Fun With Semiotics · I just finished reading The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet; it’s impossibly erudite and also hilarious. If you remember the Eighties and if have some idea why Foucault, Giscard, Nastase, and Eco were interesting, you might really enjoy it, especially if you’re also entertained by sex, violence, and conspiracy theory ...
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Pink Floyd Dad Jokes · I took my 12-year-old and 19-year-old to see Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets tour (Lauren had choir practice). The band was grizzled, grey, and genial; when Nick closed by saying “We hope you had as much fun as we did” we felt he meant it. Their stage banter was that of well-bred Englishmen, dry and mild ...
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Graying Out · For many years I’ve interacted with my fellow humans, I think perhaps more than any other way, via the medium of Internet chat. But in my chat window, they’re fading, one by one. This problem is technical and personal and I felt it ought not to go unrecognized ...
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2019’s Crocuses · They come early, purple and gold harbingers of spring. Traditionally I have celebrated them in this blog space. But that nearly didn’t happen this year, for reasons that are obvious in the picture ...
 
LP Log · What happened was, Lauren said “My friend Leonard from choir has a friend whose husband died, and she’s wondering what to do with his record collection.” I said “If she doesn’t want to try to sell them, I’ll have a look at them.” Then I took off on a business trip. When I got back, Lauren said “You need to bring the records in from the van.” There turned out to be 900. This is the start of a story of musical discovery ...
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Tech Office Sketches · Herewith notes from the white-hot center of the Internet software profession. Maybe the reality these reflect prevails across other technology territories, but I wouldn’t know. In no particular order: ...
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D&I Soundbites · I went to a two-day “D&I workshop for leaders”. Many in biz will know what that stands for: Diversity and Inclusion. The people facilitating were WMFDP, which stands for “White Men as Full Diversity Partners”. Having said that, only one of the two was a white man, and the audience was more gender-diverse than the high-tech norm. Everyone was senior, there were lots of VPs in the room. It had a strong effect on me ...
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Jag Diary 9: Google Mapocalypse · 2019 is definitely the year of Linux on… the dashboard. This Jaguar is the first car I’ve owned with a serious infotainment system, and it’s opened my eyes to a few things, one of which might be a real Google vulnerability: serious competition in the map space ...
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Jag Diary 8: Road Trip! · Today I drove the new I-Pace 290.3 mostly highway kilometers. In the best online I-Pace community, the top topic, with 1,115 posts as I write, is I-Pace range. Because when you come to electric cars, range anxiety is a thing. Today’s road-trip report will cover the general highway experience but, since it’s the hot topic, will zero in on range. Spoiler: You can almost always go 300km without trying too hard ...
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Jag Diary 7: I-Pace Over 100 · That’s over a hundred kilometers of course, which it took three days to achieve ...
 
Jag Diary 3: What We Know · Between June 4th, when the first wave of reviews of the New Jag hit (offically the I-PACE, what a dumb name) and the time the salesman called me saying “Time to sign the order if you want to be in the first wave”, I had to decide whether to spend a lot of money on a car I’d never seen or touched. So I paid damn close attention to those reviews. I’m a critical reader, and suspicious about the motives of product reviewers, and I think the picture that emerges is pretty clear. This post is to enumerate what I think it’s possible to know for sure about the car without having owned or even driven one. [Updated based on hands-on experience.] ...
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Jag Diary 6: I-Pace Day Two · No highways were harmed in the preparing of this blog fragment; our new I-Pace is for the moment an urban runabout. In town, it doesn’t get you anywhere faster than a Honda Fit or 20-year old Ford Focus would. But those burn fossil fuels and we should all try to stop doing that ...
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Jag Diary 5: The Green Light · I picked up the new family wheels, a 2019 Jaguar I-Pace, on January 12th. Current plans are for this blog fragment to get updates for the next couple of weeks, through a planned road trip, per the “diary” part of the series title ...
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Oil Fail · Today I learned things that I think every environmentalist and investment manager should know: A coherent argument that we are more or less at Peak Oil. Not the Nineties version, which worried that we might be running out of fossil fuels, but rather that global human petroleum demand is about at its all-time peak and about to start drifting down. Some of the key data points involve electric cars, which I care a lot about, and China, which is always interesting ...
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Serverlessness · I work in AWS’s Serverless group, and in the process of pulling together my presentation at re:Invent, discovered that I have a lot of opinions on the subject and, while they may well be wrong, are at least well-informed. You can watch that YouTube, but who’s got an hour to spare? And anyhow, blogging’s really my favorite medium, so here we go. If I tried to glom them all together into one mega-essay it’d be brutally long, so let’s go short-form ...
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SF-5: Serverless Bills? · One of the best reasons to go serverless is that you might save a lot of money. This is especially true when your load is peaky and has quiet times; because when your infrastructure isn’t working, you’re not paying. But, not all loads are peaky. And here’s a quote from an AWS internal mailing list: “For every compute load, there’s some level of TPS where Lambda is going to be more expensive than servers.” So, when is that? And how much should you care? ...
 
Christian Practice · I’m in Regina, Saskatchewan with family for the holidays. Someone said “Let’s go to a Christmas Eve carol service” and five of us did that. We went to Lakeview United, where “United” signifies the United Church of Canada, the biggest Protestant denomination up here. It was uplifting and pleasant and sort of sad. Disclosure: I’m not Christian at all; but still ...
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SF-4: Serverless Latency? · Suppose we like the idea of going serverless (we do). What should we worry about when we make that bet? What I hear when I talk to people thinking about it, mostly, is latency. Can a run-on-demand function respond as quickly as a warmed-up Web server sitting there in memory waiting for incoming work? The answer, unsurprisingly, is “it depends” ...
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SF-3: Serverless Everything? · Sometimes we fans get a little over-excited and declaim that everything should be serverless. After all, we’re pretty convinced that owning data centers and computers is becoming a thing of the past. Well then, how could configuring your own hosts and paying for them even when they’re not working ever be a good idea? Let’s try to be moderate and pragmatic: Serverless, where possible ...
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I am an employee of Amazon.com, but the opinions expressed here are my own, and no other party necessarily agrees with them.

A full disclosure of my professional interests is on the author page.