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Archive: February 2011

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groundhog day

Wednesday,  02/02/11  06:55 AM


Happy Groundhog Day!
May you experience it over and over and over until you get it right :)



groundhog day too

Wednesday,  02/02/11  10:27 PM

Happy Groundhog Day to y'all; let's hope you had a great day, and don't have to repeat it :)  I did not sleep at all last night and am now pretty groggy; you have been warned.

Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow, and predicts an early spring.  So be it.  Watching the video it seemed pretty cold out there, bet this was good news.

John Gruber seems taken with Push Pop Press, "the next chapter in digital books".  Will they be able to crack the code?

This is cool; two British engineering PhDs sent a balloon with cameras attached into space.  For about $500.  Wow.  And bonus points for using Hot Butter's Popcorn as the soundtrack :)

And so the Verizon iPhone is out!  Same phone, different network, and everyone is piling on AT&T and saying Verizon is so much better.  Huh.

Kepler's planetsNasa held a teleconference about the Kepler space telescope today; it has found 1,235 new extrasolar planets in four months (!), including six Earth sized planets orbiting a single star.  Wow.  Lee Billings explains six ways to find another Earth.

VW: the forceThis pre-Super Bowl VW commercial is awesome!  May the force be with them.  Best YouTube comment: "funny how the Dad thinks he started the car" :)

Spray on skin is a reality.  Wow.  Just when you think you've seen it all, you realize "it all" is so much more than you thought.


the social network

Friday,  02/04/11  10:35 PM

Watched The Social Network.  Wow, what a GREAT movie.  Possibly the first time coding and the startup experience has ever been represented accurately in a movie.  I feel inspired!

BTW I guess we all know elements of the movie are wrong - it is truly a story, it isn't entirely true - but elements of the movie are SO right too; the single-minded concentration and frenzy of coding something cool, the excitement and risks of business, the emotional swings back and forth as your fledgling idea gets kicked out of the nest and has to fly.  Great stuff.


Red Rider

Saturday,  02/05/11  02:14 PM

Another Saturday morning, another Red Ride; this time we climbed Rockstore, took Encinal Canyon down to PCH, and then climbed back up Mulholland and descended Westlake.  46 miles with 5,400' of climbing.  Kicked my ass, again in the best possible way.


the route: up Rockstore, down Encinal, PCH, up Mulholland, down Westlake.  46 miles, 5,400'.

Malibu Lake

after climbing Rockstore - yay

looking back down from the top of Rockstore

Pacific Ocean

climbing Mulholland

the group reassembles before descending Westlake



Saturday,  02/05/11  09:59 PM

Are you ready for some football?  Yeah me too.  And eating and hanging out.  I warmed up tonight by watching the North Division CIF final between Oaks Christian and Westlake High Schools, a great inter-city rivalry won by Oaks, on a two-point conversion with 30s left.  Yay.

Are you a spouse widowed by the Super Bowl?  Then check out How I learned to stop worrying and love football.  There is hope for you yet.

I love this: the Mockability Test.  "If a humorist can easily mock a given proposition, then the proposition is probably false, even if your own confirmation bias tells you otherwise."

bike weather in MilwaukeeBike weather in Milwaukee!  Another reason to root for Green Bay.  Not to be confused with bike weather in SoCal :)

village lightsThis is awesome - village lights under Mittlerspitz.  Check out the whole site, these photographs are amazing.

Question of the day: How big a bite will Apple take out of the mobile commerce market?  Answer: a big one.  Using phones as payment instruments is going to be huge.

Wow who knew?  Yesterday was Facebook's 7th Birthday.  I celebrated by watching The Social Network but I didn't know until today.

Business Week: Peter Thiel: 21st Century Free Radical.  An interesting counterpoint to his flat portrayal in The Social Network.  I worked for Peter while at PayPal for about a year; he was one of the smartest people I've ever met.

night landing at LAXMost excellent: Night landing at LAX sped up to Mach 1.5.  This movie starts with a flyover of Thousand Oaks, Westlake, Malibu, PCH - exactly where I was riding this morning, how cool is that?  And keep watching until you see the sunset and the landing, they're amazing.

Penelope Trunk likes VW's "the Force" ad too, coming at it from a Gen X sociological angle.  I can see that.

Apple's iconic 1984 Super Bowl adBTW there are already a lot of Super Bowl ads posted online; these days you don't even have to watch the Super Bowl if you just want to watch the ads.

Some of my favorite ads are Dos Equis' "The most interesting man in the world"... so who is the most interesting man in the worldHe once visited a psychic, to warn her...

