Archive: February 10, 2016
The day after (the New Hampshire primaries): wow, I can't believe Bernie Sanders actually beat Hillary Clinton (yay) and by 20 percentage points (double yay). And wow, I can't believe people are still supporting Donald Trump (boo), and Jeb Bush still has support too (double boo). Sort of a regression to the mean from Iowa, I guess. Next up is South Carolina...
If you want an example of the sort of weird thinking people put into their support for a Presidential candidate, here's Jason Kottke: the symbolic President. He's actually planning to vote for Hillary Clinton because she's a woman, and presumably voted for Barack Obama because he's [partially] black. I like Jason (usually), but that is not deep thinking.
And this: the left has two huge advantages, and I have no idea how we overcome them. The third advantage is shallow thinking, apparently.
Scott Adams tries to explain: the Thinking Filters. He also tries to explain why he was wrong about Rubio, and fails (after explaining that we would think so). Some of what he's written about Trump is interesting, but it is starting to feel more like random hammers hitting nails than actual analysis.
Mark Suster: the resetting of the startup industry. "Much has changed in the past four months of the technology startup world and how outsiders value the business." Regression to the mean.
It's starting to feel 2008-ish again, featuring a presidential election year and a major economic meltdown.
This you have to watch: impossibly strong winds stop professional cyclists cold. Yes the entire peloton comes to a standstill with riders falling off their bikes etc. Wow. I thought that only happened to me and my friends :)
From John at Desk: the customer is right (and wrong). "The customer is right about the experience today and wrong about what the experience will be tomorrow." I think that's right.
One year of Apple World Today! Congratulations to them. My advice, should they choose to take it, is to concentrate on features and analysis, and leave the news to big sites like Engadget. That's what makes John Gruber and MG Siegler worth reading.
Noted: Firewatch could be the prettiest mystery you play this year. It could be the only mystery I play, too, but "pretty" and "interesting" have me pretty interested. The trailer looks great.
Reviewed: Ark Royal, the first of a new science fiction series I've started to read, by Christopher Nuttall. So far I like it a lot, reminds me of the Hornblower series but moved from the oceans of the 1800s into space.
Oh, and Christopher has a blog, too. (Sample: In Contempt, about the Sad Puppies fiasco around the Hugo Awards for science fiction.) Subscribed!
To be read: Free Bitcoin textbook from Princeton. "It's over 300 pages and is intended for people 'looking to truly understand how Bitcoin works at a technical level and have a basic familiarity with computer science and programming'." Huh, stay tuned.
So be it, New Hampshire is over, and we're on to the next. Onward!
After yesterday Carly Fiorina saw the writing on the wall and has suspended her campaign. After some early momentum last Fall she never connected with voters and dropped off the main stage of contenders. I was an early fan, partly because she was a businessperson, not a politician, but mostly because I liked the blunt way she took on Hillary Clinton, the Obama administration, and the pervasive liberalism of the mainstream media. I will say I did not agree with all her positions and in particular her strong anti-abortion stance. Still I hope that she stays in the national picture; it's possible she might even be a vice presidential candidate, if it is deemed helpful to have a woman on the Republican ticket.
Today Carly sent a Thank You email to those who had registered as supporters:
It's a nice message, but as the father of four daughters I thought the words about feminism were particularly apt (highlighted in blue). "A feminist is a woman who lives the life she chooses." Or I suppose a man who supports women who are this kind of feminist :)
I know I'd rather my kids end up being like Carly, a self-made woman who became CEO of one of the largest companies in the world, then ran for President as a person rather than a woman, than like Hillary, a woman who succeeded by being the wife of a successful man, and is making a point of running as a woman. Thanks, Carly!
Archive: February 11, 2015
The other day I asked:
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?
So ... I know you've all been working on the problem ... want to know the answer? No, it's not 42, it's ... 49! Is that what you got?
Here's how I got it. Basically each person can either stay where they are or swap with the person next to them. If they don't stay where they are and don't swap, then you end up with an unused chair and someone who has no chair, and that's not allowed.
