Sunday, February 22, 2015

Canadian Gothic...

Canadian Gothic...  My laugh-out-loud photo of the morning :)

Hillary 5.0...

Hillary 5.0...  I found this article to be quite depressing, for two main reasons.  First, it reinforced the idea that Hillary is a serious candidate for president in 2016, and might even win.  Second, for the implications about the American electorate.  An excerpt:
Mark McKinnon, a friend and competitor of Spence and a media strategist with George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns, said: “Spence and Clark have a lot of experience refreshing established, well-known brands like AT&T, Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart. Should come in handy.”

Spence and Clark have been credited with creating three-dimensional personalities around otherwise dull consumer brands. At Coca-Cola, Clark spearheaded the “Share a Coke” campaign to put names such as Brittany and Zach on soda cans, a marketing move that boosted sales among millennials. Spence helped ­DoubleTree Hotels make the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies the chain serves guests upon check-in an icon for its sales pitch of warm comfort for beleaguered travelers.
Hillary is a mass-marketed product with a vast amount of money behind her campaign.  I wish I believed that a product marketing campaign wouldn't work for presidential politics, and that instead voters would rely on actual information about ideology, policy, etc.  But when I say it straight like that, I know – the marketing campaign will work.  And that's quite depressing...

Curiosity is looking closely...

Curiosity is looking closely ... at the layered rocks I posted about a few days ago...

Near Antares...

Near Antares...  Via APOD, of course.  Full resolution version...

Geek: what does this regular expression do?

Geek: what does this regular expression do?
It validates email addresses, of course!  But only 99.9% of the time :)

10 Signs You're and Old Geek...

10 Signs You're an Old Geek...  I spotted this article on Fox News, and clicked over to read it.  It was so depressing.  The 10 alleged signs:
  • You still say “dial” the phone.  Check.  Yup, I do that.
  • You remember when state-of-the-art chips had dozens of transistors.  Well, yes, I do remember that.  But I also remember when there were no chips at all – and when transistors were rare and expensive beasties.  We relied on exotic devices called “vacuum tubes” – and I laugh out loud at the audio tweekies who are paying premium prices today for the awful distorted sound those primitive things produced.
  • You still consider “geek” to be an insult.  Well, no, I don't.  But I do remember when the word referred to sleazy performers in a carnival acts, like the one who bit the head off a chicken.  It's a mystery to me how it came to refer to technology buffs,
  • You know a third meaning for the word “brick.”  Check.  I owned one of those bricks.
  • You had a slide rule.  Yup, I owned a slide rule.  Several.  And today I have about 2,200 of them (I collect them).  But I didn't have a slide rule because calculators were too expensive – I had one because there were no calculators.  They hadn't been invented yet!
  • You owned a $5 digital watch.  Check.  What's your point?
  • You reveled in the epic Steve Jobs – Bill Gates interview from the 2007 D5 conference.  I only vaguely recall this interview.  It seems like recent history to me, not something I'd have to be old to note.  What is this author calling “old”, anyway?  30?
  • You were so sure we’d have a domed city on Mars by now.  Uh, no.  I was pretty darned sure there would be no such thing – the challenges are far from our ability to overcome them, even today.  A real geek would know this, I think.
  • You used punch cards.  Check.  But – I also remember when punch cards seemed like the bleeding edge of technology, replacing that old clunker punched paper tape.  I'll call your geek and raise you one.
  • You remember when: bubble memories, home computers, superconductivity, pen computing, PDAs, Betamax, heads-up displays and Gallium Arsenide were all going to be the next big thing. And you probably played with Tinker Toys, Erector Sets and wooden blocks growing up and you still spin vinyl in your basement when nobody’s around.  Well, yes to all that.  But I also remember wire recorders, portable vacuum-tube record players, lacquer 78 RPM records, and 7 transistor radios.
I guess all this makes me an ancient geek!

Lost and Found Beagle, part 2...

Lost and Found Beagle, part 2...  My brother Scott passed this along – a second video about the beagle in Schiphol Airport, in Amsterdam. I posted the first one last year sometime, and I had the same reaction then as now: if I ever fly to Amsterdam again, I want to lose something on purpose so this guy can find me!