Archive: April 9, 2024

eclipse pics

Tuesday,  04/09/24  09:02 AM

If you were hiding yesterday (or perhaps on your lear jet to Nova Scotia), you might have missed that we had a solar eclipse.  I won't be the 1,000th site to share pics - though they were supercool - but thought these reactions were great:

from the incomparable xkcd, a perfect take

and loved this, from the Oatmeal

 
 

Archive: April 1, 2023

inauthenticity

Saturday,  04/01/23  07:56 PM

<rant>

If you've been around here at all, you know: I hate dislike woke-ness.  So, why?

I have asked myself this question too.

It isn't that I disagree with much of woke-ness dogma, although I do. 

My fundamental challenge with many "woke" ideas is that I don't believe government action is the best way to handle them.  But I recognize the contra points of view and will happily engage on them.

My dislike stems from the inauthenticity of woke-ness.  It's virtue signaling; most wokies* don't understand the issues, haven't actually thought about them much, but have absorbed prevailing wisdom and eagerly parrot it in order to show that they, too, are a "good" person.  Does it make them feel better about themselves?  Maybe.  And maybe that's the attraction.

One tell is that wokies* reject facts which don't fit their narrative.  If you think X, and you encounter a fact which is ~X, what do you do?  Do you inquire about the fact?  Do you process it and maybe come up with X'?  Or do you simply reject the fact? 

* is wokie a word?  No.  Should it be?  Yes.

I often refer back to an incredibly insightful ontology of ways to disagree, from Paul Graham: 

  • DH0.  Name-calling.
  • DH1.  Ad hominem.
  • DH2.  Responding to tone.
  • DH3.  Contradiction.
  • DH4.  Counterargument.
  • DH5.  Refutation.
  • DH6.  Refutation of the central point.

Wokies rarely engage on the facts, even if there are legitimate arguments available; instead they go for contradiction, ad hominem, and name calling.  And there is an even weaker response: silencing the source  This is happening all over, and is even institutionalized.

My central gripe isn't with these people's actions, it's with their intent.  I have many friends with whom I disagree, and I have no challenge with their disagreement if it is authentic.

On this day, April 1, we encounter a lot of falsehood for the sake of humor.  And that's great.  I've never laughed harder or enjoyed myself more on account of some of it.  You might say this is authentic falsehood.

Unfortunately and irritatingly, our public discourse has moved strongly toward inauthentic falsehood.  We say things we know are not true and act upon them, because others will agree, and we'll feel better about ourselves.

The other day I mentioned nut picking, "acting as if the craziest people in any group represent the group".  This is not authentic.

I wish the pendulum will swing back, but I'm not optimistic.  I see several parallel gradients that reinforce inauthentic behavior, locking it in.  The antidote is to question everything.  Not just on April 1, but every other day.

</rant>

 

April not-Fools

Saturday,  04/01/23  08:34 PM

Happy April not-Fools!  The one day of the year on which we are not fools, because we don't believe everything we read.  (Every other day, "it's on the Internet, it must be true!)

This prank was my favorite, from Secret Los Angeles: no more Dodger Dogs!  The comment thread on Facebook is priceless; half the posters are horrified, the other half are earnestly correcting the first half.  Personally I had a hot dog to celebrate :)

I went sailing today, gorgeous, sunny and breezy, actual heat.  Nicest day in about five months.  Spring has *finally* sprung. 

Waay back in 2012, I posted Moved ... to Facebook.  In 2011 I became a daily Facebook poster.  Weird to think that was a thing.  But it's interesting to think about why it's not a thing.  You can do just about anything on Facebook you can do on a blog; post pictures, text, link to things; and there are Likes, and Comments, and all kinds of infrastructure.  But it's not a thing, is it?  In no way was that the same as posting here.  So be it. 

Another oldie, from 2008: the lost art of desk checking.  That was fifteen years ago, so if it was dead then, it is surely dead now?  Um, no.  For example, for the desk programs for my series on CUDA and GPUs, I did a lot of it.  I guess dinosaurs gonna dino. 

This might be the reason AI models don't entirely replace human programmers.  OTOH, maybe they become great at desk checking, and it might be the reason AI makes programming more efficient.  We'll check in on this in another fifteen years :)


Ottmar Liebert: flow.  A subject on which he is expert.  "It’s difficult to know ahead of time which way the wind blows. Sometimes one recognizes what’s happening immediately, one feels the invincible flow of creativity, one feels switched ON. Sometimes one can feel the struggle.

News I can use: how to unlock the 100kph achievement badge in Zwift.  You have to find the steepest downhill and ride as fast as you can in your biggest gear.  Stay tuned! 


Steven Wolfram: ChatGPT gets its "Wolfram Superpowers"!  A great pairing.  This is rather remarkable for how fast it got done as well as how powerful it is. 

NotTheBee: I just asked Google's new AI chatbot "Bard" the very same question about both Biden and Trump. The difference in its answers is astounding.  This is super bad.  And maximally inauthentic


Ottmar Liebert: Millions of Drops.  "Water drops don't sound like rain.  millions of drops do."  A video editing tour de force. 


One step closer to success: Reality Space's 3D-printed rocket launches, fails to reach orbit.  SpaceX's early launches didn't make it either.  Onward. 