Let's first consider a table which is NOT round. Let's call N(x) the number of ways people can be reseated at such a table, where x is the total number of people and seats.
The first person can either stay where they are, or they can swap with their only neighbor. If they stay where they are, there are N(x-1) remaining possibilities. If they swap, there are N(x-2) remaining possibilities. That means N(x) = N(x-1) + N(x-2). This happens to be the Fibonacci sequence. Who knew Fibonacci was a waiter?
Next lets consider a table which IS round. Let's call R(x) the number of ways people can be reseated at such a table, where x is the total number of people and seats.
The first person either stays where they are, or they can swap with their left neighbor, or swap with their right neighbor. If they stay where they are, there are N(x-1) remaining possibilities. (See what I did there?*) If they swap, there are N(x-2) remaining possibilities*. They have two neighbors with whom they can swap. So R(x) = N(x-1) + 2N(x-2). Except ... with a round table there are two other possibilities, everyone can swap right, and everyone can swap left. So R(x) = N(x-1) + 2N(x-2) + 2.
Okay... now we can solve the problem:
N(1) = 1
N(2) = 2
N(3) = 1+2 = 3
N(4) = 2+3 = 5
N(5) = 3+5 = 8
N(6) = 5+8 = 13
N(7) = 8+13 = 21
R(8) = N(7) + 2N(6) + 2 = 21 + 2(13) + 2 = 49
* after the first person decides, the rest of the round table becomes "straight"
Archive: February 11, 2014
Loving the Olympics ... after all the hand wringing we have the games themselves, and the athletes, and the performances, and it's just great fun to watch. I wish there were more hours in the day (and more GB on the Tivo :)
Are you tired of watching Dutch speedskaters win medals? Nope, me either :) Though you might be tired of reading me post about it.
Cool sports I hardly knew, but now like: Curling - lots of strategy, Skeleton - Luge on your stomach!, Slopestyle - Waaaaa, and Biathlon - skiing and shooting combined. So far the only sport I've found to be a disappointment is ski jumping. Now that they slide down a track, it just doesn't seem real anymore.
Cross-posted: Augmented Reality is Real. And it's really here.
The other day I noted Bill Gates spent all day upgrading to Win 8.1. Turns out that was a parody! Who knew? I guess I should have known better, but somehow it seemed so plausible :)
Meanwhile, Paul Thurrott eviscerates Windows 8. "A disaster in every sense of the word." Wonder what Satya Nadella thinks?
Meanwhile, In 3.5 years most Africans will have smartphones. Will they be running Windows? I doubt it.
Speaking of parody: IL partners with The Onion to push Obamacare. "To get more people to sign up for health care, the state is bragging it will spend $150,000 on ads for the satirical news site The Onion." Hehe. Wait ... that's not a parody? Our tax dollars are being used for this?
Dumbest idea ever: adding noise to an electric car. Then again, I don't think trucks should beep when backing up, either.
Off into the sunset...
Archive: February 11, 2013
Archive: February 11, 2012
Archive: February 11, 2011
A late night tonight (yawn) poor Meg is down for the count with the flu, and I'm sad about it; not only is she feeling horrible but tomorrow night is Oak Christian's father-daughter dance and we were both looking forward to going. Alex is a senior this year, and hence being "presented", so it's going to be a big deal. Well fXf *maybe* she'll recover in time.
We watched two movies tonight; Definitely, Maybe, which I'd previously seen (and thought rather clever, and liked), and Life As We Know It, a formulaic comedy which I enjoyed despite being predisposed not to.
I don't have too much to say about the events in Egypt, but they are fascinating to watch. Realtime politics on the realtime web. You can only imagine how weird this must be to those who get their news from dead-tree media like newspapers or magazines. I think Mubarak himself didn't get it (though he probably does now ;).
One thing that's apparent; the U.S. are *not* involved. I loved this headline: Obama learns of resignation watching TV. Well to clarify I don't love that our government and leader are so poorly informed and out-of-the-loop, but it was clever anyway. If this is Obama's 3:00AM moment, he slept through it.
