Archive: September 30, 2010

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powering back up

Thursday,  09/30/10  06:52 AM

Greetings blog public!  I have not, as rumor may have it, stopped blogging, nor has anything horrible happened to me (but thanks for all your emails asking).  I have returned from a 12-count-'em-12 day road trip on business, having attended the Pathology Informatics conference in Boston, visited customers in Baltimore, and attended the College of American Pathologists conference in Chicago.  And in between attempted to enjoy the cities and the company of my colleagues and customers as much as possible :) 

Anyway sorry for the gap; there may will be more to say later, and I will resume my regularly scheduled blogging shortly...  Please stay tuned!


booting I: week of 9/13, redux

Thursday,  09/30/10  09:41 PM

Spinning back up to speed, here's a filter pass on the week that was 9/13/10, which I spent work work working in Vista.  Came home for a day Friday, reintroduced myself to everyone :) and then Saturday it was off to Boston.  Already seems like a zillion years ago, actually, so I'll filter accordingly.  Here we go:

Slate helpfully points out People who make $250,000 a year can afford a tax hike.  This must have been written by people who make a lot less than that.  The whole idea of a progressive income tax - wherein people who make more not only pay more, but pay a higher percentage - is unfair.  And bad for the economy.  Take it to the limit and you have pure socialism, and we all know how well that works... 

Just how massive is Google?  This infographic tells all...  [ thanks, Rebecca ] 

My field of digital pathology (in which my company Aperio is the leader) is sometimes called telepathology, which is a component of telemedicine, the practice of making diagnoses and administering therapeutics while remote from a patient.  FuturePundit reports on a new advance: teleanesthesia, with remote anesthesiologists.  Wow, how cool is that? 

In other medical news: Scientists make artificial skin.  The key advances here are tactile feedback.  We have the technology... we can rebuild him :) 

Scott "Dilbert" Adams considers Future Searching: "I think the economy has an unimaginably higher gear in it, and we'll see that engage when Internet search goes to the next level, maybe in ten years... The future could be utopia, because everyone will easily find what they need, from love to careers. Or it might be the end of civilization because capitalism depends on barriers to entry, and those will disappear when everyone can find whatever resources they need.

This is so classic: my post on June 10, 2009, in which I got my Palm Pre.  It has now been well over a year - a lifetime for a smartphone - and I still love it.  In fact on my recent trip my trusty Fuji camera died (!) and I had to resort to using my Pre, and it wasn't half bad.  The ongoing worst feature is poor battery life, which is only partly mitigated by carrying a spare battery. 

I don't have a lot of Apps, but there are a few I love, including Open Table, Facebook, and Pandora.  And my absolute favorite built-in App is the Sprint-specific navigation, which is cooler than anything from Garmin, Tom Tom, Magellan, etc. - even incorporates realtime traffic.  Included for $0 and worth the entire price of the phone.  My favorite "dumb" App is a bubble gage; useful for leveling foosball tables and getting a few laughs at dinner :)

Awesome: Steampunk nature, photoshopped.  The talent on display here is breathtaking.  How do these people find the time?  [ via Boing Boing

Eric Raymond continues his series on the smartphone wars, Apple vs Google vs everyone else.  "Microsoft actually had the audacity to throw a shipping party that included a mock funeral for the iPhone. All that really needs to be said abut this is that the event was recorded by an Android phone."  I love it, and you will too; click! 

Here we have ... the USB typewriter, a "groundbreaking innovation in the field of obsolescence".  I am not making this up.  I especially love that it can be used as a dock for an iPad. 

Jeff Atwood: revisiting solid state drives.  "A solid state hard drive is easily the best and most obvious performance upgrade you can make on any computer for a given amount of money."  The idea of a solid / drive hybrid, in which you have both the capacity and the performance, is pretty compelling.  Hmmm... 

