2007-09-25 Geek Dinner: Ed Bott in Kirkland Center

I was thrilled to learn that writer Ed Bott would be in the Redmond gravity well, having a Geek Dinner in nearby Kirkland Center.   Not living near the epicenter, I have to plan cometary approaches from my West Seattle Oort zone via clever public-transit routings.  In this case, it was great to arrive in the center of suburban Kirkland with its delightful town center, reminiscent of the pedestrian centers that are common in parts of California.  Having been a fan of the books and blogs that Bott publishes regularly, I had a little list of questions and topics for this greet-and-meet opportunity.  I was also delighted that this was the second recent Geek Dinner that Media Center guru Charlie Owen organized.

Unpredictedly, this turned out to be a small, casual pizza dinner that extended past closing to the Starbucks at the corner.  Beside myself and Charlie Owen (not pictured), there were BjarneD, bringing a server-side performance slant to the conversations, and Intel’s Alan Cheslow, with long experience in digital media.  Ed Bott was still decompressing from the strenuous fact-checking series that he’s concluded on how DRM actually works in Vista

The conversation naturally revolved around digital media, its protection, and the different business models that do or do not work now and may work less in the future.  One interesting question was whether music (e.g., radio and MP3s) and video (e.g. television and movies) are comparable in terms of how listeners and viewers rely on the different forms.

This was the same day that Amazon MP3 was announced, so we had little information yet.  There was discussion of Media Center, Media Extenders, the soon-to-arrive Windows Home Server, and Vista, always Vista on my mind. 

Afterwards, I had a difficult time with my few photos. I had some setting problems with my camera and flash that led to extreme ruddiness of the kind that only medical journals might prefer. I struggled to clean up the images but the result is still unsatisfying. It is clear that the Nikon D80 "vivid" setting doesn’t work so well under artificial lighting and high ISO setting. It looks like a kitchen science project for Mr. Wizard to figure out how to avoid this.

I’m pleased to have my Windows Vista Inside Out autographed now.  I have difficulty finding material in the tome, and I need to actually read it.  In addition, it didn’t dawn on me until this dinner that the obvious thing to do is put the PDF from the CD-ROM on my hard drive and let Windows Desktop Search provide full-text search into it.  That along with PDF search should be very handy.  Duhh.

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