Interesting: Oliver Stone Releases Trailer for His Pro-Nuclear Energy Movie, ‘Nuclear Now’.  Can't wait to see it. 


Elon Musk links Arthur C. Clarke about the future of AI ... in 1964! 

I have found this to be true: the more you want to see a video clip on any news site, the less likely it will play when you click it.  Weird that this isn't 100% by now, like clicking on an HTML link. 

Did the video of Arthur C Clarke play for you?

Michael Kagan, Nvidia's CTO, says other uses of processing power such as the artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT are more worthwhile than mining crypto.  I have to agree. 


Inhabitat: do you think zoos and animal parks are good or bad?  A reasonable balanced analysis.  They did not however consider the opportunity offered for a great afternoon with a little kid :) 

And also... no pictures!  I picked one for them...

 
 

Archive: April 18, 2022

 

Archive: April 18, 2021

 

Archive: April 12, 2020

I needed a eero

Sunday,  04/12/20  11:04 PM

I needed a eero.  Three actually.  "They gotta be strong, and they gotta be fast, and they gotta be fresh from the fight."  And they were :)

This weekend I decide to replace my 10-year-old Apple Airport WiFi routers with a new eero pro mesh setup.  It was quick, it was easy, and now I have full speed tri-band WiFi with no muss no fuss.  Should have done so 5 years ago, but who knew?

Now that the three little eero routers are up and running and working, it's great having super fast WiFi.  But the coolest part was how easy the routers were to set up.  It's all done from an iPhone app, and it was dirt simple.  Plug in the router, answer a couple of questions, and poof it works.  Plug in the next router, answer another question, and poof it works too.  Third router, question, poof.  Done!

I know how hard it is to create this kind of awesome out of the box experience, and I have a ton of respect for the developers here.  Onward!

 

 

Happy Virtual Easter

Sunday,  04/12/20  11:43 PM

Hey y'all ... Happy Virtual Easter!  Like me, you probably Zoomed (or Skyped, or Facetimed) your family and friends, and I hope you were able to get some of the pleasure and joy of being together.  Truly a weird time, and one we will all never forgot.

I must report, the rack of lamb was not virtual, and was most excellent :)

Health Care Blog: the Tipping point for Telehealth.  "Many ways of doing business will change forever after the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, and health care, too, will never be the same."  Amen. 

WSJ notes: ICUs leverage remove doctors and telemedicine to manage Coronavirus deluge.  "Physicians and nurses at many of the country’s largest hospital systems are leveraging a decades-old technology in new ways...  Generally known as 'tele-ICU,' this two-way bedside video is sort of like FaceTime or Zoom. The difference is that it typically adds a host of other technologies to videoconferencing, in order to connect critically ill patients in hospital ICU beds with teams of doctors and nurses who specialize in delivering care to the sickest, even when those teams are miles or even whole states away.

A month ago I shared this graphic from the Visual Capitalist comparing the deaths due to Covid-19 to other pandemics.  They update it daily; at that time the toll was 4.7K people; now it stands at 112K.  Still catching the Swine Flu of 2009-2010 which kills 200K people, but getting there quickly. 

The Origin of the Wuhan Coronavirus.  No, not from the market.  View it and make up your own mind, but they sure make a case. 

As benefits being leader of the US during a crisis, President Trump has been holding daily press briefings.  The "journalists" present beclown themselves.  Allie Beth Stuckey:  Every. Single. Coronavirus briefing is like this.  Sadly, true. 

How DuckDuckGo makes money without tracking you.  "It’s actually a big myth that search engines need to track your personal search history to make money or deliver quality search results... search advertisers buy search ads by bidding on keywords, not people."  -- Gabriel Weinberg, founder and CEO. 


This I love: Every moon in our solar system, ranked.  The top 26, quite a collection.  Of course our favorite Titan is #1, but can you guess #2? 

Apropos: Trump signs executive order to support moon mining, tap asteroid resources.  Who will be the first to take advantage? 


With Paris-Roubaix cancelled this year (well, delayed for now, but, you know), Velonews revisits Philippe Gilbert's masterful win last year.  I love this sort of inside insight, cycling is sooo tactical. 

Onward... I hope you have a great week sheltering in place, and that we won't have to do so too much longer!

 

 
 

Archive: April 18, 2019

 

Archive: April 18, 2018

 

Archive: April 16, 2017

Easter!

Sunday,  04/16/17  01:29 PM

 

Happy Easter!
may you spend it peacefully with your family and those you love

 

 

space-ing out

Sunday,  04/16/17  04:39 PM

Happy Easter everyone, hope you're having a nice day.  I slept in, watched Amstel Gold (congratulations, Phillipe!, wow), and have been working away here quietly, awaiting the familial invasion a bit later.

While I was out not blogging there was a bunch of stuff that happened in and around space, so I thought I'd space out a little bit...

Not least among the interesting space stuff, National Geographic published a phenomenal supplement on the subject of colonizing Mars.  Check it out in case you're thinking of going there :) 

Astonishing video from NASA/JPL: Four days at Saturn.  Wow.  Yes, you must watch it full screen

From NASA: the Shakespearean Moons of Uranus.  I think sometimes Jupiter and Saturn get all the press, but Uranus is actually pretty amazing.  It has 27 [known] moons, including Oberon and Titania, which are larger than all of Saturn's moons other than Titan.  And Uranus does have rings like Saturn, and does have a bright spot like Jupiter. 

