Showing posts from 2008

The Chevy Volt

I've been turned off American cars for some time after driving 2 Ford's, owning one, and driving more rental American cars than I can remember. My mom and dad's '83 Thunderbird had all kinds of 'issues' including drive-train problems and a shorting electrical system. The Tempo I owned wouldn't start in cold weather and had an annoying interior rattling that three trips to the dealer didn't fix. Oh, I almost forgot, the second time I took it to the dealership I got the car back with the driver's side electric window no longer working. Ever since then I've driven Hondas and Toyotas.

That could change.

Why the Volt? How does 100mpg and the ability to charge the battery at home sound like? How about the fact that it can go 40 miles on a single charge. And did I mention that it runs entirely off its battery? Its gas engine functions solely as a generator to recharge the battery. All those 10 minute trips to the store will only cost you the electricity …

A different president


The Me Meme

From Marc:
Take a picture of yourself right now.
Don’t change your clothes, don’t fix your hair…just take a picture.
Post that picture with NO editing.
Post these instructions with your picture.

The Apple Macintosh in 1984

OK, while I'm not an Apple fanboy I do admire style. Especially when style and function converge. As mentioned in previous posts I'm a long-time PC user - since 1984 coincidentally enough (you'll see why). Actually, I should have said I'm an ex-longtime PC user. I only use a Mac now. Granted I run Vista under VMWare Fusion so I can run MS Project, Rational RequisitePro, Rational Software Modeler, Clearcase and other software engineering tools but those will move to OS X eventually - I'm pretty certain even though IBM hasn't admitted it.

Lately I've been wondering. OK, first disclosure - I am a geek. Hell, I was secretary and president of the computer club in high school over two years. What I'm wondering about though is why did we (the club) buy an IBM PC in '84? We spent $5,000 of funds we raised to purchase a PC with an 8088 processor, monochrome screen, tape drive for data storage, and 68K of RAM. I can remember buying the magaz…

MyPhone 3G


No I am not a fad-following-popular-technology-buying-groupie-apple-fanboy. Yes, I did just get an iPhone 3G and boy I am impressed (if unsurprised)! Above is a screen capture of my phone. Just the fact that you can do a screen capture of anything on your phone with two buttons (Home+Sleep) is very cool (think user manuals for the new enterprise apps companies will be building for internal use). Having been a BlackBerry user for the past three years (and also been a user of the first gen BB years ago) I can say that RIM definitely has something to worry about - sorry Perry. It's not just the sexy design although intelligent design ;-) does have something to do with it. It's the whole enchilada. Physical design combined with the graphical user interface, combined with features, combined with a cornucopia of applications - some of them actually useful!

Having decided that my desktop/laptop platform of choice will be the Mac for the foreseeable future, the iPhone…



From the June 16th edition of the economist.

The New York Times Website is Way Cool!

I don't know if I've just been sleeping and missed someone writing about this but the New York Times has a very, very cool website. First of all, as mentioned in this article, the Times displays very well across different browsers and mobile devices because they hand code the HTML! When almost everyone uses high-level editors like Dreamweaver this is quite a commitment to quality given the extra time they must spend coding.

But what really blew me away today was something that happened as I was reading the Times today. This article was discussing how a US General's planned posting in Pakistan (to lead the fight against Al Qaeda) was cancelled due to his being "excoriated in the Pakistani news media for one of his previous jobs: commander of the United States prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba." Excoriated? What the heck does that mean. So, planning to look up the word in my Mac's built-in dictionary I double click on it and...holy cow! A New York Times w…

The fear of hunger

An article in the Economist makes some alarming claims about the current food shortage in poor and developing countries:
“World agriculture has entered a new, unsustainable and politically risky period,” says Joachim von Braun, the head of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, DC. To prove it, food riots have erupted in countries all along the equator. In Haiti, protesters chanting “We're hungry” forced the prime minister to resign; 24 people were killed in riots in Cameroon; Egypt's president ordered the army to start baking bread; the Philippines made hoarding rice punishable by life imprisonment. “It's an explosive situation and threatens political stability,” worries Jean-Louis Billon, president of Côte d'Ivoire's chamber of commerce.It looks like long-term concerns may be addressable but then again maybe not. It is certain that short-term food shortages cannot be fixed.

