Sep 25

Keyed in

Oh hell yes, sign me the fuck up.

A decent phone with a real keyboard? Why has no one made these in the last half-dozen years?

Many, many people want a physical keyboard. Huh, right, the market is efficient and all that. I guarantee that I can type faster on that than nearly anyone can text on a touch keyboard, except for those people who practice to enter the text speed-typing competitions.

An actual usable keyboard on a phone sounds great. Unless it is totally horrible, it’ll be my next phone.

Sep 25


I’m not a vampire, I’m an obligate hematophage. 😉

I’m sure someone has already done it as someone has done nearly everything, but I think making an anatomy book of various ghouls and monsters from lore, myth and movies would be fun.

But it’d have to be completely sincere; not tongue-in-cheek at all, but like an anatomy textbook you’d get for a college class.

Sep 24


The good news about Volkswagen’s and now (possibly) BMW’s cheating on emissions testing is that it will boost Tesla and other electric car manufacturers.

When Apple’s electric car comes out in 2019 or 2020, it’ll be a huge hit — in large part due to the failures of current car makers.

Sep 24


Dan Rather: Ignoring science isn’t just a Republican problem. It’s an American problem.

True. The Republicans are in general more anti-science, but the liberal camp is perfectly content to reject evolution, medical facts and anything else that discomfits or displeases them. The Left’s anti-science tendencies tend to be of the New Age-y, crystal-gazing anti-medication variety, and a bit less than half of anti-vaxxers are also politically on the left.

So Rather is rather right: being anti-science is as American as apple pie (ugh).

Sep 24

Free as in

Eben Moglen is right, but he ain’t no prophet.

How can this article not even mention Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation? Richard Stallman foresaw all the problems with proprietary and un-inspectable software and built a whole foundation and intellectual practice around that realization. In 1985.

I remember reading articles in the late 1980s about this crazy dude who thought (horror!) that we should be able to actually know what our software is doing.

Richard Stallman was on the forefront of warning everyone about the dangers of secret code and in my lifetime views on him have gone from, “Wow, this dude is insane and wrong and bad” to, “Well, maybe he is right about some things, I guess” to “Huh, turns out rms was right about absolutely everything and we were very, very stupid.”

Eben Moglen doesn’t deserve opprobrium, but the journalist should do more research.

Sep 22

I’m sirious

I was totally wrong about Scott Walker (what a flameout — politics is really not my thing), but something I was and will be right about is Siri and what it augurs.

On my older blog when Siri was first introduced, I opined that tech historians looking back would find it the most important feature and harbinger of the future introduced during the smartphone era.

People are realizing that this is true already.

As David Pierce wrote recently in Wired, voice recognition and artificial intelligence are getting so good so quickly that it isn’t really a stretch to imagine that talking to computers will soon become one of the signature ways we interact with them.

AI, robotics, facial recognition and voice control (all related problems, btw) are improving so ridiculously quickly that people just have no clue.

It won’t be all that long before we look back at most of Ex Machina as being dated rather than futuristic. And like Kevin Drum it’s not that I think AI is some spectacular amazing achievement, it’s more that humans just aren’t really all that smart (our machines are just even dumber but rapidly improving).

Sep 21

Title IX

This advice for handling a Title IX complaint in a university sounds like the exact advice I give about police investigating you or anyone you know about a criminal complaint: always have a lawyer and don’t tell the police a goddamn thing. And if you must tell them something, always have a lawyer review it, approve it, and record it.

The police are not there to help you. They are there to make arrests and to hurt people.

Title IX office university reps can’t make arrests, but sounds like they and the police are about the same.

Sep 21

First LT

Fear the Walking Dead really needs a military consultant (as do most shows).

It’s not a bad show, but a first lieutenant in charge of an entire large operation? Not too damn likely. Especially as this first lieutenant looks about 45 or 50. First lieutenants are generally 23-26 but can be older if they do something like green to gold, etc. But never 45, really.

Also, there was a corporal portrayed. Corporals are quite rare. Promotion to that doesn’t really happen often, and if it had been a promotion of expedience (everyone else died in the zombie apocalypse), then his rank insignia would’ve been clipped on, not sewn.

FTWD folks, I’m available for consultation so you won’t screw the military parts up. Low, low price of $500 an hour.

Sep 20


My theory of depression’s greater prevalence in the modern era is that it’s a response to increasing choice, and/or the response to the visibility of apparent if not actual choice that is denied to the depressive.

So, say, to someone living in the year 1000 A.D, or the year 8,000 B.C., it was obvious that life had few choices and there were fairly clearly delineated paths for one to follow.

By about 1900 or so, this was less true. But 1960 or so for the majority of people in Western countries, it had become even less true than it had been in 1900.

My speculation is that if you did some testing to measure freedom of choice (or apparent choice, which might be even worse) and depression rates, they’d rise together.

I’d speculate that you’d also find lower rates of depression in low-income black communities and higher rates in affluent black communities.

Sep 18


When I read this headline on NBC news as I was  90% occupied with designing a complete customer environment, I kept thinking, who the hell is “false Obama?”


I was like, damn the press really has gone full-court-press conservative loon if they are actually claiming that Obama is the dreaded Muslim interloper.

And then I realized…missing conjunction problems.