Critical Section

Archive: January 20, 2018

 

Archive: January 10, 2017

we're going to make some history today

Tuesday,  01/10/17  08:40 PM

Ten years ago, today:

Steve Jobs introduces the iPhone, Jan 10, 2007

"we're going to make some history today"

Well that was true.  Wow.

Notes on rewatching:

  • Hehe, Macs running on Intel, how amazing.
  • iTunes Store ... 5M songs per day.  Of course, no app store yet!
  • Zune, we hardly knew ya.
  • Those old iPod ads were the best.  Those white earbuds.
  • Apple TV!  Who can remember, it was introduced at the same time.  Nice hobby.
  • 22 min in ... every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything.
  • Who wants a stylus?  Nobody wants a stylus.
  • iPhone runs OS X.  Really!?
  • Sync with iTunes.  Yep the first iPhones required a computer.  Quaint.
  • 3.5mm headphone jack.  "All your iPod headphones fit right in."
  • Accelerometer.  Weird to think turning your phone sideways didn't used to do anything.
  • "To unlock my phone I just take my finger and slide it across."
  • "You had me at scrolling."
  • "The killer app for a phone is making calls."  Hehe not any more.
  • Random access voicemail.  Another breakthrough we now take for granted.
  • First public call was to Jony Ive.  Of course.  "It's not too shabby, is it."
  • SMS texting pre-iMessage.  Hardly ever see green anymore :)
  • Pinch to zoom - big ovation.
  • Yahoo! Mail.  Yay.  Biggest mail service in the world.  That was then.
  • Realtime stock updates...  APPL was up $2.40 during this keynote.  Heh.
  • "I want to show you something truly remarkable" ... Google Maps on iPhone!
  • Calling Starbucks: "I'd like to order 4,000 lattes to go please" ... so great.
  • It's my pleasure to announce ... the CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt!  This was before Android :)
  • "You can't think of the internet without thinking of Yahoo!"  Um ... yeah.
  • Launch network Cingular.  Remember them?  Eleven days after AT&T had bought them!
  • Love that anecdote about Woz and the TV scrambler at the end.
  • Wayne Gretsky: "skating where the puck is going to be".  Yep.
  • Finally, can I just say, that version of IOS looks so much better!
  • Pretty much the best tech product introduction of all time.  The benchmark.

Can you remember what was in your pocket on that day?  I proudly carried a Palm Centro.

I don't care what you say, that was a better time.  (...more history...)

 

 
 

Archive: January 19, 2016

applause

Tuesday,  01/19/16  10:50 PM

applause!Today was amazing; a new feature I've been coding was demoed for an entire sales team, and received a standing ovation.  As a software developer, that's what you live for :)

And in other news...

Wolfram programming lab - the best way to learn the Wolfram LanguageStephen Wolfram: "I'm excited today to be able to announce the launch of Wolfram Programming Lab - an environment for anyone to learn programming and computational thinking through the Wolfram Language. You can run Wolfram Programming Lab through a web browser, as well as natively on desktop systems (Mac, Windows, Linux)."  Awesome!

spacetime...!Just about everything Stephen writes about is interesting.  A most worthwhile blog...  for example: What is spacetime, really?  A most interesting explanation, by someone who actually seems to understand it :)

Blech: Why the Coast Guard needs $1B.  For new ice breakers.  Probably to rescue all those people looking for evidence of climate change that get trapped in the ice.

giant icebergsMeanwhile: Giant icebergs help the Southern Ocean soak up carbon.  Of course they do.  This is an interesting article, but any excuse to post pictures of icebergs is valid...

What could go wrong?  Sensors slip into the brain, then dissolve when their job is done.  Welcome to the 21st century.

the WalMagiA great post from Gerard Vanderleun: The gift of the Walmagi.  "I can't get over it. A winter coat for $7? The Goodwill won't sell you a dead man’s old winter coat for $7."

New item: Cassandra rewritten in C++, now ten times faster.  Excellent.  Despite all the advances in computer hardware, nobody ever complains that the software is too fast.

And this: Visual Studio now supports debugging Linux apps; code editor now open source.  Visual Studio is the best development environment for software there is, bar none.  This is excellent.

The Witness - a new Myst-like gameThis looks amazing: The Witness, a new computer game in the style of Myst.  I'm not a game player - at all - but I am a puzzle player, and I certainly enjoyed Myst back in the day.  Must check this out.

