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September 12 2011

Four short links: 12 September 2011

  1. HP Emulates Next (BoingBoing) -- In mid-1993, a few months after CEO Steve Jobs had shuttered the NeXT factory, and was in the process of switching to an all-software company—a path that led to its later acquisition by Apple—the lights were turned back on in its Fremont, Calif., factory. NeXTWorld's rumor columnist, Lt. Sullivan, reported that the U.S. military and another undisclosed customer wanted more machines, and so NeXT was to fire up and spit 1,200 more devices out.
  2. FeedsAPI -- service that turns a feed of partial posts into a full feed.
  3. Cinderella -- a fully managed development environment for open source hacking on Mac OSX. It's powered by homebrew and chef. You only need Xcode to get started. (via One Thing Well)
  4. The Greenwich Time Lady (Futility Closet) -- the old and the new coexist. From 1836 to 1940, this one company sold the time to people; their pocketwatch was certified by Greenwich Observatory in the morning and for the rest of the day they charged to look at it. New technology, government standards, and plenty of competition didn't end the business instantly. Compare to Clay Shirky's That is what real revolutions are like. The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place.

August 26 2011

Developer Week in Review: End of an era

The week of the apocalypse continues here in the Northeast. It began with an earthquake that rocked homes from Washington to New Hampshire, and continues with a major hurricane running up the coast toward New England. Anyone out there offer Plague of Locusts insurance coverage?

So long, and thanks for all the cash

Steve JobsIt was inevitable, and somewhat sad, but we knew he would have to step down eventually. He helped define the geek culture of the last decade, and things won't be the same without him. Yes, Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda has stepped down at Slashdot.

What? Someone else resigned this week?

Yes indeed, if you aren't living under a machined aluminum rock, you've heard that Steve Jobs has stepped down as CEO of Apple, leaving Tim Cook to hold the reigns. This is good timing, in my opinion, since we all knew it was just a matter of time before Jobs would have to leave, and doing it in a controlled and non-urgent fashion lets people get used to a non-Jobs Apple.

The magic question in everyone's mind is: Did Jobs sufficiently infuse his ethos into the corporate culture to keep Apple "insanely great" after his departure? I, for one, believe that he did. What will be interesting to see is if Jobs continues to do show and tells, or if Cook will take over that role. Will we still get "one more thing"? I guess we'll find out at the widely rumored early-September presser for the next iPhone.

Fly the Angry Bird skies

Sky Chart Pro screenIf you're a private (or commercial) pilot, you probably have one arm that's significantly longer than the other, stretched by years of carrying your "brain bag" around. For an instrument-rated pilot, the weight of dead trees that must be lugged around is truly staggering, and keeping all the manuals and charts up to date is a nightmare. Not surprisingly, many of the commercial carriers would like to spare their pilots from potentially crippling back injuries, and with an agreeable nod from the FAA, some carriers have started using tablets (mainly iPads) to replace much of the printed material.

This may lead you to wonder why pilots are allowed to use iPads in the cockpit while you have to turn yours off for takeoff and landing. The answer has nothing to do with electronic interference. The real reason is that takeoff and landing are when most accidents occur, and it's a good idea not to have a bunch of potential projectiles sitting in people's laps.

It's fairly amazing how well iPads work for aviation. I'm not an active pilot anymore, but I plugged a Bad Elf GPS into my iPad 2 before my vacation to California and used Sky Charts Pro to "play along at home." It made me jealous because I would have killed for that kind of high-quality moving map experience when I was doing my instrument pilot training.

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The TouchPad has a price on its head

If you could use a little spare cash, have we got a job for you. All you have to do is port Android to the HP TouchPad, and a cool 20 Benjamins can be yours. Now that HP has scuttled their WebOS efforts, early TouchPad adopters are left wondering if they've purchased a pricey doorstop. As a result, there's a bounty out for the first person or group to get a stable Android build onto the device.

Oddly, no one has taken up my bounty of an easy two bucks to anyone who can port Android onto my Timex Sinclair.

Photo: Steve Jobs photo from Apple Press Info.

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