Safari 4

I downloaded Safari 4 earlier today and am just fooling around with it now. So far, so good. I like some of the new features. A lot. Others I am not so crazy about.

What I like.

    Top Sites is pretty nice. I especially like that it lets me know when pages have been updated (at least I’m assuming that’s what the star in the upper right hand of the page means).

    The whole Coverflow view of history is very cool. It would be even cooler if I could see the thumbnails of the sites further into the past. Right now it’s mostly good for the sites I visited in the recent past.

    It also seems faster than the pervious version – but I think it might be one of those measurable but not really perceptible kind of things. . .

What I wasn’t crazy about.

    The tabs along the top of the window. I’ll probably get used to it but I’m not sure the value it provides.

    Limited ability to customize the toolbar. Stop? Refresh? These appear to be MIA and I kind of liked them.

    It also seems a little odd – give that the tabs now appear on the top of the page (and seem to include the toolbars within them) – that you can’t create custom toolbars for specific tabs.

    Memory consumption (assuming this is just a beta thing). At 1.25 GB it is the heaviest consumer of virtual memory I have running.

This is all based on about an hour of use so I’m sure there’s plenty more to enjoy and fret over in here. Why not check it out for yourself?

Reading My Antonia

I just finished reading My Antonia. What a beautiful book. When I finished it and reread the back cover, I wonder if whomever wrote the back cover description had rad the same book as I had:

“Antonia Shimerda returns to Black Hawk, Nebraska, to make a fresh start after eloping with a railway conductor [this happens in the last 50 pages of the book] following the tragic death of her father [which happened when Antonia was perhaps 14, a decade before her failed elopement and more than 100 pages earlier]. Accustomed to living in a sod house and toiling along aside the med in the fields [she actually becomes a hired girl in Black Hawk as a young teenager] she is unprepared for the lecherous reaction her lush sensuality provokes when she moves to the city [huh? There is no lecherous reaction and nothing in her behavior during her failed near marriage can be called “lush sensuality. And whatever reaction does occur takes place back in Black Hawk, not the city at all.]. Despite betrayal and crushing opposition, Antonia steadfastly pursues her quest for happiness – a moving struggle that mirrors the quiet drama of the American landscape.”

This doesn’t accurately describe the story at all. Better might have been to say that the book presents the warm recollections of youth and life of a young man as reflected in his relationship with Antonia – a young Bohemian girl whose life and his touch and twine over the decades.

It’s certainly a great book but come on, a little better job by the publisher would be helpful.

Miracle Fruit Taste Test

So someone ordered some miracle fruit at work today for a client meeting. When all was said and done the fruit was produced – along with a variety for sour, spicy and acidic foods. The idea is that these small maroon berries will make everything just a little bit sweeter.

We all popped one into our mouths and peeled off the skin with our teeth, letting the mean melt and we gnawed softly on the seed. The fruit was sweet I guess but it’s flavor wasn’t that striking. After letting drift around my mouth for a while I gave it a final nibble and spit out the seed. Then it was time for some tasting.

Here’s what we had: grapefruit, lime, lemon, blue cheese, dill pickle, sour worms, Guinness, tabasco sauce and rice vinegar. Here’s what I thought. I didn’t taste the grapefruit. The lime was seriously sweet and tasty. Skipped the lemon. The blue cheese was sweet – which made it a little gross. The dill pickle was awesomely sweet. It was really really good. The sour worms were OK – not sour which made them better to me. I Guinness was sweet but not THAT sweet and I still drank it. The tabasco sauce was ok on my tongue but not so good on my throat. The vinegar tasted great but wasn’t so good going down.

It was novel having my food taste different I guess. I think I’ll need to try it again sometime but maybe tasting the stuff before and then after.

Do we REALLY need to get our hands dirty?

I’ve been thinking about the difference between thinking and talking about social media and actually doing it. I am in the camp that you have to actually do it to get it to talk about it.

Sure, there are plenty of things you can go off about without ever experiencing yourself – life on the bottom of the sea, the inside of a star, dinosaurs, etc. But the whole point of social media is that it’s put the tools for production out there for all of us to fiddle with. Maybe the stuff that gets made isn’t always awesome, and maybe it’s misunderstood – but the thing is you CAN make it.

Apparently, not everyone agrees. In a post today on Larry Weber and the social Web, Scott Kirsner asks (tongue in cheek):

I guess it’s possible to really understand this stuff in the abstract, without really using it?

Dinosaurs we can understand in the abstract. Social media? There’s no reason NOT to get your hands dirty.

[tags]social media, Larry Weber, Scott Kirsner[/tags]

Fame and Fortune Weekly

I was digging around in the basement and came across a 1906 copy of “The Liberty Boys of 76 – A Weekly Magazine containing Stories of the American Revolution.” This is something I bought probably 20+ years ago.

