Saturday, February 18, 2006

Cool Tool: TV-B-Gone

Cool Tool: TV-B-Gone: "tv-b-gone 3.jpg

Switch off thousands of TVs using just one small remote! When you want some peace and quiet in that local bar of restaurant or office all you need to do is hit the TV-B-Gone button. I've used it in bars and clubs, and in the headquarters building of a large South African bank which had too many TV's on the walls and some of which needed to switched off. It really does work.

--Paul Parkinson

[When you press t"

Government efficiency claims questioned by watchdog

Government efficiency claims questioned by watchdog: "y Tash Shifrin
Friday 17 February 2006

Progress towards meeting the �21.5bn Gershon public sector efficiency targets should be regarded as “provisional” because of risks that data has been reported inaccurately, the National Audit Office has warned."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Smart Software: Software Paradoxes: The Cost of Trying Too Hard

Smart Software: Software Paradoxes: The Cost of Trying Too Hard: "Software development is full of paradoxes, the classic of which is Fred Brook’s claim that adding more programmers to a project tends to produce the opposite result of longer development times and inferior products, primarily due to quadratic increase in costs of communication between team members.

Raymond Chen likes to point out that some of the lessons taught in school may actually be counterproductive in the real world. He presented at PDC last year “What Every Developer Should Know,” which I mentioned in my post on algorithmic complexity. Two recent posts of his mention the pitfalls of two common algorithms/data structures with examples from the Windows operating system:

* Splay trees.
* Boyer-Moore searches.

I am actually fond of splay trees, because of their simplicity"

Smart Software: Professional-Looking Documents in Word

Smart Software: Professional-Looking Documents in Word: "nts in Word

One of the touted features of Office 12 is modern, professional-looking documents. Besides having a great UI, Word now provides default settings that will look great. The ones that I have heard about include sensible margins, better fonts, professional themes, coordinated color palettes, and three-step configuration.

Nevertheless, I am still taking a wait-and-see attitude about whether Word can produce professional-looking documents easily. Jensen Harris refers to a promising new document parts feature in Word 12, and some early Word demos show smarter document-handling.

Back in the 1980s, I used at least two different wordprocessors that provided better"

Smart Software: Programming Languages in the Future

Smart Software: Programming Languages in the Future: "In the future, mainstream programming languages will:

* allow base classes to be extended
* eliminate several new classes of errors from the language by design
o accessing arrays out-of-bounds
o dereferencing null pointers
o integer overflow
o accessing uninitialized variables
* introduce new concepts
o dependent types
o dependent functions
o universal quantification
* incorporate Haskell-style comprehensions
* perform lenient evaluation (as opposed to lazy evaluation)
* address concurrency through
o software transactional memory
o implicit data and thread parallelism

So says Tim Sweeney who gave a talk at POPL entitled “The Next Mainstream Programming Languages: A Game Developer’s Perspective“ via Lambda the Ultimate.

04:11 PM in Technology, Weblogs | Permalink"

Smart Mobs: Web Mobs about being and living online

Smart Mobs: Web Mobs about being and living online: "Posted by Gerrit Visser at 01:14 PM

From Germany Klaus Heiner Wolf wrote Smartmobs some time ago about Virtual Presence. Today Heiner got in touch again to tell us that he chose in his writings the term Web Mobs instead of the more cumbersome 'Virtual Presence'. But it is still about meeting people on the Web, on any page. Web Mobs comes from the open source Jabber Virtual Presence Project.

Heiner comments. 'One more word: there is much talk about social software, social web and web 2.0. As I see it, the services emering under these terms are a s 'social' ans live web cams have been 'live'. Remember the coffee pot cam. A new image every other quarter of an hour. What they miss is the people. That's where Web Mobs come into play'."

ResearchBuzz: Wikilaw -- Open Content Legal Resource

ResearchBuzz: Wikilaw -- Open Content Legal Resource: "Hmm. There are Wikis for practically everything else, so why not legal information? At the same time, do I want to go to an open-edit site for information for which I normally pay a zillion dollars an hour to a lawyer? This is a decision all of us can make when we visit

The information here is grouped into several sites, including a law dictionary, case reviews, and a law review site. It doesn't seem that a lot is happening yet; I went to Wiki-Treatise: Ethics, and chose the only entry, Model Rules of Professional Conduct. While there was an extensive outline here, there wasn't any commentary. Same for the dictionary; most of the words I looked at did not yet have definitions."

