Friday, January 29, 2010

Can't wait for your own ipad, make a demo unit

Need to know if the iPad is right for you? Can't wait 60 days to find out? Make a 1:1 model. Don't forget to make it the correct weight. Like so:

Also, don't forget the apple logo on the back, orientation is important here:

Now carry it around everywhere you go and see how it fits in your life style. Here it is in the car:

My impression? It feels pretty heavy. Seems like for a book it is on the heavy side. For video and web surfing it is far less weighty than a laptop.

Screen size is huge. Likely just right. I'd really like to see it in person.

Thanks to Brandon for modeling.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Becoming an activist

During the last major election, when Obama was elected, I did some work for democrats. Phone calls and such. Actually I did some calls for move on four years before that as well.

Recently we moved to Carrboro. We chose our house, in part, because across the street is a huge forest with no paved trails in it. We've been in there a lot. I've marveled at some vines larger than my thigh climbing up some very large trees. It's an impressive place. It's also a place with impromptu to steam crossings, steep hills (some difficult), and my favorite: rope swings

Where we moved from (Cary) there is almost nothing like this. All the trails there are nicely paved and manicured. We got claustrophobic there and marveled at our good fortune at finding a place where things are just not like that.

So it was with great shock and sadness that I learned late last year of a plan to pave a trail next to Bolin Creek all the way from one end of the forest to the other. To be sure this would make it easier to get from point A to point B. But when I saw the consultant's report, with only one alternative given, with the black and white before vs. color after photos (complete with Disneyfication), I got angry. Then I got active.

I helped form Save Bolin Creek. We have a blog, a facebook group, Yahoo groups for email, and an online petition. Never having done anything like this I have no idea where this will go, or what will happen. But I'm willing to find out.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mentoring sometimes means peeking

Just heard of a netlist extraction script that took 3 hours to complete. If you’re not familiar, we’re talking about removing 10k or so of text from a 50-100 megs of text. Should this take 3 hours?
Lets see, search all the lines for the module in question, remove lines until the end of that module.
No, that should not take 3 hours. So why does it? The answer we got is that an intern wrote the script and its performance, due to algorithm choice, degrades exponentially with file size. Huh? How did that get released to the general population? Sure it works, but 3 hours for something that should take minutes is a glaring error in algorithm choice.
This tells me that this intern’s mentor didn’t do a good job. Mistakes in algorithm choice are common with green engineers. Mentors need to look out for that and need to pay close attention to an intern’s work. Algorithm review, code review are all required to ensure a good final result.
In this case the result was not good. I blame the mentor.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

OK GO on the music industry

Hmm. Remember OK Go's really cool Treadmill Video? That was awesome, and now business schools study it to learn about viral marketing.

Nice going OK GO. With their second album they can't do that. EMI won't let them, sort of. EMI won't let youtube allow the video to be embedded. In an open letter, OK Go explains why.

For some reason other sites can allow it to be embedded, like so. Enjoy.

OK Go - This Too Shall Pass from OK Go on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hey ars, Qualcomm's Scorpion is not a Cortex A8 processor

The tech blog gets a lot of stuff technically right. But as they do in their latest post, Google at the crossroads: a review of the Nexus One, they often incorrectly refer to Qualcomm's Scorpion CPU as a "Cortex A8".
With a 1GHz Snapdragon (ARM Cortex A8) processor, it should have enough power to get through nearly any task that a mobile user might throw at it.
Scorpion is not a Cortex A8. Cortex A8 refers to ARM Holdings Inc's implementation of their ARMv7-A cpu architecture. As one of handful of companies holding an ARM architectural license, Qualcomm has built its own "clean sheet" implementation of the ARMV7-A architecture. That means it is instruction set compatible - but not that it is a copy of the Cortex A8.

A fair review none-the-less! Go Snapdragon!