Lee Billings on Huygen's Titan landing: What's "Earth-like" mean?  "The most powerful way to measure a planet's potential for life is simply to live there."  I love it!

Josh Newman compares emailing while sick to dialing while drunk.  I'm just sorry I didn't get any of his "sick" emails; I bet they were excellent :)


bowled over

Monday,  02/07/11  11:19 PM

riding Sycamore Canyon at duskJust another manic Monday, coming off a great dusk mountain bike ride in Sycamore Canyon, in which I review yesterday's Super Bowl and make a filter pass...

Some chest-beating; from the Dark Report: More Clinical Laboratories are Purchasing Digital Pathology Systems.

Green Bay wins: Clay Mathews and Aaron RodgersCongratulations to the Green Bay Packers.  In a not-horrible game the worse team played better, and won, delighting fans like me who would rather root for the underdogs, especially when they're led by someone easy to like, than the prohibitive favorites, especially when they're led by someone difficult to like

Black Eyed Peas did not amazeIn related news Christina Aguilera did a great job on the Star Spangled Banner (seriously, despite missing a few lyrics), and the Black Eyed Peas were ... boring ... sorry but I had a feeling they were going to be great, and they weren't, especially compared to recent Super Bowl headliners like Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty.  I felt Usher stole what was left of the show, perhaps he should have headlined.

I'm going to say Shirley's tamales and chili stole the show *again* this year, that was the superest bowl.

The best and worst Super Bowl ads.  In our group of friends Volkswagon's "kid-as-Darth-Vadar" ad won easily.  Most of the ads were boring, and quite a few were awful; the Doritos "finder sucking" ad was horrible, as was Groupon's "free Tibet".  Chrysler's "Detroit" ad featuring Eminem was pretty cool, but knowing you and I paid for it made it less cool.

TwitterFeed!I am now using TwitterFeed to tweet blog posts.  Crucially, they let you designate a specific URL-shortener; and so I made my own.  Seems to work, no muss, no fuss, and I can even use it to post to Facebook.  Although I tend to do those "manually" as links, so I can pick the right thumbnail :)  What's interesting about TwitterFeed is that it exists, and I knew it would; there had to be a way to post RSS items to Twitter and Facebook automatically.  But what is the business model for such services?  To get popular and get bought, I guess.

Google ChromeI am experimenting with using Google Chrome v9 as my default browser.  I like Firefox but Chrome seems faster, especially with a bunch of windows open, and it definitely uses less memory.  Now that it has extensions I can have IETab and Adblock, and can browse happily with it. 

[Update: fell back to Firefox again.  I forgot the reason I can't use Chrome as my default browser, it only opens external links as a tab.  I want them opened in a new window.]

[Update2: I found a solution, there is a registry hack which makes Chrome open external links in a new window.  I have switched!]

Asana screenshot; new online collaboration softwareAsana looks interesting: a serious attempt at online collaboration software.  I don't know whether they're going to succeed where many have failed - Aperio are using Sharepoint, and I'm going to count that as a fail - but it is an important problem.  Good luck to them!

The Oatmeal: six crappiest interview questions.  "Where do you see yourself in five years?Anywhere but here!  Too bad we aren't allowed to give people IQ tests and be done with it.  Someone please explain, just exactly who are we protecting by preventing employers from doing this?

So AOL are buying the Huffington Post, for $315M.  Man, I don't get it.  But there's a lot about AOL I don't get... they seem dead already, don't they?

Nick Denton: "Is this a fearsome Internet conglomerate or simply a roach motel for once lively websites?"  The latter; a lot of the air goes out of the balloon after an exit.

This is incredible: Man runs 365 marathons in 365 days.  Just when you think you've seen it all...

ZooBorn: Palm Cockatoo chickZooBorn of the day: a Palm Cockatoo chick.

Hey guess what?  Wednesday is HP's "Think Beyond" event, at which they're going to announce new Palm phones and a Palm tablet.  Stay tuned...



Wednesday,  02/09/11  10:46 PM

Today featured HP's big "Think Beyond" event, at which they announced new webOS devices: small, medium, and large, a teeny Palm Pre -like "Veer", a larger Palm Pre 3, and the TouchPad, a webOS -based tablet.

Of course it was the TouchPad that got the most attention, from TechCrunchRobert Scoble, John Gruber, and Boing Boing, among many others.  The general impression seems to be most positive, but we'll have to see whether developers and consumers actually adopt.

[Update: you can see video of the entire event here.  It is interesting that while I am interested in the webOS devices, I am pretty un-interested in watching the announcement itself.  Not quite a Jobsnote...]

