Critical Section

Archive: October 19, 2018


Archive: October 19, 2017


Archive: October 19, 2016


Archive: October 19, 2015


Archive: October 19, 2014

monster mashup

Sunday,  10/19/14  12:49 PM

monster mashupI'm stuck coding so I might as well blog...

And even coding is a distraction from creating a pitch deck.

And even creating the deck was a distraction from practicing a presentation.

Deeply nested yak shaving, you have been warned :)

This looks cool, need to learn more about it: mobile linking gets deeper.  I, too, have wondered about the difficulty of interaction between links and apps.  This is one thing - perhaps the main thing - which the web has going for it, and it is a big thing.

Hehe this is awesome: Spanish comedy club uses facial recognition to charge customers on a per-laugh basis.  Good thing I didn't have to pay per-laugh while reading it.  What an inventive use of visual search :)

Hurry!  Six mobile innovations retailers have time to adopt for the Holidays.  I notice visual search didn't make the list, but maybe it will take too much time.  Next year!

Yovo - intriguing screenshot protectionThis is pretty cool: new photo app protects your pics from screenshots.  A most intriguing plugging of "the analog hole", reminiscent of the Macrovision hack which was used to protect VCRs.  Will be interesting to see if this catches on...

the backs of receiversDave Winer: the backs of receivers today suck.  Yes they do.  And it's because they're mired in old technology ... like ... RCA plugs (click through for a great picture of the back of a 1940s-era radio).  My 12-year-old Yamaha receiver is the oldest piece of electronics in my house, because there's nothing with current technology to which I can upgrade.  Every receiver should just be on your WiFi, accessing your media server, right?

Eric Schmidt: Google's biggest search competitor is Amazon.  Not competitor, but search competitor.  How interesting.  Read the whole article, it's full of good stuff...

Really?  Amazon to open New York retail store.  For picking stuff up though, not for picking stuff out.  Still, weird.

baseball strike zone expansionAfter watching the League Division Series, I must agree: Baseball's strike zone expansion is out of control.  This is presently a weak spot in the game; human interest is all very exciting, but how lame is it when the announcer's report "so and so is a low strike umpire".

Pretty thought-provoking, from Scott "Dilbert" Adams: ISIS Puzzle.  "In the long run, I think ISIS will be the best thing that happened to the Middle East because of what it does to the common psychology of who the "real" enemy is. And it comes when the problems in the Middle East seemed otherwise unsolvable. Is that a coincidence?"  I like, you think.

The app that helped launch a revolution: FireChat.  When the revolution cannot be televised, Tweeted, or IM'ed, a decentralized phone-to-phone network steps in.  How fascinating.

Apple product lineLast Thursday Apple held another announcement event, billing it "it's been way too long", but in the end it wasn't much of an event.  Cult of Mac posted a nice summary: The twelve biggest takeaways from Apple's iPad event.  My summary from the summaries is ... a bunch of expected upgrades.  Which doesn't mean they aren't cool, but they aren't significant, like the announcement of the Apple Watch a few weeks ago.  Perhaps the fact that most of the announced products had a version number tells the story.  Onward!

I do agree the graphic shown at right is a cool summary of Apple's current product line.

On the long trip to Mars, virtual reality could help keep astronauts sane.  Well, yeah.  Of course if the spacecraft and sensors are good enough, no need to send people at all, just use virtual reality to let them experience the trip!

Lockheed Martin announces breakthrough in nuclear fusionLockheed Martin announces a major breakthrough in nuclear fusion.  Excellent!  Given their gravitas, I doubt this is simple announceware to placate investors, there must be something real behind it.  More, faster!

Meanwhile: The physics of why 'cold fusion' isn't real.  I'm reminded of that saying, when a scientist says something is possible, they're probably right, when they say it's impossible, they could be wrong.



Archive: October 19, 2013

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Saturday,  10/19/13  04:47 PM

Sensei JobsToday is the second anniversary of Steve Jobs' passing, and to commemorate Business Insider posted a few key quotes.

I like them all but especially this one, headed:

On your working life

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

It's always been a nice sentiment and all the more so for being true, but it's especially relevant to me just now.  Stay tuned as I will have some interesting news about *my* working life.

This quote is from Steve's amazing Stanford Commencement speech, delivered in June 2005 when he was already ill with the cancer that ultimately took his life (though we didn't know it at the time).  The speech ends, Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.  Indeed...