Does Quid have the most pretentious website of any startup ever?  Yes.  "Secondary typeface!? How about a primary business model?"  I love it.



booting II: barnstorming Boston 9/18-22

Thursday,  09/30/10  10:19 PM

Spinning back up to speed, here's a filter pass on the weekend+week that was 9/18-22, which I spent traveling to and in Boston*.  Wonderful weather - when I was able to escape - and some good times and excellent meals punctuated a busy week of attending a conference and visiting customers.  Probably the best thing that happened was I maintained my planned habit of working out every morning, probably the worst was that I didn't maintain my planned habit of blogging every night...

  • During a nice walking tour of Boston Common and environs, discovered an amazing store with tons of old sewing machines in the window (right).  How cool is that?
  • If you are ever in the market for bread pudding, may I recommend Stephanie's on Newbury?
  • It turns out that in Boston people seek out Dunkin Donuts for coffee, in lieu of Starbuck's (or Peet's!)  Who knew?

*A four-hour fog delay in Long Beach turned an eight hour flight to the East Coast into a marathon.

I've been largely ignoring the 2010 Vuelta, but Vincenzo Nibali shows strength, smarts in defending Vuelta lead.  Good for him.  A day later he won the overall title, capping a most entertaining and interesting grand tour.  Congrats to Tyler Farrar who won the final stage and several other sprints besides.  I wish I had paid it more attention, the organizers have definitely shaken things up for the better. 

An interesting book to seek out: The Matchbox that Ate the Forty Ton Truck.  *Not* on Kindle however - possibly because it has a lot of diagrams?  That will need to get fixed. 

Scott "Dilbert" Adams' latest mindbomb: The Opinions of Attractive People.  "Imagine a web site that allows any adult to post a ten-second video that is nothing but a statement of opinion, showing only the speaker's face...  Visitors to the site would be able to vote on the videos, based on agreement with the opinions, or the general attractiveness of the speaker."  Interesting.  We definitely put more stock into the opinions of attractive people, whether we want to or not... look at celebrity endorsements.  I also love this: "If it sounds like the dumbest idea in the world, remember that you didn't think of Twitter."  Good point. 

An important infographic: So You Need a Typeface.  The first step is admitting you need to do this, the second is that you need help in doing so :)  [ via Boing Boing

Mobius strip comic strip.  How awesome is that?  It does complicate distribution somewhat... 

Restaurants using wine lists on the iPad are reporting increased sales.  I think we're going to have to concede there is a "there" there with the iPad; there's something happening here, but what it is isn't exactly clear :)  It just shows up everywhere.  [ via Kottke

Apropos: the time is now for digital textbooks.  As a parent with two  high-schoolers and one collegian, the time is *now*.  The iPad would seem to have the perfect form factor - color and diagrams and formatting preserved etc. - but the ecosystem hasn't formed yet.  It will. 

I want one!  23 great space missions, all on one T-shirt.  Donations made to the Planetary Society.  How many of these can you name? 

PS interestingly I went to the site to order one, and was confronted with a "size" drop down that had, like, 73 choices.  Too many!  I was confused and almost didn't buy one.  The website is *way* overdone and how lame is it when links aren't links.  They need a lesson is style and simplicity.

I encountered a similar problem recently while trying to register for the Susan Komen Foundation's Race for the Cure.  Instead of having one option - register - they had eight; a usability nightmare.  I was able to sign up in the end.  I think. 

From the horse's mouth, the Wave of the Day.  Awesome! 

Good to know: It's finally summertime, on Titan.  After seven earth-years of winter.  And just as summer officially ends here...  let's go!



booting III: blazing Baltimore 9/22-24

Thursday,  09/30/10  10:58 PM

Spinning back up to speed, here's a filter pass on 9/22-24, which I spent traveling to and in Baltimore.  It was a great little interlude between two conferences, with some extraordinary experiences sprinkled in between customer visits.

