Critical Section

Archive: January 24, 2021


Archive: January 23, 2020

already gone

Thursday,  01/23/20  07:23 PM

Brexit!An historic day!  No, not because of the weird show in the US Senate, and not even that Mr Peanut has died.  Today the UK have formerly decided to leave the EU on 1/31/20.  Say what you like about Boris Johnson, he did what his voters wanted him to do.

Nigel Farage: 20 years ago you laughed at me, you are not laughing now.

'Cause I'm already gone
And I'm feelin' strong
I will sing this vict'ry song
Woo hoo hoo

gravity warps lightDid you know  NASA have a blog?  Well they do, and it's amazingly interesting.  Take this post about How Gravity Warps Light.

But too bad all they do these days is post about spaceflight; time was, they built and flew spaceships.  Now the best they can do is fund others who do so...

NASA: That time we flew past Pluto.  They are entitled to the "we", but all their unmanned missions are run by Caltech's JPL.

NASA: Curiosity Rover: Five Years on Mars.  A great post filled with the science from the mission.  But before that we had...

... the Opportunity to Rove on Mars.  In which a 90-day mission lasted 15 years.

Cassini mission to SaturnNASA: Cassini spacecraft: Top discoveries.  A fantastic mission and who can get enough of those amazing pictures of Saturn...

... even more ultra-close orbits of Saturn.

SpaceX: Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species.

An incredible video of what it's like to orbit the Earth for 90 minutes:

Orbit the Earth for 90 minutes



Archive: January 24, 2019


Archive: January 24, 2018


Archive: January 10, 2017

we're going to make some history today

Tuesday,  01/10/17  08:40 PM

Ten years ago, today:

Steve Jobs introduces the iPhone, Jan 10, 2007

"we're going to make some history today"

Well that was true.  Wow.

Notes on rewatching:

  • Hehe, Macs running on Intel, how amazing.
  • iTunes Store ... 5M songs per day.  Of course, no app store yet!
  • Zune, we hardly knew ya.
  • Those old iPod ads were the best.  Those white earbuds.
  • Apple TV!  Who can remember, it was introduced at the same time.  Nice hobby.
  • 22 min in ... every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything.
  • Who wants a stylus?  Nobody wants a stylus.
  • iPhone runs OS X.  Really!?
  • Sync with iTunes.  Yep the first iPhones required a computer.  Quaint.
  • 3.5mm headphone jack.  "All your iPod headphones fit right in."
  • Accelerometer.  Weird to think turning your phone sideways didn't used to do anything.
  • "To unlock my phone I just take my finger and slide it across."
  • "You had me at scrolling."
  • "The killer app for a phone is making calls."  Hehe not any more.
  • Random access voicemail.  Another breakthrough we now take for granted.
  • First public call was to Jony Ive.  Of course.  "It's not too shabby, is it."
  • SMS texting pre-iMessage.  Hardly ever see green anymore :)
  • Pinch to zoom - big ovation.
  • Yahoo! Mail.  Yay.  Biggest mail service in the world.  That was then.
  • Realtime stock updates...  APPL was up $2.40 during this keynote.  Heh.
  • "I want to show you something truly remarkable" ... Google Maps on iPhone!
  • Calling Starbucks: "I'd like to order 4,000 lattes to go please" ... so great.
  • It's my pleasure to announce ... the CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt!  This was before Android :)
  • "You can't think of the internet without thinking of Yahoo!"  Um ... yeah.
  • Launch network Cingular.  Remember them?  Eleven days after AT&T had bought them!
  • Love that anecdote about Woz and the TV scrambler at the end.
  • Wayne Gretsky: "skating where the puck is going to be".  Yep.
  • Finally, can I just say, that version of IOS looks so much better!
  • Pretty much the best tech product introduction of all time.  The benchmark.

Can you remember what was in your pocket on that day?  I proudly carried a Palm Centro.

I don't care what you say, that was a better time.  (...more history...)



Archive: January 24, 2016 fail

Sunday,  01/24/16  08:56 AM

yay, a new interface to learnOne of things I dislike more than other things is when new versions suck.

So I use this little service called, which monitors the RSS feed of my blogs, and when there's a new post it automatically relays it as a link to Facebook, Twitter, and (in the case of my business blog) to LinkedIn.  It worked great.

Yesterday they were down all day - no notifications on Twitter to say what happened - and today I discovered that they posted a bunch of links to Facebook as pictures.  They've launched a new version and it doesn't work.

