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Scott Adams (Dilbert in real life) Writes about the future of the internet. Insightfully.

Check out this post Chefs and Editors from Blog:

And that's your future of the Internet. The cost of content, such as this blog, and my comic strip, will continue to approach zero. The art will happen with the editing. Others have made the obvious point that editing will be important for the future of the Internet. All I'm adding is the notion that most editors have skill, but few are artists. The world of print publishing is driven by editors who are exceptionally skilled. But they aren't artists. Newser is edited by an artist. He or she isn't giving me information; he's adjusting my mood. That's art. That's the future. (from:Chefs and Editors)

And in general, read Blog!

Ray Kurzweil Responds

You may not have followed the discussion that ensued when Ray Kurzweil was reported to 'not understand the brain', but it's pretty fascinating. Here's what PZ Meyers said:

"There he goes again, making up nonsense and making ridiculous claims that have no relationship to reality. Ray Kurzweil must be able to spin out a good line of bafflegab, because he seems to have the tech media convinced that he's a genius, when he's actually just another Deepak Chopra for the computer science cognoscenti." (from PZ eyers)


Here's a typically articulate and persuasive rebuttal from Ray Kurzweil:

"Myers, who apparently based his second-hand comments on erroneous press reports (he wasn’t at my talk), goes on to claim that my thesis is that we will reverse-engineer the brain from the genome. This is not at all what I said in my presentation to the Singularity Summit. I explicitly said that our quest to understand the principles of operation of the brain is based on many types of studies — from detailed molecular studies of individual neurons, to scans of neural connection patterns, to studies of the function of neural clusters, and many other approaches. I did not present studying the genome as even part of the strategy for reverse-engineering the brain." (from Ray Kurzweil)

Rogert Ebert: Ten things I know about the mosque

I bet many of you didn't realize that Roger Ebert is still writing a fantastic column, with movie reviews yes, but also some excellent written commentary. For example, check this fine post Ten things I know about the mosque from Roger Ebert's Journal:

1. America missed a golden opportunity to showcase its Constitutional freedoms. The instinctive response of Americans should have been the same as President Obama's: Muslims have every right to build there. Where one religion can build a church, so can all religions. (from:Ten things I know about the mosque)

Fun article about faux-physical UI metaphors

Ok, that's my own curious headline for this interesting article in the New York Times:

"What, after all, is a more recognizable symbol of the capriciousness of life than a deck of cards, out of which your fate is randomly dealt? And yet here the deck icon is only superficial. At heart it’s not a random-card generator but the opposite: a highly wrought program with a memory, an algorithm and a mandate to keep children in the game. An app posing as a spatiotemporal object." (from The New York Times)

Android Inventor – not ready for prime time

The other day I wrote a post where I mentioned Google's App Inventor, and I mentioned it with some skepticism.

Today, a column in the New York Times that covers Google's App Inventor in more detail, and comes to more or less the same conclusion:

"I’m happy for App Inventor. I wish it a long and exciting life. Surely it will have one in schools and computer classes, among other niches.

But for nonprogrammers on their own? Forget it. Android Hype Inventor is more like it." (from the New York Times)

iPhones record everything you do?

Check this post iPhones Help Cops Solve Crimes By Capturing Everything You Type, Do from The Consumerist:

Cops love finding iPhones at crime scenes because the phones carry so much priceless data about your usage habits, or as the cops call it, evidence. That email you typed months back about feeling stabby when you drink? It's still there because there because the iPhone captures everything you type to help fuel its spellcheck abilities—even emails you thought you deleted. And that's not all. (from:iPhones Help Cops Solve Crimes By Capturing Everything You Type, Do)

Read the article; do you think it's true? Snapping a screenshot every time you exit from the Mapping application? Sounds far fetched? Capturing all the text you type in to improve spell check? Hmm.Not that I have anything to hide 😉

Rhapsody vs. iTunes

I think I might be entering a new phase in my music listening. I listen to a ton of music, on my iPhone, on my computer, in my car, all the time. And up to now it's always been downloaded (purchased) music that I organize manually within iTunes. From time to time I've had subscriptions to eMusic and similar services.

As a result I have a huge number of tracks on my computer and on my iPhone. And as my music taste develops, and I discover new artists and composers, lots of those tracks are listened to rarely.

The alternative services like Rhapsody, which has been around for a while. But I didn 't like the idea of paying $10 per month to 'rent' music to listen to. Without owning it I would 'lose' the music if I ever cancelled the subscription. I would be tied to this $10 subscription forever.

Lately I've been trying the various streaming products like Rhapsody, Rdio, Mog, and various others. From those that I've tried I still like Rhapsody the best. Rhapsody is the only one that organizes music into genres so that I can browse through for example, 20th Century Classical. The other ones seem to be focused more on current popular music, which I don't really listen to.

And I feel a sea-change coming in my own listening. I am really liking Rhapsody. I am playing more variety. Yes, even among my 10,000 or so tracks on my disk I was finding myself repeating the stuff I liked best. With Rhapsody I can go spelunking through a category I don't know that well (e.g. Jazz Blues) and discover new music. I can have a playlist playing all afternoon of music that I like that I never heard before.

And who cares about 'owning' a track anyway?

David Weinberger has flat feet: Programming

Check this post The flatfooted learning society from Joho the Blog:

But, I am a flatfooted “programmer” and always will be. I have limitations that would have kept me from ever becoming a professional. I have an odd inability to handle indirect relationships, e.g., pointers; I did fine with C, but bombed at C++. I have problems with recursion, so although I once did a fair bit of hobbyist Lisp “programming” (I once wrote a beginner’s guide to Lisp as a document extension language), I can’t handle the self-reflexive capabilities that turn Lisp into a super-tool for Paul Graham. I’m terrible at math. I simply could not have become a pro. (from:The flatfooted learning society)

David Weiner, author, speaker, thinker, turns out to be a programmer too! Read his musings of what it's like being a flatfooted programmer.

But the reason I really cite this is because it reminds me of Google's new tool to easily create applications for Android. It's called AppInventor. I've studied it a little. It looks interesting and cool but it raises in me an old bias against visual programming environments.

Take a look at this out of context screen shot. I wonder whether you can really program visually. I think it was Dave Winer who said years ago that programming is more like writing and less like drawing. I think I agree.

I wonder what the flat footed developer corps thinks. Does Visual Programming help?

Wave goodbye to Google Wave

Google leaves products in Beta forever, they say.

Not Google Wave. They actually announced Wave's impending cancellation.

"But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects." (from Google Blog)

This really stinks, Google. I've begun to really on rely and evangelize Wave. It's true that it took me a long time to understand it and had to do a good deal of convincing of other people to use it. For me it has been great.

Will I be able to live without it? Sure, nothing is irreplaceable. Google Buzz, on the other hand, lasted about 2 weeks with me. It was truly useless.