Thursday, March 31, 2005
What, Exactly, Is a Brand?: "After the gullies pile up with trendy marketers, you'll eventually find your way to someone who tells you a brand is just a name, a sign, or a symbol that distinguishes the products and services of one company from all others. If the loftiest metaphor they use in their description is a burning scar on the side of a cow, hire them."
Outrageous!: "Outrage seems to be the order of the day. Outrage is the new currency of politics, it's the currency of marketing and it's the currency of our interactions on the road--did I mention a woman in a GMC Jimmy--probably 55 years old--honked at me for more than a minute today (and flipped me the bird) because she didn't like my driving?"
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
And now my friend Art has a blog. So far it's largely tales of exploding termite tents.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
More Help Wanted: Older Workers Please Apply: "These recruiting successes, of course, also reflect economic realities as dwindling company-subsidized health coverage for retirees and inadequate savings and pensions force many older people to stay on their jobs or look for other work."
Monday, March 21, 2005
Attention RIAA: "I just thought I’d let you know that even my non-technical music friends have begun to run into your wonderful ‘protected’ CDs. One of them wanted to get music onto his iPod, so he searched Google for some answers and found out what you guys are up to. With no intervention from me or anyone other than Google and the Internet, he decided he’ll just return the CD and download the songs illegally instead."
Make-it-all Machine for Do-it-yourself Homeowners: "In fact, he thinks the magical machines will even manufacture themselves"
Saturday, March 19, 2005
I have an amazon.com Wish List. Amazon swapped out one of the items in the list for a different item (one I happen to already own). Weak.
Friday, March 18, 2005
Dark messengers: "Astronomers have been studying gamma-ray bursts for more than 30 years, and have evolved a complex theory to explain them in terms of giant stars that become unstable and rip themselves to pieces. Dr Clavelli thinks that these efforts amount to beating a square peg into a round hole. The astronomers think the same about his theory."
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Consumers Delete Cookies at Surprising Rate: "The report found 28 percent of Internet users are selectively rejecting third party cookies, such as those placed by online ad networks." - I question the notion that 28 percent of Internet users have the software to do this, much less the know-how to go in and delete selected cookies by hand. Firefox (along with all the other Moz browsers) lets you selectively reject cookies, but it isn't 28% of the market by any means. I suspect Jupiter's survey model is seriously broken.
Update: I have been reminded that IE also lets you selectively reject cookies, if you're willing to tolerate the interface for doing so. Bad web wonk, no cookie. Are 28% of internet users willing to tolerate the interface? I still doubt Jupiter's numbers.
In the tradition of geeks everywhere, I broke down and wrote my own web page management software. I'll probably release it to test victims in the next month or so, and to the larger world shortly after that. Mail me if you'd like to accidentally delete your web site test it.
Monday, March 14, 2005
How to Start a Startup: "When and if you get an infusion of real money from investors, what should you do with it? Not spend it, that's what. In nearly every startup that fails, the proximate cause is running out of money. Usually there is something deeper wrong. But even a proximate cause of death is worth trying hard to avoid." - long, but pretty good, although: "You hear all kinds of reasons why startups fail. But can you think of one that had a massively popular product and still failed?" - Napster, Scout, etc.
'Red and dead' galaxies surprise astronomers: "This enormous energy is thought to heat the gas remaining throughout the galaxy to tens of millions of degrees. [...] 'Eventually the gas is so hot, it is no longer bound to the galaxy and simply starts to flow out to space,' Hernquist told New Scientist, a process that takes about 10 million years. When it is over 'star formation is turned off'"
How the iPod Ran Circles Around the Walkman: "At Sony, having both digital players and music in the same corporate family has actually been detrimental to its hardware interests."
Why it is hard to share the wealth: "While economists' models traditionally regard humans as rational beings who always make intelligent decisions, econophysicists argue that in large systems the behaviour of each individual is influenced by so many factors that the net result is random, so it makes sense to treat people like atoms in a gas."