Yay, a whole new interface to learn ... said nobody, ever.  But aside from the whole new interface which nobody wants to learn, it doesn't even work!  What's wrong with these people, don't they test?  There must be ten of thousands of blogs with hundreds of thousands of items which were mis-posted overnight, and thousands of people like me upset this morning.  Blech.

In addition to manually deleting the photos and manually posting the links, I had to blog about how crummy they are.  A complete waste of time.  Well, onward into the day (anyway)!

[Coda: four days later, they fixed it!  Same as it ever was ... once in a lifetime ... water flowing underground.]


the immigrant song

Sunday,  01/24/16  10:56 AM

We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, sing and cry: Valhalla, I am coming!
On we sweep with threshing oar,
Our only goal will be the western shore.

- Led Zeppelin, the Immigrant Song

immigrants!<post type=political>

I want to say a few things about immigrants.  I'm a child of immigrants - legal immigrants, mind you - and I have my point of view.

Let me start with the concept of a country.  There is a such a thing, and there is such a thing as a citizen.  And there is such a thing as NOT being a citizen of a given country.  Non-citizens have no rights to the resources of a country and none of the privileges and responsibilities of a citizen.  As it should be.

By analogy, there is such a thing as a household, and there is such a thing as a member of that household.  And there is such a thing as NOT being a member of a given household.  Non-members have no rights to the resources of the household and none of the privileges and responsibilities of household members.

The analog can be extended to cities, counties, provinces, states, etc.  Each person is in or out, either a member or not a member.  At each level the members decide the rules for admitting non-members.  And non-members have no rights to the resources of members, nor any of their privileges or responsibilities.

Given that, there is such a thing as a legal immigrant:  someone who becomes a citizen of a country of which they were not previously a citizen, by following that country's laws.  If an immigrant doesn't follow those laws then they are not a legal immigrant, and they are not entitled to the resources of the country nor to the privileges or responsibilities of its citizens.

Why do people immigrate?  For many reasons, but at the highest level they want to be a citizen of another country so they have rights to the resources of a country, sharing the privileges and responsibilities of its citizens.  Why does a country accept immigrants?  At the highest level because those immigrants are or will be net contributors to the common good.  In exchange for sharing its resources, the country is motivated by the net positive impact of having the immigrant as a citizen.

One of the most desirable aspects of being a citizen is the right to work.  Conversely, an effective way to deter illegal immigrants is to enforce the laws which prevent them from working, by punishing employers who hire non-citizens.  A "broken windows" approach to illegal immigration will be far more effective (and far less expensive) than mass deportations.

No country is obligated to accept any immigrants.  And every country is entitled to filter the immigrants it allows to become citizens.  If a prospective immigrant brings a net positive impact, great, and welcome.  If not, then so sorry, not welcome.  Immigration is a basic transaction between two willing parties.

What about newborns?  Each country can determine how newborns become citizens, but it doesn't make any sense to base citizenship on the geographic location of a person's birth.  Citizenship of a newborn should follow from the citizenship of its parents, regardless of where they are born.  For cases where the parents' citizenship differs and when countries do not allow dual citizenship, then the child must choose their country when they reach adult age.

refugeesSo, what to do about Middle Eastern refugees?  There is no obligation on the part of any country to do anything.  For humanitarian reasons a country may choose to help, but that is strictly a choice.  In practice, there is no altruism.  Countries allow refugees to immigrate because they want them, either to provide labor, or for their cultural impact, or for some other reason.

Being a refugee does not confer any entitlement to immigration.

What about Muslim immigrants?  What should really be done?  In this regard it's important to distinguish between freedom of religion and freedom of behavior.  US citizens enjoy freedom of religion, but not freedom of behavior.  Citizens must follow the law, which includes respecting the law.  And this the problem with Islam, because it is more than a religion, it is also a legal system.  Muslim immigrants who want to practice Sharia law cannot do so in the US.  If they feel this violates their religious principles, then they cannot immigrate.

As a final thought, enforcement of a country's immigration laws is an essential responsibility of its leadership.  If a US President doesn't agree with US laws, then s/he can work to get them changed, but in the meantime they should uphold those laws and enforce them.  And they should most certainly not issue executive orders which contradict them.



Archive: January 24, 2015

Saturday,  01/24/15  10:22 PM

Opportunity 11-year anniversary

Opportunity celebrates 11 years on Mars with an incredible panoramic photo, taken from the highest location it's ever visited.  Awesome!  Long may it continue to roll around "up there".  (click to enbiggen amazingly)

Consider all the amazing things that have happened in the last 11 years here on Earth in the meantime...