Techno-News Blog

Techno-News Blog: "ventor Develops Tool to Fight Piracy - John Blau, IDG News Service
Fraunhofer Institute has developed prototype technology to help curb the sharp rise in online music piracy, which, ironically, has been enabled through another invention of the renowned German research group: MP3 audio compression. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Integrated Publication and Information Systems Institute have successfully tested a software system, based on the group's own digital watermarking technology, for tracking pirated audio files in peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, says Michael Kip, a spokesperson for the institute."

ongoing � Don’t Invent XML Languages

ongoing � Don’t Invent XML Languages: "The X in XML stands for “Extensible”; one big selling point is that you can invent your own XML languages to help you solve your own problems. But I’ve become convinced, over the last couple of years, that you shouldn’t. Unless you really have to. This piece explains why. And, there’s a companion piece entitled On XML Language Design, in case you do really have to."

ongoing � On Intel

ongoing � On Intel: "I was reading the big Business Week story on Intel, and it quoted CEO Paul Otellini: “He lays particular emphasis on marketing expertise because he thinks the only way Intel can succeed in new markets is by communicating more clearly what the technology can do for customers. ‘To sell technology now, you have to do it in a way where it’s much more simple,’ says Otellini. ‘You can’t talk about the bits and the bytes.’” This seems deeply wrong to me on a whole bunch of levels. People already know what computers and game consoles and telephones and all the other things with CPUs in them can do for them, and if they don’t, it’s not Intel’s job to explain, that belongs to the people who build the boxes that the consumers slap down their plastic for. Once the buyers understand, they care mostly about price, except for bleeding-edge gamers and other CPU hogs, who perforce do care about bits and bytes. Intel’s real customers are Apple and Intel and Dell and HP and IBM, and I guarantee those guys care about bits and bytes (and wattage), and even more about dollars per unit. So it looks to me like Intel’s charging off in the wrong direction with Viiv and Core and so on. Having said that, I suspect the Intel engineering tribe is maniacally focused on catching and beating AMD, and I wouldn’t want to bet against them in the long term; so they’ll probably do OK."

ongoing � Open-Source Whatever

ongoing � Open-Source Whatever: "Over at O’Reilly, John Mark Walker writes There Is No Open Source Community, and Nicholas Carr, who enjoys decrying, well, anything popular, chimes in with The Amorality of Open Source. They both paint a picture of misguided innocents who believe in some starry-eyed vision of post-capitalist intellectual collectivism, but are actually pawns in the hands of larger economic forces. They’re both really wrong. Granted: Open Source is not a nation or a corporation or a political party or a religion. (While there are “movement people”, organized into the skeptical-of-each-other Open Source and Free Software sects, they are a tiny—albeit noisy—minority.) Absent those things, what is left? A collection of people who like working on software and look for opportunities, preferably but not necessarily paid, to do so. If that isn’t a “community”, what is? And furthermore, I would recommend that Walker and Carr spend some time hanging out in the IRC channels and pizza parties and conferences and mailing lists and wikis where the Open-Source people actually, you know, are. They would discover, now what’s the word I’m looking for... people who actively seek out their own kind, who share jargon and jokes and tools and thought leaders and enemies. The word I’m looking for is “community”. And anyone who thinks that this community would go away if Sun and IBM and Novell and so on were to stop funding it is nuts. Open Source Software is its own reward; that, and hanging out with people who share our passions. We don’ need no steenkin’ economics. Or ideologies either.

Updated: 2006/01/16"

The Occupational Adventure (sm): Do what you know

The Occupational Adventure (sm): Do what you know: "I was listening to Achievement Radio on Live365 and there was a short spot from Eric Lofholm. His message was simple.

'Do what you know.'

How many self-improvement books have you read over your life? They might have been career books, or wealth-building books, or get-in-touch-with-your-soul books, or get-a-better-body books...

Lofholm's message was directed at people in sales, but it is applicable to anyone out there. If you're like most people (including me), you have probably learned ten times over what you need to know in order to fill your world with satisfaction, fulfillment and joy, and thrive while you're at it. Yet we keep buying books and reading blogs and listening to gurus, looking for the answer that will make it happen."

The Occupational Adventure (sm): The benefits of career passion

The Occupational Adventure (sm): The benefits of career passion: "I talk about career passion a lot here, but what good is it really? Why bother trying to incorporate it into your career?

Beyond the fact that life would be a lot more fun (a pretty hefty positive in and of itself), what are the nuts and bolts benefits of tapping into career passion?

I've been giving that a lot of thought of late. I often encounter people who have developed the notion that pursuing passion is somehow frivolous. But the truth is quite the opposite. It is actually one of the best strategic investments you can make in your career, and your life in general."

