"MedPage Today reports that Wii Sports, a game for the Nintendo Wii console, wasn't found to contribute to recommended daily exercise standards set in Britain, according to a Liverpool University study. Nintendo has been hoping its console would be seen as a fitness aid, releasing the Wii Fit controller and Wii game in Japan earlier this year (due out elsewhere in 2008). A number of academics, researchers, and consumers around the world have been looking at the console as a potential fitness device, with varying results. A Canadian hospital is even using the game console as part of a physical rehabilitation program."
Monday, December 31, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
I also want to add that I do think there is a use for this stuff. If you've ever posted any sort of resume online (and I have) you may have given away more information than you would on one of these social networks.
It would make sense to have a central place to post (for example) a complete resume, including all sorts of personal details (name address phone number) but only have that information available to a select few, for example with a key that can be reset as in your Google photo albums. No need for this information to even be available to your "friends" list.
I have at times submitted resumes without full contact information, or without salary history, or without a previous employment history at all.
Can the interface be made simple enough to use, and yet allow for all these variations (and more)? If so, it would be a great alternative to keeping track of all the variations with Word documents, PDFs, etc. Updating a field, like your phone number, would be a one step process, and only those with "need to know" would ever see this information.
Unfortunately I don't think any of the existing "Social" sites approach this seriously (especially Facebook, which makes a lot of claims in this area).
Here is an idea, free for the taking (patent pending):
A single place where all such information about your career life, social life, dating preferences, hobbies, etc. can be typed in using combinations of free-form fields, check-boxes, menu-lists, etc. Now the hard part, as I've mentioned, is making the access matrix both easy to set up, but complex in how it parcels out information. Not desirable for a potential employer to see your dating preferences, nor for a potential date to see your employment history. It needs to be EASY for you to keep these things straight, not a complex maze as Facebook now has. I personally think that Facebook is working at too many cross purposes to make this even possible.
Orkut, on the other hand, hasn't painted itself into a corner yet by making all sorts of high minded claims while actually implementing something totally different.
For Orkut, it should be possible for me to make both my friends list and my interest groups information invisible to everyone, or only visible to selected individuals. Facebook has addressed this to a limited extent, but then muck it up with their need to generate revenue. Google doesn't have this problem, Orkut is just one of the many products they have to keep you connected to them and viewing ads, they don't live or die by Orkut.
Finally, if all of this information could be collected, and properly segmented and secured, I should be able to do the following things with it:
1: Generate a nicely formatted resume for printing out or e-mailing or posting on a web page (with a revocable key in the last case). There might be a variety of formatting options for standard government resume formats, or more casual forms.
2: Generate a business card summary from above information. There are of course $69 Windows programs to do this item and the one above, but I don't NEED or want to manage such a system on a single PC, especially a Windows one with all the security and database corruption issues it has. Windows has been so bad it has made it positively acceptable to get data off your local PC as fast as possible and onto secure servers somewhere (but NOT a Windows Home Server!).
3. Coupled with online calendar information, photos, blogs, news feeds, address lists, credit card data, and so on, you could also do automated slide shows, photo albums, either online or for printing, holiday card processing...
I can't think of anything you wouldn't want to connect up to this, assuming of course that you have confidence in the security of the application, and as I've mentioned, the online alternatives don't have a very high hurdle to get over to be way ahead of what Windows has established as baseline for local storage.
Supposedly, Google is working on an online health system that would keep (will it be selected, or all?) of your medical history, prescriptions, allergies, and so on that can be rapidly and easily shared with your medical professionals. If this can be done in such a way that people trust it, I see no reason why even less sensitive information that would go into a resume or business card, can't also be stored online, all the time, for those with a "need to know" to get at.
See also: A Lover's Journal: Contacts Management System
Thursday, December 27, 2007
When you use certain programs to edit files on a home computer that uses Windows Home Server, the files may become corrupted when you save them to the home server. Several people have reported issues after they have used the following programs to save files to their home servers:
• Windows Vista Photo Gallery
• Windows Live Photo Gallery
• Microsoft Office OneNote 2007
• Microsoft Office OneNote 2003
• Microsoft Office Outlook 2007
• Microsoft Money 2007
• SyncToy 2.0 Beta
Additionally, there have been customer reports of issues with Torrent applications, with Intuit Quicken, and with QuickBooks program files. Our support team is currently trying to reproduce these issues in our labs.
No matter how smart your geniuses are, they can (and will) create a system to complex for themselves to understand without: Design, documentation, testing.
Time for the Bill Gates school of code and go to take a permanent recess.
