Thursday, December 16, 2010

Links for 12-16-2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Links for 12-13-2010

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Links for 12-09-2010

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Links for 12-08-2010

  • Debating subway map form and function :: Second Ave. Sagas - "The venerable Vingelli took the floor first. While the angular subway schematic that divided the city’s subway riders remains Vingelli’s most iconic New York piece, the subways are replete with the 79-year-old Italian designer’s imprint. The relatively clear signage and the unified use of Helvetica was a part of Vingelli’s Graphics Standard manual that the TA adopted in the late 1960s."
  • Someday, Nobody Will Ask “PC or Mac?” - Techland - - "But something good has been happening lately: The decision has gotten simpler and less risky. Both Windows PCs and Macs are, on some level, primarily boxes that run the Web browsers we do much of our work in--once you're inside your favorite browser, it doesn't matter all that much which operating system your computer uses. And a high percentage of peripherals--cameras, printers, and many phones--don't care whether you connect them to a Windows computer or a Mac."

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Links for 12-07-2010

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Links for 12-02-2010

My fave general purpose cookbooks

The past year and a half saw good updates to a couple of old standby cookbooks. These aren't necessarily the sort of cookbooks you buy to read all the way through or to ogle the food porn photography--indeed there aren't many photos in any of the books listed. Nor are they designed to dive deep on a particular cuisine or food style. Rather, they're big tomes intended to give a taste (so to speak) from a wide swatch through relatively traditional American cooking. Here are four cookbooks I put in this category. Two are the aforementioned newcomers.

The publication of Ruth Reichl's new Gourmet cookbook in September of 2009 turned out to be something of a bittersweet event given that it preceded the cancellation of Gourmet magazine by just a couple of weeks. I have quite a few cookbooks from Gourmet in my collection but the two volume 1960s-vintage reference on my shelf stays there mostly for nostalgia reasons; it's not particularly relevant to me in the types of recipes and ingredients on which it focuses. And that's a general problem with older cookbooks. As Reichl puts it:
Back then things were so different that my editor insisted that I call for ground beef instead of lamb in a classic Greek moussaka; she said not many grocers actually sold lamb. She also worried about the recipe for handmade pasta (too esoteric) and a simple Chinese stir-fry of chicken (what on earth was a wok). She worried when I called for freshly grated Parmesan cheese (most people still used the stuff that came in the green can), fresh garlic (frowned upon in many places) and chiles (too hot, too hot, too hot).
I think it's also the case that the recipes in this book tend toward the simpler and the quicker. They're not dumbed down exactly but they do mostly avoid highly complex foods that require all-day preparation. And that aligns with modern lifestyles as well.

Most of the recipes in this book can be found on the Epicurious website, which is also a good place to see how readers may have modified the original recipes. Even though you can look up the recipes for free though, I find it worthwhile to have a curated and packaged version that I can keep in the kitchen (where, to be sure, the Epicurious application also resides on my iPad).

My existing New York Times cookbook wasn't quite so vintage, with a 1990 copyright date. However, this edition--edited by longtime Times food editor Craig Claiborne--seemed to be a largely incremental update of earlier versions. It was one of my more useful references nonetheless but it still dated back to what was in important ways an earlier era of cooking.

Amanda Hesser's The Essential New York Times Cookbook, like Gourmet Today, is explicitly about updating recipes for modern tastes and ingredients (albeit the modern tastes and ingredients associated with locales like Manhattan). However, the book places those updated recipes within the context of the New York Times' recipe files going back to the beginning.

 Thus, while this cookbook certainly contains plenty of "modern" recipes, it also makes a point of reintroducing foods and drinks of the past that may be worth re-examining. And for fans of Craig Claiborne, many of his favorites are still well-represented. (In keeping with the season, his 1958 eggnog concoction is more of a meal than a drink.) This is both a good cookbook and a fun read.

