entp2007: (bandit)
I've been a science fiction fan since almost as long as I can remember. Star Trek was my gateway to science fiction. I read a lot of comic books as a child and eventually started reading science fiction in the 5th or 6th grade. I picked up a used copy of Beyond Tomorrow in a dime store. It was edited by Damon Knight.

iPhone 7

Sep. 7th, 2016 11:24 pm
entp2007: (bandit)
So the biggest suprise about the iPhone 7 announcement is that it includes an adapter for your analog headphones. I must say Apple does a great job of creating gadget envy. I want to see how it does in the field after a people have started using it for a few weeks before I decide. I had decided to get an IPhone 6s prior to the event release today, but now I'm dithering.

When they brought out Sia to do a few songs and they showed the dystopian music video on the screen all I could think of is why didn't they give her a huge hammer?





The purpose of removing the audio jack is leverage. It means if you want a device like a SquareUp card reader, you'll have to pay Apple's Lightning connector lighting fee. Or they may simply refuse. And it may not pass through audio from other services. It remains to be seen how it's going to work and how much of a backlash there is going to be.

The other big surprise was I'd never heard of Sia before seeing the Apple Event today. I do not feel deprived.
entp2007: (bandit)
School has started so evertyhing around the university which we live near is more crowded. It's still hot but has cooled a bit. Still in monsoon season and it has rained a fair bit, even had some flooding. November looms large in my thoughts but I try not to think about it. It's a choice between things as they are or the end of everything. The former is not sustainable, but it does buy me more time to prepare and hope for a smoother transition to a world with less diversity in the biosphere, more freak weather, acidified oceans and higher sea levels. 

Nonsoon

Jul. 17th, 2016 08:43 pm
entp2007: (angry beavers)
A nonsoon is a lot like a monsoon in that it has clouds, lightning and thunder. It even smells like rain, but there's no rain. Since we went on our roadtrip to Oklahoma and back for my dad's 75th birthday, there was no rain in Tucson. Last night I saw lightning in the distance but nothing ever came of it. And there is lightning and thunder tonight but no rain (as of yet). It will rain again eventually.
entp2007: (bandit)
Looks like the monsoon season has officialy started. 
entp2007: (bandit)
What hath austerity wrought. So basically everything the Brits are legitimately angry at have nothing to do with leaving the EU. Basically, the older voters have ruined the future of young voters in the UK. The immediate effect is that with the plunging Pound was to ruin their economy.

The only sliver lining is that Scottish independence is back on the table. If they vote to leave the UK which was going to happen eventually, they'll join the EU. All of this is going to take time to sort out. 
entp2007: (bandit)
Apparently that rain was just a teaser and the real monsoon season probably won't start until July. When we came back from our trip to Gettysburg, we had record heat warnings. In fact, several people have died in the Phoenix and Tucson areas from heat. They were hiking. Hiking? In this heat? I have no idea why anyone would want to hike in temperatures above 100F/38C.

Update: It would appear after a record breaking spell of temperatures we might actually get a bit of monsoon rain. A few hours after I posted this I went to bring in the trash and recycle bins back from the curb and I noticed a lot of clouds. I even heard thunder. It didn't smell like monsoon. So we may get some rain. Fingers crossed.

Monsoon!

Jun. 10th, 2016 06:45 pm
entp2007: (bandit)
It looks like our monsoon season started really early this here in Tucson. We started getting some clouds moving in last night and I thought is monsoon season going to start early? It officially starts June 15 but we usually don't get rain until the start of July. It's been pretty cloudy today and I went outside and I could smell a change in the air, not quite monsoon rain.

Just a little while ago we heard thunder, and on twitter someone in the Tucson area, reported hail and tweeted a picture if it hitting their backyard.

I just stepped outside and definitely could smell the rain. And a litle while later the skies opened up. It rained pretty hard for about 10 minutes then died off.

Note: We've had an unusually wet and slightly cooler year so far, though this past week we had some record temperatures. You've heard the expression for March, "In like a lion. Out like a lamb." There should be one for June in Tucson. "In like an oven. Out like a steamer."

entp2007: (bandit)
This captures my mood this evening.

entp2007: (bandit)
I have had a habit of naming years and I don't remember what I named previous years. I'm too lazy to review all of my previous posts and I don't know how to search my past posts for those year names. There may be a way, but I'll check later or peruse later when I have more time.

