October 29, 2008

Travel + Nanowrimo = Madness

Long time egofood readers might remember that I took part in NaNoWriMo about 4 years ago, writing the truly awesome 'Bruce Napoleon, Vampire Veterinarian'. No, don't remember it? Really? It was a New York Times bestseller!


Ok, so I'm kidding about the times...and the nobel....and that whole 'awesome' adjective. 

Anyhow, here's what I'm faced with in November: Late Halloween night, I fly to Israel by way of Newark, and then back again, then in mid November, I fly to Minneapolis. This adds up to about 40 hours in the air. If I can write 1250 words per in-air hour, I could meet the 50k word requirement for NaNoWriMo pretty quickly.

The real question is if I can find an inspiring enough tale in my head to write. Between work and family including I've been pretty ...well...uncreative is a charitable way of putting it. Let me paint a picture for you...If you use chess as a measure of higher brain function, I was rated approximately 1600 about when I started at Google, but over the last year, according to chessmaster, I've dropped below 1000. I basically took almost 3.5 years off from playing between the masters and the new baby so its an interesting before and after measure.

Similarly, I've not been blogging much, and its not writers block so much as merciless idea cost cutting. I ask myself before every post "Is this worth writing at all? Who will care? Will someone else blog about it? Do I care enough about idea X to want to express it?" It's been surprising how often the answer has been 'no'. For instance, at Google, we have released about 10m lines of code this year, and I've blogged about that on our official blog and let the rest of the blogging world and press handle it from there. They got it mostly right, so I'm mostly happy.

What did they miss? Well, some clearly didn't understand the security model, others, how open source licensing works and how it interacts with a formerly incredibly closed industry. How far HTC, Google and T-mobile are pushing openness in the space, and it is so very open compared to previous offerings. It's not 'rms' open yet, but I can see a day when we'll be there, and it'll be sooner than later.

Also, the war mentality in the technology press is so pervasive I halfway expect technology related PTSD articles to start coming out. G1 vs Apple, G1 vs Symbian, G1 vs Freerunner, G1 vs your mom, etc... It's incredibly tiring and shows an ignorance of the vast opportunity for truly open technologies and even the bare opportunities in the cell industry for smartphone overtaking the old barebones phones.

To expand: There is os much on-die capability available for so little money that all phones should soon be smart phones. Since the parts cost of a proprietary cell os is significant in the bill of materials, all phones will consider open baseline operating systems like Android and in a few years, Symbian and others. As people replace their barebone phones with new phones, they are more likey to have a smart os and thus there is a ton of opportunity there. So lay off the war mentality. 


More later...

October 2, 2008

Brilliant Science Foo Camp Writeup

John Gibley, one of our guests at Science Foo Camp, has written up his experiences and it gives the reader a great feel for the event.  Science Foo camp is probably my favorite of all the Foo Camps. You leave it with your mind buzzing, you know, and it takes months to wear off. Foo camp is similarly aweomtactular, but Science Foo is nice as its focus is largely away from computer science, where I spend most of my time. 

Anyhow, check out the article, it's really well written.