And speaking of Titan, it has liquid lakes! - but they're filled with methane, not water.  And yeah, they could support some weird "life". 

If any more were needed: Another good reason to sail the seas of Titan.  (life!) 

But just so you know: We're probably imagining aliens wrong

I thought the aliens in Arrival were pretty cool.  From Stephen Wolfram: How might the Alien spacecraft work? 

NASA's New Horizons set to explore the Kuiper Belt.  Cool!  This is an encore performance for the space probe, after having sent those incredibly detailed pictures of Pluto.  Onward!  

Meanwhile, after 1.7B miles, Juno nails its Jupiter orbit to within ten miles.  Pretty good shot :)  The burn time was 35 minutes, and it was off by one second

Sadly: Juno was a success - but there is precious little coming after it.  "The party is just about over. NASA, and more particularly the Obama administration, have failed to invest in future planetary science missions."  It is my sense that like a lot of the Obama administration, NASA substituted PR for accomplishment. 

From NASA: Top 10 Star Trek planets chosen by our scientists.  This would be cute if there were manned launches taking place every few months, but since we are now relying on Russian rockets to visit the ISS, it's pathetic.  I think NASA thinks we don't know the difference between what they should be doing and Star Trek. 

PS their #1 was Vulcan, showing a shallow familiarity with the Star Trek universe...

PPS their #2 was Andoria, a good choice, but a moon, not a planet...

See now this is just sad: NASA just unveiled plans for its moon-orbiting spaceport.  What moon-orbiting spaceport?  There is NO plan to create a moon-orbiting spaceport, and in fact, no plan to create a rocket capable of reaching the moon from Earth.  Our tax dollars at work play.  Sad. 

Apropos, from science fiction author chrishanger: Stupidity on Space.  "... if you genuinely care about Earth’s ecology, moving into space is the best possible solution.His blog has become a favorite of mine... 

Meanwhile, there is hope: Elon Musk and SpaceX announce details of plan to colonize Mars.  In seven years

Teslarati: the challenges involved in a mission to Mars.  News you may be able to use :) 

Closer to home (well, depending on where you live :), here's an ultra high def view of Earth, from the ISS.  Most definitely best full screen on a huge monitor. 

RIP: John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, dies at 95

Parenthetically, I thought Missing Figures was one of the best movies I've seen recently... and Glenn was apparently accurately portrayed.


And finally, here we have the USS Enterprise in mind-blowing detail.  To boldly go everywhere.  Will we be alive to see it?  I hope so! 


(click to enbiggen amazingly)

 

 
 

Archive: April 16, 2016

filter pass

Saturday,  04/16/16  10:27 PM

Woah, 10 days since my last filter pass!  What happened?  Nothing in particular, I've just been ... busy?  I guess.  The days go by.  Anyway here's a catchup... because [as you know] it's all happening...

In case you were worried: NASA's Kepler space telescope is back in good health.  Whew. 

Clive Thompson: The new site.  In case you were a fan of his Collision Detection, or especially if you weren't.  Check it out! 

It's funny to read about someone who thinks Moveable Type is legacy, when I started blogging, there was no Moveable Type, in fact, Blogger had just come out.  I had to write my own CMS, and it's still running.  Also, I had to walk in the snow to school, uphill both ways :)

From October, Heather MacDonald testifies before the Senate: The Myth of Criminal-Justice Racism.  "The most poisonous claim in the dominant narrative is that our criminal justice system is a product and a source of racial inequity."  In which once again we see that correlation does not imply causality

Thirty years ago (!) - space shuttle Challenger explodes, killing all seven astronauts aboard.  For me this was totally a "remember where you were when you heard it" event. 

Scott "Dilbert" Adams ponders a presidential persuasion pardon.  "Let’s say Donald Trump promises that when he gets elected President he will pardon Hillary Clinton of any future convictions regarding her email server situation."  An interesting what-if, but I don't read him that way. 

Dumb dumb dumb dumb: PayPal withdraws from North Carolina because of new LGBT discrimination law.  The law is pretty benign - requiring each sex to use bathrooms for their sex - but everyone sure is jumping on this bandwagon.  This is nothing but virtue signaling, but it sure is compelling. 

Meanwhile: Chariot launches, an Uber-like service for women only.  No word about how they will treat men who "present" as women.

One down: Panama papers scandal brings down Iceland's prime minister.  Wow.  Wonder who's next? 

I use a tool called WordFence to protect eyesFinder's website (which is running WordPress); check out this post on the WordFence blog about how the Panama papers got exposed.

The latest sport?  First-person drone racing descends upon Wembley Stadium.  Wow.  And meanwhile, ESPN is trying to make drone racing a mainstream sport.  Well why not?  Better than poker :) 

The thing that will be really cool?  First-person drone racing ... in virtual reality!

Apropos: the reality of AR/VR business models.  A great survey.  Personally I think VR content creation will be like making movies ... a huge business.  (With many of the same people and players.) 

Related: How virtual reality is looking to reawaken the joy of arcades.  Might even get me back into one :) 

Major League Baseball approves wearable tech for in-game use.  Specific products for now, but it's a slippery slope. 

