GOODBYE 600kb

 

Our boys have spend many, many hours complaining about the internet speed at our house in Canada – downside of living right beside a golf course. I don’t blame them. We had a “6MB” link and were lucky to get 600kb down on a good day and 150kb up. I know, it could have been worse – I could have been on Xplornet.

Not anymore. High definition video conference while watching IPTV while streaming music, talking on Vonage, watching a Netflix video and running 3 XBOX live sessions at the same time anyone?

image

image

And this was a wireless signal over a TP-link pocket router. Wait till my network kit arrives.

FLICKR BADGE & GALLERIES

 

I have been playing around with WordPress as a colleague told me my site was a little “generic” (He may have said the design is boring (smile)). His is quite intricate.

Over the coming weeks you will see a few updates. I found that Flickr badge generation an interesting way of creating a gallery.

It seems that Galleries are harder to set up than they should be in WordPress if you are not self hosted. A few tidbits were found in the official support site and the “unofficial” site.

I am on a quest of creating a photo stream across the header of my site, it seems to be harder than it should be …..

TAKING THE NEXT STEP IN PAPERLESS

 

This weekend I took the next step in my quest to get my carry on luggage weight dropped, signing up for a digital magazine service. Seems like there are a number of ways to go after this one, buying single magazines on sites such as Amazon Kindle or iTunes (As long as you are Apple centric) or signing up for a service like Zinio.

After reading through the pro’s and con’s, I am starting on Zinio as it has a large selection of magazines, it is easy to share right from the app if I want to send someone a clip, the text only mode is a fantastic way to strip out the ads and I can subscribe once and read it on any device (PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, iPad …..). That being said it isn’t perfect, for example, Wired, Fast Company, Strategy+Business and a number of others are no where to be found.

My first subscription? Macworld. This ex-Microsoftie is still figuring that beast out. It isn’t quite as easy as people say ….

 

ABSENT POSTER

 

It has been almost 2 weeks since I last posted, which can be blamed on a trip to the Turks and Caicos (more to come on that), quarter end, Grade 8 graduation (proud to say both boys made honour role), the sun finally coming out and of course, the new iMac 27”.

I have been playing with it for a couple weeks now and have watched about 40 podcasts on how MACs work. It is a unique experience as I play with a lot of technology and there are very few times that I am such a duck out of water. I found the whole transition quite perplexing as it is just so different and not without issue.

I would say the saving grace has been Parallels virtualization software. This is an amazing piece of work as it gives you a full Windows emulation as if it were a MAC, without the awkward looking window within a window. Simply click on the Windows application you want to launch from the tree and it shows up as if it were a MAC window (they call it Coherence).

Why has this been the saving grace? Because of Hotmail. It would seem that Hotmail works fantastic on an iPad and iPhone thanks to the Exchange integration (allowing for calendar, contact and full email-folder synchronization) but does not work on a MAC. Even with the new version of Office MAC and Outlook, it does not work and there is no IMAP support. So as this dawned on me I started to sweat about having to do a full family conversion to Gmail just to use the MAC. I have nothing against Gmail (I have a Gmail account that I use for personal business email), but I just do not feel like doing this right now. Maybe later when the sun isn’t shining, the pool isn’t open and the golf course is closed. But not now. Plus, the Windows Live mail client is the best in the market (Sorry Thunderbird).

Which is why I am using Parallels, the Windows Live Mail icon is docked and runs beautifully. It has also made it simpler for me to do some transitions like music and other things.

That aside, the iMac is just a beautiful machine with a few very unique offers like the magic trackpad which is amazing once you know all of the tips and tricks.

ORDERED

 

It is ordered. The Microsoft household has their first Apple on the way. Granted, the Apple will be surrounded by 5 PCs and a number of XBOX360s, so we remain Microsoft centric. We will see if it passes muster.

I ordered up the iMac 27”. One thing is for sure, the iMac monitor is one of the most striking monitors on the market. There is something very impressive about Apple’s industrial design and as this will be on the kitchen desk, the ‘All in one’ feature is very appealing on the clutter and cord reduction front. Although, it may disappoint our cat (even though he is a little too big for this now).

2010 Kipling Sleeping

It will be very interesting to see if that claim of ‘just so simple’ is true for someone who is totally unfamiliar with the OS .. and no fervently biased toward Apple (smile).

A FEW FAVORITE PODCASTS

 

I have always been an Audible fan, listening to books in the car. Recently, I became a podcast fan thanks to my Samsung Tab and Google Listen. As I drive to the office (or to the airport …) I fill the open time with podcasts. Here are a few that I have come to really enjoy:

  • The CBC podcast:  A 4-5 minute podcast that gives you high level Canadian news.
  • BBC world news:  The world in 20 minutes with great special guest commentary.
  • BBC Business news:  20 minutes of business.
  • HBR Ideacast:  Usually around 12 minutes long, they give a good synopsis on up and coming articles.

I have dropped the Wall street journal podcast as I find it too US centric and find the Bloomberg podcast and The Economist podcast hit or miss. I also listen to a few general interest podcasts; The New Yorker, TEDTalks and Slate, with my favourite being Stuff You Should Know, from the How Stuff Works website. The hosts have a dry sense of humour and report on a range of topics. To get you started, a few podcasts that were very enjoyable:

  • What is mountain removal mining?  Bring out your internal eco-warrior on what is happening in the poor areas of the US (and I am sure on other areas of the world), through a different type of strip mining that involves explosives, huge industrial waste, destruction of valleys/wildlife and serious health issues for the locals. A sad story of economics overtaking logic (they could mine the old fashioned way, but this way requires 1/3 of the labour). You can watch a good video synopsis here.
  • Can the sun kill you?  I found it amazing that we will get 80% of all of our sun by the age of 18. Thank goodness that parenting and information have advanced. I know my boys have never had big water blisters on their shoulders from too much sun (Something that I remember as a regular occurrence as a child … sunblock in the 1970s, what is that?)
  • How Knights Work  The boys and I had a drive so we listened to this podcast on the way there and back. I never understood the whole squire thing, now I do and the boys loved the topic.

I love the net.

FACEBOOK EDUCATION

 

A couple weeks ago we attended a parents evening on Facebook. I am not a big Facebook user. I have it turned on, I have pictures posted for friends and have connections to a host of old and current friends. It is a convenient way to stay in touch. But I don’t post … because I blog.

The evening event was hosted by Chris Vollum of Social Media Trust and was titled Facebook 101 for Parents. During the day he had held 3 sessions for the lower, middle and upper schools. I consider myself pretty technical, but I was a bit naive on Facebook as I have not invested the right amount of time into understanding it (our boys are just now showing interest). The biggest eye openers for me were the long term impact that Facebook activity can have on children. I am very personally aware of what I write on this blog, but do children of 14 or 15 think before they do something off the cuff?