Overall it looks like HP have pushed webOS forward in a big way; they even announced that it will be distributed on their laptops in future!  Some bemoaned the death of the "Palm" brand, but I get it; they couldn't confuse with too many brands, and "webOS" is their go-forward brand of choice.


Friday Friday

Friday,  02/11/11  11:28 PM

A late night tonight (yawn) poor Meg is down for the count with the flu, and I'm sad about it; not only is she feeling horrible but tomorrow night is Oak Christian's father-daughter dance and we were both looking forward to going.  Alex is a senior this year, and hence being "presented", so it's going to be a big deal.  Well fXf *maybe* she'll recover in time.

Life As We Know ItWe watched two movies tonight; Definitely, Maybe, which I'd previously seen (and thought rather clever, and liked), and Life As We Know It, a formulaic comedy which I enjoyed despite being predisposed not to.

I don't have too much to say about the events in Egypt, but they are fascinating to watch.  Realtime politics on the realtime web.  You can only imagine how weird this must be to those who get their news from dead-tree media like newspapers or magazines.  I think Mubarak himself didn't get it (though he probably does now ;).

One thing that's apparent; the U.S. are *not* involved.  I loved this headline: Obama learns of resignation watching TV.  Well to clarify I don't love that our government and leader are so poorly informed and out-of-the-loop, but it was clever anyway.  If this is Obama's 3:00AM moment, he slept through it.

Apple WaterA new Apple Product: Water.  Clean.  Simple.  Wet.  Only slightly kidding :)

Nokia sells out to Microsoft, and that's all she wrote for Symbian in the short term, and Nokia in the long term.  Just like when Yahoo sold out by swapping search to Bing.  When you outsource your core competency, it is over... so different to what HP did with webOS, which might not work but at least represents their effort to keep innovating.

ginormous orange cube = office building!Building of the week: this ginormous orange cube with a circular tunnel.  How great is it that [with modern materials and techniques] we can now build all these amazing ideas?

Readability 2.0 is a web browser extension that removes clutter from any web page, making it easier to read.  Huh.  Jeffrey Zeldman says it is disruptive in two ways, first by routing around the publisher's look and feel, and second by adding a new way to monetize written content.  Will be interesting to see how this plays out.  I must confess, since I read most content with RSS this is not compelling for me.

Voyager 1Lee Billings: Can we reach the stars without breaking the bank?  An interesting discussion, in which the technical and indeed scientific difficulty of traveling outside our solar system is reinforced.  I might be able to visit Titan before I die - I hope so - but I doubt anyone will ever visit Alpha Centauri.  Voyager 1 (pic at left) is presently our furthest outpost, and it would take 73,000 years to reach it.

Apropos: Doc Searles republishes a 25-year-old Reflection on the Challenger Tragedy.  I remember exactly where I was when I heard that news, don't you?  I love the juxtaposition between how hard it is to fly a rocket and how easy it is to drive a car; I think of that often.  Will space travel ever be as easy as driving?  So far flying isn't even...

Boeing 747-8Meanwhile: Boeing puts another behemoth in the sky.  "The 747-8 is a niche airplane that won't sell well, but it's further proof Boeing is beating Airbus in the race to make aviation more efficient."  Bigger is only better if it is cheaper.

"out in a blow"Sailing photo of the day, from The Horse's Mouth: Out in a Blow.  Awesome!

Charles Johnson celebrates Joe Satriani, Flying in a Blue Dream.  "After a week like this, it's time to shred."  What are you waiting for?  Click through!


Red Rider

Saturday,  02/12/11  01:02 PM

Continuing my string, this morning I joined CVC's Red Riders for a little jaunt up Westlake, down and up Upper Encinal, and then across Mulholland and down Rockstore.  A nice little 35 miler with about 3,500' of vertical.  Kicked my ass.  In a good way :)

Red Ride: Westlake / Encinal / Mulholland / Rockstore

The beautiful Pacific Ocean as seen through Encinal Canyon



Saturday,  02/12/11  01:26 PM

Still waiting to see whether Meg will be well enough to go to the Oaks Christian father-daughter dance tonight...  was up most of last night (yawn) and she is not doing well.  Boo.  fXf and we'll see...

My friend Marina linked this video on Facebook; thanks!  Check it out, might be the best moment of your day :)

Speaking of Facebook: how NOT to be invisible.  I get that they have to change the service, but they always seem to get it wrong.  Huh.

