Critical Section


Friday,  03/20/09  07:19 PM

Sorry I skipped two days, just too busy.  Coding.  Attending meetings.  Running out of gas on the freeway.  Watching basketball.  Riding (a little).  Worrying (a lot).

And so the Ole filter makes a pass...

Not good news: 4.3M babies born in U.S. in 2007.  Don't get me wrong, I love babies; babies are powerful.  But this is unnatural selection for sure.  I'd love to see graph of babies born vs family income.  Yeah, I know, my resolution to work on my book this year isn't working out...  yet...

WSJ: 536,600 minutes... and just one IPO.  It was Rackspace.  This is the worst period ever for IPOs, even including the dot-com crash and post-911.  Wow.

chrome logoI have a browser open [almost] all the time with a few pages open; my blog (!), my Facebook home page (!!), etc., and for years my browser of choice has been Firefox.  Lately I've been experimenting with using Chrome for this purpose.  Kind of interesting; it is definitely faster and uses less memory than Firefox.  Don't tell me about other people's benchmarks, this is a real world thing, and it is real.  I still use Firefox as my default browser because of Adblock; Chrome's biggest deficiency at the moment is lack of plug-ins.  But other than that, Chrome rules.

Safari is an interesting contender.  The speed of Chrome, but not the memory thriftiness or solidity.  And doesn't have plug-ins, no Adblock.  But unlike many I like the tabs at the top, because I keep my browser at the top, so they poke out.

Meanwhile, IE8 is out.  Yawn.  Yet another Microsoft browser which is incompatible with all others, although apparently this one is less incompatible than IE7.  So be it.

It is interesting that a lot of the competition between browsers centers on which can interpret JavaScript the fastest.  Personally I don't care; they're all fast [enough].  I care about security, Adblock (!), stability, and usability.

the first bird... leading the flockYou guys liked the first bird.  Me, too.  Rereading the passage in the book, I realize there is more than one way to be first, you can be first in space (farthest from old land, closest to new) or first in time.  Nobody is as isolated as a guy ahead of his time.  But the difference is that time moves, land doesn't.  So if you just wait, the world will catch up.  It isn't in the nature of a first bird to wait however :)

Saturn: a quadruple transit (taken by Hubble)Wow, check this out, a quadruple transit on Saturn!  And this picture was take by the Hubble space telescope orbiting Earth, not by Cassini.  Looks like a scene from a movie.

Remember I wrote about when new versions suck?  Well I have a problem; I am running Norton Antivirus 2003 and I need to upgrade.  I am really really afraid of Norton Antivirus 2009.  I'm afraid it will be slow, intrusive, crappy, and get in my way.  And try to sell me stuff.  And break my machine.  But I have to do it; I need antivirus software and I can't keep running a version written seven years ago.  Oh well, every bad that happens is a good story later; please stay tuned...

Speaking of new versions sucking, check this out: a Facebook app which is a survey about whether people like the new Facebook home page.  Over 1,060,000 users have said they don't (vs 66,000 which do).  I would say the dogs do not like the new dog food.  What's weirdest about this to me is that it was entirely predictable.  Facebook knows their users.  This is what happens when the boardroom makes product decisions.  ("Let's be more like Twitter")  The good news is that it's not too late to change back :)

Terrafugio flying care (drivable plane)Wow, a real flying car.  Actually it is more like a drivable plane.  Still...  This is one of the biggest things science fiction writers in the 50s missed; they thought this would be easier, and by 2009 we'd all have them.  Not yet ;(  [ via Philip Greenspun ]

David Pogue interviews Shai Agassi of Better Place.  "Most of the car efforts were done from within the car, and assuming that there is no infrastructure change at all. It’s as if people were trying to build cars, but skipping over the gas station.  We started from the infrastructure."  I am so rooting for these guys to make it.

nuclear power? yes, please!ArsTechnica: Nuclear power?  Yes, please!  Absolutely yes.  "Nuclear power is safe, affordable, and the waste problems are much more manageable than the public realizes. That was the take-home message from this year's American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago, where a group of experts from the US and EU participated in a session called "Keeping the Lights On: The Revival of Nuclear Energy for Our Future." "

cute little Tasmanian DevilHe isn't a ZooBorn, but we have to feature this little guy; a cute little Tasmanian Devil.  There's more to this story than the Devil, however; turns out these guys are threatened by a mysterious disease, and two young sailors, Paul Carter and Jamie Duncan, set out to bring some awareness to the plight of the animal, and raise money for research to find a cure before the species is wiped out, by making the crossing of the Bass Strait in a 14' skiff.  Excellent.

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