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It seems to me if there aren’t enough hospital beds, unvaccinated Covid-19 patients should be the first denied service.

Something to think about. While we're debating all kinds of things, so far 4.5 million have killed by Covid in the last two years. In four years, 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

Frank X Shaw: "Stress dream last night that my old guitar required two factor authentication to use and the only way to turn it on was to accurately play six chords assigned by the app. I kept messing up."

How long after your parents die should they still be in your dreams?

Pet peeve: People who are too frazzled to read an email carefully enough to correctly determine its meaning, even though the words are simple and direct. I've done this myself. And when I realize I've done it, I feel like crap.

CNN could use a constant critic

Saw a report on the news that Facebook is evil because they enhance pictures on Instagram. A really thin story because so many things other than Facebook damage people's self-perception based on ridiculous standards of appearance.

CNN does it, for sure in huge ways. The anchor reporting the story is a beautful woman, but probably not quite as beautiful has her makeup, hair and lighting people make her seem.

I wish they were required to have a constant critic in a window in the upper right corner of the screen, pointing out these hypocrisies.

Brianna Keilar

PS: I will always admire Keilar for how she interviewed Michael Cohen, before he was famous. If you haven't seen it, you might love it. It's very different from the usual TV news fare.

Thinking about the extent that Boomers are held responsible for where we're at, I still think that's nuts, the more I learn about slavery and how the Civil War is still going on, that's what we are fighting about in the US, that's why we can't get our shit together. We haven't accepted a very large part of our population, people who are fully entitled American citizens. Then I wondered about all the post-boomer generations that blame us. I wonder if they voted in every election they were entitled to vote in. What are the percentages of participation in democracy among the generations. I don't know if the idea of the vote as a sacred right is a Boomer thing, or what. I know my parents had the participation bug. I got it from them, I'm sure. But if you didn't vote, I think it's hard to blame others. My friend NakedJen has a wonderful slogan for this. You can fake caring, but you can't fake showing up. ??

One reason I want Twitter to get rid of the character limit is so I no longer have to say "I wrote a tweet." I have never liked the idea of writing tweets. Tweeting is weird and joke-like, self-deprecating, which I don't mind, but please not about writing. Writing is a religion, not something I joke about. ??

Alejandro Prieto

Roadrunner at US-Mexico border wall.

Andy Hertzfeld

Replicas of Bay Area landmarks at LegoLand in Milpitas.

Today is one of those rare days where I have very little to say on the blog. I'm still working my way back through the Now & Then podcasts, and The Wire (still in season 1) and of course working every day on Drummer, with the help of the test group.

Don't assume they wanted advice.

I'm re-watching The Wire, after the death of Michael K Williams, the actor who played Omar. He was right about type-casting. His one great role was Omar. Once you get a part that good, and play it so well, and everyone else is that good, you just don't get to do that twice.

More web breakage from Google

Chrome has done something insidious to break the web a little more. They do this so often, breaking the web seems to be Google's business model.

Here's what they changed.

  • If you type a domain name into the address bar of the browser, the protocol is hidden. This isn't new, or particularly bad, until they made the next change.
  • Now instead of automatically generating http as the protocol in the URL, they generate https.
  • So sites that are running fine appear to be broken.

It happened on a placeholder site to me just now. I was fooled, I immediately thought a server had gone down, and started looking for the outage. Then I was reminded of this trickery Google is doing. I was reminded of how much I hate what Google is doing to the web. They're fighting with me, and weakening the web in a way they have no right to. My site is a perfectly functional web site. It's just a placeholder. No one needs to worry about a "man in the middle" interference. There are no ads on this site. I don't know how else to say it. My choice of protocols is none of Google's business.

That's basically a protection racket. If mobsters were doing it. "Nice little website you have there, be a shame if people couldn't reach it because Google broke the web.