A new Apple Product: Water. Clean. Simple. Wet. Only slightly kidding :)
Nokia sells out to Microsoft, and that's all she wrote for Symbian in the short term, and Nokia in the long term. Just like when Yahoo sold out by swapping search to Bing. When you outsource your core competency, it is over... so different to what HP did with webOS, which might not work but at least represents their effort to keep innovating.
Building of the week: this ginormous orange cube with a circular tunnel. How great is it that [with modern materials and techniques] we can now build all these amazing ideas?
Readability 2.0 is a web browser extension that removes clutter from any web page, making it easier to read. Huh. Jeffrey Zeldman says it is disruptive in two ways, first by routing around the publisher's look and feel, and second by adding a new way to monetize written content. Will be interesting to see how this plays out. I must confess, since I read most content with RSS this is not compelling for me.
Lee Billings: Can we reach the stars without breaking the bank? An interesting discussion, in which the technical and indeed scientific difficulty of traveling outside our solar system is reinforced. I might be able to visit Titan before I die - I hope so - but I doubt anyone will ever visit Alpha Centauri. Voyager 1 (pic at left) is presently our furthest outpost, and it would take 73,000 years to reach it.
Apropos: Doc Searles republishes a 25-year-old Reflection on the Challenger Tragedy. I remember exactly where I was when I heard that news, don't you? I love the juxtaposition between how hard it is to fly a rocket and how easy it is to drive a car; I think of that often. Will space travel ever be as easy as driving? So far flying isn't even...
Meanwhile: Boeing puts another behemoth in the sky. "The 747-8 is a niche airplane that won't sell well, but it's further proof Boeing is beating Airbus in the race to make aviation more efficient." Bigger is only better if it is cheaper.
Sailing photo of the day, from The Horse's Mouth: Out in a Blow. Awesome!
Charles Johnson celebrates Joe Satriani, Flying in a Blue Dream. "After a week like this, it's time to shred." What are you waiting for? Click through!
Archive: February 8, 2010
So how was your Super Weekend? Mine was pretty Super :) Spent Saturday hanging out, blogging, getting caught up, and Sunday watching the big game with my friend Yogi (thanks for being an awesome host!) I was rooting for the Saints, mildly (returning to my Rams'/NFC roots) and enjoyed a pretty nice game paired with some pretty great food. Oh yeah and squeezed in a couple of Rockstore rides, too; fortunately our weather improved right on schedule.
Some Super observations:
- This game showed that in football, you win with a team. Peyton Manning and the Colts were probably better position-for-position than the Saints, but the Saints played like a better team.
- You have to love that onside kick in the third quarter. Even if it didn't work, it was classic; but it worked perfectly and deliciously. I found myself yelling YES at the screen, along with you and millions of others :)
- The Audi ads were the best. Cute and well focused. We all love being green until we encounter the Green Police...
- The Google ad, while okay, was definitely not 1984 revisited. Oh well. It actually isn't clear to me why Google needs ads for search, I think it was just something they did that day. Their strategy seems a bit lacking.
- The Who sucked. Some of these older acts that come back for halftime shows rock - like Tom Petty, and the Stones - but The Who truly have not aged well. (Not that they were ever that great before.) We won't be fooled again.
So ends another football season, whew. Time to start watching College hoops; go Bruins!
So tonight I'm riding along the top of Mulholland, turn the corner, and poof! there's a Spyker. Sitting there at the top of the world, with a photo crew taking pictures as the sun sets...
Pretty cool... a beautiful car, framed by a beautiful sunset...
I cannot wait to see the final ad :)
Archive: February 11, 2009
A little while ago I ended up with a subscription to Reason Magazine; I'm not exactly sure how, I believe it was because some other magazine (Business 2.0?) went out of business, and they transferred their subscribers. Anyway there it is, "free minds and free markets", sitting in my pile of things to be read while shaving. And I must tell you, there is just too much reason in there for me early in the morning. Every article is a well-reasoned exposition of government incompetence, corruption, or misguided action. The "citations" section is particularly overwhelming; little articles describing government madness, one after the other. It leaves me just shaking my head sadly.
