I don't think there are many more weird feelings than being out of your depth. Figuratively, not literally. Though I don't like being in deep ocean when there might be whales, sharks, kraken etc under me. Anyway, I mean when you just don't know what's going on, and none of the knowledge or experience you can call on seems to have any relevance. It must be how a baby feels when you ask it to set the table. Or how I feel when I ask Mike to clarify a point about assembly language. Very disorientating.
As you all know, Microsoft is launching new versions of Windows and Office side-by-side. This is fantastic news for us, because both are lame-duck releases: the new features barely stretch beyond a user interface update, and yet MS still want to charge hundreds of pounds for each. More impressive is the fact that the cheapest version of Vista is £184.99, and doesn't even include much of the new user interface!
Hurrah for Google Mail's adverts. Not only are they unobtrusive and text-based, but they also attempt to pick up on the topic of emails for better targeted marking. This 'AdSense' technology generally works well -- occasionally, though, it comes up with some rather bizarre results. For instance, in an email conversation about IRC, the following advert appeared on the right:
Hey, I got motivated enough to run X-Chat! In another IRC-related conversation:
"Family holidays in Greece"
The internet isn't a gold mine. Or at least if it is, I continue to dig in the wrong place. My "if we build it, they will come" idea was to produce my free online PHP book, and I did that. In fact, it's been so popular I had to upgrade my hosting account - I've served 800,000 pages to 120,000 unique users in the last month alone, which adds up to around 800MB served per day.
I am only posting to be able to write that headline. It appears that the fifth metatarsal of my right foot has been compromised by an unfortunate trip over some, er, carpet last week. Zoinks! It is my first bone break so I am cradling the news like a small puppy. The pleasure of getting some right and proper respect for my hallucinogenic bruising is mitigated by the doctor's communique that I can't really walk properly for, like, a month. They said if I'd come in a week earlier they would have "pulled" the bones into a better shape. Yeech!
Today, thanks to the lovely folks at NGamer, I got to play on a Nintendo Wii. Only for five minutes, but enough to get a feel for the controller and two of the Wii Sports games -- Bowling and Tennis.
It is utterly marvellous.
The controller feels spot-on, the games react perfectly, and it's so much fun. Nintendo really can do big things with this, bringing video games to everyone, especially at a much lower price point than the PS3.
Now, just two weeks and a bit to wait...
Walking home on Friday night, I was thinking about the kids game where someone writes something on a bit of paper, folds over the top so only the last line is visible, then passes it onto someone else to continue. This soon evolved into the usual infinite monkeys/infinite typewriters/producing Shakespeare thinking, and it occurred to me that if someone writes a great introduction to a story but a sucky second chapter, why shouldn't someone else come along and write a better second chapter?
How do you convince 400 million users to upgrade to your new office suite? Well, why not tell them that the last 'essential upgrade' you flogged them a couple of years ago wasn't quite as good as you said. Hoorray! Here's my favourite quote from the run up to the MS Office 2007 release, from a BBC news story.
"One of the biggest challenges... is to fight that perception that old versions of software are good enough," said Microsoft's Chris Capossela. To "fight the perception?"
The Playstation 3 launched last night, and immediately sold out. Many are already on Ebay, and at least one has already sold for vast amounts of money. So it's not much surprise that today someone showed me their copy of the free Metro newspaper that gets handed out to commuters around the UK, pointing out that Microsoft had taken out a little bit of advertising.