This is the time of year when we reflect on where we are and what we’ve done. I am no exception.
Professionally: I am making significant contributions at my current client.
Personally: My maternal grandfather passed away. As my wife says, many people experience the death of a loved one but it is a very personal, private, and lonely experience.
Spiritually: My mentor is the greatest teacher in all of history. Our congregation has a new Student Pastor who is caring for and challenging our youth in wonderful ways.
Parentally: This truth is constantly reinforced: raising children is difficult and yet surprisingly rewarding.
2013 is only a couple of days away. Instead of making resolutions for the new year, I typically bring my existing goals and plans into focus and evaluate them.
There is one goal that does not have a plan. I’d like to write more. Patrick Rhone has committed to posting daily in 2013. I am not prepared to make that commitment but am looking for more outlets. Tent is helping.
What is better than a rover doing science on Mars? A sarcastic rover that hates the planet but loves “doing a science”. Check out @SarcasticRover.
A few choice quotes:
Almost forgot about my awesome discovery… It’s carbon. I found some carbon. Not sure how it got here. YOU’RE WELCOME.
When humans land on Mars I hope their first words are: “Look out, it’s got a laser and free will!” Then burning silence.
Every science begins with a simple question… usually that question is something like, “I wonder why that didn’t kill me?”
Whenever I flip a rock over on Mars I always yell “SURPRISE!” – just in case
After a one month deep dive into the Tent protocol, I am coming up for air to let you know what I’ve found.
For me, Tent boils down to a swiss-army knife for social networking, communication, and storage. Tent improves communicate by structuring information and by making you the owner.
First, try it for yourself.
The team putting together the Tent protocol has created a business with a reference implementation. Head over to Tent.is, create an account, and try out their first service: microblogging. Use a few different apps to get a flavor for the ecosystem. My app recommendations are Zelten and Essayist.
The average user will be a few layers removed from Tent so here are a few reasons why they should care about this thing they cannot see.
Own Your Stuff
The stuff you create on the web is yours. At least it should be. Tent enables ownership by first saving your stuff in one place; in YOUR place. You can then allow other sites to see it as long as they agree to your licensing terms.
This time, THEY have to approve YOUR EULA!
Your connections are YOUR connections. These people are your friends, family, and colleagues. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the rest should not own your social graph so store it in Tent. If sites want access to your connections, you can grant them access with specific licensing terms and you can revoke that access at any time.
Tent can already accommodate microblogging and longer documents. In the coming months, it will support many more content types.
This is beautiful. If you need something that doesn’t exist already, you can create it yourself or hire it done. Keep this new thing to yourself or make it a proposal for the official protocol. It is up to you. What could you make? Team collaboration. Home and hab automation. Personal logs and repositories. Opponent matching for games along with high score boards.
Tent in Space
I am a space enthusiast and would like humanity to make it to the moon and Mars. I am passionate about pondering how technology will be part of that endeaver and then making it happen. This is why I volunteer as part of the moonmars.com team and why I’ve spent the last month helping the first Tent applications become successful.
As you can imagine, space travel and settlement have challenges. Most of them we can’t imagine yet. Our space explorers will need software solutions to help meet those challenges.
Let’s give them a tool and die shop for software with Tent being a prominent member of the tool belt.
Tent is a new web protocol that gives you control over what you create and write online. It has the potential to transform your online social life.
I believe so strongly in the importance of this project that I am investing a great deal of my personal time to make it successful.
More to come.
Underflow, the best-kept secret in Visual LANSA productivity has been updated to version 1.2.
Visual LANSA is a good IDE but it still has some wrinkles. Welcome to the iron. Underflow is the tool I created for myself to improve my VL workflow, to lower the friction of taking notes, and to make typing less of a hassle. Others have mentioned that they find it useful so maybe you will too.
For instance, when you open VL, what steps do you take? Launch VL, enter password, System Init, check the right boxes and fill in the partition text area, hit enter, wait for system init to finish, log into the IDE, wait for window to fully load, open your host monitor, and go grab a cup of coffee while it connects and propagates. Let Underflow remove tedious parts by hitting [Win][Shift]V to launch VL, enter your password, hit [Win][Shift]I for assisted system init, and go grab your cup of coffee.
There is a configuration section of the primary Underflow script (underflow.ahk) to make it your own. If you’ve updated the config (and hopefully you have), be sure to take a snapshot before replacing the script so you can reapply it.
Here are a few more changes:
Natural scrolling is now supported and enabled by default. Natural scrolling changes the direction of the scroll wheel on your mouse. This is a natural extension of our ever-increasing mobile world. You are moving the page instead of the scroll bar.
New words that are fixed as you type: LongRange, LANSAWEB, API, and SQL.
Assisted System Init is still invoked using [Win][Shift]I. It still performs a system init and automatically turns on your host monitor but it now remembers your currently selected partition, language, and task.
Underflow now integrates with the Prowl service for sending text to your mobile device and, for those that use it, makes it super easy to create OmniFocus tasks. This requires a free Prowl account.
- [Win]T creates an OmniFocus task using the Prowl service.
- [Win]P sends any text to Prowl.
For those that use markdown formatting for your notes, underlined headings can be created with one keystroke.
- .mdl creates a Markdown link from the URL on the clipboard.
- [Win][Shift]1 (or .md= or .md1) creates a level 1 Markdown heading based on the length of the current line.
- [Win][Shift]2 (or .md- or .md2) creates a level 2 Markdown heading based on the length of the current line.
[Win][Shift]C launches Lansa Composer.
Reduced the time it takes to restart the host monitor using [Win][Shift]H. Unfortunately, wait states are a necessary evil when scripting an application like Visual LANSA.
Turned off forced capitalization of “lansa” to “LANSA”. It is used in too many places where we do NOT want that behavior. You can now use “llansa” and “lansaa” to produce “LANSA”.
Dave Caolo putting into words something that I’ve been pondering for months now.
Every day, I scan hundreds of RSS feeds, articles, tweets, emails and blog posts. Literally hundreds. It’s a skill I’m proud to have refined, but at the same time, I’m worried that I’m losing the patience to slow down and read a long article from start to finish.
273 feeds for me.
The Good: Peers, managers, and family ask me what’s happening because I’ve got my thumb on the pulse. Each day is uniquely colored by what the world is saying.
The Bad: If the word count is more than a few hundred words, I have to decide whether to read it or not. And it’s HARD to say yes.
The Gold: My goal is to find any gold nuggets but the self-imposed filtering game is so intense that it can easily become the end instead of the means to the end. Instapaper helps tremendously in this process. Potential gold gets added to my Instapaper queue and when it’s quiet, I really read.
Faced with severe budget cutbacks, NASA has turned to Apple for help with its next Mars lander.
Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on a world outside our planet Earth, passed away today.
Let that sink in a little bit.
Are you viewing the images coming back from the Curiosity rover on Mars? I am.
I found myself wanting to know UTC time (the pictures are logged in this time) along with Martian time to keep things straight in my head. The sols (Martian days) really mess with my mind.
I found this Java-based Mars clock which you might find interesting. I’ve changed the map view to Robinson and have centered the map on the MSL Curiosity site.
New rules coming down from the European Commission will require all commercial vehicles to be fitted with autonomous emergency braking AEB technology by November 2013, and passenger vehicles could soon follow suit.
It begins. Baby steps toward the self-driving vehicle.