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Archive: October 5, 2015


Archive: October 5, 2014

old gold friends

Sunday,  10/05/14  04:49 PM

old friends telling old storiesYesterday I hosted a sailing / drinking / dinner / bachelor party for my longtime friend Peter.  It was great. 

But the greatest part wasn't the sailing, or the drinking, or the dinner, or indeed the bachelor-ing (sorry, no girls jumping out of cakes, or at least none that can be discussed :).  No, the greatest part was hanging out with old friends, and telling old stories.  Amazing how our neurons keep those same old patterns going.

BTW, there is no place better than the cockpit of a TP52 (serious racing yacht) for telling old sailing stories.  Thanks Jason for making the Margaritaville happen!

I've known some of these guys since I was a little kid, and we've been sailing together in all the time since.  Seems like every regatta in the meantime had its funny stories; the trip there, the setting, the disasters and triumphs, and most of all the people.  Why is it so fun to talk about things that happened long ago?  Who can say...  but I can say that it is so, and the more time that passes, the more fun it is.


Win 10: so far so good

Sunday,  10/05/14  07:53 PM

Today I downloaded and installed Windows 10 Preview (in a VM, of course).  And my first impression is ... it's a winner.  While I would never consider replacing my everyday Win 7 OS with Win 8, after about fifteen minutes I concluded that yes, I could see replacing it with Win 10.  I can't say yet that I like Win 10 better - that will take more than fifteen minutes - but at least I don't hate it on sight.

I don't like the look and feel - those flat primary colors remind me of Windows 3! - but the performance was snappy and the functionality I needed was there.  Best of all there was only one Explorer environment - the Start menu was back, albeit modified with those ugly blocky Win 8 -style tiles - and I could simply find and run things the way I expected, instead of clicking back and forth like I was in some kind of kids game.

Win 10 - the start menu is back!

It's a low bar when we celebrate just being able to use a new version of Windows, but given the history with Windows ME, Vista, and now Win 8, that's a bar we have to hurdle.  I just started playing so I haven't had a chance to notice much that's new yet, but I do like the new Win 10 switcher:

Win 10 - switcher display

One thing that struck me about the whole experience was the degree to which cloud-based storage of preferences made the installation easier.  When I signed on as "me", Microsoft recognized my settings from when I played with Win 8, and automatically carried them over (things like the desktop pictures, windows placement, etc).  And then later when I downloaded and installed Chrome as my default browser, Google did the same thing (search history, autocomplete, etc).  It's a little unsettling to realize how much these big companies know about me, but it did speed things up.

So ... onward, it's a new day.  I think this puts a dagger in what little chance there ever was that I would run Win 8 for anything meaningful.  I can just keep up with the Win 10 previews and hope they release it sooner rather than later, and then jump directly to Win 10.  YMMV but I doubt it :)


faster horses

Sunday,  10/05/14  09:26 PM

Apple Watch - not a faster horseYesterday was a day to play - yay - and today was a day to work ... on various different things.  Many of them qualitatively different, bringing to mind a great quote from Henry Ford: "If I had asked my customers what they wanted they would have said a faster horse."  Of course Henry didn't do that, he went from Zero to One, and gave them cars, instead. 

The more I think about Apple Watch, the more I think ... this is them, doing something new, again.  Each time we didn't see it so clearly at first ... the Mac, iMac, OS X, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, App Store, iPad, but then we did, and then ... they were big zero to one moments.  And now we have Apple Pay, which could be a sleeper biggie, and Apple Watch, which isn't sleeping so much as still gestating.

the first Michelin ManThe secret history of the Michelin Man.  See, just when you were wondering why you even ever read my blog, I link to something like this and you remember :)

ESR is creating a new Unix calendaring API.  Yay.  As a would-be user, I can't wait.  The current hodgepodge is badly broken.  Let's hope we can migrate it to Windows for a cross-platform solution, too...

Nice design: how IOS 8 time lapse feature works.  This is a great example of making good assumptions to avoid a raft of user preferences.