2011 Amgen Tour of California routeIn the wake of this morning's Red Ride, which took me along many miles of the final stage of last year's Amgen Tour of California, this is particularly interesting: Amgen Tour of California route announcement complete.  This year's route includes a lot of riding I do all the time; stage 7 finishes at the top of Mount Baldy (excellent!), and stage 8 from Santa Clarita goes up Balcom Canyon (yay, it's back) and the Norwegian Grade before finishing on the Amgen campus in Thousand Oaks.  Cannot wait!

Atlas Shrugged, Part ISo ... they're making a movie from Atlas Shrugged!  The trailer from part one is up, and it looks awesome...  er, who *is* John Galt?

The Tillerman asks: What did Elvstrøm say?  I always heard is thus: "it is not enough to win the race, you must also win the respect of your competitors".  Which he generally did both :)

Okay, onward... please please please let's hope Meg feels good enough to go!


Alexis, Megan, and me!

Sunday,  02/13/11  09:01 AM

All's well that ends great; Megan *was* well enough to go, and Alexis, Megan, and I attended the 2011 Oaks Christian father-daughter dance together.  It was wonderful.  They both looked incredible (see for yourself) and I was one proud dad.  Alexis was "presented" as a senior, Megan honored her with a bouquet, and the evening was a smashing success.  Yay!

Yes, if you're wondering, Megan did make a wardrobe change.

Excellent!  Every day should end this well :)


Jobsnotes of note

Sunday,  02/13/11  10:04 AM

This morning I was reflecting on HP's webOS announcements, and on the difference between Steve Jobs and everyone else when it comes to announcing new products.  Which prompted me to go back into the archives, and unearth some of his most memorable presentations...

1983 - pre-Macintosh screening of "1984" commercial
an oldie but goodie, young Steve Jobs talking about the PC industry

1998 - iMac
first big act back in control of Apple
(note suit!)

1999 - iBook

2000 - OS X
a key moment, handled beautifully

2001 - iPod
I love this one, little did anyone know the revolution being unleashed
(so low-key!)

2003 - iTunes music store
this was BIG and everyone knew it

2003 - Safari web browser

2004 - iPod mini

2005 - Intel processors
huge news at the time, a major announcement, handled amazingly

2005 - iPod Nano

2005 - Mac Mini

2007 - iPhone
possibly his finest ever, and unquestionably the most historic
nobody knew then that Apple truly had reinvented the phone
...and the computer...

2008 - Macbook Air

2008 - App Store
not his most dynamic, but perhaps the most important, as the dynasty begins

2010 - iPad
not his best, but one of the most important
little did we know 15M would be sold in 2010, wow!

2010 - AppleTV
not a huge success so far but a sleeper... stay tuned :)

2011 - IOS 5 and iCloud
Apple joins a big trend, but can they execute?

[Updated on 2/14/11 to add: 2008 - App Store]
[Updated on 6/7/11 to add: 2011 - IOS 5 and iCloud]


the App Store

Monday,  02/14/11  07:07 AM

This morning I was rereading yesterday's Jobsnotes of note post, and it suddenly struck me; I had forgotten the most important one!  (Picture me whacking myself on the forehead... whack!)  Yes, the most important Jobsnote was 2008's introduction of the App Store.  It wasn't Mr. Jobs' most dynamic presentation - I give the prize for that one to the 2007 iPhone introduction - but it was critical as it established the App ecosystem which defines iPhones today, and which made the success of the iPad possible.

2008 - App Store
the dynasty begins



Happy Valentine's!

Monday,  02/14/11  07:30 AM


Happy Valentine's Day!

to my wonderful wife Shirley, and to
my amazing daughters, Nicole, Jordan, Alexis, and Megan, and to
my fantastic mom Cootje, and mother-in-law Millie

and to you, my awesome friends

you are the joy of my life
let's all have a wonderful day!


naturally selected

Tuesday,  02/15/11  07:49 AM

naturally selectedThis *naturally* is my favorite Valentine's card for the year.  (Of course Darwin would have a Valentine, why wouldn't he?) 

Did you know this celebration was established in the year 496AD by Pope Gelasius to celebrate Saint Valentine?  It is one of our oldest traditions, and has been naturally selected to remain a favorite.  Despite the fact that studies show it is one of the most stressful days of the year for many.  Just shows that romance and love (and sex!) remain a priority for us all.

We celebrated with a wonderful dinner in which the awesome pairing of perfectly prepared Filet Mignon with Mayacamus Cabernet was once again confirmed :)

Cheers, hope *you* had a great Valentine's Day... Onward!


Wednesday,  02/16/11  11:24 PM

the start of the day: storm over waterToday began horribly, with gloomy rain and a kazillion little things going wrong, but ended great, with a fullish moon and good news on a number of fronts.  That's how it goes sometimes, you wake up in the morning, you never know what will happen that day...

OMG, my daughter Megan has started a blog: style ftw. What have I done? :)

What I want this to be is something big, something different, something cool. I read about the blog Style Rookie by Tavi Gevinson in a magazine and decided to check it out. She is my new idol! 14 and famous for fashion already. Her clothing is amazing... she's fearless. I made the conclusion that if I had a blog I could maybe try to sorta do the same thing but different. My blog is more of a journey than a scrapbook. I'm going to start to wear whatever I want (even if its crazy), design one piece of clothing every week and show you guys what inspires me. I'm going to take pictures, videos, and write every week. This is about the fashion, the journey is just a way to serve it.

Meg is 13

I have an iPhone!  Yes indeed, a spiffy new iPhone 4 from Verizon.  I continue to love my Palm Pre and that will remain my daily driver, so to speak.  But I need to test Aperio's new AJAX digital slide viewer on an iPhone (and on an iPad).  So far I must say the onscreen keyboard isn't as horrible as I feared.  Stay tuned!

I have switched to Chrome!  Yes indeed, Chrome is now my default browser.  I found the solution to opening external links in a new window instead of a new tab.  It is a registry hack but it works, and now I am happily Chroming.  I'm just going to say, it *is* faster than Firefox, and less of a memory hog.  Speed continues to be important; remember, IE took over from Netscape when it became faster, and Firefox took over from IE when it became faster too.

computer Watson wins Jeopardy!Wow, Computer finishes off humans on Jeopardy!  "The IBM supercomputer Watson won its second 'Jeopardy!' game in Wednesday's edition of the TV show, completing a sweep of its two human opponents, including Jennings, who acknowledged mankind's trivia inferiority before the match was even over."  So be it.

Lance Armstrong retires from cyclingLance Armstrong retires from cycling.  So be it!  The greatest stage racer ever hangs up his cleats, after an amazing comeback that saw him finish third in the Tour de France at age 38 after a three-year layoff.  He will probably always be dogged by charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs, but he has never tested positive and has been tested more times for more things than any athlete ever.  Meanwhile he made a heroic recovery from a horrible cancer, won seven consecutive Tours de France, and has raised more money for philanthropic purposes through his Livestrong Foundation than any other athlete ever.  He is my hero, and I'm wearing a yellow LiveStrong wristband right now in his honor.

the roundest object in the worldHere we have the roundest object in the world.  All part of trying to define the kilogram empirically, by determining Avogadro's Number to a higher precision...

To nobody's surprise, Apple launches App Store subscriptions.  Interestingly they're taking a cut of every subscription payment, not just the initial payment for an App.  I guess this makes sense, but it will cause some tooth-gnashing among content publishers who are already operating on teeny margins.  I predict this will not save magazines and newspapers, it will primarily be a vehicle for game updates.

AAPL vs MSFT vs GOOG in five-year market capIn related news, Apple is now worth $100B more than Microsoft.  Google is closing fast in third place.  Wow, just wow.  Could you have predicted that five years ago?  No.

This I love: On the first day, Man created God.  "The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike."  Shhh....


cloud computing

Wednesday,  02/16/11  11:41 PM


cloud computing

(New Yorker caption contest winner)



invasion II

Friday,  02/18/11  05:03 PM

Valentine invasion!A communications interruption can only mean one thing: invasion!

And so it is that we are braced for a post-Valentine's Valentine's party tonight, featuring Megan and a cast of 50 of her closest friends.  You would think that we would have learned our lessons from hosting so many kids parties, and you would be wrong.

In other news, had a wonderful dinner last night with a colleague, at which many new plans were hatched, and several interesting follow up discussions today.  Weird how serendipitous these conversations were, each traveling to the same subject from widely varied starting points.  I am energized.  And ... I am blogging!  A filter pass, if you please...

Obama's tech dinnerDid you see this?  President Obama had dinner with Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, and Mark Zuckerberg.  Would have been great to be invited, or even just to be a fly on the wall.  Wonder if they asked him about his administration's new budget? The Oatmeal has a great take, too.

VDH: Decline is in the mind.  I am preparing for the upcoming movie made from Atlas Shrugged by rereading the book, and it is brought strongly to mind.  Who is John Galt, indeed!

