Did you watch that amazing game between Arizona and Green Bay last night? Wow. The first replay review of a coin flip :) It was as good as the previous game between New England and Kansas City was bad. You tune in, you just never know what will happen...
Today SpaceX attempted to land a rocket on a barge again, and once again was unsuccessful. They missed it by -> <- this much; the boostback burn was successful, but the landing was harder than planned and a landing leg broke on the landing. The 12-15' waves rocking the barge might have been a factor. Meanwhile the mission itself was a resounding success; the Jason-3 satellite was placed into a polar orbit without incident.
Don't you love the SpaceX live webcasts? Not only are the launches themselves exciting and interesting, but the discussion about the mission and technology by the SpaceX team is great. Onward!
Wow, cool (literally): Revolutionary transparent solar cells. "Unlike traditional and opaque PV technology, SolarWindow can be readily applied as a coating to any glass window or plastic surface and instantly generate electricity, even in artificial light and shade." Excellent. Our Earth is bathed in high-energy light all the time, the key to the future is converting more of it into useful stored entropy.
Meet the Hedgehog, an asteroidal robot. This robot uses internal flywheels to move, to get traction on the surface of a low-gravity environment like the surface of an asteroid or comet.
News item: new bombers to cost $550M each. Hmmm.... I'm all for national defense, but that seems excessive. Couldn't we divert some of that money into ... asteroid robots? (Especially since we already have bombers, this is just more money for more bombers...)
Don't you just hate websites that notice you're using an ad blocker, and nag you not to? Yeah, me too. "Wow, I'm sorry I'm not watching your crappy ads, okay, I'll disable AdBlock" ... said nobody, ever. So how is this going to end? I've actually had a website refuse to show me content because I blocked ads. Will that be the endgame? I think there will be an ongoing escalation of technology on both sides.
Similarly I am watching football today while blogging; I use a Tivo (of course) so I skip most of the ads, but there are ads sprinkled into the broadcast, too. (This touchdown brought to you by...)
I totally support this: Help is on the way against noisy leaf blowers. I'm not sure I agree this should be legistlated, but definitely happy that technology is replacing the noisy and dirty two-stroke engine with something better.
Now this is pretty revealing: The winner of TechCrunch disrupt London 2015 is ... Jukedeck! I know what you're thinking, who are Jukedeck, and what do they do? "Jukedeck is a platform that lets users create custom, cheap, royalty-free soundtracks for their videos and/or podcasts, all without any musical talent." Seems more like a moderately useful product than an amazing new company.
Have you ever wondered how to make an igloo? Let these two Inuit men show you. Of course with global warming this may be a vanishing art :) Of special interest to me was the way they make "ice bricks" from snow. Brrr...
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.
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...
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...
Today 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 :)
The 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.
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.
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:
More cylo-blogging; today I rode in the Stagecoach Century in Ocotillo, CA. (That's East of San Diego, in the desert near Mexico.) It was a wonderful event, if any of you ever want to try it I totally recommend it. Great organization, good SAG everywhere, and a really nice ride surrounded by desert beauty. Oh, and the weather was perfect, thanks to the organizers for arranging that!
I have to give a HUGE thank you to Peter Simons for the loan of his wonderful Trek Madone; in the wake of my weird disaster I am temporarily bikeless. The more I ride it the more getting a new bike is getting mental traction :)
The Stagecoach Century is an out-and-back, so you can pick your distance; some people did 26 miles (turnaround at 13 mile stop), some 50 miles (turnaround at 25), some 90, and some 100. There’s 4,700’ of climbing if you go the distance. There were about 1,000 people total but it never felt crowded.
the route profile - steady up on the way out, steady down back
And here for your viewing pleasure, some pictures from the ride...
mile 1: sun just up over Imperial Highway, 100 miles to go
mile 10: blasting along the desert at 26mph
mile 20: I pick up a nice paceline
mile 40: cresting a climb (wild descent to follow!)
mile 50: at the turnaround with my impromptu team
mile 65: heading back down as riders still coming up
mile 97: at the finish!