(Not that Microsoft is the exclusive vendor of half baked software, just the preeminent one.)
Monday, December 24, 2007
"I have no agreement with Apple that covers the security or privacy of the data. As far as I know they think they own the contents of the disk as well as the disk itself. The experience I had with them actually makes me think they probably do feel its theirs. This from a company that takes the security of its own private information very seriously, they seem to have almost no regard for the security of its customers' information."
"In addition, McKesson has the added incentive that universities are turning out fewer graduates with training in mainframe Unix, HP (NYSE: HP)-UX or other Unixes but most students are familiar with Linux. 'It's very difficult to find computer science students familiar with MUMPS [another aging healthcare operating system] or mainframe Unix,' Simpson said, but the investment in new Linux will give providers the option of hiring developers and maintainers who know what to do with its applications."
Sunday, December 23, 2007
As a dedicated blogger, I take seriously my right to exaggerate an issue beyond all normal sensibilities.
But as if to prove my extreme point of view, yesterday Slashdot posted an article titled
'Apple Lawyering Up On "Fake Steve Jobs"' and whether they (Slashdot) were attempting to go along with a joke already well underway or were themselves fooled by the publicity stunt, the readers were certainly up in arms with only a few pointing out the more likely explanation for the FSJ postings.
Checking back today on those "dialogs" started by NYT and others what I find is mostly negative comments about Apple. People are very much inclined to accept the notions that Apple is the mini-me to Microsoft when it comes to screwing, or screwing with their users.
So whether it was a misguided legal department, the PR department being on vacation or a vindictive Steve Jobs, Apple has succeeded in neutralizing whatever "good guy" image it once had.
I'm not the only one who thinks Apple will exit the computer business as soon as it can do so without too much embarrassment, so maybe as a phone company, or music publisher they'll be forgiven for treating fan sites like a cheap date or that tacky one night stand with open source.
But a three legged stool with one leg removed cannot stand. So presuming Apple's ability to handle public relations re-awakens, what will they get into next? I mean it's not like music companies can just hop into the airline business is it?
Friday, December 21, 2007
"Even without additional funding from Congress via the recently passes energy bill, the future of solar power is looking bright. As reported the other day in the New York Times, Google-backed solar-panel start-up Nanosolar has started cranking out a new breed of panels that can be manufactured 'at a price at which solar energy becomes less expensive than coal.'"
"Mr. Reid, calling Dr. Coburn's tactics 'unreasonable,' said when the Senate returns next year, he plans to combine a number of blocked bills and bring the package to a vote.
Dr. Coburn says he isn't to blame for slow progress. Democrats used too much floor time debating the Iraq war, he says, and tried to move too many bills on the fast track. He notes he didn't try to stop the spending bill, the only legislation Congress technically must pass in order to keep the government running."
Thursday, December 20, 2007
"On Thursday, Ciarelli said in a statement that he was glad to have the legal wrangling behind him. 'I'm pleased to have reached this amicable settlement, and will now be able to move forward with my college studies and broader journalistic pursuits.'"
We can now look forward to the day when the a-holes at Apple are begging for this type of publicity.
"Even some in the establishment media now appear to be taking notice of the growing number of skeptical scientists. In October, the Washington Post Staff Writer Juliet Eilperin conceded the obvious, writing that climate skeptics 'appear to be expanding rather than shrinking.' Many scientists from around the world have dubbed 2007 as the year man-made global warming fears “bites the dust.”"
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
"It's not clear whether the fact that Gmail automatically adds to the address book all the people you've ever sent messages makes it irrelevant or comprehensive. It's not clear whether orkut will ever become a respected social network in other places than Brazil and India. But one thing is for sure: orkut really wants to become a serious alternative to Facebook."
I re-opened an Orkut account after giving up on it a year or more ago. I've found exactly ONE person know in there. And even that is an online contact, not someone I know in "real life".
Nobody I went to college with, nobody I went to high school with, nobody from big companies I've worked for. Finally, only two people who share my last name, both of which are blank profiles (there seem to be a lot of these for which I have no explanation).
One thing Google has going for it, which I mentioned in the post above (or is it below) is a practically infinite server capacity. Are Facebooks PHP and MySQL server farms going to hold up under load? For me Facebook has already gotten painfully slow in spots, while Orkut, which I think worldwide actually has more users, is still quite snappy.
Both systems are filling up with people with fake names (like me) and in some cases many multiple identities, used to push some product or agenda. Can either company in the long run figure out who is real?