The Cook's Illustrated crew, headed by Chris Kimball, is something of a mini-industry. They have shows on public TV, magazines, a Website that they actually succeed in getting folks like myself to subscribe to (something the New York Times would sincerely love), and a passel of cookbooks that profitably rework and repurpose large swaths of content.

The central conceit of Cook's Illustrated is that everything from recipes to techniques is tested, tested, tested. They're also probably the best-known example of the modern "cooking geek" approach in that they investigate and explain why particular techniques work or don't work. (Alton Brown is another author who focuses on the science of cooking but without the obsessiveness of Cook's Illustrated.)

The Best Recipes is an encyclopedic work and it does a great job of breaking down and illustrating how to do things in the kitchen with something over 1,000 recipes in all. Because it does so much more than just present a bunch of recipes, this has become my go to reference for how to do things in the kitchen and a starting point for how to handle a cut of meat or other ingredient.
If there's a knock on on Cook's Illustrated it's that the whole "we tried 50 different ways of boiling an egg" shtick can get a bit old after a while. More to the point, I find it can result in recipes that are a bit fussy with three types of cheeses grated three different ways and the like. Also be forewarned that large quantities of cream, butter, and the like often seem to play heavily into getting the best tasting result. Still, overall, a great reference and a good bargain given its size.

A lot of people learned cooking from The Joy of Cooking and it's still the standard kitchen reference for many. For my part, I tended to favor modern versions of The Fanny Farmer Cookbook--which traces its origins to the 1896 Boston Cooking-School Cookbook.

Now, to tell the truth, I don't use this as much as I used to. If I want to figure out what to do with some leftovers or make some traditional comfort food, the Internet often has a more complete, albeit less vetted answer. And, as I noted above, Cook's Illustrated is a substantial reference work and generally does a more complete job of explaining both whys and hows. So, in short, this is a less essential reference for me than it once was. However, that said, I still use it and it continues to earn its spot on my close-to-hand bookshelf in the kitchen.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Links for 12-01-2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Links for 10-29-2010

  • Shutterfinger: What Your Choice of Camera Says About You - Funny!
  • Enterprises face integration hurdles to private clouds - Some of the challenges in moving from virtualization to private clouds.
  • Virtualization Then & Now: Symposium 2009-2010 - "IaaS (infrastructure as a service) providers have focused on open source and internal technologies to deliver solutions at the lowest possible cost. But that’s changing. In the past year, there’s been a rapidly growing trend for IaaS providers to add support for major commercial VM formats – especially VMware, but also Hyper-V and XenServer. The reason? To create an easy on-ramp for enterprises. As enteprises virtualize (and in many cases, build private clouds), the IaaS providers know that they need to make interoperability, hybrid, overdrafting, migration as easy as possible."
  • What is VMware vCloud Director? - Brief but good overview of various prerequisites and user reaction.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle Creator Alex Anderson Dies - TIME - "Animation has had plenty of unknown geniuses — from the directors, artists and storymen of Walt Disney's early features to the sly hands behind the silent pornographic cartoon Buried Treasure — but few were more obscure, or more important, than Alexander Anderson, who died Friday at 90 in Carmel, Calif. Anderson created the characters Rocky the flying squirrel, Bullwinkle Moose and Dudley Do-Right, and the vaudeville-style format, for the 1959 animated program Rocky and His Friends and its 1961 spin-off The Bullwinkle Show, known collectively as The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. "

Monday, October 25, 2010

Links for 10-25-2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Links for 10-15-2010

