Passion and Balance

One key to a successful and enjoyable life is working towards an optimal mixture of passion and balance.

The people who are most fun to be with are those who live their lives with evident and infectious passion for a worthwhile and positive vocation or avocation, yet manage to do that without annoying those around them. When you're with these people, you often want to learn more about their cause or even get involved with their activities simply because they are so enjoyable to be around.

Unbridled passion, however, can be irritating to others or even harmful to the passionate person if it consumes their lives to the exclusion of any other activities. Balance is needed to give perspective to a highly passionate person and to prevent them from bugging the heck out of others.

Knowing what dollop of balance to stir in with a large dose of passion is an art calling for frequent adjustments and self-reflection. Being aware of your impact on others and both soliciting and consciously listening to feedback is Necessary. Most of us look into a magic mirror every day that is seldom a helpful reflection of our lives or our interaction with others. As a friend of mine likes to say, "I shave the face of an 18 year old every morning!" This friend has seen more than fifty years pass by, so his shaving mirror seems to have thaumaturgic properties.

Benjamin Franklin admired and worked on thirteen virtues, one of which was moderation. One website quotes him as saying, "Moderation in all things, including moderation." He was, however, also highly passionate about many subjects and led a unique and varied life. Most of us will not lead lives with near as many interests or recognized accomplishments as Ben, but we can certainly learn from his example.

When we spend time on self-reflection, thinking about our past and future possibilities, we should make sure we have positive areas of passion that give our lives meaning and satisfaction. At the same time it is vital to make sure we have balance in our lives, 'spending' our time on more than just one activity with more than just one circle of people.

A random thought-piece for you to consider reading before thinking more about passion and balance is the essay "How to be more productive" by Aaron Swartz.



Civilian Aerospace: Raw Innovation

Raw innovation is at the core of civilian aerospace.

That innovation is something I, for one, look forward to observing, periodically chronicling, and, with luck, participating in.

Reading the following five recent civilian aerospace articles prompted the writing of this post:

  1. Bigelow Aerospace Sets a Business Trajectory http://space.com/spacenews/070326_bigelow_businessmonday.html
  2. SpaceX Declares Falcon 1 Rocket Operational http://space.com/news/070328_spacex_falc1test_updt.html
  3. Twin Suns Likely in Our Galaxy http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/03/30/MNG8OOUKER1.DTL
  4. Family Trip to Space Museum Yields New Cosmosphere CEO http://space.com/news/cs_070323_cosmosphere_ceo.html
  5. New Mexico, Branson Sign Spaceport Agreement http://space.com/news/ap_070327_branson_spaceport.html
Reading these articles, combined with my absorption over the years of space travel and humans' extra-terrestrial exploits courtesy of Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke and others, has made my neurons, ganglia or other grey matter reverberate, buzz and randomly spark with thoughts of civilian aerospace projects, events and possibilities. Add in the prospect of near-future work with EAA on civilian aerospace and the lure of the annual X PRIZE Cup in New Mexico this fall, and you now have the distinct likelihood of several days being consumed by thinking about, learning more about and organizing activities and projects focused on private enterprise in aerospace. If you're interested in the X PRIZE Cup, consider volunteering to help at the event in Las Cruces this fall. Another volunteering opportunity, at the National Space Symposium, is available 9 - 12 April 2007. Volunteering is generally an effective way to develop and build your network in an area, in addition to helping an event be successful.

If one considers innovation to be successfully developing and bringing new products and services to the market, civilian aerospace has a veritable smorgasbord of innovation awaiting it simply because it is a new arena of enterprise with unlimited potential. Talk about untapped markets and unmet needs... Just monitoring and writing about innovation efforts in this field would be a full-time endeavor for several people. Perhaps the Council For Innovation, EAA, Prodea Systems, Orbital Technologies, and several other organizations will consider a collaborative focus on civilian aerospace innovation.

The thought occurs that an initial goal should be to connect with ten to twenty people in Wisconsin or the midwest who are similarly interested in civilian aerospace, as well as five to ten people outside the midwest. The reason for this goal is to begin finding or developing and growing the civilian aerospace community in this region, with an objective of some Wisconsin in-person meetings both near future and over the coming years. If this sounds like an enjoyable and mind-expanding use of your time, please connect with me and let's work on this!



MinneBar 2007: Minneapolis barcamp

Time for tech enthusiasts, geeks and others passionate about technology to plan for MinneBar 2007 on 21 April 2007.

A message was posted tonight on the BarCampMadison Google Group reminding people of MinneBar and inviting them to come see Minnesota in springtime. The main event occurs on Saturday, but a pre-event is also scheduled for 7 pm, Friday evening, 26 April at LoTo.

Several people at BarCampMadison indicated a desire to participate in MinneBar, so I'll be contacting them individually to confirm they're going. If you haven't participated in a barcamp but are passionate about some area of technology, you should strongly consider participating in MinneBar. Guaranteed -- you'll enjoy yourself, meet some interesting new people and come away from the event eager to participate in the next barcamp!

Organizing needs to be done for the FS3 project to lead two sessions at MinneBar. One session will be focused on the overall project goals and concepts to encourage discussions, suggestions and questions that will help direct and focus the project. If the intro session is successful, we'll also end up with a few more people interested in working on the FS3 project. The other session will be a technical session. It is hoped that by then some of the people involved with the project will have had time to learn a little more about the NVIDIA 8800 and the CUDA SDK.

Another FS3 goal for MinneBar 2007 is to connect with the CS department at U of M, and possibly other colleges in the region. So I'll be looking for contacts at the schools and with recent graduates who know the faculty at those schools. Please connect with me if you fall in one of those categories. We'd like to get them involved with the FS3 sessions at MinneBar.