The other night I was bored and noticed that The Wire was on HBO, so I watched one episode. Then another. And another. Later I started at Episode 1. I don't know how many times I've watched The Wire. I'm almost at a point where I can recite the lines along with the actors. I've yet to see a flaw in this show, there's nothing I don't follow with rapt attention. I can't believe there are people who haven't seen it. It's as I imagine Shakespeare was in his day.

Public Folder is an app I put together after Dropbox stopped supporting a public folder. It's too important a feature to live without.

Everyone but silo-builders wins if our products interop.

Drummer has a feature called the glossary, it's been part of every outliner I have done since the mid-90s. It's a very simple idea. A table that associates terms with text. If I use one of the terms in my writing, when it's published, the term is replaced with the text. We use OPML to represent the glossaries. Here's my personal glossary. I wish every place I type text could be configured to use my glossary, so where ever I go I can use my terms. It would also be great to configure my searches to use these terms too, so Google for example would know what I am referring to when I type the name of one of my own products.

Braintrust query: I want to understand the extended Markdown some outliners use. If you use one of them, you can help.

I get Andrew Sullivan's email newsletter. Today's edition was a podcast interview with Michael Wolff, who I've met several times. Wolff is a great conversationalist, his writing is irreverent, and he's also very generous personally. The same people dismiss him who dismiss me. So I started listening and it's great. I did a search for "Andrew Sullivan podcast" on Google and there it is. Another podcast to check out. I'm going to give it a try.

BTW, I agree with absolutely everything Michael Wolff says to Brian Stelter, about Stelter, CNN and journalism. Stelter asks what he should do differently, Wolff says "listen more" and of course Stelter just laughed at Wolff, pretty sure there wasn't any listening going on. They are in a deep increasingly irrelevant rut. We need a new news.

Speaking of podcasts, the next Now & Then episode I listened to was great, it was about voting rights in American history. What's happening now is actually fairly typical. There's so much interesting stuff they left out in grade school history, which I used to love, my favorite subject after English. Now I'm wondering where I can take a remedial history class after I go through all the Now & Then episodes, which I'm clearly going to do. I also wonder who's going to do the history of tech with the rigor, curiosity and humor of Richardson and Freeman.

An unpublished post from 2008

I was going through some notes and came across this piece I wrote on 5/19/2008 about how my mother uses computers. I guess I didn't publish it because she was a regular reader of my blog, and might be offended. But she won't read it now, and if she did I would tell her this is how I loved you, knowing all about the stubborness and willfull ignorance of how computers work. Which is odd because her children and husband made their careers making these damn things work, in some fashion.

One of my standard disclaimers after I Am Not A Lawyer and Murphy-willing is My Mother Loves Me. I say this to let everyone know that no matter how much you dis me, no matter how much you hurt my feelings or make me feel worthless, I know that as a last resort my mother still thinks I'm great. (I hope she still feels that way after reading this.) And I love my mother, all this is said with the deepest admiration, with a bit of irony and tongue in cheek.

All that said, my mother is one stubborn person. ??

She's been using a Mac for 20 years -- 20 years! And she still doesn't know what a menu is or a window or the desktop or an icon, or a toolbar. But she does, somehow, know that if you press cmd-shift-4 you get a screen capture of the front window and it creates an icon on the desktop (what she calls this I have no idea). She showed me all her icons. I asked how she knew that, she said "I just know it."

It's as if kids born in Czechoslavakia in the 1930s were somehow taught this in grade school?

We have this clash every so often. I tell her she must go to the local community college or public library and take a class in basic computer usage. That she would get back a ton of time for doing this, and I'd be able to show her a lot more cool things she could do with her Mac. But she won't do it. It's as if one could drive a car without knowing which pedal was the brake and which the gas, or what the gear shift was, or the difference between the steering wheel and the volume control on the radio. If my mother drove her car like she drives her Mac the streets of NYC would not be a safe place to drive.