Overall it took me 5:30 of riding time and 5:45 elapsed. I think I was around the 12th to finish, yay me. That is the first time I've ever ridden a century in under 6 hours elapsed; must have been the pacelines I was able to join and the stops I didn't make :)
I have to relate a particularly delicious moment. Towards the end I'm riding in a paceline with eight other riders, all strong, we're flying along, and at 15 miles to go we get to the last climb (see the route profile above). It's about 500' at about 8%, enough to blow up the paceline. A few guys attack and go up the road, the rest of us settle into a climbing pace. I find my rhythm and start grinding people down. One by one I move through my pack, and then pick up each of the attackers. I get to the summit with a decent lead, and now we have 10 miles downhill to the finish. Can I hang on? I descend madly and power along the final straight into Ocotillo, and beat the next guy in by over two minutes. It was great.
And so now I can watch football tomorrow, and eat to my heart's content...
Ann Althouse quotes the NYTimes: "I think those of us who voted for McCain are going to be a lot happier with Obama than the people who voted for him." We'll see. I think many of the people who voted for Obama are going to learn the truth of Oscar Wilde's observation that there are two tragedies in life, not getting what you want, and getting it...
Tim Bray ponders where to write. "...maybe not so much on Twitter. I’ve been blogging less recently, and there’s no doubt that some of the writing energy has gone into Twitter." Let me tell you, shifting blogging energy to Twittering is a waste. You might as well talk to your cat. 140 characters at a time.
I was just reading my post from last night; viewing the analog and digital fish it occurred to me that the "analog" fish is really digital too; you are viewing it on your monitor! Rene Magritte would love it. "Ceci n'est pas une poisson".
Just so you feel a little better, my note about how my laptop is now working was slightly wrong. Everything works except picking up email with POP, which yields the easily understood 0x8007007E error. Sigh. Reckless precelebration is the root of all failure.
Onward! The Ole filter makes a pass...
With the recent AppleTV announcements, I have a renewed interest in using it, and have *finally* made time to try to convert the movies I have in AVI format for iTunes import (and subsequent AppleTV sync). The movies are mostly encoded with Divx (various versions) and some with Xvid (various versions), with a variety of pixel dimensions, frame rates, audio codecs and qualities, etc. Truly the acid test for a conversion utility. So I couldn't find anything that worked on Windows (Google yields a million hits, but after trying a few apps which didn't work well, I gave up). My friend Gary recommended Visual Hub for the Mac. So far works like a charm; it has converted five movies with five different formats, and automagically imported them into iTunes, which synced them to the AppleTV. Quality seems as good as the originals (which were not all great to begin with). Excellent!
P.S. In addition to "just working", Visual Hub also features a nice sense of humor. Check out the Advanced... dialog box at the right :)
Here we have AirMail; a Macbook Air "sleeve" that looks like a Manilla folder. Unbelievable. These people did not have advance warning of the Macworld Jobsnote, but immediately afterward they had the idea, registered the domain, and created the website. Product ships in two weeks. It's the American way.
The other day in my rant as the memory turns, I wrote: there are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary, and those who don't. A friend wrote back: there are actually 32 kinds of people in the world, those who understand ASCII, and those who don't. Good point, but on further review there are 242 kinds of people in the world, those who understand EBCDIC, and those who don't. It is frightening that I remember EBCDIC digits, but then, I remember using PIC 9(4) PACKED all too well.
How many of you have used Adaptive Cruise Control? I've test driven a few cars that had it; definitely the wave of the future. The emphasis so far has been on safety, but as FuturePundit notes Automated Tailgating Would Save Fuel. Even cooler, it would reduce traffic congestion; I've been hawking this idea for years. The great thing about adaptive cruise control is that it works all by itself, but it works better as more cars have it; a classic network effect.
