No time to blog, so here’s a link roundup

* “Cutting the Cord on Cable”: Wish I could get there but live HD sports still keeps me stuck to cable/satellite provider. I’ve tried the streaming options and they are weak — poor selection of games/sources (I need ESPN/ABC channels + BTN + Fox Sports channels + upcoming Pac12 network), lots of stutter, not HD content. I will probably be one of the last cable subscribers in the country.
* “Men with deep voices lack sperm”: I was a tenor in choir.
* “Do programming puzzles in interviews work?”: I don’t think I’ve ever asked these kinds of questions, or at least not in 20 years.
* “Gamification sucks”: Respect your users.
* “The Verge”: and “The Wirecutter”: — good tech sites.
* “If you are busy, you are doing something wrong”:
* “10 new-ish programming languages”: WOuld like to learn more about Chapel, haXe, X10, OPA.
* “DSLRs are a dying breed”: Not another “camera phones are going to win” article, but a smarter take on the mirrorless trend.

Year end link clean up

* “Poor Halo play prompts stabbing threat”: Doesn’t seem unreasonable. I’ve heard campers threatened with worse.
* “How Secure Is My Password”: No idea how accurate, but fun. 17 thousand years for my typical password.
* “Rich on photobooks”: I just always use the default in Aperture but perhaps I should branch out.
* “AR.Drone”: Why don’t I have one of these yet.
* “Declining energy quality as recession cause”: An interesting way to look at things. Not sure it actually makes sense tho.
* “Now you can swap useless Amex reward points for useless Zynga crap.”:
* “Snoopy themed Windows tablet”: Take that, Apple.
* “Spiders on Drugs”: We are asking for some serious payback from spider nation some day.
* “Umpteenth article on the death of cable TV”:, yawn. Until I can watch HD live sports without stuttering I am captive to cable/dish. Going to be a while.
* “Charles on breaking up MSFT”: Good as always.
* “Habitable planet found?”:
* “Languages you’ve never heard of”: In the future, we will all have our very own programming language.
* “Topologist suggests new form of matter”: For most of our history we’ve used the forms of matter that nature gave us. It is interesting to observe and think about what we can create as we gain mastery over atomic organization.
* “One man’s indictment of iTunes”: The thing is a giant hairball of software.
* “Exercise and aging”: Crap I need to get after it.
* “Show Me What’s Wrong”: Super useful.
* “User experience of F1 telemetry”: Always impressed with the amount of money spent on racing.
* “MacPaint and MacDraw source code”: Nostalgia.

Tech toys I want but don’t need

* Lifebook MH380. Japan only right now. For some reason this netbook just looks cool to me.
* “Netgear 200mb powerline ethernet”: — I might actually need this, one spot in the house where I would really like a wired solution and running cat5 is inconvenient.
* “Moxi DVRs”: intrigue me, especially the moxi mate for additional rooms. Wonder if I should flip away from Tivo…
* “Ambient WIFI harvester”: Wonder why just wifi. Curious what the power spectrum of EM energy around us looks like.
* “80 Port USB charging hub”: I wish it could charge my iphone 80x as fast.
* These “Micro 4/3rds cameras”: are just screaming my name. I know I will be disappointed in shutter lag time. But man I am pulled.

The iPad

Well of course I will buy one because I am a geek. That said I am unconvinced.

* I still have to carry my iPhone around because I need to make calls. Actually the iPad could free me to switch to a better phone/carrier without having to lose my apps…
* I still have to carry my MacBook around. I use real software, Aperture and MatLab and Mathematica and Photoshop and Word. With big datasets, complicated docs, etc. The limited iPad apps don’t cut it.
* So am I really going to carry around another largish device? Hmm.
* I do carry the Kindle2 around but it is a lot smaller and I get 2-3 weeks of battery life. That is the beauty of a point device.

So I am not really sure what the iPad does for me. But I am sure I will try.

All the “Amazon is dead” talk I find misguided. A, if you are a heavy book reader, the iPad is not superior — battery life, library size, readability are all Kindle advantages. B, Amazon is not stupid, you can read Kindle books on the iPad. C, the Amazon store may not be as cute as Apple’s book thing but it is way more functional. Amazon will be fine even if the Kindle hardware fades away.

Software/tech I have to look at further

After fall quarter ends…

* “Microsoft Courier”: Well covered by now but gosh looks like a cool device.
* “Daytum”: I feel like I should like this but not really sure what to do with
* “StockTwits”: Should learn more about
* “Iphone app discovery”: Nice work from guys working with Chris
* “Autodesk Sketchbook Mobile”:

“Whatever Happened to…?”

“Whatever Happened to…?” | Technologizer. Good times, I remember all these. Loved my Epson MX-80 printer, my Hercules graphics card, my Hayes modem. I even loved my MiniDisc for a while tho those things were goofy. Zip discs were awesome for carrying my entire working set of docs from work to home and back. I spent too much time with dBase one summer. And way too much time on CompuServe back when that was the main way MSFT supported betas.

Cool office desk

Milk Desk — i love well designed office furniture. I have a custom desk now that I am unhappy with because, despite massive passthrus, it just can’t handle the cabling and desk space demands of all the accesories needed. I am designing my own desk right now, some cool ideas in this one.

Back from the dead

Back from two weeks of radio silence up on lopez island. Minor IT disasters on return — 3 power strips blown at home (can’t be a coincidence), one machine that forgot its hard disk config and was trying to boot off its 7200rpm data drive instead of the 10krpm raid0 array of system drives, and of course my web server had gone toes up for some reason (nothing in the logs??). All is well again.

Cougar Mountain 6/17

OK I can’t leave well enough alone. I have to take every opportunity to turn everyday human experiences into geekfests.

