Fool: XZ-2 (x2)
07:16 Thursday, 30 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 50.11°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 71% Wind: 9.22mph
Well, I suppose it was inevitable.
Another XZ-2 ("Near Mint") should be here Saturday. Not a bargain, per se, but a fair price. If it's sharp across the frame, I'll be happy.
The temperature in the header is wrong. Well, at least it's not what the temperature is here. It's 40°F out there this morning. There was frost on the roofs of the houses yesterday when it was similarly low.
Skies are clear and sunny though!
Movies: The Marvels
06:57 Thursday, 30 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 49.66°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 74% Wind: 11.5mph
Mitzi and I saw this yesterday in a matinée at the local multiplex. It was great because the kids are in school and there were only six people in the theater.
I liked it, even though I'm pretty much "over" the superhero genre, heroes and anti-heroes alike. It was different enough in casting, tone, characters and sets to be entertaining. It didn't take itself seriously. It wasn't all "dark." There were hints or nods toward that, but they didn't demand you take them seriously.
("Dirk Dark. Dark Phoenix. Roy. My name is Roy.")
Mitzi did have trouble figuring out what was going on at first because we haven't seen Captain Marvel, though we did watch WandaVision. She didn't make the connection though. I explained after the movie. She just rolled with it, and enjoyed it as well.
Tube: The Equalizer (3)
08:34 Tuesday, 28 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 46.15°F Pressure: 1019hPa Humidity: 68% Wind: 12.66mph
I'm a little embarrassed to admit that Mitzi and I watched this last night. It's mostly more of the same, with some nice Italian locations.
I don't know how much there is a genuine appetite for this sort of mayhem, or if it's just that we like seeing certain "stars," and producers like printing money so they just repackage the same stuff over and over again.
This is just Shane in Italy. Kind of a reverse on the "spaghetti western," I think.
If I had to guess, I think Man On Fire did well at the box office, but it wasn't the kind of movie that lent itself to becoming a franchise. It's sort of ambiguous, but I think it's pretty clear Creasy died in the end. I'm sure clever writers could work around that, but maybe there were IP issues elsewhere.
Anyway, The Equalizer was tailor-made for being a franchise, and it was almost an identical character. So... Denzel as McCall! "Two 'c's, two 'l's."
What made Man On Fire better than your average blood-soaked revenge flick was Creasy's tortured soul and a glimpse of redemption in the eyes of a little girl. (Dakota Fanning. Surprise!) "Do you think God will forgive us for what we've done?"
Moral injury. Something I've been thinking about more and more lately.
Antoine Fuqua tries to bring some of that angst to McCall in 3, but if feels like a veneer, and a very thin one at that.
Anyway, I enjoy watching Denzel Washington. The body count is absurd. The bad guys are really, really bad. And it's ultimately about as memorable, and enjoyable, as a McDonald's (One "c," one "l".) cheeseburger.
08:17 Tuesday, 28 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 46.08°F Pressure: 1023hPa Humidity: 69% Wind: 12.66mph
In recent years, I've given a fair amount of money to political campaigns. With a couple of exceptions, I have little idea of how well that money has been spent. I'll probably be giving to campaigns again, but not just yet. For now, I'm trying to give more to non-profits I care about.
Today I donated to 1000 Friends of Florida, a non-partisan public interest group that's trying to preserve and protect Florida's natural environment through intelligent growth policies.
I became a member of the Matanzas Riverkeeper. I've donated in the past, but I'm now doing a monthly contribution. I also give a monthly contribution to the St Johns Riverkeeper.
I increased my monthly contribution to our local public radio station, because they are a vital resource to our community.
There are a few more. Mostly environmental. This isn't "virtue signaling," because I don't really care if anyone thinks I'm virtuous or not. This is me suggesting to you that you might look around for local non-profits doing work that you think is important and supporting them.
We are in a world of trouble, but there are people out there working hard to make a difference. Let's help them out.
13:08 Monday, 27 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 62.82°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 65% Wind: 5.01mph
The sun was giving hints that it might come out this morning, but I wasn't sure. There might have been nice cloudscape shots, or there might be enough light to get a decent bird shot, assuming there were any birds to be found.
I thought I'd be clever and so I brought along the little XZ-2 stuffed into my vest pocket, with the OM-1 on the sling for birds.
As it happened, the clouds rolled in, but before they did there was an "interesting" shot on the street, with low-angled early morning light illuminating the front of the house and a large palm shadow cast on it as well, and a blowing American flag on another house in the left of the frame.
For the rest of the walk, I mainly shot with the XZ-2, doing closeups of mushrooms, playing with the Dramatic Tone filter and just looking for something to shoot.
When I got home, I worked on the house shot and noticed that the left side of the frame was very soft, to the point of being blurry. So I looked at a few other shots and seemed to detect the same thing on a couple of them. In the closeups, it wasn't really detectable since the subject was in the center of the frame and the depth of field was pretty thin.
Well, I wanted to know for sure so I set up a tripod in the library and shot some books. One thing leads to another, and I ended up testing the MX-1, the XZ-1 and both of the Stylus 1s cameras.
The good news is that all of the cameras but the XZ-2 were sharp corner to corner at all apertures from f1.8 (2.8 in the case of the Stylus 1s) to f4.
The bad news is the XZ-2 is pretty decentered. Both the left and right sides of the frame are soft, but the left side is just plain out of focus. I checked my library for my original XZ-2, and it was sharp corner to corner as well. This is just a bad specimen.
As a practical matter, it probably wouldn't affect 75% of the kinds of shots I take. If I wanted to take clinically sharp landscapes, architectural interiors, or some types of documentary work, it'd be a problem. Really, biggest problem is just knowing about it. On the one hand, it allows me to work around it a bit, or only use the camera for "fun" shots. On the other hand, knowing about it nags at me. I only paid $100 for the thing, which is about half what most of them go for on the auction site, so the price wasn't exactly unfair even with the optical defect.
That nagging feeling will probably pass. Most feelings do. I've just got to get comfortable with the idea of never relying on that camera for anything important, except insofar as having fun is important.
On the bright side, I am pleased that the MX-1 is very sharp, and the other Olys are sharp as well. And that Stylus 1s with the "stuck lens" was a real bargain.
Can't be lucky all the time!
Tube: Holiday Season
09:15 Monday, 27 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 55.94°F Pressure: 1015hPa Humidity: 85% Wind: 12.66mph
For many years, my family had a Thanksgiving holiday tradition of watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Since the kids have all grown, it was hit or miss, mostly the latter.
Of late, I've made it kind of my personal tradition to watch Die Hard, because "It's not Christmas until Hans Gruber falls off the Nakatomi Tower."
We spent last Thanksgiving up in DC with Mitzi's older daughter. Their infant son was sleeping when we watched it at their place, and it was a fun time, a la Mystery Science Theater 3000, or Rocky Horror, as we commented on all the absurdities of the film.
This Thanksgiving, Mitzi's younger daughter was here with us, and her two-and-a-half year old wasn't going to sleep anytime soon, and watching the movie after was kind of incompatible with her staying asleep. So we watched Kung Fu Panda instead.
They went home on Saturday, so Mitzi and I watched Die Hard on Saturday night. With just the two of us, it's not quite as much fun as Mitzi doesn't seem to enjoy my commentary as much as I do. Alas. And it's kind of bittersweet because of what Bruce Willis is going through, and missing Alan Rickman.
Which brings me to another holiday film we watched for the first time in several years, Love Actually. I watched that movie every year for several years back in the 'aughts and early 'teens; but it can get to be a bit too much after a while. It's a little hard to believe it's been 20 years since that movie was released.