It might also be interesting to have a MinneBar session discussing ways for the midwest tech community to address the tech worker issue discussed in an article I read today on the Wisconsin Technology Network website. If nothing else, we should be able to build a strong midwest tech community with the tools to help tech people connect with good jobs in the region and help small companies who need additional tech people connect with the right geeks. There's absolutely no reason a tech start-up or a small tech company shouldn't be able to find the right programmers, hardware people or other tech workers they need using the six degrees principles within the midwest tech community.

Mark your calendars for MinneBar 2007. If you need a ride, let people know, and if you have room for one or more passengers, why not make it a fun road trip to the Twin Cities!



FS3: Legal Agreements

This morning's working breakfast with one of the FireSeed Streaming Supercomputer (FS3) advisors was quite helpful in understanding important details of the two primary legal documents needed for the project.

Those two documents are the Stockholder (or Buy/Sell) Agreement and the Employment Agreement.

The primary purpose of these two documents at this stage is twofold. First, the project must have a legal entity which can receive funds for the project. Second, it must be clear to everyone, both inside and outside the project, exactly how decisions are made and what the ground rules are when differing opinions arise about matters related to the project.

Because of the nature of the FS3 project, it is important to have one or more attorneys working with the project be knowledgeable about computing intellectual property (IP) and the high tech industry in general. Depending on the IP developed by the FS3 project and the relative progress made by other GPU-cluster projects, IP could be a very important part of FS3.

One issue of particular interest regarding the agreements is the value of having certain company policies and procedures spelled out in an easily-amendable addendum. This precludes the need for an attorney to review and sign off on the two legal documents each time we change how the project is run. Planning for that addendum ahead of time saves the FS3 project several headaches and more than a few hours of legal time.

During the next project teleconference, we will discuss issues raised this morning about the two agreements. Also to be discussed is the need to get several attorneys involved with the FS3 project. At least one of those attorneys should live in the Milwaukee area. It would also be good to find a Silicon Valley attorney who likes the concept of the FS3 project and wants to work on it.

Once the legal agreements have been developed and finalized, we'll be ready to form an LLC and open a checking account. Need to have an account number to give to the NSF, the DoD, and any other grant sponsoring agencies or private investors who feel FS3 is a worthwhile project and a fantastic or intriguing investment opportunity!

A big thanks goes to the project adviser who met with me today. Having the advice of someone who has been there and done that is much appreciated...



Intriguing Tech News This Week: NN for 27 Mar 2007

There weren't any Huge tech issues in the news this week, but a few non-standard ones popped up. In no particular order they are:
  • The Memjet printer discussed in yesterday's post on this blog
  • The high number of civilian aerospace articles
  • Linux MCE (media center edition)
  • Scribd: YouTube for documents
Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 27 March 02007, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 6:45 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering upstairs at Tom's Drive In, 501 N Westhill Blvd, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA. At the meeting tonight, we'll discuss meeting at a different location for the next NEW NET gathering.

The ‘net

  1. Slow Down, Brave Multitasker http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/25/business/25multi.html
  2. Scribd: YouTube for Documents http://www.scribd.com/
  3. HP goes web 2.0, buys Tabblo http://gigaom.com/2007/03/22/hp-goes-web-20-buys-tabblo/
  4. News Corp, NBC plan YouTube rival http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070323/wr_nm/online_dc
  5. Best Firefox extensions http://lifehacker.com/software/lifehacker-top-10/lh-top-10-musthave-firefox-extensions-246127.php
  6. Many Americans See Little Point To Web http://news.yahoo.com/s/cmp/20070325/tc_cmp/198500549
  7. Web 2.0 Apps: A Pandora’s Box of Risk http://tinyurl.com/ys548m
  8. Growing Trend of Offline Access to Web Apps http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/zimbra_desktop_offline_web_apps.php
  9. Zimbra Desktop To Launch: Full Offline Functionality http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/03/25/zimbra-to-lauch-desktop-application-with-full-offline-functionality/
  10. Jajah signs up 2 million Web callers in first year http://news.yahoo.com/i/1212

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

  1. Lack of Mac malware baffles experts http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2186013/dearth-mac-malware-continues
  2. Judge's decision leaves RIAA with lose-lose situation in Elektra v. Santangelo http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070321-judges-decision-leaves-riaa-with-lose-lose-situation-in-elektra-v-santangelo.html
  3. EFF sues Viacom over Colbert parody clip http://tinyurl.com/yoq6bx
  4. Russian Trojan Built To Bypass Banking Security http://news.yahoo.com/s/cmp/20070324/tc_cmp/198500457
  5. New Trojan calls on Skype http://news.yahoo.com/s/infoworld/20070323/tc_infoworld/87116

Mobile Computing & Communicating

  1. Vonage enjoined from using Verizon patents; stock plummets http://tinyurl.com/ypmrts
  2. For PCs, smaller isn't always better http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070322/ap_on_hi_te/small_laptop_design
  3. Nokia ships N95 phone with GPS http://news.yahoo.com/s/infoworld/20070322/tc_infoworld/87074

Open Source

  1. Linux MCE looks hot http://www.downloadsquad.com/2007/03/21/linux-mce-looks-hot/
  2. Living (and dying) with Linux in the workplace http://tinyurl.com/2mjyss


  1. Google execs counter phone rumors http://weblog.infoworld.com/techwatch/archives/010856.html
  2. Digesting Google’s New PPA Advertising Product http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/03/21/digesting-googles-new-ppa-advertising-product/
  3. Run Google Talk in Firefox Sidebar http://labnol.blogspot.com/2007/03/run-google-talk-in-firefox-sidebar.html
  4. Computer Science 101: A Case Study In Google Applications http://www.informationweek.com/internet/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=198500442&subSection=Web+Development

