February 23, 2018tuba

The Harvard Crimson did a short article on BABAM
Great piece on tech nostalgia, a guy powers up his original 2002 iPod, old songs and playlists intact.

Only the final third is about the hardware itself, as classic and still functional (modulo the battery life) as it is; the rest is a nostalgic exploration of the author's digital musical life of the era, and the idiosyncrasies he had in categorizing songs and arranging playlists.

There are some old digital "snapshots" I treasure, like a folder with all the files stuffed on my Windows Desktop directory - one of those things I kept meaning to get back to, to curate out "the good stuff", but now holds holistic value as a slice of my old digital life. Similar for old screengrabs I have, or just photos with the monitor visible... the ones that inadvertently show what all I was up to those days are much more interesting than ones that just show an app. (The same phenomenon happens for old photos - ones where my old book stacks - or even just clutter - are intriguing no matter what the subject of the photo is supposed to be.)

Do you share in this kind of object nostalgia, digital or otherwise?

Florida Lawmakers Advance Bill Requiring Schools To Display 'In God We Trust'
I think these Florida Lawmaker assholes would be being 1000% more honest if the signs read "IN GUNS WE TRUST"

So damn stupid. "Thoughts and Prayers" codified by assholes who have a higher concern for their love of guns than for public health and safety.

And for all those asshole gun lovers who are like "oh you don't even know what assault weapon means" - doctors do - these guns do much much worse damage than handguns. In both the quality and quantity of bullets these unleash, these guns have ZERO FUCKING LEGITIMATE ROLE in society. And the way the NRA has blocked research into this? THAT IS A MORAL OUTRAGE.

Funny (well, maybe not funny ha-ha) thing to think as you're drifting to sleep: "I'm about to apply for dual citizenship: the United States and the People's Republic of Sleepistan".
Yeesh. You know, despite living more or less near Davis for two decades I never realized the Rosebud wasn't just the diner part in the front.

February 22, 2018

Pretty good Quora critique of Ayn Rand's philosophy. Hadn't thought about it as "individuals are basically good but corrupted by government and organizations" vs I guess the countering liberal view that government and organizations ideally distill our best selves and intentions, and have some powers (force, social pressure, etc) to get individuals to behave in ways that are better. (Though, ways that are better for the institution in question, which might not always be the general objective preference and is certainly not the Objectivism preference...)
New "Solo" move ala Sabotage:

Damn that is a good song.
"High school kids are 'crisis actors', but our reality show president has to read 'I hear you' off a cue card."
--Steve Delfino, on this crap.
2:22 2/22

February 21, 2018

Apple Life Hacks from Gruber's twitter: on macOS you can make a sticky "note" appear above all other windows all the time (Window Float on Top) and on iOS you can force touch the typing keyboard to make it into a touchpad that zips the cursor around the typing area
The annual twitter tradition continues.
Teens are waking up to this 1984 bullshit.
Pfizer, pocketing a big tax cut from Trump, will end investment in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's research Hey that great tax cut and late stage capitalism is real great for healthcare huh. Yay Trump! All those poor dumb bastards who voted to drain the swamp. Genius!

February 20, 2018tuba

Greg Cook took photos of BABAM! and Second Line and Boycott playing for HONK! volunteers at Aeronaut.

"Tetris is a REVERSE Metroidvania, where you're the bad guy, and the game is leveling up as it continues and keeps attacking you."
--Chris Sims, on the Retronauts episode Symphony of the Night and the near-death of Metroidvania games. (Springing from a disagreement between a surprisingly narrow and a much more loose definition of "what's a Metroidvania")
"In many ways, the United States is not at the forefront of the Enlightenment project, even though the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution were the earliest and greatest gifts of the Enlightenment. The United States was conceived as an Enlightenment nation, but it always entertained counter-Enlightenment forces of cultures of honor; of manly self-defense; of a kind of millennial, quasi-religious, messianic role of the United States in particular as the indispensable nation, the city upon the hill--both very counter-Enlightenment notions."
--Steven Pinker. He speaks of optimism, not withstanding the glitches we're seeing in social progress now. (Not that it should be an excuse for complacency either)
"Gunfire erupted from a window high above them, but it was only a bass player getting shot for playing the wrong riff three times in a row, and bass players are two a penny in Han Dold City."
--Douglas Adams, "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish". Thought of this when musing on being asked to stand in with New Magnolia Jazz Band for playing at a funeral this Saturday...
"I'm convinced that no one can amount to a damn in the arts if he becomes sweetly reasonable, seeing all side of a picture, forgiving all sins."
--Kurt Vonnegut to Miller Harris in his collected letters. Man, here I am reading a deadtree book (hardcover, no less, but $8 from the remainders table of the MFA) drinking a little Crown Royale and taking a break from screens (sort of). #throwbacktuesday

(Other notes: he made and tried to sell a boardgame HQ or GHQ, apparently moldering in his collection at Indiana University and the terms "work the bugs out" and "you were hosed" were used in the 50s/early 60s.)

February 19, 2018

The Black Mirror episode "Hang the DJ" is my favorite bit on romance plus technology since "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind".

Florence is a very sweet little game-story for iOS.

February 18, 2018

From the Atlantic - Making Athens Great Again - charts some interesting parallels with Athenian and American Exceptionalism...

February 17, 2018

I've been revamping some of my old programming toys and games - one of my favorites was this, the "Chaos Game" way of making a Sierpinski Triangle.

You pick a point somewhere inside a triangle, mark it, then the next point is halfway between that point and one of the three corners (randomly selected), and then you repeat.

What slowly (and magically - or at least counter-intuitively) emerges is a Sierpinski Triangle (kind of like the Zelda Triforce on drugs)

I really do dig recreational programming sometimes...
Digital Alarm Clock History Amazing how emotionally evocative some of those old beep patterns are - also it reminded me of a bit of a family lore from my youth, this dang Raggedy Ann and Andy alarm clock - "ANDY ANDY PLEASE GET UP IT'S TIME TO CALL OUR FRIENDS / OK ANN, I'M AWAKE, LETS SHOUT IT ONCE AGAIN / WE WERE SENT TO WAKE YOU / SO HERE WE ARE TO SAY / PLEASE GET UP BRUSH YOUR TEETH AND START YOUR HAPPY DAY"
RIP this shirt. (Well, I ripped this shirt, anyway) For a long time it felt like my bestest shirt ever.

"In 1968 I ran into Steve Lacy on the street in Rome. I took out my pocket tape recorder and asked him to describe in fifteen seconds the difference between composition and improvisation. He answered: 'In fifteen seconds the difference between composition and improvisation is that in composition you have all the time you want to decide what to say in fifteen seconds, while in improvisation you have fifteen seconds.' His answer lasted exactly fifteen seconds."
--Frederic Rzewski