Fascinating commentary from Eric Raymond:  Why hackers must eject the SJWs.  "I have been participating in and running open-source projects for a quarter-century. In all that time I never had to know or care whether my fellow contributors were white, black, male, female, straight, gay, or from the planet Mars, only whether their code was good."  Amen.

new LA football stadiumHmmm... LA to build world's most expensive stadium.  I'm delighted the Rams are coming home (yay!) but not sure this makes sense.  Where will the money come from?

Progress!:  Website lets you view old websites, with old browsers.  Now you can revisit The Spot with Netscape 3 :)



And I'm gonna wrap up with this picture of the Blue Angels over San Francisco, from Scott Loftesness.  Just because.

Blue Angels over San Francisco

 

self parking

Tuesday,  01/19/16  11:59 PM


Hehe I love it

 
 

Archive: January 20, 2015

Tuesday,  01/20/15  10:26 PM

exploding kittens - the card gameHere we have Exploding Kittens, a new Kickstarted card game from (among others) Matthew Inman of the Oatmeal.  The game has raised over $1M from their target of $10K.  Wow.

I'm trying to figure out, did the thousands of backers want the game, or the perceived coolness of being part of the Kickstarter?

[Update on 1/25: 97,000 backers and $3.8M raised.  Wow.]

On the eve of the State of the Union address (#SOTU), Richard Epstein notes ObamaCare's Slow Death.  "The results are now clear, the Affordable Care Act has done nothing to unravel the past mistakes that in large measure were attributable to excessive regulation and transfer payments."

free wool coatsThis cartoon illustrates the mechanism perfectly :)

With the annual Davos Economic Forum on the horizon, this observation: "it turns out that global warming causes private jets."  Via Instapundit, who asks (as I do!), "where's mine"?

dueling selfiesSmile!  Next up from Blade incubator, a startup to "solve" digital photos.  Interesting, but the article doesn't actually say what "solve" means, or what they perceive to be the problem.  I think finding digital photos once taken is a big opportunity, a perfect application for visual search...

Boeing 777 model made from manila folder piecesExcellent!  Five foot long Boeing 777 replica made from 2,000 pieces of manila folders.  Wow.  Just when you think you've seen it all...

 

Captain America

Tuesday,  01/20/15  10:57 PM

 

your animated GIF of the day

(you're welcome)

 

 
 

Archive: January 20, 2014

caps locked (NY140106)

Monday,  01/20/14  11:21 PM

 

hehe :)

 

 

the United Nations of Programming

Monday,  01/20/14  11:27 PM

So if you ever want to see globalization in action, just post five ads for six positions at two different companies requiring four different programming skillsets. 

I have recently done this, and have been flooded with applicants from all over the world.  Literally.  We're talking 327 resumes from engineers in places like (in no particular order) Sao Paulo, Lima, Istanbul, Leskovac (had to look that one up), Lahore, Dar es Salaam, Beiruit, Alexandria, Torun (had to look that up too), Indore, Bangalore, St Catherine's (Jamaica), Rome, Shanghai, Pune, Warsaw, Barcelona, Kiev, Voronesh (Russia), and Chennai, just to name a few.

And these are not just tire kicks; when I get a resume, I request a coding exercise, and I score them.  These are honest-to-goodness engineers coding in Java and Objective C and Ruby and C++ for a wide variety of different platforms and environments and applications.  Oh and by the way, all these people communicate in English.

It's completely amazing to me.  The United Nations of Programming.

 

Monday,  01/20/14  11:40 PM

too much video!Whew, I am resume-ed out.  If I look at another coding exercise tonight, I'll explode.  I can however blog...

So I have a question: when you see a link to a video, in email, or your RSS reader, or on Facebook, or wherever, are you more or less likely to click on it than you would a link to a text page.  For me, I am way less likely.  I cannot stand watching most videos.  It has to be really awesome right away or I'm clicking back.  You, too?

Martin Luther KingCNN: The Legacy of Martin Luther King.  A cool photo series to celebrate a cool guy.  Wish we had some cooler heads speaking these days...


Marshawn LynchDid you enjoy the football over the weekend?  I did!  Ate a lot, saw some friends, and watched some good teams play some great games.  Going in I was pulling for the overdogs, and at this point I'm rooting for the Seahawks over Denver...

(I'm sure it is a complete coincidence that the two teams in the Super Bowl are from the two states that have legalized marijuana.)