Archive: October 19, 2012


Archive: October 15, 2011

no joy in Baker

Saturday,  10/15/11  11:20 AM

Saturday midnight, Stovepipe Wells. Wondering if I'm going to make it.Well, I didn't make it.  No shame, but I am disappointed.

Sunday night at 9:30, having left Baker and on the road to Kelso, I stopped riding and got in the van.  After having born pain in my feet for two days, it suddenly became unbearable.  I wasn't so much as decision as an acknowledgement; I was again unable to finish the Furnace Creek 508.

This picture was taken Saturday midnight in Stovepipe Wells, icing my feet as I had about ten times during the day.  Wondering if I was going to make it.

If you're a friend or frequent reader you know, I rode this race in 2009 and made it 300 miles. This year I made it 400 miles. That feels like progress, but in one sense this the race is binary; you either go 508 miles and finish or you don't.  And I didn't finish then and I didn't finish now. The reasons were very different but the high-level result is the same. And yet it doesn't feel the same at all.

Here's a profile of the race course; the red lines are the time stations which delimit the race stages, the blue arrow shows how far I made it in 2009, and the green arrow shows how far I made it this year.

no joy in Baker, after 400 miles...

In 2009 I got off to a flying start and cruised into Death Valley four hours ahead of schedule.  Then the winds started to howl and my head blew up and I just couldn't take it.  After resting for a bit in Furnace Creek I struggled in the dark for a while before abandoning in Badwater.  Almost immediately I wished I'd kept trying, and in the two years since I've promised myself there would be a next time, and when there was I wouldn't stop. 

Death Valley: just me and my crew and 200 miles to go...This year I got off to a terrible start, lost my GPS unit and fifteen minutes searching for it three miles into the ride, and had my feet start hurting almost immediately.  By California City I was in serious pain, and switched bikes, pedals, shoes, and everything else to deal with it.  Icing my feet in a cooler seemed to be the only thing that worked, and that only for short periods of time.  I made it Randsburg, iced, made it to Trona, iced, made it through Panamint Valley, iced, and then vowed to summit Townes Pass.  I climbed it - in fine style, if I may say - and then descended down into Death Valley.  Yay; after more ice and a longish rest, onward into day two! 

But day two brought more pain, lots more ice, and lots of lost time while icing.  By the time I reached Shoshone I was running out of time and wearing down.  I vowed to reach Baker, and did.  From there I had 10 hours left to ride, with 120 miles and 7,000' of climbing.  Just barely doable.  I took off for Kelso, and suddenly I couldn't do it anymore.  The exhaustion and strain brought down my threshold of pain to the point where I couldn't continue.  Boo.

I will make a longer post with many of the great pictures which were taken but I must not end this one without thanking my amazing crew, Mitch Albo, Mark Elliot, and Gene Smith.  I also have to tell you about my new bike which was incredible, and about the van, which worked out perfectly, and so many other things ... please stay tuned!


Archive: October 1, 2010

the world's smallest elephant

Friday,  10/01/10  05:55 PM

The picture above shows the world's smallest elephant; a rather oddly shaped cell in a cluster of other cells imaged from a pap smear at 1/4 micron per pixel.  The elephant cell is about 4 microns across :) which is 4/1,000,000th of a meter.


Archive: October 19, 2009

Monday,  10/19/09  06:31 PM

Another long week ahead; Thursday and Friday I'm attending and presenting before an FDA hearing on digital pathology.  It was fun just hanging out and relaxing yesterday, and today it was kind of back to normal work which was fun (even got in some coding...).  Still this might be the last post until the weekend, so savor it!

FuturePundit asks Does the tragedy of the commons apply to reproduction?  You bet your ass it does.  This is the whole problem behind Unnatural Selection.  His discussion is sound but he misses something important; in the reproduction game of life, "profit" is measured by the number of genes that make it into the next generation...

Eric Gagne - Welcome to the Jungle - Mariano Rivera - Enter SandmanWatching Saturday's Angel game against the Yankees, I was struck once again by the skill of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver on Fox; I love Vin Scully, but they might be the best announcing tandem on TV.  In the fifth inning Tim repeatedly called Burnett's pitches before he made them, and even predicted which ones would work and which ones wouldn't.  It was pretty amazing.

Watching the Dodgers against the Phillies, I have to sadly conclude they are not going to win this series.  It's not just that they got blown out, they just don't seem to have "it", whatever it is...

