Critical Section

QE filter pass

Tuesday,  06/30/15  09:11 PM

Wow, Q2 is done!  Whew.  And onward ... spent the day coding, riding, and bitcoin-ing.  And now blogging...

It's quite fun glancing through a Flight of past quarter end posts ... many of them report I'm getting ready to watch the Tour.  Which I am!  Cannot wait, this year should be a good one.

Apple Music - is iTunes dead?Slate says The iTunes Era is Over.  "Apple Music is here, and you might never buy a song again."  That might be true, but it might not be because of Apple Music, it might be because of Slacker, Pandora, Spotify, etc.  So I installed IOS 8.4 immediately, and tried Apple Music immediately.  And got pretty confused immediately.  Could not figure out the difference between My Music, For You, New, and Radio (which has my music, including new stuff, for me ...).  Will need to experiment a little.  I did try listening to Beats1, a button for which takes up most of the initial screen.  Not bad, until it was, and then I immediately looked for Next.  Ha!  Radio ... oh yeah, no Next button. 

My first impression has been reinforced.  Back to Slacker for me (the Machine Head channel :)

Arctic Sea Ice 2010-2014Gerald Vanderleun: The Eight Stages of Scam.  References the Great Cholesterol Scam 1955-2015, and compares it to the Great Global Warming Scam.  The core observation is that those pushing the scam are not interested in truth, they are interested in profiting from a crisis.

An interesting note from Justice Thomas, in his dissent on the Obergefell Supreme Court case: "The Court’s decision today is at odds not only with the Constitution, but with the principles upon which our Nation was built.  Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action, not entitlement to government benefits."  I'm entirely in favor of LGBT Marriages, but they should be construed as contracts between consenting adults, not licenses issued by the state.

Related: Love Among the Ruins.  "The barbarians are at our gates. But inside our offices, schools, churches, synagogues and homes, we are posting photos of rainbows on Twitter.  It’s easier to Photoshop images of Justice Scalia as Voldemort than it is to stare evil in the face."

I'm equally guilty; today's big news was Greece defaulting on a €245B IMF loan, and I'm posting about a new music service.  (I did build a Bitcoin client from scratch today, does that count?)

Voyager 1Interesting question: Why didn't Voyager visit Pluto?  "Astronomers decided that in order to optimize their science at Saturn, they'd need an orbit that brought Voyager 1 up close with Titan.  But that flyby also would put Pluto out of reach after the spacecraft lifted out of our solar system’s ecliptic plane."  Hence New Horizons, a new spacecraft which is visiting Pluto ... in a couple of weeks!

Brad Feld: Oracle's Java API suit against Google - Five Years Later.  "It’s not as messy as the Greek debt crisis but directionally similar. And it’s far from over."

Mark Suster:  Do Less.  More.  Okay.  This seems like a good variation on "focus", with which I entirely agree.

Cory Doctorow:  Why I'm Leaving London.  "The short version is that we want to live in a city that's a livable place to work, where we can raise our family, and where we can run our respective small businesses."  How interesting...  He's moving to LA!  Welcome :)

 

timeline

Sunday,  06/28/15  12:10 PM


I love it

I've been reading a lot about space lately - Ashlee Vance's Elon Musk biography, which is excellent, by the way, a must-read for all of you (!), and Robert Zubrin's The Case for Mars, also excellent, despite having first been written in 1996 and updated in 2011, both following on Andy Weir's wondeful The Martian - and I'm struck by the moving timeline between Science (what we know how to do today) and Science Fiction (what we wish we could do tomorrow).

Onward!

 

Friday,  06/26/15  12:30 PM

Spent yesterday coding and the evening sailing (on my rejuvenated C-15).  What could be better?  In the meantime:

ancient hourglassesAt part of my Bitcoin investigations, I've been perusing the writings of Nick Szabo, inventor of Smart Contracts.  (In case you're interested, I've translated his IEEE presentation on this subject from WordPerfect Presentations (!) into PDF...)  Among other things, Nick is rumored to *be* Satoshi Nakamoto.  