The Occupational Adventure (sm): 8 steps towards a more satisfying life

The Occupational Adventure (sm): 8 steps towards a more satisfying life: "8 steps towards a more satisfying life

I was perusing the Authentic Happiness site and came across an article from Time magazine called The Science of Happiness. In the article, there was a box containing 8 steps towards a more satisfying life. They seemed worth highlighting here. They are"

The Occupational Adventure (sm): Time management for life transitions

The Occupational Adventure (sm): Time management for life transitions: "No change is going to happen without the time to make it happen. Here's an article with ten ideas for squeezing the time out of your schedule to put towards creating the future you want.

I love the way it starts:

A life transition calls for a new concept of time. You no longer have the luxury of waiting to clear the deck so you can focus on your new goal. You've moved to fantasyland when you say, 'I'll begin planning my transition next month, when I have more time.'"

The Occupational Adventure (sm): Fuel your success with passion

The Occupational Adventure (sm): Fuel your success with passion: "Fuel your success with passion

In my post on the benefits of passion I mentioned that passion, far from being frivolous, is one of the most serious investments you can make in your career.

Why? Let's put it this way. All other things being equal, who has the greatest chance for career success - the person who is on fire about the work they do, or the person who is gritting their teeth and grinding through it?"

Bloglines | My Blogs

Bloglines | My Blogs: "An awareness of your skills is important as you map out your career, no doubt about that, but as I see it identifying your skills is less about defining, 'What could I become,' and more about answering the question, 'What tools do I have to get me where I want to go?'"

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Just posted! Olympus SP-500UZ Review: Digital Photography Review

Just posted! Olympus SP-500UZ Review: Digital Photography Review: "Just posted! Olympus SP-500UZ Review
Monday, 6 February 2006 17:55 GMT <>

Just posted! The six megapixel Olympus SP-500UZ offers a 10x zoom, full manual control, RAW capture and a wealth of photographic and digital features. With a feature list as long as your arm, lots of beginner-friendly scene modes, a predictive AF function, a nice 2.5-inch screen and a 3cm macro mode, the SP-500UZ certainly seems to offer an excellent 'bang for your buck', but is it good enough to compete in such a crowded area of the market? Find out after the link...

Click here for our review of the Olympus SP-500UZ"

Bloglines | My Blogs

Bloglines | My Blogs: "Just posted! Canon PowerShot SD450 Review"

How to Save the World

How to Save the World: "December 4, 2005

Useful Technologies That Are Too Complicated or Geeky to Use

videoeyewearThe market usually sends pretty clear signals about product design. Make it ugly, awkward, too big, or unintuitive to use, and the market will usually reject it. Simple, small and elegant does it. The telephone and the television couldn't be simpler -- though some attempts to improve them (cell phones with hundreds of esoteric functions, the videotape recorder, and most TV guides of both the manual and electronic variety) have been horribly designed. There's an enormous temptation to add features and functionality just because it's possible, easy and inexpensive to do so. But it's a mistake. If there's sophistication, it needs to be hidden under the cover, like in Google search or the iPod. If you need a manual or 'user training', it's too complicated. If the manual is bigger than the product, know.

Here are some very useful technologies that have enormous promise but which have not caught on because they violate these rules. If you're a designer, or work with a company that has good designers, please see what you can do about these -- the world needs simple, small/portable, elegant versions of all of them:"

How to Save the World

How to Save the World: "January 17, 2006

The Economics of Communication and Effective Learning
A couple of years ago I introduced a 'decision tree' on which communications medium to use for which purposes. Since then I've concluded that the decision is more complex, and more often than not involves some cost-benefit trade-offs. Also, I recently had a discussion with my Toronto KM 'Breakfast at Flo's' group on structured versus unstructured information and on the challenges of indexing and searching non-textual information.

We talked about a wide variety of different formats for communications, in written, audio, video and live media. The following table is my interpretation of the consensus that emerged. The cost and impact/value of each format is subjective, and relative -- feel free to copy and edit the table if you don't agree."

How to Save the World

How to Save the World: "January 31, 2006

Finding Where Your Passion, Your Genius and Your Purpose Meet
Recently I suggested that perhaps the best way to decide how you want to make a living was to simply ask Who Needs Your Gift Now? The implication of that question is that your Gift is something you both love (it's your Passion) and are good at (it's your Genius). For many that is easy -- some people I know have known what their Gift is since they were old enough to talk. For others it has been elusive, either because they feel a mis-fit between their Passion and their Genius, or because, for whatever reason, they have yet to discover their Passion or their Genius. This article is for them (or perhaps I should say, for us)."

