and can easily get consumed with low-level crap, but it isn't where I add the most value.  I must learn to say 'no' more often.  We'll see how I do on this one.

As so now onward...  in the near future I have trips planned to Beijing and Seoul, as well as a conference in San Diego...  please stay tuned, and maximum cheers!


Return to the archive.

About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
Aperio's Mission = Automating Pathology
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
the big day
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?