Critical Section

Archive: June 10, 2017

not liking not liking

Saturday,  06/10/17  01:37 PM

Hi all.  Still missing in action, I know*.

Anyway a quick update: I am not liking Not Liking.  I was about to do it, and it didn't feel right.  If you my friends want to post crappy crap about politics, who am I to judge.  I might not like it, but I won't Not Like it**.

* I'm either too busy or my priorities are messed up, possibly probably both.  I mean, I haven't even blog-bragged about sailing in Tahiti yet, and that was already a month ago.  Sigh.  And I haven't blogged about Tom Dumoulin winning the Giro, and about ... a lot.  But please stay tuned...

** I still reserve the right to hide your feed.  But you would never know, bwa ha ha.


Archive: June 29, 2016


Archive: June 28, 2015


Sunday,  06/28/15  12:10 PM

I love it

I've been reading a lot about space lately - Ashlee Vance's Elon Musk biography, which is excellent, by the way, a must-read for all of you (!), and Robert Zubrin's The Case for Mars, also excellent, despite having first been written in 1996 and updated in 2011, both following on Andy Weir's wondeful The Martian - and I'm struck by the moving timeline between Science (what we know how to do today) and Science Fiction (what we wish we could do tomorrow).



Archive: June 29, 2014

road trip report

Sunday,  06/29/14  10:05 PM

Tahoe barn on the Emigrant TrailI'm baack after a great road trip, yay.  I did ride the Alta Alpina Double Century, and I did not finish, but I did ride 160 miles and climb 17,000 feet, so I did feel good about it.  And the trip up and back was interesting and wonderful.

This is an old barn I passed while riding the Emigrant Trail near Markleeville.  Wonder if the people who built it 100 years ago envisioned a stream of lycra-clad riders passing by... :) 

And in the meantime, it's all happening...

Andrew TalanskyCongratulations to Andrew Talansky for winning the Criterium du Dauphine.  Any time you beat Chris Froome, Roberto Contador, and Vincenzo Nibali in a stage race, you have to feel pretty good about it :)  We'll be watching him closely at Le Tour - which starts next weekend!

Also warming up for the Tour: World Champion Rui Costa wins the Tour de Suisse.  Was a pretty interesting race, Tony Martin would have won if he'd had any kind of time to help him.  Clearly Costa and Martin are ready for July.

Tour de France 2014 - the routeBTW here is a nice overview of Le Tour, by the numbers.  It starts in the UK this year, and features a lot of climbing.  Should be most excellent.  (I'm rooting for Wilco Kelderman ...)

Please click on the thumbnail at right to enbiggen...

One more pre-Tour note: What are the most memorable Tour stages of all time?  For me, I'd go with Floyd Landis stage 17 of the 2006 TDF.  It was definitely the most dramatic victory ever, even if it was subsequently tainted by doping.

Virgin Galactic's spaceship twoCool: Inside Virgin Galactic's newest passenger spaceship.  Now you, too, can go into space ... defined as about 18 miles up.  Of course this is nowhere near actual space ... as in geocentric orbit,which is 22,000 miles up.  But still, what a time to be alive!

Chris Dixon: The next twenty years is going to make this last twenty years just pale:

If we were sent back with a time machine, even 20 years, and reported to people what we have right now and describe what we were going to get in this device in our pocket - we'd have this free encyclopedia, and we'd have street maps to most of the cities of the world, and we'd have box scores in real time and stock quotes and weather reports, PDFs for every manual in the world - we'd make this very, very, very long list of things that we would say we would have and we get on this device in our pocket, and then we would tell them that most of this content was free. You would simply be declared insane. They would say there is no economic model to make this. What is the economics of this? It doesn't make any sense, and it seems far-fetched and nearly impossible.

But the next twenty years are going to make this last twenty years just pale. We're just at the beginning of the beginning of all these kind of changes. There’s a sense that all the big things have happened, but relatively speaking, nothing big has happened yet.