  • So I get in to Baltimore late, Pier 5 hotel, right on the waterfront, and I discover room service is closed for the night due to a private party.  No problem, I get some not-horrible Pinot from the restaurant downstairs and order pizza, and set in my little balcony watching it rain lightly over the harbor.  A live band nearby are playing Creedence Clearwater's "who'll stop the rain" and doing a most excellent job on the cover, and the whole experience is great.  They go on to play more CCR tunes, and on a visit downstairs to reload Pinot I discover the band playing is Creedence Clearwater themselves, for the private party.  My "how did I get here" moment of the trip, so far...
  • Another highlight was a great walk around Baltimore's "inner harbor" on the Harbor Walk, which includes the U.S.S. Constitution (above right).  Most excellent.
  • I discovered that my new favorite super Tuscan may be Querciabella Camartina, displacing Tignanello and Ornellaia.  I must have some T and O soon, to compare :)

The central issue of our time: Federal Spending.  One look at this chart, showing federal spending vs household income, and you know this story will end badly.  The only question is how badly, and who-all will get hurt.  The decrease in household income seems scarier than the acceleration in federal spending, but they are linked, of course... 

Ann Althouse captions this photo of President Obama and Vermont Governor Jim Douglas moving a couch in the oval office "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic".  It cannot be much fun skipper this particular ship of state; the course has failed, and disaster is nigh. 

Jon Stewart on Obama: I thought he'd do a better job.  So did I, frankly, even though I voted for McCain.  Glenn Reynolds comments "based on what, his experience"? 

Revisiting Richard Nixon's Checkers speech from 58 years ago.  It is emotional now even across this space of time, and with the immense change in culture.  Good oratory is just lacking from today's politicians, isn't it? 

Here's some important research: Science says men like shapely ladies.  "A UT research team interviewed 375 men and women and concluded that men categorize women with attractive, curvy bodies as short-term partners, whereas a woman with a pretty face would more likely be considered for a long-term relationship."  Further research seems indicated :) 

Interesting Advice: Having relationship problems?  Try talking less.  No comment. 

And I don't believe this one: Men Don't Notice When Women Wear High Heels.  Um...  I do! 

John Gruber ponders How much is Facebook worth?  I can remember the same debates about Google, pre-IPO, and everyone's estimate was low.  But that was a different time...  still, Facebook could be worth more than Google.  Sure seems to be occupying a lot of cycles in the blogosphere. 

Boing Boing runs a chapter from Douglas Rushkoff's upcoming Program or Be Programmed: Chapter 3: You may always choose "none of the above".  Reminds me of a quote from Robert Gruden (a good friend's favorite saying): "True freedom, when given a choice between A and B, is to create C." 

Wrapping up, how about a ZooBorn of the week: a Peccary piglet


booting IV: channeling Chicago 9/25-29

Thursday,  09/30/10  11:08 PM

Spinning back up to speed, here's a filter pass on the weekend+week of 9/25-29, which I spent traveling to and in Chicago.  The centerpiece of my trip, it featured some rather excellent encounters and meals with friends and colleagues amongst the College of American Pathologists' annual conference.  Aperio made a big splash with our Discover Your Path promotion - that was super cool - and although I was happy to come home, I was sad to have the music stop, so to speak; it was quite a voyage.

  • Sunday my colleague and friend Jared Schwartz, Aperio's Chief Medical Officer, was named the CAP's 2010 Pathologist of the YearThat was pretty cool.  We celebrated afterward with a private party at Timothy O'Toole's pub in their Guinness Room.  Some beer was drunk, some darts were thrown, and considerable fun was had by all.  I will have little more to say about that picture of me popping out of a limo :)
  • Among the many great meals on this trip, a quiet dinner with colleagues and friends at Spiaggia, "Chicago's finest Italian restaurant".  Most memorable.
  • I had a chance to see Jeanne Gang's Aqua building in person (pic at right).  Wow, just wow.  So beautiful, and so different to all the buildings around it.  Three stars: worth a voyage just to experience :)
  • I must recommend Bella Bacino's, on E. Wacker.  Excellent pizza, excellent Pinot, and the Lemon Ice is not to be missed.  I can confirm it's a perfect spot for great conversation.