Nick has a blog called Unenumerated, and comments on a very underrated invention.  (Hourglasses)  For a longer treatment of the same subject, see A Measure of Sacrifice, in which the measure of time is seen to be important as a measure of investment and created value.

congressional cooperationThis is pretty depressing; 62 years of congressional cooperation in a single GIF. The red and blue dots represent congresspeople, and the lines indicate "cooperation", as measured by voting the same way on pending legislation.

It is interesting to speculate, what has caused this decrease in cooperation?  There are no doubt many reasons, but I suspect mass media is the biggest factor.  Politicians on both sides have been polarized...

Apropos: John Hindraker on Politics in the Era of Symbolic Liberalism.  John posts from a right-wing stance, but it can equally be argued from the other side.  Appearances have become far more important than actions.

Also apropos (or at least, related), James Lileks: The only reason Apple pulled Civil War apps from the store was fear of the Internet.  That is to say, fear of appearances.  "The loud people may complain. The company would have to explain. An explanation would be seen as a justification."

Note: they have not yet pulled WWII apps, despite the undoubted symbols of hatrid (swasticas etc) present...

Philip Greenspun considers Apple Music: A good reminder not to listen to computer scientists.  "Certainly nobody predicted that a company such as Apple would be able to take 30 percent of the recording industry’s revenue because the record companies were incapable of setting up their own servers."  How interesting, right?

remove cat before flight :)To more fun matters ... Have you see this?  Remove cat before flight.  I love it!  (Such a classic cat move, right?:)

Brad Feld wonders Why isn't PGP built into Gmail?  Yeah, good point.  In fact, why isn't PGP standard everywhere?  I've been having a discussion with friends which *might* lead to IP, and we're having it on Slack instead of email, to keep it private. 

Jeffrey Zeldman: Deep Tweets No 613664902180413440.  "Usability testing doesn't reveal problems in your product so much as it uncovers arrogance in your thinking."  Indeed.

 

landing rockets

Thursday,  06/25/15  10:59 PM

From SpaceX: the Why and How of Landing Rockets.  Seriously cool, both the content and the fact that this company chooses to share this kind of information about what they are doing, and why.  The article includes this amazing video of their last attempt, which was -> <- this close to being successful:

(please click to play video)

Their next attempt is on Sunday, as part of an ISS resupply mission; I'll be watching live and rooting for them!

 

Monday,  06/22/15  09:23 PM

Working away on several fronts... and blogging...

Escher: Drawing Hands aka C compilerLove this drawing by Escher, "Drawing Hands", aka the C Compiler.  One of my very favorites from one of my very favorites.  (Found via the Flight feature, in this post from 2003, regarding a Google Doodle which celebrated Escher's birthday...)

Hunter Thompson, on Finding your Purpose.  I think this is legit, but even if it isn't, it's great.

Scott "Dilbert" Adams: the famous quote I never said.  In which the distinction is made between Art and Design.

Digital GoldInteresting book review on Ars Technica: Digital Gold (how Silicon Valley and Wall Street arrived at a new gold rush called Bitcoin).  I'm super intrigued by Bitcoin.  {Thanks for the feedback on Bitcoin 101, and stay tuned for Bitcoin 102 :) }

Apropos Bitcoin: A space lawyer explains how we'll forge a civil society off Earth.  There will be blockchain.

Google confirms acquisition of Agawi, with technology for streaming native mobile apps.  I think this just makes all kinds of sense, the "find in App store and then download" model is so broken.  Mobile needs a "click address and run" model just like web pages.

Route 50: America's Loneliest RoadRoute 50: Driving America's 'Loneliest Road'.  "There are no points of interest. We don’t recommend it...  We warn all motorists not to drive there, unless they’re confident of their survival skills."  Sounds compelling, somehow.

Could not agree more with Glenn Reynolds, who links Facebook tries yet again to un-screw-up the News Feed, and comments "why not roll it back to the way it was in 2009?"  *Everyone* I know just wants to see all the posts from all their friends, in chronological order.

Snoop Dogg for Twitter CEO?Snoop Dogg for CEO of Twitter.  Click through, it's not such a terrible idea.  "The most important decision I’ve made in business? The choices of people I have around me."  Well, yeah.

