February 10, 2019

Every couple years I think about this NSFW rant praising the Nokia E70 over the first iPhone... NSFW and if you're of a delicate sensibility don't try reading the next GIF too closely either.

Times when the world seems different somehow:

- being in your elementary school as an adult

- being in a pool when it rains

- train stations at night

- when the ghost of the girl who died in your building tells you to get out or die

- walking through fresh snow by yourself

February 10, 2018

When I was in fifth grade or so I read a book called "Truly Tasteless Jokes". I recently reread it on Kindle...
Two thoughts:
1. I was surprised how many jokes I remembered retelling over the years I got from this book
2. It was published in 1982 but I was still surprised at how often Kermit is a cultural reference.

My favorites from this time were "What's Helen Keller's favorite color? Corduroy" which is both kind of terrible (as were most Helen Keller jokes) but also kind of sweet and hopeful, and "Two cannibals are having dinner together, the guest says to his host 'Your wife sure makes good soup.' 'Yeah, but I'm going to miss her'"
A brief article I made for Lost in Mobile, about not quite understanding the pursuit of smart homes...
Had a maple scone from True Grounds this morning. It triggered very strong but entirely disconnected sensory memories... "I've had exactly this scone, and it's super evocative, but I'm not sure of what or when". Maybe 1369 Cafe circa 1998 when I lived in Inman Square?

Wonder if there's a French or German word for that...
"This country has lost its way. We need to go back to the good old days when America was prosperous."
"That's easy! All you have to do is fight a just war against a powerful overseas enemy during a time when major discoveries in computation, transportation, and energy production have just occurred. Prosecute the war in such a way that every powerful nation but your own is ruined. Afterward collect fleeing scientists and engineers. As your troops return enjoy the burst of social cohesion and the boom in manufacturing as you supply a devastated planet, while the world's best minds create ever better products, industries, and discoveries within your borders."
"Or we could stop letting gays marry."
"Your plan does have the virtue of simplicity."

A while back I listened to Brett Weinstein on Sam Harris' podcast, here's a good summary. He mentioned the idea of "metaphorical truth"- a belief that is factually wrong but you come out ahead if you believe in it. The summary I link to summarizes his view as "Religion was valid metaphorical truth because it helped us before (for thousands of years). We're now at a point where it (often) hurts more than it helps, but that doesn't change how useful it was in the past."

Friendly Atheist had a pretty good piece on it, but I think Vonnegut nailed it in "Cat's Cradle" with what he called "foma" - "harmless untruths" - and advised "Live by the foma that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy."

I have very mixed feelings about that kind of pragmatic view about supernatural explanations for life as we can witness it...

February 10, 2017

Honestly, Ivanka would have a lot more success selling her brand at Walmart

I admit yesterdays event was more of a pain in the butt than I was bargaining for- and next week has the potential for being worse, with the next big threat on Monday.

February 10, 2016

Introducing Vector Networks - I'm looking forward to software with this. I love the idea of vectors for shapes but the indirectness of the interaction always left me stumbling -- beziers are really tough for humans to deal with.
My Little Sister Taught Me How To 'Snapchat Like The Teens' - This one has been making the rounds. I would love to see a video of someone doing 40 snapchat responses in less than a minute. I'm not sure I've ever felt on the old/young divide as much as with this; to not just accept the "too many incoming messages" paradigm but to embrace it, surf it, make more of it; to have each interaction be SO ephemeral (which was part of the value proposition of Snapchat, it tattletaled if the other person grabbed a screenshot.)

I wonder how and if kids who are into this mode of communication (which almost strains credulity, as described in there) make a distinction between "this photo interaction was as ephemeral as a glance across the table" and "this artifact is worth holding on to".
Amazing emergent patterns from overlaying semi-random and then regular patterns of dots:

How Star Wars The Force Awakens Should Have Ended SPOILER ALERTS but MAN is it funny...
wife: go see if the baby sleeping
*walks into baby's room*
baby: corporations exploit our
insecurities for profit
me: no babe she woke af
I've been thinking about this tweet a lot. Besides the baby's point, I do think internet patois is cool af.

