Jan 28

Doing more

This isn’t exactly wrong, but the idea that iPads “do more” doesn’t quite capture what’s really going on.

iPads only do more for those who are incompetent with general purpose computers. Which is most people, so yes for the majority of people from their perspective an iPad can do more as they have no clue how to use their desktop PC.

I have an iPad. I bought it for and use it for one thing only: reading eBooks due to its great screen.

For every other thing I could possibly use it for, it’s far slower and far, far clunkier to use than my desktop PC or the MacBook Pro.

So for the computer-incompetent, tablets can indeed do more. For the other 2-10% of society, using a tablet for anything substantive is like attempting to tear down a brick wall with a fingernail file – yes, it can be done, but it’s going to take a few years while a wrecking ball (read: general purpose computer) can get that same task done in a few seconds.

Jan 28


Reading on my formerly very-nice Cinema Display is now not that much fun since the MacBook Pro’s Retina Display is so glorious.

Luckily it’s all that I will be using soon – that or my iPad air which also has a wonderful but smaller screen.

The first computer screen I ever used heavily was the TRS-80 Model III which had a 80×25 text display. Yeah, that’s right: 2,000 pixels.

The MacBook Pro RD by comparison has a screen with 4.1 million pixels.


Jan 27


I was thinking about teachers I’d had over the years, both good and bad. I decided – no real idea why as I am usually not an archaeologist of even my own past – to look up Larry Joye, a great science teacher of mine from 9th grade.

I was surprised to see that he had died.

He was only 63 years old.

I knew I’d never have a career in science as I am terrible at the operational side of math, but even before his class I’d always loved science.

Larry Joye recognized – unlike most educators, seemingly – that 99.98% of people, even very smart people, will not have a career in science and it’s more important for them to understand the concepts than work out equations that are and always will be utterly meaningless to them*.

Thus in his class we did great things like using precise scales to measure how much a pencil mark on a piece of paper weighed, and then attempting to work out how many atoms it took to make up that pencil mark.

Or we’d use a dichotomous key to identify some organism that he’d brought in. Or we’d go outside and gather as many plants as we could on school grounds and try to identify them all. (I found and identified the most! Ha.)

He basically threw the entire curriculum out the window and taught real science intended for folks who won’t ever be scientists, instead of an entire year of memorizing some musty equations from 1910.

He was a great teacher – passionate, extremely knowledgeable, and who knew that only seeing something actually in practice would mean much to those who aren’t just math geeks.

I learned more science in his class than the entire rest of my school career combined.

*Not intending to impugn math or its practitioners at all. Though I have a really good conceptual understanding, I am not good at it and never will be, hence why I knew I’d never be a scientist. That said, it is very useful to the 0.02% of population who need higher math for their careers. For the rest, it is mostly harmful as currently taught. It could be different, but it’s not.

Jan 26


When you grow up poor, it’s odd to not be that way anymore. To be able to go on a road and around-the-world trip for a year. To just buy something if you want it. It doesn’t seem real sometimes, like someone let you into a club that you really shouldn’t be in.

But I still remember my parents having their crappy car involuntarily-repossessed. Looking for change in the couch. How empty the refrigerator was.

If my dad had not been a mechanic and able to trade his time and labor for things we needed, I don’t know how we would’ve made it when I was very young.

A few weeks ago my partner I were driving past a car dealership where sits a gorgeous blue Aston Martin. I have no real interest in Aston Martins or having a car that expensive, but I do enjoy looking at it.

I said jokingly something like, “Maybe instead of the trip I’ll just buy that.”

And my partner – who also grew up poor and is also unused to not being that way– said, “I don’t know anyone who can afford a car like that.”

I smiled and said, “You’re sitting next to someone who can afford a car like that.”

“Oh. Ha. Yeah,” she replied.

When I bought a car in cash for the first time, I felt like I was pulling some kind of caper. Like, “Who gave me this money? What were they thinking?”

There are some parts of being poor you never get over, and never leave you, not really. Sometimes it feels like I could wake up in a ratty roach-infested trailer again in the inaptly-named Paradise Village and this will have all been a dream.

Nice dream, though.

Jan 25


This seems to be getting more common at banks – that is, preventing you from accessing your own money.

I’ve had problems like this at Bank of America, though not to that extent. They are a terrible bank but I use them because they are also everywhere, which is particularly helpful right now (or will be soon).

If any teller asks me why I need money I am withdrawing, my response will be, “Because fuck you, that’s why.”

I know that it’s not their fault, but still.

Jan 24


Speaking of Apple, the new MacBook Pro that we have now is the single best tech device I have ever used. It is as near to perfect as any tech object could be at the current state of development, I think.

And the screen. Oh, the screen. I want to climb in their and play around as it is so beautiful.

If I were another computer maker I’d just cry looking at something like the MacBook Pro, knowing that no matter all my effort and all my tears, that I could never duplicate it.

Jan 24

Getting it

It looks like Apple actually gets it – most users don’t want to struggle with a phone or tablet OS on their desktop PC.

And no, desktop PCs aren’t going away. What will happen is that the approximately 80% of the population who has no use for them will stop using them over time, and use tablets and their phones instead.

Still no reason to have a touch OS on the desktop.

Jan 24

The South

This is funniest thing I ever heard one of my very Southern relatives say:

“I don’t like him. He don’t know shit form shinola.”

Then the relative looks down for a moment confusedly and says, “Wait a minute. I don’t know shit from shinola. What the hell is shinola anyway?”

(This is what shinola was.)