Marc Andreessen: What will it take to create the next great silicon valleys?

the new Jaguar F-type coupeCar and Driver: Review of the new Jaguar F-type coupe.  "The best part is that the coupe is the first Jaguar since the original E-type to look like rolling sex. And that, combined with a righteous perform­ance-per-dollar ratio, places the S at the F coupe’s sweet spot."  I find it hard to get excited about any gas-powered cars anymore, but this certainly is a beautiful machine.

Harley Davidson electric motorcycleSpeaking of beautiful machines: Harley Davidson unveils their very first electric motorcycle.  I find it fascinating that they went to the trouble of creating a sound for it ... which is actually generated by a sound system, not the engine.  Here's a test drive report...

So, can there be such a thing as a three-sided die?  Yes!  Interestingly the same technique can be used to create an any-sided die.

Myo armbandSo this is cool: Myo, a gesture control armband.  It measures your finger and wrist movements by the muscles in your forearm.  Excellent.  But I wonder, will it be useful?  The Leap Motion is cool too, but has had trouble finding real world applications.

Google I/O: Android everywhereLast week featured Google's I/O conference, and by most accounts the keynote was too long and didn't offer much in the way of surprises.  Mat Honan has a nice overview.  Aside from Google's ambition to power everything with Android (your phone, your car, your TV, and all your wearable devices), the big news was Google's increased push into cloud services, competing with Amazon (and to a lesser extent, Rackspace et al).  For me there were two dogs that didn't bark in the night: Google Glass, conspicuously missing, and Google+.

And meanwhile, the long awaited switch to Android-first development hasn't happened yet.

Google CardboardI was most interested to see Google Cardboard, a tongue-in-cheek but functional way to turn an Android phone into a VR device.  The line between actual Reality and virtual Reality is blurring rapidly.

In case you're wondering, Facebook is still a big hit among teens.  Yeah, various messaging services like Instagram might command their attention, but no Facebook-killer has yet appeared.

Through the Phone - pictures of iPhones taking picturesAnd this is cool: Through the Phone, a series of picture-in-picture photos of iPhones taking photos.  Next up, iPhones taking pictures of mirrors :)


Archive: June 29, 2013


Archive: June 29, 2012


Archive: June 29, 2011


Wednesday,  06/29/11  11:56 AM

little Alex (and young Ole!) - click to enbiggenWas going through some old stuff and came across this picture of me and Alex, taken in 1993 when she was about four months old.  Awww.  And now she's almost 18 and off to college.  Meanwhile I haven't changed a bit :)

Onward, a quick quarter-end filter pass...

Paul Hsieh: Why the 'unexpected' keeps happening.  Aka, why the media continue to seem surprised that Obama's policies for the economy aren't working.  As he notes: "In the words of Ayn Rand, they should 'check their premises'."

Ha!  A hot or not style way of picking the world's best Unicode characters.   I like ൡ which is currently in first place :)

the iPhone - changed everything?The iPhone effect: how the iPhone changed everything.  It is now four years old, and it isn't hyperbole to suggest it is the most important consumer device ever.  Well, okay, radio and television were pretty important too, and the telephone and telegraph ... and personal computers.  But the iPhone is a sort of confluence of all of those trends.

the HP TouchPad - plays solid against a stacked deckI love this headline: HP webOS tablet plays solid hand against stacked deck.  Especially because webOS uses a 'card' metaphor for running apps.  The early reviews (Engadget, Pogue, Snell) are mixed; people like the UI and overall approach, but it appears to be slow, and that will kill it dead.

In retrospect that sums up my whole Palm Pre vs iPhone experience; I liked webOS, but it was slow, and that tipped the scales in favor of the iPhone.  I thought it was the Pre hardware, but I guess the HP TouchPad has the same pokiness, so it could be fundamental; maybe the difference is interpreted JavaScript vs compiled Objective C.


en vacance / op vakantie!

