Archive for the 'Literature' Category

various picks

Paul Graham: Maker´s Schedule, Manager´s Schedule – and why they don´t go well together

Umair Haque: The Nichepaper Manifesto

Journalists didn’t make 20th century newspapers profitable — readers did.


Nichepapers, in contrast, do meaningful stuff that matters the most. The great failing of 20th century news is that monopoly power became a substitute for meaningful value creation. At root, that’s the lesson that newspapers are learning the hard way.

Vanity Fair: Palin’s Resignation: The Edited Version – interesting to see what can be made with some editing of a poor speech.

Cory Doctorow in the Guardian: Chris Anderson’s Free adds much to The Long Tail, but falls short – thoughtful critique

myMoleskine – make your own pages: MSK

Web Worker Daily: 10 Useful Thunderbird Add-ons for Almost Everybody – a lot of things I yet did not know about (but so far have not looked for as well)

LifeHacker:  The First 10 Free Apps to Install on a New Windows PC – you could argue about some picks, but there is also a lot of must-haves in the comments

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Cloudy summer

I admit it, posting was on hold for quite a while due to heavy workload and summer vacation. Now again some links about one of the topics I am interested in.

The Datacenter as Computer is a must-read for anyone interested in the topic, written by Luiz André Barroso and Urs Hölzle of Google. And it is easy to read (it took me just two afternoons on the beach…). Download the PDF here.

Michael Manos of Microsoft on their Datacenter vision: Our Vision for Generation 4 Modular Data Centers – One way of Getting it just right . .

The AWS blog is always worth stopping by to see what is going on at Amazon. Good stuff from July 13:  Elastic Load Balancing, Auto Scaling, and CloudWatch Resources

I believe Jeff Barr (who is also writing on the AWS Blog) is collecting links on AWS and related tools as awsbuzz on delicious. Recommended to follow.

Arstechnica:  Google reveals plans for Chrome cloud synchronization. This is not really surprising, isn´t it?

And Google is beating on the bush with “Going Google” and migrating away from e.g. Lotus Notes. I believe this is just for Mail and Calendar, not for Applications. Make up your mind yourself.

Kindle 2

xkcd.com:

I had the same thought.

Peter Kafka in Media Memo on All Things Digital commenting on Jeff Bezos pitch lately in “The Daily Show” with host Jon Stewart:

That is: For some folks, the ability to download books over the air, store a gazillion titles on a single device and have a “freaky” voice read them aloud to you are compelling reasons to shell out $359 for the gadget. For skeptics like Stewart, it’s hard to see how Amazon (AMZN) has improved upon the ink-and-paper book, which uses technology that has worked pretty well for several hundred years.

And cnet Crave on Designing the Kindle 2:

“One of the great things about Kindle is it doesn’t ever get hot,” Amazon Vice President Ian Freed said in an interview at Amazon’s downtown office here. That’s important, Freed said, given that the company has one main goal with the Kindle–making the product as invisible to users as possible when they are reading.

“The most important thing for the Kindle to do is to disappear,” Freed said. That was the goal with the first device and was also a key factor in deciding what would go in the sequel, which started shipping on Monday. There are the obvious factors, like the thinner, sleeker design. But there are also things like an improved cellular modem. As a result, Kindle users will find themselves out of range in fewer places to get updates or buy a new book.

Well, for us Europeans it is anyway not yet available. I will have a look at it, when it comes over, but for the time being I like my dead tree library.

Bunte Mischung

so, noch ein paar Sachen in deutsch…

Der SpON erklärt, wie das neue US-Einreiseformular funktioniert. Und hier ist die ESTA-Seite in deutsch. Ist denn jetzt das grüne Formular, von dem ich regelmäßig 2-3 brauche (ja, bin auch einer von denen, die in das Feld für das Geschlecht immer die Flugnummer – oder umgekehrt reinschreiben) endlich weg?

Wenn der Preis stimmt, könnte das mein nächster Computer sein: Dell Mini 10, auf der CES in Las Vegas im Januar angekündigt. Ansonsten halt ein Samsung NC10, von dem man vielerorts gutes hört.

Ivan Blatter von imgriff.com fragt: Was sind Deine 3 liebsten Hilfsmittel? und bekommt interessante Antworten.

Die Karrierebibel mit einem klasse Tip (nicht, dass ich den brauchen würde…): Arbeitsillusion – Wege, wie Sie möglichst beschäftigt aussehen:

Gut, sicher, klar, die Zeiten sind gerade nicht die besten für Arbeitnehmer. Kurzarbeit, Zwangsurlaub, vielleicht sogar Kündigung – das sieht nicht gut aus im karriereoptimierten Lebenslauf. Was also tun, wenn die Arbeit immer weniger wird und die Chefcontroller mit dem Rotstift durch die Flure wandern?