The new, new economy is a little weird: AirBnB is now worth more than Marriott.  I get the value of services like Uber and AirBnB that connect consumers to people with excess capacity, but the service itself doesn't seem like it would be as valuable as the capacity.  This feels frothy...

Munich courtyard stairsFrom Inhabitat: Unique and Spectacular Staircases.  They are both!  Yay.  (So, Scott Adams, are these Art or Design? :)

 

 

Galapagos: island animals

Thursday,  06/18/15  10:58 PM

A beautiful advertising campaign for the islands of Galapagos, from Ecuador, showing the islands imagined as large animals.

I already had the Galapagos on my bucket list, this might bump the position up a little :)

 

 

Wednesday,  06/17/15  08:25 PM

The Ole filter makes a pass...

So, apparently the Warriers have captured the NBA title.  And I have apparently successfully avoided the entire basketball season, college and pro.  Not sure why that happened, but I'm not sorry.  Huh.

NASA: we're headed for Europa!NASA says we're headed for Jupiter's moon Europa.  Excellent, a fine choice.  Next stop after that can be Titan :)

Canada, tomorrow's superpower.  Hmmm, feels like that needs a question mark.  They definitely have natural resources, good government, and a good culture.  But what about the financial resources to defend themselves?  Seems like geography is helpful, but so is their big brother to the South...

Facebook Moments AppMoments, a new Facebook App for privately sharing photos.  Fascinating idea, can't wait to try it.  I've often thought this would be useful...

This is just beyond weird: Invitation to a microaggression.  "The University of California, headed now by former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, has gone insane with political correctness.  The confirmation comes via its new 'faculty training guide,' which has conveniently listed some microaggressions to be avoided in the classroom, including: 'I believe the most qualified person should get the job.'"  This pendulum has most definitely swung too far to the left.

in defense of FarenheitI love this: in defense of Farenheit.

massive excavator assembles hotdogYou must watch this: massive excavator assembles hot dog.  Somehow, this is an ad for gas station hot dogs, not how damn good of a job that excavator is doing.


 

the amphibious folding planeFinally!  The FDA says you can have your amphibious folding plane.  To infinity, and beyond!

 

two kinds of people

Wednesday,  06/17/15  08:19 PM

I love this blog: 2 kinds of people*.  Subscribed!

Here are some excellent examples:


 


 


 


 

* I'm tempted to note, there are 10 kinds of people, those who understand binary, and those who don't ... but I won't.

 

VS 2013: we can all agree on ugly

Tuesday,  06/16/15  11:20 AM

Visual Studio icon evolutionI just installed Microsoft Visual Studio 2013.  Man, is it ugly.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,
but we can all agree on ugly

This "flat" trend in computer user interfaces where we have primary colors, no shading, no affordances, no visual features of any kind has to have bottomed out now, right?  Hopefully the pendulum will swing back and we can have pretty user interfaces that are easier to use again.

I have been messing around with Bitcoin, as you know, and decided it would be "fun" to build a full Bitcoin node from scratch.  The latest version for Windows, as checked into Github, uses VS2013, so I figured why not install it.  (My everyday version of Visual Studio is 2010.)  So I did.  And so I hate the way it looks.

Here's VS 2013, in all its flat glory:

Visual Studio 2013

For comparison, here's Visual Studio 2010, open on the same project:

Visual Studio 2010

See what I mean?  There is shading, the buttons look like buttons, the scrollbars look like sliders, etc.  VS2010 was not only better looking, but easier to use.  For further comparison, here's my previous go-to version, good old VS2005:

Visual Studio 2005

I will say that VS2008 was an improvement over VS2005, but only by a little.  (I did like the window interface of VS2005 better than the tabbed interface of VS2008, but that's another story.)  And going even further back, here's Visual Basic 6, part of the version of Visual Studio which was released in 2000:

Visual Basic 6 (2000)

Yep, that fifteen-year-old user interface is better looking than VS2013.  Blech.

Even the VS2013 icon is ugly!  Check out the icon evolution at the top of this post.  I'm surprised they didn't just use a purple rectangle, but maybe that will come in VS2015.

