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Adam Hawthorne
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What are we missing?
"A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?"

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I have tried really hard to like Ant. This is an example of why using Ant is so torturous.

I just want to modify the string I already know is in a property - why not have some syntax in the property expansion to allow some regex right there? It's painful enough to have to repeat the name of every ending tag, but does no one on that project believe in the power of concise expression?


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I saw this clip in an email from my alma mater +Rice University .  It's encouraging to see current students helping out their community.

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Wow... When you're really familiar with a particular medium, you can really appreciate the effort involved in making something. I never really got into clay or metalwork but I sure spent enough time with "the bricks" that I can respect this.

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Why, yes, I did made cookies last night at 10:30pm.

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Today Google announced that is is killing their RSS reader, Google Reader. As it is for millions of other users, Google Reader is a mission critical part of my day.

Google, I know you want to migrate us to G+. I get that. But your unceremonious axing of something so much loved and used as Reader makes me question my dependency on ANY Google product other than search.

Please reshare this if you agree. Maybe someone at Google will notice.

So... I am a violinist.  And one of my dreams in life has been to play the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, but when I told my private teacher I wanted to play it, she told me it was too hard.  I don't say that to cast any aspersions on her; on the contrary, I trusted her because she was an absolutely great teacher.  And so I thought to myself, "One day..." and I put it on the shelf of "things I'd like to accomplish some day."

Almost three months ago, I started my oldest daughter in violin lessons.  Besides the experience for her, I also considered it to be a challenge to relearn some of the things I've forgotten and an opportunity to begin playing more. I picked up some old music I had laying around, things I'd played in recitals, some of which I'd even memorized.

A couple nights ago, I remembered my imaginary shelf and on a whim, I ordered the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto from Amazon.  I remembered what my teacher had said, and I thought to myself, "Bah, I'll just take my time and learn it.  If I have to take it one measure at a time, I'll do it."

That was two days ago, and yesterday afternoon, it arrived in the mail (thanks Amazon Prime!).  Tonight, I opened it up and started to try to play through it... and now I understand what my teacher was saying.  This piece is hard!

So, I went to the Internet for help, and lo and behold, there is a guy named Otakar Sevcik who actually wrote a set of methods called "Elaborate Studies and Analysis bar by bar to [Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto]".  It's a whole suite of exercises with parts for each section of the concerto to practice the techniques necessary to play that section.  There's even a PDF online, although its copyright status is dubious.

So... it looks like I really will be learning this essentially one measure at a time.

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Only $199 for a really nice looking Android tablet, just announced today.  This seems like it just might be the right price point/performance/UI finally for Android to have a chance at competing in the tablet space.

OTOH, the Nexus Q just seems silly.  And $1500 for Google Glass?  Maybe the cost will come down, but that's umm... steep... for a piece of alpha tech.

Although, I'm with +Sergey Brin, I'm very surprised and impressed the skydive/biking/rapelling/biking-almost-crashing-into-pedestrians a) didn't hurt anyone and b) actually was able to deliver the package.

Still looking forward to tomorrow's keynote.  Wish I was there :(

I've been having great fun using our new Nexus 7" tablet announced today.  It's amazing.  Only $199 and includes a $25 credit to the Google Play store!!  It has amazing battery life, super fast with 16 total cores (12 for graphics) and is thin and light.  Shipping mid July.  Order one now at link below in US, UK, Canada, Australia (more coming soon!)

Also really enjoying all our other Google IO conference announcements.  And more to come!

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Just played with Google Cloud Print - it's pretty nice! I just:
1. Remoted into another computer.
2. Enabled Cloud Print from within Chrome in the Settings (chrome://chrome/settings)
3. Printed to the printer at that computer.

That printer was 6 miles away, and it took a handful of clicks to get it set up.

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This is a great intro to LLVM's design and architecture
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