"Yeah, well, you know, that's just like, uh, your opinion, man."


08:44 Wednesday, 28 September 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 76.86°F Pressure: 1010hPa Humidity: 70% Wind: 26.46mph

Got an interesting email from the HOA yesterday or the day before. I live in a Del Webb community, it's an over-55 thing that seems pretty popular with people over 55. I'm ambivalent. I appreciate the quiet, but try living around nothing but old people. I recognize I am one, but still, it's a weird vibe.

This is a fairly large community with about 2000 homes, a lot of amenities and so on. The good news about being so large is that the talent pool is proportionately larger, so I'm persuaded we have good, responsible people on the board of directors. That wasn't always the case at the condo association (260 homes), which is why I was so closely engaged. I keep all this stuff here at arm's length, which is a welcome pleasure.

Anyway, being old people worried about the stock market, there's a lot of interest in the budget and HOA fees. This year, our insurance premium went up by a lot, from $133,946.14 to $233,096.92, due to one form of coverage.

Most HOAs carry (not in Florida anymore) umbrella coverage. This is a form of protection against large liability claims. Because of the Surfside condominium collapse, insurers aren't even offering umbrella coverage to large HOAs or condominium associations in Florida anymore. Instead, we're buying excess liability coverage.

Where umbrella coverage offered $25,000,000 per occurrence, for a premium of roughly $7K, (not a typo, $7K) today we're getting excess liability coverage of up to $5,000,000 per occurrence, for a premium of roughly $94K!! (Also not a typo. $94K)

I also learned that fewer insurance companies wish to offer liability cover to over-55 communities because of the number of claims. Old people fall a lot. Awesome.

And add to that the litigation problem in Florida. We had 8% of the insurance claims in the country in 2019, but 76% of all the litigation!

Oh, and here comes Ian.

Florida. You may not wish to retire here.

NY Times

08:26 Wednesday, 28 September 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 76.42°F Pressure: 1010hPa Humidity: 70% Wind: 26.46mph

I unsubscribed from the NY Times earlier this year, after having been a subscriber for more than a decade, maybe more than two decades.

I don't wish to provide aid and comfort to those who smear "the liberal press," and I recognize the worth of much of the good work the NY Times does. But I'm troubled enough about its decisions and direction that I don't wish to support it with my money anymore.

Perhaps it has always been the case, and I've just been willfully blind to it, but the Times seems to have abandoned any sense of responsibility to its role in society. It seems to have placed itself above the population it purportedly serves. From things like Haberman sitting on stories about Trump to write a book, to the bizarre framing of many issues, all the way back to Judith Miller and the Iraq War.

To my knowledge, the Times is in no financial distress. They don't require my financial support, and I don't wish to signal that I support or approve of its editorial direction by paying for their content.

They've returned the favor by essentially not allowing me to read any article that isn't shared by a subscriber, by throwing up a window demanding that I re-subscribe. That's fine, there remain, for the time being anyway, a number of other sources of good journalism.

This was going to be a tweet because Maggie Haberman and her execrable book are trending on Twitter this morning, but I didn't feel like doing a thread. This is the kind of thing blogging was made for, and I have a blog.


05:21 Saturday, 24 September 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 72.7°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 73% Wind: 13.8mph

Not that it's especially indicative of anything, but I call your attention to the temperature and, more importantly, the relative humidity - 73%. That's from the National Weather Service, which I believe is measuring conditions at the airport, about 35 miles from here.

My little Ambient weather station tells me the temperature here is 70°F and the humidity is 84%, which is still a lot better than yesterday's 77°F and 90%.

I'm sure it'll be hot and humid again soon, especially with Ian headed this way, but at least it's nice this morning.


06:55 Tuesday, 20 September 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 74.57°F Pressure: 1009hPa Humidity: 95% Wind: 0mph

If human behavior in society is an emergent property from a complex, non-linear dynamic system, how can we design social systems that promote compassion and inhibit inhumanity?