The three things Apple needs to do to unlock the potential of Touch Id.  I totally agree with the first thing: use Touch Id to override web passwords.  It is such a pain to remember (and recover) passwords on every site; how great would it be if authenticating yourself on your phone was all you had to do? 

The headline is clickbait but the article is better: a survey of the challenges that Yahoo faces, as it explores the sale of its core business.  Not a pretty picture.  How the mighty have fallen...  I thought Marissa Mayer had a chance to turn them around, but apparently she did not. 

I remember when I was at Intuit, in 1999, that Yahoo was THE online service, the Internet challenger to non-Internet AOL.  That was a long time ago, and in all that time Yahoo has steadily declined.

As Tesla Model 3 preorders approach 400,000: If you built it, they will come.  "Prior to the Model 3 event, the rhetoric you still routinely heard was ... that Tesla is a niche product, a 'Valley-thing.' These pre-order numbers destroy that notion. It’s still up to Tesla to execute on the plan, but at least right now, that plan is clearly working."  This is most definitely starting to look like genuine disruption. 

the new (!) Tesla Model SOh, and: Tesla unveils new Model S design.  Wow for everyone, and Sigh for me.  The number of reasons to upgrade to a brand new one keep growing.  

Teslarati explores the details behind the Tesla Model S update.  Interestingly, they've got a "normal" center console now, standard.

Wrapping up, here we have The Bazooka, a huge super Canoli filled with 50 normal canolis.  Just when you think you've seen it all, you realize "it all" is so much more than you imagined :) 

 

 
 

Archive: April 16, 2015

the Watch

Thursday,  04/16/15  10:59 AM

So today I visited an Apple store and experienced "the Watch".  You've read about this; they have watches you can wear, which are running a continuous demo in a loop, and watches you can play with, which are embedded in a little stand.

My reaction is ... meh.

When I first heard about the Watch back in September, I was pretty excited; it seemed like a cool new thing.  Then a long time passed filled with rumors.  And then [finally] we had the Watch update in March with more detail, which somehow left me less excited than before.  And now that I've actually tried one on, I'm even less excited.  I want to be able to use it for Apple Pay, but other than that it is not compelling.  Perhaps it will grow on me.

I have to confess I was not that excited about the iPad, either.  It was not clear why anyone who already had a laptop and a smartphone would want one.  But now I find mine indispensable.  So perhaps once I have a Watch I'll love it.  Time will tell.

In thinking about the Watch, I guess the question is "how does wearing one make me feel about myself?"  I own a few cool watches, and I can't necessarily see that wearing my Apple Watch would be cooler than any one of them, including my Pebble Steel, which has a certain nerd ethos that the Watch seems to lack.

Apple need to make having and wearing a Watch cool, and they haven't done so.  Meh.

 
 

Archive: April 10, 2014

Political correctness run amuck

Thursday,  04/10/14  10:04 PM

I've been watching the whole Mozilla / Brendan Eich thing with great interest.  Seems to me we've reached a new low in the political discourse of the United States, that a CEO could be forced to resign because of his alleged political views.

You know the story; Brendan Eich, a legendary software developer (creator of JavaScript while at Netscape) and a founder and longtime Mozilla employee, was promoted to its CEO.  Mozilla is of course the company behind the Firefox web browser and other open source projects.  Shortly after his promotion news broke that back in 2008 he had contributed $1,000 to support California's Proposition 8, which specified that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."  (Voters passed the amendment but it was overturned by a court in 2010 as unconstitutional.)  This was translated into "Eich is anti-gay", there was a sizeable uproar including companies redirecting users who surfed with Firefox to special anti-Eich pages, and after a couple of weeks Eich chose to resign rather than fight.

A new low.

You may know, I'm an ardent libertarian, and to me the salient point is not whether Eich is anti-gay (turns out, he's not) or anti-same-sex-marriage (turn's out, he's not anymore*), but whether the prevailing political winds should determine whether someone is fit to be an executive of a company.  We should defend people's right to have whatever view they want, especially on something as controversial as same-sex-marriage, even if we disagree with them.  We should not shut down public discussion of such issues by forcing a prevailing view.  And we especially should not confuse an individual's personal views with their fitness and performance as an executive of a company.

Lest you think this is an isolated example, there have been serious suggestions that other executives who have contributed to unpopular / un-politically-correct initiatives be "purged".  That's pretty scary, don't you think?

I think we should support different points of view and open debate, especially since the political winds can shift so quickly.  While support for same-sex-marriage is now pretty strong, it wasn't too long ago that it was "politically correct" to have an opposite view.  Consider the matter of abortion, which is not yet settled.  Having either a pro-life or pro-choice view is okay for a CEO, today.  But what about in five years?  What if one of these positions "wins"?  Should we then criticize or censure the people who had an opposite view today?

Pretty scary.

* BTW many notable public figures have changed their mind about same-sex-marriage, including President Obama. 

 

Thursday,  04/10/14  10:51 PM

Multithread city over here, I have been courting investors, coding, team-building, and assembling a sales plan all at once.  And I need help, so I've also been making Minions =)

Biggest news the last couple of days has been heartbleed, the webserver bug (in OpenSSL) which is so bad it has it's own name (and logo).  Server admins all over the world are scrambling to apply patches, and users everywhere are changing passwords.  Crap.  So, does this refute Linus's Law?  (That with many eyes, all bugs are shallow.)  Nope.  