From the 'truth is stranger than the Onion' file: U.N. appoints official representative for space aliens.  That isn't even the strangest thing they've done - electing Libya to chair the human right council tops it, for example - but it does make the list.  Wow. 

And so I love this story: asked whether he was giving out candy, a candidate replied "no, get a job and buy your own candy".  And so another conservative was born :) 

Four visions for the future of California.  Cool and thought-provoking.  The main obstacle to achieving any of them is public spending; we simply must reduce the size of our government and let private enterprise do its thing.  We are always a bellwether for the country, which has the same problem, perhaps we can show the way out... 

Are houses the greatest threat to peace?  "Israeli settlers in the West Bank celebrated the end of the building moratorium by pouring concrete for a new day care center, the construction of which had been halted due to the ten-month ban. The notion that such construction is a threat to peace tells us everything we need to know about the "peace process.

John Gruber links John Wayne, accepting his Oscar for True Grit.  Wow, now that is how you accept an award.  And check out Barbara Streisand as the presenter, and that lineup of nominees!  My how the mighty have fallen... 

Check out this sign outside a Lockheed Martin facility.  No unauthorized gathering of information!  Sign, sign, everywhere a sign, blocking out the scenery breaking my mind... 

Some good advice: stop calling him honey and start having sex.  I haven't read the book, but the blurb feels so true.  I encourage all women to read this :) 

Photo essay of the week: Inhabitat's Unbelievable Stacks of Chinese Goods Piled High on Bikes.  Wow, I love it.  Please click through and admire the ingenuity on display.  Just when you think you've seen it all, you realize "it all" is so much more than you thought. 

While I was out: Los Angeles breaks it's all time heat record.  113°F at high noon.  That is hot! 

Bad news of the week: Jure Robic, the world-class ultra-cyclist (five times winner of RAAM) was killed by a car while riding his bike.  I love cycling, but I hate the car-bike collision danger. 

Here we have the world's lightest bike: six pounds!  Wow, that's astounding. 

Daily cycling is secret to 96-year old's health and happiness.  Mine too :) 

Did you know?  Yesterday was national coffee day.  ("In which we celebrate socially approved addiction" :)  I didn't know, but I celebrated by drinking coffee anyway :) 

AOL has acquired TechCrunch, one of my favorite blogs / sources of tech info.  I know what you're thinking, does AOL even exist anymore?  Yes, apparently.  It has been years since I visited AOL. 

More from the 'truth is stranger than the onion' file: Senior Advisor Plays Pac Man on his iPad during White House Meetings.  So be it.



back online: cheers!

Thursday,  09/30/10  11:18 PM

And so I am caught up and back online...  It was quite a trip, every day had its experiences and its learnings, and I have come back with resolve to change a few things, and with much to think about.

  • I worked out every day, during the busiest trip ever, and it was a great counterbalance to all the eating and drinking :)  I am happy with myself about that.
  • Despite best intentions I did not blog at all.  I guess it wasn't the most important thing, but I wish I had been able to make time for it.  Reading items from my RSS reader is taking longer and longer, too much chaff obscuring the wheat.
  • I had my camera with me and captured a lot of great shots, but a lot went by unshot, too.  And in the meantime my camera has died; I need a good replacement, and I need to use it.
  • Finally the main thing: I must avoid getting sucked into detail.  I'm a detail guy, and can easily get consumed with low-level crap, but it isn't where I add the most value.  I must learn to say 'no' more often.  We'll see how I do on this one.

As so now onward...  in the near future I have trips planned to Beijing and Seoul, as well as a conference in San Diego...  please stay tuned, and maximum cheers!


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