Saturday, 24 December 2005

SantaTrackGEarthLooks like Santa's got himself a gmail account, and the Google Earth team has been working with him to set up a live map tracking capability for the big night. If you've got Google Earth, you can track Santa online. If you don't have it, now is a good time to grab a free copy.

Here's email from Santa that Google posted:

To: "Google Support"
From: claus@gmail.com
Subject: Naughty or Nice Layer

I love Google Earth and have been planning a big trip with it. Now I'm wondering if you've ever thought about licensing data layers for "nice" and "naughty." If interested, I've got a really good list -- I've checked it twice. Rooftop accurate data!

Let me know,
S. Claus

Google says: "While we didn't work a deal for Naughty or Nice data layers, we did negotiate the rights to track this user on his big trip. If you've already got Google Earth, you can too."



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Saturday, 24 December 2005 09:43:23 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Philip Chu's Seven Habits of Highly Effective Programmers is a great read. He goes into the characteristics of what I would agree makes up a truly effective technical professional (regardless of whether you be a programmer, systems engineer, admin or whatever).

Anyone who works in the software or IT field should read this.

I like his final line, too: "Stupidity is contagious."

Nice.

[via a link from Digg]



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Saturday, 24 December 2005 09:28:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 23 December 2005

As I mentioned here last year, you can track Santa's progress on Christmas Eve with your kids online at the NORAD Track Santa web site.

On December 24th kids can call toll free at 1-877-Hi-NORAD anytime after 9AM Eastern Standard Time (7AM Mountain Standard Time) to find out the status of Santa from NORAD. Or, even better, check out the NORAD Track Santa web site (available in several languages):

Santa2005

Looks like Brent's got a good list of online resources, too. Enjoy.



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Friday, 23 December 2005 19:30:58 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 18 December 2005

Not sure how I missed it, but sometime last week or so BlogJet was upgraded to version 1.6.1. I have been using this tool for well over a year now to post almost all my weblog entries. There are others out there, and some are getting close, but BlogJet is simple and works well.

What's new? Lots of enhancements. Posting to MSN Spaces sites for one thing, and more. While there are still some features left on my wish-list, this is a great upgrade. Here's the list from the BlogJet weblog:

NEW FEATURES

BUG FIXES

  • Work-around for WordPress and TypePad date/time issue.
  • Now BlogJet can work via proxy with authentication.
  • Fixed issue with FTP proxy.
  • Fixed double trackbacks in TypePad and Movable Type
  • FTP password encryption.
  • Fixed: Insert Link window didn’t remove automatically http:// when inserting https:// of ftp:// links.
  • Fixed “Cannot focus a disabled or invisible window”.
  • Fixed: error message when posting with image selected.
  • New connection core.
  • Lots of other bug fixes…


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Sunday, 18 December 2005 20:07:54 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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The DualCor cPC running Windows XP Tablet PC EditionJames Kendrick's got some exclusive details on the DualCor cPC, a nifty looking mobile device that can run Windows XP for normal computing tasks, and switch to Windows Mobile 5.0 when the user needs more PDA type functions:

"The cPC sports a dual processor design, a Via 1.5 GHz processor running Windows for standard computing functions and an Intel chipset running Windows Mobile 5.0 Phone Edition for handling PDA and phone tasks. The cPC doesn't just rely on the dual processor/ OS design to innovate, it also has a passive digitizer (touch screen) running Windows XP 2005 Tablet Edition! This will provide a rich stylus-enabled experience for those times when end users are mobile and not docked."

This is a great idea - dock it and you get the keyboard experience with a monitor and all, pop it out of the dock and switch to mobile mode instantly, with an uber-smartphone. I can think of a few people who are probably going to want one of these...

Here's how DualCor puts it:

"Delivering the Holy Grail of Enterprise Mobility: 100% replication of the fully functional, fully connected, non-diluted, intra-enterprise desktop experience in a completely mobile hand-held device."

And I like the letter-opener style stylus (see the larger view of the image, above, by clicking on it).



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Sunday, 18 December 2005 17:02:11 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Mark Cuban posts a weblog entry today about his thoughts around what appears to be a lazy reporter for the New York Times (and by lazy I don't mean "doing nothing," but instead "not doing enough") and the content of a column by the Times that Cuban was interviewed for via email last week.

(You can read the actual email responses Cuban sent to the Times' reporter's questions on his blog, by that way. Amazing how things have shifted in terms of information availability over the years. Also, Cuban follows up with another blog entry asking "who has higher ... standards, your typical fulltime blogger, or the NY Times ? Who puts more effort into researching their articles? Who conveys more depth?")

Not like it's a shock or anything that the New York Times would research and publish content with an apparently predetermined end-goal in mind, and it is a column, after all, so opinion's completely within the realm of reason. And Cuban's known for opinions and ideas that writers don't always take at face value. But it's interesting to see what was asked, what answers were provided, and what was published.

Also of interest are Cuban's thoughts about the future of HDTV in the home and the much-higher-def projection they're starting to install in theaters. Personally, I like where he's going with this stuff, and as a former projectionist for a small chain of theaters way back when, I can tell you that I am happy there are a least a couple theater owners out there focused (no pun intended) on the quality of the experience and making it easier to bring quality filmwork to lots of people quickly. It's painful these days to go to theaters where the projection lenses are shoddy or even just not properly aligned and focused, and where the light box and shutter mechanisms simply suck. I've arrived at a point where if a theater doesn't have most or all of the following characteristics, I just don't want to go anymore:

  • The proper lens for the screen, meaning uniform brightness and sharp focus across the entire field, whether it's film or digital projection images being shown
  • Clean sound and acoustics that doesn't self-cancel or distort
  • Seats that you sit in and instantly wish you had at home (these are rare but they do exist, and I can almost predict by ownership when there will be good chairs)
  • Food selection that isn't cardboard and chalk derivative - and a bonus if the theater uses peanut oil (yes, be sure to prominently display the use of peanuts for safety) to cook the popcorn
  • A theater hall that doesn't smell like someone hosed it down with a mix of sweat and vomit juice between shows (remove the seats and bleach the place twice a year, seriously)

Anyhow, Cuban makes some interesting and valid points in his weblog entry. Again, it's encouraging to see someone focused on quality (as opposed to strict cost/return) as primary business drivers. That's smart. No point in good margins of no one wants to buy the product, and one thing that HDTV at home does do is raise the bar on the expectations of the theater experience - we'll always expect it to be one or two quality and experience notches better than anything at home. The Times article refers to and quotes leadership of Regal Entertainment Group, which is a company that doesn't tend to meet my wishes outlined above.

Someone has to lead and push the limits. Cuban tends to do this. Good for him. Good for us. And Randall Stross of the New York Times, well he probably just needs to get out more. Maybe a movie?

[via memeorandum]



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Sunday, 18 December 2005 11:51:02 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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