General Technology

  1. Definition of a hacker http://paulgraham.com/gba.html
  2. WiMedia UWB becomes a standard http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070321-wimedia-uwb-becomes-a-standard-opening-door-for-480mbps-wireless-usb.html
  3. Apple TV Has Landed http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/22/technology/22pogue.html?hp
  4. Ten reasons why you should buy a Mac http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2007/03/21/ten_reasons_to_buy_a_mac/
  5. IBM doubles CPU cooling capabilities with simple manufacturing change http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070325-ibm-doubles-cpu-cooling-capabilities-with-simple-manufacturing-change.html
  6. DRAM Prices Fall as Flash Prices Rise http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20070327/tc_pcworld/130161
  7. Memjet Customers, Roadmap Start Taking Shape http://news.yahoo.com/s/zd/20070326/tc_zd/203931

Leisure & Entertainment

  1. Favorite low-cost Mac games http://www.tuaw.com/2007/03/21/mac-gaming-on-the-cheap-our-favorite-low-cost-mac-games/
  2. 'Peggle' a highly addictive PC game http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/fun.games/03/19/peggle/index.html
  3. Wii game console bowling over retirees http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070323/tc_nm/videogames_retirees_dc
  4. The Onion brings fake news to Web video http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070327/ap_on_hi_te/the_onion_video

Economy and Technology

  1. The community spirit of Yahoo's Fake http://news.com.com/2008-1038_3-6169885.html
  2. Tech Sector Healthiest in over 5 Years http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,2107267,00.asp
  3. Trouble at the Chronicle http://stories.scripting.com/2007/03/24/troubleAtTheChronicle.html

Civilian Aerospace

  1. SpaceX's Second Falcon 1 Rocket Fails to Reach Orbit http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/070320_spacex_falc1_test2.html http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6474021.stm http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon/f2/070320briefingquotes.html
  2. Rocket Man http://www.economist.com/people/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8885970
  3. U.S. software developer set to become world's fifth space tourist http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/03/22/europe/EU-GEN-Russia-Space-Tourist.php http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSL2217665520070322
  4. NASA working on developing new space duds http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/4652974.html
  5. Rocket Revelations http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/03/23/99714.aspx
  6. If N.M. builds it, will space travelers come? http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17790431/

Supercomputing & GPUs

  1. Discussing the many-core future http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/1332461.html



An Interesting Printer

The Memjet printer has printer heads spanning the width of the page, prints 60 pages per minute, and comes from a company founded by a person who has 1452 approved US patents.

It is predicted to improve rapidly, as "...company executives said they plan to increase its output sixfold in two to three years, to a theoretical output of 360 pages per minute from an ordinary printer."

This tech product is either remarkably innovative or a pleasant-looking mirage.

The leap from a single print head to a whole row of print heads is an example of what high-volume production and a new perspective on design can bring to consumers. With, of course, a dose of clever engineering, lots of testing and a willingness to educate the market.

One of the reasons myDigitechnician recommends HP printers is because they use ink cartridges that have ink heads in them. Each time you replace the cartridge, you replace the ink head. Clogged heads are pretty much a non-issue with HP printers.

An important question for potential buyers of Memjet printers is, have the Memjet designers delivered a robust method to either prevent clogged heads or to easily and reliably clean them. Getting a million Memjets in the market will very quickly give the answer.

If the Memjet heads stay unclogged, and systems that deliver ink to the heads are reliable, this new printer design can have a huge impact for consumers. In a catalyst fashion similar to what Gmail did for Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail users, HP, Canon and all the other printer manufacturers will be forced to improve their printer designs.

Two tech questions are prompted by the Memjet article. Why do I have to wait so long for my computer to boot when I can get a 30 page report printed in less than a minute? And what will people do when they unintentionally start printing out a long document at more than 100 pages per minute?



Ad Hoc Tech Projects: Balancing Innovation & History, Passion & Experience

The FireSeed Streaming Supercomputer (FS3) ad hoc tech project is striving for an effective balance of innovation and history, a judicious blending of passion and experience.

Innovations in computer hardware have opened the door for innovations in software. Many people knowledgeable about the computing world feel the slowing of Moore's Law for single-core processors is now demanding innovation in the programming world to effectively harness the power of many-core computers. GPU-cluster supercomputers have a bright future ahead of them, even if we don't know yet just how we'll make the darned things work.

The real question now is how much of the programming learnings over the past fifty years, even for parallel programming of CPU-cluster supercomputers, should be brought forward into the design and implementation of FS3 programming, generic GPU-cluster programming, and optimized programming in general for various mixes of multi-core CPUs and many-core GPUs. Would we be better off with an Ender's Game approach to FS3, bringing in 10 - 18 year old hackers to develop the GPU-cluster programming paradigms under the guidance of more experienced 20 - 50 year old project managers? Should we shoot for a diverse age spectrum of coders working together with the emphasis on finding innovative minds who will try totally new approaches to many-core parallel programming?

One thing is for sure. FS3 will not succeed merely by gathering together a group of coders with lots of industry experience who are approaching the project as just another job. If that approach would work, IBM, Cray, Microsoft, Intel, AMD, NVIDIA and a few other large companies would have already developed reasonably good solutions. And you can be sure they're working on that approach as this post is being written.

FS3 programming innovation is targeted to come both from experienced coders who want to try new approaches to many-core programming and from relatively inexperienced young hackers whose minds have not yet been molded into a single-core CPU paradigm. Finding individuals who meet those criteria is the challenge set before the FS3 project organizers and managers.

Mixed in with this wonderful innovation, however, there needs to be a sprinkling of both history and experience. The FS3 project needs to learn relevant lessons from The Mythical Man-Month, from Dreaming in Code, and from other books which effectively communicate past computing project missteps. Good programmers with a significant amount of experience (ten years?) will have learned valuable lessons that they can pass on to the younger coders, as long as they take the time and interest to establish and build a relationship where the younger project members have a desire to learn from the 'old' crowd.

