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January 24, 2009

Sometimes analog just feels right.

Duke, JD, Ely.. all on the couch in our old house in Livermore 

In a world where everything has gone digital, most are choosing to eschew the old analog mediums.  While not dead, media such as Vinyl and chemically processed negative film still survive as a niche.  One such analog medium lost out to profit margins in mid-2008.  The Polaroid camera is one of those things that has an amazing feel to it.  You take the picture and watch the picture develop and appear right in the palm of your hand.  As much as I love digital media, there is nothing as palpable or basic as a Polaroid picture.  There is no negative, so each picture is a unique beast.  All of that was going to be lost when the film stock ran out, until the Impossible project started.  This group of people has banded together to restart production and redefine the future of a media.  Good luck!


January 23, 2009

Open Government: A Memo

The new US President has been in office for three days and he is already sending out public memorandums to the heads of all the governmental agencies in the executive branch.  If you read the fifth paragraph closely, you can see it screams out to technology companies to send their best and brightest people to Washington.  If you are an executive at a large network technology company that is currently laying off employees, you might want to get in on this action.   



SUBJECT:      Transparency and Open Government
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.  We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.
Government should be transparent.  Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.  Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public.
Government should be participatory. Public engagement enhances the Government's effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions. Knowledge is widely dispersed in society, and public officials benefit from having access to that dispersed knowledge. Executive departments and agencies should offer Americans increased opportunities to participate in policymaking and to provide their Government with the benefits of their collective expertise and information. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public input on how we can increase and improve opportunities for public participation in Government.
Government should be collaborative.  Collaboration actively engages Americans in the work of their Government. Executive departments and agencies should use innovative tools, methods, and systems to cooperate among themselves, across all levels of Government, and with nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals in the private sector.  Executive departments and agencies should solicit public feedback to assess and improve their level of collaboration and to identify new opportunities for cooperation.
I direct the Chief Technology Officer, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Administrator of General Services, to coordinate the development by appropriate executive departments and agencies, within 120 days, of recommendations for an Open Government Directive, to be issued by the Director of OMB, that instructs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions implementing the principles set forth in this memorandum. The independent agencies should comply with the Open Government Directive.
This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
This memorandum shall be published in the Federal Register.



January 22, 2009

Windows 7 - Better than Beta

Over the past week I've been spending some time using and abusing Windows 7.  I'm in a period of readjustment right now, as I was using Ubuntu 8.10 as my main Internet surfing operating system for the last two months.  As many of you know, the Windows 7 public beta program allows free downloads for evaluation.  I've been working with the 64bit and 32bit versions on several different boxes.  While the O/S has been really great on newer (less than 18month old) hardware, running Windows 7 32bit on the minimum configuration (1GHz processor and 512Mb RAM) is like self administering a colonic using kerosene. 

Windows7 info 

I'm not trying to convert anyone here, but I'm mildly impressed with how stable it is on current hardware.  The driver base for older peripherals is going to be somewhat limited, but I'm sure that with time Windows 7 will have just as broad a driver base as XP does.  In my limited, totally non-scientific evaluation I would give recommend Windows 7.  I need to spend some more time with the security subsystem, as well as testing application performance of things that I use on a daily basis.  Bottom line is that if you application runs on Vista, it will most likely run just fine on Windows 7.  If it does not run well, install Virtual PC 2007 or Virtualbox and run a virtual instance of Windows XP inside Windows 7 for your legacy application. 




And in addition... somewhat interesting... the first Windows review, ever.

January 21, 2009

The final stretch

Today marked 37 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy (according to the OBGYN's math).  The ultrasound measurements they took today show that he's 7 pounds 12 ounces, so as long as everything keeps going the same way, we can do a traditional delivery.  Yay!

Our Little boy @ 38weeks 

January 19, 2009

Close to the finish line.

We are due to have our baby boy the first week of February.  The nesting is now complete and everything is in place...


(Photo Courtesy of  Tambako the Jaguar on Flickr)

Nursery painted and furniture installed, check.  Car seats installed, check.  Stroller built, check.  Bags packed for the hospital, check.  The only thing we haven't figured out yet is a name.  Still working on that one.  Wish us luck!    



January 07, 2009

OLPC layoffs, boo!

With the technology market and the web 2.0 in the toilet (oh, and the rest of the economy is going to hell in a hand basket), the OLPC group has announced that they will be laying off people.  Best of luck to everyone involved is this amazing endeavor.

Sad logo for OLPC layoff. 


From the OLPC Wiki:

Like many other nonprofits that are facing tough economic times, One Laptop per Child must downsize in order to keep costs in line with fewer financial resources. Today we are reducing our team by approximately 50% and there will be salary reductions for the remaining 32 people. While we are saddened by this development, we remain firmly committed to our mission of getting laptops to children in developing countries. We thank team members who are departing for their contributions to this important mission.

This restructuring is also the result of an exciting new direction for OLPC. Our technology initiatives will focus on:

  1. Development of Generation 2.0
  2. A no-cost connectivity program
  3. A million digital books
  4. Passing on the development of the Sugar Operating System to the community.

With regard to deployments:

  1. Latin America will be spun off into a separate support unit
  2. Sub-Saharan Africa will become a major learning hub
  3. The Middle East, Afghanistan and Northwestern Pakistan will become a major focus

Separately, OLPC will be dedicated to bringing the cost of the laptop down to Zero for the Least Developed Countries — the $0 Laptop.

Restructuring brings with it great pain for some of our friends and colleagues who are being let go. These individuals are people who have dedicated themselves to the advancement of a noble cause, and to say that we are exceeding grateful for the time, the ideas, the energy and the commitment they have given OLPC does not — cannot — adequately express our admiration or our gratitude. The fact that there are 500,000 children around the world who have laptops is testament to their extraordinary work and is already a key part of OLPC's legacy.

The future brings with it some uncertainty, some difficulty, but also the excitement that comes with the rededication to a cause, and a new path that will allow us to realize the moral purpose of OLPC. I hope that each one of you will remain supportive of OLPC, and its mission of opening up a universe of knowledge to the world's poorest children living in the most remote parts of the Earth.

— Nicholas Negroponte