Taking the next step

I've reached that point, perhaps that age, where I'm ready for more commitment and more stability -- I need a strongly typed programming language. I can't take these upstart untyped languages anymore, they're just too unpredictable! Their laissez-faire integer-or-string-or-object-or-whatever attitude was fine when I was younger, but now that I'm nearing 30, I feel I need something with more commitment, more stick-with-it-ness. Javascript, it's not you, it's me. I think we just need to be friends. I'm sorry.

The dangers of too much grand prix

Note to self: after an afternoon of Malibu Grand Prix driving (where I hauled ass, my best time: 61.01) followed by lots of driving video games (one where I drove an 18-wheeler from NYC to the Florida Keys, but crashed onto the beach), it is not good to drive home at rush hour. Ten laps of pedal-to-the-metal, squealing 'round corners, Mario Andretti-eque driving gets into one's blood, and I had to control my urges to floor it up the 280, weaving and whizzing past drones heading home after a long day at the desk.

Flip That Thought

Art historians turn drawings upside down to identify forgeries because it's easier for the brain to discern poor technique and errors when a picture is flipped over. When viewed right-side up, one's brain fills in gaps and corrects errors automatically. But viewed upside down, shortened strokes and jagged lines pop out. Looking at it from a different perspective reveals the flaws.

A long time ago, Evan and I came up with an expression, "flip that thought," to remind ourselves to question our assumptions, to force ourselves to look at whatever we were approaching from an alternative angle.

Often people associate with like minds. And while that's fun and enjoyable, I fear it makes it easy to assume the answer or solution is "right" or "good" simply because everyone's in agreement. We're all so rushed and hurried that people rarely take the time to play the devil's advocate, to argue the other side, to even ask, "are we on the right track?"

We all want to get everything done fast fast fast, but let us not rush so much that we forget to flip our thoughts, or turn our assumptions and solutions on their sides, to ensure they still hold together.

Is Tom Cruise gay?

One night at SXSW, as we lay around watching a movie, the subject of Tom Cruise's sexuality came up. All present told me Tom was definitely gay, and that it's hidden from the media. Well this was news to me, but now, I've stumbled upon this: French Yahoo reports a liaison (that's French for liaison) between a young French lad and Tom "Finigham." Quelle suprise!

Daring to stand up and speak out

Watching Snow Falling on Cedars last night, I started thinking about standing up for your beliefs. Whenever I watch films about WWII, I like to think I would have stood up against the discrimination that was taking place. I would have harbored my Jewish neighbors had I lived in Europe, or I'd have spoken out against the relocation of Japanese-Americans from my Washington or California town. It's easy to imagine oneself as noble and right and just, especially mapped against events which one never experienced.

But I wonder if I would have possessed the courage and conviction to do anything at all. Or if I'd have kept my mouth shut like so many others, just to save my ass.

Another thought: I watch a lot of movies these days.

New design thoughts

A new megnut design is brewing in my mind, complete with the old features and some new things too. Alas, I know not when I'll find the time to build it. Work and taxes eat up most my time, and the remainder is gobbled up by old Kubrick films.

Trend prediction

The trend for 2001? The mustache. Witness Tom Hanks and Bob Dylan at the Oscars. Mark my words, more mustaches will appear, and on people you know...

Lots to know about Mentos

The Mentos FAQ (v5.0), more than you can ever imagine possibly wanting to know about Mentos®, the Freshmaker®.

I want more weekend

Monday again? Oh dear, that weekend went too fast, much too fast. And now I'm back indoors while the sun is shining outside, my wrists are screaming for a break from the mouse and the keyboard, my feet are itching to hit the dusty trails, and my lungs are ready for big mouthfuls of salty air. Alas, I'm plunked in front of the monitor, enjoying the delightful output of the building's HVAC. How long until I retire? Only another 35 years to go. Drat.

Fear of the TiVoless world

I tossed and turned last night, thinking further about this TiVo rumor, imagining a nightmarish future where I come home from work and can only watch what's actually being broadcast, the horror! So, I've come up with a fairly simple solution: network the TiVos and a build a Napster-eque app (without a centralized server) so people can browse and download other programs. I'm imagining our TiVos will still record, we'll just need to program them, like VCRs. So you get the Sopranos, I'll get the Simpsons, and we'll trade, ok?

Of course, these files are going to be pretty big, so the client will need to be fairly advanced, and allow for scheduling. I'll open up my TiVo for uploads at a certain time, then close it off and proceed with my downloads, to prevent multiple transfers from occurring at the same time. Of course, to join this post-subscription TiVo network, you'll need to have a fast connection, and agree to have your TiVo online when someone's scheduled a download with you.

What do you think? Will it work? Are you a Linux geek? Maybe you could build this so we'd be ready to go if/when TiVo goes kaput.

A Hollywood blockbuster: Spungus!

So we've all heard that the Mir is covered with some strange space fungus (like Athlete's Foot, only less researched!). And we also know that Taco Bell will give out free tacos to all residents of the US if Mir hits a target floating in the ocean. I smell an evil plot: I bet the US government has discovered the space fungus is fatal to human beings, and has made a deal with Taco Bell to inoculate all Americans against this "spungus," thereby protecting all of us, but allowing the rest of the world (and inhabitants of Alaska and Hawaii, since they're never in on any contests like this) to succumb to this evil creature from outer space. Then the world will be ours! Bwaahaha! And we'll have all the electricity we need! Bwaahahahahaha!