The photograph of his slide is chilling .. sent to a student who was enrolling in the University of Connecticut:

image

Consider these statistics from a University of Massachusetts study that polled 453 college admission departments:

  • 26% are actively researching students through search engines
  • 21% are checking out social networking profiles like MySpace and Facebook

More concerning is just how open most people are on a few fronts:

  • Too many people do not understand the privacy settings. They may think that they are just with their friends, when in fact, they are wide open. The speaker showed a random woman in Florida who had her university info, birth date, and a host of other private pieces of information up for everyone to see. A identity theft just waiting to happen. Sophos has a good guide on how to lock down here.
  • People post too much. As per the last part, they are wide open and then they post everything. He typed in ‘Friday vacation’ and up came hundreds of posts from people talking about how they were going on holiday on the weekend. He told the story of a friend who posted ‘leaving today, coming back late next Sunday night’. The only thing missing was which mat the spare key is hidden under.
  • Facebook policies are changing and people don’t understand it. Last fall Facebook reset everyone’s privacy settings and if you had a fully locked down profile, you had to go back in and set it back to ‘locked up’. And they will do it again.

A very eye opening and cautionary evening.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK EXPANDS

 

While at a conference I saw several solutions where a person’s LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter feeds were viewable right from the CRM feed. At a social networking workshop it became very clear that managing one’s online presence is incredibly important. I have often wondered how much to put on LinkedIn with regard to the profile, and after much thought I think it is time to make it a bit more robust. GTD has an action item, time to update LinkedIn.

It is also time to take a look at a few sites like Jigsaw and other to see what is in there. Will be very interesting.

UK NATIONAL ARCHIVES

 

I came across this site while listening to the BBC World new. The UK government has put ‘1,000 years of national government documents’ online for everyone to use. They are also seeking people’s insight and support, if you see a picture that you recognize they encourage input to help them collect more data on the who, what and where.

In the African site you see pages and pages of colonial era photos, now posted on Flickr. I found the letter from an employee to employer with regard to his ‘dejobment’ fascinating; note the number of children that he has brought into this ‘vale of tears’. I wonder if he was ever ‘rejobulated’? (Although I would wager that using the word homicide in a letter cannot increase one’s odds).

I hope they post more pictures of Egypt. I cannot imagine living in those times, where there were no barriers and people would still climb the pyramids.

Of course it would have taken a month by boat to get there ….

Amazing raw insight into the past.

UDEMY

 

I came across the site UDEMY through the week and am intrigued by the idea:

"There are millions of experts everywhere, and we provide them with the tools to share their knowledge online. Udemy gives instructors the ability to use video, PowerPoint, articles, and blog posts to build rich courses. They can even host virtual conferences with students. People spend $9 billion on casual learning each year, and another $20 billion on continuing and professional education. We can catalyze that market to move online, and provide forums that create in-depth learning experiences about everything from Thai cooking to calculus to Esperanto. We launched in May 2010 and more than 2,000 courses have been created. We’re introducing a pay platform so our instructors can decide if they want to charge for their courses, but we expect 80% will remain free. The education industry is very top-down, but this has the power to change that."

It is a very interesting notion, but it will have to differentiate from simple video sites and there is a question of the end game of the content creator. If a author simply wants to sell more books – then a medium such as YouTube is more effective due to broad reach. However, if I am an educational institution or an educator/presenter, there is a revenue opportunity and it is a neat idea – that I can go and provide a high quality web course at a low one time cost.

There is also the potential draw of the website being educationally orientated and focused – a place to easily find course content. Which leads to the question, how do they keep it focused and vet quality? For example, while I enjoyed the ‘course’ Fun with Posters and Charts, is this really a course? Not really, it is more appropriate for a site like slideshare.

That being said, a site I will watch.

Via.

 

PS: Loved the slideshare ‘10 Ways to Suck at Social Media’, great piece for companies.

HOTMAIL FOR ANDROID AND APPLE

 

Finally. Microsoft Hotmail has allowed proper calendar and email sync on other platforms by enabling Exchange like functions. You can read it here. The settings below (set it up like Exchange):

Field Setting Server / URL: m.hotmail.com

Username: Enter full email address, for example: someone@example.com

Domain: Leave this blank

SSL: Enable this

Certificate: Accept the SSL certificate when prompted

Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Tasks: All can be enabled (see the Solution Center article for exceptions on some phones)

I have been spending a lot of time playing with Android over the last month. Amazing OS, more on that soon.

THE GUY AT HOME IN HIS UNDERWEAR TO FIGHT CANCER

 

This week I had someone say they knew me from the old University days and I just could not place the name. So I fired out a note to a few old friends to ask if they remembered. No one did. But it did open a ‘man, it has been a long time since we saw each other. We should get together’ email thread.

To which one added ‘You should invite Toe after that underwear thing’. Of course I had to ask ‘what underwear thing?’ I could only imagine, he is a great guy, definitely was the craziest out of the lot and has a life full of stories. For example, the story of why Mark McIntyre is called Toe. They sent me this:

http://guyathome.com/

Mark is a testicular cancer survivor. How he found out that he had testicular cancer is a story in itself, you can read it here. I have not talked to him for a long time, but I went through the site, was in awe of the effort and really enjoyed the videos. In the end, he didn’t raise $25K for cancer, he raised $50K AND he raised awareness. Just do a search and you will see, the media was all over it.

Congratulations Mark. How appropriately memorable from a guy who is the main character in many of my University stories. Especially the car and the lake story (smile). Great guy, great accomplishment.

A FEW MORE FROM THE INTERWEB

 

  • The question of whether or not you can catch up on sleep is often debated. Turns our that a weekend spent sleeping late after a week with little sleep does work, according to the Sleep journal:

A study in the Aug. 1 issue of the journal Sleep suggests that a dose of extra sleep on the weekend may be good medicine for adults who repeatedly stay up too late or wake up too early during the workweek. However, even a night of 10 hours in bed may not be enough to cure the negative effects of chronic sleep restriction.

  • There are many articles about whether or not video games are beneficial. It is amazing to watch them play now, so fast, much faster than me. According to a University study, there are benefits; fast paced video games improve decision making:

Participants in a University of Rochester study, "Improved probabilistic inference as a general learning mechanism with action video games", by UR professor of brain and cognitive science Daphne Bavelier played 50 hours of video games over multiple weeks. Players who played action games like Call of Duty 2 (pictured here) made quicker decisions than those who played slow-paced strategy games like The Sims without sacrificing accuracy.

  • Esquire had an article for the holidays on how to be more interesting (in social situations) …. Most are common sense, but 8 made me think:

8. With people you don’t know, limit stories to the last five minutes of your life — the turnout, the Scotch selection, the homeless man you mistakenly took for a valet.

The Who’s Been Sleeping In My Bed Award to three British Holiday Inns for launching another new amenity – human bed-warmers. During a January cold snap, guests who paid an extra fee could have a staff member in a one-piece sleeper suit crawl between their sheets to preheat the bed to 20 C. The service is “a bit like having a giant hot water bottle in your bed,” chain spokeswoman Jane Bednall said. Guest Evan Jones disagreed. “It’s slightly creepy,” he said. “I might pay to not have it.”

  • Enjoyed the article How Canada’s Dollar Got Ahead and Left America Behind in Esquire, discussing Canadian financial prudence and the fact that there wasn’t a single Canadian bank bailed out during the recent crisis. The article could have been called ‘Revenge of the Conservative’.

canada dollar

A FEW FROM THE WEB

 

A few articles from the interweb which caught my interest.