The last, but essential, component discussed here is passion. Regardless of age, experience, innovative capacity, and knowledge of hardware and software, if the people working on FS3 are not passionate about the project, they are unlikely to contribute much or to work on the project for very long. FS3 is a challenging project for which there are no roadmaps or how-to guides. We will be drawing the maps and writing those how-to guides. And that work will be best done by those who have some fire in them to do something new, to be part of a cool project, and to have fun at the leading edge of computing innovation.

If this sounds like your kind of project, put a comment on this blog, and we'll talk! We're looking for lots of passsionate, innovative hackers who are up for a challenge...



Running Windows on a Mac

At NEW NET tonight, the group discussed and messed around a bit with running Windows on a Mac using Parallels Desktop for Mac.

Neil M gave his educated opinion on why, after only two years of using a Mac, he'd never want to go back to using a Windows machine. After a bit of discussion about why some of us use Windows programs, he started up Parallels Desktop for Mac and showed the group various aspects of using 'Parallels' on a Mac.

In addition to being able to run just about any Windows program (he only has had one program not run well under Parallels), Neil said the Parallels environment runs in a 'sandbox.' This means you can't adversely affect your Mac hardware and software with Windows malware that may sneak in whilst you run Windows programs.

After playing with Neil's laptop for a bit, Lindsay was convinced Parallels is a Good Thing (tm), and it will likely be put on her 'we need this' list. It would be nice to use on the myDigitechnician Mac Mini, but the Parallels system requirements suggest at least 1 GB RAM for reasonable performance, and the Mini has only 512 MB. For pleasantly fast response time, one is probably best off running Parallels with 2 GB RAM.

In the plus column for Parallels Desktop for Mac, it only costs $79. For converting your well-equipped Mac into a Windows-capable machine, that's a price we can live with.

Two articles from 2006, here and here, discuss Parallels and Boot Camp.

Three of the other options for running Windows on a Mac are:
  1. Boot Camp - an Apple product, currently at a 1.1.2 beta version. It's free and provides a dual boot system, with the option at start-up to choose between Mac OS X and Windows. It's not as clean a solution as Parallels, but it's free and might fit your needs.
  2. CrossOver Mac - a CodeWeavers product, currently at version 6.0. This product costs $60 for the general public ($42 for students). "CrossOver Mac will allow Mac users to run their favorite Windows applications and games seamlessly on their Mac. Windows files can be opened directly within your file browser, or from email attachments. No rebooting, no switching to a virtual machine, and no Windows Operating System license required..."
  3. Virtual PC for Mac - a free Microsoft product, but unfortunately it is considered quite slow and a version has not yet been released for the Intel Macs.
The only Windows-on-a-Mac product discussed extensively tonight was Parallels. If anyone wants to bring Boot Camp, CrossOver Mac or other solutions to NEW NET, it would be interesting to compare those to Parallels. I'm also going to contact Jeremy White from CodeWeavers to see if someone from his company will participate in MinneBar on 21 April 2007 and talk about some of the cool aspects of CrossOver Mac or other CodeWeaver products.


NEW NET Issues List for 20 Mar 2007

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 20 March 02007, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 6:45 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering upstairs at Tom's Drive In, 501 N Westhill Blvd, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA. At the meeting tonight, we'll discuss meeting at a different location for the 27 March NEW NET gathering.

Top Two Tech Issues and One Interesting One From The Past Seven Days

  1. Microsoft’s purchase of the voice-recognition company TellMe for $900M - $1B is its largest purchase since 2002 (see Mobile Computing #3 and SkyNet #6). Many people are predicting mobile search and mobile net access will create huge internet and computing changes over the next couple years. Is Microsoft going to lead the way on this, or at least not be left far behind this time?
  2. It was a relatively quiet week in tech, so this week Microsoft also makes an appearance in the number two tech issue for the week with its admission that its OneCare consumer anti-malware package needs more work and “…they shouldn’t have rolled it out when they did…” (Security #4).
  3. Interesting Issue: BugMeNot Firefox Extension (The ‘net #3) is something you should consider adding to your computer if you browse the web with Firefox. BugMeNot is a website/service designed to make annoying Username/Password sign-ins less of a hassle. With the Firefox extension, on many sites you will be able to right click in the Username field and Firefox will pop up a BugMeNot username (if one is available), then the password that goes with that username. For more info, read over the BugMeNot site.

The ‘net

  1. Web 3.0 Survives the Wrath of Wikipedians http://news.yahoo.com/s/cmp/20070316/tc_cmp/198001306
  2. Mailplane - the desktop Gmail client http://www.tuaw.com/2007/03/15/first-impressions-mailplane-the-desktop-gmail-client/
  3. BugMeNot Firefox Extension (worth it’s weight in gold…) http://roachfiend.com/archives/2005/02/07/bugmenot/
  4. Is this the age of the online avatar? http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0316/p11s01-stct.htm
  5. Adobe Woos Web Developers With Apollo Alpha http://www.crn.com/software/198001827
  6. High-speed academic networks kiss, make up, then merge http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070319-high-speed-academic-networks-kiss-make-up-then-merge.html

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

  1. Your ISP may be selling your web clicks http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070315-your-isp-may-be-selling-your-web-clicks.html
  2. Motion-based analysis can filter copyrighted video clips http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070314-motion-based-analysis-can-filter-copyrighted-video-clips.html
  3. Can a Rootkit Be Certified for Vista? http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2104464,00.asp
  4. Microsoft: OneCare should not have been rolled out http://news.zdnet.co.uk/security/0,1000000189,39286351,00.htm
  5. Experts say the virus-writers have won http://www.bangkokpost.com/breaking_news/breakingnews.php?id=117482
  6. Hackers sell fake credit cards for one dollar http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070319/tc_afp/usitcrimehackers