I also see a good movie here, "In a world out of this world..." Julia Roberts as feisty Margaret Sinclair, PhD, her research leads her to believe the spungus will eat through human flesh, just as it's eaten through Mir's windows. But no one will listen. Sentator Edmonds tells America not to worry, he tells the President Not To Worry.

Late at night, in her lab, Dr. Sinclair develops the vaccine. But no one will try it. It's only after the skin of the President's face falls off during a press conference, killing him on the spot, that America responds. Dr. Sinclair uses the power of the web to disseminate information about the vaccine, etc. etc. etc. You know how this ends. Two lovers (Ben Affleck as Bobby McBride, the chopper pilot who flies by the seat of his pants and the strings of his heart. He carts Dr. Sinclair all over America, dispensing the vaccine), embracing on the beach, as the sun rises overhead. The dawn of a new day, and a new civilization.

Spungus Cast
Julia Roberts is Margaret Sinclair, PhD.
Ben Affleckis Bobby McBride, Pilot.
Morgan Freemanis Dr. Noel Keen, Director of the Lab.
Russell Croweis the President of the USA.
Donald Sutherland is Evil Senator Hal Edmonds.

Women Airforce Service Pilots in WWII

Last night (¡gracías TiVo!) I watched one of the best episodes of American Experience ever. Fly Girls told the story of Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) in WWII who shuttled bombers from factories to bases all over the country. The women suffered discrimination and even sabotage. On one particular base, two women were killed and one seriously injured over the course of a single month. Investigators discovered sugar in the gas tanks of one downed plane, and found mechanical flaws with others—flaws that should have grounded the planes but somehow didn't. The WASP weren't militarized during the war, so they were classified as civilians. They didn't receive veteran status or benefits. When they were killed, the military didn't even send the bodies home. The other women contributed the money to send their friend's body home.

Watching this program made me cognizant of just how far we've come, and made me so grateful for the courageous actions of these women. And I was reminded that we've still got some work to do, and we shouldn't be afraid to do it—take risks, dare to be the first woman

Dare to be First. Because there are still trails to be blazed.

The demise of TiVo?

Rumors persist that TiVo's going under. If that happens, I don't want to live anymore. I don't want to live in a world without TiVo.

I didn't like Rushmore at first

You'll find this hard to believe, but I really disliked Rushmore the first time I saw it. Actually, I hated it. I remember thinking, "This is not funny. Not. At. All." I watched it again last night and I could not stop laughing. Thinking about it more, I realized something: I was so stressed out last year, around the time that I watched it, that nothing was funny. Subtle humor was lost on me. I was in a constant state of angst and anxiety. I was stretched so thin that I had nothing left for anything aside from work. Not even for laughter.

Speaking of laughter...

We cannot trust some people

We cannot trust some people who are nonconformists. We will make conformists out of them in a hurry...The organization cannot trust the individual; the individual must trust the organization.

- Ray Kroc, McDonald's co-founder  (more on this later)

Rolling California blackouts mean megnut

Rolling California blackouts mean megnut goes down; mean power goes out at work, leaving a bunch of web geeks with nothing to do; mean lights go out at intersections and idiot drivers freakout and almost crash into each other. Rolling blackouts: time for another X in the Move Someplace Else column.

P2P isn't the greatest thing ever

Peter wondered aloud about P2P yesterday, and concludes it's just the next step, not the Greatest Thing Ever™. And I must concur. The media hype every advancement, every logical iteration, until the buzz about the thing grows beyond what the thing will ever be. And then when the thing (push, B2C, B2B, and now P2P) fails in three or four months to satisfy the voracious media, on they move to the next Great Thing. And kick the last great thing, now known as No Big Deal, to the gutter.

P2P is cool. I'm happy to be working at a company doing neat and interesting stuff in the P2P space. But it's just the next step, and it's not the only answer. Not everything should be P2P, in my opinion. Lots of folks have asked for a P2P Blogger, especially when the servers were straining under the load. And while I think some kind of P2P Blogger would be interesting, it would only be interesting in addition to hosted Blogger.

I still love web applications. And we haven't seen what they can do yet. There's something that's shared when everyone goes to the same place, to use the same thing. There is a tremendous Blogger community, enhanced, perhaps only made possible, by the fact that everyone shares the same virtual space. The Blogger directory lists the residents, and the recently updated list tells you who's just popped in for a visit.

Missing the camera

If I'd remembered to bring along my camera, I'd post pictures here of the beautiful hike I went on yesterday along the coast. But I forgot my camera, so you'll have to trust me when I say that yesterday was spectacular. Sunny. Warm. Wildflowers in bloom. Salty spray crashing against the rocky coastal cliffs. Did you know that if you're standing on cliffs overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, you can see which way the tide is flowing? Yesterday you could see the muddy water flowing out of the bay into the vast Pacific, a column of cloudy mud-water pouring and churning into the clear blue. Yesterday was the perfect day to live in Northern California. If only I didn't have to work, and I could go tromping about every day...

Enemy at the Gates biggest

Enemy at the Gates biggest success was making Jude Law appear more attractive than Joseph Fiennes. Until this film, I wasn't sure that was possible, but once again, Hollywood has proved me wrong. Aside from that, the film was so-so. The pacing seemed off and odd dialog threw scenes out of wack. I wonder if it was over-edited?

You'd think it would be

shamrockYou'd think it would be fairly easy to find a cheesy piece of clip art to add to one's page for St. Patrick's Day, but it actually isn't. I looked high and low for something special, and all I could find was this. This doesn't seem so special, does it?

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