Saturday, October 30, 2010

One need not be a chamber to be haunted...

Research shows that letting go of adult inhibitions boosts innovation, creativity, and well-being.

You can read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World online, but more interesting perhaps are his comments in Brave New World Revisited.  For example, "Twenty-seven years later, in this third quarter of the twentieth century A.D., and long before the end of the first century A.F., I feel a good deal less optimistic than I did when I was writing Brave New World. The prophecies made in 1931 are coming true much sooner than I thought they would."

Want a cheap alternative to the new Macbook Air?  Put a Tocatta keyboard on your iPad. 

Here's a compilation of many UI guidelines for mobile devices including the iPad and iPhone.

The fine folks at XYZ Scientific Applications are making steady progress on their previously reported announcement of a breakthrough leading to automated hex mesh generation.  You can read about their status here including this quote:  "TrueGrid AutoHex [when it is finished - ed.] has the unique ability to automatically fill any valid quad boundary mesh with an all hex mesh. It works the first time and every time."

Three tracks from Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno's upcoming album Small Craft on a Milk Sea are now available for you to preview: Horse, Emerald and Stone, and 2 Forms of Anger.  I've already pre-ordered the CD - how about you?

What has "six strategically placed balls" (and isn't Ke$ha backstage)?  The Thera Cane
    Ray Ozzie, soon to retire from his position as Chief Software Architect at Microsoft, writes on his blog about Dawn of a New Day in which he postulates another 5-year transformation of the computing industry.   Noting that 25 Nov 2010 will be the 20th anniversary of Windows, Ozzie talks about a Post-PC World that leaves behind the ever mounting complexity and fragility of the PC-centric infrastructure.  He notes that once you leave behind the PC and its universe of hardware artifacts you turn toward a world of Continuous Service and Connected Devices.  Ozzie knows that truly delivering on these future promises "will require innovation in user experience, interaction model, authentication model, user data & privacy model, policy & management model, programming & application model, and so on."   At first glance, Ozzie's vision does not seem all that grand - after all, many of us live in a connected world now with mobile devices always on and always connected.  But as your thoughts wander from the general to the the specific, to how any one particular application might evolve and exploit his future vision, that's when the hard work of building this path to the future becomes apparent.

    Interested in how I spend my Friday nights during football season?  Here's the Grapevine High School Marching Band's performance at a recent competition.  This is a view I never get since I'm standing down there on the sideline.

    The big news in the CAD world this week was PTC taking the wraps off their Project Lightning and introducing Creo, their new family of design software that promises to revolutionize CAD software over the next 20 years.
    • You can watch a video replay of the launch event.  (Warning - this page resizes your browser, something that grinds my gears.)
    • DE's Ken Wong reports on the Creo launch and cites the unsolved problems to be addressed by Creo as usability, interoperability, and large assembly management.
    • The Develop3D blog mentions the rebranding of the existing PTC product line under the Creo banner (Pro/ENGINEER becomes Creo Elements/Pro) and the environment of Apps to be built around Creo.
    • Monica Schnitger is hopeful that Creo will spur innovation across the CAD industry.  But she's also concerned about what PTC may lose by retiring the Pro/E name.
    • Ray Kurland weighs in by observing that PTC has fundamentally changed their approach to CAD.
    • Deelip Menezes provides a multi-part overview of Creo.  [Ed. note: this link was added to this post after it was initially published.]
    • The folks at Kubotek apparently have a sense of humor with their parody of Project Lightning - Project Static Electricity.
    Spatial provides a free e-book of tricks and tips for ACIS developers including tips on healing imported CAD geometry.  Wanna see how SpaceClaim's modeling software works?  Watch these videos

     Alexander Anderson Jr., the animation artist who created Rocky and Bullwinkle and brought them to TV with the help of college frat brother Jay Ward, died this week at age 90.

    Datamation's 2011 IT salary guide indicates that IT salary levels are on the increase.  In engineering, a masters degree earns you about $360,000 more than a BS (lifetime).

    Just in time for Halloween (in 2008) is this CFDesign simulation of flow in a jack o' lantern.

    What questions should co-founders ask each other while founding a company to avoid conflict?
    • How should we split equity?
    • How will decisions get made?
    • What happens if one of us leaves?
    • Can any of us be fired?
    • What are our personal goals?
    • Will this be the primary activity for each of us?
    • What part of our plan are we unwilling to change?
    • What contractual terms will each of us sign?
    • Will any of us be investing cash?
    • What will we pay ourselves?
    • What are our financing plans?
    What do marketing and user experience design  have in common?  (#4 Measure inputs and outputs.)  Speaking of marketing, Stephen Noble wants us to drop the traditional marketing funnel and adopt the marketing cycle for these reasons:
    • Marketing isn't an assembly line, it's the management of the entire user lifecycle experience.
    • The lifetime value of a customer is not expressed by the funnel model.
    • The funnel's linearity hides the complexity of the customer relationship.
    People with a specific variant of the DRD4 gene are more likely to be liberal.  The gene in question effects novelty-seeking behavior and therefore people with the gene are more likely to have sought out a wide variety of different types of people, social norms, and lifestyles - making them tend to be more liberal.  While this is interesting from a "let's all hold hands and sing Kumbaya" standpoint, it's irrelevant with respect to governance.

