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September 2005 Archive

Jackknifed Semi

posted by DL Byron on September 30, 2005

So man we're driving home from REI last night, and boom, right in front of us a semi abruptly tries to change lanes, jackknifes, slams into one retaining wall, then another, and skids to a stop blocking all lanes of southbound travel to I-90. It happened right as I was telling Pam how confusing the intersection is. The Seattle PI has reported on it in their Getting There column: Defying death at the exit to I-90. Luckily we continued on the exit and didn't t-bone the semi. Another car just squeaked by as the semi started to skid.

What happens is drivers end up on the Dearborn, Airport Way, Fourth Avenue South and the stadiums exit by mistake (not really, as the exit goes straight through to I-5 but you can't tell that from the signage) and then swerve back onto the freeway lanes.

Our daughter was stunned. At first, having never seen anything like that go down, she didn't think it was real and laughed nervously. She soon realized it was real and a big life lesson for her.

Of course, the crash happened in seconds, but all in slow-mo.

WSDOT has promised better signage. I hope that's soon.

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iPod Nanos Scratch Themselves

posted by DL Byron on September 29, 2005

I hadn’t seen anything quite so hysteric with Apple’s products, then the scratching. Scanning some of the blogs, I saw a comment where a guy swore he like just set his nano on the desk, came back and it was scratched! iPods have been scratchy for as long as there have been iPods. My wife scratched here iPod Photo in like 4 minutes while walking out of the store and later that day bought a case. For the scratch concerned, Todd Daily posts on how he polished his nano with Brasso. I suggest Flitz.

Sweaty Palms

After about 3 months with my first PowerBook G4, I noticed the pitting on the palm rests, near the trackpad. I researched it, called AppleCare, Google, discussion forums and figured out that my sweaty palms are corrosive to anodized finishes. So, I found a mild polish/protectorant called Flitz, polish my laptop occasionally, and got over it.

Zen and Scratches

Part of getting over scratches is having kids. Here are some recent scratch examples that I’ve learned to live with

  • My son raked the hood of my Volvo with a metal rake (he thought he was washing it for me)
  • My daughter walked along my Volvo with her backpack and left a scratch about a foot long
  • My Sony Ericsson phone is one scratched up phone and it just doesn’t quit
  • Put my Trek racing bicycle in a bike rack and lost a huge chunk of paint from the top tube

This week I noticed a gigantic scratch on the hardwood floors in the office. No idea where that came from, but it’s huge, and well, “scratches happen.”

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The dreep is back

posted by DL Byron on September 28, 2005

RideMy favorite time of the year in Seattle is the Fall. The rains will start again soon, no allergies, relaxed riding, and training for another season of bike racing. In December, I'll kick off the big miles in Hawaii, then a trip to SoCal in February, and an extended stay in Austin for SXSW, where I'll moderate a panel, hang out, and mostly ride Texas roads.

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Cup of Love

posted by DL Byron on September 21, 2005

Cup Of Love Pam pulled this espresso cup out of the dishwasher and noticed the heart pattern. The cup was in the top rack, filled with water, coffee grinds and some love. There's something there, like reading tea leaves, or something.

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inFlightHQ Finally Flies

posted by DL Byron on September 19, 2005

inFlightHQ officially launched today and props are in order

inFlightHQ is part of our small network

Note: more than 3 blogs make it’s a network …

inFlightHQ has been soft-launced for a while, like an ever-present beta, and Gadling noticed, as well as Fast Company Now.

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Microsoft’s got issues

posted by DL Byron on September 16, 2005

There couldn’t have been a more eloquent follow up to my Microsoft and the iPod Nano post. The reports from the PDC and then BusinessWeek’s Troubling Exits At Microsoft that asks, “anyone listening?”

My car was being serviced at a Bellevue dealership, that’s Microsoft country, and the dealership shuttle driver asked if I was Microsoft. That started a conversation that eventually concluded with the driver telling me that there’s a darkness over the Microsoft employees shuttled around everyday from the dealership to the Redmond campus and back.

The driver got a bit spiritual and went on to say that there’s a real disconnect between the passion of the employees and the bureaucratic managers. “The lifeforce, down in the gut, can’t make it up to the brains that are driving the company. So that creativity is lost in the fat of the company.” She went on to describe a few lost souls that were so tied into the trappings of Microsoft that she was sad for them. They’d told her they really wanted to be someone else, but were lured into the opportunity that Microsoft presents.

