So ... I'm back, I've wrapped up my Tour de France reports (*sniff*, always sad when it's over), and it's time to sync up. During the last two weeks much happened, and I won't review all of it, but there was some stuff worthy of note...
I must tell you it was most interesting to be in Europe while the whole debt "crisis" debate played out. At that distance it seemed so ridiculous, like someone arguing with themselves about how much they would allow themselves to spend. The problem isn't raising the debt limit, it's limiting spending. How absurd that the congress hasn't passed a budget in over two years! I am fully with Paul Ryan on all of this. Any pretense I might have had that I was once a Democrat (I did vote for Al Gore) is now gone. I just hope Obama continues to look this bad so we can get a different administration in to clean up the mess.
BTW as far as Europeans are concerned, the bloom is totally off the Obama rose. They didn't like Bush, but they think Obama is incompetent. Time for an American version of Nicolas Sarkozy.
Being on vacation was kind of like a dream; weird to think it was only a month ago our plans were set. Now we're back, and it's back to reality - which in my case means six more weeks of vacation. Excellent! And onward...
Cool: Enormous underwater volcanoes discovered near Antarctica. Just when you think we've seen it all, you realize, no we haven't :)
Huh, this could be interesting: Wolfram's computational document format. A key to adoption will be how open the format will be.
Bertalan Mesko: Why do I like Google+ even in Medicine? Everyone says they like Circles because it has more power than mere Friending. I get that, but I wonder, am I really going to use them? Feels like just one more thing to garden...
Love this chart: Which sunblock SPF is right for you? I think I'm somewhere between "you just want someone to rub lotion on you" and "you need suntan lotion that can double as a drink" :)
More on Apps vs the Web. I can see the analogy to running an OS under a VM - browsers are a different environment - but this argument seems to be "what's easiest for the user", not "what's best for the company making the software". Maybe there's a fundamental tension there.
Rabobank unveils cardboard office. How cool is that? BTW while in Amsterdam we saw Rabobank everywhere; they are clearly "the" bank in the Netherlands now. Don't remember that before.
Coding Horror: nobody's going to help you, and that's awesome. "95% of self-help books are complete bullshit." I'm surprised that 5% are not.
News you can use: allocating equity and founder's investment. Just in case you ever decide to start a company :)
TED talk: Craig Venter on Synthetic Life. He's an amazing guy, and this is an amazing talk. I would like to attend TED someday, the talks you see online are about everything and incredible.
Adobe Edge: a Flash-like tool for HTML5. Appears to be a nice GUI for a procedural programming language, but Marc Cantor points out where's the notational timeline system? As one of the pioneers of multimedia (he co-founded Macromind, which became Macromedia, which was bought by Adobe) he should know.
Is Mango too late for Windows Phone? Yes. While in Europe I had a loaner HTC with Windows (my Verizon iPhone is CDMA and hence can't ride the European GSM airwaves) and while it wasn't horrible, it wasn't great. The phone was heavy and sluggish, with a poor touchscreen, so perhaps much of my experience was bad hardware. (I've always said if the Pre had the iPhone's hardware I wouldn't have switched.) Anyway I think Windows has to be better than the iPhone to get traction, and it isn't.
[ Update: turns out I did not have Windows Phone 7, it was an earlier version. ]
Even though I couldn't use my iPhone as a phone, I still used it as an Internet device anywhere I could find WiFi, which was pretty much all over. I even downloaded and installed IOS 5 beta 4 while in Amsterdam; works great. I took a kazillion pictures and loved the new photo app enhancements. Everywhere we went we saw iPhones and iPads and ads for Apps, the whole ecosystem has tipped.
Dilbert: thoughts on disaster preparation. Excellent!
I was wondering this myself: What happened to software engineering? There's a nice discussion about why software is different to, say, building bridges.
Excellent new blog: Spock is not impressed.
IQ considered unintelligent. Spock is not impressed, and neither am I. It *so* bothers me that people - even intelligent people like Cory Doctorow - parrot the PC line that IQ doesn't correlate to intelligence. Of course it does. I might even say: "IQ considered unintelligent" considered unintelligent.
ZooBorns of the week / summer: Koala Joeys! (awww)
Going through these updates, it occurs to me, my blog has degenerated into a mere clipping service. True I am adding value by filtering, and maybe even by making pithy comments, but I'm not adding much original content. Huh.