What will be the outcome of this shortage on…

A Harvard Neuroscientist's experience with 'mass conciousness'

This is one of the most moving presentations I have seen by a scientist. Part of it is probably due to her talking about her own personal experience. The only other time I can remember being moved to tears (by a scientist) was in watching an interview with Robert Oppenheimer who, after witnessing the first atomic test, quotes, “…now I am become Death [Shiva], the destroyer of worlds,” and then wipes tears from his eyes. Jill’s presentation was significantly more uplifting.

Great presentations in 4 steps


PowerPoint is the leading cause of death in companies today.

Male. Female. Young. Old. Makes no difference.

You can make a difference!

Watch this slide show to find out how!

| View | Upload your own

The Economic Downturn


There's a saying that 'when America sneezes the world catches a cold'...or something of that sort. The question today with the rise of The East and the strengthening of the European Union is whether or not it still matters (that much) when the U.S. experiences a slowdown? This cartoon says it best.

from The Economist.

Microsoft Office Pricing

I predict that Microsoft will give away or charge under $100 to corporate users of their Office application by YE 2009. Perhaps it will be a downgraded version. Maybe they'll release the full-blown one. I don't know.

As Mac/OS X and Linux increase their market share (inevitable looking at worldwide numbers), Microsoft will be compelled to use their office application to tie users to their ecosystem.

Don't forget they have their success riding on users sticking with Windows. Why? Think of their development platform, .Net, which only runs on Windows. What about SQL Server, Windows Server, Dynamics, Silverlight, Sharepoint, Exchange etc. The reason these are more compelling than competitor products in that they are tightly tied to one another. Office and XP/Vista are the glue. It won't work on anything else. So as other operating systems become more compelling, free/open like Linux or just plain better like OS X and OpenOffice is free and collaboration i…

MacWorld Expo 2008 Keynote Address

Every year, the grand master of all that is Mac, or 'i' - I'm not sure anymore - gets up on stage on January 15th and announces everything that Apple has in store (pun) for the coming year. It's pretty exciting for Mac fanatics (of which I am not one...not at all).

You can find a blow-by-blow account of his Keynote here.

OK, I'm impressed - mostly. Good apps for my iPod Touch - e-mail, google maps, stock ticker, notes - why are these great? Notes will sync with my Mac. E-mail will download e-mails from my accounts and give me a better-than-Web interface in which to compose + will display PDFs, Word, and Excel files. Google Maps is very useful - I use it (in pain) on my Blackberry to find stores, my kids' friends' addresses etc. - frequently enough. But they're charging $20 (come on guys!). Probably to keep iPhone users happy who pay more more more for the phone + $100/month for the service. True that I'm restricted to locations with Wi-F…

Literature and Media


AtonementWhen my wife asked me what I thought of the book I said, "really good book with an unsatisfying ending". The plot was interesting and well-executed although not the typical kind of book I would read. If I were to sum up the story without recounting it I would have to say it is about the consequences (positive and negative) of the kind of rash actions we all commit. The author takes us to outcomes that would not normally take place but that are believable nonetheless, especially in a country so recently free of war and yet on its way to another. As for the unsatisfying ending? Any of us who have lived long enough are well acquainted with unsatisfying endings. Sometimes it's nice to escape this reality when indulging in a piece of fiction.

SyrianaAfter having recently watched Rescue Dawn which had an unsatisfying beginning, middle and ending and Letters from Iwo Jima which was a beautifully done movie but quite depressing - worth it nonetheless - Sy…