Lance climbing a muir at the 2010 Tour of FlandersCycling's senior scribe John Wilcockson: Armstrong's 25-year journey is over.  A great survey of a great career.  Of course we haven't heard the last of Lance, I fully expect him to run for office - and win!  BTW how great is that picture of Lance climbing a muir at the 2010 Tour of Flanders; I was there, and was privileged to seem him ride and ride well.

Inside the DNA of the Facebook Mafia.  If you liked The Social Network, check this out.  The intersection and parallels to the PayPal Mafia are fascinating.  BTW, in this context "mafia" means "diaspora of alumni" :)

Arcade Fire - best album of 2010!Arcade Fire beats Lady Gaga for top album.  Yay.  Hardly an embarrassment for Eminem, however.  You have to love it when a new band with a "mainstream" sound can displace the established stars to win a Grammy.  Gaga and Eminem and all have had their days in the sun.

Xoom tablet computer, the wave of the futureTruly, with the iPad, Xoom, and TouchPad, the tablet age is upon us.  As I've noted before, tablets are truly "the computers for the rest of us".  There will be a day when we remember notebook computers and their desktop operating systems with nostalgia.

With the proliferation of smartphone platforms - and the importance of mobile devices - comes a new nightmare for developers.  Seems like developing for the web with pure AJAX is the way out.

Excellent: 3D printer that prints itself gets closer to reality.  How great would that be?  Do you suppose it will hunt for plastic?  Will there be mutations and selective evolution?

Boeing 314 flying boatThis is pretty cool: Lost Luxury, the Boeing 314 Flying Boat.  These amazing craft ruled the luxury travel scene for a small window of time, just before WWII, replicating the luxury liner experience in the air.  How great would it have been to travel like that?  (no WiFi however :)  Memorably the scene of one of my favorite novels, Ken Follett's Night Over Water.

ZooBorn: newborn polar bear cubZooBorn of the day: a newborn polar bear cub.

XKCD's productivity tip: reboot your computer every time you get bored.  Wow, wonder if that works?  I'm nearly done with this blog post, should I reboot?


redneck bank loan

Friday,  02/18/11  05:11 PM

redneck Ferrari :)(from my friend Jared:)

A Redneck from Alabama walked into a bank in New York City and asked for the loan officer. He told the loan officer that he was going to Paris for an international redneck festival for two weeks and needed to borrow $5,000 and that he was not a depositor of the bank.

The bank officer told him that the bank would need some form of security for the loan, so the Redneck handed over the keys to a new Ferrari. The car was parked on the street in front of the bank. The Redneck produced the title and everything checked out. The loan officer agreed to hold the car as collateral for the loan and apologized for having to charge 12% interest.

Later, the bank's president and its officers all enjoyed a good laugh at the Redneck from the South for using a $250,000 Ferrari as collateral for a $5,000 loan. An employee of the bank then drove the Ferrari into the bank's private underground garage and parked it.

Two weeks later, the Redneck returned, repaid the $5,000 and the interest of $23.07. The loan officer said, "Sir, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out on Dunn & Bradstreet and found that you are a distinguished Alumni from the University of Alabama, a highly sophisticated investor and Multi-Millionaire with real estate and financial interests all over the world. Your investments include a large number of wind turbines around Sweetwater, Texas. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?"

The good ol' Alabama boy replied, "Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for only $23.07 andexpect it to be there when I return?"


blogging while high, again

Saturday,  02/19/11  11:07 PM

blogging while highOn the road again... starting with a whirlwind one-day trip to Orlando, to attend the HIMSS conference, before spending the week with Aperio's sales team in Vista.  I am presently high above ... Arizona? ... en route; thank you Delta for the WiFi.  Whew.  (Does this count as cloud computing? :)  I did manage to have a productive morning; cranked out some stuff I've been waiting to finish for weeks.

Please do not mention the word "compliance" to me.  Just ... don't.

And so I am off!  And meanwhile, this:

federal spending vs jobsPowerline: what the house did last night.  That graph of federal spending vs total jobs is rather scary.  So much for the stimulus, huh?  And meanwhile we are left with a crushing debt.

Wired in 1997: how to save ApplePretty amazing: A detailed follow up to Wired's "101 Ways to Save Apple" from 1997.  I remember that issue well, and I remember thinking "why does everyone always have so much advice for Apple?"  And it is still true today; even now, as the most successful tech company on Earth, everyone is always telling them what to do.  Even me :)

Apropos: Apple in the Sky with Diamonds: A cloud-based safe deposit box.  I love the title (!) but also the discussion; so many people are now saying that the next iPhone/iPod whatever will not have local storage, but will instead rely on cloud servers.  I don't think so.  Apple is all about the product experience, and accessing your information "in the cloud" is a lousy experience.