  • I read a very interesting article on Quebec independence in Sharp magazine’s December issue; Separation Anxiety. Fifteen years ago, Québec came within a hair of secession. Now the separatist movement seems to have all but disappeared. When did Québec become part of Canada again?   I remember that night, sitting by the TV as Canada held its’ breath. We were just about to buy our first house and one of the news commentators mentioned that rates would go back into the teens … Thankfully for all of us, it didn’t happen. Canada and Quebec are better as a team.
  • Waxing cross country skis has not changed much in the last 70 years. Just ask Edmund Cloutier, Printer to the King’s Most Excellent Majesty (Circa 1941).
  • A Christmas Story is my favourite Christmas movie and I never grow weary of it. For many of the actors, it was their greatest work.
  • According to 70,000 respondents on an entrepreneur.com survey – 53% of people believe email is still the most important form of communication, 40% say it somewhat important but still needed. In the same magazine, another article states that email is making us stupid. I am sure there is a lesson in there.
  • YouTube posted their Top 10 for the year (Excluding music videos) making up for more than 250 million views. In ITV’s annual comedy review, they pointed to two videos which may not be the most watched, but are definitely some of the funniest; the X Factor ‘punch’ incident and Phil Davidson for Stark County Treasurer.

KINECT UPDATE …

 

Over the uber-weekend, we also spent some time playing the new Kinect and I have to say, I am blown away. This is the type of gaming experience that we have been talking about for decades. Movies and a vision come to life. The most amazing thing being … it will only get better. This is just the start.

It seems like there are few other’s sharing that opinion. As stated in the HBR article Countering the Excuses for Avoiding Social Media (and Video Games):

The release of the Microsoft Kinect last week once again forced me to confront my double standard. Faced with the widespread accolades for this “revolutionary”, controller-free gaming system, I felt like even a skeptic like me had to take it for a spin.

The experience was in fact revolutionary enough to inspire a set of 10 predictions for how the Kinect will change our world in the next decade.

I would agree. It is revolutionary. Who knows what they will be playing on 20 years from now? After all … 20 years ago, we were just emerging from the Atari era ….

As an aside, the article isn’t about the Kinect – that is just a side note. The article is about people who say that they are ‘too old’ for social media and how the author used the same rationale for video games, to her detriment.

KIK

 

I came across the instant messenger client KIK over the weekend. A mobile messenger that works on Blackberry, Android, iPhone and iPod – and works very well. Think of it as BBM across many platforms.

Kik

Very impressed. Guess that is why they signed up 2M users in their first week or two. 

THE DEATH OF THE DESKTOP?

 

The death of the desktop is something that analysts have been talking about for a very long time. Many are anti-Microsoft and allow their sentiment to color their view. Others see the future, and simply hope for a different technical landscape with more choice, a hope that many had for Linux (unfulfilled on the desktop) and that Apple started to make inroads against, gaining as much as 10% share. Others simply hope to see cloud computing enabling a simpler, install free world where the hardware requirements on the desktop are replaced by server based, internet computing power. Scott McNealy could be argued as one of the earliest and most vocal proponents of this model, although his famous dislike/jealousy of Microsoft often coloured his point of view:

"At Sun we believe in the network-computing model. We’re not wired up and married to the host-based centralized computing model, and we’re not all tangled up in the desktop hairball – that is the desktop computing model of the Intel-Microsoft world. Everything from the first computer we shipped a long time ago goes out with a network interface, and every desktop, server, application, software product, and service product that we’ve ever offered has been network-centric."

Rightly or wrongly, disappointed or happy (depending on your personal and financial motivations), the desktop remains alive despite much effort – not unlike the often sought after, fictional ‘paperless office’. And as my weekend demonstrated (Where I spent countless hours rebuilding 2 Windows 7 machines after only 18 months of use, due to constant profile corruptions, blue screens and much family pain) the desktop is far from simple and far from ‘well’.

But change is afoot and the dominance of the desktop OS faces a new challenge. Before I expand on that thought, I will make one clear note, it is far from decided and you can count on one thing, Microsoft never gives up and has more resources than all of the competition combined. It will remain a driving force in the desktop destiny, that is for sure.

That being said, I was struck by a few items over the last two weeks that seem like key inflection points in the future of the desktop. Consider the following:

1.   The rise of the tablet: The tablet was envisioned by Gates and Microsoft many years ago. As far back as the late 90’s, Microsoft was talking about digital ink and their push into what they called the ‘Tablet PC’ market. I had one of the first tablet PCs, a Compaq T1000 and it was revolutionary, I could write on it in meetings, it was thin and very versatile. But Microsoft’s approach had 2 fatal flaws – it was a large, desktop based OS that required fast hardware (which is a direct contradiction to the tablet form factor) and had very poor battery life.

Fast forward almost a decade, and in almost a XEROX PARC like moment for Microsoft, the iPad shows up. In one fell swoop, Apple created an entirely new market with well engineered hardware and an operating system which is much more mobile OS than desktop OS. They built the tablet – OS and hardware from the ground up and one could argue, that with many new tablets on the horizon, this class of device has demonstrated value and is going to thrive as a viable desktop alternative. Just go sit in an executive boardroom and you will see why. iPad’s everywhere.

2.  The rise of the thin OS:  The rise of the tablet and the growth of smart phones running high speed processors (1ghz+) is driving demand for a thin OS. One that boots instantly, uses less memory and has characteristics that are moving the market away from the processor wild device, heavy or non portable devices to thin downed devices.

Last week, Apple took that step on the laptop. While reading the press release on the new Apple notebook, I was intrigued by a few key changes that Apple has made. Instant on, solid state disk and their new app store are very ‘iOS’ or mobile like functions – and this move is significant. Perhaps the desktop OS isn’t dead, it is simply gearing up for a big change, where success requires a transformation – driven by mobility.

3.  The Application Store:  One of the most important changes is the availability of applications. Walk into a local Best Buy, notice that the PC aisle is getting smaller?

With internet speeds that make downloading a file almost instant, why buy packaged software? But it remains a fragmented experience. There is no app store for the desktop, there is no system of ranking. And of course, in this clutter that is the internet – Apple sees opportunity and charges forward with another transformation. They are about to launch an app store for the laptop (the desktop will surely follow):

Macs will soon have an online application store, similar to the one for the iPhone and iPad, Jobs said today at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. New computers also will take better advantage of multitouch gestures on track pads, mimicking Apple’s mobile iOS software. The app store will open within 90 days, and Lion will be released in the summer of 2011.

 With tons of Android tablets on the way in the coming 3 months, Android growing 10X and taking 50% share in the US market, and a change in the way we use our devices (mobility being the key), I would suggest that change is afoot ….

KINECT

 

Microsoft may be struggling with a few of their products and people, but one thing that isn’t struggling is the XBOX. The now departed Robbie Bach did an amazing job to ensure that the product lives on in greatness. Our Wii continues to gather dust ….

