Snowshoeing around Snoqualmie Pass

I rented some snowshoes on Saturday and went with Lassy, Mr Rick, Lampy, Homer and Lassy’s Niece on a Snowshoeing trip. It was pure fun after we got off the road, between the constant twists and turns, the work of finding where the path went and the beauty of the waves of snow we saw towards the end. I really wish I had brought a camera. The snow was pretty hard and was more like a ice cone then snow.

Afterwards I found that I was starving and probably ate too much for dinner that night as a result. I need to bring more food with me next time.

Sunday was a nice visit from Debra and Jacob. Jacob is into wanting his own way in walking and staying at the playground after it is time to go. One of the more intresting conversations was about giving kids Jacob and Simeon’s age limited choices and another about a young child quizzing Debra about Divorce. “What rules did he break?”. 


TV Last Night

Last night Pam and I were pretty tired, so we HAVE NOT watched the latest Battlestar Galatica episode yet. We did watch the Dresden Files new episode, The Boone Identity, and caught some of the Teasers for this week’s episode, it looks like it plays games with the Baltar as a Cylon angle (which is great) and the Starbuck/Apollo marriage issues (which is pure pain).

The Dresen Files is looking like it’s going to be a fun little series that I can watch and relax to. It has some backstory but it doesn’t look like the deep intertwined emotional mess Battlestar inflicts every week.

Live (on Video) Blogging the Vista Launch

  • Bill Gates takes stage
    • Reminds us of the GUI bet 12 years ago in Windows 95
    • Everything is focused on how to represent in a Digital format
    • What’s the new innovations?
      • Making it easier: search, flip3d, etc
      • Safer: anti-spyware, anti-phising, etc
      • Entertainment: DX10, Photo Gallery, DVD Maker, HiDef support
      • Better Connect: Diagnosing, RSS platform support, XML file formats
    • Platform Renovation
    • Installing
      • Upgrade Advisor
      • new system
  • Mike, corperate vice president demo
    • thanks familys and beta testers
    • Familly focused demo
    • Photos
      • Tagging in Photo gallery via drag and drop
      • Search via the tagging
      • One beta tester with 40K photos in the library
      • Basic adjustments
    • DVD Burning
      • Videos and pictures into a nice preview
    • Document editing
      • Live Previews of the entire format of the document changing
      • Add a photo and drag it to the size you want in the document, no guessing percents
      • Ribbon UI
      • Extra effects on photos in the document, shadows and the like
    • Games
      • Game Explorer
      • DX10
      • Using the Xbox360 controller
      • Cross-platform playing, EX: uno
    • Parental Controls
      • Time-Limits
      • Game ratings
      • IM sessions, Games played, Web sites went to/attempted to go to
    • Xbox360 media center extender
      • Cable Card support -> HiDef TV Recording
      • Media Center interface
      • Music explorer
      • picture explorer
    • Extras
      • DreamScene – Motion Video on the Desktop
  • WoW campaign Commercial
    • nice music… look up later
  • Steve Ballmer
    • Biggest Launch in software history and the broadest
    • Today/Tommorow fun across the globe
    • 19 Languages today, 99 by EOY
    • 39,000 retail outlets
    • thousands of OEMs
    • 1 million people in europe by EOY
    • 2 million in US
    • 2,500 certified software products
    • NY Times reader application
    • 5 Mil beta testers
    • Partners Video
    • Dell CEO Kevin ??
    • Intel Sean Melony(sp?)
    • Toshiba CEO and president of computer devision ??
    • AMD Chairman and CEO Hector Ruitz
    • HP ??
    • editorial comment: How much money is on that stage right now?
  •  Bill Gates
    • Thanks to the employees
    • Jim Allchin thank you from Bill
    • 5 Million People Downloaded Vista and Office 2007
    • Highest quality ever
    • Test Automation
    • Performance Testing
    • Watched 1 billion office beta sessions
    • What Famillies said about the product
      • 50 famillies in 7 countries
      • > contact
      • 800 changes
      • Lots of DVD burning feedback out of this program
      • “Microsoft listened to me”
    • One of the Famillies on the stage
    • Burn to Disc button in photo gallery was one of thier feedbacks
    • Got the first copy in the US.
    • Kids push the button, and Screens in Times Square Start going
  • Video of Launch events across the world.
  • Live Band starts playing
  • Caffiteria Ballons drops
  • Event is over at Microsoft

Microsoft weighs in directly on the DRM paper

From the Windows Vista Blog:

It’s important to emphasize that while Windows Vista has the necessary infrastructure to support commercial content scenarios, this infrastructure is designed to minimize impact on other types of content and other activities on the same PC.  For example, if a user were viewing medical imagery concurrently with playback of video which required image constraint, only the commercial video would be constrained — not the medical image or other things on the user’s desktop.  Similarly, if someone was listening to commercial audio content while viewing medical imagery, none of the video protection mechanisms would be activated and the displayed images would again be unaffected.