February 10, 2015

I gotta say, my little Snow Joe Snow Thrower (battery operated, even) is doing me proud, and even though it wasn't cheap, probably worth it in keeping 3 vehicles worth of space and some sidewalks clear. Some stacks (especially the high wet slush from 2 or 3 lanes worth of Mass Ave, at the mouth of the driveway) have to be done in two parts, but this thing is keeping me sane through these days.

On Scandinavian Happiness Some thoughtful analysis on how it can and can't be a model for the USA.

February 10, 2014

It's interesting that babies don't have object permanence but still don't expect things to just pop into existence in front of them... feels like both a little fear and a lot of delight....

HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has killed tens of millions of people worldwide, and over 30 million people are currently living with HIV. The number of copies of the virus carried in someone's blood can vary dramatically, but across all the people in the world, there probably exists about a spoonful worth of HIV.
wow. So difficult to grasp the scale of how small some things are.
Been thinking a little bit about "the fear of success" as a way of analyzing my angst about taking on projects. I wonder if some part of that is "fear of success that won't feel like 'enough'".

February 10, 2013

Decided to keep up my runwalkrun program-- back to the minuteman bike trail, which might not have been the smartest, given who else was on the unplowed trail:
bikers seen: 0
fellow joggers seen: 1
snowshoers seen: 3
crosscountry skiers seen: 2

To make it more fun, this was a special "long run" day, 57 minutes in all.

Lesson learned: hmm, maybe under such conditions I should switch to roadside running. If I stick to the 1 way streets I'll know which way cars are coming as well.

the kart jam

February 10, 2012

I'm planning on hosting a small Boston get-together for the GDC Pirate Kart Weekend Jam. Let me know if you're interested in the details.
http://jalopnik.com/5883780/the-dark-underworld-of-toy-cars/ kinda fun look at the dark underside of toy cars


February 10, 2011

Moved to a Processing.js version

boxcloud - source - built with processing

Another work-in-progress prototype for work; in this case it's trying to make an interesting "tag cloud" like display for careers kids might want to consider. Press space to do up another random batch.

I need to find out if text can be reliably rotated via CSS, and in general I might need to scale my font so everything fits, but I'm pleased I got the basic effect I was looking for after a few dead-ends, algorithm wise. (this kind of stacking/tiling ain't as easy as it looks!)
Nice- "signal problems" AND "disabled trains". Some day maybe Park Street green line platform won't be packed. Time to walk! Again.
Looking out at the Hancock building, for a brief instant I think I see a Zeppelin. Must've been a glitch from a different, better time line.
"Sit on a potato pan, Otis" is like my favorite palindrome which makes every elevator ride at work a bit of a treat. Though "Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas" is pretty good too.

this can't be happening!!

February 10, 2010

To quote The Comic Curmudgeon:
I suppose that longtime readers of Blondie are supposed to know that spinning around on one’s head is an indicator of extreme, uncontrollable emotion of some kind, but to the casual viewer, it would just appear that Dagwood, Herb, and Daisy have chosen to express their football-related outrage with a stunning display of eerily synchronized breakdancing. Which I for one am totally in favor of.
It's kind of creepy if read it as a poltergeist kind of thing.
Dream vocabulary: Igknifify: to resolve a situation by plunging a knife into something or someone.
Escalators are mighty conveyor belts- that's a lot of cargo to haul up a flight!
http://quotableactionhero.blogspot.com/ - bad ass movie lines. The my favorite is my personal variant, "I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of ass."
A. i didn't know Taser was named after Tom Swift. B. I like how the "how Tasers work" section of Wikipedia is mess of [Citation Needed ]

over does it

February 10, 2009
So I decided to hunker down and do the blog/twitter redesign I've been thinking of.

The overall goal was to bring combine the spontaneity that I had on my old Palm journal (and had rediscovered with Twitter) into the daily update and archive feel of kisrael.com proper. Twitter-as-sidebar was always a bit of a hack, I could display the last X entries, there was no way for a site user to comment on a specific tweet, and I've been realizing that relying on Twitter as a permanent archive is a very dicey proposition.

