The whole “hardware will be free” argument has been going for a while now, but recently Jonathan Schwartz has been saying some very interesting things about it. They are taking it seriously. And they are making it happen. For $1 per CPU hour. I think this is quite extraordinary.

And definitely quite a different picture from the Analysis of the Hardware is Free Business Model over at UserFriendly.

I’m eagerly watching to see which becomes reality 🙂

There’s another of these “spot wildlife and tell us about it” projects being started up,
this time for the
endangered red squirrel
. Now, I have to admit that when they first starting
bringing out the ridiculously expensive camera phones, I was part of the chorus
saying that they’d been overhyped, they’d obviously never get used and they would
probably be crap anyway. Well,
my new phone
has proved me wrong(when I eventually get around
to writing up some reviews of concerts we’ve been to recently, you’ll see), but I
think projects such as these have proved the worth of the (now much less expensive)
camera phone.

They’ve now been used to
halt potentially dangerous flights
, and
catch
criminals
. So perhaps this convergence isn’t just a gimic, although many still
Manufacturers seem to be catching a clue about the “whack them together ‘coz we can”
approach being a bit crap … Elly
recently found a great example, in the form of a
stepcounter/panic
alarm
. Anyone got other good or numbskull examples of convergence devices?

Matt Haughey has come out with a cracking article about the language used by conservatives (simple, punchy, if flawed, arguments) compared to the “both sides of the story” approach of the liberals in the US. I have to say I’ve noticed this a lot in the UK and even more so in South Africa. Conservatives make bold and often logically flawed statements, but rely on the simplicity and number of times the message will be seen to make the impact. The liberals all spend a lot of time trying to understand why the other side feels the way they do and then seem to believe that they need to exhibit this to win an argument.

Early on in my career someone once pointed out to me that how much work you’d done to solve a problem or investigate an issue really didn’t matter — the important thing was that people understood the problem and/or what was needed from them to resolve. A number of presentations I’ve seen have great swathes of exhibition of the work done, the thinking pursued, which in reality is not necessary in a climate of trust. People trust you to have thought about it.

It’s rather strange, because you wouldn’t think the public-politician relationship could really be described as one based on trust, but people trust politicians (or their think tanks) to have done the math. This is why the conservatives can get away with all sorts of bollocks and liberals are seen as apologists for always backing up their arguments.

As Matt says, fire should be fought with fire. Simple wins — leave the debate to the debate and “Support Marriages. Support Families. No on 36.”

Firstly a quick apology for a complete lack of attribution for these links.
As you probably guessed from the close-to-complete lack of posts in the last
fortnight, things have been hectic, so most of these links have been housed in
bookmarks for weeks and I no longer have any clue where I found them. But they’re
still worth propagating, so here they are 🙂

  • True Majority Action
    is a refreshing concept, with some nice use of flash videos as an election
    mechanism, rather than just a crap inaccessible website mechanism
  • Some useful tips to remember when designing
    liquid
    layouts
    from StopDesign
  • SSH Tricks,
    for when I eventually get around to running Linux properly

  • Subversion and CVS
    , again for when I get around to proper development again
  • Olympic icons
    — quite an interesting article, with a great link to an exhibition of past
    Olympic pictogram sets in the comments
  • Lucy takes a look at
    blog identities and the place for real names
    … interesting to see a slight
    “outsider” perspective
  • Unfortunate
    Animal of the Month Club
    . Don’t try tell me I need a reason
  • Fishbowl
    tips on writing essays
    . Interesting. Don’t agree with all of the article, but
    it’s good advice on the whole
  • Programming live
    and producing music with Perl
    — I took a moment to think about it and realised
    how many people I know whom I can imagine doing this. And how much that scares me.
    I need to get out more
  • How to Run a Brainstorming
    Meeting
    — great that this also questions why you might need one and how to
    make them actually effective after the event as well. And pulls out some of the
    reasons that brainstorming might be a bit of a bad thing:

    “The bad reason that brainstorming is popular is that it is a
    convenient way for bad managers to pretend that the team is involved in the
    direction of the project. A team leader can convince themselves that they know
    how to cultivate and work with ideas that are not their own simply by holding
    a meeting.”

  • Joel, once again, proves that
    he really gets it
    . Micro$oft must kick themselves sooo hard every time they
    read one of his articles
  • Elly notes that someone has cleverly
    come up with a Gmail invite
    redistributor
    . Some of my invites may well need to wing their way over there
    shortly

As Elly commented, this blog is now a year old. Woohoo!

  • Some great thoughts on how
    new technology can help refugee operations
    — make sure you also read the
    comments as there are further cool thoughts there
  • Well, Google
    may be building an OS
    but someone else has passed them by an developed Gmail
    into a filesystem:

    GmailFS
    which is just one of the coolest things I’ve seen in ages
  • Bruce Schneier has some interesting commentary on how
    security alerts are terrorizing
    America
    . Funny how everyone gets up in arms saying that countries are
    “giving in to terrorism” if they pay ransom and so on, but America are the worst
    for perpetuating the effects terrorists want
  • Mall has weird rules.
    Mall enforces weird rules
    … selectively? Is the problem that only a certain
    demographic wear their baseball caps sideways or was the rule created to catch
    that particular set of people? Or are only a particular subset of skew baseball
    cap wearers being stopped?
  • Everything you
    need to know about writing
    , in 10 minutes, by Stephen King
  • The Time Travel Fund
    is quite honestly one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen. Can’t decide if
    it’s some sort of scam, misguided belief or something serious!

  • Tricks of the Trade
    includes some great tricks, some seriously useful, others
    seriously funny. My favourite useful one has to be:

    “Technical Support:
    When helping someone fix their computer over the phone, and you want them to see
    if all the cables are plugged in correctly, don?t ask, ?Have you checked to see
    if the cable is plugged in?? because the customer will always say, ?Of course I
    did, do you think I?m a moron?? Instead say, ?Remove the cable, blow the dust out
    of the connector, and plug it back in.? The customer will most likely reply,
    ?Hey, it?s working now?I guess that dust really builds up in there!?”

    On the other hand, the funniest one I think is this:

    “Nurse: Patients
    will occasionally pretend to be unconscious. A surefire way to find them out is
    to pick up their hand, hold it above their face, and let go. If they smack themselves,
    they?re most likely unconscious; if not, they?re faking.”