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Friday, September 26, 2014

Apple watch apes 1970’s HP watch

HP-01 calculator wristwatch advertisement from 1977

PHOTO: Hewlett-Packard model HP-01 calculator wristwatch advertisement from 1977. See previous posts HP calculator wristwatch 1977 vs. Timex 1994 (11/9/10) and Google Android Sony SmartWatch apes HP-01 LED watch from 1977 (7/1/12).

I had to laugh at the recent news of Apple introducing a watch because over thirty years ago Steve Jobs made lucrative job offers to Hewlett-Packard's Corvallis Division engineers, who had designed HP's first watch and personal computer, which motivated one HP engineering project manager to join Jobs in inventing the first Apple Macintosh computer.

The HP-01 watch's battery life was much too short, just like Apple's is today, because it used an LED display, and its poor sales caused the cancellation of a more practical version using LCD displays that were still under development in Corvallis for HP calculators.

Today, a cloud-connected watch is still not technically practical (e.g. Apple requires a cellphone tethered to each watch) and the technological inventions required have only recently started showing up in academic engineering and science journals available in the Oregon State University library.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: Long, Ago Jobs tried to get HP to develop a computer watch," Gazette-Times, Fri. Sep. 26, 2014, p. A9)

See my previous post Patent laws being abused by Apple iPhone claims (8/28/12) that includes the text of my previous letter to the editor where I said, "Motorola described their soon-to-be-released cell phone invention in a 1982 Bell System Journal technical paper. In response, as an HP research project manager, I initiated a partnership with Motorola to integrate cell phones with already existing HP handheld computer technology. . . . After HP cancelled my project, I personally showed a prototype cell phone computer to Apple founder Steve Jobs at a trade show in Silicon Valley while he was successfully recruiting a few key HP engineers to start up his Apple portable product line. (I was too stupid to take his job offer!)”

Apple CEO Tim Cook in an interview with BusinessWeek described how Apple was moving from a model of functional departments (e.g. product research, marketing, etc.), which Steve Jobs acted as the orchestrator over (a model he had copied from his idols Bill and Dave, founders of Hewlett-Packard) to one of a more business team model where each team is responsible for both the technical and end customer experience (something HP struggled to do later in its history). Cook also said:

With the watch, most companies -- you can just tell from what’s out there in the marketplace --they just take what’s there, like a phone UI [user interface], and strap it on the wrist, and it becomes a smartwatch. And we knew that wouldn’t work. The screen is too small. It obstructs the view. And so a lot of thinking went in about how to solve that issue. And I think we have come up with a way that not only makes it usable, but it makes it brilliant.

I love operating my Apple TV from the watch. I don’t have to worry anymore about the remote falling through the cushions of the sofa. . . .

(Q: You’ve said that you wanted to move the default of the company to open. What does that mean, exactly? )

My opinion was that our default [setting] was closed on everything. I’m not talking about closed operating system. I’m talking about closed in the communication area. And so it was, “Just be quiet. Just say nothing, and only talk about things that are completed.”

My view is that that doesn’t work in things involving social responsibility. On social responsibility things, only talking about them after they occur because some are long-term journeys. So we’ve been very open and communicating loudly about our views around the environment, around human rights, around diversity, around gay rights, which is a part of human rights, . . .

(Q: Did you meet any internal resistance when you published your diversity report?)

There was quite a discussion about whether we should do that or not. And my view was, “Wait a minute. I’ve said I’m going to be 100 percent transparent on all these things that are not about future road maps.” You know, future [product] road maps, I’d like to find a way to be more secretive. You know? Unfortunately the rumor mill goes a little beyond me. But yes, there was a view that we shouldn’t. I didn’t agree at the end of the day, and I feel great that we published. It clearly says we’re not perfect. We’re not a perfect company, and we’ve got work to do. And that’s fine.

(Q: What specifically are you doing to rectify the gender imbalance at the company?)

We promoted Denise Young Smith to run HR because she’s the best. We recruited Lisa Jackson because she was the best to run our environmental initiatives, and she’s superb. She’s off the charts. And so the number of females at the top of the company’s changed dramatically.

We just brought Sue Wagner on the board a few weeks ago.

