Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Dilbert Blog: Freaky Happenings

The Dilbert Blog: Freaky Happenings: "I%u2019ve said before in this blog that it feels to me as if all of my ideas already exist, and I%u2019m nothing but some sort of antennae. Every time I have an idea, no matter how strange, that idea inevitably finds its way to my door from some other source. It%u2019s freaky."

I've noticed this too. There are a lot of ideas I've had that certainly seemed unique, mainly because I haven't seen the before anywhere.

The last memorable one was putting BBQ brisket on some crispy french bread rolls. Later THAT SAME day on the local news report they show a chain store finishing up testing that same idea.

R.I.P. Books: Buzzword - Popular Mechanics

R.I.P. Books: Buzzword - Popular Mechanics: "The problem is that the printed page is a damn-near perfect technology for text presentation and storage. It%u2019s durable, requires no power or connectivity and is remarkably cheap to produce."

I spend most of my day reading off of a screen, from news and weather to reading what I have just written. I like books because they are a little easier on my eyes after all that.
It isn't that ebooks can't take off. I have a friend constantly reading ebooks off of an old Palm. Lots of people read on a computer screen all day.
There is just an issue with how ebooks are designed. It is not about the text, it is probably something subtle. Right now using a Palm for an ebook reader is a lot like reading a flip up notebook, That seems fine but is very different from how a real book is read which is more side to side in a pretty wide format that is more comfortable then a small pad. Smaller isn't always better.
The eInk screens are really good, but it is the overall design that is lacking. It is kinda like going into a new home and feeling it isn't right, all the good parts are there just not in quite the right places. The dishwasher is far from the cabinets, there is a big pillar too close to the front closet. Lots of dumb little things.
For the iPod small size was an important feature, for an ebook reader it probably isn't. They need to test some radically different designs, because what they've come up so far hasn't worked.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Remarks of Bill Gates %u2014 The Harvard University Gazette

Remarks of Bill Gates %u2014 The Harvard University Gazette: "Cutting through complexity to find a solution runs through four predictable stages: determine a goal, find the highest-leverage approach, discover the ideal technology for that approach, and in the meantime, make the smartest application of the technology that you already have %u2014 whether it%u2019s something sophisticated, like a drug, or something simpler, like a bednet."

Cabinet Magazine Online - A Minor History of / Miniature Writing

Cabinet Magazine Online - A Minor History of / Miniature Writing: "The earliest known example of miniature writing appears on a Sumerian cuneiform clay tablet measuring 1 5/16 inches by 1 5/8 inches. (Courtesy of The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana)"

This is just pretty darn cool. I didn't know that microwriting existed before the microdot and other advanced techniques.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What should J. K. Rowling do next.

Rowling is too good -- she has learned too much -- it would be a waste if she let some longing to be acceptable to the boneheads at the New York Times and the various university English departments keep her from writing more novels that use all that she has learned from writing this massive work.

I truly hope she doesn't stop writing. At this point there is no reason to even attempt to seek the approval of those critics. The NYT and the rest have already rejected her and like any clique they can never accept her for what she is and it would be painfully embarrassing to have her change to something they might accept.

They deserve to worst punishment we can give them: To be ignored.

J. K. do what you want, it will be good. We'll wait.

I am forcibly reminded of this quote:

"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have
challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more."
-Anton Ego, Ratatouille, 2007

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Becoming a Ham

Not a cheesy actor but rather get our Ham Radio Technicians License. Our church is running a 6 week course to get more people able to provide alternative communications for the area in event of a disaster.

My sister and her husband have theirs and it came in handy last winter when we had a blizzard every week for 5 weeks and it was hard to get around.

Once Water, Food and Shelter are taken care of Communication is the next big thing in a disaster. It means being able to call for help and helping others.

Whenever there is a disaster the hams become very valuable people who help coordinate communications efforts which can bring to bear the most appropriate resources to each area.

We'll also have to save up for a transmitter but that is a good goal too.