Fiddling while Rome burns…

As usual Maureen Dowd sums it up quite nicely.

Soft Shoe in Hard Times – New York Times

“You know, I guess the best way to describe government policy is like a person trying to drive a car in a rough patch,” he said. “If you ever get stuck in a situation like that, you know full well it’s important not to overcorrect, because when you overcorrect you end up in the ditch.”

Dude, you’re already in the ditch.

Boy George crashed the family station wagon into the globe and now the global economy. Yet the more terrified Americans get, the more bizarrely carefree he seems. The former oilman reacted with cocky ignorance a couple of weeks ago when a reporter informed him that gas was barreling toward $4 a gallon.

top 10 Jackie Chan stunts

You have to be amazed by the skills and bravura of the great Jackie Chan. I always think of him more in the tradition of Harold Lloyd or Buster Keaton than Bruce Lee, I think this compilation of clips shows that.

[thanks to MilkAndCookies.com]

Microsoft, don’t F*ck with my computer without my permission

Just got my first auto-reboot-update. I knew this was possible. A friend of mine worked on the team that decided to implement this at MSFT. However, this is the first time that MS decided that it knew what was right for me and rebooted my machine automatically. RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF AN AUTOMATION RUN, CAUSING A HUGE FAIL. MS chose to do this because not enough people actually use windows update to guard against viruses. So rather than, you know, improving Windows to get rid of the security holes or making Windows Update better, MS decided instead to cram their updates down your throat, which is fine, in theory. That is until they f*ck up an update an it screws up millions of machines. Then it will be happy lawsuit time.

Anyway, if you don’t want MS deciding when it is time to reboot your machine, here is how to turn it off:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555444

iPhone SDK: The carrot for Cocoa, the stick for Flash

Apple has a problem. How do they attract and keep developers on their platform? They created an Apple-only API that requires a variant of C long thought dead. Developers aren’t so keen on having to learn a new programming language that doesn’t give them any advantage over their existing ones and ties them to a platform with a tiny market share. It means re-using code across platforms becomes nearly impossible. It’s just not an attractive prospect. The impromptu surveys done from the stages of the Apple World-Wide Developer Conference continuously surprise the Apple employees that most of their developers prefer to write in C++ even as Apple tries to marginalize it.

So, first Apple announces all these ObjC-only APIs, like Cocoa, Core Animation, etc… They get some converts on some new apps, but mostly the developers ignore the APIs and demand C++-compatible versions (which Apple promises they will never get).

Then, at WWDC 2007, Steve announces that the world of 64-bit is here and tells all Mac developers that it is their duty now to port all their apps to 64-bit. Just as he demanded they embrace Intel and OS X before it. A short while later, Apple announces quietly that it will not support Carbon for 64-bit. Basically, Steve tells the Apple developers that have supported him the longest, “screw you. You do as your told. I’m in charge here.”

Now, if you are an Apple developer, or an aspiring Apple developer, the world of RIAs is getting pretty attractive around this point. It let you step off the Apple crazy train and also embrace all the folks on the iPhone, Linux and Windows too. Plus, the technology around RIAs has grown pretty mature. Soon, you realize that doing this all in HTML is kind of pain in the ass. If you can get it to look right in one browser, it looks crappy in another. You spend all your time fixing your CSS or javascript and very little of it writing code. Something like Flash or Flex start to become pretty attractive. You can get your whizzy UI and not have to sweat the cross-platform or cross-browser problem. Then comes AIR, even better! Now you can have the web experience and desktop experience identical, plus it works when you are offline! Apple hates this.

Apple (and Microsoft for the same reason) wants you locked into their platform. Apple can’t try to kill Flash (a la Silverlight) because they don’t have the adoption (or money) to make it happen. But they can use the iPhone. It’s the coolest device around, the herald of a new class of computer devices, and it doesn’t run Flash. Then, just before the iPhone SDK announcement, Steve comes out and trashes it. Then they announce the iPhone SDK. Anyone see through the BS a bit? “Hey our phone isn’t powerful enough to run a web banner ad, but we can run Spore!” C’mon.

The iPhone SDK looks neat, but Cocoa and ObjC only? That sucks. I’d way prefer Flash or even Java support, at least that way I could release a mobile app with a desktop version that shares some of the code.

I just read 200 undergrad and graduate student resumes

My eyes are killing me.

Why the heck are you cramming so much unimportant information onto your single-sided single-page resume? You make it completely unreadable! Especially when someone (like a hiring manager) is trying to scan through hundreds of scanned pages.

Also, a new tip. Your paper resume will be scanned. It will be OCR’d. If you use tiny text on a background that provides low contrast with your text, no one will call you. EVER.

I found myself starting at the top of the page and letting my eye fall naturally down it. If I couldn’t get enough information to decide if I wanted to actually read it quickly, I just skipped to the next one.

It turns out that a good and specific objective statement is worth more than I ever gave it credit for. It was how I could tell a computer graphics grad student from a business undergrad.

Another question: why do you think anyone cares what high school you went to?

It’s great that you were a summer camp counselor, if I’m hiring a summer camp counselor. But I’m not, and it is just crowding your already crowded resume. Leave it off.

What, you are studying Human/Computer interaction, and you produced a resume that I need an electron microscope to dis cipher?

Sigh…

So, if you found me because you just got e-mail from me to talk about an internship, congratulations! Your resume is legible and clear, or your name begins with a letter from the beginning of the alphabet before my eyes started to glaze over.

Tips for Talks from Rands

I’ve been giving a lot of talks over the last few years, and I’m starting to get better at it. Rands does a great how to on creating a good presentation.

Rands In Repose: Out Loud

I would add one suggestion: go watch presentations from Lawrence Lessig, Al Gore and Scott McCloud. All were really great speakers, some of the best presentations I’ve seen in the slide-deck-style. Another tip: use as few words on slides as you can. The more words you have the less people listen to you and the more they read the screen. I’m working my way towards the zero words talk. I was pretty close in my last one, maybe by my next one…

what the hell is Microsoft doing?

$6 Billion for aQuantive – a company I’ve never heard of with $442M in revenue. Umm… ok. Seems high.

$500M for Danger, a competitor for Windows Mobile written in Java. $56M in revenue last year and has never turned a profit. Uh, who is doing MS’ accounting?

$44.6 Billion for Yahoo! This isn’t a crazy valuation for Yahoo! however, I just found out that MS was going to have to borrow money for the first time in its history to purchase this fading internet darling. Yahoo! hates the idea so much that it is looking to be purchased by AOL or selling off it’s search to Google in order to stave off Microsoft. Way to read the valley culture morons.

Who is the genius behind Microsoft’s acquisition strategy and how the hell are they still employed? 

I’ve got a flickr page

I avoided it for years, but I finally created one. However, given my past of having my photos stolen off my website, I’m not too keen on having the photos public. So, all but 1 are only visible to friends & family. If either of those describes you, contact me through flickr.