Genecoin - make a backup of your DNA in BitcoinJon Evans of TechCrunch: this industry is still completely ridiculous.  Yes it is.  Click through for some especially good examples.  "Satire and reality are not merely indistinguishable but actually interchangeable."

The Onion predicts Overstock's web streaming service.  From November 2013: "In a broad push to offer new content to the website’s millions of customers, executives from online retailer officially announced plans Tuesday to develop a slate of original online programming."  At the time that seemed like a good joke.  From January 2015: ", known for selling products online at discount prices, will launch a video-streaming service in the first half of this year."  Yep, interchangeable :)

NASA's Martian helicopterMeanwhile: NASA wants to send a helicopter to Mars.  Of course it does!

"Mr Cub" Ernie BanksSad news: "Mr Cub" Ernie Banks dead at 84.  Ernie Banks was my most treasured baseball card, back in the day.  Nothing which has happened in the 45 years since has made it less treasured.


Archive: January 23, 2014

Thursday,  01/23/14  10:59 PM

free time ... (or it will stay imprisoned forever)Have you ever heard the expression: "if you have too much free time, just start a company?"  If you hadn't before, you have now :)  And I can assure you it is true...

Even so have done pretty well at keeping my resolutions.  It's interesting; these are all things I enjoy, I just have to remind myself to enjoy them.  There are zero times where I say, "I wish I hadn't spent all that time working out", or, "I wish I hadn't spent time with my family".

So, I like Apple's iTunes radio but dislike the ads.  Yeah, I know, there's no free lunch...

Tesla in China!Tesla: 一个公正的价格.  "今天我们在中国推出了 Model S在线设计室,同时也正式公布了该车型的市场零售价。Model S 85 kWh在中国的起售价为人民币734,000元。"  This is so cool!  (In English)

Mac 30th anniveraryCelebrating the 30th anniversary of the Mac (!): From Pre-PC to Post-PC.  While tablets like the iPad have filled a huge need at the low end - people who couldn't or didn't want to use personal computers - it will be a long time before tablets have replaced computers.

But now this: LG's curved displays will let Apple's iWatch hug your wrist.  Cool!

So have you used Uber?  I haven't, but Uber is everywhere, and is making a huge impact on personal transportation.  MG Siegler notes Incumbents Asleep at the Wheel.  One-third of all the tax drivers in San Francisco are now driving for Uber.  Wow.

Google Nest - then and nowThe other day I expressed a concern about Google buying Nest, and I'm not the only one; check out this cartoon from Joy of Tech.  Perfect!

You can now 3D print directly from Adobe Photoshop.  Wow.  This is the first reason I've had in a long time to upgrade to the latest version of Photoshop.  It is a little weird because Photoshop is a 2D program...

And so what would you print?  How about ... chocolate?  3D Systems teams with Hershey's.  So we can use Photoshop to design the chocolate we eat!  Once again truth trumps the Onion.

Beijing sunsThis is just ... surreal.  Giant screens display fake sunrise in Beijing, while smog blots out the real sun.  Seems like a scene from a movie, right?

Paramount first major studio to abandon film altogether.  And not the last.

You can't make this up: Health Canada setting up unofficial libraries as national libraries fail.  "If you want to justify closing a library, you make access difficult and then you say it is hardly used."  Seems pretty short-sighted.

Sweden's ice orchestraJust in case you think you've seen it all: Sweden's Ice Orchestra.  Once again we that "it all" is always so much more than we thought :)


why bitcoin matters

Thursday,  01/23/14  11:42 PM

Bitcoin machineGreat article by Marc Andreessen: Why Bitcoin matters.  Good, simple explanation:

"Bitcoin is an Internet-wide distributed ledger. You buy into the ledger by purchasing one of a fixed number of slots, either with cash or by selling a product and service for Bitcoin. You sell out of the ledger by trading your Bitcoin to someone else who wants to buy into the ledger.",

and good review of the implications:

"The practical consequence of solving this problem is that Bitcoin gives us, for the first time, a way for one Internet user to transfer a unique piece of digital property to another Internet user, such that the transfer is guaranteed to be safe and secure, everyone knows that the transfer has taken place, and nobody can challenge the legitimacy of the transfer. The consequences of this breakthrough are hard to overstate."

