Archive: February 5, 2023

Transitional Tech

Sunday,  02/05/23  09:50 AM

This morning I was poking around on my blog and reread this post from April 2003, about my [then] new Sharp DVD Recorder.  I liked it.

Of course, recording DVDs and indeed DVDs in general were transitional technology.  I don't know if I knew it at the time - probably, I would have guessed, yes - but looking back we can see there was this window of time in which DVDs were a thing, and a smaller sub-window which featured recordable DVDs.  I haven't had this device for many years, and indeed, haven't had a way to play DVDs for many years.  (Well, I *might* have a portable DVD drive somewhere which I can hook to a computer, and *might* be able to play video DVDs on it.  Might.)

Thinking about all this makes me a little sad.  First there was all the hard work put into creating and playing DVDs.  I mean, there were lasers involved, "burning" optical discs, and everything.  Hard to do, super hard to do reliably, and extremely hard to get the cost down to where ordinary people could buy one.  Many people worked hard to figure it all out.  Then there was my hard work in figuring out what to buy, buying it, hooking it up, using it, accumulating a library of DVDs (yes, I had hundreds both pre-recorded and me-recorded), and all of this.  And now it's all ... gone.  Useless.  On the scrap heap of old tech, a big heap.

I still have many of those movies - ripped the DVDs with Handbrake into MP4s and stored them on a server - of course, do not still have the old Lakers vs Kings game that seemed so important at the time.  Actually this library of MP4s is also obsolete; just about any movie in there can be rented and streamed for a small amount, so why keep them all.  But I do have them.  Maybe storage on hard disks and the MP4 format are technologies which will last a bit longer?  Will I be able to play those movies in 20 years?

It's interesting to look around and think about all the tech which surrounds us, and try to figure out what is the lifetime.  My phone ... huh, don't know, maybe 10 years?  What could I do with it in 10 years?  Probably cell tech will have moved on, and it could no longer connect to networks, but will it connect to WiFi?  Probably.  Could it surf the Internet?  Pick up email?  And my computer ... probably even a bit less than my phone, but similar.  It will be able to run new versions of Windows up to a point.  Likely could connect to WiFi.  Likely could surf the Internet, and with new versions of Chrome or Firefox pick up content.

I have a friend in Santa Barbara who has an old wooden sailboat, over 100 years old.  He's faithfully restored and maintained it, and competes in races against my boat which is 8 years old.  It's not quite as fast, but you know what not uncompetitive either.  There's some old technology which lasted!

As I look around my house - the furniture, art, clocks, stuff like that will last a long time.  Indeed much of it is already old, some of it older than me.  Appliances, somewhat more dated, but still useable, many after 20+ years.  Cars, could likely be driven for many years, even the electric one - assuming the Tesla charge port is supported somewhere!  The house itself will last a long time.  And my beautiful oak tree has been around for hundreds of years.

It's the consumer electronics which will not last.  TVs, game machines, computers, tablets, phones.  And yet those are the things that take up all of my time!



Archive: February 5, 2022


Archive: February 5, 2021


Archive: February 5, 2020


Wednesday,  02/05/20  10:18 PM

Whew, I've been traveling, and while I was out there was a bit of a fiasco in Iowa, our President gave quite a speech, and he was acquitted of impeachment.  (A foregone conclusion because it takes a 2/3 supermajority and that was never going to happen, so why do it?)  Oh, and perhaps not coincidentally, he is now more popular than his predecessor.  CNN says Democrats made a mistake by impeaching Trump.  So it would appear...

What is the Speaker of the House doing here?  Tearing up the speech?  Well that's certainly a classy move, my goodness.

Oh, did you know?  Our form of government is not a democracy, it's a constitutional republic, and there's good reason for this.

But meanwhile, a bunch of other stuff is happening too...

This is so great.  Not clear what happened yet in Iowa, but seems plausible... 