We enjoyed it very much, and I think Bill Nighy's character is the funniest. I'm glad he's still with us and doing some remarkable work; LIving and Their Finest being two relatively recent movies featuring him that Mitzi and I enjoyed.
We wrapped up the holiday film festival last night with another classic I hadn't watched in a fairly long time, Grumpy Old Men. Hard to believe that Jack Lemmon was only two years older than I am when he made that movie.
I'm sure there will be more holiday movies between now and the new year, but it feels like we got off to a nice start.
09:11 Monday, 27 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 55.94°F Pressure: 1015hPa Humidity: 85% Wind: 12.66mph
I have a crush on Hannah Waddingham, so I enjoyed her Home for Christmas very much. She's a remarkably versatile artist, and I hope we get to see her in more work in the years to come.
MX-1 vs. XZ-2
08:34 Sunday, 26 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 65.05°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 90% Wind: 13.8mph
After everything settled down yesterday, while the sun was still out, I tried to take a couple of shots with the XZ-2 and the MX-1 to see how similar they might be.
Not very, it turns out.
The most interesting thing seems to be the way the RAWs are handled.
I expected some differences in the JPEGs, so I compared a RAW image from both cameras. If these are the same lens/sensor systems from the same OEM, then Olympus chose to do some lens corrections in the RAW file (suffix .ORF). There is visible barrel distortion in the MX-1 RAW image (DNG format), which is corrected in the JPEG. With the XZ-2, there is no such visible distortion.
I'm willing to believe they're doing lens corrections in the RAW file, because the JPEGs and the RAWs have never been identical in terms of coverage. They differ by one or two rows of pixels at the long side, shifting the image left or right in portrait, up or down in landscape. There is data there, so it would seem there is some tiny crop involved.
I didn't mount the cameras on a tripod, so I can't compare the actual coverage of each one. I may do that later. Crappy weather today, though I could do it in the house I suppose.
08:25 Sunday, 26 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 65.05°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 90% Wind: 13.8mph
Monarch is pretty good. I'm ambivalent about these franchise efforts, like Star Wars, Star Trek, the MCU and DC and so on. The debates about "the canon" in all these efforts seem tedious and foolish to me, but I'm officially a grumpy old man now.
And frankly, I get tired of seeing the same stuff repackaged over and over again, mostly to provide easter eggs to the fans.
But this still feels fresh enough, despite being nearly 70 years old, to be entertaining. I'm sure they'll ruin it soon enough, but for now it's a worthwhile diversion.
08:18 Sunday, 26 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 64.83°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 90% Wind: 13.8mph
I don't know if Lessons In Chemistry will return for another season. I suppose I could look, I'm sure someone knows. But it feels as though it was designed to be a "limited series," and it wrapped up all the loose ends in the finale.
I loved it.
I am disappointed we didn't get more of six-thirty's internal monologue, and that one episode does seem kind of odd because of it. And I'm sure there are many things that one might criticize, but I can't think of any.
I'm glad Slow Horses returns this week.
07:12 Sunday, 26 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 63.68°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 90% Wind: 17.27mph
Our house guests have departed, and the ensuing laundry effort seems to have dampened (heh) Mitzi's enthusiasm for a ventless dryer. I'll wait a while and revisit the issue.
The other battle I'll have to fight is what color to paint the house. She loves the current (dark) color. It's no longer on the approved list, (the architectural review committee has "freshened" the list of approved colors) but I'm concerned she's going to want a dark color.
Dark colors absorb heat. Even with insulation, that adds heat load. It's a choice that will cost money and/or energy for years after you've made it.
Choices have consequences, and we keep making them as if they don't. Consequences often borne by others.
It's interesting, our house guests didn't seem to have any anxiety about the future of civilization. They're both busy in their careers, raising a young daughter with another child on the way. It's possible they just don't have time. In the brief amount of time we kind of discussed it, they seemed confident that technology would fix whatever challenges we might face.
They live in San Diego and they have a gas furnace. When they got a quote to replace their HVAC system (they also have central air), they included the furnace! I think I convinced them to just go with a heat pump. The prices in California are very high, but there are some incentives. They also have gas hot water, gas dryer and gas stove! I told them about the house that exploded in Pennsylvania, but I don't think it made any difference.
The biggest impact you can make in terms of your CO2 emissions, if you're a daily commuter, is replacing your ICE vehicle. But they were saying something about waiting until they had rooftop solar before they bought an EV!
It was a holiday, and they're Mitzi's family, so I didn't engage very much. But I was surprised by how little the climate emergency seems to factor in their thinking. Maybe we gave them something to think about though. Planted a seed, or something.
Also, given the amount of natural gas being pumped in and around their house, and the greenhouse potential of "natural" gas, getting rid of that might be more effective than getting an EV, to say nothing of the health and safety benefits.
06:20 Friday, 24 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 55.04°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 93% Wind: 9.22mph
If that isn't a compelling title, I don't know what is.
I'd recently heard about heat-pump dryers, I think they're more commonly referred to as "ventless dryers," but I'm not sure about that. I thought they were kind of a new thing, but no, they've been around for decades. Just not so much in America.
So I spent some time on YouTube yesterday. (I use an ad blocker, and it seems YouTube's response is to mute the audio about three quarters of the way through the video. No big deal. I just unmute it.) And I spent some time at energy.gov looking at dryers.
I'd originally thought that I'd replace our conventional dryer when it was end of life, but that could be a decade from now. Today, it's about 4 years old and may still be worth a little money. And it'd use a lot of energy in those 10 years.
So I think I'm going to buy an LG-DLHC-1455 ventless dryer. With a ventless dryer, water from the clothes is condensed and stored in the dryer. You can connect a hose and discharge it to the drain pipe, but I don't think I'm going to do that. Maybe we can use it to water plants. Ideally, it'd be captured and re-used for washing clothes, but we're not there yet.
My only trepidation is expectations. I've read enough reviews and seen enough videos to understand that the process is different enough that we might feel as though the laundry isn't "dry" when it's done. And since this is a major purchase, and the old dryer can't live in the house indefinitely while we get used to the new one, at some point we'll be committed to this one and I'm hoping Mitzi won't be unhappy.
The lower temperature is supposed to be better for clothing anyway. Plus we're not exhausting air that we've cooled to the atmosphere, making it up with warm, humid air that we'd have to cool again. So there's another efficiency gain by eliminating the vent.
There is no federal incentive for ventless dryers, but Florida is offering a sales tax holiday on them. If you're considering one, you may want to look for incentives where you live.
While I think it's important to make homes all electric, and more efficient, it's important to remember that if you're driving to work every day in an ICE-vehicle, your greatest energy use is gasoline. So the biggest change you could make to help the transition from fossil fuels is to drive an EV or a plug-in hybrid, and one that is sized appropriately for your actual needs versus your emotional ones.
07:00 Thursday, 23 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 48.2°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 84% Wind: 9.22mph
It's Thanksgiving Day, so maybe we should give a little attention to the matter of gratitude.
I suppose gratitude is a form of self-care. A way of acknowledging, "It could always be worse," and it often was.
Is it a form of worship? Are we supposed to give thanks to God?
Or should we be thanking all the people who came before us and gave us all the things we wish to appreciate today?
Are those things a gift? Did we do anything to deserve them?
Who is the gift from? God? A system?
A system that favors some at the expense of others?
Should we be grateful for the system?
What are the things we're grateful for? And how sure are we that we'll always have them?
Does gratitude suggest action? Or is gratitude merely a "good intention"?
If there are things you are grateful for today, perhaps you should spare a thought to how you might ensure that others may be grateful for them next year.