The AOL way claims its first victim: Engadget editor Paul Miller resigns.  Wow, too bad.  I love Engager, I hope this doesn't mean the start of a slow decline, but I fear it does...

is this how the Escher Waterfall Machine works? (clever!)So, is this how the Escher Waterfall Machine works?  You have to see the linked video, pretty amazing, even if it isn't "real".  How cool is that?  (BTW the reverse engineering is clever; even if it isn't right, it's a good guess!)

cutest ZooBorn ever? : a baby TapirWow this could be the cutest ZooBorn ever: a baby Tapir.  Awww.

Oh, yeah, we survived the invasion!  In fact it all went amazingly well.  A great group of kids had a great time.  How great is that?


back to Earth

Thursday,  02/24/11  09:58 PM

return from Orlando...I am back to Earth, literally and figuratively, whew.  When last you left me, I was high in the sky, blogging, on my way to the HIMSS Venture Fair in Orlando.  That went well, you can read all about it in my report on my Aperio blog, but the return trip was a series of disasters; I didn't get back until midday Monday.  (see diagram at right :)  So be it, whew.  And then it was home for a night, and the rest of this week has been spent attending and presenting at Aperio's annual sales meeting. 

Team Aperio 2010 - the mug!A highlight was distributing the Team Aperio 2010 mugs (see at left); a tradition I started and of which I am inordinately proud; this is now the eighth year.  (Yes the mugs are collectors items, especially the early ones of which so few were made.)

Anyway today was my first "normal" day in quite a while, and there is little peace ahead, as I leave for San Antonio and the USCAP conference on Saturday.  Double whew!  Still there is much else going on in the world, let's take a look...

Jobsnote of note: the iPhone announcementI am surprised that my Jobsnotes of note post hasn't received more traffic.  Doesn't everyone need to see these?  Guess not :)  Anyway I am prepared to add to my collection as the iPad 2 announcement appears nigh...

Apple smacks Readability in the face with subscription rules.  Huh.  Seems like this will just push services like Readability out onto the web; that does not seem to be in Apple's best interest.  And they are very good at tuning things to be in their best interest :)

Josh Newman considers dining hall trays: What a tool.  "Of course, it isn’t just dinner plates and dining hall trays. Indeed, nearly all of modern life seems to operate at the same juncture of manufactured stuff and unclear self-assessment; thus, we make things, which in turn re-make us. Which is to say, we create technology (say, a plate) to assist us with an ill-understood instinctive behavior (eating food), and then find that the technology has led to unexpected consequences in the very behavior itself (how much of the food we eat)."  I would put smartphones in this category :)

TechCrunch's MG Siegler: I Will Check My Phone At Dinner And You Will Deal With It.  Interesting isn't it how quickly protocol regarding this has changed?  I distinctly remember a dinner at our house ten years ago with a PayPal colleague who checked his Blackberry during dinner.  Shirley was horrified.  But that was then, this is now.  We do have a "no phone" rule for family dinners, but it does fly in the face of convention.

Okay one more in this vein: the end of the IT department.  "The companies who feel they can do without an official IT department are growing in number and size. It’s entirely possible to run a 20-man office without ever even considering the need for a computer called 'server' somewhere."  Fascinating.  I wonder how long it will be necessary to have desktop or laptop computers?  Or phone systems?  Seems like handheld computers aka smartphones might trump them all.

site type mapAmong the many things I don't get, Quora is one of them.  I gather it is a place where one asks questions, and your friends answer?  Huh.  I feel like posting "why should I use Quora", but I'm entirely confident of getting negative noise in response.  Anyway... TechCrunch compares StackExchange to Quora, a truly weird comparison.  I *get* StackExchange, it's a place to ask technical questions.  The signal to noise is rather high, due to a Slashdot-like rating system.

A great article from McKinsey: The Programmers Dilemma, building a Jeopardy champion.  To me, playing Jeopardy comes much closer to passing a Turing Test than defeating grandmasters at chess.  The natural language parsing involved is ferocious.  Just shows that while progress in artificial intelligence is slow, it remains steady.  One day we'll be interacting with computers as if they are beings, and we won't even find it remarkable.

Oranje cricket! - Ryan ten DoeschateMy colleague Kiran tells me the Dutch are doing well at the Cricket World Cup.  The Dutch play cricket?  There's a World Cup going on?  Who knew... anyway, Go Oranje!

Wouldn't you agree, no sport anywhere is as inscrutable to non-fans as cricket?