Nun, eine Alternative ist: Sehen Sie möglichst beschäftigt aus. Engagierte und fleißige Mitarbeiter landen schließlich nicht so schnell auf der Streichliste. Und wer die Attitüde eines Leistungsträgers pflegt, sichert nicht nur seinen Job – er tut auch was gegen die Langeweile, wird aktiv und kreativ. Kurzum: Das bisschen Show muss sein – und macht Spaß dazu.

Holger Schmidt, der Netz-Ökonom der FAZ, mit einem sehr guten Artikel über Twitter: Das nächste große Ding im Netz

Oliver Jungen bespricht auf fazjobs.net “The Big Switch“, das neue Buch von Nick Carr: Arbeitsplätze nur noch für die Internet-Elite?

Guides to better presentations

I have mentioned a few times (and have him in the blogroll) the blog of Garr Reynolds, Presentation Zen.

He is incredibly inspiring, especially when pointing to (and analyzing) presentations. If you haven´t yet, go and read his latest book:

For me, this was an eye-opener. Too bad, the present company template for presentations we have to use does facilitate better presentations only to a limited extent.

Another good book that might help in creating better presentations (and that is not bashing the tool for what the users do with it) is Clear and to the Point.

Stephen Kosslyn presents 8 psychological principles that you should apply in order to make your presentations better. Though Powerpoint is mentioned on the title, this applies to all presentation programs.

The 8 principles:

  • How do I connect with my audience?
    • The Principle of Relevance
    • The Principle of Appropriate Knowledge
  • How can I direct and hold attention?
    • The Principle of Salience
    • The Principle of Discriminability
    • The Principle of Perceptual Organisation
  • How can I promote understanding and memory?
    • The Principle of Compatibility
    • The Principle of Informative Changes
    • The Principle of Capacity Limitations

Also recommended to read, albeit not as inspiring as Garr´s book.

Ross Brown gives feedback to a presentation he has received that did apparently not followed the hints and guidelines from either one of the experts above (via):

Your ransom-note-like use of multiple fonts and sizes on each slide led us, the viewers, to identify not with the content but with the feeling of being trapped and held hostage, our freedom being contingent on our ability to appear to understand your many indecipherable charts and graphs. With this quick nod to Stockholm syndrome, we began to feel for you as our captor and, eventually, as our fellow prisoner.

Beware of such presentations!

Sunday Mix

Sorry, been too busy in the last weeks. Will see if I can improve on posting frequency, too many things pile up. But here we go:

New York Times (registration required): Meetings Are a Matter of Precious Time True, so true.

Waferbaby asks people “What do people use to get the job done?” Insights from John Gruber (daringfireball.net), Alex Payne (Twitter) and others. Interesting.

Dare Obasanjo discusses an important difference: Platform as a Service vs. Utility Computing.

  1. Utility Computing: In this approach, a vendor provides access to virtual server instances where each instance runs a traditional server operating system such as Linux or Windows Server. Computation and storage resources are metered and the customer can “scale infinitely” by simply creating new server instances. The most popular example of this approach is Amazon EC2.
  2. Platform as a Service: In this approach, a vendor abstracts away the notion of accessing traditional LAMP or WISC stacks from their customers and instead provides an environment for running programs written using a particular platform. In addition, data storage is provided via a custom storage layer and API instead of traditional relational database access. The most popular example of this approach is Google App Engine.

His conclusion:

As it stands today  platform as a service offerings currently do not satisfy the needs of people who have existing apps that want to “port them to the cloud”. Instead this looks like it will remain the domain of utility computing services which just give you a VM and the ability to run any software you damn well please on the your operating system of choice.

However for brand new product development the restrictions of platform as a service offerings seem attractive given the ability to “scale infinitely” without having to get your hands dirty. Developers on platform as a service offerings don’t have to worry about database management and the ensuing complexitiies like sharding, replication and database tuning.

An important distinction if you ask me and a clear crossroad if you want to go into cloud services.

If you want (or have) to enable a web-application with offline-capabilities, Google Gears is often the tool of choice. Eduard Martini gives some good insight on O´Reilly InsideRIA: Google Gears—A Great Tool to Enhance Web Applications. Recommended.

Jeremiah Owyang, Senior Analyst at Forrester gives a great overview of the Social Network Industry on his private blog:  Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: Jan 21, 2009

And Nicole Simon explains why LinkedIn will fail in the german market: Linkedin taking the traditional approach in Germany and why that will fail (as usual)

Most of the time, they just make a translation and try to tell everybody how awesome they are everywhere else, as if this is enough.

Jason Scott: Fuck the cloud:

So please, take my advice, as I go into other concentrated endeavors. Fuck the Cloud. Fuck it right in the ear. Trust it like you would trust a guy pulling up in a van offering a sweet deal on electronics. Maybe you’ll make out, maybe you won’t. But he ain’t necessarily going to be there tomorrow.