This came up over the weekend because I was trying to teach her to use WordPress, software that seems fairly straightforward and easy to use -- to me, but when viewed through my mother's eyes was unbelievalby difficult. It's not totally WordPress's fault. There are so many layers to the screen of a Macintosh. First there's the OS, it has menus, a desktop, windows, etc. All of which have controls and their own logic. Then there's the browser. It has an address bar, a search box (hers got stretched somehow so the address bar was tiny and it was huge (why is the search box even resizable?). It has a toolbar, Preferences, bookmarks (oy she totally doesn't get bookmarks). And then there's WordPress, and it has chrome too, just like the browser does! How can you tell the difference? I don't know.

For me this stuff is understandable because each piece came in one at a time. But when I saw how it looked to someone who not only didn't have that perspective, but didn't have the time or patience or spongelike learning brain of a child to grok all the layers of logic at play, it's just something to laugh about and shrug off.

Yet she understands the purpose of the web, viscerally.

All this made me think that now that we have a handful of activities identified, blogging, bookmarking, clicking, chat, email, etc. one could start from scratch and design a computer that just did these things without layers at all.

Or my mom could take a class at the local public library. ??

This page, 20 years ago tomorrow. I was living on Manzanita Way in Woodside, CA. Woke up early as I always did in those days. If you scroll to the bottom, the day started out normally. A link to a friend's blog hosting service, a Wired story about Hollywood, a new book about Microsoft, then at 6:15AM, we get the news of the first plane. Then a reader finds a web cam on the Empire State Building pointing at the WTC. Then a second plane hits. And from there the story develops. There was a personal side to it, my father taught at Pace University, which is across from City Hall, very near ground zero. He was okay, but had to walk, like many thousands of others, from lower Manhattan to Queens. My mother saw the whole thing from a rooftop in Brooklyn.

Thanks to everyone who pointed me to the Now & Then podcast with Heather Cox Richardson and Joanne Freeman. I listened to the most recent episode about the history of humans and climate in America. Wow. So much information and perspective, without any extra junk, and with depth that can only come from having spent a lifetime learning. It is exactly what I was looking for, at least so far. There are quite a few podcasts in the library, and they're exactly as long as my bike ride. They were finishing as I was pulling into the garage, literally. Also only one commercial and it was for a new podcast from the same network. Not overbearing. Thrilled.

Fox News and Rupert Murdoch are to blame.

MAGAs in love

Jake Tapper thinks President Biden scolding unvaccinated Americans isn't very nice. Boo hoo. Never mind he might have saved their lives. And more important, mine.

I can just see it. Biden says "Come little MAGAs, let me give you a nice big hug and a mug of hot cocoa. Now let's talk about your vaccination. I would really like you to get one. It would make me feel good."

Cute little MAGAs just love Cousin Joey.

I'm loving going through Rick and Morty for the second time. I've promoted it to my friends, but the comments I get back are a lot like the ones about Bojack Horseman. They're turned off by the fact that it's a cartoon. I don't mind it at all, myself, and it has the advantage that they can go places with their imaginations that human actors can't. That's esp important for a show like R&M. Also another thing I like is that there's no fourth wall at weird times. Rick talks like a game show host, about commercial breaks, and then talks about episodes, and seasons of R&M. I love it when writers are free to talk to us through the characters, quite literally, not through manipulation. I think it's a masterpiece, as I did with Bojack. Here's the thing, as kids we loved cartoons right? I know I did. I also loved movies. So now I like movies made for adults, why not cartoons for adults?

2015: Why you must watch Bojack Horseman.

Listen. There are plenty of famous delusional loudmouths. Why aren't there any sane loudmouths to balance them? I'll tell you why -- because being confident and outspoken is considered a sin among the sane. But! It's not a sin to communicate in a way more people understand.

Liberty doesn't mean you can take a crap in the middle of the supermarket or burn down your own house.