I pre-ordered our Kinect about a month ago, good thing as it is selling out already. It looks like a break out experience and the start of a whole new mode of gaming. Truly hands free control that has been envisioned in movies for decades.  Personally, I am really looking forward to the many fitness programs, already have the basement set up for it. Glad I didn’t order the Wii Fit. It looks truly amazing.

 

Now if the could just make a P90X version ….

BACK-UP

 

There are a lot of computers in our house. We have now been in place for a year and things are settled, but one minor computer element was missed. A few upgrades happened and I forgot to turn RAID 1 back on with my home machine. Which meant that when I experienced my first hardrive failure in a very long time, the Alberta photos and one other event’s photos were lost.

As it is mechanical, I was kind of hooped. However, I was able to recover about 80% of the photos off of the memory cards using recovery software,  and everything else of value is backed up.

I also went on a quick tour of the PCs, ensured that everything is properly backed up, that the latest hardcopies are in place and ensured that my USB RAID storage is in safe shape. Amazing how for $300 you can run 2TB of RAID 1 thanks to hardrive enclosures like the Kanguru (thank-you China).

A few photo’s from a 12KM Johnston Canyon hike in Banff … that I was able to recover.

2010 07 Johnson Canyon  (10)

2010 07 Johnson Canyon  (34)

2010 07 Johnson Canyon  (3)

2010 07 Johnson Canyon  (12)

2010 07 Johnson Canyon  (20)

2010 07 Johnson Canyon  (39)

All safe and sound. Banff truly is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

RIM/Blackberry LINKEDIN APPLICATION

 

People who work with me know that I love the feature in Outlook where you put your picture in your contacts, their photo shows up at the top of their emails. It also shows up on a synchronized smart phone that draws contact cards from Exchange.

The LinkedIn application for the Blackberry takes it a step further. If someone does not have a picture, and you have linked in on the BB, it will update the picture in Outlook. I know this as a bunch of pictures started to show up in contacts with the little linked in icon in the bottom corner.

Well done Blackberry. You can get the app here.

RIP: MOORE’S LAW

 

The Forbe’s article ‘Life after Moore’s  Law’ suggests that the doubling of processor power every 18 months is over.

But in a development that’s been largely overlooked, this power scaling has ended. And as a result, the CPU scaling predicted by Moore’s Law is now dead. CPU performance no longer doubles every 18 months. And that poses a grave threat to the many industries that rely on the historic growth in computing performance.

Going forward, the critical need is to build energy-efficient parallel computers, sometimes called throughput computers, in which many processing cores, each optimized for efficiency, not serial speed, work together on the solution of a problem. A fundamental advantage of parallel computers is that they efficiently turn more transistors into more performance. Doubling the number of processors causes many programs to go twice as fast. In contrast, doubling the number of transistors in a serial CPU results in a very modest increase in performance–at a tremendous expense in energy.

5-2-10-mooreslawwall600[1]

I have to admit that I don’t even understand the correlation between processor speed (GHZ) and performance anymore. And if it is dead, that means that coders will have to seriously review how they write their programs because I still find my PC slowing down. One also has to wonder at the impact of web services, which puts the processing power in the cloud (impacting the need for local server or desktop processor speed).

Although I hope it continues, I love to watch computer components continue to tumble down. $84 for a 1.5TB drive is pleasantly mad.

The end of an interesting phenomenon (perhaps).

MORE ON TECHNOLOGY DOWNSIDE

 

Two additional NY Times articles on technology and the negative implications on productivity:

An Ugly Toll of Technology: Impatience and Forgetfulness

Has high-speed Internet made you impatient with slow-speed children?

Do you sometimes think about reaching for the fast-forward button, only to realize that life does not come with a remote control?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, exposure to technology may be slowly reshaping your personality. Some experts believe excessive use of the Internet, cellphones and other technologies can cause us to become more impatient, impulsive, forgetful and even more narcissistic.

“More and more, life is resembling the chat room,” says Dr. Elias Aboujaoude, director of the Impulse Control Disorders Clinic at Stanford. “We’re paying a price in terms of our cognitive life because of this virtual lifestyle.”

More Americans Sense a Downside to an Always Plugged-in Existence

While most Americans say devices like smartphones, cellphones and personal computers have made their lives better and their jobs easier, some say they have been intrusive, increased their levels of stress and made it difficult to concentrate, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.

Younger people are particularly affected: almost 30 percent of those under 45 said the use of these devices made it harder to focus, while less than 10 percent of older users agreed.

Blackberries, iPhones and laptops in meetings are very distracting. A challenge at Microsoft (where everyone sits in meetings with their laptops open), famously written up in the article Minding the Meeting, or Your Computer?. What the article suggests is that laptops are not a problem in MS meetings, which is simply not the case. No matter what the published ‘etiquette’, the reality is that a laptop or Blackberry or iPhone will constantly distract.

I never thought I would say ‘too much technology’.

SPAM

 

While sitting in a session on Mobile Broadband growth strategies session, the security expert provided a shocking number. The number of email SPAMs in 2009:

40 TRILLION

If there are 6 Billion people on the planet, and 40 trillion equals 40,000 billion, that is 6,666 spam emails for every single person in the world.

That is a lot of SPAM.

YOUTH AND MEDIA

 

The Kaiser Family Foundation has published a shocking survey on the usage patterns of media:

A national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that with technology allowing nearly 24-hour media access as children and teens go about their daily lives, the amount of time young people spend with entertainment media has risen dramatically, especially among minority youth.  Today, 8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week).  And because they spend so much of that time ‘media multitasking’ (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes (10:45) worth of media content into those 7½ hours.

Lets do the math:

That leaves 10 hours for other stuff of which 75% involved media of some form. This would obviously include the kids walking around in a group, a single ear bud in their ear while they hang out with their friends. No wonder childhood obesity continues to skyrocket.

It is all about moderation. On the business side, it has profound impacts. How do you keep their attention? An HBR blog makes an interesting point:

In this increasingly seamless media landscape, you need to ask yourself, how "continuous" is your brand and the service that supports it? Do people "see" the same company across the web, phone, call center, and in person? In my work with companies, I have found great disconnects among the customer contact channels.

In conversations I have with CIO’s, when it comes to the next generation of workers, the number one challenge is ‘How do I match their consumer like experience, where they work with the latest and greatest to the realities of a controlled IT environment?’ Very interesting times ahead.

EASY SHARING

 

I was on the Harvard Business blog site this morning (I subscribe to their daily email here, great service) and I went to email an article to a colleague and this is what came up for sharing choices:

image

image image

LOL. I cut and pasted it. So much for the days of a few services, easy sharing or a simple ‘email this’ button. The internet is such a mess, and it isn’t slowing down. Death by Information Overload is a threat that continues to grow.

Easy sharing … not really.

WINDOWS 7 AND MY HP Colour LaserJet CM1312nfi MFP

 

I have waxed on about how amazing it is to get a fax, colour copier, scanner and color laser printer for $500 when a little over a decade ago they were $100K. Amazing stuff. Our color LaserJet broke on the ship over from England (it must have taken a big knock) so after much futzing to see if I could get it running, I had to buy a new one and I landed on the new HP all in one.

