Saturday, November 28, 2009

To goodness and wisdom we only make promises...

Truly this bacon sandwich is indeed deluxe. But served with Wild Turkey? Really? Wouldn't a nice lager be better? I'm sure Joel would recommend a wheat beer. Instead of spending this weekend with 537,821 of your closest friends at Walmart saving $2.50 on Tickle Hands Elmo, why not swing by the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History in their brand new building?

Bacon. Dental. Floss. Advice I can get behind from management guru
Tom Peters
: outread the other guy - read wide, read long, read deep. Along those lines, here's Seth Godin's reading list for November. For fans of Lattice Boltzmann numerical methods here's and OpenLB. Here's the solar system scaled down to fit in your browser (hope you like to scroll to the right).

From the CAE news desk:
  • SGI unveiled the Altix UV, configurable from 32 to 2,048 cores (with provisions for up to 262,144 cores).
  • Exa released PowerFLOW 4.2 with true rotating geometry for improved noise simulations from fans and wheels
  • Symscape's Caedium CFD solver sends text and picture updates of your CFD solution via Twitter.
  • ANSYS released Engineering Knowledge Manager (EKM) 2.0
  • This video about the Cray CX1 also features work by Intel, Microsoft HPC, CEI Ensight, Star-CCM+, and Advantage CFD. (Registration required to download 62 MB Flash executable.)
  • ACUSIM is hosting a webinar on CFD modeling of wind turbines on 15 Dec.
  • Steve Legensky from Intelligent Light gave a masterworks presentation at Supercomputing the challenges of wind energy simulation for HPC.
  • CD-adapco and Access announced starcast, new casting simulation software.
  • CD-adapco also released STAR-CCM+ V4.06
  • Tom I-P. Shih is the new head of the Aero and Astro department at Purdue
  • Flow Analysis Solutions was formed to market the CFD techniques developed by John Steinhoff.
  • Flow Science released FLOW-3D/MP V4.0
Applied Aerodynamics is a freely available digital textbook and includes an interesting section on airfoil geometry. Create your own social network using Ning. PC World presents 9 Twitter tips for business. As though I don't have enough online music services already (, Blip, Pandora) here comes Grooveshark. The alphabet as made from die-stained tissue samples.

An online clock made from scroll bars. Computer trivia from A to Z (who knew that Gmail was original codenamed Caribou). Not to be outdone, here's the history of the internet. And its weight. And proof that the internet didn't invent idiocy. Sideways Google and 80 degrees Google (darn those CSS pranksters).

Time remains to submit your entry for the ugliest visualization contest. 'tis the season for contests: TraceParts wants you to create a Christmas tree. Printed Space delivers custom, high quality digital prints for interior design. Where science meets art: Lichtenburg figures turned into lightning scupltures.

Sweet funky jimmy! Check out these Mandelbulbs, Mandelbrot fractals in 3D. Where does Microsoft get off trying to patent Tufte's sparklines? (Note: I am not an attorney, but I'd like to play one on TV because the pay's better.) Check out the image gallery at the Census of Marine Life; if your body is translucent so I can see your intestines, you deserve to live at the bottom of the ocean.

CAD Message is a blog about news from the CAE market. Want to give TinyURL some competition? Try The longest list of Twitter resources I have ever seen. Too bad these Christmas tree ornaments shaped like video game controllers have already sold out. No, I don't know anything about regular expressions. Lifehacker is thankful for these free apps. HubSpot's internet marketing blog and Dave Kurlan's sales blog. Inbound marketing Q&A. A list of free web analytic tools.


...pain we obey. -- Proust

Friday, November 27, 2009

Business of Software 2009 Roundup

If you're interested in building a long-term, sustainable and profitable software business you'd probably be interested in the the Business of Software Conference 2009 which was held in San Francisco on 09-11 November.
Here's a list of the speakers along with the one thing I took away from each of their presentations.

Geoffrey Moore (Dealing with Darwin): Excel at the features that amplify your differentiation from the competition (your core) while just being good enough at everything else (context).

Paul Graham ( From a VC's standpoint, companies that provide super good company service are good bets.

