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Archive: October 5, 2014

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old gold friends

Sunday,  10/05/14  04:49 PM

old friends telling old storiesYesterday I hosted a sailing / drinking / dinner / bachelor party for my longtime friend Peter.  It was great. 

But the greatest part wasn't the sailing, or the drinking, or the dinner, or indeed the bachelor-ing (sorry, no girls jumping out of cakes, or at least none that can be discussed :).  No, the greatest part was hanging out with old friends, and telling old stories.  Amazing how our neurons keep those same old patterns going.

BTW, there is no place better than the cockpit of a TP52 (serious racing yacht) for telling old sailing stories.  Thanks Jason for making the Margaritaville happen!

I've known some of these guys since I was a little kid, and we've been sailing together in all the time since.  Seems like every regatta in the meantime had its funny stories; the trip there, the setting, the disasters and triumphs, and most of all the people.  Why is it so fun to talk about things that happened long ago?  Who can say...  but I can say that it is so, and the more time that passes, the more fun it is.


Win 10: so far so good

Sunday,  10/05/14  07:53 PM

Today I downloaded and installed Windows 10 Preview (in a VM, of course).  And my first impression is ... it's a winner.  While I would never consider replacing my everyday Win 7 OS with Win 8, after about fifteen minutes I concluded that yes, I could see replacing it with Win 10.  I can't say yet that I like Win 10 better - that will take more than fifteen minutes - but at least I don't hate it on sight.

I don't like the look and feel - those flat primary colors remind me of Windows 3! - but the performance was snappy and the functionality I needed was there.  Best of all there was only one Explorer environment - the Start menu was back, albeit modified with those ugly blocky Win 8 -style tiles - and I could simply find and run things the way I expected, instead of clicking back and forth like I was in some kind of kids game.

Win 10 - the start menu is back!

It's a low bar when we celebrate just being able to use a new version of Windows, but given the history with Windows ME, Vista, and now Win 8, that's a bar we have to hurdle.  I just started playing so I haven't had a chance to notice much that's new yet, but I do like the new Win 10 switcher:

Win 10 - switcher display

One thing that struck me about the whole experience was the degree to which cloud-based storage of preferences made the installation easier.  When I signed on as "me", Microsoft recognized my settings from when I played with Win 8, and automatically carried them over (things like the desktop pictures, windows placement, etc).  And then later when I downloaded and installed Chrome as my default browser, Google did the same thing (search history, autocomplete, etc).  It's a little unsettling to realize how much these big companies know about me, but it did speed things up.

So ... onward, it's a new day.  I think this puts a dagger in what little chance there ever was that I would run Win 8 for anything meaningful.  I can just keep up with the Win 10 previews and hope they release it sooner rather than later, and then jump directly to Win 10.  YMMV but I doubt it :)


faster horses

Sunday,  10/05/14  09:26 PM

Apple Watch - not a faster horseYesterday was a day to play - yay - and today was a day to work ... on various different things.  Many of them qualitatively different, bringing to mind a great quote from Henry Ford: "If I had asked my customers what they wanted they would have said a faster horse."  Of course Henry didn't do that, he went from Zero to One, and gave them cars, instead. 

The more I think about Apple Watch, the more I think ... this is them, doing something new, again.  Each time we didn't see it so clearly at first ... the Mac, iMac, OS X, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, App Store, iPad, but then we did, and then ... they were big zero to one moments.  And now we have Apple Pay, which could be a sleeper biggie, and Apple Watch, which isn't sleeping so much as still gestating.

the first Michelin ManThe secret history of the Michelin Man.  See, just when you were wondering why you even ever read my blog, I link to something like this and you remember :)

ESR is creating a new Unix calendaring API.  Yay.  As a would-be user, I can't wait.  The current hodgepodge is badly broken.  Let's hope we can migrate it to Windows for a cross-platform solution, too...

Nice design: how IOS 8 time lapse feature works.  This is a great example of making good assumptions to avoid a raft of user preferences.

Wow.  In 2013 Samsung paid Microsoft $1B in royalties ... for Google's Android.  That means Microsoft made more on Android than Skype, Windows Phone, and Xbox combined.  Wow.

mysterious Titan sea "feature"Cassini watches mysterious feature evolve in Titan sea.  "The [NASA team has suggested the feature could be surface waves, rising bubbles, floating solids, solids suspended just below the surface, or perhaps something more exotic."  Awesome!

Not quite Google Glass: a week with Epson's awkward smart glasses.  The criticisms of the functionality cut deeper than the ones about style.  Interesting that their augmented workplace features were the most compelling.  Someday they'll include visual search,and that will be even cooler :)

xkcd: scientistsHow fast could you visit every state?  Randall Munroe asks the important questions...  (BTW I'm a big xkcd fan and have downloaded What If?; I can't wait to read it!)

Did you know (and apropos): scientists seen as competent but not trusted by Americans.  Unfortunately this says more about "Americans" than scientists.

X-15 and Pete Knight, holders of fastest manned spacecraft record47 years ago, the fastest manned spacecraft ever.  Weird to think such a record would have stood for so long... shows that we're pushing the envelope on many fronts, but not all of them.

Interesting: Redbox to shut down on October 7th.  [Update: not Redbox itself, just their joint venture with Verizon.  Thanks, MikeLike Blockbuster before them, they've been Netflixed   They haven't quite been Netflixed...  yet.

Sim City turns 25!Happy 25th birthday to Sim City.  Wow.  Cannot believe it has been that long; quite possibly the coolest game of all time (well, along with Myst :)

So, the New York Times believe that Silicon Valley has a diversity problem.  Why?  Because "Most of their employees are white and Asian men."  So their solution is blatantly racist, like explicitly interviewing minority candidates and requiring quotas.  I suppose they just couldn't face the possibility that many tech companies are colorblind meritocracies, and the resulting gender and racial mix is the result.  (Oh and meanwhile, the Times editorial board are ... mostly white and Asian men.)

KLM's lost and found BeagleThis is excellent: Dutch airline KLM's cuddliest member of their lost and found service... a Beagle.


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Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
The Nest
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
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
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained