« May 2009 | Main | July 2009 »

June 28, 2009

This Week's Tweets

fboosman...

...likes Starbucks' new store design direction: local craftsmen, regional motifs, recycled materials, and LEED as well. http://bit.ly/Tq88K
9:41 AM Jun 28th from bit.ly

While the new store designs are highly interpretive, they share several core characteristics:
  • Celebration of local materials and craftsmanship;
  • Focus on reused and recycled elements;
  • Exposure of structural integrity and authentic roots;
  • Elevation of coffee and removal of unnecessary distractions;
  • Storytelling and customer engagement through all five senses; and
  • Flexibility to meet the needs of many customer types – individual readers and computer users, as well as work, study and social groups.
...highly recommends this article debunking Canadian health care myths. They spend "less money... to get better outcomes." http://bit.ly/u44Sg 7:31 AM Jun 28th from bit.ly
As a Canadian living in the United States for the past 17 years, I am frequently asked by Americans and Canadians alike to declare one health care system as the better one.

Often I'll avoid answering, regardless of the questioner's nationality. To choose one or the other system usually translates into a heated discussion of each one's merits, pitfalls, and an intense recitation of commonly cited statistical comparisons of the two systems.

Because if the only way we compared the two systems was with statistics, there is a clear victor. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to dispute the fact that Canada spends less money on health care to get better outcomes.

...likes living in a place where to say "I'll have the salmon" would be strange and unhelpful -- like saying "I'll have the chicken" elsewhere.
7:29 PM Jun 27th from web

...can't get enough of Jabo0odyDubs' versions of Billy Mays infomercials. They get funnier with repeated viewings. http://bit.ly/2qFuwD
9:36 AM Jun 26th from bit.ly

Wow, was my timing bad on this one. Billy Mays died yesterday. Rest in peace, you overachieving pitchman.

...just read how one travel blogger thinks DL should buy AS. Would it be good for DL? Yes. Good for AS or Seattle? Um, no. http://bit.ly/Vs3hO
9:01 AM Jun 26th from bit.ly

...would very much like US politicians to look overseas as they redesign our health care system, but that's not happening. http://bit.ly/yeMH4
7:03 AM Jun 25th from bit.ly

Every day Washington's leaders tell us that we live in an interdependent world with a globalized economy. A butterfly beats its wings in Guangdong province, and four Wal-Marts materialize in Duluth. The peso plunges, and 30 Honda workers get laid off in Marysville. A coal-fired power plant belches carbon dioxide in Prague, and Lohachara Island sinks into the Bay of Bengal.

But change the subject to reform of the health care system, and the community of nations abruptly vanishes. No France, no Canada, no Germany, no Japan. Let there be no mention of any industrialized democracy save that of the United States, which is proud to claim 37th place in the World Health Organization's rankings of the world's health systems and 15th in the Commonwealth Fund's ranking by avoidable mortality of 19 industrialized countries (the highest rank indicates the fewest such deaths). To achieve a better score would be unpatriotic!

The political establishment's hubristic refusal to consider how other countries manage health care is encapsulated in the cliché "uniquely American," which is what Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the lead legislator on health care reform, says he wishes his bill to be. It therefore goes without saying that the finance committee Baucus chairs could find no place in this year's exhaustive health care hearings for a single expert on how other countries achieve better health outcomes for their populations while typically spending, on a per capita basis, half what we do. When the finance committee releases its draft bill this week, it will be almost completely free of foreign influence.

...just enabled emoji on my iPhone. With everything happening in the world, how trivial a tweet is that? Share and enjoy. http://bit.ly/6YAeG
6:01 PM Jun 24th from bit.ly

...is delighted to see that Doug Coupland is updating "City of Glass", his zine-like guide to Vancouver. I can hardly wait! http://bit.ly/dVOSR
8:43 AM Jun 24th from bit.ly

...thinks that, based on the PBS documentary I saw, this upcoming TR Reid book on health care should be required reading. http://bit.ly/1nT9iG
7:18 AM Jun 24th from bit.ly

June 24, 2009

"..How and If You Truly Were Ever Alive"

Dr Jerri Nielsen FitzGerald, famous for diagnosing and treating her own breast cancer from the South Pole, is gone. The Times quotes from an e-mail she sent to her parents while she was there:

More and more as I am here and see what life really is, I understand that it is not when or how you die but how and if you truly were ever alive.
You will be well remembered, Dr FitzGerald.

June 23, 2009

Two Weeks' Tweets

fboosman...

...is agnostic, but stories like this make me think that maybe I'm atheist after all. Certainly I lean that way. http://bit.ly/yndDT
1:26 PM Jun 23rd from bit.ly

A religious ruling permits ultra-orthodox Jews to operate their mobile phones on the Sabbath and religious holidays with their teeth...

Many of the ultra orthodox volunteers... work on the Sabbath and were confronted with the dilemma of how to activate their mobile phones without violating religious rules...