SpaceX's first NASA astronaut launch closer than ever as spacecraft and rocket near Florida.  "After Crew Dragon arrives, SpaceX will have all the hardware on hand and ready for its first NASA astronaut launch – arguably the single most important mission in the company’s history."  Excellent. 

The Navy is arming nuclear subs with Lasers.  No one knows why.  Actually Glenn Reynolds knows: "This is very simple. If you have lasers and you have a thing that can power lasers, then you put lasers on the thing."  Of course. 

I almost hate to mention this because I hope they don't become too popular (and I know how many of you are reading this :), but I love JSX.  This little airline flies from Burbank to Oakland and Phoenix in cute little jets from hangers on the other side of the airport and there's no lines, no taking off your shoes and jackets, and it's just great.  And it doesn't even cost more. 

xkcd: Satellite.  So great. 

Meanwhile: NASA solar probe smashes two wild records as it approaches the sun.  Fastest human-made object (153,454mph) and closest object to the sun (11.6M miles).  I love that the article calls this "cool science" :) 

Wow, Apple Watch outsold the entire Swiss watch industry in 2019.  Somehow I've avoided owning one.  Too many people have them already :)



two fuse puzzle

Wednesday,  02/05/20  11:24 PM

Unrelated to three dog night :)

The other day I asked: "Imagine that you're making a magic potion. You're a wizard with a long beard. But - the potion only works if you wait exactly 45 minutes before you stir it. If you stir it before or after the potion's totally ruined. You don't have a smartphone. You don't have a watch. You don't have any kind of time measuring device. What you have is two fuses of irregular consistency. The one thing you know for a fact is that it takes an hour for each of these fuses to burn from one end to the other. How do you use these to measure exactly 45 minutes?"

  • Ignore that you're a wizard with a long beard.
  • Take the first fuse, and light both ends.  At the same time light one end of the second fuse.
  • After exactly 30 minutes, the flames from the two ends of the first fuse will meet and the fuse will go out.
  • At that moment, light the other end of the second fuse.
  • After exactly 15 more minutes, the flames from the two ends of the second fuse will meet and the fuse will go out.
  • Poof!  Time to stir the potion.



Archive: February 5, 2019


Archive: February 5, 2018


Archive: February 5, 2017


Archive: February 4, 2016


Thursday,  02/04/16  09:19 PM

Whew, what a day.  Please remind me never to schedule an investor update and a software design review on the same day, especially if they're for two different companies.  I survived and actually both went very well, but that was so much fun I might not do it again.  Onward...

Do you think we've reached Peak Trump?  I'm hoping ... yes.  His overreaction to having "lost" in Iowa proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is not Presidential material. 

Hmmm... Minimum Wages Surged In 6 Cities Last Year; Then This Happened.  "Wherever cities implemented big minimum-wage hikes to $10 an hour or more last year, the latest data through December show that job creation downshifted to the slowest pace in at least five years."  Shocking. 

That's an interesting article, but Investors Business Daily has a horrible website.  About 4MB of crap loads first, and then you get the only thing you care about ... the article itself.

Glenn Reynolds: 21st Century Headlines: Luxembourg to invest in space-based asteroid mining.  Excellent!  May the force be with them. 

Doc Searls: The Giant Zero.  "A world without distance."  Most thought-provoking...  Proving once again that he can blog with the best of them :) 

Important work:  Alternatives to Resting Bitch Face.  In my family (four daughters) "RBF" is a well-recognized and often-used acronym... :) 

NASA helpfully explain:  Ion Propulsion ... What is it?  "Instead of heating the gas up or putting it under pressure, we give the gas xenon a little electric charge, then they're called ions, and we use a big voltage to accelerate the xenon ions through this metal grid and we shoot them out of the engine at up to 90,000 miles per hour."  The Dawn spacecraft uses this technology. 

An interesting post from Robert X. Cringely: personal computers approach retirement age.  He quotes himself from 25 years ago:  "Don’t worry; you'll understand it in a few years, by which time they'll no longer be called PCs. By the time that understanding is reached, and personal computers have wormed into all our lives to an extent far greater than they are today, the whole concept of personal computing will probably have changed."  Heh. 

