16.8.18

So THAT'S where cell phone babies come from!

b1-66er: Why's a cell phone called a cell phone?  
What's it a cell OF?

Robotron: "Cellular" refers to the architecture of the wireless network, where the physical space is divided into individual cells. Each cell has antennas and equipment to handle all the phones that are in that cell. A cell can hand off a user to a neighboring cell when the user moves. 
Each cell only has to handle a finite amount of users. This is the design that makes it scalable.

b1: So great.  
Does anyone aside from you, Wayne-o, Woz and Bill Gates know that?

Robo: I'm not even sure the architectural features that gave it that name are still applicable. By the time it got to Europe, they wound up adopting the more general term "mobile".

b1: Do your super genius children?

Robo: Not a chance.

b1: Okay.  So it's kinda obscure.  I'm not a complete NOP for not knowing it.
Is the phrase "cell phone" antiquated?  Is it like talking about a transistor radio?

Robo: I'd bet no one under the age of 30 knows it, unless they are in a related field.
The network is still "cellular", in that you move from one cell to another. But the term is a "leak" of technical jargon into the public lexicon that shouldn't have happened. The device manufacturers and carriers should have done a better branding job at the start, way back when.

b1: I hear your dad voice when you say that.
(I actually chuckled.)
I think I'm going to blame Wayne-o about the fact that i say "cell phone."  I'm calling him the leak.  I don't care if he is or not.
SUPER great story.  Thanks.  And thanks for taking the time.

Robo: Sure. Blaming Wayne-o is a good idea.

2.7.18

When push comes to jerk

Entropy Dave: Funnily enough, just today I described the urban design of Los Angeles as being like Godzilla had a wank and splooged out a giant lake of goo. That's my origin myth for LA. I say that as a fan of the culture of LA, just not the urban geography.

I was being serious though. A yankee friend of mine asked me dead in earnest, "As a patriot, I feel like I should do something, but what?" The New York Times is my primary newspaper so I keep up pretty well with American politics. It's been bad, getting worse for at least 25 years, ever since that asshat Grover Norquist decided to cripple the Republican political class by demonising legislative compromise. But the decline is reaching a new low, because the Republican political class has now effectively been neutered by an egocentric fool with no regard for anything but his own emotions.

The power of America has been that it has a thin culture. What I mean by that is not that it is not rich with things like music, football, food, rituals, etc. It is. Rather, the culture of membership and citizenship is thin. It is not based on 800 years of this or that region's history, like Europe or China. History doesn't matter--how could it? most American families have been in the country for less than 100 years--it is the ideas that matter, and it is from these ideas that the political institutions are made. So to become an American you just need to buy in to a few civic ideals. This is great because it means America can absorb anyone at any time, irrespective of creed, history, etc.

But the downside is that when someone violates these ideas, when someone undermines these institutions built on this thin culture, there are relatively few resources on which to draw. It is all held together by a shared belief in a few basic ideas. The French can reply, with the weight of history behind them, by saying this is not true to France. I don't think you can really do that in the US, unless you hark back to a few (mostly inaccurate) stories from the founding days of the country (think of George Washington and Paul Revere). These stories don't give us much traction.

We've seen the Republic subverted by subtle means, as Cheney did when he suborned the Office of Legal Counsel. But now we're seeing it subverted by unsubtle means that move the norms, that remove the inhibitions, that dismantle the thin culture that holds these institutions together. It is like everyday is a day to use the "nuclear option" in the Senate, everyday is a day where what matters is only whether you win (compare Merrick Garland and Neil Gorsuch), and where all that matters is whether you can get away with it (cp. Scott Pruitt).

This nothing to do with feeling alienated from the American voting public or having expatriated myself. It is about seeing a great country, my homeland, being destroyed almost literally day by day from within its own institutions. I only hope the next generation are better people than we were.

12.6.18

San Jose Plutonium News

San Jose Mercury News: Thank you for choosing text. May I have the phone number and address associated with your MERCURY NEWS account?  How may I assist you today?

b1-66er:
<phone number and address elided>
I would like to cancel my trial subscription, thank you.

SJMN: Thank you for your text.  Unfortunately we cannot stop the paper via text. Please call customer service.

b1-66er: It's not the paper I'm trying to stop, it's the digital subscription.

SJMN: unfortunately I have no authorization to cancel an account via text

b1: This seems (almost intentionally) difficult.  I can always do it the other way and tell my credit card to deny everything to you.
Which is fine by me.
I'm trying to be nice, but you guys aren't.  There's a trap door to subscribing, but no obvious exit once i have.
Or is that what's meant by "trial?"

SJMN: I do apologize, unfortunately I have no authorization to cancel an account via text, please call customer service, but I will pass the feedback to my superiors.

b1: The reason i started TXTing you was because the phone voice prompt suggested it due to interminable waits.
How many rings do i have to jump through to say "no?"
I worked on customer service stuff at AAPL.  It's super clear that no one has ever tried walking through this tree as a customer.

SJMN: Thank you for texting. Customer Service is now closed. You will receive a response during our regular business hours.

<No follow-up TXT was ever sent.  I called my credit card the next day telling them to deny.

A couple days ago i got a postcard from the SJMN telling me they were charging my "account" $9.95.  The next day i got a letter from my credit card saying the "paper" had attempted to charge 99 cents to the card.

Such are the tribulations of life.

And to think that I've done some writing for them.>

6.6.18

Sucker!

b1-66er: Green Munchkin (Lollipop Guild) died. Last one. Age 99. 

b1-67er: Man that is old for a midget!  In our hearts aren't we all members of the lollipop guild?

b1-66er: We are.  It's POSSIBLE that's actually the whole lesson, and point, of life.

26.4.18

Yeah, but can you get an icee?

Proof that Long Beach sold its soul to the devil, in 3 photos:

Caption 1:
Old Long Beach looked like this...

Caption 2:
This could be Hell, or merely a refinery on the beach

Caption 3:
This ices it: look what they're hauling around in tanker trucks down there 

18.4.18

Skulls of Romaine

b1-66er: Skull in salad!
That HAS to be a good omen.  Right?

D4rw1n: Don't believe in omens 
But that's fucking awesome 

The Actore: Wow!… I, yeah… I'm going to go with a good omen… Ha ha, ha ha… Ha ha… Uneasy breath

Gumby: Yes! One of the best omens there is. 
I saw that skull in a dream I had about salad 3 days ago. You were verbally abusing the skull, and it just laughed and laughed- Nervously. 

b1-66er: SO DID I!

Lettuce prey

b1-66er: I'm interested in any comments you have.

b1-67er: The Packer is the Pravda of the lettuce industry.   Surprisingly this piece seems fairly reasonable.
Nearly all the winter Romaine in the US would be coming from Yuma as of a few weeks ago. 
Consumer reports messed up but saying stop eating all Romain in my opinion.
If it's a contaminated field, the whole field will probably be used for the same purpose (chopped,  hearts,or whole heads)
This is because the extent of leaf burn, over growth, under growth, mildew, etc favors different fields for given products.
If out of 40 cases none get traced to whole heads, then the whole heads should be considered as safe as they ever have been.
Also the products touch different machinery, so if a chopped production line is contaminated, it's not going to contaminate whole heads.
I think the packing industry is right in using different language for product that might have a problem vs product that definitely has a problem.
It's pretty odd that they can't get it down to a brand.

b1-66er: great answer.

b1-67er: Consumer reports has done a poor job in the few cases where I knew something about what they were complaining about.
It's only good for them when someone else has a problem. So I don't think there are any tempering forces in their organization.

b1-66er: Another shrewd observation!