Another baseball note: I used to think Eric Gagne had the best reliever entry song, back when he was with the Dodgers they'd play Guns 'n' Roses' Welcome to the Jungle when he came into the game, but I have to give the award to Mariano Rivera, for whom they play Metallica's Enter Sandman.  Which is perfect.  Enter night, exit light :)

high resolution picture of sand dunes on MarsCheck out this incredible picture of sand dunes on Mars.  Wow.  That's just about all I can say, the resolution is amazing.  [ thanks, Chris ]

Congratulations to TidBITS!  On their 1,000th issue...  wow, that's amazing.  I can remember getting TidBITS as a text email way back when I had a Mac SE.  Come to think of it, I *still* have that Mac SE, and I'm still getting TidBITS.  Anyway congratulations to Adam and Tonya and their staff.

giant flux ribbon at edge of solar systemWow, who ordered that?*  A giant ribbon discovered at the edge of the solar system.  "Although the ribbon looks bright in the IBEX map, it does not glow in any conventional sense.  The ribbon is not a source of light, but rather a source of particles--energetic neutral atoms or ENAs."  Any structure at all on this scale is spooky, and hard to explain...

* as famously uttered by physicist I.I.Rabi when the muon was discovered.

MachinariumI haven't played an "adventure" game for a long time, not since Myst Revelation I think, but after reading Ars Technica's review of Machinarium I bought and downloaded it on the spot.  It just looks so cool.  Anyway, like I have time to play a game, but stay tuned; I am looking forward to it :)

BTW this is another instance of the "instant gratification" effect; buying a game online and downloading it vs ordering the DVD.

Motorola Druid smartphoneBoy Genius heralds the arrival of Motorola's Druid, the Android-based smartphone which is poised to make a big splash on Verizon.  It looks really cool I must say; for one thing, it has a real keyboard.  It will compete squarely against the iPhone and the Pre.

TSA comic - is that a bomb in your pocket?A delightful TSA comic, courtesy of Adam Curry.  Nobody who flies doesn't think the TSA's security procedures are a joke.  I had an expired driver's license in my pocket for six months, and they never noticed.

John Gruber discusses the Wolfram Alpha iPhone app, which is causing a stir because it costs $50.  "I haven’t bought it, but I’m glad they’ve set the price high.  There’s widespread consensus that the current race-to-the-bottom in App Store pricing discourages the development of deep, significant applications.  If all anyone is buying are quick-hit apps, then all anyone will make are quick-hit apps.  We can’t have it both ways, folks."  It certainly warms the cockles of would-be-developers' hearts... like mine :)

Fake Steve on Microsoft: Why the Borg's copycat business model no longer works.  "How is it that everything about Microsoft's business is backward looking?  This is the real problem they have now.  They're fighting wars that are already over.  They're investing huge energy into defending things they already control, like Windows."  It is amazing how they've become technically irrelevant, and so quickly.

This is interesting: Microsoft moving Visual Studio toward the cloud.  There is no application I can think of less likely to work well as a web application as a development IDE.  I will be watching this with great interest... and skepticism.

[ Update: at first I thought this meant VS itself was becoming a web app, but upon rereading I realize VS is being enhanced to support development of web apps, which makes a lot more sense. ]

ZooBorn: world's smallest rabbitAnd the ZooBorn of the weekend is...  the world's smallest rabbit.  OMG.


2009 cycling scoreboard

Monday,  10/19/09  08:07 PM

Last weekend I completed my fifth double century of the year, but it was also my eleventh ultra century (rides of more than 100 miles).  Yes, sorry but I have to keep score:

ride datedistance climbing  riding

PCH Rando 200K


124 mi



Solvang Double


200 mi



triple crown 1/5

Mulholland Challenge


109 mi



grand slam 1/4, KOM 1/3

Breathless Agony


114 mi



KOM 2/3

Heartbreak Double


202 mi



triple crown 2/5, grand slam 2/4, KOM 3/3

Eastern Sierra Double


200 mi



triple crown 3/5, grand slam 3/4

Grand Tour Double


200 mi



triple crown 4/5

Death Ride


129 mi




Cool Breeze 200K


128 mi



Furnace Creek 508


508 mi



(DNF'ed at about 300 mi)

Solvang Autumn Double


200 mi



triple crown 5/5, grand slam 4/4

Who's counting?  Me :)

And I'm keeping score in another way too; here's what my top tube looks like now:

top tube scoreboard 10/19/09
(click to enbiggen)

Wonder what it will look like next year?


