On the eve of Super Sunday, the Ole filter makes a pass...
(That's a Ying Yang box ... my latest effort at coding with atoms.)
Liked Imitation Game. A lot. And if you did too, you probably loved Cryptonomicon... (Slash, if you loved Cryptonomicon, you will like Imitation Game.) My one criticism is that they made the invention of the Bombe* seem like a single act by a single person.
* the actual name given to Turning's anti-Enigma machine.
Well, that sucks: AOL are shutting down TUAW. AOL continue to be the graveyard of interesting single-interest websites, which despite hype cannot grow too far beyond their single-interest. John Gruber notes: "Things I learned today: AOL still exists."
Paul Rahe: Party of the living dead. "Thanks, in part, to the self-absorption of their standard-bearer [President Obama], the Democratic Party now controls fewer Congressional seats than at any point in my lifetime. Its presence in the Senate is at a near-record low, and one would have to go back nearly 90 years to find a time when it was in as bad a shape in the state assemblies and senates." I can remember when I considered myself a Democrat. It wasn't that long ago.
Marissa Mayer thinks MaVeNs are the key to Yahoo. "Mobile, Video, Native, Social." Aside from being a terrible acronym, not worthy of the stretch effort to create it, what does that even mean? I feel like Yahoo have to decide whether they are content creators or content publishers, and then go deep on whatever they decide. It's been a long time since anything they did felt cool to me.
SpaceX show how their Falcon 9 Heavy rocket will work. A great animation in which we can see the recovery of all three boosters as a satellite is blasted into orbit. Rooting for them!
Tesla Model S getting even quicker via a software update. Wheeee. The coolest recent software update has added better energy management tools, backup camera guides, and traffic-aware cruise control. Yes! (Caravans are finally here!)
Finally, have you seen the recent Newsweek cover about Women in Tech? (Yeah, Newsweek [apparently] still exists, and yeah, they still have covers.) What do you think? Some suggest the cover itself is sexist, others, that it is an emotional issue which triggers an emotional reaction, regardless. I think it's an important issue and I'm glad it's being discussed.
I've worked in tech my whole career and have had women colleagues that whole time, and always figured tech was more of a meritocracy than other fields, and so gender discrimination was less of an issue. But of course, being a man, I might not have seen it. It does seem that the attention has lessened the issue. Let's hope this pendulum doesn't swing too far into over-correctness, and just stops in the middle, at equality.
Apple just had the most profitable quarter of any company, ever. Giving credence to the supposition that iPhones are the most successful products, ever. Did we know that back in 2007? No. Although maybe Steve Jobs did.
I was just reflecting on early iPhones, thinking that not having Flash would hold them back. In retrospect that was a good call by Mr. Jobs. YouTube are now supporting HTML5 video by default. Primarily because of IOS.
And lest you think Apple have peaked, the Apple Watch will be out in April. I bet they sell a few of those. I'm going to get one, of course, but as a mostly happy Pebble Steel owner I wonder how useful they will be. They might be cooler than we think.
Apple's "hobby" isn't doing badly either; 25M Apple TVs shipped in total. I still love mine. That could end up being a bigger hit for them than anyone thinks.
Apple are now the largest camera company in the world. And interestingly, also the largest video camera company, by far. Just recently the film Tangerine was lauded at the Sundance Film Festival, and it was shot entirely on an iPhone 5S.
Still, with all the amazing technology, the biggest driver's of Apple's success have been the Mac and IOS ecosystems they've created.
A quiet day of work today. Work work work. A little rain, a little sunshine, and a little news.
I hardly ever watch "news" video online, do you? But this one caught my eye: Whale watchers celebrate epic season. So that's good news right? Or is it bad news ... I can never remember which way climate change is supposed to cut. The picture of a gray whale at left is on the climate.org website, listed as an endangered species.
Meanwhile they're having a huge storm in the Northeast, almost exactly a year after the NYTimes declared "the end of snow".
What all this means to me is that climate science is not actually science. There are huge variations in weather from year to year, but nobody yet understands the longer term trends. And to the extent that they are understood, very little is changing. Nothing to see here, move along.
This is pretty cool (NPI): Robot finds fish beneath Antarctic ice. "When a group of scientists drilled through 2,430 feet of ice in Antarctica to get to the water underneath, they only expected to find a few microbes here and there. Instead, they discovered a thriving community of fish and crustaceans." Unlike climate "science", this is real science; a theory and an experiment to test it which modifies the theory.
Wow I need one: The Taco toaster. Crunchy tacos without frying in oil...
But of course: Worry for Solar Projects after End of Tax Credits. Too bad all that money is being wasted on subsidies for non-viable tech.
I'm installing the latest Windows 10 Technical Preview. The more I read, the more I'm convinced this will be my next OS. You may ask, why not OS X? Good question. I guess I just like Visual Studio for C++ development...?
Eight people are seated at a circular table. Each person gets up and sits down again_either in the same chair or in the chair immediately to the left or right of the one they were in. How many different ways can the eight people be reseated?