I mentioned Kate pointing out the tumbleblog format to me, and the similarities with my style here. I do link thinking in terms of having an "anchored" or "slantwise" tumbleblog, though given how few people know what a tumbleblog is, it's not all that useful.

So. Designwise I had two aims:
1. Give each daily entry its own "sidebar", with quick, random thoughts updated throughout a day.
2. Remove the current site sidebar as being visually confusing by tucking it into some dropdown menus.

So I worked and worked and came up with this: (click to view 'for real')

The problem is kind of apparent; if the main content or the sidebar content is much longer than the other part, there's a lot of ugly blank space.

I was pretty happy with the way the icons look, and the functionality of the dropdown menus (shown here - that's not what you see when the page loads) but still I despaired; the sidebar looks terrible, why couldn't I have just kept the old format entirely, just adding lots of "of the Moment"s throughout the day?

So this was my next idea:

I was relieved that this seemed to work fairly well! It would even make sense if either the "anchor" or the quick posts weren't up yet.

Ok, so now that I've learned quick updates go under and not to the side of the anchors, does the old sidebar have advantages in bringing potentially interesting content forward?


But I like my icons... they are pretty nice looking... maybe I could use them to bring more attention to the old "spotlight" stuff (half of which are technically other sites) while keeping the sidebars...


That's not too bad. Tucking the sidebar into the icons leads to a cleaner, almost minimalist site... having the sidebar out in the open shows that I've tried to put lots of neat stuff here, that it has content beyond the tumbleblog part.

So if you get the chance, click through, or just look at the screenshots, and let me know what you find most appealing, and why. I guess I'd ask to try to look with "fresh eyes", I know that the more icon-centric, no-sidebar designs might be at a disadvantage because they are unfamilar.

"We are not water resistant" --Catholic spokesman on the increasing phenomenon of non-celibate priests
It seems like sites and services (gmail, facebook, etc) are forgetting me more often. And with all of them I signed up with a different e-mail.
Wow. A Sugar Glider might not be what you think it is. But so cute! Worth googling.

last minute

February 10, 2008
Ooh, almost forgot to do the site today. It's easy to get distracted these days...

Link of the Moment
TVTropes is really absorbing... it's all the little clichés and tricks you see again on TV, in comics, and in other media. I really admire being people who are able to generalize and find instances when they show up, because I don't think I'm particularly good at it. I also like the clever names they come up with, as well as the relaxed style, refreshingly un-Wikipedia-ish and loose. The comic book section might be the best. It's all a little dangerous because it's so enjoyable to follow all the cross references. (Thanks Nick B)

highways and byways

February 10, 2007
Back in Nyack for a few days, helping My Ever Lovin' Mom out with a few things.

Also, Mr.Ibis and felisdemens have opened up their place in Florida to me for a mid-winter, between-jobs get away, which prevents me from being completely lame and having a "stay at home vacation" for all four weeks.

(I originally was thinking of trying to make it to San Diego, because I haven't seen Dylan in even longer, and have only been to California once, but couldn't quite arrange it. (Which is a euphemism for the boy's issues with returning phone calls...))

Map of the Moment
--Northeast excerpt of Chris Yates' brilliant subway-map like simplification of the Eisenhower Interstate System. (via boingboing)

Legalism of the Moment
If passed by Washington voters, the Defense of Marriage Initiative would: Again bb covered this, which may be making the rounds. The Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance is working to point out the hypocrisy of their court using the "legitimate state interest" in limiting marriage to those couples able to have and raise children together. I admit it's a bit obnoxious, but hopefully will point out the obnoxiousness of discriminating against gay marriage... or at least force them to admit it's tradition and bias and not hide behind the "we're thinking of the CHILDREN" defense.

d to the c day 5

February 10, 2006
Quote of the Moment
"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."
Carl Sagan
Image of the Moment
--via the Cellar, fish in a blender. Where is the love, people? (Get it, love... blender... wheeee)

do you have feet?

