Is there a reason for this?

January 18th, 2017

I’ve been looking for productivity apps for my phone and tablet lately, because I’ve been wanting to improve my productivity. However, I’m also somewhat concerned about my privacy, so I’d prefer to use applications that don’t require me to obtain an account in order to use them. Most of the Kanban apps require accounts on their service, but I’ve found two that don’t, and I’m checking them out.

I understand that certain applications really do need access to a server in order to implement the full set of capabilities. But riddle me this, Batman … why the hell does an editor require me to sign up for an account? What capabilities does the server provide in this case? I mean, I was able to do search and replace, automatic word wrap and hyphenation, and other such functions back when I was using an Apple II. Is my smartphone less capable? If they’re going to keep my files on their server, no thanks. That’s why I make backups, and that’s why Apple provides iCloud. What’s their value-added here?

I’ve deleted the application, because it doesn’t just have limited capabilities without having an account – it won’t let you use it at all until you sign up for an account. You can’t even find out whether the available help information tells you why the account is needed. I really wish the app store required developers to state whether their app was usable without an account; it would make my selection process easier.

Serendipity, or, The Troubles That Come With Age

January 10th, 2017

Marion and I went cross-country skiing in Frisco last Sunday. It was a beautiful day, but the skiing was a hell of a workout. The temperature was in the upper 30s, and it had been snowing all day. Because of the snow and overcast, it was hard to see the tracks in the groomed trails. I had trouble seeing them at times, depending on the light, and Marion found them by following behind me. Because of the snowing and the relatively warm temperature, the snow was “slow.”

Even going down the steepest parts of the Frisco Bay loop, I had very little glide and no carry. On the steepest downslope near the end of the trail, I couldn’t even coast to the bottom, and Marion was able to shuffle down slowly with her skis pointing straight downhill.

It took us roughly two hours to go around the trail once, which is about twice what it normally takes. As I said, a hell of a workout.

The serendipity comes in because I decided Sunday morning that I was going to need a backpack, so that I would have somewhere to put any layers I removed while skiing. It wasn’t a problem Sunday, but I’ve ended up wearing just a t-shirt above the waist more than once while skiing. The backpack I grabbed is one I’ve used for exercising while walking, and had 20 pounds of weights in it. When I removed the weights, I noticed something else in it as well. It was the 18-55mm lens for my Canon camera, which I’ve been looking for for almost a year. That just goes to show how diligent I am about getting my exercise, I suppose.

In any case, I’ve been looking for it for a long time, because I backed a Kickstarter project over a year ago for the Pulse camera controller from Alpine Labs, and I received it last May or so. Since the only lens I could find was the 70-200mm zoom lens that was on the camera, I really didn’t do anything much with the Pulse until this week.

Today, I tried taking a time-lapse sequence of photos. It worked, but stopped early, and I need to determine why (I have a few ideas). However, I did get over 150 RAW photos of the foothills in Golden that I need to figure out how to stitch into a movie. It wasn’t the best weather for anything that looked impressive, but it was good enough for a first try. I’ll be trying more soon.

Tunesday

December 20th, 2016

I haven’t done any posting in almost a month, and I haven’t done one of these in a long while. We’ll do Christmas music, because it is the season.

A holiday I can enjoy

November 28th, 2016

Today is November 28th. In Japan, it’s unofficially Nice Knee-High Socks Day. This is because the date forms a pun in Japanese. Writing the date as 11/28, or 1-1-2-8, the Japanese for the numbers would be “ichi-ichi-ni-hachi.” Shortening it by dropping the second syllables and adjusting the final sound, you get “ii ni-hai,” or “nice knee-high socks.”

A lot of people post pictures, which I think is nice.

I don’t believe I will attend

November 28th, 2016

Last night, Marion and I went to a local dance studio that has open dancing on Sunday nights. Unfortunately, last night’s dance was cancelled – the studio was closed so that they could supervise rehearsals for an interpretive dance retelling of Star Wars. Yeah, not to my taste.

By the way, a web search for “Star Wars Interpretive Dance” brings up a number of possibly-interesting results.

Ouch. And almost very ouch.

November 1st, 2016

The HOA is doing some upgrades in my development. Siding is being replaced where necessary, and everything is going to be repainted. One of the things they’re doing is re-roofing.

This morning, as I was crossing the parking lot to my car, I stepped on a nail. It was an inch or so long, with a large enough head to let it point straight up like a caltrop. Luckily for me, I felt it and was able to unweight my foot quickly enough to prevent it penetrating the bottom of my foot. If I hadn’t been so quick, I’d probably have had to remove the nail before I could get my shoe off, and that would have been a problem.

