Saturday, August 20, 2011

All men's miseries derive from...

Another book vs. e-reader article that makes the case that books are more than words on a screen.  Tru dat.

Only the truly demented will watch the Planet of the Apes Party Fun Time video all the way through.  But if you do, you will be happy and demented.

Pretty amazing when you think about it.  NASA's Dawn probe is orbiting the 330 mile wide asteroid Vesta. Be sure to click through and watch the video.
Several years ago a Keurig coffee machine was the perfect addition to our kitchen.  When we were both around, my wife and I could never agree on the style of coffee.  I liked mine strong while she liked hers a bit milder and less bold.  On weekdays when I'd have my coffee at work, she'd be stuck trying to get the water and grounds mix just right so Mr. Coffee would create a single cup.  The Keurig, a cup-at-a-time device what uses single-use pods of ground coffee saved the day.  She could have her favorite and I could have mine, whether that was 1 cup or 10.  Now I see Keurig machines in homes and waiting rooms all over the place.  According to The Buzz Machine, a story about the rise of the Keurig company, 13% of workplaces have one and 25% of all coffee makers sold last Xmas was a Keurig.  It's nice to be on the leading edge of a trend for once.  And all the credit goes to my wife for finding this device.  Plus, now that I've switched from coffee to green tea the Keurig meets that need too because there are over 200 varieties of "K-Cups" from coffee to tea and everything between.  (We order ours from Big Cat Coffee.) I will admit, however, that the coffee isn't quite as good as you can get from doing your own fresh grinding and using an espresso machine.  But I've never seen the fascination of Starbuck's and its ilk so the Keurig works for me.

Damn, the forehead support apparatus is already patented. 

A man photographs a water droplet falling in front of an M.C. Escher poster and the resulting photo is amazing.  Equally amazing is this M.C. Escher-like tribute to bacon.  Bacon itself is so amazing someone made a statue.

This taxes even my ideas about abstract and minimalist art.  Joan Miro's Painting on a White Background 1968.
The top answer at OnStartups to the question "Why do techies avoid salespeople?" seems more like one person's vendetta than useful advice.  "The mean IQ of good coders is higher than the mean IQ of salespeople."  I've known stupid sales people and I've known stupid developers.  I've known intelligent sales people and intelligent developers.  The interaction between sales and tech is no different than the interaction between any two other pairs of professionals.

Check out Huy Lam's art in which creates paintings using the printed word.  Be sure to see Genius, his homage to Van Gogh.

I'm not mocking Huy Lam's work by posting this image made using
Use to listen to almost any airport's air traffic control.  (I write "almost" because they don't have Meacham KFTW so I listened to KDFW.)

What do Shakespear, Nikola Tesla, and J.J. Abrams have in common?  They all appear on Circles of Influence, a graphic illustrating influence between figures in the arts and sciences.  If you prefer your circles to be more geometric, check out this Venn diagram of authors, head, mouth and heart.

Who are the top earning authors?  The first name that popped into my head was J.K. Rowling.  But you, like me, may be surprised to find out where she ranks.

When do employee perks cross the line from awesome to pandering?  Rock climbing wall, dog-friendly office (don't get me started), and a $10,000 office setup budget.  Sure, a lot of the perks listed in this article are nice but honestly, some point to excess discretionary cash.

Next time you're stuck in a boring meeting, pull up the Meeting Ticker on your smartphone and see how much the meeting is costing you.

Duck with a WHAT?

For my programming friends, the 6 books every programmer should own.  I own none, but that train left the station a long time ago.

Wired presents ten winning scientific videos from SciDAC's Visualization Night competition including three fluid dynamics examples for blood flow, shock compression of carbon dioxide (this one is really cool), and a wind turbine farm.

Why should John Cleese have all the fun?  Introducing the Ministry of Alien Silly Walks.
Boo hoo. Why are engineering students so unhappy?

Boo hoo too.  Why is engineering management hard?  Summarizing: management is hard because humans didn't evolve to be managed.  And managing engineers is only slightly harder because engineers tend to be introverted (I'd like to see the Meyers-Briggs to back that up), a trait that is a barrier to being managed.  (A joke: How can you tell the difference between an introverted and extroverted engineer?  The extrovert looks at your shoes when he's talking to you.)

It's a shame that Charley's Hamburgers didn't win the judges votes in the 2011 Burger Battle but at least they won the reader's poll.  Read about their last victory in the battle versus M&O Grill.  Mmmmm.  The Greatburger (aka the Barnyard Burger because it has a piece of every animal you'd find in a barnyard.  Just wish it had an egg.) is my favorite.