Archive: October 19, 2008

when new versions suck

Sunday,  10/19/08  11:25 AM

Don't you just hate it when new versions suck?  You know what I'm talking about, I know you do...  you have this software, and you use it every day, or weekly, or once in a while, and you like it, and you know it, and, well, it works for you.  Maybe it has some bugs, maybe you wish it would be faster or better in some way, but it works for you.  And then you find there is a new version.  And you want to "stay current", and you're hoping if you upgrade maybe it will be faster or better in some way, and so you install the upgrade. 

At this point, one of two things happens...  The good outcome is that the new version is like the previous version that you knew and liked, and maybe it fixes some bugs, and maybe it is faster or better in some way, and still it works for you.  The bad, horrible, sucky outcome is that the new version is different, you no longer like it or know it, and now it doesn't work for you anymore.  Maybe the UI is changed, or they took something away, or instead of being faster or better it is now slower and not better.  And now you have this new version, and you can't decide whether to go back to the old version (what happens then...   do you stay on the old version forever, hoping for a newer new version which is better) or whether you should try to live with the new version.  It is horrible when new versions suck.

SlingPlayer v1This happened to me yesterday with something I knew and liked, and use all the time; my Slingbox Player.  So Sling has come out with "version 2", and it is all different; the UI is different, there's stuff missing, they invented some new kind of online account thing, and worst of all it is slower and not better; the picture looks worse, and it uses way more CPU time.  YUK.  So I've temporarily gone back to the previous "version 1" (thank you Acronis TrueImage - you do backup your computer before you install new versions, riight?).  And now I'm in that "what do I do now" position.  I think I keep using version 1 and hope that version 2.1 is around the corner!

BTW this is exactly what happened with XP and Vista.  And MS Office.  And Visual Studio.  (Microsoft seems to specialize in this sort of badness.)  Other examples in my life include Photoshop (I'm still on version 6, thank you), X1 (I'm still using a beta version from four years ago, thank you), and Norton Antivirus (I'm still using 2003, because it is way faster than subsequent versions, thank you).

When this happens it is usually a leading indicator that the parent company is headed in the wrong direction.  I sure hope that's not the case with Sling!



Sunday,  10/19/08  09:02 PM

In an unintended experiment, today I proved that not eating any protein all day lowers my energy level, reduces my ability to focus, and puts me in a bad mood.  Also results in weak and unsatisfactory bike rides.  Lesson learned, protein is a good thing :)

The Economist asks: how big a lead does Barack Obama really enjoy over John McCain?  That is a tough question to answer, of course, and they discuss the challenges of polling in general and polling this election in particular.  "This year has presented unusual challenges, largely because of Mr Obama. One difficulty is turnout... the youthful and black Mr Obama has brought both groups out in large numbers, getting them to register, to attend rallies and, during the primary season, to cast votes.  Many experts still think that white voters will tell pollsters that they might vote for Mr Obama, but secret racism, concealed for embarrassment, will have them voting for Mr McCain instead."  Not to mention secret conservatism.  I don't know the answer, but I do know this; the lead is smaller than you think, even if you know it...

This sounds like an interesting book: Razib reviews Red state, Blue state, Rich state, Poor state.  Like him, I don't read political books often (actually "never" might be accurate) but this one sounds 1) balanced and 2) interesting.  Stay tuned.

Robert ScobleRobert Scoble apparently took offense to the I am Joe meme; in a reversal with Iowahawk, the blogger who started it (and who usually posts satire), Robert satirically offers I am not an American.  I think if McCain supporters continue to put "I am Joe" on their blogs, and Obama supporters put "I am not an American" on theirs, the choice will be clear :)

Just to be clear, the I am Joe meme in no way implies that people who aren't Joe aren't Americans.  I may not agree with Robert, but I respect his opinion and right to have it.  Good thing we live in a country where we can disagree, in public!

My loudest bands post has provoked some email responses - thank you - and interestingly, the most vocal are not of the "hey I can't believe you included X" category, nor of the "hey I can't believe you didn't include Y" category; instead they are of the "hey I can't believe you ranked X ahead of Y category".  The biggest complaint was ranking Styx ahead of all the rest, but I stick with my choice; Miss America or Castle Walls are amazing at full volume.  I'm thinking critics of my choice just don't have a loud enough stereo to perform the comparison properly :)

physical graffiti - todayphysical graffiti - originalThe other day I noted Led Zeppelin was my favorite band of all time, and Physical Graffiti my favorite album.  World of Wonder reports artist Lou Cannizzaro went back to 96 St. Marks Place in Manhattan 33 years after that location starred on the cover, and took pictures of the building today.  Cool!