As all of my home machines are now running Windows 7, I was hoping it would be a breeze. It wasn’t. However, if I would have thought of this, it would have been … I should have thought of this. During the install the software kept erroring out – because it did not recognize Windows 7. But thanks to this tip and the compatibility feature in Win7, it is now running just fine. The steps are below, hope it helps others:

I just got my CM1312 MFP working in Windows 7.  Here’s how:

    1. Insert the setup disk in your CD/DVD drive.  Choose to view the files in Explorer.  Scroll down to the file "Setup," which is identified as an application.
    2. Right-click the file and select "Properties." Click the "Compatibility" tab at the top of the resulting window.
    3. Check off "Run this program in compatibility mode for:" and choose "Windows Vista" from the pop-up menu.
    4. ALSO check "Run this program as administrator" at the bottom of the window.
    5. Press "Apply," then "OK."

Now you can double-click the "Setup" file and run the software installer

And no to that certain someone who is about to make a comment, this does not make me want to buy a Mac.

WHAT’S RUNNING ON THAT APPLE?

 

Taken on my phone for my Applefanboy friends in the SAS lounge at Heathrow. I can just see them cringing now ….

IMAGE_016[1]

WINDOWS 7: PROS AND CONS

 

Having spent a long time at Microsoft, a few of my Applefanboy friends hypothesized that as soon as I left I would run out and get an Apple. Personally, I ribbed a few of my Microsoft friends that I was going to do it. Time is past, the joke is old, I remain a PC – narry and Apple in the house.

What I have doing it running Windows 7 and I have to say, color me impressed. A few highlights for me (which I can now blog openly as I no longer work there):

  • Speed. Take an old laptop. Put Windows 7 on it. It will scream. Take a Vista machine and put Windows 7 on it, big difference. I don’t know what Veghte did, but his team sure sped it up.
  • Interface: The little things – the tool bar changes and the quick jump feature where you last actions with that program are listed. Great feature. All in all, well thought out across the board from the network sharing to the mobile device management.
  • Sharing:  Love the homegroup and libraries notion, it makes sharing so much easier. Permissions were WAY too complex before. You needed a network administrator. With some of our pictures, I have started to create unique sorting libraries to pull from when running a screen saver.
  • Media Center: Finally, native DIVX support. The ability to sit on a computer and push a playlist to an extender is a brilliant feature. If you run an XBOX and the extender feature, check out the new screen saver. It is guaranteed to make your family and friends mesmerized as it pans and zooms.
  • Gadgets: I know, old hat for many. But the gadgets are great and the sidebar had to go.
  • Compatibility:  When I first upgraded to Vista it was a nightmare. Nothing worked. Old apps crashed, devices were without drives. Other than virus protection, everything works. Many people complain about this, but think about the magnitude of the challenge. Unlike Apple, Microsoft runs an open ecosystem which supports hundreds of thousands of devices and builds. The enormity of the task beat Microsoft in Vista, but thanks to the core system elements being the same, none of those challenges exist this time around.

Now a few things that Windows 7 missed out on (and are easy to fix):

  • More screensavers: Microsoft pitches ‘Memories’ as a key experience. Why is Windows 7 not loaded with different types of screen savers? People want the ability to show their pictures everywhere in different ways. Microsoft has the assets (think Windows XP and the Digital Media add on which had 10 different screen savers that my family loved).
  • The extender never quite gets all the way there:  Microsoft is almost there with Media Center and the extender but continues to fall short resulting in all these little hacks that people need to do to make everything work. In my mind, there are two primary deficiencies remaining:
    • Full codec support: Where is MKV? Why not support every single codec out there that the market loves and make it so everyone can use it right out of the box without a hack. This is short sighted and an ongoing frustration.
    • DVD streaming: Why can I not have a DVD VOB file sitting on my Media Server and see it in the ‘Movies’ section of my extender. It works on the PC Media Center interface, why not on the extender? Seriously, it can’t be that hard. And why can’t I mount an ISO? I don’t have a Bluray yet, but I understand that isn’t support either.
    • Back to the first point, why is the extender not the coolest device out there for showing pictures and family videos? There is an industry to be MADE on this feature alone. Give me 10 great screen savers on my XBOX and I guarantee that every person who comes over will want to do it.

All in all, a huge step forward. All machines are almost upgraded. Of interest, even Mini Microsoft is enthused, for the first time in a long time. The release of Office 10 web is very interesting (And having seen a demo, it is impressive), although I would question whether BING will move share. Interesting times … but no Apple for me.

 

AUSTRALIAN AIR

 

I was reading GQ the other day (I have not read a GQ in decades, but picked one up randomly while at the airport a couple weeks ago) and their Joke of the Month page has a few ‘overheard’ announcements from Australian Airline attendants trying to make the announcements a bit more interesting. A few that made me laugh out loud:

  • Before takeoff:  "Welcome aboard. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt – and if you don’t know how to operate it, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unsupervised"
  • During the safety briefing:  "In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask and pull it over your face. If you have small children travelling with you, secure your mask before assisting them. If you are travelling with more than one small child, pick your favourite"
  • On departure: "Please be sure to take your belongings with you. If you’re going to leave anything, please make sure it’s something we’d like to have"
  • The farewell announcement: "We’d like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting  through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you’ll think of us"

From that same article, Michael McIntye:

"They’ve got their own money in Scotland. It’s still the pound, but it’s their own pound. They were offered their own currency but they thought ‘That’s too complicated mathematically, let’s just have your notes with our photos on it’ Have you ever tried to use Scottish money in England? There’s nothing more tense in life. When you hand it over, they look at you like you’ve just handed them a dead baby"

I laughed when I read this one. It is so true. When we went to Scotland we ended up with a bunch of their notes. I had one English fellow tell me that he didn’t know what they were but he wasn’t going to accept them (LOL). And of course, a guy without a British accent (Have I explained how I have no accent yet?) wasn’t going to convince him that it was legal tender. No way, no how.

A few other tidbits:

Best Life (the now dead magazine) had an interesting tidbit on roundabouts:

"… roundabouts move 30 percent more vehicles than traffic signals do … Their circular shape makes all the drivers travel in the same direction and this reduces serious crashes such as head on collisions by about 90%. "

The Brits have this one right. Ban all stop signs, I can’t stand them. They are so inefficient. Bring the roundabout to Canada.

The race to build a good music distribution system is getting more interesting. The Sonos is the most popular, but for those of us who have a home with prewired speakers, Logitech’s Squeezebox Duet is very compelling and half the cost:

Play songs stored on your PC or Mac in your den through the home stereo in your living room. No need to run wires or bring your computer to the living room to listen to your favourite tunes. Play your favourite tracks from the palm of your hand with the color remote.

All you need to get started is a Wi-Fi connection. Simply plug the Squeezebox (TM) Duet receiver into your home stereo system, bedroom stereo or kitchen audio system—anywhere you have audio gear. With the intuitive remote control, it’s easier than ever to browse, select and play your favourite music or discover new music.

So many choices.

