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Comment Print a book (Score 4, Insightful) 499

Totally agree with you regarding photos. I use iPhoto to print out books of our family trips, then send copies to the grandparents. You have off site storage, and don't have to worry about finding the correct media player. The kids are able to read it whenever they want to. It's fun to watch my kids snuggle up with their grandparents on the couch with books, not as easy with a laptop or tablet.

Comment Maybe, if my kids had the drive and smarts (Score 1) 391

I compared my wife's school (a Liberal Arts School in Western Mass) with my own (Pac 10 school in Puget Sound). The only thing the schools shared were the school colors. The difference is really the people you go to school with. I went to classes (with hundreds of students) lectured by Nobel Laureates, but in fact got the bulk of teaching by the TA's. My classmates were good people, looking for a professional career, but nothing spectacular. My wife, on the other hand, had no class bigger than 100. There were a lot of really bright people. It's really unnerving sometimes watching "The Daily Show" and my wife casually mention that the guest lived across the hall in the freshman dorm. I guess, if my kids have the brain and drive to make it at a school like that, I would definitely scrape together the money.

Comment Got one in the mail (Score 1) 158

Posting from a Cr-48 right now. One question I have is how Google will get feedback from me. I suppose the machine will send back information to the mothership ever now and then. It's interesting experience using the machine right now. There are things that you expect to use on a regular linux laptop that is not available, like software. The experience is more like using an iPad, but without the apps. The apps are just html5 websites, I think. I would like to have a VNC app which would let me do some remote applications. We've seen many different types of "internet appliances", but this may be the best one yet. I have a whole bunch of internet appliances in my garage, including the 3com audrey and a FrontPath ProGear. (yes, I have no life) I can see Google giving these things out like razor handles.

Submission + - Why Microsoft No Longer Brings Us the Future

Hugh Pickens writes: "Dick Brass writes in the NY Times about why America’s most famous and prosperous technology company no longer brings us the future, whether it’s tablet computers like the iPad, e-books like Amazon’s Kindle, smartphones like the BlackBerry and iPhone, search engines like Google, digital music systems like iPod and iTunes or popular Web services like Facebook and Twitter. Brass writes that unlike other companies, Microsoft never developed a true system for innovation. "Despite having one of the largest and best corporate laboratories in the world, and the luxury of not one but three chief technology officers, the company routinely manages to frustrate the efforts of its visionary thinkers," writes Brass. "As a result, while the company has had a truly amazing past and an enviably prosperous present, unless it regains its creative spark, it’s an open question whether it has much of a future.""

Submission + - Microsoft’s Creative Destruction ( 1

blitzkrieg3 writes: Dick Brass, a former Microsoft Vice President, penned a scathing critique of the corporate culture at Microsoft in a New York Times Op-Ed today. Internal power struggles kept technologies like ClearType and the Windows tablet from becoming revolutionary products. He writes:

Internal competition is common at great companies. It can be wisely encouraged to force ideas to compete. The problem comes when the competition becomes uncontrolled and destructive. At Microsoft, it has created a dysfunctional corporate culture in which the big established groups are allowed to prey upon emerging teams, belittle their efforts, compete unfairly against them for resources, and over time hector them out of existence.


Submission + - Why Microsoft is failing (

homesalad writes: There's an excellent op ed in the Times today by Dick Brass, vice president of Microsoft from 1997 to 2004, that gives some examples of why Microsoft fails to innovate even while developing some interesting products. The author blames "internecine warfare" from much of the issue, and talks about a few innovative ideas that stagnated for years because of a "dysfunctional corporate culture". Interesting reading for anyone who wonders how a profiteering, monopolistic software company can be brought down by profiteering and monopolistic departments within.

Submission + - Microsoft Declining (

Greg Hullender writes: Former MS VP Dick Brass (full disclosure: he was my boss for a while) writes in today's NY Times that Microsoft has lost its edge due to a combination of internal politics and lack of vision. He describes how ClearType took ten years to get into MS products because some groups simply didn't want change at all while at least one group would only accept it if the whole ClearType team was transfered to them. He describes some of the troubles of Tablet PC, in particular the Office team's fierce resistance to it. (To this day, it's hard to use Office on a Tablet PC.)

I note that he omits at least one problem that he himself caused; one of the biggest headaches with Tablet PC was simply logging into it. Trying to use handwriting recognition to input a password was nearly impossible. The most natural solution would have been signature verification, but one of the key members of Dick's staff was determined to use fingerprint recognition instead, and successfully blocked any attempt to even evaluate signature verification. As is often the case at MS these days (meaning, the last ten years), no amount of rational argument had any impact on this person, nor could upper management be bothered to take a position. Ultimately, nothing at all was done, and that pattern repeats all across the company. Dick definitely got that part right


Mars Images Reveal Evidence of Ancient Lakes 128

Matt_dk writes "Spectacular satellite images suggest that Mars was warm enough to sustain lakes three billion years ago, a period that was previously thought to be too cold and arid to sustain water on the surface, according to research published today in the journal Geology. Earlier research had suggested that Mars had a warm and wet early history but that between 4 billion and 3.8 billion years ago, before the Hesperian Epoch, the planet lost most of its atmosphere and became cold and dry. In the new study, the researchers analysed detailed images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is currently circling the red planet, and concluded that there were later episodes where Mars experienced warm and wet periods."

Comment Re:If women are so smart . . . (Score 1) 928

It's not just the South. My female (blond) medical school classmates at Michigan State told me they would routinely say they were majoring in Hotel/Restaurant Management when bar hopping. Most men (at least those who go bar hopping on Grand River Ave) are fearful of attractive, smart women. I'm lucky to have married someone smarter than me... so I never understood that. My mother was very smart though, and that may make a difference. Hopefully, my boys will find someone smart like their mother.

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