Global Warming skepticism reaches six-year high.  This wouldn't have anything to do with the polar vortex which froze most of North America for two weeks, would it?  Climate isn't weather.  Then again, absence of proof is not proof of absence. 


golden doughnut skyscraper in GuangzhouGolden Doughnut-shaped skyscraper completed in Guangzhou.  Awesome!

Sports Illustrated swimsuit editionVanity Fair: Fifty years of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.  It really is a good article, you should read it.  Most interesting to me was the evolution of sports; fifty years ago SI was a niche magazine.

Somewhat related: The financial benefits of being beautiful.  I get that being good looking leads to success - especially if you're a swimsuit model - but I also want to know if the things that make you successful make you better looking.  It could go both ways.

And meanwhile: Aerie's unretouched ads challenge supermodel standards for young women.  Looking at the pictures, not so much.  They just found women who were great looking without makeup and Photoshop.

Wow: HP offers Win 7 on new PCs "by popular demand".  Looks like Win 8 really is Vista revisited.


the microverseAnd finally ... the microverse!  Excellent.

 
 

Archive: January 6, 2013

checking in after ten years

Sunday,  01/06/13  06:01 PM

Happy 2013!Greetings blog friends, and Happy New Year.  Yes, it is 2013 (yay!), and yes, it has now been over a year since I've posted regularly over here; I'm posting daily on my Facebook, and it's all public, so if you'd like please subscribe to me over there.  I know, I know, it's not the same - and I'm not ruling out returning to more or less daily blogging - but I have no immediate plans to do so.

I did want to check in because it has now been ten years since I started blogging.  Wow.  During that time I have posted 2,618 entries incorporating 7,556 pictures, and they're all still  online and accessible.  I like having that history, and love being able to go back and see what I was thinking around a given time.  (For example, during last fall's presidential election, it was so cool to visit blog posts from October 2008 and October 2004.)  You might be interested to know this blog is entirely home grown and lives on a server in a closet of my house, and yes, that server is a Pentium II from 1999, and yes, it is running RedHat Linux 8, and yes, it is stable as hell.  Old technology for an old blog :)

I do still intend to recover from my extreme Yak shaving and come out the other end with a blog I can completely maintain via email.  As I've shifted more and more of my daily spelunking to my iPad this has become more and more pressing.  Or speaking of pressing, I could move the whole thing to WordPress... hmmm.

 

2012 revisited!

Sunday,  01/06/13  07:14 PM

Something new...For the past ten years I've had the annual ritual of updating my blog's navigation bar with "this date in" links for the prior year.  As I added '12 to the list it occurred to me, there's not much there; I did my daily posting on Facebook.  Boo.

On 9/11 this year I posted my usual remembrance and on that occasion also paused to revisit everything that had happened in the past year. That was a pretty cool list to have (for me anyway).  So in lieu of having personal history in my blog archive, here's that list again, updated...

2012 revisited:

So what's next? Well, I'm still living on Westlake Island, and still working for Aperio. But I do have some cool new projects cooking, and I'm totally excited about 2013...

Please stay tuned and I'll keep you posted!

 
 

Archive: January 13, 2012

|||moved|||

Friday,  01/13/12  11:57 PM

Well I'm moved.  And I now have FIOS!  And I like it; it's seriously faster than the DSL I had before.  And after two days of unboxing and messing around and running cables and configuring routers and ... whew, my servers are back up, and the bits you are reading right now came from deep inside a closet of my new house.  Yay.


my new blogstation

Also yay: the Tivo HD is up and online via FIOS without any problems.  And the AppleTV is up and running too, with HD movies now streaming in realtime.  All good.

I shall have more to say "soon" - assuming I ever get back to blogging, that is - please stay tuned...

 
 

Archive: January 17, 2011

Monday,  01/17/11  08:23 PM

Lake Westlake on a glorious winter's dayToday was the most beautiful day imaginable; I celebrated with a nice ride around Lake Westlake.  I didn't have the time but I did it anyway, and I'm glad I did :)

Lasers racingThe Tillerman examines Fairness and Laser sailing.  He is correct, everything is equal except the sails, and this inequality is important.  Still the class remains of a one-design than just about all others, 40 years after it was first started.

You wasted 34 hours in traffic in 2009.  Good to know.  But with a nice car and a great stereo, maybe it wasn't wasted...

video of the Tesla Model S, driving. Wow!A video of the Tesla Model S, driving.  I am still wowed. 
Perfect for wasting time in traffic :)

HTML5, the logoHTML5 has a logo.  Yay.  There a technical thing called HTML5, but I'm starting to feel there's also a marketing buzzword, which is only loosely related...