Think Visual Search is flying under the radar?  No such luck.  Facebook's face identification project is accurate 97.25% of the time.  That's amazing.  And Twitter adds photo tagging.  It isn't automatic - yet - but imagine how cool when it will be.  Won't be long, check this out: Impala lands on Android to herd more cat pictures.  And there are applications like this: transparent Land Rover hoodOnward! 

Seth Godin: Not even one note.  "We opt for more instead of better.  Better is better than more.

I've been remiss in my cycling commentary, which for some of you is just fine and others a travesty.  We're in the middle of the "classics" season, and next Sunday is the most classic classic, Paris-Roubaix, featuring a head-to-head battle between Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen.  In the last ten years Boonen has won four times, Cancellara three, including last year.  My money's on the Swiss time machine; he looked pretty amazing winning the Tour of Flanders last weekend...  (That's him leading Boonen in the Ronde.) 

So, Microsoft have announced Office for the iPad, or rather, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.  Early reviews have been uniformly positive and the products are already very popular though some pundits seem to feel this is only for business customers.  No, it is nothing less that a grand repositioning of the company away from desktop toward mobile; a great move, IMNSHO.  Good for Satya Nadella: Who are you, and what have you done with Microsoft's CEO

Meanwhile, Microsoft's OS Chief Terry Myerson does not get it, per this interview with Mary Jo Foley.  "How the Windows experience spans these form factors and is familiar across them - that's what we need to deliver if we're going to delight people in the whole ecosystem."  That's old school thinking; I predict he will be gone soon... 

Meanwhile, Amazon launches FireTV, their answer to AppleTV, Roku, and Chromecast.  Coolest differentiator is the voice-controlled remote, which apparently actually works.  That would be cool. 

Oh, and they also launched Dash, which is a combination barcode scanner and voice recorder to help you order from Amazon Fresh.  Quite interesting.  I could see this making a difference in convenience...

So, we still haven't found Malaysia Flight 370 :( despite an incredible effort.  At this point the most likely scenario all along seems the only scenario; the plane had trouble and crashed into the ocean.  The Washington Post created this illustration of how difficult it's going to be to find it.  It's not going to be easy to find the black box at the bottom of the ocean, as this illustration shows

esr: Zero Marginal Thinking (Jeremy Rifkin gets it all wrong).  A thorough fisking.  Whew! 

Do you want to be a Glasshole, too?  On April 15 - for one day only (tax day!) - Google will sell one to anyone.  A mere $1,500 and you too can take pictures by winking.  Go for it! 

And finally: how to flirt, according to science.  A big key is maintaining eye contact.  So Glass is great for flirting :)

 

 
 

Archive: April 18, 2013

 

Archive: April 1, 2012

moved ... to Facebook

Sunday,  04/01/12  10:43 AM

Hi y'all!  Well I haven't posted here for a while - a long while - my last post was in January, right after I'd moved physically.  The truth is that without meaning to I've moved digitally too ... to Facebook. 

http://facebook.com/ole.eichhorn

Over the past six months I've become a daily Facebook poster, and while I don't really do my "linkblog" thing there (yet!), the best way to keep up with me is to subscribe to me there.  Everything I post to Facebook is public, and while it isn't necessarily the most interesting stuff on the 'net, you're welcome to read it :)

The pic above right is one of my favorite moments from one of my favorite movies, the Social Network.  Right after they've "gone live" they email a bunch of friends to tell them about it.  And Mark Zuckerberg's character says "the question is, who are *they* going to tell?"

The background truth is that I'll go back to blogging "someday", I do miss it.  But I've been super busy at Aperio with a massively interesting project, and involved in two startup companies as a consultant, and have done a little vacationing here and there, and have been cycling a lot, and ... blogging has fallen off my daily todo list.  But please stay tuned and please follow me on Facebook in the meantime :)

 
 

Archive: April 18, 2011

views from Washington DC

Monday,  04/18/11  11:56 PM

I am in Washington DC today, flew in yesterday, and had a sort of "day off" in between the CAP Futurescape conference last weekend and the ACLA conference coming up this week.  I'm at the Grand Hyatt just off "the Washington Mall" and spent the day visiting two of my spiritual homes, the Smithsonian Museum of Space and the National Sculpture Garden.  Great stuff.  And in the meantime, this:

My ex-boss (at PayPal) Peter Thiel on the Higher Education bubble.  "A true bubble is when something is over-valued and intensely believed...  Education may be the only thing people still believe in in the United States. To question education is really dangerous. It is the absolute taboo. It’s like telling the world there’s no Santa Claus."  No Santa Claus? 

Scott "Dilbert" Adams: The Education Complexity Shift.  A subtle point; at one time, school was more complex than real life but more recently this has been reversed.  "That means the best way to expand a student's mind is by teaching more about the practical complexities of the real world and less about, for example, the history of Europe, or trigonometry."  And of course, students should study Dilbert :) 

Pearls before Swine: It's getting harder and harder to write a college graduation card

Philip Greenspun wonders Why doesn't the average camera automatically upload?  Yeah, I've wondered that too, and this more than even the increasing quality of cellphone cameras is going to make them obsolete.  I think the answer is that cameras are not on a cellphone network (if they were, that would cost money), and free WiFi is too sporadic. 