INTERNET MONITORING

It is hard to know who is monitoring what you are doing online these days. Obviously, when you are in the office you can expect to have all online interactions monitored. After all, you are working on a company asset. A few months back I had a conversation with a corporate security guy around company internet monitoring and his response was ‘You would be surprised the sites that people go to. You would think that common sense would keep employees away from the obvious ones, but people still go there’. He went on to mention that this isn’t their focus, it is just inconvenient (and irritating). Their focus is on things like corporate fraud, identity theft, etc.At home, it is a different story. With the ever present threat of phishing and other internet attacks, it pays to be smart and attentive. Readers Digest had a good article on how to find out who is monitoring your activity online, in case you want to know:

  • Go to vancouver.cs.washington.edu and let the site automatically check whether your ISP is using monitoring devices.
  • Download Tor from torproject.org which helps block prying eyes.
  • Don’t sign up for email with your favourite search engine, as it makes it easier to link your interests. Google specifically.
  • Or use anonymizer.com or anonymouse.org to browse anonymously.

A few helpful tips.

WHEN IT IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

 

As part of the move back to Canada, we are moving back into a North American size home. Which means a lot bigger. As part of that, we will now have a rec room for our soon to be teenage boys to hang out in and a TV is required. So I surfed around a few traditional electronics sites and then hit SuperShopper to see if there were any good deals.

There was one. A 60’ Pioneer plasma for $1,000. That was a good deal so I sent an email to the person. I found it odd that they did not include a phone number, which was alarm bell number one, with the price being alarm two.

I received the following email back that night at 1:32 a.m. (or around 7 a.m. Africa time):

hi,ok but  I am sorry,  I am now out of the town with business,so if you want we can arrange the deal via eBay,i will email eBay to create an invoice for payment and shiping details,the transaction is insured and secured,so let me know,thanx

Uh. That seems odd. I responded:

Hi Julie;
Not interested unless I can see the product. When can I see it?

Response:

i am sorry the product is with me,i will be back after sep,and i want to sell the product until then,so the only way will be via eBay,also i have refund options,and the shipping is free and insured ,so let me know,thanx

OK. So let me get this all straight:

1. You are away on business for the next 3 months. That seems odd.

2. You have the product with you. You are carrying around a 60’ plasma? But you will ship it from the aforementioned location where you are doing business?

3. I cannot see it, but you have a refund option if you ship me the product and I don’t like it.

I wonder if Julie is related to the Nigerian prince that keeps emailing me asking for my help in getting his $20M out of the country.

THE INTERNET ISN’T ACCURATE?

 

After blogging the Karl Marx quote without checking the source, I had a buddy forward me the article ‘Americans to Undergo Preschool Reeducation in Advance of Country’s Conversion to Communism’:

In the wake of the cataclysmic failure of free market capitalism and the nationalization of the country’s banks, Americans over the age of seven will be forced to complete a reeducation program designed to re-instill lessons learned in preschool that have been deemed essential to functioning in a communist society by the federal government.

“Kids learn a lot about things like sharing and playing fair during their pre-school and kindergarten years that are gradually forgotten as such values simply aren’t congruous with the everyday world of a capitalist society, but will become of paramount importance once again as the United States transitions to communism,” remarked Pat Caufield of the Department of Education.

Caufield proceeded to describe what the reeducation would seek to achieve.

“In today’s America, for example, a person who’s somehow acquired a number of eggs will assume personal ownership of those eggs. They will say, ‘These are MY eggs, and I will do with them as I please. Perhaps I will eat them in an omelet, or maybe I’ll throw them at a house. Regardless, it doesn’t matter, because they are MY eggs,” Caufield explained, “But such will not be the case in the America of tomorrow. In tomorrow’s America, those eggs will be the people’s eggs. Meaning if a neighbor suddenly gets the wild idea to bake some chocolate whoopee pies and he’s minus one egg, he can come over and help himself – hence the importance of sharing.”

Citing Karl Marx, who presaged: "The owners of capital will stimulate the need of the working class to take expensive, collateral loans to buy their condos, houses and technological products; and, at the end, these unpaid debts will result in the nationalization of the banks upon their bankrupcy, and so the state will be on the pathway to communism," Caufield emphasized the exigency of reestablishing preschool values in all post-adolescent Americans.

"Being too young to understand the concepts of capitalism or exchange their labor for money, preschool children are merely taught not to destroy or deface the material objects that comprise their classroom because doing so isn’t nice," said Caufield, "The same will be true of the communes most Americans will soon inhabit. Though they may get away with breaking things that are collectively owned, breaking things isn’t nice."

It would appear the Karl Marx entry is a parody (smile).

We do not own a set of Britannica Encyclopaedias like my parents did (at a cost of more than one mortgage payment, proudly displayed in a wooden cabinet). Instead, our children turn to the web to seek content for their school projects. I will always remember a friend telling me that a TA in his MBA class made him redo his paper because he referenced Encarta, which the TA said is ‘not to be referenced’.

A cautionary reminder. Maybe it is time to subscribe to Britannica online? After all, $70 per year is a lot cheaper than $2,000 in 1982.

RAMBLINGS FROM THE INTERWEB ….

 

  • Supposedly Richard Branson’s favourite customer complaint.
  • A very cool website. PipeBytes let you transfer any size file.
  • Robin Williams on Obama’s election.
  • The tunnel of death:  The 3,150 meter long Lefortovo tunnel, in Russia , (near POLAND ) is the longest in-city tunnel in all of Europe. It is nicknamed ‘The Tunnel of Death’. There is a river running over the tunnel and water leaks onto the roadway at some points. When the temperature reaches nearly -60ºF like it does in Russia’s winter, the road freezes and becomes as slippery as…well…ice. The result is the video below, which was taken during a single day with the tunnel surveillance camera.

 

 

GUITAR HERO MYSTIFIES

 

I found it interesting to read the two viewpoints on the game Guitar Hero (and others like it) in this article (Via):

Real musicians:

"I’ve been puzzled by the popularity of the game Guitar Hero," writes Rob Horning at PopMatters. "If you want a more interactive way to enjoy music, why not dance, or play air guitar? Or better yet, if holding a guitar appeals to you, why not try actually learning how to play? For the cost of an Xbox and the Guitar Hero game, you can get yourself a pretty good guitar."

There seems to be a consensus that real musicians look down on games like this. I can understand their point of view. After all, to become a musician is a lot of hard work.

While the comments about the article provide a different viewpoint:

Sean has it right. All the silly crying about guitar hero is about as absurd as it gets.

All sorts of people who would have never thought they would be able to play guitar are trying it out because guitar hero was fun, and showed them that ‘hey, maybe I could play guitar a little bit.’

And further, it’s exposing people to a lot of music they never would have otherwise sought out. You’d think people who really loved music would think these to be good things. But instead the reaction has been largely one of snobbery, like this blog post.

I found this statement particularly interesting:

The moment you will find me grinning: When ten years from now, one or more newly famous rockers credit their music career to Guitar Hero getting them interested in music. Only then will all this ridiculous hand wringing be put in its proper context.

Interesting to see a debate rage. Personally, I find the game a ton of fun to play with the family. But I hold no illusion that I am a musician (I was a good Sax player at one point, but that was long ago) nor do I want to become one. We will see if it impacts my boys, there is talk of guitar lessons.