Sailing Anarchy Flying Dutchman nationalsSailing Anarchy are sponsoring the FD Nationals!  How cool is that?  Ever since I was a little kid, I've always wanted to have a Flying Dutchman, and not just because I'm Dutch :)  Actually I'd settle for sailing one...  this is the one dinghy guaranteed to draw a crowd in any boatyard (especially with the mast stepped :).  I've raced 505s, which are reputedly faster, but I *still* want an FD.  For the life list...

[Added at the end, as I was watching them win while blogging...] Hey congrats to Tampa Bay, for going from worst to first, outpitching the Red Sox 3-1, and going to their first World Series.  I've been rooting for them ever since the Dodgers lost, and will continue doing so; it would be excellent to see them beat the Phillies.  It won't be easy and I am rooting for seven games :)



Archive: October 19, 2007


Archive: October+15,+2006

Ole votes

Sunday,  10/15/06  03:38 PM

I spent this afternoon voting, in the comfort of my [home] office, with football playing in the background.  Picture me browsing to websites, reading the Official Voter Information Guide and the candidates' statements in the Sample Ballot, and actually spending time thinking about the issues.  Weird, isn't it?

I know, most people don't do this, most people have never heard of most of the candidates and don't trouble to inform themselves, most people don't understand the issues they're voting about.  So be it, our system is not perfect.

Anyway, here are my votes in case you wanted to know...

California State positions

  • Governor - Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Lieutenant Governor - Tom McClintock
  • Secretary of State - Bruce McPherson.  Tough call over Debra Bowen, even though she's way liberal.
  • Controller - Tony Strickland.  An uninformed decision but I like his website.
  • Treasurer - Claude Parrish.  This is a vote against Bill Lockyer.
  • Attorney General - Chuck Poochigian.  A vote against Jerry Brown.
  • Insurance Commissioner - Steve Poizner.  A vote against Cruz Bustamante.
  • Member, State Board of Equalization, 2nd district - Bill Leonard.  Doesn't like the parcel tax (prop 88), neither do I.
  • State Assembly, 37th district - Audra Strickland.  I agree with her positions on virtually every issue.

Federal positions

  • Senator - Dick Mountjoy.  I like him, plus a vote against Dianne Feinstein, who I voted for originally but who has disappointed me over and over and moved to the left while in office.
  • Representative, 24th district - Elton Gallegly.  He's been a great representative for a red district in a blue state.

Judicial positions

  • Joyce Kennard - Yes.
  • Carol Corrigan - Yes.
  • Robert Mallano - Yes.
  • Frances Rothschild - Yes.
  • Roger Boren - Yes.
  • Victoria Chavez - No.  A thousand times no.  No on her dad, too, except he's not on the ballot.
  • Patti Kitching - Yes.
  • Richard Alrich - Yes.
  • Norman Epstein - Yes.  Liberal but smart.
  • Thomas Willhite - Yes.
  • Nora Manella - Yes.
  • Steven Suzukawa - Yes.
  • Richard Mosk - No.  On the Christopher Commission and Iran - United States Claims Tribunal.  Not real world.
  • Sandy Kriegler - Yes.
  • Arthur Gilbert - Yes.  Has a blog :)
  • Dennis Perluss - Yes.  A Davis appointee but surprisingly rational anyway.
  • Fred Woods - Yes.  Solid citizen.
  • Laurie Zelon - No.  She and Madeleine Flier are flaming liberals, both appointed by Davis.
  • Candace Cooper - No.  Not enough on the web about her considering how long she's been on the court (appointed by Davis in 2001).
  • Madeleine Flier - No.  See Laurie Zelon above.

Community positions

  • Community College District - Cheryl Heitmann.  Seems to be doing a good job.
  • Conejo Valley School District - Mike Dunn, Pat Phelps, Tim Stephens.  Based mostly on statements in voter guides.
  • Thousand Oaks City Council - Dennis Gillette, John Diguiseppe, Bob Wilson.  I like the current council, our city is in great shape.  I'm voting incumbents.
  • Conejo Recreation and Parks - Joe Gibson, Susan Holt, Mike Berger.  Based on voter guide.