    If you lack the political and sexual humor gene do not click on the Obamarator.

    Twenty three tips for writing for the web including The Humour Rule (a little light humour can work wonders).  Leading to my 24th rule, If Only The Brits Could Learn to Spell.

    Eric Ries shares his slides from a lecture at UCSD on The Lean Startup.  Of interest to me were his three "shadow beliefs" that doom many startups: we know what the customer wants, we can accurately predict the future, and advancing the plan is progress.  Adrian shares 10 lessons learned from 4 months of self employment. (#2 Archive everything.)
    • Tecplot has made the list of the 100 fastest growing private companies in Washington State.
    • The FloTHERM CFD software is getting new patent-pending technologies to identify where and why heating problems occur in electronics design. 
    • SolidWorks World 2011 will be held 23-26 January 2011 in San Antonio.
    • Engineers use CFD to study slug flow in oil and gas pipelines.
    • ANSYS 13.0 was released including a new CutCell technique for all-hex meshing.  Unfortunately, this announcement didn't prevent a Jeffries analyst from downgrading them from Buy to Hold.
    • John Zink uses CFD to improve the performance of burners, oxidizers, and flares.
    • Altair integrated their HyperMesh meshing tools with SAMTECH's SAMCEF FEA tool.  Altair was also in the news for acquiring SimLab and their tools for FEA preprocessing.
    • The CFD Lab at Washington University is engaged in a wide variety of CFD applications and research.
    • Pointwise is now sponsoring North American Eagle's attempt to set a new land speed record of 800 mph.
    • Geomagic's Points Beyond tour is coming to Dallas on 03-04 November.
    • In this interview with HPCWire, Swift Engineering mentions Pointwise's mesh generation software as part of their toolkit.
    • Develop3D reviewed CFDesign.
    • CEI released EnSight 9.1.2 including parallel volume rendering.
      It's not just Facebook - eBay also used CFD to save money on cooling their data center.
    Here's how Google has changed the roles of product management. (#3 Minimalist and focused.).  Concerned about safe browsing?  Use Google's special safe browsing diagnostic tool on any site.

    I can't imagine what Ratio Finder is good for.  What's the value of knowing in San Francisco where there's a higher ratio of male or female checkins at any particular location?  (OK, besides the obvious.  I guess to meet the ladies I should be at Tropisueno right now, whatever the hell that is.)

    Sony announced this past week that they're ceasing production of Walkman cassette players.  I thought I still had mine but couldn't find it.  The Walkman was a great reason for spending hours making mix tapes from all your and your friends' records.

    When does petty larceny turn into a hobby?  Flight attendant amasses collection of 1,760 spoons.

    Hubspot suggests five tools you should be using for content creation on your web site.  (#1 bit.ly)  You can use Check My Colours to analyze how your web site looks to people with color vision deficiencies.  Get free patterns for your web site at Pattern Head.

    Here's an interesting article about using GPUs to dynamically compute geometric level of detail.

    What science proves, common sense makes irrelevant.  While it may take only a fraction of a second to fall in love, it takes a lifetime of effort to remain in love.

    Geek voyeurism: watch via live webcam as NASA's next Mars rover is built.

    Harvard Business Review wants to help you define your social media strategy.  Mine apparently is to "appear like an ass."   21 tips for being the best boss including "being a bulldozer."   (Note to self: not the same as dozing.)

    The most sophisticated and interactive version of Romeo and Juliet ever created?   You be the judge.  (This play is the only use in English literature of the term "star-cross'd".)

    The University of Kansas will be performing Shakespeare in the original pronunciation, with echoes of Irish, New England, and Cockney, in November.  This ain't your posh, upper-crust English accent.  I like this quote: "To hear the words free from the baggage that attaches to contemporary dialects is likewise exciting and illuminating."  And that's what's sad about Shakespeare today - he comes with too much baggage.   I've recommended it before, but Al Pacino's docudrama Looking for Richard, starring himself, Kevin Spacey, Alec Baldwin, Winona Rider and more, provides excellent insight into Shakespeare's modern relevance.  (Which is probably why it won two awards for documentary films.)

    I hate losing things.  Divers have found what's believed to be 1,500 live naval artillery shells underwater just offshore from Brooklyn.

    I liked the sci-fi TV series Babylon 5 up to the end of the Shadow War after which the show kinda fell apart.  Here are 10 facts you might not know about B5.  (To keep B5 from turning into a kid's show, the director's rule was that any cute kid characters had to die before the end of the episode.)

    Again, another web site for which I have no explanation (PV3D depth of field) other than it reminds me of my Buckyballs. 

    This article starts with "It's arguably impossible to appear sophisticated without Japanese flatware on your person" and gets more bizarre from there.  Portable, collapsible chopsticks.  The canvas pouch makes me think you'll need these on safari.

    Proof #73 that innovation is not dead: toilet paper rolls without the tubeYou broke the build and Agnes is none too pleased with you, Bub.

    Remote.  Controlled.  Poo.

    ...the brain has corridors surpassing material place.  ~Emily Dickinson

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