Monday, January 11, 2010


After nearly 5 years, I've decided to move this blog over to Wordpress. You can visit me now at

The new RSS feed address is:

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Palm's presentation at the 2010 CES (Youtube)

Palm unveils new phones, new carriers, developer programs, and video capabilities at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show.

I've been a Palm fan since the very beginning (the Pilot 1000!) and it makes me pretty happy to see these developments.

Palm @ CES

It's that time of year when the world descends upon Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, and Palm is announcing some great things:

Today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Palm and Verizon Wireless introduced Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pixi Plus, two new phones combining the power of the Palm webOS platform with several new enhancements. Palm Pre PlusPalm Pre Plus sports a streamlined design that simplifies navigation, 16GB of storage (15GB user available storage), and a Touchstone Back Cover. The incredibly thin and lightweight Palm Pixi Plus adds Wi-Fi along with an optional splash of color, thanks to new Touchstone Back Covers Palm Pixi Plusavailable in pink, blue, green, orange and black for all Palm Pixi phones. Both Verizon Wireless phones will be available January 25.

The companies also introduced Palm mobile hotspot, a Palm webOS app that turns your Palm Pre Plus or Palm Pixi Plus into a mobile Wi-Fi router. The app provides wireless broadband access for up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices. Palm mobile hotspot will be available in the Palm App Catalog for Verizon Wireless customers.

Why Twitter Will Endure (NY Times)

David Carr writes on why Twitter is here to stay:

What could anyone possibly find useful in this cacophony of short-burst communication?

Well, that depends on whom you ask, but more importantly whom you follow. On Twitter, anyone may follow anyone, but there is very little expectation of reciprocity. By carefully curating the people you follow, Twitter becomes an always-on data stream from really bright people in their respective fields, whose tweets are often full of links to incredibly vital, timely information.

The most frequent objection to Twitter is a predictable one: “I don’t need to know someone is eating a donut right now.” But if that someone is a serious user of Twitter, she or he might actually be eating the curmudgeon’s lunch, racing ahead with a clear, up-to-the-second picture of an increasingly connected, busy world. The service has obvious utility for a journalist, but no matter what business you are in, imagine knowing what the thought leaders in your industry were reading and considering. And beyond following specific individuals, Twitter hash tags allow you to go deep into interests and obsession: #rollerderby, #physics, #puppets and #Avatar, to name just a few of many thousands.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Hashing Things Out (NY Times)

...Hashtags are curious words and mashed-together phrases earmarked with a hash symbol (better known, perhaps, as the pound sign). When a hashtag is included in a Twitter post, it signals which topic the tweet is believed to address. It’s shorthand that works sort of like the moment in a conversation when a big talker might say — generously to a newcomer, pointedly to a dummy — “We’re talking about the future of the Democratic Party here.” A hashtag (think #futureofthedemocraticparty) is also a link, so anyone who encounters one on Twitter can instantly search the network for that phrase. (This week’s On Language, on Page 12, has more on the etymology.)

Where library science uses shared, intuitive and (in principle) value-neutral systems for organizing information, Twitter users often classify their tweets in the most condensed, most charged and least transparent way possible. While aiming to draw people in, Twitter users nonetheless strive for unique hashtags (#freeskip instead of #gates, for example) so that searches don’t retrieve off-topic stuff. I can say this from experience: If you urgently want to know about the Gates arrest, you want to dodge tweets about Bill Gates’s quitting Facebook. That nonnews is for #billgates people.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

JK Wedding Video

Yes, it went viral, blah blah. Watch it because it'll make you smile, or bring a tear to your eye. Then read the Today Show story about it:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

John Hodgman at Radio & TV Correspondents' Dinner

John Hodgman ribs President Obama on his nerd credentials. ;-)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Forget Tom Hanks. Meet the Real Professor Langdon. (Chr. of Higher Ed)


Tilt your head, squint, look upside down.

No matter how you look at it, it's impossible to see how a typography professor at Drexel University ended up on the red carpet at a movie premiere in the heart of Rome last month. It would take a secret society to pull off something like that.

There was John Langdon, though, with Tom Hanks, the star of Angels & Demons, who plays Professor Robert Langdon, the symbologist at the center of Dan Brown's two best-selling mystery-thrillers. (The Da Vinci Code was written later but turned into a movie first.) Of course, in both of these stories, the star is a Harvard professor. Just think of the lost branding opportunities for Drexel.

The tale of how the real Professor Langdon ended up next to the fake Professor Langdon began more than 15 years ago. That's when a mathematics teacher named Dick Brown picked up Mr. Langdon's book Wordplay, a compendium of typographical designs called ambigrams.

Mr. Langdon, who began making them in the 1970s, is generally known as one of the fathers of ambigrams, which can look like the same or different words when read from multiple viewpoints or orientations.


Technorati Tags: , ,

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Remembering Ron Takaki (Asian Week)

It is with great sadness to announce that Professor Emeritus Ronald Takaki passed away on the evening of May 26th, 2009. He is survived by his wife, Carol Takaki, his three children Dana, Troy, and Todd Takaki, and his grandchildren.

Ron Takaki was one of the most preeminent scholars of our nation’s diversity, and considered “the father” of multicultural studies. As an academic, historian, ethnographer and author, his work helped dispel stereotypes of Asian Americans. In his study of multicultural people’s history in America, Takaki seeked to unite Americans, today and in the future, with each other and with the rest of the world.

He was a professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught over 20,000 students during 34 years of teaching.


Technorati Tags: ,

Monday, April 13, 2009

Amazon Accused of Removing Gay Books from Rankings (Mashable)

by Pete Cashmore

Some bloggers and social media communities are taking exception today to Amazon’s removal from its sales rankings of gay or lesbian books it considered “adult” in nature.

Mark R. Probst, a gay romance author whose book was included in the action, writes in his LiveJournal blog:

On two days ago, mysteriously, the sales rankings disappeared from two newly-released high profile gay romance books: “Transgressions” by Erastes and “False Colors” by Alex Beecroft. Everybody was perplexed. Was it a glitch of some sort? The very next day HUNDREDS of gay and lesbian books simultaneously lost their sales rankings, including my book “The Filly.” There was buzz, What’s going on? Does Amazon have some sort of campaign to suppress the visibility of gay books?

Probst received the following reply after contacting Amazon through his Amazon Advantage account:

In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude “adult” material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

Probst also notes, however, that Amazon has de-ranked heterosexual romance novels in its erotica section. So the allegation is not so much that Amazon is removing all gay romance (some still remains), but rather questioning whether Amazon’s standards for what constitutes “adult” material are biased against homosexual romance. It should also be noted that Amazon still sells these books: they simply no longer appear in public sales rankings.


Technorati Tags: , ,

Voice of the Century (New Yorker)

Celebrating Marian Anderson.
by Alex Ross

On Easter Sunday, 1939, the contralto Marian Anderson sang on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The Daughters of the American Revolution had refused to let her appear at Constitution Hall, Washington’s largest concert venue, because of the color of her skin. In response, Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the D.A.R., and President Roosevelt gave permission for a concert on the Mall. Seventy-five thousand people gathered to watch Anderson perform. Harold Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior, introduced her with the words “In this great auditorium under the sky, all of us are free.”

The impact was immediate and immense; one newsreel carried the legend “Nation’s Capital Gets Lesson in Tolerance.” But Anderson herself made no obvious statement. She presented, as she had done countless times before, a mixture of classical selections—“O mio Fernando,” from Donizetti’s “La Favorita,” and Schubert’s “Ave Maria”—and African-American spirituals. Perhaps there was a hint of defiance in her rendition of “My Country, ’Tis of Thee”; perhaps a message of solidarity when she changed the line “Of thee I sing” to “Of thee we sing.” Principally, though, her protest came in the unfurling of her voice—that gently majestic instrument, vast in range and warm in tone. In her early years, Anderson was known as “the colored contralto,” but, by the late thirties, she was the contralto, the supreme representative of her voice category. Arturo Toscanini said that she was the kind of singer who comes along once every hundred years; Jean Sibelius welcomed her to his home saying, “My roof is too low for you.” There was no rational reason for a serious venue to refuse entry to such a phenomenon. No clearer demonstration of prejudice could be found.


Technorati Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Parker Holdouts (

Conventional wisdom in the wine industry is that 90 points is the breaking point when it comes to a critic's rating: Over that magic number means you can't keep a wine in stock; under it means you can't give a wine away.

The 100-point rating system is the brainchild of ├╝bercritic Robert Parker, who developed the method in the mid-1970s for his newsletter, The Wine Advocate. Parker experimented with other ratings, including letter grades and a 20-point scale developed at the University of California–Davis, but ultimately created his own.

Any American who had gone through grammar school easily understood his system: A 95 is good, while a 75 is not. You get 50 points just for showing up.

Wine Spectator and other publications quickly adopted Parker's system, and today the 100-point scale is ubiquitous. "The entire process of making and selling wine today revolves around the scores," says Tyler Coleman, author of Wine Politics. "Parker has steered people toward finding good wines, but what's gotten lost is that it's just an opinion. When you give a wine a number, it takes on a patina of objectivity."

Occasionally critics seek out a wine to review on their own, but most often, wineries or distributors submit samples for ratings. Despite the system's importance, some winemakers don't send their wines in for review at all. "That's a game we refuse to play," says Pete Hedges, winemaker for Hedges Family Estate in Red Mountain, Washington State's hot new wine-growing region.

(More. . .)

Friday, January 02, 2009

Jennifer 8. Lee: Who was General Tso? and other mysteries of American Chinese food

Reporter Jennifer 8. Lee talks about her hunt for the origins of familiar Chinese-American dishes -- exploring the hidden spots where these two cultures have (so tastily) combined to form a new cuisine.

Monday, December 29, 2008

TED: Benjamin Zander on music and passion

Benjamin Zander at TED on music and passion: "Benjamin Zander has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realize our untapped love for it -- and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, new connections."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Odetta, Voice of Civil Rights Movement, Dies at 77 (NYT)


Odetta, the singer whose deep voice wove together the strongest songs of American folk music and the civil rights movement, died on Tuesday at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. She was 77.

The cause was heart disease, said her manager, Doug Yeager. He added that she had been hoping to sing at Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Odetta sang at coffeehouses and at Carnegie Hall, made highly influential recordings of blues and ballads, and became one of the most widely known folk-music artists of the 1950s and ’60s. She was a formative influence on dozens of artists, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Janis Joplin.

Her voice was an accompaniment to the black-and-white images of the freedom marchers who walked the roads of Alabama and Mississippi and the boulevards of Washington in the quest to end racial discrimination.

Rosa Parks, the woman who started the boycott of segregated buses in Montgomery, Ala., was once asked which songs meant the most to her. She replied, “All of the songs Odetta sings.”

Odetta sang at the march on Washington, a pivotal event in the civil rights movement, in August 1963. Her song that day was “O Freedom,” dating to slavery days: “O freedom, O freedom, O freedom over me, And before I’d be a slave, I’d be buried in my grave, And go home to my Lord and be free.” (more . . .)

Technorati Tags: , ,

R.I.P. Odetta

Technorati Tags: , ,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

T-Mobile myFaves Yao's Comfort Food

Yao says "eat the head!" (but my friend says he's really saying "eat the brains!"

Technorati Tags: , ,