May 31, 2009

Google Wave Thoughts

Filed under: Digital Distribution, Ideas, Information Supernova — Robert John Ed @ 6:28 pm

Here’s an interesting new technology from Google called Wave.  If you have an iPhone and use the text function, you’ll notice that threads are actually told like real conversations.  This reminds me very much of that simplicity.  Wave allows users to start threads as “hosted conversations,” which has quite a few other marketing connotations.  In this instance it’s not a referral to sponsorship, but of web hosting or cloud hosting.

Watch the video to see how it works in more depth, but basically the program allows users to post in a string visible to those people they choose in real time.  It doubles as an IM client when both or many parties are online.  They used Chrome, Safari and Firefox (no MS love at Google) to run the demo.  It also has a publishing feature for other areas of the web should you choose to post somewhere else (they used Blogger, but this is an open source project and I assume so long as the publishing site allows for it, extensions will happen.)

The technology isn’t exactly mind blowing to me, it reminds me of Apple simplicity though.  Technology doesn’t always need to be revolutionary, if it’s good and easy to pick up for most people, that’s good enough.

All this said, I wonder if this will take off the way Google Maps did (Wave is created by the same engineering brothers).  The problem for most new tech like this is getting groundswell in the community, getting adoption and sustained user base.  I like this tech, but if none of my friends use it, not sure I would in the long term socially.  I could easily see this becoming a standard in interoffice work, it really adds functionality and streamlines work flow regarding one project or idea.  In fact, it’s more like a very easy and smarter Microsoft Groove.  I doubt that’s what Google set out toward, but they should be focusing on getting businesses to use this and make it a standard piece of inner office communique.  If they can pull that off, maybe it’s the leverage point for dethroning MS Office with Google Docs.  This is pie in the sky, but imagine being able to implement Docs into Waves and hosting online projects along with the conversations that surround them.

Hats off to Google and their foray into territories unknown.



May 28, 2009


Filed under: Random — Robert John Ed @ 11:27 pm

Keeping in shape, long work hours and after hours reading/research have me really, really tired the last few days.  I also think it will be some time to get used to the schedule and sleeping earlier (10:30).

Heading out for the weekend; NW for a friends birthday cabin trip.  :-)  Now I’m going to NE MPLS to play volleyball, then pack and get to bed.

See you soon.

Back to Work

Filed under: Projects — Robert John Ed @ 1:52 am

And loving it.  The 40 (actually 50+) hour work week is different than school, but in a good way.  There is much more of a cadence and normalcy to the real world, it fits me.  The internship has started off well, the company I work for has been incredibly gracious to all of us and in particular my boss is extremely kind and knowledgeable on the industry.  After only a few days, it already seems like the kind of market that would take indelible amounts of time to comprehend and “master.”  Of course, there is never any complete mastery of a market, they all shift.

One big surprise, I didn’t necessarily know that I’d be as interested in the biology as is evident now.  That’s a bonus.  I’ve never considered myself a normal scientist, always interested in what (anatomy) and how (physiology); the more I learn and memorize the more intriguing it becomes.  Understanding how to sell something in a free market was always good enough for me before, but the subject matter in this market actually adds a lot to the job.  These are things that are relevant to us in our normal lives, but most of us simply don’t have the curiosity to pursue on our own.  After all what does it matter to most of us if your iliac or femoral are superior, the CAGR of certain procedures?  Probably doesn’t, but learning about it is valuable for your health and pretty fun too.

I’ve always loved learning vocabulary, nerd alert, and this position has it in spades.  The amount of initialism and abbreviation (as opposed to acronyms, noted difference) within the medical lexicon is vast.  In most conversations at this point I have learned roughly 50-60% of the terminology, give or take.  It’s tough to ask because there are so many things that you don’t know, but potentially could.  You don’t want to be the guy to ask what NPV is (this is a joke, but you get the idea when looking at Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts all day long and still not picking up why people are noting the abundance of cabbage in the market.)