Mobile Computing & Communicating

  1. Samsung Aura Edition laptops with Silver Nano Technology announced http://www.pocket-lint.co.uk/news/news.phtml/7050/8074/samsung-aura-edition-laptops-announced.phtml
  2. Trend Micro to release new security software http://news.yahoo.com/s/infoworld/20070316/tc_infoworld/86886
  3. Microsoft Bets on Voice-Driven Search http://news.yahoo.com/s/nf/20070315/bs_nf/50784
  4. Grand Central - The Only Phone Number a Web Worker Needs (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/15/technology/15pogue.html) http://webworkerdaily.com/2007/03/16/hands-on-with-grand-central-the-only-phone-number-a-web-worker-needs/

Open Source

  1. Open source video editing still has a long way to go http://www.linux.com/article.pl?sid=07/03/15/0321242
  2. SXSW sets stage for open-source DIY hacking http://news.com.com/SXSW+sets+stage+for+open-source+DIY+hacking/2100-1025_3-6166234.html
  3. Open Source: Tell Me Why I Care http://informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2007/03/open_source_tel.html
  4. Open Source Journalism Project Could Produce Rich Content http://biz.yahoo.com/seekingalpha/070316/29792_id.html?.v=1
  5. Sun Taps Linux Guru to Guide Operating System Strategy http://www.itjungle.com/breaking/bn031907-story01.html


  1. Gadget Puts Google Talk on Web Pages http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20070315/tc_pcworld/129888
  2. Google's Blog Software Hijacked by Scammers http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,129925/article.html
  3. Google should buy Intuit http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2007/03/google_should_b.php
  4. Google Buys In-Game Ad Firm http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20070319/tc_pcworld/129950
  5. Why would Google make a phone? http://news.yahoo.com/s/infoworld/20070319/tc_infoworld/86975
  6. The Microsoft-TellMe hook-up: it's about beating Google http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070318-the-microsoft-tellme-hook-up-its-about-beating-google.html

General Technology

  1. 1-Terabyte-Drive PCs Coming from Dell http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,129924-c,harddrives/article.html
  2. HomePlug AV networking tech takes stage at CeBIT http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070316-homeplug-av-networking-tech-takes-stage-at-cebit.html
  3. IBM researchers take on video surveillance privacy http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/03/16/HNvideoprivacy_1.html
  4. Apple TV said to be worthy of overtaking both TiVo and Netflix http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=2578

Leisure & Entertainment

  1. Nintendo head lays out game plan http://www.mercurynews.com/businessheadlines/ci_5464979
  2. Indy Developers Heyday? http://gigagamez.com/2007/03/16/heyday-for-indy-developers-gigagamez-checks-with-two-top-devs/
  3. Pirates heading to Wii, DS in May – Sword fights included http://www.vooks.net/modules.php?module=article&id=11565
  4. Nintendo vs. Sony: It's Like Atari vs. Betamax http://www.informationarbitrage.com/2007/03/nintendo_vs_son.html

Economy and Technology

  1. Cisco buys WebEx http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070315-cisco-buys-webex.html
  2. Goodbye, Tello http://gigaom.com/2007/03/16/goodbye-tello/
  3. Entrepreneurs Gather at Microsoft’s Small Business Summit http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2007/mar07/03-19SmallBusinessSummitPR.mspx

Civilian Aerospace

  1. Chinese firm loses appeal to sell moon land http://story.malaysiasun.com/index.php/ct/9/cid/b8de8e630faf3631/id/234889/cs/1/
  2. Texas Firm Draws up Plans for Orbital Gas Station http://space.com/news/070314_moon_fuelingstation.html
  3. SpaceX Prepares for Second Falcon 1 Rocket Launch http://space.com/missionlaunches/070317_spacex_enginetest.html

Supercomputing & GPUs

  1. Microsoft survey makes case for Windows in supercomputing clusters http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070315-microsoft-survey-makes-case-for-windows-in-supercomputing-clusters.html
  2. Geographical location of the TOP100 Supercomputers http://www.top500.org/lists/2006/11/top100map



FS3 Meeting: 18 Mar 2007, Milwaukee

On 18 Mar 2007, ten people gathered at Bucketworks in Milwaukee to discuss the FireSeed Streaming Supercomputer (FS3) project.

The meeting started with introductions so everyone at the meeting would know a little about each other. Following intros, the project background and work to-date on the project were explained. This was followed by discussion of various technical and organizational aspects of the project.

New things that came out of the meeting include:
  1. Interest in the project from two new people, John G and Lars O. This interest gives the project some good ties to Milwaukee universities and more advisors for funding sources relevant to FS3.
  2. Knowledge about and potential contacts in Milwaukee-area CPU-cluster supercomputers.
  3. Suggestions to look at verynear-future work on learning CUDA on one machine and to consider whether two box/four GPU systems are powerful enough for some HPC needs (high performance computing).
A slightly disappointing aspect of the meeting was the low turnout, especially of people new to the project. There are no doubt 20 to 200 people in Milwaukee who would have a high interest in the FS3 project. The challenge facing the FS3 project is to connect with those people and let them know about the project. I've got several ideas along those lines and will develop and prioritize them in terms of effectiveness. Lots of ideas and not enough time!

A very encouraging aspect of the meeting was the high level of interest on the part of the people at the meeting who are new to the project. Both John and Lars voiced strong interest in participating in the project and identified FS3 areas of personal passion. In another example of the six degrees principle, when John started talking about potential users and applications, he mentioned Backlot Imaging because he knows some of the people who work there. Backlot Imaging happens to be listed as one of the FS3 project supporters on the grant questionnaire which is being used to pursue project funding. It is, indeed, a small world -- and this project should help to make visible more of the connections in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Midwest tech community.

