Showing posts from 2011

A future of less?

Watching the final shuttle mission, I can't help but feel sad and a little worried. Will we have the courage to dream like this again as a species? Or, will we budget cut ourselves out of space forever?

The very last few seconds of the video has a very simple graph that shows worldwide annual military spending vs. space exploration spending. 2.1 Trillion vs. 38 Billion. I guess it's a matter of balance. I'm not sure we're very balanced, as a people, on the things that inspire and compel us to greatness anymore. I have hope, but I'm still a little worried about it, and still sad about where we are and where we appear to be heading.

Mastercard Parody

Whether you agree or not with what Wikileaks is doing, you have to admire their spunk (and irony) in this spoof 'commercial'.

How software companies die

Although I'm not a big fan of Orson Scott Card as a person, I do like his stories and, in this case, his observations on programming -- what works and what doesn't.
This one nails it.
An essay by Orson Scott Card
The environment that nutures creative programmers kills management and marketing types - and vice versa. Programming is the Great Game. It consumes you, body and soul. When you're caught up in it, nothing else matters. When you emerge into daylight, you might well discover that you're a hundred pounds overweight, your underwear is older than the average first grader, and judging from the number of pizza boxes lying around, it must be spring already. But you don't care, because your program runs, and the code is fast and clever and tight. You won. You're aware that some people think you're a nerd. So what? They're not players. They've never jousted with Windows or gone hand to hand with DOS. To them C++ is a decent grade, almost a B - not a lan…

Progressive Tax; a point of view.

Every so often you read a comment on a blog, news aggregator site or social networking site that makes you go.. yea... damn well said.

A fellow who goes by the handle CaspianX2 on Reddit did that today on the subject of why taxation should be progressive (i.e. the more your make, the more you should be taxed). I read it and thought to myself, yea, damn well said.

"Firstly, it's important to note that money is nothing more than a symbol, an idea. It might sound strange, but one dollar is not worth one dollar - that dollar bill you're holding is nothing more than a piece of paper, virtually worthless. It only has worth because we, as a people, give it worth. We say that that piece of paper is worth one "dollar", a universal unit in trade, to save us the hassle of bartering. The important part being, that piece of paper is nothing, other than what we as a society decide it will be, for the benefit of our society. That's how money works.Secondly, and I know…

The New York Times Paywall

$420 a year.

That's what the New York Times thinks digital access to their newspaper is worth.

I would have had no problem paying for the NYT if it was reasonable. $5, maybe, $10 a month. But $15-$35 a month?

$15 mo for standard website and 'smartphone' access.

$20 mo for standard website and tablet access.

$35 a month for 'all access' (website, smartphone, tablet).

This is just baffling to me.

Why so much money? Are they removing ALL advertising from it? (because, at those prices, they damn well better).

Why the 'level's' that vary based on what device you're using to access what is, effectively, text and some reasonably good photography and some quite weak video?

I mean, come on NYT... I really expected something from you that made more sense.

This won't happen overnight, but, I believe they just went from being a national (even global) influencer, to be just another regional newspaper.

On being Anonymous

I've noticed a trend of late that people in cars with blacked out windows, where you can't really make out the person behind the wheel, tend to be some of the more aggressive drivers around me on the road. They cut you off, change lanes without signaling and, in general are more selfish and less concerned about people around them. I have to think that those blacked out windows, giving those drivers a degree of anonymity, have something to do with the behavior.

If we're not known, somehow, we become a bit less accountable and a little less careful about others around us.

If you know you can do something without anyone knowing it was you, would you do the same thing as you would if everyone knew it was you?

Think about that. I'm pretty sure most humans know exactly what I'm talking about.

I've seen similar behaviors in the online worlds where people can be whoever they want to be. You can see it in sties like 4Chan where everyone is anonymous and some of the thin…

Aggregator, Curator, Editor.. it's all the same thing

The NYT wrote an article on Oprah's new network OWN (Oprha Winfrey Network.. surprise) talking about how it's a 'curator' of content.

This got me to thinking about a conversation I had with the managing editor of the Washington Post newspaper back in the early 90's. He said:

"People read our newspaper because of what we don't print".

That's right.

The Washington Post was providing editorial perspective to content. They filtered. They provided context. They aggregated a mass of content, filtered out the chaf, collected it together (curated) and presented the package to a willing to pay for it audience.

That's 1/2 of where the media world is heading.

The other 1/2 is actually kind of new. It's powered more by technology than media and it's that oh so often used word: social . This is also called 'social networking' and used to be called 'community'. It's also been around forever. The draw of your friends providing g…