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back to Earth

Thursday,  02/24/11  09:58 PM

I am back to Earth, literally and figuratively, whew.  When last you left me, I was high in the sky, blogging, on my way to the HIMSS Venture Fair in Orlando.  That went well, you can read all about it in my report on my Aperio blog, but the return trip was a series of disasters; I didn't get back until midday Monday.  (see diagram at right :)  So be it, whew.  And then it was home for a night, and the rest of this week has been spent attending and presenting at Aperio's annual sales meeting. 

A highlight was distributing the Team Aperio 2010 mugs (see at left); a tradition I started and of which I am inordinately proud; this is now the eighth year.  (Yes the mugs are collectors items, especially the early ones of which so few were made.)

Anyway today was my first "normal" day in quite a while, and there is little peace ahead, as I leave for San Antonio and the USCAP conference on Saturday.  Double whew!  Still there is much else going on in the world, let's take a look...

I am surprised that my Jobsnotes of note post hasn't received more traffic.  Doesn't everyone need to see these?  Guess not :)  Anyway I am prepared to add to my collection as the iPad 2 announcement appears nigh... 

Apple smacks Readability in the face with subscription rules.  Huh.  Seems like this will just push services like Readability out onto the web; that does not seem to be in Apple's best interest.  And they are very good at tuning things to be in their best interest :) 

Josh Newman considers dining hall trays: What a tool.  "Of course, it isn’t just dinner plates and dining hall trays. Indeed, nearly all of modern life seems to operate at the same juncture of manufactured stuff and unclear self-assessment; thus, we make things, which in turn re-make us. Which is to say, we create technology (say, a plate) to assist us with an ill-understood instinctive behavior (eating food), and then find that the technology has led to unexpected consequences in the very behavior itself (how much of the food we eat)."  I would put smartphones in this category :) 

TechCrunch's MG Siegler: I Will Check My Phone At Dinner And You Will Deal With It.  Interesting isn't it how quickly protocol regarding this has changed?  I distinctly remember a dinner at our house ten years ago with a PayPal colleague who checked his Blackberry during dinner.  Shirley was horrified.  But that was then, this is now.  We do have a "no phone" rule for family dinners, but it does fly in the face of convention. 

Okay one more in this vein: the end of the IT department.  "The companies who feel they can do without an official IT department are growing in number and size. It’s entirely possible to run a 20-man office without ever even considering the need for a computer called 'server' somewhere."  Fascinating.  I wonder how long it will be necessary to have desktop or laptop computers?  Or phone systems?  Seems like handheld computers aka smartphones might trump them all. 

Among the many things I don't get, Quora is one of them.  I gather it is a place where one asks questions, and your friends answer?  Huh.  I feel like posting "why should I use Quora", but I'm entirely confident of getting negative noise in response.  Anyway... TechCrunch compares StackExchange to Quora, a truly weird comparison.  I *get* StackExchange, it's a place to ask technical questions.  The signal to noise is rather high, due to a Slashdot-like rating system. 

A great article from McKinsey: The Programmers Dilemma, building a Jeopardy champion.  To me, playing Jeopardy comes much closer to passing a Turing Test than defeating grandmasters at chess.  The natural language parsing involved is ferocious.  Just shows that while progress in artificial intelligence is slow, it remains steady.  One day we'll be interacting with computers as if they are beings, and we won't even find it remarkable. 

My colleague Kiran tells me the Dutch are doing well at the Cricket World Cup.  The Dutch play cricket?  There's a World Cup going on?  Who knew... anyway, Go Oranje

Wouldn't you agree, no sport anywhere is as inscrutable to non-fans as cricket?

Yes!  Mount Baldy could decide Tour of California.  I cannot wait, and yes of course I will be there; would not miss it.  In fact as per previous years when I've climbed Balcom, Palomar, and (last year) Rockstore, I will ride it myself before watching.  I guess we could agree that Levi Leipheimer (left) is the favorite, not only for the Baldy stage but the whole tour.  He's won it three of the last four years, and a mountaintop finish should suit him well. 

This is excellent: Ohio Girl Scouts accepting mobile payments for cookies.  How cool is that?  

Lessons not learned: What happens after Yahoo acquires you.  "Both sides talk about all the wonderful things they will do together. Then reality sets in. They get bogged down trying to overcome integration obstacles, endless meetings, and stifling bureaucracy. The products slow down or stop moving forward entirely. Once they hit the two-year mark and are free to leave, the founders take off. The sites are left to flounder or ride into the sunset. And customers are left holding the bag."  Yikes. 

Most excellent: Incredible yellow treehouse restaurant rises above New Zealand.  This is the kind of thing Inhabitat often blogs about as a planned project, but it would appear this restaurant actually exists

Wrapping up my back-to-Earth post, a King Vulture chick!  Wow, does he ever look out of this world :)