While I was thumbing through it I came across an advertisement for another series, “Fame and Fortune Weekly – Stories of Boys Who Make Money.”

Here are just a few titles:

    “A Lucky Deal; or The Cutest Boy on Wall Street”
    “Hard to Beat; or The Cleverest Boy on Wall Street”
    “Baiting the Bears; of The Nerviest Boy on Wall Street”
    “A Sure Winner; or The Boy Who Went With a Circus” (I think this is my favorite)
    “Playing to Win; or The Foxiest Boy on Wall Street”
    “Heir to a Million; or The Boy Who Was Born Lucky”

Reading the description of the magazine made me wonder how far we’ve come in the last 100 years.

“This weekly contains interesting stories of smart boys, who win fame and fortune by their ability to take advantage of passing opportunities. Some of these stories are founded on true incidents in the lives of our most successful self-made men, and show how boys of pluck, perseverance and brains can become famous and wealthy.”

[tags]Children’s stories, Liberty Boys, Wall Street stories, Fame and Fortune Weekly, History[/tags]

A real swell site

Sometimes I don’t have any idea how I ended up someplace – but usually I’m happy to find myself there. That’s for sure the case with Sebastian Campion’s Guerrilla Innovation. For me it’s an inspiring place full of fun and farcical and thoughtful ideas and actions. It’s all about people using ideas, design and space to say something unexpected; and for me the unexpected is very wonderful. I only wish it were update a *little* more regularly.

[tags]Sebastian Campion, Guerrilla Innovation[/tags]

Creative Intelligence

I was out the other night and was talking to Matt Searles about art and creativity. It occurred to me that there are three types of creative thinking (at least that I’ve been able to identify.

The first is the creativity of ideation. This is thinking long and hard about what is behind expression. It’s wondering why an idea needs to be expressed and the rational for expressing it. This is critical thinking. Matt does it in spades.

The second is the creativity of narration. This is imaging a story and how it will look when it is told. It is entertainment and might not involve any deep ideas at all. This is how I think creatively.

The third is the creativity of production. This is grappling with the mechanics of creating. It is thinking about how to allow expression to occur and to solve problems. My brother-in-law James is like this.

Let me tell you a story about the three of us that illustrates what I am talking about. A few months ago James told me about a contest. The goal was to product a short video that would celebrate the 25th (I think) anniversary of the Lego minifig.

I sat around and thought about it for a while and had an idea. It was almost finished in my mind as I imagined it. I loved the story I’d come up with. But I recognized I wouldn’t be able to tell the story on my own.

First I would need someone who was familiar with the technology – and I thought of Matt since I know the kinds of things he does. I’d also need someone to help come up with a way to make a life-size minifig and thought of James. I got in touch with them and we all agreed to work together.

We met at my house to plan. I launched into telling the story. Right away, Matt started asking what I was trying to express, what might be behind the story. I, of course, had no idea. To me it was a nice story. While Matt and I were going back and forth, James, in the meantime had made a short stop-action movie on his own.

I have more thinking to do on this. I need to reconnect with Matt to discuss it a bit more. There are more details that I need to sort out but I think this makes sense. Are there other kinds of creative thinking that I am ignoring? Let me know.

[tags]creativity, thinking, gregpc, Matt Searles, ideas, entertainment, production[/tags]

Reading (b)Log

I’ve been thinking about sharing what I read for a while. As a confirmed absurdist, I made the decision 20 years ago the attempt to read 10,000 pages a year. This decision was not based on anything. 10,000 pages was an arbitrary figure. (See 1000 Faces for another example of my arbitrary absurdism . . .) There is no value in making reading a quantitative exercise. I understand all these things. I have even considered stopping.

But I can’t.

I have a little book that lists everything I’ve read since 1989. I love being able to look back over the years of my reading and remembering what I’ve read. Remembering what was happening in my life at different times – memories brought back by the titles of what I was reading at the time. I read both fiction and non-fiction and have a few favorites (A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth is my very favorite).

I’ve read three book so far this year – Winning at All Costs, Empire of Blue Water and Nothing to Fear.

Winning at All Costs was terrific. I love Italian football (especially AC Milan) and this was a great history of the game – often troubled in the past and present. I could have lived without reading Empire of Blue Water. It was fine but meh. The best thing about it was that it took no time to read. The story was interesting but it just didn’t pop much for me. Nothing to Fear, with its (hopefully) analogous story to what we are facing today was a good read. It was really interesting to hear about the Roosevelt administration’s early desire to stabilize the financial sector, support specific industries, provide relief AND try to balance the budget at the same time.

My style of reading (and quantifying my reading) is really goofy. But what can you do?

[tags]gregpc, books, reading[/tags]