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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Smile Away

When I boarded the plane, I was greeted by the steward, “I told you we were going to Tokyo today”.  I was already smiling and told her “I would believe when the plane began its descent.”  Pessimistic.

As I turned right on the 747, I made eye contact with a man who just been joking with his companions.  He said to me, “third time’s a charm!”.  Still smiling, I responded, “fifth time for me.”

“You were here yesterday?  Well at least you’re smiling”.

“Not smiling on the inside.”

But yes, I was smiling.  The fifth time I had boarded this plane – or one similar enough – on a trip to Japan, Thailand, and Cambodia.  We had first boarded over 30 hours before that.  Each time as we crossed from the terminal onto the gangway, I said something like “we’re going on a trip” or “we’re off to Asia” or “this time I’m sure we’re going.”

This fifth time I did it again, as much to be upbeat with my kids in the face of so much frustration and powerlessness as from a belief that we would actually depart on our vacation.

I continued walking down the aisle – my family well ahead of me – still smiling, looking into the faces of the seated passengers, all smiling right back at me.  I nodded and smiled warmly to each of them.

Minutes before we were all in the terminal waiting to board for the third time that day.  Most people were patient, expecting that the airline would do its job, to get us all to our destination.  Several were upset, arguing with the gate agents. One insisted that the airline either cancel the flight or commit to flying that day.  Like my family, he had been through this the day before.  We had boarded, deplaned, boarded another plane, and then the flight was canceled.  By the time we had our luggage it was well after 9 PM – 10 hours after we first boarded that day.

Walking down the aisle felt like the times in movies when the director slows down the scene, of course this time with me as the protagonist.

I passed the second steward.  He knew what was going on, and said,

“When you smile, the whole world smiles with you.”

I nodded to him, and as worn as that expression may be, I felt it so truly then.

While I didn’t feel certain that the plane would take off, I did feel better, confident that it would work out.  And of course, it did.

Application neutrality?

What an absolutely ridiculous idea, that so-called “application neutrality” should be a part of net neutrality.

It is hard to imagine that this is just intended to garner press, because after all, the response can probably be summed up as:

  • Blackberry is still a company?
  • Blackberry doesn’t have any apps.
  • WTF?

Am I missing something here?

“Application neutrality” . . . love it.

If that happens, let’s go further and legislate that all apps must be available for Linux. And Wii. And Windows Mobile 6.

Link: BlackBerry CEO Wants Legislators To Make Developing BlackBerry Apps Mandatory

Digital Signatures != Notary Public

I am in the “pro email encryption” camp. If encrypting all email communications was easy enough, I would do it. I won’t get into “easy enough” here, but the issue is really about encrypting for a particular recipient, most of whom don’t care about encryption in the first place. I used to routinely digitally sign my emails as well, but stopped doing that for the same reason — most recipients didn’t know what to make of it.

Anyway, I’m coming to this topic now indirectly because of Google’s new “End to End” product / plugin / stance.   Sounds cool, and I’m sure I’ll check it out.

In A World without Hearsay, Jon Udell tackles the question of why he used to digitally sign his emails and then discusses an argument made by Yaron Goland in a post with a very long title: Why Google’s support of PGP Mail might not be such a brilliant idea – Or, why I don’t like digital signatures for social networking and how Thali addresses this

In that post, the author likes digital signatures to a roving notary public:

A digital signature is intended to be an authenticator, a way for someone other than us to prove that we did/said something. When we use digital signatures for momentous things that should be on the public record, like mortgage documents perhaps, then they serve a good purpose. But with PGP Mail we suddenly sign… well… everything[2]. It’s like having a notary public walking behind you all day long stamping every statement, note, mail, etc. as provably and irrevocably yours.

I don’t think we want such records to exist. I think we want a much more ephemeral world where the bulk of what we do just quietly vanishes into the ether leaving as little of a trail as possible.

I completely agree that we would be better off in a more ephemeral world, but the notary public analogy is completely wrong.

A notary public does in fact record (in a physical record book) every action, along with a physical signature and a fingerprint (noting that the specifics may differ across jurisdictional boundaries).  Signing one’s own email does no such thing.  It does not create a record, and does not make cause the email to become more permanent than it was without a signature.

It may be harder to deny that you wrote it; however, the more automated (or easy) it is to make such signatures, the less likely that such emails will have any weight over a non-signed email in a court of law.

To be clear, I’m not harshing on Thali — I have no opinion on that right now — I just don’t think the signature/notary argument has merit.


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Release to Merry Christmas (Windows 8.1)

Windows 8.1 was just Released to Manufacturing (RTM).  For the first time in as long as I can remember, developers are not getting access to the RTM before the launch date.

Some developers are upset because they are building Windows 8 applications or at the very least need to ensure their applications work on the new OS before it is released.  This is a fair point.

I think most people are upset because they are forced to wait to upgrade their own systems.  Too bad, so sad.

So why did Microsoft make this change?  Because Windows 8.1 isn’t ready.  According to a TechCrunch post:

We are continuing to put the finishing touches on Windows 8.1 to ensure a quality experience at general availability for (all) customers.

So it isn’t ready, but it has RTMed. So what does RTM even mean?