  • A VC: The Impact Of Priority Inbox - "If your email gets into the third section of the main page, called "Everything Else", I most likely won't see it unless I see it on my Android phone. And hopefully Google is working on bringing Priority Inbox to Android. When that happens, I won't ever see it."
  • Gartner's 2010 Hype Cycle Special Report Evaluates Maturity of 1,800 Technologies - You can't take these things too seriously IMO, but they can stimulate some useful discussion.
  • Another Year, Another Blogoversary - Chuck's Blog - Interesting meta-blogging piece by EMC's Chuck Hollis.
  • HDRI Photography: Exciting New Frontier, or Gimmick to Avoid? - A Picture's Worth | PhotoShelter - Unsurprising general consensus. Useful tool but often overdone.
  • IBM, Oracle and Java: The Q&A – tecosystems - Typically good writeup by Stephen O'Grady.
  • By The Bell: Who really invented virtual desktops? - Pretty good rundown that, for the most part, accurately parses the different forms. (Doesn't clearly distinguish VDI from Terminal services.)
  • Amazon Media Room: News Release - "Less than 10,000 words or more than 50,000: that is the choice writers have generally faced for more than a century--works either had to be short enough for a magazine article or long enough to deliver the "heft" required for book marketing and distribution. But in many cases, 10,000 to 30,000 words (roughly 30 to 90 pages) might be the perfect, natural length to lay out a single killer idea, well researched, well argued and well illustrated--whether it's a business lesson, a political point of view, a scientific argument, or a beautifully crafted essay on a current event."
  • Talking Business - For H.P. Board, a Double Standard - - Tough stuff. "More important, for a company that professes to be concerned with ethics — so concerned that it had to get rid of Mr. Hurd, with his piddling expense account problems — it is astonishing that it would find Mr. Apotheker’s lapses acceptable. He may not have been directly involved in this brazen theft of intellectual property, but it defies belief to say he didn’t know about it. And he did nothing to stop it until it was far too late. Apparently, the H.P. directors adhere to the highest ethical standards — but only when it’s convenient. "
  • What we can learn from procrastination : The New Yorker - "Not surprisingly, for the movie they wanted to watch immediately, people tended to pick lowbrow comedies and blockbusters, but when asked what movie they wanted to watch later they were more likely to pick serious, important films. The problem, of course, is that when the time comes to watch the serious movie, another frothy one will often seem more appealing. This is why Netflix queues are filled with movies that never get watched: our responsible selves put “Hotel Rwanda” and “The Seventh Seal” in our queue, but when the time comes we end up in front of a rerun of “The Hangover.”"
  • Google sends multicore warning: wimpy cores don’t cut it « SoftTalk – multicore and parallel programming - Of course this will vary by application but for the most part, the mega-multi-lightweight-cores approach seems to be a niche.
  • Rebate card comes with a catch | - "In fact, behavioral economists chalk up my error to something called "mental accounting."" Yup. I've done this.
  • First NYC/London cable in a decade promises sub-60ms latency - In case anyone had any doubts that even (very) extra-datacenter latency matters. "How can the speed of light vary among cable operators? It can't, but operators can plan their geographic routes strategically to keep the total cable length a bit shorter than the competition. According to the consultants at Telegeography, breaking 60ms would make Project Express at least 5ms faster than its closest competitor."
  • Confessions of a used-book salesman. - By Michael Savitz - Slate Magazine - An eye-opening look into how high-volume used book selling works.
  • 'Paradise' found: 70-ton elephant at S.F. Port - "The problem with the map is simple: it is huge and would cost a lot of money to move, restore and display it. The last estimate was in the range of $500,000. And that was 30 years ago. It is a classic white elephant, too valuable to scrap, but too expensive to keep."

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Links for 10-06-2010

Monday, October 04, 2010

Links for 10-04-2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Links for 09-30-2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Links for 09-29-2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Links for 09-23-2010

  • Java Creator James Gosling: Why I Quit Oracle - Gosling really lays into Oracle here.
  • Seth's Blog: The forever recession - "The other one, I fear, is here forever. This is the recession of the industrial age, the receding wave of bounty that workers and businesses got as a result of rising productivity but imperfect market communication. In short: if you're local, we need to buy from you. If you work in town, we need to hire you. If you can do a craft, we can't replace you with a machine."
  • world subways at scale - fake is the new real - But the various comments dispute what should be included in these maps.
  • Oracle OpenWorld Keynote – Worst. Keynote(s). Evar. | Error404 – It's A Blog - "It was completely uncalled for, it was completely unprofessional, and it was absolutely revolting. Not only was Larry’s presentation excessively long for no good reason, but it catered exclusively to kool-aid drinkers, and sought to insult people for no reason other than to insult them. HP is one of the biggest sponsors of OpenWorld, and he directly insulted them at least three times. He launched into the most revolting and unprofessional FUD attack on that I have ever been witness too. No context, no reason, he’s talking about the definition of cloud and out of left field says “oh by the way, is totally insecure and other people can get at your data.” Are you fucking kidding me?!"
  • Inside the secret world of Trader Joe's - Aug. 23, 2010
  • Irving Wladawsky-Berger: Open Innovation Re-visited - Nice piece by Irving on open innovation.
  • Some more comments... : On a New Road - "In my brief time getting to know Oracle, they made it very clear that you're mostly right (I'd quibble with the Mono part - it's still silly). The key phrase is "in Oracle's hands". It doesn't have to be that way. Lightning might strike and they might live up to their 2007 commitment to create an independent Java foundation. I'm not holding my breath, but if enough customers rose up in revolt, it could actually happen. But it would require Oracle customers to do this, since the only thing that Oracle pays attention to is money, and that's what customers hand over to Oracle."
  • Top 10 Super Bowl tech ads

Monday, August 23, 2010

Links for 08-23-2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Links for 08-17-2010

Monday, August 09, 2010

Links for 08-09-2010

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Links for 08-04-2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Links for 07-28-2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Links for 07-23-2010

  • Dead Tree Alert: Mad Men Returns; Plus, What Is a Spoiler? - Tuned In - - "The implicit request: thanks for all of your rave reviews of our show. We want you to write about the new season in advance. Preferably positively! But without any detail, quotation or concrete substantiation!
    Uh, no. Criticism doesn't work that way. Journalism doesn't work that way--you don't just make assertions without evidence." << Sounds a lot like some NDAs.
  • Daring Fireball: Sorry, No, I'm Not Going to Write a Piece Arguing That Dan Lyons Is a Jackass - Have to laugh when journos start pissing on each other.
  • Apple's iPad, iPhone and an enterprise halo effect | ZDNet - At least as interesting as formal evaluation and adoption is the many examples of "consumerization of IT" (i.e. people buying personally and using for work) examples that I see out there.
  • NASA and Rackspace open source cloud fluffer • Channel Register - "But Kemp also said that the scalability of the product and other issues with Eucalyptus (including the inability by NASA to get some of its enhancements into the Eucalyptus code base) compelled Kemp to take the entire Nebula team and dedicate it – for the past six months – to creating a new fabric controller, called Nova, from scratch."
  • The Web Means the End of Forgetting - - "When historians of the future look back on the perils of the early digital age, Stacy Snyder may well be an icon. The problem she faced is only one example of a challenge that, in big and small ways, is confronting millions of people around the globe: how best to live our lives in a world where the Internet records everything and forgets nothing — where every online photo, status update, Twitter post and blog entry by and about us can be stored forever. " << My (mild) counterpoint to this meme is that the norm in history has been living where everyone knows your name (and your past).
  • Why GPS voices are so condescending -
  • Grey beards seize power at Big Blue • The Register - "In the moves announced yesterday, a number of independent IBM groups were consolidated, giving certain IBM executives more power and others less. Most of the executives who have increased power at Big Blue are not much younger than Palmisano, who turns 59 in July and is approaching the traditional 60 retirement age for IBM chairmen, so the reorganization is not meant to anoint a successor to Palmisano. If anything, it makes it pretty clear that there really isn't a successor to Palmisano and that the whole team may just stay together and keep working past retirement age."
  • E-Books: The Future Is Here - Business - The Atlantic - Interesting discussion of how the success of the Kindle could end up affecting book pricing (especially hardcover vs. paperback) more broadly.
  • NASA drops Ubuntu's Koala food for (real) open source • The Register - "NASA chief technology officer Chris Kemp tells The Reg that as his engineers attempted to contribute additional Eucalyptus code to improve its ability to scale, they were unable to do so because some of the platform's code is open and some isn't. Their attempted contributions conflicted with code that was only available in a partially closed version of platform maintained by Eucalyptus Systems Inc., the commercial outfit run by the project's founders."
  • VMware Knows the Cloud Doesn’t Need Server Virtualization - This is really an argument about a level of abstraction different from that of the operating system (which VMware happens not to own).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Links for 07-20-2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Links for 07-13-2010