I wonder when someone in journalism is going to break the Republican lie that we're all independent of each other, that somehow we don't need the help of others to eat, stay warm, stay alive. We don't live on the prairie in the old times, before railroads and medicine. If your house catches fire, my house will too. Once we establish that foundation, that we depend on each other, we can solve problems, but not as long as our political life is mired in this argument about what liberty means.

I am very happy with the way Drummer testing is going. There have been some surprising contributions, really good questions, and plenty of people actually using the software. Enough people to keep it moving. And I'm not in a rush. As far as I'm concerned this is the whole game. I have no development plans beyond Drummer and the scriptable apps I've lined up to hook into it. I'm not sure why this time is different, but I'm not arguing. ??

Options for creativity are in the edge cases.

When you recommend a podcast please say a little about what it is and why you recommended it. Typically to find out what a podcast actually is takes hours of listening. and usually they're disappointing or too boring, or have a 1/2 hour commercial at the start.

Worth starring Michael Keaton

The Netflix movie Worth got great reviews, and it stars Michael Keaton so I got out the popcorn and sat down to watch with great expectations and came away not liking the movie. That was almost a week ago, and I've had some time to reflect on why it was so bad.

  • Interestingly, the score on Metacritic for Worth has gone down by 20 points since I looked late last week. Now it gets a 66, "generally favorable" which is not great. But I left the first paragraph alone.

First, Keaton is a great actor, and this was an unusual role for him, playing a lawyer whose job it was to save the economy from being sued to oblivion by the families of victims of 9/11 by giving them money.

Now I'm going to spoil the plot, but it's kind of funny -- you might not even realize this was the plot, esp the second part, after you watched the whole movie, that's how poorly done it was. So here goes.

  1. The families wanted their dead relatives' stories told, they cared less about how much money they got, although the money was important to some.
  2. The families of rich people who died scammed the regular people and they took a lot more of the money from the settlement, and there was nothing Michael Keaton could do about it.
  3. But the most important part of the plot was that Keaton started out as a stiff and heartless lawyer and came out the other end as a champion of the people. Only we never saw the process by which this transformation took place.

The conclusion I came to, after giving this enough time, was that it should have been a 6 to 10-part series. Netflix should have done for the families what they wanted Keaton's character to do. Tell their stories. That's where the juice was. If you want to make Keaton the central thread, that's a good way to do it. But we just got tiny little glimpses of the families here and there, and no understanding of who actually died in the 9/11 attack. And that's a shame, because it could be a good story. Maybe a bit like Six Feet Under.

Anyway as a movie it was imho a failure. Michael Keaton, as always, commands your attention in a good way, just to see someone who's a true artist at his craft.

My podcasting habit wanes

Editor's note: This started as a thread on Twitter and turned into a ramble here on my blog...

I have to admit the only podcast I listen to these days is Brian Lehrer, and I don't listen to that very often.

If Heather Cox Richardson did one, I would listen. A weekly version of her newsletter. Yes. She's one of those people I never have an argument with, and always learn something from.

In contrast the Daily podcast (which used to be my main daily news fix a year or more ago) sucks so much now because the NYT reporters are either dumbing things down intolerably or (sorry but this is more likely) they're just too young and inexperienced to have a clue. About anything, even what they're supposed to be expert in. I know they hire kids with great degrees from great schools, but I wonder if they aren't all the pre-med-type students who just go for the grade and recommendation.

And then think about all the doctors they keep inviting on to CNN and MSNBC. The same ones all the time and they say the same things. You wouldn't need AI to do what they do!

Also I would listen to a Donald McNeil weekly podcast about what's new with Covid. I wouldn't mind if he also talked about cooking, or great trips he's taken that didn't get him fired from the NYT. I think he should be as popular as that asshole on Spotify who got Covid and is taking oxycloriquin or whatever. How about a rational outspoken person to balance the crazy outspoken people. McNeil with a good sidekick could do that.

