Does Nobody Think Things Through Anymore?

So this showed up in my email folder yesterday:

That's right: in order to celebrate the American olympic team, Mattel is offering a model of a German remake of a British car -- a model that is manufactured in China or Thailand.

That there's absolutely nothing American about this car has apparently escaped everyone in the decision-making process that led to this model being offered.

Now while there's little that can be done about where the model is made, there have been tons of quality American-designed and built cars rendered as Hot Wheels that would be a more fitting salute to their athletes -- and I say that as someone who has a poor opinion of American-made cars.


Site-specific User Accounts

So in the course of solving the problem that lead to this page's creation, I happened upon the Nagios Exchange site page with the plugin that I ended up using.  The page in question notes that the plugin requires the perl module Array::Compare, but says that it isn't available through the popular yum repositories.

With 15 seconds of Googling, I found it in RPMforge, a factor which simplifies my life immensely.

So.  How best to share this knowlege?  It turns out that I'd have to create a user account on the site just to leave a comment on this page to that effect.  And frankly, that's too much overhead.  Unless I can create an account and log in as a pre-validated user -- something that OpenID permits me to do from my Gmail account -- frankly I'm not going to bother.

It seems insane that in this day and age there are still sites that expect you to create and manage separate digital identities.  I'm not saying make it impossible to have separate digital identities, but for a hit-and-run comment, anything more than about 15 seconds and four clicks is really too much effort and I'm not going to do it.

The StackExchange family of sites know how to do this.  It is easy.

It should be everywhere, at least as an option.

...and yes, I'm well aware that I've just spent far more effort complaining about the problem than I would have had I just created an account and moved on.


Almost Done

This is probably the news that everyone has been waiting for.

After the full-body iodine scan this morning, the doctors decided there were no abnormalities.  There wasn't the predicted all-around study they've done every time before they "just wanted a couple of pictures".  I didn't even get fed through the C/T scanner.  Just 45 minutes on the table under the high-energy plates, and the doctor was happy enough.

This is the perfect result of the test: no abnormalities, no cautionary immediate follow-up imaging.

(And a whopping great bacon cheeseburger for lunch.)

So this means we can start believing that this cancer is really gone.  That this can be the last time the word "cancer" is mentioned with that certain weight that it can carry.

The rest of this is merely book-keeping and accounting.  I'll have to re-do this full-body radioactive iodine scan every three to five years for the rest of my life, just in case the cancer is dormant somewhere, hiding out.  And starting in September there will be a new regular regimen of blood testing to make sure my artificial hormone balance is appropriate with possibly annual visits to this particular doctor.  But in general we can go back to our regular wonderings and complainings about the routine aches and pains that life accumulates.  We don't have cancer still hanging over us.

We'll never get the year and a half of life back that this took.  Hopefully this will just be one story that the kids remember being told rather than experiencing, something to remember to mention to their doctor when they're 30 and doing their own annual physicals.

I'm still not sure what to take away from this as a lesson.  It is true that at times the medical mechanism moved slowly and opaquely.  But I went from being told "let's get an ultrasound of this lump" to "the biopsy returned cancer-like cells" in less than four months, and from there to the surgery in less than six weeks.  So when there's a problem, the system moves quickly.  Keeping everyone informed, well that's not something they do so well.  I guess it shows that in my case the system, generally, worked.

It has been said that life is what happens while you are making other plans.  At times, Jenn and I have wondered if we've been bad-luck magnets between the cancer and the autism and the associated combinations of events those bring.  But with the help of everyone around us we have managed to come through the cancer trial, and right now with both boys' medium-term outlooks looking stable, the autism is probably in the best shape it is going to be.

Thanks to everyone who has walked with us -- and those who continue to walk with us -- through this journey.


