Wednesday, September 30, 2009
iPhone and Google Maps: Go to here -- just drop the freakin' pin ...We need product documentation like "Power User tips and things longtime users tend to miss"..... Today, when I was switching from Map to List view, the "Drop Pin" button caught my eye. I'd ignored it for a while. What the heck did it do, anyway?
Riiiggght. It drops a pin on the map. It seems to leave it there, after the first time I did this the button changed to "Replace Pin". I didn't see a way to "Undrop Pin" -- maybe once you put it on any map it's bound to a map forever.
You can move the Pin around, bookmark it, get directions to it, etc...
BBC NEWS | Many more receiving HIV therapy
... Testing is the gateway to treatment, and in many areas facilities providing this service increased by about 35%, noted the Towards Universal Access report which looked at 158 countries.
'An Aids free generation is no longer an impossibility - the elimination of vertical transmission is in sight,' said Jimmy Kolker, head of the HIV/Aids division at UNICEF....
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Brinna’s brother has an mobile, so she wants her iPhone now. If we stick with the Junior High rule, that means 2014.
So what will the iPhone of 2014 be like? Will it vote?
I bet it will be a lot like the iPhone of 2009. Mostly better, in some ways worse. That’s the way things usually go after the first mad sprint of a real breakthrough.
MacOS Classic had some serious issues (esp post-multifinder with stability and TCP/IP support), but eighteen years later OS X is not an immensely better OS. It’s mostly better, but there have been significant regressions too. The real shocker was the transition from the command line to the very first Mac.
Equally dramatically, digital cameras went from near worthless to 5 megapixel SLRs in just a few years. Since then, however, progress has been gradual.
So it’s reasonable to expect the iPhone-equivalents of 2014 to follow the same incremental path.
We will see more speech UI development and some workable speech-to-text input. We will probably see better support of external displays, and we may even see a 1992-PalmOS-style external keyboard. Laptops will be squeezed between netbooks and iPhone-equivalents. Augmented reality apps will be mainstream, and we’ll have more bandwidth.
Otherwise, pretty much what we have now.
Which is really an amazing statement about what Apple has done to the mobile industry.
Monday, September 28, 2009
I do this every few months, to remind myself how badly OS X screen sharing sucks.
Apple's problem is that Steve Jobs decides what we need. Microsoft's problem is that it should have been split into several competing companies ten years ago. Google's problem is that they combine Attention Deficit Disorder with a mystical belief in the power of the metamind.
The best we poor geeks can do is mix and match and try to keep our data liberated.
With Apple bitching on Discussion Groups can sometimes help -- the secret is to get a long thread going.
With Google you can look for one of their periodic attempts to survey their customer base, such as this suggest a feature for Google Apps poll. Give it a try! Note, however, you can't vote to "Burn Google Sites to the Ground and Start Over".
And Microsoft? Despair is recommended.
Update: Some related posts
Sunday, September 27, 2009
How’s this …
We know how to make quite good applications with small teams and 3-7 year lifespans.
We don’t know how to cost-effectively make equally good applications with large teams and 10-30 year lifespans. The costs rise as some power function of lifespan and team size.
We may need different corporate structures to create these applications.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
The B000YE54F8 2.5mm to 3.5mm Stereo Audio Headset Adapter for Apple iPhone is a piece of .99 cent junk. I know it’s junk, because the identical pair I bought a year ago have both broken (APLIPHONEHFA2) and there’s no reputable reseller of any variant of these devices.
I also know that before they came apart, my adapters worked.
This is curious.
There’s clearly a lot of demand for a product that allows one to use an older high-quality headset (2.5 mm) with an iPhone (3.5 mm). Lots of people who’ve spent $50 or more on headsets are taking a flyer on buying this, and that market is not going away. (Really, Bluetooth sucks. And even if it didn’t, why spend $100 for a decent Bluetooth headset when you already own a great high end headset that doesn’t burden the iPhone’s hurtin’ battery?)
So why doesn’t a company like Griffin sell a decent adapter for, say, $20 for a pair? I suspect good ones would cost $2 to make and package, so we’re talking a pretty sweet profit margin. It’s not like Griffin has a line of Bluetooth headsets they need to protect.
That’s the mystery.
Of course I have a theory.
I suspect Apple has a patent on the layout of the iPhone’s headset connector . The license fees are probably wicked, or even unavailable. Apple does sell Bluetooth headsets. The cheapo vendors are dodging the licensing fees, and Apple can’t be bothered to go after them.
Any other theories?