Wow.  In 2013 Samsung paid Microsoft $1B in royalties ... for Google's Android.  That means Microsoft made more on Android than Skype, Windows Phone, and Xbox combined.  Wow.

mysterious Titan sea "feature"Cassini watches mysterious feature evolve in Titan sea.  "The [NASA team has suggested the feature could be surface waves, rising bubbles, floating solids, solids suspended just below the surface, or perhaps something more exotic."  Awesome!

Not quite Google Glass: a week with Epson's awkward smart glasses.  The criticisms of the functionality cut deeper than the ones about style.  Interesting that their augmented workplace features were the most compelling.  Someday they'll include visual search,and that will be even cooler :)

xkcd: scientistsHow fast could you visit every state?  Randall Munroe asks the important questions...  (BTW I'm a big xkcd fan and have downloaded What If?; I can't wait to read it!)

Did you know (and apropos): scientists seen as competent but not trusted by Americans.  Unfortunately this says more about "Americans" than scientists.

X-15 and Pete Knight, holders of fastest manned spacecraft record47 years ago, the fastest manned spacecraft ever.  Weird to think such a record would have stood for so long... shows that we're pushing the envelope on many fronts, but not all of them.

Interesting: Redbox to shut down on October 7th.  [Update: not Redbox itself, just their joint venture with Verizon.  Thanks, MikeLike Blockbuster before them, they've been Netflixed   They haven't quite been Netflixed...  yet.

Sim City turns 25!Happy 25th birthday to Sim City.  Wow.  Cannot believe it has been that long; quite possibly the coolest game of all time (well, along with Myst :)

So, the New York Times believe that Silicon Valley has a diversity problem.  Why?  Because "Most of their employees are white and Asian men."  So their solution is blatantly racist, like explicitly interviewing minority candidates and requiring quotas.  I suppose they just couldn't face the possibility that many tech companies are colorblind meritocracies, and the resulting gender and racial mix is the result.  (Oh and meanwhile, the Times editorial board are ... mostly white and Asian men.)

KLM's lost and found BeagleThis is excellent: Dutch airline KLM's cuddliest member of their lost and found service... a Beagle.


Archive: October 5, 2013


Archive: September 25, 2012

one year in love

Tuesday,  09/25/12  10:18 PM

one year in love (my Renovo R4)From: Ole Eichhorn
Sent: Tuesday, Sept 24, 2012 6:20 PM
To: Ken Wheeler*; Nick Wood
Subject: One year! - lovin' it!

Greetings Ken and Nick –

It has now been a year since I took delivery of my spiffy Renovo R4, and I wanted to write you a love letter about it.  I knew I would like this bike, but it has exceeded my high expectations in every way. 

I’ve put about 6,000 miles on it in the past year, including the Furnace Creek 508 [right after I took delivery last year] and the Hoodoo 500 [about a month ago], and it is so darn comfortable on long rides I don’t know how I ever rode without it.  It climbs great – people are always amazed at how light it is (I have really light custom wheels, and the Di2 groupo is light too of course) – but what is amazing is the rock solid way it just motors along in the flats.  It is so smooth.  For an old guy like me it is perfect.

And oh yeah, it is beautiful!  Everywhere I go people admire it.  At the Hoodoo 500 start the announcer made a particular point of calling me to the front so he could show everyone “the first wooden bike we’ve ever had in the race”.  That was pretty cool.  Riding it around is like dating a supermodel, it sure gets positive attention.

Oh and by the way the Di2 has worked great … I was worried about the wiring and the battery in the seat post and all that, but the bottom line is I haven’t had any trouble with it.  The battery lasts forever and it is pretty much worry free.

Anyway I just wanted to report in and tell you how much I’ve enjoyed my Renovo.  If you ever need a testimonial from a customer, please let me know :)



* Ken Wheeler is the founder and owner of Renovo Bicycles, Nick Wood is the guy who built my bike (and yeah, that really is his name :)


Archive: October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Wednesday,  10/05/11  05:09 PM



I am so saddened, truly, this is the passing of a hero
he has left behind an immense legacy
not least of which is teaching us to Think Different

He will be missed


ISS views Earth

Wednesday,  10/05/11  09:05 PM

Check out this photo essay: ISS' breathtaking views of Earth.  Here's one of the ISS itself:

Looks like something from a science fiction movie, huh? 