For an example, consider Dissatisfaction Guaranteed, an article by Veronique de Rugy about why government loan guarantees are bad - and just how bad they've been. Consider this:
Historically, loans guaranteed by the government have a very high default rate. The Congressional Budget Office has calculated that the risk of default on the Department of Energy’s nuclear loan guarantee program, for example, is well above 50 percent. The Small Business Administration (SBA), according to its own Inspector General’s Office, has a long-term default rate of roughly 17 percent. This compares to 4.3 percent for credit cards and 1.5 percent for bank loans guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Wow. How could anyone defend guaranteeing loans when the default rate is 50 percent? Isn't anyone paying attention?
And this is the background for our fabulous new $800B spendulous plan. It reeks of impending disaster. I'm afraid this is just too much Reason. I have to go back to reading Wired, or the New Yorker...
Work work work and at the end of the day, a nice long hard ride in the cold and dark...
BTW I have had a reprieve; having served my time yesterday, I don’t have to go back to the courthouse for jury duty until next Tuesday at the earliest! I have to call next Monday night to see… in the meantime, I am back to work - and blogging. You have been warned :)
Who knew? We are investigating various vendors for outsourced datacenter services, among them a promising outfit called Red Plaid. Which prompted a colleague to comment, "If this is a good solution, I will even wear plaid. Something I don't think I've done since Catholic school oh so many moons ago." Which prompted me to Google for "red plaid skirts". Which gave me some rather interesting results... Wow. Just when you think you've seen it all, you realize "it all" is so much more than you thought...
In the same category: so you know I really like ZooBorns, and often link their posts. Well as a sort of antidote here we have Fuck You Penguin, "A blog where I tell cute animals what's what." (Like the baby otter at left.) Pretty excellent.
In response to the pending spendulous bill, Iowahawk reports Mathematicians discover largest number. "An international mathematics research team announced today that they had discovered a new integer that surpasses any previously known value 'by a totally mindblowing sh-tload.' Project director Yujin Xiao of Stanford University said the theoretical number, dubbed a 'stimulus,' could lead to breakthroughs in fields as diverse as astrophysics, quantum mechanics, and Chicago asphalt contracting." I guess we have to laugh at this, otherwise we'd cry.
Philip Greenspun ponders the audacity of doing nothing. Sadly doing nothing is the last thing Obama & co. intend to do. They're going to meddle until the mess has truly spiraled out of control.
Palm CEO Ed Colligan pre-views the Pre. Some interesting info, but nothing about the most important issue, when will the Pre be released?
This is a pretty great commerical: Higher Standards. Any commercial that includes footage of a 505 at speed is great, but the message here is awesome. Check it out. [ via Sailing Anarchy ]
From Scoble: This blog is dead! ORLY? Glad to see signs of blogging life again from Robert. He sure got sucked into the Twitter / FriendFeed void. But I think he's beginning to see those are hopeless echo chambers, he has a much wider audience through his blog, in addition to being able to write more and better.
Instapundit on the crucial subject of pan searing filet mignon. Never let it be said that I neglect the important issues.
ZooBorn of the day: Wallabie joeys. Amazingly cute.
Oh and last but not least, today was Darwin's 200th birthday!
Archive: February 11, 2008
Big wheel keep on turning, proud Mary keep on burning, rolling, rolling, rolling on the internets...
So today I was inundated with spam. I don't mean I received a few hundred, no, in the space of two hours I received over 4,500 spams. All were rejects bounced from other servers that had been sent from fake addresses on my w-uh.com domain (if these were the rejects, can you imagine how many got through!) It was a load test on SpamBayes, but kind of sobering; for a while there it amounted to a DOS attack. Worryingly there is no barrier at all to this stuff increasing by orders of magnitude. Someday someone will fix email, and they will make $BIG.
