Culture Education Ethics

Math Racial Profiling

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A few years ago, I was appalled to read a New York Times story about a proposed new math program for New York schools that would promote guessing as a means of doing math. Kids would learn a way of estimating answers. The rationale was to cater to minority students, many of them Hispanics.

I read in shock. The whole concept of estimation made no sense to me. Worse, it looked to me like the liberal school system was really doing racial profiling, essentially saying the minorities are too stupid to learn basic math. Geez, get a life.  Read More

Apple Music

Where are iTunes Free Music Videos?

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Apple’s music store offers many ways to discover new music. I also have been using Yahoo! Music, which offers great value—how’s five bucks a month for unlimited downloads—but doesn’t offer as many ways to find great music. One of my favorite mechanisms for finding music over at iTunes is watching at music videos. Apple offers plenty and at a reasonable big size compared to other services delivering music videos.

One problem: Apple hasn’t posted a new music video on the U.S. since August 9. I checked some of the international stores, too. Similar situation, after Apple had regularly updated videos. I’m upset because one means of discovering new music is gone. Apple now does offer videos with some albums or deluxe singles, essentially for sale. Is a bigger for fee video service in the works? I wonder.

Photo Credit: Tracy Lee Carroll

People Society Web


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I witnessed the clash of the old and new worlds while driving the other day. The cause: lol. To my 11-year old daughter, lol means “laughing out loud,” because of her use of instant messaging. I just have to wonder how many times (millions perhaps?) in the course of one day “lol” is used in instant messaging.

But to my 47-year old wife, lol means something altogether different. For years, she and I used “lol” as code language while driving for “little old lady.” The explanation of our lol has my daughter using it one way when we drive and the more common way online. My wife doesn’t like my daughter using lol to refer to little old lady.

My reaction: lol.

Photo Credit: Screen grab from shortfilm “405

Apple Google Microsoft Software Web

Search as the New User Interface

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In my next blog post, I plan to write about good design. As prelude, I offer my May 23, 2005, column for Betanews:

In 1984, Apple’s Macintosh introduced the world to the graphical user interface, eventually changing how people interact with computers. The GUI may not have been Apple’s idea—great credit there goes to the folks at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center—but the company did deliver the first meaningful, commercial product. Read More

Apple Gear Music

Good Thing in a Small Package

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I am back from Los Angeles, where I attended Microsoft’s developers conference. Waiting for me: A shiny new iPod nano. Much thanks to Apple for sending this huge surprise. I nearly bought one last Friday in Bethesda, Md. I resisted, although by Sunday I was ready to plunk down 250 bucks. No chance, the 4GB model had sold out; I couldn’t find one in any of the three Washington Apple Stores.

My boss attended the Microsoft conference, too, and he had an iPod nano with him. He showed it off lots. I expected some folks to mug him. People look at the music player, and they’re awestruck. It’s amazing.

Apple’s TV ad for the iPod nano—”Gimme That!”—is just so appropriate. In a New York Times column today, David Pogue described the music player just right: “To see one is to want one. If you hope to resist, lash your credit card to your wallet like Odysseus to the mast”.

Photo Credit: Cristian Labarca


Well, I’m Impressed

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Traveling today, I got lots of chances to see the John Roberts’ senate confirmation hearing. I normally wouldn’t have time. But the hearing played all over Dulles airport, while I waited for my plane, and I flew jetBlue, which had satellite news on the plane.

Having lived in the Washington area off and on for more than 20 years, I’ve come to recognize political posturing, and I got a load of it today. Some of these pompous senators really crack me up. But no laughing matter: John Roberts’ speech. If he really means what he said, I’d confirm him. He impressed me. The partisans can line up around parties and politics. I never do.

Photo Credit: Andrew Bardwell

Society Storytelling

9-11: The Day America Changed

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Four years ago this morning, my wife remarked about the perfect fall day. Clear skies, low humidity and freshness in the air.

Around 9:20, I checked the headlines at Washington Post. I had been online for hours, but not looking at local news. Across the top of the page was a one liner about an airplane striking the World Trade Center. We naturally assumed a small plane had collided with one of the towers. While I looked for more details online, she checked CNN and gasped in the living room. I walked out to see video of both towers aflame. This was no small plane incident.

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Apple Gear Society

The Mother of Invention

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This evening, my wife, daughter and I drove over to Bethesda, Md., for an open house at Imagination Stage; my daughter decided to take an acting class there. Afterwards, we took a stroll through downtown and stopped at the tiny little Apple Store on Bethesda Ave. There we saw Apple’s new iPod nano music player.

To say the device is small really doesn’t describe the size. Best is to say that everything else is huge by comparison. I’m headed to Los Angeles next week for business and had planned on bringing along a Samsung Portable Media Center. The PMC is a cinder block compared to the iPod nano.

I had been thinking that Apple redefined a category. My mistake, Apple has invented a new one.

Photo Credit: Yuichi Kosio


What’s Up with all These Planes going Down?

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File this under scary. Today, Reuters cited sources giving an eerie explanation for the crash of a Helios airliner last month in Greece: Confused pilots. The tragedy had been confusing from the start, because the flight crew and most of the passengers appeared to be unconscious when the Boeing 737 ran out of fuel and crashed. De-pressurization was a leading suspected cause of the crash.

Reuters, citing a story in International Herald Tribune, claims that a maintenance crew left a pressurization control knob undone. The pilots missed this and misunderstood a pressurization warning alarm. Apparently, the cabin never pressurized at all.  Read More