Computers and Internet

We said 1 Gb? We meant 1.5 Mb…

Last summer CenturyLink announced that my  Beacon Hill neighborhood will have 1 Gb Ethernet service. Beacon Hill was considered to be particularly important. 

I just tried to sign up for service, and the best (and ONLY) service level available is “up to 1.5 Mbps”. Other places in the world with this kind of service include, uhm. NOWHERE. 

Centurylink don’t even admit in their online speed comparison that this service level exists: 

I talked to their new accounts department and they confirmed that 1.5 Mbps is all that’s available and they weren’t able to give me any  idea of when they’d offer something better. 

You got the PR, Centurylink. How about following thru? 

Computers and Internet

Modern Heirlooms

Son: what’s this, pops?

Father: you’ve been looking at the family moments, I see. 

Son: yep – what’s this? Is it jewelry? It doesn’t seem to do anything… 

Father: your grandpa gave that to me when I closed my first big sale! It’s an Apple Watch. 

Son: Apple? 

Father: they were a famous company back in the day! Made all sorts of stuff – cars, houses, airplanes… 

Son: so how do I turn this “watch” on? 

Father: you don’t, unfortunately. They had a very slow leak in the firmware garbage collector and when it finally wiped out the memspace, Apple had cancelled support for it

Son: but can’t you just hack it? 

Father: Apple didn’t publish their firmware interfaces… 

Son: what? Seriously? Isn’t that against the law?!? 

Father: well it is *now*, but that was a different age… 

Son: why don’t you sell it? 

Father: it’s only worth a little bit. Now that the oceans catalyst mining is up and running, we’re practically swimming in gold. 

Son: so Grandpa was a sucker? 

Father: it was just a different age, son. Now go reboot your brother, it’s time for school. 

Computers and Internet

Teamwork and Trust

For a great overview of the game that I am talking about in this post, please read this awesome article.


He would sit, dejected, for hours in the off season, wondering if all of the success had been a fluke. Four interceptions on balls thrown to him. Four. In one playoff game. It was no wonder that, in the final minutes, his QB threw to other people. Who in their right mind would continue to risk throwing to a four-time loser in the biggest game to date for this young team?

Years later, his football career behind him, he would still ruefully recall those misses and how his team had so rightfully turned their back on him. How they had gone with another option, and lost that night to a ferocious competitor. He would realize, much later, that this was where he started to doubt himself because his team had doubted him. Where he would think that maybe he really just was some kid from Lakewood, not a hero. Not a great football player.

And years later the QB, sitting in front of a fire, would recall that game as well. He would wonder what had gone wrong that day… And he would realize that the doubt that had entered into the team in January of 2015 slowly but surely eroded the team from within. The brotherhood he had been a part of, a brotherhood instilled in them from the bottom to the top of the organization, had started to unravel. What might have become a dynasty became just a statistical fluke.

This, of course, is not what actually happened.

What happened yesterday was two men who were directly or indirectly responsible for the worst performances of both of their careers made a choice. Russell Wilson threw, in the most important play of the game, to a man who had turned the ball over 4 times. Pete Carroll supported that play, Jermaine Kearse made the catch and the Hawks won the game.

If Jermaine had dropped that ball – or god forbid had turned it over again – we would all be questioning team leadership across the board.

Which, as it turns out, would be the wrong thing to do. Wilson had to throw to Jermaine because he was the right man to make the play, no matter what had just happened before. And I like to think that it’s because in the long game a Jermaine who has redeemed himself by doing his job well is just as valuable to the team in future seasons as this win was.

Perhaps it’s even more valuable – every man on the team will be looking at this and they will be thinking, as contracts roll around – “would any other other team continue to trust me after I had repeatedly and drastically failed to do my job? will they ever trust me that much?”

This is what makes this such a remarkable event. Jermaine Kearse was never a 4 time loser – he is an extremely good receiver who happened to have a few bad misses. By refusing to allow the narrative to change into Jermaine’s failures the Seahawks showed a level of depth that will last them well into the future.

The Seahawks showed that good teams win together – even teams whose individual players are having really, really, REALLY bad days.

Computers and Internet

Smart-ass is the First Word in Smart-ass Designer

This was fairly early on in a design:


Then Brooks made DCR #1, so I helpfully obliged. Note the recesses in the bolt heads, I thought those were a really nice touch.


Then Brooks added more engineering requirements into his DCR, creating DCR #2. I obliged that as well with what I thought was a very elegant solution:


Pippa raised marketing concerns about the new design, which in hindsight I probably should have thought of. Based on that I proactively did DCR #3 to accommodate branding:


When I looked up the specs on the solar panel that Brooks had added in DCR #2, I realized we’d need even more space, so I added that in DCR #4.


It’s nice being recognized as a genius.

Computers and Internet

Augmented Reality meet Modified Perception

This is, once you think about it, a total no brainer. As are most good ideas.

And it’s really freaking awesome.

The time has already come where it’s increasingly easy to fake things in video post production FX so that you can make videos appear to be “real” when they aren’t. Augmented Reality technology lets us apply things to the reality we are viewing, typically through glasses. If I’m wearing the glasses I can see the augmentations while if you aren’t wearing glasses, or you don’t have my exact same augmentation system and parameters, you can’t.

This projects a new reality onto the real world *for everyone present to witness* in real time.

This can make the reality you witness with your own eyes suspect. This doesn’t just augment reality, it can modify everyone’s perception of it.

Computers and Internet

An orchard of fanboys

A shire of hobbits.
A playset of swingers.
A mash-up of hipsters.
A captain’s table of foodies.
An escort of hookers.
A bowel of proctologists.
A noun of English teachers.
A chalk of white people.
A mope of teenagers.
A brace of dentists.
A palate of painters.
A rack of playboy models.
A candle of waxers.
An absence of eligible bachelors.
An orchard of fanboys.

Computers and Internet


She was in prison – a dungeon almost unfathomably bad by your standards – 3 times. Each time was for speaking up, protesting war & practicing a religion that was at best frowned upon by an extremely oppressive government that was deeply enmeshed with the established church. He was a shoemaker, the son of a shoemaker, who was the son of a rural peasant who spelled his last name differently the few times he ever wrote it down.

Together they lived in a disease-ridden slum next door to huge pits of unmarked graves. This, they knew, was the ultimate future they could look forward to. But it was better than where they had lived before – a small town in the countryside they left to escape the severe religious and social persecution they were facing. A place where an errant blasphemy could lead to the misery of having your “tongue bored throug with a hot iron” or even death.

This society was not forgiving of the different.

At some point, huddled together at the kitchen table, they decided they’d had enough. There was no room for them in this terrible country. This was no place to raise a family. The best their children could hope for would be more of exactly the same. Most of their children would die before adulthood and if they were extremely lucky those that lived would be shoemakers or wives. When they died? Perhaps they’d get a headstone. Perhaps not.

You can’t escape fate by staying put.

So they left. They got on a ship with what little they had and departed for a new beginning. They were refugees, fleeing oppression and religious persecution, casting their lot into an unknown that simply had to better than what they had known so far.

Together they went to America. A few generations after arriving, a grandson grew up to not be a shoemaker, nor a rural peasant: he became the president of a national bank. A few generations after that another family son created this blog.

Who do we think we are trying to keep out of this wonderful country?