Wednesday,  06/29/11  11:37 PM

Paris!Tonight I booked travel for our European vacation - 13 days at the end of July, 7 in Paris and 5 in Amsterdam, with a train ride in between.  How cool is that?  Cannot wait. 

Now that we're actually going there are a kazillion details to nail down, like ... where are we staying :) and what are we going to do?  But that's the fun part.  The only fixed point is the Champs de Elysee on Sunday 7/24 (the finish of the Tour de France!)

We are planning to stay in the "center" of both cities; they both have lots to see just walking around, and great public transportation for going a bit further.

Amsterdam!I must tell you this is so much easier now than it used to be, with all the great online travel websites.  Hipmunk is especially excellent, as is Kayak, and they link to a bunch of travel review sites.  No one site has all the information, but by clicking around a little the picture emerges.  And you come out of the process feeling like you got a good deal, and you [somewhat] know what you're getting into.  (You can remind me I said that, stay tuned :)

The key underlying technology is Google Maps.  How excellent that anyone can just link in and use them.

The bummer in all this is the exchange rate with the Euro; just when you think you have a deal, you realize yikes! it's not such a deal in Dollars :(


Archive: June 29, 2010

Tuesday,  06/29/10  10:11 PM

A productive day in which I avoided the spin cycle [mostly] and was able to focus on the stuff I had to get done.  Ran out of time at the end though, crud, I hate when that happens...  must *focus* and [somehow] avoid the noise and work only on the most important stuff.  Okay, will do, starting ... tomorrow ...

Leila's Cheese List - click to enbiggenHow do you know you're in a cool restaurant?  By their cheese list, of course.  Checked in from Leila's tonight, had Robiola, Ossau Iraty, Valdeon, Taleggio, and Garroxta.  They were all amazing and the Teleggio was transcending.  Accompanied by a Melville Pinot.  I am happy.

Tesla roadsterCongratulations Tesla!  IPO shares pop, open at $18, close at $24.  Yippee.  The first time a car company has gone public in fifty years, and they have an incredible disruptive technology as they are truly selling electric-powered cars (unlike hybrids, which are efficient gas-powered cars).

Do you have cellphone reception problems?  You could always put a small cell tower in your house.

vuvuzela!You have been warned: Vuvuzelas are now for sale on Amazon.  Bbbbbpppp!  I love that there's even an MP3 single of the Vuvuzela sound available :)

2010 Tour de France profile maps - click to enbiggenAre you ready?  ARE YOU READY!  This weekend starts the Tour de France, yay!  Velonews have helpfully posted profile maps of all the stages...  me and my Tivo are ready...

Did you hear?  Talking to yourself might be the highest form of intelligence.  Yeah dude, you're a genius...


Archive: June 29, 2009

Father's Day (in pictures)

Monday,  06/29/09  10:37 PM

You will remember I had a most wonderful Father's Day weekend crewing for Meg in the C-15 North American Championship, at Lake Huntington in the Sierras?  Well yesterday I received a DVD with a ton of great pictures taken on the water, and some of them are amazing.  I've posted a smattering on Facebook in case you're interested, and am in the process of editing and posting the rest...

bullet start!
bullet start!

cranking to weather
cranking to weather

bearing off for the mark
bearing off for the mark

planing on a dead run
planing on a dead run

As much fun as it was sailing, and as proud as I was of Meg at the time, it will now last forever captured in these pictures.  A perfect Father's Day weekend :)


Monday,  06/29/09  11:10 PM

... and so I am somewhat back to normal, somewhat recovered from my long ride Saturday and from losing Smokey Friday, and somewhat caught up from a busy week during which I fell behinder* each day.  Was actually able to do some coding (in both English and C++).  Edited and posted some pictures.  And blogged...