(Quoted from Brad Stone and Josh Tyrangiel, "Q&A Tim Cook Q&A: The Full Interview on iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch," businessweek.com businessweek.com posted Sept. 19, 2014)

See the following related links of interest:

An an unrelated note (I’m too lazy to write another post, but the defunding of OSU during the Republican Reagan era continues and a recent interview with OSU President Ed Ray discusses this issue along with comments on how the cultural centers are intended to help increase the graduation rates amongst a more diverse student population. (See James Day, "Q & A with OSU President Ed Ray," gazettetimes.com posted Sep. 18, 2014)

Of course, this raises the question that nobody likes to discuss out loud, which is does OSU lower its standards to increase graduation rates because it is good for business? When the college was state funded, anybody could attend, but only those worthy of a degree got one. In fact, in the engineering college, which was mostly male professors and students, there was a certain macho pride that came from the fact that the majority of freshman students would not graduate in engineering -- in fact, many department secretaries kept out stacks of transfer form to s change majors from engineering to liberal arts!

Amusingly, and coincidentally, an amusing letter to the editor touching on the subject of OSU becoming more like a corporation, instead of a public university, was published by Michael Coolen, "Never mind ‘Town ‘n’ Gown’; we’re seeing rise of ‘Town ‘n’ Suits,’" gazettetimes.com posted September 17, 2014.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Oregon gay couple endorse Republican U.S. Senate candidate

Ben West hugs Monica Wehby in TV ad

PHOTO: A frequently running TV ad for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Monica Wehby (left) shows her being hugged by Ben West (right) whose successful court case has allowed him to be legally married to Paul Rummel (not shown) in Oregon. (See the Portland gay newspaper coverage by Nick Mattos, "Marriage Equality Plaintiffs Endorse Monica Wehby: PQ's Exclusive Interview," pqmonthly.com posted September 9, 2014.)

VIDEO: A frequently running TV ad for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Monica Wehby seen Oregon on cable TV and over-the-air broadcast TV channels. ("Ben West - Monica Wehby for U.S. Senate," youtube.com accessed Sep. 10, 2014)

Although I applaud Monica Wehby's courage to go against the majority of Republicans who oppose same-sex marriage, I wonder what she really meant when during a Portland TV interview she said, "The government should stay out of the marriage business." Does Wehby mean that the only marriages recognized should be ones performed by the religious clergy? Does Wehby want to eliminate all tax breaks for legally married couples? I don't care because she had already lost my vote by allowing the out-of-state Koch brothers and billionaires pay for Wehby's campaign to call me twice a day for the last few months, despite me asking to be put on their do not call list.

I've blogged before about how often the national press ignores the first legally performed gay marriage of Jack Baker and Mike McConnell that led to the first U.S. Supreme Court decision on gay marriage in 1972, which dodged the issue by declaring it was a matter of state law and with no Federal interest. See previous post First gay wedding 1971 shown on WCCO TV 1973 aroused disgusted viewer reactions (8/2/14).

However, even worse than ignoring the Baker gay marriage case is when the national press has been duped by California activists into reporting California gay marriages cases are what led to legalizing gay marriage. The politics of this competition for bragging rights (or being cluelessness about gay marriage history) was recently described in a book critique by Brian Smith, "Reversing the Re-write of LGBT History: Jo Becker's version of the gay marriage story was undone before it was even published." The Advocate, Aug.-Sep. 2014, p. 26, 28 posted online Jul. 7, 2014.

Of related interest is the recent article about the gay marriage of Star Trek TV star George Takei written by Chadwick Moore, "Curious George," Out magazine, Sep. 2014, posted online Aug. 12, 3014.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Gender bender Betty Crocker in OSU Class of 1936

Mercedes A. Bates Betty Crocker OSU Class of 1936

PHOTO: the gender bender Mercedes A. Bates was an Oregon State University Class of 1936 home economics major who became famous for her promotion of the Betty Crocker Kitchens at General Mills in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she became the first female Vice President of General Mills despite it being an era when women were regularly discriminated against in the workplace and limited to mostly secretarial jobs because society expected women to be at home raising a family and would say there was something queer about you if you were a "career women." The phrase "career women" was often used to refer to butch dyke lesbians who had enough balls to compete with men in the workplace before the Women's Liberation Movement succeeded. In 1992, the Mercedes A. Bates Family Study Center was opened at OSU to study families during their entire lifespan.

UPDATE Sept. 9, 2014 my letter to the editor and additional links:

I applaud the recent news of Oregon State University Professor Susan Shaw receiving a National Science Foundation grant for research on how to increase the percentage of OSU women faculty in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). (See Oregon Statue University Press Release "Grant will support, encourage women in academic STEM careers at OSU," oregonstate.edu posted Sep. 2, 104)

I am sure this would have pleased Mercedes Bates, whose name is on OSU Bates Hall, because she was a 1936 OSU graduate, in what was called the science of "home economics," who founded the Betty Crocker Kitchens as a Vice President of General Mills in an era when most women were limited to secretarial jobs and raising children.