Huh, sad: Cisco to shut down Flip camera business.  Another industry subsumed by cellphones.  My daughter loved her Flip, and I did too (used it to record some excellent rides :) but now any phone can do just as well...  I must tell you I never understood Cisco's purchase of Flip in the first place. 

Related: Scoble asks Does anyone in Silicon Valley care about Windows anymore?  Um ... Windows? 

blog review: Atlas Shrugged on the Big Screen.  Sounds like it worked, despite the double challenges of interpreting a long iconic book and tiny budget ($15M).  Can't wait to see it! 

(I am rereading the book after 30 years and loving it :)

Of course Atlas Shrugged is more than a movie or a book or a movie made from a book, it is a statement of philosophy, and some are opposed to the statement and all embodiments of it on general principle.  And yet sadly the US today is a lot like the world of Atlas Shrugged' we've gone from fiction to fact in 52 years.  (Actually 54 years, that WSJ article is now two years old :) 

Video mashup: Atlas is shrugging already.  Excellent. 

The NR: Ryan's budget passes the house.  Excellent. 

WSJ: Obama opposes spending cuts right up to the time he calls them historic.  Excellent. 

Congratulations!  Philippe Gilbert repeats and wins the Amstel Gold.  Interesting how each of the Spring Classics has its own rhythm, and certain riders excel in certain rides.  Gilbert had this one at hello. 

Moving bikes stay upright, but not for the reasons we thought.  Huh. Who knew? 

The Science of Why We Don't Believe in Science.  Of course a lot of "science" isn't real, and that makes it harder to know what to believe. 

Wow, this is pretty amazing: Backstage at the Cirque du Soleil's KA.  Another one for my "must see" list, which is getting pretty long...  what am I waiting for? 

Sarah Palinism of the day: Caribou Barbie.  Perfect. 

Courtney Fielding: Table for two and a tablet please.  Will tablets replace waiters?  I doubt it...  but there is no doubt the waiter / restaurant ordering experience could be improved. 

ZooBorn of the day: Tiny Egyptian tortoise.  Awww... 

Hey I have a question for you: should I implement Facebook comments?  I'm torn.  I've never had comments, and I don't know if I even want comments, but this seems like the easiest way to do it (aka least likely to attract spam and hence require ongoing gardening).  You can't post a comment about this - yet :) - but if you have thoughts please let me know...

 

 
 

Archive: April 18, 2010

week of 4/12, redux

Sunday,  04/18/10  10:39 PM

A rather tumultuous week, as I recovered from my week away in Europe (which seemed like months) and dealt with a number of work-related and personal issues.  Seemed like each day presented its little challenges... some of which are still ongoing.  Ah well, if it was easy, everyone could do it :)  This is only a test; if this was an actual life I would be told where to tune in my area for more information.  And yet, I am looking forward to next week; who knows what will happen?

And meanwhile, it's all happening "out there", too...

Obama outlines strategy for deep space.  "President Obama pledged his full commitment to the space program, outlining a new strategy that ends current programs while funding new initiatives."  So be it.  Among the various programs which are funded, a return to the moon is not one of them.  That seems right to me... 

Google buys Plink to improve Google Goggles.  Makes sense.  I think augmented reality is going to be *huge*, and Google is well positioned already to be the leader. 

It had to happen: the 1TB SSD arrives.  It costs $4,000, but still, it exists.  Cool. 

Paul Graham with another classic think piece: Organic Startup Ideas.  "The best way to come up with startup ideas is to ask yourself the question: what do you wish someone would make for you?"  This is true, especially if you are similar to a large class of other people with the same wish :) 

Wired: Icelandic Volcano's Ash Plume as Seen From Space.  "A NASA satellite captured an image of the ash plume from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano’s Wednesday eruption. We can see the ash plume from the event sweeping east just north of the United Kingdom en route to Norway.  The plume has disrupted air travel in western Europe, The New York Times reports, because of (well-founded) fears that the silicates in the ash could turn into molten glass inside planes’ jet engines."  So be it.  Man, it sure has disrupted travel! 

Meanwhile, 6.3 quake strikes Papua New Guinea.  Huh.  It is certainly worth asking: Are there more earthquakes than there used to be?  (Answer: no, but it sure seems that way just now...) 

Another virtuoso Opera column by New Yorker music critic Alex Ross: House of Style.  "Gelb deserves high praise for returning the Met to the thick of the city’s cultural life.  I hope, however, that amid the sleek concepts and media tie-ins he will still attend to opera’s primal virtues.

Possibly useful tip of the day:  So I’m leaving for Europe for 10 days, so naturally I back up my computer.  So naturally Acronis crashes.  Over and over again.  Yikes!  Turns out it didn’t like the fact that my iPod was plugged in.  I vaguely remembered something like this happening to me before and randomly tried unplugging the iPod, and poof! the backup worked. 

John Gruber ponders Motorola's Droid problem.  "I don’t know if Motorola can afford it, but they ought to be doing whatever they can to scoop up Palm."  That does seems like a good solution for both companies... 