* yes of course behinder is a real word

... which is something my friend Robert Scoble is back to doing (yay) after having shifted most of his communication to Twitter and Friendfeed (and apparently after having lost 50% of his traffic, wow).  Welcome back, Robert.

Oh and I have to agree with this post about Facebook, in which he wonders why they're trying to be like Twitter and Friendfeed.  I don't know either, seems like Facebook will be around long after Twitter is a footnote.

This is a really good thing: The Supreme Court has ruled that white firefighters in New Haven were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.  This is great news because any decisions based on race are racist.  Minorities benefit from this too because if promotions are made purely on merit, there won't be any hint that they weren't really qualified when they are promoted.  I really hope Sotomayor is not confirmed, although that seems unlikely.  It isn't that she's liberal, it's that she's activist.

Denis Menchov on the TT bikeAre you ready?  Tivo checked out, schedules arranged?  Yes that's right the Tour de France starts next Saturday.  Woo hoo!  Stay tuned for pixel-to-pixel coverage.  In case you haven't figured it out from the pic at left, I'm rooting for Denis Menchov, since it's unlikely Levi will be allowed to go for the win.  Menchov just won the Giro in fine form. Go Rabobank!

Quantum HoopsThe other day I mentioned Quantum Hoops, a great documentary about the Caltech basketball team, which hadn't won a league game for over twenty-one years.  So I bought the DVD, and last night I watched it.  Great stuff, especially if you're a Caltech alum, they have the whole backstory, the history of the school, historical figures who achieved great things (while floundering at basketball), etc.  Oh and the basketball is pretty cool too :)

This is excellent: Malcom Gladwell reviews Chris Anderson's Free.  I love this excerpt: "YouTube is a great example of Free, except that Free technology ends up not being Free because of the way consumers respond to Free, fatally compromising YouTube’s ability to make money around Free, and forcing it to retreat from the 'abundance thinking' that lies at the heart of Free.  Credit Suisse estimates that YouTube will lose close to half a billion dollars this year.  If it were a bank, it would be eligible for TARP funds."  Not all free things can make money :)

Since it is a Free Internet, Chris Anderson responds:  Dear Malcolm: Why so threatened?

If you want to invest in Free, Fox has a story about how to invest in Facebook and Twitter before they go public.  Apparently a lot of their own employees are doing this, rather than wait for liquidity.  Interesting.

Oh and speaking of Free, Mark Cantor has plain advice for the Plain Dealer.  "The point is that it’s NOT about changing the copyright laws and asking for special treatment.  If the Plain Dealer can’t sustain itself, it’ll go the same route as the auto industry, the housing market and oh yah - the world of investment banking."  Hits the nail on the head, IMHO...

And we have another roller: LogMeIn IPO 'should blow the socks off people'.  Let's hope so, the IPO market needs more players (and more successes)...

Here's a pretty interesting new company: Aardvark.  The NYTimes reports all your friends are now in the answer business.  Basically it is an automated way to ask your friends and your friends-of-friends for advice.  This actually seems like it will work.  Huh...

Java loading logoOf all the lame attempts to wedge branding in where it makes no sense, my vote goes to Sun's Java.  You load a web page, it happens to contain a Java application, and ... what's this?  Some weird spinning logo thing - what's Java? - and why is this taking so long? - and what's Java anyway?  Nobody can understand this.  Explain it to me, please...

So I was wrong to think I was wrong about the Kindle.  I'd thought there's a limit on the number of times you can [re]download a book, but that's wrong; the limit is on simultaneous devices.  Okay, that makes sense.  Whew.  [ thanks Gary for straightening me out :]

ZooBorn: A Lynx kittenZooBorn of the day: a Lynx kitten.  Adorable!


Archive: June 29, 2008

liquid tension experiment

Sunday,  06/29/08  11:07 AM

Last Friday night I went to see Liquid Tension Experiment, a prog-rock band consisting of members of Dream Theater and the keyboardist Jordan Rudess, thanks to my friend Bill Smith (who is a prog-rock guru par excellence).  To say they were fantastic would be unworthy; they were out of this world.  I expected it to be great, and it was that much greater.