Likewise, Dave Packard, the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard and a conservative Republican who served in President Nixon's administration, believed that growing HP required better meeting the needs of all customers worldwide, which could be helped by increasing the diversity of HP scientists and engineers in all dimensions, including gender, race and nationality.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "OSU's effort to get more women teaching sciejce merits applause," Gazette-Times, Sep. 9, 2014, p. A7)

- See the following links and previous posts:

END UPDATE Sept. 9, 2014

I first met the Oregon State University alum and General Mills executive Mercedes A. Bates when my father, who had earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, was hired by General Mills to help "engineer" the "miracle" food products of the middle 20th Century that soon surpassed the sales of General Mills' original business of milling flour on the banks of the Mississippi River. I recall my mother immediately figuring out Bates was the boss and also a very creative one who could span between understanding the needs of women while also leading a bunch of men to get women what they wanted with new cake mixes, canned frosting, etc.

I do not know if Bates' ever came out publically about her sexual orientation or gender identity, but her public gender bending of the traditional female roles could not be hidden and it was so visible that I vividly recall my mother commenting on it in a respectful manner, unlike other women who would call Bates a bitch.

Despite much progress has been made toward gaining gender equality in the workplace between men and women, only 24 CEO's are in charge of the Standards and Poor's 500 biggest publically held companies. In 2000 only 6 had female chief executive officers. See article by Jeff Green, "This is Not a Trend: More women are in top corporate jobs -- just not ones that lead to the corner office -- 'It's very hard to move from a functional job to a CEO job'," Businessweek, Sep. 1-7, 201, p. 19-20 posted online Aug. 28, 2014 as "Why the Next Mary Barra May Be a Long Time Coming"

Also of interest in the same issue is the article by Josh Eidelson, "Washington Struggles to Get Gay Rights Right," Businessweek, Sep. 107, 2014, p. 29-30 posted online Aug. 28, 2014 as "Marriage: Some Federal Agencies Still Don't Recognize Same-Sex Marriages".

See previous posts and other links below:

Sous vide cooking article by former Microsoft CTO in engineering magazine

hi-tech oven by Nathan Myhrvold IEEE Spectrum Jul. 2014, p. 36-37

PHOTO: a sous vide style of a high technology oven designed for a better way of cooking is described in the computer and electrical engineering magazine article by Nathan Myhrvold, "Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe for a Better Oven. We cook our food using technology invented to bake bricks -- We can do a lot better," IEEE Spectrum, July 2014, p. 6, 36-40, 54-56. Nathan Myhrvold is the former chief technology officer of Microsoft and author of the book Nathan Myhrvold, "Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking" (2011).

I recently started experimenting with sous vide style of cooking by placing food in sealable plastic cooking bags that can be immersed in boiling water, but instead of boiling the water I heat it precisely to the food safety temperature, for example 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so that steaks can be cooked perfectly without being over done or unsafe to eat. I started doing this for two reasons. First, my local food suppliers have become sloppier and even steaks done on a grill can make me sick if they were not overcooked and secondly, I want to experience the joys of sous vide cooked food that I learned about from several internationally famous chefs.

I am sure that my father would find this interesting because he had a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and spent decades helping "Betty Crocker" at General Mills engineer several new food designs that are still in production today.

Nathan Myhrvold has done the quintessential Silicon Valley proposal (or Silicon Forest if you are a true blue Microsoft person living in Seattle, Washington like he was) by proposing a new type of oven that would make it much easier to do sous vide and other types of advanced cooking techniques he describes in his article.

My current oven is 20 years old and the timer has broken, therefore I would be a prime customer for such a beast if somebody would make it. Of course, I can guess it would be hard to market to most people because few people understand the technology and few cookbooks exist that would make it easy to do.

Medical journal in 1888 reports FTM as 'sexual perversion' case

FTM in The Medical Standard, Chicago, August, 1888, Vol. IV No. 2, p. 60

PHOTO: An 1888 medical journal reported that a female-to-male (FTM) discovered in prison as being a case of "sexual perversion." Source: "State Items, Iowa," The Medical Standard, Chicago, August, 1888, Vol. IV No. 2, p. 60 (see p. 265 of 431 in the PDF scanned version downloaded from Google Books). For digging up this and other interesting documents, a hat tip to Jim Burroway, "The Daily Agenda for Sunday, August 10, 'Transman Discovered In Iowa Prison Hospital: 1888'" boxturtlebulletin.com posted Aug. 10, 2014

GOOGLE BOOKS: p. 60 of an 1888 medical journal that reported a female-to-male (FTM) discovered in prison as being a case of "sexual perversion." "State Items, Iowa," The Medical Standard, Chicago, August, 1888, Vol. IV No. 2, p. 60 (see p. 265 of 431 in the PDF scanned version downloaded from Google Books).