Column Two: List of features of models

Column Two: List of features of models: "List of features of models

Idiagram has published an excellent list of features that all conceptual models should share. To quote:

Broadly speaking we use the term 'model' to refer to any structured knowledge that accurately reflects and enables us to make sense of the world. Models exist both internally as 'mental models' and externally as 'cognitive artifacts'. Cognitive artifacts can take many forms: written texts, spoken stories, graphs, diagrams, pictures, videos, spreadsheets, equations, computer-simulations, etc. While these different kinds of models vary greatly in their form and function, they all share certain desirable properties."

Business Opportunities Weblog | Smart People Ask Questions

Business Opportunities Weblog | Smart People Ask Questions: "Smart People Ask Questions

Ramit Sethi:

Well, one of the problems (among many others) was this: People rarely ask questions. We rarely ask others for help–sometimes because we don’t know there’s a better way (how would I have known I was cutting the onion wrongly?)–and sometimes for other reasons like preserving our ego. I’m not the only one to point this out: A survey asked corporate employees what the #1 networking mistake was. Guess what it was? Not asking for help."

Communication Nation: The computers you don't see

Communication Nation: The computers you don't see: "The computers you don't see
Embedded devices are the computers you don't see. They're inside more and more things all the time.

Why should you care? Where are these devices and what do they do?

To find out, take a look at the Windows Embedded Universe, brought to you by your friends at Microsoft and XPLANE."

Communication Nation: Visual thinking practice: Letting go

Communication Nation: Visual thinking practice: Letting go: "Visual thinking practice: Letting go
By Chris Brogan

We carry within us a certain need for things to 'look right.' To some, this extends to perfectionism. For others, it can become a bad case of writer's block (or artist's block). This exercise attempts to prove that you are capable of communicating through images based on your willful intent, and not the perfection of the lines you draw."

21st Century Skills

21st Century Skills: "Skip over navigation
Visit the NCREL Home Page

Introduction Frameworks Assessments
Quickstart Skills Resources
21st Century Skills

enGauge� 21st Century Skills:

Literacy in the Digital Age


Download an Adobe� Reader� (PDF) version of the enGauge� 21st Century Skills: Literacy in the Digital Age

Download an Adobe� Reader� (PDF) version of the 8-page enGauge� 21st Century Skills: Literacy in the Digital Age brochure.
Table of Contents

Message to the Reader

Extra! Extra! The World Is Different!

Executive Summary

Growing Up Digital

A Digital Divide

A Digital-Age Economy

Digital-Age Learning

The enGauge 21st Century Skills


Digital-Age Literacy

Basic Literacy
Scientific Literacy
Economic Literacy
Technological Literacy
Visual Literacy
Information Literacy
Multicultural Literacy
Global Awareness

Inventive Thinking

Adaptability and Managing Complexity
Risk Taking
Higher-Order Thinking and Sound Reasoning

Effective Communication

Teaming and Collaboration
Interpersonal Skills
Personal Responsibility
Social and Civic Responsibility
Interactive Communication

High Productivity

Prioritizing, Planning, and Managing for Results
Effective Use of Real-World Tools
Ability to Produce Relevant, High-Quality Products

Glimpses Into 21st Century Classrooms

Kristi Rennebohm Franz's Primary Classroom
WISE: Web-based Integrated Science Environment
Geometry in the Real World
Electric Soup

Getting There From Here

A Process for Bringing 21st Century Skills Into Your Schools

Cross-Match to National Models

What Work Requires of Schools (1991)
Information Literacy Standards for Student Learning (1998)
Technically Speaking: Why All Americans Need to Know More About Technology (2002)
Standards for Technological Literacy (2000)


Cheryl Lemke
CEO, Metiri Group
Ed Coughlin
Senior Vice President, Metiri Group
Dr. Vandana Thadani
Associate, Metiri Group
Crystal Martin
Research Associate, Metiri Group

Gina Burkhardt
CEO/Executive Director, NCREL
Margaret Monsour
Deputy Director, NCREL
Gil Valdez
Deputy Director, NCREL
Cathy Gunn
Director, Center for Technology, NCREL
Matt Dawson
Program Associate, Center for Technology, NCREL
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Disclaimer and copyright information."


enGauge: "enGauge�: A Framework for Effective Technology Use

This site is designed to help districts and schools plan and evaluate the systemwide use of educational technology.

Initially released on December 1, 2000, enGauge� is under constant development based on feedback from field experiences. New resources and features will be added continually.

If you're new to enGauge, we recommend clicking the 'Intro' hexagon above."

Blog Business World - Marketing, Public Relations, SEO, Search Engine Optimization

Blog Business World - Marketing, Public Relations, SEO, Search Engine Optimization: "Making a difference: Changing your world

I heard someone talking the other day about how they felt helpless and they had no influence or control over anything in their lives. They believed nothng could be done to change their own lives or to help anyone around them, whether family or friends.

