Monthly Archives: August 2007

Top Ten Movie TechnoFarts

The Creature From the Black Lagoon, horror from the 1950s

Great for the 1950s. Not so much today.

I just got through watching a really bad movie. So bad I almost ran through the house yelling “My eyes! My eyes!” The lead actress was so ugly she went trick-or-treating by telephone when she was a kid. The lead actor was so wooden, I never saw him talk and the guy next to him drink water at the same time. The movie was so bad that tor a minute, I thought the it was a sneak attack by an alien culture intent on eliminating brain output worldwide in preparation for an invasion.

But that would have been too easy. It would have also been a better plot than the sci-fi horror catastrophe I witnessed. I’m not going to name it because I don’t want to give it a link. That’s how bad it was.

I know that movies have to use stereotypes and cliches. Not every movie can be the sharpest knife in the drawer. After all, we audience members don’t have all day to get to know people, so to make it work in two hours we’re all going to have to agree to some shortcuts. The plot is always going to be similar to some other movie plot.

Most of this canned crap I got sick of many years ago, and I’ve just gotten used to it by now. The villain is a corporate mogul, alien race, or a general. (Somehow mad scientists aren’t that hip anymore) I saw a movie last week where in the first ten minutes a character was identified as a gun-toting Republican. He should have had a big sign that said “Hollywood Bad Guy Here”. Ugh.

Now that technology is everywhere, the movies are full of it. Ten years ago, you’d only see technology in certain kinds of movies. But now, it’s all over the place. So writers are having to put it in the scripts a lot more.

I’m a technology guy. I can forgive the politics, the cheap shots, the same old bad guys doing the same old things. But there are some things I just can’t forgive from you guys. You can take shortcuts elsewhere all you like, but please stop letting loose these technofarts in my sci-fi horror flicks!

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Religiosity and GCC: Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, do they?

“Don’t call it Global Warming,” my correspondent emailed, “when you call it that, you open the discussion up to all sorts of non-germane quips about how it might be nice for it to be warm in Canada. Call it Global Climate Change.”

We were having a discussion about what is religion and what is science. Where is the unambiguous theory that gives rise to a reproducible experiment in GCC? He didn’t have an answer.

“Whatever the case,” he continued, “you can’t deny that mankind is just a parasite on planet earth.”

That struck me as a very religious thing to say. Which kicked off a lot more thoughts — are some scientists basically repeating the mistakes of the church in the Dark Ages? Are people confusing the type of belief you might have, say, in life after death with the type of belief you might have that F=ma?

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What Kind of Political Animal am I, Anyway?

A picture of a man in a suit, but instead of a man's head, there's a dog's head
It’s a doggy-dog world out there

I got into a great discussion over on Slashdot today regarding personal freedoms and wiretapping laws. In it, I pointed out I was a right-leaning libertarian.

I think I might as well said “beeble-book, boot-de-boo-boo” for all it mattered. I think the words had little significance.

So what kind of political animal am I? Would I vote for Pee Wee Herman? Would I support repealing the 42nd Amendment? Do I believe in the Robert A. Heinlein’s system of suffrage? Would I support busing Inuit into the ghetto for elementary school? Do I like children and old people?

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Welcome to the Party, Slide

Attitudes are funny things. For instance, you might think that if I was developing and monetizing a blog toolkit product 18 months ago and had to put it on pause due to lack of investment, I might be a little bitter reading the following excerpt:

Max Levchin already changed electronic commerce as a co-founder of PayPal, an online payment service that is expected to process more than $40 billion in transactions this year.

Now, he’s tinkering with a new way to make money off Internet widgets – high-tech shorthand for the mini-applications planted on the personal pages of online social networks and other popular Web sites like Google.

Levchin’s latest startup, Slide Inc., has emerged as the No. 1 widget maker so far, largely because its programming tools have made it easy for people to add more pizazz to the pictures and videos decorating trendy hangouts like MySpace, Facebook and Bebo.

You know, it’s one thing to be sitting around at a bar somewhere, drinking a beer and talking about how you had a great idea that was stolen by the market. It’s quite a different feeling to have spent six months working on an idea, including running a business plan, creating a marketing plan, identifying an audience, etc.

So what to do?

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Styling and Profiling with the Camera

Picture of a foggy gravel road in the Blue Ridge Mountains with sunshine in the distance
Foggy Wood, by Bob Miller
Bob’s taking his winnings and getting a Nikon D-80.
Way to go, Bob!

My friend Bob Miller is just having a blast with his camera and HDR. Here’s a recent shot of his that’s won several awards and is appearing in the current issue of JPG magazine. Way to go, Bob!

Here are some of my recent HDR shots. Lame compared to Bob’s, but I have a blast trying.

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Being Anti-Social

I’m a technology strategy management consultant by day. That means that I keep abreast of a lot of technology and how business can use it to make a buck. In my time off, I’ve been studying how new businesses make a buck, not only because I have a dream of founding a successful new business, but because it seems so durn hard for people to pull off.

So in my most recent downtime, I’ve noticed that it seems like wherever you go, people want to make millions making social networking sites.

I subscribe to Craigslist. I started reading Craigslist wondering if I could hook up with some other entrepreneurs. What I found was a herd of people all wanting to make Social Networking sites. Here are some ads just in the last week:

Social networking programmer

“…I have a social networking design and business model that needs a highly capable programmer. Please list capabilities and past accomplishments. Looking for an individual who is creative, enthusiastic, works well with others, someone who is interested in partnership, potential long term commitment…”

Social Networking Web Startup Looking for Technical Co-Founder

“…We are building a social networking startup that will revolutionize the way scientists interact and collaborate with each other. Our application will simplify and enriches the way scientists share knowledge and connect with their colleagues. We have received very positive feedback from scientists and others professional groups. In the future, we see ample opportunities for expansion to other user groups…Your role: technical co-founder, leading the development of our web application through hands-on work and supervision of others; full involvement in all key strategic business decisions Compensation: initially, founder equity and (if needed) a living wage; eventually, vast fame and fortune.

You guys are probably great people, and I admire your gumption and attitude. I hate to burst your bubble, but if you want to write the next FaceBook, you’re smoking crack. It just ain’t happening. As Doctor Phil says, it’s time to get real, folks. Here’s why:

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