In one context, you have actual systems of inhumanity. In another context, they are, if not absent, minimized.

The capacity for inhumanity seems hard-wired into many (all?) human beings. When systems fail and allow the emergence of systematic inhumanity, what should be the response of adjacent systems to restore the failed system?

Is a certain amount of systematic inhumanity always a property of any social system? I'm not sure.

Within a failing system, what are the most effective actions to return to a "normal" state?

It seems like we have our work cut out for us, if we can preserve our present civilization.

We're in a lot of trouble.

A lot of trouble.

Photos and PowerMate

13:37 Tuesday, 13 September 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 83.44°F Pressure: 1010hPa Humidity: 74% Wind: 4.61mph

I have an old Griffin PowerMate, which I suspect I've had for about 18 years. It's the USB version, which was introduced in 2002. It'd been sitting in a box of old computer junk in the garage, and I pulled it out when I was looking for something else some time back.

It's a pretty cool little device, but I never really found any particular use for it. Since I started getting interested in "automating all the things," I thought I'd take another whack at using it.

After finding a copy of the software for it, I can't recall where, it's still been just sitting on my desk; but something occurred to me the other day that got me playing with it again.

I have a bad habit with Safari of just opening links in new tabs and then either forgetting about them, or thinking I'll go back to that one soon, and then I can't find the tab I want! So I end up clicking on them individually, these tiny tabs, looking for the one I wanted, closing the ones I'd forgotten I'd opened. Tedious with the trackpad, so I looked up the keyboard shortcut: CMD-Shift-(right or left) arrow. CMD-W to close the tab.

Did that for a bit, but I'd often forget what it was and have to look it up again and that's when it occurred to me to try and make use of the PowerMate.

So I've got a set of four triggers for Safari, Rotate Right, Rotate Left, Normal Press, and CMD-Normal Press. These are next tab, previous tab, close tab and Undo. Works better than using the trackpad, and since I'm usually "browsing" just using the trackpad and gestures, it doesn't involve putting my hands on the keyboard. I just shift my hand a little over to the left to the PowerMate and twirl away. If I accidentally close a tab, I have to use my left hand to press the CMD key and just press the button again.

I was going through all the pics I took in Boston, and it occurred to me that the PowerMate might make a better interface than the trackpad for much of the initial triage. To be honest, you can do most of the stuff with the keyboard, but my habit is to do most of it with the trackpad. There are a couple of items that are inconvenient with the trackpad, or fiddlier than using the keyboard, like deleting an image. You can do it from the contextual menu, but that's a two-finger tap, then a scroll to the correct menu item. Fiddly. Same thing with rotate left or right and making a favorite.

So this morning I made a set for Photos. Rotate Right and Rotate Left are like using the arrow keys on the keyboard. This has the advantage of avoiding the "sliding" animation when the images are full-sized, which makes it easier to detect differences between two similar images in a sequence. A Normal Press toggles between thumbnail and full-size view (or single image view, it's not at 100% pixel size). A Long Press toggles Edit on and off. CMD-Press favorites an image. CTRL-Press deletes an image. Shift-Press is Rotate counterclockwise, and CMD-CTRL Press is undo.

You may have noticed I didn't make use of the Option key, and that seems to be because Photos eats the Option key before PowerMate can get it. If you press Option in the library, you'll see the Rotate button reverse direction. Any button action I tried using the Option key failed.

Played around with that a bit after I'd set it up and it works pretty well. I had to figure out how to slow down the rate at which rotation is converted to key-presses, but once I did that everything went very smoothly.

So the workflow is something like this:

Import a bunch of images, view them full size, scroll one to the next, delete clinkers, favorite obvious good ones, rotate any that need to be rotated.

Is it ideal? Perhaps not. Because I don't use the keyboard religiously, I don't remember many of the keyboard commands. The only one I knew for certain was CMD-Delete to delete an image. With the PowerMate, I only have to remember modifiers, so I think there's a better chance I'll commit them to muscle memory. Delete is the one I'll use the most, rotate the least, so delete, favorite and undo are all essentially adjacent to each other with CTRL, at very edge of the keyboard, easy to find.

Time will tell, I guess. For the moment, I'm just happy I seem to have found some use for this cool little device.


12:11 Tuesday, 13 September 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 84.04°F Pressure: 1010hPa Humidity: 76% Wind: 5.75mph

Started a couple of posts here since we've been back, but never finished them. Figured I'd better get going, or September would be gone before I posted anything!

The wedding trip was great. The smoothest experience I've had in air travel in many years. Everything from the drive to the airport, to the drive home at the end. Had some mild turbulence that interrupted cabin service for a while, but that's never been a problem for me.

I thought I was going to have a TSA pre-check problem again. Mitzi's boarding pass had it, mine didn't. I tried calling Delta, but it was futile. When we got to the ticketing and baggage check-in counter, we stood in the line for People With Problems™, and after a Delta rep assured himself that we had a problem, we were allowed to remain in that line, which was much shorter than the baggage check line.

When it was our turn, the agent took care of the pre-check issue and I asked if we could check our bags there as well, thinking we'd have to go back to the end of the baggage line. Nope! She took our bags right there. We'd already checked them at the kiosk, all we needed to do was drop them off.

Terminal wasn't crowded. Pre-check line was short. I wasn't pulled aside for "special screening." Pretty amazing.

Plane arrived a little late, departed a little late, arrived in Boston on time. It was non-stop from Jax to Boston, which was also nice.

On the flight back, my boarding pass showed I had pre-check, so whatever that problem was seems to have been corrected now. Got to the baggage carousel just as the bags were coming off, and ours were among the very first! Went out to the parking shuttle and walked right onboard.

Weather was great on the way home, traffic was sane.

It was amazing. I'll treasure the memory. May sound weird, but flying has been nothing but an ordeal for me for years, ever since 9/11.

Boston was great as well. Weather was outstanding! Stayed at a new hotel at the north end, walking distance to all the usual stuff, except the T. There was this Haymarket open-air market thing on Friday and Saturday, which has apparently been a going concern for two centuries. Really enjoyed that. So many different people and languages, felt like I wasn't in North America.

Took the metro ferry over to the Navy Yard to see USS CONSTITUTION, so spent a few minutes on the water. Cheap ticket too. Mitzi got the OOD to bong me off the ship. For the unfamiliar, that's a courtesy that's extended to officers (usually O-5 and above, otherwise you'd be ringing the bell all day) as they arrive and depart the ship. Mitzi was chatting up the OOD and mentioned I was a retired commander, and he said they'd bong me off if I wanted. Well, Mitzi wanted. I was buying a ball cap and a coin, so this transpired without my knowledge. She told me what she'd done, so I put on my CONSTITUTION ball cap, saluted the OOD and he rang the bell four times and announced "Commander, United States Navy, Retired, departing!" I saluted the ensign and walked down the brow as people clapped.

Got kinda gooey there for a minute or so.

We switched hotels over to Cambridge for the wedding. Walked around MIT a bit. Enjoyed seeing all the kids getting settled into their dorms. A lot of mini-fridges being carried around. I live in an over-55 community, and it was genuinely refreshing to see so many young people in one place. A lot of good energy there. Hope they can fix the mess we've left them. I think they've got what it takes.

Wedding was marvelous. It was the warmest day of the weekend, but it wasn't bad by Florida standards. Saw some old shipmates, classmates and friends.

So, all in all, I'm glad we went, carbon notwithstanding.

Oh, I tried out my Travel Notes shortcut. It's not practical. It's too slow. I suspect it's the steps adding the location and weather data. You press the icon and wait. And wait. And then the dictation window would finally appear. Except sometimes when it wouldn't. Not sure what was up with that.