 

 

Monday,  06/15/15  11:57 PM

It's the Water, under reconstruction...A great day, as me and my good friend Mark performed "geriatric surgery" to extend the life of my 36-year old racing sailboat... and meanwhile, let's see what else is going on:

This is so real (and actually kind of funny): Jerry Seinfeld and the Progressive Comedy Pause.  "Tell a joke to a liberal. Between your punchline and his laughter, there is a Progressive Comedy Pause. In this second or two, the liberal will process the joke to make sure he is allowed to laugh..."  Hehe :) 

Consider who turned the crazy machine up to 11?

Although perhaps not that funny, because: liberals are the most easily offended and the least tolerant.

Consider this cartoon; I think it's funny, but perhaps a Progressive would have to think about it for a while to decide whether they're allowed to laugh.  Go ahead, you know you want to...

O'Reilly: Consensual Reality.  "We're on the cusp of an era in which each of us perceives the world around us differently because of technology."  Yep, and Visual Search is going to be a big part of it.

9to5 Mac wonders Will the launch of Apple Music mark the beginning of the end for Spotify?  Hmmm...  well you already know what I think.

drone flyover of the Tesla GigafactoryThis is way cool: Tesla-approved drone flyover of the Gigafactory.  Wow.

Paul Ford: What is Code?  A delightful rumination that manages to hit a bunch of nails on the head.  Read it when you have a few minutes to ponder.

Why 82,000 is an extraordinary number.  A little nerdy, but who doesn't love numerology?

Good news from Apple: webkit content blockers.  Aka, we'll finally be able to have "Adblock for IOS".  If you ever surf on an iPad you immediately discover your desktop Adblock protects you from a whole world of crap.

the better selfie stick!And finally, a better kind of selfie stick.  I love it!

 

the canals of LA

Monday,  06/15/15  11:47 PM

Did you know Los Angeles used to have a bunch of canals?  Check it out: The Lost Canals of Venice of America.  Most of that area is now Marina Del Rey...

Amazing ... who knew?

 

 

flag day

Sunday,  06/14/15  11:01 PM

match raceToday was Flag Day, did you celebrate?  I did, by putting up a flag on our garage ... and then going sailing; ended up in a great match race with a long time friend.  Perfect.

Meanwhile, it's all happening...

announcing a new addition to the group rideHow cute is this?  An announcement from a friend and his wife: "announcing a new addition to the group ride".  Awww...

For you, and so I can find it later: GPSVisualizer.com.  The perfect way to "see" a ride once you have a GPX file for it.  Either a ride you've actually ridden - from the GPX file generated by your GPS - or a ride you're planning - from RideWithGPS.com, etc.  Very cool.

3D cycle route visualization from ITV4And speaking of ride visualizations, I've been watching the Criterium Dauphine, and ITV4 (a UK television channel) have a great way of showing a ride route in 3D.  Check this out!  Makes me think perhaps I could take a GPX file and figure out how to actually print the ride visualization on my 3D printer.  Stay tuned :)

By the way the Dauphine was a great stage race this year; congrats to Chris Froome for winning, and to Tejay Van Garderen for making it close.

the Martian, the movieAre you ready for The Martian, the movie?  I've raved about the book already - yes, you *must* read it - but now, looking at the trailer, this looks like it's going to be excellent.  Ridley Scott is the Director, by the way.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the Philae lander has woken up!  YAY.  You will remember, this is the little guy who landed on Comet 67/Churyumov seven months ago.  He landed on his side and ran out of power, but scientists were hopeful that as the comet orbited closer to the sun he'd rebuild power and wake up.  And this has apparently happened!

No word on what shirts the scientists were wearing when this happened :)

More space: Seven things to know about the New Horizons visit to Pluto.  Excellent!

Egyptian pyramids from the ISSThe perfect picture from the International Space Station.  Astronaut Terry Virts had been trying to take this picture of the Egyptian pyramids for 200 days, on his last day in space, he got it.  Wow.

 

bicycle day

Sunday,  06/14/15  10:52 PM

Bicycle Day, 2001You will have seen, last Thursday was Meg's graduation, but last Friday was equally as important; the fourteenth anniversary of Bicycle Day, the first day following Meg's open heart surgery in 2001 that she was allowed to ride a bike again.  I was just going through some old posts celebrating this, and wow, how those years have flown by.

