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Girl’s Day

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As we drove through Chinatown this past weekend, we saw preparations for the Chinese New Year’s celebrations. Many were carrying sprigs of cut plum blossoms which are just starting to bloom so we bought some to go with the Girl’s Day display which we set up each year around this time and keep up until the beginning of March.

Tyler took a small plum blossom branch to school today to explain to his class about the festival and his Japanese background. Taking him to school this morning, he said he was worried that the boys in the class would make fun of a kid carrying pink flowers to show-and-tell. Later, in line waiting to go into the class, he noticed that the girls liked he flowers so he warmed up to the idea.

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Nisenholtz counterpoint to Dan Gillmor

The Online Journalism Review inteviews Martin Nisenholtz of NY Times Digital who is a ready counter-argument to Dan Gillmor’s call for a freeing of the archives. Until banner ad revenues outstrip the royalties they curently earn from subscription databases such as Factiva and Lexis-Nexis, there is no way they’re opening up the barn door.

“We’re not about to give away something that the marketplace is paying a huge premium for already,” Nisenholtz told me, “unless you could get a lot more than that premium in some other way, which you can’t, believe me, there’s no way. There’s no analysis to show that Google AdWords gets you anything close to what we make on archives on the Web — never mind all the money we make on the after-market sales. It’s so ridiculous as to be laughable.

It’s a marketplace of a few vendors serving up proprietary content on closed systems vs. a more sustainable marketplace of any and every website around the world looking to link to and reference New York’s paper of record. And what about The Long Tail?

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Ask Jeeves launches blog on TypePad

Ask Jeeves moved to a shiny new office tower in Oakland and launched a shiny new blog to boot!

UPDATE: and buys online RSS reader, Bloglines.

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BBC on blogs at school

BBC Online writes about the use of blogs in the classroom. Thanks to Tom Watanabe over at techfutures.org for the tip.

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Farking Google

This one’s my favorite but there’s a whole bunch more photoshop fun over on Fark.com.

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Current Events

TV while-u-wait

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While filling up on gas on the way to Tahoe the other weekend, I noticed that they had managed to pipe in CNBC business news into the little LCD monitor on the gas pump. Caught up on the latest market news while I topped up the tank.

Ubiquitous sound bite TV and cell phone browsing fills up every spare moment of down time in the quest for the fully productive lifestyle.

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Current Events

IBM

There is a very interesting theory about why IBM shed their vaunted ThinkPad & PC hardware division to China’s Lenovo. Attributed to the Petrov Group, in a Business 2.0 article, the theory is that IBM would use it’s partnership (IBM still owns a percentage of Lenovo) to enter the China market with a low cost, Linux-based PC platform.

As Petrov puts it, China “is a command economy and is price sensitive.” It is also projected to surpass the United States as the biggest PC market by 2010. In fact, in that year, the Chinese are expected to buy 180 million PCs, while the developed world will buy 150 million. If IBM, through its new partner Lenovo, could establish cheap Linux desktops as an acceptable alternative to Windows machines in China alone, it would cut Microsoft’s cash flow from a much-needed growth market. At the same time, it would teach a new generation of IT managers in China that since Windows isn’t a necessity, Microsoft products aren’t needed on servers either. (Subtext: Buy IBM.)

If this is indeed the scenario that folks in Armonk have dreamed up, it’s absolutely brilliant.

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Achenblog

Washington Post’s columnist Joel Achenbach is up and running on TypePad for his Achenblog. column.

We’re all having a chuckle as he dives into the world of blogs. In this entry he writes about the levels of authorship that we provide and suggests some greater levels of authorship rights that we’ll be sure to look into for a future release:

. . .there’s “junior author” and “author” and “owner,” but I think there’s an even higher level than that, an uber-owner, with a sign-on that allows you to rearrange everything on our site AND go over to the Times site and insert mistakes. There’s probably a level yet higher — someone who can, for example, go into the Library of Congress website, into the American Memory section, and fiddle around with the original texts of sacred American documents, such as the Declaration of Independence.

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Harley-Davidson, Japanese Engine?

I took my father in law out to visit a motorcycle distributor where he was hoping to get a distributor for the high end wheels made by Dymag, a company he owns. While it’s always interesting to step into a new industry and learn a bit about it, one of the more juicy bits of gossip that I learned was the nasty rumor that the Harley-Davidson is not really as American-built as some would like to believe. Not only are the wheels on most models made by an overseas company called “Inky” but the buyer we met also assured us that if you look carefully on the engines, you’ll see that they’re made in Japan!

He couldn’t remember which Japanese company makes the Harley engines which is a shame. According to him, all the engines are shipped to the US where they are assembled along with all the other parts which are sourced overseas. Makes me wonder if it’s all done under cover of darkness by a secret guild of factory workers sworn to secrecy.

If this is indeed true, it would be quite a scandal for the company that, when faced with cheaper imports from Japan, unsuccessfully tried to trademark the unique sound of their V-Twin engine.

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Class of ’84 Update

Dear Middlesex School Class of ’84,

Last time around, a fair amount of people wrote in but only a few took advantage of the “comment” link below this post to put their updates online. According to a recent report out by the folks over at Pew, some 12% of Americans have posted comments on weblogs so I’m looking forward to seeing a few more of you jumping in and posting your news in the comments section below.