http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_12/026869.php Ah sweet old Republicans: "Screw bipartisanship; we're playing hardball until we get what we want on tax cuts for the wealthy." They are so unfit to govern -- actually, it's more like they just refuse.
"Time exists in order that everything doesnít happen all at onceÖand space exists so that it doesnít all happen to you." --Susan Sontag
Youtube Skimming Enterprise "Mirror Darkly"; always like "elseworlds" stuff; TOS Defiant kicking Terran Empire butt is fantastic, as well as the old school uniforms. CGI Gorn is as cheesy as the original in its own way though.
http://lenlow.com/ - some GREAT mashups (tho also broken links) Cyprestition, My Shiny Gun Mosey, Do Your Thing to the Music, Kanye Mahna--
http://gameinternals.com/post/2072558330/understanding-pac-man-ghost-behavior -I am humbled by the nuance of Pac-Man's AI (not to mention the A/V!)
Once again, here is the music I added to my collection this past season, acclimating myself to it via having a big playlist of just the new stuff. Managed to find passable videos for just about all of them. And I'm kind of proud of the weird eclectic nature of it...
There can be a visceral pleasure in typing fast, to have your mind's voice's syllables to the screen in rapid fire succession. Even if I still "wanna live like I type, fast, and with lots of mistakes", it's fun to do.
The power of open competitive markets vs. ripoff retail at retailers: HDMI cables. $2 for 10 feet on Amazon vs $30-50 easy at say Best Buy.
Speed Racer: totally underrated movie. So super-saturated and hyper-kinetic; it feels like a lot of reviewers mighta missed the point.
http://www.slate.com/id/2275155/ - Thoughts on OK. I love that word and its nuance-able usage...
"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm." --Colette, in New York World-Telegram and Sun, 1961
UI engineers think they're geniuses for the blatant over application of "Fitts' Law". The whole stopwatch UI metric thing is not fully baked
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/07/science/07teller.html - Teller reminds me why I don't dig puzzles, even w/ the MIT Mystery Hunt looming.
http://www.boingboing.net/2010/12/07/die-pluto-die.html - Folks resent Pluto's deplanetization because they think science is a collection of facts, not the ongoing process of consensus and self-correction that really makes it the best way of understanding the physical world.
Two rants, both using the parable of the Good Samaritan: Slacktivist uses it to unask the question "do all paths lead to God", Fake Steve Jobs uses it to point out how so many Christians are in total denial about how their faith contradicts the actual teachings of Jesus.
heh, park street red line totally smells like weed, transit cops are walking around.
"Well, letís go back a bit first. Two and a half thousand years ago, at the time of Aristophanes, the Greeks believed that comedy was superior to tragedy: tragedy was the merely human view of life (we sicken, we die). But comedy was the godsí view, from on high: our endless and repetitive cycle of suffering, our horror of it, our inability to escape it. The big, drunk, flawed, horny Greek gods watched us for entertainment, like a dirty, funny, violent, repetitive cartoon. And the best of the old Greek comedy tried to give us that relaxed, amused perspective on our flawed selves. We became as gods, laughing at our own follies." --Julian Gough, http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2007/05/greek-comedy-modern-literary-novel/http://www.slate.com/id/2277104/ - only around 6% of scientists are Republican. No wonder Republicans replace analysis with ideology.
"I am a believer in Christ," Rayford said. "I attend church. I read my Bible. I tell people what I believe."
And that, in a nutshell, is the authors' five-sentence definition of what it means to be a Christian.
It's only four sentences, you say? Well, yes, Rayford left out the fifth, traditionally unspoken, sentence: "I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."
The core idea is pick 3 corners of a triangle, and then any point (or one of the corners). Then randomly pick one of the 3 corners, and draw a dot halfway between that point and the corner. Then randomly pick one of the 3 corners again, and draw a dot halfway between that corner and the last dot, and repeat. After you do it enough times, Sierpinski's triangle rises from the mist.
I've tried to animate the manual process with this program, slowing it down and sketching out the line, with the outlined circle being which corner had been picked and the white circle being where a new dot is drawn ... move the mouse up and down over the canvas to speed it up or slow it down, and click to start with a new dot.
"For somebody fluent in over six million forms of communication, it's weird that C-3PO went with 'gay-tinged passive aggression.'" --http://twitter.com/BoobsRadley<geekrant> What was so bad about the "applet" tag? It still works in 6 lines while #processing 's 40 lines of "object" is busted on chrome. I hate "standards compliant" tags that are A. harder to read B. grandly more verbose C. more fragile than the old school ones. Like, setting margin-left:auto and margin-right:auto for a div instead of the old center tag. (I know it's not as simple as that but still) </geekrant>
New Hampshire tree as we took our Thanksgiving walk...
The First Baptist Church of Boston's belltower has some detail people on the street probably don't see very much of...
Clouds over the Charles.
Amber and I decorated a wreath... I like how we both have a red sled ornament with our name on it from our childhood.
My dad's "folk art" tree decorated with some needlework ornaments my dad made, recently unearthed by my mom and aunt... (doubly nice because they're soft and won't get hurt if Rex knocks over the tree...
Speaking of cats...
Alright, a bit of a reach, but there was something about Emma's face in that fourth photo that looked so familiar.
(Not that it's that funny but click here if this makes no sense whatsoever to you.)
My brain often has a specific "flare stack", a burn off of (hopefully) extra mental cycles. Like, before and after I bought my car, I was intensely into a few automobile blogs. Lately, though, its been how gosh darn awesome the iPad and iPhone are.
I'm always on the lookout for things that justify or explain this obsession.
The link Amber posted the other day on devices as literal extensions of our brains. And that helps explain the iPhone I think -- for example I get a little rush of dopamine when I use the Todo app to keep myself organized or jot a memo to preserve a bit of information or make a datebook entry to nudge me at some future moment. It's not a new phenomenon for me, I got the same thing with the Palm Pilot, but the iPhone absolutely upped the ante with Internet connectivity and general slickness.
So an important part of the "brain extenstion" explanation of the iPhone is the portability/pocketability; if it's going to be part of my mental whole, it needs to be at hand pretty much all the time. (Not ALL the time, much like I'm often (clearly) not engaging all the parts of my brain all the time.) But the iPad doesn't have this excuse: sure it's nice and portable, but no more so than a small laptop. So why does it feel so much better than a laptop, while being a bit less capable in may respects?
Amber's article explains that too, I think...it talks about how people who "talk with their hands" aren't just talking with their hands, they're probably thinking with their hands as well. (For that matter, speaking is more a form of on-the-fly thought assemblage than we usually acknowledge--) The physical body becomes the medium of computation. And iPads allow for a deeper physical communion than a keyboard and mouse or keyboard and touchpad. (And more so than the iPhone, even, since the throughput of the larger screen is that much greater.) A barrier to the closed loops as "gadget as extended nervous system" is knocked away, and the result is an almost tangible sense of pleasure at our newly enhanced and extended brain.
We tend to think of ourselves as beings of pure mindstuff (or soul or what have you) inside a bodily shell, but our bodies are part of us, and iPads tap into that in a way few other products can hope to. And connectivity to the Internet is another part of that... iPad eases the way to the groupmind that is the modern net.
The whole app model reflects this. Frankly, interesting computer applications are few and far between. I look what I install on every new PC I get - browsers, paint programs, text editors, IM, programming environments (even cool ones like Processing) -- it's not very interesting, all the action has moved to the browsers. iDevices get past that though, and suddenly apps are interesting again. I would look askance if a bank or entertainment website insisted I use a special application on my Windows box, but with the iDevice, it just kinda makes sense... and it has to do with how the whole iThing seems to transmorgify into a new device, and so that whole eye/brain/hand/screen loop has a new toy to play with, without the klutzy old keyboard or intermediary, one-removed mouse, or other distracting windows to interfere.
TOMORROW: how Google's CR-48 laptop gets it wrong, wrong, wrong.
My buddy Beau is doing a Salvation Army virtual kettle - I split a few hundred tween Boston + Cleveland- HUGE need these days!
"Brownies in the kitchen!" "Alright, You talked me into it, I'm off-" "He twisted your rubber arm, eh?" "Well, I like Brownies more than I like dignity." --Pedro, Me, and Jonhttp://www.cracked.com/article_18927_6-bizarre-ways-architecture-designed-to-ward-off-ghosts.html - I love stuff like this. Plus: ghost-diagrams!
First few real flakes of snow, near Arlington T stop. Damn.
Are cats impressed by our ability to use lights? When I come home to a dark house are they all "Behold! It is Kirk Dispeller of Dark!"?
So, as promised (not that it's very intersting): thoughts on the Google Chrome Cr-48.
This is the main review I've read. Conceptually I dig the stark, uber-minimalist no-stickers-whatsoever case, but beside that, this thing seems as boring as possible. To quote the review:
I have to keep reminding myself of the OS' fundamental concept: a Chrome OS notebook is absolutely zero-percent different from any Windows, Mac OS, or Linux notebook running Google Chrome in fullscreen mode.
So, if my disdain for the Cr-48 is shortsighted, it would probably be because I'm downplaying the potential coolness of the Chrome App Store -- is it possible that this could become as intriguing as the Apple App Store? My guess is no... iDevice apps get a boost because they are touchscreen at their heart, and based on what I was saying yesterday, I think that's an important difference that will last even after the novelty has worn off.
So we have a boring, browser-only laptop: the difference is, this laptop is an experiment in Life on the Cloud: none of your files are stored locally, they live on the 'Net.