My guess is that Orkut/Google don't have to care. "Let the servers fill up, we've got plenty".
For me, it gets to be a real convenience when my Google Docs, maps data, contact information, photo collection and on and on are all talking to one another, and right now, Google is just starting that process of connecting everything up.
The photo application in Facebook is pathetic. They let you upload nice full-sized photos, but only through a Java program that shrinks them down to almost nothing.
They may hope that their application providers will do some of the heavy lifting in that regard. Somehow I suspect that most of them are not prepared to deal with actual success.
Fascinating to watch this unfold isn't it?
"In a very interesting interview from October, Google's VP Marissa Mayer confessed that having access to large amounts of data is in many instances more important than creating great algorithms."
Hmmm, I think there may be more to this.
Searching the entire Internet used to be a challenge. Some might say that Google was the first to do a really good job of it. But now, Microsoft and Yahoo, and others are being competitive (not VERY competitive, but they are at least playing in the same league).
As more companies create vast self-healing server farms the number of companies in that club might grow. I think the enormous power of these vast armies of server are Google's strength. What would be called in other industries, a "barrier to entry".
The more stuff there is to search now, the bigger that barrier will get. Books, photos, blogs, documents, maps and so on. Google is basically saying "we can handle all of this stuff and more, and do it so cheaply that we pay for it with advertising (and make a profit to boot)".
Suppose that other big companies like Microsoft and Yahoo not only fail to catch Google in search or advertising, but also fail to make their ever growing server farms run at any sort of profit margin at all.
Who is left holding all the marbles?
"EBay’s management wins credit for not messing up one of the best business models ever invented. But it scores far lower on innovation. To my eye, the site’s design and technology have never been in the same league as Amazon’s."
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
"Red Hat estimated that health care facilities that have switched have been able to save as much as 60% on IT costs compared with what they were spending before.
With the Red Hat/McKesson systems, hospitals and medical offices run their back-office infrastructure on Red Hat Linux, while their front-end clients use Microsoft Windows -- at least for now, Simpson said. 'Our hospitals aren't ready yet for Linux on the desktop, but it's coming' in another three or four years, he said. 'If you look at the total costs of hospitals and the pressure on hospitals to continue to lower their costs, it's coming.'"
"'They called to try to smooth it over. They wanted me to have a good feeling about all this and if I'd known this was going to happen six months ago, that would have been fine. I can't feel good only having 30 days notice. The woman I spoke on the phone with said 'we wont be guilted into doing this' and I knew that we should get off the phone at that point,' Parent said."
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
"Thirty years after launch but earlier than expected, Voyager 2 has left the cozy realm of our solar system, where the stream of particles from the sun dominates space."
To try and thwart Nicholas Negraponte's One Laptop Per Child effort Microsoft is making copies of Windows available to a competing Intel box for $3 as I understand it. They are also working to make a version of Windows that will run on the OLPC, presumably for a similar price.
I know a lot of people that use computers. Before I left the big city to head for the beach I might have had conversations about home computer use (leaving out work related use for the moment) with dozens of people. But having been in the boondocks for a while my circle of friends has grown smaller. Get this though, here is the percentage of my Windows using friends who are reporting significant problems with their home installations: 100.
It just struck me the other day that I don't know any Windows users, not one, who isn't having problems, and I don't mean minor problems, I mean major "lost everything" problems. To help convince you that I'm not making this up, here are their stories, names omitted to save them the embarrassment...
Case A is a retired technologist, programmer for the Apolo moon missions, inventor, and aspiring author. He doesn't want to tinker with computers any more, he just wants to write his books. For months he has been doing so on a laptop, without major incident, but having "normal" Windows users issues with pop-up ads, spy-ware, spam, and drivers mysteriously failing to do what they used to do. His reaction to these problems has been to remove almost everything except Microsoft Office from his machine. Having sent him either links, or actual files that require Adobe Acrobat or Real Player I find that he has uninstalled those things out of fear. Nevertheless he managed to get Internet Explorer outfitted with so many "helpful" tool-bar additions that there was little screen real-estate left over for anything else. His sound card stopped making sounds, pop-ups continued to pop-up and he complained that the machine was getting slower and slower. He didn't want to try Firefox though as Microsoft has succeeded in convincing him that his problems have nothing to do with Windows itself, but just that big-bad world that it has to live in on the Internet.
