April 30, 2008

Explaining the Cognitive Surplus

I really enjoyed watching Clay Shirky's talk on Cognitive Surplus at the Web 2.0 Expo last week. He does such a good job at explaining how and why watching TV is no longer the de-facto spare time activity that I'm going to simple force people to watch it when they claim not to understand how I have no time to watch television.

See for yourself...

It occurs to me that people like me, meaning generation X (as we're called), are part of possible the last generation where hours of TV watching every evening was a truly universal activity.

Even if I had a Tivo, I probably wouldn't find the time to really use it.

I've always enjoyed Clay's presentations and this one is no exception. Carve yourself out 15 minutes of whatever it is you'd normally be doing and give it a listen.

Posted by jzawodn at 07:31 AM

April 29, 2008

Quasar Fuel Efficient Light Sport Airplane

According to this AVweb story, a Brazilian-made light sport aircraft could set records for fuel efficiency if it lives up to claims.

Powered by a 121-pound HKS-700E 60-hp 4-stroke engine that promoter GeBe LLC says sips about 1.7-3.5 gallons per hour, GeBe claims the roughly 500 pound aircraft could be "the greenest aircraft on the planet," or, less subtly, "the most efficient commercially available aircraft on earth." The company also calls the Quasar Lite a "2-seat trainer" and likens its handling qualities to "a Pitts in the air." In terms that should prove less subjective, the aircraft's fuselage is composite, its 30-foot-span wings are aluminum and the tail is aluminum structure with Dacron covering.
With 20-gallon tanks, the aircraft's range is listed at 1,060 miles (10 hours at economy cruise) and its cruising speed at 75 percent power is listed at 130 mph with stall at 45 with flaps down. Maximum rate of climb at gross weight is listed at 550 ft/min and Quasar told us when they fly the aircraft it generally climbs 700 ft/min with full fuel and one pilot aboard. Quasar also says they routinely fly the aircraft at 120 mph true burning two gallons per hour.


With prices at the avgas pump in the $5.25/gallon range here in the Bay Area, such a plane could sell quite well for casual fliers.

Posted by jzawodn at 03:05 PM

April 28, 2008

How to Get Rich with Green Putty

I realized something amusing today. If you take a 3 ounce wad of putty (just enough to put in your hand and squeeze it), color it green, and put it in a little plastic container, you can call it TheraPutty and sell it as a hand therapy product in hospitals and medical offices.


As far as I can tell, the key is to make it an unmistakable shade of green.


The trick to getting rich is selling this 50 cents worth of putty and plastic for just under $8.

And, in related news, I've posted my first video to Flickr.

I have the fun of spending about 5 minutes doing that 3-5 times a day--along with a few other finger strengthening exercises. Believe it or not, my finger is healing up pretty well so far.

Posted by jzawodn at 09:23 PM

Dear Yahoo and Microsoft Management

Please do something.


You know what I'm talking about.

There are a lot of people wondering what the future holds and it seems like we're in yet another indefinite holding pattern while you do whatever it is you're doing and cannot talk about.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world marches on.

Cat Stare

While the public staring contest is great drama for the incessant technology news machine, the rest of us are rather sick of this. I say this as a concerned observer, fan of Yahoo, employee, and shareholder.

Your Friend,


Posted by jzawodn at 11:31 AM

April 21, 2008

Maybe Microsoft is Right...

It's funny how infrequently you hear anyone (at least around here) say that, but it was my first reaction to this post which can best be summarized with a few excerpts:

Q: What do you get when you cross a browser application with the ability to go offline?
A: A client application without any the goodness that the platform (be it Windows or OS X) has to offer.
Really? Do people really want this?


Perhaps there’s been so much blah blah blah about web 2.0, social networks, etc., or that folks have just gotten so lazy that they’ve forgotten how to write client applications. It’s sad really.

You can come at this from many points of view, really. Maybe the web is best thought of as the focus and the desktop is merely there for when the web is not. Or maybe the desktop is the focus and the web is there as an add-on (current browser technology certainly points this way). Or maybe the two should be on equal footing, as much as possible. Or...

But it occurs to me that when you consider the question in terms like I excerpted above, it make Microsoft's strategy look a little less like they need to catch up with Google.

Not entirely, but enough to remind you that there are some smart people there too...

Posted by jzawodn at 12:45 PM

April 20, 2008

F-16 R/C Scale Model with Afterburner!

Only once have a I seen a scale model fighter jet up close. That was a few years ago in Florida. I watched someone do and engine run-up test on a model F-15 while his friend held it in place.