We interrupt my vote for a rant.  Why oh why do we have voter information published in Spanish?  There is one official language in California, and it isn't Spanish.  I'm Dutch, why don't we publish voter information in Dutch?  There must be people from hundreds of countries speaking thousands of languages living in California; why not publish voter information in every used language?  It doesn't make sense.  People who can't speak English or comprehend written English should not vote.  Simple as that.  Okay, now back to voting...

State propositions

  • 1A - No.  I think gas taxes probably should be used for transportation improvements, but I don't like earmarked taxes.  Let the Governor and Legislature have flexibility to reallocate when necessary.
  • 1B - Yes.  $20B bond issue for state and local transportation improvements.  Although there's an argument that we shouldn't use bonds for this stuff ("borrowing against the future") the fact is that these investments are needed and we can't fund them out of tax revenue, and shouldn't choke economic growth by raising taxes.  So...
  • 1C - No.  $3B bond issue for housing and development programs.  Unlike 1B, It isn't clear that these investments really are investments, or whether they're needed.
  • 1D - No.  $10B bond issue for school infrastructure.  Unlike 1B, I don't think school infrastructure is a one-time upgrade; rather, this is ongoing maintenance and investments needed, and should be funded from tax revenues.
  • 1E - Yes.  $4B bond issue for flood management projects.  This feels like 1B to me, so I'm for it.

Note: 1A through 1E are generally being promoted as a package, supported by [among many others] Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  I have chosen to vote for them a la carte...  despite all being bond issues they have less to do with each other than supporters of the package claim.

  • 83 - No.  Increased punishments and restrictions on sex offenders.  If I thought this would help prevent sexual abuse I'd vote for it, but I don't, so this would be just more money thrown away on bad people.
  • 84 - No.  $5.4B bond issue for water quality and flood control.  I might not understand this well enough to make the right decision, but it feels to me like a special interest thing which isn't really needed.
  • 85 - No.  Makes it more difficult for minors to get an abortion.  I think anyone who is pregnant and doesn't want a baby should get an abortion, especially minors who are less likely to care for the kid.
  • 86 - No.  Excise tax on cigarettes.  I don't like "sin taxes" and this one especially doesn't seem to make sense.  Seems to have special interest language in it, too, to protect hospitals from antitrust laws.
  • 87 - No.  $4B tax hike to fund alternative energy [sic].  I am a big fan of alternative entropy but I don't think government subsidy is the way to get there.  Instead let's remove government barriers to private enterprise solutions.  Anyway this kind of tax is a waste of money.
  • 88 - No.  This is the infamous parcel tax.  Although this is a way to carve back on Prop 13, which was a big mistake, we should change Prop 13, not enact new taxes in different configurations to work around it.  Also, it isn't progressive (that is, doesn't scale to the value of the parcel), which seems unfair.  Backed by Reed Hastings (Netflix) and John Doerr (Kleiner Perkins).
  • 89 - No.  Public campaign funding.  I don't think candidates' campaigns are a good use of public funds, sorry, even though I understand and somewhat accept the argument that in the absence of public funding, rich candidates have an advantage.  I think they do anyway (!), and people should raise money for their campaigns based on merit.
  • 90 - No.  An anti-Kelo attempt to restrict public seizure of private property.  I am sympathetic to the intent of this proposition, but unfortunately it goes too far by requiring government to compensate property owners for actions which change the value of their property, as well as actions which seize the property.  This could trigger a rash of lawsuits and restrict governments from conducting business.  ("You didn't put the new school next door to my property, so it is now less valuable!")

Thanks for your attention!

By the way, I am not one of those people who say to everyone: "you should vote!"  Instead, if you don't know what you're voting about, don't vote!  If you know the people and understand the issues, and we disagree, so be it.  But if you don't know the people and don't understand the issues, then please don't dilute my vote with yours.


Archive: October 19, 2005


Archive: October 19, 2004

Tuesday,  10/19/04  11:42 PM

Crap, server / network problems.  If you're reading this, great, I fixed it :)

Okay, so what to say about the Sox / Yankees series that hasn't been said already?  Unbelievable.  Bill Simmonds has a great review of The Surreal Life at Fenway, and that was only after game 5.  (By now, he's probably in intensive care.)  Of course, this only sets up another heartbreak for Boston fans, you know the Yankees are going to win in the end.  Great Tivo action in the meantime, however.

Jeff KentAnd the NLCS isn't too shabby either!  I've always liked Jeff Kent, ever since he punched Barry Bonds.  And I love it when a guy gets pissed because they walk the guy in front of him.  You just knew he was going to crank one, and there is was, first pitch: Bam, off the train.  My favorite play of game 5 was when Beltran ran up the hill in center field to catch Sanders' 420'  home run fly ball.

