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What's Next? Burning Books?

This caricature of Donald Trump was adapted by DonkeyHotey from a Creative Commons licensed photo by Michael Vadon’s Flickr photostream

Watched Trump’s speech to CPAC over lunch and he slammed the media like always…but this time it was much, much worse. Then, about an hour ago, this news story came through: White House blocks CNN, New York Times from press briefing hours after Trump slams media and yes, I went ballistic since the White House barred news outlets, such as CNN, the New York Times, Politico and the Los Angeles Times, from entering the press room! BuzzFeed is permanently blocked, too.

Make no mistake: This is Steve Bannon behind this who is egging on Trump in an attempt to delegitimize mainstream news so the nutjobs behind InfoWars, The Washington Times and Breitbart News are put forth as THE legitimate sources.

Yes, I’ll make everyone’s favorite comparison: Joseph Goebbels would not only be proud, he would have stolen from Bannon’s playbook (especially since Bannon stole from Goebbel’s!).

I got so goddam mad that I went online to subscribe to The Washington Post. We already support the New York Times and the Minneapolis StarTribune digital editions, so I just bought a year of digital of the Washington Post and they have a print edition iPad app as well as their digital edition one which is cool.

If you care at all about the future of our country, subscribe NOW to The New York Times or The Washington Post. We need real and actual news (vs. Trump and his clown’s bullshit) from reputable news organizations and we ALL must support them.

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The Internet Revealed in 1993

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Stewart Cheifet and guest on the set of Computer Chronicles

Stewart Cheifet‘s show Computer Chronicles was one that chronicled the evolution of personal computing, digital devices as well as enabling technologies like this networking technology we know as “The Internet.” His Computer Chronicles YouTube channel is an archive of shows that reported on some of the most important developments in all of those areas, especially this particular show which covered this nascent networking technology we now cannot live without.

Fun Factoid
For those of you in Minnesota, at 9:37 you will see a brief demonstration of Gopher, a protocol developed and released in 1991 by a Mark P. McCahill-led team at the University of Minnesota. Since universities were heavy pre-commercial-and-world_wide_web-internet users, they needed something to make it easier to find stuff. Gopher was “...designed for distributing, searching, and retrieving documents over the Internet. The Gopher protocol was strongly oriented towards a menu-document design and presented an alternative to the World Wide Web in its early stages, but ultimately HTTP became the dominant protocol. The Gopher ecosystem is often regarded as the effective predecessor of the World Wide Web.” (my emphasis).

 

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We've Come Far Since Macworld 1989

When it comes to computers and digital devices, it’s often tough to see how things evolved unless you were living through it. This video, on YouTube but also where I originally found it at the Internet Archive of a Computer Chronicles show from Macworld 1989, will give you a sense of how tiny, incremental changes were big news at an event like this one.

The new “030” chip (the processor in a new Mac SE/30) to “accelerator cards” to “color output” was that big news which, watching this video now, seems like a big snooze! It does, however, show how tiny incremental changes led to where we are today.

While I wasn’t at this particular Macworld (I was at several both before and after this one) it was an exciting event and the show was packed with vendors who sold lots of gear to go with the Macintosh.

A review of the annual west coast Macintosh trade show from San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center.

Guests: Charlie Jackson, Silicon Beach; Roy Endres, Multi-Ad Creator; John Warnock, Adobe Systems; Brian Welter, Altsys

Products/Demos: Claris MacWrite II; Silicon Beach Supercard; Texas Instruments Action!Tektronix Quick Inkjet; Kodak Color Video Printer; Thunderware Lightning Scan; Dove Marathon 030/SETPS Smartcard ADBMicrotech R45 Cartridge Drive; Ricoh Erasable Optical Drive; Activision Manhole; Nexsys Gas Plasma Display; Berkeley Systems Outspoken

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Google Cultural Institute

google-cultural-instituteIt was happenstance today that led me to the Google Cultural Institute, an online place to “Discover exhibits and collections from museums and archives all around the world. Explore cultural treasures in extraordinary detail, from hidden gems to masterpieces. Create your own galleries and share favorite finds with friends.

While I ate lunch I viewed ‘exhibits’ and took virtual tours of:

Though I’m quite astute with the web and user interface design, I struggled a bit with how the site’s collections were displayed. Most troubling was my inability to find that opening page again for the Anne Frank exhibit. I had to go back to my browser’s history to find the first page! It’s not as intuitive as it should be.

But that lacking ease-of-use is outweighed by the value inherent in these collections. All I could think of as I went through many of them was “Wow!”. Give it a try yourself.

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My Apple Watch & Dick Tracy

dtwtchAs a kid, I was always fascinated by Dick Tracy and his gadgets. Add to that my interest in mystery novels—especially ones like Mike Hammer when I got older—buying a smartwatch has been in the back of my mind but I didn’t like any of the current ones. Getting the functionality promised in my soon-to-arrive Apple Watch, however, is something I’m looking forward to not as a gadget guy, but as that little kid who wanted a wrist-radio-watch.

Now I kinda, sorta regret not building my “private detective office” when my wife and I were constructing our current house back in the early 1990s since having my wrist-radio-watch would have fit in perfectly.

