The Millionaire Next Door

dollar rose
Photo courtesy of distinguish

Orange County has the third highest number of millionaires in the U.S.. We are beaten by our neighbors to the north in Los Angeles County and are being threatened by number 5 - San Diego County. No wonder houses cost so much.

Report: Number of U.S. millionaires reaches record - Mar. 28, 2006

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Probably not so coincidentally, the amount of contributions to aid-organizations and non-profits has also set records.

Posted by: Nate at March 30, 2006 8:58 AM

Don't Shoot the Puppy


This is a very simple game in which the goal is to not shoot the puppy. To do that you do nothing. The longer you do nothing the better your score. Ingenious.

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I am all about instant gratification.

Posted by: Nate at March 30, 2006 8:59 AM

Sun's pay-as-you-go CPU plan


Well it's a new day and there's another mind-blowing development. Sun has deployed a pay as you go computer. For $1 per hour per CPU you can run anything you want on Sun's CPU farm.

So in contrast to Amazon's S3 system which I mentioned a day or two ago, Sun isn't offering "pure" CPU cycles as their business. That would be *so* much cooler. Instead they allow you to upload your program, and whatever data it needs to chew on. Then they run your program, keep track of the usage and let you store the results.

This appears to be geared toward the render-farm business - making frames for digital movies - or protein folding or other CPU intensive tasks. It doesn't seem to be the place to go to run your website or word processor.

Both of these developments are interesting because they seem to be leading toward a virtual machine world. This would allow you to have a computer desktop somewhere out there on the Internet. It would be hosted on a combination of Amazon's servers for your hard drive, and Sun's servers for your CPU cycles and some sort of input/output/network device that you carry. Such a device only needs minimal power and could probably run a few weeks between recharging. I bet this is what Google is working toward. That would explain their purchase of dark fiber, for the connectivity, and the development of an online purchase system, an online storage system (GBase), and online applications (GMail, Writely, etc.). Amazon and Sun seem to have beat them in this battle, but Google is still better positioned to win the war.

More broadly, if you compare computing to driving, everyone right now owns their own car. That car is a desktop or laptop. What Amazon and Sun are doing ( and I suspect Google ) is building the public transportation equivalent of computing. A bus won't take you anywhere you want to go anytime you want to go there. Amazon/Sun aren't right for every storage and computing task that you might have. But public transportation is a lot cheaper and more efficient when it is going where you want to go.

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You mentioned an Internet? And were you referring to public transportation in a large city other than DC?

Posted by: Nate at March 28, 2006 4:22 AM

Crucifixion in the game Roma Victor


Roma-Victor is apparently a historical-fiction game that puts players into Rome around 180AD. It is a MMORPG like World of Warcraft. These games have a social component which makes them more fun than old-school RPGs. However, social is good and social is bad and now, when people engage in anti-social behavior, Roma-Victor will crucify them.

ROMA VICTOR:: Home of the historically authentic Roman Empire MMORPG: Crucifixion is to be used as a form of player 'ban' within the virtual world of Roma Victor, with the length of the ban reflecting the severity of the punishment. For cheating by exploiting a bug and advancing his or her character's skills unfairly, for example, a player might typically receive a seven-day ban; multiple or more serious offences will result in a longer (or even permanent) ban.

The most famous crucifixation was that of Jesus Christ. He was killed through a complicated political process which started with him offending the religious leaders at the time by claiming to be the Son of God. This was then presented to the ruling Romans who didn't find anything criminal about such a claim, but through a strange cultural process he traded sentences with a murderer and was then crucified - reflecting the greater purpose which his crucifixion served, that of trading sentences with those who ask to.

I hope that the focus on crucifixion causes players to think about what social ill Jesus committed, because there wasn't one. In fact, among the many things his crucifixtion accomplished, was exposing worthless and corrupt spiritual leadership. It would be kind of cool if your character in the game could get politically manipulated into a crucifixtion for speaking the truth.

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FedEx T-Shirt


Sweet T-shirt that makes you look like you are carrying a FedEx package. Wacky Russian Source

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Fox News gets to the heart of the issue

fox news screen capture

Fox News asks the question we've all been considering, "Could all-out civil war in Iraq be a good thing?". It's hard hitting - it's provocative -it's news.

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Evolution and Chuck Norris

martial arts
This is not Chuck Norris.
Photo courtesy of sherrifmitchell

"There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live."

