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The Astounding World of the Future
Let's Go Surfing
Let's Go Surfing
Mozilla has unveiled a new project from its Labs division called Jetpack that gives us a taste of how Firefox might begin extending web functionality in years to come. While the project is still quite early in development, it seems to be taking the form of a streamlined extension system, allowing web developers to introduce new features to the Firefox browser using web-based tools and requiring only a minimal amount of effort on the user’s part.
Firefox extensions have long been one of the best parts of the browser, allowing users to add and remove features to suit their needs. But while the user experience of installing these has been relatively straightforward, it still requires a browser reboot, which can be frustrating when you’re in the middle of something. With Jetpack, this isn’t an issue - you click install and you’re done, with the new widget or application installed a few seconds later.
Watch this trailer if you haven't seen it already.
A manager has to make many decisions for which he is accountable. Unlike an entrepreneur with his own business, however, his decisions can be reversed at any time by someone higher up the food chain (and there is always someone higher up the food chain). It’s important for your career that these reversals not look like defeats, and more generally you have to spend a lot of time managing what others think of you. Survival depends on a crucial insight: you can’t back down from an argument that you initially made in straightforward language, with moral conviction, without seeming to lose your integrity. So managers learn the art of provisional thinking and feeling, expressed in corporate doublespeak, and cultivate a lack of commitment to their own actions. Nothing is set in concrete the way it is when you are, for example, pouring concrete.
» So today's new tech hotness is The Google Wave. Take every web or internet based communication form you can imagine and roll it all up into one giant integrated real time collaboration ball and you have the Google Wave.
Clear as crystal right? Nah, but it definitely looks like something new and huge-- Real Time Communication tying you into everything. Looks to me like it might be challenging for people who already struggle to keep up with their inboxes, but email is failing at the real-time collaborative world, so maybe this will be something useful.
» Are humans really designed to function well in a constant state of “fight” that real time imparts? If items of note or action are constantly arriving in front of you and require you swat them away with replies, action, or simply digestion of information. How much real time will be too much real time? When do the gnats swarm so tight as to form a viscous cloud hampering breath?
Fight or flight. Where will the flight be built into the system?
» Thinking a lot of about agency and how you balance it with a sense of community , cooperation and collaboration. I've been seeing the phrase “sense of agency” too, which is an interesting phrase since it can imply that someone feels they have agency that they do not actually have. What a complicated thing it is to contribute to someone's “sense of agency” over a period of time.
» Thinking about the use of competition in a corporate environment whereby you structure an outcome that produces more losers than winners. Specifically thinking about how if that is done on a regular basis how that effects morale once the majority, due to the “greater losers than winners” outcome of such a set-up , feels perpetually in a state of loss over time. Competition seems a danger fraught approach if the contestants have no sense of release from the arena and are forced more often than not to be eaten by the lion and to live with the cumulative consequences of their losses. There are tricks to create a “sense of progress” (see my mention of “sense” above) But over time this is destined to be less effective as a sense of recognition of the difference between “sense of progress” and “actual progress” is likely to be detected.
» Also thinking about shared experience. A decade ago you heard a lot about the 500 channel world. Now the channels are infinite and culture so niche and diverse it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a way to speak to commonalities in shared experience, since the current abundance of choice makes the common threads between individuals so potentially thin. I've been thinking about this often, as in order to properly advertise to mass markets of people you have to identify those shared experiences that bond those masses together.
» On a different more country-wide note, I would like to see Obama do something to shake up the ship a bit. I know it's a cruise liner and not a speedboat, but it would be nice if he found a topic or two to make a hard turn to port on anyway.
» Enough randomness for now.
I have a computer in my livingroom hooked up to my TV. One thing I do with it sometimes is leave it set on Twitter Search, with a search phrase entered it to it.
This is entertaining because as I come in and out of the room, it's zoomed into the last 3 or 4 entries of the given search. A greasemonkey script autorefreshes the page every few minutes.
When I launched the web browser this morning, the last search in it was for Star Trek.
Everytime the page refreshes there is Spam in it right now with the words "star trek" appended to it so that the spam will show up with that currently popular search term.
The page is zoomed in, mind you, so that you can see the top 3 tweets from across the room and everytime it refreshes one of those three tweets is spam. One in every 3 messages just about with the words Star Trek in it, is spam. That's just incredible.
It's got to suck being twitter right now, trying to get that under control.
I just took a shower.
Last time I went grocery shopping, they were out of my regular unscented shampoo. So presented with the available choices, I chose the Vanilla shampoo. It seemed the most benign choice available with unscented not being an option.
I used the Vanilla shampoo just now. It was like showering in ice cream but without the stickiness. Very aromatic.
My hair is clean, but I have an overwhelming desire to go to Coldstone Creamery or Baskin Robbins.
I also feel like I need a Hot Fudge scented conditioner and maybe some candy sprinkles to finish off the experience now. Doubt they make such a thing, just as well.
Still I'm sortof a sucker and will probably get a Green Lantern one. (probably not that Sinestro costume though...l I mean if you're going to go funky... go with his classic look.)
Speaking of DC Direct... There's also a new JSA wave coming out. great for pedo-type-collectors that is, not one but two teenage girl JSA figures. I'll probably get them to keep my JSA collection complete, but it doesn't mean I won't feel a little creepy about it (especially since I already have the Kingdom Come Superman and that Hourman Figure. "Two teenage girl figures only please!") They should have hooked us up with Star Girls' partner Robot-Suit: Stripe instead of putting Cyclone in the same wave. Give a guy a little dignity at the cash register ok ;)
And oh, yeah reality better be on the look out because that is going to be augmented in real time soon too.
Article also copied below:
Life of a Graphic Designer
This is fantastic! Probably would be funny if it didn't hit so close to home. Want to know what it's like to be a Graphic Designer... watch this....
Thanks to friend Jeff for passing this along
Busy busy day today. Work went fast and furious. Then afterwork, hit comic store, Meijer and then had friends over for game night.
DVR wasn't cooperating. Was afraid to turn it off with people here fearing I might lose the TV entirely. Once everyone went home I turned off the DVR, unplugged it and then replugged it in, and it worked fine. Cool, cause I hate calling the cable company.
Game went good. But I'm starting to think that we are all getting a little too good at Heroclix. Dan got completely eliminated, but noone else lost a single character. (Dan unfortunately had a bad night of dice rolls and ended up with himself stuck between the three of us, so mostly just bad luck for him.
Forgot to have my friends take home what was left of their vegetarian pizza. I never touch the veggie pizza myself. I have a couple slices of a Meat Lovers left over for tomorrow. No biggie, but I always hate to waste Papa Johns pizza, even if there is no carnivore stuff on it.
Already looking forward to Memorial Day. I love holidays better than vacation days. So much better to have the day off knowing that noone is back at the office sending emails or dropping projects off on my desk.
Where'd the spring go, we're already into summer temps today. Too hot. :( Looks like weather might be perfect 69s and 72s starting Friday though. Hooray for that.
Random Non Sequiters
I come back to Maslow's Hierarchy a lot. Here are some of my Sunday morning musings on this topic.
Breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, excretion.
Breathing, homeostasis and excretion are the least interesting of these physiological needs. Generally they are automatic, one does not spend a lot of time thinking about how to achieve these things.
Sleep used to be in the uninteresting automatic category. For many this is a much more actively sought after activity now. It's largely an individual activity.
Food and Water or let's just say Food and Drink. It's pretty common to meet people who have a large portion of their day focusing on these two. They are however, such an individual activities now. There is so much choice in food and drink and people have developed such individual preferences due to their accustoment to that range of choice, that you are lucky if you can get two people to agree on a meal or even a restaurant, much less a group agreeing on a single meal. For a group to share a meal it helps if they are all directly related, as the odds of shared food customs are more likely to be in sync as many preferences are held over from childhood and passed down generation to generation. But even that becomes a challenge as food preferences does now radically change with age and exposure to greater choice.
There's a psychological component to a shared meal and not just sharing space with others while different meals are consumed. A psychological component that is much less frequent now.
Sex is an interesting point on this chart. Typically it's radically and wildly differently approached by the genders. Discussion of sex between genders can (although not always) rapidly highlight difference. As a perception of sameness builds trust and connectedness, focusing on difference is counter productive to that aim and can cause feelings of distrust and disconnectedness.
Security of body, of employment, of resources, of morality, of the family, of health, of property.
You could look at his section as the government, employment and religion section. Individual and group enforcement of the laws and mores of these three institutions largely cover the seven bases above.
This whole section of the chart is becoming more and more a function of the collective and less and less a function of the individual. You could look at a farm based society and easily see most of the above areas as an individual act of will under individual control. But in a modern city society control or heavy influence of all the above except potentially morality and health are greatly ceded to third parties or institutions. This lack of control highlights why many in our country may be so pro-gun as guns (and force) give the illusion that control can be reclaimed over these areas. It's an illusion though. Guns have limited functionality when used individually, they also only truly have power when used in the collective, but even then if everyone is using guns I can't see the category of safety being fulfilled.
If sameness, trust and connectedness contributes to a sense of well being, you can see why in a modern city society family is such a highly regarded point in this category. The people that have control over your familial standing are much more likely to share many of your same beliefs and values than the people you interact with within these other safety spheres. You can also see the draw of the family farmer ideal as areas like body, employment, resources, morality and property can all be more closely connected to the interactions with family in such a society.
Friendship, family, sexual intimacy.
This is a fascinating level. Very difficult to publicly analyze. These are more easily kept connected to through irrational beliefs than rational introspection. I'm going to skip discussing this on my blog for now, but it's a fascinating topic of discussion in a conversational setting.
I will mention that these three are generally bound by common acceptances, situations, shared interest, shared experience, or goals with the added factor of time. Various combinations of these elements in parallel contribute to their strength. Individuals are often unique in which of these elements is valued more strongly in the overall mix.
Outside of their own intrinsic values, this level can also be greatly dictated by fears of loss in the two levels previous.
Self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others.
After writing the last paragraph, I now wonder if this level is best addressed from a biological and an irrational point of view too. I think I want to think about this level more.
morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts.
This whole level is very idealistic isn't it? You have to be in a society and situation where almost all your problems are eliminated to fully tackle these ideas. You have to be in a mindset where you anticipate and react to problems building permanent self sustainable solutions and or live in a society that is incredibly utopian to be in a position to deal with these transcendental issues. To properly deal with these it would seem a utopian society would almost be a necessary precursor because the mindset necessary to reach this point may prohibit the mindset necessary to participate within this.
In place of discussing my musements on this topic further, I'm instead going to turn 45 degrees and print a dialogue quote from the movie Serenity.
- The Operative:
- I'm sorry. If your quarry goes to ground, leave no ground to go to. You should have taken my offer. Or did you think none of this was your fault?
- Capt. Malcolm Reynolds:
- I don't murder children.
- The Operative:
- I do. If I have to.
- Capt. Malcolm Reynolds:
- Why? Do you even know why they sent you?
- The Operative:
- It's not my place to ask. I believe in something greater than myself. A better world. A world without sin.
- Capt. Malcolm Reynolds:
- So me and mine gotta lay down and die... so you can live in your better world?
- The Operative:
- I'm not going to live there. There's no place for me there... any more than there is for you. Malcolm... I'm a monster. What I do is evil. I have no illusions about it, but it must be done.
Let's Go Surfing
If your decision tree only has two branches, you should water it more.
» Downloaded a neat freeware Windows program for burning DVDs this weekend. DVD Flick. It will burn a DVD player playable dvd directly from FLV files (ie: Youtube videos). Useful.
» Still waiting for Summer to kick in and stick. I know it's only May but it'd be nice to get a few more late 60s early 70s days in. It's brisk out there today.
» This weekend, I Plugged my Eee PC directly into a 19 LCD monitor that I have in the living room. The monitor normally sits on a small stand next to the TV. I use the LCD to control my media box that is hooked to the TV for playing back internet videos etc. Anyway, I slid the monitor stand over near my comfy chair and plugged in the Eee PC. The Eee PC automatically switched to the native resolution of the 19" monitor and it worked exceddingly well for viewing digital comics. Makes me want to second 701 Eee PC just to use for that purpose.
» You know what works really well? Taking some Double Stuff Oreos and crunching them up in your hand and dropping them into some Breyers Vanilla Ice Cream. I had that yesterday with some hersheys syrup dripped over. Very tasty.
Let's Go Surfing
Froggy's Lament - Riiiiibbbiiit.
Watch the video demo below.
Ray Palmer Thoughts
A couple days ago I watched a Chris Carlsson AtGoogleTalks video. Carlsson has written a book titled Newtopia. As you can imagine with a title like that, the author speaks a lot on topics of bicycling communities, community gardens, and a world where we all just help eachother and get along. etc. etc. Typical 60s Hippie stuff for a new era. I have no real problem with that. I don't disagree with the idealism, even if I do disagree with a lot of his enthusiasm from a strictly practical point of view.
I only bring up the above because he used a term in his talk that as a society "We are atomized”. Meaning, that we are a very individualized culture where many people travel from job to job, location to location and do not really know their coworkers or neighbors well, if at all.
“We are atomized.” It's a very neat term and I've found myself coming back to that term several times in the past few days and rolling it around in my head over and over again in the context of marketing and advertising.
“We are atomized.” Neat concept to think about.
Sometimes I like to spew a good rambling rant*
Amazon just did a little stage show in New York and announced the Kindle DX a 9.7” larger screen version of their Kindle e-reader. The price? $489. Seriously! This eInk technology is as frustrating as flying cars.
70% of the owners of the smaller $389 Kindle are over 40. Which makes sense because you need to have some disposable income and be old enough to like books to be likely to spend that much for a device that just reads books.
eInk is a revolutionary technology. (and a decade old as well) It is going to change the world. But it's being kept locked up as a niche invention, and it just pisses me off to no end.
Recently we had a scrappy noone's ever heard of them company, Asus, annoy the heck out of the computer industry by launching a netbook as an affordable concept. This is not something the industry wanted. Smaller is supposed to be more expensive in laptops and Asus turned that concept upsidedown. Asus stuck with it long enough to develop the market to the point that now we have netbooks in Best Buy, several models to choose from even. But Asus and every netbook maker is slowly creeping the size of these machines back up. 7” screens at first, then 9” then 10, now most of the manufacturers are announcing netbooks with almost 12” screens. That pisses me off too.
The computer industry wants to get the margins back up on the netbooks, and they want to get them close enough to the full size laptops to make you think twice about one of them, so they're doing that by slowly creeping back up screens to 12”.
We had 12” screens at one point, 13” in fact were part of the mainstream... but users wanted bigger screens on their laptops, not because they wanted laptops with bigger screens, but because they wanted something smaller than a desktop at home and they didn't want to buy a desktop and a laptop.
The majority of people that bought netbooks recently didn't want a netbook, what they wanted was a cheaper laptop. Netbook makers figured that out and they are trying to find the ceiling on what people will stand for a cheap laptop again. It took the netbooks to at least break the cycle that manufacturers could convince consumers that they needed the newest OS and the fastest processor.
Netbooks need to trend down to $99. At $99 they will be impulse purchases, and as prolific as Nintendo DS, everyone will have one. That's when the game changes... that's when they will hit the next disruptive plateau.
eInk readers need to get down to $99 even more than netbooks do to be disruptive. The frustrating thing is, eReaders could be that cheap. They are screens that can run on the guts of photo frame hardware for godsake and that's what keeps pissing me off. A cheap eReader should be even easier to do than a netbook.
The companies involved with this stuff are just too anti-any-sub-$250 price point to make any off this happen. Where's the scrappy company that's going to take these things to the next level? Cause our current crop of corps isn't going to do it, and that pisses me off.
*Who am I kidding I ALWAYS love a good rant
Wolverine leaked out on the internet a full month before the premiere. Everyone that saw the leaked copy gave negative reviews to the movie. Yet the movie still make 87 million in it's opening weekend.
Marketing that reinforces people's existing beliefs works, people believe what they want to believe despite what they hear, and as long as you give people their special effect action movies on the big screen one at a time without crowding them together-- people will go see anything.
Let's Go Surfing