 Yes, I also used to think these layouts followed some kind of standard. That was before I experimented with various AV connectors. If there is any kind of standard manufacturers don’t follow it.
Friday, September 25, 2009
I really hope my man Obama (apologies for the familiarity, but I'll never again see a President I like so much) gets his health care bill.
At best, however, it will only be the start of the journey. We haven't even begun to talk seriously about health care costs, and about getting the best possible care that we can afford to provide every American.
We'd be better off if the GOP weren't a smoldering wreck of a party; even the best government is no substitute for well managed markets. (Obviously the problem with unmanaged health care markets is the ice floe.)
Heck, even 16 years ago we had far more intelligent discussions about health care costs and systems than we're having now. Maybe we're getting senile, or maybe we're seeing the side-effects of relative media impoverishment.
Briefly, Gawande and his fellow gurus are with me. We need to deal with costs, but Americans are completely unable to even begin an intelligent discussion -- and the Gaia-infected GOP is too devoted to ending human civilization to make any kind of contribution.
So we do coverage now, and hope we come up with a way to slow the progression of Alzheimer's Disease. That would both lower health care costs and contribute to a more intelligent discussion in 2014.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Blogger has an undocumented 5,000 post limit. At least one of my blogs is well past that limit. Using the blogger dashboard I am unable to search for, view, or edit about 400 posts written in 2003 and 2004.Blogger is not a first tier Google product like Search or Maps, but it's no side-project to be casually forgotten. So what conclusion should we draw from an unfixed bug like this one?
The bug was recognized in July 22nd 2009. At that time Google was 'working on a fix'.
It's almost October, so they may not be working terribly hard...
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
The problem, at long last, is becoming hard to avoid.
If everyone buys insurance, then our current health care system can provide “Lexus” care for a cost of about $13-15K for a family of 3-4 persons.
That’s the kind of care that my family enjoys. It’s not bad, really.
The problem, of course, is that Americans expect a bill more like $6-8K/year. We can’t do that in America. If we were to deliver health services at this price point, they’d be “Manhattan subway” services. An excellent form of transportation, but loud, smelly and lacking plush carpets.
So we have a reality problem.
Update 9/16/09: Economix has a relevant post. The $13-15K number turns out match a Kaiser study.
The Klan, as I recall, had two major incarnations. The first was as a successful terrorist movement following the American Civil War. Klan 2.0, in the 1920s, was a reaction to the extraordinary cultural transitions of the early 20th century.
I’ve speculated that the birthers, baggers and deathers are also reacting to an increasingly incomprehensible world. Turns out the Senate minority leader might agree with me ..
… as the minority leader, John Boehner, put it, are “scared to death that the country that they grew up in is not going to be the country that their kids and grandkids grew up in”…
I say might because I can’t find Dowd’s version of Boehner’s words anywhere else. Boehner’s quote appears with intriguingly different wording in a GOP blog:
"...when I talk to people at these rallies, it was pretty clear these people are scared to death," Boehner said. "And they’re scared to death about the future for their kids and their grandkids and the facts that the American dream may not be alive for their kids and grandkids."
and in a CQ Politics transcript
“George, when I talk to people at these rallies, it was pretty clear people are scared to death. And they’re scared to death about the future for their kids and their grandkids, and the facts that the American dream may not be alive for their kids and grandkids. That’s what really scares them.”
So what did Boehner really say? Both, one, or neither? Anyone know?
The common thread, at the least, is fear. These middle class white men fear that (their) America is changing, and that their male children face a bleak future.
They are right to be afraid. Testosterone is no longer helpful in the vast majority of well paying corporate jobs or in advanced education. The advantages of melanin depletion are still strong, but this recessive trait will continue its secular decline. Corporate employment requires a level of disruptive interpersonal tolerance that is difficult for this group. Globalized competition is eliminating employment options for all but the genetically gifted – and this group is not gifted.
They are wrong, of course, to think that they can stop this change. Or at least, to think they can stop it without turning American in a 21st century version of 1960s India – isolated, impoverished and frozen in time.
Sadly, like a fearful dog, they are biting the hand of the man most likely to help them – the community organizer turned President. Their fear, and their limited understanding, has turned them into pawns of fame seekers and power seekers alike.
Managing the irrational, yet entirely correct, fears of the baggers and the 912 Project is a great challenge for American politics. If we can’t figure out a way to ease their fears, we may yet live through the equivalent of Klan 3.0.
At least I’m old enough to have enjoyed the golden ‘90s! The 21st century has been tough for America, and it’s not going to get better soon.