The big issue?  Trying to do too much and wanting to provide all the value possible right away.  Having the patience to trust the process and take things slow, that sort of thing.  After all there are twelve weeks, not two.  Time to get back to the readings, have to be up early tomorrow.  :-)

May 24, 2009

The First of Many Busy Summer Weekends

Filed under: Random — Robert John Ed @ 8:02 pm

I’ve  been somewhat freaking out about summer the last few weeks.  The weather and amount of activities to do, ability to exercise whenever and whatnot have me absolutely elated.  Ear to ear grins.  This weekend has been jam packed with outside vigor.  Started out with a night watching These Modern Socks at the Uptown Bar.  Yesterday I spent down at Calhoun with some friends and then came home early, exhausted from the amount of time in the sun.

Today I’m heading to Solera for there rooftop opening; an annual event that I’ve not yet attended.  Tomorrow I’m meeting up with a relative for lunch and then taking the rest of the day off to get ready for the first day of my internship, Tuesday.

May 22, 2009

Polarizing Figures

Filed under: Philosophy — Robert John Ed @ 4:51 pm

The thing about working somewhere, anywhere, hanging your hat on principles, standing up for something or just having an opinion, those things all have a tendency to polarize people.  Half of the people are going to praise you for what you believe and how you operate with such conviction, half of the people will likely see you as a fake and think you a flaccid ninny with all the vigor of freshly boiled spaghetti.

It’s inescapable.  There are many reasons why people won’t trust you in the short term, fewer in the long term, but many are valid and simply insurmountable.  Many aren’t valid, they are petty, insipid manifestations of inadequacy or retribution or resentment; but they ain’t goin nowhere.  It’s OK,  we all do it.  We’re simple beings with emotions beyond our control.

Of course, there are a lot of people that aren’t polarizing at all.  They float along; they actually aren’t much worth talking about either.

You know something?  I like polarizing figures.  I enjoy someone that brings out passion in people and wants to make change.  The people that truly care and are willing to stand up for something, to shake you a little and get you to listen, even with weary ears, are needed to make things better.

If you think of any historical figure in the history of man, I’ll bet dollars to donuts they polarized the masses in one way or another.  Go beyond political figures as they are naturally polarized (the system is set up to keep us feuding over petty spoils while the lions share is divvied amongst a select few).  Think about people that truly changed things.  Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Joan of Arc, Jackson Pollock, Thoreau, Montaigne, St. Augustine, Jesus, Isaac Newton, Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, Beethoven, Bonaparte, Einstein, Ford etc.

It’s tough to argue any other way when you think about it.  The real change comes from those who challenge the status quo, for good or bad.  Not all polarizing figures had great ideas or set out to make the world a better place, unfortunately.

I see more and more polarizing figures as I go.  Maybe I’m looking for them now; maybe there tend to be more where I happen to be.  Maybe both.

You shouldn’t feel bad for being polarizing people.  You should embrace that some are going to love you, some are going to abhor you.  Just don’t let them stop you, via praise or persecution, of carrying out your mission.  Whatever that may be.

The Hardest Thing You’ll Ever Do

Filed under: Writing — Robert John Ed @ 3:35 pm

Is write well.  It’s a call most can’t answer and it drives many of us.  The reason it’s so difficult is that it isn’t given.  No one has the gift.  It’s torturous until you find the rhythm.  Or it finds you.  Then, a waterfall.

May 21, 2009

Brushes With Mortality: RIP Dennis

Filed under: Random — Robert John Ed @ 5:26 pm

I’ve had a few too many brushes with mortality over the years.

Three friends have committed suicide.  My stepsister was taken from us in a murder/suicide when I was in kindergarten.  In high school, I was right next to a complete stranger from another town that did a half gainer into a river off of a rope swing and snapped his neck.  I got blindsided by a fire truck in college (my fault for playing music too loud and not seeing/hearing it coming due to visual restrictions on that particular street), one second earlier and I’d likely be gone.

It’s scary.  Life and love are probably the biggest words I’ve ever written and I’m never too certain about either.  They both make me uneasy for their levity and are difficult to explain to oneself, much less other people.  They walk together hand in hand.

