Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Take a hike!

Just returned from my fourth hike into the Grand Canyon along the Bright Angels Trail:

Took way too many pics along the way ...

 One of the impressive views half way down. 

This indicates the altitude level at the Colorado River (above sea level)
From 2010_10_Grand Canyon_People

Down at the Colorado River, we relaxed and cooled down:

This was the elevation back at the South Rim:

From 2010_10_Grand Canyon_People

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Google: Is the search party over?

FORTUNE Magazine: Table of Contents - CNNMoney.com: "COVER STORY
Google: The search party is over
The company is still growing at rates others would kill for. But its core business is slowing, and its stock is down. Can Google find its footing in this brave new world? By Michael V. Copeland, with Seth Weintraub"

I found this one of the more interesting quotes from this article:

"And what if you don't even have a question to pose? What if you just need help? Consider the case of American graduate student James Buck. Egyptian police detained Buck for taking photographs of a protest in a city outside Cairo. Using his cellphone and his Twitter account, Buck broadcast a single word, "arrested." Buck's network alerted officials at the University of California at Berkeley, who ultimately got the U.S. State Department and a local lawyer involved. Buck was out of jail in 24 hours. Try that with a keyword search."

It seems a little like an unfair comparison, however, it illustrates nicely that mostly automated search results can only do so and so much when it comes to reaching the same level of interpersonal trust, significance and actionability that can be reached by human driven albeit - technology supported - communication. 

Another case in point:

"McCue was an early Netscape guy, and he recently launched tablet software company Flipboard, which takes all your Facebook updates, your Twitter feeds, all the news sites you like and subscribe to, and in a very elegant way publishes a constantly updated magazine of text, photos, and video. "There is no need to do a search," McCue says. "We almost view it as a bug if we have the user search for something."

Anyhow, I found the article well worth reading - even though it really seems odd for most mere mortals looking down on a company that is expected to grow by only 15% over the next years. Anyway, it's quite interesting following the intense discussion on this topic here:

How Toyota is being tested by its biggest crisis yet. - Jul. 12, 2010

It's interesting to observe how an apparent key success factor - the setup of chief engineers ("shusas") driving their products through their entire life cycle - of what made Toyota so successful over decades seems to have had a significant negative involvement in the company's recent problems:

How Toyota is being tested by its biggest crisis yet. - Jul. 12, 2010:
"The shusas are emblematic of the idiosyncratic management that served Toyota immensely well when it was trying to conquer the world with superior vehicles -- today Toyota ranks fifth on the Fortune Global 500, with revenues of $204.1 billion -- but that failed it spectacularly when the company was confronted with a storm of complaints about safety. As the company grew, its Japanese leaders never relinquished the iron grip they exercised over the company's operations all over the world and continued to make all important decisions in Japan. Instead of globalizing, Toyota colonized."

Just hope that Toyota takes the right lessons out of this - both for the benefit of the company, but particularly also as an industry leader of lean production system.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Google: The search party is over - Fortune Tech

Google: The search party is over - Fortune Tech: "But critics question whether Google can make the leap. 'They are just not that good at it,' says Tom Coates, until recently the head of product at Yahoo's defunct Brickhouse lab. 'Google is very good at building these utility-type products -- search, e-mail, and messaging. They are sort of like the power company of the Internet. But what they lack is a sense of how people share and collaborate.'"

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Official Google Blog: Update on Google Wave

As much as I regret seeing Google Wave falling by the wayside, I have to say I do respect the clear and yet respectful language that Google uses to announce the end of this project. I don't remember seeing this so often ...

