Friday, February 27, 2009

kindle 2 review

I've posted a fair amount -- and quite positively -- about my current Kindle, so it should come as no surprise that I was quick to order Kindle 2. It arrived Wednesday and I broke it in with Daemon, Daniel Suarez's impressive debut novel (more on that in a moment).

If you've seen a picture you know that the Kindle 2 is much thinner and sleeker than the original. This translates to a much more solid feel out of the box, although I've found it to be slightly less comfortable to hold, perhaps due to Kindle 1 muscle memory. To first order, it operates the same as Kindle 1. The boot time is much faster, the inward clicking buttons superior and less prone to accidental clicks, and the page flips enough quicker to be noticeable. The new screen's 16-gray levels make photos look surprisingly good, and being able to charge via USB helps me on the road. Finally, while I miss the sparkle, the multi-way stick does make highlighting a lot easier.

Downsides? Moving content over from my first Kindle was a pain, mostly because Whispernet and/or Amazon were clearly slammed Wednesday night. The leather binder doesn't have the original's elastic to hold it closed.

All-in-all, a great set of incremental improvements and an even better device for my needs.

As for Daemon, I really enjoyed it. It has all of the trappings of a first book -- uneven pacing, limited character development, some typos -- but, wow! I've never seen a book that mixes action; this level of understanding of the god complex all game developers have; the technology around robotics, virtual worlds, and the net; and, wraps it all up in book that is speculative while only leveraging real tech. Very cool and quite recommended.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

virtual anti patterns

I've previously written about the password anti-pattern, so it is distressing to see it becoming the standard in virtual worlds as well. James just posted about what would otherwise be a w00t-worthy event from the bright folks at realXtend, direct teleportation between Second Life-compatible virtual wrolds!

Very cool stuff, except for:

When you click the link, the viewer brings up a log-in window; enter in the avatar name and password associated with the other world you're going to, and the teleport process begins. [emphasis mine]


What makes this all the more distressing is that two years ago, Mark Lentczner, Ian Wilkes, and I designed the solution to this on a whiteboard. We had recognized that between OpenSim and whatever came next, that there would be a critical need to enable interoperation through communication/shared presence. It also provided a nice model for scalability, not to mention allowing for deeper interconnections between Second Life and the rest of the web. It has influenced internal design discussions, as well as the standards efforts, but hasn't moved fast enough to be available to projects like realXtend, which is too bad.

Friday, February 20, 2009

homo evolutis

I am a huge fan of Juan Enriquez, who I was fortunate enough to meet him while giving a Second Life talk to AMD a few years ago. His book "Untied States of America" is one of the most thought provoking books I've read and a huge influence on my "Collapsing Geography" article.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that his TED talk is brilliant:

It is really two talks in one. The first is a fairly succinct analysis of the current econopocolypse. The second, a believable, gentle transition from humanity as we see ourselves today to our inevitable bio-engineered, cyborg future.

Inevitable because the techniques and technologies that create therapies to grant the disabled human-normal abilities won't stop at human-normal. Like all other technology processes, the overlapping s-curves of therapeutics are accelerating forward. As they claw forward along the flat, early part of the curve, progress is painfully slow, but wait a while. Like all exponentials, beware of forward predictions.

The long term will be far more transformational than we expect.

Friday, February 13, 2009

lsl in real life

Go watch this video about Siftables over at the TED website. It beautifully demonstrates why place and physicality matter in information processing and experiences. Plus it's a great tutorial for how to think about programming in Second Life using LSL2. Place, interaction, and relative-positioning -- and then using those to change how your primitive looks -- were some of the most basic building blocks of LSL2. I don't know if David has used Second Life, but there are ton of groups near him at the Media Lab deeply immersed in these ideas. Very cool and congratulations on a talk perfectly tuned for TED.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

research on tdd at ms and ibm

I recently posted that I've revamped my thoughts on development methodologies, particularly around behavioral and test driven development. As we continue to rapidly hire at our San Francisco office (Ruby, Hadoop, Javascript, product and project managers), our commitment to modern development tools, technologies, and practices seems even more appropriate.

So, this research into TDD made for interesting reading. Synopsis for fans of short attention span theater:
* 15% increase in development time
* 40-90% drop in defect rate
* Most useful if integrated into project early
* Continuous testing key

Monday, February 09, 2009

comments closed

Don't have time to deal with comment spam. Almost ready to move to a new blog anyway.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

oh those whacky elitists who care about being right

You go, Rachel.

The Republicans are playing to win big or lose big. As Americans, are we comfortable with that?

Monday, February 02, 2009


To Secretary Clinton,
While I was a bit harsh on you during the campaign, I think you are a brilliant selection as Secretary of State. Especially after seeing this:

This was brilliant and made me smile on an evening I didn't expect to.