Microsoft certainly does present opportunities with incredibly smart people, but then you read a quote like this from the chair-throwing Ballmer

“We won the desktop. We won the server. We will win the Web. We will move fast, we will get there. We will win the Web.”

That statement has already been parsed by Molly and she responded with a fiery post and I agree with her, “No Mr. Ballmer, you will never win the Web for one very good reason: We the people will make sure you never do.”

When the shuttle driver asked me if I was Microsoft, I said, “No. I did my time there and I think it’s better for me to be a voice that isn’t Microsoft.” To do my part, with Molly, to make sure Ballmer never wins the Web. I also remembered Riding With Asp.Net and meeting Eilon and the goodwill with Microsoft. It’s just getting harder.


Todd Bishop reports on the reaction to the BusinessWeek article, including quotes from Scoble, and “Microsoft’s Deep Throat”

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Microsoft and the iPod Nano

posted by DL Byron on September 12, 2005

After reading the Time article about how Apple made the ipod Nano and this quote

What's really been great for us is the iPod has been a chance to apply Apple's incredibly innovative engineering in an area where we don't have a 5%-operating-system-market-share glass ceiling," Jobs says. "And look at what's happened. That same innovation, that same engineering, that same talent applied where we don't run up against the fact that Microsoft got this monopoly, and boom! We have 75% market share."

I thought that Microsoft should issue all of its employees a Nano and then have them report back a week later on why they can't make a product like that. Microsoft has the funds, the smarts, but the creativity is burdened by the weight of their monopoly. That's never been more evident than with the Nano. You go MS with another bloated Word feature, while the world embraces the modernism, the simplicity, form and function of the Nano. Even a post a day from Scoble can't get the sales figures up on Tablet PCs. And tell me again that design doesn't matter. 75% market share based on best-in-class design proves that claim wrong.

Stuff that in your brand gap

Another quote to pull from the Time article is this one about how Apple replaced a hit product only 11 months into its life cycle.

It was a gutsy play, and it came from the gut: unlike almost any other high-tech company, Apple refuses to run its decisions by focus groups.

Coincidentally, I just finished reading the Brand Gap. It's a great book that talks about bridging the distance between business strategy and design and doing some of that with focus groups. Apple dispenses focus groups for guts, intuition, determination, and a small team. Makes you wonder how focused grouped Tablet PCs, Windows Vista, and more are.

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When Reality Crashes

posted by DL Byron on September 02, 2005

From the front page of CNN.com

  • Bush: “We’ll get on top of this situation”
  • Mayor blasts feds: “‘Get off your asses”

I remember reading an article in the NY Times during the presidential election that quoted a White House official who said something like, “we create reality,” and that couldn’t be more true. Be it on the news, in Iraq, the economy, or New Orleans. When a country is divided, as ours is, you push your version of everything. If you say something enough times, people will believe it, even if it’s not true. And the public will choose what to believe right down the middle: both sides of the aisle.

I watched the official version of reality crash, if only momentarily, during Anderson Cooper 360. Anderson lost it with Sen. Mary Landrieu who came on to reassure America that all was well and help was coming. He replied, …”there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours.”

Quotes from the transcript

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: Anderson, tonight, I don’t know if you’ve heard — maybe you all have announced it — but Congress is going to an unprecedented session to pass a $10 billion supplemental bill tonight to keep FEMA and the Red Cross up and operating.

COOPER: Excuse me, Senator, I’m sorry for interrupting. I haven’t heard that, because, for the last four days, I’ve been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated.

And when they hear politicians slap — you know, thanking one another, it just, you know, it kind of cuts them the wrong way right now, because literally there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours. And there’s not enough facilities to take her up.

Do you get the anger that is out here?

The Senator struggled, got back on message, Anderson pushed again emotionally, then relented, and it took him another segment before he recovered.

It was intense. Like a scene from the Manchurian Candidate, where I expected to see the world fall apart behind the Senator and dissolve into a wall of suffering refugees rushing in to tackle her and steal her clothes, water, and whatever food she had. Here’s the video of the exchange.

For all the criticism the media has endured, from the bloggers and themselves, to finally see them go on the offensive and ask hard questions was one good thing to come from this tragedy.

I don’t doubt that everyone is working hard on this and understands the extent of the tragedy; however seeing reality crash like that showed that the public can’t be fooled all the time.

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