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  • jimmy 8:20 pm on February 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Hey folks! In case you hadn’t noticed, this blog is kinda dead. My last post was just a couple days before I got on Google+, which has basically replaced The Stream as my life “mini blog.” So please circle me on Google+ to keep up.

    Barring some big change, I plan this to be my last post here. Thanks!

  • jimmy 9:27 am on July 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    What’s that quote about never achieving anything if you never try? I’m reminded of that when Zuckerberg took this jab at Google on Wednesday: “Entrepreneurs who focus on a specific type of thing will always do better than a company trying to do a million things.”

    Google may have tried to do “a million things”, and many have failed, but at the end of the day Google has the search market cornered, the web video market cornered, a massively successful mobile operating system, is a leader in Internet Governance (among many other things) and is worth $172 billion, more than twice Facebook’s Venture Capitalist-inflated valuation.

    Facebook has a social network dogged by privacy issues. Given that the entire point of social networking is to share private information, this is somewhat laughable.

    Now Google is putting all of their $172 billion-market-capped eggs into the social basket, not-so-famously saying that if they fail at social the company fails. (The reasoning for this is simple: Google’s cash cow is search/search ads. If Facebook decided to build a “social search engine” and pimp it their 750 million users Google would be dead. Overnight. The options are: 1. do a deal with Facebook, but Microsoft Bing beat them to that; so it’s 2. create an in-house social network to get your hands on your OWN set of “social signals” to put into search, if Facebook is killed in the process…so be it, they’re new in the Valley anyway.) The (of course unstated) goal is the utter and complete destruction of Facebook-as-we-know-it for the survival of Google. Mark Zuckerberg knows this (everyone in tech knows this, although the likes of TechCrunch pretend that there’s some weird future where Google+ and Facebook can both successfully co-exist…this is utter and complete bullshit).

    What we’re watching unfold this summer is the beginning of a literal fight to the death of Google and Facebook. Both entered the ring, only one may exit the victor.

    My money’s on Google. Sure Google fails somethings, and G+ will be a bumpy road, but Google has the maturity to try risky things and sometimes fail. Those risky failures taught Google some important things, and it seems they’ve taken the lessons they learned from Buzz, Wave and Orkut (although calling Orkut a complete failure is a bit of a stretch…it locked up the Brazil and India social media markets before Facebook went global and knocked Orkut down in those markets, what, only last year?) to heart and is crafting Google+ to be something awesome.

    • Elizabeth 4:24 pm on July 10, 2011 Permalink

      I like that there’s a new kid on the block with social networking, and I like that it’s a very experienced kid with a whole lot of previous, mind-blowingly successful projects under its belt. My money is also, tentatively, on Google+.

  • jimmy 12:44 am on April 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Afghanistan, geopolitics, ivory coast, japan, , , Pakistan, Syria,   

    It’s amazing what you can learn just from headlines/tweets. Last few days I haven’t had a lot of time for in-depth reading of a ton of news, but I’ve learned (through following a whole host of news sources in Twitter) that Gaddafi’s government seems to be cracking (if not exactly falling apart yet); the Ivory Coast is basically at civil war; Syria is trying hard to be the next Egypt (only with more bloodshed); Yemen is a freaking mess and the only difference between Libya and Yemen is that The West is ignoring Yemen because the government there is an “ally” in the War on Terror; speaking of which Bahrain is also an “ally” and seems to have mostly “put down” their own protests, although I’m not sure if we can give Bahrain all the credit what with the Saudi Army’s (invited) “help,” all with The West looking the other way and whistling a happy tune (oh, and suggesting things like “political reforms”…what about, “hey jackasses, it’s time for you to leave” like we told Mubarak?).

    Oh yeah, and turning our attention to actual defined “war zones,” Afghanistan is officially out of control when we let 8 (6?) UN workers be killed (possibly stoned?) in a riot. War: not won, possibly even lost.

    And wasn’t there some assassination or something in Pakistan, too?

    And last, but not least, Japan is still playing host to several unstable nuclear reactors and the evacuation zones may need to be expanded and the area near the plant may need to be permanently left?

  • jimmy 9:42 pm on March 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , military, nato,   

    Now that we’ve bombed the hell out of Libya’s air defense systems (at a reported cost of $569,000 per tomahawk missile), the USA wants to transfer leadership of the no-fly zone to someone else (seems responsible, no?). The only problem? Apparently nobody can agree who should take the job.

    Can we finally admit now that it’s not JUST the USA pushing this whole “we’re so aggressive” meme? Multiple countries voted for the UN resolution to impose a no-fly zone on Libya, many more countries not sitting on the UN Security Council supported it (most notably the Arab League) and yet when it actually comes to, you know, LEADING the no-fly zone everyone looks at the USA.

    Food for thought.

  • jimmy 2:03 am on March 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: energy, , , solar, wind   

    I ran some numbers today. Numbers relating to the cost to build a new nuclear power plant. And the cost to install solar panels.

    To cut through the wordiness of both those links (mostly the former) here’s the highlight reel: since no new nuclear plants have been built in the USA in over 30 years, estimating costs is pretty much guesswork, but the 2007 guesswork puts prices at anywhere from $2/watt (lowest estimates, mostly from utilities and/or the possible contractors…in other words, people with questionable conflicts of interest) up over $4/watt ($4.3/watt via a later redacted report from a utility; and a S&P report that estimated “final construction costs” in 2007 dollars as $4.3-4.55/watt…that’s $4.57-$4.83 in 2011 dollars).

    Solar costs are much easier to pin down, since people are actually, you know, buying solar panels. That source there estimates that new solar costs around $4/watt.

    Wait, what?

    Here’s the best part: the cost of solar panels keeps dropping, while the construction costs to build new nuclear reactors (with things like 12-foot think concrete walls) keep going up.

    So here’s the question, if new nuclear and new solar cost the same, why the hell are we even considering a technology that has the chance (however small*) of blowing up and killing us all (yeah, that’s an overstate…unless “us all” is the subset of people living within a mile or two of the 104 nuclear power plants in America) instead of a technology that not only has no chance of blowing up and killing us all, but that can be installed in a decentralized grid, thus making our entire power system resistant to disruption from storms, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, or human error.

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, commercial scale wind turbines cost $1.75/watt.

    They also have no chance of blowing up and killing us all.

    *There are currently 442 nuclear power plants in the world. There have been at least 6 “nuclear accidents” in the past 51 years. Simple math (I know this probably calls for more advanced math, but I’m lazy) gives the “accident chance” at 1.36%.

  • jimmy 12:59 am on March 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 3d, , digital media, ,   

    I’m working on making dynamically breaking glass in Maya this week for my digital media senior project. Here’s a still image two frames (1/12 second) after the little ball breaks through the glass:

    Next I’ll be pulling this “stand-alone” test into the main scene file and work out the details of making it work in the larger 3D animation, but I liked the look of this really simple and uncluttered view of it.

    As an aside, this took less time to model/animate than it’s taking to render (basically taking the raw modeling/animate file and turning it into something you can watch on your TV), but that’s mostly because I’m using more effects (mostly related to the lighting) than are strictly needed. But it’s fun nonetheless.

  • jimmy 9:53 pm on March 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: computers, , networking   

    Although I probably should have, I never realized just how much my family uses the Internet until I made a few router tweaks yesterday and had to input new network passwords on all our wifi devices. That includes 5 laptops and 4 iPod Touches, all of which seem to have their own idea about how to behave in the face of a new network password (to be fair, the iPods seem to have handled the issue rather better than the MacBooks). I guess I should have known how much we use our network based on the fact that one consumer-grade router trembles in fear when asked to handle all the traffic, thus leading to my current two-router setup (my 6+ year old Linksys and my 2-year-old Time Capsule…neither of which can properly handle 9-10 concurrent wifi connections + multiple wired connections; the Linksys can do wired just fine, though, and the TC can do the wireless…so it all works out). I absolutely love managing all of this equipment, though, so I’m a happy camper. Errrr, IT guy. Whatever.

  • jimmy 8:19 pm on March 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , economy, , ,   

    I just love (sarcasm, btw) how in the face of $14 trillion in debt and a $1.3 trillion deficit the favorite target of some deficit hawks has become $10.5 billion in high-speed rail funding (I say “some” because I consider myself to be a deficit hawk and I don’t share this view). I really wonder if the governors of Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio were paying any attention whatsoever in school when they learned about how we got out of the great depression? Come to think of it, they probably went to the same schools as the people who thought it would really solve all of our economic problems to give a bunch of money (although calling trillions of dollars a “bunch of money” is kind of like calling the Pacific Ocean “some water”…it’s technically true, but grossly misleading) to the guys who created the problems in the first place (again with an analogy: “so, Mr. Murderer, what say we make your punishment a few days where we pretend to consider putting you to death, and then we give you an AK-47 and let you roam the streets again; sound fair?”).

    Interesting fact: Japan has the oldest HSR network in the world, and China has the largest (and fastest…did we still want to beat China? Because we’re losing this battle, too. Just saying.). Unemployment in Japan is 5.1% and in China it’s ~4.5% (as with all things China, it’s not entirely clear). In America it’s 8.9%.

    Oh I know unemployment probably has very little correlation with HSR networks, but I figure it’s as close as the HSR-deficit correlation, and it’s just as illogical.

    Speaking of illogic, I should remind the governors that I just got a carrier pigeon that the National Association or People Who’d Rather Live In The Stone Age is sending a “thank you” stone tablet in support of your bold deficit reduction efforts. It’s being sent by Norfolk Southern rail, so it should arrive within 36 hours.

  • jimmy 7:11 pm on February 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: nws, , ,   

    Two storms this week. First had a glaze of freezing rain before a good 3 inches of snow. Second had under 3 inches blowing snow. One had 12 hours lead time of a winter storm warning (after 24-36 hours lead with a winter storm watch), the other had a winter weather advisory issued 2 hours before the storm started. It might surprise you which storm matches which warning/advisory.

    Hint, the storm with more snow and the ice had only 2 hours notice.

    My local NWS office kinda fails at issuing warnings, it seems.

  • jimmy 9:19 am on February 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    I love how people say Google will never be able to pull off a “social product” (like a Facebook or MySpace type service) because they’re all engineers (think Delbert) and are therefore not good at thinking in those terms, but then turn around and ascribe malice to mistakes that amount to “social awkwardness” (think Delbert at a party) on a corporate scale.

    I know it’s probably not the same people, but I kinda want to put both types of people in a room together and make them hash it out. Because both things can’t be true. Either they’re cunning geniuses who are just waiting until their servers collect enough information on all of us to enslave us all (or defraud us? Or something. It’s never quite clear. It’s just “scary”), or they’re a company full of kinda socially dumb geniuses who theoretically COULD do that, but in reality are too busy tweaking their super-fast JavaScript rendering engine to realize it.

    I’m probably beating a dead horse bringing Facebook into this, but FB knows 10 times what Google does about you, and they’re NOT awkward engineers. Do the freaking math there.

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