Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ajax Fever Srikes

The thing that is Ajax--which I don't know anything about technical details--continues to pick up speed with developers. Today I came across the ulitmate next step an Ajax OS. I'm not sure what an OS in a browser offers, but I'm looking forward to the release. You can read the details here. This reminds me of the boom when there was still an open question as to if the Mac, Windows, Linux, or B operating system would be the next hot thing. Let's face it, waiting for the next news release from Microsoft on Office 2007 is pretty boring. I'm glad to see new ideas and user interfaces even if they don't make it in the market or change the world.

Also, I've found an Ajax spreadsheet viewer here.


Some group decided that Britain needs to have its icons listed on a web site. The current list seems rather small and off to a poor start--with the exception of the Spitfire airplane and the song Jerusalem. Some the icons that need to be added righ away are:

  • The skin head, truly a British personality that has spread to all corners of the world.
  • Spotted dick is it food or a cruel joke?
  • Press gangs and flogging--who needs citizen soldiers?
  • Lucas Electronics famous for their reliability and resistance to water (irony alert).

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Not Quite a Magic Kingdom

I seem to be stuck in my youthful past this week. My bother sent me two links that reminded me of the time when Colorado tried to get into the theme-park game with:
When I use the term 'major' I'm thinking of Disneyland (also, Knott's Berry Farm), which after its opening in 1954 had states around the nation thinking maybe they could cash in on this new trend in vacation destinations too.

Colorado already had two amusement parks Elitchs Garden and Lakeside; however, these were built in the same style as Cooney Island with tradition rides like the roller coaster and the tilt-a-whirl, but with no theme or style to the way the rides or park were laid out.

Work started in 1957 on Magic Mountain and was to be a Disneyland-style theme park, although with a more western flavor. East Tin Cup called upon Colorado's gold rush and mining town history much the same as Knott's Berry Farm referenced California's gold rush and farming heritage.

Looking back with 20/20 hindsight it seems obvious that two huge problems confronted Magic Mountain and East Tin Cup:
  1. First: weather, while the summers are very nice in Colorado there are still only three months of really warm temperatures. Colorado wasn't a year round place to vacation in.
  2. Second: small population, Denver, then the largest city in the state, in 1957 was still under a million people. There weren't enough local folks to fill the parks once the tourist season ended. Even today Disneyland counts on regular attendance from the LA area to supplement the once-a-year vacation visitor.
In defense of the investors and visionaries of Magic Mountain and East Tin Cup, at the time they attempted to start these Colorado theme parks, even Disneyland was still a new concept with no business models available to tell you what would or would not work. (Even the masters of the Game, Disney, have bombed in the amusement park game with their Disney California Adventure.) The two theme parks were a sincere attempt to make Denver a vacation destination.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Armchair Generals

Perhaps living in an antipodean environment has caused too much blood to rush to the heads of some wise and over educated folks in New Zealand; or, maybe the rules of war have been rewritten since the last time I checked.

These sages of battle say a soldier awarded the Victorian Cross during WWII should have been considered a war criminal, as he donned a German uniform to infiltrate and kill several German snipers. I seem to recall the main reason not to don an enemy uniform was the penalty of automatically being classified a spy, if captured, and shot.

Now if donning an enemy uniform is a war crime would this also apply to that favorite Navel warfare tactic of flying a false color (flying the enemy flag on your warship so as to close the distance before opening fire)?

It's good to know that in these dangerous times there are still those people who can find the time and effort to make trouble for a brave soldier who has passed away and can not raise his voice in his own defense.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Another Roadside Attraction

I was disappointed to find that one of the great roadside attractions of my youth--Little America-- has gone legit. Gone are the claims of giant souvenir stands and boasts about the number of gas pumps, in fact I couldn't really tell if the Little America Company runs the Little America Truck Stop anymore. It's a shame that a company seems to be putting its tacky and fun beginnings behind it. More pictures:

Late 1950s
Fuel Tanks

Not related to Little America, but a spooky photo