Word Press Upgrade Problem

September 3rd, 2008

I just noticed upgrading Word Press blew up all of my categories. Managing some repair. I think it’s time to go back to Tinderbox.

Mark Bernstein on Roger Ebert

August 28th, 2008

I regret not having spent more time reading and re-reading Mark Bernstein’s writings. The more I read, the more I want to read.

This article (Tinderbox agent-generated, probably) caught me eye, and it’s wonderful. Great editing: Mark introduces Ebert, explains why he’s so good, then gives a little dose. Have you ever made a decision about something, not really examined completely why, then later found something that articulates and deepens your understanding of your decision? So it is with Mark’s highlighting of Roger Ebert’s writing. I’ve really, really like reading Ebert about movies, sometimes (often) even if I didn’t really like the movie.

I rediscovered Mark thanks to an email notice about a new upgrade to 4.5 of Tinderbox. I have to upgrade now. I had set aside Tinderbox looking for some way to organize Japanese text, but I had really used it alot in capturing daily thoughts and actions. Coming back to it after a few months of trying to use “standard tools”, I see immediately what I’ve been missing. I’ve been spending 80% of my time doing the formatting and 20% getting the ideas down. Tinderbox inverts this; I spend 80% on the ideas and 20% on arranging and organizing them.

It’s hard to describe but easy to grok.

The sparkline addition is brilliant.

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Great iPhone Software

August 26th, 2008

I recently bought an extremely useful and well-built application for the iPhone called the Wisdom English-Japanese/Japanese-English Dictionary. A very cool company called Monokakido (with an interesting etymology for those who read Japanese) has made a work of art. The Sanseido dictionary is excellent, and so is the presentation on the iPhone/iPod. It has that perhaps uniquely Japanese blend of being both functionally succinct and visually elegant.

Very, very, nice.

The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Alone 1932-1940

July 27th, 2008

The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-1940 The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-1940 by William Manchester

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book, second volume of a never-finished three volume biography of Winston Churchill, is simply the best biography I’ve ever read. That’s hardly a fitting review of the book, but it’s both true and a good place to start. I stumbled onto it completely by accident on vacation in Buenos Aires, already committed to another book to read. Serendipity works in odd ways; a year ago, I’d found Manchester’s engaging Death of a President on a bookshelf in Rio and couldn’t put it down. The same was to be true of this work, too.

In three layers, the book excels: it describes an unusual and amazing man, in extreme and unusual times, in unusually well-written language. The 689 pages just roll away. The first 34 pages — “The Lion Caged” — describes a typical day in the life of 60+ year old Churchill, and are unstoppable. Reading this day in the life account, you simply can’t put the book down. Churchill’s traits are revealed one by one as we learn how he spends his day (reading the papers in bed til noon, entertaining guests at lunch, feeding the goldfish, enjoying a 2 hour nap, then holding court at the grand dinner, and finally, after all guests have left, starting writing in his ancient study at 11, only to retire at 4 am).

The book would be worth it if it catalogued simple days at the end of a brilliant political career, but the start of volume 2 is 1932. Before a backdrop of war fatigue, economic depression, and the bitter peace of Versailles, Hitler is on the rise in Germany. Churchill’s incessant calls in the House of Commons to stop the rise of Nazism appear to a pacifist and Bolshevik-fearing country as war-mongering. Over 600 pages and 2 Governments, we learn of the many opportunities England (and France) had to stop Hitler’s rise, and how repeatedly the British Government appeased, conceded, and in some cases, colluded to avoid any confrontation with Nazi Germany. The book closes on May 10, 1940, the day Hitler invaded the Low Countries and Churchill was made Prime Minister.

All in all, it’s an amazing tour through the accomplishments, methods, techniques, speeches, views, and mistakes of Churchill during the years leading up to the Second World War. Sublime!

View all my reviews.


June 21st, 2008


Originally uploaded by cecilialoura

Dog days of summer. It’s hot! Today’s 95 degrees!

Global Warming Analysis by Freeman Dyson

June 3rd, 2008

Want to get smarter about how to think about Global Warming?

Read Dyson’s review of two recent books about Global Warming, and count yourself better educated:


Ebert on Iron Man

June 1st, 2008

This is the article I wanted to read when I came home from watching the film, excited, wanting to hear Ebert’s unique voice in my head explaining why this film is so good.

Wanna read a great article about flying?

April 24th, 2008

Then check out Corporate Flight Ops by Hal Stoen. If this doesn’t make you want to go fly, nothing will.

iTunes #1 Music Retailer in the US

April 4th, 2008

See ya, Walmart:


Old Navy Nico, Closeup, little smile

February 9th, 2008

Old Navy Nico, Closeup, little smile

Originally uploaded by Jim Coyer