: High on the Hog Blog
Purveyor of Idle Observation

Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at

iPhone Goes for a Swim, Survives

Via engadget. This has got to be the best advertisement Apple never made. Read the rest of this entry »

President Renu Khator Discusses the Future of the University of Houston

John David Powell, Director of Communication for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and editor of Graffit-e, the electronic newsletter of the college interviews Renu Khator, Chancellor of the University of Houston System and President of the University of Houston, on the state of UH and her vision for the future.

Part 1 of 3 videos embedded below:
Read the rest of this entry »

Competitive Dog Jumping Hits Houston This Weekend

DockDogs rolled into Houston today. One of the downsides of an office overlooking Discovery Green is that when something really interesting comes along you’re supposed to try to ignore it. But who can ignore dogs jumping 22-24 feet in Extreme Vertical, Speed Retrieve and Big Air events? It’s going on all weekend. Details over yonder.

Photo: Photine

Photo: Photine

Paul Simon sings Late in the Evening with the Roots and the Antibalas Afrobeat horns

I’m not big on the late night talk scene, but I might have to start keeping an ear to the ground if stuff like this is going to turn up there on a regular basis. Jimmy Fallon’s new gig had Paul Simon sing Late in the Evening, backed by his house band the Roots and the horn section from the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra.

Microsoft Bing: The Decider of Search Engines, Saving Us from Confusing Keywords and Queries

I saw my first Bing commercial this morning (embedded below). For the uninitiated, Bing is Microsoft’s latest do-over attempt at making a search engine to compete with Google. I haven’t used Bing long enough to make any evaluation on its quality. It looks for all the world to be just another search engine. The ads, however, are so techno-culturally tone-deaf that I had to watch it twice to figure out it wasn’t (1) one of GM’s ‘rally cap’ reinvention spots or (2) a parody:

Some highlights:

While everyone was searching there was bailing. While everyone was lost in the links, there was collapse.

There you have it – it was not a faulty regulatory structure, business cycles, or ethical lapses that allowed the current economic malaise, but an overuse of search engines.

“We don’t need queries and keywords if they bring back questions and confusion.”

Ah yes, my old search engine often responded to my search queries with questions of its own. I found this confusing because I start to think it’s ME that’s the search engine and I worry that my index isn’t up to date. Phew, glad that’s fixed.

I’m also very excited that this new ‘decision-engine’ doesn’t need queries or keywords. Apparently if you go to and stare at it long enough it reads your mind.

Starting today, we need the right information to make the right decisions. Decisions to make us feel right, decisions that help us get to the right place, at the right time, even if it’s right around the corner. And we need to make decisions about what the right stuff is. Right now, it’s time for the one and only 100% engineered to cut through the crap decision engine. Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, it’s time to Bing and decide.

So Bing, is “the decider” of search engines. I don’t see how that can go wrong.
Perhaps Microsoft has uncovered a previously unknown but deep-seated desire among internet users to have their decisions made for them rather than suffer through the presentation of ‘information’?

The second commercial attacks the inexplicable refusal of search engines to do anything about homonyms.

I’m particularly grateful that they will remove “Johann Sebastian Bach” from the results of my search queries for “back pain”. I hate it when that happens.

Thankfully Microsoft has also sought the services of advertisers who bother to tell you what Bing is supposed to be or do for you (below). I still doubt I’ll ever find a reason to use it but at least now I know.

Whither the Music Business

I got to hang around the apartment for the first time in a while with nothing pressing to do but run through some music blogs and catch up on what’s happening. I was also sort of half-watching the 2006 documentary Before the Music Dies on Hulu (embedded below):

It began to dawn on me how much had changed even since Before the Music Dies came out. After waxing nostalgic and the standard artist/label horror stories (Doyle Bramhall was the posterchild) it moves to Napster and MySpace with some indie-power-to-the-people-be-true-to-yourself optimism. In a two-hour span, I went through a couple of hundred posts from mp3 blogs, MySpace pages and mp3 aggregators like hypemachine, pandora and, downloaded a few DRM free albums from Amazon and some tracks on iTunes (giftcard)… and all this in boxers.

There’s a certain amount that’s wrong with that – some concessions to convenience that I don’t have to have the album in my hand, that it takes more and more to get me out to a live show these days, that I’ll put up with MP3 sound quality – on the other hand I just checked out about 50 new artists I’d never heard of before today. Read the rest of this entry »