As Samantha Bee pointed out 2010 was the most important election in our lifetime and Republicans won. They fucked us over good and hard. Assuming the 2016 election goes well for Democrats, they won't even begin to undo the damage done. That will take decades. Decades we don't have. Anytime Democrats win the White House and Congress, Republicans fight back hard to keep them from doing anything useful. They did it 1968. They did it in 1980. They did it in 1994. They really did it 2010. And they did it 2014.

Democrats aren't perfect. In fact many of the elite are just as beholden to Wall Street and the Military-Industrial Complex as Republicans are, but there are two candidates who have tapped into the vast majority of people who have been screwed by their party elites, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Those two could not be more different.

Donald Trump is a con man. Bernie Sanders is an activist. Trump directs the anger of his fans at those not responsible for the current mess, at immigrants, at gays, at refugees, at women, at minorities. Bernie doesn't so much direct the anger of his supporters as explain who is responsible, Wall Street. Donald does correctly point out how trade and outsource jobs have hurt Americans, but his solutions won't work, and will only harm his supporters even more.

Stripped of his adopted family name and fake tan, Drumpf looks about as appealing as a waterlogged corpse. Remove his hair too and he looks like a paroled ex-con from The Sopranos.

Here's the thing. There's a lot of anger at those responsible for the destruction of the middle class over the past thirty years. Only Bernie Sanders offers solutions to stop the decline and reverse it, but then we have enormous environmental challenges to deal with, global warming, ocean acidifcation, species loss, habitat loss, to name a few. His movement can't solve everything but it's a start.

I'd started composing the post before Trump became the presumptive GOP nominee and that Sanders chances had dramatically dwindled. Given the voter suppression efforts ( gerrymandering) of the Republicans over the past few years and the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, it's a very real possibility that Trump will be our next president.

The media is to blame for the rise of Drumpf. They love him. They earn him lots and lots of advertising dollars, because to the corporate owned media it's not about substance it's about spectacle, and Drumpf knows it. They love portraying the campaign as a horse race. It's not a race. It's not about who is up or who is down. It's not a fucking rollercoaster but that's what it feels like. It's not a chase but they are doing everything they can to portray it that way.

But if it's a chase then may I present Immortan Trump:



I wouldn't go so far as to say that Hillary Clinton is Furioso or that Bernie Sanders is Mad Max, but those are the roles available to them in this chase, and they almost work. But if anyone fully represents the values of Immortan Joe it is Donald Trump. Furioso worked within the system until it came time to make her break; Hillary worked within the system but will she make her break? Bernie is outside the system, but wants to do right, make the system better. And in a lot of ways he is making Hillary a better candidate. A lot of people talk about fleeing America if Drumpf is elected. There's no place to go. Just like in the movie they thought they could get away but the best place was where they came from. They had to remove Immortan Joe and his War Boys. So if we're going to have a metaphor for this year, for this campaign that could very well determine the future of the US, Fury Road is it.
entp2007: (rousseau)
I decided that I needed to improve my penmanship and this led me down the deep dark path to the fountain pen. I started with a Pilot Varsity then switched to a Platinum Preppy and upgraded to a Platinum Plaisir (Preppy with an aluminun shell) and bought a fancy fountain pen at NTIF this past weekend. It's lovely. It's made from a kit and has a lovely wood barrel and cap. The nib is a Dayacom Germany M. It came with a very short cartridge and a Schmidt converter. Today I bought some Lany blue/black ink and filled it. It writes very smoothly. Apparently there is a whole cottage industry of pen kits for woodturner hobbyists.

Originally, my idea was to use my iPhone for writing and notetaking. Yeah, that didn't work. I went back to writing in a notebook (moleskine and Rhodia) and I really like it. It's just me, the pen and the paper. No distractions.

Note: my penmanship has improved just a wee bit. At least I can read it.
entp2007: (bandit)
This is the year I finish War & Peace. I broke 1000 pages this year and I've less than 300 pages to go. Prince Andrew just kicked the bucket and Moscow is burning.

UPDATE: At long last I have finished the goddamned book.
entp2007: (Default)
Our Valentines Day movie for the evening. It is not suggestive of anything.

"We have a piper down. I repeat. We have a piper down."

2016

Jan. 13th, 2016 11:09 am
entp2007: (bandit)
It's off to a helluva start and it promises only to get uglier.
entp2007: (rousseau)
It's only a little thing. We used to go to a friend's house for a Winter Solstice party and one of the ceremonies was to write on a piece of paper things we'd like to get rid of and things we'd like to come in to our lives. Then we'd throw them in a small fire outdoors and make some kind of incantation. Of which I'd forgotten the words.