Well, so much for blogging (yawn), I'm off to bed. 
I think I'll watch Groundhog Day ... again.



Archive: February 5, 2015

black and white

Thursday,  02/05/15  10:52 PM



by Marcin Ryczek via MG Siegler



Archive: February 5, 2014

Dilbert: two pizzas

Wednesday,  02/05/14  10:15 PM


(thanks, Greg)



the Lynn effect

Wednesday,  02/05/14  10:26 PM

As frequent visitors know I am a big fan of intelligence -related studies and feel they are most important.  If nothing else doing such work is difficult and courageous, because it often flies in the face of political correctness.

Anyway my friend and correspondent Liron pointed out this article: The decline of the world's IQ, by Richard Lynn and John Harvey, and suggests this trend be referred to as the Lynn effect, in counterpoint to the Flynn effect, which is the observation that many human populations have seen an increase in their measured IQ over time.  Here's the abstract of the paper:

Dysgenic fertility means that there is a negative correlation between intelligence and number of children. Its presence during the last century has been demonstrated in several countries. We show here that there is dysgenic fertility in the world population quantified by a correlation of − 0.73 between IQ and fertility across nations. It is estimated that the effect of this has been a decline in the world's genotypic IQ of 0.86 IQ points for the years 1950–2000. A further decline of 1.28 IQ points in the world's genotypic IQ is projected for the years 2000–2050. In the period 1950–2000 this decline has been compensated for by a rise in phenotypic intelligence known as the Flynn Effect, but recent studies in four economically developed countries have found that this has now ceased or gone into reverse. It seems probable that this “negative Flynn Effect” will spread to economically developing countries and the whole world will move into a period of declining genotypic and phenotypic intelligence. It is possible that “the new eugenics” of biotechnology may evolve to counteract dysgenic fertility.

The global effect predicted by this paper is somewhat less pronounced than the extrapolations I made in IQ and populations, but are of the same order.  I considered differential fertility rates between different countries; this study is more precise, and considers differential fertility rates within countries, based on differential rates between different segments of a population.  There is another effect based on generation size which could also be considered, which would directionally reinforce these other two effects.

Interestingly, a Google search for "the decline of the world's IQ" turned up this image as the top hit; it is taken from my now-11-year-old blog post, but was used unattributed in a Sociology 110 class at the University of Hartford.  I'm glad I've been able to contribute in small way to the general dialog on this subject :)

I'm delighted to learn that there is a Journal called Intelligence devoted to "research and theoretical studies that contribute to the understanding of Intelligence", and plan to subscribe.  (Stay tuned!)


© 2003-2023 Ole Eichhorn


Archive: February 5, 2013


Archive: February 5, 2012


Archive: February 5, 2011

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

This 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. 

Most 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. 

BTW 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 :)



Archive: February 4, 2010

postcard from Saint-Affrique

Thursday,  02/04/10  07:28 PM

postcard received from my Aunt Nell and her husband Pierre
from Saint-Affrique, France

I have never been there, but whenever I see pictures I wonder why not?


Thursday,  02/04/10  07:37 PM

After a busy and nice few days in Vista, I'm back, and yes, it is raining here; in fact too cold for riding or even seriously considering riding...  and too busy too.  Not however too busy for blogging...

In Kansas City, a sign of the times.  "It's instantly clear to whom the sign refers.Indeed

Have you seen Carly Fiorina's demon sheep commercial?  OMG!  This is destined to go down in history as one of the weirdest political ads ever.  Whether it will help her get elected remains to be see, but it has certainly helped her get attention :) 

Proper Course with an America's Cup Poll.  "It looks as if we are finally going to see some real sailboat racing.  After what seems like years of legal wrangling, the 33rd America's Cup match will be held next week in Valencia.  Two giant bleeding-edge technology multihulls will battle it out on the water."  I can't wait! 