RIM CEO Interview Thoughts

Quick thoughts on the interview with RIM CEO Thorsten Heins in CIO Magazine:

  • He makes the interesting claim that RIM is losing market share in the smartphone arena mostly because the all-touch segment of the market is growing like crazy.  The keyboard segment of the market is growing much more slowly, but still growing.  So year-over-year RIM is ahead on handsets shipped/in-use, but because touch is growing like gangbusters the percentage numbers are dropping (down to something like 7%).  It's all relative.  But it is plausible.  If you have to have a keyboard -- and many people do -- RIM devices are king, between their high-quality devices and the BES network in behind it as a killer feature.
  • That said, the BB-10 device to be first launched will be touch, then a keyboard BB-10.  He is clearly hoping for non-trivial percentage penetration into the touch segment, especially the consumer and BYOD segments since that is where the growth -- and therefore the money -- is.
  • He says the carriers (presuming the US carriers mostly) see touch as a duopoply -- iOS/Apple and Android/Samsung.  Neither Motorola (ie Google) nor Microsoft are mentioned, even though Microsoft is also trying to ramp up their market penetration.  Personally I see the Motorola buy by Google as the most disruptive thing coming to Android over the next 18 months as Google starts to favor itself in Android distribution -- further weakening an (IMO) already bizarrely weak segment.  Short of a currently-invisible killer-app inherent in Windows-8/Metro, I don't see Microsoft playing extensively in the mobile phone segment (but tablets might be a different story depending on application portability).  The time is right for RIM to abandon its past devices and move to the BB-10 platform.
  • There's no discussion of tablets here, but they have to be thinking about them.


iPad Mini

Two quick thoughts on the alleged 7-inch iPad mini:

  • On the one hand, it doesn't make sense to have a 7-inch iPad if you accept the rumors that the next iPhone will be a 5-inch (or slightly larger).  Apple would start to have sizing creep -- the classic iPhone, the iPad mini, the iPad-2, and the current iPad resolutions.  One of Apple's hallmarks has always been consistency and simplicity, and while in the long run perhaps they'd add two more resolution families, I don't think they'll do both at the same time.  Based on that thought, I think that the iPhone 5 will be the same size and resolution that the iPhone 4 is -- because it fits in the pocket, more or less -- and the iPad mini will become a reality, giving Apple dominance across all three size formats.
  • Simultaneously, the argument that Apple won't introduce the iPad mini this fall because they'll potentially miss the valuable holiday season short-changes Apple's ability to get supply lines running very quickly.  And an Apple announcement in this space would have the side-effect of devastating sales in the segment, holiday or no holiday.  Apple is the prime mover in this space and has the luxury of announcing the product when it is ready -- not necessarily having to prepare for a particular calendar event.


What Twitter Is Really Up To

Gizmodo has seen the future of Twitter:

In fact, Twitter is discouraging developers from re-creating that same Twitter experience in different clothing (Tweetbot, etc.) and encouraging them to build apps into Twitter. That turns Twitter the soapbox into Twitter, Inc. the platform.

Gizmodo compares this to Facebook.

Here's what I think when I hear about "apps" and "consistency of experience": Twitter is trying to change their service from a place where users come to create content into a place where users come to consume content.

The reason is simple: content creators generally do hit-and-runs -- they take up their timeslice on the community soap box then move along. Consumers will stick around longer and thus be more exposable to advertising, which is good for Twitter in the long run.

This is a hard trick to succeed at -- take a large service with an established following and successfully carry forward both your service reputation and a critical mass of the audience through a complete paradigm shift.

Offhand I can't think of a company that's succeeded at that. Apple, maybe, although what they've done is more using their previous line of business (boutique PCs) as a reputation boost to invent totally new businesses (smart phones and tablets), and growing those new businesses like crazy such that they eclipse the original.


Mr. Gilligan's Car

On the sale of a Lotus Esprit:
[...] the S1 Esprit's build quality hovers somewhere between competent home craftsman and something Gilligan threw together so that hilarity might ensue.
Sad, yet probably true...