Potter’s World

Charlie just turned ten and is finishing up the last few chapters of the last Harry Potter book. Sam is almost eight and is in the middle of book 5. Jodi and I both read all the books as they came out and have enjoyed revisiting them with the boys. We’ve been watching the movies, but only after Sam finishes each book. It will be a bittersweet day when Sam finishes the series. I would understand if J.K. Rowling doesn’t revisit her world of magic with new books, but I know I would be first in line if she does.

This is lovely:

Hard Working Americans

Todd Snider has put together a top-notch band and recorded a killer set of cover songs under the moniker Hard Working Americans. Do yourself a favor and buy this one, it’s a keeper.

Hard Working Americans album cover

Track list (with original songwriter)

“Blackland Farmer” by Frankie Miller
“Another Train” by Will Kimbrough
“Down to the Well” by Kevin Gordon and Lucinda Williams
“The Mountain Song” by Kieran Kane
“Stomp and Holler” by Hayes Carll
“Straight to Hell” by Drivin’ N’ Cryin
“Welfare Music” by The Bottle Rockets
“Mr. President, Have Pity on the Working Man” by Randy Newman
“Run a Mile” by Dan Herron and Chuck Mead
“I Don’t Have a Gun” by Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack
“Wrecking Ball” by Gillian Welch

Steve Jobs presenting the Macintosh publically for the very first time

A previously unpublished video from January 30, 1984 where Steve Jobs presents the new Macintosh personal computer to the Boston Computer Society. He starts off with some jabs at IBM, then follows up with the haymaker 1984 Macintosh commercial. He then goes into Jobs mode with tech specs and abundant hyperbole about how insanely great this computer is.

My Favorite Music in 2013

Here are my favorite albums of the year. Enjoy!

Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold

Jason Isbell – Southeastern

Superchunk – I Hate Music

The Greencards – The Sweetheart Of The Sun

The Avett Brothers – Magpie And The Dandelion

The Head and the Heart – Let’s Be Still

Aoife O’Donovan – Fossils

John Fullbright – From The Ground Up

Dawes – Stories Don’t End

Steve Earle & The Dukes – The Low Highway

Son Volt – Honky Tonk

Josh Rouse – Happiness Waltz

Tim Easton – Not Cool

Sarah Jarosz – Build Me Up From Bones

Pokey LaFarge – Pokey LaFarge

Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle

Joey Ryan & The Inks – [Pause]

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell – Old Yellow Moon

Deer Tick – Negativity

Bill Callahan – Dream River

 

The clarion call to use it well from 1968

Douglas Engelbart recently passed away, leaving us an amazing legacy including inventing the mouse, and this almost impossible demo of our future. At the start of this presentation, later dubbed “the mother of all demos”, Engelbart issued this challenge to future generations who waste their days flinging pissed-off birds at delinquent swine:

If, in your office, you as an intellectual worker were supplied with a computer display, backed up by a computer that was alive for you all day and was instantly responsible — responsive (hehe) to every interaction you had, how much value could you derive from that.

Here is the introduction to the demo from the title cards:

A Research Center For Augmenting Human Intellect
By Douglas C. Engelbart and William R. English

December 9, 1968

Produced at Standford Research Institute, Menlo Park, California

Under the joint sponsorship of: The Advanced Research Projects Agency, The National Aeronautics and Space Agency, and The Rome Air Development Center (Air Force).

The movie captures directly a technical-session presentation made at the fall joint computer conference in San Francisco, on December 9, 1968.

The movie screen will show what was projected by a high-powered TV projection onto a 22′ X 18′ screen mounted at the front of the 2000-chair convention-center arena, and the sound track will reproduce what came over the loudspeakers.

On the stage, below and to the audience’s right of the screen, was seated the main speaker (Doug Engelbart) at the controls of an on-line computer-display work station whose display output was projected on the screen (and simultaneously captured on film).

Behind the scenes, Bill English coordinated the supporting crew who manned cameras, switches, mixers, special-effects controllers, etc.. You will notice that all performers wore headsets to couple them into the intercom network that included a total of six key people located both in San Francisco and at the home laboratory in Menlo Park.

The capturing on film of the audio and video was a process subsidiary to the presentation, and the latter was not stopped for teh two times when the movie-camera operator had to load fresh film — consequently, there are noticeable gaps between reels (of the order of a minute).

Signals from auxiliary television cameras were sometimes switched to the projector — the opening scene is from such a camera, showing Engelbart’s face view, just after he was introduced.

An amazingly accurate prediction of tablets from 1994

In 1994, Knight-Ridder’s Information Design Lab, a newspaper company, published this video which very accurately predicts today’s tablets.

  • Weigh under 2 pounds
  • Portable
  • Display is comparable to ink on paper
  • Blend text, images, video and audio
  • Part of our daily lives (yes) around the turn of the century (off by a decade)
  • “We may still use computers to create information, but we’ll use tablets to interact with information.”