Critical Section


Wednesday,  04/23/08  09:52 PM

The latest issue of The Economist has a nice special report on Mobility, starting with this article: Nomads at Last.  It is a pretty interesting survey, kind of a sociological perspective on the impact of new technologies like mobile phones, blackberries, texting, WiFi, etc. on the way people live and work.  In the beginning computers kind of isolated us, but now they are making us more social.  Many people are "always on", and the line between work and home life has blurred beyond all recognition.  This is certainly true for me, I am a poster child for this kind of nomadability.

Today I received an email from a friend, sent from her smartphone while in the dentist's chair.  Talk about always on :)

So Clinton not only won Pennsylvania, she won convincingly, with a 10-point margin.  At this point, having won all the "big" states, you'd have to say she has a good claim on being more electable than Obama.  In fact if you include Florida and Michigan (and their votes will count in the general election), Clinton has a great claim to being the Democratic candidate.  Fascinating.  This is looking like a world-class choke on Obama's part.

And now who do McCain supporters root for?  It is becoming apparent that Clinton would be the stronger candidate in the general election, despite what head-to-head polls may say; she has won all the big states like California, Texas, Florida, and [now] Pennsylvania which a Democrat must win in order to win overall.  Furthermore it is also becoming apparent that Obama's weaknesses runs deep; a head-to-head debate with McCain could be gruesome.  I guess we root for Obama, although it feels unsporting.  I hate to precelebrate, but this is looking like a world-class choke on the Democrats part.

Parenthetically, not everyone is happy about this state of affairs; in particular the NYTimes, which has become disgustingly partisan for Obama, is spinning furiously.  Ann Althouse reports on the moving goalposts: "The news is not that she won big, but that it's bad that she won."  I'll just note that Clinton is currently the Junior Senator from New York.

[Update: Looks like maybe Obama has to win Indiana.  And it looks like maybe he won't...]

One of the really weird things in the software development job market is how many foreign professionals there are, compared to just a few "native" Americans.  When I post a software development position I get a ton of resumes with Indian and Chinese names, and many Eastern European ones.  Only seldom do I get Sally Jones.  This situation is not a problem - my company Aperio is a virtual United Nations of different nationalities, and it works great (in fact it kind of spices things up :)  The problem is that many of these foreign engineers need an H1B visa in order to work in the U.S., and the number of these visas is capped.  In fact it is capped way too low, in a bogus effort to "protect" U.S. workers.  Fortunately this situation is recognized (Congress doing its best to lose the global talent war), and is now being addressed (House Republicans move to increase H1B visa quota).  Stay tuned...

the "big stick"The Weekly Standard: 24 Hours on the 'Big Stick'.  "Landing on an aircraft carrier was the most fun I'd ever had with my trousers on. And the 24 hours that I spent aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt--the "Big Stick"--were an equally unalloyed pleasure. I love big, moving machinery. And machinery doesn't get any bigger, or more moving, than a U.S.-flagged nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that's longer than the Empire State Building is tall and possesses four acres of flight deck. This four acres, if it were a nation, would have the fifth or sixth largest airforce in the world--86 fixed wing aircraft plus helicopters."  I love this quote from a CPO: "These are the same kids, who, back on land, have their hats bumped to one side and their pants around their knees, hanging out on corners. And here they're in charge of $35 million airplanes."  There is a lesson in there somewhere...

Another bogus non-story exposed: Upconverting HDMI DVD players: Fact vs. fiction.  The bottom line is that if you have a good HDTV, it can upconvert just as well if not better than DVD players.  The whole upconvert thing is a ruse to unload all the HD-DVD players nobody wants anymore.

Can you muster up any enthusiasm for Microsoft's Mesh?  Me, either.  It should be interesting, it could be interesting, but somehow I feel without having investigated at all that it won't be interesting.  Microsoft hasn't done anything cool for a long time.  Making it seem even less interesting: "A hundred of Ozzie's engineers have been working on Mesh for the past two years".  Nothing that takes one hundred engineers two years to build is worth building!

sun canopy by Christoph KlemmtWrapping up, check out this gorgeous sun canopy designed by Christoph Klemmt.
 Just beautiful.  What is it about Italian designers? 
They seem to be able to make ordinary stuff extraordinary.

 

 

 

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