Face Recognition on Trial: "celebrity face identification remains quite reliable up to about 25 feet and then degrades gradually to zero reliability at 110 feet"
In the last six months bloggers appear to have shifted from spending 90% of their time talking about how blogging will change the world to spending 90% of their time talking about how they handle email overload. Maybe they will change the world by changing people's email reading habits. And this is my spending my time writing about bloggers writing about...
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Diabetes transplant: "Mr Richard Lane of Bromley, Kent, no longer needs insulin injections after receiving three islet cell transplants. But many patients still require top-up insulin because the transplanted cells do not produce enough to control blood sugar."
Pet Peeves Watch, #1:
Modern desks seem to lag the office environment by about 10 years.
We had computer desks, but no real space for a mouse. We got keyboard trays, but not large enough for modern keyboards and no space for a mouse. Keyboard trays are getting large enough for keyboards and mice, desks aren't leaving enough space for larger monitors, or are placing the monitors in ergonimically awkward spots (too far, too high). Ikea seems to pick heights for its desk by picking random values and then eliminating anything which might be useful for computer users.
I bought a desk recently which came with a little computer nook to store the computer in. This is a neat idea, it keeps the computer out of the way and makes things quiet. It also feeds all the cables to the computer through a tiny hole in the back of the desk, so you have a giant rat's nest of cables off the back of the desk, and feed the nest through the eye of a needle. On top of this, my computer, like most computers from this millennium, throws off a lot of heat. The fans do their job, but not when the whole arrangement is trapped in an enclosed space. When you open the door you are hit in the face by a wall of heat, and the computer is hot to the touch.
I was concerned about the heat, and planned to cut a hole in the rear wall of the desk (the back is a thick cardboard sheet printed to look like fake wood), but the docs are very specific about not doing that, because it would weaken the structural integrity of the desk. The structural integrity of the desk depends on a small piece of cardboard placed in such a way as to make the compartment useless for its intended purpose.
I had these sorts of feelings about chairs, and then we got the Aeron, so maybe what we need is an Aeron desk. Either way, this is what we need:
- lots of desk space
- adjustable height keyboard trays with room for mice
- one or more adjustable monitor stands which:
- can drop below the desk surface
- can be easily moved with the monitor
- can hold a 21" monitor
- can skew side to side so you can center the monitor relative to your main position (the tgb/yhn line) rather than centering relative to the combined keyboard/mouse space (generally somewhere around the return key)
- possibly multiple adjustable monitor stands for two-monitor setups
- space (trays, possibly) for power strips, which assume the power strips are the double-opposed design allowing for large transformers
- reasonbly placed large accessible conduits for cables
- hooks to keep cables out of the way
- adequate ventilation for the computer (forced air is an option here)
- components sensibly placed for access:
- things you use on a regular basis (e.g. CD drive) should be readily accessible
- things you don't use on a regular basis but don't have time for when you do need to deal with them (e.g. ports on the back of the computer) need to be accessible without too much hassle (i.e. without taking 20 minutes to blindly unplug everything, haul the cpu out, then later have to re-plug all the cables by reaching around the cpu and teaching yourself ports braille)
- space for hubs, and other "satellite" components which need to be accessible and viewable
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
One Man, One Brand: "This is really revolutionary in two ways. First, Josh has become the first blogger to ever publicly admit to not being knowledgable enough to discuss a topic intelligently."
Sunday, March 06, 2005
CEO pay: "Nothing correlated so strongly with corporate fraud as the value of stock options—not the standard of the firms' governance, nor analysts' inflated expectations about their earnings, nor ego-boosting stories about their CEOs in the press."
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Finding the Ultimate Theory of Everything: "String theory has long been criticised as that which makes no observable predictions about the universe we live in. If the discovery of cosmic superstrings holds up, the theory may finally have connected with reality and the critics may at last be silenced."