(1 comment)
February 10, 2005
Anecdote of the Moment
My wife tends to have a very fuzzy line between asleep and awake. After some years of living with this, I have finally hit upon an effective test to determine which state she is in (because, you see, the fact that she is standing upright and talking to me is _not_ an accurate indicator): I ask her if she has feet. If the answer requires thought on her part -- and particularly if the answer is "no, they're missing" -- then she's asleep. If she gets annoyed at me for asking such a silly question, then she's not asleep.
Rob Ellwood, rec.arts.sf.composition. That's so cool!

non, je ne regrette rien. well... maybe not rien rien, but whatever

(1 comment)
February 10, 2004
Quote of the Moment
"I like the tattoo. I like a woman who's not afraid to make a decision she'll regret later."
some guy on the Howard Stern show
Ramble and Link of the Moment
So, I guess this new Mac music-making software called GarageBand. One of my self-appointed projects for my 30s is to get back to music, at least to the point where I can put some of the riffs and beat patterns that I've used off and on since high school into a more permanenet format. I wonder how much better GarageBand is than some older, similar programs, like Cakewalk. Worth investing in a cheap Mac?

Essay of the Moment
A worthy essay if only for the title alone: Everything I Need To Know About Web Design I Learned Watching Oz (Oz, the "gritty" HBO Prison Drama (or as the author puts it, a don't-drop-the-soap-opera), not the classic movie.)

Link of the Moment
A historical look at Sexual or Erotic Films. Fairly dry reading in parts, it does end with some lists of the some of the best or most infamous scenes. It talks about my favorite flick, "Henry & June", and the NC-17 rating that never was allowed to be a way of making films for adults without the stigma of the X rating that porn had taken over.

Technlogy of the Moment
The 100-Million-Mile Network, debugging the Mars probes Spirit and Opportunity, with lessons for people doing technology on a more earthly scale.

"cheese eating surrender monkeys"

(1 comment)
February 10, 2003
Onion Quote of the Moment
At a recent NATO meeting, France and Germany expressed reluctance to lend military support to the U.S. if it invades Iraq. What do you think?
"That's a shame. It would have been hilarious to see the French running around the desert in their froofy Stratego uniforms."
"Hey, Mr. President. When even the Germans don't want to fight, take the fucking hint."
It's funny stuff, though admittedly not quite fair, post-war Germany (and Japan) has actually been more pacifist, not less, probably because of the awfulness they went through.

Historical Quote of the Moment
"You always write it's bombing, bombing, bombing. It's not bombing. It's air support."
Col. David H.E. Opfer, air attaché at the US embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Toy of the Moment
Not the friendliest interface, but the Lego Brick Builder is a cute little online toy.


February 10, 2002
Party Image and Quote of the Moment

"I've seen pornos that show less."--Feb 9 2002

fears of a clown

February 10, 2001
Funny Link of the Moment
Hey, President (cough) Bush, what's that on your Palm?

Techie Link of the Moment
Interesting suck.com article on WAP, and why it sucks. WAP is the underlying protocol that you use when you use "wireless internet" on your cellphone. Although the protocol itself isn't too too bad (except for an odd 1492 character limit in how much a server can send in one gulp), it's associated with WML, a terrible HTML-like language, and also having to use the cellphone keypad to laboriously tap in letters.

Quotes of the Moment

"As we say in the trade, nothing bad happens to a writer, everything is material."
"Enjoy your life, my dear; it is the only one you'll have on this earth, and it's a good earth."
He is one of the wisest writers I've ever read. Taken together these quotes seem kind of cheesy, but in the context of his advice column they really work.

Had a lot of dreams the other night, probably because of all the stress at work.  One had me joining a swim class, except the first lessons were at this small hot spring basin.  It turned out it was attached to a nudist beach, you had to be naked to swim, and the other beachgoers applauded when we decided to be naked on shore.  Sarah was one of the undressees, but it wasn't very sexual.  I thought the people might be bad at this yellow scented additive the instructor added to the basin.  In another dream there was a winking semi-animated statue of Don Quixote sitting on a bench.