Category: Geeking

Nomenclature for Pre/Post Internet?

Do we have something like this yet in the lexicon?

I was in my mid twenties when I became a full-bore Internet geek in the very early 90s. Usenet, UUCP, PPP, and so on and so forth. While I may have misspent most of my youth at Fun & Games (it was a gargantuan, loud, dark, filthy drug-den back then – not the brightly-lit kiddie birthday parlor it is today), I have plenty of life experience that pre-dates the Internet.

So how do we refer to this time division? It is indeed a hugely important time division. Future historians will care, no?

I suppose a Latin solution would be nice, but the whole “ante/a/ab/abs” and “pro/pre/prae/post/praeter” thing really queers the use of the letters A and P for Latin reference. However I am rather fond of PI ‘pre’ and AI ‘after’, for numerous, obvious geeky reasons 🙂 .

Anybody have any thoughts on how to do this right, or what others are doing about it?

Of course the big mess here is that it isn’t really a hard date like the year zero in the Gregorian calendar. 1986 AD is when NSFnet came into being – which basically looks a lot like what we think of today as the Internet. When did the Internet really get going? 1995 seems to be when most of the wonks started counting. So I’d guess that each of us has their own PI/AI moment somewhere in that 10 year window. Although I was goofing on NSFnet-connected UNIX boxen in the mid-1980s, I’d have to guess that my PI/AI moment was in 1989 or 1990 when I got my NeXTcube connected to the Net.

Or do we make the division a hardfast one (Month / Day / Year) and call it done?

Neat problem.


Holy crap – that was my first blog post in over two months.

Apparently I have time to Twitter, but no time to blog. Now that I think about it, I’ve probably paid proportionally similar attention to my RSS feeds during the same period.


Instrument Innovation!

This is the Torzal Natural Twist bass neck:

torzal1If that’s not one of the coolest things you’ve seen in a while, please share whatever you’re smoking! Their standard bass neck twists 35 degrees – 15 at the bridge and 20 at the nut. They also do guitar necks now.

Ultra-genius Jerome Little put his first crazy-ass-neck like this together in the mid 1990s. “Why?” you ask? Ergonomics!

Tendinitis, repetitive strain injury, and a score of other physical ailments are de riguer in the professional music industry. Mr. Little – along with other smart folks – is working to help address that, and his twisted neck is a stupendous piece of the solution. As your hand moves towards the nut (the top, the tuning pegs, the head) it twists away from your body so you don’t have to do wrist gymnastics to finger the fretboard! I do hope he’s patented the bejezus ouf of this stuff!

There are lots more cool pictures of various Torzal Natural Twist necks on their web site, including my “in progress” favorite:

clampedThis dude’s a mathlete.

Entertaining Space Reporting

This was apparently the weekend for all the interns at CNN to get to write news stories about stuff happening off our planet. Maybe it went something like “if you do a good job, we’ll let you cover the stratosphere”.

Exhibit 1, courtesty of CNN’s front page (and this one is just stupid):

Space shuttle docks with orbiting station

… The shuttle and station crews were expected to greet each other soon after opening their vehicles’ hatches. …

As opposed to not greeting each other? Or waiting a long time after opening their hatches? WTF?

This one caused me to laugh milk out of my nose. Keep in mind that a run-of-the-mill .22 rifle bullet travels at about a quarter mile per second and weighs a couple grams. Exhibit 2, also courtesy of CNN, emphasis mine:

India probe crash-lands successfully on moon

… Space official Shiv Kumar said the 34-kilogram probe hit the moon surface traveling at … 3,579 mph. Kumar said the probe transmitted sufficient signals to the mother craft before landing, but no more were expected after the impact.

Gee – YA THINK??? A 34,000 gram object impacting at 1 mile per second?

Closed System = Less Support

Last week, Will outed me for switching from my Treo 750 to an iPhone 3G. It’s been a love-hate adjustment, not without pain.

For many years now, I have been using J. River MEDIA CENTER to manage my media. In fact, Will turned me on to JRMC way back when. iTunes is not capable of managing terabytes of distributed data across numerous devices. JRMC makes iTunes look like a toddler’s toy.

Over the years, J. River has worked diligently to break through the stupid walls that Apple keeps putting up in each of their new iPods. It’s non-trivial work. If I had to manage my iPod Classic 160GB with iTunes, I’m certain I’d swallow a bullet! My family thanks you, JRMC!

Unfortunately, the good folks at J. River have apparently hit their limit of dealing with this closed system bullshit:

We may come back to the iPhone in the future, but for now, we’re not going to spin our wheels supporting Apple.

Shame on Apple for making it so hard for people to support their platform.


I love books. I also love traveling as light as humanly possible. Given the mass of books, these two loves do not mix well.

With much interest, I’ve been watching the eReaders emerge over the years. Amazon’s Kindle seems to be leading the pack. I find the Sony PRS-505 much more compelling due to its notably smaller size. They both have the same 6″ E Ink display.  But hardware notwithstanding, it looks like the content isn’t quite there.

I went through my last six months of orders from Amazon. Those orders included twelve books. Of those twelve books, only five were available on the Kindle.

42% is a crappy hit rate in my book.

iFondling the New Touch

I had the distinct pleasure of iFondling the new iPod touch a few days ago. What an impressive piece of engineering – truly a marvel. If the thing had the iPhone’s camera and a (real) Bluetooth stack it would be a completely killer device, IMO.

For the first time iFondling one of these beasties, I spent a ton of time really mucking about with the UI and apps. I walked away just astonished at how stellarly they executed on the software. The one-finger gestural inferface is far and away the sine qua non – though lots of people are working hard to catch up, and will. In true Apple fashion the software does what it does and it doesn’t do what it doesn’t do. As I like to tell my dear iSheep friends when they complain about something their device doesn’t do: “That’s not a problem. Steve says you don’t need to do that.” But what it does do, it does stupendously. I am so in lust for one of these things, but I run my life and define my technology needs – not Steve. I really don’t need another “tech toy” right now, which is the status an iPhone or iPod Touch would get relegated to given the devices’ limitations.

While in the Apple store, I asked one of the ‘geniuses’ at the iPhone table whether or not the iPhone 3G had gotten a real Bluetooth stack in the recent hardware or software upgrade processes. I knew the answer but was curious to hear the party line on why the stack is such a fucking joke. I was pleasantly surprised to hear him sigh and acknowledge unhappily that it is still crippleware (my word, not his). Hopefully that sort of reaction is bubbling up…

Symbian > U.S.

Gartner put out a report last week summarizing smartphone sales. Lest us Americans think we have a bead on this market, note in the table below that more Symbian phones are sold every quarter than all other operating systems combined.

Admittedly, the first derivative of Symbian’s sales curve, and presumably the second derivative as well, are not encouraging, but they’re not negative, either.

Very interesting data.