Thomas Friedman – While Detroit Slept – NYTimes.com

What business model am I talking about? It is Shai Agassi’s electric car network company, called Better Place. Just last week, the company, based in Palo Alto, Calif., announced a partnership with the state of Hawaii to road test its business plan there after already inking similar deals with Israel, Australia, the San Francisco Bay area and, yes, Denmark.

Op-Ed Columnist – While Detroit Slept – NYTimes.com.

Election maps

Election results by state

Most of us are, by now, familiar with the maps the TV channels and web sites use to show the results of the presidential election:

Election maps.

Date-shifting in iPhoto ‘08

Date-shifting in iPhoto ‘08

I get a lot of requests to add date-shifting support for iPhoto 08 to my iPhoto AppleScripts. But in most cases, the scripts would be completely unnecessary, iPhoto finally built this feature into the application. Here’s how to use it.

Date-shifting in iPhoto ‘08.

This is a nice and handy thing. I can finally get all of my “web-saved” images into a sensible spot.

Livescribe :: Pulse smartpen

What if the scoring sheets for a squash match used this technology? You could record the progress of the game along with all of the interaction between referee and players. This could be cool!.

The Pulse smartpen captures handwriting and simultaneously records audio and synchronizes it to the writing, so users never miss a word. Pulse is available in two models. Priced at $149, the 1GB model provides storage for over 100 hours of recorded audio. At $199, the 2GB model doubles the storage capacity and provides more flexibility for downloading future applications. In addition to the Pulse smartpen, consumers may also buy Livescribe dot paper and the latest accessories, such as the Premium Leather Case $24.95, 2-Pack of Journals $24.95, 4-Pack of College-Ruled Notebooks $19.95 or 5-Pack of Ink Cartridges $5.95.

The Pulse smartpen, dot paper and accessories are also available for purchase at http://www.livescribe.com.

Livescribe :: Press Center.

Tufte – Metaphors for Presentations

From The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint

Metaphors for Presentations

Years before today’s slideware, presentations at companies such as IBM and in the military used bullet lists shown by overhead projectors. Then, in 1984, a software house developed a presentation package, “Presenter,” which was eventually acquired by Microsoft and turned into PowerPoint.

This history is revealing, for the metaphor behind the PP cognitive style is the software corporation itself. That is, a big bureaucracy engaged in computer programming (deeply hierarchical, nested, highly structured, relentlessly sequential, one-short-line-at-a-time) and in marketing (fast pace, misdirection, advocacy not analysis, slogan thinking, branding, exaggerated claims, marketplace ethics). To describe a software house is to describe the PowerPoint cognitive style. Why should the structure, activities, and values of a large commercial bureaucracy be a useful metaphor for our presentations? Could any metaphor be worse? Voice-mail menu systems? Billboards? Television? Stalin?

A better metaphor for presentations is good teaching. Teachers seek to explain something with credibility, which is what many presentations are trying to do. The core ideas of teaching—explanation, reasoning, finding things out, questioning, content, evidence, credible authority not patronizing authoritarianism—are contrary to the hierarchical market-pitch approach.

Especially disturbing is the introduction of the PowerPoint cognitive style into schools. Instead of writing a report using sentences, children learn how to make client pitches and info-mercials, which is better than encouraging children to smoke. Elementary school PP exercises (as seen in teacher’s guides, and in student work posted on the internet) typically show 10 to 20 words and a piece of clip art on each slide in a presentation consisting of 3 to 6 slides—a total of perhaps 80 words (15 seconds of silent reading) for a week of work. Rather than being trained as mini-bureaucrats in PPPhluff and foreshortening of thought, students would be better off if the schools simply closed down on those days and everyone went to The Exploratorium. Or wrote an illustrated essay explaining something.

— Edward Tufte, October 16, 2003
Continue reading “Tufte – Metaphors for Presentations”

11 Ways to Optimize Your Mac's Performance

11 Ways to Optimize Your Mac’s Performance:

9. Keep an Eye on Activity Monitor

There may be other things hogging your processor’s attention or sucking up RAM. How will you know about them? By using Apple’s Activity Monitor, which comes with OS X. Activity Monitor will tell you about CPU usage, RAM requirements, virtual memory usage, and whether a given application is a PowerPC or Intel (Universal) build. Check it occasionally to see if there are any red flags – or keep it running for a few days (with one of the useful Dock icons or floating windows enabled) to keep an eye on when things are spiking.

It’s a fine idea, but could be part of the problem.

I have been running Activity Monitor quite constantly since late January.

the underlying “pmtool” loses memory. a lot of memory. It starts off consuming just over 1MB of “real memory” (1.4MB).

After 18 hours that will be about 80MB of real memory. So if limited memory is the problem, and you keep it running for a few days, well…