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week two

Tuesday,  07/05/11  11:04 PM

Last week was the second week of my vacation; perhaps it is a sign that I'm settling into it that it didn't occur to me until today, after the long weekend.  Today *felt* like I was on vacation; my friends were talking about going back to work and being back at work, and I wasn't.  My schedule today was unstructured; get up, watch the Tour, screw around with computers for a while (no I can't tell you what I'm doing yet :), go for a ride, meet a friend for coffee.  Then read for a while, eat dinner, watch a movie, and ... blog about it.  Yeah I could get used to this, and maybe I am already.

So I have this idea; why do we use computers?  We use them to do stuff of course - communicate with each other, buy things, make reservations, etc.  And we use them for entertainment.  But mostly we use them to learn things - we get news about the world and about our friends and families, and products we use, and services, and so on.

So here's the thing ... computers are great at following our commands to get information for us.  Google for example.  But they aren't so great at proactively finding information.  Seems like with all that horsepower and time, they could find stuff we want before we tell them we want it.  What do you think?

Curiosity, NASA's next Mars rover.  "The size of a small car, it's four times as heavy as predecessors Spirit and Opportunity, and comes with a large robot arm, a laser that can vaporize rocks at seven meters, a percussive drill and a weather station. Oh, and 4.8kg of plutonium-238."  Let's hope it lasts as long and is as successful as its predecessors too :) 

Josh Newman quotes Robert Sutton: "All the excitement about all things new obscures the fact that most new ideas are bad and most old ideas are good. It’s a Darwinian principle: the death rate of new products and companies is dramatically higher than of old ones."  Except that as conditions change, the chances for new ideas go up and old ones go down.  The more change, the more the odds shift. 

Don't you find that when a website requires a particular browser version, it's a horrible interface fail?  Even worse if the website requires an older browser.  I recently applied for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), so Alex can get a work-study job at LMU.  And this website requires an old browser.  I couldn't use Firefox, couldn't use Chrome, couldn't use Safari, and couldn't even use IE.  The versions I had of each of these were too new.  I'm confident all of them would have worked if the site would have let them try.  Blech. 

Speaking of times changing and epic fail: GM's backlog looking a lot like 2008.  "The bailed-out automaker now has a growing inventory in its truck lines of 122 days worth of sales, nearly twice that of its non-bailout domestic competitor Ford Motors for similar lines."  What a fiasco.  Let 'em fail. 

Okay one more epic fail: Twitter raising funds at $7B valuation.  This is a company without profit, which doesn't even have a business model.  When the crash comes on this one, it will come hard. 

Apropos: Why Biz Stone really left Twitter.  There's no there there.