Update 9/19/09: Frank Rich has an editorial with a related but distinct perspective.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
War Room - Salon.com... I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man,' Carter told NBC News' Brian Williams. 'I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that share the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African Americans. And that racism inclination still exists. And I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of the belief of many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply....
... There is nothing unusual about Professor Plimer. Most of the prominent climate change deniers who are not employed solely by the fossil fuel industry have a similar profile: men whose professional careers are about to end or have ended already. Attacking climate science looks like a guaranteed formula for achieving the public recognition they have either lost or never possessed. Such people will keep emerging for as long as the media are credulous enough to take them seriously...
Monday, September 14, 2009
In the too brief glory days of the Palm, between the Palm III and the Vx, my wife used a Palm III and the Palm Desktop.
Then Palm added color and died.
Alas, we live now in the tech churn days of regency – when the old is gone and the young are unready. Change unwanted is upon us and the change we want is not yet ready.
Franklin’s business market has fallen to the BlackBerry and Exchange Server, and their home market is tempted by cheaper solutions, and – painfully – iPhones. Their web site is decrepit, their offerings increasingly disorganized. They appear to be going the way of the wrist watch.
So goes the aged, but the replacements are unready. We’re not going to run Exchange Server at home, and Apple’s calendaring products are, to put it diplomatically, hideous failures. Google’s alternatives are the best of the lot, by which I mean they are barely acceptable if you’re an uber-geek.
Which I am, so we have a solution. In two weeks Emily’s cursed BlackBerry Pearl contract concludes, she’ll get my iPhone 3G, and I’ll get the new contract 3GS*. She’ll likely complement her gCal/Calendar.app pair with a wall calendar and a wire bound notebook.
The Franklin Planner will move into history, but I bet she’ll miss it – especially when Google-Apple wars blow our calendaring out of the water.
Tech churn means that it will be ten years before it’s all somewhat seamless again.
Update 9/26/09: I lied. Emily, you see, reads my blog. She got the new phone in a lovely black blue case, and she was quite delighted. After playing with the fully prepped and loaded 3GS for a few minutes she went into deep future shock. She has a new appreciation for Apple's Satanic genius.
Study Gives Insight Into Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease - NYTimes.comSo what's the chance that this is the only instance of fecal-oral Prion disease in all of history?
... Researchers are reporting that they have solved a longstanding mystery about the rapid spread of a fatal brain infection in deer, elk and moose in the Midwest and West.
The infectious agent, which leads to chronic wasting disease, is spread in the feces of infected animals long before they become ill, according to a study published online Wednesday by the journal Nature. The agent is retained in the soil, where it, along with plants, is eaten by other animals, which then become infected.
The finding explains the extremely high rates of transmission among deer, said the study’s lead author, Dr. Stanley B. Prusiner, director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco.
First identified in deer in Colorado in 1967, the disease is now found throughout 14 states and 2 Canadian provinces. It leads to emaciation, staggering and death.
Unlike other animals, Dr. Prusiner said, deer give off the infectious agent, a form of protein called a prion, from lymph tissue in their intestinal linings up to a year before they develop the disease. By contrast, cattle that develop a related disease, mad cow, do not easily shed prions into the environment but accumulate them in their brains and spinal tissues.
There is no evidence to date that humans who hunt, kill and eat deer have developed chronic wasting disease. Nor does the prion that causes it pass naturally to other animal species in the wild....
... In captive herds, up to 90 percent of animals develop the disease, Dr. Prusiner said. In wild herds, a third of animals can be infected...
... prions tended to bind to clay in soil and to persist indefinitely. When deer graze on infected dirt, prions that are tightly bound to clay will persist for long periods in their intestinal regions. So there is no chance chronic wasting disease will be eradicated, he said. Outside the laboratory, nothing can inactivate prions bound to soil. They are also impervious to radiation.
- Without real reform we can expect that banks will continue to pick investor's pockets -- including the pockets of their own shareholders.
- There'll be a mega-Recession every 7 to 10 years and we'll read more about 19th century "cycles".
- Traditional "value investing" will become a chump's game.
- Investors will look to well regulated markets in Europe and Canada, forsaking London and the United States.
Poll Finds Most Doctors Support Public Option : NPRThis is only "surprising" if you think the AMA, which more or less supports insurance reform, represents physicians.
... a new survey finds some surprising results: A large majority of doctors say there should be a public option.
When polled, "nearly three-quarters of physicians supported some form of a public option, either alone or in combination with private insurance options," says Dr. Salomeh Keyhani. She and Dr. Alex Federman, both internists and researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, conducted a random survey, by mail and by phone, of 2,130 doctors. They surveyed them from June right up to early September.
