Saturday, April 29, 2006

Microsoft Mac Lab

My cousin Adam emailed this to me. Very detailed summary (with photos) of the Macintosh Lab at Microsoft, plus a follow up post answering questions.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Baseball and IT

Interesting story on the role technology has in the day to day operations of the Boston Red Sox, including the 2004 World Series run.

Red Sox SAN Makes Travel Squad
"The Red Sox consider video archives a crucial part of their success. Management identifies it as a major reason for Dave Roberts' stolen base in the ninth inning of a victory over the New York Yankees when Boston trailed the playoff series three games to none. The triumph started Boston on an eight-game winning streak that carried through the World Series.

In the sixth inning of that game, Dave Roberts pulled up every at-bat he could find of [Yankees reliever] Mariano Rivera pitching with a runner on first base," Conley says. "He played that on a loop. He was trying to gain an edge. Then he went in as a pinch runner in the ninth inning, stole second base and scored, and we turned things around. Having that video was another tool in the shed."

And I always thought the magic started at BoRyan's housewarming party...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Future of Maps

Nice comparison of the top mapping services over at TechCrunch, with lots of good additional discussion in the comments. As much as I love Google Maps, I do agree that the new beta version if Yahoo tends to be better, and that the helicopter bird's eye photos on the new Microsoft Maps are more useful than a satellite map in most real world cases. Sad that nobody mentioned the simple elegance of the old Mapblast Line Drive Directions, which I fear will become extinct once Windows Live comes out of beta.

As I said in my comment over there, the real killer app is true route customization. More than just shortest/fastest/avoid highways, but a true "send me this way" or "don't send me that way."

I'm imagining checkboxes or buttons next to each step along the route allowing you to eliminate and reroute accordingly, and maybe a "via" box to add a street or freeway that you want to take to push the application in the right direction. Integrating with live traffic data would be the next logical step, automating the rerouting based on live or historical traffic conditions.

Hear that BoRyan? It's our destiny calling...

Netflix Evolution

Neat photo slideshow on the evolution of the Netflix mailing envelope.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Venture Voice

Been digging the Venture Voice podcast lately. Found it via 37Signals, and was hooked by the John Bogle episode. Really interesting interviews, tips, and anecdotes about the ups and downs of starting your own business.

A very Towformian concept...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Game 6 Recreated

Great article about a guy who gets a job by recreating Game 6 of the 1986 World Series in the old RBI Baseball video game and posting it to YouTube. Although the subject matter isn't my favorite, have to give him props.

Also interesting is the fact that Yahoo embedded the YouTube video in the middle of the article text. Perhaps a precursor to the acquisition rumors?

‘Origami’ Stumps CEOs in Jobs-Style Presentation

‘Origami’ Stumps CEOs in Jobs-Style Presentation
Samsung Electronics, Intel and Microsoft have been promoting their joint project ``Origami'' mini-laptop PC since they first showed it last month.

In fact, the new PC proved to be too revolutionary, enough to baffle the three firms' executive officers who publicly tried to demonstrate how to use it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

For Rich Morons

(I'm beginning to think that Shaky Jake and I are the only ones trading stuff back and forth. Where's N and G?)

I've finally found the ultimate status symbol. I'm sure you'll quiver with envy.

Here's an excerpt from their site:

"Do you belong to high society? Then take this chance to demonstrate your position in an unambiguous manner. Sign up for an email address at The overall number is limited to only 10,000 worldwide and membership is available for US$ 399.00 monthly... Again, what is the point of a yacht in Monaco, a villa in Beverley Hills, or a Bentley in your garage when you are just one out of the billions on the Internet? ... This is like a virtual diamond ring. To guarantee the exclusivity of the desired email address the number of members is limited, to the most elite ten thousand individuals worldwide. Can you can afford it? Show it!"

(as written about on Gizmodo)

I/O Brush

Very cool. Words won't do it justice unless you've watched this first:

I/O Brush Video (via YouTube)

I/O Brush Website
"Most drawing tools/pens we use today allow only a one-way flow of ink, and we are oblivious to how the content of the tool came to exist inside. What if we could not only have control over the outflow of the ink, but also have influence on what goes inside?"

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Like My Man Jack Bauer

Thoughts on yesterday's episode of 24 below, specifically the 2 pieces of this season that don't quite fit and will hopefully be explained in coming weeks. I know it's technically off topic for the blog, but I've always wanted to post spoilers in secret white text on white background blog style. Highlight below to read:

Also leaving spoiler space here, as I'm not sure how an RSS reader will handle the white on white hidden text. If I ruined the episode for you, leave a comment with the name of your RSS reader and how it handled things.

