Critical Section

Monday,  05/11/09  07:31 PM

ZZZzzz...  what?  Oh, I have to post, yeah, right.  Nodding off here for some reason, too much sleep over the weekend I guess...  and too much work today as a result.  And looking at my schedule I have two solid days of meetings coming up.  Whew.  Well too much work is better than not enough.

StarTrek the movieI am hoping to escape my schedule briefly, to see Star Trek.  Too many nice things have been written about it, looks like a must-see, and in fact a must-see-in-a-theater-with-DLP-projection :)

From the New Yorker's 5/11/09 issue, one of their most interesting for quite a while: How David beats Goliath (Malcolm Gladwell analyzes how underdogs win, basically, by working harder and being unconventional), The Fifth Blade (ruminations on marketing in the canonical razor / blade market), Brain Games (an interview with unconventional neurophysiologist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran), and my favorite, the controversial and thought-provoking The Instigator, about Steve Barr's Green Dot charter schools, which are slowly "taking over" Los Angeles and which [under Obama's administration] might become a nation-wide phenomenon.  Much food for thought... no wonder it takes me an hour to shave every morning :)

Howard Kurtz thinks Lack of Vision to blame for Newspaper Woes.  Weeell...  is it really lack of vision, or just changing times?  Could a forward-thinking newspaper really do anything to prevent being replaced by electronic online media?  Any more than a forward-thinking buggy manufacturer could have done anything to prevent being replaced by cars?  I honestly don't think so, newspapers are old tech, and they won't survive.  I used to think books and magazines might make it, but now I think their days are numbered too, the Kindle and its brethren will see to that.  One day there will be no physical media left.

Da Vinci surgical robot enters the Robot Hall of FameThe Robot Hall of Fame is expanding to include Da Vinci, Terminator, and Roomba.  A worthy selection, the Da Vinci surgical robot especially (my daughter Megan had heart surgery performed by a Computer Motion robot which was the Da Vinci forerunner).

Shuttle Atlantis lifts off to repair the Hubble TelescopeThe Shuttle Atlantis has a perfect lift-off, on its way to repair the Hubble Telescope.  Although we don't necessarily think about them that way, the Atlantis and the Hubble are "robots" too, and one is being used to perform "surgery" on the other :)  We are surrounded!

Jeff Atwood: the browser address field is the new command line.  And that means Google is the new operating system.  Which is not too far from the truth, and getting closer all the time...  His post has a great list of various shortcuts showing how Google can parse what you enter:

weather San Francisco (weather report)
CSCO (stock symbol)
time London (time conversion)
san francisco 49ers (sports news)
5*9+(sqrt 10)^3= (arithmetic)
Henry+Wadsworth+Longfellow (people)
earthquake (topical news)
10.5 cm in inches (unit conversion)
population FL (information lookup)
Italian food 02138 (business search)
movies 94705 (movie search)
homes Los Angeles (real estate listings)
Seattle map (map)
Patent 5123123 (patent lookup)
650 (area code)
american airlines 18 (flight information)
036000250015 (UPC code)
JH4NA1157MT001832 (VIN number)

Things I hate: when web designers use fancy techniques to create unconventional user interface conventions.  For example, if you want a button, use a button which, when clicked, works like a button.  Don't make a graphic which looks like a button and which, when clicked, somewhat acts like a button, but somewhat doesn't.  Facebook, are you listening?  (probably not :)

I've found the worst offenders to be sites afflicted with AJAX, because they are so browser dependent; half the time they don't test with Firefox, and half the time Firefox doesn't do what IE would do, so a quarter of the time badness results.  Flash is unconventional but [at least, mostly] consistent.

LaCie RAID array - 10TB for $2,000Things I love: LaCie RAID arrays which hold 10TB for $2,000 and which look like HAL.  I mean, how awesome is that, both the price point and the design?  What's interesting to me is that this is a classic attack from below, these storage arrays are designed for consumers and sold at consumer prices, but they pretty much duplicate the functionality of "commercial grade" arrays which cost an order of magnitude more.  Yeah you can talk about MTBF and all, but let's face it, these drives will be obsolete before they break.  Remember 200GB drives?  I have one in my closet, sitting next to an 80GB drive, and both are awaiting their next use as doorstops.  They were superceded long before they stopped working.

No word on whether, when you go to switch it off, it says “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t let you do that”…

Since I have nothing better to do, I am contemplating switching to Windows 7.  As in, installing the RC right on my main computer, and living with it.  I've run it under a VM enough to believe I could live with it, and perhaps over time could learn to like it if not love it.  I need a reinstall anyway, my XP has become excessively cruftified.  Stay tuned...

this date in:
About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
The Nest
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained