Steve Rowe's Blog

Ruminations on Computing - Programming, Test Development, Management and More

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  • Blog Post: A Review of a Kindle

    Six months ago I purchased a Kindle 2 .  I originally bought the Kindle to make travelling easier.  I tend to carry a lot of books with me when I take a trip and those books get heavy.  With the Kindle, I could carry just this one device instead of 5 books.  The Kindle didn’t disappoint...
  • Blog Post: Be Intentional

    My old manager used to always say, “Be intentional.”  It took me a long time to comprehend exactly what he meant by this, but eventually I did and have come to appreciate the advice.  What he meant was to always make active, conscious decisions rather than just letting things happen. ...
  • Blog Post: Inbox Zero, Take Two

    A year and a half ago I tried to get to “ Inbox Zero ” and failed.  This is the idea that you get your inbox down to zero mails every day.  I’m making another run at it and this time have been a little more successful.  I’m not perfect, but I haven’t fallen off the horse yet either. ...
  • Blog Post: Some useful traveling gear

    I just returned from a trip to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. I brought some items with me that turned out to be very useful so I thought I'd pass along the tips in case you are in the market for such items. Headphones - I brought several pairs along, but I really enjoyed my Sennheiser...
  • Blog Post: 22,500 Paper Airplanes

    Rainn Wilson (Dwight K. Schrute from the Office) was the MC at this year's Microsoft company meeting. Ever since they tore down the Kingdome, the meeting has taken place at SafeCo field. Sitting up in the 300-level seats, it is tempting to throw paper airplanes. Each year some people do. This causes...
  • Blog Post: Loving My Eee 1000H

    I was attracted to the "netbook" market with the release of the initial Eee PC from Asus. The laptop was cheap and very small. Unfortunately, it had a really small screen and an even smaller keyboard. Then the next generation of netbooks was announced including the MSI Wind and the Eee 1000. These are...
  • Blog Post: A Microsoft-Yahoo Takeover Primer

    Marc Andreessen has a great blog post today laying out the possibilities in the Microsoft-Yahoo talks. Unlike most posts on the subject, this one isn't trying to guess what might happen. Instead, it lays out the options and the forces affecting those options. What is a proxy battle? How would it take...
  • Blog Post: Your Hard Drive Probably Isn't Running At Full Speed

    Here's a little known fact that could speed up your life. Most SATA hard drives in the market today ship in 1.5 Gb/s mode instead of the 3.0 Gb/s mode they are capable of. I know for sure that Seagate and Maxtor both ship retail drives with jumpers set to the slower mode. I can only assume that this...
  • Blog Post: Is That A Wiki In Your Pocket?

    Here's a cool little tool I discovered recently. It's called DokuWiki on a Stick . DokuWiki is a PHP-based wiki that stores its data in text files instead of a database. This makes configuration and backup a little simpler. DokuWiki on a Stick takes MicroApache and marries it with PHP and DokuWiki in...
  • Blog Post: Modularization vs. Integration - Which Is Best?

    Clayton Christensen's second book, The Innovator's Solution, produces several important theories in the realm of innovation. Like his first book, The Innovator's Dilemma, the second book should be required reading for anyone in technology and especially managers of technology. Among the theories, one...
  • Blog Post: The Tipping Point: Not True?

    There's a popular business book out right now called the Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. In it he explains how big trends are started by a few people. He calls them connectors and mavens. These are the people who know everyone. I read the book about a year ago and found myself skeptical. Some parts...
  • Blog Post: Unboxing Drobo

    My Drobo arrived today.  It is a slick device.  As one accustomed to the PC world, even the unboxing was a treat.  The typical piece of PC hardware comes in utilitarian packaging.  You're just going to throw it away anyway, so why put effort into it?  Drobo takes a more Macintosh...
  • Blog Post: Welcome to 2008

    Not a great start for 2008 out here in Seattle. We had a big fireworks display at midnight on the Space Needle. Unfortunately, there were some glitches. The fireworks were coordinated by a computer, but it had some " glitches " and eventually they had to set them off by hand. Here's to a great new...
  • Blog Post: First EMI, Then Universal, Now Warner...

    Apparently Warner Music just announced that they were releasing all of their tracks DRM-free. That makes 3 of the big four giving the heave-ho to DRM. Sony is now the lone holdout against the future. How long until they give in to the inevitable? Next up, the movie industry? We can only hope.
  • Blog Post: Welcome Matthew van Eerde to the Blogosphere

    One of my team members, Matthew van Eerde, just joined the blog world. Check out his inaugural post .
  • Blog Post: Inbox Zero

    If you're anything like me, you have way too much e-mail to read it all. To try to cope with this, I've resorted to a collection of rules that sorts my mail into a Byzantine structure of folders. This helps a little, but has the problem of helping me miss a lot of mail as well. Things get neatly sorted...
  • Blog Post: The New Zune Revue

    Over the past few years I have become an avid podcast listener. I've been using Creative MP3 players until this point. I have owned a Zen Nano, Zen Stone Plus, and a Zen Vision M. The first was good its 1 GB size became restricting. The second was a good size, but the battery life was terrible. It's...
  • Blog Post: Happy Thanksgiving!

    It is Thanksgiving today. My wife and I will be having a small gathering of about nine family members. I always enjoy getting some time to put work aside for a few days just hang out with family. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving today and that many of you get to spend time with family and friends...
  • Blog Post: The Ultimate Geek Jacket

    With Christmas approaching, here is a cool idea for the gadget-lover. The ScottEVest Evolution Jacket is a waterproof jacket with 25 pockets for all the cellphones, Zunes, PDAs, pens, etc. that we tend to carry these days. The jacket also has special ducting for headphones from the iPod/Zune pocket,...
  • Blog Post: New Blade Runner Coming!

    25 years after Ridley Scott's masterpiece was first released, another version is nearly upon us. Blade Runner: The Final Cut is coming December 18. What I find most cool about this is not the new cut, but rather the original. When it was released in 1982, the movie had a voiceover by Harrison Ford. When...
  • Blog Post: Using a Sunrocket Gizmo with ViaTalk

    If you happen to have found this page as a former Sunrocket customer, here is a way you can get a phone up and running quickly. One potential VOIP provider you can use is Viatalk . This is the one I chose. Sign up for BYOD service. Wait unil you get your e-mail from ViaTalk with your login information...
  • Blog Post: Why Computers Can't Play Go

    About a decode ago a computer finally beat the best chess mind on the planet. Computers can play nearly every game we've invented better than us. However, one game stands out as unbeaten. The ancient Chinese game of Go . The Times of London has an interesting article on why the computer still can't beat...
  • Blog Post: Redfin: Real Estate Revolution?

    Ever since I sold my first house, I've thought that the real estate business was in need of a shakeup. The typical cost of buying or selling a house is 6%. The buyer's agent gets 3% and so does the seller's agent. On a $100,000 house that's not a big deal. However, houses in the Seattle area average...
  • Blog Post: The Ephemeral Nature of Computers

    My wife and I are talking about getting some landscaping done. One of the interesting options we have is to get a computerized sprinkler system. The system connects to your PC and uses the web to determine the weather. It can use this information to make intelligent choices. For instance, if rain is...
  • Blog Post: Crossing the Uncanny Valley

    The " uncanny valley " is the name for a phenomenon in computer graphics where the closer something looks to reality, the more the mind rejects it as being real. When you see something like a cartoon--say, Finding Nemo --you don't think about it being real. You don't notice all the little flaws. However...
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