One of the great things about this concert was the simplicity.  Simple venue (Downey Civic Theater), no opening act, no pyrotechnics, a minimum of light effects.  Just your basic four musicians on stage for two and a half hours, playing their brains out.  Before the show the promoter said he had a theory about the audience, and asked for a show of hands; "how many of you are musicians?"  About 80%.  Excellent musicians playing for other musicians.

Pictures (sorry, cameraphone in the dark):

LTE are: Jordan Rudess, Tony Levin, Mike Portnoy, John Petrucci...

John Petrucci did some amazing guitar soles, whew...

Matched by Jordan Rudess on keyboards (loved that handheld keyboard, BTW)...

A total explosion of sound, how could four guys do that :)...

Thank you, for a wonderful amazing evening!



quintuple double - joining the 1,000 mile club

Sunday,  06/29/08  11:28 AM

Yesterday I rode in the Grand Tour Double Century, my fifth this year, and have joined the California Triple Crown 1,000 mile club.  Yay, me.  This event was the 50th anniversary of the  original double; 50 years ago a group of century riders at the L.A. Wheelmen Club bet each other they couldn't ride 200 miles in a single day.  I completed it in 11:52 riding time, 13:55 overall, which I'm pretty happy about considering the amount of climbing - 8,300' - and the heat.  (I lost six pounds, clearly didn't drink or eat enough, and am rectifying that at this moment :) 

As usual I rode with my friend Mark Burson; here we are at the fifth checkpoint, 115 miles in, we're smiling because it was a nice day and there was food at this stop...

Ole and Mark - the Grand Tour

This wasn't the easiest double I've ridden - that would be Solvang - but it was the easiest for me; there is still no such thing as an easy double (there is always at least one point during the ride where you question your sanity) but I think I'm gradually getting used to spending that much time riding all at once.  My biggest problem on this ride was food; usually there is stuff at every checkpoint, but for some reason in this ride there really wasn't; well okay, they had bananas and orange slices and such, but how about some sandwiches, some power bars, something with calories?  I resorted to drinking [real] cokes, a source of sugar, but not exactly real food.

Next up - the Death Ride (dum dum dum), which is a mere 129 miles, but features 15,000' of climbing...


Sunday,  06/29/08  07:42 PM

Spent another lazy Sunday afternoon messing about in small boats, with Megan and her friend Madison; having discovered the joy of deliberately capsizing (aka swimming in the lake) they determined to perfect this important skill.  Meanwhile I got sunburnt and otherwise had a great time.

It must be said, two consecutive days of not working are somewhat guilt-inducing.  Yes, I am a workaholic.

AARP cardTalk about depressing; guess what arrived in the mail Friday?  A fake AARP card, as a solicitation for me to join AARP and get a real one.  My reaction to this is unexpectedly strong.  Perhaps turning 50 (as I will this December) is not going to be easy.

Big Sur fireHave you been following all the fires in Northern California?  Horrible.  One thing that strikes me, when there's a disaster, they never show a map.  Pictures of the fires and the firemen are all very exciting, but I want to see where it is...

I love this headline, about the Supreme Court's Heller ruling: News Flash: the constitution means what says.  Reading about the dissenting opinions, I'm struck that the court has really moved beyond interpreting laws to making laws.  There really isn't much question about the fundamental issue, given the second amendment.

The London Times: Cheer up, we're winning the war on terror.  "The evidence is now overwhelming that on all fronts, despite inevitable losses from time to time, it is we who are advancing and the enemy who is in retreat."  Ah yes.  But hey, let's leave Iraq anyway, as soon as possible.

