Archive for March, 2007
I recently ran across a blog post entitled Vista – Arrogance & Stupidity that takes a look at Microsoft’s new Vista operating system and its flaws. The article does a good job of detailing why users and institutions may want to avoid Vista for the foreseeable future.
- It’s an exercise in frustration to try to upgrade an XP computer to Vista. Few Vista drivers are available except for new devices designed for Vista, and manufacturers don’t plan any.
- Even many current printers don’t have Vista drivers, and many never will. Developing Vista drivers and getting them approved by Microsoft is just too expensive.
- Vista is effectively a Windows price increase. Vista Home Basic, shipped with lower cost consumer market computers, is rather minimal, This often forces a $79 upgrade to Home Premium (equivalent to Windows XP Media Center) or Ultimate for $139. Vista’s built-in Anytime Upgrade handles that – have your credit card ready. Actually all versions are on the machine but must be “activated”.
On a related note, Eric Steven Raymond recently wrote a detailed article entitled “World Domination 201” that explains the importance of operating system positioning as the world transitions to 64-bit hardware. In a nutshell, the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit processors presents a window of opportunity for competitors to overthrow Microsoft’s OS monopoly. The article goes on to outline a strategy that might help Linux to gain ground during the transition phase.
I’m a big fan of the streaming music service Pandora. I’ve been turned onto a variety of new bands through their customized stations. In addition, they recently started offering a Pandora Podcast to provides fans with a bit of music theory to help enrich their the listening experience.
The most recent episode, on “Reggae, Ska, Rocksteady and Dub” was especially interesting to me. I’m a long time fan of ska, the that episode will help me next time someone asks me “What is ska exactly?”
Ever wonder how a band creates its unique “sound,” or what makes a particular song so distinctive?
As we spend our days dissecting tracks for the Music Genome Project, it occurs to us that most people don’t get to hear songs before they’re finished. We thought it might be interesting for folks to learn more about what goes into songwriting. These podcasts are our attempt to give you an inside look at the techniques musicians use to put their signature on the music they write and perform.
We do get into a little music theory, but we’ve tried to make it interesting and understandable for anyone who’s even just a little curious about music.
The University Channel website is a collaborative project between several universities to catalog and link to a variety of audio and video guest lectures. It’s a great place to get exposed to interesting research and thinking.
One of the lectures I listened to recently was a talk given by Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion, on the Secret Impact of Social Norms. The lecture is especially interesting because it is focused on influencing people toward positive and sustainable changes.
Professor Robert Cialdini is the author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, a book which has established itself as one of the most important publications on the subject of the psychology of persuasion. The book was the result of a three – year programme of study into the reasons that people comply with requests in everyday settings. Yet it also provides a highly accessible guide to the subtle influences that drive behaviours and decisions in everyday life, from the size of a tip left in a restaurant to life and death decisions. Professor Cialdini is now turning his attention to the subject of sustainability. How can cutting edge persuasion techniques be used to encourage environmental responsibility?
In this RSA lecture, Professor Cialdini delivers a presentation on his recent research into the successful use of social norms to promote pro-environmental action.
Even if you’re not interested in influencing others, Cialdini’s research and writing is fascinating because it can help you to see and understand how others try to influence you.
I spent some time tonight tracking down notes from some of the SXSW Interactive panels. There are some panels I couldn’t attend because they overlapped with others and some I attended but wasn’t satisfied with my own notes. I’ve compiled a list below of six blogs that I found to have great notes.
- Throwspace’s SXSW Interactive 2007
- Hellonline (Eran’s blog)
In addition, the official SXSW Podcasts are already being posted. Unfortunately, the official podcasts get posted over weeks and months, so if you’re looking for specific panels it may be a while before they make it onto the site. The podcasts from SXSW Interactive 2006 are all online though and there are some definite gems in the bunch.
Unfortunately, the SXSW Baby Notes Exchange Wiki has seen almost no updates during the festival. The the wiki was a great idea, requiring a login goes against the nature of wikis and was apparently enough to keep anyone from creating or adding content.
Wiki Patterns is a new site that is site attempting to gather some best practices or “patterns” to help make wiki implementations more successful:
Looking to spur wiki adoption? Want to grow from 10 users to 100, or 1000? Applying patterns that help coordinate peoples’ efforts and guide the growth of content can give your wiki the greatest chance of success. Equally important is recognizing anti-patterns that might hinder your wiki, so you can fix them or avoid them altogether.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the Giveaway of the Day website lately. Every day, the site posts a new Windows program that is available for downloading free for just one day. The programs are fully licensed, though they must be installed the same day they are downloaded and are not upgradeable.
I’ve been using mindmapping software for a long time. Mindmapping has been especially useful for outlining my ideas before sitting down to write. I originally used Mindjet MindManager, but it has gotten to be too expensive, in my opinion.
Lately, I’ve been using the free, open source mindmapping package called Freemind. Freemind is slow to start up and a a bit clunky overall, but it is remarkably useful, especially considering the price. Still, I’m interested in giving MINDMAP Personal a try. I’ll be downloading it as soon as I finish this post.
I’ve done all my SXSW research. I’ve read the descriptions for the Interactive panels. I’ve watched the trailers for the documentaries that are part of the Film festival. And I’ve listened to at least a short snippet of each of the songs in the 2007 SXSW music bittorrent.
Here’s a short list of some of the stuff I’m most looking forward to:
- Kathy Sierra Opening Remarks
- Open Content, Remix Culture and the Sharing Economy
- How to Make Your Ideas Stick
- TWISTED: A Balloonamentary
- Big Rig
- This is another niche subculture documentary, about truckers. It’s by the same people who did the excellent documentary Scratch.
Overall, I’m a bit disappointed by the music this year. While Jim Bianco and Golem are artists I got turned onto by listening to the mp3s, most of the artists I’m looking forward to seeing are ones I was already familiar with. The interactive festival is bigger and better this year though, so it may make up for the disappointment of the music.