Wednesday, December 22, 2004

healthcare renewal

hcrenewal is a great new blog addressing the issues confronting healthcare.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

ezproxy bookmarklet

i put together an --> EZProxy <-- bookmarklet for accessing journal articles via useful utilities' ezproxy.

you can use this bookmarklet if your institution uses ezproxy to view journals (here's a list of places that use ezproxy). to use the bookmarklet, just bookmark the link above, and whenever you find a journal article that requires a log-in, just click on the bookmark and it will let you see the article via ezproxy.

it's written for drexel's ezproxy service, but you can change it pretty easily for your institution's needs.

Friday, December 17, 2004


interview w/ ray ozzie

part 1 of a great interview w/ ray ozzie, of lotus notes and groove fame, on (de)centralization, innovation, etc.

Austin: It's not just IT that behaves that way. There's a dynamic tension inside organizations, whether they're big or small, but it tends to be more pronounced (?) in the bigger ones. Real breakthroughs occur in non-routine work, by exception....All of these things are non-routine, cognitive behaviors, yet the essence of most organizations is just the opposite. They want to routinize things to be able to manage them, control them, predict them, which is just the opposite.

It's not just IT. IT just is the best example you and I think of because that's who we deal with all the time.

Ozzie: It's always best to seek out the right combination of the centralized and decentralized — the center and edge — for a process, a business unit, or an organization. Centralization is not the only answer or the best answer for everything. And decentralization can cause complete chaos under the wrong conditions. The challenge is: how can you best use a mix of centralized and decentralized models to accomplish the objective that you've got for the business?
Austin: Where does the understanding of how to apply the technology really come from?

Ozzie: Generally not from the technologists. It comes from the business experts. The domain expert drives the creation of a specific application within an area because they understand the business processes and practices of that area. It takes a technologist to build it, but it takes business experts to know what needs to happen. Having been through both the Notes experience and the Groove experience, I know the most important person is the customer or integrator that understands how to match the capabilities of a specific technology to what's needed.

Austin: Over the next ten years, if the current trends continue as we expect they will, the number of managers, that middle layer, will continue to shrink and the edge will keep growing.

...The IT professional ten years from now has to be much closer to being that domain expert that you described. And maybe they don't even work in a central IT organization. Maybe they will work in the line of business or its equivalent in a government space.

Ozzie: ...In short — although central IT continues to play a large role, the most important decisions for the business are made closer to the edge, at the line-of-business level.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Random Notes, Dec. 14 2004

harper's weekly review is out:

French police planted plastic explosives in a random dark-blue suitcase at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris as a security exercise, then failed to monitor the bag as a conveyor belt rolled it to one of 90 planes with an international destination. A police spokesman expressed the hope that whoever finds the explosives will return them to authorities.
A survey found that about half of Britons have never heard of Auschwitz
A report found that a federally funded program to promote abstinence in schools has been teaching students...[a] story of a knight who rejects a princess when she becomes too opinionated about how best to slay a dragon. The parable concludes: "Occasional suggestions and assistance may be alright, but too much of it may lessen a man's confidence or even turn him away from his princess."

also, connotea, the social bookmark manager for academics, is officially out.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Charlie Brown

Well it's just about that time of year. Thought i'd put this up. It's a great song. Forgot how much i like it. Enjoy it guys and have a happy late devali, kwanza, chanakakakaka, x-mas, pagan celebration etc...

Sunday, December 12, 2004

interview with amartya sen

annonifer sent me this interview with economist amartya sen, the first asian to win the nobel prize in economics.

the article doesn't say if he's a steelers fan, but i am assuming that he is...otherwise, i wouldn't post anything about his dumb ass.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

another social citation manager for academics

UPDATE: just got an email from the connotea people. it turns out that the service isn't for public consumption yet, but they will let me know when it is officially open for the unwashed masses -- and then i'll point you to the right place...please don't publicise the URL originally in this post until the service officially goes live.:

Connotea is a place to keep links to the articles you read and the websites you use, and a place to find them again. It is also a place where you can discover new articles and websites through sharing your links with other users. By saving your links and references to Connotea they are instantly on the web, which means that they are available to you from any computer and that you can point your friends and colleagues to them. In Connotea, every user's bookmarks are visible both to visitors and to every other user, and different users' libraries are linked together through the use of common tags or common bookmarks.