Mary Jo Foley: Five surprising things about Microsoft's Kin.  The Kin might be awesome - although it doesn't seem to be - but what surprises me is that Microsoft now has three incompatible mobile phone offerings in the market.  That seems like two too many. 

Scott (Dilbert) Adams at his best: Heaters.  Yes, you must read it, but yes, you must put down any sharp objects and hot liquids before doing so.  Hilarious! 

Congratulations to Philippe Gilbert, who won the Amstel Gold race this morning, sprinting away from a pack of leaders on the famous Cauberg. 

Onward, into the week!  Stay tuned :)

 

 
 

Archive: April 17, 2009

writing in Elvish?

Friday,  04/17/09  10:22 PM

Email, received:

can you write elvish, if so I need desperately the FULL verse from the lord of the rings, ie, 3 rings for the elfs, 9 for men, 7 for dwarve lords etc etc, as I already have the 1 ring to rule them all 1 to find them 1 to bring them all and in the darkness bind them, tattooed on my arm I now want the Full verse to accompany this, ie, the above 5 lines above my tattoo and the 1 line (in the land of mordor where the shadows lie) under it, but it has to be in the exact same style as on page 63, of the lord of the rings, the shadow of the past, I am willing to pay you , my next question is if you can do this, can you do it before Friday the 24th April as that is when I am booked in to get this tattoo, please help or if you can't please can you put me in touch with someone who can, regards mark barnes

If you can help, please let me know :)

 

Friday,  04/17/09  10:25 PM

Interesting day; I did not sleep, as anticipated, and was somewhat of a Zombie at times, but nonetheless it was good and productive and parts of it were excellent...

... had to replace my tube three times to get in a ride, but did, and the ride itself was amazing, including watching the sunset over Camp Pendleton...

How to raise our IQ.  Almost certainly the dumbest article you will read today, in fact, merely reading it may lower your IQ.  In fact, merely posting about it may lower my IQ.  In fact, merely reading about it on my blog might lower your IQ :)  Logic anyone? 

My name is E.  Yet another way to exchange business card information electronically.  This one actually looks interesting.  Any experience with it? 

Robert Scoble is chasing the magical experience.  "In all the hype about celebrities over on Twitter and Facebook we’ve forgotten something: experiences you have with crowds of other people are rarely magical unless it’s a concert and, even then, I’ve seen musicians give concerts to four of my closest friends and then go out and give concerts to thousands of people. I would rather have the small experience EVERY TIME."  Amen. 

VC investing hits 11-year low.  So be it.  It's a cycle. 

Ten YouTube URL tricks you should know about.  Indeed I should.  And now I do :) 

ZooBorn of the day: a baby Titi Monkey.  Awwww...

 

 
 

Archive: April 18, 2008

Friday,  04/18/08  11:21 PM

Blogging late on a Friday night...  it has been a weird and wonderful week away from home, following another one, separated by an unplugged weekend.  I'm back to normal now, back in my own little office, working away (and now... blogging).  Whew.

Meanwhile, it's all happening...

And boy does he deserve it: "Today, Rep. Sue Myrick called on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to revoke former President Jimmy Carter’s passport."  I don't know Rep Myrick, but I like her already.  Carter has single-handedly invented the role of idiot ex-President.  [ via Instapundit

Are you bitter?  Then perhaps you should visit bitteramericans.com.  "Do you agree with Barack Obama that many Americans are 'bitter' over what has transpired these past nearly eight years? If so, then add your voice to those who proudly proclaim 'Damn right I’m bitter.'"  Me, I'm not bitter.  I'm confident :) 

On the other hand, watch I Love the World from Discovery Channel and you cannot be bitter.  Not even a little bit.  [ via Kottke ]  Boom de ya, boom de ya... 

Microsoft does some amazing things, this isn't one of them.  An internal promotional video for Vista that is so bad it hurts.  Even if this were designed as a spoof, it would be lame.  And it wasn't. 
(They'll say "Vista, gotta get me some"?) 

The endgame of disruptive innovation: Encyclopedia Britannica now free for bloggers.  For those of you who don't know Encyclopedia Britannica, it was the Google of its day, the paper-based source of all knowledge.  Google it to learn more :) 

So is Ning worth $500M?  No.  Marc Cantor nails it: "What can Ning do with $44M?  Now what can they do with another $60M?  Well since they're not profitable - let's see - they could lose $10M a year for 10 years and still sell the company for $100M."  Borderline disgusting; reminds me a little of Marimba, another startup with no business model and a cute CEO... 

You know how I'm a sucker for news from Titan?  The Daily Galaxy ("news from Planet Earth") asks Saturn's Titan: A Mirror Image of Earth Before Life Evolved?  "The Cassini spacecraft observations of Saturn's largest moon, the orange-colored Titan, have given scientists a glimpse of what Earth might have been like before life evolved. They now believe Titan possesses many parallels to Earth, including lakes, rivers, channels, dunes, rain, snow, clouds, mountains and possibly volcanoes."  Sounds like a great place to visit!  (BTW I am delighted to see that my post from 2004 remains Google's top hit for "visiting Titan", as it should be.) 

