Critical Section


Sunday,  04/29/07  06:05 PM

Cool, I've already received some "welcome back" emails.  Thank you very much!  Basically I assumed nobody was still reading, I'd have to start over.  With RSS maybe that is no longer true?

So, what's happening? 

While I have fallen out of the habit of posting I have not stopped reading, in fact, I read more blogs and more blog posts than ever.  (Via RSS of course; if you are not reading blogs via RSS, please stop what you're doing, and immediately follow the directions in the RSS cookbook.  You will thank me.  Yes, you're welcome.)

Di Luca wins!Well first, Danilo Di Luca won Liège-Bastogne-Liège!  Congratulations, Danilo!  If you're not a fan of pro cycling this entry might be a mystery to you; so be it.  Trust me, winning this race is major accomplishment.  I will be blogging more and more about pro cycling, which means you will learn more or read less, depending :)

Bill Burnham asks: Is it just me, or is GAAP completely broken?  It isn't just you, Bill.

Paul Graham lists the reasons Why not to start a startup.  "Because of Y Combinator's position at the very start of the venture funding process, we're probably the world's leading experts on the psychology of people who aren't sure if they want to start a company."  I love Paul and it is a great list, but it is incomplete; the #1 reason not to start a startup is, you're not an entrepreneur.  See, I am a small company guy - I've done five startups - but I am not a startup starter.  I am a startup fast follower.  I know this about myself, perhaps you know it about yourself, too.  It's okay :)

Apple iLaunchThis is already a bit dated but it was so great I had to link it: Apple iLaunch.  "The iLaunch is a product that will 'revolutionize the process of unveiling new products throughout the world.'"  [ via TechCrunch ]  This hits about ten nails on the head at once, awesome satire.  ("As his presentation wound down, Jobs said there was 'one more thing' he wanted to mention: The iLaunch automatically saves a significant, salient product feature for the end of a presentation, to surprise and delight audiences.")

Gliese 581cOf course you've already read about Gliese 581c, right?  This is the third rock from another sun, a red dwarf named Gliese which is about 20 light years away, and it is the most "earthlike" planet yet found.  "The new planet is about 50 percent bigger than Earth and about five times more massive... It is located about 15 times closer to its star than Earth is to the Sun; one year on the planet is equal to 13 Earth days."  Scientists have calculated that the planet is at the correct distance from its sun that water would be a liquid, which means the Search for Life Gets Serious.  I love it.

Saturn from above, as seen by CassiniOh, and a little while back, Cassini Spacecraft Images Seas on Saturn's Moon Titan. [ via slashdot ]  "Instruments on NASA's Cassini spacecraft have found evidence for seas, likely filled with liquid methane or ethane, in the high northern latitudes of Saturn's moon Titan. One such feature is larger than any of the Great Lakes of North America and is about the same size as several seas on Earth."  I can't resist saying, huge liquid methane lakes are pretty cool.  Soon after Cassini returned some amazing high-altitude views of Saturn (click on thumbnail at right for larger pic).   Yes, I still want to visit Titan.

AppleTVYou know I'm a gadget guy, right?  Well while I was out, one of the more important gadgets I acquired was an AppleTV.  So far it works flawlessly; I've watched a couple of movies (downloaded from iTunes) and used it as my stereo for a dinner party.  Shortly after its release ArsTechnica posted a definitive review.  ("Based on what we think the potential is for the Apple TV, combined with how we think most average people will use the device, we would have no problem giving it an 8 or higher. Based on the current feature set and how much we desire certain things (out of the box) that don't currently exist, though, we would score it much lower.")  For me a highly interested aspect is transcoding all the video I've acquired over the years into a compatible format.  Fortunately people have already figured out how to play DivX and Xvid on your AppleTV and how to upgrade the disk drive in your AppleTV.  The market finds a way.

As time passes and if I keep blogging, I'll try to spool in some of the more interesting ideas which surfaced over the past year.  One of the ideas most worth preserving came from Dave Winer: preserving ideas.  "No one really likes to think about dying, but it comes for everyone, eventually, and if you're living a creative life, as so many of us are these days, maybe you'd like your creations to live at least a little bit longer than you do?"  He's exploring the idea of a commercial service which would keep your pages posted long after you are gone.  Very cool.  When I think of all the "gardening" required to keep this little site on the air, I have to admit when I'm gone, its gone.


[Self-identified "longtime reader"] Bill asks: "I was intrigued by your statement about staying up less late.  How does that help you lose weight?"  Ah yes.  Well, for me, it means I have been going to bed instead of eating a box of wheat thins. 

The difficulty was that eating a box of wheat thins generally coincided with coding something useful, so I had to re-learn the knack of getting stuff done during the day.  Which meant re-leaning the knack of ignoring email, voicemail, etc. for significant periods of time.  And that turned out to mean enjoying life more, and getting frustrated less.  Win win!

A key to losing weight for me was having a metric.  And the metric turned out to be how fast I could do certain rides around my house!  Sure, I can get on a scale, and see "wow, I'm 205", but that didn't do it for me.  What did do it was knowing that I could do a certain 13.7 mile ride in 45 minutes.  And as I lost weight, I got faster!  At 200, I did it in 43 minutes.  At 195, I did it in 42 minutes.  Which made me ride harder, which made me lose more weight, so I went even faster...

YMMV :)

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