 

the iRoom?

Monday,  01/17/11  08:45 PM


A logical progression:

So what's next?  The iRoom?

 
 

Archive: January 17, 2010

Jets shock Chargers

Sunday,  01/17/10  09:24 PM

And so today my friend Yogi and I made our annual pilgrimage down to Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego to watch the Chargers in a playoff game.  Last year the Bolts shocked the Colts, in one of the best games ever (overtime, baby!); this year they fell short against a Jets team that just wanted it more.  Not to mention, the Charger's all-pro placekicker Nate Kaeding missed three field goals, any one of which would have kept them in the game.  So be it.  The view was wonderful (front row again!) and the hot dogs were great, and it was a day well spent.


the obligatory panoramic view of Qualcomm Stadium
(click to enbiggen)


me and my football watching friend Yogi
he claimed to be rooting for the Chargers, but is a closet Jets fan, I know

(note the lack of anything between us and the field :)


Nate Kaeding prepares for one of his three missed field goals
perhaps he shouldn't have warmed up


once again this year we forgive the Charger Girls for blocking our view
dance dance dance


as the clock ticks down to 0:00, the Jets prevail
argh!  wait 'till next year

Some random observations:

  • The front row is all very exciting, but next year we're sitting higher.  And I do mean sitting, because in the front row you stand the entire game.  Not great on a day following riding a century :)
  • One of the cameras is mounted on a cherry picker which drives up and down the sideline, all game long.  Except in this game, they had two cameras on two cherry pickers right next to each other.  Huh?  Aha - ESPN is recording everything in 3D.  They don't have a way to show it yet, but they're getting ready.  Excellent.
  • Those Charger Girls are not only attractive, they work hard.  They're dancing pretty much continuously for three hours, what a workout.  Yes I did happen to notice.
  • Once again I was struck by the physicality of crowd noise.  You think you're hearing it loud on TV, but that's a mere echo of the WALL OF SOUND generated by a screaming crowd of 70,000 people.  Wow.

Until next year...  over and out.

 

Edie Brickell: Good Times

Sunday,  01/17/10  10:17 PM

Do you remember Windows 95?  Cast your mind back, waaay back in time...  ah yes, I sure remember; in fact I was running pre-release builds of "Chicago" for nearly two years before it was finally released.  One of the key cool new things in this groundbreaking OS was support for multimedia.  What a concept!  Previous to Win95 there was Video for Windows, an add-on to Windows 3.1, but with Win95 for the first time the OS itself had support for audio and video and graphics and so on...  big stuff.  And to demonstrate these new capabilities, Microsoft bundled a video with the OS, and it just happened to be Edie Brickell singing Good Times.  I remember that so well, double-clicking that movie, and watching it play.  I liked the song and the video (and the artist!) but I loved the way it just worked, kind of like a peek into the future.

Just the other day I came across this very video on YouTube, and it took me back with incredible nostalia:

Good Times indeed!

 
 

Archive: January 20, 2009

Tuesday,  01/20/09  11:26 PM

One of those long days where I got up with the worms and go to sleep with the moon.  Kind of a quiet day...  and I'm exhausted.  You may find this post makes even less sense than usual :)

Obama sworn inSo we have a new President.  Yippee!  Congratulations to Mr. Obama; although I didn't vote for him I am totally rooting for him to be an excellent President.  He starts off with just about everyone on his side; Congress, the MSM, most Americans, and most people around the world, too.  Let's hope all that optimism can be translated into forward movement on the economy and other related problems like health care costs and alternative energy development.

Dave Winer: By dawn's early tweet.  "My first tweet of the day, unedited: 'Really feeling unhinged this morning. There was some security in GWB's mediocrity. Now, there won't be an excuse, it' s now - not later.'  It's true.  I've had an unsettled feeling.  Can't deny it, can't wish it away."  This is so true; ever since the really bad economic news started in late summer, we've all been waiting for a new President to turn things around.  Now we have one, and it's on.

So; an update on my weird disaster.  I found a place which can repair the Kestrel frame!  RR Velo in Watsonville, CA.  I spoke with Edgar Chavez the owner after emailing him pictures of the disaster; he has a machine shop and can make a new dropout, and he builds custom carbon frames so he can repair the old frame.  Yippee.  So I had the bike delivered to my local bike shop where they're stripping all the components off the frame, then shipping it to RR Velo.  After the frame is repaired it will be mailed back, the shop will reassemble it, and install a new derailleur in the back.  Should take about four weeks...  whew.  (And Murphy is not to be ignored, so stay tuned :)

Since I am bikeless and of course had to ride today, I rented a Cannondale from Laguna Cyclery and rode a little 25-miler through the Laguna Hills.  Really nice bike (!) and really nice ride.  Wow, the more I ride other newer bikes, the more I think maybe a new bike would be cool.  But I am definitely going to repair the old one if I can.