He recently called in a panic to tell me that his machine, a laptop, suddenly wouldn't boot at all. Long story short, he had installed yet another "security" package from his ISP that had caused the condition. A trip to the shop for an overnight stay and $65 later the machine was working again. Fortunately, the fact that he hadn't done a recent back-up didn't cost him anything as they were able to retain his existing file system. Fortunately or otherwise, he was so shaken by the experience he purchased another PC as a "back-up machine" on the rather safe assumption that a similar thing will soon happen again. If the medicine makes you sick, try taking more of it.
Case B is a dear little lady that I agreed to help with her e-mail problems. Now I've steadfastly refused to get involved with anyone's Windows issues other than offering generic advice such as "why are you still using that crapware?" but in this case the problems seemed to be mostly "older person trying to cope with new-fangled technology", so I stop by once in a while to get her unstuck with sending a reply, forwarding a message, or attaching a photo. Unfortunately this has turned into three machines so far. The last one I purchased myself, used, from a shop I trusted, with a clean install of Windows XP and little else. I put on anti-virus programs and such, and so far so good. I can't be sure that her earlier machines were hardware or software failures. At some point it gets hard to tell from a post-mortem point of view. Power supplies burn out, fans die and machine overheat, often after running at 100 percent CPU for days at a time doing no-telling what in the background. If she manages to kill this machine, her next one will run Linux. Enough is enough.
Case C is a minister, on a dial-up connection, who really doesn't do much more than e-mail and print out church related materials from time to time. When I first saw his machine it had an obscure virus that was not removable by any of the major packages that are supposed to do such things. Fortunately I learned this through research, which was much quicker than trial and error. He too took it to a "competent" shop who managed to get rid of the virus and most of his applications software at the same time. I'll be installing Open Office for him and he is already using Firefox, thanks to some other kind soul he ran into. Should the need arise, he will already be over the hurdles that tie most people to Windows.
Case D is a couple of guys that run a small home business involving shared files with several other people working at home. Their Windows machines, although of relatively recent vintage are always bogged down doing something in the background that nobody can quite define. Opening a web page is a go-to-the-fridge-for-another-coke sort of operation at times, and while some of this problem is a slow ADSL connection and a care-less Verizon support system, my Apple laptop works pretty well on their network, even wirelessly, while their hardwired desktop systems continue to crawl.
Finally, the co-workers in this small business are always having trouble with their PCs too, except for the one Apple user of course. So those machines have to be regularly hauled over to "headquarters" for diagnosis and I dread even hearing about the long tortuous road to recovery, which is often followed by an almost immediate relapse.
So those are my sample points. All of them. Other people I know that are using Apple computers or Linux haven't been complaining much about slow systems or slow Internet or random crashes. Oh I know, there are Apple machines that are junk (I had one of those once too) and Windows machines that perform flawlessly, those just don't happen to be in my universe of users at the moment.
Worth three dollars? Hardly.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
"Suppose you went back to Ada Lovelace and asked her the difference between a script and a program. She'd probably look at you funny, then say something like: Well, a script is what you give the actors, but a program is what you give the audience. That Ada was one sharp lady...
Since her time, we seem to have gotten a bit more confused about what we mean when we say scripting. It confuses even me, and I'm supposed to be one of the experts."
Mark ‘Sorry’ Zuckerberg’s Beacon Memo: BoomTown Decodes It, So You Don’t Have To! | BoomTown | Kara Swisher | AllThingsD
"Translation: Philosophy? All those Harvard philosophy majors now work for me in customer service. Opt-in, opt-out. If we say it fast over and over again, users will hopefully get really dazed and confused and just lay down and accept their ultimate fate as target practice for marketers. More to the point, I just said we will still receive information on all your purchases and I hope you did not notice that. Opt-in-opt-out-opt-in-opt-out-opt-in-opt-out. Are you getting sleepy yet?"
I just love these "translation" things.
Translation: All Things Digital does such a great job pounding Facebook, I should just go back to hating Microsoft.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Suddenly this week, Google is kicking ass. Hey copy-cat department over at Microsoft: Time to get back to work. We expect to see these features in Windows Live by Monday!
"These startups think that these names will stick in our minds because they're so offbeat, but they're wrong. Actually, all those twentysomething entrepreneurs are ensuring that we won't remember them. Those names all blend together into a Dr. Seuss 2.0 jumble.
So little imagination is on display nowadays, you could create an algorithm that spews out comparable domain names with the click of a button."
"A pair of scientists say new findings that document male Amazon river dolphins carrying objects like weeds or sticks in a bid to lure female mates is evidence of behavior once believed to be the exclusive preserve of primates, says New Scientist."
Weeds and sticks? Once again dolphins prove themselves smarter than humans (the male ones anyway).