This is key to me, the OS has support, but it is compartmentalized in it’s reach and effects. The real engineering challenge is to create such a system such that the OS and hardware ecosystem remains open. The comments also demonstrate that many still are confused by the initial poor examples and hyperbole. For example:

Handing over complete control to the RIAA/MPAA and allowing them to have the final say on what a Windows machine can and cannot do is completely unacceptable. I don’t care if an exploit has been found in my drivers, unless it’s to do with security in the sense of someone being able to compromise my machine I don’t expect to see driver revocation just to satisfy some lawyer.

First, they only have control over thier own content. Second, even if the driver is revocated, the only ability you lose is the ability to see thier content.

Weird Economics

Why does ticketmaster want to charge me $2.50 for an email I print out, and not charge me anything for sending me the tickets in the mail? That seems really backwards. I just bought tickets for Cosmology at the Frontier: Brian Greene and Stephen Hawing at McCaw Hall.

Vista DRM

There a pretty reasonable podcast about Vista DRM in Security Now #75. Key points:

  • Worse case is that you can’t play content that demnands a super secure path.
  • No known media is requesting the super secure path. It is very questionable if anyone will ever want to take the PR hit of actually using it.
  • Constriction or “fuzzyness” is for the high quality content; not everything on your screen and only if the content requires it.
  • The main device you are probably playing HD-DVD’s on is laptops who have onboard graphics and are exempt from a number of things that people are concerned about.

Update: Just to be fair, there are a number of legit concerns that the Gutmann paper talks about, but even in that paper there are examples that people have let thier imagination run away with. The legit concerns include: side effects to how open hardware is when hardware needs to authenticate to the driver (They should do a public key thing here IMHO), Hardware/CPU costs in dealing with encrypting content across an open pci bus, potential cost for splitting out drivers to mitigate potential protect content trust revocation, the potental for hardware manufactures to destablize a PC when creating an implementation of tilt bits and IP/Licencing costs for the content protection hardware. To me these are pretty minor or requires assuming the worst for a true bad effect.

Podcast Meetup

Last night I went to the Seattle Podcast Meetup in hopes of meeting Jon Udell. I’m guessing that I missed him but the reduced panel and the random people mingling was entertaining. I learned some (retroactively obvious) things like, when you interview someone in a podcast form, have a series of questions and topics outlined out. I also saw that there was a huge focus on making money from podcasting this year. Unlike blogs where the bandwidth and level of involvement scales very well, podcasting is considerably more involving. As a result, the question of making money comes out much earlier and is a more universal concern. It was interesting to hear some of the thoughts about podcasting as a marketing device for retention. There was an example of a museum moving from simple letter Q/A to podcasting the answers to questions and charities podcasting as a way to inexpensively communicate to their donors what they are accomplishing with the donations. Chris Pirillo was very entertaining and brought up finger, a good-old-days protocol I haven’t thought about for almost a decade. Overall a fun little evening.

Cruising on Carnival

I’ve been cruising pretty much all my life, and this is the first time I remember cruising on the Carnival Lines. Carnival has a reputation for being really good for families and we had set our expectations on that. As a result we were a bit disappointed on what they offered for kids under two.

While the night babysitting might be useful for someone who didn’t bring a supply of grandparents we were mostly looking for a place for Simeon to be able to safely roam and play. This turned out to be somewhat difficult. They allowed use of the kids area for Simeon’s age group 3 times out of 8 days (at sea periods from noon to 2pm). We also grabbed a crib for Simeon in the room, but it was much smaller then a normal crib and ended up being too small for Simeon, so he moved into our bed. We were hoping to just use the crib mattress on the floor, but they took it back when we tried to keep it since after giving up the crib they assigned it to another room. This seemed like a way too little service for charging a full third person in a cabin fare.

We did get a really good beach day with Simeon in Antigua which I would count as the highlight of the trip. The lowlight would be Nassau, which forces you through a very crowded building and makes you walk through a half a market before you can get to the street. However you are there, you are under constant assault be people trying to sell you a service. This extended all the way to the not so great beach on paradise island. This is after navigating the Atlantis Hotel in an attempt to find the beach. While riding the water taxi was nice once, the extra $1.50 for a cab instead was well worth it for the ride back. Totola didn’t make much of an impression on me since we stayed with the local shopping. Puerto Rico was cool because of the historical city layout, walls and forts. Which leaves Saint Thomas. Saint Thomas is my mother’s favorite shopping destination, especially a shop named Omni.

The food in the ship’s dinning room left a bit to be desired, and the main show’s volume levels were too loud for the speakers they were using, but it was obvious that they had put a lot of money in the productions. Carnival was a bit more pushy with the drinks and had a very well attended casino and karaoke. Overall I’d give the ship a B mostly over the food and the under two support. I’d give the staff an A. I’d give the itinerary an A-. If Pamela doesn’t talk more about traveling on a cruise with Simeon then I’ll post again on that topic.

The difference between Seattle and Chicago

In the Seattle Airport, the police had mountain bikes, in Chicago they have segways. I’m also conviced we are the only parents in America flying without a portable DVD player.