Matt Ridley: I am a climate lukewarmer. "When I first started writing about the threat of global warming more than 26 years ago, as science editor of The Economist, I thought it was a genuinely dangerous threat... Gradually, however, I changed my mind. The failure of the atmosphere to warm anywhere near as rapidly as predicted was a big reason: there has been less than half a degree of global warming in four decades - and it has slowed down, not speeded up." I'm one too.
Related: 2014 was one of the 3% coldest years in the last 10,000.
IBM prepares to lay off 111,800 employees. Wow. That would be the biggest corporate layoff in history, by far, exceeding the previous record of 60,000, also set by IBM back in 1993. Remember when working for IBM meant lifetime employment?
The greatest (and stupidest) hacking scenes in movies. I feel like the list of greatest is a lot shorter than the list of stupidest. I especially like it when viruses are depicted visually. My own favorite scene was in The Social Network, when Mark Zuckerberg created his "hot or not" site in one night. That felt pretty real.
It's a little early in the year for me to be a cycling fan - I usually get excited around the time of the spring classics in April - but this year I did pay some attention to the Tour down Under, which was won today by Rohan Dennis. More significantly, it marked the last Grand Tour race for Dennis' teammate Cadel Evans, who finished third, wrapping up an amazing career that included a world championship and an (unblemished!) Tour de France victory. I was fortunate to be in Paris for Cadel's 2011 victory, as well as in Grenoble the day before, when Evans took the yellow jersey from Andy Schleck in the final time trial (pictured at right). He's had a great career, a nice guy who finished first.
Opportunity celebrates 11 years on Mars with an incredible panoramic photo, taken from the highest location it's ever visited. Awesome! Long may it continue to roll around "up there". (click to enbiggen amazingly)
Consider all the amazing things that have happened in the last 11 years here on Earth in the meantime...
Jon Evans of TechCrunch: this industry is still completely ridiculous. Yes it is. Click through for some especially good examples. "Satire and reality are not merely indistinguishable but actually interchangeable."
The Onion predicts Overstock's web streaming service. From November 2013: "In a broad push to offer new content to the website’s millions of customers, executives from online retailer Overstock.com officially announced plans Tuesday to develop a slate of original online programming." At the time that seemed like a good joke. From January 2015: "Overstock.com, known for selling products online at discount prices, will launch a video-streaming service in the first half of this year." Yep, interchangeable :)
Meanwhile: NASA wants to send a helicopter to Mars. Of course it does!
Sad news: "Mr Cub" Ernie Banks dead at 84. Ernie Banks was my most treasured baseball card, back in the day. Nothing which has happened in the 45 years since has made it less treasured.
You've heard me say, I was never a big fan of Bill Gates as a business leader, but now I'm a huge fan of him as a philanthopist. His Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation just released their annual letter, and as always, it's most interesting reading.
Their big bet: "the lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history."
- Child deaths will go down, and more diseases will be wiped out.
- Africa will be able to feed itself.
- Mobile banking will help the poor transform their lives.
- Better software will revolutionize learning.
We'll see. The biggest problem poor countries face is seemingly fast population growth, but (1) and (2) will definitely help, and seem plausible. I'm interested that (3) made the list; it seems so specific compared to the other items. Not surprised to see (4) and indeed one would expect this.
I'm curious whether other issues can be solved, such as political corruption, unproductive infighting between factions, basic property rights, and differential birthrates between different economic groups. We'll see.
Regardless, there is little doubt that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has made a huge difference. Onward!
So, apparently, it's time for ello:
I signed up for the beta a few weeks ago, when there was some buzz around ello, but now I can't honestly think of any reason to join. Are any of you members? What's it like?
I can't really believe this, but the Hubble Space Telescope is now 25 years old. Wow. Slashdot has a nice thread about the camera that changes the universe. What's weird is that it didn't work very well at first, until scientists figured out how to correct the images with software.
Powerline: At last, the kind of inflation Americans care about. "Over the years, some have argued that not having to care about politics is a luxury that Americans are able to enjoy because of our stable democracy and effectively guaranteed freedoms. There is some truth to that. Still, it is hard to believe it is a good thing that sports arouse more passion, attract more attention, and are more often the subject of intelligent discussion than politics."
The Hobbit: the Tolkein edit. In which nine hours of bad moviemaking are converted into a single four-hour film which is faithful to the book. "The investigation of Dol Guldor has been completely excised, including the appearances of Radagast, Saruman and Galadriel... The Tauriel-Legolas-Kili love triangle has also been removed." Seems like a great watch.
So, Apple paid $10B to developers in 2014, via the app store. That means this ecosystem is now bigger than Hollywood, the ecosystem of major movies and their distributors. That's ... amazing. This ecosystem is also growing faster and has more successful players in it, at more layers.
An interesting subject: blockchain scalability. Many of us have a vague idea of how Bitcoin "works"; it is a public ledger, with a fixed number of slots, and we can all bid to buy one of the slots. But how big can it become? How easily can each node compute the validity of the blockchain, and what will happen as the system scales? Great read.