Marc is perhaps a bit hyperbolic in the parallels he draws to PCs and the Internet, but he makes a compelling case for Bitcoin's importance.

(graphic taken from John Patrick's blog :)


Archive: January 6, 2013

checking in after ten years

Sunday,  01/06/13  06:01 PM

Happy 2013!Greetings blog friends, and Happy New Year.  Yes, it is 2013 (yay!), and yes, it has now been over a year since I've posted regularly over here; I'm posting daily on my Facebook, and it's all public, so if you'd like please subscribe to me over there.  I know, I know, it's not the same - and I'm not ruling out returning to more or less daily blogging - but I have no immediate plans to do so.

I did want to check in because it has now been ten years since I started blogging.  Wow.  During that time I have posted 2,618 entries incorporating 7,556 pictures, and they're all still  online and accessible.  I like having that history, and love being able to go back and see what I was thinking around a given time.  (For example, during last fall's presidential election, it was so cool to visit blog posts from October 2008 and October 2004.)  You might be interested to know this blog is entirely home grown and lives on a server in a closet of my house, and yes, that server is a Pentium II from 1999, and yes, it is running RedHat Linux 8, and yes, it is stable as hell.  Old technology for an old blog :)

I do still intend to recover from my extreme Yak shaving and come out the other end with a blog I can completely maintain via email.  As I've shifted more and more of my daily spelunking to my iPad this has become more and more pressing.  Or speaking of pressing, I could move the whole thing to WordPress... hmmm.


2012 revisited!

Sunday,  01/06/13  07:14 PM

Something new...For the past ten years I've had the annual ritual of updating my blog's navigation bar with "this date in" links for the prior year.  As I added '12 to the list it occurred to me, there's not much there; I did my daily posting on Facebook.  Boo.

On 9/11 this year I posted my usual remembrance and on that occasion also paused to revisit everything that had happened in the past year. That was a pretty cool list to have (for me anyway).  So in lieu of having personal history in my blog archive, here's that list again, updated...

2012 revisited:

So what's next? Well, I'm still living on Westlake Island, and still working for Aperio. But I do have some cool new projects cooking, and I'm totally excited about 2013...

Please stay tuned and I'll keep you posted!


Archive: January 13, 2012


Friday,  01/13/12  11:57 PM

Well I'm moved.  And I now have FIOS!  And I like it; it's seriously faster than the DSL I had before.  And after two days of unboxing and messing around and running cables and configuring routers and ... whew, my servers are back up, and the bits you are reading right now came from deep inside a closet of my new house.  Yay.

my new blogstation

Also yay: the Tivo HD is up and online via FIOS without any problems.  And the AppleTV is up and running too, with HD movies now streaming in realtime.  All good.

I shall have more to say "soon" - assuming I ever get back to blogging, that is - please stay tuned...


Archive: January 24, 2011

Monday,  01/24/11  09:52 PM

Hidden Valley at sunset(yawn) Just toddling off to bed; early morning tomorrow.  Managed to watch both of the football games Sunday, have a nice dinner party, and get some work done, so that was a good day.  Still Mondays always seem to dawn with regrets; it felt like I could have gotten more done over the weekend.  Now that is a workaholic creed, right?  And today I ended up spending most of the day fighting a fire I didn't even know about when I woke up.  Best part of the day was a nice ride through Hidden Valley as the sun set (pic at right); that was nice.  So be it, onward!

Soldier Field - a cold day in Chicago as the Packers freeze out da BearsLet's do football first: I liked this aerial picture of Soldier Field in Chicago, a bright little spot in a field of snow.  And yeah that's Lake Michigan on the right.  It was a cold in Chicago as the Packers froze out the Bears in the NFC championship.  This game was never in doubt, the better team played better. 

And in the other game, the Steelers pulled ahead of the Jets 24-0, but the Jets nearly came all the way back before losing 24-19.  It was sort of a slow-motion affair, a defensive struggle despite 43 points being scored.  Hard to say Pittsburgh was the better team, or that they played better either.  Maybe I'd say the Jets played worse?  Anyway I was rooting for them but they didn't play well enough to win.  I will be rooting for the Packers in the Super Bowl!

How I Killed Pluto, and why it had it comingI have a book recommendation for you: How I Killed Pluto, and why it had it coming, from Caltech Astronomer Mike Brown.  He's the guy who discovered Quaoar, then Sedna, then Eris (aka Xena)...  Kuiper Belt objects which made it obvious that Pluto was not a planet, but simply a large, close KBO.  It's a great read, he's a pleasant writer, and I enjoyed the IAU's struggle with balancing the cultural and scientific definitions of "planet".  In the end - as you know - we now have eight planets (four little ones and four big ones), as well as some other objects called "dwarf planets" which are really KBOs and Asteroids.

How not to solicit a renewal: I got the following email from Salon Premium:

Dear Ole,<br/><br/>Unless you take action, your Salon Premium membership will expire indays on February 6, 2011. <br/><br/>Please renew your membership so you can continue to support Salon's independent reporting. We rely on loyal members like you to continue being the media organization that tells you What Matters Now.<br/><br/><br/><br/>To review your Salon Premium member rewards, click here:<br/><br/><br/><br/>Please take a moment to renew your Salon Premium membership. Thanks to the support of members like you, Salon has published independently for nearly 15 years!<br/><br/>We appreciate your past help and we hope you'll continue to directly support our efforts.

Yeah, that's it, verbatim.  Somehow they sent an HTML email without the right MIME type, and it came across as plaintext.  This is a mistake anyone could make - once - but how can you make this mistake for a mass renewal mailing?  Incompetent, right?  I am [strongly] tempted not to renew [anyway].  As my interest in politics has waned, so my interest in Salon.

the iPad is introduced!I have been reflecting on the amazing success of the iPad recently, and came across my post from a year ago, when the iPad was introduced.  Apple has now sold 15M of these things, and they've driven sales of 10B apps.  I don't think even Mr. Jobs anticipated this, a complete revolution in computing.  Rereading my post, I think I nailed it.  And it is funny to see how negative the pundits were..

So I am working on iPad apps, and yes it is *hard* to test them live.  TestFlight makes it easier, simple, over-the-air app beta testing.  Yay!

re-enter the Matrix? For Matrix 4 and Matrix 5 ... !OMG according to Keanu Reaves, Matrix 4 and 5 are coming.  So ... Matrix was awesome, but Matrix Reloaded not so much, and Matrix Revolutions pretty much sucked.  The trend is down.  On the other hand, I will watch them anyway, and who knows?  They will no doubt be in 3D :)

Joel Spolsky reviews Stack Overflow in 2010; wow, amazing the traction and growth that site has experienced.  Yeah, I use it, don't you?  It is a sort of realtime Wikipedia for nerds.

new HTML logo :)The Oatmeal: State of the Web, 2010.  I love it!  (Notice how much of the recap is Yahoo screwing up?  Wow.)

That sinking feeling: Name your iPhone Titanic, plug it in, and your computer will report "Titanic is syncing".  Tap tap, crash :)

ZooBorns: baby Egyptian tortoisesZooBorns of the weekend: baby Egyptian tortoises.


Archive: January 24, 2010

Palomar in snow

Sunday,  01/24/10  11:23 AM

Today I made my annual pilgrimage to the top of Mount Palomar, accompanied by my British colleague and friend Peter.  We start at Lake Henshaw, ride about 10 miles along the base of the mountain, then ascend the South Grade, 8 miles at 8%.  (Yee haw!)  Visit Mother's, visit the observatory, and then descend the East Grade, 13 miles at 5%, for a nice little 40 mile ride with about 4,000' of climbing.  This year's incarnation was made more interesting by the fact that Palomar is presently shrouded in snow (!), and in fact we were unable to go all the way to the observatory because the roads were closed.  We also shared the day with hundreds of families who thought to take their kids to the snow.  And yes, it was a bit nippy at times, but all in all it was a great day. 

Anecdote of the day: Peter rented a [nice] Cervelo from Nytro in Encinitas, which happened to have a 36x25 as its low gear.  We're climbing, and he says he wishes he had a 27, and I said yeah I have a 27, wish I could give it to you, since I'm not using it.  (What I didn't tell him, I didn't use my 25 either; did the whole climb in my 23.)

Some pictures:

on a clear day you can see for miles and miles and miles and...

yes this is a real climb, an epic climb, Lance even said so :)

self-portrait, top of Palomar in the background (going around a switchback)

relaxing in the "front yard" at Mother's
the back yard was filled with white stuff

surreal scene descending the East Grade, Californian winter wonderland


Sunday,  01/24/10  11:42 PM

Well it's the start of a long and interesting week, for me personally as we have Aperio's sales team in town for our annual kickoff meeting, and for the world as President Obama is giving his state of the union address and Apple are announcing their tablet.  May you live in interesting times, indeed!