In the meantime, EA’s sales of Guitar Hero III becomes the first game to cross $1 billion. Amazing.

XBOX DRIVE

 

I have always been left wondering, what do you do with the 120GB drive on my Elite? I stream music and video from my central server, so not for that. Saving the boys’ games will take KBs. Renting movies will take some space (but those are temporary downloads) and map packs and or music for games like Lips are small. So what?

Yesterday, I was enlightened. Simply press the ‘Y’ button on the launch screen in the new XBOX menu and you get game options which include installing the game to the hard drive. Sure, you still need to put the disk in each time (copyright), but it does not spin and that means less chance to damage the disk and DEFINITELY less noise.

Great new feature of the new skin.

Technorati Tags:

THE eCARD

 

I am not a fan of eCards. For some reason, when I receive one, I am instantly left with a feeling that it is ‘too easy’. To send an eCard with a generic greeting lacks personalization and the fact that it can be done so easily (i.e. mass email) means I put low value on the card. Maybe it is because I get so much email – it just gets lost in the noise.

That all changed recently, when my wife came across the cool web application Smilebox. The service allows you to choose from hundreds of card templates, upload pictures and videos and custom music (choose from their 2,000 songs or upload your own – like Barenaked Ladies Jingle Bells (smile)) to build a truly customized card. You then send the card out and people enjoy a fully animated, custom experience. Pretty cool.

The service has a robust reporting function (LOL). It took me about 4 hours to do our first every eChristmas card due to fiddling, changing templates, choosing photos, playing with it. I am sure the next will be more efficient.

Very cool. I even paid them $30 to subscribe.

CRAWLING THE INTERWEB

 

A few sites enjoyed one evening over an Amarone

 

  • There are a plethora of great hits on the horizon. I am not a big graphic novel guy, unlike Wil, but I do own the Watchmen ( A Time magazine top 100 book of all time). The trailer for the new flick is promising and as it is from the director of the 300, probability of success is high.
  • I think that they would need to have a team of PHDs to figure out the timeline of the Terminator series. I have been enjoying the television show but the whole time travelling back and forth has probably got some internet geek in an uproar over inconsistencies. Where does the new Terminator Salvation fit in? Good question. But as Christian Bale is John Connor, I have no choice but to see it ….
  • In a world where people are cutting travel, I have become a video conferencing convert and our Roundtable product with Live Meeting has been blowing me away over the last month. The power of seeing people cannot be underestimated and at a few $K per unit, can’t go wrong.
  • My brother and I were joking about how we both love watching TV. I know, people who do not watch TV are smarter and happier. Well, I like TV. The new Jay Mohr sitcom Gary Unmarried hooked me with this scene. Gary is speaking to his 13 year old son about a girl who he is seeing and his son is complaining about how she is clingy and always wants to hold hands.

Gary: ‘Tommy, this is a good thing. This girl likes you. Plus, you’re getting hand’

Tommy: ‘I am the first of my friends to get it’ (looking cocky)

Gary: (laughing and hitting him on the shoulder) ‘Thatta boy’

Tommy: ‘But if she wasn’t so hot I would think she was crazy’ (walks out)

Gary: (looking unsettled) ‘Yaaaaa, its a good thing that hot ones are never crazy’

trek_logo_small

HUGE VIRUS COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I received this email (a couple times) late last week and by my count there were almost 300 names on the forward. Ignorance is the greatest friend of nasty people.

Bulletin: Subject: Fw: Huge Virus Coming
http://www.snopes.com/computer/virus/postcard.asp

Hi All, checked with Norton Anti-Virus, and they are gearing up for this virus.
I checked Snopes (URL above:), and it is for real.
Get this E-mail message sent around to your contacts ASAP.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS WARNING AMONG FRIENDS, FAMILY AND CONTACTS!
You should be alert during the next few days. Do not open any message with an
attachment entitled ‘POSTCARD FROM HALLMARK,’ regardless of who sent it to you.
It is a virus which opens A POSTCARD IMAGE, which ‘burns’ the whole hard disc C
of your computer. This virus will be received from someone who has your e-mail
address in his/her contact list. This is the reason why you need to let all your
contacts know about this.  It is better to receive this message 25 times than to
receive the virus and open it.
If you receive a mail called’ POSTCARD,’ even though sent to you by a friend, do
not open it! Shut down your computer immediately.
This is the worst virus announced by CNN. It has been classified by Microsoft as
the most destructive virus ever. This virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday,
and there is no repair yet for this kind of virus. This virus simply destroys
the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital information is kept.
COPY THIS, AND SEND IT TO YOUR FRIENDS. REMEMBER: IF YOU SEND IT TO THEM, YOU
WILL BENEFIT ALL OF US

Quick shut off your computer. No wait, but an anti virus program and keep going. I wonder if a security company started this thread?

Can you spell ‘H-O-A-X’?

RAMBLINGS AROUND THE INTERWEB

 

  • Whenever the news latches onto a child and video gaming, the addiction stories and media frenzy comes out in spades. The Globe is no different. News flash:  It is about active parenting, coaching restraint and balance. If my mom wouldn’t have kicked my butt out the door with the order ‘Go outside’, I guarantee I would have spent more time on my Intellivision or playing Head to Head Quarterback. It is about teaching balance. I hope the boy returns! 
  • Came across an interesting site called Lifehack.org that seems to be a smattering of people’s writings on life. I came across it thanks to a leadership newsletter which lead me to the article ‘Letter to a teenage daughter’ which could easily be switched for a boy. 
  • My next Christmas album will be from Yo-Yo Ma..
  • Spent the evening reading the boys the fascinating story Nature’s Revenge from Best Life magazine. The fascinating story of Chernobyl 20 years later. Amazing.

          

MEANDERINGS FROM THE INTERWEB …

 

Read on the weekend that Bell Canada is deploying HSPA. Wonder how Rogers feels right now?

How to procrastinate. ‘Procrastination can be thought of as a health-and-safety measure. After all, it’s only fools who rush in.’

The Sony Ericsson X1 is one sexy phone.

I am thinking of investing with the ultra rich, in this case the Guinness family and their Iveagh Wealth Fund. I met one of the family at a cocktail party, great guy with a life filled with stories of world travel, unique experiences and a very different lifestyle than those of us in the working class.

I am not sure if I want my jet to say ‘Honda‘.

Check out GraphJam. ‘Music and culture for people who love charts’ A few of my favourite graphs below (too many to post!)

song chart memes song chart memes

song chart memes

 

song chart memes

song chart memes

song chart memes

image

song chart memes

funny graphs

And of course, my own …..

image

SIX DEGREES OF KEVIN BACON

 

I was catching up on some reading when I came across the article ‘Instant-Messagers Really Are About Six Degrees from Kevin Bacon’. I remember this phenomenon, one of the first peculiarities of the Internet, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon:

The trivia game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is based on the concept of the small world phenomenon and rests on the assumption that any actor can be linked through his or her film roles to actor Kevin Bacon. The game requires a group of players to try to connect any film actor in history to Kevin Bacon as quickly as possible and in as few links as possible. The game was especially popular on college campuses in the early 1990s.[citation needed] In 2007, Bacon started a charitable organization named SixDegrees.org.

