Whew, what a week, and it's only Wednesday! I woke up this morning in San Antonio early, worked out, had a nice breakfast with a friend, spent the day at the USCAP conference, hung out at the Riverwalk, flew back to LAX, and here I am home, blogging...
The original iPad? Well, 15M units in 9 months, and nearly $10B in revenue; the most successful consumer product ever launched. What more can we say? It is clearly "the computer for the rest of us", where "us" does not include you and me. In ten years we will barely remember the days of "computers" and "operating systems"; this is clearly the future.
You will be able to read the enhancements for yourself; thinner, faster, inclusion of forward and backward cameras, and operating system improvements. All incremental improvements, adding to an already amazing franchise. I must tell you at the USCAP conference our fledgling support for viewing digital slides on an iPad (via a pure AJAX viewing solution) was a hit of the show. (If you have an iPad, visit the Juan Rosai Collection at http://rosaicollection.org/ to see it for yourself :)
Huh; today I fell somewhat back to normal, or at least what passes for normal with me. For months we've been working toward our sales meeting a week ago and the USCAP conference this week; and now both are past, everything went great, we can take a deep breath, and ... back to normal. Yay. Time to find new mountains to climb! And in the meantime, to blog...
Tim Bray on making money in mobile. The unit volumes can be high, but the unit revenue is undoubtedly low. Fortunately your overhead can be low, too.
Great article: why payments are hard, even for Apple and Google. As a PayPal vet I can affirm, yeah, payments are hard. Without customer service and anti-fraud technology, payments are impossible. And neither Google nor Apple have either one.
And so Himpmunk have added hotels! Yay. The key visual feature is locating available hotels on a map, which *is* the way most people want to find them. Just like locating airplane flights in time. These guys are thinking.
It's Apple's post-PC world, and we're just living in it. I think this is right; the iPad has announced a new category which will ultimately replace a lot of PC sales. I think of my Mom, who is entirely typical and who never wanted a computer, but now happily uses her iPad for email and surfing.
John Gruber liked Wednesday's announcement; as he noted, even the chair was the same. And what was different? Apple and we all knew the iPad was massively successful. Also different: Mr. Jobs; he himself was 30% thinner than for the original iPad, too bad.
Interesting idea from Dave Winer: using DNS as a thin ID system. I don't know it this is the solution - too few people control a domain, I think - but he's on the right track; someone is going to figure out a global ID system, and when they do it will be huge.
We held Aperio's annual sales meeting a week ago, and at the conclusion we had a very special guest speaker; DeeDee Jonrowe, a world class sled dog racer who is also a breast cancer survivor. DeeDee has competed in the Iditarod race 29 times, and has finished in the top ten 13 times, and 2nd twice. In 2002 she was diagnosed with breast cancer, underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy, and recovered, racing in the Iditarod that same year. She has since become a spokesperson and fundraiser for breast cancer, giving inspirational talks and rallying resources. Even her dog team are dressed in pink.
DeeDee gives talks all year long, except a couple of months before the Iditarod, which starts in March. However she made an exception for Aperio because when she heard about what we do, she wanted to fly down and talk to us. Her stories are great and her commitment to bringing current medical technology to remote areas like Alaska is inspirational.
This year’s Iditarod race started yesterday (!) and guess what? DeeDee is in first place!
Back to normal - for real. Friday I noted I felt "back to normal", after a period of intense preparation for a couple of conferences. But today was the first Monday of normal. I celebrated by making a big schedule of possible travel for the coming year. Who needs normal?
This Russian powerplant is modern, yet it uses buttons and knobs and gauges. Is this safer? There is something satisfying about real knobs, right? When I was a kid I dreamed of someday owning a Marantz receiver, just because of the awesome knobs :)
Bonus observation: car websites are among the most difficult to use, despite being among the most expensively crafted.
Philip Greenspun: Consumer Reports ranks automaker quality. "How did your $100 billion in tax dollar contributions work out? GM was near the bottom, with crummy cars that have average reliability. Chrysler was an outlier at the bottom, with off-the-chart bad test results and worse-than-average reliability. This could also serve as a scorecard for government industrial policy. The U.S. government has gone to extraordinary lengths to prop up GM and Chrysler, but their products remain uncompetitive." Although I am loathe to let the government off the hook, I think the unions are most to blame.
An update on our adopted musher DeeDee Jonrowe. She is presently in 17th place, with 13 dogs left (of 16), and taking her mandatory 24 hour layover in Takotna, 419 miles in out of 1,049. (Every musher must take one 24 hour layover and two 8 hour layovers; as a matter of strategy most mushers get the layovers over with early in the nine day race, so they can sprint to the finish.) With less than half the race run, she is very much in the hunt.
