TED: Ideas worth spreading

Posted in entertainment by Kris Gray on January 10th, 2008

In transit between home, work, then back home again (about 50 minutes each way) I’ve been listening / watching every TED video thats available. This is made exceptionally easy using iTunes lovely PODcast subscription services.

Here are some of the ones I’ve been enjoying lately:

  • Habits of happiness : Matthieu Richard, who is a French Buddhist monk gives a talk about happiness, what it means to be happy and how to attain an enlightened state of happiness.
  • African fractals, in buildings and braids : Ron Eglash, this is a hard one to describe, its just interesting.
  • Compassion : Daniel Goleman, His talk is very free flowing and touches many great ideas. I also love his voice and the way he speaks.
  • Winning the oil endgame : Amory Lovins , the environment is one of the more popular subjects, and the ones where we they actually get into it with some facts and numbers, and a way out. Its very informative.

Theres a lot more, but they are hard to find and if your wise you’ll get over to TED.com immediately and discover some of your own favorites.

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New Work Machine, How do I love thee?

Posted in development by Kris Gray on January 9th, 2008

Dell Precision Team Awesome!

After going through an insane integration project with Cognos that required we run an enterprise reporting server on our local development machines, we decided that they just weren’t sufficient anymore. They were nice machines, Dual core 3ghz, 2gig ram, never had any issues with disk space, not much to complain about. Thankfully, we got some real hard core geeks working here, and when it came to choosing hardware they knew exactly what the most advanced equipment was going to be.

So here, is what I ended up with.

  • Quad Core Intel Extreme Q6850 @ 3.00GHz
  • 8 GB of Ram
  • 64 bit XP
  • Some kind of RAID array (RAID is not my bag baby) with two hard drive partitions with a size of 51GB and 400GB
  • Factory Overclock (Apparently, though it seems the core’s are still only running at 3GHZ)
  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 570 (I heard IT stole our awesome video cards and kept them for themselves, we ended up with some decent business video cards)

Here are some of the tidbits I already had and absolutely loved

The benefits of good hardware are really understated. The cost of hardware is pretty minor, and is a great reward as 200 dollars of equipment is much more fun and rewarding then a minor blip of the paycheck.  The performance is great, sure, but what really excites me is that I less stressed at my job, enjoy doing it more, and there is one less road block in my way to creating the most awesome product ever.

I haven’t been able to justify it to myself yet, but I still think there’s a real benefit in companies providing laptops to their developers as well. I know I want one so I can go work at a Starbucks or something and do some computer work, but from works perspective I’m just as likely to play FreeCell while drinking my Green Tea Latte.

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