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Critical Section

Ole Eichhorn's weblog - computer software, medical science, politics, philosophy, cycling, sailing, and book writing!

Copyright: © 2003-2017 Ole Eichhorn

we're going to make some history today

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 20:40:26 PST

Ten years ago, today:


"we're going to make some history today"

Well that was true.  Wow.

Notes on rewatching:

  • Hehe, Macs running on Intel, how amazing.
  • iTunes Store ... 5M songs per day.  Of course, no app store yet!
  • Zune, we hardly knew ya.
  • Those old iPod ads were the best.  Those white earbuds.
  • Apple TV!  Who can remember, it was introduced at the same time.  Nice hobby.
  • 22 min in ... every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything.
  • Who wants a stylus?  Nobody wants a stylus.
  • iPhone runs OS X.  Really!?
  • Sync with iTunes.  Yep the first iPhones required a computer.  Quaint.
  • 3.5mm headphone jack.  "All your iPod headphones fit right in."
  • Accelerometer.  Weird to think turning your phone sideways didn't used to do anything.
  • "To unlock my phone I just take my finger and slide it across."
  • "You had me at scrolling."
  • "The killer app for a phone is making calls."  Hehe not any more.
  • Random access voicemail.  Another breakthrough we now take for granted.
  • First public call was to Jony Ive.  Of course.  "It's not too shabby, is it."
  • SMS texting pre-iMessage.  Hardly ever see green anymore :)
  • Pinch to zoom - big ovation.
  • Yahoo! Mail.  Yay.  Biggest mail service in the world.  That was then.
  • Realtime stock updates...  APPL was up $2.40 during this keynote.  Heh.
  • "I want to show you something truly remarkable" ... Google Maps on iPhone!
  • Calling Starbucks: "I'd like to order 4,000 lattes to go please" ... so great.
  • It's my pleasure to announce ... the CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt!  This was before Android :)
  • "You can't think of the internet without thinking of Yahoo!"  Um ... yeah.
  • Launch network Cingular.  Remember them?  Eleven days after AT&T had bought them!
  • Love that anecdote about Woz and the TV scrambler at the end.
  • Wayne Gretsky: "skating where the puck is going to be".  Yep.
  • Finally, can I just say, that version of IOS looks so much better!
  • Pretty much the best tech product introduction of all time.  The benchmark.

Can you remember what was in your pocket on that day?  I proudly carried a Palm Centro.

I don't care what you say, that was a better time.  (...more history...)


bloggin in the year

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 13:26:50 PST

Bloggin' in the new year ... it's 2017, which means it is fourteen years since I started blogging, way back in the bad old days of early 2003.  That means I get to add another "this date in:" link to my sidebar, and I get to add another row to the summary grid at the top of my archive.  There you will find links to 3,282 posts.  I can't believe how much time I've spent blogging, and yet... I can't help feeling that it was time well spent.  It was fun, for one thing, and educational, and through blogging I've met many of you, some of whom have become good friends and a few even business partners.  And I must confess I do like being able to see what I was doing and thinking this time in each year; I am probably the biggest user of my Flight link, which makes that vertical cut. Weirdly and unusually, I have not redesigned my blog; it looks almost exactly as it did fourteen years ago.  I was an early pioneer with drop shadows, image maps, a right-side nav, and a chronological archive.  And may I say, my site has stayed fast; flat teeny compressed HTML, baby, with no client-side crap.  I was also wrong about a few things; frames, we hardly new ya, blog roulette, cute but useless, and blogroll, no longer a thing (sadly).  I do still have a cool, fast, simple search, and have held on to those greatest hits in the sidebar, although they don't get many clicks.  I didn't get RSS at first, and even thought aggregators are not good, but soon saw the light; I continue to think RSS is amazing, and it enables me to follow over 200 sites and blogs every day; click my OPML feed to see what I see.  And way back in 2009 I started Tweeting links, and echoing posts to Facebook. So what's new for 2017?  We'll have to see.  I have no immediate plans to change anything about my blog, but I most definitely plan to start blogging again.  I have a backlog of about 200 items to share with you, and will dribble them out among new things of interest.  A lot of space stuff - it's been a good year for space! - and a lot of tech as usual, and of course a little social and political commentary, but I promise only a little. (At right: This was NASA's tribute to Prince, after he died on 4/21/16) Cheers and onward! [...]

starting 2017 right: surfing dogs in the Rose Parade

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 11:32:32 PST

This morning I got up and [like everyone else on Earth] watched the Rose Parade.  Wow.  As usual the floats were amazing, the bands were great, and the sense of pageantry and tradition was strong.  A perfect way to warm up for a day of doing nothing and watching football (and for a year of doing ... a lot).

