Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

November 13, 2007  1:23 AM

Overheard: The Sandbox is not child’s play

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
the-sandbox.gif “I didn’t write this to become famous; it was just to capture what I was going through.”

Sgt. Troy Steward

In summer 2006, the online magazine Slate, Doonesbury creator GaryTrudeau and editor David Stanford launched a military blog called the Sandbox. According to a recent Washington Post article, the project began with one of the more bizarre solicitations in publishing history — an invitation from a cartoon character.

Trudeau penned the words, “It was a dark and messed-up night,” in a “Doonesbury” Sunday strip, imagining a soldier blogging. In the next panel, B.D.’s cartoon comrade Ray Hightower announced the debut of “our command-wide milblog,” where troops could vent and rhapsodize, and folks on the home front could learn what is going on from their point of view.

This is quite a beautiful blog in a very sad way. The writing is quite moving, and as in Michelle’s emails, I’m struck by the juxtaposition of normal and surreal.

November 12, 2007  11:47 AM

Overheard: I didn’t know if I would like the Army. Turns out, it was the kick in the butt I needed.

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
michelle-murphy.jpg “I work as a movement controller for helicopters. I help coordinate all the helo flights in and out of here, track the people, and load the helicopters. It’s a great job, I love it! I have a great team. I work over 70 hrs a week…ugh…so on my “down days” I sleep! Today was a down day for me and I slept until 530 pm! It was great! Insurgents are everywhere. That sucks. We just keep our eyes peeled.”

Michelle Murphy

Last Friday I got an unusual email: “Hi! It’s Michelle Murphy from HTS! I found Lisa on MySpace and she gave me your email address, I hope you don’t mind. What have you been up too?! I miss you mega! I’m out in Iraq!”

Michelle is a former student. She’s just one of many soldiers serving in Iraq right now, but she’s the only one I know. And until Friday, I didn’t even know she was there.

Over the weekend we caught up a little and she shared some photos and anecdotes about what her life is like right now. She wrote about the extreme temperatures, living in pods instead of tents, and a little about what her days are like. She offered to send me a video of a camel spider but warned me that it was pretty gross. I looked up camel spiders and they are, indeed, gross.

Michelle has a gift for writing. It’s like her computer keyboard has no backspace button. And the darndest thing is, she has no idea how well she writes.

Our generation is just now discovering the wealth of written correspondence left behind by our fathers and grandfathers and it got me thinking — who will compile the emails left behind from this generation?

November 10, 2007  5:23 PM

Overheard: There are going to be areas of your business where the very last thing you want is creativity

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
carr.jpg “Creative people are great, but creativity tends to be a messy process. There are going to be areas of your business where that’s OK, and there are going to be areas where the last thing you want is messiness.

In those areas you should value and reward competent people who can do routine tasks very, very well. That’s just as important as having brilliant, breakthrough thinkers.”

Nicholas Carr,  How To Be a Smart Innovator

November 9, 2007  12:14 PM

Overheard: Enterprise-level beta testing not easy

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
ronmarkezich.jpg “From that day forward we said we will not ship a product that we sell to the enterprise until we run our business on it”

Ron Markezich, Microsoft’s ultimate beta tester

That issue came to a head with the release of Exchange Server 2000. Markezich says the product was not running optimally inside Microsoft, but it was shipped to customers nonetheless. The result was a veritable nightmare: customers experienced the same problems and Microsoft had to rush out numerous hotfixes.

November 9, 2007  10:31 AM

Overheard: Origins of dogfooding a product or service

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

Lorne Green’s famous Alpo campaign — “It’s so good, I use it myself.” In the TV commercials he would hold up a perfectly marbled sirloin steak before the camera.

November 8, 2007  5:24 AM

Overheard: Stuart Scott is no longer with the company

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
stuart-scott.jpg Microsoft’s confirmation, and the timing of Stuart Scott‘s departure, shows that the situation is different than the usual “wants to spend more time with the family” routine.

Kevin McLaughlin, Microsoft Fires CIO Stuart Scott For Rules Breach

That’s too bad. Stuart Scott has seven kids. That’s him in the picture, not Kevin McLaughlin.

November 8, 2007  5:13 AM

Overheard: Cone of silence is tempting, but illegal

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
matt_richtel.jpg “The jamming technology works by sending out a radio signal so powerful that phones are overwhelmed and cannot communicate with cell towers.”

Matt Richtel, Devices Enforce Silence of Cellphones, Illegally

The radio frequencies used by cellphone carriers are protected, just like those used by television and radio broadcasters. The Federal Communication Commission says people who use cellphone jammers could be fined up to $11,000 for a first offense.

November 8, 2007  4:00 AM

Overheard: The Android has no clothes

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
mitch-wagner.gif “Google’s announcement of the new, “Android” smartphone platform had less substance than a fashion show at a nudist colony.”

Mitch Wagner, Google’s Android: The Greatest Vaporware Smartphone Ever

November 8, 2007  2:24 AM

Contest: Degrees of freedom

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

How many degrees of freedom (DOFs) does the flute-playing robot from Waseda University have?

Leave your answer in the comments and I’ll send somebody with the right answer a TechTarget shirt. Check back Friday, November 9 to see if you won. There’s no real reason for doing this contest. I just have shirts and thought it would be fun. :-]

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/0wDZI15tiR0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

November 8, 2007  1:47 AM

Overheard: Six degrees of freedom

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

Typical industrial robots feature a 6-axis configuration, or six degrees of freedom. Toyota’s trumpet-playing robot has 29 degrees of freedom.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/L5akbOKGSFM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

The robot’s right hand has three DOFs to manipulate the trumpet. It has a Pentium III processor as the main CPU and a Linux RT/OS. Toyota has already developed nearly 100 robot-related patented technologies and plans to commercialize humanoid robots by 2010.

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