It could always be worse.
And it likely will.
08:37 Wednesday, 22 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 72.21°F Pressure: 1010hPa Humidity: 80% Wind: 12.66mph
Our internet went out at 10:45am yesterday. It's still out. We have a Comcast tech scheduled to arrive between 10:00am and 12:00pm today. Figure maybe about 1:00.
I've got my iPhone stuck in the window and I'm having mixed success with it as T-Mobile doesn't have great coverage here.
It's made me appreciate just how addicted I am to the internet. Even most of my files live "in the cloud."
Since we don't have internet, we also don't have cable. Oddly enough, we do get the guide. The router diagnostics tells me it's receiving some data, but it's not getting any "Unicast Maintenance opportunities," whatever those are.
So no streaming, no cable. Last night we sat out back in the screened enclosure around Mitzi's fire table and talked.
Later on we went in and watched a DVD.
It is a "first world" problem of the privileged. But it's given me a lot to think about. Much like electricity and ready access to clean drinking water and indoor plumbing, it hasn't always been like this, and it may not be again soon.
It's Alive (Part Deux)
14:42 Saturday, 18 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 75.83°F Pressure: 1004hPa Humidity: 74% Wind: 8.05mph
The Olympus Stylus 1s with the "stuck lens" arrived today. The listing showed two third-party batteries with the camera. I was hoping it would simply be a matter of using an OEM battery delivering enough power to get the lens to retract.
Put a new(ish) OEM battery in and turned it on. Heard a brief noise, and the screen lit but didn't show any information.
So I turned it off, rattled it to see if I could hear anything and it all sounded good.
So I turned it over and gave the bottom a good stiff rap with the knuckles of my right hand.
Turn it on and there was a bit of a stutter step as the lens retracted and then extended, and the LCD showed the image.
Installed an SD card, ran through the setup menu, and it works.
Did the magic incantation for the shutter count and found that there have only been 925 shutter actuations on this little gem.
$78, free shipping. $83 with sales tax.
That's a solid bargain. Quite pleased.
Under the Weather
09:52 Saturday, 18 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 67.48°F Pressure: 1005hPa Humidity: 92% Wind: 9.22mph
I feel fine. But it is an apt description for what my interior experience has been like for the last week. We seldom have so many days of clouds and rain, but it seems they're finally clearing out of here.
It's still cloudy, but there are patches of blue and it's definitely lighter. We had rain of varying levels of intensity for much of the last week. 1.32" overall, according to my weather instrument.
Miami took a beating between rainfall, king tides and high winds causing power outages.
It wasn't the kind of weather that made me feel like being outside or taking pictures, so I looked at some of my old ones.
I also tried to search for images on Mastodon. I tried the #Olympus tag and a few camera model tags and got very little. I gather you can't search back farther than a couple of months back on Mastodon. Another "feature" of federation, I guess. Can't cache all that data. Which is fine. It was just something that was fun to do on the bird site.
I did find one guy who shoots a fair amount with an XZ-1 (so it was fairly recent), and I got some inspiration from his photos. Also got an idea to use my Raynox M-150 with the Stylus 1s. I have the CLA-13 lens adapter for the Stylus 1s, thinking once that I'd get the 1.7x teleconverter. But that's $$$ and I have better cameras for those long lengths. I was going to sell it to KEH.COM, but then I read about someone using it for macros on the 1s, which is perhaps its weakest feature as a compact camera. Hope to play with it as soon as it gets a little brighter out.
Put the drone up and got a little bit of sunrise this morning.
Got some of the housekeeping done I needed to do before our guests arrive. It's just my office and the garage. I need to finish it, but they don't get in until late tonight so I still have some time. I do my best work under pressure.
Talk About the Weather
07:44 Wednesday, 15 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 69.28°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 84% Wind: 13.8mph
It's still wet and rainy. Kind of casting about for something to blog about.
I was scrolling through my Mastodon timeline and didn't find much inspiration there.
The whole Israel/Hamas thing reminds me of 9/11 and then the run-up to the Iraq War. "You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists."
Yeah. No thanks.
Most mornings when I fill up my water bottle, I try to express a little gratitude for having clean drinking water in my home. Lately I've been offering a wish for water and fuel and a night without bombs for the people of Gaza.
That doesn't mean I don't care about the Israelis who were murdered, or their families or the hostages.
Last week we were at an event for civilians to learn about veterans. As usual, mostly veterans showed up. Disappointing. Anyway, I learned about "moral injury." Hadn't really heard or thought about that before.
I guess I'm going to go take a walk in the rain. Seems pretty light. Maybe I'll bring along the TG-6. We have house guests next week, so I've got some housekeeping I'd better get started doing.
08:48 Tuesday, 14 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 68.2°F Pressure: 1020hPa Humidity: 90% Wind: 19.57mph
The XZ-2 arrived yesterday. It's in excellent shape, other than the chipped and cracked cover glass at the right edge of the LCD. It even has the original thumb rest, which had fallen off mine. I'd replaced it with a little silicone sticky nub that you use for feet or bumpers.
Unfortunately, a disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico has it cloudy and wet here for the next several days. Good for moody images, but maybe not so inspiring for comparison shots.
It came with a 3rd party battery and charger. It uses the same battery as the TG-6, so I went to getolympus.com and ordered a couple of OEM batteries, as they tend to perform more reliably over a long time. They were clearing out the LH-50 battery, which is what goes in the XZ-1 for $5 a piece, so I bought two of those.
Out of curiosity, I wanted to see if there were any good deals for an XZ-2 on the auction site. Nope, about $200 or more, so I feel pretty good about this purchase at half of that.
I'd forgotten that the screen is a touch-screen, so that's a difference with the MX-1. And the screens are not identical in size, either.
You can feel the weight difference, but it's not as pronounced as I'd expected. The XZ-2 feels like a solid camera, not "plasticky" at all.
Anyway, while I was on the auction site, I looked at what the Stylus 1s was going for these days. Well north of $200 for most of them, though there was one I spotted for just a bit over $200 with shipping. But it was in very rough shape cosmetically. I mean, ugly.
I spotted one "for parts" with a stuck lens for $85/OBO, so I googled "stuck lens" and figured I'd give it a shot. Offered $75, sell came back at $78 and I snagged it.
There are a couple of relatively easy fixes I can try, and a couple more that are a bit more "iffy," but I think I can get this one working.
Some of you may recall, I'd dropped my Stylus 1s back in 2020, and it appeared to be broken. Turned it on, lens would extend and then immediately retract. The lens wasn't stuck, the sensor was. I "fixed" it by banging it on the desk in various orientations until whatever was holding the sensor gave way and it started working again.
A stuck lens, oddly enough, may be as simple as a weak battery. I have some very new batteries here, and I'll try that first. Then there are a couple of other relatively easy things to try. If worse comes to worst, I'll have some spare parts.
But I'm fairly optimistic I can get it working again. I tend to eschew optimism to avoid disappointment, but it's only $83 shipped. I'll keep you posted.
Gyre: Fake Valor
09:14 Sunday, 12 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 61.16°F Pressure: 1015hPa Humidity: 90% Wind: 13.8mph
I'm going to start categorizing posts more often. "Gyre" is going to be the category of things that came to my attention that led to other things or related in a serendipitous way to other things.
Bear with me.
I subscribe to a blog called Irrational Exuberance. I don't recall why I subscribed to it in the first place, and there's been less and less that I've found interesting so I was just about to unsubscribe to it today. (I will have by the time you read this.)
But as I glanced at the posts I hadn't read, something from yesterday's (he doesn't post every day) caught my eye:
Ben Horowitz’s quote from The Hard Thing About Hard Things, “Wartime CEO knows that sometimes you gotta roll a hard six.”
