June 24, 2021


Mood.

June 24, 2020

A piece going over some of the features of the Hey e-mail service, and how they cleverly borrowed interface patterns from other things like social media and the MacOS dock to make a better e-mail experience.

It makes me realize that I've been using gmail for about as long as I've had my current car, about 16 years. Besides the value of 16 years of mail archive (and my hesitation to use an email service where I assume I'd lose my account if I stopped paying - "free" is a dangerous and addictive drug!) the gmail feature I'd miss if it wasn't well-replicated is sorting my inbox into "Important and Unread" vs "Everything Else" (with a little section of starred items to get back to.) That separation of the sheep from the goats works better for me than more fine-grained categories.

Nice tribute to AOL Instant Messenger. I feel like my friends and I were funnier on AIM than we are on the current chat options. Maybe it's the setting? Like it's easier to think of something clever typing on a normal computer with a keyboard and a big screen than tip-tapping on a mobile device?

The article mentions the art of the away message... I think that tends to be a youth thing. Like in college, we had ".plan" files, what people would see when they ran the "finger" command on your account (and yes, the jokes about that verb were plentiful and rarely subtle). It shared that youthful romance energy as mentioned in the article, wistfully seeing if your crush had logged in and checked your email and not bothered to reply, and leaving a message that you hoped they might see but might never know if they did.

(Not even sure if there's a social media equivalent of "away messages" and .plans - maybe avatar photos and what the banner image on your FB profile page?)

what's up inner dog?

June 24, 2019
Studies show placebos are twice as effective as they were 25 years ago. What does this mean?? People have higher expectations from drugs I guess? It really, really makes you wonder what it means, and how we can take advantage of it.

I'm thinking too of the Eureka effect and the anecdote about Poincare having an important mathematical truth revealed to his conscious mind as he stepped onto a bus. (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance talks about that) So just like Placebos get some parts of our brains to heal us our subconscious minds can solve difficult problems...

(At least, I think it's our brains healing us - I mean a lot of medical problems get cleared up by our bodies on their own, but I wouldn't expect the "just leave it alone" solution to get so much better over 25 years - unless we thought people were living that much more healthily, I guess?)

So the subconscious is this weird dark thing! There are so many ways of looking at it- I'm not sure if they're all talking about the same phenomenon, or if it's the same in all people, but man! I know historically my conscious, narrating brain takes credit for being "the real me" - and so much so that this subconscious self seems like an "other" - an inner child, or some wild id, or the elephant in the "elephant and the rider" metaphor - and maybe it has to do with lobes, at least sometimes? That it's our non-verbal lobe... Split-brain studies are so wild - our physical brains have the capacity to be two almost completely functional people! What is going with that? And how can we best leverage the situation?

More and more my other self feels less like an inner child and more like a loyal and clever but poorly trained dog... in particular a dog always on the lookout for snacks, at least when I'm in the kitchen at work... the emotional tricks this pup plays to get treats that the analytical brain knows I could easily do without. (heh, googling I find some signs of therapy that looks to inner dogs instead of inner children )

So step one was realizing my "inner voice", the part that talks and can use language, wasn't quite the same as "me". And the obvious answer to that was to think of myself holistically - either as one thing with two sides, or at least as two subentities, co-equal in authenticity and dignity.

But maybe that was a mistake? Maybe step two should be leaning into my rational self as the realest me? Trying to think through the implications of that - I (my narrative self, that is) is forever adverse to taking authority - I don't want to enforce my judgements over others because I might be wrong, and it's deeply important to me to be in line with the "objectively true" universe (at least one ex realized this would mean I'd be a good buddy-dad but maybe not a great father, and I think they had a point.) But maybe this is one of those cases where the speaking, rational self needs to step up, and take authority.

But - if the unconscious me is almost a separate entity, and I treat it as such, I worry about the effects of it coming to resent the conscious me! It's tough to confirm the trust and loyalty of my inner-pup, it lacks the tail-wagging body language of real dogs....

Damn.