Maybe “M” doesn’t mean manufacturing this time.  According to a post in the Windows App Builder Blog (italics mine):

Today we announced that Windows 8.1 has hit the RTM milestone. That means our hardware partners are now preparing their devices for the holiday buying season, beginning with the general availability of Windows 8.1 starting at 12:00 A.M. on October 18 . . .

Maybe this time it means manufacturers.  This release is all about getting Windows 8.1 in systems for the holiday buying season. You can be sure the big device manufacturers already have their Windows 8.1 RTM.

I would argue this isn’t really an RTM at all — because it isn’t finished — but if Microsoft had waited until mid October to actually RTM, then no holiday sales.

RTMC: Release to Merry Christmas!

Messenger to Skype Transition?

So, Live/Windows/Microsoft Messenger is shutting down and Microsoft is pushing people to Skype.  I actually haven’t run Messenger for many years.  I suppose it would be mildly interesting to see what a migration process looks like.

But, I keep getting emails from Microsoft to “Upgrade” to Skype and I don’t see where this is a migration path.  So I clicked on the “Upgrade now” link in the email.

While there was nothing obvious on that page, there is  Skype Community help widget.  I quickly decided against it, considering the recent help people have received there.

uncle it moses




Just a test post

I published a post last week about the Tesla S Performance; and now the post is gone and I see no record of it.  Something wrong with my hosting company?  Or with my installation of WordPress?

Anyway, just a test post . . . nothing to see here.

Mid June Thoughts

I’m going to the DR National Town Meeting in DC.  Let me know if you’ll be there and we can meet.

Check out the series on Identity Management as a Service (IdMaaS) on Kim Cameron’s blog here and here.

The Microsoft Surface (no, not the table), looks pretty cool.  Not too surprising that Microsoft decided to do this themselves, let’s just hope it isn’t a Zune.  Maybe that will be my first full tablet.  Probably x86, although that is just asking for trouble, I know.  It will be interesting to see if there is a hardware-vendors backlash.  And then is a Microsoft phone next?  Maybe this is the strongest indication that Microsoft might actual buy Nokia.

.NET 4.5 doesn’t run on Windows Server 2003.  Huh.

An Arduino Satellite project on Kickstarter.  I want one.

Ram, 24-bit audio, etc.

This is one of those times when I have something to say quickly, but just can’t be bothered to try to say it in 140 characters.

@rwandering: Listening to the new 24 x 96 unlimited Ram from @paulmccartney — sounds fantastic.

@cgerrish: So you’ve taken sides in #occupyaudio ? Have you read this?

My response to that:

Yeah, yeah, us mere mortals can’t hear anything.  Sure.  (I haven’t read the article yet).

My own experience says the following:

  • 24 bit mixing is really a big deal.
  • 24 bit (or higher?) transfer from tape is a big deal.
  • 24 bit mastering (i.e. 24 bits as the output ) is also pretty big.
  • 44 kHz is probably just fine.
But if I get something in 24/96 I’m probably going to listen to it that way (not on my iPhone!).
There is no doubt that one of the reasons this new Ram (and all the recent McCartney remasters and the Beatles 24-bit audio) sound so great is because of the newer technology in place today to transfer from tape to digital, and to do it at higher bit rates — there was no 24-bit mixing going on to my knowledge.  There are two fantastic examples backing up 24-bit (or higher?) mixing though:  The Beatles Yellow Submarine Songbook and the Beatles Love (and according to Steve Gillmor), The Beatles Rock Band music (though I’ve never heard it directly).
That is one heck of a lot of parenthetical phrases, but anyway . . . have I taken a side?  It seems so.

Late April Thoughts

Taking a page out of Marc’s book, I’m going to start linking to things I think are interesting (or useful) in digest form.

Microsoft is changing the free storage for SkyDrive from 25GB to 7GB.  If you are an existing user, though, you can get grandfathered in, but you have to logon and tell them you want it.

With Google Drive finally released, Aaron Levie of box posts When Elephants Attack. While I do agree with the sentiment (race to bottom for free storage / clear vision and value of box), I find the basic claim of “Elephant attacking startup” a bit weak.  Both Box and SalesForce (the latter also mentioned in the post) followed the same playbook going after one of the elephants from day 1.  I don’t have a problem with that at all, but the post implies this sort of passive “we became a target” and states explicitly that “Salesforce became the target of Microsoft . . .” without ever mentioning that they were actually hunting for that elephant all along.

I appreciate Mike Arrington’s post on Acqui-hires and the follow up today.   There is no doubt he has a vested interest in the venture capital standard terms — although, who doesn’t in this business? — but, I read his posts as being straight up, honest, and valuable.

McCartney’s RAM is being re-released in deluxe packaging (and better, in 24-bit 96kHz). great album, there is a cool video here.

And it is Windows 8!

Reading the news on an unplanned overnight in Houston, I see that Microsoft is sticking with “Windows 8” as the name of the next Windows client.

I can only imagine there was some heated debate on whether to give it an evocative name or stick with a sequence of numbers. I’m glad the sequence won out, even if just for now.

I much prefer the “8” and then, I hope “9”, etc. I don’t really care that these are names and not version numbers, but I do care that there they make sense to customers and partners alike.

Plus all the evocative names start sounding like brands of cars.

I just came back from Costa Rica, and I swear I saw someone driving a Windows Azule. 😉

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