My Google Wave Haiku

Since Google Wave is all the internets seem to be talking about today, I thought I’d try to get in on the action.

Turns out, Google wants more than my email. They also want poetry.

Write a message to the Google Wave team
(Haikus, sonnets and ASCII art all accepted)

I gave them this gem (in the rough) just now:

Google wave, swelling
Sound of surf crashing, the buzz
I want to take part

I’ll keep you posted if my creativity had any effect on my participation in any sort of beta testing.

Happy Friday!

Deep, Googly Thoughts

I’m scratching my head a little and wondering, if Google is soooo awesome that they can enable the cataloging of movie-making minutiae, like the path of the Monster in Cloverfield or use their vast volumes of search data to track the spread of Influenza, then why does their Wikipedia competitor, Knol, suck so badly?

Compare Wikipedia’s article on the British band Gomez to the Knol search results page for the term “gomez”. It’s not even a contest, is it? [HT to james for getting Gomez in my brain all day long]

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love me some Google, especially YouTube. Without it (and Jonathan @ Monday Night Brewery) I wouldn’t have Muppets taking over the Today Show, now would I? No. I. Wouldn’t.

I’d also like to say that I’m likely ditching Bloglines (A product that has been spotty at best all week long) to go to Google Reader(Thx, Barry) and iGoogle. I’m already using Gmail for mail and Docs for NaNoWriMo, so why not jump right into the belly of beast.

But seriously, Google, kill Knol now. It’s making your other products have to work that much harder.

Mapping creatively

For a long while, I’ve had this crazy idea about private spaces – theme parks and sports arenas, mostly – utilizing Google’s mapping technology to provide people with rich, interactive experiences whether in the planning stages, at an event or just re-living an experience.

Well today the Official Google Blog revealed cool new features of their Maps & Transit products, namely metro transit information for the New York City metro area. Google Maps Mania has more info, including a video:

All of this is well and good until you start thinking of all the ways it could be so much cooler.

Like mobile access via your iPhone or Android phone.
Or combined with photos and videos pertinent to your location(s).
And to think about how you’d aggregate those kinds of things (I don’t want to say “assets” or “content”) from both individuals and corporations.

My head is going all fuzzy just thinking about these implementations (present AND future) as being the more natural outgrowth of those creepy eyeball-targeted ads in Minority Report. There you were targeted based on what you’d made public; here you target for yourself based on your needs.

Subtle, to be sure, but isn’t the evolution of Facebook’s Beacon typical of the differentiation I’m making here?

Anyhow, I just think it’s a cool day for the data. I say we ought to let it co-mingle and play more often.

Here’s hoping I dream up some fun way to engage fans in ways they’ll *want* to use in the flow of their lives. We should be so lucky and so humble of our successes.

Happy Mappy (unrelated) Tuesday!

Eating “Healthy”

My family is currently obsessed with their health, more specifically eating “healthy”. The trend dates back at least to January 2006 when I decided – mostly as a New Year’s Resolution – that I was going to lose weight, eat better, exercise more and drop my sympathy pregnancy weight/body.

As I’ve documented here on many occasions previously, I’ve been pretty successful due in large part to eating a high fiber breakfast (usually oatmeal, a flax-fortified cereal or just plain, old Wheaties), cutting down on snacking a junk (no soda or candy bars) and working out religiously (I’m averaging almost 5 out of 5 workdays). So most of it is no-brainer stuff. Don’t eat like you’re fasting, just eat less and eat pretty socially-accepted “good” foods. More salads and fruit for lunch (my favorite is soup and a yogurt), less obvious crap.

I’ve also dialed back the gargantuan amount of water I was drinking. At one point I was flooding myself with 2 liters or more every day and I spent a good portion of my day in the restroom. It wasn’t so much water ownership as much as it was leasing/renting.

Anyhow, success is contagious and, fresh off having our second child, Jenn decided she too needed to tone up a bit. Vacationing in Hawaii will do that to folks. Plus, watching me get thinner by 40 pounds. Am I piling it on too thick?

So Jenn is doing a “Fit Trip” that encompasses 12 weeks of eating right by virtue of a food diary, working out more by turning in a weekly chart and 3 hydrostatic weigh-ins to see how she’s progressing. I participated in the second, mid-point weigh-in a few weeks back and it only made me want to get weighed-in again. Fascinating stuff [see original post].

The real topic of today’s post, though, is the eating portion of staying healthy. There’s a great lecture/chat/Q&A on You Tube of UC Berkeley Journalism Professor Michael Pollan speaking at Google about his new book, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto:

[Via BoingBoing]

There are too many gems to succinctly summarize but here’s my shot (actually Pollan’s own shorter version): “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much”

He tackles topics ranging from “nutritionism” to government farm subsidies to “Orthorexia“. A truly delightful speaker who obviously spent some serious time obsessively researching the topic of food and nutrition in America. I strongly recommend viewing.

Lastly I wanted to jump back into the personal. Since Raelyn is an impressionable, school-aged eater she’s just now starting to have real, lengthy, substantive, dinner-time conversations with us about her likes, dislikes and questions regarding food and nutrition. We have certain lists of “good” and “bad” foods, but we don’t deprive her of anything. She gets more than enough treats and traditional, memory-inducing childhood sweets, but we’re also trying to instill in her a sense of well-rounded consumption based loosely on “all things in moderation”.

It really is neat to see the gears in her head spin. Just this evening we had a discussion of the concept of “tender” meat. She concluded our talk by declaring the roast chicken we had was “tender AND juicy”. Good girl.

Aside from showing folks that video, my impetus for posting was to gloat a little bit. Judging by the basic guiding principles Pollan laid out in the talk (and my own success on the scale, in the gym and, most importantly, in the mirror) I’m doing pretty well.

Just thought I’d share.