(Incidentally, the RSS thing may have brought this back on topic, though we still need to define what "on topic" is since we haven't really been discussing Towform in the acronym sense of the word...)


1. I'll suspend my disbelief enough to allow that Evelyn recorded a conversation, but how did she manage to leave, open a safety deposit box, hide the tape recorder, and come back to the retreat without anyone from the conspiracy having any idea where she hid the evidence? If they were able to find out she had it, they had to be able to find out what she did with it during the her extended lunch/dinner break.

2. With what we learned from the tape and other conversations, President Logan and Christopher Henderson had been conspiring for some time to supply terrorists with nerve gas and use it on American soil. David Palmer found out about the plan, so they decided to kill him. Suspecting (or likely knowing) that Jack Bauer was still alive, they also decide to kill Tony, Michelle, and Chloe since they (along with Palmer) are the only ones who know Jack is alive in an effort to draw him out of hiding. If you know Jack as well as Henderson seems to and as well as Logan should, isn't this the worst plan ever? The last thing you want is to pull Jack out of hiding and set him up.

Irregardless of the above, this season probably ranks 3rd in my book so far as a whole behind seasons 4 and 1, though the first two-thirds of season 2 are still the finest hours.

Download the Internet

OK, I may be missing something here, but this seems like a stupid idea.,1895,1948362,00.asp

Basically, they're saying you can maintain an "offline, cached" copy of a portion of the internet on your computer. Again, if you know ahead of time you may need information from a travelsite, etc., then this may be useful. There's been software to do that for a long time.

But (at least for me) I find that much of the time I'm actively searching sites that use databases to dynamically present information on the page.

I liked this quote from Webaroo's website:

"It's fast -- searches run and pages load instantly at memory speed"

I'll wait for the version that searches at ludicrous speed.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Standard Daylight Time

Remember the famous interview question about Daylight Saving Time? It started because this has been a pet peeve of mine for years.

Why do companies feel compelled to list their hours of operation in "Standard Time," ie EST, MST, CST, PST?

Do they realize this technically makes the hours wrong for 6 months out of the year (soon to be over 7 months), including right now?

A short list of offenders:

Delta Airlines Group Sales
Harvard University

Would people really get confused without the 'S' in there?

Maybe they really stay open an hour later during the summer months, but hope that the confusion will prevent phone calls since they don't expect the consumer to do the time zone math to figure it out. "Let's see, open until 10pm PST. It's 10:30pm now but we're in daylight time, so it's 9:30pm standard time. They must still be open!"

Is it over concern for friends in Arizona or Hawaii (and formerly Indiana) who may get confused due to non observance?

Less is more. Clarity is better. Just ET/MT/CT/PT will suffice.

This concludes my rant of the day. Back to normal life in Pacific Time.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Windows on Apple Condoned

Very exciting...

I'm going to try to install this on my mini this weekend.

I've dreamt of the day that Mac OS and Windows can co-exist peacefully on the same machine.

I got a kick out of this text on the Apple site:

"Macs use an ultra-modern industry standard technology called EFI to handle booting. Sadly, Windows XP, and even the upcoming Vista, are stuck in the 1980s with old-fashioned BIOS. But with Boot Camp, the Mac can operate smoothly in both centuries."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

More From Google

Google is doing more of their own mashup type sites using GoogleBase.


Real Estate

(Jacob may have already mentioned these)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Opening Day: The Glog Comes of Age

Baseball is back! Trying hard to stay on topic, I'm very excited to see the CBS Sportsline Glog feature in action for a full baseball season.

I first noticed the Glog -- short for "Game Log" during the NFL playoffs. Basically it's a blog around a specific sporting event, filling in commentary and enhanced play by play from a real person where the traditional java game trackers fall short. An intriguing concept that seems like it was created with baseball in mind.

Baseball has so many nuances that a standard, database driven textual play by play online doesn't do it justice. It's certainly better than nothing, but so much of the flavor is lost. Was a groundout a spectacular play or a routine dribbler? Was an infield single a generous scoring call on a borderline error or due to a hustling runner? Did a home run barely make the seats or land deep in the upper deck? Did an umpire blow a call? The glog has the power to fill in these blanks, as well as the potential to pull off the classic baseball insight regarding how good a batter is with two strikes and runners in scoring position during a night game on grass vs. a lefty. I can't wait!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Romance for Fools

New Google Product: Google Romance

Exploring the nooks and crannies is fun, especially this page with links to a history of other Google Products released on this date in history.

It's a shame though, as I was hoping they'd pull a Gmail and finally release the Google Calendar, aka CL2.

UPDATE: Didn't notice before, but Gmail has a special birthday logo today after you log in. It's the little things that make me so happy.