This seems like yet another attempt to make dumb terminals cool. And that is a misguided effort. To quote that review again:
But without a connection to the Internet, this cutting-edge machine had become little more than a Notebook-Shaped Object. The six or seven open browser tabs in front of me were just ghosts of webapps that joined the choir invisible as soon as they lost contact with their servers.
In other words, you have nothing with you. And not to sounds like a luddite, but people like to own things. Even with ebooks, your books feel like you kind of own them in a physical format. Thanks to DRM this a bit of an illusion, remember the uproar when Amazon "took back" copies of 1984? But there is something to it -- even offline in a tunnel, your titles are there for the reading.
(Similar with movies and shows -- now, through the relatively brief history of audio/visual entertainment, the time we've been "owning" shows is pretty brief - people went out to see "Gone with the Wind", waited at home for "I Love Lucy". In the '80s and '90s they could own a VHS of "Ferris Bueller Days Off", tape "Friends", DVR "Lost", and get a DVD of "Amelie"... with the rise of Netflix, we've regressed a bit, and streaming might become the preferred way of watching movies, but still, I think stuff like Blu-Ray will have a place as people want to own some physical thing.)
I dunno, maybe I'm overplaying the ownership aspect.
I agree with Richard Stallman that it might be Careless Computing -- you are REALLY trusting these companies with your stuff. But when I think of the bulky stuff I keep on my main PC -- photos and music, I guess I could see a life depending on a Picassa and/or that long awaited "Cloud iTunes", and it would be livable -- though I think the absolute dependency on a robust connection is foolhardy. You know, for AT+T and other reasons there are many places my iPhone has no 'net connection. And my iPad is offline on the subway, and still fun.
The author of this article, though, would think I Just Don't Get It. John Brownlee writes:
Think of what Chrome OS represents: the bare minimum operating system necessary for tapping into the living ebb of the Internet. Google has polished this window thoroughly. Chrome OS is mindless to administer. The UI is uniform. Legacy support has been thrown out the window. Itís immune to malware. Battery life is extreme. Itís even immune to system failure; if your computer breaks, your operating system corrupts, all youíve lost is the glass and a frame, and the world it conveys still exists outside it. All you need to do is find another window.
It's kind of a cool idea, but you know? I kind of do the same thing already. All the files I'm concerned with on my laptop, I keep in a folder: C:\data\ -- that's the folder that makes it "my" laptop, that's the directory I backup, and when I upgrade, or if something happened to that laptop, all I would have to do is go to that backup, and suddenly it's "my" machine again.
Brownlee is wicked enthusiastic about the idea of "Nothin' but Net". The most interesting part of his article was quoting Beatrice Warde's broadside:
A PRINTING OFFICE
CROSSROADS OF CIVILIZATION
REFUGE OF ALL THE ARTS
AGAINST THE RAVAGES OF TIME
ARMOURY OF FEARLESS TRUTH
AGAINST WHISPERING RUMOUR
INCESSANT TRUMPET OF TRADE
FROM THIS PLACE WORDS MAY FLY ABROAD
NOT TO PERISH ON WAVES OF SOUND
NOT TO VARY WITH THE WRITERíS HAND
BUT FIXED IN TIME HAVING BEEN VERIFIED IN PROOF
FRIEND YOU STAND ON SACRED GROUND
THIS IS A PRINTING OFFICE
Stirring words! Brownlee makes a hackish paraphrase of to conclude his piece, substituting "Internet" for "Printing Office". But I thought one of the comments (by "hello") rephrased it in a much more realistic way:
CROSSROADS OF CIVILIZATION
CO-OPTER OF ALL THE ARTS
ACCELERATING THE RAVAGES OF TIME
ARMOURY OF BASELESS SPECULATION
FURTHERING WHISPERING RUMOUR
INCESSANT DEGRADER OF LABOR
FROM THIS PLACE WORDS FLY ABROAD
TO PERISH ON FIREWALLS
VARYING WITH THE BROWSER AND STYLESHEET
UNFIXED IN TIME, DYNAMICALLY GENERATED, UNDEFINED BY PROOF
FRIEND YOU STAND ON SHIFTING SANDS
THIS IS THE INTERNET
I love the internet, but you need to take it with a grain of salt the size of Pittsburgh.
Anyway, the potential ephemerality of our bits is a big problem for our tech-dependent civilization in general...
another commentator wrote:
To put it another way, the archaeological value of a cr-48 is roughly that of a stone knife; it will tell our descendants that we had a culture, but (except what they can glean from the silkscreening on parts) will leave them no direct artifacts of it other than the machine itself. A long-dead computer might harbor something readable on a hard disk; a partially recoverable song, some text, perhaps, possibly more. The cr-48 is a tombstone and nothing more the moment it loses the cloud.
I used to get nightmares about "the giant EMP pulse" that takes down our society, and it still bugs me somewhat -- you kind of hope some not-to-radically-nutso survivalist-minded folks are taking steps to, say, know how to build a primitive by today's standard PC and other things that would have a chance of reading material we insist on making electronic only -- and while they're add it, store some useful technology-and-society-rebooting books as well.
And that note, to make up for a long and boring article, here is an interesting photo of a ship cut in half:
With latest flash mob video, wanted to hear Alan Sherman's "Hal+Lulu Chorus"- couldn't find it. 'Cause duh, he did "Harvey+Sheila"/Hava Nagila. Both very cheesy but fun songs. Played "Pac-Man Party". Is it so hard for party game devs to get "Time watching boardgame BS to playing minigames" ratio right? Some games offer minigame only modes, but too often it's as joyless as "select your next game off this menu". The first Mario Party got it just right with its minigame stadium; just enough boardgame randomness to give excuses- haven't seen that since. Party Games have so much potential- a great way to do retrogaming but w/ prettier graphics and more 4 player action than back then. Sigh. Of course it's a bit moot, my core gaming buddy group dispersed to the winds. Double Sigh. And thatís where spirituality really lost its way. When it became a stick to beat people with. "Do this or youíll burn in hell."
You wonít burn in hell. But be nice anyway. --Ricky Gervais, Why I'm an Atheist. A kindly written bit of Atheism 101. http://todayspictures.slate.com/20101217/ -- nice gallery of old company holiday party photos
Geared up for my first snow bike commute. And by geared up I mean I brought the new gloves Amber gave me as an early Xmas gift.
"Do stuff. be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration's shove or society's kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It's all about paying attention. attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. stay eager." --Susan Sontag
http://www.slate.com/id/2239252/ - I love the Swedish Christmas Tradition of Donald Duck cartoons...
http://www.slate.com/id/2278923/ - Americans exaggerate their church attendance- side effect of a conflating of morality and religion. Duh.
This Rex Ryan foot fetish thing is hilarious, but I respect him more- if you know what you like, and have someone to share it with, good on ya! I mean they've been married 23 years-anyone who hasn't been in a relationship for more than say, a decade should back off.
Kay and his gal Dachary are on a motorcycle trip. From Cambridge, MA to Tierra Del Fuego, the southernmost tip of South America.
It's pretty mindblowing. They're running a blog at corporaterunaways.com (Kay quit his day job for this.) -- you can follow their progress on the map as well as reading their regular updates.
Man, the cajones this kind of trip takes is really something, and I salute them. Currently they're in Mexico. Already their trip has at times read like a checklist written by Murphy's Law but they are persevering and seeing some really amazing things.
The website itself is a bit older than that, and I've been
quote journaling since early 1997, but still: December 30, 2000 is when I started this thing, and I'm still not sure when it's going to end.
I've updated every day. For a while I was really strict about never missing a day, then a technical glitch forced a miss, now I'm a little bit looser, but I make up a skipped day. (I think some of the creaky Perl scripts that power this site kind of depend on there being content every day.)
A decade. That's the same amount of time that covers, say, all my time in Cleveland plus my years at Tufts. 7 jobs, 1 divorce, 5 living spaces, 2 cars... I dunno, what are some other interesting things to quantify?
The site has morphed over the years, going from a talk-y blog format quickly into a comment plus 2 or 3 interesting things goal, to the tumbl'r/twitter-ish it is today, where I try to get at least one thing worth taking in, and then any fool thought that pops into my head. Plus there's that "do I call it kisrael.com or kirkjerk.com" issue that'll probably be around forever.
This site is a kind of anchor for me, and along with my private "mundane diary" represents my attempt to track my life-- sure, this decade has gone by faster than any I'd lived previously, as is the nature of decades, but I really do feel I have some footprints to look back on. (And I go through phases where I enjoy looking at the restrospect "this day on the site in years past" feature.
I wish I knew a way of preserving it "in perpetuity" even when I pass on, though I know it's some unfounded bit of vanity to assume anyone would want to look at it.
Fun fact: I had the idea for making this blog around the end of 2000, and rushed to get it in the last few days so I could say it started "in 2000". Cute idea, though it makes my archive by month page look a bit unbalanced.
Ah well, here's to ten more years!
Tech note... today's collage consists of 400 images (out of about ten times that total) randomly picked from my "journal.aux" directory. I ponied up for the full license for the software so let me know if you have any clever ideas for making something similar...
http://releasecandidateone.com/236:crotchety_old_power_users attack of the crotchety old power users.
Man those "2011" novelty glasses suck- the first decade had it so much easier. By the way happy new year all!
"Oh- Don't... it's like Weekend at Bernie's" Amber and I have mixed feelings about the post-stroke Dick Clark...