Archive for August, 2006

Abraham Lincoln visits Kalamazoo

Saturday, August 26th, 2006

150 years ago (on August 27, 1856), Abraham Lincoln made his only visit to Michigan; he spoke in Kalamazoo's downtown park as part of a rally for John C. Fremont, the first Republican nominee for President. There are a number of events taking place in Kalamazoo this weekend, sponsored, in ...


Saturday, August 26th, 2006

With the demotion of Pluto to a dwarf planet, there are reports that a new mnemonic is required to recall the order of the nine--er, wait, only eight--planets. In fact, Jason Kottke sponsored a mnemonics contest. Kottke is one of the first generation bloggers, along Meg Hourihan. They were the ...

Liberty Caskets: Lease or Buy

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

I'd meant to get a picture of this, but thankfully, someone posted one at This is Broken.

Rachel Miller Jacobs

Monday, August 21st, 2006

Rachel Miller Jacobs, of Kern Street Mennonite Church in South Bend, Indiana, was ordained yesterday. Rachel is one of the Goshen, Indiana Sacred Harp singers, and it was with great pleasure that some of us were able to sing as a prelude to her ordination service, which was marked by ...

First Powerset writeup?

Friday, August 18th, 2006

I think this is the first writeup of the company I work for, Powerset, that I've seen: Spying an intelligent search engine. Barney Pell, our CEO, is interviewed. Search engines try to train us to become good keyword searchers. We dumb down our intelligence so it will be natural for ...

More and more frequency statistics

Monday, August 14th, 2006

Wonderful Chris Thorman has published a beautifully designed page showing frequency and rank statistics for tune selection from the Denson Sacred Harp conventions--for all years with on-line data (1995-2005) at I've been playing with the data. The distribution of frequency to rank is an almost perfect lognormal curve for ...

Living with a computer

Friday, August 11th, 2006

Way fun: The Atlantic has posted James Fallows's essay, Living with a computer as part of their Tech & Innovation "Celebration of 150 Years" tour. It was written in 1982, and describes his using an early word processor program, the Electric Pencil, running on 48k of memory (carefully described: "each ...

Watermelon toothpaste

Friday, August 11th, 2006

A confession: my wife bought some watermelon-flavored toothpaste for our daughter. She didn't like it particularly, but I did. It's a very strange translucent green, and it's quite sweet; I suspect it's the sweetness, not the strange color that I like. When I was thinking about moving to San Francisco to ...

Leopard announcements

Tuesday, August 8th, 2006

Apple has posted some details of the upcoming version of the Apple OS. Two little things of note that will make me want to buy it: A new speech synthesis voice, Alex, that sounds quite good. And boolean operators in Spotlight, the full-text searching tool; plus search on file attributes. ...

Harmonia Sacra CD update

Monday, August 7th, 2006

John Lamb wrote: Hi Will, An update on the Harmonia Sacra cd -- in production as we speak.  Should be in the mail by the end of the week.  My apologiees for the long delay! As I'm writing this, samples from yesterday's Hamburg, VA singing are playing in the background.  A disc with ...

Google Goggles

Saturday, August 5th, 2006

Way cool flight-sim that uses Google maps for background: Goggles. (via rw).

The Barn at the End of the World

Friday, August 4th, 2006

I've been quite enjoying reading The Barn at the End of the World, by Mary Rose O'Reilley, published by Milkweed Press. It reminds me a lot of the writing of Annie Dillard (who has her own website: 'The Secrets of the Universe as Decoded by the Unhinged'): essays about ...