Speaking of interesting source material, Tim Campbell recently sent me the following link: Minnesota Reflections, Minnesota Digital Library search "Minnesota Newspapers Collection ". Kathy Robbins at the Tretter Collection says the order of the issues is not very intuitive, but you can do various searches. See Blog by Tim Campbell, "GLC Voice Headlines," glcvoice.blogspot.com - Headlines of news articles and briefs in the GLC Voice newspaper from 1979 to 1992 in chronological order. The GLC Voice newspaper served gays, lesbians and civilized others in the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas. The press run was 15,000 copies twice monthly. 11" x 15" format. Free copies were placed in racks in public buildings, university campuses, restaurants and gay bars throughout central Twin Cities. Also see Blog by "Tim Campbell speaks out," timcampbellxyx.blogspot.com - Articles and photos on a variety of topics by Tim Campbell, former publisher and editor of the GLC Voice Newspaper published in Minneapolis from 1979 through 1992 for the gay community.

Also in the blog post by Jim Burroway, "The Daily Agenda for Sunday, August 10," boxturtlebulletin.com posted Aug. 10, 2014 was a birthday link to Andrew Sullivan: born 1963, who is rare gay conservative like the former OSU Professor W. Dorr Legg, who was a homophile movement activist in the 1950s and the founder of the present-day Log Cabin Republicans gay political group.

Finally, a Portland, Oregon gay newspaper reporter described how his college search did not include considering the LGBTQ friendliness of each school and he noted how PQ had previously reported "Portland State was recognized as one of the top 25 LGBT friendly colleges in America, according to the Campus Pride Campus Climate Index." (See TJ Acena, PQ Monthly, "So What Universities are Friendliest to Queer Kids?," pqmonthly.com posted Aug. 8, 2014 and also see previous post OSU topped by University of Oregon in 'party school' ranking (8/7/14))

These types of school rankings are always fun entertainment, but they inevitably leave out many good schools because the rankings are usually heavily biased by how enthusiastic the students and staff members of each school are in organizing support for the groups and filling out the surveys used to rank colleges. In my experience, this can vary greatly from year to year, based on the students and staff involved, even though the actual quality of the school hasn't changed.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Silicon Valley tech bro is not anti-gay marriage

Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Aug. 11-24, 2014, cover

PHOTO: magazine cover illustrating a Silicon Valley "tech bro" for a cover story on the culture of young high-tech computer designers in Silicon Valley, California who are so "politically correct" they forced an executive to resign after it was revealed that he contributed money in support of an anti-gay marriage measure on the ballot in California. See p. 52 of the print edition article by Joel Stein, "In Defense of the Silicon Valley Tech Bro. Arrogant, Entitled and annoyingly indispensable," Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Aug. 11-24, 2014, cover, p. 46-52, published online as "Arrogance Is Good: In Defense of Silicon Valley," businessweek.com posted Aug. 7, 2014

"Silicon Valley has its own politics, too. Call it liberalitarian (sic). The fact that liberal and libertarian positions sometimes conflict -- smaller government and gun control, helping the poor, deregulating industries --doesn't bother most, since they think about politics so rarely. When they do, it's generally to prove who is the more politically correct. Mozilla co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Brendan Eich was discovered in April to have given $1,000 to support California's anti-gay marriage proposition back in 2008. He was forced to resign. That doesn't happen in the fast-food chicken industry." (Quoted from Joel Stein, "In Defense of the Silicon Valley Tech Bro. Arrogant, Entitled and annoyingly indispensable," Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Aug. 11-24, 2014, cover, p. 46-52, published online as "Arrogance Is Good: In Defense of Silicon Valley," businessweek.com posted Aug. 7, 2014)

Bill & Dave by Michael S. Malone book cover PHOTO: The native California granddaddies of Silicon Valley, who hated the stuffy and formal back east companies they had known, cultivated a casual dress culture in the company they formed. Dave Packard loved wearing a Western bolo tie and he aped the Colorado Western cowboy spirit. See the book by Michael S. Malone, "Bill & Dave: How Hewlett and Packard Built the World's Greatest Company," Portfolio Penguin Group, 2007 about Hwelett-Packard compnay founders William Hewlett and David Packard.(Note: Bill Hewlett lived 1913-2001 and Dave Packard lived 1912-1996). See previous post Bill & Dave by Michael S. Malone (5/22/07)

As someone who spent three years working in Silicon Valley, I became acquainted with the casual California culture, which is in stark contrast to the formal suit-and-tie dress codes I encountered working for companies "Back East," which is a phrase West Coasters often use to refer to people east of the Rocky Mountains. (Note: rightwing politicians love to call Californians and Oregonians the "Left Coast" as a derisive reference to libertarian or liberal politics. Of course, I always like to remind them Oregon voters banned gay marriage and also remind them where Republican President Ronald Reagan started his career, amongst all those Hollywood liberals in California.