Next steps for the FS3 project include scheduling an FS3 project intro meeting in Madison. Once the meeting date is set, it will be announced on both this blog and the project Google Group.

(Sparked by the meeting comments about getting more people familiar with CUDA, during the trip back to Appleton after the meeting a decision was made to pull together costs for two options to have online access to CUDA machines. Option one will be for a single machine with one NVIDIA 8800 card and option two will be for two machines which each have two NVIDIA 8800s. Once the costs and technical details for these two options are defined, the options will be presented to the FS3 project team to determine if funding should be sought for one or both of those options. Preliminary costs for option one appear to be in the range of $2000 - $2500.)



NEW NET Issues List for 13 March 2007

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 13 March 02007, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 6:45 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering upstairs at Tom's Drive In, 501 N Westhill Blvd, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

Top Two Tech Issues and One Interesting One From The Past Seven Days

  1. The Verizon patent verdict over Vonage is a potentially huge court decision for VoIP providers. Time will tell if the old guard telecoms will now license and litigate stand-alone VoIP providers like Vonage and Skype out of business. Two of the three upheld patents were just related to billing, and the jury decided Vonage wasn’t infringing on four other patents which Verizon included in the suit. But the smell of blood in the water is likely to result in the sharks circling hungrily.
  2. Tempest in a teapot, or sea change? There were a number of article this week talking about Windows Vista’s impact. Is Vista creating an opening for Mac and Linux to capture a significantly larger market share? Or is it just the usual dire predictions and Windows OS problems seen with the introduction of any major software update, similar to that seen with the Win 98, Win ME and Win XP roll-outs? The less-than-spectacular OS upgrade from Microsoft will also provide the purpose-driven browser environment and online applications a golden opportunity to steal market share and gain significant traction. Lastly, if people hold off from Vista upgrades more than expected, the hardware companies may find Vista hurting them rather than generating the huge hoped-for hardware refresh cycle.
  3. Interesting Issue: It’s amazing the major online mapping providers haven’t already provided what Ask Local Search just implemented (The ‘net, Item 2). Ask came out with some cool search enabled drawing tools. If Mapquest, Gmaps and the others have this feature, I was unaware of it. No longer will I have to copy the map image, put it in Paint, then add my custom-drawn features. Let’s hope the big players catch up to Ask quickly with these features or even better ones for modifying maps with your info.

The ‘net

  1. Purpose-driven browsers drive next wave of Web applications http://wistechnology.com/article.php?id=3748
  2. The New Shape of Local Search http://blog.ask.com/2007/03/the_new_shape_o.html
  3. Twitter Tips the Tuna http://ross.typepad.com/blog/2007/03/twitter_tips_th.html
  4. Alternatives To Second Life http://slgames.wordpress.com/2007/03/05/alternatives-to-second-life/
  5. Web Analytics: Easy Answers, Hard Lessons http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3625165
  6. Vonage found guilty of infringing three Verizon patents http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070308-verizon-asks-for-197-million-in-damages-from-vonage.html
  7. Demo Day: Y Combinator’s Spring Chicks http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/03/09/demo-day-y-combinators-spring-chicks/
  8. Three Web-Based Mind Mapping Tools Reviewed http://webworkerdaily.com/2007/03/08/three-web-based-mind-mapping-tools-reviewed/
  9. Software Developer Challenges Microsoft And Google With Free Operating System http://www.informationweek.com/software/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=197801331&subSection=Operating+Systems
  10. MIT to offer its courses free online by year end http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070310/wr_nm/mit_online_dc
  11. Co-Pilot Remote Assistance https://www.copilot.com/
  12. Viacom sues Google, YouTube for $1 billion http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17592285/

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

  1. Microsoft takes a 'Patch Tuesday' break http://news.zdnet.com/2100-1009_22-6165647.html
  2. FBI chief admits misuse of Patriot Act http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/38784.html
  3. House bill looks to expand government transparency http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070309-house-set-to-vote-on-freedom-of-information-act-revisions-next-week.html
  4. Universities a wretched hive of scum and villainy (Ken’s comment at the end of this post was too good to pass up…) http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070309-senator-hollywood-universities-a-wretched-hive-of-scum-and-villainy.html
  5. Why Sweden's Plan To Spy On Emails Does More Harm Than Good http://techdirt.com/articles/20070308/175922.shtml
  6. OneCare Deletes Users' Outlook Files http://www.betanews.com/article/OneCare_Deletes_Users_Outlook_Files/1173474996
  7. Arizona Politicians Realize The Unintended Consequences Of Tracking Technologies And Data Retention http://techdirt.com/articles/20070308/181842.shtml
  8. New Jersey Says People Are Allowed To Videotape Government Meetings http://techdirt.com/articles/20070308/182751.shtml

Mobile Computing & Communicating

  1. Palm Responds to the iPhone http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/09/technology/09palm.html?ref=business
  2. FON Gets Another $13 Million From Investors http://news.yahoo.com/s/cmp/20070310/tc_cmp/197801702

Open Source

  1. FAA May Ditch Microsoft's Windows Vista And Office For Google And Linux Combo http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=197800480
  2. Time to start casting the Linux "Switch" commercials http://blogs.siliconvalley.com/gmsv/2007/03/time_to_start_c.html
  3. Sun Opens Darkstar to Win Over Online Game Developers http://www.technewsworld.com/story/56191.html
  4. Framing Open Source Architecture http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,72902-0.html?tw=wn_culture_4