Friday, July 09, 2010

Links for 07-09-2010

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Links for 07-08-2010

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Links for 07-07-2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Links for 06-28-2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Links for 06-18-2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Links for 06-16-2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Links for 06-14-2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Links for 06-11-2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Links for 06-10-2010

  • Late 19th- and Early 20th-Century Urban Rail Transit Maps
  • John Nack on Adobe: Brief thoughts (and a question) on tablets & styluses - "When did my finger start resembling a giant breadstick? More on that in a moment."
  • ignore the code: Gestures - "In a way, gestural user interfaces are a step back, a throwback to the command line. Gestures are often not obvious and hard to discover; the user interface doesn’t tell you what you can do with an object. Instead, you have to remember which gestures you can use, the same way you had to remember the commands you could use in a command line interface."
  • Locals and Tourists - a set on Flickr - Fascinating maps of local vs. tourists in many cities using geotagged photo data.
  • Urban Photo Data Uncovers Local Hot Spots - Yet another interesting example of the sort of information that can be mined from widespread "instrumentation"
  • The 'Cloud Computing Bill of Rights': 2010 edition | The Wisdom of Clouds - CNET News - "Possibly the best thing cloud vendors can do to extend their community, and encourage innovation on their platform from community members is to open their platform as much as possible. By making themselves the "reference platform" for their respective market space, an open vendor creates a petrie dish of sorts for cultivating differentiating features and successes on their platform. Protective proprietary vendors are on their own."
  • Balkinization - "The fictional high school chorus at the center of Fox’s Glee has a huge problem — nearly a million dollars in potential legal liability. For a show that regularly tackles thorny issues like teen pregnancy and alcohol abuse, it’s surprising that a million dollars worth of lawbreaking would go unmentioned. But it does, and week after week, those zany Glee kids rack up the potential to pay higher and higher fines."
  • Session videos from Google I/O 2010 now available | Google Earth Blog - I've been wanting to get back to playing with Google Maps again but I haven't had the time.
  • Lessons from Apple on Advertising and Aesthetics | Smarterware - "They aim for your heart, and show you how technology can make your life better during its most important moments. Contrast this with the Droid ads, which actually scare my friend's two-year-old daughter away from the TV when they come on. The dark, rainy background, the spinning globe of glowing apps, the robot hands poking at them, nary a human in sight. Droid does. Does what? Show, don't tell."

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Links for 06-08-2010

  • My iPad? A Great Bundle of Sticks : Andrew McAfee’s Blog - Cory Doctorow gets Andrew McAfee riled up. I pretty much agree with Andrew on this.
  • Open Reasoning: This thing called cloud - "The trick is to focus on what is underpinning all of the noise in terms of fundamental trends and developments. When you do this, it becomes clear that cloud computing in its various forms is not the ‘cause’ of anything; it is rather a marketing friendly word used to label certain ‘effects’ of the ongoing evolution of capability in some key areas." << I may think things aren't quite as vague as Dale does but this generally seems about right.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Links for 06-07-2010

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Links for 06-02-2010

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Links for 06-01-2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Links for 05-26-2010