The conditions this year are hard and fast, which does not favor DeeDee’s team; she prefers a wet slog :) Later as the teams approach Norton Sound crappy weather is expected which may help her.
If you’re looking for an indication of how she’s doing, after getting lost early on (!) and losing a couple of dogs, she has posted the fastest speed over the last leg to Tekotna of any team, so she’s running well. Six teams have dropped out and 56 are still racing.
I’ve found a great source of ongoing information is the Iditarodblog. Another good source is the Anchorage Daily News. This is *the* sporting event in Alaska and is televised live there. A recent innovation is GPS trackers; I’m trying to figure out if there’s an online way to follow DeeDee’s progress, stay tuned.
A quiet, wonderful, lonely, weird evening; had a good day, much progress on many fronts, had some good news, had a good workout tonight, and a nice little dinner. But the sum of all that is ... I feel quiet and weird. Does that ever happen to you?
This is massively cool: you are listening to Los Angeles. Images interspersed with music overlaid by police radio. Captures the essence of the city of angles; it truly is the center. Not a place to visit, but a place to *live*. It's all happening there, all the time, good and bad, ...
(wish I were there right now; I'd be safe and warm, if I was in L.A.)
Readability goes full HTML5. Didn't seem to take them very long ... wonder about the usability of the web app versus the native app. I'm sure we'll find out soon.
And this is interesting: HP to include webOS on all PCs. Ars Technical calls it 'a shot across Microsoft's bow', implying that webOS might supercede Windows? At least for some users, it might. We were just having a debate in our house about whether a new student going off to college really needs a laptop or could use an iPad. Given a decent keyboard, not clear.
Can you beat a computer at Rock - Paper - Scissors? I could not. Would be interesting to write a program to fool and thereby defeat this one :)
A bittersweet finale for the Space Shuttle. A magnificent technical achievement but always it was a $10 solution to a $5 problem. Putting stuff into orbit doesn't require people, and hence doesn't require the launch vehicle to return safely. Still - 39 flights, 5,570 orbits, 150 million miles, and a pretty good safety record.
I am massively tired tonight, got home, had a nice dinner with Shirley, relaxed, and the fatigue of weeks is upon me.
Actually there is another fatigue upon me; the fatigue of bureaucracy. I am a person of action, I like ... doing stuff. I like making stuff, and making stuff happen. I like change, and causing change. I like forward motion. I understand and appreciate the need for process, the need for documentation, the need for checks and balances and approvals. These things taken in their abstract make perfect sense. There are *reasons* for following a process, reasons for documentation, reasons for checks and balances and approvals. But sometimes ... process and documentation and approvals are blindly invoked without reason, without common sense. It stops forward motion. It delays action. It prevents stuff from happening. That is bureaucracy. And that is what, more than anything, has me tired tonight.
Here’s the latest update on DeeDee Jonrowe. She is presently in 10th place, now with 12 dogs left. She has taken her 24 hour layover and is … running with the big dogs, from the Anvik checkpoint up the Yukon river. This is the long leg which makes the difference when the Iditarod takes the Southern route. The leaders are now about 65% of the way through the 1,049 mile trek. Among the lead group are past champions Lance Mackey, Martin Buser, and Rick Swenson, with about 5 hours separating them on the snow. (DeeDee has finished second twice and in the top ten 17 times; after her talk to Aperio a few weeks ago she was asked “what does it take to win”? She replied “if I knew that, I wouldn’t have finished second twice” :)
The conditions have “worsened”, with colder weather, snow, and softer snow. From what I’ve read, all of this is good for DeeDee! For what it’s worth, her average speed since the last checkpoint is the highest of anyone in the lead group. This is the point in the race where wear and tear of hundreds of miles start becoming evident, and the strong teams keep moving ahead. The picture at left shows DeeDee putting [pink!] booties on her dogs at a checkpoint.
By the way, you might have heard about the huge earthquake in Japan and consequent tsunami warnings all around the Pacific Rim, apparently Norton Sound is on alert but it is not expected to affect on the race.
Here’s the current standings; stay tuned for more … cheers and go DeeDee!
Many of you have asked so I thought I’d clarify the situation with DeeDee’s dogs. Each musher starts the Iditarod with a team of 16 dogs. Each team is required to finish with at least 6 dogs running. Each team must take one 24 hour stop and two 8 hour stops, for the benefit of resting their dogs. A musher may decide to rest any dog at any time by bringing them onto their sled. A musher may also “drop” a dog at any checkpoint. This means that the dog is left in the care of vets etc and will no longer continue the race. This is usually done because a dog is tired or hurt. Toward the end a musher may optimize by dropping dogs to have a smaller team of fresher dogs. The strategy of which dogs to take, when to rest dogs, when to feed them, when to drop dogs, etc is a crucial part of winning the race. In a real way they are the athletes.