Heidi Roizen ( More than half of a VC's investments lose money while the top 3% of deals return 50% of their profits.

Dharmesh Shah (, @dharmesh): Use social media tools to create user pull rather than the traditional marketing push - Inbound Marketing.

Mat Clayton (, @matclayton): Be social, be relevant, and disintermediate.

Don Norman ( Good design is all about the complete experience so build (or partner) to create an A-Z system.

Ryan Carson (, @RyanCarson): Make your company remarkable by being passionate, loving your customers, treating them like royalty, giving back to your community, making kick ass products, investing in good design, being more creative than you need to be, and begin good at publicity. (He says you must do all 8 to succeed which is why I listed all of them.)

Paul Kenny (Ocean Learning's Forum): Discover your sales story by starting with the customer's need behind the need.

Chris Capossela: Geographic based pricing (setting lower prices in certain countries) works as a hedge against piracy.

Neil Davidson (, @NeilDavidson): When setting price consider your product's value relative to the customer's needs and then discourage comparisons that work against value.

Kathy Sierra (Creating Passionate Users, @KathySierra): Understand what the user does and help them, teach them to be awesome at it.

Jennifer Aaker (@Aaker): The pillars of happiness are autonomy, competence, relatedness, self esteem, and being part of something bigger.

Michael Lopp (, @Rands): Learn how to make little decisions better and faster by developing improvisational skills, delegating, and knowing what you want.

Luke Hohmann (, @LukeHohmann): True innovation comes from the things we don't know we don't know.

Joel Spolsky (, @Spolsky): Design is the act of making decisions for the user so they don't have to.

And here are the notes, summaries, and commentaries by other attendees (I'm certain there are more out there).
Mark your calendar: BoS2010 will be held 04-06 October 2010 in Boston.

UPDATE [20 Mar 2010]: Video of Geoffrey Moore's talk on innovation from BoS2009.

UPDATE [27 Mar 2010]: Video of Mark Stephens' winning Pecha Kucha from BoS2009.

UPDATE [08 May 2010]: Video of Kathy Sierra's talk on social media from BoS2009.

UPDATE [05 Jun 2010]: Video of Paul Kenny's talk about sales from BoS2009.

UPDATE [26 Jun 2010]: Video of Don Norman's talk about design from BoS2009.

UPDATE [24 Aug 2010]: Video of Darmesh Shah's talk about building better software businesses from BoS2009.

UPDATE [24 Aug 2010]: Video of Joel Spolsky's talk about simplicity versus choice from BoS2009.

UPDATE [31 Aug 2010]: Video of Paul Graham's talk on trends for the future from BoS2009.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tell me and I'll forget...

Don't you need a little Chewbacca right now? The ERCOFTAC nexus is a portal to fluid dynamics resources like experimental databases (can that sentence be any more indecipherable?). While I'm posting resources, here are a bunch for agile programming: NetObjectives, InfoQ, Mountain Goat. NASA has patented a technique for automated generation of airfoil performance tables using CFD.

The winner of the Pecha Kucha (look it up) competition at the Business of Software conference writes the Java PDF blog. Joining the Society for Technical Communication (STC) might improve this blog. All these people say Outlook is broken because it uses Word to render HTML. Use Get Satisfaction to create a web site where companies and customers can interact.

The folks at exosphere have made a highly accurate graphical reproduction of Flight 1549 from take off to unplanned air-water interface with the Hudson River. Acresso Software is now Flexera Software (would've been nice to have heard about this in advance guys). Trying hard to get my head (ears?) around the music of MMW and Grizzly Bear.

The edible bacon lamp is both illuminating and delicious. Couldn't agree more: befriend the apostrophe or risk writing stuffy, dull, awkward prose. While we're on the topic of writing, when you write product requirements thou shall not write "the product shall" but rather "the user wants to..." Turn your entire wall into a dry erase white board with IdeaPaint.

News about your favorite CAE products:
How much do you know about influence and persuasion? Take Robert Cialdini's quiz and find out. (Me? apparently not so much, only 50%.) Fortune magazine named Apple's Steve Jobs the CEO of the decade. New York's Animazing Gallery has a blog. Does your web site have Feng-Shui? Use Feng-GUI to find out.