Throw your hard drive away, Google's Gdrive is arriving in 2009.  "Google Drive, or Gdrive as it is better known, has to be the most anticipated Google product so far. When it arrives, Gdrive will likely cause a major paradigm shift in how we use computers and bring Google one step closer to dethroning Windows on your desktop."  Huh, we'll see.  I predict it will be a dancing bear, cool enough for demos, but not fast enough for real work.

Weird idea of the day: Forget Yahoo, Microsoft should buy Palm.  I don't follow this logic at all.  Yahoo and Palm are very different companies; I think you have to evaluate each on its own merit.  It isn't like you have to buy one, or couldn't buy both.  Personally I think Microsoft is way more interested in competing against Google (buy Yahoo) than against Apple and RIM (buy Palm).

Wind power: old and newAn awesome picture: 19th Century vs 21st Century Wind Power.

ZooBorn: baby stingrayAnd the ZooBorn of the day: stingray baby!

 
 

Archive: January 20, 2008

the referer mess

Sunday,  01/20/08  10:33 AM

I started blogging a little over five years ago (!), and at that time referer logs were a really cool thing.  (BTW, yes, "referer" is misspelled; it always is, going back to the early days of the 'net when a bad speller defined the HTTP header syntax.)  It was fun to see who was linking to you, and to find interesting new sites in that way.

{
Quick digression if you don't know what this is about:  Whenever you click a link on a web page, the website which serves the new page gets passed the old "referring" page's address.  By looking at server activity logs, a website owner can find all the websites which link to his.  In my case, I can find other blogs and sites which have linked to my blog, which is fun.
}

So now, in 2008, referer logs are basically a cesspool of misinformation.  If you are ever able to find anything useful of interesting in there, good luck.  First you have all the spiders; programs which access pages on your site for indexing purposes, their referers are often faked or meaningless.  Next you have access via RSS feeds, feed readers typically don't even pass a referer.  And then you have referer spam, which you might remember from my referer spam wars, where various websites send you fake referrals in the home that you'll click through to them.  (This is a weird and despicable practice, first, the volume from such traffic has to be uselessly low, because only webmasters see the spam, and second, no webmaster is going to care about a slimy site which is advertised in this way.  But I digress.)  And finally you have just plain old garbage; various bots which don't access anything useful and which pass junk as a referer.

This is a classic tragedy of the commons, we see this all over the 'net.  In the bad old days it worked great, but people have subverted the mechanism for other purposes to the point where it barely works at all.  The legitimate stuff is till in there but the signal to noise is decreasing to the point of uselessness.  Kind of like email :(

 

Tivo > Moxi

Sunday,  01/20/08  10:45 AM

Tivo GUIMoxi GUILongtime readers know I am a huge fan of Tivo, and have been since time zero about eight years ago when I bought my first Series/1.  (BTW I still have it - suitably enhanced with a larger hard drive and ethernet adapter, and augmented with a webserver so I can program it from anywhere - and it still works great!) 

However for the last two years I've had a Moxi as my "primary" DVR driving my plasma HD in my family room.  If you click through that link, you'll see when I got it I opined: "I was afraid I would hate the Moxi GUI and pine for my Tivo. Well, I have to say, it doesn't suck. I'm not sure whether I'd say it is as nice as the Tivo - I guess maybe I would not say it is as nice as the Tivo - but it is eminently usable."  On further review, actually, it does suck.

For two years I've been putting up with the Moxi GUI, it has been just good enough not to replace it, but bad enough that think about replacing it often.  On New Year's day I had an unpleasant experience programming it for that day's football, and resolved to get a Tivo HD.  Today I had the same unpleasant experience programming it for today's football.  So I re-resolve to get a Tivo HD.

Should be good for a blog post or two - so stay tuned!

(I know, another mishigosh.  What can I say :)

 

Sunday,  01/20/08  11:02 PM

Well, it was cold here today - brrr... - but not as cold in Green Bay or Foxboro, where neither of the teams I was rooting for won.  So be it.  At least Shirley's chili was delicious :)  Meanwhile I also spent the day wrapped around the axle on a coding project, dug a big hole, filled it, and have now declared failure.  Sigh.