This is a picture of me and Meg on the original bicycle day, off to take a ride :)

 

 

everything inflation

Sunday,  06/14/15  10:42 PM

If everyone is special, then noone is...I just noted Meg's graduation last week, which was awesome :)

Also impressive was the incredible "everything inflation" on display.  In her class of 570 students, 104 had 4.0 averages, and there were 35 valedictorians.  Roughly half of the kids graduating wore academic distinction sashes.  And the administrators literally bragged about how few kids failed to graduate.  Huh?

Ah ... when I was a kid ... getting a 4.0 was incredibly hard, only two students in my whole school were able to do it (I did not).  There was one (1) valedictorian.  And if you didn't pass all your classes, you simply did not move on to the next grade, no muss, no fuss. 

I think that was better.

 

Meg graduates!

Sunday,  06/14/15  09:46 PM

M.E. and meAnd so last Thursday Megan graduated high school, yay!  Our last one, now an "adult" and off to college...  quite a moment. 

There were the usual speeches, and as usual the students were a lot more interesting than the administrators.  I've just recently re-read The Most Human Human (great book!), and it struck me that indeed it is surprise which makes things interesting, and surprise was the difference between the students' speeches - which tended to focus on more specific things I didn't know - and the administrators', which were just blah blah blah platitudes about the students moving on to change the world.

Anyway in Megan's case I have no doubt that she *is* moving on to change the world; anyone who knows Meg knows this.

I couldn't be more proud of her; smart, self-confident, funny, beautiful, and interesting, in the sense of always being surprising, always having a new point of view, a new approach.


 

Westlake High School graduationAs I think about Meg's graduation, I think about all the other kids who graduated from her high school, and all the other high schools which had graduations.  So many people, all going through this critical transition from kids to adults.  For many of them it was one of the most important days in their lives so far, and they will no doubt remember them forever.

Having blogged for so long, I can also now remember Alexis' graduation, now four years ago, and Jordan's graduation, now (gasp!) eleven years past.  It does indeed bring tears to my eyes rereading those reports and reliving those days.

Onward!

 

 
 

Fairly recent posts:

06/30/15 09:11 PM -

QE filter pass

06/28/15 12:10 PM -

timeline

06/26/15 12:30 PM -

Friday,  06/26/15  12:30 PM

06/25/15 10:59 PM -

landing rockets

06/22/15 09:23 PM -

Monday,  06/22/15  09:23 PM

06/18/15 10:58 PM -

Galapagos: island animals

06/17/15 08:25 PM -

Wednesday,  06/17/15  08:25 PM

06/17/15 08:19 PM -

two kinds of people

06/16/15 11:20 AM -

VS 2013: we can all agree on ugly

06/15/15 11:57 PM -

Monday,  06/15/15  11:57 PM

06/15/15 11:47 PM -

the canals of LA

06/14/15 11:01 PM -

flag day

06/14/15 10:52 PM -

bicycle day

06/14/15 10:42 PM -

everything inflation

06/14/15 09:46 PM -

Meg graduates!

06/12/15 05:08 PM -

Bitcoin 101

06/09/15 11:26 AM -

the Apple music mess

06/08/15 09:09 PM -

awesome Ceres flyover

06/07/15 07:09 PM -

re Caitlin

06/07/15 06:26 PM -

Sunday,  06/07/15  06:26 PM

06/07/15 06:01 PM -

beautiful Grimm reality

06/06/15 07:38 PM -

mixed mates (NY 5/18/15)

06/06/15 05:26 PM -

Saturday,  06/06/15  05:26 PM

06/06/15 05:02 PM -

whining about wine point inflation

06/03/15 10:57 PM -

magic storefront

06/02/15 06:50 PM -

SciPunk nostalgia

06/01/15 12:14 PM -

me me click me

06/01/15 09:19 AM -

June gloom?

05/30/15 10:38 PM -

Saturday,  05/30/15  10:38 PM

05/30/15 10:19 PM -

extra time

For older posts please visit the archive.

 

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