Another case of gloom-and-doom denied: Palm's 4th quarter not as bad as you think.  "Palm continued to flaunt its almost inexplicable boost in health in an earnings call yesterday.  Honcho Ed Colligan boasted of a 29 percent gain in smartphone sales year-over-year, largely in part to the stellar performance of the company's budget-priced Centro."  I continue to love mine.  In fact I just discovered yet another cool thing it does, it auto-completes addresses based on information already entered.  If I start typing "Westlake Village" in an address, by the time I type "e" it fills in the rest for me.  Nice.

Qingdao's algae carpetValencia Sailing notes Qingdao's golf course.  Qingdao is the sailing venue for the 2008 Olympics; unfortunately the bay is presently covered with a thick carpet of algae.  It isn't clear whether this is temporary or a serious obstacle to the competition.

Bentley flying spurWhen carbon footprints don't matter: the 2009 Bentley Flying Spur.  A 600hp W12.  I bet when you accelerate you can use the gas gauge instead of the speedometer.  Note that Bentley's chief engineer is Dr. Uli Eichhorn; I don't know if we're related, but I suspect we are...  [ via Instapundit ]

Not sure what to make of Google Media Server, an add-on to Google Desktop which let's you stream movies and music from your computer to "any PnP-compatible device".  Huh.

Brad Feld considers the unintended consequences of hybrid cars.  The thing about hybrid cars is, they’re gas-powered vehicles.  They might be moderately more efficient than Hummers, and they might have electric engines inside, but at the end of the day you put gas in them to run them.  Someday there may be electric cars (go Tesla!) but that day is not here – yet.

Russell Beattie wants to know where are the electric cars?  Indeed.

[ Update: this just in, Arnold is going to help Tesla announce their new "whitestar" sedan tomorrow. ]

Wall-E rocksThe reviews for Wall-E are uniformly positive; CNN calls it a classic.  I can't wait to see it myself.  Weird how Pixar has been able to make one great movie after another, one hit movie after another, while other studies struggle...

Yay!  Eric Raymond is unstealthing...





Archive: June 29, 2007


Archive: June 29, 2006


Archive: June 25, 2005

Thanks, Bill!

Saturday,  06/25/05  09:14 PM

Man, do I have a backlog of stuff to post.  Soon to come.

In the meantime I am sick as a [small] dog, with my wife out of town at a conference, and my kids each sleeping over at friend's houses.  So here I am, all alone.  Yeah, I was coding if you must know.

15GB iPodMichael ShenkerSo my friend Bill Smith comes over, and gives me a spiffy 15GB iPod!  Filled with music.  Excellent music.  Rockin', wonderful, amazing music.  I am listening to Michael Shenker right now and it has completely changed my mood.  Steve Vai will be next.  Then Bill Sheehan. 

Best of all, my productivity has jumped.  I've been working on this new feature for Aperio's WebViewer which I'm really excited about, and suddenly the parts are fitting together.  If you can't code to Michael Shenker's Three Fish Dancing, then you can't code :)

Thanks, Bill!


Archive: June 17, 2004

(new yorker, 6/13/04)

Thursday,  06/17/04  01:07 AM



C++ method pointers

Thursday,  06/17/04  08:57 AM

Have you ever wanted to use a pointer to a class method?  This might be basic C++ but I couldn’t remember how to do it, and spent some time Googling and messing around to figure it out.  So here’s the way:

To define a pointer to a class method:

returnval (myclass::*method)(parameters…)

For example:

char *(myclass::*pmethod)(int parm);

This defines a pointer named pmethod to a method of the myclass class.  The method has a single int parameter and returns a char*.

To assign a value to the pointer:

pmethod = &myclass::method;

For example:

pmethod = &myclass::mymethod;

This sets pmethod to point to mymethod.

To call the class method:


For example:

mychar = (myobject.*pmethod)(myint);

This calls the method pointed to by pmethod.