You know, all my life I've lived with cats, and I like 'em, but that lifestyle was chosen for me, not by me. Sometimes I think it would have been good for me to have grown up with dogs a bit more. I'm not sure which is closer to my spirit-animal; I mean I really see something of my need for space to pursue my own projects in cats aloofness, but also I think I have that goofy loyalty and need for feedback I associate with dogs. (yes, I know cat owners can point out the cuddly loyalty of cats, but I'm speaking in broad stereotypes here.)

Thinking more about the idea that it would be a big mistake to label the unconscious / subconscious as a single thing - I just remembered the single part of my unconscious mind that has most allowed me to punch above my weight, intellect-wise - my "get the gist", skimming subsystems, the ones that allow my eyes to merely dart over a paragraph and do a pretty damn reliable job telling me what's important in there, summarizing the feel of the interactions and directing me to go back to bits that didn't quite register. (And of course the partner subconscious systems that apparently piggyback on my vocalization systems to type -- thus all the horrible spelling (especially for vowels) and the strange typos like "by" for "my").

I have to assume these systems are distinct from the part of my brain that drive me to the chocolate covered pretzels in the kitchen at work. But it's so dark in that skull it's hard to be certain...

Modern web development pic.twitter.com/p84IVkC2aQ

— Jared Palmer (@jaredpalmer) June 23, 2019

An even better version
When life gives you hurdles, trip over those hurdles. Let your legs become tangled in a series of hurdles that you drag behind you. Crawl with your giant collection of hurdles towards more distant hurdles

June 24, 2018

Even sleepers are workers and collaborators in what goes on in the universe.
Heraclitus

June 24, 2017

Jim Coudal describes this as : "Poetry, in data":

Do not, on a rainy day, ask your child what he feels like doing, because I assure you that what he feels like doing, you won't feel like watching.
Fran Lebowitz

June 24, 2016

Ugh, Brexit.

Telling that the demographics are the Baby Boomers and older want out, everyone else wants in.

June 24, 2015

So Every state flag is bad
Women's World Cup Matches I like that these matches seem to dig up some old and new rivalness... US v China, Germany v France, Austrail v Japan, Canada v. England. Ok, maybe less so that last one but you get the idea.
The blues isn't about feeling better. It's about making other people feel worse.
Bleeding Gums Murphy (Simpson S1E6 Moaning Lisa)
I think I've been known to write mopey emails with this same aesthetic.

June 24, 2014

Never been a prescriptivist with language, but wondering if I'll ever get used to people using "u" in email. Txting I kind of see. I guess. But IM it just seems gross and lazy, and email it seems even worse.

Poetically I guess I like that "u" is symmetrical to "i" but still.

Kids today. And grownups.
Assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different.
Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo CEO

XRay of a 900lb man. 900 lbs is almost inconceivable to me. The image is kind of beautiful in a way, though

June 24, 2013

I just made a an Alien Bill Gallery: "the many faces and one eye of alien bill".

Don't Laugh, But A Single Artist Just Totally Outshined An Army Of Government Planners -- the artist in question is the one who taught the Basic Drawing class I just finished!
'If you're going to bring THAT up' never ends with 'then I'm going to tell you I love you.'
Guy on the Moth Radio Hour

stone zoo, spectacle island

(2 comments)
June 24, 2012
Yesterday my friend EB invited us to join them at the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, and after we went on a trip to Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor.
Yesterday when I was hiking a bit in the Boston Harbor islands, none of the guide or rangers knew why it has an area called "Hypocrite Channel".
http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/pictures-that-will-restore-your-faith-in-humanity - I admit I got a little misty at some of these "restore your faith in humanity" photos...
My "actionfigurefighter" was the featured screenshot on this Penny Arcade report about Pirate Kart gems.
Indeed recognizing that with death the relationship must end gives marriage much of its human pathos. The vows say 'I'll love you for as long as I possibly can. I can't love you after I'm dead, because I'll be dead.' Marriage begins from death, as it were, and work backward to fill the intervening period with love.
Robert Rowland Smith on "Tying the Knot"

the triangle and its combinations

June 24, 2011


I think this is from "Hornung's Handbook of Designs & Devices" , via a cool (if long) history of the fallout shelter sign.
Things learned yesterday: svn/tortoise has an "export" feature that's the best way of copying a dir tree sans all those little svn files.