This gives me an excuse to link Paul Graham's excellent article: Holding a Program in One's Head.  "A good programmer working intensively on his own code can hold it in his mind the way a mathematician holds a problem he's working on."  Exactly.  He goes on to list the eight things you can do to help keep a program in your head, including my favorite: start small.  I violated this today, and paid the price.

world's tallest building in DubaiIn the course of reactivating hotlink redirection (!), I found the picture at right of the world's tallest building being erected in Dubai.  You really have to click through to enlarge; this is an amazing structure!  It dwarfs the surrounding buildings, which are also huge and brand new.  Looks like something from a science fiction movie.

hotlink alert!{ Yes, I have reactivated hotlink redirection; hotlinks to images on this site now display this little badge.  I am happy to share images, but I am not happy to host them! }

At least I'm not as mean as this guy; he figured out how to sign off MySpace users when they hotlinked to images on his site.  Of course those kids have no idea what they're doing; they don't understand hotlinking, or why they shouldn't do it, and they surely won't understand why they keep getting signed off every time they reload their page...

AppleTVAbout a year ago I bought an AppleTV; at the time I was pretty excited about being able to watch movies I had already downloaded (from "somewhere"), and less excited about being able to buy movies from the iTunes store.  In the intervening year I have used it some - mostly as a music server for parties - but that original vision of being able to watch downloaded movies wasn't realized.  However now that I've found Visual Hub, I'm happily using it as I originally intended.  The other night Shirley and I watched A Good Year (which is a good movie, by the way, featuring Russell Crowe, a beautiful vineyard in Provence, and the wonderful Marion Cotillard).  I'm happily transcoding all my movies from MPEG4 (Divx/Xvid/whatever) to Quicktime (H.264).  More downloading / watching will ensue, I am sure...

Related; the Macalope writes about that $20 upgrade.  I have an iPod Touch, so this applies to me...  "You can't argue that Apple shouldn't charge for the update.  It's too late.  You do have some recourse, however.  If you think $20 is too much, don't buy the upgrade."  Exactly!  [ via Daring Fireball ]

And some good news: Slipstream scores Giro invite.  Excellent.  Let's hope they get invited to the Tour and the Vuelta also; that would give us a U.S. Pro team to root for this summer!  Go Argyle...

 
 

Archive: January 20, 2007

 

Archive: January 20, 2006

 

Archive: January 3, 2005

Monday,  01/03/05  10:30 PM

Now I'm in San Diego, and it's still raining.  What!  This is Southern California, it never rains here.  Anyway here's what else is happening:

David Hornik's New Year's Resolution is the same this year as it has been every year; he wants to meet great entrepreneurs.  So what makes a great entrepreneur?  One thing.  You must be able to convince others to believe in you.  That's it.  If you can do that, you can raise money, you can recruit people, and you can do anything.  If you can't do that, you'll have trouble raising money and recruiting people, and it won't matter how great your ideas.

vitamin D structureRandall Parker reports Vitamin D could decrease overall cancer risk by 30%.  "A long-term study of 50,000 men by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health suggests vitamin D may reduce the risk of all cancers.  The study, which is still under review for publication, found that men who consumed higher levels of vitamin D reduced their overall cancer risk by at least 30 percent...  a separate study of women is expected to produce similar results."  Wow, 30%?  That's really moving the needle.

I have to report - TivoToGo is live!  This feature allows people to copy video from their Tivo to their Windows PC.  Or course, the video is DRMed.  And I want video to go the other way, from my PC to my Tivo...  [ via George Hotelling ]

Tropical Island dome - Eastern GermanyTropical Island dome - Eastern GermanyHere are some pictures from the Tropical Island dome; a converted zeppelin hanger which is now a beach resort in Eastern Germany.   This building is three football fields long, and taller than the Statue of Liberty.  Wow.

Okay, you knew this was going to happen; the Vonage WiFi phone.  Yep, this is a cell phone, except it's not; it's a cordless phone, except it's not.  Well, it's a working phone and it is cordless, and it's practically free.

Vonage cordless phoneOh, look, another Vonage cordless phone.  Only this one doesn't use WiFi, it has it's own 5.8GHz wireless receiver.  For ten points explain the difference :)

Either way, VoIP is taking over.  It is only a matter of time, now, before analog phones are history.

the hobbit holeFinally, here we have a hobbit hole, inhabited by humans.  "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.  Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."  Proving once again that just when you think you've seen everything, you realize "everything" is so much more than you realized :)  [ via Clive Thompson ]

 

two years ago

Monday,  01/03/05  11:46 PM

Now that I've been blogging for over two years, I added another link to my sidebar: Two years ago.  Kind of fun to see what was happening...  Two years ago I had just started blogging, and I posted my plan for my book.  Sigh.  And Steven Den Beste was pondering the [upcoming] war in Iraq...  Double sigh.

Know what would be really cool?  A a link to one year into the future :)

The Great Wave off KanagawaP.S. I also added a link to Amazon's Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund Donation page.  Just in case the urge strikes you to help while you're reading my blog.  I decided to use an image of the classic woodcut "The Great Wave off Kanagawa", by Katsushika Hokusai, depicting a tsunami in 1831.  "Oddly, though it's a sea storm, the sun is shining..."

 
 

Archive: January 19, 2004

Monday,  01/19/04  10:39 PM

Man, it is busy out there!  It's all happening...

So let me start tonight with Kerry's (and Edward's!) victories over Dean in Iowa.  They say Iowans don't pick the winner, but they prune the field.  So Gephardt is out, and Dean has lost momentum, if not the race.

Doc Searles, who is an ardent Dean supporter, lets the roots speak.  The results, and the emotions.  He also observes "The best looking candidates won in Iowa...  Kerry and Edwards aren't just the best looking candidates, but the best-talking ones as well.  They are practiced and excellent public speakers.  As message delivery boys, they hit the porch every time.  Dean is an okay speaker.  He's not great."  Is communication important?  Yes.

It is pretty tough to follow "everything" in a campaign these days; Taegan Goddard posted this wonderful quote from Michael Barone: "In the 1980s, I believed that you could cover a presidential election from five rooms--the morning meetings of the two campaigns, where the day's message was set, and the afternoon meetings of the three networks, where executives decided what part of that message would make the evening news...  But today you couldn't cover the 2004 fall campaign from 100 rooms.  Too much of it will be going on over back fences and on the Internet."

Dave Winer premiered an RSS feed for political junkies following Dean: Channel Dean.

My favorite way to follow the campaign is The Command Post, which has a 2004 Presidential Election feed.  What a wonderful resource.  I love comparing their timeliness and accuracy against "big media"; they are consistently better.

Martin Luther King Day.  Doc Searles posted a picture of a plaque with this quote:  "Through our scientific genius, we have made this world a neighborhood; now, through our moral and spiritual development, we must make of it a brotherhood.  In a real sense, we must learn to live together as brothers, or we will perish together as fools."  Amen.

Did you know 35 countries have troops in Iraq?  Unilateral action, eh?

Steven Den Beste lauds Japan as an unsung ally.  "Japan has emerged as the second most reliable ally we have."  Who would have thought...

As I was spacing out the other day, I noted a difficulty of manned space missions lies in the need for return.  Space.com contemplates the Helium-3 found on the moon.  "Helium 3 fusion energy may be the key to future space exploration and settlement."  It could be a "cash crop", or merely fuel for a return voyage, or a trip to Mars...

Yahoo!is cheering again, as are their shareholders; AlwaysOn reports Yahoo emerging from dot-com gloom.  "Yahoo's comeback represents another hopeful sign for the high-tech industry.  As more people get high-speed Internet connections in their homes and invest in portable devices to stay online, tech leaders also are reporting higher profits."  I don't use Yahoo nearly as much as I used to, thanks to Google, but they have a huge variety of useful services.

Apropos, the NYTimes reports Television Commercials Come to the Web.  "Beginning tomorrow, more than a dozen Web sites will run full-motion video commercials in a six-week test that some analysts and online executives say could herald the start of a new era of Internet advertising."  Yuk.  How soon before someone builds a free tool to disable them?

Joi Ito links some excellent articles on writing, including this one: Ten Mistakes Writers Don't See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do).  Really great stuff.

Ottmar Liebert ponders the difference between Musiker and Musikant ("craftsman" and "artist").  "Think of a musician who plays only cover tunes...  Not art, but a lot of craft.  On the other hand a punk guitarist who knows only two or three chords may be an artist because of his vision.  Not a lot of craft, but art.  Very tricky, this stuff, isn't it?"  Then there is Ottmar himself, who is both :)

OpenSynth Neko64 synthesizerIs this the musical instrument of the future?  The OpenSynth Neko64 has a music keyboard, and a computer keyboard.  With dual AMD 64-bit Opterons, 64MB of memory, and MIDI interfaces.  And it runs Windows.

Vertical Hold wonders about Radiohead's desire that their albums be played all in one piece.  "My CD player has a random feature. Am I allowed to listen to the Radiohead album on random play?  If my house were to catch on fire while I was listening to the Radiohead album, would I be allowed to escape certain death if it meant not hearing the whole album?"  If they regard the album as one piece, why not release it that way?  On the other hand, few people play the movements in Vivaldi's Four Seasons out of order.

I love Adam Curry's Quote of the Day series.  Yesterday's was from Eric Hoffer: "You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you."  Indeed.Big Hair!

More Adam: He notes Big Hair is back!  You have been warned...

And finally, the Joke of the Day, courtesy of Citizen Smash: The Cow from Minsk.

 

The Grand Canyon of Mars

Monday,  01/19/04  11:46 PM

The ESA's Mars Express orbiter has begun taking some phenomenal high-resolution photos of Mars.  This image shows a region of Valles Marineris ("the Grand Canyon").

Valles Marineris (the Grand Canyon of Mars)

(click image for full-size interactive viewer)

Be sure to hit F11 to maximize your browser's window so you can see as much of the image as possible.

As usual, I upsampled the image and am serving it with Aperio's image server software.

 
 

Archive: January 20, 2003

Baby Steps

Monday,  01/20/03  06:36 PM

Some key findings from my advisors (that would be you):

  • A book proposal is a good place to start.  Double clicking on that, a good way to start a book proposal is with some key things which will go into it:
    1. A crisp "elevator statement".  (Pretend you meet the world's greatest publisher in an elevator.  You must tell her about your book in the time it takes to reach the ground floor.) 
    2. A definition of your readership.  Many people have asked "who is your book for?"  Well the real answer is "it's for me", because I need to write it.  But beyond that, I do have a vision of who the intended readers are - you are, for starters.  (Yeah, you).
    3. An outline of the book, chapter by chapter.
    4. One or more essays which will evolve into chapters.

Once these things are done, the rest of the book proposal should be easy to assemble.

  • Most people who start out to write a book never finish it.  They never finish it because although they know how it starts, they don't know how it ends.  The best defense against this is to have a good outline.  I may get bored and stop writing before the book is done, but at least I won't wonder how it was supposed to end.
  • Many literary agents are vultures.  It seems it is not necessary to have a literary agent to sell a book, although it might be helpful, but rather literary agents are useful to negotiate a contract after the book has been sold.  So this comes at the end, in fact, it comes after the end.  The whole literary agent thing can be safely ignored for a while.
  • The best advice seems to be - the way to write a book is to write.  I'm going to pick several subjects from the book and write essays about them.  Then I'm going to share them with you, my intrepid readers, so you can pick them apart.

So here's the plan of action...  First, you know the title, Unnatural Selection.  I have written the elevator statement.  It is not ready for your consumption - yet - but please stay tuned, I promise I will share it with you "soon".  I have begun the outline, but I'm not ready ready to share that, either.  But here's an outline of the outline:

    1. Intro: There is this phenomenon.  This phenomenon is causing problems.  The book is about the phenomenon, the problems, and possible solutions.
    2. Part I: What is the phenomenon.
    3. Part II: What are the problems it causes.
    4. Part III: Why the phenomenon is occuring.
    5. Part IV: Possible solutions.  

The first essay is one I'd written some time ago, called Population Math.  It explains the growth of populations in terms of birth rates, average lifetime, and average generation time.  This will probably be an appendix - maybe not the best place to start! - but it provides important background for the rest of the book.  I'll clean this up and post it sometime this week.

The second essay is one I've written twice already, but I haven't been happy with either version.  It will be called Social Selection, and deals with the issue of who, in present day human society, ends up having children, and why.  This will be part of Part III (why the phenomenon is occuring), and really sets the stage for the book itself.

Thank you thank you thank you to all those who have emailed with advice, especially the authors among you.  Please keep it coming.


© 2003-2017 Ole Eichhorn

 

Monday,  01/20/03  07:56 PM

This thingie is too cool not to share.  I love my iPod.  I just wish I didn't have to use wire to connect it to my car.  Or to my home stereo.  Now, I don't!  {This is a great example of good product thinking.  All music systems have an FM tuner already.  How do you get music into these systems?  Use FM.  Simple.}

 
 

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