What impressed me most is how jet-like the micro-jet engines sound. It really does seem like you're witnessing a fighter jet trying to fly.

So it was with some fascination and pleasure I watch this video and wondered how I would feel about test flying one for the first time, knowing how much time and money goes into it.

But it sure would be fun! Especially when it has an afterburner.

Posted by jzawodn at 09:23 PM

April 18, 2008

High Performance MySQL, Second Edition

While my involvement can generously be labeled as "minimal", the second edition of High Performance MySQL is slated to hit store shelves soon.

High Performance MySQL, second edition
pre-order on Amazon.com

More info is available on O'Reilly.

Thanks to Baron, Peter, Vadim, and Arjen for picking up the torch to get a greatly expanded seconded edition done and out the door. There's a heck of a lot of new material in it.

Posted by jzawodn at 07:47 AM

April 17, 2008

Yahoo! is Hiring

yahoo It's hard not to get distracted by all the Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, and Google speculation that's been building, but I wanted to take a minute and point out that we're still hiring. That other stuff is only a distraction if you waste time focusing on it.

There are a variety of open technology positions from hard-core back end engineering, front end work, and everything in between. Even in the developer network, we're looking for at least one web developer and an evangelist.

Rather that list all the jobs we have open, shoot me your resume and tell me what sort of work you're looking for. I'll get it to the right people internally.

And if you know someone else who's looking (or should be), please pass the word.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:42 AM

April 16, 2008

Virtualization: VMware, Xen, or VirtualBox?

Dear Lazyweb,

I wish to virtualize my computer life. However, I face an abundance of choices from which you will help me select the right one.

I have a Windows XP Pro machine on which I'd occasionally like to run a virtual Windows XP machine and maybe a lightweight Linux server (probably without a GUI). I currently run VMWare server on it and am pretty happy with that.

So is it worth playing with VirtualBox at all?

Secondly, I have a Linux box (Ubuntu) on which I'd like to regularly run a Windows XP virtual machine. I have experience with VMWare on Linux, but also know that Xen may be a good option. Or maybe VirtualBox. Not having it break every time I apt-get and install the latest kernel would certainly be a bonus.

What are the pros and cons here? And are there other solutions worthy of consideration?

Posted by jzawodn at 03:43 PM

April 13, 2008

Twitter Badge?

I'm using twitter more now that I'm trying to type less.

That makes me wonder if it's worth sticking a Twitter Badge on my blog.

follow jzawodn at http://twitter.com


BTW, my finger is getting better every day. I can't wait to start flying again!

Posted by jzawodn at 11:07 PM

April 11, 2008

The Yahoo! Developer Network's New Look

Hey, check it out. YDN got a redesign.

The New TDN Design

Send feedback here. More and more of the site will take on the new look as time goes on--assuming you like it.

Posted by jzawodn at 01:23 PM

April 09, 2008

I Got Screwed! Twice!

Here's my post-surgery x-ray for your viewing pleasure.

My Finger Got Screwed...

And another one.

I'm learning to type a bit more quickly, but it's still quite frustrating. So blogging will continue to be light. I'll keep my linkblog updated, though.

Posted by jzawodn at 03:25 PM

April 02, 2008

Vim Editing Tips, Tricks, Tutorials, and References Needed

Dear LazyWeb,

vim Though I've used GNU Emacs as my primary code/email/todo list editor for many years now, I'd like to give Vim a fair shake.

Now I know the most basic of vi editing but never really got past the 8-12 keystrokes that I learned back in college. So, loyal readers and geeks, I ask you to bestow upon me your favorite on-line Vim references, tips, tricks, tutorials, references, and so on.

This isn't a direct result of my hand injury... I've been thinking that I should do this for a couple years now. But it sure did help get me motivated finally.

I'll be using vim on both Linux and Windows, not that it matters much for most things (I hope).


Posted by jzawodn at 12:54 PM

April 01, 2008

Meanwhile, there's my FriendFeed

Things have been rather quiet here since I broke my finger on easter Sunday. Since then I helped host the Hadoop Summit, had surgery, got the claw, learned to shower one-handed, and hosted a going away lunch for my manager, Matt McAlister.

But what really sucks is that my typing speed is about 25% of what it used to be.

Ugh! You'd think that losing one hand would mean a 50% reduction, but it's far worse than that in practice. Correcting errors is quite slow.

Splint #2

I'm still doing stuff on my linkblog (aka my del.icio.us), and a bit on my Twitter, and a bit on my Flickr, and so on.

But my FriendFeed does a good job of capturing all that. So watch that if you're in the mood to stalk me while my finger heals.

Posted by jzawodn at 04:42 PM