Right: Dee and her team take to the trail, with their pink harnesses!
All dogs are examined by vets at each checkpoint. The race committee may tell a musher to drop a dog if they feel it should not continue. The race committee can also withdraw an entire team from the race if they feel this is warranted. This has happened with one musher in this year’s Iditarod, but I think it was because the musher was hurt, not his team.
Currently DeeDee has 12 dogs left running, which means she has decided to drop 4 dogs. Three were dropped right near the start at the third checkpoint, there was some kind of accident when she got lost and left the trail. The dogs are okay but she decided to continue without them. I read one of them was her oldest lead dog, so that was an early blow. She dropped another dog at the most recent checkpoint, don’t know why but probably because it was tired.
Left: The Northern lights highlight the trail
All of the top teams have dropped at least one dog, most more than one. Defending champion Lance Mackey is running 5th, but has only 9 dogs left.
Of course deciding how hard to run is important too. It is a nine day race, going out too fast too early will cost you. Some mushers hold a steady pace, others run harder but rest more often. In the last leg from Shageluk to Anvik DeeDee posted the fastest time of all the leaders. DeeDee is still in 10th, resting at Anvik before the long trek up the Yukon river. She is 4½ hours behind the leader. Go DeeDee!
PS some of you have asked, how do I know anything about sled dog racing? The answer is: I don’t! After meeting DeeDee I poked around the Internet and have learned as much as I can and am following the Iditarod with great interest. It reminds me a lot of another tremendous athletic event I follow, the Tour de France. In each there is a long way to go and a whole team is required to win, and there’s a lot of strategy involved in deciding what to do when :)
And check out these aftershocks, many of which would be considered major earthquakes in their own right... wow.
The impact of this disaster will be felt in other ways too; economically, and politically. There will be calls for better prediction systems, and better recovery. There will be finger pointing. But the ground truth is that there are big forces we cannot control.
The 2011 Iditarod is down to the last 200 miles, where it *really* gets interesting, and DeeDee Jonrowe is now running 8th, about four hours behind the leader. There are twelve mushers who have made it to Kaltag (see map), and five are on their way to Unalakleet. DeeDee is running 11 dogs, which is par for the course at this stage of the race.
John Baker is leading and according to Ramey Smyth, who is in third, “He's got the toughest dogs in Alaska. They eat good, they stay happy, and he doesn't need to stop.” Baker did rest at Kaltag, saying he was more tired than his dogs :)
If you want to hope, the Iditarodblog noted the following about DeeDee: “If you’re checking the GPS Trackers you may notice that Dee Dee Jonrowe has posted some of the fastest run times. She seems to have an incredible amount of speed left in her team at this point in the race.” Yes, we did notice this :) Yay.
Today was a sad day; it began with a phone call telling us that Shirley's Mom has passed away. Some of you know she has been ill and this was not unexpected. She lived a full wonderful life and died peacefully in her home, with her family. It is a blessed release, but still sad for all of us. I think we don't know how to feel yet.
And today was a sadder day because I looked at my calendar and realized it is the seventh anniversary of my friend Daniel Jacoby's death. That was good for some chills and some tears, because unlike Shirley's Mom, Daniel did not live a full wonderful life; he was taken from us too soon, despite having accomplished much and influenced many.
At right: "penguins", taken by Daniel.
And today was a happy day, because we had brunch with our girls, and it was the usual laughing joking teasing full-of-life full-of-energy experience. We talked about Shirley's Mom, and remembered the good stuff. And we talked about Shirley's Dad, who we lost ten years ago - also after a full wonderful life. And I felt good about how, in the end, the greatest influence any of us have on the world is through our children, and how we have these great kids.
And today was also a happy day because later privately I reflected on Daniel. I'm reminded vividly of the discussions we had back in 1995, when Daniel was part of spinning Digital Insight out of XP Systems. And further back, of Daniel's friendship when I got divorced in 1991. My enduring memories of Daniel are so positive, his spirit is ever present in me.
Yesterday I rode the Solvang Century, yay! This is my ... fifth year of riding it (whew had to count my fingers) and it remains a great ride (much better with sleep; last year I managed to do it with 0:00 sleep). I haven't done a century+ ride in some time, and it showed; I am in good shape, but not great shape for riding, I've been working out more and riding less, and I felt stronger but had less endurance. Need both :) I did manage to do it in 5:42, and 6:15 elapsed; I skipped the first couple of checkpoints to stay in pacelines and it speeded my ultimate elapsed time (I didn't rest as much) but it slowed my ultimate riding time (I got tired). So be it.
Here's the route, the usual with a few tweaks, an even 100 miles this year with 5,200' of climbing:
Of course a highlight is always the first leg on Santa Rosa Road through the Santa Rita Hills; yesterday there was some chilly "sea smoke" in the air, and here is my obligatory shot of the Sea Smoke vineyard, the source of the finest Pinot Noir in the world:
This is the view I had for much of the first 66 miles, up through the third checkpoint; this was a great paceline, but these guys were mean and fast and it was hard to hold a wheel. I knew if once they dropped me I would never get back on. Whew.
The final climb into Foxen Canyon is always a treat; here's a field of some grand old vines soaking up sun, they just don't make 'em this way anymore...
After Foxen Canyon there is the little legbreaker up above Firestone vineyard, and then up into Ballard Canyon; here I am at the top, ready to blast down through the canyon (and enjoy that new road surface, yay!)
All in all a great day, especially so since there was much on my mind, and it gave me some good think time. I am already looking forward to the Solvang Double ... in two weeks!
An update on our adopted musher DeeDee Jonrowe; she is still in 8th, presently resting at the Koyuk checkpoint. The map at right is the live GPS tracker; the little numbers represent the competitors. #53 is John Baker who is leading, and #30 is Ramey Smyth who is chasing in second. DeeDee’s #2 is under the TOT symbol at Koyuk, upper right; TOT means “Teacher on Trail”, a cool program wherein an elementary school teacher has been mushing along the trail giving video lessons all through the Iditarod. This whole event is a big deal in Alaska even for schoolkids.
It appears that while DeeDee is still running strong with 10 dogs, she is not likely to win this year. Most observers think this is a three team race at this point between Baker, Smyth, and Hans Gatt who is in third. Still there are 150 miles left along a mogully seacoast and much can happen.
You may notice that the red track in the map above appears to extend across Norton Sound. That’s because it does! – the mushers actually run over the sea ice far out from land in order to cut the corner. That makes for a long smooth (cold, windy) run. After Koyuk the trail is on land which has a bunch of rises and falls and inlets and rivers. Not a superhighway :)
Once the mushers reach White Mountain they must take a mandatory 8 hour layover. After that it is a 75 mile sprint to the finish. It is worth noting that Lance Mackey, the defending champion who has won each of the last four years, was never first to White Mountain. This account of John Baker’s stop in Unalakleet was fascinating, all the stuff a musher does to care for their dogs at a checkpoint.
Some of you have asked if DeeDee is the only woman left. No! There are about 10 other women left running, and 4 have scratched. She is presently the top woman but Jessie Royer is in 9th place right behind her, so there’s a battle there too.
Happy Pi day... hope it wasn't too irrational for you. I must tell you, it was weird for me; after yesterday I'm still not sure how to feel. Am I back to normal? Am I completely different? Somewhere in between, and not static but bouncing back and forth. I took high energy into the weekend and multiplied it with my ride Saturday, and then yesterday spun me around a few times. Who knows what trajectory I'll take?
Saturday night Shirley wanted to watch Avatar. (If you know Shirley and know Avatar, you can deduce that yes, things are a little weird around here.) And so I looked on iTunes, nope, no Avatar. Netflix, nope. Blockbuster, nope. There did not appear to be any way to buy Avatar online, despite the fact this movie is over a year old. So I launched Pirate Bay, found a torrent, and downloaded the movie; took about three hours. And we watched. Awesome.
(Yes, that is my favorite scene, when he tames the wild whatever creature and flies it against the helicopters. Makes no actual sense but what an excellent scene. Made for showing off 3D I do believe.)
Just read a great article about Sudanese entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim in the New Yorker. Man, what an amazing guy. Not only did he found the largest cellphone company in Africa, thereby enhancing communications all over the continent, he's using the fortune it gave him to incentivize good governance. He and others like him are the real hope for Africa, not handouts and aid from the West.
I've been looking for this forever: affect-effect. Just when you thought there were two words here, you realize, there are five! "When you affect a situation, you have an effect on it." So be it.
Lonnie Pogue starts off his iPad 2 review thusly: "'An utter disappointment and abysmal failure'. 'Consumers seem genuinely baffled by why they might need it'. 'Insanely great it is not'. 'My god, am I underwhelmed'. Good heavens! What a critical drubbing! Whatever it is must be a real turkey. What could it be? Only the fastest-selling gadget in the history of electronics: the Apple iPad." Yep, I too was fooled. [ via John Gruber ]
Aaron Quint: Flash Rules. "I’m probably going to get in trouble for this, but I'll let you in on a little secret. Your hatred of Flash is wrong and misplaced." I don't hate Flash either. It's just a tool.