I think my favorite shot was this one, of Hurricane Earl:

Anyway click through and check 'em out; pretty awesome!



Wednesday,  10/05/11  10:13 PM

your time is limited - don't waste it living someone else's lifeIn the home stretch heading into the 508 this weekend... trying to take it easy, eat, drink, sleep... and blog a little.

Still thrown by the news of Steve Jobs passing.  Stay hungry, stay foolish.

Neal Stephenson: Innovation Starvation.  "The vast and radical innovations of the mid-20th century took place in a world that, in retrospect, looks insanely dangerous and unstable."  An interesting rant by a great thinker.

the new iPhone 4S - available on Sprint!So yesterday Apple announced the iPhone 4S - Tim Cook's first product announcement since taking over as CEO - and I gather it went well.  IOS 5, faster processor, spiffy new camera, and (yay!) dual-band support, now supported by Sprint.  The last is the most important to me; I've loved my iPhone, but I haven't loved Verizon, and I'm *so* ready to switch back to Sprint.  I'm hoping to get out of my two-year contract based on the consistently poor reception I've experienced at my house; fXf!  With all the rumors swirling, it was good to get the concrete announcement, whew.

Here's a review of the announcement ... in 90 seconds.  Great job of editing it down :)

This looks cool: Researchers transform iPhone into microscope.  And that was the old 5Mp iPhone 4, imagine what could be done with the new 8Mp iPhone 4S?  They've already disrupted low-end cameras, maybe they'll disrupt low-end microscopes too.

Science: Women who make more decisions have less sex.  Not sure about the causality here, could it be that women who have less sex [have to] make more decisions?

Michael LewisSaw and enjoyed Moneyball.  A great movie made from a great book.  It couldn't have been easy to boil down the entire book into one movie which captured the essence, but that's what they did; similar in fact to what Michael Lewis does when he writes in the first place.

New York Magazine: It's good to be Michael Lewis.

Tesla Model STesla Model S prototypes are out and being shown, and apparently there will be a sportier version of the all-electric sedan, too.  Wow I can't wait.  This could be our next car.  We have a 10-year old Jaguar sedan which is mostly used for tooling around town...

With the advent of the new Kindles (including the Fire) I've been ruminating on ebooks.  What's interesting is that ebooks are potentially a disruptive technology; could be the "publishers" who are successful in ebooks will be different from those who were in pbooks. That's what is happening with music.  Perhaps there will be a Pandora-like service to find us new books?

Palomar mirror being polished (took 10 years!)Wired ran a great flashback article: 10/3/47, Birth of Palomar's 'Giant Eye'.  The 200 inch mirror took 10 years to polish - by hand!  I've visited the observatory and seen the telescope itself, quite amazing, especially when you consider the technology available when it was built.

Fran Tarkenton imagines the NFL run like our public schools: "Each player’s salary is based on how long he’s been in the league. It’s about tenure, not talent. The same scale is used for every player, no matter whether he’s an All-Pro quarterback or the last man on the roster."  Communism never works.

Related: The Jobs Agenda.  "I don’t know what Steve Jobs’s politics were, I don’t much care, and in any case they are beside the point. The late Mr. Jobs stood for something considerably better than politics. He stood for the model of the world that works...  Once you figure out why your cell phone gets better and cheaper every year but your public schools get more expensive and less effective, you can apply that model to answer a great many questions about public policy."  Indeed.  Highlight is mine.

ZooBorn: baby LangurZooBorn of the day: a baby Langur.  Apparently they are born bright orange, and turn black within six months.  How excellent.  Interesting to wonder about this adaptation; is this so their parents can easily find them when they're lost?

And so tomorrow is the Big Game.  Yeah, you know ... Westlake vs Oaks Christian.  Go Lions!



