Blah, Blah, Blah, Boom · COP26 is winding down, and I think nobody can seriously disagree with Greta Thunberg’s take: “Blah, blah, blah.” And then she continued “The real work continues outside these halls. And we will never give up, ever.” I wonder: What form does that “real work” take? Well, I just finished reading How to Blow Up a Pipeline by Andreas Malm, which doesn’t include instructions for blowing up pipelines but argues that that Real Work should include infrastructure destruction. It’s a good book, and if you (like me) are horrified at the onrushing climate catastrophe and enraged at our leaders’ incapacity and unwillingness to take actions that might seriously mitigate the devastation, you might want to read it ... [7 comments]
Diablo Immortal · I tried out Diablo Immortal on my Galaxy Tab 7+ and, well, it’s pretty convincing off the top. But I wonder if it’s ethical to play anything from Blizzard, these days? Protip: At the moment you can’t get into the closed beta unless you’re on Android in Canada ... [2 comments]
URI-based Integration · At the end of September, AWS announced a big new feature for its Step Functions product, and my tweet noting the announcement got a shocking number of impressions for something way out at the geeky end of Cloud tech. In retrospect, a design choice we made back in 2016 turns out to be working very well, and there’s a lesson to be learned here: If you need to integrate an arbitrarily large and and diverse set of software capabilities, URIs are the best integration glue ... [4 comments]
Worst Case · Suppose you’re running your organization’s crucial apps in the cloud. Specifically, suppose you’re running them them on AWS, and in particular in the “us-east-1” region? Could us-east-1 go away? What might you do about it? Let’s catastrophize! ... [19 comments]
Catharsis · It was just a minor story in the business section, nothing front-page. But when I heard (earlier in the day, from an insider), the news was cathartic; I had to stand up and take a walk. Summary: Amazon was about to find itself in court with the US National Labor Relations Board over the firing of Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa; the event that caused me to walk away from the best job I ever had and a whole lot of money. On September 29th, Amazon avoided that trial by signing a humiliating out-of-court settlement. Which is to say, that particular firing spree was not only unethical and stupid, it was probably illegal ... [2 comments]
Rock Decades · On Saturday September 25th, 2021, we went to a concert by Cousin Harley featuring Paul Pigat. The last live indoor music we’d seen was March 8, 2020, which is to say a gap of 566 days. Speaking of gaps, 2021 marks, more or less, both seventy years of Rock ’n’ Roll and 50 years of my loving it ...
Blueskid Demo · I’ve been in the conversation around Twitter’s @bluesky project, and last December I posted @bluesky Identity, a proposal for mapping between social-media identities based on public keys and signatures. Recently @bluesky announced the Satellite contest, whose goal is to take identities on three or more online properties and “Link them in a way that anyone can verify you are the author/owner of all.” Which is more or less what @bluesky Identity is all about. So I pulled together a working demo called “Blueskid” (GitHub). This is a quick walk-through of Blueskid ... [1 comment]
Saving þ · Herewith a lost-pet story with (spoiler) a happy ending, starring a real bloodhound. Soon to be a major motion picture, I bet ... [1 comment]
LG C1 · What happened was, our TV is ten years old and (following on some renovations) we could use one at the cabin for rainy winter evenings. So I bought a 48" LG C1 4K OLED screen (48" is the smallest in the C1 line), which is kind of this year’s hot TV. It’s not a life-changer, but the world of TV has shifted some in a decade, so here’s a dispatch from the front. Includes a pointer to a truly great TV stand ... [5 comments]
CL XLI: Forest Stories · Recently I’ve had the joy and privilege of time spent walking in the Pacific Northwest forest, on a small island where we engage in Cottage Life.. Walking in the forest provides a fine opportunity to think, although the raw beauty of the forest pouring in through your eyes and ears will regularly interrupt. While forest-walking, I thought about pictures, modern mapping technology, strangers’ identities, and The Green Knight movie ... [10 comments]
How Much Range? · When someone wants to talk to me about my car, invariably the first question is some variation on “How far can you go on a charge?” The next is “How long does it take to charge?” Ladies, gentlemen, and other flavors, please take note. These questions are wrong. I’m here today to explain why, and suggest what the right ones are ... [2 comments]
Apps Getting Worse · Too often, a popular consumer app unexpectedly gets worse: Some combination of harder to use, missing features, and slower. At a time in history where software is significantly eating the world, this is nonsensical. It’s also damaging to the lives of the people who depend on these products ... [23 comments]
Western Electric · At 6:30 PM on Wednesday August 4th my 15-year-old daughter and I pulled up the Jaguar I-Pace electric car in front of my 91-year-old Mom’s place in Regina, Saskatchewan. I was tired and achey because I’d just finished driving 1,725km (1,072 miles) across two days to see her for the first time since Covid started. I was happy to see Mom, happy about the first road-trip in a long time, and happy to have tested the hypothesis that, in 2021, a fully-electric vehicle can handle long-haul travel ... [16 comments]
Long Links · Welcome to the August 1st edition of “Long Links”, which assembles long-form pieces that I have the luxury of enjoying due to semi-retirement. Nobody with a real job has time to read all this stuff, but one or two items might enrich your life without burning too many minutes. Note: There was no July 1st Long Links because either I was busier or the world’s long-form authors less prolific in June. Highlights this time out: Taxing wealth, attacking Amazon, guitar music, and God ...
CL XL: Under and Over · Wow, the last Cottage Life piece was in 2019, suggesting there was no such thing in 2020. And, what with Covid, there was less. While this story happened in situ, it’s really about something else: How much residential construction and software are like each other, and share the same really-important rule: Underpromise and overdeliver. [Includes compulsory nature shots.] ...
Music Notes · Herewith notes on what I’m listening to in 2021, and why that’s a problem. With recommendations both for music and for things we can do to keep it alive ... [11 comments]
Where’s the Apple M2? · DPReview just published Apple still hasn't made a truly “Pro” M1 Mac – so what’s the holdup? Following on the good performance and awesome power efficiency of the Apple M1, there’s a hungry background rumble in Mac-land along the lines of “Since the M1 is an entry-level chip, the next CPU is gonna blow everyone’s mind!” But it’s been eight months since the M1 shipped and we haven’t heard from Apple. I have a good guess what’s going on: It’s proving really hard to make a CPU (or SoC) that’s perceptibly faster than the M1. Here’s why ... [8 comments]
Murderbot Diaries · I suffered a massive loss of productivity for a few days last week because I started reading the first of this series and found that I had to read them all pretty much without stopping ... [1 comment]
Investing Intro · We’ve started to actively manage some of our family investments. It’s entertaining me, and I notice people really like talking about money, so why not talk about it here? This is the start of a new blog category ... [1 comment]