Critical Section


Wednesday,  12/08/04  10:49 PM

Okay, I'm back.  Here's what's happening...

First, I have to report that today I had one of my best online shopping days ever.  Between Google and Froogle and Amazon and all the little stores out there with specialty stuff, I found everything I wanted from the comfort of my office.  And everything works now; the sites are fast, payments are processed smoothly, you can track shipping online.  Wow.  How did people handle December before the 'net?

There is one thing online vendors still need to figure out - please please do NOT resize browser windows.  We don't want you to do this.  And please please don't hide the window controls, either.  I have this little routine I go through whenever this happens; right-click, view page info, copy URL, open new browser window, paste URL.  Poof, a window the size I want, with controls, displaying the same page.  But I shouldn't have to do this...

Speaking of online shopping, Shirley reports that Albertson's now delivers!  Yippee.  We tried it and it worked great, just like the Webvan of old.  Order online, pick your delivery window, and poof! a guy shows up with your groceries.  They charge $10 for delivery which seems very reasonable.  I love living in the 21st century :)

the kite sail in actionPeople have been sailing for thousands of years, so you'd think there wouldn't be much new in the way of sails, but you'd be wrong.  Here we have the Kite-sail.  In addition to providing forward thrust, this sail lifts the bow of the boat out of the water, reducing wetted surface and hence drag.  I bet it isn't easy to fly, though, seems like it could knock the boat over rather easily.  I notice it seems to be flown from the deck rather than the mast, which makes sense...

Halley Suitt: Dave Barry vs. the Department of Labor.  "But my point is that this survey is very misleading.  Take the concept of ''housework.''  It may be true that women spend more TIME on it, but what, really, are they accomplishing?"

Ottmar Liebert has added a podcasting feed to his online listening lounge.  Excellent.  If you've never heard him play, here's a new reason to check him out!

iPod mini ad - George MastersWhen you're a product company, how do you know if you've really made it?  When your customers start making ads for you!  Here's a wonderful ad for the iPod mini courtesy of Apple fan George Masters.  Wow.  [ via Cult of Mac ]

So far my customers like their ScanScopes, but I haven't heard of one making an ad for us yet.  Guess we have some work to do. :)

iPod micro?BTW, there is a ton of speculation about a new flash-based Apple iPod.  Daring Fireball posted a nice argument why it won't happen (basically, there is no consumer benefit; flash is a technology, not a feature).  Cult of Mac thinks there will be an iPod Micro.  I guess this is possible - small size is a feature - but it seems unlikely.  The real feature of iPods is that you can carry all your music around, not just an album or two...

This is kind of cool - TV2Me.  A network connected PVR designed to record programs in one city, and let you view them in another...  Time shifting and space shifting :)

If you're not a blogger - yet - but are considering trying, check out the new MSN Spaces, a free online blogging service from Microsoft.  It competes with Blogger and Typepad in the "entry level blogging" arena.  As usual you have the "ease of use" / "functionality" trade-off, and they've tilted heavily toward ease of use.  Scoble says it's not the service for him, and has links to others' reactions.

Eugene Volokh: You can blog, but you can't hide.  An interesting rumination on the first-amendment implications of blogging.  Are we journalists?

Bigwig thinks this song should be our new national anthem.  It is kind of catchy :)

U.C.Berkeley has a class on programming Lego Mindstorms robots.  "The aim of Professor Roger Glassey's introductory robotics course is to instill students with the most fundamental skills in designing computer-controlled mechanical systems, and provide them with the discipline and stamina to solve difficult engineering problems systematically and efficiently."  I am not making this up.

The other day I mentioned I'm working on porting a Windows application to Mac OS X.  Through the magic of referers, I found a discussion board were people were talking about my need (!), and a link to this page from Apple.  Very helpful, this seems to be a solved problem.  Also, I'm going to try client/server development, using my PC as a workstation on my Mac, rather than investing in a new Mac.  We'll see how it goes - stay tuned!

Myst Revelation screen shotOh, and I finally got a chance to start playing Myst IV: Revelation.  What can I tell you, it is great; excellent graphics, interesting puzzles, and a weird new world hovering at the edge of your imagination.  The coolest new thing is the amount of background motion; trees blow around in the wind, birds fly, steam rises from waterfalls, etc., all from within in a 3D environment.  If you liked Myst and Riven and Myst Exile, you'll love this one, too.


New Year's Resolution update: still 204.  At least I'm not losing ground.

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