On this day in 1987, Dennis Conner won the America's Cup in Fremantle, Australia.  One of the greatest regattas, ever; I still have much of the racing on VHS tapes, which have never been watched since.  What made that great watching was 1) real boats in heavy air, 2) real racing, and 3) excellent personalities. 

News you can use: The Real Rules for Time Travelers.  "The issue that troubles us, when you get down to it, is free will. We have a strong feeling that we cannot be predestined to do something we choose not to do. That becomes a difficult feeling to sustain if we have already seen ourselves doing it.

Mike Monteiro: The Failure of Empathy.  "The iPad isn’t the future of computing; it’s a replacement for computing."  [ via Daring Fireball ]



friends of happiness

Thursday,  02/04/10  08:07 PM

I have a friend, who, every time we talk, makes me feel better about myself.  I have no idea why this happens, but I know that it is so.  I have other friends that I like a lot but who do not have that effect.

Here are the characteristics that seem to define Friends of Happiness:

  1. They like you for you.  Mostly, that means you are comfortable enough around them that you let them see who you [really] are.  Which means...
  2. They are non-judgmental about you.  Of course they could point stuff out about you, and be judgmental about others; those make for interesting conversations :)
  3. They are comfortable about themselves.  Sometimes friends see your issues as reflections of their issues, and conversations about you are actually about them.
  4. They teach you about yourself.  Either by observing you or by giving you the freedom to observe yourself.

Sometimes when I'm in an introspective mood, like now, I consider "my friend collection".  Friends of Happiness are particularly valuable!


Archive: February 5, 2009

extremely bowled over

Thursday,  02/05/09  09:32 AM

my extreme bowling team: Jacqueline, me, Kathy, Peter

I don't know whether to commit suicide or go bowling
- Florence Henderson

Last night I mentioned having gone "extreme bowling" with our sales team; that's me at right (in my Curt Warner jersey, of course), flanked by the colleagues on my bowling team.  We had a great time.  Bowling is something I do about once a year, and love it, but once a year is approximately enough.  (I think if I had to do it every week I'd commit suicide :)

As a team building exercise extreme bowling has many virtues; first, pretty much anyone can bowl, regardless of athletic ability, previous experience, alcohol level, or commitment.  Second, pretty much everyone sucks; good bowlers are rare, and they generally choke when confronted with the flashing lights, colored pins, disregard for rules, and abandonment of courtesy featured in extreme bowling.  It is a great leveler.  And bowling is a fundamentally co-ed activity, unlike say golfing or visiting a spa; everything is just more fun with both sexes involved, go figure.  And finally - crucially where salespeople are involved - it is a competition; there is some reason to believe skill or effort or luck or joss will decide that you are better than someone else.  And what could be better than that?

In case you're wondering, my team didn't win, but we did have the most fun.


Archive: February 5, 2008

Tuesday,  02/05/08  11:18 PM

So, I'm back from a trip to Vista, and back to blogging. 

It was a tough trip, and a good trip; tough, because I had to do performance reviews, which are hard, and good, because I did them, and it went [I think] pretty well.  I have great people in my team and that makes reviews harder; sure, it is fun to celebrate their skills and accomplishments, but it is hard to find places where they can grow and become even better.  And that to me is the real goal of performance reviews.  So anyway I survived, and now it is back to the wider world.  What's happening?

It's Super Tuesday!  Not to be confused with Super Sunday, I guess, although the results of today's votes will probably affect our lives a bit more than a football game.  McCain and Clinton have won the biggest prizes, California and New York.  This leaves McCain comfortably ahead of Romney, and Clinton uncomfortably ahead of Obama.  (Links are to CNN's excellent election coverage; their web team is doing a nice job this time around.)  I am conflicted about the Democratic candidates, I strongly prefer Obama over Clinton, but I prefer McCain over Obama and I think McCain would defeat Clinton more easily than Obama.  On the other hand McCain vs Obama feels like a can't lose for me (believe it or not, that's how I felt about Gore vs. Bush in 2000). 

