Archive: November 10, 2008
This is coming to you from São Paulo, Brazil, where I must tell you I am running a sleep deprivation experiment; I left my house on at noon Sunday, flew to São Paulo via Dallas, arrived Monday morning (there is a six hour time difference from L.A., up from the usual five because Brazil is on their daylight savings time, as it is late Spring here), gave a presentation / demo for customers and prospects at Diagnostika, a Brazilian reference lab, and then went out for a fabulous dinner at a Brazilian steak house. And am now blogging.
São Paulo - a mix of old and new and BIG
First impression - São Paulo feels much like a European city, perhaps in Spain somewhere, although it is huge, bigger than Madrid, bigger than you could even imagine (well, certainly bigger than I had imagined). I am told 10M people live here. Wow. That is way bigger than Los Angeles, even including all the environs. Another impression: I'd always thought I never really got anything out of having studied Spanish in high school, based on my trips to Spain, but now I realize it truly did help, because here, where everyone speaks Portuguese, I know nothing at all. Not even yes (sim) or no (não). Not even hello (olá) or thanks (obrigado) or please (por favor). Or sorry (descuple). I had to learn all this today, on the fly :)
Diagnostika - a reference lab and Aperio customer - in an old Turkish home
I made a presentation (in English) along with Aperio's South American channel manager, who is/was Brazilian, and who translated where necessary, and it went great, and then we did some demos, and they went greater; it is always fun to see pathologists and lab managers socks flying when they see digital pathology in action :) We had over thirty people attend, nearly twice what we'd expected, and overall it was a big success.
A Brazilian steak house - they slice joists of meat right at the table
Wrapping up we had dinner at a Brazilian steak house, a fixture in the South apparently, where they bring a continuous stream of joists of meat right to your table, and slice them to order. Really amazing, accompanied by a delightful Chilean Cabernet. I believe I will have to ride for a week to compensate.
And so ends day one! Tomorrow I move on to Rio de Janeiro, stay tuned...
The other day I concluded Kindle rocks, after having received one as a present. So now, having flown for a cumulative 15 hours, I can tell you it really rocks. This is the perfect "book" to take on an airplane. It is small, light, easy to read, and of course the equivalent of 200 books when fully loaded, so you have a ton of content. The battery life is excellent, especially with the "whispernet" turned off (which of course you must do on an airplane anyway). Pleasingly the flight crews treat it like a book, not an electronic device, so you can use it during takeoffs and landings and while taxiing (actually I think they didn't know what to make of it; YMMV).
I found myself continuing to look up a lot of words in the dictionary - that's an unexpectedly useful feature - and also switching between books some; I found myself reading The God Delusion and The Black Swan more or less interleaved, for some reason. The reading experience is really good, you do "disappear" into the experience, as intended. I have not yet gotten used to the big next page button on the right, however, it is convenient, but a little too convenient, it is too easy to push when you don't mean to. At this point I doubt I'll get used to that, it is just a not-perfect implementation that you would think might have been exposed during beta-testing, and will no doubt be addressed in version two. Another not-perfect thing is the "back" button because it is not matched with a "forward" button. Sometimes I hit "back" when I meant "previous page", but when I did there was no "forward" to easily recover. Another thing for the next version. But these are quibbles because otherwise I like it a lot.
As you might expect it is a bit of a conversation starter; people see you reading, and either know what a Kindle is and want to see it, or don't know what a Kindle is and want to see it. I may have sold a few en route :)
Now that I'm in my hotel, it still rocks, because I can go to bed and read easily; the smallness and lightness and easy-to-read-ness are all still important, as is the fact that I have all this content from which to choose. Awesome, I love it.
The Ole filter makes a pass, from São Paulo, without sleep...
Obama and Bush meet! "The Bushes welcomed the Obamas to the White House on Monday, offering a symbolic glimpse of what's in store for the country: a new first family along with a new administration. President Bush and President-elect Obama met in the Oval Office, their first face-to-face session, while first lady Laura Bush and Obama's wife, Michelle, held their own meeting in the White House residence." [ via Glenn Reynolds, who comments "They all actually look happy. Well, heck. Obama's glad to be President, and Bush is glad to leave." ] It is early but the transition appears to be amiable, good for Bush, and good for all of us.
I must tell you Obama is very popular in Brazil, not least because it is a racially mixed country, but also because they don't/didn't like Bush and want change as badly as the American people. We tend to forget that our relationship with the people of other countries is asymmetrical; they care about us and what we do much more than we care about them.
Obama to use executive orders for immediate impact... "President-elect Obama plans to use his executive powers to make an immediate impact when he takes office, perhaps reversing Bush administration policies on stem cell research and domestic drilling for oil and natural gas." So be it. Immediate action may be called for, and certainly enabling stem cell research would be good.
This is amazing: AmEx becomes a bank. "Seeking shelter amid a global credit crunch and consumer spending slowdown, American Express announced Monday it is becoming a bank." Wow, may you live in interesting times, indeed.
Huh, the iPhone is now the best selling phone in the U.S., with 6.9M sold in the last quarter. Who would have expected that? Well, okay, a lot of people, but I wasn't one of them. They do seem to be everywhere now...
PZ Myers with a nice post on entropy and evolution. "One of the oldest canards in the creationists' book is the claim that evolution must be false because it violates the second law of thermodynamics, or the principle that, as they put it, everything must go from order to disorder." Great timing for me as I read Dawkins' fantastic The God Delusion. Really until you grok the details, you don't realize just how compelling the case for evolution has become.
The trailer for Up is up (Pixar's next movie). Jason Kottke thinks "this seems like the first Pixar movie that won't appeal to adults and kids at the same time." He hopes he's wrong, and I do too...
On Slashdot: Halliburton applies for patent-trolling patent. Sadly, I am not making this up.
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this date in:
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
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
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?
still the first bird