While I do write about work-related things here
-- because I love my job -- everything here is my
personal opinion and does not represent the views of
my employer. For that,
see the FSF
20 May 2013 | 02:48am
The inventor of the lawnmower was named Edwin Beard Budding.
I like aptronyms; this seems like an anti-aptronym.
The Budding Wikipedia article also seems to have been vandalized -- I don't think the first section is supposed to be called "Johnny Depp" although maybe Edward Scissorhands is relevant here, speaking of aptronyms.
13 May 2013 | 01:07am
I saw the Brad Mehldau Trio (Brad Mehldau on piano, Larry Grenadier on bass, Jeff Ballard on drums) play at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle, WA on 2013-04-30.
- Great Day, by Paul McCartney
- Friends, by the Beach Boys
- And I Love Her, by Lennon and McCartney
- Dexterity, by Charlie Parker
- Ten Tune, by Brad Mehldau
- My Valentine, by Paul McCartney
- Either Dusty McNugget, by Brad Mehldau, or Dear Prudence, by Lennon and McCartney
- an encore that I did not write down
I thought it was a great show, although very mellow and obviously heavy on the Beatles. Ten Tune was the best number — spooky, hypnotic, featuring Grenadier's bow work, Ballard's blood-rushing-with-pounding-temple drumming, and emphasis on piano-bass unison phrases. Jazz Alley is one of my favorite spots; I've seen Mehldau play several times at other places, but this was the closest I've sat — close enough to see the reflection of his hands in the polish of the piano, and able to watch over his shoulder most of the time.
It's amazing how unfamous relatively famous jazz musicians are. Grenadier was just out walking in the parking lot before the show started and I don't think anyone else in the line recognized him. During the show, Mehldau told a story about how they'd had an extra day in Seattle because he'd forgotten his passport and so the group couldn't get into Canada to play their scheduled Vancouver gig. Remembering your own passport, that's like something I have to do. Don't they have people for that?
The drinks were terrible. I had a Seattle Sazerac, made with
Fremont Mischief Rye and a whole bottle of Peychaud's, but apparently without the necessary sugar/simple. I learned later while tasting at the Fremont Mischief Distillery that I do like the rye, so that wasn't the issue. The distillery did have its own issue — just visiting the tasting room left an unbelievable stink on our clothes. My apologies to the saleswoman for thinking (to myself) that she had an odor problem; when we left the store, the smell stuck to us like B.B.O.
The second drink was a martini made with Bluewater's Halcyon Gin, which seemed to taste like herb butter. But I couldn't really tell, because the whole thing tasted like a glass of vermouth, which it was. I'll have to try the gin by itself sometime. (Does Bluewater know that the first hit for their name is for a septic services company?)
These were just two bad drinks, maybe an off night. Drinks at Jazz Alley have always been fine for me in the past, though they have also always been Manhattans made with Maker's. Anyway, go for the music. I wish the Regattabar would be more like Jazz Alley.
21 Apr 2013 | 10:15pm
I wonder if this bold email promotion I received was sent only to people in the green states?
Get the munchies. Win a bunch of food.
If Wheaties is the breakfast of champions, and Coke is the #1 drink of
polar bears, Eat24 is the official sponsor of your munchies.
Want free food*? Perfect timing! We're celebrating this weekend's high
holiday all week long with an event that we like to call
"Danksgiving." Here's how it works: Order with Eat24, then tag your
munchies on Twitter or Instagram with #Eat420for a chance to win
dinner for four from Eat24 and other prizes including one of our
favorite things, a  PloomPax vaporizer. Don't forget to go to the
Contest Homepage and vote for your favorite with a Like or Tweet,
because that's how we'll pick the winner. Full details  Right Here.
Meanwhile, enter this code at checkout to save some green** on this weekend's order.
Coupon Code: eat420
You're the magic in our brownie.
Also, the recent events in Watertown did nothing to shorten the early evening line at the Deluxe Town Diner, as far as I could tell.
14 Apr 2013 | 11:16pm
- Pizza Pi (Indian curry calzone or pizza especially)
- Cafe Flora
The first three are the ones I miss the most.
30 Mar 2013 | 09:20am
I'll be traveling to Amsterdam next week for a free software conference. Does anyone have recommendations for restaurants that are vegan-friendly? Natural food stores? I'll be staying very near the Central Station.
18 Mar 2013 | 02:14am
Random things I learned this week:
(Actually, it's things I learned from the week of October 18th, 2010. I've been going through my drafts folder, and found that I hadn't published this yet.)