I was saddened to hear someone speak of being so lost in the world, with no direction, and worse, no hope for the future. It's very likely you have met similar people, sharing that same outlook on life. The sense of hopelessness infects those around them too, as their depression is almost contagious. It doesn't have to be that way."

Blog Business World - Marketing, Public Relations, SEO, Search Engine Optimization

Blog Business World - Marketing, Public Relations, SEO, Search Engine Optimization: "Lifelong Learning: Personal empowerment is yours

How many times have you heard someone say they are too old to learn something new? You might even believe that entirely unsubstantiated statement to be true.

It’s often expressed as “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, or some similar cliche that has little basis in reality. In fact, such falsehoods do less to help people, and do much to hinder them. Instead of encouragement, age is treated as an impediment to learning.

I say it’s about time to stop listening to the cliches. It's definitely time to stop believing in their supposed truth. In fact, these harmful and discriminatory statements of belief can be proved to be false."

Bloglines | My Blogs

Bloglines | My Blogs: "BitTorrent, Inc., has announced a licensing program aimed squarely at spyware and adware trying to ride the wave of BitTorrent's popularity. Is the aim true, and the arrow strong enough?


Bloglines | My Blogs

Bloglines | My Blogs: "The DEMO convention in Phoenix is home to the cool and the strange, and this year's most interesting entry is a robotic dinosaur trying to take the title of Man's Best Friend.


Bloglines | My Blogs

Bloglines | My Blogs: "By Catherine FranzSome people have little difficulty attracting and
maintaining clients who have higher discretionary funds to
spend for solutions. Others can't even get to the first base. If you
are one of those and want clients who can pay more and you
currently aren't attracting them, here is a list of 10
barriers that might be interfering.

Higher paying clients are easier to work with,"

Legal Marketing Blog: “BAD” Advice For Effective Speaking

Legal Marketing Blog: “BAD” Advice For Effective Speaking: "January 24, 2006 Posted By Tom Kane
Comments / Questions (0)
“BAD” Advice For Effective Speaking

With a little play on words, my friend Julie Meyer, the marketing director at Philadelphia’s Dilworth Paxson shares ideas on what to do [B]efore, [A]fter and [D]uring your presentation to make and reap the benefits of effective presentations. Her article appeared on last week. I have added a few thoughts of my own to Julie's."

Bloglines | My Blogs

Bloglines | My Blogs: "VMWare Server is going free. Wow. Mike Gunderloy explains why this is “a market-changing move.” This is great stuff, and it’s not half baked. [Via..."

Bloglines | My Blogs

Bloglines | My Blogs: "Security Concepts Launches World’s Smallest Real-Time GPS Tracker"

Bloglines | My Blogs

Bloglines | My Blogs: "Joel Spolsky talks about some good usecases for online Calendars… My needs are probably weird, but not that weird. Here’s what I need a calendar to be..."

Bloglines | My Blogs

Bloglines | My Blogs: "Small Business Spending Rises Thursday, February 9th, 2006 According to Visa USA, small business spent $4.7 trillion last year. This represents 29%..."

Bloglines | My Blogs

Bloglines | My Blogs: "( early childhood learning ) eBizProjectscom provides project managers a new way of outsourcing and searching for freelance programmers %26amp%3B designers for their projects All projects submitted can be viewed by freelance programmers all over the world who will then place a bid f..."

Bloglines | My Blogs

Bloglines | My Blogs: "Bloggers tout the rise of the netroots as changing how politics works, but will the internet just become a new method of conducting politics as usual?"

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Bloglines | My Blogs
"( microwave hood ) eBizProjectscom provides project managers a new way of outsourcing and searching for freelance programmers %26amp%3B designers for their projects All projects submitted can be viewed by freelance programmers all over the world who will then place a bid f..."

Bloglines | My Blogs
"vermont country store ) 8211%3B The Applied Informatics C%2B%2B Portable Components are a collection of open-source class libraries that simplify and accelerate the development of network-centric portable applications in C%2B%2B The libraries integrate perfectly with the C%2B%2B..."

Bloglines | My Blogs
"( edge exercise bike ) Igor Jese has released new version of MockupScreens a rapid screen prototyping tool which enables you to quickly and easily create screen mockups of your application and organize them in scenarios MockupScreens main design goals are ease of use and produ..."

Bloglines | My Blogs
"( diving holiday ) eBizProjectscom provides project managers a new way of outsourcing and searching for freelance programmers %26amp%3B designers for their projects All projects submitted can be viewed by freelance programmers all over the world who will then place a bid f..."