Yesterday morning a friend of mine was riding his bike in downtown Minneapolis when a semi-truck turned into the bike lane.  My friend couldn’t get out of the way of the truck and was subsequently ran over.  Dennis Dumm was a very good person and it breaks my heart to see someone such as him go away so quickly.  It’s hard for me to put things into perspective when an event such as this takes place.  Someone is simply gone in a flash and it’s a harsh snap back to what reality is.  My sincere condolences to friends and family, he will be missed greatly.

RIP Dennis.

Trader Joe’s & Healthy Eating II

Filed under: Healthier Living — Robert John Ed @ 4:42 pm

It’s awesome. I decided to go check it out last week and was relatively happy about the experience.  Just wish there was one closer than Excelsior, but maybe I’ll start swinging in on my way back from Maple Grove this summer.

Most everything is organic and it’s fairly priced too!  I’ve heard rumblings of Trader Joe’s coming in on Lyndale and 24th or so…but there are issues with the alcohol sales and The Wedge being right there.  I personally would love to see it come in as the Wedge is very good, but until I get out of school shopping completely at these types of stores just doesn’t add up.  :-/

Another aspect of “eating healthy” that I wasn’t really prepared for, it’s a lot of work.  Whereas most box food (read, bad) doesn’t spoil or need to be made quickly within reason, much of the food I’m buying now has to be made pretty fast, especially fruits, which is a lot.  Good thing is that fruit isn’t too expensive, but you do have to conciously eat it quickly.  Meats and veggies aren’t as tough because you can freeze them.  Come to think of it, you can freeze fruits too, maybe I’ll start looking for frozen fruits more now.

Finally got to using the blender for smoothies.  They certainly aren’t as good as the ice cream based shakes I made as a kid, but the yogurt, fruit, milk and ice aren’t all too bad either.  Really good way to get A LOT of fruit servings quickly.

Last point on spring cleaning of the body, I’m not positive I’m getting enough food.  I’ve felt especially tired this morning and am wondering if my servings are big enough.  At the same time, I’m not hungry persay, smaller portions seem to be plenty to keep me full.  But I am a bit tired and wonder how much of that has to do with broiling myself in the sun for a few days?  I’ve lost a solid amount of weight, most of which I hope is fat or “excess inventory” of the old diet.  So I’m considering a supplement of some sort that covers a lot of the stuff that might not be as easy to get.  Anyone have ideas or a good one please throw it my way.  This will probably be an ongoing theme for the blog over the summer as I iron out the wrinkles of eating healthier, etc.

May 19, 2009

Other Musics Miscellaneous

Filed under: Music — Robert John Ed @ 2:14 pm

The other music I picked up isn’t too shabby, btw.  The Black Keys‘ Rubber Factory is VERY good.  Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion is a little more difficult to access, but is showing a lot of promise.  St. Vincent’s debut hasn’t proven my cup of tea, but is certainly an expression of sorts.  Dark Was The Night has 30 songs of today’s best in indie show.

One song in particular off of Dark Was The Night (which is a CD made to fight AIDS, and has Paradise Lost illustration for Dore, one of my favorite artists) will likely be in my top songs for some time.  Gillian Welch & Conor Oberst made a duet of “Lua” and her voice is absolutely ridiculous.  Check this out:

Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band: Outer South

Filed under: Music — Robert John Ed @ 2:03 pm

I picked up about five new discs in the last week.  This is normally a problem as one or two albums usually prove the best of the lot to start and the others are listened to much less.  Then alternately as time goes on I’ll cycle back and listen to a lot of the other stuff.  Well that has happened again.

Most of the last few days I’ve been listening to Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band’s Outer South.  It’s an interesting album, most of the songs are Oberst, but a handful are other singers in the band and they actually hold their mud pretty good.  Songs like “Big Black Nothing” and “Difference Is Time” prove that the band itself really isn’t contingent on Oberst’s lyrics and voice.  Still, Oberst’s songs are the best on the album.  The feel of this offering is something different, some kind of alt country road music.  There are more “sing along” kind of songs, it’s very free flowing and good summer music.  Certainly worth the time and effort needed to access it.  This isn’t the greatest output, but it’s a different slant and has enough to keep people in the seats, though I’d say there are a good 3-4 songs that probaby shouldn’t have made the cut.


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