Missed the Wedding

April 29, 2011

This was the scene I missed this morning, right outside my office as hundreds of Brits gathered under the Manhattan Bridge to watch the royal wedding.

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Sleep was better…


The Wedding

April 28, 2011

While I do actually know someone who is invited to the Royal Wedding (he actually dated the bride), strangely my invitation was apparently lost in the mail.

But no worries, there is an outdoor public viewing under the archway  under the Manhattan Bridge about 100 feet from my office. It’s at 5:30, so I’ll definitely be there.

Wait, 5:30 AM? Seriously? Oh, never mind…


Amazon R&D

April 27, 2011

One of the things I’ve always liked about Amazon as a company is their disregard for Wall Street. Their approach has always been, “we’re building a company for the long term and we don’t care about your quarterly estimates”.

Yesterday Amazon announced financials, and they had a big miss from the Wall Street perspective. See their revenues were $360 million more than expected. Yeah, that’s got to be bad.

But seriously, their operating income was $43 million below expected and earnings per share $0.17 below expected (that sounds small but is a big miss). Apparently, among other things, Amazon hired a few thousand extra people. So Wall Street initially freaked out.

Jeff Bezos, their CEO, issued a long commentary. If every CEO on the planet could speak this well about technology we’d be in good shape.

There was one line that everyone should etch into their brains. And ask how any technology company they work with is applying it:

Invention is in our DNA and technology is the fundamental tool we wield to evolve and improve every aspect of the experience we provide our customers

Amen.

His full text is here.

And by the way, the next day Amazon stock was up 14%.


Filming in Dumbo?

April 14, 2011

There are always film shoots going on by my office in DUMBO. It’s a funky neighborhood, very warehousey (is that a word?), near the river overlooking Manhattan. It’s a natural for movies, tv and/or photo shoots. I kind of like it. Today there was a funky fashion shoot right outside my window and yesterday Law and Order was filming (didn’t see anyone famous though).

Apparently, some folks like it less.

From that angle, if you removed that No Parking sign, you’d be looking right at my office…


Conscience and the NY Times

April 12, 2011

I like the NY Times. For all of its flaws, I still believe it is the best newspaper in the country and The Grey Lady is truly “the newspaper of record” in the U.S.

And I am a generally honest person. I’ve even been accused of being honest to a fault.

So why am I stealing the NY Times online?

It’s an interesting conundrum. I have a hard time paying for content on the web because the precedent has been set. I’m used to getting content for free and I expect to see ads.

But the Times is premium content. And I appreciate the quality. Under some circumstances, I’m sure I would pay for this content. Yet I’m circumventing the paywall. Why?

Truthfully, a big part of the reason is how ridiculously easy they made it to get around the paywall. If my favorite musician gave a concert and charged $20 which I would gladly pay, but left the side door to the concert hall open and some front row seats vacant and unwatched, I’m sorry, I’m going in the side door.

It’s bad enough that if you see an article you want to read (all the main pages are free) you can just Google the title and read it via the search engine (yes, there’s a cap on search engine links, but there are lots of search engines). If there’s a columnist you like, you can just follow his/her twitter stream and get unlimited articles via Twitter (no cap on Twitter links that I’m aware of).

But the fact that the NY Times spent $40 million developing a paywall that can circumvented by three lines of javascript is the clincher. As a technologist, that is basically saying to me:

You must pay for the NY Times.

Unless you are stupid.

Dude, I’m not stupid…


Orlando 2011

April 1, 2011

We’re still a bit in low budget mode, so our spring vacation was to Orlando where my wife’s brother lives. And we managed a couple of days at Disney to make the girls happy (somehow, no matter how hard you try, Disney is not low budget).

It was a nice trip. Our girls Uncle Herbie has a new dog, a Chihuahua to go with their Golden Retriever (talk about an an odd size ratio) and our girls love dogs.

Danielle prefers the big dog, but still loved the little one:

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But Tori has always been a little dog fan:

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Regular blog readers might find this picture familiar, except the last time I posted it, Danielle was catching the fish:

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And of course there was Disney. We had to do at least one character meal. Tori, as the second child, gets the bad deal here. I think we did three character meals for Danielle when she was four (ok, we had a bit more money then too).

So Tori got breakfast with Winnie the Pooh and company:

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We stayed a couple nights at Animal Kingdom Lodge which was nice for the girls. This was the view from our balcony:

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And these two just couldn’t get along:

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And this was just behind the pool:

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Tori was good on the rides, though she’s a bit of a scaredy-pants. Danielle will ride anything, but Tori doesn’t like dark rides, or overly fast ones. The best picture came from Splash Mountain. To look at the picture, you would think Tori loved this ride. The truth is that she cried for half of it. But check her out in the picture, hands up having fun:

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She has potential…