Much socializing ahead so blogging will be light nonexistent this week, but here's a brief filter pass...

Mars cratorMarc Cantor: you can't make up these images (from Mars!)  They are incredible...

Twelve resolutions on how to be a mensch.  A good list; better than many similar which have come before.  Seems like a key attribute of mensch-ness is intent; you do good things, but also, you do them for good reasons.  [ via Guy Kawasaki ]

Better Place VCWow: WSJ reports VCs put $350M into Better Place.  This is the electric-car-as-utility company I keep posting about; they sure have attracted a huge following (and now, a ton of money).  Now let's see what they do; say what you like about Tesla, but they are shipping electric cars while lots of others are just talking about it.

With Apple's tablet announcement Tuesday, Robert Scoble dusts off some advice taken from his days at NEC, when they made Windows tablets.  "This is just a fun way to remind you that Bill Gates actually has been pushing Tablets for many years, but his failure in capturing the industry’s imagination has left the door open for Steve Jobs to hit a grand slam home run."  Stay tuned!

owl in flight!Picture of the day or perhaps any day: an owl in flight!  I agree with Clive Thompson that it's awesome; what's so cool is that the logic of the head shape is much more apparent when seen like this...  the eyes and beak in front, the blunt yet aero shape.  Evolution is a magnificent watchmaker, all the more so for being blind :)


Archive: January 24, 2009

25 years ago

Saturday,  01/24/09  08:04 PM

Twenty-five years ago, a new age dawned...  and it was insanely great...

25 years ago... Macintosh introduced!

I remember this so well - the sense that something new had happened, a window into a new world that suddenly existed, full of possibilities...  And you have to love Steve Jobs; even twenty-five years ago, he was the consummate showman.

Of course I pulled out Hen3ry, my trusty Mac/SE, and booted him up to celebrate.  Beep!  No problem, came right up with his cheery little gray-and-white screen.


I showed Megan, and she asked whether "it worked"?  I said sure, go ahead and play with it.  "Where's the Internet?"  Ha.  Remember when computers were stand-alone?  Yeah, those were the days.  In fact Hen3ry used to have a Radius full-screen page monitor attached (long-since dead), and was used every day for word processing.  I *still* have the Apple LaserWriter I used too, and it still works.

[ Update: Dave Winer ponders What made the Mac different.  A nice post, I'd forgotten all the ways in which the Mac was different, but it certainly was... ]


Archive: January 24, 2008

Thursday,  01/24/08  10:54 PM

rain at Point MuguI'm baaack!  No worries, I was just traveling...  I must tell you we are having serious rain out here.  As in water from the sky, day after day.  I believe it is a good thing in that we need the water, and also I find it pleasant and relaxing.  Tonight I did a ride in the rain from Carlsbad up to Camp Pendleton, and it was great; the sound of rain on the ocean is amazing.

So an interesting thing has happened; my blog traffic has increased significantly, and I blame Google Image Search.  See, with Google Image Search people easily can find pictures on a variety of subjects, and sometimes the pictures they find are in one of my blog posts.  So far, so good; enjoy my pictures!  And sometimes they link to the post containing the picture, so far, so better; enjoy my blog posts!  But sometimes they link to the picture only, so far, not good; I don't mind if you enjoy my pictures, but I don't necessarily want to host them for you.  Make a copy and host it yourself.

Okay so this has been going on for a while - exacerbated more recently by the ascendancy of MySpace and Facebook, which make "hotlinking" really easy - and a while ago I implemented a mechanism to discourage it.  With this in place, hotlinkers would see a little Critical Section logo instead of the linked-to image.  I don't know if this really worked - I still got a lot of hotlinking - but maybe it did.

What you see when you hotlinkSo more recently I changed the hotlink mechanism slightly; as before hotlinkers see a little Critical Section logo, but I added the URL of the blog;  Poof!  So now anyone who visits a hotlinker's site will see this, and probably wonder what it is, and probably visit  Hopefully they find it interesting and return later, but if not so be it, at least they had a chance to see it.  Basically this image serves as an ad for my blog, hosted by all the hotlinkers out there.  Pretty cool.

Okay, with that let's see what's going on "out there"... 

Dave Winer: what woke me up about the Clintons.  I know exactly what he means; I've joined the ABC camp (Anyone But Clinton).  I was talking to my Mom about this earlier tonight; I don't really hate Hillary, exactly, but I definitely don't want her and Bill back in the White House.  Barack Obama, John McCain, whomever would be better.  The backslash is real.