Official Google Blog: Update on Google Wave: "
Wave has taught us a lot, and we are proud of the team for the ways in which they have pushed the boundaries of computer science. We are excited about what they will develop next as we continue to create innovations with the potential to advance technology and the wider web."
Google CEO Eric Schmidt gave more insight into why Google Wave was stopped:
"We have a pretty strong view on this," he said. "As a culture we don't over-promote products...we tend to sort of release them and then see what happens."
Schmidt boiled it down to a mathematical formula. A new product gets announced and gets a certain amount of traction. At some point, growth falls off the first wave of people finishes trying things out. Then, it begins to grow again. "The first derivative of that second growth is a high and accurate predictor of what will happen." 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lexington: Where has all the greatness gone? | The Economist

Lexington: Where has all the greatness gone? | The Economist:
"When Barack Obama visited France last year a British reporter asked the president whether he believed in American exceptionalism. Mr Obama said he did—“just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” You may think that an agreeably tactful answer. And yet some conservatives have turned it into a profane text, one that proves Mr Obama’s unfitness for the great office he holds. More than a year after the event they are still banging on about it."
It still amazes me how much badwill itcan create at home when a president acts and speaks like a rationale, responsible and mature representative of his country on a visite of another nation. - Granted, this already happened about a year ago. Unbelievable to read that there is still unrest about it!

Feinberg Says Bonuses Paid by Troubled Banks Were Unmerited - NYTimes.com

Feinberg Says Bonuses Paid by Troubled Banks Were Unmerited - NYTimes.com

Just a few days ago, the overhaul of the U.S. Financial System received quite some applause from abroad. This morning Ilearned about this:

In a report to be released on Friday,Kenneth R. Feinberg, the Obama administration’s special master forexecutive compensation, is expected to name 17 financial companies that made questionable payouts totaling $1.58 billion immediately after accepting billions of dollars of taxpayer aid, according to two government officials with knowledge of his findings who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the report.

The group includes Wall Street giants like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and theAmerican International Group as well as small lenders like Boston Private Financial Holdings. Mr. Feinberg’s report points to companies that he says paid eye-popping amounts or used haphazard criteria for awarding bonuses, the people with knowledge of his findings said, and he has singled out Citigroup as the biggest offender.

When I read this and consider that many people lost their jobs because of the financial crisis - it really makes me wonder what people paying out enormous bonuses based on questionable criteria essentially abusing taxpayer dollars and those receiving them think when they look into the mirror?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I.B.M. Shuffles Top Management - NYTimes.com

I.B.M. Shuffles Top Management - NYTimes.com

Increasingly, Mr. Palmisano wrote, computer systems must be “designed and brought to market as tightly integrated” packages of hardware and software.

Even though one can argue that Oracle's acquisition of Sun validates this point, I am not sure this really holds true.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Neues Deutschland-Bild: Die Sympathie-Weltmeister - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Nachrichten - Politik

Neues Deutschland-Bild: Die Sympathie-Weltmeister - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Nachrichten - Politik
Das ist doch eine angenehme Überraschung:
"Zwei Generationen nach dem Krieg sei Deutschland endlich auf dem Weg zurück in die Rolle Europas führender Kulturnation. Das deutsche Integrationsmodell könne zum Vorbild für Europa werden, schreibt Journalist Mogensen."

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Argentina 0 Germany 4 | The Sun |Sport|Football|World Cup 2010 | View All Comments

Four month ago Maradona didn't want to sit besides Mueller in a press conference because he didn't know the young german player and meant that's beneath him to sit by a "nobody". Well, Maradona, do you twig it now? Argentina is not the centre of the football world. You have to respect your combatants.
Argentina 0 Germany 4 | The Sun |Sport|Football|World Cup 2010 | View All Comments

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Spent a sunny afternoon in the Luisenpark

After the sudden snowfall yesterday, we enjoyed the  sunny Sunday – even though the snow wasn’t quite gone yet.


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Winter is back!

We woke up and didn’t believe our eyes – everything white:
Julian didn’t think twice, build a battery of snowmen first
and an iglu right thereafter:

Experimenting with Windows Live Writer

Trying to maintain two different weblogs with one tool. Initially it didn’t work – but it seems like deleting and re-entering the second weblog account helps.

Monday, February 01, 2010

White Sunday

This was a really beautiful Sunday. Started the day with another 3 rounds on the green slopes in Wilhelmsfeld and then enjoyed the great weather on a walk near the Neckar river.