(click to watch on Twitter)

As I was watching this - amazed and delighted - I couldn't help wondering about how this might be received by some of the other people watching this, people in other countries, other cultures, who might be astounded that we have so much excess bandwidth that we can worry about creating 100' long parade floats with surfing dogs.  In order to promote a philanthropic organization that exists to spay and neuter pets, so we don't have too many of them.  What a time to be alive.

Onward, into my day of doing nothing and watching football.  I'm picking: Wisconson over Western Michighan in the Cotton Bowl, Iowa over Florida in the Outback, USC over Penn State in the Rose Bowl (sorry, Kevin), and ... Oklahoma over Auburn in the Sugar.

Jumping Into 2017

Sat, 31 Dec 2016 16:12:49 PST

Happy New Year, everyone! 
I hope 2017 is amazing for you.


I haven't been been posting much, sorry ... maybe I'll start again soon.  This summer I had some changes which made me quite busy - I am now CTO of InTouch Health, yay! - and yeah, I got tired of all the political wrangling, and stopped blogging.  Per my blogging history this is about the 6th time I've done that in the last 13 years, and each time I started again, so stay tuned.


I wanted to share this amazing picture.
This is the international space station, showing two Russian spacecraft docked.
Below is Earth, with various Earthian cities lit up at night, and lighting flashing in the clouds.
This is a real picture, not Star Wars XX.

Looking at those tiny little lights way down there gives me goosebumps.
Think of all the Earthians down there, each living their lives with all their complexity.
I hope they all - we all - have a wonderful year.

a new beginning

Wed, 09 Nov 2016 21:03:32 PST


Yesterday, the American people sent a strong signal.  They didn't vote for President-elect Trump or the Republican party, and they didn't vote against Hillary Clinton.  They voted for change.  They did not like where we were headed, and they said so, loudly.

In 2008 after Barack Obama was elected President, the Democratic party controlled both houses, 29 governorships, and 27 state legislatures.  But in the four elections since the Democratic party has moved further to the left and left America in the middle.  Now Donald Trump has been elected President, the Democrats have lost both houses, and they are left with only 18 governorships and 12 state legislatures.  *That* is change you must believe in.

I didn't see this coming.  I don't like Donald Trump.  But I am delighted that the era of liberal policies, free-spending big government, victimology, and sanctimonious political correctness may be brought to an end.  We have serious problems and we need serious solutions.  We cannot expect our government to provide those solutions, we can only hope that they get out of the way.  Obamacare is only the latest in a long serious of fiascos where the government attempts to manipulate a market, and causes incredible damage.  (For an earlier example, see the government's subsidy of subprime loans via FNMA and FDMC, which caused the disastrous housing bubble of the mid-2000s.)

I would guess that 75% of you, my friends and readers, are more liberal than I am.  Many way, way more.  (You are great friends for all that.)  Same for the bloggers I follow (great bloggers), my Facebook and Twitter feeds, etc.  Since last night there has been a vast outpouring of anger and frustration and denial.  It will take time to understand what happened.  But I hope those who are angry and frustrated will take that time. 

This was not about race, not about gender, not about multiculturalism, not about trivial considerations of social correctness.  You and I, we live in a bubble.  We cannot easily identify with those who cannot find work, who see their towns shrinking, their kids growing up worse off than they were, the way of life they love slowly eroding.  But that is reality for millions of people, and those people voted for change.  They are Americans of all races, genders, and cultural backgrounds (check the stats, Trump received more minority votes and more support from women than Mitt Romney).  They want to make America great again.

Let's work together and make that happen.  We learn from the past, take all the best ideas, and move forward.  I am not angry or frustrated, I am excited and energized.  It is a new beginning, let's make the most of it!


never forget

Sun, 11 Sep 2016 12:01:58 PST

(image) Wow, 9/11, again.  I will certainly never forget, as must we all not, for the evil philosophy which drove the horrible events of that day is with us still.  We must be ever vigilant to defend our ways of life against those who would take them away.

I have a calm quiet day; the biggest challenge I face will be riding my bike up a steep mountain.  I will worry only about how to make great things happen in the future, for my family and my business, and not about how to avoid bad things happening in the present. 

But I will not forget the recent past, and I hope you will not, either.