The 2011 Iditarod is in its final stages. DeeDee Jonrowe just arrived in White Mountain where there is a mandatory 8-hour layover; she dropped Peter Kaiser during the night, and briefly dropped Jessie Royer also but recovered to enter the checkpoint in 9th. Leader John Baker took off on the final 75 mile “sprint” to Nome six hours ago and is nearly to Safety, the final checkpoint, just 22 miles from the finish; he looks strong and barring misfortune poised to win. Ramey Smyth is 10 miles behind and chasing gamely. It is now a two-team race.
In the GPS tracker map at right, the TB (“trail breaker”) symbol is in Nome at the finish, #53 is John Baker, in Safety, #30 is Ramey Smyth, and #23 is Hans Gatt who is running third. The other mushers in the top ten including DeeDee are all at the White Mountain checkpoint labeled with the TOT (“teacher on trail”) marker.
You might be curious to know how the Iditarod race started. This is a nice account of the original “race”, to get Diphtheria serum from Anchorage to Nome via a relay of dog teams in a huge storm in 1925. The sled dog race which retraces the route started in 1973. The race has two alternate routes, a Northern route run in even years and a slightly longer slightly easier Southern route in odd years. The record for the race is 8d22h46m, set on the Northern route in 2002 by Martin Buser; John Baker is on pace to shatter that record this year.
At left is a picture of John Baker setting out with his team over the sea ice covering Golovin Bay. At right, DeeDee and her team entering the Elim checkpoint, with trademark pink booties.
Although it isn’t DeeDee’s year to win, she appears to have managed yet another top ten finish; if she hangs on this will be her 14th out of 30 Iditarods, with only two scratches. That’s pretty incredible for anyone, let alone a breast cancer survivor. Maybe next year the weather will be really bad and she’ll have a chance to win :)
Anyway there’s 75 miles left and much can still happen, stay tuned, and go DeeDee!
This is the penultimate DeeDee Jonrowe update. So … Congratulations to John Baker, who has won the 2011 Iditarod, in a record time of 8d18h46m. And to Ramey Smyth who finished second in 8d19h50m, the second fastest time ever. And to Hans Gatt, who has finished third. DeeDee is now in 10th place, on her way from White Mountain to the finish, only nine minutes behind Jessie Royer. They are both about 58 miles from the finish, which they’ll cover in about 7 hours. You can see #58 Jessie and #2 DeeDee next to each other on the map at right. They left White Mountain nine minutes apart and they are closer than that now; should be an exciting finale.
I watched the live video stream of Baker coming down Front Street in Nome (left), and man were he and his team *tired*. You think of a sled dog team, you think of magnificent animals flying along the snow. But these guys were just walking, probably 4-5mph, and John was just about nodding off in place. His dogs collapsed in a heap at the finish, as he put bales of straw out for them to sleep on, and fed them, and congratulated them, and took off their boots. That happened before he did any interviews or celebrating.
It was a sunny day in Nome, a balmy 0o, with little wind, and a massive crowd lined the street along the finishing chute:
Our DeeDee still has a fight on her hands, she has a shot at 9th (and being the top woman), and an outside chance at 8th too, but also has mushers behind breathing down her neck… go DeeDee!
Well the 2011 Iditarod is history, and our adopted musherDeeDee Jonrowe finished … 12th! Unfortunately rather than holding 10th with a shot at 9th, she dropped a couple of other mushers on that last “sprint” into the finish. It was a pretty exciting night; Ken Anderson passed both DeeDee and Jessie Royer to finish 8th – by one second! Jessie held on over DeeDee, who also dropped Aliy Zirkle while in sight of Nome. Must have been pretty disappointing for her, and yet, she finished her 30th Iditarod in fine style. Just to compete is amazing, and to compete at such a high level, for so long, and to have recovered from fighting breast cancer… wow.
Here are some pictures you might enjoy from the trail:
The pictures above are all of DeeDee Jonrowe and her team en route. I did want to close with a picture of the REAL winner of the 2011 Iditarod, this is Snickers, winner John Baker’s lead dog, who ran lead the entire way from Anchorage to Nome and was the first to cross the finish. He was truly the big dog this year.
I feel a little like I do every your after the Tour de France ends, wow, now I have to wait a whole year for the next one.
Anyway it has been fun rooting for DeeDee and following this incredible event. Stay tuned for the 2012 edition, and in the meantime, Go DeeDee!
It's a lazy Saturday around here ... I'm home alone with my Shih-Tsus (that's Bijou at right), it's cold and gray outside, and I'm sitting in my office working away. Actually though the day is lazy, I am not; I have been cranking on a new project which has me most excited and interested. Perhaps I can share it with you soon. In the meantime I have tried to keep my enthusiasm for other stuff during the week, so my priorities stay straight, but on a Saturday I can do what I want :)
Scott "Dilbert" Adams has an interesting account of the disaster; he was in Hawaii on vacation. "There are many ways to begin a relaxing vacation, but none of them involves a wall of water heading your way at 600 miles per hour." For many people they will always remember exactly where they were on March 13, 2011.
