Closed Border, closed economy, closing opportunities | eaves.ca

I’ve been worried about this for ages.

[Closed Border, closed economy, closing opportunities | eaves.ca][1]

“All this may sound unfortunate but it has significant implications, political and economic implications. International travel to the United States is down 10% in the first quarter of 2009 – a big part of this is likely related to the economy, but I suspect that fewer and fewer people are choosing the United States as a destination. But vacationers are minor in comparison to the impact on innovation and economic development. Today, it is harder and harder for the best minds in the world to work for American companies and to do graduate work at American Universities. This means America’s elite will interact less and less with leading thinkers from elsewhere and its companies will have to rely on American talent, and not international talent, to succeed. 

Already the cracks are showing. Google has employees who are forced to work in Canada since they can’t work in the United States. And Microsoft recently opened a software development facility in Vancouver because US immigration laws made it too difficult to bring in top talent. Indeed, I’m increasingly persuaded that the new convention centre in Vancouver was a smart investment. If you are hosting a conference with Americans and internationals in attendance there is no way you are going to host it in the United States.”

Before you polish that Chrome…

New Google Operating System, Chrome OS, Raises Privacy Concerns | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD

“‘Competition in the OS market should always be welcome, but Google is the special case,’ Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told Digital Daily. ‘It has become dominant across many essential Internet services–search, mail, video, online apps, and advertising. Coupled with Google’s growing profiles of American consumers and reluctance to adopt meaningful privacy safeguards, we expect that antitrust authorities in the US and Europe will view Google’s entry into the OS market with enormous skepticism.’”

He has a point…

snob appeal or just appeal

From John Gruber‘s essay on touch keyboards and Apple:

Apple tries to make things that many people love, not things that all people like. The key is that they’re not afraid of the staunch criticism, and often outright derision, that comes with breaking conventions.

That the iPhone — or specifically its software touchscreen keyboard — does not appeal to everyone is not a problem. Nothing appeals to everyone. Even if you try to make something that appeals to everyone by adding every single clamored-for feature, you wind up with something like Windows that does not appeal to people with a taste for the elegant and refined.

go design!

From the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines

Aesthetic Integrity

Although the ultimate purpose of an application is to enable a task, even if that task is playing a game, the importance of an application’s appearance should not be underestimated. This is because appearance has a strong impact on functionality: An application that appears cluttered or illogical is hard to understand and use.

See also In defense of eye candy

We’ve all seen arguments in the design community that dismiss the role of beauty in visual interfaces, insisting that good designers base their choices strictly on matters of branding or basic design principles. Lost in these discussions is an understanding of the powerful role aesthetics play in shaping how we come to know, feel, and respond.

Truth may not be beauty but beauty does help truth get recognized.

the Iraq what?

From Dexter Filkins’s review of Thomas E Ricks’s The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008.

That an undertaking as momentous and as costly as America’s war in Iraq could vanish so quickly from the forefront of the national consciousness does not speak well of the United States in the early twenty-first century

I’d add that the war as a whole didn’t say much about America’s national consciousness but that’s another story.

Continuous Deployment == Fail Fast Software

I Just read Timothy Fitz’s post on Continuous Deployment:

“This is a software release process implementation of the classic Fail Fast pattern. The closer a failure is to the point where it was introduced, the more data you have to correct for that failure. In code Fail Fast means raising an exception on invalid input, instead of waiting for it to break somewhere later. In a software release process Fail Fast means releasing undeployed code as fast as possible, instead of waiting for a weekly release to break.”

Though you’d definitely need additional infrastructure to handle the consequences of failures (i.e., ways to undo side effects), this more or less makes sense to me.

Please don’t give us software that works | ZDNet.com

Here’s an odd backhanded compliment to Apple’s iLife software:

$800 Mac Mini? I’m all set, Apple | Education IT | ZDNet.com

“However, even iLife has its drawbacks in an educational setting. It simply hands so much to the students that they struggle with software (whether Windows, Linux, or even pro-level software on the Mac) that isn’t so brilliantly plug and play. Yes, iLife rocks in many ways, but the level of spoonfeeding it encourages actually makes me think twice about using it widely, especially at the high school level.”

What’s the issue here? That the software is so easy to use that people might come to think computers are useful? That they’ll be frustrated with software that sucks and complain?

(Also, to kvetch, the software doesn’t encourage spoonfeeding although it might encourage dependency…)