iphone iphone iphone iphone iphone

June 24, 2010

the power of infographics

June 24, 2009

click for fullsize

Patrick Farley charts out the debate about gay marriage. Weirdly, I had just been wikipediaing him up (wondering where his brilliant e-sheep web comic site had gone; luckily his brilliant literalist-reading-of-Revelation-as-Pokémon Apocamon flash animation has been preserved) as this was making the rouunds on Twitter... I found out that he has a Livejournal and plans to revive e-sheep.
http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2009/06/triumph_of_the.php - ode the the concept of the default setting
Dollar Tree FTW - MUCH better selection of photo frames than Family Dollar and everything actually IS $1.
In typing the name of the local pizza joint, "Il Mondo", Amber notes that Italian is not the most sans-serif-friendly language out there.

pixiesmash

June 24, 2008
To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
pixiesmash - source - built with processing

These are beautiful, ephemeral pixies, flitting about hither and yon on gossamer wings, creatures of virutal light and logic, the very stuff dreams are made of.

You smash them with a rock.

(Macabre shades of Terry Jones' Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book? Also memories of Cleveland kids smashing fireflies and using their guts for glow in the dark sidewalk writing.)

A (roughly) two hour entry for Klik of the Month Klub #12. Also a more successful attempt to copy the visuals of this one "Pixie Swarm" Windows 3.1 screensaver than paintbars (though that ended up cooler and more hypnotic)
Wow, kick butt thunderstorm! I watched the front approach over Cambridge, engulf the MIT dome... felt apocalyptic!

drop it like its hot

(5 comments)
June 24, 2007
Thinking about food. My housemate Miller pointed out that microwave light popcorn does not a dinner make. I remember Dylan making the same observation ten years ago when he was subletting from me for a few months. And they're right, of course, but... I don't know, dinner just isn't that important to me. I'm not that hungry in the evening, but I appreciate it as the socially most important meal of the day, and of course if delicious food is presented to me I'll generally have some.

Of course, that's the fundamental problem. I'll eat for the taste of something, and for hunger... but not for "energy" or "nutrition" per se, because there's no definite feedback loop. I can't even set up an experiment to test the idea that "dinner is an important meal" because of the disconnect between what I eat and how I feel.


Quotes of the Moment
"Hors d'oeuvres have always had a pathetic interest for me," said Reginald, "they remind me of one's childhood that one goes through, wondering what the next course is going to be like -- and during the rest of the menu one wishes one had eaten more of the hors d'oeuvres."
Saki.
I love this guy; he's like the James Thurber of Edwardian-era Foppery. I'm currently tackling "The Complete Saki" though it feels like it might be overdoing it a bit.
Imagine the other day, just when I was doing my best to understand half the things I was saying, being asked by one of those seekers after country home truths how many fowls she could keep in a run ten feet by six, or whatever it was! I told her whole crowds, as long as she kept the door shut, and the idea didn't seem to have struck her before; at least, she brooded over it for the rest of dinner.
Saki.
This line reminds me of of a Groucho Marx line I once heard, in response to a woman who explained her having lots and lots of kids by "well, I love my husband..." supposedly "I love my cigar too, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while!" didn't happen, or not on-air, but I've heard "well, I love flapjacks, but I don't have closetfulls of them!" in response to the same scenario.


Video Games of the Moment

So NickB has been talking about this game Portal, as well as a free prototype you can play on windows called Narbacular Drop. The latter has the same 2 portal system, but in a more graphically primitive and fairy tale setting. (The makers of Portal have hired the team of students who made Narbacular Drop.)

The 2 portal concept, where you can make any 2 locations "virtually adjacent" via that set of doors, is a real mindbender. Seeing your back or side through a portal you set and realizing that (in game terms) it's not a reflection, nor a video monitor of some kind, but YOU, your player herself (in N.D. you play "Princess No-Knees" so teased because of her lack of jumping ability) takes some getting used to. And then setting up little experiments and what not... plus there's usually more than one way to solve a puzzle, and it's a challenge not to get fixed on one idea when there might be an easier to execute alternative.

I'd recommend the download, even though the game is a bit glitchy. (sometimes I came into the Boulder Run room and there were no boulders, needed to finish the level, until I was killed at least once.) It's only about 4 or 5 real puzzles, but good mental exercise.

dvdumb

(8 comments)
June 24, 2006
Doggone. I swear the ongoing war between "DVD+R" and "DVD-R" is just a conspiracy to get people to buy the wrong type. And wouldn't you know it, the laptops at work at the cool ones that can write either. Though at least in 2003, some guy made the case that DVD+R was superior.


Quote of the Moment
Cats are not Dogs.
FoSO last night, at the start of a nice evening of boozing, shmoozing, and karaoke.
I said I'd wait 'til Monday to post this, 'til more people are reading kisrael, but I'm in a hurry and low on material...

chicken in the car and the car won't go (backlog flush #56)

(4 comments)
June 24, 2005
Still in Chicago...going to spend the weekend here.

UPDATE: My class at Macrovision (boo, hiss, but it's just about the Installshield I swear) has pop (not soda, here) at 25 cents a can which by my calculatin' is "practically free". One of the offerings is called "Deja Blue" -- "Purified Drinking Water Non-Carbonated". There's something somwhow disconcerting about drinking flat water from a can...no bubbles, and not a tea or a juice.

Also, Chicago has a weird habit of putting up a bunch of coin-only tolls with non of the booths staffed, so if you don't have change you're out of luck. So be warned.

Oh, and I watched the Spurs beat the Pistons last night, the second half of that game. I was kind of rooting for both teams...the Pistons because Detroit as a city is kind of down and its luck and I think need something like this more, the Spurs because...well, it's nifty to see white people still able to do something on an NBA team. That Ginobili guy from Argentina seemed pretty cool. (I think I thought he was Italian or something...) He looks like a tall, drawn out Balky from "Perfect Strangers".

o brave new world that has such cellphones in it!

(3 comments)
June 24, 2004
Small site update: I tweaked the comments form a tad. Now URLs starting with http:// and https:// will be shown as links that open in a new browser window, I made the comments box a tad larger, and I added a 'formatting guidelines' link that opens up a popup explaining what the comments thing does with HTML, URLs, and whitespace. Feedback (as always) welcome.

Oh, if you were wondering, the URL-to-link thing applies retroactively to previous comments people entered in.


Rant of the Moment
I do dig my new Samsung "SPH-A680" cellphone, the one with the built-in camcorder, and in general its UI is very well-designed. One thing about still seems absurd and annoying to me, however: who on earth (or, specifically, at Samsung) thought I needed 8 distinct levels of ringer volume? What kind of finesse do they think I need on this thing? "Oh, 4 was just a tad too soft, the countermelody of my ringtone was being muffled a bit, but 5 was just perfect!" No. I want off, vibrate, and LOUD. I could see having 2 or even 3 volume levels plus vibrate and off, but 8? The main reason it annoys me is because I have to cycle through all 8 volumes every time I set it down to vibrate.

Anyway, I checked, and it's probably 8 because there are 8 volume levels for voice, which makes more sense, since there's more of a dynamic range of volume for calls, and you need to be able to hear the other person without it being too loud. But still, the ringer volume is a classic case of engineer- and not user-centric design. (Or, misguided user-centric design, more options aren't always better.)


Site of the Moment
Retrofuture.com talks in depth about some of the futures that never were. Hrrm, I wonder what kind of minor annoyances these citizens of the future that never was had with their Robot XJ427? "Oh, it's great, but I just hate the way that it has 73 ways of cooking eggs, and always has to list them all for me, when I always just want scrambled!"


Trivial Pursuit Question of the Moment
What name did the World Meteorological Organization take off a list of hurricane names in 2001, after complaints from Jewish groups?

Israel
Trivial Pursuit
YEAH BABY! Rock you like a HURRICANE!!!
Well, not any more. But it looks like "Kirk" has been added to the name rotation, so there is that.

oops, i did it again and again and again

June 24, 2003
Quip of the Moment
[The title character 'Sky' is] a rather alarmingly youthful and extremely boisterous woman who could be described as 'the Britney Spears of porn', if that weren't midway between an oxymoron and a redundancy.
Glenn Kenny, introduction to "A Galaxy Not So Far Away", essays on the cultural response to Star Wars.
The movie in question is "Sky's Day Off".


Link of the Moment
I've been getting more into everything2.com lately (more on that later, probably) and I found Conan O'Brien's Commencement Speech for the Harvard Class of 2000. S'funny.


Simpsons Quote of the Moment
Bart: [practicing for Radioactive Man's sidekick fallout boy] Now is the winter of our discontent!
Ralph: Oh no! Run! [runs]

if it's wacky, it must be good

June 24, 2002
Link of the Moment
Wacky Uses has a ton of those "odd uses for household products" tips. Some are kind of interesting. The list of three banned experiments from "The Mad Scientist Handbook" are kind of cool as well.


Quote of the Moment
My grandfather lived to be 103 years old. The truth is, nobody knows what's good for you. Every morning he would eat an entire raw onion and smoke a cigar. You know what his dying words were? Nobody knows, they couldn't get near the guy.
Jonathan Katz

last call

June 24, 2001
Wow. Last night was the combined bachelor/bachelorette party for Mo and I. That's probably the reason this entry's gonna be a little sparse... we started the evening at Lee and MZ's for cocktails, and then went en masse to Jasper White's Summer Shack for seafood and more. We then took the T downtown and went to see Jacque's Cabaret... the place in Boston for some pretty amazing cross-dressing lipsynchers. It was a fun time, Mo and I got some attention from the ladies there in honor of our soon to be wed status. Finally we finsished up with an hour or two at the club Man Ray. Let's see... we got to Lee and MZ's about 5:30, closed the joint at Man Ray's at 2... man, that's over 8 hours of celebration, a solid work day. Whew, no wonder I'm tired.

Surprsingly, I'm not sure if even this shindig has really 'brought home' the fact I'm going to be getting married in a week.


from the T-shirt Archive: #4 of a Series

"Head of the Charles". If I had to guess, I'd say I got this when my jazz band came to Boston, all the way from Cleveland. That was the fateful trip I first started flirting with Veronika, Spring of 1991. For obvious reasons it was a cooler shirt to wear in Cleveland than in Boston, but still, it had a nice design.


Quote of the Moment
I AM WORTH 530 DOLLARS
This was actually a very moving line; the golem was trying to weakly defend himself from a rampaging mob, crouched behind the slate it uses to 'talk' with. The golems are odd creations, not alive, not even undead; tireless speechless workers, clay given life by the mystical words written on paper in their heads. As the slate is smashed, one of the mob yells "Money? That's all you things think about!", and the heroic Captain Carrot steps into stop the next hammer blow, saying "Money is all you can think about when all you have is a price."

It sounds odd, but it was quite well done.

My purpose is not to change anything. I don't give a shit about this country. This country could explode tomorrow and I'd just move to Ireland. I don't care about America, I don't care about democracy, I don't care about the human race. And I don't care about religion or God or any of those things. I care about friendship, family ties and romantic love. Those are the things I believe in. And I love my writing.
--George Carlin
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Measuring time in sunburns- "but darling, the romance between me and her proved it couldn't last and besides, that was many sunburns ago."
99-6-24
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Why do I get so pissed at traffic?  This crazy loss of control...
97-6-24
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Waiting for rick outside of bertucci's- the FIRST bertucci's.  Rick and I are such goofballs together.  It's not the case that we're the only ones we can be ourselves with- in fact the opposite. But it's fun, and funny, and relaxing
97-6-24
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