The also-rans are affecting each party differently; Republican Mike Huckabee (who is still in the race) is doing better than expected, and pulling votes away from Romney, extending McCain's lead, while Democrat John Edwards (who has withdrawn, but who is still on ballets) is pulling votes away from Clinton, closing her lead over Obama.  It would be interesting if all the candidates were still in the race; for example, I think Giuliani would have done well in both California and New York, and probably would have taken more votes from McCain than Romney. 

This is why the timing of primaries matters, and why they should all occur at once.  And don't even get me started on Arnold, who can't run; if he were in the race not only would he have done well in California and New York, he would have done well in either party.  Yes, political system: fail.

Meanwhile the stock market continues to suck air.  I don't think it has much to do with the election, this is a result of the housing bubble and subsequent credit crunch.  I fear it will be worse before it gets better, and the Federal Reserve has pretty much run out of bullets to help. 

Pro cycling team High Road has moved from Germany to the U.S.!  (This is the team formerly known as T-Mobile, famous for their pink kit and in the Lance Armstrong / Jan Ullrich days being Team Discovery's closet competitors.)  High Road is also the present employer of George Hincapie (a classic classics' rider, shown at left).  Their best GC rider is probably Kim Kirchen, who finished 7th overall in the 2007 Tour de France. 

A classic?  Apparently the Boston Globe published a paperback entitled "Unbeatable", celebrating the Patriots 19-0 season.  Precelebration is the root of all failure

Marc Andreessen: Silicon Valley after a Microsoft / Yahoo merger.  "The Microsoft/Yahoo deal, if it happens, means very little for the entrepreneurial climate in Silicon Valley, or the opportunities available to you and your startup."  [ via Brad Feld, who agrees with Marc ]  So, I don't agree; perhaps this merger isn't the end of startups in Silicon Valley, but it will hurt the exit climate.  Bill Burnham agrees in his Take II, and makes a key point: "Indeed the most important party in any deal is not the actual buyer but the second place bidder and Yahoo had seemed to make a career out of being the second place bidder lately.

Mårten Mickos, CEO of MySQL: Why did I change my mind?  Regarding his decision to have MySQL acquired by Sun.  It is an interesting think piece; when people say "it's not about the money", it usually means it was all about the money.  But he makes some great points.  I would have to disagree with him that "users loved it"; I think they accepted it and didn't hate it the way Yahoo users are reacting to the idea of being acquired by Microsoft, but I think they would have preferred MySQL stay independent. 

Mark Pilgrim: writing with ease.  In which he writes without "e"s.  I love Mark. 


Archive: February 5, 2007


Archive: February 5, 2006

one week

Sunday,  02/05/06  08:44 AM

Hey, I've been blogging for a week!  No big deal, you say?  Yeah, you're right.  But somehow, this is fun.  Maybe what I had to do was take so much time off, that it became obvious that nothing bad would happen if I stopped "forever".  At that point it was no longer an obligation, and hence, it could be fun again...  Wow, that makes my brain hurt.

This is related, I think, to the reason I don't like to keep stuff.  I am a compulsive thrower-away of things, or lately, a compulsive eBayer-away of things.  I like a clean desk, and a clean desktop.  I like an empty inbox.  I like having zero posts waiting in my aggregator.  All of these things - keeping stuff, stuff on my desk, mail in my inbox, are in some sense obligations.  Getting rid of them feels good, in the same way that crossing to-dos off my list feels good.