"Sometimes you gotta roll a hard six." There are some readers who will recall where that phrase entered our consciousness. It was an episode of Battlestar Galactica, where Adama was telling Apollo not to lose his favorite lighter. (FWIW, Bear McCreary's "A Good Lighter" is one of my favorite songs.)
Battlestar Galactica, you will recall, was a reimagining of the 70s series of the same name by Ron Moore. Ron Moore, who's also responsible for For All Mankind.
Ben Horowitz is the Horowitz of Andreesen Horowitz. Andreesen is the author of a recent manifesto, which rationalizes the conduct of tech billionaires.
But the part that made me throw up a little bit in my mouth was the construction, "wartime CEO."
And of course he posted that on Veterans Day. Because "wartime CEO," right?
So I did a duckduckgo search on "wartime CEO," and got even more nauseated.
I get the idea of using war metaphors for business. I guess business is "violence by other means." But it still makes me sick. Especially since I'm willing to bet you a sawbuck that none of these motherfuckers throwing around the term "wartime CEO" has ever served in uniform, let alone in combat. (I might lose that bet. There may be one or two.)
There's a phenomenon where certain individuals will pretend to be veterans, usually highly decorated, combat veterans. It happens often enough that it has a name, at least within the veteran community, "stolen valor."
I think a subset of the same thing is happening here. It's self-aggrandizing. It's not enough to be the chief executive officer of a business, your business must also be a kind of warfare. To be clear, they're not making the direct comparison. They're describing different business cycles or environments where one may be more challenging than the other as the same as the difference between peace and war.
Well, gosh. Of course it is. I mean, who doesn't recall that famous quote by Sherman, "Business is hell"? A classic.
Ron Moore did a couple of semesters of NROTC in college, had a summer midshipman cruise; and as a talented writer, he picked up the vernacular and a little of the culture. It was one of the things I really enjoyed about Battlestar Galactica.
But to complete the circle, and for more about the connection between tech billionaires and science fiction, during yesterday's Tinderbox meetup, Mark Bernstein mentioned that Charlie Stross had posted something of a rebuttal to Andreesen.
I follow Charlie on Mastodon, but I'm not a completist, and I wasn't aware he had a blog (Shame on me, I'm subscribed now.), so I missed this. Had Mark not mentioned it, I don't know when or if I'd have stumbled on it. That's the beauty of the gyre. You can read it here.
It may be one of the reasons the first episode of season 4 landed flat for me.
Oh, and let's bring back the draft. See how much everyone loves militaristic metaphors after that.
Now excuse me. I gotta go brush my teeth.
06:57 Sunday, 12 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 59.99°F Pressure: 1018hPa Humidity: 93% Wind: 9.22mph
Mitzi doesn't like Upload, but I enjoy it. It's pretty on-the-nose ("Betta" as "Meta" for instance), but I like its sensibility.
Billionaires take a beating in the video streams. Maybe that's an "opiate for the masses." We get to mock our masters on TV so we don't put their heads on pikes IRL.
My, that went dark fast.
06:46 Sunday, 12 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 60.64°F Pressure: 1016hPa Humidity: 92% Wind: 9.22mph
Well, I suppose it was inevitable. I was looking forward to the return of For All Mankind, but now I don't care.
I can't help but hear Marc Andreesen's dumbass manifesto as the subtext.
Ron Moore is an intelligent man. It feels like he's set up his alternate history/future to avoid climate change, and now we're going to avert the limitations of finite planetary resources by mining asteroids.
I'll probably watch the show because it's interesting as an intellectual exercise; but I don't think it'll be especially rewarding.
06:43 Sunday, 12 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 60.64°F Pressure: 1016hPa Humidity: 92% Wind: 9.22mph
I love this show so much, but it exacts a price. As a guy who cries at Kodak commercials (obscure cultural allusion, likely now also anachronistic), I have to constantly remind myself it's just a TV show.
As an aside, if learning about slavery makes white kids feel bad, it's because they still have empathy. That probably works up until middle school, when empathy gets overwhelmed by hormones.
But I think it speaks volumes about the value of empathy in the homes of parents worrying about their grade-schoolers "feeling bad."
Tube: The Killer
06:36 Sunday, 12 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 60.4°F Pressure: 1022hPa Humidity: 97% Wind: 9.22mph
I enjoyed the new Netflix David Fincher flick, The Killer. Kind of a thinking person's John Wick, though I suppose that may be an oxymoron.
What it most reminded me of though was Man On Fire.
While Wick eschews any moral questions, Man asks, "Will God forgive us for what we've done?" Killer dispenses with the question by embracing nihilism, the only law being, "Do what thou wilt."
Of the three, Man On Fire is most appealing to me, because a journey of revenge became a path toward redemption.
Life is meaningless. We bring meaning to life.
Do what thou wilt.
06:32 Sunday, 12 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 60.4°F Pressure: 1022hPa Humidity: 97% Wind: 9.22mph
Yesterday was Veterans Day. I'm a veteran. I decided to skip the long discursive meditation that I post here from time to time. (This being a relevant example.)
Suffice to say, service is an opportunity to make meaning. Meaning matters more than money.
Your time here is limited, and you get to choose.
06:50 Friday, 10 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 62.69°F Pressure: 1015hPa Humidity: 95% Wind: 0mph
I figure "fool" is a good category for personal posts in the vein of "a fool and his money are soon parted." Hopefully there won't be many of them.
We harvested our first greens from the garden, which was more exciting than I expected. Dave the Plant Guy was at the garden and showed us how to harvest leaves while leaving the plant healthy enough to produce more.
It was the garden that got me to use my compact cameras again, which got me thinking about my compact cameras. I'd sold one, the Fuji X20, gave one to Mitzi, the Fuji XQ1, gave two away to my granddaughters, an Oly XZ-10 (I had 2), and an XZ-2. I have four XZ-1s, and I'll probably never let those go, a remaining XZ-10, the Stylus 1s, two Tough cameras, a TG-4 and a 6, and the odd one, an old C-7000. In the box of stuff I still have to post to KEH.COM for an offer is a Lumix LX-7, which will probably go back on the shelf.
Anyway, thinking about compact cameras got me thinking about the Pentax MX-1, which was a camera I'd wanted for a long time, but always seemed absurdly priced on the used market. Thinking about it led to checking the auction site for current prices, and they are still pretty high. $300-$500 range, mostly from Japan.
I did spot one from a U.S. seller for $225 with a "make offer" option. I offered $200, they came back with $210, so I split the difference at $205 and they agreed. I suspect I might have gotten it at $200. My sister is a seller and she says business is bad on the auction site.
I don't know much about the camera business, but the MX-1 and the Olympus XZ-2 both have the same lens and sensor combination. The image processor hardware is likely the same as well, but I don't know. I imagine there are (were?) OEM manufacturers who marketed these things (not so much anymore, in the smartphone era) to camera brands as the guts for a compact camera.
At any rate, I'd always been curious about the MX-1, partly because its "retro" gimmick was brass for the top and bottom plate. This makes the black model more desirable than the silver one I bought.
Well, it arrived yesterday. It was a nearly complete kit, missing the USB cable, but including the external charger (thankfully). The camera itself is nearly pristine. The seller had pointed out a very small blemish on the lens barrel, and there's a slight round mark on the bottom plate that suggests perhaps a half-case screwed into the tripod socket. The only real negative is the rubber grip is sticky where the former owners' fingers likely deposited oils. Alcohol didn't resolve that, and I'm not sure anything will. I may cover it with a bit of black friction tape, which would give a better grip anyway. I use it on my black XZ-1, because it can be pretty slick.