MSDN Magazine has a nice interview with Bjarne Stroustrup, author of C++.  He speaks the sooth, the whole sooth, and nothing but the sooth.  You can imagine that he is not a fan of .NET :) 

This looks way cool: Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky introduce stackoverflow.com.  "We're starting to build a programming Q&A site that's free. Free to ask questions, free to answer questions, free to read, free to index, built with plain old HTML, no fake rot13 text on the home page, no scammy google-cloaking tactics, no salespeople, no JavaScript windows dropping down in front of the answer asking for $12.95 to go away."  Excellent, I can't wait... 

 
 

Archive: April 18, 2007

 

Archive: April 18, 2006

 

Archive: April 18, 2005

 

Archive: April 18, 2004

In Harvard Yard

Sunday,  04/18/04  06:09 PM

Harvard Yard #1I had a very interesting and wonderful day today.  It began with a pleasant breakfast and stroll about Cambridge with Andrew Grumet and Dave Winer.  We spoke of many things, of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings.  I next spent several hours walking around "Harvard Yard"; the Harvard campus itself, and the delightful area which surrounds it.  Among other things, it is great for shopping, and people watching, and thinking.  I then met up with my friend and colleague Ul Balis, his wife Jennifer, and sons John and Hyke, and the five of us toured the fabulous Boston Museum of Science, finishing up with dinner at an Afghan restaurant.  Terrific.

 

Sunday,  04/18/04  06:41 PM

Weekend wrapup...

I want to echo Andrew Grumet and John Palfrey in thanking Dave Winer and the staff of the Berkman Center for hosting BloggerCon II.  The value of a conference generally sinks in after the fact, so one day's perspective is probably not enough, but already I feel it was quite valuable in non-obvious ways.  The greatest effect of an experience like this is in what it makes you think about, not what you learned.

Time reports: See me, blog me, about video producer Steve Garfield (who attended BloggerCon, BTW).  "Boston-based music-video producer Steve Garfield, 46, is no ordinary blogger.  Garfield belongs to a small but growing legion of video bloggers, or vloggers, who are turning the Web into a medium in which someday anyone could conceivably mount original programming, bypassing the usual broadcast networks and cable outlets."  Excellent.

Scientific American carries an interesting study about where in the brain aesthetic tendencies are located.  "One trait believed to differentiate humans from other primates is the ability to appreciate aesthetics.  Scientists have suspected [and these studies show] that such judgment stems from an area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex--one of the last cortical regions to expand dramatically over evolution..."  Fascinating.  This is further evidence that beauty was evolutionarily selected.

Opportunity continues to "rock": UPI analyses the import of the 'Bounce' rock.  "Controllers considered Bounce an odd find because it did not resemble any of the other rocks in the crater's vicinity -- nor did it resemble anything seen before on Mars.  So they ordered Opportunity to train its formidable instruments on the rock.  The results stunned the NASA team...  Bounce's chemical composition exactly matches that of a meteorite that hit the ground in Shergotty, India, on Aug. 25, 1865."  Okay, now that's weird, it means maybe Earth and Mars have been exchanging rocks for millions of years.

Peter Rojas explains how to read RSS feeds on your iPod.  I know you've been dying to do that, haven't you?

Check out the Smoky Mountain Journal - just one great picture after another taken from the Smoky Mountains between North Carolina and Tennessee.  Just keep scrolling, they're all amazing.  [ via Glenn Reynolds ]

WorldChanging notes an upcoming PBS series World in Balance, about global population trends.  Looks like a must-Tivo.  [ via Ottmar Liebert ]

And speaking of Ottmar, his latest album La Semana is about to be released, and he's going on tour!  Mark your calendars - I know I have...

Time Magazine have released their annual list of the 100 most influential people.  Once again, I am not on it.

Apparently Baystar, the investment group propping up SCO in their effort to hold Linux hostage, has requested that SCO redeem a sizeable block of 20,000 shares, citing breaches of their agreement.  This is excellent news, because it means SCO will have less money to piss away on lawyers.  This is going down in history as the most blatant attempt at IP blackmail ever.

Watch out, everyone; here we have frames without frames.  This is pretty tempting :)  [ via Mark Pilgrim ]

(Okay, okay; I was just kidding.  Whew.)

 
 

Archive: April 18, 2003

Friday,  04/18/03  05:36 PM

This is great!  Please check out "The Rootless Root, The Unix Koans of Master Foo", by Eric Raymond.  Each one is funnier than the last.  I've been laughing for ten minutes and I can't stop.  If you don't have time to read them all, read Master Foo discourses on the Graphical User Interface.  { Warning, if you think these are funny, you might be a nerd... }

Dr. Dobbs mentions a new micro-payment scheme called Peppercoin.  Interesting idea, you throw away 99 out of 100 microtransactions at random, and send through the 100th with 100X the value.  Reduces the processing overhead by a factor of 100.  Seems like a great idea, but [as with all such schemes] the devil is in the details...

The same article by Jonathan Erickson mentions Tibanna, which I had heard about before.  A unique approach to digital rights protection, it rewards people for sharing content.  This is the right approach; when people are clearly going to share, take advantage of it instead of fighting it.

The 30th Carnival of the Vanities is up, please make a meal of it (er, check it out).  My favorite is the lettuce, er, the Queen City Soapbox.