From Chuck Norris Facts

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Roe vs. Wade for Men

abortion protest
Photo Courtesy of rev_bri

The Anderson Cooper 360 Blog brought to my attention a very interesting development in the abortion debates. It's about a guy who is suing to not have to pay child support. Seems like a typical dead-beat dad syndrome, until you hear his rationale. If you think abortion is about a women's right-to-choose, then his argument makes a lot of sense.

" Dubay told me that he feels he was shut out. 'She was given the right to have an abortion, keep the child, put the child up for adoption, and whatever she chooses, I have to go along with....Under our laws, our constitution, that doesn't seem right to me.' "

So if a woman has the right to choose, then why does a man not get to choose whether or not he is going to pay child support? It's a great question. Why doesn't the man also get to choose. It impacts the rest of his life also.

Of course this all relies on a foundation which I reject. I believe the right to choose is made when the child is conceived and after that abortion is a horribly misguided attempt to deal with the consequences of a bad decision.

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Real Time People Tracking By Folksonomy


"Gawker Media has put up a Google Map that shows the realtime locations of celebrities in New York City. The Google Maps mashup is called Gawker Stalker. Users can email their sightings to a gawker address and those tips are then mapped out for other users to follow. Some are calling it the killer celeb tracking app, while others (A PR Agent was interviewed on BBC World) say that it pushes the personal privacy envelope."

Gawker Stalker
News from: Google Maps Mania

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Lathe your Face

baby head

Turn Your Head is a company that will create a wacky gift from the profile of your face. Submit a picture and they will use a lathe to carve it out of a hunk of wood. The result is an art piece which sculpts space into your visage. From any perspective two negative views of you look at each other.

"At Turn Your Head, we fill the space between two opposing profiles of your face. By spinning that space into a three dimensional visage that follows the outlined silhouettes of your two profiles, we create the "Pirolette".

Place the Pirolette to your face and it will match your profile. Locate it near a wall and the shadow of the Pirolette will be your silhouette.

Your profile captured forever in an object of art. An optical illusion of shadow and light, each one unique because it's you!

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Amazon S3

time lapse photo
Photo courtesy of pbo31

Amazon has launched S3. This is a pay-as-you go internet-based storage system for digital files. This changes everything and I can't get my head around it. I spend so much time trying to figure out how to back up my data, where to host it, how to get more storage and where to put web pages, and now I have to factor this into the equation. Everything is moving so fast. Wheez!

Here are the key points I can get from it. First, while this is unlimited pay-as-you-go storage it isn't hosting. Meaning, Amazon is selling storage, not CPU cycles. In fact, they aren't selling any CPU cycles to go along with it that aren't required for storage. I can't run any arbitrary programs from the Amazon servers. So that means that while I can store files there, it isn't easy to run a blog from S3. Conceptually, blogging software can be rewritten to leverage storage at S3, but you still need a place that is accessible via the web that will burn cycles for you. Eventually lots of programs will be probably add the capability to read and write from services like S3. But for now it is really just a place to dump data that you know you want saved somewhere. Things like backups work well with S3. So do big hosted files, like movies and genome databases. But lots of little files that need programmatic support to manage, like a blog, do not work well with S3.

S3 supports Bittorrents - this will eventually be a big deal because it means that P2P is going mainstream. This is critical for scalability and to eliminate spikes in bandwidth usage. That's cool.

Also cool is the fact that you can encrypt data and put it on Amazon's servers. It's like a storage rental unit. You rent it, you keep the key, no one knows what you are doing there.

It also suggests an alternate Internet. If Amazon's service is valuable and everyone ends up using it, then the Internet will effectively all live on S3's servers. I think this is what Google is trying to do. Amazon seems to have beat them to the punch here. If there are just a few big players who are hosting the Internet because it is cheaper, more reliable and faster to do that then the landscape of the Internet will be changing soon.

These are mind-blowing times.

I wonder if anyone has any plans to sell CPU cycles the way that Amazon is selling storage? That would be something like "grid-computing" I guess. It seems that companies have tried that in the past and failed. Didn't IBM try to pull that off under the name of "adaptive architecture" or something.

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The Origami Ultra-Mobile PC

From Joy of Tech

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What if Microsoft redesigned the iPod packaging?


This video portrays an off-scene ficticious marketing team at Microsoft using some sort of completely believable "best-practices" to redesign the iPod box. The result is completely believable, but not really anything that Cisco or ATI or DELL wouldn't also do.

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