Rabbi Levy Yitzhak Halperin issued a new set of rules involving the use of a specially designed case that prevents phones from being shut down accidentally. To confirm response to dispatch, workers are permitted to hold a small metal pin between their teeth and press the necessary buttons on the phones.

...heard from his neighbors (she Eritrean; he Ethiopian), "we feel like we've found our long-lost brother." What a wonderful thing to say!
6:49 AM Jun 23rd from web

...already has a gift, a hug, and a phone call to show for Father's Day. What a great way to start the day.
9:17 AM Jun 21st from web

Every day, I think a little more than when it comes to loved ones and friends, the very best gift they can ever give me is their time.

...would love to get together with @DavidRPickering and @Joi in Amman or Dubai. That would be a trip to get excited about.
6:52 PM Jun 20th from web

...had tears in his eyes while reading this article about Pixar, "Up", and a dying girl's wish. http://bit.ly/174lGI
11:43 AM Jun 19th from bit.ly

Colby Curtin, a 10-year-old with a rare form of cancer, was staying alive for one thing -- a movie.

From the minute Colby saw the previews to the Disney-Pixar movie Up, she was desperate to see it. Colby had been diagnosed with vascular cancer about three years ago, said her mother, Lisa Curtin, and at the beginning of this month it became apparent that she would die soon and was too ill to be moved to a theater to see the film.

After a family friend made frantic calls to Pixar to help grant Colby her dying wish, Pixar came to the rescue.

The company flew an employee with a DVD of Up, which is only in theaters, to the Curtins' Huntington Beach home on June 10 for a private viewing of the movie.

The animated movie begins with scenes showing the evolution of a relationship between a husband and wife. After losing his wife in old age, the now grumpy man deals with his loss by attaching thousands of balloons to his house, flying into the sky, and going on an adventure with a little boy.

Colby died about seven hours after seeing the film.

...saw Lauren, Carissa, and Clay for dinner. As in Kelsey's former choir-mate, his former office manager, and Aiken. A dinner of coincidences.
7:46 PM Jun 18th from web

...likes the @jheitzeb rule: if you tweet more than 4x/day, you're at risk of being unfollowed. Yes, this means you. No, not you. Yes, you.
4:49 AM Jun 18th from web

...just 'greened' his Facebook picture. "Where is their vote?" -- that's the rallying cry. May fortune favor the protesters in Iran.
11:03 PM Jun 15th from web

See http://helpiranelection.com.

...is getting his Iran updates from Andrew Sullivan -- highly recommended. As for the mainstream media? Epic fail. http://bit.ly/xj3Q2
6:27 PM Jun 15th from bit.ly

...is just back from a visit to Paradise. The kind on the south slope of Mt Rainier. Far more snow than we expected to see. http://bit.ly/Jbb8c
6:49 PM Jun 14th from bit.ly

...will never, ever tire of listening to the version of "One" by Mary J Blige and U2. She practically defines the term "soaring vocals".
8:41 AM Jun 14th from web

...is actually impressed with someone on Fox News. How exactly does Shepard Smith manage to keep his job there?. http://bit.ly/t1I6
6:24 AM Jun 11th from bit.ly

...doesn't want to think about what he'd do for this house. Funny, funny video, especially for sci-fi fans. Enjoy! http://bit.ly/ZRhSA
7:56 PM Jun 10th from bit.ly

...recently recommended an article by Atul Gawande. Now Obama is recommending the same article, according to the NYT. http://bit.ly/106NT6
7:06 PM Jun 9th from bit.ly

...says the next time someone claims that blogs are inferior to traditional media and journalism, point them to this page. http://bit.ly/WTw4d
2:53 PM Jun 7th from bit.ly

June 07, 2009

This Week's Tweets

I do much more tweeting than blogging these days, which is leaving my blog feeling unloved. I've been wondering how to address the problem. Cross-posting tweets as individual blog entries feels like overkill, even for someone like me who typically tweets once a day (and tries to make it meaningful). What I've come up with is cross-posting my tweets weekly as a single blog entry. I'm going to give a try for a while and see how it goes. To make it more interesting, I'll occasionally add more commentary here than is possible within the confines of 140 characters. Consider this an experiment.

fboosman...

...misses Rob Riggle on The Daily Show. This segment on cloned steak is my favorite of his -- especially the "mutant pit". http://bit.ly/oqnE3
6:41 AM Jun 7th from bit.ly

...will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, fly Ryanair. (With apologies to Winston Churchill.) http://bit.ly/15hbGI
4:03 PM Jun 6th from bit.ly

It may not have been a publicity stunt after all. Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary says the European low-cost giant will indeed start charging customers one pound (about $1.65) to use the toilets on its flights...

O'Leary adds that he's asking Boeing to look into putting credit-card readers on toilet locks for new jets. "We are serious about it," O'Leary is quoted as saying...