Archive: October 1, 2010

the world's smallest elephant

Friday,  10/01/10  05:55 PM

The picture above shows the world's smallest elephant; a rather oddly shaped cell in a cluster of other cells imaged from a pap smear at 1/4 micron per pixel.  The elephant cell is about 4 microns across :) which is 4/1,000,000th of a meter.


Archive: October 5, 2009

no joy in Badwater

Monday,  10/05/09  02:59 PM

Well, I didn't make it.  No shame, but I am disappointed.

Sunday morning at 7:30am, as I was fighting a 30mph headwind in Badwater, after having battled it all night, I dropped out of the Furnace Creek 508.  I was about 20 miles from the base of the Salsberry grade, which meant another four hours of spinning in 1st gear at 5mph, and I couldn't handle it.  I might have been up for it physically, but my head gave out.  I began looking for reasons to stop instead of reasons to continue.

Furnace Creek 508 - 2009 - no joy in Badwater

I was very nervous when the ride began, very conscious that I had never done anything like this before, and very aware of everyone's advice to take it easy.  I did.  The first leg to California City featured some climbing and some headwinds, but it was steady on, and I felt good.  It sure is wonderful having a support vehicle right there with bottles and food and everything.  The second leg to Trona featured a little more climbing, and some tailwinds (yay!), and again it was steady on, and I felt really good.  The third leg from Trona to Furnace Creek had three distinct parts:

In the first, through the Panamint Valley, I was flying with a beautiful tailwind.  We were well ahead of schedule, I was feeling strong, and ready for the climb up to Townes Pass.  At the turn to start the climb we passed the 200 mile mark, and I was amazed; I had done 200 miles in 12 hours elapsed, my best ever, and that was taking it easy!

The second part was the climb up Townes, and the descent down the back.  The climb was nasty, with a crosswind / headwind / tailwind / wind.  About 13 miles at about 8%, but the wind was the main factor; a couple of times I blew into the shoulder.  I started cramping a little, because I stopped drinking, because I needed both hands on the bars just to keep my bike on the road.  But I made it!  And felt great, because "it was all downhill from there".  Riight.  The descent down the back to Stovepipe Wells was awesome, a beautiful full moon lit up the valley, and although there was some crosswind it was smooth sailing.  We hit Stovepipe about four hours ahead of schedule, and I still felt great.

The third part was when reality set in.  It is just 25 miles from Stovepipe Wells to Furnace Creek, a flat road, good surface, should have taken about 1 1/2 hours.  But it was directly into the teeth of a stiff headwind.  On that flat road I was averaging 5-6mph, I must tell you it was harder than the climb up to Townes Pass.  It took me four hours to reach Furnace Creek, and I was exhausted.  We had planned to sleep there and we did, hoping the wind would die down.

Rocky the Squirrel, before the startSo then leg four.  I woke up, ate a little, and was pleased to note the wind had [apparently] settled down.  We took off for Badwater, and bam! the wind hit again.  Big time headwind, 30mph gusts, blowing sand, tumbleweeds, you name it.  It was 40 miles from Furnace Creek to Salsberry grade, and at 5mph that was going to take me eight hours.  What seemed on paper to be a mild little cruise through Death Valley became a nightmare.  After four hours we reached Badwater, my head exploded, and I couldn't take it anymore.  Maybe next year I'll be mentally ready.

I want to thank my most excellent crew captain, Joani, who did an amazing job of supporting me, she was a veteran of two previous 508s, and her experience and calm demeanor were perfect.  I also want to thank Greg, the other half of my stellar crew, for his yeoman work.  In addition to filling bottles and reading maps he also took a bunch of pictures which I have yet to edit; stay tuned for those...

So this year there was no joy in Badwater.  But wait 'till next year!


weekend of October 2

Monday,  10/05/09  07:42 PM

Still in recovery mode from a long tiring (and somewhat depressing) weekend...

Tagline of the day, courtesy of my colleague Martin: "there is no Q5".

Onward into Q4, as the Ole filter makes a pass...