This is really all I'm doing.
According to this article, Twitter has 27 laws.  Who knew?  How many have I broken?  Well, the first one is "Don't swear" so my track record only goes down from there. You can visualize your tweets (or anyone's) using Visible Tweets.  And, to find out where your followers are, try Twocation.

How to write a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad blog post.  I take that as a challenge.

Despite knowing that a reader (Surprise!  I have a reader!) is not a fan of business books, here's Time's list of the 25 most influential business books.  I think I've read 2 or 4 of them (sad that I can't remember).  But Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People from 1936 makes yet another "top" list.  Perhaps it's time to add it to my reading list.

Time also shares with us the 50 Best Websites of 2011 (hey, the year's not over yet!).   By the time I got to the 10th site I was so bored there's nothing to say.

I don't know what's more amazing about this video.  The fact that it's a machine that turns shredded office paper into toilet paper or the fact that it's named White Goat.  Viva la innovacion! Watch out for the staples!

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Like Mondrian?  Like fractals?  Try this video animation of the Mondrian fractal.
In case you haven't seen this yet, Warren Buffet, investment guru and super rich guy, tells Washington in a NY Times Op-Ed piece to tax him more.  Specifically, he thinks we should immediately raise taxes on those making more than $1,000,000 per year.  That's about a quarter million households.

Top Gun IRL - a one minute video of aircraft operations aboard the Ike in the Arabian Gulf.

Derek Sivers, founder of, spoke at last year's Business of Software Conference and will be speaking this year too.  Check out the video of his talk about how and why he sold CDBaby.

Hot shuttle on shuttle action.

Returning college students must be thinking about their upcoming career fairs because Forbes is writing about the 10 toughest interview questions.  Why are manhole covers round?  (Everyone should know this by now.)  How do you measure 4 gallons of water with only 3 gallon and 5 gallon jugs.  (Didn't everyone watch Die Hard 3?)  I'll take a shot at their #3: What would the person who likes you least in the world say about you?  He's an arrogant, stupid, selfish, insipid dullard with delusions of adequacy.  And he smells funny.

Make your own music from the decay of radioactive isotopes with the Radioactive Orchestra.

I'm willing to try this trick to make a WiFi booster out of a beer can.  As it is, I can't play Words with Friends when I'm upstairs.  Now someone will tell me why this won't work.
I dare my beer friends to make, drink, and blog about a Michelada.  Or maybe try this personal brewery.  Or try one of the world's most expensive beers.  ($100 for a Sam Adams?)

From SIGGRAPH 2011, this video shows how the Kinect can be used to map a room in 3D in real time, something they call KinectFusion.

I wish I had the time and ability to do the kind of crazy web tricks they do at Paper.js.  Or these.

OMG, teh interwebs knows where I'm at - the IP address locater.

Avatar Portraits lets you have a little fun with your Twitter avatar.
How fast can you tranquilize sheep?  I'm a bobcat.  Or do you prefer the classic shell game?

A good portion of my summer meandering up and down the beach was spent hunting sea glass.  At the end of the week we had collectively found about a dozen pieces.  Seems like futility when you see pictures of California's glass beach.

In closing, I leave you with something truly bizarre: Bill vs. Betty.

Maybe that was a little too harsh for a goodbye.

the quiet place

...not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.  ~Blaise Pascal


Francis Shivone said...

I'll be back -- for now: I, a Kindle enthusiast and hypocrite, believe there is something to the argument that there is a qualitative, ontological difference between an e-reader and a book.

I have not found a satisfying reason why I believe this. Any suggestions are appreciated.

John said...

I see you got as far as the first sentence ;-)

Reading an e-book is to reading a book as reading Playboy is to having sex.

Francis Shivone said...

The potential benefits of "the quiet place" notwithstanding, it is VERY well done, in my view, and needed after seeing the Bill Murray/Betty White mashup.

Is the coffee made from the canisters good? I have read that they are the standard in Switzerland(?)

I watched the Planet of the Apes video and the suggested video following, the one with the power tools girls. I preferred the latter. I saw the original P/Apes movie in a drive in movie theater.

I always like the 50 best websites although this year's seems a little weak.

I read the E-Myths book many years and have read some of Drucker's. The only business book that I have ever enjoyed was Ogilvie on Advertising. But that's me.

All good stuff. Asteroids are weird objects.

BTW, I'm reading that the Chinese fighter jets are getting competitive. Say it ain't so.

John said...

K-cup coffee is "good enough" for me. Like I wrote, I know you can get a better cup of joe with fresh ground beans. I don't mean to downplay it either - it's not a bad cup of coffee.

I had nothing to do with the power tool girls. It was all about the scifi.

It's never a good idea to underestimate one's potential adversary. But there's very little hard data to make an accurate comparison of capabilities.