One more on the disaster; of course a big worry is the nuclear power plant. But this puts it in perspective: "A 41-year old reactor gets hit with a 9 magnitude earthquake, then slammed with a 20 ft. tall swell, followed by an explosion due to the buildup of hydrogen gas that blows off the roof of the building, and the core is intact and contained. And you are telling me that nuclear power isn't safe?"
BTW I found a picture of DeeDee and me (right), taken right after her marvelous talk to Aperio.
This morning I installed Win 7 x64 in a VM for some testing. So that's not so weird, but here's the thing: I used my laptop's DVD drive, for the first time in ... months! I know this because I have our Christmas card sitting on my desk in a spot where it blocks access to the drive. So it has been at least mid-December since I used it, and possibly much longer ago than that. Wow, so be it!
Back to Scott Adams: the awesomeness of convenience. Exactly exactly. If you make something sufficiently easy, people will pay for the convenience. That's the whole key to iTunes and the Apple ecosystem. And a big part of the thinking behind my new project :)
This is such a tragedy: The car from Atlas Shrugged motors, aka the Chevy Volt. "'Sales are anemic: 326 in December, 321 in January, and 281 in February.' GM has announced a production run of 100,000 in the first two years, so 'Who is going to buy all these cars?'" You and I paid to bail out GM, we paid to develop the Volt, we paid to subsidize the marketing of the Volt, and now, apparently, we are going to pay to buy the Volt. All because we're trying to save some jobs? Blech.
Hey y'all; not only a lazy Sunday, but a stormy one too; it rained all day here, seriously, and blew like crap all day too. Wow, haven't seen a gale like this for a while. Ran to the store, had to park carefully to avoid fallen and about-to-be-fallen trees, ran into the store (was soaked thoroughly), and then backed my car into the store to load it. Started a trend, too. (Ever wonder why supermarkets have double doors - now you know.) Anyway ... also got in a little work on my new project, and re-watched The Social Network, which is *great* in case you want to know...
I'm going to say, I think maybe Facebook is the best thing ever on the 'net; I used to think Amazon, and then eBay, and then Google, and PayPal was in there too, but Facebook is awesome.
Powerline: what really happened at Fukushima. "From this natural disaster, we can learn that properly built nuclear plants can withstand powerful earthquakes and tsunamis. But backup cooling systems and any on-site cooling pools must be protected from any after effects of an earthquake."
Dave Winer: What Twitter and the NYT have in common. As a student of both, he has standing to comment: "Neither company has a way to sustain itself financially... Funny thing is, they're like ships passing in the night. Each is the solution to the others' problem." Another thing they have in common: they should both listen to Dave :)
So the prestigious Milan-San Remo race was yesterday, and Philip Gilbert finished third! And Fabian Cancellara finished second! No surprises so far, except Matt Goss won! Matt Goss? Yeah, an overnight sensation years in the making. How come HTC-Highroad are always the team with the hot young talent?
And today's big news? AT&T are buying T-Mobile, consolidating the GSM-based carriers in the US. Om Malik says everybody loses. We'll see if it actually happens.
Hey ... I've been asking; for a teen: iPad or Macbook, and so far only 17 of you have responded (iPad 17%, Macbook 70%, and "it depends" 11%). Please vote ... thanks!
Onward, into a far-from-lazy week! See you soon...
Greetings blog public, I'm checking in. Hope you are all having a good week? I am, most productive. I have about ten plates spinning but they are all (fXf) staying in the air just now. All subject to change. Some stuff which may be of interest...
Can I just say how *lame* it is that Facebook no longer finds pictures in links to post as thumbnails? What a bug, what an amazing crappy bug, that they would break this and not know. And not fix it! For all they have a kazillion users and are worth billions of dollars, they are not quite smooth in their product, are they? And yet we love it anyway.
I am now running Firefox 4. I had switched to Chrome as my default browser, but now have switched back to Firefox. Chrome was a little too flaky, and I never got used to having the address field and search box in one control. It sounds like it would work better, but in practice it was just confusing.
Also from Alex: multi-touch vs keyboard. Apropos to my for a teen: iPad vs Macbook survey, which is presently running 76% Macbook vs just 14% iPad. Looks like even a bluetooth keyboard doesn't make an iPad a "real" computer.
Guess what I'm doing Saturday? I'm riding the Solvang Double Century! Yay, haven't ridden a full double in ... about six months. Whew. Time to see if I can still do it. The profile at right is what I'm in for ... stay tuned.
