/*sidenote tool from arc90 */ /* end of Google Analytics code */ A Random Pattern: December 2005

A Random Pattern

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Ten predictions for the new year - From Blake Ross

My favorite (and the funniest I've found) geeky predictions for 2006. Here are my two favorites:
  • Another blog search engine will release a list of top 100 bloggers. Every blogger on the list will blog the news in the form of: “Wow, I’m honored to have made it onto the top 100 list” with a link back to the list maintainer’s blog. The list maintainer will in return blog: “I’m honored to see that the list has been covered by such a high-profile blogger” with a link back to the winner’s blog. The link incest will continue for weeks until it has propelled the list maintainer himself into the top 100, at which point the list will be declared a sham and the blogosphere will erupt in outrage.
  • The RIAA will be granted its long-awaited patent on the concept of suing your own customers and promptly sue the MPAA for violating it. Buoyed by this success, the RIAA announces its intentions to patent the act of granting patents and threatens to “sue the patent office out of existence” if it is granted.
Hmmm...that first item gives me an idea.... :)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Good and Bad Procrastination

In his famous essay You and Your Research (which I recommend to anyone ambitious, no matter what they're working on), Richard Hamming suggests that you ask yourself three questions:
  1. What are the most important problems in your field?

  2. Are you working on one of them?

  3. Why not?
Great article - and great excuse to use when the IRS wants to know why you didn't get around to filing your taxes (here, just read this!). Certainly makes me feel better about procrastinating....just kidding.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Official Google Blog: This just in...

I hope if you're at all technically inclined, that you didn't miss this little tidbit this Christmas. Google's Earth program is "tracking" Santa - and boy is he zipping around tonight!! When we were watching earlier, he was hitting Egypt - I imagine he's moved on by this point to another country.

Never before could you get such a clear visual representation of the sheer amount of work Mr. Claus would actually have before him each Christmas Eve!!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

Read more at googleblog.blogspot.com...

Or see pictures and summary at Brinke Guthrie's blog

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Can you trust your computer?

Can you trust your computer? - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)

With all the hoopla, excitement, and general craziness among bloggers, it's time to slow down and process some of the frenzied news from the last year. With that time to think, there are some serious questions that need to be asked amongst the digerati. Here's a starting point for a few posts on various aspects of control, specifically related to the "brave new digital world".

Keep in mind, for my more geeky readers, that it is a new world, and it's really still in it's toddler years, if not infancy. There are many battles to be fought, and many lines to be drawn. Unfortunately due to the raw power and nearly unlimited reach provided by the internet, this is one baby that's growing up more quickly than it can learn the value of the guidelines successful societies have followed for hundreds of years....

While the referenced article is more than a little old (at least in internet time), it takes on a chilling new gravitas against the sordid story of Sony. How the Sony situation is handled, and how we respond to other attempts to cross reasonable lines of behavior, will determine what our tomorrows hold.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The New Class Divide?

Technology and the new class divide | Perspectives | CNET News.com: "The truth is that the promise of a digital utopia where all are more or less equal has not yet come to pass. More broadly, income disparities in the United States are greater than they have been in 30 years, and some suggest that income inequality is growing to levels not seen since the 1880s. Recent studies have also suggested that social mobility is stagnating and possibly even reversing. That means very few people are moving out of the class they were born into. Despite all our technology gains, it appears that class gaps are widening. Could it be that technology is actually exacerbating the class divide rather than helping to address it?

In an era when 60 percent of all jobs now require good fundamental technology skills and technology has become a quality of life indicator, tech elites have noticeable advantages. They're able to demand higher paying jobs, communicate better and faster, and save time and money by handling routine tasks (like paying bills and accessing health information) online instead of in person."

Right now there is a brewing battle between pipeline owners and corps such as Google. Web2.0 companies like the current democratization of the web, where all citizens are (at least somewhat) equal. But the pipeline owners are seeing dollar signs through a different vision of the future - a future where the speed of a particular site might depend on how much that site was willing to pay to the pipeline owner. I can see this leading to an even bigger class divide, voiding the promise of technology.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Google Talkabout: Jingle All The Way

This explains what the Google Talk team has been doing.... and here I thought they were just goofing off the last few months. (I'm kidding, of course.)

Today, two major advances have been made in the openness of our voice capabilities. This morning, the Jabber Software Foundation (JSF) introduced two new proposed extensions to XMPP, known as Jingle and Jingle Audio. These enhancements describe how to write software compatable with Google Talk's voice features and have been introduced into the JSF's standards process where they'll be reviewed and improved by the XMPP community. To make implementing these extensions even easier, we've released a library we call "libjingle."Libjingle is the very same code Google Talk uses to negotiate, establish, and maintain peer-to-peer voice sessions, packaged as a library for other developers to use in their own projects. By incorporating Libjingle into your project, you enable its users to voice chat with other users of the Google Talk service.

The future of voice communications is looking brighter and cheaper for us consumers, though there's a big battle still to get through with the major telcos. My advice to them? Figure out NOW how to get on board, cut your losses while you can.

Read more at googletalk.blogspot.com...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Chronicles of Narnia

Chronicles of Narnia

I'm actually worried that the movie won't have a strong enough Christian/religious theme.Now, I'm an athiest, brought up Quaker, with little interest in spreading Christianity or anything.But I read the books before I could understand the whole Christian allegory thing. I loved them. I reread them later, understood, and felt betrayed. Then I matured enough to where I could read them a third time and not take it so hard. And I realize that the whole feel of the stories, the idea that they had weight and importance and weren't just some guys who had beef with each other, that came straight out of the religious treatment of the characters.If Aslan isn't God, and the White Witch is just some woman who wants to rule this place, the story becomes a cheesy special-effects battle movie. Yay, Dungeons and Dragons. If they can try to instill some kind of reverence and awe, and a feeling that these people are taking part in a larger struggle, that what is happening matters, I think the story can carry itself a lot better.If you can get over the fact that it's about Christianity, of course.I never saw The Passion, and I don't think it's a great idea for a movie, and so forth. But think how much more pointless a film it would be if the guy who was being tortured and suffering wasn't Jesus. (via www.slashdot.com comments )

Now that’s some insightful commentary. There is definitely room for a valid discussion on how well the movie was done, or how well the movie followed or didn’t follow the book. But arguing about the religious overtones or symbolism is really kind of silly.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Jim Collins.com | Library

Jim Collins.com | Library Rochelle spoke to me repeatedly about the idea of "making your life a creative work of art." A great piece of art is composed not just of what is in the final piece, but equally important, what is not. It is the discipline to discard what does not fit -- to cut out what might have already cost days or even years of effort -- that distinguishes the truly exceptional artist and marks the ideal piece of work, be it a symphony, a novel, a painting, a company or, most important of all, a life.