I liked this one: CNN notes Boomerang returns after 25 years. "Officials in an Australian Outback town were surprised when a boomerang arrived in the post. Along with it was a note from a guilt-ridden American who said he stole it 25 years earlier from a museum in the mining town of Mount Isa, and now felt rotten about it."
Okay, before you click this link, you must sit down and set aside all hot liquids and sharp objects. Here we have LOLinator. It makes any website look like it was written by cats. Here's this blog LOLinated. Just when you thought you'd seen everything, you realize "everything" is so much bigger than you thought :)
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.
Randall 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 ]
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.
Oh, look, anotherVonage 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.
Finally, 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 ]
Know what would be really cool? A a link to one year into the future :)
P.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..."
Always on hosts Bill Gurley interviewing Michael Dell. "Gurley: Everybody in the world has heard about the Dell model. It’s become a metaphor for a very well-run supply chain. The question I'm most curious about: was it intentional? Dell: [Laughs.] Did we think all this up or did we just get really lucky? Gurley: Well, along the way you might have fine-tuned it, but did you know early on about the economic benefits of the model? Dell: No." Very interesting, check it out.
The Essential Library, courtesy of godless. Very difficult to argue with any of these; I've read most of them and some of them are among my favorites. If I had to pick one, it would be The Selfish Gene, and if I had to pick another, it would be The Blank Slate. Some light winter reading :)
You know how I hate patents, particular tech patents? Well Simon Willison says this could be the most ludicrous tech patent yet. "What is claimed is: 1. A method for assigning URL's and e-mail addresses to members of a group." You have got to be kidding.
CNet reports Oops! They're Swapping Again. "Illegal music downloading could be making a comeback, according to market researchers who note a surge in the use of peer-to-peer services." Time for the RIAA to initiate more lawsuits? Or will they figure it out? Nah.
Paul Thurrot flies in the face of conventional wisdom, and thinks HP's iPod moves could hurt the industry. I disagree; seems like a de facto standard is helpful. Consumers want choice in products and features, not choice in internal formats.
For you browser nerds, Mozilla 1.6 is out. I haven't tried it. I must confess I kind of lost interest in Mozilla, now that Google's toolbar blocks pop-ups in Internet Explorer there just isn't any reason to shop around.
Just came across something too great not to share. From Jamie Zaworski, an original Netscape developer:
``Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.''
This reminds me of Wirth's law, to the effect that "every sufficiently powerful computer language has equal power". A good litmus test for this power is the ability to create a lunar lander game - or an email client.
This announcement by President Bush is very interesting. He continues to show that he takes positions based on his true feelings, regardless of the political fallout. This is commendable even when the positions themselves are not. I agree with this one; racial quotas are indefensible even as a means to right past wrongs.
Not unexpected, but the Supreme Court ruled against the challenge to copyright extensions (aka "Sony Bono Law"). Well, Larry, you gave it a good shot...
Do you understand why Microsoft was ordered to ship Java in Windows? Let's see - Microsoft included a JVM in Windows, Sun sued them to take it out [because it implemented Windows-specific extensions], so Microsoft pulled it out, so Sun sued them to put it back. Huh?
Don't you hate it when C|Net does articles like this? The 30 second skip feature has been in Tivo since day one, and experienced Tivo-ers have known about it since day one. Why write an article about it now?
At first blush, the [Onkyo] NAS-2.3 seems like a CD player, but it also has an embedded 80GB hard drive. So now it appears to be like any number of digital music players on the scene. But the NAS-2.3 also has a 10/100 Ethernet port, and is capable of acting as a music server to a network of Net-Tune devices. Running on the Integra product is an embedded Linux operating system, which acts as the server software.
Have you been following the Louis Vitton Cup? Oracle finally beat Alinghi today (yesterday?) making a race of it... Great machines, great racing, and great personal drama. The America's Cup Finals are going to be terrific!
Turns out this 'blogging can be dangerous; just ask Iain Murray...
I'm leaving town for Vancouver for a couple of days; I'm going to try remote posting, but who knows if it will work...