Powerline notes a McCain endorsement worth paying attention to. (John Bolton!)
Netflix picks Blu-Ray. Well, that should cook HD-DVD's goose, but the victory will be short lived, as iTunes is on deck. In a few years we'll be saying "remember Blu-Ray?" Think it won't happen? Remember laser discs?
P.S. Have you voted in our wither DVD survey? Just a few days left!
We had a nice day out here in So Cal, but it was a bit chillier in International Falls. 40 below zero. That is serious.
GNXP notes Richard Dawkins is retiring. One of my all time intellectual heroes. His work will last many lifetimes, and I suspect will be increasingly appreciated for its singular greatness as time passes. The Selfish Gene was first published thirty years ago, yet it remains as accurate and relevant as ever.
Everyone is talking about the Microsoft response to the Yahoo "no". I like Tim Oren's take: What about the customers? Oh, yeah, them. "It's incumbent on management to offer some clear way ahead to restore shareholder value. If it's not forthcoming, tired investors in YHOO will be justified in selling their shares to Microsoft. The result will be a disaster to both companies and their customers." Ouch.
Meanwhile Apple has brought out an update to Leopard. John Gruber: "Unless I’m missing something, 10.5.2 addresses all of the top 'WTF?' UI complaints about Leopard." Contrast to Microsoft's tin ear regarding Vista, and then ask yourself if Tim Oren isn't right about Yahoo customers' fate.
So this is completely awesome, check out this site. HEMA is a Dutch department store. The first store opened on November 4, 1926, in Amsterdam. Now there are 150 stores all over the Netherlands. HEMA also has stores in Belgium, Luxemburg, and Germany. Take a look at HEMA's product page. You can't order anything and it's in Dutch but just wait a couple of seconds and watch what happens. This company has a sense of humor and a great computer programmer.
The Windows Firewall. Now that's funny :)
As a sometime car buff I love Winding Road magazine; in the latest issue they have the best possible picture as an endleaf. (Please click to enlarge.) I love it.
Archive: February 11, 2007
Archive: February 11, 2006
Yippee I love coffee. And I'm having some right now...
Today I plan to take my life in my hands. My computer life, that is... Last week I did something bold, strange, and unsuccessful. I switched my email connection to our office Exchange server from POP/SMTP to Exchange. This took a while, involved many false starts and reconfigurations, but ultimately "worked", except that now things are slow as molasses. Not good. However I am assured that things are slow because I have Office XP instead of Office 2003 ("we're from the government, and we're here to help") and so today I plan to upgrade my machine from Office XP to Office 2003. As I said, I'm taking my [computer] life into my hands. If this doesn't work, I may have to commit suicide. Stay tuned.
Last night I had one of the best dinners of my life. Shirley and I went to Brandywine, a little hole-in-the-wall French restaurant we love in Woodland Hills, where we've been going "forever" for romantic dinners. As usual, we had their made-at-the-table-the-old-fashioned-way Caesar salad, and as usual, we had their-cooked-at-the-table chateaubriand for two, rare. Unbelievable. If I could have one meal before I die (and see the paragraph above), then this would be it. We had a 2001 Stag's Leap Cask 23, which was awesome - the best Cask 23 since 1997, IMHO - and for dessert, flourless chocolate cake with 1970 Dow's port. Incredible. Happy Valentine's Day, Shirley!
DFL - Celebrating last place finishes at the Olympics. Because they're there, and you're not. Now that's cool... [ via Dave Winer ]
Gerard Vanderleun reprises a classic: Where the Buffalo roam. Perhaps coincidentally, Moab, Utah, is also where the mountain bike riders roam; I'm planning a week long trip there this May. Excellent.