The Bacon number of an actor or actress is the number of degrees of separation he or she has from Bacon, as defined by the game. This is an application of the Erdős number concept to the movie industry. The higher the Bacon number, the farther away from Kevin Bacon the actor is.

The computation of a Bacon number for actor X is a "shortest path" algorithm:

  • If the lowest Bacon number of any actor with whom X has appeared in a movie is N, X’s Bacon number is N + 1.
  • Kevin Bacon himself has a Bacon number of 0.

Here is an example, using Elvis Presley:

Therefore Asner has a Bacon number of 1, and Presley (who never appeared in a film with Bacon himself) has a Bacon number of 2.

As of December 2007, the highest finite Bacon number reported by the Oracle of Bacon is 8. [3]. The American Civil War general William Rufus Shafter is frequently cited as having a Bacon number of 10, but his number is in fact only 7. [4].


[edit] Notable Bacon numbers

You have to love the way the Internet connects people with crazy ideas.

RICKROLLING

 

A few nights ago I was looking for the opening of this seasons Saturday Night Live where Tina Fey plays Sarah Palin and I got rickrolled. Don’t know what that is? Watch this clip and 30 seconds into it you will figure it out. According to Wikipedia:

Rickrolling is an Internet meme involving the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song "Never Gonna Give You Up". The meme is a bait and switch: a person provides a Web link they claim is relevant to the topic at hand, but the link actually takes the user to the Astley video. The URL can be masked or obfuscated in some manner so that the user cannot determine the true source of the link without clicking (and thus satisfying their curiosity). When a person clicks on the link given and is led to the web page he/she is said to have been "Rickrolled". By extension, it can also mean playing the song loudly in public in order to be disruptive.[1

Rick Astley takes it all in stride and appears to be profiting from it – Sony has republished his greatest hits. The power of the Internet.

You can watch the real clip here. Very funny.

ZUNE DOES AUDIBLE

 

A friend of mine sent me a note, Audible is FINALLY on the Zune. I am a big Audible fan and this is long overdue. Must be due to the recent 3.0 release of the Zune software.

clip_image002

LITTLE KNOWN

 

Got to love the web, little known Sarah Palin facts:

  • Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin only said she bought a tanning bed – in reality, it was a reverse tanning bed, powering all tanning beds everywhere around the world with the smoldering sun-kissed light from within Sarah Palin.
  • Sarah Palin drives herself to work everyday – in an M1A1 tank
  • Sarah Palin doesn’t actually have an accent, it’s distortion from her telepathic broadcast directly into your brain.
  • Little Known Fact: @Scobleizer is Sarah Palin in drag.

Of course, what would it be without a Chuck Norris contribution:    This is a truly great day. Chuck Norris, the Man himself, has deigned to give an approving fist pump to us as chroniclers of the Little Known Facts about Sarah Palin. He cites his personal favorites as follows:

  • Sarah Palin once carved a perfect likeness of the Mona Lisa in a block of ice using only her teeth.
  • Sarah Palin doesn’t need a gun to hunt, because she can throw a bullet through an adult bull elk.
  • And my favorite: Sarah Palin is courageous and tough enough to shave Chuck Norris’s beard – and face off against his third fist disguised as a chin.

Via.

 

Late addition from GraphJam:

song chart memes

song chart memes

CLOUD COMPUTING

 

We read a lot about Cloud Computing or the software-services model. Generally, you read about how this is the Hail Mary and the future of the Internet. The media loves a bandwagon.

I believe that it is a significant shift, but I think it is a shift, not a wholesale market switch. There is a big place for software plus services as part of the choice that consumers and businesses face, but it is a choice. Do I want my software hosted as a service, do I want it on a desktop/server on my premises or do I want someone to host it for me. Choice.

For the first time, I actually read two articles which pan the cloud computing hype:

In the end it is about balance and choice. in the article ‘Hybrid SaaS is likely the way to go’, we see that balanced view:

This isn’t exactly news. Over and over again, we’ve heard about these same worries slowing broader adoption of SaaS. And they aren’t going to go away. Which is why a number of folks, including ZDNet’s Joshua Greenbaum, believe that a hybrid approach incorporating both SaaS and traditional on-premise delivery models will ultimately prevail.

I like the last part of that paragraph:

Sorry, Marc Benioff, the rumors of traditional software’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

A FEW SIGHTINGS ON THE INTERWEB

A few things I found interesting ….

  • The seven habits of highly effective space ship captains. No.3 – think Firefly. This reminds me of this quiz.
  • Here is where I learned how to give a proper man hug.
  • Time lapsed video of a dude who was stuck in an elevator for 41 hours. Brutal.
  • If you have a car that gets 100MPG, this is the house for you. Your vegan friends will all want to come to the house warming party, which creates a dilemma – where the heck will they all sit or will they be forced to try one of those how many people can we fit’ things?
  • The Zoombak is a really cool piece of kit. Reminds me, I need to figure out how to get GPS working on the camera ….
  • I just bought my first network connected, full color laser printer – HP Color LaserJet CP1515n. Amazing printer – colour is spectacular, they dramatically lowered the consumable costs and I love the network connectivity, Vista picked it up instantly. Bye bye bubble jet. To think, a little over 10 years ago I was selling the only form of colour laser printer available for more than $200K per unit (Laser photocopiers with Fiery print servers).
  • Check out this new way of travelling. The concept is incredibly cool, it isn’t the fastest (222 mph), but think of the leg room. The only downside? The whole Hindenberg thing … Customize yours here.

 

TRANSLATOR

 

This is a VERY cool application from LIVE LABS. Type in a phrase on one side and out comes sentence. Very cool.

YOU ARE BEING WATCHED

 

I stumbled across two very interesting articles on search records and how they could be used here and here. This statement was particularly troubling with regard to a recent AOL data leak:

So what? you might ask. Think back to the supposedly anonymous search logs released by AOL last year, which were quickly linked to individual users. Paul Boutin’s piece in Slate included this arresting detail: "The searches of AOL user No. 672368 morphed over several weeks from ‘you’re pregnant he doesn’t want the baby’ to ‘foods to eat when pregnant’ to ‘abortion clinics charlotte nc’ to ‘can christians be forgiven for abortion.’ " The chance our search records will get exposed is remote, but not impossibly remote. Google has responded by anonymizing search logs after 18 to 24 months, and by promising that our data are secure.

Most people don’t understand their risks on the internet and threats to their privacy, so they are oblivious to the ways that they are being watched. Heck, many people don’t secure their wireless network – how would they be able to understand this?  Interesting.

ATTACK OF THE FAKE BLOGGERS

blog

 

TechCrunch wrote this great article on the emergence of fake bloggers. I rooted around the sites, some pretty funny stuff. The EU has just made fake blogs illegal, we will see if anyone goes after these bloggers. 

Larry Ellison’s fake blog is LOL funny ..

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,224 other followers

%d bloggers like this: