Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Sorry Palm Pre

I really wanted to want a Palm Pre. The UI is really amazing, I played with it in the store and was impressed by how intuitive it was for me. I love the size and shape, it really works for a pocketable device, but what finally killed it for me was the 8gb of non-expandable storage. I tried to get over it. I mulled it around for the last few days and finally came to the conclusion that if my 30gb zune was too small 8gb was never going to cut it.

Better luck next time Palm, I wanted your phone I really did. I am sort of dissapointed with the overall size of the HTC hero I will be getting, but expandable storage of 16gb now and 32gb sometime in the future sealed the deal.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Slashdot is running a story on a possible link between Alzheimers and sleep deprivation. The results as with all studies require additional studies, but if the plaques that from in the brain are linked with Alzheimers and the plaques build up faster when the protein identified are higher, and the protein is higher when you are awake it would give insight into a lifestyle prevention of Alzheimers.

New Scientist via Slashdot

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Microsoft Courier

I have been watching the demo videos for the Microsoft Courier and reading the opening thoughts about the device for a few weeks now and have come to the conclusion that I do want this damn thing. As a early adopter of tablets, and a believer in the power of digital handwritten text to change the way that I interact with the world this could be huge for me. Toys like Evernote and Onenote on a Tablet push the idea of digital note taking, but because they are designed for keyboard and mouse to be the primary interface both still fall short of creating an experience that is complete. The flaws around the edges show, and it becomes frustrating. If the consumer electronic space has taught us anything it is that people don't want to deal with the edge cases where you move from one type of usage to another and have to fiddle with some setting to make it work.

The need for seamless transition from browsing to note taking to drawing and back again will make or break this product for the intended users, so while the demo makes it look like the process is very smooth I will reserve judgment until the product is in the wild. The demo video, and media Gizmodo presented makes it look like the user experience for the single user that was portrayed was well scripted out, but I would like to see how they think someone is going to take a picture with that camera on the back.... I don't believe that anyone will use it in that manner based on the images because it will be extremely awkward, so the camera might make more sense as a front facing or swivel camera for video conferencing and eye tracking applications. Another usage question I have is how does one use this while walking, the folded in half layout that would traditionally make sense for a notebook might have interesting implications given this is a touch screen we are talking about. I imagine that the use of accelerometers and magnets could be used to determine which position the machine is in to change which screen is active and accepting touches. Rough edges like that would need to be ironed out before the product goes to market

The form factor looks to be very attractive as long as the size is not too large, and the weight would have a huge impact on where people want to take this device. The screens will need to be OLED to keep the power draw low enough for whole day usage, and I think that inductive charging for this device is a must. I realize that inductive charging isn't ubiquitous and still needs work, but without the ability to drop this on my desk and have it charge in between meetings, or overnight the battery capacity will have to be amazing.

Random bonus link on OLED and E Ink.

Via Gizmodo

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chumby One

The Chumby is a widget based smart object, and as much gadget lust as I generally tend to have this is one of those products I just cannot seem to get into. The replay on it seems relatively low for what it is, considering I can find iPod touches around that offer way more functionality for similar cost. The Chumby One is a little less offensive running at $120 rather than the $199 for the Chumby Classic. The Chumby Classic came wrapped in leather which made it more than a little weird, and I for one if very happy they dropped the leather for the Chumby One.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

OS X Atom support

I think with the release of the new beta with atom support re-enabled the move to disable atom was one of three things

  1. A genuine bug, even the mighty Apple isn't infallible
  2. Apple testing the waters their for technical ability to lockout the platform. Given how little doubt there was associated with that this was deployed and their proclivity to block the Pre and pretty much anyone that doesn't genuflect at the Steve Jobs reflective pool and leave their wallet at the door.
  3. To gauge backlash and stir the pot. The company thrives largely by capturing mind share, and their lackluster new commercials and a VP promising no new products for the year maybe the shrewed marketers thought of a way to get themselves in the news. If so it worked.
I don't care really I have a mini 9 that I keep threatinging to cook up a hackintosh on, or rock windows 7 on and them locking that option out would speed up my decision for sure. I don't like some things about the OS X paradigm, but that comes from someone that likes to build my own machine and tweek the rigs often so I may not be the best person to ask this question to.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Does anyone still buy albums?

I have been trying to think of anything at all to say about the new iTunes LP's and really all I keep coming back to is Who still buys albums? I have been trying to think of the last album that I loved each and every song on, so much that I wouldn't have been better off buying the songs that I did like individually. The best I could come up with is Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by The Smashing Pumpkins but on re-listening to it recently I figured out that I really only love about 10 total songs and less than half of them ever made it on the radio. I cannot say that given the choice now that I would have even bought the song that I really did like because of the video on MTV. Another album I swore was amazing was Sixteen Stone from Bush, but again on re-listening, I am not sure I would have bought the whole album, just all the songs that got radio play. I still think of both as having songs I that where a part of my high school experience, but I won't say that with different buying options available to me now that I would buy either as a whole album. I don't buy into the whole Apple Ecosystem mostly because I think that Apple disrespects their customers and retail partners.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Why I won't buy another iPod and neither should you

Apple disrespects their customers and their accessory partners with pretty much every release of the iPod and iPhone. By breaking pin compatibility with previously released accessories they are forcing customers that have invested in their ecosystem to purchase new docks, charging stations, and other accessories. Some in-dash decks that boast iPod compatibility have to have the little * and tell you what generations they support, my wife's speaker dock and charger works for the iPod classic (aka 6th gen) but not for the iPod touch 2nd gen. This isn't rocket science people they did it to prevent unapproved iPod accessories, not because these devices might damage your device but because they where not paying Apple to make these devices. Who suffers in these cases though? Not the knock off manufactures, they just design around it, while people like me that bought my wife a Iluv 1155 dvd player with iPod dock to go with her fancy iPod only to find out that the manufacturer was unaware that it wouldn't work with the new generation of iPod that launched around the time it did. It turns out after reading recently they issued working replacements, but did nothing to remedy the affected users. I choose to not return the unit only because it was a decent dvd player, but it deffinately is a sore spot for me and Apple.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Portable Spa

I don't know why I am so hung up on this idea, but people that know me would know that I have been marginally obsessing about making a portable spa with Aero-bed style portability for about 3 years now. This would be way less work, but at $5000, I am going to guess making it would be more likely to happen than me buying one.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bottle works

When I went to visit my friend in Colorado for his graduation about 5 years ago, we went to a giant beer store. I had never been to a store where there where brewery representatives running a buy a 6 pack get one to go promotion, turns out Colorado has a different set of laws with regard to open containers of alcohol than Washington. Either way I have never been to one of these shops in Washington, but Seattle Beer Authority is in my area and might be worth a trip.

via Seattlest

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Professional quality video distribution

Other than crazy wealthy individuals there are few people that will appreciate the sheer awesomeness of this product, but some of my work projects of late have put me in proximity to video distribution and I appreciate this. I don't know that it supports multicast (one transmitter outputting to many displays simultaneously) like my dream for it would be, given that it appears Vlans on the network. I for some reason envision this allowing for the networked home to finally have the ip video and audio distribution rather than proprietary or custom cabled jobs.

via Engadget via CEpro

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

College basics for the masses

Straighter Line has an interesting idea for improving college with flat rate pricing. $99 for the course and the can count for college credit from accredited Universities. Now I am not sure that this would work with every class ever, but certainly the basic courses that most University students find themselves in would be easy enough to package into a digestible web-course that could be taken in a self-paced manner, and still transfers the applicable knowledge to the student. Interestingly the have not chosen to chase an even lower hanging fruit of certification training courses for Cisco and Microsoft. Most of these would benefit from this type of a setup, and would significantly challenge several businesses that are basically training centers that do little more than this for 5-10x's the price. I would think that the target audience for these courses would be bigger than the one for college kids, and with a straight forward pricing model could really disrupt that market. At best some colleges will accept Straighter Line and a few more will put in rules that block this specifically form counting for their degree work and it will not change the overall education landscape.

Interesting, not a game changer.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Paperback book co-op site

I hadn't really ever considered it, but frequently I don't really buy a book to own it, I buy the book to read it once and lend to friends or family from that point on. Normally I don't re-read too many books and as a result I have sold books to Half-Price books before simply because I had no need of them, and didn't want to throw them out. Paperback Swap offers an alternative to sell or pitch, it lets you trade them for other books in the network. I can see how this would be useful for people that purchase a few books a year, but also want to have access to more without having to rely on the library.

I am going to sign up for the site, and working on finding some of the reference books that I have some interest in. As it gets closer to the birth of my Daughter I am interestingly focused on art projects and home improvement. I have 3 specific art projects for the nursery, and a few improvement items for the house to complete. I think a resource on stone working, and basic carpentry are what I need right now.

Monday, September 21, 2009

HP DreamScreen, Do want!

img via HP

I really like the idea of these screens. I think that they could be pushed a little farther in terms of functionality, but they are safe and decent info screens. If you where to add anything I would like to see background Music playing and the ability to browse recipes. If it had Allrecipes.com integration you could view your "recipe box" and still stay in the neat Internet portal niche HP appears to want this to stay in. This is another product that I think is ripe for a remake.

Via Engadget

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cool Idea, I don't like number pads on your house though

img via Kwikset

I like the ability to remotely check the lock status of my house, and also to be able to unlock/lock the door from a variety of methods. If they sell these without number pads I would be sold, I just don't like the attention that I think they would draw in a high traffic area. More gory details in the press release.

via Engadget via Kwikset

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Final drink for summer

*img via Chow.com

As summer draws to a close here in the Northwest it is time to have a final fairwell drink for the summer. I choose the Lemonhead to be mine.


* 3/4 ounce limoncello, chilled
* 5 ounces cava brut, chilled


1. Pour limoncello into a champagne flute, top with cava, and serve.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I am scared of the viaduct tunnel

The rosiness and confidence which the legislators are brushing aside the doubters of the tunnel makes me even more nervous than the claims that the tunnel is a go and "a done deal" like we have no option, no alternative. Despite what Olympia has to say, the switch can be pulled back and there are other options.

If they would talk honestly about the questions that Tunnelfacts bring up I might be more willing to have hope, in the tunnel project but with ominous other deep bore failures in the area, I just don't think I can.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Bad blogger

I have been at this blogging thing for a while now; I'm not particularly awesome at it, but it helps to pass the time. Now that I have a friend that moved far away she started blogging and is thoroughly kicking my ass at this. Seriously a post a day? It just makes me feel lazy you hear that V, now I feel lonely and lazy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Motivation Ted Talk

I think that you can see some of this play out in where/when individuals leave companies. The part of work that is detail oriented, and not creative/conceptual (ie lawsuits and contracts) tends to repel the individuals that only want to work on interesting problems. The engineers of great Software companies move from interesting project to interesting project. The example of Wikipedia vs Encarta may not be the very best example of one work method vs the other. That is more an example of free and easy to access vs pay and limited to access. I am sure that there are great analogies for this type of work, the speaker just didn't choose one.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Brilliant knife block

*via Yankodesigns.com

In the last several years I have taken to cooking, and find it a rather enjoyable pass time. Since I have really started to take cooking seriously I have noticed that so much of the cooking process really revolves around prep work, (odd given this is the first job you get when you start working at as a cook) and that your prep skills determine the texture of the food as much as the ingredients themselves. Particularly important to this process is knife skill, and there is absolutely no substitute for a damn sharp knife. Most people buy knifes in sets with a big and bulky block to hold them, I recently received a 7" Shun Sontoku that is the main knife I use for prep, but I do not have a block to keep it in. A product like this where the knife comes in a Modular block would be the perfect thing for your kitchen nerd.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cute robot for uselessness (Twitter)

Gizmodo damn it this is cute, and useless! I wonder if you can create a cardboard body (or something that looks like cardboard) that is mobile and flexible?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another way to listen to music online

By now most everybody has heard of Pandora, many have heard of Last.fm, and a couple of people have heard of Slacker radio as ways to listen to music streaming online. Theradio.com is throwing in their hat as another contender, and while I cannot say much for their prospects of long term traction, I do like the ability to play songs from the history something that Pandora at least does not let me do. If that is their only killer feature they may struggle but, I do appreciate it. For some reason I think the stations are better than building your own, all of mine end up being Yeah, Yeah, Yeah's all the time. Don't get me wrong I love Karen O, but I need some variety damn it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Greatest Country on earth?

Energy Efficiency stickers *img via Popular Mechanics

Any day now we are going to have to turn in the title of Greatest country on Earth to live in. I realize we still kick ass in lots of ways, but the reasons we suck just keep piling up. The kicker for me is from a Popular Mechanics article about other countries have detailed energy star stickers required from manufactures rather than BS optional compliance Energy Star estimates we have here. Don't we have organizations that are dedicated to this sort of industry watching? Aren't they charged with proactively creating rules and regulations that ensure American receive the high quality information, and quality products?

Popular Mechanics via Gizmodo

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yet another reason to boycott Adobe

I don't hide my dislike of Adobe, but this article about persistent flash cookies that are not cleaned with the remove cookies option makes it clear to me that Adobe does not have its customers needs in the forefront of their mind. I have not been using noscript because it was sort of tedious to approve portions of new sites as I came to them but I am starting to think it is time for the tinfoil hat to go back on.

Lifehacker via Wired

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Disabling Voicemail Instructions

If you missed this floating around the blogosphere the last few days crawl out from under that rock and speed up your voicemail prompts. I did this a little while ago based on an older Lifehacker post about the subject but speeding up the time it takes to get to leaving a message may actually make using VMail more useful. Michael Arrington has long said the voicemail was going to be extinct, but I think the reason was that leaving messages was not convenient for people. We can thank the money grubbing carriers for that. I for one look forward to the day that they become the dumb pipe they fear becoming. If they didn't have any control over my experience, it might actually be a good one and if it wasn't I wouldn't be in a contract that prevented my from voting with my dollars via arbitrary and excessive monetary penalties.

USB MicroSD awesomeness

These microsd readers blow my mind. I have a Dell Mini9 and this would double the storage I have and would also add half the cost again, I think I would rather get one of these for $14 and get my own Micro SDHC card for much cheaper.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I think everyone agrees you suck labels

Electronista, Crunch Gear, Engadget, Gizmodo and I all agree trying to revive the album is dumb. You have been focusing on singles for so long now, this smacks of desperation to not be irrelevant.

Also to all the above, it doesn't have to be about Apple making a competing product, this product sucks on its own.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Car Differentials

For those that don't read make this was a pretty interesting video about cars drive systems. It may be dated, but the info is relevant.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Improving the Belkin Lap Desk

Ever since I saw the Belkin Lapdesk I thought that it needed improvement. It needed either passive or active cooling of some form, and I was hopping to not add another thing that needed to be plugged into a wall outlet. This mod adds two active fans that are plugged in to a 12v wall wart, and while I definitely it improves the overall usefulness of the stand it doesn't meet my other goal of not wanting another device sucking power.

I saw an article a few days ago about Icyballs that may be closer to what I am hopping to use. It would require electricity as I am fairly sure I need to have a microcontroller to engage the heat element to reverse the natural evaporation process. I have no experience with this type of work though so I think I am going to need to find a chemistry nerd and probably a welding nerd to pull the whole process.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Random things to want

Ever see a product that you want, but have no reason for wanting it? I did yesterday and today, this Samson usb condenser Mic for some reason seems to have captured my feeble imagination. $60 more than I am willing to spend on a toy for sure, but interesting none the less.

via Gizmodo

Monday, August 03, 2009

Zune, Analysts, and Navel Gazing

Zune, man do you get some hate out of the Apple fanboy camp. I will wager that few if any of them have used the damn device, and all they can say is that it sucks. I can say from using both that either will play your music, and games with the only real difference being the software and pricing options for music. The Zune pass is pretty damn compelling for the younger set, I remember buying several cd's a month in High School I have to imagine that there are several parents that would find this a cheap alternative (though Pandora and Last.fm may make this moot).

The analyst in this article thinks MS should buy Palm and try to emulate Apple seems all kinds of off base with his recommendations, given that the Zune software is not a mobile telecommunications device, and Palm's historical response to those types of situations (remember HandSpring) is not positive. Couple all of this that the stand alone media player may be going the way of the Dodo Bird even the Zune HD coming, we may see the Zune device folded into Mobile offerings I doubt much would come of Palm talks or at best a partnership with Palm so that their device can sync with the Zune software.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Seafair is still great!

The clip is old, but it still makes me laugh and was true just a few hours ago.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Adobe to the front of the vulnerability line (again)

Adobe is quickly becoming the thorn in my side, I cannot stand that they do not offer an enterprise patching solution. I am starting to think that I need to find a non-Adobe product to use for sending documents. I could choose xps, at least vulnerabilities in that can be patched via automatic updates and WSUS. I was going to abstain from Silverlight too, but I am starting to think if Air+Flash+PDF become the defacto, or even widely accepted, I am going to have to roll my own Adobe auto-update deployment utility. If only Adobe would put the latest msi of all of their products out on their site, I would be able to to push it via group policy.

Adobe it is time to grow up, you power many businesses, Microsoft actually requires that contracts be sent via PDF rather than fax as a "green initiative" for some of the dealings I have had with them(in fairness the contracts in question sometimes are hundreds of pages and they redo them daily as the event gets closer). You need to offer an enterprise console that allows me to point my client machines to a update server. I would prefer that it could be run on any port, and just run as a standard web service, that I can schedule update checks, and silently install them on my users machines. This is your responsibility, and you have avoided it for way too long.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Still hot, make some lighter fair

I still think it is hot, so after a little jaunt to the gym I warmed up some Rajma, Jasmine rice, some Gyro meat, Mediterranean Flavored feta, and pocket-less Pita Bread. I think it was nice, and pretty light all thing considered. The food was hot, but it didn't have an overall warming affect as I didn't stay hot for long.

Bravo gizmodo

Gizmodo is a blog about gadgets; gadgets and anything that is slightly perverse, often behaving like hooligans, or badly mannered children it is the blog that I begrudgingly read for some balance to Engadget's breathless gadget whoring. I won't say that I find them to be an upstanding member of their community, nor would I say that they don't like to lord secrets over their readers in a nahnah nah fashion, but I will say that they offered the most sincere and human reaction I can imagine to the iPhone suicide, and have been hard at work digging up the back story of a major manufacturer of goods bound for US shores.

This last week Gizmodo, may well have been your finest hour. If you could carry some of this startling behavior into an everyday reporting you well could be considered journalists, not mean, weed smoking, pervs with a technology fetish.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It is hot!

Too hot for eating full meals at the very least so the wife and I settled for fruit smoothies, cheese and crackers and a Santa Claus melon from Central Market. I have never had one of these before, it is a bit like Honeydew but I prefer this flavor to the Honeydew.

I wonder how people in the extremely hot climates gain weight? It is so hot that I don't want to eat at all, I would be surprised if I managed to get more than 2000 calories today. The heat makes me miss a friend in a very hot climate, hope she managed to keep cool.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Remote listening devices

Scary, probably true article from a few days ago about the ability to listen to the output of a keyboard (assuming ps/2) by tapping into the electrical grid nearby. In an office building I think that there is some deflection in that there is a solid chance that there are several people typing at any given moment, so it is likely to be a little harder to isolate one signal from another. Some of the Slashdot commenters pondered if this is what a few unfunded researchers where able to come up with just consider what the NSA would be able to to. I thought this dated article would help those people sleep at night. The Van Eck's effect is the rather interesting ability to use get the information from CRT's and LCD's. The Wikipedia Article about the Tempest project that investigated the phenomenon and tried to secure assets against it, has no information on the active use of this technology for intelligence gathering, but is interesting in its own right. Either way, it is an interesting extension of old research and just further illustrates the relative insecurity of computers.

Slashdot via Network World

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

10 years come and gone

Hard to believe it, but 10 years ago I was a fresh faced youth just graduated from High School. I attended my reunion, and was struck by how little of my feelings for the place and people had changed. Everyone was similar, and progressed to basically exactly where you would have thought they would. I suppose what I was most struck by is how nothing was different, even me.

10 years is a long time, and I don't feel like I have walked very far at all in that time.

Another Gem from the reunion was a letter to myself, the letter was filled with a lot of the hopeless dreaming I always do, and a picture of a friend that had died the summer before in 1998. It was a picture and a memory that I could have lived without, not because of any stirring of emotion for her unfortunately, but because it made me sad that I thought then that I would want that now.

I really was a dark child, wasn't I?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wine for the confused

Oh Hulu, how I do love the crap out of your site. Any how not related to much of anything at all, but I wanted some embed action on the site so here you go John Cleese explains wine.

Reimage.com support software

Given the number of people that I give casual support to, I am often on the look out for solutions that allow me to support them without having to go to their homes and troubleshoot. My current weapon of choice is Logmein; which saves them having to know their IP address and lets me show them the steps I am taking to complete a task. This type of scenario works well for the high-speed internet users in your life, but is not a very great solution overall given that it relies on their internet connection being in a working state, and still requires my time to correct issues. I found this company Reimage.com from an ad link in a technology feed that I read and was wondering if anyone had used their product and could attest to how well (or poorly) it works. It seems that it would be a decent product to base a tech support business on, provided that it was functional and added support of vista/windows 7 in the near future. I realize that some people are not keen on it, but I have been running Vista for sometime, now on modern hardware with no issues (legacy support is a different story).

The idea seems pretty simple that you install the software and it runs a diagnostic to determine what parts of XP are broken and attempts to download the working pieces off their repository. Seems like it would be a workable scheme, but the pricing is interesting. I realize if they offered a just one for free plan that most customers would never end up paying, so I am don't fault them for their monetization plan. I will likely give it a go for the single license and use the money back guarantee if I am not satisfied with the outcome.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Alternative Music from out east a bit

I am a fan of alternative rock and have been listening to a couple of internet radio stations to get my fix of up and comers that 107.7 here in Seattle is not playing. Woxy.com really is the station that I use to find interesting bands of late, so I thought I would share. I am not sure how long I have been subscribed to the Woxy Lounge act feed, must have been some time in 2005 or 2006 and though there are some real misses in there man have there been some great finds. The first time I heard The Silversun Pickups was on WOXY, they hit big about a year or so after that (sound similar to Placebo to me). Any how, give them a listen, and browse the archive, it is fun to get new music to listen to in your RSS reader from time to time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

tech savy

This is a photo of the reset button that was located under the battery of a Creative Zen Media Center Portable that I am getting ready to sell. The reason I show this is that I was struck by the things that I just do, that would have overwhelmed most consumers, to keep electronics running. This device has not been plugged in for such a long time that it was fully dead, it wasn't in deep power sleep or something it had no juice. I plugged in the power supply and the charge light did not come on, so I started by checking the voltage output on the charger to ensure that it hadn't gone bad. I got out my multimeter and striped a wire because the charger was a barrel connector type that required positive voltage to be measured from inside where the probe on my multimeter would not reach. After verifying that the charger was giving steady 5v output, I pulled the batter cover off and lifted the batter to see if the posts on the battery had corroded. Realizing that Li-poly batteries don't corrode, I started looking for a hard reset button and found it while I had the cover off. This immediately started the unit and the charge light came on when I re-inserted the battery. I didn't read a manual or do a google search on why there was no power I started to troubleshoot, and was totally fine with not only the process but the outcome.

Most consumers would have come to the conclusion that it was broken, and called the manufacturer. Given how far out of warranty this device is, they would have been frustrated by the general lack of support they would have been offered, and likely would have pitched it into the landfill or sought help from a whiz-kid via craigslist (assuming they even knew that you could get that type of help). I came to own a Samsung Media Center portable under very similar circumstances, the owner never figured out how to turn it on. Apparently the device shipped in "locked" state. Flipping over the device there was a cover that exposed a hard "on/off" switch, sliding the switch to on, and pressing the power button on the front brought the device that he thought was broken to life. These are engineering decisions that lead the consumer to be confused and annoyed, often to the point that they give up. Apple certainly makes CE devices that are better about this than most. They are not flawless for instance because there isn't the familiar power button leave my mother baffled how to turn off her iPod. Sure it will go to sleep eventually so you could just lock it and it will time out, but she didn't know that.

These type of design logic flaws come up again and again, the 30gig Zune for instance when you plug it in after the battery has completely drained does not begin charging, but rather displays a image on the screen that does not mean anything to the user. After unplugging the device and getting it to power on you can plug it in to resume charging, the device will not charge fully with the unintelligible symbol displayed. This is a design/logic flaw, that took me a few minutes of troubleshooting after letting the device charge for half the day, and booting it up to find that I did not have anywhere near a full charge! After the device was up and running it started to rapidly take a charge, but not until the software had initialized. Never having owned an iPod, I asked and was not tickled to hear that they handle the low power state much more elegantly. I own the original 30gb zune so I cannot speak to if the new ones handle it better, but it is a pretty glaring error in my opinion.

I hope that this insight sticks with me for a while when I think about the consumer experience with Electronics. I have classified most of the experience as acceptable up until recently, but everything needing to be fiddled with is starting to get old.

200th post!

Christmas sparkling cake
Originally uploaded by kjd
It has taken really way too long to get to this point, but I thought I would celebrate anyway. This should mark the 200th post, and only 6 of them are in draft. Some day I may finish those thought snippets, but today it for cake.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Loosening the TV's grip

In preparation for the arrival of our first child I have switched to basic cable as a way to encourage us to watch less "frivolous" TV. There seemed to be too much just turning on the TV and watching whatever was on, rather than choosing a few shows to watch and trying to get something done. I realized that not everyday has to be a completely filled day with measurable goals achieved, but I was sick of night after night of just coming home and turning on the TV rather than getting the house in order for the arrival of our child, or just finish some of the many miscellaneous computer projects that I have started, and just need to apply some of my time to complete.

For the first time in a long while everything north of channel 30 is snow, and I am really fine with it.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Fireworks are cool

Happy explosion day has come and passed, but the desire to blow stuff up remains!

What is a geek to do with this desire to explode things coupled with some available capital to pursue such a desire? Make fireworks and learn about the chemistry that makes them work!

In the great tradition of North Idaho and the fantastic fun that can be had trying not to blow yourself up go forth and play pyro!

Native video support for HTML 5 Scrapped

I read this Slashdot article that makes me sad. Enabling browser to natively implement the video tag to eliminate the number of plug-ins that create a broader attack surface would have been single-handedly the best step the HTML standard could have taken to protect the security of the internet. H.264 would be as poor of a choice as standardizing on mp3 for native music support (given the licensing nature of the standard). Ogg and Theora both stand as open independently developed standards that at least would not have required a royalty payment, and would have helped take us one step closer to a Flash free internet. The performance of Flash coupled with it pervasiveness make this one of my least favorite technologies, but what really gets my goat is that it takes focus (it is an application loading inside of another application) and breaks my keyboard navigation of websites.

I believe that Apples "licensing" concerns have much more to do with that they have put significant motion into supporting the h.264 codec with their video players, and are not interested in trying to duplicate that for Theora.

Monday, July 06, 2009

I met someone from AIG

This is not intended to be news, and I don't make any money on the stock market so I have no personal interest in this subject. I just encountered a person that spoke candidly about where they where at in a circle of friends. I doubt he intended it to be repeated, but thought it was weighty enough that I didn't want it to end with just me.

So friend of a friend of a friend this weekend while I was out for 4th of July festivities turned out to work for AIG. He introduced himself as working for a failed financial institution, but his friend refused to let him get away with it so lightly and insisted that he tell the whole story. He started there in September and is working in the infamous risk management group, now given his recent tenure I will assume that he was a late comer that had little to no impact on the eventual (one month later) collapse of the company; but what struck me was that he was previously employed as a mechanical engineer. It immediately jumped out to me given my business school requiring me to take a finance course that both jobs where basically just math, so learning new equations to a scientifically minded individual would be a fairly natural transition. The draw of the job was that he moved from a small boring stodgy old town to New York, and claims that the dating pool is much better. I tend to believe that this is true, and can see the appeal to someone under 30 and still single.

His insight into the company is was that given that his direct manager of the group that his is associated with has yet to directly communicate any form of strategy, or relay any info about their future path, or really do anything even remotely manager-like is an indictment of the whole management staff. His manager only arrived 1 month before the chap that is the focal point of this story did, and has yet to have a single strategy meeting with the group, much less send an email outlining what the company was going to do to pull itself up from the hard times that they got themselves into, and he theorizes that he never will. He suggests that given the amount of fuck off time he has, AIG won't be rising from the ashes. They are no longer the bankable name they once where, and are not doing anything to improve that status.

Cookbooks of interest

I have been looking at new cookbooks for a different range of foods to cook. The Momofuku[?] is interesting; the sample recipe on the Amazon page is an noodle dish, like nothing I have ever made before. I like some parts of Asian cuisine, and this seems to focus on the parts of that style that I can get my arms around.

Another book on my list is Ad Hoc at Home[?]. This book looks interesting and seems to be filled with the type of prep intensive cooking that I am coming to love.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Apps change everything

Slow again I know, but I did love this article and thought it deserved a share.

Apps for the Apple TV by Gizmodo is probably one of their best original/idea pieces the blog has produced. Not only is original and a great idea but there was no mention of boobies or anything else that makes them the blog of choice for people that are as mature as middle school kids.

Boxee on the Apple tv shows that there is value in this type of setup, and I believe makes what is a marginally underpowered, but pretty good for the price media device and makes it into the iPhone type of game changer. I think that Apple lacks the vision to pull this off, and only has the attention span to pull of one "killer product" at a time. This is likely due to Mr. Jobs egomaniac micro-management need to control the moment style of product dev that leaves little room for them to innovate simultaneously. Don't get me wrong I think that this style of management has netted them some big wins in the design of products (The original aluminum MB Pro laptops for instance) but doesn't seem to sustain great products over the long haul (current non-aluminum macbook pros), so with the iPhone been the Apple of Apple's eye I doubt you will see native app sdk on the AppleTV even though I would probably buy one.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Super tiny usb storage

Seriously do want, this is great for the netbook crowd. My mini 9 has 3 usb ports that basically do nothing most of the time, and this is as big as the solid state drive I have running in the mini 9.

via gizmodo

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Orwell diary

I have subscribed to the Orwell diaries and was struck by a recent post that listed a recipe for making cream cheese as a newspaper clipping. I cannot imagine that happening now!

Cream Cheese from Goat’s Milk. – The simplest cream cheese to make is the following, W. J. C. (Bletchley). To 1 quart of fresh, warm milk add half a teaspoon of rennet and stir well. Let stand for 12 hours then cut the curd into pieces of uniform walnut size with a curd knife or enameled ladle. Transfer the cut curd to cheese cloth, and hang up to drain for 24 hours. Then take down, add a pinch of salt and place in a mould stood on a small straw mat. Place another mat on top and slightly weigh down. Keep thus for two days, turning the mould over and weighting from the other side once during this time. The cheese is then ready for use.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Packing a Lunch could be fun

Lifehacker is at it again trying to help the pleebs like me get there brown bag game in tip top shape and pointed out the Latch Tiffin over at Happy Tiffin, and that got me thinking about my old and busted lined cooler lunch bag that has been in service for a little over 2 years now, and how I wouldn't mind an upgrade that gave me handy compartments so I could (hopefully) use fewer plastic bags. Given that the Tiffin is sold out in the size that I want and has been since the Lifehacker post I went looking for similar items and found the Bento lunch box and was excited that I could participate in the Bento culture and use cool Bento recipe and meal planing guides. I am torn, either will likely meet my needs, and the Tiffin can do Bento likely as easily as the Bento lunch box can, I just don't know which I should choose.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Business week follow up to Schumpater society

So I realize I am very slow to follow up to that Kauffmann.org video I posted the transcript of a while ago, but not long after I posted that I found that I am going to be a father sometime near the end of November so I have been making my home ready for a new addition. That said I saw a link in my facebook stream that made me think about that video and some synthesis on the actions and the road to recovery that The Obama administration has laid out and the perceived inaction by congress on some of his agendas. I believe that the Business week author and my friend on Facebook take the inaction on several pieces of rhetoric out of the Obama administration to be the status quo guarding its position, and to some extent they may be right, but at the same time they guarding their interests they may be guarding the public's as well. Regulatory structures create a burden on every industry that they affect, and this industry actually already had in place all the statutes in place to authorize the bodies needed to oversee them to take corrective measure that could have averted the bulk of the economic collapse. The trouble is that Congress (as pointed out by Carl Schramm in the Kauffmann video) actively tried to set the bench marks that for what was acceptable market activity. These benchmarks where somewhat politically motivated and inherently flawed, that prevented the respective delegate regulatory agencies unable to effectively police their area of regulation. Bad market benchmarks coupled with artificially low interest rates that where intended to "stimulate" the economy coupled with high overall market activity was an effective cover for the truly fraudulent mortgages (that where knowingly created on an hourly basis according to someone I know that worked in the mortgage industry) would have been easier to detect. Had the legitimate transactions taken on so many attributes that would have appeared risky or fraudulent absent the Congressional mandates for low income lending the worst of the worst mortgages that have reshaped the lending and financial institutions of this country would never have existed.

I know that most people wanted sweeping change, but I think that if you look at rushed knee-jerk legislation like the Patriot act and Sarbanes-Oxley we would be well advised to enact simpler legislation that ensured that Congress had less direct influence on daily policy in regulatory bodies, when you remove politics from regulation the bodies are more likely to stick to their mandates, and establish regulation that makes sense.

For the question as to whether the recovery is being flubbed I think that it is pretty clear that the stimulus packages in place that are making the credit markets more liquid again are only serving to extend the debt society that we live in. The Federal reserve lending system at its heart appears to allow fabrication of wealth via the partial reserve lending system. If banks had to have and transfer all the money needed to fulfill a loan, they would be much more careful about those loans they did give. I am not saying that this would necessarily be a simple or practical overnight fix, just that I bet if customers knew that their money could be lost (particularly in the face of defaults) they would exercise a lot more interest in what banks where doing with their money. They would likely go back to buying Government bonds rather than trusting their savings with banks, and it would make the revenue stream off of mortgages seem quite a bit more valuable than it currently is perceived to be.

Three the robot platform...

I saw this all over yesterday, but I have a question that the site seems to not do a great job of answering for me: what is the controller board that I am interfacing with. I looked and looked and finally I realized that he sensors where just usb accessories, and the controller is the laptop. This is an aluminum frame for holding your laptop and a usb hub to add crap to it. While the idea is interesting, other than fairly oblique marketing this is no different than other products that Servo magazine has been hawking for some time now.

What gives guys, you new to the hobby robotics scene?

Seattle May actually get it

I saw in the Seattlest recently that Seattle had dropped the price of compost bins from $100 each to $25 each or $40 for a pair! I had looked at the units before and balked at the cost of starting a composting setup, but $40 is a very low barrier of entry. So bravo Seattle for subsidizing seattlites who are interested in reducing their waste stream.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Tow-N-Stow

Damn the Toolmonger for all the cool things that he shows me.

The Tow-N-Stow looks like it is a great solution for the townhome dweller of the modern urban city. Have a garage, but don't have a truck?

Interesting resources to reduce the amount of sms you send

If you want to send an email to someone's phone that only has text messaging you can use this handy list of provider gateway's

T-Mobile: phonenumber@tmomail.net
Virgin Mobile: phonenumber@vmobl.com
Cingular: phonenumber@cingularme.com
Sprint: phonenumber@messaging.sprintpcs.com
Verizon: phonenumber@vtext.com
Nextel: phonenumber@messaging.nextel.com
US Cellular: phonenumber@email.uscc.net
SunCom: phonenumber@tms.suncom.com
Powertel: phonenumber@ptel.net
AT&T: phonenumber@txt.att.net
Alltel: phonenumber@message.alltel.com
Metro PCS: phonenumber@MyMetroPcs.com
Centennial Wireless:phonenumber@cwemail.com

I found some of this info from Tech Recipes via Lifehacker, but the real cache is on Notepage

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another Generation of Media Center Adopters left out in the rain

I write about the Media Center experience quite a bit on this blog, and I do for the most part appreciate the elegance of the overall experience. The box that MS paints around what you can and cannot do does make me pine for alternatives from time to time but, for the most part I am satisfied with what I get. Being the owner of several first Generation Media Center accessories, the discontinuation of the new generation pains me not for their overall quality or covetablility[sic], but for the disconnect between the Microsoft death by a thousand OEM's and Apple's "own everything" approach to digital media devices. The Media Center Extender is one area where Microsoft wants others to pickup the ball and run with, but simultaneously competes (original xbox for Generation 1 and xbox360 for the current). Given that the device that they makes is multipurpose (games and media) it is the logical winner in the race for dollars and space in the home, but Microsoft seems unable to take the mantle as sole producers of extenders. I am all for the OEM opportunity, but it feels like the partners get drug along so that the products in question are really repackaged Microsoft reference designs.

The partners do not get any positive out of these products that I can tell, and given the closed loop nature of these things it seems unlikely that Microsoft will change their stance anytime soon and release the Software Sled and let us figure out the integration bits. As long as the extenders are based on Windows CE, the experience will be lacking and the rise of the Intel Atom should be enough to convince them that an device like the Apple TV with a stripped down OS customized to the task, offers some very interesting price performance opportunities. I think that the computer as appliance is starting to take root in Microsoft, just look at the Windows Home Server. This is the type of product that HP can get their arms around, design software that extends it, and offers them and the customer competitive advantage. I hope that this round of failure opens Microsoft's eyes. Release the Soft Sled, we know it either has been conceptualized or is in use internally and recognize the opportunity for the Microsoft Media Center Integrated Consumer Experience.

Learning about making decisions

If you have never heard of Ted Talks I question whether you live under a rock or not, but here is one about decision making, and how we trick ourselves or allow ourselves to be tricked into making decisions because of extraneous information.

Acer easystore, do want

Acer has been up to some good here, I think this product looks nice and is pretty price competative with everyone else. I doubt that it will have the software integration stack that the HP's have, but looks like it fills the Windows Home Server gap quite nicely.

Grilling season is upon us

With a few very nice days in a row here in the Pacific Northwest I thought a summer style post was in order. BBQ Sauce, know it love it and learn how to make it. I pulled this recipe from this site, but it is pretty much how I have been making mine whenever I get around to making it.

Basic Tomato BBQ Sauce

1 regular can of tomato sauce
1 can of tomato paste
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons onion, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon cayenne
fresh ground pepper to taste

I also add liquid smoke, and the vinegar that I use is Aceto Balsamico from Sotto Voce. The spice of the vinegar really livens up the BBQ and I think it tastes fantastic on Chicken. Also a note on chopping the onion, you don't want to be able to distinguish that this is onion when you are done so get a sharper damn knife.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

HP X5400 Media Center Extender

Product Features

  • Use it in any room with a TV and network connection (approved 802.11a/g wireless access point or router
  • Stream digital media/PC right to your television
  • Pause, replay, and record live TV
  • Wirelessly connect your digital media/PC to your home stereo
  • requires HP Media Center PC with HP Digital Entertainment Center and 2.8 GHz or faster CPU

Recorded for posterity, all information came from this Amazon.com page

Creative Labs Zen Portable Media Center

Product Features

* Watch up to 85 hours of movies, recorded TV or home videos
* Store and listen to over 9,000 songs
* Carry and enjoy tens of thousands of photos; Up to 7 hours of video and up to 22 hours of music
* Large, high resolution 3.8" TFT LCD Screen
* Removable rechargeable battery for up to 7 hours of video or 22 hours of music

Post is for posterity reasons, all information was pulled from this Amazon.com page.

Samsung Yepp YH-999 20 GB Portable Media Center

Product Features and Technical Details

Product Features

  • Stores up to 20 GB of audio and/or video, in MPEG4, MP3, JPEG, and Windows Media formats
  • 3.5 TFT LCD display
  • Connects to a TV through composite output port
  • USB 2.0 compliant
  • Rechargeable li-ion batter

Post is for posterity reasons, I pulled all information from this Amazon.com page

Monday, May 18, 2009

California Rep to software devs:work somewhere else

According to Electronista a California Representative wants for all software that could potentially share files with anyone (FTP programs qualify) to have a notification that requires the user to consent that they understand their files may be shared by using this file. The idea is that by forcing the users to accept that they may be sharing every time they open the application.

Aside from the insane probability that this is remotely enforceable on anyone but in state developers, nobody reads modal dialogues. Not even nerds like me.

I believe that this will die horribly, but the problem here is that people just want a way to fast track suing customers (or potential customers) for downloading rather than trying to figure out how to monetize those transactions. Music, Movie and many more industries lost track of opportunities, and someone stepped forward with solutions to consumer desires. The trouble is though the solutions where easy and free, they where illegal. If they content creators/owners had offered something better for a reasonable price (the drm ladened versions with heavy handed enforcement did not meet this criterion) then they would not have to sue potential customers.

California wants developers to develop in a different state apparantly. Hey San Fransisco/Silicon Valley, Washington will take you!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The rise of Good enough products

As an avid technology geek, I love new toys. I like the way that companies constantly push the boundaries on computing, newer, faster, smaller etc. One thing I notice is that the leading edge the price seems to stay the same, or in some cases (high-end home storage solutions) go up incrementally as the power of the solution goes up Qnap's new iSCSI is an excellent example. There is an interesting additional feature of the new, shiny plastic age, the trailing edge's constantly cheapening low cost, sort of like the good products. These good for the price products are the spam of the physical world and while sometimes they offer some joy for the hackers to tear apart and remix into everyday life, more often it is just functional enough for the price to pass for a product that you actually would want. The Kirf phones are an excellent example of the close but not quite products that I am talking about. Many PMP's out of our friendly Asian neighbors that mimic, mime and sometimes even manage to upstage the large electronics brands also fall into this category. None of the linked ones are as versatile as the product that they mimic (or as available in the case of some Korea or China only ones) but for the money $73usd for the 7in Media Player (usd/cny rate may vary) that is probably better than the Media Center Portables I bought, it certainly supports more formats than MC portables ever did. In some ways I applaude Apple's limited product line in so far as it limits product spam. They only offer a few models of each item at a given time, which gives them pretty nice flexablity on inventory and manufacture. I am not sure that every company could sustain with their own OS and be viable, software mono-culture has more perks than detractions (virus's be damned).

I suppose the "me too", almost the same spec with virtually no product differentiation products are getting under my skin because they are not driving invention just copying. They are the reason that I ran a 700mhz PIII until the HD died just recently, as the main day to day use computer. It was good enough. It ran xp fine, I could play youtube on it and do most of my day to day usage needs on it. Hell I ran a JEOS ubuntu django server on it for a while, I used it to stream music with ORB, and ripped dvd's. It was the primary storage for the majority of my Raw vob's when I started to convert all of our movies for my wife's iPod. It wasn't fast, and I had 4 other machines working on it at the same time, but it did the work well enough. I as able to decrypt 1 movie for every 1.5 I did on a P4 3.2ghz with a sata drive. 700mhz vs 3.2ghz and the faster was only able to complete a real world task 1.5x's faster. Sometimes good enough is good enough, I just wish that the Japanese product churn strategy had not become the modous operandi for the electronics industry. We see new models so fast that corporate IT's standardization model falls apart in the 3-5 year ownership cycle, and consumers are unable to decide what is the best product becuase every model is turned over in less than a year. There isn't time to find the flaws before you have a new model out that replaces the old model.

In example of this I have a Dlink DGL-4500 router that is very nice. It has a firmware bug that makes it so after you disable the wireless you cannot save any more settings without a factory reset. This is a 1 year old router with a 5+ month old bug, that I doubt is going to be fixed. Dlink sees the customers that may be lost as a casulty, and has moved on to newer DIR model routers. Early adopters be damned. I am mostly happy with the product, but frustrated that the way I intended to use this router adversely affects its ability to function.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Government works for industry, not the people... Again.

Damn it Biden you are the emperor Palpatine of the Obama administration and I think we all know it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kauffmann.org video about entreprenuers

Below is a trasncription of the video found here. I realize it is a little out of keeping with normal tech items, but I wanted to refer to this in response to outsourcing conversations. It is primarily about economics of the current financial crisis, but I wanted to use it as a touch stone for other thoughts. If I mis-typed a section or mis-spelled a name or event please leave a comment, I will fix it and give credit.

Its a great pleasure to be here and I am honored to deliver this years Schumpeter Society lecture. When I agreed to be your speaker nearly a year ago who could have foreseen that we would find ourselves this proximate to Joseph Schumpeter's nightmare. Schumpeter who had lived through the Viamar horrors and witnessed the terror of Soviet style Political economy, experienced the Depression and seen the chaos of WWII worried more than any other modern economist about what might be called the fragile condition of capitalism. Prior to these last two months his pressing concerns where considered the the antique and curious addendum to a life's work focused on the ability of the economy to renew itself through the exertion of entrepreneurs driving the process he famously described as "creative destruction". To have called together an audience together to discuss the instability of capitalism let alone its demise would surely have been a fool's errand.

Today we stand on the edge of a frightening economic drama. The conceits of modern economics that the government has appropriately designed counter cyclical tools or that our central banks have shown through their competence through six decades, the ability to bring forth an increasingly stable world wide market for credit or that our securities markets have developed tremendously sophisticated and effective ways to evaluate risk such that these markets are increasingly rational have all been revealed to be largely conventional wisdom rather than settled truth. We have wrapped ourselves in an intellectual security blanket sewn together by our brightest economist and many of their mathematically gifted progeny, the quants of wall street. If Schumpeter, who respected the power of mathematical empiricists more than most where here today he might be asking two questions: What caused this crisis? and is it endemic of to the nature of capitalism itself?

Beneath these questions would lurk his dark curiosity about whether capitalism can survive what could be a reaction that proves fatal. While reasonable persons might differ as to the specifics of the cause of what is likely to be remembered as the financial crisis that began to show itself in 2008 and as to its end point I'll talk about that in a few minutes. There can be no doubt that at its base the question was the housing credit markets. The meltdown has revealed much about the ability of financial entrepreneurs to make risks so opaque that institutions built on trust have vanished overnight. But the beginning of this problem lies with government and not with private markets. By now we are all somewhat acquainted with the role Fannie and Freddy played in this drama. Created respectively in the "New Deal" and "The Great Society" these institutions interestingly known as government sponsored enterprises (sounds rather European) came in to existence to make the market for house mortgages more liquid by providing a secondary market place. Two such entities exist because in 1970 the congress thought that Fannie needed competition in the interest of efficiency. We know and have known for a long time that even after passing into public ownership as stock companies both organizations where unduly influenced by the congress which directed them, in what I believe was an ultra vires fashion to make loans without regard to any standard of underwriting. The so called Ninja Loans, no income no job no assets where encouraged under the justification that home ownership should be available to any and all comers. The expanding business of both Fannie and Freddie seemed to support more and more lavish compensation for executives who in turn used substantial discretionary funds to support members of congress. Who encouraged them, on what have on any other circumstance would have looked like a prima facie reckless course, one that violated the public's trust at every single turn. The rest of this story is known at a superficial level by most everyone. Simply many mortgage bankers, brokers, builders, commercial bankers, investment bankers, portfolio managers, home owners, and housing speculators all saw an opportunity to profit and thus the scheme continued. The bubble unraveled when markets became saturated and house prices began to erode. Suffice it to say that the absence of traditional due diligence on individual loans and portfolios of loans became evident when mortgage defaults occurred and credit was called. The rest of the story is the history we are caught in today.

While this drama is hardly over, it is time to think about what happens next. By this I do not mean to discuss the short term issues and proscriptions. That is a province of a gang of experts who should be by now defrocked, but the same faces keep showing up on television. These are the economists and financial guru's who told us just a year ago the housing let down would be gradual, that there was not much of a nexus between the housing economy and the quote unquote real economy; and oh yes for good measure these are the people that told us we would never see oil trade at less than $100/barrel in the rest of our lifetime. My focus today is on Schumpeter's second question however, namely "What can be done to save capitalism from what is likely to be a fatal reaction?" First however we must consider capitalism itself from several perspectives. Obviously it has proved itself to be enormously robust. It has adapted to all kinds of assaults. We have seen capitalism reviled and displaced by the Soviets. We have seen it stunted in Europe by regulatory approaches, such that it can no longer deliver growth and we have seen it employed by socialist regimes to revivify autocratic political systems.

Some ideologues are ready to consider these outcomes entirely acceptable, a perspective that is entirely justified by the spreading notion that free markets tend to produce more negative than positive outcomes. The externality of pollution alone is enough to drive many from the church of capitalism. And a rather fully developed alternative orthodoxy is always at hand; it is the belief held with near religious fervor that growth itself is bad. An array of abuses, genuine abuses from exploitation of workers in the underdeveloped world to overfishing the worlds ocean, to oil as a necessity for advanced economies as being the ultimate cause of armed conflict among nations served in part as the basis of this system of thought.

Now Schumpeter foresaw such criticisms and as mentioned had seen their antecedents play out across the world. He vigorously embraced capitalism not as a reaction, it was not the second best solution to the unproductive reality of Utopian economic planning. Rather, Schumpeter saw capitalism as the foundation of two complementary forces. The first was economic expansion, and the second was its role in protecting individual freedom. For Schumpeter to sacrifice one was to imperil the other. Or more starkly Schumpeter foresaw the only way freedom would be ensured to any individual was in a growing economy. Political freedom depends on economic expansion. In our own times Amartya Sen has set this duality in the context of a developing economies, where he says that expansion is synonymous with the birth of freedom in the developing world. Now to make the case for growth would be superfluous here. Suffice to say that in the last 25 years the world has seen poverty in rapid retreat for the first time in human history. Over 20% of the worlds poor have escaped poverty as a result of economic expansion in only 25 years. Quite obviously to those who have been so fortunate enough to have climbed out of poverty the potential of freedom becomes concrete in an inarguable way. No longer do these fellow members of our human family fear starvation and death; for the first time they can see the path and start the journey for themselves and the ones they love to achieving their own creative potential. Their own human creative potential, and to enjoy earned personal dignity. If we had only the last 100 years as evidence we would have indisputable record that only only free markets have made gains on poverty and expanded individual liberty. Only capitalism can make wealth and liberty at the same time, and of course capitalism can expand welfare faster than any other social or economic order ever tried or ever experienced.

But you have detected my concern that a future where growth and freedom continue to jointly secure each other and anchor expanding civil society is not certain. Humans appear to have a need to develop alternative views of economic reality. There seems to be an endless capacity to see the market and its workings, the appropriate role of the state, and the best interests of the individual in idealistic, Utopian or romantic ways. It seems that when economic contractions occur in their certain, ye1t unpredictable way that the critique of capitalism itself becomes progressively more powerful and more shrill.

Why is this?

There are two answers. Schumpeter and Mancur Olson provide an institutional perspective. Schumpeter saw that capitalism's very success allows rich societies to use government to relax the impersonal rules that govern markets. Creating new rules that buffer citizens from risk taking and failure. Government invents for itself the task of mediating market outcomes. Schumpeter saw this formulation emerge in Bismarck's welfare state. The elite in the face of Bolshevism secured its position by causing government to operate as the dispenser of new social benefits. Now Olson describes a peculiar American and current Schumpeterian twist that capitalism would be threatened by a federal government captured by interest groups who secure for themselves through regulation, protection from unfettered market outcomes. And while major industries are skilled at getting rather passive regulatory shelter many groups have become competent at securing direct subsidies for their benefit. Government is a continuously active trasnferer of monies to their cause. This includes the obvious commercial interests such as farmers and petroleum producers, earmarks is the current metiƩr, but other petitioners including aggrieved groups of citizens operating under the theory that government must "level the Playing Field" by dispensing compensatory social welfare benefits. The germ of the housing crisis as mentioned is just such a case. When thoroughly corrupted in such a way free market capitalism can easily be seen as a system that ought to be overthrown. It has been made to work unfairly. Government becomes the agent of subverting fair outcomes, at least as measured on traditional scales of return to work and probity in managing ones personal finances. When a crisis is at hand and various private interests such as these are revealed the barnacles of capitalism's warped institutional forms operate to drag it to the bottom.

Now there is a second perspective if you will as to why it works this way, I believe the answer comes from what might be called the realm social psychology. Certainly since the new deal American's have come to see governments somewhat as the ultimate protector of their financial security. In fact the evidence of government behaving this way during The Depression is actually quite thin, much of the evidence of governments actions during the depression served to greatly increase the suffering of millions of Americans. The second depression of 1937-1938 is universally understood to have been induced by Roosevelt's attempts at manipulating the monetary system. It was Lyndon Johnson who understood this fiction about the New Deal, and sensing the opportunity of an enormous economic expansion largely provided by President Kennedy's extraordinary tax cuts, sought to make real the role of government as economic protector of individuals. The Great Society established a rights based claim on the government resources that was vested expressly in the individual beneficiary. This vested rights approach foreshadowed in Social Security was expanded enormously in transfer payment programs such as Medicare and Medicaid as well as a plethora of subsidy programs including public housing, designed to provide transfer payments to the poor. Taken together and supported by the revisionist institutional fretwork developed as the "new" and "critical" views of American History and Law the gift of our academy. These efforts established government as the necessarily active potter civitas. It determines in legislation, right and wrong, virtue and malevolence. Any unforeseen twist in fate is seen as "someones fault", and governments job is to provide a system of justice that is no longer blind, but compensatory. As Philip Howard has cogently written "there is no such thing as bad luck. Anything and everything with an untoward outcome is someones fault. The law of torts has become the arena in which corporations discover the dimensions of implicit duties of care which have more to do with wealth redistribution than with any rational and more importantly predictable theory of jurisprudence." The very term that once commonly characterized Americans "rugged individualist" has joined an expanding dictionary of impolite usage. Gone are the day with Learned Hand described the risks of participating in society with the indelible phrase "let the timorous stay home". [Possible mistake on the quote it appears that Benjamin Cardozo wrote that.]

So now to the ultimate Schumpeterian challenge:"Can capitalism be saved?"
I believe President Sarkozy proposed a brilliant formulation about a week ago. He said and I quote "The financial crisis is not the crisis of capitalism. It is the crisis of a system that has distanced itself from the most fundamental values of capitalism. Which has betrayed the spirit of Capitalism." The reasons I embrace this quote are many. First, and I do not mean this facetiously it was spoken by a French President. What a short time ago we despaired of France even understanding modern capitalism, Sarkozy does and is courageously engaged in a struggle to rebirth it. Second, his quote comes as it does from a Francophone recalls to us the importance of the entrepreneur, the word itself to the capitalist enterprise. President Sarkozy knows that his countries entrepreneurs are spread around the world insufficient numbers are
working in France itself. Indeed some years ago I heard Gordon Brown at a Bank of England dinner I was at bait his counterpart Minister of Finance with the phrase "If you want to see your entrepreneurs you will have to come to London." Sarkozy knows that to rebirth his economy he needs his entrepreneurs to come home, and alive in his comments is the insight that animates the work that I and my wonderful colleges at the Kauffman do everyday. My partner and College in writing Bob Litan and I have described along with Will Bohmel various forms of capitalism. We argue that igniting the recovery from the malaise of the 1970's and 1980's when the country was at least as dispirited as it is now, and with very good reason. For the youngsters in the room it is hard to imagine mortgage rates at 12% as they where then, that the CPI was running over 12%, consumer price index inflation and the stock market hadn't moved for over a decade. Serious and very dreary times to be sure. [Redacted slightly he stumbles a bit here]Entrepreneurship was the cause of our resurgence from the malaise of the 70's and 80's. Indeed entrepreneurial capitalism is an all together accurate description of the enormously productive period that the last 20 years has become. And before we dismiss our recent history in a bout of instant economic amnesia, we have experienced enormous growth and stable prices for a very long time; and while it can be argued that the relative nominal incomes have stabilized it cannot be argued that the standard of living of every American has increased enormously since 1980. The point is that while the basic rules of trade and supply and demand continued unchanged the ethos of our economy has improved enormously. It was headed in the right direction, we where becoming an economy that as I have said characterized by the phrase entrepreneurial capitalism. Whether it is rational or not we now have an unavoidable sense, totally predictable, totally understandable, among a wide number of Americans that we must have from government more security.

The question is can that impulse coexist with vibrant capitalism. This impulse shows in polling data on health insurance and on jobs. How else could an essentially false argument on the shipping of jobs overseas prove to be so politically powerful? Thus if we are to advance capitalism we must develop a new approach to protecting Americans. I would like to suggest that we call this a new form of a safety net. The challenge is we must figure out how to gain some expansion of security without making government bigger or more intrusive or more powerful or by attenuating an individuals responsibility to attend to his or her own welfare. This is some job. I believe that this is what most Americans want however at the same time they distrust governments enormously. A recent poll the Kauffman Foundation Commission shows that the current crisis is seen by most American as being caused mostly by government and specifically by the Congress. So how is it we square our hope that government will protect us when we don't trust government? It becomes yet more confused because respondents also said that government can't solve the economic the economic problem. Over 80% of respondents said that private firms must get us out of the economic ditch we are headed into. Moreover our polling tells us that nearly 70% want to create businesses, and want to work for themselves. Incidentally this data is only 3 weeks old this week. How can people be so upset with the situation and still have such great faith in themselves, and while they say government must help they profoundly distrust government? Our college students want to be entrepreneurs, they still do. About 70% of students in college say they hope to start a business in their life times and work for themselves. The problem President Sarkozy faces is that after decades of government domination of his economy, and economy that has grown roughly 1% for several decades, his nations college students overwhelming report that they hope to secure a government position for the rest of their life.

So how might we work to forestall Schumpeter's worst dream? Many ideas must be considered, and I will propose 4 that if aren't the most important starting points are at least worthy of thought. The first is that repairing our economy cannot be done by focusing on bankers greed on Wall Street. While there was plenty of that to go around today's problem is first and foremost one that Congress itself created when it sought to change the very nature of risk related to assuming mortgage debt for householders. To proceed on a course of developing a series of complex innovations and regulations for banks and the mortgage market will overlook the problem entirely, and to suggest a particularly clinical view of it I think this political drama will be meant to distract from what the cause was ultimately. One year ago and three years ago there existed all the regulatory mechanisms and all the statutory authority needed to have stopped this crisis from happening. The congress was expressly subverting existing regulatory regimes of the securities and Banking markets in a non-legislative attempt that is aggressive oversight, that's the vehicle to widen home ownership to persons who it turns out could not afford the homes they where encouraged by the government to purchase. Now consider before we go off in a regulatory direction, the Sarbanes-Oxley response to the Enron, Worldcom scandals at the beginning of the decade. Again all the regulatory authority needed already existed in the SEC's enabling statues as revised and amended for the year 2000, but a costly and ill considered regulatory innovation was brought forth in Sarbanes-Oxely. Congress in the space of a few months apparently relying on people who didn't know the essence of the problem, (Causes one to pause here and remember that three weeks ago Sunday the solution to this crisis was completely different from what it was last Sunday.) managed to create legislation that had as nearly all such sweeping legislative reforms attempt to do, or such reforms have always had, hugely unforeseen consequences. Perhaps in the context of Schumpeters vision of how economies work best, the most severe was the dampening effect on public financing for young firms. Sarbanes-Oxley is the main reason that young firms no longer go public, or if they go public they don't do it in the United States; the ipo has as the dodo bird become an extinct species. This discussion tells us of the enormity of the challenge of saving capitalism. Regulatory delegation has always held the potential operate in a way that contravenes the fundamental tenants of democratic government. When the congress effectively reascends its delegation and actively engages in the making of market signals and creation of specific rules, which it does through its developed new approach which we call aggressive oversight, it vitiates the thesis of why it is a Democracy could tolerate and trust regulation in the first place. Namely that non-partisan experts would know best how to oversee complex terrain when markets and social interests collide. Thus for capitalism to work well we must re-establish and respect the doctrine of delegation. Regulation is not the solution to events such as those that have been unfolding.

Role clarity between the Legislative branch and the invented fourth branch, the regulatory branch is the very first step. This is an objective that the federal courts must recognize. The second step should be protecting Legislators, excuse me, regulators from the illegal and thoroughgoingly unwholesome influence of of legislators. The SEC could have stopped Enron and Worldcom from happening, the Treasury the FED and the SEC could have stopped the housing crisis from happening. Our regulators no longer operate under the the cultural precepts that William Landas had envisioned, fixed terms, judge like probity, public spirited experts interesting in advancing the common wheel. Perhaps longer terms and and an absolute bar on subsequent work in the regulated industry may be a step in this direction. Second we must appreciate that we cannot afford all that we seem to think we can buy if only government buys it for us. Taxes used to be the real time cost of government, easily understood, easily comprehended, and somewhat easier to pay. In the last 4 weeks we have further mortgaged ourselves to the future. Speaking as an economist that means we will not be able to take advantage of opportunities that lie ahead and worse we have a debate underway about buying in the public sector solutions that are no longer appropriate to modern times. Take health care for example, an area where I once upon a time had some claim to expertise, the discussion about governments role seems to focus always on the expansion of the model of Medicare and Medicaid. Now no one would design these programs this way today, no one. So why would we compound the error by making these obsolete health care payment solutions the basis of tomorrows promise. Remember that with the debt load we now face governments new safety net must come with a smaller, less costly government. That will require the solutions of entrepreneurs actually, we can do better than we did in 1965 when we think about protecting the nations health. For heavens sake we can bring forth thousands of better ways to deliver medicine than we did in 1965, surely we can come up one better way to share the costs between citizens and their government if this is the appropriate way to proceed. From my own perspective worried about the economic entrepreneurial eco-structure, the absence of health care has become a major bar to people taking the risk of leaving a large company to pursue their dream. Let us also appreciate that globalization has been critical to the expansion of the American entrepreneurial economy. There are students in this city and in this university who have business running that are global from the day they start, they operate on the internet. We gain jobs more jobs from all the jobs we ship overseas. Wouldn't it be nice to have a fact based discussion about on this from politician from both sides? If we turn inward, we will see a depression when we look in the mirror. We will have fewer jobs at home as we attempt to deny the jobs we send abroad. But more importantly will effectively cut ourselves off from the tremendous talent that the world sends to America every year, and that we need in America to fuel our recovery and to defend and expand capitalism as an example to the rest of the family of nations. It may not be well received what I am about to say, but never the less I believe that we should encourage hundreds of thousands of the worlds smartest students to come to the United States to Study, and as they graduate and if they hope to become citizens they should be receiving their citizenship papers the day they graduate.

Let me close with a consideration of the risks we face. The first is the loss of opportunity that happens every time our economy slows. Let me say that again, the great risk we face is that every time our economy slows we loose opportunity we can never capture again. The criminal tragedy of this downturn is that it could have been avoided, we where smart enough to make it happen and some where smart enough to call for its cure at a time when it could have been managed without the terrible losses, we will all carry for many years. Let me be a bit more concrete in the context of lost opportunity. Today roughly 1/3 of all our Gross Domestic Product, that is about 1 of the 3 percent that we have been growing for the 100 years is now attributable to the creation every year of about 1000 high growth firms. Each year in the United States we birth about 600,000 firms 1000 go on to become our high growth firms. So our whole 1/3, the growth sector of the economy rides on the ability to start these firms. These firms clearly fewer than 30,000 in number account for nearly all the job growth in our economy. Over 70% of jobs created in this economy every year are in firms less than 5 years old.

Whatever we do, entrepreneurs who start these firms cannot be scared off. If next year we only birth 500 of those firms, in my own view we is would be lucky to have that number, that is 500 firms, potentially 1 whole 1/2 a percent of gross domestic product that is lost not next year it is lost forever compounding year after year after year, the unending impoverishment of America. Whatever we do entrepreneurs must be encouraged, they can't be scared off. Our tax regime, our regulatory structures, our emerging views of risk and the obligation of individuals to commit to the market success by advancing their own self-interest are all parts of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that is precious to our future. Schumpeter tells us loud and clear that the most important citizen is not the politician, nor is it the big business man, nor is it the banker on Wall Street, they are important but they are not central to the renewal of democratic capitalism, they don't do it. That role that burden that honor falls to our fellow citizen that in the face of all the challenges that we see all around us are ready to undertake the pursuit of what entrepreneurs do. They birth the new, they create our jobs and they make the wealth that will be more necessary that ever before to purchase the future that will be worth living. Thank-you