November 29, 2006

Everything old is new again..

Remember Question Exchange ? It was a little site set up by Hector Gonzalez that was bought by Andover.net (which was bought by VA) back in the late 90s. You don't? It too was an unsuccessful question/answer service that had a non-free model. Yahoo's works because it is both well executed and free, and believe me when I say good for them. Seriously, it's a fun site, but sites that charge for this kind of authoritative generic question answering don't seem to work. Had you heard of Question exchange before?

November 24, 2006

Google Master Plan

As was noted by some folks online, we erased the old master plan. It was a year or more old, and I thought it was becoming crufty, so I proposed we erase it. People asked if we could take some photos before doing so, but everyone thought it was time, provided we had some food/champagne. We ordered the food and had an erasing party. Enjoy it on picasaweb or on flickr. I don't have a flickr pro account, so the highres images are mostly on picasaweb.

59 miles an hour.

Some time ago, I was invited to speak at Linuxworld UK and while I don't speak at the US based Linuxworld's anymore (too businessy, I prefer developer shows), I decided this one was okay as it attracts a more hackery crowd. Once it was known that I was going to be in Europe, a group in Finland asked if I'd give a speech at the Openmind conference in Tampere, I figured....hey....it's all really close to each other. And then, the ACM Reflections group at UIUC asked me if I wanted to speak at their conference, 3 days or so before the Finnish one, so I figured....I could visit the team in Chicago so what the heck.

My itinerary then looked like this:

SJC to Chicago, Chicago to Urbana, Urbana to Chicago, Chicago to Finland by way of Stockholm, Finland to London by way of Stockholm, London to San Francisco. For a total of about 14,000 miles.

It was a lot of fun, I had never been to Finland before, and I thought that it possessed a kind of melancholy beauty (it was pretty rainy while I was there) that I found peaceful. The foreignness of it was exciting in the exciting-but-not-too-strange way that European countries strike me. (I know that makes me sound provincial) Stockholm was nothing more than a quick stopover, so I didn't learn much about that country at all.

One thing that was quite interesting was that Nokia invited a few other speakers and myself to the Nokia Manor, which was a treat, where we noshed on reindeer and talked about GPLv3. The organizers (Hi Petri and Marjut!) were kind enough to arrange a short tour of Tampere and I had a great time.

London was weirder this time than in the past, for some reason I kept running into a lot of drunks. Drunks falling against a pub wall, loud drunks on the street. I don't think this was a function of the neighborhood I was staying in (Belgravia), but more of some cosmic intersection of me, liquor and those predisposed to consume it. I'm not much of a drinker, honestly.

Linuxworld UK was a decent venue and since I was in town, I found my friends at Nature with whom I worked to run the Science Foo Camp and gave a speech at Macmillan's London HQ which became a discussion about Google Book Search. This is slightly tricky as you know, Book search is a fairly controversial topic in the publishing world, but it was a great visit.

So what's this '59 miles an hour' stuff about? Well, if you divide the 14k by the week and a half or so I was gone, I was traveling on average approximately 59 miles per hour the whole trip. Jet lag was hell this trip.

November 20, 2006

Karim Lakhani on Open Source Science

In which my friend Karim presents some information on his research on open source science. Neat stuff. Gotta have him out for science foo camp, I think.

November 5, 2006

Century Cinema Joins AMC in being a place that sucks.

So guess who's showing commercials before the movie now. Yep, Century Cinemas has joined AMC (think bad parking lots and blaring media tie-in music outside) in abusing its audience with 5 minutes of commercials before the , uh, previews (also commercials). I guess the $9.25 we're spending isn't enough anymore to inure us from the extra revenue opportunity.

Well, honestly, I was cutting down on going to the movies anyhow for all but those that deserved a big screen, and even those I can watch at home now that I have a largish lcd tv. Also, those Coke student films that they also run as a commercial after the commercial but before the preview commercials? I'll just say this: If these are the winning entries I'd hate to see the losers.

I honestly used to go to the Century 16 instead of the newer, better designed, AMC theatres because of the annoyance of pre-movie commercials and blaring speakers outside the AMC that bugged me, now Century is no different. Too bad, movies used to be fun to go to.

Also, I make -much- better popcorn.

November 4, 2006

Me on Crankygeeks.

Me Me Me: Crankygeeks, Episode 34 wherein we discuss weighty tech matters. It was pretty fun to do, I have to admit.

A short post on the Microsot/Novell deal.

I've been giving some thought about the implications of the recent Microsoft Novell deal, and while I'm not going to go into a long diatribe about how I do not agree that I need Microsoft permission via Novell to use Samba or much of any free software, I will say this to my open source developer friends at Novell:

The Google Engineering Staff and Open Source teams are hiring.

Email me.