Slate ran an interesting article about America's Worst College.  That would be the Electoral College, of course.  The scheme was originally devised to give little states more power, but it hasn't done that, and what it has done is give big states less.  Here in California our votes don't count.

iDebateVia Joi Ito, iDebate.  Bush is probably listening to Adam Curry's daily source code via podcast :) 

Adam and Dave Winer have really cooked up a cool new thing using RSS enclosures and scripting to download MP3 content to your iPod.  This meme is blasting off...  as Doc notes "watching the Big Bang here, these few nanoseconds into the Event."  (I liked this anecdote from Adam about the challenges of podcasting.  This one from Dave is pretty cool, too.)  Even Medscape is podcasting!

Yesterday I noted the long tail, the idea that the 'net makes distribution for content with small markets economical.  Ottmar Liebert blogged an interesting reply: "that could very well mean the death of acoustic music performed by trained musicians on expensive instruments and recorded by expensive engineers in expensive studios.  Good-bye Satriani, good-bye classical music (already less and less music is recorded for classical labels because the cost of recording an orchestra, around 1 million plus, guarantees a loss....), good-bye the next Beatles... and hello Midi, laptop recording, turn-table jamming, and lots of rapping."  Shudder.

I have a more positive take.  Not only does the long tail provide distribution for lots of existing content, it also actively fosters the creation of new content.  Artists in many fields can create work which has niche appeal with more confidence that they can reach their audiences than ever before.  So if classical music becomes less popular – which was already the case, long before the Internet – now there is a better chance that some artists will still create new works in this genre.  Same with instrumental rock (Satriani) which hasn’t traditionally fostered many hits.  And same for nuevo flamenco!

Gizmodo notes CinemaNow Offers HD Content.  Do you use CinemaNow to watch movies?  No, I didn't think so, nobody does.  It is either too hard, too expensive, or the content is not compelling, or all three together.  There is a solution somewhere to the video-on-demand market, but they don't have it.  They're concentrating on the short neck instead of the long tail :)

I had kind of a weird decision to make tonight.  My Norton AntiVirus 2003 subscription was about to expire.  Should I renew 2003, for $25, or upgrade to 2005, for $30?  It wasn't the $5 difference that gave me pause, it was the possibility that 2005 would mess up my computer.  2003 is working just fine.  I'm afraid 2005 might try to be a firewall, or prevent me from running utilities, or otherwise do "stuff" I don't want it to do...  In the end, I opted to upgrade 2003.  I know, someday I'll have to upgrade, but not this day.

Finally, a German man has broken the record for throwing a mobile phone - 67.5 meters.  I am not making this up.  [ via Ottmar, who wonders "reaction to lack of service or sport?".  I know I've been tempted to enter the competition myself. ]


the ScanScope T3

Tuesday,  10/19/04  11:57 PM

Aperio have proudly announced the ScanScope T3!  Ta da! 

ScanScope T3The T3 system, which compliments Aperio’s existing high-throughput T2 system, allows pathologists to create, store, annotate, analyze, share, and conference virtual slide images directly from their desktop.  Up to five slides can be loaded simultaneously and scanned fully automatically using easily interchangeable 20x or 40x objectives.  The T3 is compatible with Aperio’s open software architecture and supports standard database and image file formats, streamlining integration of the T3 with existing laboratory and data management systems.

And please check this out...  A video of a ScanScope T3 in action!

We're very proud of our new baby...


Archive: October 17, 2003

Friday,  10/17/03  09:25 AM

world series logoNow you have to feel sorry for Boston fans, eh?  Great game last night, but the un-loveable Yankees triumphed in the end.  For me, Florida - New York is the least appealing matchup of all the original possibilities, I don't even know who to root for.  I guess I'll get more work done next week...

By the way, is it just me or is the ESPN website getting less and less usable?  Not only is it chock full of ads (including - arg! - pop-unders), but all the crap makes it very slow.  And the content is going downhill, too.  I always thought of ESPN as one of the really nice sites on the web, but I'm changing my mind...

