me

Vi Hart is a genius!

I'm not going to try to even enumerate the layers of meaning here. Mathemagician Vi Hart is possibly the most consistently brilliant artist on Youtube. And this is brilliant even by her standards. (Even if you're not familiar with her work, this is accessible on several levels, and will reward watching. Yes, it refers back to her body of work a great deal. But take that as reason to look at that work later yourself.)

Suspend Your Disbelief (or, how to ruin everything in 7 steps)
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Self-propagating typo

I wonder if AI is good enough at this point that organizations could offer a public bug reporting facility to their customers, and rely on an AI to bring only those reporting something real to a human's attention?

What brings this to mind is a minor — it probably started life as a typo — data bug I came upon today. The interesting thing about it being that I stumbled upon it in Amazon's data, where I barely noticed it. But then I went to Google Play to check their price — and they had the exact same data bug. Which reveals a detail about how both companies populate their public product databases that they might have preferred to keep private. (Or might not — but it seems to me a company would prefer not to say "we populate our store inventory with regular data dumps from foo, then apply our pricing algorithm and publish it.")

The bug, if you're interested: I was watching a Youtube video of a conference presentation, the speaker showed a slide that intrigued me, captioned with a barely legible credit: Gary Gruver. So I Googled the guy, and found my way to an Amazon page for a book Amazon called — in both in the headline on the page and (sans particles) the Amazon URL — Start and Scaling Devops in the Enterprise. But on the accompanying photo of the book's cover, the title is Starting and Scaling Devops in the Enterprise (emphasis added). At some point in the past few years I stopped dismissing books and articles out of hand for having "enterprise" in the title, and I (for probably no good reason) feel less trapped buying an e-book from Google than Amazon, so I thought I'd see what Google was charging. And found the exact same typo, with the same photo of the cover and the same variant in the URL.

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A lovely spring Saturday

Today is the 1"st Annual" Newton Porchfest. I hadn't planned to take any of it in, but a few minutes ago, just as a I stepped outside to take some recycling to the bin, the band at the Auburndale Library (next door) started into Here Comes the Sun — a lovely performance, entirely suited to a lazy spring day. I'm now trying to decide if walking around to the front of the Library (where I could see them as well as hear them) would be pushing it. And sitting in the air-conditioning and writing you all about it in the mean time.

(I originally wrote that I'd stepped outside just as the band next door "started an entirely creditable rendition of Here Comes the Sun" — entirely creditable being a phrase I've become fond of in conversation at some point in the past few years. I'm not sure tat I'd never used it in writing before, but I felt sufficiently unsure to Google it: "deserving public acknowledgment and praise but not necessarily outstanding or successful." Which is closer to damning with faint praise than how I've been using the phrase in speech. I like my usage better, and will probably continue using it that way conversationally, in hope of doing my small bit for semantic shift in the direction of fine distinctions. At any rate, by the definition Google gives, their performance was more than creditable.)

The band, by the way, appear to be The Nays. I'm definitely going to make a point of taking in a show some time.


Note added 2 hours later:

That was totally a good time. My knee's bitching at me now, but — whatever. It was still totally a good time.

I heard a lot of classic-rock-cover-bands when I lived in Harvard Square 25+ years ago. And only maybe two of those bands — only one I remember for sure — left me in a little pool of contentment the way I am right now. (This despite the OMG I'm old! moment when a band that had been playing songs by The Beatles, The Byrds, The Band — songs that were classics before I was old enough to like girls — started into a Dire Straits song. Not even a song from their first album. A song from an album I bought when it was new. On CD.)

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The Deep

When I'm reading a web page and see a link that might be interesting, I usually open it in a new (backgrounded) tab and keep reading, without really even being conscious of it. I'm sure most of you do the same. So a coupe of weeks ago I was going through a window with maybe 100 such, some waiting since April. I closed a tab, saw a youtube.com URL in the next one, shifted my eyes to a different window while it started to load — and spent the next 5½ minutes with my jaw hanging open, in total awe.

And I've been trying to write a post about it ever since. And just now, finally had the dawn-breaks-over-marble-head realization that I am never going to craft the perfect introduction that will induce everyone who reads my words to discover this astounding work for themselves. And that's okay.

Spend five minutes with The Deep. Maybe read the annotated lyrics on genius.com while you listen. But do listen. You'll be glad you did.


H/T [personal profile] rmd (whose post about this is locked, but was entirely understanding when I explained my compulsion to cite my sources).


A few related items you may find interesting:

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Consumerism: Good < 1ℓ insulated pitcher?

I have an excelent 1.5ℓ coffee pitcher: It will keep a four-to-six person team-meeting in hot coffee for an hour — or two people working on a project for a half-day. But when it's only me, it's just too much. 1.5ℓ isn't necessarily more coffee than I want in a day. But it's definitely more than I should. And after five or six hours, most of it more than half-empty, it's lukewarm.

I was hoping the people who make it sell a smaller one as well. But if they do, my Google-fu has failed to find any sign of it. So if anyone knows of a good < 1ℓ coffee pitcher, please tell me about it.


Thanks in advance!



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me

a happy birthday

I've had a fantastic birthday! I didn't make any plans, as I often don't. I remembered it was my birthday when I woke up, but as I don't generally keep a facebook tab open, and haven't run biff(1) or any of its descendants for 20 years ... what can I say? It got swapped out. To the point where, an hour into the first of the wonderful hour+ phone calls I've had today whth three of my favorite people on Earth:

"So, any particular reason you called?"
"Happy birthday!"
"Oh, right." Then, through the gales of laughter on both ends, "Boy, I'm never going to hear the end of this, am I?
(Which, looking at it, sounds contrived. But I'm not a good enough actor to fake being that clueless.)

In the spirit of spreading around the warm-fuzzies: Years ago, back when text was the medium we communicated on on the 'net, a friend a thousand miles away needed a hug. Now I want to embrace all of you.

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me

Open-source router firmware?

Do any of you have an informed view on the relative merits of DD-WRT, OpenWRT, Tomato, et al? It's close to ten years since I looked into them in any detail; ISTR deciding at the time that none was significantly better or worse than the others. (Though I'm also fairly sure the decision I made then — to use DD-WRT — had a more substantive basis than just a dice-roll.)

Now I'm looking to set up a NAT with USB tethering from my Pixel as its upstream. Googling didn't find me any good leads for doing this with DD-WRT, but several discussions of doing it with OpenWRT. So I installed OpenWRT on a Cisco/Linksys E4200, with one of its switch ports connected to my MacBook Air via a USB_Ethernet adapter. (And with that and power as the only cables connected to it.) The E4200 came up just fine, giving my Mac a DHCP address in 192.168.1/24, and with the GUI as described in the OpenWRT setup docs. But when I rebooted it after a very little basic configuration (essentially just setting a root password and pasting an ssh public key in), my Mac came up with a self-assigned IP (i.e. one in 169.254.0.0/16).

I've now installed OpenWRT on the E4200 twice with the same results. So before I try to wrestle that into submission, I figured it would be worth while to run this by you all and see what you say.

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Ikea, anyone?

I need to make a trip to Ikea, and I'm going to need some help. So: anyone want to go to Ikea some time in the next couple weeks? If so, would you be interested in trading some labor for a ride? (The ride comes with well over ⅔ of the space in the cargo van I'll be renting. And I'll happily kill a few hours in the café to give you time to do the shopping to fill it.)

The problem is that I'm still sufficiently mobility-impaired to mostly limit my shopping to stores that have those electric scooter+shopping-carts for handicapped customers.

Which Ikea does not.

Which puts me in a bit of a quandary: Ikea is by far the best place to get the things I need. But just getting through the place in my human-powered wheelchair is going to push my limits right now. (And that without trying to actually carry anything.)

So I'm hoping to find somebody who'd be interested in working out a mutually beneficial arrangement. So I'd like to find someone interested in working out a mutually beneficial arrangement, with their contribution being to drive the shopping trolly.

If you're interested, please let me know. Or if you know someone who might be interested, please pass this URL along to them. (It's a public post.)

Thanks in advance!

—Alex

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Tape reel?

I don't suppose anyone around Boston has an empty ¼-inch magnetic tape reel laying around gathering dust, and would like me to take it off your hands? (Hey, it's worth a shot. At least among my friends....)

@WAYRTTD?{I have a 30m flat cat5 cable. Which is in many ways a lot handier to keep close to hand for those moments when I suddenly need 'net in some dark corner than a normal cat5 cable even half as long. But one way in which it is emphatically not handier is wrapping it up when I'm done with it: it always ends up a tangled mess. I'm pretty sure a ¼-inch tape reel would be the ideal way to store it. Unfortunately, it's been a good 25 years since I regularly scattered around friends apartments. But on the off chance....}

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