Connotea was created by Nature Publishing Group's New Technology team. The ideas behind it come from, a general collaborative bookmarking service. Connotea takes this concept and adds some features to tailor it to the needs of scientists. CiteULike is a similar online academic bookmark management service based on, developed independently to Connotea. We're in close contact with CiteULike to ensure that our two systems work well together.

don't forget to check out nurture as well.

google suggests racism

so, by now you've probably all seen google suggest -- start typing shit into the search bar, and it tries to autocomplete for you. simple enough, right? well....not if you are a sociopath like me.

after the normal pleasantries, i try to type in, 'fuck'. no dice. no 'cunt' either (but they do have ann coulter, surprisingly). they do have 'shit'. no 'jenna jameson', but they do have 'jenna haze' , 'aurora snow', and virtually every other porn star you can think of including 'ron jeremy'. no 'bitch', 'cock', or 'blowjob', although they do have 'blow job'.

amazingly, they have virtually every ethnic slur that you can think of: spic, nigger, kike, dothead, gook, etc.

perhaps none of this should be surprising. i'd have to say that the most interesting thing is the level of synonymity that jenna jameson shares with all pornography...

Friday, December 10, 2004

folding as religion

great commentary on the japanese-tshirt-folding meme that made the rounds earlier this year, via jwz:

"Your method," she said flatly, "goes against everything I believe in."

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

software and education

just found this great blog on teach, learning, and understanding programming: Knowing and Doing via kimbly. it's kind of like lambda the ultimate, but understandable for an idiot such as myself.

Honesty, the best...prescription?

This article attempted to rate professionals' honesty. Nurses ranked the highest, with car sales people as the lowest. The people ranked themselves, which makes me think, how honest were they? I mean, nursing is a profession where people's lives are at stake, and to say they weren't honest would bring a huge cloud of doubt over the entire profession.

Where as with the car sales people, who also ranked themselves, they basically said they can't be trusted. And to implicate themselves like that must mean they were being quite honest. In this case, I would have to say that the car sales people were the honest ones. I mean, wasn't there a nurse who was boucing around hospitals killing patients? Or was that a Law and Order episode? Maybe both?

I want to be a doctor, I wonder where they ranked? In any case, I have to sign off, I have to drop my Bentley off at the shop before I catch my helicopter to my yaught. I'm spending some time in my home in the Bahamas.

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Travelling Correspondent Returns

One of the beautiful things about living abroad is that I may see the ONLY benefit to George Bush's election: currency arbitrage opportunities. At the moment of this post, the Pound Sterling is trading near it's 12 year high of 1.94 USD to 1 Pound Sterling. Since I'm earning in pounds, though oh so meagerly, when I come back to the US in a week, I get to feel, at least for a short time, like I'm twice as wealthy. Sadly, the opportunities explained in the previous post regarding amazon arbitrage, are lost by living in the UK: absolutely speaking it's much more expensive to buy things here than in the US.

On the other hand, I have to put up with people prattling on about how Iraq is murder and how 51% of the American populace is retarded. My only response: believe me I know. As an example of extremes, people distribute pictures like this one. In addition, people want me to Boycott America. I'm quite tired of these rants. Are people in the US already forgetting about the election? If so, DON'T: I want the world to be so aware of Bush that the Pound Sterling doubles the value of the dollar! Anyway, thank you George Bush, Merry Christmas, and keep up the bad work...

Saturday, December 04, 2004

innovation diffusion

interesting article on innovation, via emergic. i thought that the following was great:

Simply put: innovation isn’t what innovators do; it’s what customers, clients, and people adopt. Innovation isn’t about crafting brilliant ideas that change minds; it’s about the distribution of usable artifacts that change behavior. Innovators—their optimistic arrogance notwithstanding—don’t change the world; the users of their innovations do. That’s not a subtle distinction.

Music Blogs

Though i am going to continue to post on this site, i am starting a project on my own. The blog is called I need some sleep and represents points in times in my life according to individual songs. Anyhow. i have two posts so far if you care to start reading it. It's not so great right now, but i'm sure it will get better.

Friday, December 03, 2004

a letter to the blogosphere

dear blog-o-sphere,

fuck you.

why didn't any of you fuckfaces tell me about pasta, a service for bookmarking/tagging ad hoc notes & text via

i had to hear it from anoniffer, who couldn't even figure out how to leave a comment on blogger the other day.


msn spaces

just checked out the channel 9 demo of msn's new blogging tool, msn spaces.

the dhtml ui was slick as shit.

integrating notification with msn messenger was interesting.

i'm far too lazy to open up an account and play with it myself though.

on a related note, it looks like google is finally starting to federate its sites. first gmail & groups use the same login, now froogle uses the same login for its wish-list functionality & integrates a bit with blogger as well.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

know thy audience

xeni jardin on boingboing asks the blogosphere, 'when was the last time you got an aids test?'.

fratocrates asks, 'when was the last time anyone reading blogs got laid?'

(in the crease, no dad jokes -- please.)

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

amazonian arbitrage

hublog points to priceonia -- a brilliant arbitrage system for amazon purchases.

the service compares item prices amongst amazon's regional sites: america, canada, the uk, france, germany, and japan.

for example, if a german wanted to buy gamma et al.'s 'design patterns', it would be significantly cheaper for them to purchase the book from amazon 'america' than amazon 'germany' -- even with the increased shipping costs (39.84€ vs. 52.90€, or a savings of ~25%).

however, this does not take into account taxes & VAT, but still, it's pretty interesting information.

my first food review

today, like every wednesday, i dined at the fine underground taco bell in philadelphia's scenic suburban subway station. all seven layers of my burrito were excellent. the rice was al dente and the guac was guac-y.

on a whim, i bought a bottle of pepsi holiday spice to wash it all down with......what fucking holiday are they trying to celebrate with this thing? it tastes like socks.

this is in sharp contrast to diet cherry coke, which is the sweet nectar of the gods. the first time i tried diet cherry coke, i correctly predicted that my life would never be the same.

although, to be fair, i felt the same way about diet coke with lime, and now i won't touch the stuff.

economic life

money, not art
Originally uploaded by jhc.

probably the most impressive embodiment of near near future's motto 'we make money not art' is this project that waters a plant based on the home depot's share price:

The installation periodically checks the value of Home Depot’s stock over the internet, and activates a watering system: if share values are up the plant gets watered. The underlined paradox is that Home Depot guarantees the well being of the plant for one year and, if the plant dies due to either falling or rising share values it has to be replaced by the multinational, —a contract relating life and death.

i think that something even more interesting would be providing sustinance to a tree based on the share price of a logging company, and then after a hundred years, harvesting the tree and using its rings as a stock chart.

Random Notes 12.01.04

annonifer sent me a wired news story on diesel hybrids:

Hybrid-diesel buses are currently proving the viability of the technology in a dozen metropolitan areas, including New York, Philadelphia, Seattle and Portland, Oregon. In Seattle, more than 100 hybrid diesel buses are currently in use and performing well...
The hybrid-diesel buses in Seattle are getting about 7.5 mpg, a 50 percent improvement over the buses they replaced...

the november harper's index is out:

Ratio of hours of live U.S.-convention coverage per U.S. network this year to hours of live coverage on Al Jazeera : 1:2
Ratio of Americans killed by lightning since January 2002 to those killed by terrorism : 3:2
Distance in feet traveled by the winning pumpkin at Delaware’s Punkin Chunkin Competition last year : 4,434.28
Ratio of suicides worldwide in 2001 to war deaths : 7:2
Rank of antidepressants and anti-ulcer drugs among the best-selling prescription drugs worldwide last year : 3,2

Rank of cholesterol-lowering drugs : 1

boingboing says that philly will indeed get citywide wifi:

Exciting news in Pennsylvania today, after reports of many bureaucratic challenges -- Philadelphia has reached an agreement with Verizon that will allow the city to offer free WiFi as a sort of public utility. Free like liberty, free like beer.