Battery was fully charged, so I put an SD card in it and played around with it yesterday. They say that "curiosity killed the cat," and the MX-1 has cat "meows" as sounds for the shutter, startup and button confirmations. I'm using them for the moment, I'm pretty sure I'll get tired of them soon.
It feels pretty dense, which is probably the brass plates. No sign of brassing yet, and it wouldn't look as appealing against the silver coating anyway. Buttons are very tiny, even the power button, which may be hard to find just by feel, we'll see.
I'd say as handling goes, it's not as good as the XZ-2.
The LCD screen is probably the same as the one on the XZ-2, likely part of the OEM package. Tilts, but no touch. Bright and sharp. It dims pretty quickly, which is probably a setting I need to adjust.
People complain about Olympus' old menu system, but I've been shooting Olympus digital for 15 years and I don't mind it. The Pentax menu was fairly easy to figure out, better than Panasonic's that's for sure. But I haven't found a "quick" setting. Looks like most changes require a menu dive. The XZ-2 adopted Olympus' Super Control Panel, so nearly everything you'd be inclined to change was available in one interface when you pushed the center "OK" button on the back.
I've only taken a few shots with it, nothing worth sharing.
I reviewed my XZ-2 shots in my Photos library, and was reminded of the kinds of images it was capable of producing. They're pretty decent, meaning I enjoy them.
Out of curiosity, I looked at XZ-2 prices on the auction site. Also high, though not as absurd as the MX-1. I noticed one that was reasonably priced, I thought, at $125. There may have been a "make offer" option, but I don't recall. I saved the listing in case I wanted to revisit it later. The low price is because a corner of the cover glass on the LCD is cracked and missing. Not pretty, but it still works.
Well, as these things often go when you "favorite" listing, the seller made me an offer, and, fool that I am, I accepted. I figured I could then do a direct comparison of the two cameras.
The XZ-2 also permits me to use one of my electronic viewfinders, so the LCD is less of an issue.
So I'll play around with two different cameras with identical sensors and lenses. I'm nut sure if I'll keep the MX-1, it doesn't fall into my hand as nicely as the Olys. That may just be familiarity, but I do think the shooting experience with the MX-1 won't be as comfortable. If that's the case, I'll probably sell it to KEH and recover some of my money.
I'll probably keep the wounded XZ-2. Put a screen protector on the LCD and hope the problem doesn't grow.
Fools and their money, and cameras, are soon parted.
Update: The "quick" menu is accessed via the "Info" button. I downloaded the manual from Pentax. A hint printed next to the button might have been helpful. But a huge difference in ease of use.
10:39 Thursday, 9 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 73.99°F Pressure: 1020hPa Humidity: 69% Wind: 5.75mph
After a fairly productive morning yesterday, this morning's walk yielded nothing. I put a few up on Flickr from yesterday's walk.
The other day, I mentioned that the camera mediated my attention on my morning walk. It also mediates others' attention too. More and more frequently, people ask me if I got any good photos, or saw a particular gator or bird.
This morning a guy on his bike stopped and we chatted a bit. He just got a 2x teleconverter for his 150mm lens, and so he's looking forward to getting some better bird shots. He lives at the end of the cul-de-sac, so I'm sure I'll be seeing him fairly often.
So maybe carrying a camera isn't as socially isolating as I thought. Less so than the folks I see wearing AirPods, maybe?
10:22 Thursday, 9 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 73.51°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 71% Wind: 5.75mph
I enjoyed the season finale of The Morning Show last night. I think they let Jon Hamm off a little too easy, but it was ok. I remain sympathetically inclined toward Cory, who at least exhibits some signs of self-awareness.
There was a pretty overt pitch for legacy media in the Howard Beale moment. I'm sympathetic, but I think that ship has sailed and legacy media was never as virtuous as Chip tried to make it out to be.
I wasn't sure I was going to like TMS when it debuted. At first, I thought it was going to be a workplace comedy, like The Office. But it has consistently been a pretty straightforward, topical drama. And what better way to make a drama topical than to center it on the news business?
I'm looking forward to another season. Just wish I didn't have to wait a year.
07:25 Wednesday, 8 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 56.55°F Pressure: 1019hPa Humidity: 74% Wind: 0mph
Blog memes! I remember...
Anyway, memes can mutate, so here's my "default" app list. Stuff I use all the time, at least once a week.
- Mail Service: iCloud
- Mail Client: Apple Mail
- Spam Filter: SpamSieve
- Notes: Apple Notes (shared with Mitzi, and stuff that doesn't go in Tinderbox)
- To-Do: n/a (I don't do anything.)
- Calendar: Apple Calendar (formerly iCal?)
- Contacts: Apple Contacts
- RSS Service: n/a
- RSS Client: NetNewsWire
- Launcher: LaunchBar
- Cloud Storage: iCloud
- Photo Library: iCloud
- Web Browser: Safari
- Chat: Messages
- Bookmarks: Safari
- Read Later: Instapaper
- Word Processing: Pages (mostly to print a daily photo card to my mom)
- Spreadsheet: Numbers (not weekly, but at least monthly and whenever I have to)
- Presentations: n/a
- Shopping Lists: Apple Note (shared with Mitzi)
- Personal Finance: n/a
- Music: Apple Music
- Podcasts: Apple Podcasts
- Password Management: Keychain Access
- Social Media: Mona (Mastodon)
- Weather: Apple and Ambient
- Search: DuckDuckGo
- Code Editor: n/a
- Blogging: Tinderbox
- FTP: Forklift
- Photo Intake: Image Capture
- Photo Review: RAW Power
- Image Sharpening: Topaz SharpenAI
- Video Calling: FaceTime
- PDF Viewer: Preview
- Automation: AppleScript, Shortcuts, Automator, Hazel,
- POSSE: Micro.blog
- Retro Computing: Virtual II
- Backup: Time Machine, Backblaze
- Local File Management: Finder
There are a bunch of apps I use less often, like Topaz Gigapixel AI. Settings is always open in the dock. Activity Monitor too. Dictionary (to look up big words).
If I look at CPU usage and sort by CPU Time, Mail is the number 1 app, followed closely by SpamSieve. Finder is 3rd, then Activity Monitor, Tinderbox, LaunchBar, Notes, Backblaze, ForkLift, RAW Power, the photolibraryd process, Hmm... PopClip is in there too. And i use UnClutter as a clipboard manager and temp text stowage. Speaking of which, it's been acting weird under Sonoma. Stuff I expect to be on my clipboard isn't, so I have to be a little cautious. Could try using LaunchBar instead, but then I'd have to learn something.
Anyway, I use a lot of apps it seems.
Notes to Myself
07:16 Monday, 6 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 52.57°F Pressure: 1018hPa Humidity: 88% Wind: 3.44mph
We had a Tinderbox meetup yesterday, and there was really nothing on the agenda. A question came up on whether or not Tinderbox could facilitate a certain form of note-taking where one file might hold disparate topics, and later help bring order to them.
The answer is, it can.
Then a question about why not just use a database program? The answer is, why not? Yes, a database program can do the same sort of thing, just in a different way.
My contribution was to suggest that whatever application one chooses, choose it and be done.
I've lived in Tinderbox, imperfectly, incompletely, for more than twenty years. The marmot goes back a decade. Groundhog Day was shorter, 2003-2009. What happened in those four years in between was the loss of Apple's web hosting as part of its .mac, iLife web services. I moved to Tumbler with Day of the Groundhog, and spent about four years there. I left because it felt like it was going the way of Facebook, and decided to finally get my own domain name and web hosting, and return to blogging using Tinderbox.
