Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Very Interesting

Very Interesting

Future Blog writes about new techniques for designing your own 3-D objects.

Friday, August 27, 2004

How bizarre: German doctors grow jaw bone replacement in man's back

How bizarre: German doctors grow jaw bone replacement in man's back

LONDON - A German man was able to chow down on a bratwurst sandwich after surgeons grew a new jaw bone on his back muscle and transplanted the bone to his mouth.

The 56-year-old man had part of his lower jaw removed because of mouth cancer. Until the transplant, his diet was limited to soft food and soup for nine years.

How bizarre and impressive. Read the original article

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Hasselblad Going Digital

Hasselblad Going Digital

via Gizmodo
339_84.jpg imageClassic Swedish camera manufacturer Hasselblad has announced the purchase of a company Imacon - normally not news for us, but it signifies a move for the camera company towards digital, who apparently was caught somewhat off guard by the extremely fast migration of users from film to digital cameras.

This is very exciting. My personal preference is to have a controlled evolution of existing great film camera-making companies into great digital camera-making companies. A nightmare scenario, IMO, would have places like Hasselblad go out of business, a century of camera craftsmanship gone. It is nice to see that they are trying to play it smart and adjust before it is too late and their only options are to close or to sell their IP and then close.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Nature's follies

Nature's follies

Have little on human hubris. This much is well known. For more proof we bring you this BBC report

President Niyazov of Turkmenistan has ordered the construction of a palace made of ice in the heart of his desert country, one of the hottest on earth.

What could this palace accomplish?

"Our children can learn to ski," Mr Niyazov enthused, "we can build cafes there, and restaurants."

President Niyazov's extravagant buildings are a hallmark of his idiosyncratic regime.

He is currently building one of the biggest mosques in the world, and has a chain of conventional palaces.

But the latest have a special quality - of challenging Turkmenistan's desert environment.

As well as the ice palace, there is to be a vast aquarium. The projects tend now to be sites of recreation for the people, like a Disney-style theme park instead of state palaces.

This type of construction, man's triumph of nature was a hallmark of the 20's and 30's in the Soviet Union. Niyazov, styling himself as much an autocrat as Stalin, is keen to continue the grand tradition.

Negatively aside, if this palace will be ever built, it would be quite an awesome sight. Something out of myth and legend.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

On hiring great developers

On hiring great developers

It is always nice to see that you are not alone, or insane. In the essay below Eric Sink argues that great hackers do not always make the best developers, especially for small companies. Quibble with some of the points I may - disagree on the whole I cannot. Eric clearly knows what it is like to work for a small company, where every resource-minute counts and where you cannot afford to have picky developers who won't work with the tools you have or customers you need. An excerpt below:

We want the super-productivity, and we want the innate love of software development, but we don't want all the extra baggage. Instead:

Hire people who care about users.
Hire people who understand the difference between a job and a hobby.
Hire people who want to contribute in lots of different ways to the success of the product.
It's okay to be in awe of these great hackers. But as a practical matter, small ISVs would be much better off hiring professionals.

read the whole thing

[original reference from Joel on Software]



A simple note on likes and dislikes. I like prints. I like etchings, woodcuts, lithography, and even linocuts. Better Half does it. Her friends do it. Her teachers and neighbours do it. One of the artists we both like is Tanya Softic. Below is an example of her work.

and another one

Monday, August 09, 2004

Jon Udell on dynamic languages

Jon Udell on dynamic languages

Jon makes a few good points here

We're going to need a fabric of pervasive intermediation, and the TCP/IP of Web services -- that is, SOAP -- will enable that. But we're also going to need a whole lot of agility woven into that fabric. I want middleware that works like Indigo, but I want to program it in a language that works like Python.

Definitely read the whole thing.

Good McKinsey article

Good McKinsey article

I subscribe to McKinsey newsletters that lets me know when new articles are available. While I rarely find them groundbreaking, I do find them well-seasoned with numbers and informative about industries and countries I do not know much about.

New from The McKinsey Quarterly:
Economic Studies
Making foreign investment work for China
The radically different experience of two industries shows that the country needs
more competition as well.
link: http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/links/14314 [registration required]

Friday, August 06, 2004

Good news from Iraq?

Good news from Iraq?

In the face of reports saying that,

U.S.-led coalition forces have killed about 300 militants loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in fighting during the past two days around the city of Najaf, a U.S. military spokesman said by telephone from Baghdad.

it seems encouraging that fighting has been confined, so far, to US/Iraqi security forces engaging the Mahdi Army. Engaging, it seems, mostly on their own terms with only 2 or 3 US casualties. While procliaming defiance, it seems that al Sadr has been sufficiently scared and bloodied to sue for peace saying through his aides

Mr Sadr's aides called on the interim government to "intervene to stop the American attacks".

The interim government, however, knows very well when the luck is on their side. Seeing how little widespread following outside the few southern cities and Baghdad slums Sadr has, thy said

But the governor of Najaf province, Adnan al-Zorfi, on Friday urged the Mehdi militia to leave the area within 24 hours or face a continuing offensive.

"There is no compromise or room for another truce," he said.

Conclusion: it seems encouraging that this time the al Sadr has found even less general following than he did the first time. Thanks to the US Marine Corps.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Many People Believe PayPal Settlement Site Is A Scam

Many People Believe PayPal Settlement Site Is A Scam

via Techdirt

Many People Believe PayPal Settlement Site Is A Scam

Last week we pointed out how many people fall for phishing scams while also noting that many people assume legitimate messages are part of phishing scams. Just two days later, PayPal sent out messages to many of their users about a class action lawsuit settlement that entitled many users to some money. I got the email, and was immediately suspicious. It turns out I wasn't alone. While many people are going to the site (the site actually buckled under all the traffic) plenty have stayed away assuming it was a scam.

That was actually the second thought that came into my head when I got the paypal email. The first thought was, "is the tiny part of the settlement that is mine worth the trouble?"

Their motto is...

Their motto is:

"Love your neighbour as yourself, share your wives with your neighbour."

From BBC News story

Several people have been killed after Nigerian police raided the headquarters of an Islamic sect, whose members exchanged their wives.

My impression is that it was not so much the wife-swapping but the refusal to follow any of the civil or religious authorities that got the group in trouble.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Sun on IBM

Sun on IBM

More appropriately, Jonathan Schwartz on IBM's linux dillema. I think he is been too hard on IBM, and is exagurating their problems, and Red Hat's dominance. Nevertheless, it is a pleasure, for some reason, to see Sun with an interesting new voice that does not shy from being heard. Whatever happens to Sun, I am sure Jonathan Schwartz is a name to resonate around the industry for some time. Decades most likely -- he is only 36 right now.