Meanwhile, Geert Wilders Wakes Up the Netherlands.  Good thing, too, they're sound asleep over there.  Just the fact that everyone is so worried about broadcasting a film critical of Muslims shows how bad things have become; whatever happened to free speech?  You can say whatever you want, as long as you don't criticize those who can't take criticism, apparently.

PayPalSo Meg Whitman is leaving eBay, after ten successful years.  Check out TechCrunch's exit interview with her.  "Q: If you had to pick one thing you did over the past decade, what was your best move?  Meg Whitman: ... For me, the international expansion of eBay was the best idea. We are now in 35 countries, and have a huge global network. The second best one was the acquisition of PayPal—the wallet on eBay."  As successful as PayPal has been inside eBay, the original ambition was even larger; at one time the motto was PayPal: A New World Currency.  In addition to spawning a successful business, it also spawned many successful entrepreneurs, aka The PayPal Mafia.

I love the Macalope, check out the Macbook Air Attack.  "... this gem from PC World's Mike Barton: MacBook Air Amiss: Time to License Mac OS X?  Good question!  Like 'I Have Stubbed My Toe And Find It Painful: Time to Commit Suicide?'"  The analysts' uneducated attempts to find fault with the Airbook have been totally over the top.  [ via Daring Fireball ]

get out of jail free!Hey, iPhone / iPod Touch release 1.1.3 has been jailbroken!  Cool.  A new toy for my new toy.

I find it amazing that there's a whole development ecosystem which has grown up around this "closed" system.  People are actually writing serious applications which are useful, not just cool.  For example I have an HP 16C emulator for my iPod Touch which is great.  (The HP 16C is of course the world's greatest programmer's calculator, despite not having been sold for ten years.)

non-dripping wine decanterThis is awesome! - non-dripping wine decanters.  What will they think of next?

Mark Pilgrim is truly one of my favorite bloggers; check out his Microsoft koan.  "Said the monk: If you give me non-standard markup, I will render it according to standards.  If you give me standard markup, I will not render it according to standards.  What do you do?"  (A Zen koan is a little poem which "breaks the mind of logic".  Truly Microsoft products are Zen-like in their inscrutable design choices.)

With Vista a declared failure, an interesting meme of the moment is Windows 7, the next Windows OS, which is now being rumored for 2009.  (Ars Technica: Windows 7 in 2009? Be careful what you wish for.)  So I'm not wishing for Windows 7 - I just want XP with better paging - but what makes anyone think Windows 7 wouldn't be as bad or worse than Vista?  I will say the longer it takes, the crappier it will be...

SpaceShipTwoPopular Mechanics: Virgin Galactic unveils SpaceShipTwo.  See also this Q&A with Burt Rutan, SS2's designer.  "Q. What will SpaceShipTwo look like?  Rutan: I think the public will be surprised at how large it is.  We are building 11-place commuter airliners.  If you're going to send somebody to a resort hotel in orbit, it's okay to cramp him into something small with a little window.  Because when he gets there he has this big spacious hotel, and he gets his view and his weightless experience.  But with suborbital spaceflight, your destination has to be your transfer van.  We believe the people - and there will be large numbers of them at the cost at which this can be done - they'll want to float around and look out of large windows facing all directions."  I wonder if SpaceShipSeventeen will end up taking me to Titan?


Archive: January 24, 2007


Archive: January 24, 2006


Archive: January 24, 2005


Archive: January 19, 2004

Monday,  01/19/04  10:39 PM

Man, it is busy out there!  It's all happening...

So let me start tonight with Kerry's (and Edward's!) victories over Dean in Iowa.  They say Iowans don't pick the winner, but they prune the field.  So Gephardt is out, and Dean has lost momentum, if not the race.

Doc Searles, who is an ardent Dean supporter, lets the roots speak.  The results, and the emotions.  He also observes "The best looking candidates won in Iowa...  Kerry and Edwards aren't just the best looking candidates, but the best-talking ones as well.  They are practiced and excellent public speakers.  As message delivery boys, they hit the porch every time.  Dean is an okay speaker.  He's not great."  Is communication important?  Yes.