So I got a Samsung SC-X105 Sports Camcorder, attached the remote lens with the provided straps to my head, and went out yesterday morning. You can see and hear what I saw — a little waterfall (1 Meg), a nice tree covered trail (2 Meg), griping about my ribs (2 Meg), and the Bagley Seam trail (6 Meg).

These videos are “sports videos” — you see it as I did it, handsfree video shooting, so very jerky and hopping all over the place. The camera is a great fun toy tho some serious aggravations as noted by other reviewers — you have to keep telling it to use the external remote lens every time you turn it on, it doesn’t remember this setting. But it is incredibly small, the camera comes with a caribiner clip instead of a belt loop which is great, and the remote lens is just way cool.

Oh the other problem is the video format — the doc all says “MPEG video” but it is using some Samsung-tweaked codec that nothing in the world understands. So you have to install the Samsung app, force it to convert the video to DVIX or DVI, and then you can use another app to play with — I used Windows Movie Maker as I had it lying around.

Web sites/services of recent note

* Google just keeps cranking — Google launches search history. Google allows multiple Site: specifiers — an undervalued capability. RSS reader now in gmail. Desktop search plugins. Hey google, give me a simple document app (notes and simple spreadsheets and simple presentations) and I can quit using office…
* Wikicities — doesn’t look like it is taking off, but applying the wikipedia model to restaurant/travel reviews seems like a natural
* Something is interesting here…
* Rich found flytecomm — realtime flight tracking. cool.

Small appliance product manuals

The web is an amazing thing. Saved us from a cooking disaster this weekend.

We hauled our rice cooker out of the small appliance graveyard in our house — wedged in between the juicer and bread machine, just in front of the waffle iron, on top of the paninni grill. Sadly tho, we had no manual for it. The cooker is like 10 years old, I figured we were hosed.

But hats off to Panasonic for putting all their product manuals on the web, even old ones.

Yes you can have too much technology

It is all coming crashing down around me right at the moment. I don’t feel like I have gadgets and gear, I just have problems.

On my person/in my bag: my blackberry keys are sticking and i have to replace it, my casio digital camera won’t hold a charge.

In my car: the kenwood phatdisk hard disk is corrupt, my nav system is out for repairs.

At work: the vpn has become slow as mud, our firewall is crashing daily, my server box has only 256Meg of ram and is thrashing, i can’t quite configure properly my hosting service for 3 new domains.

At home: firefox 1.02 crashes repeatedly on my main machine. Firefox won’t run at all in user mode on the family room machine. I have hard disk corruption on my game machine. The hard disk in the PC I use to control all my halloween sounds is whining suspiciously. my 10 year old phone system is creaking as i attempt to slam voip into it.

A whole host of things are working ok — my ipod, my tivo, my comcast hd, the two other pcs and the mac mini at home. But the problems are all a little overwhelming at the moment. I may need to massively simplify. I can’t keep spending 3 hours a day fixing things…

Contacting Me

In a boring meeting the other day, I was reflecting on how many ways people can get ahold of me. I did a little inventory.

Voice: You can call me at:

* 425 709 0772. Ignition central number. Accepts Voicemail
* 425 460 0841. Ignition direct number. Accepts Voicemail
* 425 922 7055. Cell phone. Accepts Voicemail.
* 425 641 4973. Home listed. Accepts Voicemail.
* 425 xxx xxxx. Home unlisted. Accepts Voicemail.
* 425 xxx xxxx. Onstar in Chevy Avalanche.
* 425 xxx xxxx. Vonage. Accepts Voicemail.

Fax: You dinosaur you, you can send me a fax at:

* 425 709 0798. Ignition
* 425 xxx xxxx. Vonage.

IM: The younger set can reach me at:

* Jhludwig on AIM
* Jhludwig AT on MSN (deprecated)

Email: My most used medium.

* john, jhludwig, johnlu. Actually a few more are also supported that I’ve set up over the years for various purposes.
* John. For college football stuff
* jhludwig
* john.ludwig
* johnlu (need to verify this still works)
* jhludwig (direct to blackberry)
* a few other domains i have registered which forward mail to me.
* i never bothered to set up my comcast isp account, i guess that could work to, but don’t use it, since i never check it.

Text: again for the younger generation

* SMS me at the cell phone above
* Or from a blackberry, send to Bberry pin 20053854


* Send a trackback to an entry on
* Trackback or comments on fanblogs


* Posts on MethodsofMadness halloween forum
* Posts on some school forums


* Ebay I believe will redirect messages to my account
* All the social networking sites — linkedin, judysbook, friendster, orkut, etc — will send posts/messages to me

Physical mail:

* to ignition
* to home

And well you can just Google “john ludwig” and probably figure out a way to get ahold of me. especially now that this is posted.

The amazing thing is — I will actually get all these. I monitor all these inputs on a semiregular basis. Some of them constantly, some more intermittently, but I get them all.

Contrast this situation with the beginning of my working life. I had 1 work phone, 1 work fax, 1 home phone at that time. No email, no sms, no cellphone, etc.

Will this explosion continue? How will people stay on top of it all? The big problem is really controlling use and access. Today I conrol access by deciding to whom and how I reveal these addresses. And then as the addresses leak out, I filter them for unwanted contacts. This seems pretty bass-ackwards. I’d like to be able to publish all of them freely, and then decide based on access lists and rules who is allowed to use which of them.

Sites of recent note

* Love the new customizable Google news — my customized page is here (so that I can use it on all my machines). This page is good enough for me to add to my set of startup pages in Firefox.
* got my free annual credit report. Nothing shocking here, thank goodness.
* Great list of CMSs up on Wikipedia — thanks gadgetopia
* Streamload has a range of online storage plans — some of them very cheap — I wonder if I should start backing up everything up there.
* The entire SXSW music program as a torrent.