Today I wish I'd done that in 2009.
The point is, whatever your project is, pick an app and stick with it until it no longer meets your needs. Unless your project is just trying out apps, which is fine too.
I'm by no means a Tinderbox master, but I know enough to get myself in trouble and know enough people to help get me out.
But here's the payoff, at least to me.
I was sure I'd posted something about Yeats in the past, thinking it was about The Second Coming. So I searched for "gyre" in this document, which goes back a decade.
Hmmm... Searched for "Yeats." It turns out, I hadn't blogged about The Second Coming, which still feels odd, maybe it was on Twitter. But I had mentioned Yeats back in 2017, nearly 7 years ago.
That's still a happy event, because the piece I linked to in that post is still online, and still worth a read today. Perhaps more so. I read it, and it resonated with David McWilliams' TED talk too.
Despite being of shorter duration, Groundhog Day contains more words than the marmot. I got sucked into Facebook and promoting myself "living my best life" on that miserable platform. Then Twitter took its place. There's a bit of Yeats in that piece that reminds me of Twitter:
Mock mockers after that
That would not lift a hand maybe
To help good, wise or great
To bar that foul storm out, for we
Traffic in mockery.
Anyway, as much as I admire the folks who maintain paper notebooks, and I have the blank notebooks to prove it, I wonder how they would find what they thought they may have written about Yeats?
09:33 Sunday, 5 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 64.29°F Pressure: 1016hPa Humidity: 50% Wind: 8.05mph
I should be out taking a walk right now, or riding my bike, but since I just poured myself another glass of ersatz Mountain Dew (Fountain Mist, by Soda Stream), I figured I'd spend a bit of time with the marmot.
Sometimes I take photos just to have something to share. Why do I do that? Photos should be for me, first.
I think it's wise to think about "being online." I do, from time to time, though mostly in connection with what is called "social media." I spend far more time in the marmot since I left the "big three," Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I don't think much about maintaining the marmot. It's just become a part of me now. I do wonder if it matters in any way to anyone besides me. I don't know.
But, as Jack feels about photos, the marmot is for me, first.
Photos are for me as well. But I enjoy sharing them. It's interesting, because the act of carrying a camera mediates how I see what's around me. If I carry the OM-1 with the 75-300mm zoom, I'm attending to birds, their sounds and movements, looking for a shot. Occasionally the landscape will grab me, and I'll pull out my phone. But I'm not paying a lot of attention to people. I say hello to the people and their dogs that I meet, of course. But I'm not looking for people. I walk to keep from becoming just utterly sedentary, but I carry the camera to look for birds.
Maybe I should walk to say hello to people?
Maybe it's wise to think about walking?
Steve Makovsky ponders the gravity of the current zeitgeist. I'm happy to report that I seem to be emerging from my cloud. Yesterday's Gyre post was a happy one.
I know we're in a great deal of trouble. More, perhaps, than most people understand. But I feel a bit as though I've come to acceptance. I'm recalling the things I learned during my "mid-life crisis," when my career and my marriage both failed; conventionally, the "two most important things you'll ever do."
I learned that all we ever really have are moments to live, and each other... in those moments. Because everything can be taken from you, even, or especially, "each other."
That existence, being, is the negation of nothingness. An affirmation. In effect, an act of faith. That we live on a razor's edge, in the tension between Heraclitus' "harmony of binding opposites," the yin and yang of faith and fear.
And confusion about "free will" notwithstanding, we do get to choose which aspect we embrace.
None of us is getting out of here alive. Many people, as I write this, are living in profound uncertainty, with unbearable suffering, amidst unspeakable violence. About the most I can do for them right now is pray for peace.
I do embrace gratitude. I do appreciate how fortunate I am, and how undeserving I am of my good fortune, and how quickly it might change. Everything can be taken from you. Ultimately, it will be. Being afraid doesn't change that.
I recall a little Buddhist parable about a monk being pursued by a tiger. The monk reaches a cliff and there's nowhere else left to run. He leaps and grabs a tree or a root growing from the side of the cliff. Above, the tiger. Below, the rocks. There, growing from the side of the cliff is a strawberry.
The monk eats the strawberry.
I'm enjoying my strawberry.
09:13 Saturday, 4 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 58.84°F Pressure: 1016hPa Humidity: 77% Wind: 9.22mph
On Thursday, Mitzi and I went to Jacksonville University to hear Dr. Helen Czerski speak at an event where she received the Jacksonville University Marine Science Pioneer Award. (You can read about that here. Ignore the privacy warning from Safari, you'll have to click through two warnings.)
I follow her Mastodon account (@firstname.lastname@example.org) and saw a toot that she would be in town on November 2nd, speaking at an event sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville. I knew Mitzi had signed us up for something like this, and thought this might be one of those events. So I asked her, and it wasn't.
But she wanted to go see it anyway, so we did.
Loved it. She's a young, energetic and inspiring speaker. She received two standing ovations from the audience. One for her talk, the other for her award.
Dr. Czerski's talk was about the old chestnut that we know more about the moon than we do about the ocean. We do know plenty about the ocean. As a retired naval officer, who was educated as an ocean engineer, and whose career was spent, to a significant degree, understanding oceanography in order to find submarines (alternatively, to hide from them), I appreciate how much we know.
In any event, this post is about the "strange loops" that seem to go on in my head. A gyre is a feature in oceanography that describes large rotational currents. I installed the TED app on our AppleTV last night, specifically to look for Dr. Czerski on TED. You can find her here, great talk, btw.
That reminded me of two other talks I'd read about, or someone had mentioned to me, but I hadn't seen them yet. I had to do a little searching. The first was the one about the "first sustainable generation," which I posted earlier today. The second was about "unconventional thinking," which is also posted below.
I enjoyed Hannah Ritchie's talk about sustainability, but it left me uneasy. I subscribe to a Florida-focused climate RSS feed, The Invading Sea, and it often features posts from young Republicans advocating "market-based solutions," which are appealing to young Republicans but otherwise inadequate. Ms. Ritchie's talk felt very much in the same vein.
I also subscribe to an RSS feed from Resilience, which is where the link to Cheap Grace came from, which is in the same post as Ms. Ritchie's TED talk.
Resilience doesn't offer full-text feeds, so I have to click through and open them in Safari, and I often don't visit the page immediately, just leave the tab open until I get around to going through my tabs. It's not a great system, but it's how I roll.
I'd opened the Cheap Grace post yesterday, but hadn't read it until this morning, which, together with watching Nyad, is what prompted this morning's first post.
So, saw Dr. Czerski on Thursday. Watched the last half of Nyad on Friday afternoon. Installed TED on AppleTV to look for Dr. Czerski on Friday evening. Watched Hannah Ritchie because I recalled something about a TED talk by her and I'd just installed the app. Then watched David McWilliams because I also recalled something about "unconventional thinking." Then read the Cheap Grace post this morning.
And here we are. Four posts that somehow were connected, or related, at least in my mind. Contingent though they may be, "free will" being something of a misunderstanding.
Anyway, all these things happened in close proximity to one another, and the route by which they all came to my attention resembles, in my mind, a gyre. That image was brought to my mind by David McWilliams' reference to Yeats, and its meaning in oceanography, which brings us back to Dr. Czerski, and Diana Nyad, and sustainability, which is all about "closing the loop," eliminating externalities.
Anyway, I seem to recall that someone once had a blog called "I thought these might be clues." That also comes to mind.
There's more here than meets the eye.
Which I suppose is a bit of "unconventional thinking" itself. And a small bit of comfort too.
08:55 Saturday, 4 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 58.28°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 80% Wind: 9.22mph
I was unfamiliar with the name Dietrich Bonhoeffer, so I did a little digging. This piece is perhaps a useful capsule summary. I had often seen references to the Confessing Church in books about Germany under the Nazis, so I suppose I may have seen his name before.
The article includes this:
On the other hand, the theological section of the essay also contains the traditional antisemitic teachings that for centuries had characterized Christian understandings of Judaism, and Bonhoeffer argued that the “Jewish question” would ultimately be resolved through the conversion of the Jews. He never explicitly abandoned this view.
To which I would offer that he was hanged at 39 years of age, less than a month before Germany surrendered, still a young man. We will never know how his views might have evolved. I think it's important to note his thinking at the time; but I think it's possible that such a man might have changed his views, and indeed may have.
I don't think we'll ever know.
07:14 Saturday, 4 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 58.78°F Pressure: 1016hPa Humidity: 84% Wind: 3mph
Since I'm in a TED sort of mood, here's one I watched last night and it speaks to the challenge the current generation is facing. The challenge of "conventional thinking."
Conventional thinking isn't going to meet the challenge.
An idea worth spreading.
06:51 Saturday, 4 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 59.2°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 82% Wind: 8.05mph
Mitzi watched the Diana Nyad bio-pic on Netflix yesterday, and I saw the latter half. As I recall, "courage" was something of a war-cry or motto for her. I also admired her "resilience" and "never quit" attitude.
I think we can all find something inspirational in Diana Nyad's example, especially in the effort and sacrifice she made to achieve her dream.
Because, while we're supposedly beginning to confront the reality of our situation, it isn't clear to me that we really have.
I watched this TED Talk last night. It's from back in April of this year. It's worth a listen.
Sounds great, right? It does. But, it's a gloss. I liked her formulation that any sustainable solution must allow for a decent life for all people.
She doesn't go into any specifics about how we would go about delivering a decent life to all people, using entrenched institutions and economic systems that are founded and predicated on the notion of persistent inequality, and which incentivize the worst characteristics of human behavior.
Here's a much shorter read, which is more honest and accurate about the genuine scope of the challenge that confronts her generation.
I'm not saying that her generation is incapable of meeting that challenge. I hope they are. But they will never even try, unless they understand what it really is.
And that's why I think it's important to talk about not only the climate, environmental degradation, inequality and systemic inequity, but how we got here as well. Because we can't rely on the mechanisms that created the problem to solve it.
And it's going to take all the courage and sacrifice they can muster to meet that challenge.
And never quit.
Tube: The Morning Show
05:35 Friday, 3 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 63.79°F Pressure: 1018hPa Humidity: 85% Wind: 16.11mph
I liked episode 9. Well, I hated episode 9 too.
What was I saying about none of the characters being irredeemably evil? Yeah, I think Paul Marks is pretty irredeemable.
People seem to enjoy watching evil people. House of Cards, Succession, the list probably goes on, but those are two series I started watching and then stopped because I hated all the characters.
I haven't hated anyone on The Morning Show, and there are enough characters I care about that even if Paul Marks is a sociopath, I probably won't stop watching it.
Which is good, since the series has been picked up for a fourth season.
Alex and Bradley were agreeing that, "People suck." I think people are weak, and the systems they operate in make them suck. Capitalism is among the worst.
05:05 Friday, 3 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 61.59°F Pressure: 1020hPa Humidity: 93% Wind: 8.05mph
Well, the yogurt experiment didn't go as well as I'd hoped. The "proof" setting isn't very warm at all. I was worried it'd be too warm. The infrared thermometer showed about 86°F, which isn't as conducive for the little critters to do their thing.
I left it in for 10 hours though. It is yogurt, but it's not what I was hoping for. Not as tangy and thinner than I expected.
Just ate some with berries and granola. If I'm not doubled over in pain in an hour or so, I'll consider it a partial success.
What I may do next is perhaps warm up a pizza stone in the warming drawer of the oven first. Another fancy feature we've never used. It supposedly gets up to 145°F. Transfer that to the rack below the next batch I try to make. I'll find a thermometer and do a dry run first. It'll have a decent thermal mass. I think we have a cast iron skillet around here, I might be able to do the same thing with it.
One of the videos suggested just putting a pot of 120°F water in the oven with the yogurt. Perhaps some combination of the two or three with the oven in proof mode. I did hear the oven come on from time to time.
They make yogurt makers, and you can use an instant pot, or a sous-vide circulator, but the idea is to not buy another gadget, which we wouldn't have anyplace to store anyway.
11:43 Thursday, 2 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 67.96°F Pressure: 1024hPa Humidity: 62% Wind: 19.57mph
I'm trying to make yogurt today. I bought some UHT milk and watched a YouTube video, so I'm all set.
After heating the UHT milk to 115°F, I mixed in some plain greek yogurt. Poured the whole shebang into a glass bowl I'd warmed up by running under hot water. (Wasteful of water.) The question then was where to put the mix so the little bugs could stay warm and do their thing.
We have a fancy induction range, and the oven has a "proof" setting. The manual suggests it won't let the temperature go below 125°F. That may be too warm, but I'm not sure, so I'm giving it a try.
Why am I doing this? Unsure at the moment. Partly it's nominally cheaper. 32oz of UHT milk is a couple bucks less than 2lbs of Greek yogurt, I didn't price the regular kind. UHT milk comes in a plasticized paper carton that weighs 50g, the yogurt comes in a plastic container that weighs 30g. I'm not sure which one is "better" for the environment, but I'm inclined to think that the plasticized paper contains less overall plastic than the plastic container.
If I can pull this off, then I'll consider the tradeoffs more closely, though I doubt I'll ever have the kind of data I'd need to make a clear choice on the basis of reduced environmental impact. Wallet impact may be clearer.
I'm letting it do its thing for five and a half hours, then I'll give it a little test, or taste. There's some reason to believe a little longer may be better in terms of taste and consistency, but I may be running hot so maybe faster? If I'm not killing it.
I'll keep you posted.
In other news, it occurred to me on the bike ride that I was probably conflating a season of Pennyworth and one of the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies with the Victorian sex and drug cult thing in Bodies. Pennyworth isn't Victorian, but similar characters.
Not that it matters. Just glad I can still retrieve some memories.
10:03 Thursday, 2 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 67.08°F Pressure: 1021hPa Humidity: 61% Wind: 8.99mph
It's cool this morning, so I'm wearing jeans. I've learned that I don't like wearing jeans while biking. Not that I ever wear biking shorts either. I'm usually just in shorts! I have some synthetic lightweight hiking trousers I can wear when it's windy, I guess.
Anyway, I learned it again this morning when I biked to the garden. This time I brought along the Olympus E-500 with the 25mm/f2.8 pancake mounted. I have something of an irrational affection for that lens. Having bought one back in the day when I was shooting four-thirds dslrs, I sold it when I went strictly mirrorless.
Then I bought another copy after I looked at some of the images I'd taken with it. It's got kind of a "look," I guess. It's irrational. I like it.
Then, of course, I bought an E-500 dslr, because it has the Kodak CCD sensor and it was sprinkled with magic CCD dust made by the elves of Rochester, NY.
Anyway, I like the combo. Small. Lightweight. Simple. Gives a very mechanical vibe with the mirror slap and the noisy focusing motor.
Put a few up on Flickr. SOOC, because why not?
07:13 Thursday, 2 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 60.71°F Pressure: 1022hPa Humidity: 68% Wind: 21.85mph
We finished watching Bodies on Netflix last night. It reminded me of Cloud Atlas meets Looper. There was another movie that came to mind, with a Victorian sex and drugs cult thing, the title of which I can't recall at the moment.
In that regard, it was disappointing. These series that rely on multiple stories separated by time and space can't seem to do enough in the way of character development to make them reward the investment of the time it takes to watch them. I'm also thinking of Foundation here. Invasion to a lesser extent, as it's only dispersed in space, not in time.
Cloud Atlas and Looper were much smaller chunks of time, and so the plot moved along quickly and the gimmick was the star of the show. In this case, I got the gimmick right away, because I'd seen it before, and so that wasn't especially entertaining. I was mostly just wishing they'd hurry up and do something.
Peripheral was much better in that regard, in that I quickly became invested in the main character. I don't know if that's coming back or not. Probably not, since I liked it.
To the extent that I did become invested, I mostly just wanted to see how they would resolve the thing as a technical exercise; not that I cared about any of the characters. It was modestly successful in that regard, though there were a lot of loose ends and a couple of holes I think. I'm not going to watch it again to take detailed notes, but I think if you watch it you may have a similar experience.
06:15 Thursday, 2 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 59.58°F Pressure: 1022hPa Humidity: 69% Wind: 18.41mph
As you read more about the emerging crisis of modernity, one of the ideas about possible "solutions" is degrowth. We're terrible at framing. Degrowth is probably accurate, but the notion that "growth" is a "good thing" is so firmly embedded in our collective psyche that it will inevitably be re-framed by the right as "de-good."
We read this decades ago when anti-nuclear activists were told to "freeze to death in the dark in caves."
This piece explains the idea of degrowth using the leaf-blower as a metaphor or analogy. All the horrors of leaf-blowers aren't dispelled by using electric leaf-blowers, because leaf-blowers are merely a symptom of the deeper problem. I related to it, because we do have all-electric lawn care tools, and solar panels on our roof to charge them.
Lawns, and 27" iMacs, aren't essential goods. They are things we've created because we can, in large measure to satisfy ego-driven needs to display status or conformity, by a capitalist system that prioritizes profit above all other considerations.
If I were king of the world for a day, I'd ban residential lawns outright. As deliberate features of public amenities, and only where they are essential, like a gathering place or playing field, they'd be allowed. Otherwise, something closely approximating a "natural" landscape, compatible with local climate (i.e., not requiring thousands of gallons of irrigation annually) would be required. Landscapes that didn't require tons of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides to keep them looking like "carpets."
Of course, this would offend nearly everyone's notion of "personal freedom." But nearly everyone's notion of personal freedom is wrong anyway. Perhaps the evidence being developed that shows that tech companies use algorithms to drive behavior will begin to expose our ignorance and misunderstanding of what "freedom" really is.
In the meantime, I live in an HOA that mandates lawns. So we do our best. We only run the irrigation when it's necessary to maintain the lawn. Most folks run it on a timer, and it gets watered whether it needs it or not. Mitzi uses electric tools and does the work herself. Most folks hire landscapers, who use gas-powered tools.
We live in a region that is car-centric, like nearly all of America, with some marketing features that purport to show golf-carts as an alternative. Where we can, we use the golf-cart. We drive an SUV, a vehicle enormously larger than our needs, but a plug-in hybrid with the longest available battery range at the time. We only have one car, though the golf cart should count as a vehicle.
We're roughly 90% self-sufficient on power on an annual basis, but we're still net-positive in terms of the overall energy balance. That is, we provide more solar power to FPL's grid than we receive from FPL's natural-gas powered generators.
We Americans will have the biggest problem in adjusting to the new reality, and a new reality is coming whether we want it or not. It will be imposed on us by the climate, by the biosphere. Degrowth will happen. What we might hope for is a controlled descent, rather than a violent one.
What we can do now is begin to think about and be aware of all the ways we do too much. Have too much. Take too much. Want too much.
And maybe try to embrace less, and see "growth" as the cancer that it is.
This isn't a guilt-trip. But a day is coming when guilt and regret may plague the survivors. I could be wrong. Denial is a powerful coping mechanism.
07:34 Wednesday, 1 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 59.61°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 73% Wind: 14.97mph
This piece has been making the rounds in my feeds, and it seems to be resonating with a few people, including me.
Most of us are caught on a treadmill of constant software updates. Some of that is necessary because of how tightly-coupled software is to modern existence, and the security vulnerabilities it exposes to faithless actors (including criminals).
My rant about Apple moving the pause and stop buttons on the Fitness app on the Apple Watch is very much in this mode. Change for the sake of change, or rather, so someone has something to put on their brag sheet when performance reviews come around.
I'm sure it won't be too long before the new locations are committed to muscle memory. And then they'll change them again anyway.
When I was a young man, technology and technological change was exciting. I don't know if it still feels that way for young people today. It wasn't just the marketing. At least in my cohort, we were seeing many things for the first time. Calculators, "home computers," digital cameras.
What are some examples of new, consumer-facing technologies that young people are seeing for the first time? I can't think of any. But maybe I'm just old.
There are new apps. New colors, new ways of presenting the same things.
When home genetic engineering kits become available, maybe that'll be exciting. People home-brewing their new pets.
At some point, my 27" iMac will become unsupported in new OS updates. Maybe Sonoma is it. Maybe then I'll get to enjoy "finished software."
What's kind of interesting about retro-computing is the experience of watching people discover these old machines for the first time, and seeing oldsters with deep, profound knowledge about how they work, kind of guiding people around.
I struggled briefly last week with wanting to buy an Apple ///. I can afford it, but I really have no place to put it. And once you buy the box, you wind up buying a ton of other crap to go along with it. So I'm sticking with an emulator.
Emulators are often updated, so I guess they're not "finished software." But presumably they're getting closer to perfect fidelity because they're chasing a finished, fixed, objective.
Rise and Shine
07:12 Wednesday, 1 November 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 59.83°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 73% Wind: 14.97mph
My new month Edict worked flawlessly this morning. I see one more tweak I might make to it. (Adding the name of the export file.) Otherwise, pretty much a hands-off thing. Cool.
I've read a few things in my feed and on Mastodon about Apple's recent product introduction. No 27" iMac. I'm not sure how I feel about that.
Is a 27" iMac kind of metaphorically similar to a Ford F-150 lifted and ballooned to be bigger than a Sherman tank the same kind of thing?
How much more does a 27" iMac consume in manufacturing resources than a 24" iMac?
We want what we want, but do we need it? I could probably exist quite happily on a 24" iMac, but I'm not likely to get one anytime soon.
There's this insanity in computing that's like the myth of "more lanes" when it comes to traffic congestion. Traffic just expands to fill the existing road space, so congestion never decreases. Software just expands to take advantage of the increased compute resources. Your super-wham-o-dyne bazillion teraflops box with VR display turns into a dog slow boat anchor in a few years.
And you feel it as you're posting cat pictures.
We're nuts. The world's on fire. There are people in the world who are actively opposing democracy, equality and equity, and, get this, they're doing pretty well. One of two major political parties in this country is enthusiastically supporting them, and pretty much pursuing the same agenda right here at home. News from the cryosphere ain't good. Hottest year in human history.
But we're complaining about a corporation not offering consumers a giant toy.
Habituated thinking. Hysteresis. Inertia. The inability to see what is right before our eyes.
We're nuts, and blind and screwed.
Anyway, I'm not buying any new Apple products anytime soon. I thought I might get that AR/VR headset thing, but it just seems irresponsible to do that now. Just one more toy to distract me from the unmitigated, incontestable, ongoing catastrophe unfolding before our eyes. (On screens of all sizes.)
Feels like a good way to start the month.