Friday, March 14, 2014

Stolen plane?

MH370 is veering into James Bond territory.  All normal location reporting systems turned off.  Radar tracking shows it changed course sharply immediately after.  And now satellite information sent from the engines (and thus difficult to access to mid-flight - but I must admit I can't wait to see the movie where someone needs to disable these transponders) shows controlled long-distance flight?

Also, how did China, which is very careful about issuing visas, issue two in stolen passports.  Normal visa procedures require PRE-SUBMISSION of the passport, together with photos, etc. which is then reviewed, has a visa card pasted in, and is returned.  That seems a very bold action with a stolen passport as it is a high level of scrutiny (not a simple visual check at an airport for 5 seconds) and traceable locations (given the return obligation).  Also, how did they get the photos of two Iranians to match those of some Austrian and Italian guys?

Finally, if it was a 777-200ER (news reports say 777-200, Boeing's report page says ER), this is one of the longest range planes ever made.  It can fly to almost any point on earth.

It seems someone now has:

  1. ~200 Chinese nationals;
  2. the ability to get anywhere in the world; and
  3. enough of an organization to land and conceal a wide-body passenger liner.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I'm so proud that I came up with a riddle.  I think it is original (or, if not, at least I have never heard it anywhere else).

What can one hold only in two hands but never in both?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


When does Apple start to be perceived as a bully?  Perhaps it has already happened and I am just late.

Monday, August 19, 2013

police stops as a proxy for social equality

I wonder what the incidence is of police stops of high-end cars around the world?  I'm thinking this could be an interesting measure of evenhanded enforcement/social arrangements around the world.  For example, notwithstanding its relatively high gini-coefficient, my guess is that most new BMW drivers feel they are as likely (or perhaps even MORE likely) to get stopped by the police.  I wonder how common this feeling is in other places.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Targeted broadcast television advertising

Given the high value of digital advertising, much of which is based upon the better targeting, why haven't cable providers and broadcasters joined forces to deliver targeted ads?  I think this should be relatively straightforward (massive because of the numbers but straightforward nevertheless): with broadcasters' permission, cable providers would replace the ads with those better targeted to the specific household.  Delivery should be relatively simple.  Ads could be pre-loaded during low demand periods to avoid the need to stream ads in realtime (DVR equipped cable boxes may be able to do this without hardware modifications).

I believe advertisers would object if they perceive their ratecards as losing value (we paid for x households, instead we got
So we would have a combination of broadcast program and narrowcast ads. Which, in fact, is how adserving works generally anyway.  And could very well be why Google is getting in the broadband business.

Monday, July 8, 2013

fast and the furious 16

The old crew now runs a museum dedicated to old internal combustion engines. An evil-doer uses an EMP to knock out all modern cars.  Time to roll into action with their ancient iron.  Vroom.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

iOS 7 and drowning in contacts

Dear Apple,

If just this one wish for iOS 7 is granted, I'll be pretty happy:

Please let me know which database/source my contact information is drawn from WITHOUT needing to turn off each database individually.  I just want to clean up my multiple instances of John Doe so I consolidate on fewer databases.  Some sort of label, color, or tag would be fine.  Something smarter than I can think of would be even better.  I am drowning in contacts.