Yeah, you should know where to place your bets. And backup is not for the fainthearted only, also real men do backups (off the cloud, in this context).

Dare´s take: Asking “should we trust the cloud” is like asking “should we trust horseless carriages”

We all love HAL, our friend from 2001: A Space Odyssey from Stanley Kubrick. Find the HAL project here.

Looks like the new POTUS is not hesitant to use juicy languange. Find some examples here, from an audiobook that he read in. (via)

Whoever wanted to know how David Allen gets things done, here a movie on Youtube (via):

Tabbloid. Converting personal feeds into a personalized magazine. Free. From HP. Not tested yet, though.

From the TPI blog: Quick Savings AND Minimal Operations Risk? Try Facilities Management Outsourcing

TPI has also a german blog now, from the office in Frankfurt.

Garr is great to find (and comment on) extraordinary presentations. This time:  Bill Gates at TED 09: How do you make a teacher great?

TED is the best and most inspiring conference series in the world, if you ask me. Fantastic speakers, great presentations. Awesome.

Tim Ferris explains how to learn any language in three months. Interesting approach to attack the challenge.

Cool Tools and more

The more gadgets you carry, the more loose cables fly around your bags. One solution is shown over at Chiefhomeofficer.com: Cables astray no more

Customer satisfaction surveys anyone?
Dilbert.com

Phun is a free game like 2D physics sandbox where you can play with physics like never before. The playful synergy of science and art is novel, and makes Phun as educational as it is entertaining.

(via)

SkypeKiller claims to be able to remotely kill Skype installations in corporate networks. Anyone having experience with this tool?

ThinkGeek with a hacked FlashDrive for the Uber-Geek that has everything.

HomeOfficeVoice with 7 simple steps for a Clutter Free Home Office. How much would I love to get there (at least almost…).

Twitter moves closer to Google Friend Connect instead of going the open way. (via) We´ll see what that means. Maybe on the MBC09 this week – and no, I cannot be there due to some obligations I cannot turn down.

Another free mindmapping tool, yet to be tested: XMind

Ben Casnocha on Caitlin Flanagans writing, especially her piece in the December 2008 Atlantic. I have two girls, so this is at least interesting for me.

10 Inspiring Last Lectures and Commencement Speeches Everyone Should Watch. Quite good ones, actually…

I guess no one has a clue yet how Twitter wants to make money from his service, but they are going to hire a Product Manager. Probably they should have thought earlier about that. Related, it looks like others have figured out how to make money off Twitter. Over at Scoble: “Tumblr’s CEO brainstorms microblog monetization“. Probably now it is more important than ever to have the monetization right early.

Need to understand flowcharts? Here it is:

Lifehacker with the Most Popular Free Windows Downloads of 2008

Cloud Computing Corner:

  1. How to set up Amazon Cloudfrom to work with S3. ´Nuff said.
  2. A Beginners guide to running JumpBox on Amazon´s EC2 service (via)
  3. Cloudfront Management Tools (via)

Seth Godin: How to send a personal email. Priceless:

Just because you have someone’s email address doesn’t mean you have the right to email them.

Google has released Blog Converters. (via)

Scoble on how you have to socially network in case you are laid off. Ok, from an US perspective, but a lot holds true also in Europe or elsewhere.

I am traveling quite a lot, so always interesting to see how others do when it comes to packing. WebWorkerDaily:  How Travel Veterans Pack For a Trip

Worth to read as well is the list of things that Tim Ferriss has learned and loved in 2008.

The TOP 25 Most Dangerous Programming Errors. Yes, that might be the 25 most dangerous, but do we believe they get eliminated?

Stunning: Earth, observed. From the – probably – best picture blog in the world.

This is courage: The Man Who Said No to Wal-Mart

Mobility Packs of german bloggers (in German):

Shocking. Matthew Alexander on irrogation techniques and  torture in Iraq (via)

Interesting. Russ Juskalian in Columbia Journalism Review interviewing Clay Shirky.

How Newspapers tries to invent the Web. But Failed. Jack Shafer in Slate. Recommended.

In case you didn´t know: How to burn a Windows 7 .ISO to DVD

Leo Babauta (ZenHabits, Power of Less) interviews Tim Ferriss (4 hour workweek). Take the time.

From the Personal MBA blog:

Here are the three best resources I’ve found to explain what’s happening in the financial markets – they make great “Friday Reading”:

NY Times (now only for subscribers/registered users): The End of the Financial World as We Know It (via)

Charlie Rose interviewing Malcolm Gladwell. (via)

Balsamiq Mockup helps to create application mockups in minutes. Even more interesting than the tool is the commercial success of the creator, described here. Fan-tas-tic. (via)