It is pretty tough to follow "everything" in a campaign these days; Taegan Goddard posted this wonderful quote from Michael Barone: "In the 1980s, I believed that you could cover a presidential election from five rooms--the morning meetings of the two campaigns, where the day's message was set, and the afternoon meetings of the three networks, where executives decided what part of that message would make the evening news...  But today you couldn't cover the 2004 fall campaign from 100 rooms.  Too much of it will be going on over back fences and on the Internet."

Dave Winer premiered an RSS feed for political junkies following Dean: Channel Dean.

My favorite way to follow the campaign is The Command Post, which has a 2004 Presidential Election feed.  What a wonderful resource.  I love comparing their timeliness and accuracy against "big media"; they are consistently better.

Martin Luther King Day.  Doc Searles posted a picture of a plaque with this quote:  "Through our scientific genius, we have made this world a neighborhood; now, through our moral and spiritual development, we must make of it a brotherhood.  In a real sense, we must learn to live together as brothers, or we will perish together as fools."  Amen.

Did you know 35 countries have troops in Iraq?  Unilateral action, eh?

Steven Den Beste lauds Japan as an unsung ally.  "Japan has emerged as the second most reliable ally we have."  Who would have thought...

As I was spacing out the other day, I noted a difficulty of manned space missions lies in the need for return. contemplates the Helium-3 found on the moon.  "Helium 3 fusion energy may be the key to future space exploration and settlement."  It could be a "cash crop", or merely fuel for a return voyage, or a trip to Mars...

Yahoo!is cheering again, as are their shareholders; AlwaysOn reports Yahoo emerging from dot-com gloom.  "Yahoo's comeback represents another hopeful sign for the high-tech industry.  As more people get high-speed Internet connections in their homes and invest in portable devices to stay online, tech leaders also are reporting higher profits."  I don't use Yahoo nearly as much as I used to, thanks to Google, but they have a huge variety of useful services.

Apropos, the NYTimes reports Television Commercials Come to the Web.  "Beginning tomorrow, more than a dozen Web sites will run full-motion video commercials in a six-week test that some analysts and online executives say could herald the start of a new era of Internet advertising."  Yuk.  How soon before someone builds a free tool to disable them?

Joi Ito links some excellent articles on writing, including this one: Ten Mistakes Writers Don't See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do).  Really great stuff.

Ottmar Liebert ponders the difference between Musiker and Musikant ("craftsman" and "artist").  "Think of a musician who plays only cover tunes...  Not art, but a lot of craft.  On the other hand a punk guitarist who knows only two or three chords may be an artist because of his vision.  Not a lot of craft, but art.  Very tricky, this stuff, isn't it?"  Then there is Ottmar himself, who is both :)

OpenSynth Neko64 synthesizerIs this the musical instrument of the future?  The OpenSynth Neko64 has a music keyboard, and a computer keyboard.  With dual AMD 64-bit Opterons, 64MB of memory, and MIDI interfaces.  And it runs Windows.

Vertical Hold wonders about Radiohead's desire that their albums be played all in one piece.  "My CD player has a random feature. Am I allowed to listen to the Radiohead album on random play?  If my house were to catch on fire while I was listening to the Radiohead album, would I be allowed to escape certain death if it meant not hearing the whole album?"  If they regard the album as one piece, why not release it that way?  On the other hand, few people play the movements in Vivaldi's Four Seasons out of order.

I love Adam Curry's Quote of the Day series.  Yesterday's was from Eric Hoffer: "You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you."  Indeed.Big Hair!

More Adam: He notes Big Hair is back!  You have been warned...

And finally, the Joke of the Day, courtesy of Citizen Smash: The Cow from Minsk.


The Grand Canyon of Mars

Monday,  01/19/04  11:46 PM

The ESA's Mars Express orbiter has begun taking some phenomenal high-resolution photos of Mars.  This image shows a region of Valles Marineris ("the Grand Canyon").

Valles Marineris (the Grand Canyon of Mars)

(click image for full-size interactive viewer)

Be sure to hit F11 to maximize your browser's window so you can see as much of the image as possible.

As usual, I upsampled the image and am serving it with Aperio's image server software.


Archive: January 24, 2003

Friday,  01/24/03  02:51 PM

Interesting Wired article: The War Within Sony.  Sony is conflicted between being a leading media company (movie studio, record label) and a leading supplier of personal electronics.  A microcosm of the issues facing the media industry as a whole.

Guess what?  There's now a DVD player on the market which plays DIVX video.  This will shift downloaded-movie-watching from the PC to the family room, where the home theater is located.

Meme of the day: The Axis of Weasels.


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About Me

Greatest Hits
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