Ken Burns talks about his new documentary on WWII

Another lucky Tuesday night.

KUOW. Word for Word.

Filmmaker Ken Burns on "The War"

From the National Press Club on September 19. Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

Check out the Documentary web site on PBS.org.

Now I really want to see this movie. Their commentary is eloquent and compelling.


Believing the Unbelievable: Sam Harris at the Aspen Ideas Festival

One of those happy accident. Sitting my car waiting for a friend on Tuesday when Word for Word came on KUOW.

The program: A clash between faith and reason?

You can listen to the talk using their flash audio player.

YouTube has the videos. Brilliant.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

I've read The End of Faith by Sam Harris. He's a bit argumentative, but the content is quite educational.

Fixed some dead links: 2008-01-01.


My Morals, Your Morals

Via Lauren, (from whom I shamelessly copy):

Via Andrew Sullivan, an interesting survey that assesses your attitudes about five basic “moral foundations” and allows you to compare your answers against others who have taken the test and self-identified as “liberal” or “conservative.”

Andrew took the survey to try to confirm or deny his assertion that he’s “still a conservative,” in spite of the stance he’s taken against Bush and his war.

I didn’t have too many doubts about which side of the issues I’d end up on…

This is my score. I'm green. Blue and Red are self-explanatory.

Like Lauren, I'm not surprised.

I really want to throw this at my 'conservative' friends and see how they come out.


We unlocked the iPhone

My buddy Sean and I grabbed lunch today (he's back from India, where he's cranking on his start-up).

The process took a while, but we found a great resource to walk you through: How to unlock the iPhone using the anySIM program.

The phone is not mine. It's for a friend of Sean.

In the end, I was able to call his T-Mobile number and it rang on the shiny new toy from Apple.



I'm leaving Microsoft

A re-post from my work blog.

You read that correctly. September 14 is my last day at Building 10 on the Redmond Campus (well, at least as an employee).

Here is (most of) the goodbye email I sent to colleagues and friends last week.

Where to start. Iowa State. Fall of 1998. A career fair. I was a freshman looking for free stuff. The MS recruiter wanted to see a resume. I didn’t have one. (I didn’t think I would need one.) I ran back to my dorm, wrote enough to fill a single page, and brought it back to him.

Early that spring I flew to Sea-Tac and had an on-campus interview. (I was warned that that winter had 100 sunshine-less days.)

In May 1999 I showed up in Redmond for an internship. Building 25. I shared an office with a woman who’s a great friend to this day.

After 3 internships, a stint as a Microsoft Student Consultant at ISU, and 5 great years as an stock option award earning employee, I’m going to try something drastically different.

Friday, September 14 will be my last day in the office.

Monday, September 17 I’m going to work at a small, actuarial company building internal, web-based LOB apps.

  • No, I’m not crazy. (At least I don’t think so.) It’s been almost a decade since I’ve built anything substantial end-to-end. I’ve got pretty good at designing the tiny pieces of something XXXL. I’d like to try my hand at implementing a huge pieces of something M.
  • Yes, I’ll be staying in the area. Actually, working from home most days.
  • Yes, it’s all .NET still. I’m actually looking forward to cranking on SQL, ASPX, WCF, Workflow, Linq, ADO Entities, etc.
  • Yes, it’s hard to leave. I’ve been plugged into Microsoft since just after high school. It’s been a great ride. I’ve learned an amazing amount and met some amazing people. Recently though, I’ve realized that if I was ever going to unplug, it was never going to get easier than it is now.

http://j832.com is my web site. It mostly just links to my blogs. I plan to keep work.j832.com going for any WPF stuff I hack on. The other blog will be everything else. :-)

(If you want the j832 thing explained some time, just ask.)

I have two closing thoughts.

First, Doug Purdy shared a tag line that Don Box and he used on a presentation once: “There is only one program…and it’s still being written.” Microsoft was a gig. My new company is a gig. There will be gigs after. The gig is not the important thing. It’s the stuff you’re building. I love software because in the end it’s all about helping people record, explorer, and communicate thoughts, memories, and ideas. If we keep making that faster, easier and just better we will all still be working together...and making the world just a bit better.

Second, a video I discovered a couple months ago. While it was after I’d made most of my decisions, it does a good job of representing the stuff in my head right now…the stuff I’m trying to figure out. It’s absolutely worth sharing: http://blog.j832.com/2007/07/music-and-life.html

I will close out the way my good friend Robby did. A master of great design: simple and to-the-point.