Those friends have moved away and we have moved away. Those parties are no more. So this year I thought about what I'd like to go and what I'd like to come in: resentment and forgiveness. I need to let go of my resentment that a different friendship was destroyed and that I need to forgive those that destroyed it. The friend who was lost has passed away, so there is no restoring it.
entp2007: (revere)
I'm working my way through Test Driven Development With Python and I don't quite grok it yet. It feels like I'm missing part of the puzzle. Granted I'm only in the early stages of the book, but still. It feels like how the Underpants Gnomes operate:

Step 1: Collect underpants.
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit!

As a developer I want to be more rigorous in my development process. Right now I'm a bit of a cowboy coder (no, not in the cyberpunk cowboy hacker sense). In the sense I play it by ear and that my process changes with little formal documentation. My source control is making copies and storing them on my computer or having two setups. I do keep notes but they aren't in one central repository nor labeled for what project they belong to. Most of my documentation is the email conversation I have with my clients.

The TDD process is

Step 1: Write a test that fails
Step 2: Write shell code that makes the test pass barely
Step 3: Rewrite the code so it actually functions and passes the test.
TDD Global Lifecycle

It seems backwards. You write a test first then write the code that will pass it. The step I'm missing is the requirements. Just because you write it so that it passes, it doesn't mean the code will actually do what you or the client wants it to do. And then in the back of my mind I'm conflating it with today's teaching methods in grade school. Kids aren't being taught to learn. They are being taught to pass the test which means they aren't really learning anything.

So I guess that is my big fear that I'm not learning anything. Just how to be a better test writer.

Don't get me wrong. Testing code is essential but you can't think of all the use cases. People will try to use software in ways that it was not intended. You can write code that will test functionality and you can write code that will test the code, unit tests. Then there's refactoring, rewriting the code so that it's cleaner and easier to understand. Why don't you write the code clearly in the first place? As with any writing revision is important even in programming.

TDD is only one part of the development to deployment cycle. It looks useful and I'll keep plowing through the book and hopefully it will begin to make sense.
entp2007: (revere)
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) have come along way since I started doing web development. I had to design a simple front page for a client and, boy, howdy, is that hard to do. Trying to be minimalist requires a lot of thought. Also the this front page has to be responsive (look good on all devices and adjust to their parameters) that is the same content has to look good for a mobile device such as an iPhone, a tablet such as an iPad, or a laptop such as a MacBook Pro. Alternately, you could say Android, Android tablet, and Windows 10 laptop.

I finally pulled down The Book of CSS3 off the shelf and started reading it (I purchased it last spring). I learned all about media queries which allows a single page to adjust to the device it's being viewed on. Each release of CSS standards comes with a number. The first version was CSS then CSS 2 then CSS2.1 and now CSS3. So what is a cascading stylesheet. It tells the browser how to render a web page. It tells it what fonts to show and what size, whether it's normal, bold, italics, underline, or strikethrough. Or a combination of all of them. It can do much much more.

I've got a deadline for this site. I can get it done, but it is mentally exhausting. Still, it beats delivering pizzas.

CSS

Nov. 20th, 2015 12:45 pm
entp2007: (bandit)
The image overlaying the thumbnail can be translucent which I don't want. The overlaid image can be solid where it isn't transparent but then you can't click on the thumbnail. I've tried various rearrangements of the items in the templates for the page. I can have one desirable trait but not both. HTML doesn't allowed nested links but I removed those.

Of course this was all to solve the problem of even being able to tap on the thumbnail so it would take you to a new page on a mobile device which has a touchscreen. It needs to be a double tap solution. Because on a computer where you have hover with a mouse the text appears over the image. On mobile you tap and no text just goes to the new page. You need to be able to tap once to see the text then tap again to see the page. There are themes that actually do this. I may have to switch to one of them.

Paris

Nov. 13th, 2015 09:32 pm
entp2007: (bandit)
I won't let some mass murderers in Paris ruin my little Friday the Thirteenth post. I just won't. There is nothing inherently unlucky about the date. It is a superstition, and that is what I'm poking fun at. However, the attackers deliberately chose the date. It's clear this had been planned for sometime given the terrible scale of it. I think it's more likely they chose they day of the week for maximum casualties rather than the 13th per se.

It'll take some time to figure out the details of what unfolded, but what I dread more is not the horrific details of what was carried out. It is the people who will use these events to promote whatever horrible agenda they have that have nothing to do with the attacks.
entp2007: (Default)
Zoinks! This is it. Better stay home today.

Friday the Thirteenth

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entp2007: (Default)
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