Levi Leipheimer is favored to win the TOC - and Mount BaldyYes!  Mount Baldy could decide Tour of California.  I cannot wait, and yes of course I will be there; would not miss it.  In fact as per previous years when I've climbed Balcom, Palomar, and (last year) Rockstore, I will ride it myself before watching.  I guess we could agree that Levi Leipheimer (left) is the favorite, not only for the Baldy stage but the whole tour.  He's won it three of the last four years, and a mountaintop finish should suit him well.

This is excellent: Ohio Girl Scouts accepting mobile payments for cookies.  How cool is that? 

Lessons not learned: What happens after Yahoo acquires you.  "Both sides talk about all the wonderful things they will do together. Then reality sets in. They get bogged down trying to overcome integration obstacles, endless meetings, and stifling bureaucracy. The products slow down or stop moving forward entirely. Once they hit the two-year mark and are free to leave, the founders take off. The sites are left to flounder or ride into the sunset. And customers are left holding the bag."  Yikes.

the Yellow Treehouse restaurantMost excellent: Incredible yellow treehouse restaurant rises above New Zealand.  This is the kind of thing Inhabitat often blogs about as a planned project, but it would appear this restaurant actually exists.

ZooBorn: King Vulture chickWrapping up my back-to-Earth post, a King Vulture chick!  Wow, does he ever look out of this world :)


whale of a tale

Thursday,  02/24/11  10:32 PM

whale of a tale...From a longtime friend:

If you read a recent front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines.

She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat.

She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate ) and radioed an environmental group for help.

Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her.

They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles.

She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them.



bam, one year later

Thursday,  02/24/11  10:39 PM

bam!It was one year ago today that I was out riding and was hit by a car.  Bam.

"Could have been so much worse.  Good for about a quart of adrenaline and some philosophical thoughts.  The sky is bluer, girls are prettier, and music sounds better :)  I will not soon forget".

Interestingly it has changed my life.  The sky has remainder bluer, girls have remained prettier, and music has continued to sound better.  And I don't think I will ever forget.  Onward!



Saturday,  02/26/11  10:56 AM

the Alamo - San Antonio bound...I am reloading after a couple days home - packing - getting ready to spend a week in San Antonio attending the United States and Canadian Association of Pathologists conference.  This will be a big deal for Aperio - we're announcing some major products - and a big deal for me, as I have spent the last year working on those products :)  I'm looking forward to it, should be great.  But first a quick blogging pass...

Horace Dediu: The Platform as a Promise.  Great discussion and analysis of the nature of platforms and brands.  "I choose to define brand in this context of platforms as the “promise of the platform."  Check it out...  [ thanks to John Gruber for directing me to Horace; Asymco is a new favorite blog; subscribed! ]

liking Angry Birds - the best bird everFrom the Oatmeal: the Likeability of Angry Birds.  Important stuff.  I confess this non-game-player has it loaded on his Pre :)

Did you know?  You can have as much as you want.  "If you want to know what the future will be like, just think of everything you like, and imagine having as much as you want!"  Interesting perspective, and true of course...  but too much ain't enough.  Actually I am [re]reading Atlas Shrugged just now - loving it! - and it imagines a world in which the future is progressively worse, due to government intervention.

Interesting experiment: Solo drivers in Los Angeles will soon be allowed to drive in carpool lanes for a fee.  I suspect road rage might truncate this experiment; we'll see.  Charging everyone to ride in a lane is one thing, but allowing some to flaunt their privilege might not fly.

the Sagrada Familia catherdral in BarcelonaTim Bray with a photo tour of the Sagrada Familia, a massive new cathedral in Barcelona.  Wow, looks amazing.  I love that we are still creating these huge monuments to architecture.  Perhaps the best possible case to be made for organized religion.

WSJ: Facebook, Groupon, Zynga: Off-The-Chart Revenue.  It's not *just* about eyeballs :)

This might explain why raises $48M.  I'm with Dave Winer: "what could a startup do with $48M?"  Cultivate bad habits :)

Sebastian Langeveld wins Omloop Het NiewsbladSome great cycling news; my favorite team Rabobank is off to a great start, and Sebastian Langeveld wins Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the first big classic of the year.  Excellent.

And meanwhile Levi Leipheimer is confident he can win a fourth Tour of California.  Me, too.  And he has the course this year to do it, with that mountaintop finish on Mount Baldy.  Can't wait.

Well see you in a bit; I'm off to sunny San Antonio... and just in time 'cause I see we're expecting Record Low Temps, Snow, in Southern California...  Brrr!


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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?