The Velvet Underground of computing

My OLPC is finally… umm, yes, of course I mean that *the kids’* OLPC is finally here.

I’ve been messing with it for about an hour, and I am deeply impressed. It’s smaller than I expected and the keyboard is a bit cramped for my big, sausage fingers (although they did put CTRL back next to “A”, where God intended it to be). Still, I’m typing this post on it and it’s not as difficult as I had expected.

Yes, this is clearly a 1.0 release. It’s a bit underpowered. The keyboard and mouse are difficult for adult hands. The software has a few rough edges. YouTube sends it to The Sad Place and makes Baby Santa cry.

What excites me most is that it comes with eToys installed. When Julianna ws younger, she and I made fun little gizmos with eToys on the PC. We only had one PC, though, and she couldn’t really use it without me to help. I can’t wait to see what the kids do with it on this device.

The OLPC may or may not change the world by itself, but something very much like it will: cheap, rugged, wifi enabled, and end user programmable. This is not a replacement for your laptop. I think of it as being closer to a chumby that you can program.

It was said of Lou Reed’s old band, The Velvet Underground, that only a few thousand people bought their albums but every one of them was inspired to start a band. The OLPC has that same feel. It feels like The Future.

All in all, I would not hesitate to buy another one for $200.

I absolutely do not understand the bizarre way this thing is being sold. They complain that they can’t bring the price down because they can’t get to scale, but they refuse to sell to people who want to buy them. It makes no sense to me.

I’m going to open a Gold’s Gym franchise in Ethiopia

Malthus was wrong.

We are so awash in cheap food that the government has to subsidize farmers to keep them in business. Hunger is a political problem, not one of economics or production capacity.

Don’t believe me?

According to the WHO,

obese people now outnumber malnourished

Zimmet, an expert on diabetes at Monash University in Australia, said that overweight people now outnumber the undernourished. The World Health Organization’s estimates agree: globally, there are one billion overweight adults, and 300 million of them are obese; in contrast, about 800 million do not have enough to eat. Today obesity is a problem mainly in rich countries, but the WHO estimates that by 2010 the developing world will have more than caught up.

Somebody is going to make a zillion dollars bringing weight loss programs and gyms to north Africa.

[thanks, bb]

The Bonnie Situation

Remember when Jules said:

You got to appreciate what an explosive element this Bonnie situation is. If she comes home from a hard day’s work and finds a bunch of gangsters doin’ a bunch of gangsta’ shit in her kitchen, ain’t no tellin’ what she’s apt to do.

The man knew his business, and probably had somebody like Susan Kuhnhausen in mind.

Kuhnhausen, a 51 year old nurse, came home from work to discover an intruder, armed with a hammer, in her home. According to police, she strangled him with her bare hands.

Better send The Wolf.

UPDATE: According to the AP, the intruder was a hit man hired by her estranged husband! Jules, indeed.

Mother Nature Is One Twisted Freak

This is about very, very kinky sex.

“Yeah”, you think, “I’ve had the internet for a pretty long time now. I know what goes on.”

No. You don’t.

If you spent the last five years clicking on every spam mail in your inbox, if you’d spent those years as a dedicated sybarite in Bangkok, you still would never have seen anything as freaky as Slugs Mating.

Scented slime is just their foreplay. Biting, twisting, hanging from trees, intertwined “male organs” made into the shape of a flower, dropping from a great height.

No, seriously, it’s not a joke.

At about the halfway mark you’re going to start to think, “ok this is wierd”. Have patience, because it gets MUCH wierder.

Don’t read the label

So I went to the doctor. Nothing serious, just a cut on my leg that got infected. She gave me some antibiotics and, as she left the room, the doctor said, “Don’t take this with milk. Dairy interferes with the drug absorbtion”.

No milk. Check.

But when I got the prescription, the bottle said, “Take with food or milk”. Uh-oh.

To the series of tubes, Robin!

Amazing. Drug info all over the place. I really need to learn more about these tubes, it seems that they’re poised to be a big deal. One day you’ll even be able to buy books there.*

Many sites said nothing at all about milk. All of the ones that mentioned it said some form of, “avoid dairy”. None recommended it. I’m somewhat comforted that my doctor knew what she was talking about, but equally disturbed that my pharmacist gave precise info that was precisely wrong.

I guess today’s lesson is: Always Respect Other People’s Culture.

* You don’t understand why this is funny, but TheGoodDoctor does. That’s what makes him so good.

Announcing GSE Capital

The other day, a co-worker and I were discussing a senior executive at our company. This person causes enormous chaos and swirl, and the fact they have been able to remain employed goes a long way towards explaining the state we’re in.

So I got to thinking… The executive in question manages a very large organization. What if we just got everybody in it to chip in just one paycheck? We could cobble together enough money to cover this person’s salary and pay them to just Go Someplace Else.

So that’s what we did. We’ve founded GSE Capital.

One paycheck, that’s what we ask, and we’re gathering enough that we can simply pay this person to just stop coming to the office. They can take the money and start a new company or just lounge around the yacht, laughing at us. No matter. The simple act of removing the irritant will improve morale and productivity.

No reason to limit this to just employees, though. It’s in the interest of every shareholder to contribute as well.

Here’s the best part: These people’s egos won’t let them just sit around. They’re going to take the money and try to start a new company. If they really are as smart as they keep telling us they are, then they’ll give us a great return on investment. If not, we’re rid of them cheap.

We win either way.

Paid for by the Charm City Chamber of Commerce

You can’t buy great PR like this, hon!

Couple Arrested For Asking For Directions

BALTIMORE — Baltimore City police arrested a Virginia couple over the weekend after they asked an officer for directions.

They must have done something pretty awful to get into so much trouble, right? I mean, beyond just being admitted Virginians.

You’ll just have to click the link below and read the rest of the story to find out…

Continue reading “Paid for by the Charm City Chamber of Commerce”

3.0 and Counting

This whole mess began when Phil Wainewright got to babbling about Web 3.0 on his blog yesterday afternoon.

Rael Dornfest and Tim O’Reilly heard about it and, not to be outdone, declared Web 4.0 over pizza last night at Il Fornio.

Gates has satellites monitoring them at all times, so he knew almost instantaneously and responded to their escalation with Web 4.5 ASP Server Longhorn Edition Pro at around midnight. He dispatched his Black Ops Ninja PR troops to infiltrate The Gartner Group, so every Fortune 500 CEO had heard of it by 2am and were clamoring for consultants.

Om Malik, David Hornik, Naval Ravikant, and Joi Ito each sensed weakness in the others and attempted to up the ante. By 6am, we were up to Web 8.0. The frenzy led to a few uncomfortable moments, such as when Ravikant and Hornik both tried to declare Web 5.8 at the same time. Awkward.

Once it hit We Make Money Not Art and BoingBoing things started to pick up speed.

By sunrise, we’d hit Web 10.0 and the VCs were lined up at SFO to hand checks to people as they arrived. The police were called when a few of them were caught slipping term sheets into INS new-arrival paperwork, but Vinod Khosla was called in to negotiate and the situation was defused without violence. At one point there was talk of blocking the southbound 101 and not letting anyone pass without accepting an investment, but cooler heads prevailed and they settled on the 280.

By my own estimation, we’ll be at Web 35.2 by Tuesday.

I suggest that those of you on the west coast stock up on supplies.