My home office space would have been awesome as a “private eye’s” office. With french doors that swing open to the office space, I thought I’d make something that looked somewhat like this 1930s-era private eye’s office:

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20-inch-monitor-on-deskBut it wouldn’t have made sense, especially since I had a HUGE computer display, Mac tower, VoIP digital phone with headset and a Powerbook laptop on my desk! As you can see from the photo on the left, that enormous display and other technology would have looked very weird in a 1930s-era private eye’s office.

Still, I was able to get my “private detective fix” by getting my kids in on the action. They, too, were enthusiastic about kids being resourceful or as private detectives in movies such as Home Alone, Harriet the Spy, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. My son and I would read my old Hardy Boys books together as well, and he became an avid reader of those and hundreds of other fantasy, science fiction and mystery genres.

kids-as-detectivesIn the photo on the right, taken one very cold and bleak winter-weekend day, I’ve hidden my pager (yes, I carried a pager in the 90s!) and it has been stolen and the country’s two best detectives, Alex and Biz, are on the case. I made fake fingerprints and put them around the house and they set about solving the mystery.

Only one fingerprint was different and, of course, it had a matching one on the pager itself (which was stuck in a drawer). There were a bunch of other clues and the kids had to investigate and figure out where the pager had been placed. It was fun and they solved the mystery, albeit too fast so we had to find other stuff to do that day.  😉

dtwbDid you order an Apple Watch? It’s highly unlikely that anyone under 40 years of age—and especially my own kids—won’t have a lot of context for Dick Tracy and probably won’t even think about how awesome and cool the technology really is with a wearable device like this one. My kids don’t seem to ache for future technology like I did as a child. They just expect that new technology will appear, be awesome, and enable them to do things better, cheaper and faster.

By the way, if you happen to bump in to me after my Apple Watch arrives, and I’m dressed like Warren Beatty in the Dick Tracy movie, please do not just walk up and say, “Hi Steve!” since I might be on an important case.

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Vatican City Explained

We’re preparing for a family trip to Italy and I’ve been collecting interesting things to read and watch beforehand. It’s always good to have historical context before any trip, so the places one goes has a deeper meaning than what the guidebooks or venue signs display.

A short video like this one is perfect for our adult children to whet their appetite for more. Several of these factoids I didn’t know either and have sparked an interest in learning more:

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I'm Jewish and Related to Hitler?

sjb-dna-compositionAs we are all connected and come from a few thousand humans 60,000 or so years ago, you are probably both too.

After attending two parties last night, on the drive home my wife and I had a very interesting conversation about ancestry, how we’re all connected, and how two of her nephews discovered that they had completely different perspectives on their respective heritages. One saw himself as German (since their father’s direct ancestry is German) and the other brother identified with his lebanese background (since their mother’s ancestors hailed from Lebanon). It was a surprise to both of them.

That sparked a renewed interest in my ancestry so today I invested some time in poking around my 23andMe account to see if I could gain more insight in to my own genetic ancestry.

Like that one nephew of my wife’s, with the surname “Borsch” I’ve also always identified with Germany as my primary ancestry. Imagine my surprise when I saw that new visual representation you see above which clearly shows that the primary concentration of my ancestral DNA is British and Irish! Only 9.2% is closely aligned with French & German. Guess I have to rethink my ancestral beliefs.

But it got even more interesting as I dug deeper and discovered my .007% Jewish DNA and that Hitler and I shared a (thankfully) very distant male as an ancestor… [Read more…]

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Global Conflict Declining

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Since the late Middle Ages, on average a shrinking proportion of the world population has died in conflict each year. Westphalian war has become less prevalent since the mid 20th Century, with not a single Great Power war since 1953. Size of bubble shows percentage of world population killed. CLICK GRAPH FOR LARGER VIEW

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Bill Gates shared this on his Facebook page and said about it, “It may be hard to believe, but conflict is actually on the decline. These 6 infographics explain: http://b-gat.es/1kM2omV

You can view the post at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies here or download the report PDF.

via Daren Klum

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50 Years Ago Today: The Beatles on Ed Sullivan

I was a little kid when these guys were on the Ed Sullivan Show and have no recollection of this show. My parents watched Ed Sullivan but I’ll bet they never would have sat still to watch this segment, even if my older sister begged them (but she was young too).

Here is the video of the entire appearance:

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Happy Birthday Macintosh!

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Apple has a tribute to Macintosh on its website on its 30 year birthday

The Mac was introduced thirty years ago today on the Super Bowl with the now famous ad directed by Ridley Scott, and won numerous awards. Advertising Age called it the top ad from a pool of the 50 best commercials of all time

But I had a sneak-peek in November of 1983 when, while in Hawaii with all the other sales and marketing folks from around the world, Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh to the company and showed us the commercial!

Though forced to use PCs at many of the companies I worked at over the years, I did so reluctantly while always owning my own machines…and those machines were almost always Macs (had to buy PCs only for our business accounting). If not for the Mac my wife’s business would never have started 28 years ago (one we now run together…you can read the story about its founding here) and all the creative stuff I’ve done over the years can be directly attributed to, what Steve Jobs describes in this short video snippet, is how Macintosh is like a “bicycle for our minds.” 

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