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Culinary delights

When you're all out of milk, butter and margarine, philadelphia makes for great mashed potatoes. Try it, they're very creamy.

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Drive-through gambling

As an aside, my connection back from Boston took me through Vegas for a few minutes. In a surprising twist, for the single quarter in my pocket I won back $25 on my first slot, which was grand. The slots always treat me well, and roulette is quickly surpassing blackjack for the table games. Sadly, craps remains well beyond the ability of comprehension.

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All blogged out

The conference earlier this week was great - it seemed to be received well across the board. Being the first of it's kind, the atmosphere was informal, with a definite 'grass roots' feel; it'll be interesting to see how it looks this time next year. For me to have blogged the event would have been pointless - with over 50% of those in attendance doing precisely that, my time was better spent listening and reading. That said, it was fascinating learning how others perceived the same presentations and discussions, in real time, often reading into something from a completely different angle.Boston seems like a great place, it's a shame I didn't have more time to see the sights. I crossed the Charles and made it over to MIT, which, after wandering around for a while, seems like it would be a nice place to study. I'm not sure how that's going to fit into my master plan, but there's plenty of time yet.On the final stretch to shipping Workspaces now, so it's heads-down all the way, hence the lack of posts.

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Graphomania

I've arrived in Boston after several delays along the way (Chicago was certainly not at its best weather-wise). Hopefully I'll get a chance to see some of the sights before the conference tomorrow morning. In the hotel, free WiFi or $9.95/day for a wired connection - hard choice there.Anyway, while reading on the plane, I came across some interesting ideas about sharing thoughts with the world, especially pertinent given the reason for my visit.

Graphomania is not a mania to write letters, personal diaries, or family chronicles (to write for oneself or one's close relations) but a mania to write books (to have a public of unknown readers). ...Graphomania (a mania for writing books) inevitably takes on epidemic proportions when a society devlops to the point of creating three basic conditions:
  1. an elevated level of general well-being, which allows people to devote themselves to useless activities;
  2. a high degree of social atomization and, as a consequence, a general isoalation of individuals;
  3. the absense of dramatic social changes in the nation's internal life. (From this point of view, it seems to me symptomatic that in France, where practically nothing happens, the percentage of writers is twenty-one times higher than in Israel.
..The mainspring that drives her to write is just that absence of vital content, that void. But by a backlash, the effort affects the cause. General isolation breeds graphomania, and generalized graphomania in turn intensifies and worsens isolation. The invention of printing formerly enabled people to understand one another. In the era of universal graphomania, the writing of books has an opposite meaning: everyone surrounded by his own words as by a wall of mirrors, which allows no voice to filter through from outside....One morning (and it will be soon), when everyone wakes up as a writer, the age of universal deafness and incomprehension will have arrived.
It's the final paragraph that rings true - if everyone starts blogging (where the level of entry is actually far lower than the case Kundera is talking about), there will simply be too much to read. Although aggregation and reputation can help, I can't help but wonder whether the blogging 'revolution' is going to collapse under its own weight before this problem gets solved. However, they said the same about the web and then there was Google; whatever happens, it's going to be a big challenge.
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World Radio

I've taken to listening to international radio stations on Shoutcast of late. The content of the airwaves gives a surprisingly vivid impression of the current culture and humor in the areas they broadcast from. Some of the French and Spanish ones are quite cool to listen to and some from Japan are truly bizarre.Today it was Virgin Radio. I heard some tunes from a chap called Robbie Williams and a band by the name of Queen, two things I've not heard in a long time.Off to Boston tomorrow morning for a conference.

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That Friday feeling

It's Friday again, a whole week has gone by since last weekend, and I ponder, what have I acheived? I can see how this question easily weighs on, even demoralizes, many folks and I wonder if I am among them. Well, yes and no. When it's hard to put metrics to a day job, it becomes incredibly difficult to establish progress, let alone self-standing. Right now, I have fewer things to do than I did on Monday, perhaps that's an indication of a good week. Everything seems to be taking shape on schedule, perhaps that's an indication of a good week. I've eaten three (generous) meals a day, perhaps that's a good indication of a good week. I've managed to enjoy some of the sun in Seattle, perhaps that's a good indication of a good week. I quite enjoyed this week, perhaps that's a good indication of a good week.In truth, I don't know. Tactics - the short term - are certainly exciting, until the field of strategy becomes apparent. Doing 'this' instead of doing 'that, that and that' to acheive 'this' is starting to appeal.But don't get me wrong; aside from the 95F temperature in my apartment, things are looking good.

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The greatest novel in the world

I've finally completed one of my challenges for the year, War and Peace. It would be fair to say I enjoyed it - not exactly an easy read, but quite an interesting one, especially to someone only vaguely familiar with the subject matter. The intricate, almost painful, level of detail soon becomes expected, and turns out to be quite a powerful way of describing large-scale events; by conveying every aspect of just a subset of those present, a rather vivid picture of the whole is created.I had been saving a $5 bill in the back as some reward for this moment, but sadly a gust of wind carried it away somewhere while sailing in Australia. Although they say 90% of US currency is out of America at any time, I doubt there's too much nestling in the coral of the Great Barrier Reef.

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Great user experience

It took me a little while to get there, but for some time now I've become a real advocate for holistic usability. Sadly, while it's all too easy to point out a poor user experience, a good one is rarely noticed. I was delighted by my first (real) forray into the world of online grocery shopping. When you can visit Albertsons.com at 2am on Thursday night with a full shopping list and have everything delivered to your kitchen a day later, that's just a marvel.I had my skydiving photos transferred to CD on Saturday; now an addition to the gallery.Thought of the day: Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind.

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Amidst the seediness

Veni Vidi VeniIt's true, although quite by coincidence, I live less than a block from a strip club. The taglines of the Lusty Lady, sometimes topical, sometimes witty, sometimes plain blunt have, on more than one occasion, brought a smile to my lips. Is that wrong?