I was wearing shoes with thick rubber soles today, and I had to use a pair of pliers to remove the nail. It would not have been fun to try to get the nail out if it had been embedded half an inch or so into the bottom of my foot.

I’m a little more cautious (paranoid?) crossing the parking lot now – the workmen are likely to be here for another couple of weeks.

Happy Halloween

October 31st, 2016

Click pictures for bigger.

halloween-candy

halloween-liberal

Halloween costumes that are puns.

NSFW Witch after the break.
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Today is National American Beer Day

October 27th, 2016

I was confused and thought that it was National Beer Day, but it isn’t – National Beer Day is April 7th here in the USA, and June 15th in the UK. National Drink Beer Day is September 28th. International Beer Day is August 5th.

However, it is National American Beer Day, which was set up to celebrate American brews.

Good enough. Time for a beer. I usually prefer IPAs, and there’s good news on that front. Got a different one tonight, a Good Juju.

beer-yellowstone

There were giants in those days …

October 25th, 2016

… and Steven Den Beste was one of the greatest. Sadly, he’s now gone. His site, USS Clueless, was one of the first websites that became a daily stop – I set up a bookmark for it, but I went there so often that it actually became faster for me to type the URL. His server, which was in his home, apparently died around the same time he did, but there is an authorized mirror available.

Bill Whittle described USS Clueless as the internet’s Krell Mind Machine, and that was an apt description. His long-form writing was well-researched, well-thought-out, and left you better informed, even if you weren’t actually smarter, for having read it. He was an engineer, and his posts on engineering topics, particularly things like alternative energy, were and are worthwhile references. His posts on politics earned him a position in “the Four Horsemen of the ABlogalypse.”

He retired USS Clueless in 2004, because he suffered from a genetically-caused degenerative disease, and the medications he took to allow him to do the in-depth posts became too much for him to want to handle, not to mention that his emails were filled with attacks and nitpicking, which became discouraging.

He continued blogging, but limited himself to anime, personal topics, and the occasional topical post. Chizumatic was never a regular stop for me, but it was a pleasant diversion on those occasions that I went there.

There are many tributes to him that have been posted already, and I’m sure more will be posted in the next days. There is a roundup post here that covers all the ones I’d found myself, and then some.

Farewell, Steven. I’m sorry you’re gone, and I hope you’re feeling better.

UPDATE: Steven talked about whether he’d made an impact here. Given the responses to his death, I feel confident in saying that he did, even apart from his engineering work.

Found a new blog

October 20th, 2016

Well, it’s new to me, at least. Via Gerard Vanderleun.

Here is his post on why he moved from the political left to the political right. I’ve read several of these from different people, and they’re all interesting. The key paragraph for me was this:

This was the final straw, to see that all of the things that a kind must do in order to continue to persist are exactly what liberalism condemns. That if you have two groups, one of which refuses to do what it must in order to persist through time, and another group which does, the latter will inherit the Earth. In fact, the Earth will always be inherited by those groups who take the effort to persist. These considerations are detailed in “The Ultimate Guide to Cultural Marxist Genocide.” I wrestled with these implications for a long time, for over a year actually. But in the end I could not get over the conclusion that, whatever moral or political theory you prefer, it can’t, like the Shakers, lead to the extinction of those who practice it. Values have survival value. On the other hand, liberal values are “Deathwish Values,” they lead to the extinction of those who live by them, and can not endure through time. If you adopt liberalism, you go extinct (see “The Shakers, Deathwish Values, and Autonomy“). This is what is currently happening to all the ancient people’s of Europe due to their adoption of liberalism. The world will always be inherited by those who live by values that ensure the survival of their kind.

He also has a good post about the push to declare sexual differences to be “social constructs.” He’s responding to someone else who lists a number of abnormal conditions as reasons to discard the normal. Again, there is a paragraph I find key:

The problem is that biology does not work on this essentialist basis; it works on the basis of function/malfunction, normal/abnormal. The real lesson to draw from examples such as those presented by EvoX is that sex is a functional biological norm, and individuals can deviate from this norm in many different ways. “Biologically normal” means working as designed by natural selection, or being in the condition it is supposed to be in, where “design” and “supposed to” means that the item is in the condition its ancestors were in on those occasions where they actually were selected for by natural selection. I will use “design” and “supposed to” since they are more intuitive to grasp and easier than writing out “as happened historically when the mechanism was selected for” each time.

I’m looking forward to spending more time reading what he’s got on the site.