  1. Google Updates Desktop Search http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20070307/tc_pcworld/129664
  2. Google is hiring phone developers http://www.myiphone.com/google-is-hiring-phone-developers-10562.php
  3. Google's Local Business Center: Solving the "Last Block Problem" http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/070309-185430
  4. When will Google Local reap $39 billion local ad sales opportunity? http://blogs.zdnet.com/micro-markets/?p=1086
  5. Web-based office suite that bests Google and Microsoft http://www.slate.com/id/2161519/

General Technology

  1. 42 Reasons to switch to Mac http://valleywag.com/tech/apple/42-reasons-normal-people-can-switch-to-macs-242430.php
  2. Toshiba Adds E-cycling Options http://news.yahoo.com/s/zd/20070306/tc_zd/202499
  3. Views mixed about Seagate versus flash memory http://tinyurl.com/38xgzb
  4. JPEG Photo Format on Its Way Out? http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,129676/article.html
  5. Is Vista the Beginning of the End? http://markevanstech.com/2007/03/10/is-vista-the-beginning-of-the-end/
  6. Forced software upgrades can add up for Vista users http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9012140&source=rss_topic18
  7. Seagate Ships Super-Secure Hard Disk Drive http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,129734-c,harddrives/article.html

Leisure & Entertainment

  1. GDC: MMOs, past, present and future http://www.wonderlandblog.com/wonderland/2007/03/gdc_mmos_past_p.html
  2. Gears of War triumphs in GDC awards http://www.boomtown.net/en_uk/articles/art.view.php?id=13600
  3. Sony Gives Gamers a 'Home' of Their Own http://www.technewsworld.com/story/56170.html

Economy and Technology

  1. Connecture's Maynard finds IT business opportunity in adversity http://wistechnology.com/article.php?id=3754
  2. GE unveils digital camera family http://www.tgdaily.com/2007/03/09/ge_cameras/
  3. Information Technology Solution Providers’ Association http://www.itspa.net/join/join.asp
  4. No E-Mail Fridays Transform Office http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=2939232&page=1&CMP=OTC-RSSFeeds0312
  5. The Trouble With India http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_12/b4026001.htm
  6. Networking takes giant strides online http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/technology/2007-03-11-networking_N.htm

Civilian Aerospace

  1. Would-be Kuwaiti astronaut finds new niche ... among stars in space http://www.kuna.net.kw/home/story.aspx?Language=en&DSNO=960104
  2. Space tourism targets adventurers who seeking other worldly thrills http://www.wilmingtonstar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070310/NEWS/703100339/1051

Supercomputing & GPUs

  1. UniversityTech: NCSU Launches ‘Cluster’ of PS3s http://www.wral.com/business/local_tech_wire/news/story/1228833/
  2. UB Supercomputer aids WNY businesses http://masshightech.bizjournals.com/masshightech/othercities/buffalo/stories/2007/03/05/story7.html?b=1173070800%5E1424960
  3. Peakstream bets farm on CPU/GPU fusion http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070311-peakstream-bets-farm-on-cpugpu-fusion.html



Initiating Relationships, Building Networks and Growing Communities

In the past several years, much time has been spent learning about and putting into practice the following three activities:
  1. Initiating relationships
  2. Building networks
  3. Growing communities
Many people are much more skilled at these three areas than I am -- I'm certainly not as skilled as I'd like to be. But continuing work in those areas and continual learning from others and from my results will gradually help me be more effective in all three.

These three activities are pretty much like any other area of life. Those areas which are not of high concern to an individual generally seem to be some combination of very difficult, relatively unimportant to most people, utterly foreign, or quite misguided (wrong).

However, when one becomes interested in a particular area, such as initiating relationships, one studies the topic, finds out that topic has been the single focus of many people's professional lives, has a multitude of books written about it, has hundreds, if not thousands, of websites related to the topic, and is generally very important to many people.

It's somewhat the result of an egocentric world. If a guy is married but has no kids, he often doesn't notice kids or pregnant women too much. Once his wife becomes pregnant, however, he sees pregnant women everywhere. And once he has a young baby, he notices there are babies everywhere, and he takes more interest in them. The same principle applies to most activities and aspects of life, whether it be sports, music, cars, health, restaurants or most any topic you can name.

Because of a focus on the three activities listed at the start of this post, I've become aware of continual opportunities to meet new people and to introduce them to others. Opportunities to build my networks and to connect other people to networks from which they may benefit. And opportunities to grow, nurture and put a spotlight on communities organized around activities or purposes in which I'm passionately interested.

While egocentricism naturally makes us feel that what's important to us is important to most other people, it seems focusing on the above three activities will help just about everyone enjoy their lives significantly more. Maybe it's the social nature of man, but associating with people who have many of the same interests as you is generally a Good Thing. And building networks and communities around your areas of passion will help you enjoy life a little more than you would have otherwise.

Take the time to learn more about initiating friendships, then practice the knowledge you gained. Build some new networks and help others build their networks. Finally, join a community you're interested in and help it grow in a meaningful way, or start a new community or two. If you want my two cents on those subjects, contact me. Or connect with someone you know who is skilled in each of those areas and learn from them.

You'll get as much out of these activities as you put into them. But even a few hours a month spent on them will be well worth your time!



FS3 Project: The Road Less Traveled

Robert Frost once wrote,

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Those words came to me today as I skimmed through several books about computer programming at Barnes & Noble. The reason for looking at the books was to give my brain some food for thought regarding what people and talents are needed for the FireSeed Streaming Supercomputer (FS3) project. It's challenging enough to merely be figuring out how to write the code to efficiently parallel program twelve or fifty or a thousand clustered GPUs, each with 128 cores. But then to add the twist that the programming will be done as part of an ad hoc tech project with members of the project scattered around the world...