- How to do cryptic crosswords — A while back I bought 101 Cryptic Crosswords, edited by Fraser Simpson. It's a collection of puzzles from the New Yorker but also has a helpful section at the beginning explaining conventions used in cryptic crosswords, and some tips for solving them. I finally started actually working them. Each cryptic clue is a word game in itself: "Dagger lit from behind in fight" is "stiletto", because "til" is "lit" spelled "from behind", and it's in "set to" which means "fight" — and of course a stiletto is a dagger. Head hurt yet?
- The EU has a ban on lightbulbs of greater than 60 watts.
- The Polish Beer-Lovers' Party (which won 16 seats in the Sejm in 1991) was founded on the notion of fighting alcoholism by a cultural abandonment of vodka for beer. (See discussion of the Vodka Belt.)
- George Price was a very interesting person. He made multiple breakthroughs in scientific disciplines (especially evolutionary biology) where he had no training, mixed with a couple conversions to Christianity and some time being deliberately homeless in order to help others. Plus he proposed innovative foreign policy ideas to Hubert Humphrey like have the US government buy every citizen of the USSR two pairs of nice shoes in exchange for the liberation of Hungary. Then committed suicide.
- It costs $7.50 per week (after the 12-week 50% off promotional period expires) to have the Sunday New York Times delivered in Seattle. What the... I'm still doing it, but I don't see going past the 12 weeks. I've also been catching up on issues of The Nation. I've learned this week that I really do need to get news and inspiration from somewhere other than the computer, because I'm exceeding the amount of time I'm physically willing to look at a screen.
- Wikipedia is ridiculous: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toilet_paper_orientation.
10 Mar 2013 | 11:40am
Because Franzen believes you can't write serious fiction on a computer that's connected to the Internet, he not only removed the Dell's wireless card but also permanently blocked its Ethernet port. "What you have to do," he explains, "is you plug in an Ethernet cable with superglue, and then you saw off the little head of it."
Also interesting; Time inserted this text automatically when I copied and pasted the quote from the article: "Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2010185,00.html#ixzz2N9T5IApL." I find this both useful and disturbing.
18 Feb 2013 | 12:47am
I will be speaking at the Southern California Linux Expo (and yes, given the topics covered, it's missing a GNU). My talk, "Four Freedoms for Freedom," is on Sunday, February 24, 2013 from 16:30 to 17:30.
The most obvious people affected by all four of the freedoms that define
free software are the programmers. They are the ones who will likely
want to -- and are able to -- modify software running on their
computers. But free software is a movement to advance and defend freedom
for anyone and everyone using any computing device, not just
programmers. In many countries now, given the ubiquity of tablets,
phones, laptops and desktops, "anyone and everyone using any computing
device" means nearly all citizens. But new technological innovations in
these areas keep coming with new restrictions, frustrating and
controlling users even while creating a perception of empowerment. The
Free Software Foundation wants to gain the support and protect the
interests of everyone, not just programmers. How do we reach people who
have no intention of ever modifying a program, and how do we help them?
Other presentations on my list to check out (in chronological order, some conflicting):
If you will be there and want to meet up, drop me a line.
28 Jan 2013 | 01:26am
I'll be at FOSDEM again this year, arriving in Brussels on Thursday 31st and leaving on Tuesday 5th.
I'll be speaking on Sunday in the legal issues devroom at 10:00.
If you will be there and want to meet up, let me know.
I may be trying to watch the Super Bowl from there, a plan that didn't quite work out last year but seems more likely this year.
State of the GNUnion
FSF licensing policy challenges in 2013
This talk will cover the main challenges facing the Free Software Foundation's Licensing and Compliance lab in 2013, and will invite discussion of the FSF's work and policies in this area. We'll explore:
- Copyright assignment: Some high-profile GNU maintainers have recently criticized the FSF's copyright assignment policy and system. What are these criticisms, what does the FSF intend to do about them, and what's the point of its assignment process to begin with?
- GPL adoption: Last year here, in "Is copyleft being framed?", I put numbers supposedly showing declining GPL adoption in perspective, showing problems with the data, questioning the conclusions drawn from the data, and presenting different data leading to the opposite conclusions. We'll look at the questions that were raised since then about my data, and at some new data that's been made available, and draw new conclusions.
- App Stores: When Apple's App Store launched, the FSF concluded that its terms were incompatible with the GPL -- and with any kind of strong copyleft. Since then, we have several new App Stores; most notably from Google and Microsoft. Are the Apple terms still incompatible with the GPL? Are the other stores any better? Are these stores undermining GPL adoption, and should copyleft relax its standards in order to get free software to this audience, or should it stand its ground?
19 Jan 2013 | 08:03pm
I've heard a lot of variations of this advice, about how important it is to view mistakes as a positive thing during any creative process. This version is attributed to John Lasseter, a founder of Pixar: "Be wrong as fast as you can."
