Obvious partner for the MacBook Air

How obvious is this? Package up a 250GB hard disk, a four-port USB hub, and a USB Ethernet adapter into a nice, small package (something like the latest Iomega “Silver Series”, slim enough to stick in your pocket – about 5″ x 3″ x 0.5″ and 7 oz.), with a captive USB cable designed to slot into the MacBook Air. External power option, in case we want to coddle the MBA’s battery. Give it a MBA-style brushed metal finish, and price it at $200. Who’s going to do it first? ((This neat unit is awesome, but a bit too big.))
Of course we still need Apple to fix iTunes, so that you can sync a subset of your full library onto a MBA, just like you can with an iPod or iPhone.

Patients come first – finally!

The Times reports that the GMC ((General Medical Council, the governing body for medical practice in the UK.)) has drawn up a code of conduct designed to prevent doctors from imposing their religious and ethical beliefs on their patients.

GMC guidelines on doctors’ beliefs include

  • You must not allow any personal views about patients to prejudice your assessment of their clinical needs, [including] patient’s age, culture, disability, gender, lifestyle, marital status, race, religion, sexual orientation, or economic status
  • You should not normally discuss your personal beliefs with patients unless those beliefs are directly relevant to their care
  • Patients may ask you to perform, advise on, or refer them for a treatment…to which you have a conscientious objection. In such cases you must tell patients of their right to see another doctor
  • You must be open with patients – both in person and in printed materials such as practice leaflets – about any treatments or procedures which you choose not to provide or arrange because of a conscientious objection, but which are not otherwise prohibited
  • If your post involves arranging treatment or carrying out procedures to which you object, you should explain your concerns to your employer or contracting body
  • It is not acceptable to seek to opt out of treating a patient or group of patients because of your personal beliefs or views about them

Source: General Medical Council

Not surprisingly, a bunch of Catholic and Muslim doctors are moaning. They seem not to understand that their primary duty as doctors is to their patients, not to their superstitions.


I spent today hanging out with Alec, doing some shopping and spending far too much time in the reality distortion field of his new MacBook Air. (Kathy has one too, with the SSD option.) I must confess: I desire one deeply. Very, very deeply. If I can just figure out what to do with my iTunes library…
During the afternoon we bumped into an old friend and former Sun colleague, Lisa. Segway i2That was fun. ((Hi, Lisa!)) And then in the evening we went to Jim and Kathy’s for dinner, where we were joined by Robin (ex-Sun, now of Google). Jim barbecued big prime rib steaks to go with the vegetables that Kathy prepared, while we all rapped about Sun, past and present. After the steaks – but before dessert – Jim got out Kathy’s Segway and we all had a go on it. Initially it was really weird, but after a few minutes it started to feel quite natural. I wonder what the local rules are in Seattle about using Segways; it would be awesome to commute between PacMed and Uwajimaya on one. Oh well…..

"Watching" a Grand Prix in text mode….

The first Formula 1 Grand Prix of the season has just started in Australia. Unfortunately the Stanford Terrace Inn in Palo Alto doesn’t offer SpeedTV, so I’m reduced to reading the text stream at the BBC website, refreshing every couple of minutes. With 8 laps gone it’s
1. L Hamilton (McLaren)
2. R Kubica (BMW Sauber)
3. H Kovalainen (McLaren)
I hope I can stay awake until the end; it’s been a long day. First, breakfast with my son and daughter-in-law at Hobee’s in Palo Alto (where else?), and then a 62 mile hop down to Carmel for lunch with Merry’s parents. (They’ve just acquired their first Mac. Excellent!)
UPDATE: An excellent result. I won’t put the details here, in case any reader is time-shifting, but you can read them here.

2:45am alarm

2:45am alarm. 3:35am bus. 6:00am flight, SEA-SFO. And then a week in California: two days visiting Amazon operations, Saturday and Sunday seeing friends and family, and then four days at Stanford. And I’ve got a Kindle-full of free science fiction to read, and an iPhone full of Radiohead to listen to. What more could I want? (OK, I guess a later flight would be nice.)

Mikado Mukasey

John Turley’s assessment of Atty. Gen. Michael B. Mukasey:Mikado

Many view the decisions as raw examples of political manipulation of the legal process and overt cronyism. I must confess that I was one of those crying foul until I suddenly realized that there was something profound, even beautiful, in Mukasey’s action.
In his twisting of legal principles, the attorney general has succeeded in creating a perfect paradox. Under Mukasey’s Paradox, lawyers cannot commit crimes when they act under the orders of a president — and a president cannot commit a crime when he acts under advice of lawyers.

This is magnificent! It is worthy of that greatest of all commentaries on politico-legal principals, The Mikado! W. S. Gilbert would have been proud.

Still can't implement my killer app…

Nearly four years ago, I wrote a blog piece about a smartphone application that I really wanted to see. How do you handle an important mobile phone call when you’re in a meeting, or in the audience at a show of some kind? Obviously your phone is set to vibrate only (isn’t it?!), but ideally you’d like to check the caller ID and either send the call to voicemail or answer it and ask the caller to wait while you leave the room, and do so completely silently. Smartphones all support rich media services, so all you need to be able to do is manage the telephony subsystem from within an application that can play back a pre-recorded “please hold” message.
Each time a vendor releases a smartphone SDK, I read the specs in hope, and each time I’m disappointed. This week Apple released the iPhone SDK, and I signed up and read the docs. Disappointed again: there’s still no access from applications to the telephony subsystem. Oh well: the iPhone is still a stunning device, the SDK has a ton of really cool features, and the developer tools are outstanding ((Watch the Apple video and check out the remote debugging and profiling features.)) , so I think I’m going to write a few apps for it. Of course this means I’ll finally have to break down and replace my PowerBook with a MacBook Pro; the tools all require an Intel-based Mac. Apple has some great refurbs at around $1,650 ((Less with my Amazon employee discount.)) for the 15″.