When I was working in Silicon Valley two decades ago, it was still dominated by the hardware integrated chip and computer guys who were designing the computers we use today. Software designers had an important role, but they were not in charge and often had no background in engineering or science as did most all silicon chip designers. In fact, many software people had only liberal arts degrees and considered themselves artists and not engineers. After the dot com bubble occurred a decade ago, the young, arrogant and so-called "dot snots" who had taken over in Silicon Valley, experienced their first big failure and humbling before they rose up from the ashes and created the current Silicon Valley cloud computing technology that has been embraced by everyone world-wide and is best epitomized by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who popularized social networking -- something that a stereotypical anti-social computer nerd and hardware engineer would have never done.

It is interesting how the debate between liberal vs. conservative vs. libertarian is an old one -- the former Oregon State University Professor W. Dorr Legg considered himself a conservative, and even founded the present day gay Log Cabin Republicans, but many people labeled him as more a libertarian because he was a pioneering co-founder of the gay homophile movement that pre-dated Stonewall in 1969. See previous post "Gay marriage discussion in 1953 vs. 1963 and today" (12/16/13).

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Out gay Rachel Maddow Tops men in cable TV salary

TV Guide Magazine, Aug. 25-31, 2014, p. 27 PHOTO: the out gay lesbian woman Rachel Maddow earns $7,000,000 per year for doing her MSNBC cable TV "The Rachel Maddow Show," which tops the salaries of some closeted straight men (i.e. heterosexual men who are presumably straight and have never come out as being heterosexual, such as Shepard Smith) in cable TV news, but not the salary of the Republicans' favorite rightwing conservative Bill O'Reilly, who makes $18,000,000 per year for doing "The O'Reilly Factor" on the Republican's favorite rightwing Fox News Channel on cable TV and talk radio. Note that the bigger cable TV network CNN pays the out and gay Anderson Cooper $11,000,000,000 per year -- is this due to sexism or just business reasons? (Source: TV Guide Magazine, Aug. 25-31, 2014, p. 27)

Less than 10 years ago, the only political opinion shows on talk radio and cable TV were rightwing Republican, "every man for himself" types who blindly supported the Bush Administration's policies of anti-gay marriage, big spending on waging wars and eliminating government regulations, which allowed Wall Street to cause a banking collapse and the Great Recession, which Republicans are now trying to blame on President Obama.

During the 2004 election year, when President George W. Bush was reelected, a few Democrats bankrolled the now defunct "Air America Radio" in an attempt to counter Bill O'Reilly and other successful talk shows that spread the conservative ideas of smaller government and individual liberty. Air America Radio had only a shoestring budget and so two of the hosts hired for cheap were the unknown Rachel Maddow and an unemployed "Saturday Night Live" TV show cast member and writer, Al Franken, and both of them did a heroic job countering Republican propaganda prior to the election of President Barack Obama.

Unfortunately, Air America Radio was unable to pay their bills and some its talent moved on to MSNBC TV on cable and local stations, but Al Franken took action and got himself elected as a Democratic Senator from the State of Minnesota. Rachel Maddow moved on to the then new and fledgling MSNBC (originally created by Microsoft and NBC TV network) and she has clearly become a success as an opinion leader in liberal Democratic circles.

It is amazing to think that less than 50 years ago it was forbidden to even mention the word homosexual, except in the context of a criminal investigation against suspected un-American homosexuals and Communists, and here we are today where both a gay woman lesbian can compete successfully against men who would have dismissed her just a generation ago.

This should give everyone hope that no matter how oppressive things are politically, there is always the hope and possibility that things can change for the better in terms of justice and equality for humans who are created equally in the eyes of the U.S. Constitution and law.

One final unrelated comment about the "new" design for the print edition of the TV Guide Magazine, which I hope to blog on later -- print publications are declining in circulation as the internet takes over, but older people are still reading printed magazines, therefore I was shocked to hear that the TV Guide decided to save money by shrinking its page size and type size, making it harder for their best customers to read. Other print magazines are also making this same mistake, which will only accelerate their demise. It reminds me of how shopping malls destroyed city downtown retail stores and now these same shopping malls are being destroyed by internet shopping, but the retail survivors have figured out how to cater to their best customers and stay in business.