Have you ever heard of Negrette? It's a weird unknown grape grown only in a few weird unknown places. But we had a 2008 Wild Horse Negrette the other night which was spectacular. So good that I tried to buy some, and discovered they make enough to even distribute it. You have to get it at the winery. Might even be worth driving to Paso Robles to get some :)
"First, Sprint customers will be able to use their existing Sprint mobile number as their Google Voice number and have it ring multiple other phones simultaneously. So now, calls to your Sprint mobile number can easily be answered from your office or your home phone, or even your computer through Gmail. Calls from Gmail and text messages sent from google.com/voice will also display your Sprint number. This basically gives Sprint customers all the benefits of Google Voice without the need to change or port their number."
Cool, but ... so what? I guess I'll have to dig into this a bit further :)
It's been raining here all week - off and on - but it is also apparently raining on Titan. How cool is that? (Liquid methane, so it's ... pretty cool :)
Here's another amazing amateur video of the tsunami hitting Northern Japan; this filmer was standing in the harbor, safely behind three breakwaters, calmly watching the water get higher, and wilder, and higher, and wilder, and ... finally he had to climb up a tower to stay dry. Just amazing... [ straight from the Horse's mouth ]
Why Fukashima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power. "A crappy old plant with inadequate safety features was hit by a monster earthquake and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply failed, knocking out the cooling system. The reactors began to explode and melt down. The disaster exposed a familiar legacy of poor design and corner-cutting. Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation."
Boom! LinkedIn passes 100M members. Wow. Two things about this, wow, can't believe 100M people have signed up (I can remember when Reid Hoffman started LinkedIn, just eight years ago), and wow, this "boom!" meme is taking off...
Augmented reality on the iPad2. So far we have English to Spanish translation, but soon, picture search, and then ... the sky's the limit. Okay maybe not "soon", but soon.
I'm seeking a web prototype designer, if you can recommend someone please let me know. Needs good UI design skills, a feel for workflow, familiarity with web technology, and experience with prototyping tools like Fireworks Balsamiq quplo etc.
Yeah so I am having an interesting little day here; at 4:00AM decided *not* to ride the Solvang Double, and to work on a special project instead. I have been re-reading Atlas Shrugged and the philosophy of creation and value and personal worth rings so true to me. Riding a double is an act of creation and value - a defiance of limitation, a personal statement of capability - but it is ephemeral, captured only in my mind and perhaps my blog. I opted to create something more permanent, even if I only advance slightly along a long path to my goal.
Googling for the picture at right, I discovered that Atlas Shrugged is considered the second most influential book of all time, behind the Bible.
Hey guess what I did, while creating this post? I won an eBay auction! For the first time in many moons I used eBay to buy something; as a gadget hound I am a relatively frequent seller of last generation devices, but an infrequent buyer. Today I decided to replace something I lost exactly a year ago, my *original* Amazon Kindle, given me as a gift by Shirley just before taking a trip to Brazil. As I was reading my Kindle 2 in bed this morning I determined to replace my Kindle 1, and through the magic of eBay, I could and did. Yay.
I had forgotten that heart-pounding feeling in the last minutes, waiting to see if you'll win, and the exultation when you do (and the disappointment when you don't). Auctions are cool.
So, what's *your* LinkedIn number? Yeah, I know, you were an early adopter, one of LinkedIn's first 100,000 members, and to celebrate their 100,000,000th member you got an email from Reid Hoffman thanking you. Mine is 1708 :)
[Update: aha I'm an innovator. Apparently the first 1,000,000 members got an email, but the first 100,000 got a different one. Too bad they didn't single out the first 10,000 :) ]
From blog reader Mike: Color, the Parody. Excellent. As I commented to him, you know there's a bubble when you can't tell the parodies from the real plans. This one seems absurd (although with $41M in the bank, they can circle the drain for a long time...)
I thought this was interesting: Search is Google's castle, everything else is a moat. A great explanation of why they make ambitious software products like Android and Chrome available free. (Not to mention - Google Earth!) Also indicates that when Google makes your castle their moat, you are in trouble. Do you suppose they'll start giving away cars? Maybe just car operating systems...
Interesting that it is so small, kind of an electric sport plane. Reminds me of the Tesla. Perhaps this is the right entry point for electric powered vehicles, start small and fast and light, and move upstream. Someday we'll have electric trucks and electric 747s.
