Critical Section

Archive: December 6, 2010

<<< December 5, 2010


December 7, 2010 >>>

Monday,  12/06/10  12:46 AM

making a wishA nice weekend leading into a busy week... I guess my birthday is now *over*, and it is onward into another trip around the sun.  What will happen?  I have a sense of possibility.  And, weirdly, little anticipation; I don't know what will happen, nor even suspect.  I guess the best way to predict the future is to invent it.  Onward!

the dimensions of colourThis is way cool: The Dimensions of Colour, by David Briggs.  There's a lot to the visual mind/world interface, which converts a single spectrum of wavelengths into a three-dimensional perception space.  [ via Doug Hoppes ]

Have you been following this whole Stuxnet thing?  Absolutely amazing.  One of the most sophisticated hacks ever... staggering in its complexity and apparent success.  Read all about it and ponder carefully.  [ via Scott "Dilbert" Adams ]  Josh Newman is extremely impressed, too.

A lesson re-learned: Simple trumps complete.  As learned at Netflix, and as I/we learned at Digital Insight and Paypal, and now Aperio.  Google and Apple appear to exemplify this as well.

Apropos: How to compete with free.  "It turns out that there is something that can compete with free: easy."

Twitter: follow meJohn Battelle on Twitter: Its great problem is its massive opportunity.  "One of the many reasons I find Twitter fascinating is that the company seems endlessly at an inflection point."  Same.  Also, I don't get it :)

Dave Winer: Dan deletes his Twitter account.  What's interesting to me is how often Twitter and Facebook are mentioned in the same breath.  To me they are vastly different.

Related: John Battelle asks Is RSS really dead?  It does seem as though for some [many?] Twitter is a poor replacement...

Maybe ... Twitter over RSS is the triumph of simple over complex :)

Tron: Legacy - a must see...It appears Tron: Legacy is one of those movies I must see.  In a theater.  As I had to see Avatar last year this time.  To prepare I downloaded the original Tron (no, it isn't available anywhere; that's what Shareaza is for :) and plan to re-watch it.  I expect it to be corny, and dates, and ... wonderful!  Stay tuned.

Philip Greenspun makes a key point: Christmas lights are *way* better than Hanukkah lights.  We don't know why, but we know that it is so.

lifespan vs income over time, animatedThis is awesome: Lifespan and Income over time, animated.  A beautiful illustration of world progress in the last century.  What will it look like in another hundred years?  (Bonus question, what would this look like if you plotted IQ...)

Eric Raymond: Off with their header files!  I must tell you, management of nested #include files is one of the persistent weaknesses of C++.  A case study in the department of unintended consequences...  seems his deheader utility could be of great use.

Discovered: a new form of life.  I am most skeptical about these reports; seems like a case study in scientific sensationalism.  Let's let the peer review process play out, then we can all get excited...  NASA do not strike me as the most authentic source for such research.

[Update: I knew it, there's no there there...]

ZooBorns Holiday Calendar!Regular readers will know of my passion for ZooBorns; turns out they have a Holiday Calendar!  I'm not a paper-calendar user anymore, but I might have to make an exception for this one :)


the simple truth about iPads...

Monday,  12/06/10  01:06 AM

iPad with a digital slideAs y'all know I've been musing about iPads...  It is clear they are a huge success.  There is no "killer app", and yet millions of these devices have flown off the shelves, and an entire economy is forming around them.  What is happening here?

Last week I made my annual pilgrimage to the RSNA show - the largest medical imaging show in the world - please find a report on my Aperio blog - and iPads were absolutely everywhere.  In booths and as booth giveaways, and in attendees hands. 

So ... of course the salient feature of the iPad is "it's a tablet", but I'm beginning to think the form factor is a red herring.  I now think the important thing about an iPad is that it is simple.  In particular, simpler than a computer.  The form factor plays into this - no keyboard, no mouse, no ports - but if there were a computer with a keyboard and mouse and ports which ran iOS, it would be a major success, too.  (In fact, as John Gruber considers, this may be the future direction of Macs.)  Philip Greenspun makes a similar point: iPad makes life easier.  Certainly it makes computing life easier; if you spend time on the web, emailing, facebooking, tweeting, etc. then using an iPad for these things is easier than using a computer.  Especially "for the rest of us", which most emphatically does not include me, but includes surprise iPad lovers like my Mom.  Which is why this may not have been obvious to me.

Chrome OS screenshotI wonder if a dirt simple OS for Intel computers could be equally successful?


Return to the archive.

this date in:
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