[ Later: Dave Winer: Well, the Cubs lost and the Red Sox lost.  Why didn't we see that coming? ]

iTunes for WindowsSo - Hell Froze Over.  That's how Steve Jobs introduced Apple's iTunes for Windows yesterday, in his inimitable fashion.  Of course I immediately downloaded and installed it (I'm listening to Acoustic Alchemy in iTunes right now), and it looks and works exactly like the Mac version.  Interesting and nice.  In this CNet clip from the announcement Steve emphasizes "this is no baby version of iTunes, it is the best jukebox for Windows, and maybe the best Windows app ever".  No, he isn't given to hyperbole, is he?  So now virtually the entire desktop universe has a usable legal paid download alternative to file-sharing.  It will be interesting to watch the numbers.

Belkin iPod voice recorderIn addition to compatibility with Windows, new features for the iTunes Music Store include more songs, now up to 400,000, audio books, gift certificates, and celebrity playlists.  Nice.  There's also a little voice recorder add-on for iPods, and a media reader.

[ Later: Wow, just learned something new which was under-reported but potentially really important.  iTMS has an "allowance" feature, which let's parents give their kids money for buying music without giving them free-reign on the credit card.  I'm going to use this immediatelyExcellent! ]

Online coverage of this announcement has been heavy, as you might expect, and quite positive, with even stick-in-the-mud Salon proclaiming Steve Jobs leads Microsoft users to the promised land.

And for once, David Coursey makes a good point; Apple is still behind Windows as a "media hub", because they don't do [TV] video.  You have to believe that's going to change, right?

Meanwhile Matthew Fordahl reviews Napster 2.0, which is still in beta, and finds it "buggy".  Ouch.  I think they missed it by that much.

A Minnesota court has ruled Vonage is an "information service" rather than a "telecommunications service".  "Legal experts said the decision offers an early win for VoIP in what's sure to be a drawn-out legal battle with state regulators and local phone carriers worried about losing market share to a new brand of competitor."  Fascinating.

The BBC has a funny article which includes the top 10 data disasters.  #1 is "laptop shot in anger".  I haven't done that - yet - but I have done #6, "red wine spilt on laptop over dinner", and almost done #10, "laptop left on car roof as owner drives off".

Red Herring on DVRs for the Masses.  "Five years ago, if you had to pick the technology most likely to change the face of television, the hard disk drive would probably not have made your Top 10 list."  It would have made mine.  And the future trend: "In coming years, both Sony and Microsoft say they plan to make DVRs standard in their video game systems."  Kind of like BroadQ is doing now...

Sun continues to fade.  Yesterday they announced a net loss of $286M, on top of their 10th consecutive quarter with declining revenue.  They're rapidly becoming irrelevant - I debated whether it was worth even mentioning them in this post.

In Debbie Does Bittorrent, Tim Bray reports his experiments which this cool technology.  The bottom line, despite the cool technology, content is still king.


The Joy of Craftsmanship

Friday,  10/17/03  09:20 PM

Shimano dura ace cassetteThis morning I took my road bike to a local shop to have the derailleur adjusted.  (This is the thingie in the back that shifts gears.)  There was a young kid working there, clean cut, wearing a uniform, listening to Pearl Jam.  He said "nice bike" and after I explained my symptoms, "no problem".  Now I know adjusting a Shimano Dura Ace derailleur is not "no problem" (there are nine thin sprockets very close together, and if it isn't totally dialed in at least one of the gears will miss), but I figured he knew what he was doing.

Later on I picked up the bike.  The kid had decided to change the shift cable, and said everything was now okay.  So be it, the cable was a little worn.  Then I went for a ride.  Or rather, I tried to go for a ride.  The gears were messed up beyond belief.  Much worse than they had been.  Unrideable without damaging the chain and probably the cassette, too.  Sigh.

I took the bike back to the shop.  Instead of the kid, there was an old guy there in the back, kind of portly, wearing dirty clothes under a shop apron, listening to Mexican mariachi music.  I told my story.  He shook his head gently and put my bike in the stand.  Instead of looking at the alignment, he bent his head next to the gears and listened, while gently turning the adjustment screws.  After five minutes he was done.

I'd brought my shoes and helmet so I could take a test ride at the shop.  In the first ten seconds I knew the gears were dialed in perfectly.  Every one shifted with a sweet "click" followed by perfect silence.  That old guy had nailed it.

Kestrel road bikeI just love real craftsmanship.  It goes beyond mere doing things right, it extends into art.  It is a combination of skill and experience, driven by the desire to do a thing as well as it can be done.  This guy who could adjust a derailleur just by listening to it was a real craftsman.  When I went back to the shop to tell him how delighted I was, we both shared the joy of his work.

I'm really going to enjoy going for a ride tomorrow.


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?