Tuesday, January 30, 2007
"Despite the multiple challenges we face in the world today, I am optimistic," said British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the closing address. "The issue of global climate change hangs in the balance, yet despite the significant challenges and substantial despair, there is progress that would have been unimaginable even a short time back."
But can the U.S. as a country shift sufficiently our attitude towards the world to participate in the interdependent world? Or will we still be the cowboy?
Monday, January 29, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
In an article on Time.com there's a quote at the end from Jonathan Ive, Apple's head of design:
"I think there's almost a belligerence—people are frustrated with their manufactured environment," says Ive. "We tend to assume the problem is with us, and not with the products we're trying to use." In other words, when our tools are broken, we feel broken. And when somebody fixes one, we feel a tiny bit more whole.How much of our consumptive behavior really is about "getting whole" and trying to purchase the parts of ourself that we think are missing? And as technology becomes ever more magical, ever more integral to how we live, isn't there an increasing sense that we're less if we don't have the latest iPhone, iPod, iMac etc.? And is that really so bad? And is this anything new? Hasn't technology (stone axe, sword, plow, pen) always been an extension of ourselves, something that makes us more? And will there be at some point in the future a big jump, when software and hardware converge with fleshware? Or are we already really there and don't know it?
What I do know is that we haven't seen anything yet. But also that despite all the technology, our brains are stretched to comprehend--and will be for the foreseeable future--the complex possibilities of our actions. Witness Iraq. Maybe what we need are novelists running our government. Maybe what we need are people who are capable of understanding the complexities of plot and character, and can conceive of alternate futures. I don't know what technologies would have extended that part of our brain. But our tools in that domain have definitely, recently proven themselves broken.
I'm following advice from Eston Bond to hack a Moleskine into a GTD tool. I'll post in a month on how it works.
Bond is an "interactive designer/developer and student currently seeking a full-time position in interactive design in May 2007" according to his site. Good luck Eston!
Monday, January 15, 2007
Now Software's NightHawk promises to be a cross-platform calendaring and contact system . . . doubt it will have the key CRM functions I've mentioned before.
And CodeWeaver CrossOver Mac. Promises to be able to run Windows programs without having to install Parallels and therefore without having to buy a copy of Windows. Sounds like magic.
The senior Pentagon official in charge of military detainees suspected of terrorism said in an interview this week that he was dismayed that lawyers at many of the nation’s top firms were representing prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and that the firms’ corporate clients should consider ending their business ties.Are these people Americans? Or are they from some Eastern Bloc country, the last vestiges of a wholly Un-American, non-democratic system? Do they understand anything about due process? Someone should open up the House Un-American Activities Committee again and investigate some of these people because they seem to come from a completely different system of laws and values and appear to have no faith in the American way of living.
Peculiar weather precipitates immediate blame on global warming by some, and equally immediate pronouncements by others (curiously, quite often the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in recent years) that global warming can't possibly be to blame. The reality, as we've often remarked here before, is that absolute statements of neither sort are scientifically defensible. Meteorological anomalies cannot be purely attributed to deterministic factors, let alone any one specific such factor (e.g. either global warming or a hypothetical long-term climate oscillation).
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
At noon Eastern on Monday I had the coolest, simplest to use, newest smartphone, the Blackberry 8700. By 2:00 pm, "smartphones" were 5 years out of date.
Steve closed the keynote with the Wayne Gretsky saying, "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it's been." The iPhone is really like jumping to the future, where it's going to be, not where it has been or is.
Folks at places like PCMag who make comments like those in a piece titled iPhone Analysis: Apple's Revolution for the Few haven't noticed the past, and have no vision for the future. Yes the iPhone is pricey, is locked to Cingular, and has no aps such as a word processor, but clearly this is just the beginning of a new platform. Google and Yahoo get that and understand the opportunity iPhone represents for their companies. Had this analyst been around in 1984 when the Mac was introduced, he would have displayed the same restricted vision. To suggest iPhone is merely a niche consumer product in contrast to "power-user" products like the Q, Blackjack, and Dash is simply ludicrous. In retrospect, it won't be seen as hyperbole when Steve said that the iPhone was Apple's third revolutionary product, after the Mac and the iPod.
Addendum: Doesn't really contradict what I said above, but here's a quote from SJ in the NYTimes: "“I don’t want people to think of this as a computer. I think of it as reinventing the phone.”
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Monday, January 01, 2007
This was the view from my father's hospital bed. Mike was a really good and loving father and was loving to the end. Physically he was not a strong man. He was sensitive and literally unsure on his feet. But he was a resolute man and that was his strength. He never questioned his faith, not in god, in which he didn't believe, but in higher things, like human dignity, and trust, and doing right. He's gone and I think he was probably satisfied with the legacy that he left and the way in which that legacy will live on.
Here's a wonderful set of Flickr shots of the car drawings in Tintin next to the real cars by which they were inspired. A big reason I read Tintin as a kid over and over (and still do sometimes . . . ) is the "unabashed gearhead gnarlyness" of the drawings, to use a Diego Rodriguez/Metacool phrase. I was inspired to search for this because of this post from Metacool with an image of the Carreidas 160.
Why is VW able to make such beautiful cars and such crummy cars at the same time? (Sorry TH/PB, your Tourag/Cayenne made by VW brought Porsche down--that's the assumed reason for Porsche's drop from #2 to #22 according to a JD Power dependability survey. VW is 32/37 on the same list.) I just saw a new Golf/Rabbit on the street, and while I've seen them before couldn't help but think what a nice piece it is. And the dash is so nice and so classic. But the thing's amazingly inefficient and likely to be a reliability nightmare. It's supposedly an economy car but with 22/30 mpg ratings, can't even best a 6 cylinder Honda. Still, look at these pictures. The dash on the new Civic (bottom) is just an awful jumble plus it has that new digital speedo, unfortunately to be the fate of the new Accord too. Yechh.