2013 mid-year link clearance


Another round of the semi-annual link clearance.

And, as always, the obligatory plug for my column in TechNet Magazine:

Comments (19)
  1. kinokijuf says:

    Isn’t this the January column? technet.microsoft.com/…/jj884326.aspx

    [Excellent, thanks! -Raymond]
  2. alegr1 says:

    I wish Mr.Ballmer (and other current and former execs, especially marketing/branding) were reading your Technet column. The CardSpace column is a fine example of lack of leadership.

    Recently, I watched a video (in a theater before a movie) about a team that is making those Surface ads for Microsoft. Those ads that are trying to tell you Surface is cool, because cool hipster guys/girls use it, but don't actually tell why I need it and what I can do with it. Compare them with Google Drive ad that's all over Youtube. And you'll understand why Microsoft is not getting anywhere.

  3. Rick C says:

    Without watching the video, I figure they aren't automating the QC for chopsticks because it's simpler not to (or just a jobs program,) like the story about Milton Friedman and the diggers in India. (For those who haven't heard it, the story goes he watched people in India digging out a huge area, and asked why they didn't bring in heavy equipment.  They told him it was to make sure people had jobs.  He replied, "in that case, why not give them all spoons instead of shovels?")

  4. Nawak says:

    I wish panoramas had "invert axis" options like videogames have…

  5. John says:

    I was somewhat horrified to learn that all DVDs processed by Netflix (both incoming and outgoing) are packed and unpacked by humans.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch

  6. Alex Brault says:

    Having watched How It's Made quite a bit, I can tell that a lot of products involve manual sorting and QC. Admittedly, it isn't usually performed next to a huge pile of the product being handled.

    I also wished the video had HIM-style narration, even if I wouldn't be able to understand a word. It makes things come alive, in my opinion

  7. Why are you surprised? Sometimes labor is cheaper than automation.

  8. Someone You Know says:

    "Emerald is Pantone's Color of the Year. Who accepts the award?"

    The Wizard of Oz would seem to be a natural choice.

  9. DWalker says:

    The January TechNet column — why things are done in a certain order, which might be random — reminds me of the "why do clocks run clockwise" question (and the book by that name).  

    I claim that clocks (clock hands) could have "run" in one direction or the other, and "clockwise" is the term we give to the direction in which clock hands actually settled on running.  If clocks ran the other way, then clocks would STILL run clockwise, but it would be in the other direction.  The question is silly.

    There might be some explanation about the direction that shadows on a sundial move in the northern hemisphere, where sundials were first invented, but I think that "it's arbitrary" is a good answer to what seems to me like a silly question.

  10. > the direction that shadows on a sundial move in the northern hemisphere, where sundials were first invented

    It seems likely to me that sundials were invented independently in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres (and they run in opposite directions), but the bulk of Earth's habitable land lies in the Northern hemisphere, so it is not surprising that the Northern convention predominates.

  11. SI says:

    @DWalker: The question isn't why it is called clockwise, but why clockwise is rotating the way it is.

  12. j b says:

    To add to the chopstick thread:

    As a student, a friend of mine got a summer job at a softdrink factory, shipping their products in resusable glass bottles. Returned bottles were cleaned in an automatic washing machine, feeding them to a conveyer belt to the automatic machine filling the bottles up. Problem: The washing machine worked to fast, so the conveyer belt filled up. My friend's job was to push the red button to stop tne washing machine as the belt filled up. and later push the green button to get it going when the belt emptied. If any bottle tipped over the belt, that made the high point of the day: Then he had to stretch his hand forward to straighten up the bottle. Eigth hours a day, he pushed a red and a green button alternately, and every now and then raised up a tipped-over bottle.

    The intellectual challenges imposed by the job drove my friend completely crazy. and he broke his work contract after a couple of weeks. But he reported that the people handling the machines on a regular, year-round basis loved the job: It allowed them to read magazines, chat with others, and I would guess fix their makeup during working hours.

    I think that a sizable number of people living in various "homes", if given jobs that *could* be automated but are not, could save quite a few nurses. …And that reminds me of an old classic – Daniel Keyes: Flowers for Agernon. Strongly recommended. No happy ending.

  13. college basketball dropout says:

    Only 12 minutes?

  14. DWalker says:

    @SI:  The book I was referring to is called "Why do clocks run clockwise".  I suppose you could interpret the question as having the meaning you gave it, but I interpreted it the other way (which makes it a dumb question), so maybe I should have given it the other interpretation!

    There are only two choices.  Similar to what Raymond points out in his column, whichever way clocks ended up running, someone might ask "why do clocks rotate the way they do?".  They have to rotate in SOME direction or other; it's not very interesting (to me) why civilization settled on clock hands rotating in the direction they do.

  15. voo says:

    As an Austrian reading the "How to be German" column was pretty entertaining. Especially since several things also apply to Austrians and you really only notice these things yourself if you get a bit around in the world.. which is true for all nationalities and one reason why people really should get around more (I weep for every college kid who doesn't take the opportunity to go a year abroad; one of the best experiences in my life and oh do you learn a lot about yourself and your country).

    But really #13 is oh so true (and in my experience a lesser known stereotype): If you can't open a beer bottle with another beer, a table or your teeth (as immensely stupid as it sounds), you're probably not German.

  16. j b says:

    DWalker> someone might ask "why do clocks rotate the way they do?".  They have to rotate in SOME direction or other;

    Oh well… I suppose some of you have seen the Jeff Dunham Christmas Show, when he in the opening monolog tells about his daughter who goes for the first time to fill up the gas tank of her new car…

    Those who have seen it know that it cannot be retold, it has to be seen. Do it, it is worth your time!

  17. Gabe says:

    For those who haven't seen the Jeff Dunham show referenced by j b, the part related to the topic is where the daughter can't figure out how to remove the gas cap. The mother tells her to turn it counter-clockwise, at which point the daughter stares at her watch. The watch is digital.

  18. Yuhong Bao says:

    "Elections for directors of public companies are a sham"

    I wonder if a company where no one has voting stock is possible.

  19. Silly says:

    > someone might ask "why do clocks rotate the way they do?".  They have to rotate in SOME direction or other;

    Sometimes I wish that certain human inventions didn't go the most practical route. Imagine if the Big Ben tower was a giant hourglass (or 24-hourglass I guess) that rotated once a day to refill itself. Then we could muse about the direction of glasswise rotation. And we could disdain digital-watch era kids who can't read an hourglass to tell the time… and all our smartphone etc apps would have little hourglass images on them rather than clock faces.

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