Did you know, the iPad does more. This from a 14-year old web designer pounds the nail directly through the wood. As he says 'bam'. (At least he didn't say 'boom'!) Notice the order he lists the essential apps, Facebook, YouTube, email, web browsing. Typing Word documents does not appear in his list, but I guess using Google Docs could be somewhere under "web browsing". I think you guys are all wrong about the iPad vs Macbook thing. I'm going to try blogging from my iPad, using my bluetooth keyboard. Stay tuned :)
Since I have proclaimed my disciplehood of Atlas Shrugged it will come as no great surprise that I see worrisome parallels in the Obamination of our Federal Government. The bailouts of banks and carmakers, the ambitious plan to level the playing field in healthcare insurance, and the increase in government spending at the expense of private enterprise are all rather scary. The hypocracy of his supporters is troubling too, captured beautifully in this excellent YouTube vinette, originally entitled Libya vs Iraq but renamed by Powerline as Obama is Awesome:
Whew, a long weekend in which I worked most of it in the land of 1s and 0s, productively, heads down on an interesting project. What could be better than that... throw in some decent movies (The American was great!) and some nice dinners, some good wine, and especially some interesting conversations with my daughters, and it couldn't have been much better.
I have rediscovered two things; first, break big projects into little ones, and make steady progress, and second, listen to [the right] music for inspiration. Wonderful :)
If you're an admin for Facebook pages, check out RSS Graffiti. The perfect Facebook app for pulling RSS feeds from blogs onto your wall or pages. Just works, no muss, no fuss. And even works around that bogus bug where Facebook links no longer have thumbnails. Yippee.
The piling on continues: iPhone App Store review of Color. "Color is a ground breaking new entry in the new genre of MMPRLMG (multi-player real-live marketing games)." If Color manages to succeed after this sort of start, it will be remarkable. We haven't had a starting line face plant like this for a long time.
So, are we having a tech bubble? The NYTimes says let's see if it pops... seems to me a bubble is more of an attitude than anything else; the companies with big valuations right now are "real", in the sense that they're profitable, unlike some of the companies back in 1999. LinkedIn is not pets.com.
Long ago, while working on the outline for Unnatural Selection, I conceived of a chapter called The Piano Player, which would make the point that with worldwide communication at the speed of light everyone competes with the absolute best. 200 years ago you might have been a decent piano player, celebrated as the best in your little town; now, you are compared against Keith Jarrett.
I was in Boston today; the pictures above are a day-and-night panorama taken from my room on the 24th floor of the Cambridge Marriott, looking South over the Charles River toward downtown (click to enbiggen!). And I am in Woods Hole tonight, attending a conference tomorrow. All good. And ... I am blogging ...
A few notes taken on my flight out:
Virgin America rocks. Honestly I go out of my way to fly them. Comfortable seats, enough room, good food / fast service, WiFi, what more could you want?
With Windows 7 Microsoft has finally made Suspend and Hibernate work. 100% of the time when I suspend or hibernate, I wake up again. And when my battery is just about to die, my laptop hibernates automatically. I travel with a spare battery, and I can go coast-to-coast seamlessly. Yay.
The other day I put out an APB for a web prototype designer. And it worked! I got a bunch of responses, especially from those I contacted in my LinkedIn network. Thanks everyone!
Awesome Apple logo for WWDC 2011. The interesting thing about this conference is in three years it has morphed from a Mac OS X conference to an iOS App conference. And demand has grown tremendously for the 5,000 attendees slots in the process.
Dilbert goes Green. I love it. (I'm guessing this will *not* show up on Inhabitat however :)
This might be the best thing ever: quadrocopter ball juggling. Yeah just click through you will not believe it; what will they think of next?
Vanity Fair has an interesting profile of Paul Allen. Yeah, the *other* Microsoft co-founder has had an interesting and varied career, and has distinguished himself as an investor and philanthropist. The Paul Allen Brain Institute is amazing for example, as is the Music Experience Project.
I am back in Boston after my sojourn down to Woods Hole, and there is white Oobleck falling from the sky. The forecast is for more of the same tomorrow. So be it. I am most tired after a long [and productive] day, but have just enough energy left for a little filter pass...
Awesome! Amazon becomes naming sponsor of the 34th America's Cup. "In addition to obtaining the naming rights of sailing’s pinnacle event, Amazon will radically overhaul the arcane marketing technology that has plagued the sport of sailing for decades and hindered its development. Race organizers will leverage Amazon as an incremental sales channel for their new sailing product. As part of the enhanced online real-time video streaming package, third-party companies will be able to buy sponsorship rights, through Amazon, for up to one-third of each yacht’s wing spar and up to one-quarter of each of the two hulls." How cool is that?
Was it really eleven years ago today that The Matrix was unleashed? Yes it was. Wow, changed all movies from that point forward. Great plot but the special effects definitely raised the bar.
Truth is stranger than Onion: Transparency: "President Obama finally and quietly accepted his 'transparency' award from the open government community this week - in a closed, undisclosed meeting at the White House on Monday."
Adobe debuts Photoshop for iPad. So much for tablets being useful for content consumption but not creation, huh? They appear to be good for everything and better for many things :)