The pointer can itself be in a struct or class as well.  For example:

struct {                      // processing table

char  *name;

char  *(myclass::*pmethod)(int parm);

} proctbl[] = {

{ “text”,  &myclass::mymethod},

{ “text2”,&myclass::anothermethod}


This defines a table of structures with two entries, each of which has a method pointer.  The function can then be called as follows:

mychar = (myobject.*proctbl[index].pmethod)(myint);

In this example, the pointer proctbl[index].pmethod identifies the method to be called.

Note that “::*” and “.*” are actually separate operators in C++.  There is also a “->*” operator.

You might never need this, but just in case you do…


Archive: June 29, 2003

What was M.E.?

Sunday,  06/29/03  10:30 AM

My post about Mitochondrial Eve attracted a bunch of interest - thank you! - and several people asked a key question: what species was ME?

There is no direct evidence about ME at all - we have not found a fossil record of this particular individual.  We can infer logically that she must have existed, and we can deduce approximately how long ago she lived from the amount of variation in Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) among present humans - about 200,000 years ago.  This analysis also indicates the probable region in which she lived - East Africa.

From the age and region, we can deduce the species, see the following timeline:

modern human family tree

As you can see, homo heidelbergensis was the direct ancestor species for homo sapiens.  This species has been further divided into homo sapiens archaic and home sapiens modern; a distinction made based on recent fossil finds.  The earliest human skulls were recently found in Ethiopia, dated about 160,000 years ago.  ME was most likely homo sapiens archaic, although based on this date and region, it is possible she was an early homo sapiens modern.  [ thanks to Dennis O'Neil for the diagram ]

One fascinating point to make in this connection is that there is never a "first organism" for any species.  Much like ME itself, the crown of "earliest organism" for a species is retrospective, since speciation takes place over thousands of years and can only be discerned gradually.  The classic definition of species - organisms which can interbreed - is not as cut and dried as one would like; there are often cases where A can breed with B, and B can breed with C, but A cannot breed with C.

It is interesting to speculate on the early history of ME and her ancestors.  Was there a catastrophic event which eliminated many of ME's competitors, funneling the genetic ancestry through a single line?  Perhaps ME migrated into a region which was spared from a climatic or other environmental event.  Or perhaps ME embodied a mutation which conferred immunity from a particular disease.  ME's daughters and granddaughters might have followed a single evolutionary path, living together in the same region and contributing to a common gene pool.  Or perhaps one or more daughters split off, forming subspecies which ultimately died out.

The transition period from H. sapiens archaic to H. sapiens modern is about 50,000 years, or about 250,000 human generations.  Although that seems like a lot, this is actually a short timescale from an evolutionary standpoint.  The genetic changes over this period would be slight.

It is suggestive that ME apparently lived right at the earliest time where the fossil record indicates the transition from H. sapiens archaic to H. sapiens modern.  The family tree for ME must have contained thousands of branches which did not successfully make it to the present day, although we know from the very definition of ME that it does contain at least two which did!


email to Dave

Sunday,  06/29/03  06:18 PM

I sent the following email today, after seeing this homepage on Scripting News...

        To: Dave Winer (
Subject: You're Important

Dave -

I think I understand how you feel.  For years you persevered with RSS, fighting Microsoft alongside Netscape, and now that it is finally getting traction and being used widely, this Echo thing has come along.  I honestly don't understand why RSS has to be fixed - it doesn't seem broken to me - but what must be especially frustrating for you is that the reason seems to be that people don't like working with you, not because of some technical reason.  If RSS 2.0 needs extensions or the spec needs tightening up, fine, invent 2.1 and tighten up the spec.  If the metaWebLog API needs additional features or the spec needs tightening up, fine, extend the API and tighten up the spec.  But don't turn it into a personal attack.

I think you're really important.  I sometimes joke about you - I've been known to say my WN is 1/2 - but I don't mean anything by it really; like a lot of people I have respect for you and respect for the things you've built.  You have also kept the big picture - that it is important for small developers and users to unite on RSS otherwise some BigCo will have the opportunity to dictate.