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
"It could have all been avoided with a smart adult running things. Facebook has no old hands in its corner, no advisers to tell the kids how to behave. Netscape had its Jim Barksdale, Google (GOOG) its Eric Schmidt. This company has no one babysitting it. And watching it now is like watching an unattended child play with a pack of matches in a wooden house. "
"The mainstream media and blogosphere, which recently were feting him, have now turned and ire has been growing over Beacon, which seems to be focusing everyone on the inexperience of Zuckerberg and the challenges facing Facebook."
Sunday, December 02, 2007
She told him, "Tomorrow morning I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0 to 200 in less then 6 seconds AND IT BETTER BE THERE!!"
The next morning Ed got up early and left for work. When his wife woke up she looked out the window and sure enough there was a box gift-wrapped in the middle of the driveway. Confused, the wife put on her robe and ran out to the driveway, and brought the box back in the house.
She opened it and found a brand new bathroom scale.
Ed has been missing since Friday.
Please pray for him.
"Matt Hicks, a Facebook spokesman, said Mr. Zuckerberg had meant that users would be given the opportunity to opt out of having information sent out by Beacon, and the company had assumed that anyone who didn’t say no meant yes. Even though the company changed that policy last night, it may find more marketers who had said yes to Beacon saying they really meant no."
As an authentic feminist, my work has always been based in the belief that America, and American women especially, have a responsibility to help women internationally achieve their freedom. Our financial power is key, but so are our voices. Civil rights organizations rightly speak of the power of "advocacy" — the act of speaking up for people who are unable to speak for themselves.
Calling attention to abuse, violence and oppression is something the left claims it does, but these days they’re more than willing to throw those who need our voices under the bus. Their obsession is to make sure the leftist false construct of an evil George Bush and oppressive United States won’t be eclipsed by the truth — the truth of a world where our enemy targets women on a daily basis for terror, torture, oppression and murder as our troops risk and give their lives to banish that horror from the lives of tens of millions.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
An unemployed man is desperate to support his family of a wife and three kids.
He applies for a janitor's job at a large firm and easily passes an aptitude test.
The human resources manager tells him, "You will be hired at minimum wage of $5.35 an hour. Let me have your e-mail address so that we can get you in the loop. Our system will automatically e-mail you all the forms and advise you when to start and where to report on your first day."
Taken back, the man protests that he is poor and has neither a computer nor an e-mail address.
To this the manager replies, "You must understand that to a company like ours that means that you virtually do not exist. Without an e-mail address you can hardly expect to be employed by a high-tech firm. Good day."
Stunned, the man leaves not knowing where to turn and having $10 in his wallet, he walks past a farmers' market and sees a stand selling 25 lb. crates of beautiful red tomatoes. He buys a crate, carries it to a busy corner and displays the tomatoes. In less than 2 hours he sells all the tomatoes and makes 100% profit. Repeating the process several times more that day, he ends up with almost $100 and arrives home that night with several bags of groceries for his family.
During the night he decides to repeat the tomato business the next day. By the end of the week he is getting up early every day and working into the night. He multiplies his profits quickly.
Early in the second week he acquires a cart to transport several boxes of tomatoes at a time, but before a month is up he sells the cart to buy a broken-down pickup truck.
At the end of a year he owns three old trucks. His two sons have left their neighborhood gangs to help him with the tomato business, his wife is buying the tomatoes, and his daughter is taking night courses at the community college so she can keep books for him.
By the end of the second year he has a dozen very nice used trucks and employs fifteen previously unemployed people, all selling tomatoes. He continues to work hard.
Time passes and at the end of the fifth year he owns a fleet of nice trucks and a warehouse that his wife supervises, plus two tomato farms that the boys manage. The tomato company's payroll has put hundreds of homeless and jobless people to work. His daughter reports that the business grossed over one million dollars.
Planning for the future, he decides to buy some life insurance. Consulting with an insurance adviser, he picks an insurance plan to fit his new circumstances. Then the adviser asks him for his e-mail address in order to send the final documents electronically.
When the man replies that he doesn't have time to mess with a computer and has no e-mail address, the insurance man is stunned,"What, you don't have e-mail? No computer? No Internet? Just think where you would be today if you'd had all of that five years ago!"
"Ha!" snorts the man. "If I'd had e-mail five years ago I would be sweeping floors at Microsoft and making $5.35 an hour."
Which brings us to the moral of the story:
Since you got this story by e-mail, you're probably closer to being a janitor than a millionaire.
Sadly, I received it also.