Christopher Reeve memorialWell this is important work: a unified theory of Superman's powers.  Which is a good excuse (if any were needed) to post Ramsey's outstanding tribute cartoon memorializing Christopher Reeve...

the Feston Rose - best houseplant for purifying the airInteresting: Top ten houseplants for controller indoor air pollution.  #1 is the Feston Rose, pictured at right: "This houseplant not only purifies the air in your house but also leaves a beautiful aroma".

Susanna Breslin interviews Tucker Max.  "If you want a relationship, make sure you are someone who someone else would want to date."  Tucker Max comes across a lot more reasonably than I would have expected...  his reputation is far more outrageous.

As the Angles get ready to play the Red Sox this week; the NYTimes has a nice profile of my Westlake Village neighbor Mike Scioscia, the LA Manager...  I've been a Scioscia fan ever since he was a great catcher for the Dodgers.

Guy Laliberte - Cirque du Soleil founder is first clown in spaceThis is awesome: Cirque du Soleil founder is first clown in space.  "Cirque du Soleil's founder, who will soon rocket into space, went from pauper to circus mogul by turning a troupe of ragtag street performers in 1984 into a global entertainment empire.  At 0714 GMT Wednesday, Canadian Guy Laliberte will celebrate his recent 50th birthday by becoming the seventh space tourist to rocket from Baikonur, Kazakhstan to the International Space Station for a 12-day 'poetic, social mission'."  Cool.

MSNBC picture stories from space, for September 2009: dance of the galaxiesApropos: MSNBC has picture stories from space, for September 2009.  Wow.  The one at right is [appropriately] entitled "dance of the galaxies".  I absolutely cannot get enough of space pictures :)

Congratulations to Rio de Janeiro, the IOC's choice to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.  The first South American city chosen, it seems very appropriate, reflecting Brazil's increasing economic importance.  I visited Brazil just about a year ago, and was struck by the sheer size of the country.  It should be a most-excellent party!

This headline on CNN shows how ignorant US media are of Brazil:  We beat the big cities.  With a population of 6M, Rio de Janeiro is over twice as large as Chicago.

Weird Twitter story of the weekend: Why does it matter that Twitter is supplanting RSS?  I'm not sure why it matters, but I am sure that in no way is Twitter supplanting RSS, any more than it is supplanting email.  I guess if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  This blog post would lose something if it were only 140 characters long, don't you think?  [ via Eric Wiesen ]

Palm opens the PrePalm announces more openness for the Pre: it is now possible for applications developers to distribute their Pre apps via the web, without Palm involved.  That seems like a tremendous advantage over Apple.  It won't [by itself] overcome the

Mark Pilgrim delivers a wonderful fisking: Translation from MS-Speak to English of Tony Ross' Distributed Extensibility Submission.  Even if you don't understand the subject, like me, you can appreciate the acid humor.

electron beam fabricationPopsci: ISS Could Get its Own Electron Beam Fabrication 3D Printer.  How cool is that?

Slashdot reports GE Developing 1TB Holographic Disc.  That's good, and the rumored backward compatibility with DVDs is better.  But physical media for storing data is really on the way out, right?


Archive: October 5, 2008

Sunday,  10/05/08  10:29 PM

Well, I'm kind of sort of back to normal.  No more fever, no more coughing fits.  Still weak, but recovering.  Managed to do a ride yesterday (15 miles, just around the lake) and another today (again, 15 miles around the lake), at turtle speed.  And my brain is reengaged, I was actually able to work again.  Not to mention watching football and baseball, this time of year is the best for sports viewing...

Aleksei Venediktov, manager of Moscow's Echo radio stationA fascinating "letter from Moscow", by David Remnick in the New Yorker, Echo in the Dark.  About the Moscow radio station that is speaking truth to power, and has been for twenty years.  Amazing.

The NYTimes on the greening of Silicon Valley: Capitalism to the Rescue.  Kleiner Perkins are investing big in "clean entropy", and you have to believe it will help.  And make them serious money in the process.

Palomar's 200" mirrorWired on the birth of Palomar's Eye, in 1947.  Not only is Mt. Palomar a great bike ride :), it is also a fantastic destination for a day trip; to see the telescope, in working condition after fifty years, is amazing.  The scale and majesty are impressive, and to think it was all built by slide rules and pencil and paper; it took ten years just to polish the main mirror.  Wow.

This is pretty interesting - the shared suffering hypothesis.  The theory is that you should set up your systems to be as much like other people as possible, not as efficient for you as possible, so that you can more easily get support.  Not really that far off; I can remember the day, long ago, when I did a great deal of Windows' customization, but now I run a pretty vanilla setup.  This way I am more like everyone else, and also, if I ever have to duplicate it on another machine it doesn't take so long :)

from axons to tracts - the brain's wiringA cool video, from Axons to Tracts, a journey through the brain's wiring, if you can spare two minutes it is pretty cool...  what I find remarkable about these videos is that ten years ago, they would have amazed movie audiences on a big screen, now they are routinely created with desktop tools like Flash and posted to websites, and while we still think they're cool, they're no longer as amazing...  technology marches on.  [ via Digital Pathology Blog ]

Kind of sad and yet you can see it: Scientists spurn 'unfashionable' cancers.  "As money floods in for UK breast cancer and leukaemia research, 80 per cent of people with lung tumours are dying within a year of diagnosis."  It is like balancing a twenty-legged stool.



no sweep!

Sunday,  10/05/08  11:26 PM

broom... NOT!

Wow.  What a game!  What a series!
My Tivo is dancing, again (good thing I added two hours to the recording time).

Wow, a twelve inning masterpiece.  I was exhausted just watching.
And they play another today!  Whew.


Archive: October 5, 2007


Archive: October 1, 2006


Sunday,  10/01/06  11:34 PM

During the past seven months, while I've been not posting (ouch!), I've occasionally checked my website stats, and I've found that my little site continues to get an amazing amount of traffic.  There are some old posts which are heavily linked, like Tyranny of Email and Unnatural Selection.  (And Religion vs. IQ continues to be debated!)  This is great, thanks for reading.

[ Update: on 6/14/08 I retroactively added a post in September 2006: a perfectly incredible day ]

But also there are more and more images being hotlinked, mostly from myspace sites but also from various message boards and random blogs.  (A hotlink is where there is a page on one site which loads images from another site.)  I don't mind sharing any of the images I've accumulated.  But please copy them to your own site, so I don't have to serve them!

Anyway tonight, in a fit of procastination regarding other things I should be doing instead, I decided to implement a few rewrite rules to discourage hotlinking:

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} /images
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !w-uh\.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !bloglines\.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !newsgator\.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !google\. [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !yahoo\. [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !search\?q=cache [NC]
RewriteRule (.*) /hotlink.jpg [NC,L]

The net effect of this is that sites which hotlink images are now served this image instead:


If you are the owner of such a site, feel free to copy any images you like, but please host them yourself.  And if you have questions about this, please contact me.  Thanks...

[ Update: the image above was changed to include the URL; that way people might be able to fix the link! ]


Archive: October 5, 2005


Archive: October 5, 2004


Archive: October 5, 2003

Sunday,  10/05/03  10:56 PM

This weekend's bloglines...

National Post editorial: Stopping Iran's Nuclear Quest.  "Short of full-scale war, the Western powers must do all they can -- together -- to make it clear to the ayatollahs that they will not be permitted to build or possess nuclear weapons.  And if the West cannot present a united front, then the Americans -- again -- will have to take the lonely lead."  I agree completely.  Why wait until Iran is another North Korea?  [ via LGF; Charles notes "Ever have one of those dreams where you're standing on a train track, watching as a locomotive speeds toward you, but unable to move or do anything to save yourself?" ]

The WP is Opening a Window on North Korea's Horrors, and it isn't pretty.

In California Votin' Jack Ganssle considers the problems with electronic voting machines.  His suggestion: Let's get the mob involved.  Not really, but he points out that gaming machines are heavily audited, and fraud is rare.  "If a gaming auditor certified voting machines, elections wouldn't be so much of a, uh, crap-shoot."