Anyway, please hang in there.  Hopefully this Echo thing will pass, but even if it doesn't it will owe all its concepts and underpinnings to RSS.



Sunday,  06/29/03  06:27 PM

I talked to my Mom today.  She said my 'blog is getting boring, too much technical stuff and not enough politics.  Of course when I write about politics people tell me they don't care about that, they read for the technical stuff.  I guess I'll just have to write whatever I want, that's easiest anyway :)

So, I see where Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad have jointly declared a ceasefire .  I can't help but be cynical about this; they have a long list of demands from Israel.  As soon as it becomes obvious that the demands are not going to be met - and there is no political way they will be - it will give the terrorists an excuse to go back to violence.

I think President Bush has the right idea: U.S. Cautious about Palestinian Truce.  "The White House on Sunday called a three-month suspension of attacks by Palestinian militant groups a step in the right direction but said the Palestinian Authority must still dismantle 'terrorist infrastructures.'"  Yep.

Steven Den Beste is running a betting pool: how long till the next suicide bombing?  He thinks less than four days...

What happens when a government systematically denies the truth?  In a medical situation with extreme implications for the populace?  South Africans rape children as the cure for AIDS .  Apparently people believe that having sex with virgins will cure AIDS, mostly because they lack for real medical information.  Unbelievable.

Fortune - Krispy KremeI just got the latest issue of Fortune magazine.  Not good.  On the cover: Krispy Kreme is "America's hottest brand"; inside you can find The Hole Story.  Well I read it and I must say it shed no light whatsoever, even though the story is full of holes (sorry).  This could have been an interesting story about what makes a successful consumer brand, and how such a thing as a donut "tips", but no...  Also inside, a story about "the 50 best companies for minorities".  There are accompanying articles on "diversity", with the theme echoed by a lot of ads. 

C'mon, people, this is 2003.  Focusing on race is so 1900s.  Any differential treatment based on skin color is discrimination!  Do we run articles about "the 50 best companies for blondes"?  How about "the 50 best companies for short people"?  Or even "the 50 best companies for Italians"?  Perhaps because I've been a technologist in an industry like software which is highly integrated, but it seems people really don't pay attention to race any more.  I've worked with people from all over the world and from every race, and it just doesn't matter.  Companies hire and promote the best possible people for a position regardless of race because they must to be competitive.  I think articles like this one are a step backward; Fortune needs to wake up.

The NYTimes considers the implications of the success of Harry Potter and the bootlegged Hulk movie: Harry crushes the Hulk.  The point seems to be that kids like Harry Potter so they bought the new book, whereas they don't like the Hulk so they "pirated" it by downloading the bootleg.  Huh?  This is totally incorrect.  People paid for the book because they couldn't get the content any other way.  Imagine an e-book environment where reading was pleasurable (a really thin flexible tablet, or something like that), and imagine e-books were available on Kazaa (as they surely will be, someday); does anyone seriously doubt many many people and not just kids would have downloaded Harry?  The big difference - indeed the only meaningful difference - between books and movies at this point in time is the technology.  And that will change.

Tim Bray continues his series on search technology: Squirmy Words.  Yeah, "squirmy" is a technical term :)

A lot of reaction to Dave's taking down Scripting News for a day...  see The Scobleizer for links.

Don Park: My Take on Echo's Future.  "I don't think the chance of Echo replacing RSS is very good."  Don was an early supporter of Echo.

Dave Winer: Okay I think I've made my point.

Hey, Dr. GUI has a blog!  Warning this is for geeks only.  Dr. GUI is a mythical character from Microsoft's Developer Network newsletters; he basically does Q&A on highly technical issues posed by developers.  (GUI is an acronym for Graphical User Interface.)  One thing for sure, the good doctor is always "in".

Intellitoast.  Pretty cool for being a hot use of Flash :)


About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
Aperio's Mission = Automating Pathology
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
the big day
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?