The Productivity of Fewer Choices

I liked this piece switching by Bill Westerman on utilware about switching over to a Mac. What caught my eye were his points about the productivity of fewer choices:

You’ll be amazed at how few things there are to modify
I was the ultimate tweaker in Windows – registry entries, options menus, toolbar buttons – and was taken aback at how few things there are to tweak on the Mac. At first it seemed to be restrictive, but I’ve realized it has actually freed me to do things other than tweaking.

There isn’t as much stuff to buy for a Mac
If you go to the local Fry’s or Best Buy, you’ll find aisles and aisles of stuff for Windows, a few things (like USB Keys or mice) that work on both Windows and the Mac, and if you’re lucky, a crappy little shelf of Mac goodies. But you’ll also likely find that you don’t need to buy all that extra stuff, as a lot of it’s not necessary with the Mac.

You’ll get more things done
Once you get over the bouncy icons in the dock, and exploring all the built-in applications, you’ll probably end up spending a lot more time getting things done with your computer, and less time doing things to it.

Truth be told, we spend far too much time tweaking our computers and not enough time actually working. I’m not a massive Mac user, but this kind of post inspires me to spend more time on my rusting PowerBook.

Wine By Wi-Fi

The Wine Spectator Online (via Boingo Wi-Fi Insider) reports that a Sonoma, CA, vineyard is using Wi-Fi to monitor growing conditions at their site:

The system uses 40 wireless units on existing trellising posts around the 30-acre vineyard fitted with sensors that measure microclimate data such as soil and air temperature and moisture content, rainfall and leaf wetness. The data is bounced from sensor to sensor sans wires, forming what is known as a Mobile Ad-hoc Network (MANET), which requires less power and equipment than networks using wires or radio transmitters.

Real-time conditions in the vineyard can then be monitored on a secured Web site. Data can also be poured into a spreadsheet for long-term analysis. The information can help vineyard managers make decisions about when, where and how much to water vines or spray to control mildew.

The system sends alarms via instant messaging software or cellphone. The article quotes Bill Westerman, who works for Calif.-based Accenture Technology Labs which set up the project, as saying that the system could be used in manufacturing, retail and security. “The advantage to wireless is that it allows companies to go places where it was previously too difficult or expensive to run wires,” he said. “It can also be implanted in new products so they can automatically communicate with their manufacturer when there’s a problem.”