John at Desk: Seasons of silence. "When building a product you can often find yourself in long stretches of relative quiet, where you're just heads-down building and there isn’t much more to tell or to share." Indeed.
ZooBorn of the day: a baby East African Black Rhino, the first born in captivity for eighteen years. Yay. And boy is she cute. Few things are less cute than a full-grown rhinoceros, and yet, few things are cuter than a baby one...
Today's big news wasn't last nights #SOTU talk, no, it was today's announcements by Microsoft, about Windows 10 and some new augmented reality software called Windows Holographic. (Where is it written that everything Microsoft do has to be called "Windows X". Anyway.) It looks pretty amazing. Of course this tech will be used for gaming, but who knows what else, too? I'm starting to think shopping - in virtual stores - might be a big application. Coupled with visual search, of course!
And so, what will Google Glass 2.0 need to succeed? The commenters on Slashdot have focused on hardware and software answers, as is their wont, but to me the answer needs to take the form of a market opportunity, an unmet need that smart glasses can fulfill. And one beyond gaming.
Little commented on among the #SOTU discussion, President Obama mentioned the U.S.' "re-engergized space program", and astronaut Scott Kelly, who's about to leave Earth for a one year tour abord the ISS. Of course, he's going to get there in a Russian spaceship, despite the SpaceX resupply missions. "Good Luck captain, and make sure to Instagram it!"
This is one awesome lightsaber battle. May the Farce be with you. Absolutely no movies have spawned as many fan-created sequels, parodies, and tributes as Star Wars. Can't wait for the next one!
This is cool: My name is Oli Tweddell, and I sail for Australia. For anyone who thinks dinghy racing is not a real sport. But where are the deck chairs for lounging?
And here we have the ancient and venerable Frilled Shark, an 80 million-year old design which is still with us. Awesome.
your animated GIF of the day
Here we have Exploding Kittens, a new Kickstarted card game from (among others) Matthew Inman of the Oatmeal. The game has raised over $1M from their target of $10K. Wow.
I'm trying to figure out, did the thousands of backers want the game, or the perceived coolness of being part of the Kickstarter?
[Update on 1/25: 97,000 backers and $3.8M raised. Wow.]
On the eve of the State of the Union address (#SOTU), Richard Epstein notes ObamaCare's Slow Death. "The results are now clear, the Affordable Care Act has done nothing to unravel the past mistakes that in large measure were attributable to excessive regulation and transfer payments."
This cartoon illustrates the mechanism perfectly :)
With the annual Davos Economic Forum on the horizon, this observation: "it turns out that global warming causes private jets." Via Instapundit, who asks (as I do!), "where's mine"?
Smile! Next up from Blade incubator, a startup to "solve" digital photos. Interesting, but the article doesn't actually say what "solve" means, or what they perceive to be the problem. I think finding digital photos once taken is a big opportunity, a perfect application for visual search...
Excellent! Five foot long Boeing 777 replica made from 2,000 pieces of manila folders. Wow. Just when you think you've seen it all...
Can't wait for the next one :)
Fairly recent posts:
01/31/15 10:45 PM -
Saturday, 01/31/15 10:45 PM
01/28/15 09:11 PM -
the big Apple
01/26/15 07:59 PM -
Monday, 01/26/15 07:59 PM
01/25/15 09:24 PM -
eight people to dinner
01/25/15 08:47 PM -
Sunday, 01/25/15 08:47 PM
01/24/15 10:22 PM -
Saturday, 01/24/15 10:22 PM
01/23/15 09:58 PM -
Gates foundation: the Big Bet
01/22/15 10:42 PM -
01/22/15 10:13 PM -
Thursday, 01/22/15 10:13 PM
01/22/15 10:00 PM -
01/21/15 10:38 PM -
climbing the Dawn Wall
01/21/15 10:14 PM -
Wednesday, 01/21/15 10:14 PM
01/20/15 10:57 PM -
01/20/15 10:26 PM -
Tuesday, 01/20/15 10:26 PM
01/19/15 10:44 PM -
01/19/15 10:38 PM -
01/18/15 11:42 PM -
hawks vs pats
01/17/15 11:02 PM -
01/16/15 10:29 PM -
Friday, 01/16/15 10:29 PM
01/15/15 11:05 PM -
ch ch ch ch changes
01/14/15 10:27 PM -
A brief history of UI
01/13/15 11:01 PM -
the biggest ocean animals
01/13/15 10:38 PM -
01/13/15 10:28 PM -
Tuesday, 01/13/15 10:28 PM
01/12/15 10:01 PM -
Monday, 01/12/15 10:01 PM
01/11/15 11:16 PM -
01/10/15 11:50 PM -
Saturday, 01/10/15 11:50 PM
01/09/15 11:04 PM -
of nested CSS selectors
01/09/15 09:34 PM -
01/08/15 09:44 PM -
NASA exoplanet travel posters
For older posts please visit the archive.
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Aperio's Mission = Automating Pathology
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
the big day
solving bongard problems
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
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
where are the desktop apps?