The same thing happens to me with programming.  Nothing is more fun than "noodling"; building something new which does something cool, something unexpected, something unplanned.  Sitting down at my computer with a task at hand, designed but not yet implemented, is a simple pleasure.  At the same time, building something on deadline - or (gasp!) behind deadline - is not fun; it is an obligation.  It must be done, and requires the same concentration and creative energy, but the obligation makes it less fun.


a better archive

Sunday,  02/05/06  01:39 PM

This afternoon I decided to fix my archive.  At first I merely changed it a little to make it work better now that I've been blogging for three years.  But as I was working on it, I realized the calendar metaphor is really lousy for blog posts.  When I started blogging I'd created a calendar-like archive, because, well, that's what leading bloggers like Dave Winer did.  I never really questioned it... but in the back of my mind, I remembered a comment from Jeff Jarvis (who I met at BloggerCon II), saying that when he found a blog he liked, he wanted to see "everything", not just the new stuff.  And that got me to thinking...

So, presenting the new and improved archive!  There they are, links to all 900+ articles, posts, surveys, etc. I've made to this blog in reverse chronological order.  I actually think this makes much more sense as a way to present a blog's archive.  At least this way if you're browsing around, you have some chance of finding something interesting, as opposed to merely picking by date from a calendar.  Check it out!  (And of course, please tell me what you think...)


Sunday,  02/05/06  10:57 PM

So congratulations to the Steelers.  I must say I thought neither team played very well.  Overall I thought Seattle played better, but at the end of each half they brain-locked and had horrible clock management, and that proved to be the difference.  The referees didn't have a good game either, twice calling Seattle for phantom penalties at critical moments, and giving Pittsburgh a touchdown when the ball never reached the goal line.  I'm not saying that was the difference (although Slate is!), but it didn't help... 

Shirley's tamales and chili were awesome, as usual.  I feel like a Penguin, about to go four months without food.  The Stones were cool - we made fun of them for being old, but hey, for old guys they are pretty good, and pretty entertaining.  I can't honestly say any of the commercials grabbed me.  There were some funny ones, but none that were awesome, if you know what I mean.  A pretty tame game, all things considered.  But still spending the afternoon eating and watching a game with friends, it doesn't get much better than that :)

In the process of messing around with my new TV, getting ready for the Big Game, I learned some things.  First, there is a big difference between my old DVD player on a composite interface and my new DVD player (which upsamples to 1080i) on an HDMI interface.  Dramatic.  Movies look, well, like movies.  Incredible, actually.  Second, there is a big difference between an optical audio link between a DVD player and a stock RCA cable.  I hadn't meant not to use an optical link, but it turns out ever since I've lived in my house I've had it hooked up incorrectly.  So I was listening to stereo sound with surround sound speakers, instead of true 5.1 Dolby sound.  The combination of suddenly better audio with suddenly better video made for a qualitatively better movie watching experience.  I actually watched all of Star Wars IV, awed by the quality.  Very cool. 

Of course then I watched the Big Game with stock cable video and audio, and it was pretty lame in comparison.  I can't wait to get my new Adelphia HDTV box (hopefully in time for the Winter Olympics).  Stay tuned for a report on that...

The other day I noted the unintentionally ironic headline, "The President is a dolt, so how can America be such a success?"  In the same spirit, check out the cover of the latest Economist: The one thing Bush got right (democracy).  Yes, well, I guess he only got one thing right, eh?  But at least it was important, in fact, it was the most important thing.  Of course, reasonable people might differ about whether this was the only thing he got right.  After all, if the President is a dolt, how can America be such a success :) 

I see where Russell Beattie is giving up on comments.  (He calls it "back to old school blogging".)  From time to time I think about adding comments, but it just doesn't seem like a good idea.  Gardening comments seems to take a lot of time - replying to interesting ones, deleting inappropriate ones, and fighting link spammers.  I guess if you want to comment on my posts, you can post on your blog :) 

John Battelle reports Google is really going to take on PayPal.  At least, they're going to build a payment service, they probably won't get much or any traction on eBay, which is still where the majority of PayPal payments are made.  They may use it for settling payments for videos and stuff like that...  Somehow, I can't see where this is going.  Fraud will be a big problem, and if they don't have a stored value system they won't be able to deal with it effectively, and if they do have a stored value system, then they'll have to dodge being classified as a bank, and they'll be competing with Visa, and they'll find themselves in the same minefield PayPal had to cross.  Good luck to them :) 

I just found this, and it's awesome: Duct-tape band-aids.  Wow.  Makes you want to get hurt, doesn't it? 