The Washington Times notes Furor over Dane's breeding comment; Aarhus University professor Helmuth Nyborg suggested governments practice selective breeding among humans to prevent the cognitive decline of the human race.  "'Intelligence is hereditary,' said Professor Helmuth Nyborg, the dean of the Psychology Institute at Aarhus University.  'The 15 to 20 percent of those at the lower levels of society -- those who are not able to manage even the simplest tasks and often not their children -- should be dissuaded from having children.  The fact is that they are having more children and the intelligent ones are having fewer.'"  So, do I agree with this?  Well, maybe.  Although his view has been distorted in the reporting, note he uses "dissuaded" rather than any stronger term.  I would agree with his views at this strength; non-compulsory incentives like more government financial support would be a good thing.  (The opposite of programs like AFDC, which reward people for having children.)   [ via Alexander Beaujean ]

alien eggInteresting article on Wired, In Search of Planets and Life.  There may not be other life in our solar system, but it seems wildly improbably that there's no other life, period.  A great test case for natural selection :)

ZDNet UK interviews Craig Silverstein, Google's CTO: Boldly Googling into the future.  "'When search grows up, it will look like Star Trek: you talk into the air ('Computer! What's the situation down on the planet?') and the computer processes your question, figures out its context, figures out what response you're looking for, searches a giant database in who-knows-how-many languages, translates/analyses/summarizes all the results, and presents them back to you in a pleasant voice.'"  Anyone want to guess when this will be reality?  Ten years?  Twenty?  There isn't any doubt this will happen, right?

Dave Winer: The Rule of Win-Win.  "The Rule of Win-Win says that by choosing to participate in the Web, I can promote my own interests, but I must acknowledge the existence of others and their interests."  Essentially, you link to me and I'll link to you.

Have you been reading all these articles about the demise of email?  Essentially because of the flood of spam, some argue email's utility is limited.  I disagree, and so does Naval.  "Email is the ultimate network effect, and we're all locked in."  Of course.

If you are drowning in spam, try Matador.  It works.  Really really.

Hornik wonders how you would actually mail someone about Viagra.  Or what if you really were Nigerian?

DVD logoAre you Waiting for DVDs, the Sequel?  "Now that DVDs are almost 7 years old, which is an eternity in the consumer electronics world, what comes next?"  Well, how about online distribution...  It is here, and seems to be taking over.  Along with Tivo and its brethren, every day now there's an article about some cable company with a video-on-demand service.  I think media "hardcopy" is so 1900s.

Comcast launches service to fight Tivo.  [ via PVRblog ]

The real battle will be over the format for online video.  CNet wonders: DivX is ready for its sequel. Is Hollywood?  DivX is certainly the most prevalent compression technology for movies today, but is isn't really the "MP3 of video"; the quality is too far below even "broadcast", let alone "DVD".  (MP3 for audio "tipped" when MP3's quality was roughly equivalent to CD's.)  Perhaps Microsoft Media Player 9 or Quicktime will grab the ring.

[ Later: I think DVD players which can play DivX-encoded video are a transitional technology, analogous to CD players which can play discs with MP3s.  The real market will be iPod-like video players, and Tivo-like home entertainment boxes. ]

In case you're wondering Which TiVo is the Right One for You, Raffi Krikorian on O'Reilly has nice survey.

Philips is trying to improve the DVD, with dual layer DVD+R technology that allows 8.5GB to be stored per disk.

Oh, and the EFF has a great survey: Unintended Consequences, Five Years under the DMCA.

Ottmar wants flip-flops to go with his Yamamoto suit.  N.B. He plays barefoot...

Kotter halloween costumeThe world's greatest Halloween costumes.  Welcome back, Kotter.  Now that's scary.

Is it just me, or did Halloween start too early this year?  I guess it is just me.  One minute it's summer, the next minute it's Halloween.  And then it's Christmas...Neiman Marcus His and Hers Robots

Wondering what to get that special couple for Christmas?  How about His and Hers Robots, from Neiman Marcus...  Only $400K.


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