O'Leary didn't stop there, taking the toilet idea one step farther. "He's now proposing ripping out two of the three loos on a Boeing 737 to make way for a further six seats, claiming passengers can learn to cross their legs on flights of only an hour or so," writes Alistair Osborne of the London Telegraph. The London Daily Mail quotes O'Leary as saying: "We are flying aircraft on an average flight time of one hour around Europe. What the hell do we need three toilets for?"

...read about a new tomato-derived supplement that eliminates "the oxidation of harmful fats in blood" within eight weeks. http://bit.ly/vl4bQ
7:43 AM Jun 5th from bit.ly

The tomato pill contains an active ingredient from the Mediterranean diet -- lycopene -- that blocks "bad" LDL cholesterol that can clog the arteries.

Ateronon, made by a biotechnology spin-out company of Cambridge University, is being launched as a dietary supplement and will be sold on the high street...

Preliminary trials involving around 150 people with heart disease indicate that Ateronon can reduce the oxidation of harmful fats in the blood to almost zero within eight weeks, a meeting of the British Cardiovascular Society will be told at Ateronon's launch on Monday.

...wonders what happened to the tradition of American elected officials not criticizing the President while he's abroad. http://bit.ly/dfO3X
4:38 AM Jun 5th from bit.ly

...just saw "Up" again, this time with Kelsey. A beautiful film with my beautiful daughter.
7:23 PM Jun 4th from web

...has posted his blog entry on the coming generation of "gestural natives". Remember, you heard it here first. http://bit.ly/12HXD9
12:56 PM Jun 4th from bit.ly

...likes this: "my problems with Obama... fade away when I read the speech. He is absolutely the right man for the job." http://bit.ly/IzjgM
10:07 AM Jun 4th from bit.ly

All my problems with Obama's handling of the financial crisis, the details about Gitmo, footdragging on DADT, etc. or any other details since he took office fade away when I read the speech. He is absolutely the right man for the job.

There is no other candidate that ran for President that could deliver this speech. They couldn't write it, they couldn't deliver it with any sort of credibility, and in all likelihood wouldn't even want to try.

...needs to check his tweets before saying EA did something that was in fact built by Microsoft (Lionhead, to be precise). http://bit.ly/rDV0m
5:02 PM Jun 3rd from bit.ly

...thinks EA's Project Natal looks stunning. But I'd love some one-on-one time with it to understand its limitations. http://bit.ly/rDV0m
2:20 PM Jun 3rd from bit.ly

I actually meant to say "Project Milo" here. Two mistakes in one tweet. A new record.

...would like to know how a list of the "13 best burgers" in Seattle could miss both Lunchbox Laboratory and Quinn's. http://bit.ly/KTUlV
9:46 PM Jun 1st from web

...checked in to find that his SEA-IAD flight was no more. Bird strike. Fan blade damage. Bad weather -> risky connections -> fly tomorrow.
6:32 PM Jun 1st from web

June 04, 2009

Gestural Natives

I've been thinking about the implications of the advances in gestural technology shown at E3 this week: Microsoft's Natal and Sony's 3D input technology. On reflection, I think the most profound implications for gestural technology are going to be in the longer term.

Just as we've been raising a generation of digital natives, the Wiimote and its more advanced successors could be the start of a generation of gestural natives. Remember that Marc Prensky's digital native thesis is that children raised in an environment of interactive technologies are wired differently than their digital immigrant predecessors. They perceive, process, and respond to information differently. (Not better or worse, just differently.)

It seems quite possible to me that children raised in an environment that includes the Wiimote, Natal, Sony's 3D input device, and even (to a lesser degree) multi-touch devices such as the iPhone could be wired differently from their D-pad-using older brothers and sisters. We've raised a generation of kids who are extremely proficient at making what is a fairly abstract connection between mashing buttons and seeing the corresponding results on the screen. (Yes, if you're in or past your early 40s, this is one of the reasons your kids thrash you at video games.) This next generation, the gestural natives, could be equally proficient at using gestural interfaces.

So what are the implications of this? I can think of two.

First, as the children and teenagers of today become the workforce of tomorrow, they're going to expect gestural interfaces and be frustrated and less productive when they don't have them -- just as the digital natives of today are frustrated by linear, non-interactive experiences. We have to be aware of this as we’re designing the information technology tools of tomorrow.

Second, we all know from experience that great artists generally have to grow up with the media in which they practice. Think about the earliest movies that you truly enjoy, not as historical artifacts, but as legitimately good cinema. My guess is that most people would point to Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, or Casablanca, all movies made in the late 1930s and early 1940s -- a good 25-30 years after The Birth of a Nation. I would argue that modern media and Moore's Law are shortening cycle times for familiarity with new technologies, but still, I don't think we're going to see the full potential of gestural input until we have designers who have been immersed in it for many years. So don’t look for the DW Griffith of gestural input -- much less the Victor Fleming, Orson Welles, or Michael Curtiz -- anytime in the immediate future.