Terse Directions · This post describes a service I want from my online-map provider. I’d use it all the time. Summary: When I’m navigating an area I already know about, don’t give me turn-by-turn, just give me a short list of the streets to take ...
[6 comments]  
2009 Ranger · This week we’re vacationing at the family cabin on an island; the nearest town is Gibsons. Mid-week, we hit town to pick up groceries and hardware. Unfortunately, it’s a really demanding walk from the waterfront to the mall, particularly with a load to carry, and there’s little public transit. Fortunately, there’s Coast Car Co-op, a competent and friendly little five-car outfit. We booked a couple of hours and the closest vehicle was a 2009 Ford Ranger, described as a “compact pickup” or “minitruck”. It made me think ...
[8 comments]  
Q Numbers · This ongoing fragment describes how to match and compare numbers using a finite automaton, which involves transforming them into strings with the right lexical properties. My hope is that there are at least twelve people in the world who are interested in the intersection of numeric representation and finite automata ...
[4 comments]  
Lounge Penguin · Lounge, as in a jazz club. Penguin, as in GoGo Pengin, a piano/bass/drums trio. We caught their show at Jazz Alley in Seattle last week. Maybe you should go hit a jazz lounge sometime ...
[2 comments]  
Epsilon Love · Quamina was for a time my favorite among all my software contributions. But then it stalled after I shipped 1.0 in January of 2023. First of all, I got busy with the expert witness for Uncle Sam gig and second, there was a horrible problem in there that I couldn’t fix. Except for now I have! And I haven’t done much codeblogging recently. So, here are notes on nondeterministic finite automata, epsilon transitions, Ken Thompson, Golang generics, and prettyprinting. If some subset of those things interests you, you’ll probably like this ...
[2 comments]  
Wikipedia Pain · There are voices — some loud and well-respected — who argue that Wikipedia is deeply flawed, a hellscape of psychotic editors and contempt for expertise. I mostly disagree, but those voices deserve, at least, to be heard ...
[7 comments]  
Sex Edit War! · In January 2010 I drove twenty-five minutes across Vancouver to the University of British Columbia’s main library, with the goal of crushing an opponent in a Wikipedia edit war. The battleground was the entry on T.E. Lawrence (better known as Lawrence of Arabia). I won that war. As a consequence, I consider myself the world’s leading living expert on Lawrence’s sexuality ...
[2 comments]  
Parable of the Sofa · When Lauren was pregnant with a child who’s now turning 25, we purchased a comfy dark-brown leather sofa which fits our living room nicely. What with kids and relatives and employees and cats and Standards Comittees and friends and book clubs and socials, the butt-support cushions had, a quarter century later, worn out. So we had them replaced, at a fair price, by a small local business. Which is something that modern capitalism is trying to make impossible ...
[8 comments]  
Tedeschi Trucks · Saturday night we went a concert by the Tedeschi Trucks Band (TTB). It was excellent and this is partly a review, but mostly a challenge to the community of touring musicians: “Why aren’t your production values as good as TTB’s?” ...
[5 comments]  
The Colors of Racism · Recently, somewhat by accident, I stumbled into reading a couple of monstrously racist texts, and I’m going to need to update the Wikipedia entry for a famous British author. But I learned a few things along the way that I want to share ...
[2 comments]  
Storage Churn · What are the highest-impact Cloud services? Storage would be near the top of any list. Where by “Storage” I mean what S3 does: Blobs-of-bytes storage that is effectively unlimited in capacity, credibly more durable than anything you could build yourself, and easily connected to the world, either directly or through a CDN. I think we’re entering a period of churn where there’s going to be serious competition on storage price and performance. Which, by the way, is crucially relevant to the Fediverse ...
[4 comments]  
Photointegrity · In March of 2004, just over twenty years ago, I published an ongoing piece entitled, like this one, “Photointegrity”. The issue remains the same, but the rise of AI increases its importance and its difficulty. Here are words on the subject, illustrated by photos all of which have been processed with AI technology ...
[6 comments]  
Mobile Typing Pain · I ran a Fediverse poll asking how people go about entering text on mobile devices. The results shocked me: Half the population just taps away. Do you? Read on for details and speculation ...
[5 comments]  
Meta.ai Oh My! · “Meet Your New Assistant” says the announcement, going on with “Built With Llama 3”. And oh my goodness has it ever got a lot of coverage. So I thought I might as well try it ...
[7 comments]  
Topfew Release 1.0 · Back in 2021-22, I wrote a series of blog posts about a program called “topfew” (tf from your shell command-line). It finds the field values (or combinations of values) which appear most often in a stream of records. I built it to explore large-scale data crunching in Go, and to investigate how performance compared to Rust. There was plentiful input, both ideas and code, from Dirkjan Ochtman and Simon Fell. Anyhow, I thought I was finished with it but then I noticed I was using the tf command more days than not, and I have pretty mainstream command-line needs. Plus I got a couple of random pings about whether it was still live. So I turned my attention back to it on April 12th and on May 2nd pushed v1.0.0 ...
[1 comment]  
OSQI · I propose the formation of one or more “Open Source Quality Institutes”. An OSQI is a public-sector organization that employs software engineers. Its mission would be to improve the quality, and especially safety, of popular Open-Source software ...
[11 comments]  
A057X · Yes, “A057X” is cryptic, but my new lens’s official monicker is “150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD” so let’s stick with that part number. It’s from Tamron and this is the Fujifilm X-Mount variation. Lens-geeking is my favorite part of photo-geeking and it’s great that more manufacturers are opening up to third-party lens builders ...
[5 comments]  
Bye, Allyson · She’s gone. She lived well. We’ll miss her ...
[1 comment]  
Play My Music · When I’m away from home, I still want to listen to the music we have at home (well, I can live without the LPs). We had well over a thousand CDs so that’s a lot of music, 12,286 tracks ripped into Apple Lossless. Except for a few MP3s from, well, never mind. This instalment of the De-Google Project is about ways to do that with less Big-Tech involvement ...
[9 comments]  
The De-Google Project · My family, like most, depends on a lot of online services. And again like most, a lot of those services come from Big Tech giants in general and (in our case) Google in particular. And like many people, we are becoming less comfortable with that. So I’m going to try to be systematic about addressing the problem. This post summarizes our dependencies and then I’ll post blog pieces about updates as I work my way through the list. (The first is already posted, see below.) ...
[31 comments]  
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