Bamboo cultivation can be a metaphor for life:
sometimes you have to pay attention, others you have to leave it alone to thrive by itself.
Bamboo, Taijiquan, living in Pittsburgh, part of the human family.

Monday, January 21, 2008

phyllostachys 81: Minute Tech 66 Show Transcript

66 - How do you organize information? Databases.

Good morning, this is Alex Landefeld with episode 65 of the Minute Tech podcast -

coming to you for Saturday, January 26th, 2008

On this tech podcast about the broader meanings of technology, we'll mention:

- HBO's got milk and India's going orbital;
- How do you organize information? Databases.
- Seesmic is setting itself apart by micro-vlogging.


Minute Tech podcast is brought to you by:

Pittsburgh-native Larry Tolbert, teaching taiji and qi gong. Having studied with Chen, Yang and Wu stylists, as well as Shaolin Wushu & Capoeira meistre's, sifu Larry Moves with the motion of the planet.
E-mail leonardtolbert-[at]-hotmail-[dot]-com for more info.


Ravelings by Carol. Pittsburgh-region classes in needle-craft - encompassing crochet, embroidery, knitting, & tatting, as well as an associated lace collection. For more information, contact Carol at carolb207-[at]-alltel-[dot]-net.

Tech News:

As certain fruity companies are expanding their movie download and rental options in conjunction with lowering the price of their streaming device while allowing the device to operate separately from a managing computer, other established players at rushing to offer similar capabilities. Gina Keating reports through Reuters that Time Warner's HBO will be launching tomorrow their "HBO on Broadband" service that will allow subscribers to download movies and television shows. HBO's initial launch for subscribers in parts of the State of Wisconsin will, in conjunction with HBO's On Demand service, allow for people to "time shift" their viewing, that is view content that broadcasts at a certain time at some other time of the day. With HBO on Broadband, time-shifters can use their personal computers & laptops to extend the viewing beyond the living room.

Separately, another staple of our daily diet, cow-produced milk, is increasingly coming from dairies that use growth hormones in their livestock to increase the production of bovine milk. The milk industry nearly succeeded in allowing milk producers to not label whether their milk is from growth-hormone treated cows...but Lisa Stein reports in that the State of Pennsylvania has stepped back from a labelling ban due to pressure from consumer advocacy groups who feel that consumers have a right to know whether the milk they're buying for themselves or their families have come from cows so treated. Many consumers may not pay attention to these issues...but many more do, and wish to curtail the infusion of potentially harmful substances into their diets. Of course, they could all just switch to soy milk...but even there you're them potentially dealing with GMO's in your crop products...

And finally, India's latest endeavour for it's 45-year-old space program has been to successfully launch a polar-orbit spy satellite for Israel. Facing increasing global competition from the ESA, NASA, Russian, Chinese and Ukranian space facilities, India is seeking to provide launch services to other countries in an estimated $2.5bn market. Similar to the services provided to Israel for their 300 kg satellite, India launched an Italian satellite in April of 2007 for a fee of $11M.

Show Note: This has been one interesting week - I started a new job with a web-development and marketing software company in Pittsburgh, Elliance, Inc., and the 1st-week process has thrown a small monkey-wrench into the production of this podcast. But, as I'm a flexible kinda guy, we'll see how both the new job and the podcast mold themselves together.

Two other events occurred which could help the overall podcasting effort: Podcamp Pittsburgh 3 had it's first preliminary meeting at Pittsburgh's Creative Treehouse this past week, where I learned that Minute Lit podcast co-host Dawn Papuga has also started a new employment gig...putting her just across the river from my new Minute Lit, or an evolutionary podcast could find its way to your ears. And secondly, Elliance's founder Abu Noaman wants us to "life-cast" or broadcast via the web the upcoming Elliance holiday party. Figuring out how to do this and how to promote it to the world in a way to bring the world to Elliance's doorstep is our next task. How would you do this for your company?

Stay tuned for related info on Seesmic in a few minutes.

Tech Question:

The Tech question for today: How do you organize information? Databases.

In the previous Minute Tech podcast, we talked about the oodles of information stored in computers that give us these environments to manage the computer - hard disk, memory, security, software systems, etc. - while we at a higher level do more fun things like type, crunch numbers, play games, surf networks for other information, send e-mail, manage files and collect external information. The environment is the disk operating system...and this environment is the result of huge amounts of text-based information creation, testing and storage by the global designers of computing systems. At the human interaction level, even more information is stored in the form of databases and programs that use database-like storage methods.

What is a database? A database is essentially a digital structure for holding information, just as a corncrib might store corn cobs or kernels -- though a database keeps information orderly contained such that each bit of information can be readily accessed, whereas corn in a crib can only be accessed by emptying the container and processing the contents as it empties.

When you check your e-mail, pull up your Quicken checkbook management software, run a web search engine query for images of cows, or search your document management system for all documents listed under your author code, you are using databases. Finance programs use them, search engines use them, DMS' use them, operating systems - most computer programs use some form of database.

What programs do you use on a regular basis that could contain an underlying database. Have you ever thought of your Word document as essentially a database for formatting text? That's what it is, though you only see the very high-level view. Have you ever thought as your company's website as a database? Even if your website is as simplistic as a collection of HTML pages linked together, that is a form of database, using the index.html file as the primary listing. But, if you run a business, then more likely your website really is governed by an underlying database, sometimes called a CMS, or Content Management System.

What databases do you use? Do you have questions about databases? send us a note at minutetech[at]gmail[dot]com.

Podcasting - Blogging News:

Hey, got my Seesmic invite earlier this week. I signed up at Seesmic this past monday morning under the username "alexlandefeld". What is Seesmic, you ask? Seesmic is a video micro blogging web app, started in San Francisco by French blogger Loic Le Meur and reaching around the world for content. What is micro blogging, you are probably wondering? Micro blogging involves the use of blogging in short snippets of text, as one does for Twitter, the ultimate in micro blogging. Twitter allows you to chunk your information in short 140-character segments, allowing users to post from the web, from their cellphones, from Facebook, etc.

Seesmic released short video's of itself starting up, video blogging the small enterprise, as a way to build interest in the micro-video-blogging idea, in the company, and to show people that video of such mundane activities could be interesting in itself. Of course, it helps that the whole company is built on blogging and creating video personalities and encouraging others to do the same. This is what sets them apart from other video sites: they're encouraging people to post short video blogs of anything and everything, including the business of life and the life of business. What could you video blog about? Remember, this social web thing is not so much about you....its about your voice in a community of voices, wherever that community may exist.

That's all for today on Minute Tech podcast.
you can reach me at -
and my blog is at

"Move with the motion of the planet - move with Taiji"

- HBO's got milk and India's going orbital;
- How do you organize information? Databases.
- Seesmic is setting itself apart by micro-vlogging.

Go to the Minute Tech iWeb page to subscribe or listen to this podcast: Minute Tech.

Interstitial music by Apple & Bre Pettis


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