They could do a clean sweep of MSNBC while you're at it. Again, clinging to a world that is gone. No patience for that. Get HCR and DM to begin. Offer Brian Lehrer a nightly spot. That's three hours right there. The people they have now are out of ideas. Need a rest, a change of venue. Put them out of their misery.

Who to blame for Afghanistan?

Who to blame for the Afghanistan debacle?

It's not nearly as complicated as journalism makes it sound.

The people who voted to re-elect Bush in 2004.

Blame yourself if you‘re one of them. We had a chance to listen to the world and use our dominance in so many areas other than blowing up Iraq.

Very limited imagination.

I love one thing about Facebook. It gives the person who posted a piece absolute power over the existence of comments. On pieces I post, I don't limit myself to deleting abusive or personal comments, I delete ornery or challenging ones too. I hate online debates. I host a debate-free environment. If you want to debate, take your business elsewhere.

All the nasty fascist crap that's surfacing now has always been there, handed down lovingly from generation to generation. Every family no matter how good or bad, depraved, sociopathic, narcissistic, everything -- they all think they're the best, smartest, luckiest and the worst treated and unluckiest. SItting around the kitchen table listening to mom and dad philosophize about the world, it rubs off. What makes families different is how they deal with those beliefs. March, write letters, watch Maddow or Hannity. Or join the Nazi party. I don't honestly think there's anything that can be done to break this, family is the strongest force for determining our view of the world.

I just remembered that Apple basically merged with the music industry, so it's not surprising that it's difficult if not impossible to copy MP3s from my Mac to my iPhone so I can program my own music.

A must-read piece on abortion. "The government cannot force you to save someone else’s life against your will."

Winter is coming. Technically it's still summer, but I'm sitting here trying to warm up for a day of work, wearing a sweat shirt and shivering. Thinking about warm climates where I can spend the winter.

I went on a boat yesterday with friends on the Hudson River between the Rhinecliff Bridge and Saugerties. I had been on the Hudson before, but only in a much larger boat, and way south, in NYC. This was a great experience. I drank too much. Hic.


I spent about an hour today doing a factoring experiment, taking a promises-based API and transforming it into a callbacks-based API.

Well no surprise they're isomorphic. When you do the translation, you end up with the same thing with different names.

The promises syntax is slightly more compact. A long distance to go and a lot of introduced complexity for very little gain.

It's like getting nice fat clothes instead of just losing the weight.

I have a philosophy in programming, one I thought was stolen from, but actually mis-attributed to Einstein, who ironically said as much in a lot more words.

  • "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler."

This is a basic mathematics thing. They're always looking for a way to find one theorum that encapsulates and makes unnecessaray two or more. A more fundamental truth. The hope is ultimately to have one concise way of saying everything. A Rick and Morty kind of idea. But why do programmers always seem to do the opposite? Solving a problem of too much complexity by adding even more complexity.

I was a math major before I was a programmer, so I find this whole thing super frustrating.

At some point, instigated by Drummer perhaps, I hope we will have a great debate in the JavaScript community where our respected leaders explain to us why we need any of this stuff, and we can't have a language that behaves like all others, where asynchronous bits live underneath the interface that the langauge defines for the programmer.

Covid is raging in Texas and the government responds by setting citizens against each other over abortion.

This just worked

Each of the two calls are implemented on a server, btw.

opml.getAtt ("tmp.opml", "name") + " is " + opml.getAtt ("tmp.opml", "age") + " years old."

Ask a friend who's a JavaScript dev why this is interesting.

New term: Inter-outline inclusions. 0 matches.

I once designed a JSONified version of RSS. Wrote about it and even put up a demo. I was surprised that somewhere in my sprawling ecosystem is a piece of code, still running, that maintains my JSONified RSS feed. Geek pride.

When someone says "X is part of the problem" that's wrong in so many ways. Useless. They're actually the problem, not part of it even. Working together is how we get ahead. Unite rather than divide. I don't care how you got to the party, I'm just glad you're here now.

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