Archive: June 2020

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Sunday,  06/07/20  11:50 PM

Today I blasted off into another great corner of California, the recently reopened Sequoia National Park, home of the world's largest trees (and hence, largest living things, period).  These majestic trees are just amazing, and they're surrounded by "ordinary" pine trees, so you can tell just how much bigger and awesomer they are.  Oh, and they're over 2,000 years old.  Yeah, the stories they can tell...

My weekend forays have given me some interesting data points about how people "out there" are handling the pandemic.  Today it was evident many things besides the National Park have reopened - like restaurants, there was a lot more traffic, and far fewer people are wearing masks.

I've often wondered: Why we refuse to spend much money on Apps.  "First is a principle called anchoring, or the idea that there is a sort of reference price for particular items, based on what else is available and how the first price was set."  Yep I get it.  Online everything is anchored to free. 

The very definition of contrarian: The Gospel According to Peter Thiel.  His central thesis is that we can improve ourselves and the world, a sort of anti-fate.  Very cool, and the comment thread is pretty interesting, too. 

Visual Capitalist: Do you know where your electricity comes from?  Hint: fossil fuels.  But you've watched Planet of the Humans, so you knew that already, right?  Another *great* graphic from this great blog...  (by all means, click through to enbiggen!) 

Via Reid Hoffman, this great framework for business strategy from Shishir Mehrotra: Four Myths of Bundling.  The whole notion of establishing value for abstract things is so ... weird.  Like Apps :) 

Chris Dixon: Why Decentralization Matters.  More insightful business philosophy.  Decentralized networks should win, but will they? 

This looks cool: 'Hardspace: Shipbreaker' is a puzzle-solving parable.  I'm rarely attracted to games (and often disappointed in the ones I try), but this looks like it might be worth a chance. 

Meanwhile, this demo of new Unreal game engine is unreal.  I found the spatial sound as impressive as the incredible lighting.  Virtual reality is definitely in the uncanny valley now. 

Eye, Robot: Artificial intelligence dramatically improves accuracy of classic eye exam.  Linked for the headline pun but also quite interesting; and click through if you want to take the eye test yourself :) 

Luca Stricagnoli brings us this unbelievable acoustic cover of Led Zep's Whole Lotta Love.  Well worth the three minutes - maybe six if, like me, you want to hear it again :) 

Finally: Is 2020 over yet?  This website will help you figure it out.



spacecraft UI

Wednesday,  06/10/20  12:52 PM


The evolution of spacecraft UI over time. 
Apollo - 1961-1972.  Shuttle 1981-2011.  Dragon: 2020-????



messing about in small boats, with little people

Saturday,  06/27/20  09:20 PM

Spent today as a Saturday should be spent, messing about in small boats, with my favorite little person.

To be repeated soon and often!


filter pass

Sunday,  06/28/20  09:55 PM

The Ole filter makes a pass ... looking back, it's been kind of a post-less June, sorry about that.  Not that I need an excuse, but I have a reason; last week / weekend we escaped for a wonderful loong Father's Day at Bacara, one of my very favorite places.  It's reopened in a careful way, yay.

Last week was Apple's virtual WWDC, and a lot of pretty real changes were announced, including the much-anticipated switch from Intel to Apple / ARM processors.  Serenity Caldwell serves up a great two-minute overview of all the announcements. 

Tidbits: the case for ARM-based Macs

I love this: Moths to the Flame.  "The International Moth remains the pinnacle of small-boat foiling, with devotees committed to 'the progression'."  After two years I am still on the first rungs of the ladder, but boy are they fun. 

Awesome: The return of the 90's web.  Serverside rendering, no-code tools, personal websites (!) ... crazy talk! 

Reid Hoffman: Forgot writing that business plan.  Design an experiment instead.  More crazy talk :) 

Hardly any "real" sports you say?  Yeah, but ... in Slovenia, they had an actual cycling race for their National Championship, wherein Primoz Roglic beat Tadej Pogacar.  Slovenia just happens to have two of the top cyclists in the world, and also, no Covid cases. 

Eric Raymond: A user story about user stories.  "Design by user story is not a technique for generating code, it's a technique for changing your mind."  When ESR talks, people listen. 

Here we have 'Take on Me', performed in Excel.  Just when you think you've seen it all, you realize "it all" is so much more than you thought. 

Take note: Facebook on fact-checking political statements.  "We will protect political speech, even when we strongly disagree with it."  So that's good, but I can't help noticing the royal "we".  Stay tuned. 

James Lileks wonders: "Have you ever asked yourself if there's something you can say today that you will not say next week?"  Yes.  The most worrisome thing about today's political climate is the number of things one cannot say.  All opinions matter. 

As Instapundit notes: "we've moved from 'Blazing Saddles could not be made today' to 'No one will be allowed to watch Blazing Saddles'.

One more: John Cleese on extremism.  "Hard to tell if I recorded this 30 years or 10 minutes ago."  Notably and encouragingly, linked by Boing Boing and Kottke, among many others. 

Very seldom have I laughed this hard: if Frazer Crane were still in Seattle

YES!  Almost Famous cast and creators reunite for a 20th anniversary podcast series.  My very favorite movie of all time.  To this day, when a waiter asks if I want sparkling or still water, I yell: "STILLWATER!" 

Finally this blast from the past: 13 years ago Walt Mossberg reviewed the original iPhone.  "One of the most important trends in personal technology over the past few year has been the evolution of the humble cellphone into a true handheld computer."  Good call.



deep dive

Tuesday,  06/30/20  11:53 PM

The Visual Capitalist takes a deep dive into the world's oceans, lakes, and drill holes:

Excellent (click through to enbiggen).  What's most surprising to you?  I found the fact that the trenches - the so-called "Hadal Zone" - are so much deeper than the oceans as a whole (which are also deep).  And also, David Bowie and Freddy Mercury :)



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