Monthly Archives: February 2005

Upside down world

Interesting idea by Dana Blankenhornhow about Apple buying Sony? Would make an interesting inroad into portable cellphones/MP3 players, and also get them access to a lot of digital music for iTunes. I wonder to what extent there would be institutional obstacles, though. Sony is an old Japanese company and the shares may not be as licquid as a listing on NYSE should indicate.

Dream desktop getting closer

Once upon a time (in the mid-1980s to be slightly more precise) I expressed a wish for a desktop that would be real and electronic – that is, it would be the size of a real desktop, with a touch-sensitive interface. The idea was to create the paperless office (anyone who has seen my office knows what a pipe dream this is) where only the coffee cup would be “real”.
Now, we seem to be getting a tad bit closer with this beautiful screen from Wacom (via Gizmodo.) Let’s see, if we set about four of these side-by-side….

HTML Editor?

I recently upgraded from Mozilla 1.7.1 to Thunderbird and Firefox (email client and browser, respectively). The benefit of the upgrade is increased speed and certain features, especially in Thunderbird, that are useful (such as better search and stored searches (“all emails to and from Doug”, for instance).
Mozilla 1.7.1 is good, but a tad slow, and I have a tendency to have 10-15 windows running at the same time, with lots of tabs in each, three edit windows up at the same time, etc., etc. Since all this is essentially one application, a crash in one forced crashes in everything. Plus, modularity is preferable if you want to stay current.
All of which leaves me without the (annoying but simple) Mozilla editor. I have done all my editing either in Notetab light or in Mozilla, but it is about time I move to a better HTML editor, especially one that supports CSS. Free/cheap is nice, should be able to handle relatively simple web pages and it would be very nice it if could handle synchronization between my hard disk and my web server, as well as helping me manage my many course pages efficiently (especially nice if I could have sub-parts of courses, learning modules, that could be stored so that I did not have to make changes many places). There are lots of them out there – any suggestions?
Of course, I could create a blog for each course. I could also do everything in Blackbored, our lame courseware option. But I like straight HTML and open access to courses. I could also install Macromedia (we have a license at the school) but that is overkill for me, I just don’t want to learn all that. So, what to do?

Bridget Jill

Saturday 9:38am: Reading Jill’s Bridget Jones-writealike blog entry. Fun, reminds me of Umberto Eco’s piece about time spent on research (from How to travel with a salmon), where he (if memory serves me right) proves that as a professor of linguistics, he had 1 hour per year or so for research. Especially liked the entry on “Head of Department can decide less teaching for self”, followed by “Head of Department realizes resource contraints and find she has to teach anyway.”
Aside from that, I remember a study done at American Airlines in the early 90s, about white-collar productivity. The idea was that about 40% of people’s time was spent unproductively, doing things such as unproductive meetings, waiting for the copying machine etc. The company was investing in office automation, and wanted justify it by decreasing unroductive time by using computers to automate boring stuff, so people could concentrate on the core part of their job. Disappointing results, though people liked email and an integrated work platform. And spent as much time as before being “unproductive”.
Seems we humans have a need for some time in slow gear doing busywork. Such as blogging. And she might have a book in this…..