Jim Lawrence has a collection of the worst album covers of all time.  Pretty impressive actually, they are that bad.  [ via Ottmar Liebert





Archive: February 5, 2005


Archive: January 31, 2004

Blog Holiday

Saturday,  01/31/04  10:13 AM

Whew.  12 days without posting.  Sorry.

First, I'm fine.  Thanks to all of you who emailed asking if everything was okay.  Second, I will start blogging again, probably tonight.  Thanks to all of you who emailed saying you missed me!

I've been heads' down cranking out code for customer delivery.  It is crunch time at Aperio - after two years of development we have finally begun shipping production systems in quantity.  (Well, "quantity" is relative - we're not talking hundreds here, but more than onesies and twosies :)  We now have a ScanScope device which can scan a rack of 120 microscope slides reliably in about 10 hours - 5 minutes per slide - completely unattended.  You put in your slides, go home, and come in the next day with beautiful high-quality in-focus images waiting for your inspection.  Awesome.

We've also been doing a lot on the software front, so there are things you can do with these "virtual slides".  Of course we have a terrific viewing application, which zooms and pans smoothly through these massive images (typically around 5GB of image data!).  The viewer supports a cool annotation facility.  We have remote viewing over IP networks, so you can do "telepathology".  And multiple people can join together in one viewing session, so everyone's viewing is synchronized, including annotations.

We also have a really cool flash-based web viewer.  So you can view virtual slides remotely on any computer without installing software.  Remember, these are multi-GB images!

And the coolest thing of all - my focus, pun intended - is our pattern recognition software.  I'll probably blog about that some more in the coming days, as we begin rolling that out.

For more info, you might like this post about Aperio's mission.

I didn't plan it this way, but it was actually good to have a brief blogging holiday.  Please, stay tuned...


Archive: February 5, 2003

Wednesday,  02/05/03  07:26 PM

Hmmm...  technical trouble kept this post in jail on my PC, it couldn't escape to the server.  Yippee, it's free.

So - my reaction to Colin Powell's speech before the U.N.:  It was solid evidence that the Iraqis are not complying with terms of U.N. Resolution 1441.  It was not solid evidence they're making WMDs, or that they have them.  So it is a narrower smoking gun than many have wished for.  It justifies further U.N. action, since it shows the U.N. resolution was violated, but it doesn't [by itself] justify U.S. military action.  Bush must have other evidence that Iraq is making and/or has WMDs that he isn't willing to share yet - we're pretty far along the path of war.  The reaction of the U.N. delegates was predictable - "oh, so Saddam is not complying with our resolution, let's send in more inspectors".  I think we aren't going to get a second U.N. resolution sanctioning military action - France would veto, among other things - but that won't stop us...

Have you seen this picture?  This is a frame from an Israeli TV program called "Erev Hadash" taken on January 20.  Astronaut Ilan Ramon spoke with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon through a video link. He presented his view out the window of the Columbia shuttle.  Right there on the surface of the wing you can see a long crack and a dent.  Eleven days later, it was that same wing that broke off during reentry, causing the shuttle to disintegrate.  Even if NASA knew about the damage from the moment it happened, they could have done nothing.  Gene Kranz, the flight director who orchestrated the rescue of astronauts aboard the crippled Apollo 13 in 1970 ("Failure Is Not An Option"), said that from what he knew, there was nothing that could have been done to save the flight.  "The options," he said in a telephone interview, "were just nonexistent".

I love it when old media reviews the blogosphere.  They never get it right.  Kind of like the way TV reviewed "The World Wide Web" [say it in a deep voice] in 1996.  Ask yourself this: why is it that whenever the media do a story about something you really know, they get it wrong?

Guess what?  They've explained hiccups.  Thanks goodness for science!