Suffice it to say this is definitely the road less traveled.

In my mind, the FS3 project alternates between a fun project, a challenging exploration of what's possible, a worthy exploration of new frontiers and an impossibly complex feat. MIT is working on the issue of an efficient parallel programming paradigm for multiple-core computers. Stanford and Berkeley have some pretty smart people attacking the many-core programming problem and developing their solutions. And the FS3 project, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will be developing yet another alternative way to connect and efficiently program twelve or more high end consumer video cards to deliver low-cost supercomputing resources.

There are no doubt other good, maybe better, books out there which give some good ideas regarding successful implementation of a project like FS3. However, of the books I saw at Barnes & Noble today, three books which appear to offer much to the FS3 project are:
  1. Dreaming In Code, by Scott Rosenberg
  2. Code Craft, by Pete Goodliffe
  3. Write Great Code, by Randall Hyde
After paging through those books, my head was spinning with things we need to do on the FS3 project, one of which is to contact the authors of those books to see if any of them are interested in joining us for the trip down the FS3 road. The Practice of Programming by Kernighan and Pike sounds like another book I need to check out, based on some web research.

If you want to join us on the trip, contact me. If you have suggestions for other books which are applicable to the FS3 project, suggest them in the blog comments.

We're looking forward to this particular section of the Journey, even though we can't predict what the trip will be like. In the end, though, as Frost said, taking the road less traveled "...has made all the difference."



Passion, Opportunities, Follow-Through & Serendipty

Four things to focus on to keep your life interesting, worthwhile, growing and challenging are:
  1. Passion
  2. Opportunities
  3. Follow-through
  4. Serendipity
Each day of your life should include a pinch (or a large scoop) of each of the above four ingredients. That recipe will go a long way toward feeding your mind and spirit, as well as your body.

Passion is the initial ingredient with which we begin a great day. Passion doesn't always mean fun or that there is nothing you would rather be doing than what you'll be doing for the next four hours or the next eight hours. Sometimes passion just means you do the very best you can at whatever job needs to be done. A book I read several months ago said that if your job is being a street cleaner, having passion means knowing at the end of the day that you did an outstanding job of cleaning the streets. You take pride in working hard cleaning the streets. You look at the finished job with a critical eye and the desire to do it a little bit better each day. You look for ways you can do your task better, and you make your job more meaningful to both you and to others around you.

Passion also means finding ways to earn a living doing activities that are meaningful and rewarding to you. If you don't currently have a job that is fulfilling to you, you are working on finding one that will be more fulfilling and for which you are qualified. If you're not qualified for the job you want, you're working to become qualified.

Another necessary ingredient for a healthy life is opportunity. Be looking for opportunities to find jobs, projects and activities about which you can be passionate. Try new things, go new places and meet new people. Ask a friend or acquaintance to help you do something you've never done. Ask people about their jobs, about the company they work for, about job openings they know of. Volunteer to help out with an event. Read on the internet about several areas of interest to you on. You'll inevitably read or hear about events related to those areas of interest. Attend meetings you find mentioned in newsletters, blog posts or articles. Write emails to people who are doing interesting things. Look for opportunities.

Once you've found an opportunity, make sure you follow-through. If you volunteer to help with an activity, be there when they need you. If you tell someone you'll do something with them or for them, do everything in your power to make good on your commitment. When others know you can be counted on, more opportunities will appear. Doing your part with passion and with pride will show through, and the resultant opportunities can be fun, rewarding and challenging.

Serendipity is often the best thing that results from judicious mixing of the first three ingredients: passion, opportunity and follow-through. When you stir those three well, the serendipity can rain down like a spring shower. I think serendipity is so sweet simply because it wasn't pursued and it wasn't expected or demanded. It was merely the happy accident waiting around the corner from your patient pursuit of a job well-done. Serendipity is the rainbow that makes you smile, the child's innocent or naive joke that makes you laugh, and the warm fire and big mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter night that makes you feel safe and cozy.

Work to make passion, opportunity, follow-through and serendipity part of your everyday life. You'll enjoy it more if you do...



Business Plan Boot Camp

The Wisconsin Technology Council and Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, S.C. sponsored a 'business plan boot camp' today for the Phase 2 participants of the 2007 Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest.

The boot camp was held in Waukesha, Wisconsin at the Reinhart offices. Gathered in Reinhart's conference room were a group of 50 to 100 extremely interesting entrepreneurs and innovators. The time available to connect with the other Phase 2 participants was, unfortunately, quite limited for me. However, even in the few short breaks we had during the boot camp, I connected with five people. The probability is high that connecting with those five today will result in future discussions, meetings, collaborating and general networking.

The most important quality of the people in the Reinhart conference room today was their passion and desire to work on something important to them. Those kind of people are fun to meet, great to work with when your interests coincide, and fantastic to share connections with for other serendipitous opportunities. Two of the people I met appeared to have a single specific interest in common with me, although a longer conversation would no doubt reveal other areas of shared agendas or passions. Two people had two stated areas of shared interests, and the last person had three high interest areas that overlapped with mine.

Emails were sent out to all five this evening, with Great Expectations for future interaction with most or all of them.

The four hours spent in the boot camp today were absolutely worthwhile. Another four to eight hours connecting with those highly motivated Phase 2 participants would be equally worthwhile. If we're lucky, the Wisconsin Technology Council will help arrange another gathering with that same group of people.

The next eighteen days will be filled with lots of writing and re-writing of the Phase 2 submission -- a 1000 word executive summary for Abba Makolin Waldron & Associates, LLC's business plan. Meeting the five people during boot camp today made the effort put thus far into the business plan contest worthwhile. Continued efforts on this project will undoubtedly be likewise rewarded in one or more ways.

Opportunities appear each day as the Journey continues...