Most doctors — 63 percent — say they favor giving patients a choice that would include both public and private insurance. That's the position of President Obama and of many congressional Democrats. In addition, another 10 percent of doctors say they favor a public option only; they'd like to see a single-payer health care system. Together, the two groups add up to 73 percent...
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
If he were, this bit of inside humor would finish him ...
Pawlenty: It's "A Viable Option" To Invoke State Sovereignty, Keep Minnesota Out of Health Care Reform | TPMDCPawlenty would be commuting by helicopter if he ever did anything so stupid, but it's not going to happen.Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), a possible presidential candidate in 2012, is now indicating that he could invoke state sovereignty and prevent his home state of Minnesota from participating in a federal health care reform effort if one passes, Minnesota Public Radio reports.
"Depending on what the federal government comes out with here, asserting the 10th Amendment may be a viable option," Pawlenty said, when asked about it by a caller on a Republican Governors Association conference call. "But we don't know the details. As one of the other callers said, we can't get the President to outline what he does or doesn't support in any detail. So we'll have to see, I would have to say that it's a possibility."
Pawlenty made it clear that he and other Republican governors will be more assertive about the 10th Amendment: "I think we can see hopefully see a resurgence in claims and maybe even bring up lawsuits if need be."
The same view -- properly called nullification, a doctrine dating back to the pre-Civil War days in the South -- had previously been expressed by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Why do I think he'll win?Dear Democratic Senators:I'm going to do this. Oppose me and I'll take you with me to the grave. Stick with me and you might live.
Monday, September 07, 2009
Sunday, September 06, 2009
For reasons that aren't worth trying to describe, I've used an email redirector for some of these accounts. This is forwarding at the domain level, not forwarding from an email account.
This used to work pretty well, but when I tested it on a new account two problems appeared:
- It was filtered to Google spam.
- A BIG RED PHISHING warning appeared when I opened the email.
This is a great example of the tech churn meme I wrote of yesterday. Email is in a troubled state as it painfully moves from the old world of the naive net to the new world of authenticated messaging .
This redirect mechanism is clearly not going to work, perhaps because the redirecting domain has been used by spammers in forged email headers .
Ouch. This is definitely a problem. I have some workaround ideas, but this will be a bugger to test since Google doesn't talk much about what it's doing.
 Free edition. If google drops the price on their small business product I'd upgrade to get some customer support options.
 One reason people like facebook messaging is that it's deeply authenticated.
 The curse of old, private, domains. Mine is very old. There's no defense against such forgery. See also two 2006 posts about a related problem (this isn't new)
Saturday, September 05, 2009
Friday, September 04, 2009
- Handout (person present)
- Home phone (both parents)
- Work phone (father)
- Home phone (father) + answering machine
- Home phone (mother) + answering machine
- Work phone (mother) + answering machine
- Home email (father)
- Home email (mother)
- Work email (father)
- Work email (mother)
- Mobile phone (m/f) + answering machine
- Web page
- Blog with feed
- Facebook page
- Google group or similar
- Google Voice
- Instant Messaging (multiple variants)
- Other email (m/f)
- and many more ...
Writing as a kid baseball coach, I'm guessing 1950 was probably the heyday of parental communication. Back then phone trees more or less worked and families were forced to more or less live in the same space. This year it was damned near impossible -- perhaps due to the profusion of communication channels, the increasingly failure of email (spam, message loss, account turnover) the disruption of employment changes (phone changes, lost mobile phone, etc), the failure of the feed reader, and the virus infestations that have disabled many XP-based home computers.
We tried to use a blog (so web access + feed) supplemented with email and, when pressed, a phone call (inevitably to a voice mail that seemed to be rarely checked). It didn't really work, but I"m not sure what would.
When it comes to communication, we're in full throttle tech churn. There's no common, standard communication channel that reaches a diverse group of people. We had one parent on Twitter, a few that checked their email somewhat reliably, perhaps 1-2 who would visit the web page, and several that were fairly unreachable.
I'm betting that we've reached an apotheosis of communication of communication dysfunction. Communication is important, and, sooner or later, people are going to figure out that we need fewer, better, options.
Alas, I suspect we won't get back to the highpoint of the 1950s for decades to come ...
Apollo 11 mission commander and famed astronaut Neil Armstrong shocked reporters at a press conference Monday, announcing he had been convinced that his historic first step on the moon was part of an elaborate hoax orchestrated by the United States government...The best part is that apparently some people read this Onion spoof as fact. A delicious hit. (Sorry for the late post on this, I was on holiday when it was published. Just glad I got to read it.)