Cool rumor of the day: the Apple video iPod. "Think Secret can confirm recent rumblings that Apple is nearing completion of a completely revamped video iPod that will shed the ubiquitous mechanical click wheel for a touch screen and will sport a 3.5-inch diagonal display... Sources who have seen the device report that it features a digital click wheel, one that overlays the touch-sensitive display and appears when a finger touches it and disappears when the finger is removed." Great stuff - a bigger screen, and a touch screen instead of a click wheel. I might have to get one :)
The case of the disappearing teaspoons. I love it.
The other day I considered the day performance didn't matter anymore. And a reader reminded me of another great Jeff Attwood post: despite the incredible slowness and sparseness of features, this is really really cool. Which concludes: "And that's why C, C++, and even assembler are still part of a developer's toolkit. I argue that they are of increasingly diminished importance, but I would never propose that every application should be written in .NET." Indeed.
Perhaps related, the Guardian notes Survival of the Unfittest. No, this isn't a story about Unnatural Selection, it is about Lotus Notes: "Imagine a program used by 120 million people, of whom about 119m hate it. Sound unlikely? Yet that's the perception one garners in trying to discover whether Lotus Notes, IBM's 'groupware' application, is - as readers of Technology blog suggested - the 'world's worst application'." D'ya know what people hate about Notes? The #1 thing is that it is too slow. Hmmm...
Which is why todayI'm taking my life into my hands...
Archive: February 11, 2005
Archive: January 31, 2004
Whew. 12 days without posting. Sorry.
First, I'm fine. Thanks to all of you who emailed asking if everything was okay. Second, I will start blogging again, probably tonight. Thanks to all of you who emailed saying you missed me!
I've been heads' down cranking out code for customer delivery. It is crunch time at Aperio - after two years of development we have finally begun shipping production systems in quantity. (Well, "quantity" is relative - we're not talking hundreds here, but more than onesies and twosies :) We now have a ScanScope device which can scan a rack of 120 microscope slides reliably in about 10 hours - 5 minutes per slide - completely unattended. You put in your slides, go home, and come in the next day with beautiful high-quality in-focus images waiting for your inspection. Awesome.
We've also been doing a lot on the software front, so there are things you can do with these "virtual slides". Of course we have a terrific viewing application, which zooms and pans smoothly through these massive images (typically around 5GB of image data!). The viewer supports a cool annotation facility. We have remote viewing over IP networks, so you can do "telepathology". And multiple people can join together in one viewing session, so everyone's viewing is synchronized, including annotations.
We also have a really cool flash-based web viewer. So you can view virtual slides remotely on any computer without installing software. Remember, these are multi-GB images!
And the coolest thing of all - my focus, pun intended - is our pattern recognition software. I'll probably blog about that some more in the coming days, as we begin rolling that out.
For more info, you might like this post about Aperio's mission.
I didn't plan it this way, but it was actually good to have a brief blogging holiday. Please, stay tuned...
Archive: February 11, 2003
WSJ's Opinion Journal has an article from Khidhir Hamza, a former director of Iraq's nuclear-weapons program, which makes interesting points about the ineffectiveness of weapons inspections as a means of discovery (but you already knew that, right), and about the financial motivations of France, Germany, and Russia to avoid war.
Great lead story on Salon today: AOL's Jekyll and Hyde Act. AOL is the biggest ISP and the biggest media company, so they have the most to gain and the most to lose from file sharing. And I thought Sony was conflicted! The ISP/media conflict adds to the high-volume usage dilemma file-sharing poses to broadband providers. Forbes has a take on this also.
The Universe - Age 380,000 Years
It's so cute! NASA has revealed an interesting picture of the universe when it was only 380,000 years old. This picture was made from microwave radiation levels measured by the Microwave Anisotropy Probe. This same survey has pinned the age of the universe at 13.7B years, with an order of magnitude more accuracy than was possible before.
Pretty tempting - Tivo has a promotion for current lifetime subscription members, enabling them for a limited time to transfer their subscription to a new Tivo 2 recorder, which has home networking capability. Too bad it is only 80 hours, my old Tivo 1 [with a hard drive upgrade] holds 130 ;)
100 Stories. Interesting idea. But I think the idea is more interesting than the stories...
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?