When Think Tanks Ad Hominem Attack

Tim Lambert’s When Think Tanks Attack does a good job of exposing Microsoft attempts at Astroturfing (paying for the appearance of “grassroots” movement). Sure enough, Microsoft hired as their chief lobbyist one of the directors of a particular think-tank that I questioned about three months ago (I’m not going to give their name because, y’know, why whuffie?).

So this press release comes from this “think tank,” and I shoot off an email to them, asking about their logic. Nice, civil discourse. And what happens?  The president of this particular “think tank,” writes me a nasty-gram. So essentially, Microsoft paid for me to be insulted by this crap-weasel. 

I hope the other thinking from that particular “tank” is better than “let’s gratuitously insult someone with a print column read by 65,000 software development managers.”

Do computers sell themselves? What about Tablets?

Evan couldn’t resist and adds his two cents to the continuing conversation about improving Tablet sales and seeking Tablet nirvana.

via [Incremental Blogger]

A common theme is that, with a slate or a convertible in tablet mode, a Tablet just looks like a screen showing a screen saver. So how hard is it to create a screensaver that shows the Tablet doing tablet fabulousness — a 60-second montage showing OneNote, ArtRage, MathPractice, MindManager, Grafigo? I just tried to do it myself, but my M1200 doesn’t have the horsepower to run Windows Media Encoder and capture ink in realtime. The screensaver itself would be a trivial piece of code.

Gates talks to employees, causes furor

via [Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger]

Sara Ford got a four-word email from Bill Gates (in response to an email from her) and apparently this is cause for celebration, skepticism, and general up-roar-ary. That’s extremely disturbing. Gates’ is the boss^h^h^h^h … er… “Chief Software Architect” of a 50,000-person business. A technology business. Quite frankly, everyone who’s worked at the company for (say) more than a year ought to be able to get in touch with him and expect a response. Yes, he’s the world’s richest man and no doubt has a schedule chock full of calls with Oprah, Bono, and the rest of the Illuminati, but come on, people. Something’s wrong if the majority of Microsoft is so isolated from Gates’ capabilities that getting an ACK from him is cause for comment.

T-shirt air cannon?

One of the t-shirt hurling contest entrants sent some photos of their entryvia [James Gosling: on the Java road…]

For those who’ve never been to JavaOne, the hurling of t-shirts to the audience (and let’s face it: that is what keeps the conference industry alive) in ever-more-elaborate ways is a tradition. Last year, they used a trebuchet (tasteless yet compelling images of a cow flung 1/4 mile). The photo linked to above looks to me like an air cannon, which have come to dominate punkin’ chunkin’ (http://www.clubmedia.com/punkin/)

The myth of the Tablet consumer

The “Tablet isn’t for consumers” story is a myth. Tell it to the students using Tablets. Tell it to the start ups that leverage the flexibility of the Tablet in their highly fluid states. Tell it to the doctors, lawyers, managers, engineers, and on and on, that purchased a Tablet out of their own pocket–and not as part of an IT deployment strategy–because they saw it could help them.  via [Incremental Blogger]

If I were a Tablet OEM, I’d create an ultra-portable “Clark Kent” edition and ship copies to the first two rows of the White House Press Corps, the Courtroom TV reporters, and the top on-air reporters in NYC, LA, and Chicago. Then, I’d create the leather-clad “Titan of Industry Limited Edition” and advertise it in The New Yorker, Architectural Digest, etc.

Loren Laments That Ultraportable Computers Arent Tablet P

Loren laments that ultra-portable computers aren’t Tablet PCs. Check out the Sony U-70:

Man, I’d buy a Tablet in that form-factor in a microsecond! But I’ve come to realize that I’m more pen-centric and more note-taking centric than most people (I have dozens of paper notebooks going back to High School, and thousands of index cards). Still, I’m not sure that I’d buy a U-70 with a touchscreen, even if the new Tablet Input Panel was available. Touchscreen’s are really mushy and get scratched too easily. It’s something that I’ve noticed between my original Palm PDAs, where writing was on a separate area (that I ended up covering with magic tape), and my PPC.

Visual Studio .NET Key Bindings, Chords, and Consistency

There has been a fair amount of discussion about key bindings in VS.NET, and the fact that they seem to be changing yet again in VS.NET 2005….But the thing that bugs me most about the current set of bindings is the amount of arbitrary stuff you have to remember. via [IanG on Tap]

In the glory days of Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect, the key-bindings were what we now call accelerators –  so you used to be able to trouble-shoot your sister’s computer by saying “/-F-O-S-K-X-Y-Z. Okay, so you just printed out the report, right?” And you could even embed those strings in macros and put them in a loop and that was, essentially, a pretty-darn-complete programming system. It was wonderful. By the time you’re debating what chords to use to activate obscure functions, I think you’ve gone too far. Gimme’ 10 (okay, 12) function keys and menu-based accelerators.


Favorite Geek Movies

Richard Callaby’s favorite geek movies are:

  1. Sneakers
  2. War Games
  3. Hackers
  4. Anti-Trust
  5. Startup.com
  6. Triumph of the Nerds

Mine are:

  1. Minority Report (I loved that pre-crime interface! Oh, and you must check this probably-not-intended-for-public-consumption page at Microsoft Research: http://research.microsoft.com/~dcr/minority/functionality_01.htm)
  2. Blade Runner
  3. War Games
  4. Matrix
  5. Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Hmmm… Several of mine aren’t about geeks per se, but blissed out my inner geek (I wish I didn’t look for matchup errors, rendering artifacts, and kinematic mistakes during movies, but I read Starlog far too much as a youth…)