(Read in 'Be Wrong as Fast as You Can' in the New York Times Magazine, January 6, 2013.
19 Jan 2013 | 05:53pm
George Saunders on the time spent in an MFA program:
"The chances of a person breaking through their own habits and sloth and limited mind to actually write something that gets out there and matters to people are slim." But it's a mistake, he added, to think of writing programs in terms that are "too narrowly careerist....Even for those thousands of young people who don't get something out there, the process is still a noble one -- the process of trying to say something, of working through craft issues and the worldview issues and the ego issues -- all of this is character building, and, God forbid, everything we do should have concrete career results. I've seen time and time again the way that the process of trying to say something dignifies and improves a person."
This is from "George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read This Year" in the New York Times Magazine, January 6, 2013.
14 Jan 2013 | 12:13pm
I didn't realize until reading his obituary that the same man, Michael Cronan, gave both TiVo and Kindle their names.
12 Jan 2013 | 01:36pm
Aaron was an inspiration to me personally, politically, and professionally ever since we met (ice cream and word games with a small group in a bank vault at Herrell's in Harvard Square) several years ago. I don't understand how things got to this point, but I know I'm angry along with Lessig.
I'm so sorry for all of his family and friends; all the rest of us can do is try to make even a tiny sliver of the difference he did.
06 Jan 2013 | 01:57pm
What is going on with the price of Chartreuse? At Marty's in Newton, where for both the green and yellow varieties, it used to be between $54 and $60 for 750ml, the price is now $70. I haven't investigated yet to see if other places have raised the price as well, but since Marty's is usually competitive, I would bet they have.
This aggression will not stand.
(Title of this post is courtesy Pacewon and Mr. Green.)
24 Dec 2012 | 02:22am
I just read this advice I like from Reed Hastings of Netflix, regarding Netflix culture:
No room for brilliant jerks.
I read it in this profile in the Times last week (of Karl Heiselman, not Hastings).
16 Dec 2012 | 11:18pm
Let me get this straight.
If you as a defender bump, turn, or facescreen a receiver, that's pass interference, and the ball is placed at the spot of the foul, even if that spot is 50 yards down the field.
But, if you come flying across the field and drill a receiver who is attempting to catch a ball in the head so hard that he drops the ball or completely misses the catch, that's a personal foul ("hit on a defenseless receiver"), penalized by 15 yards. The difference is the timing -- arriving at the same time as the ball instead of before. But the fact of the matter is, it's still a situation where a defender may choose to commit a penalty in order to stop a catch.
If you really care about player safety, then make the blow to the head a bigger penalty, and give the offense the ball at the spot of the foul. Otherwise, if the pass is longer than 15 yards, the defender still has an incentive to drill the receiver in the head and make him drop the ball. The defender is discouraged from just holding his hands in front of the receiver's face -- that's interference -- and instead encouraged to do something more dangerous.
I understand that they try and assess monetary fines to players after the fact, but that only bolsters the case. If you're going to fine someone tens of thousands of dollars for something, shouldn't it be worth more than 15 yards during the game??
And either way, the pass interference penalty should be reduced to 15 yards, like it used to be, because it's too arbitrary of a call to have that much weight, and I'm tired of watching QBs intentionally overthrow the receiver just to try and draw the call.
04 Dec 2012 | 01:29am
This month was mostly about completing previous partial purchases. I downloaded:
- The rest of Stacey Kent's In Love Again
- The rest of KRS-One, Return of the Boom Bap
- Part of King Syze, Collective Bargaining; I had "Philly's Finest" from Street Poetry and liked it, so thought I would try more. It has other people I know and like, including Diabolic and Outerspace.
26 Nov 2012 | 12:42am
I've put up my nearly unedited, unsorted, and uncommented photos from my recent trip to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, for the Libre Software World Conference. It was a beautiful place (and a great conference) -- I hope to write more about it soon.
18 Nov 2012 | 11:30pm
- Pat Metheny, One Quiet Night: Just saw him play at Berklee; vastly prefer what's on this album to what he played there.
- Testament, Practice What You Preach: Part of my initiative to recover my 90s metal material. "The Ballad" taught me what that was. Still weirds me out that I don't have to pop this out of the player and flip it over halfway through.
- Stacey Kent, In Love Again: Partial download; heard her version of "It might as well be Spring" on Bob Parlocha and needed more. Not enough jazz vocalists in my collection.
06 Nov 2012 | 11:12am
In my neighborhood, Election Day falls on trash day.
most recent entries go: earlier
You can also read selections from this journal
Debian, and Planet Iron Blogger.