Hello again, world

This is another test. We’re doing some additional posting to help root out an issue with the circonflex A’s that appear between sentences. Let’s see how it goes.

How about sentences with two spaces.  Do we get a different result?

Hello, world

This is a test of posting to the blog from a new writing environment. Let’s see what happens. Postscript: it worked! (mostly)

This is a second test.  I’m using the same post to try it out.  Let’s see what happens.

What Lyfe Kitchen can learn from the iPod Shuffle

This month’s Wired magazine features a profile of Lyfe Kitchen, which aims to serve up health- and eco-conscious fast-food on the scale of McDonald’s. It’s a fascinating and inspiring idea, something that could change the food system and public health for the better. Read the profile, it’s worth the ten minutes.

The end of the piece focuses on the challenges to scaling up. Consider for example the challenge of seasonality:

No matter how energy-efficient the kitchen, no matter how technically astute the procurement practices—weather happens. Too much rain rots tomatoes. Oranges freeze. Texas onions shrivel in a drought.

The assumption is that the restaurants require a steady supply of the same ingredients month in and month out. After all, the menus will be the same year-round, right?

This got me thinking about the iPod shuffle. Bear with me here. I still remember wondering how small Apple would take miniaturization as we went from the iPod to the Mini to the Nano. The devices couldn’t get much smaller, because soon there would be no room for a screen, and what good would an MP3 player be without visual feedback to select songs and see what is playing? The genius of the shuffle was to take that bug and turn it into a feature. What the heck, let’s name the device after it: “No screen? No problem? This device is for shuffle mode!”

What does all of this have to do with Lyfe Kitchen? How about we make seasonality a feature, designing the menu and diner’s experience to bring us closer to the farmers, closer to the weather. Make us a part of it and we’ll take more pleasure in our food, missing fondly the items that are out of season, eagerly awaiting their return and enjoying the novelty of a new item that nature brought our way.

Rdio remote control mode

I use the online service rdio to listen to music. One of the “features” of the service is that you are limited to a single stream at any given time. If you’re active on one device, other devices display a note indicating that the stream is playing somewhere else, and an option to re-route the stream to device you’re on. But there’s also an option to control playback on the currently streaming device…Remote Control Mode.

The upshot is, you can have Device A driving your hi-fi speakers while you work at, and select new music from Device B across the room. Brilliant.

Moved to bcc

Just came across an interesting mail technique called “moved to bcc”. Here’s how it works

  1. You introduce me to a friend of yours and finish off with some variation of “okay, have fun!”
  2. I want to thank you for connecting us but not keep you on for the details.
  3. Instead of cc’ing you, I bcc you and say “Thanks! (moved you to bcc)”.
  4. You get the thank you message.
  5. When your friend replies to me so we can get to talking, you’re gracefully freed from the thread.

Disable restore tabs in Google Chrome

Google Chrome doesn’t work the same way on all machines. On some machines, you can close the program with fifteen or twenty tabs open, and when you restart, you get a clean slate. On other machines, Chrome remembers all of the tabs and re-opens them. The latter behavior is a problem if, like me, you use Quit to clean house after accumulating a lot of tabs over time. Here’s the solution:

  1. Go to Chrome settings (wrench->Settings or chrome://chrome/settings/)
  2. Under “On startup”, select “Open the New Tab page”
  3. That’s it!

Eric Schmidt at Dreamforce

Last night I watched the Eric Schmidt interview from the Dreamforce ’11 event this past week. I have not followed Schmidt up until this point and was struck by his great skill as a communicator. Particularly interesting to me were his views on non-technical subjects such as US economic competitiveness and personal career choices. He struck me as not merely a silicon valley insider, but someone with a broad global view who is able to articulate it in a factual and serious way. Perhaps he has a successful political career ahead?

On a separate note, the stage and signs at the conference featured a logo with the word “software” and a strikethrough pattern. This was somewhat jarring to see at a meeting celebrating a computing platform that runs on software. Someone pointed out to me that for many, “software” represents “software that you download and install on a PC” as opposed to “stuff that runs in the cloud and auto-updates”. But that stuff is still software, not merely moisture condensing as it rises into cooler layers of the atmosphere.

Spot the oops

Dr. Frank I. Luntz:

[Copernicus] set forth a heliocentric hypothesis for understanding the universe, claiming that the sun was at the center of the universe and all the planets revolved around it. Today, this is completely uncontroversial.

from Win, page 72. Cosmological missteps aside, this book is rich with insights about human nature and communication.