ANSYS is number 75 on Software Top 100. I was sitting next to the guy who took this photo of Steve Hackett playing at SUNY Oswego in 1981. There's a blog for SolidWorks. What indeed is going on at Adobe for 3D CAD? Ars Technica provides this introduction to wikis in the workplace. An interesting essay on Harold Budd's Perhaps ("...his music derives its singular potency not from the new materials added to his sonic palette but from Budd's relentless process of subtraction and refinement.").

Try Google Swirl, a new way to search for related images. For example, search for Rothko. This blog is a public service announcement for the Society to Prevent Internet Posting After Two Margaritas. me and I may remember, involve me and I'll understand.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Doing difficult things takes time...

First there was the Snuggie and then there was the Slanket (or is it the other way around?). But why limit your appendage-friendly linens to lounging? Now there's the Dreamie.

What makes good information design? The NSSE reports that a variety of colleges and universities have shown steady improvement in the quality of undergraduate education, as measured by students' exposure to and involvement in effective educational practices.

From the events calendar:
  • RAPID 2010 (additive manufacturing aka rapid prototyping), 18-20 May 2010, Anaheim, CA
  • COFES 2010 (Congress on the Future of Engineering Software), 15-18 Apr 2010, Scottsdale, AZ
A couple of videos for you: What's New in Patran 2009 and David Allen on getting started with GTD. If you're a contractor you can figure your hourly rate using John Soer's technique or try I'm sure you've all heard by now that NASA found water on the moon.

Go Mustangs!

...but doing the impossible takes just slightly longer.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Education is what remains...

The folks at Lehman Brothers sure had collected some nice modern art before going bankrupt. Texas-based Armadillo Aerospace collected a cool $500,000 from NASA's lunar lander challenge. Do not confuse an engineering adventure with an engineering mind.

For fine Lebanese and Italian cuisine, try Chadra Mezza. This is supposed to be a photo blog about epic kludges, but it looks like my home workshop. My son thought this was cool, but I didn't get it. Maybe it doesn't work with bifocals. Animazing Gallery, featuring animation and fine art, has a blog.

From the CAE newswire...
  • ANSYS released an academic bundle for Ansoft.
  • Symscape published their November 2009 newsletter.
  • OpenFOAM and Fluent are virtually tied in Symscape's favorite RANS solver poll.
  • Exa released PowerACOUSTICS.
  • ANSYS' revenue is up about 7% YTD over last year.
City Journal asks "What Happened to the Work Ethic?" Cadalyst provides this interesting overview of history versus explicit modelers. How much does Google know about you? Try their privacy dashboard and see. The do's and don'ts of modern web page design.

...after you forget everything you've learned. -- Albert Einstein

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Art is an experience...

If you're a fan of David Allen's Getting Things Done, you'll appreciate this list of free GTD resources. Read all about domestic and commercial robots, like iRobot's Roomba, at Robot Reviews. It's a bit of a misnomer, but VizUp decreases polygon count in faceted models. The official web site of guitarist Steve Hackett.

I've finally found my calling: Baragami, the ancient Welsh art of toast arranging. Who whould've known that changing your socks would provide a burst of energy. ITI Transcendata released Proficiency Collaboration Gateway v8.1. Subscribe today to the International Journal of Fluid Dynamics and Aerospace Engineering, IJFDAE.

Just in time for Christmas: meggings. Employers should ban worker-manager online friendships, or so say lawyers. When in San Francisco, visit the Cartoon Art Museum. Here are links to visualization talks from CaT 2009. Dassault buys from IBM their entire PLM sales operation. A gallery of CFD visualizations from the Institute for CFD in Tokyo.

ANSYS was named to Forbes 200 Best Small Companies list for the seventh time in the past nine years. Hanley Innovations cut the price of their multi-element airfoil software. A day too late: War of the Worlds was rebroadcast online. What are the world's strongest natural flavors? More than 100 tricks using Google.

As I type this, Freeman's is auctioning a great collection of modern art including some from Lehman Brothers' collection.

Things for your calendar:
...not an object. --Robert Motherwell