Late Light · Late in the year, I mean. We’re hurtling toward the solstice and the photon flow in the short hours between official sunup and sundown hardly qualifies as “daylight”. But when the Pacific Northwest cloud and rain and fog let up, the always-slanting sun is very pure ...
Mastodon Status Check · My social-media life has been Fediverse-first for a year now. I stick my head into Bluesky and Threads regularly, but visit Twitter rarely if at all. This piece takes a close look at Mastodon-land as things stand in late summer 2023. What’s working, what’s not, what are the alternatives? [Originally published August 2023, updated November 27th for my one-year Twitter-exit anniversary.] ... [6 comments]
Green and Brown Sauce · Here’s a simple dish that hits the spot as Winter’s chilly dimness comes at us from all directions. It’s a pasta sauce featuring crispy bacon and braised greens ...
Global Sensor Bandwidth · The photo-world is all agog over Sony’s just-announced (but not shipping till next year) high-end ($6K) camera, the ɑ9 III, because it has a “global sensor”. No, the “global” label didn’t mean anything to me either, when I first read it. The write-ups about it have explainers and cool pictures (PetaPixel, DPReview). I found myself wondering “What is this thing’s bandwidth?” and thus this note. I’ll toss in another little explainer so you don’t have to click on a link like a savage ... [2 comments]
Recent Griffiths · Back in 2014, in Saint Hilda, I posted a rave review of Nicola Griffith’s novel Hild. I just finished its sequel Menewood and, in between, read her much-smaller Spear. These are all extremely good books and if you like well-done portrayals of violent conflict and royal-court politics and historical flavors and hot sex in just about any combination, you’re apt to like these ... [4 comments]
On C2PA · Leica, the German maker of elegant but absurdly-expensive cameras, just released the M11-P. The most interesting thing about it is a capability whose marketing name is “Content Credentials”, based on a tech standard called C2PA (Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity), a project of the Content Authenticity Initiative. The camera puts a digital watermark on its pictures, which might turn out to be extremely valuable in this era of disinformation and sketchy AI. Herewith a few words about the camera (Leicas are interesting) but mostly I want to describe what C2PA does and why I think it will work and how it will feel in practice ... [4 comments]
Wild World · I’ve come to loathe autumn. It echoes the current stage of my own life a little too closely. Plus it’s plenty hard to just stay level, any season of this filthy year. I saw someone on social media asking (may not have the words quite right) “How you folks holding it together while the world’s burning?” I looked for something useful and short to say, came up empty. But now maybe this ... [11 comments]
Feminized Feed · My online social life is almost all on the Fediverse (obligatory plug for our member-owned co-op Mastodon instance) and I find it generally satisfying. But back in early September, I noticed that my feed was extremely male-dominated. I set out to fix that and — a rare piece of good news — it worked! Herewith methods and numbers ... [1 comment]
Rock Tech · Last night, my son and I took in Guns N’ Roses’ Vancouver show at “B.C. Place”, the big football/soccer stadium, its roof closed for the event. It was a fine show, even though I wasn’t and still am not much of a GnR fan. The show deserves a few words, and also arena-rock concert technology is changing in interesting ways ... [3 comments]
Social-media Search Comparo · Bluesky, Threads, and Mastodon (as of last week) all have a built-in search capability. So now’s a good time for a first-look comparison ...
Digger Unearthed · Digger is a Hugo-winning Webcomic by the excellent and remarkably prolific Ursula Vernon, originally written between 2005 and 2011. This essay exists to recommend the book, with a bit of back-story, but also to recommend a good way to read it ... [1 comment]
Safe Pixel Unlock · My recent upgrade from Pixel 4 to 7 moved me from one to two biometric sensors; the thing unlocks with either face or finger. But the default setup is unsafe; making it safe is a little inconvenient, but worth doing ... [3 comments]
Not Marching · My inbox is full of reminders that this Friday, September 15, 2023, is the Global Climate Strike; marches and demonstrations are happening everywhere (here in Vancouver, starting 1PM Pacific at City Hall). But I’m not going. I’m too angry, angry enough to be stupid ... [3 comments]
Outer Átl’ḵa7tsem · On most maps is its colonial name: Howe Sound. It’s a triangular body of water northwest of Vancouver, its longest side about 40km, scattered with islands. Here’s a map. The Sound and its islands are mostly named after 19th-century British naval officers, which in 2023 I find loathsome. It’s time to lose the dead limeys and revive the Indigenous names. The area was peopled by the Squamish; they used more than one name, but these days “Átl’ḵa7tsem” seems to be what people (and officials) are using. It may be hard to spell but it’s not hard to say ... [2 comments]
Unicode Scalar Value · Suppose you’re writing code (or defining a protocol) that involves interchanging messages, and those messages include text for humans to read. You owe it to the world to make any such text Unicode, so that the humans can use Korean or Arabic or whatever else they live in. It turns out to be non-obvious how to say “do Unicode right.” Today’s ongoing piece exists to tell you how ...
Scanography · Recently I visited Alex Waterhouse-Hayward; he gave me an excellent lunch and then I observed scanography at work, which was cool. Then I remembered that I’ve long wanted to write about his unique approach to technology. Let’s start with the good part, the picture: ... [1 comment]
Long Links · My Long Links blog fragments curate long-form pieces that I think worth an investment of time, acknowledging that most people with jobs and lives and so on can’t read all of them, in the hopes that one or two will reward, Dear Reader, an intrusion into your scarce free time. Here’s another offering. But first, why haven’t I written any since December 2022? ... [4 comments]
Workin’ for the Man · I think that anybody who publishes publicly should disclose who’s paying them, because it’s unethical not to. Call me old-fashioned. So I’m here to disclose a new paymaster and tell you almost nothing more. But stick around anyhow, because I have a moderately funny onboarding story ... [3 comments]