Goodbye and thanks again,


Q: What does this mean for me, loyal reader of work.j832.com?
A: Hopefully not much. I plan to keep working with and blogging about WPF. I have some clever project ideas that I still want to hack on. A cool upside: I can actually collaborate in substantial ways with community members. I may blog a wider variety of stuff, but given the new job I'm sure it'll be mostly .NET-related. I'll keep my non-geek stuff on my personal blog: blog.j832.com.

Q: What about the bag-o-tricks?
A: The current URL (blogs.msdn.com/okoboji/pages/BagOTricks.aspx) is going to die when my MSDN blog dies. (I'm not sure about when that'll happen, actually.) So I'm introducing a new, even more stable home for the latest-and-greatest: j832.com/BagOTricks. I hope this will be valid as long as I remember anything about WPF and I pay my ISP bill.

Q: Are you planning any updates the bag?
A: Great question! I can't say much, but...um...expect great things from a lot of what's in the bag. (This is my subtle and evil way of leaning on Larry. Sorry dude.)

Q: What about the NetFX install stuff?
A: I'm going to hand this off and make sure that those who've emailed me are taken care of--hopefully by making the code generally available.

As I've said to many folks, I'm looking forward to the transition from a Microsoft High Priest for WPF to just another geek in the big city.

See you on the other side, my friends.


Live Writer Beta 3: Rockin' even more

Check it out, Live Writer now supports uploading images to Blogger.

XHTML support, insert videos, these guys are on a roll.

I'm a happy customer.

Keep it up, kids!

Muni League: Democracy isn't completely broken

I went to presentation at work this summer that fascinated me. I was introduced to an organization that is dedicated to an unbiased and thorough analysis and review on local candidates and initiatives.

The Municipal League of King County

As they say:

The Municipal League's ratings assess each candidate's potential to be effective in office and ability to serve the community. The non-partisan ratings are based on four criteria: Effectiveness, Involvement, Knowledge and Character.

Join and you'll receive their newsletters and reports.

Want to move our democracy forward? Put your money where your mouth is.


Men still go for looks, women for wealth

An article from our friends in Australia.

...modern-day singles, like generations of their ancestors, are driven by biology with men seeking the best specimens to procreate with, and women seeking the best long-term partners.

As a recent student of evolutionary psychology, I find this kind of study fascinating. It's also a bit disturbing.

Despite my attempt to be an enlightened 3rd-wave feminist, do I still operate this way? I hope not completely.

Do I appear sexist for acknowledging this type of research? I hope not.

This bit I found particularly interesting.

While the men opted on average to see every second woman, the women expressed an interest in seeing only a third of the men again, and they appeared to calibrate their choices based on how attractive they thought they were and who they could realistically expect to bag.

So basically, men were thinking "I have nothing to lose by going to bat," where women were thinking "If I go for someone out of my league, I might be setting myself up for a fling and not a long-term relationship."

Yeah, a bit disturbing.

On the flip side, this reminds me of a New York Times article from 2006: Facing Middle Age With No Degree, and No Wife. (Registration is probably required.)

...many men without college degrees are not marrying because the pool of women in their social circles — those without college degrees — has shrunk. And the dwindling pool of women in this category often look for a mate with more education and hence better financial prospects.

So women should hit the gym and men should hit the books? Ugh. Makes the feminist in me shudder.


With Faith, Ignorance is Bliss

From the LA Times: Religion beat became a test of faith

Fascinating read by a writer who was sucked into a mega-church at a low point in his life, taken through a brain-washing religious weekend, and came out "reborn".

His new-found faith inspired him to push his editors to cover the religion beat for his paper.

Hilarity ensues.

Covering the Catholic child-abuse scandal:

I never imagined Catholic leaders would engage in a widespread practice that protected alleged child molesters and belittled the victims.

Covering Mormon's disowning their non-spiritual family members:

I wondered how faithful Mormons — many of whom rigorously follow other biblical commands such as giving 10% of their income to the church — could miss so badly on one of Jesus' primary lessons?

Covering "healing crusades" meant to con terminally sick people of their money:

Hinn tells his audiences that a generous cash gift to his ministry will be seen by God as a sign of true faith. This has worked well for the televangelist, who lives in an oceanfront mansion in Dana Point, drives luxury cars, flies in private jets and stays in the best hotels.

In the end, a familiar (at least to me) conclusion:

I began to pray with renewed vigor, but it felt like I wasn't connecting to God. I started to feel silly even trying.

Fascinating read.