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Sundry

Daddy Voice

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2013/07/29/daddy-voice/

Midnight feed. Daddy changes diaper, Mommy nurses, and everyone goes back to sleep.

Dream time.

Baby wakes up screaming as only a baby can scream.

Daddy changes diaper. Baby screams.

Mommy goes to warm a bottle. Baby screams.

Baby screams.

Baby screams.

Baby sucks on bottle.

Baby’s sucking slows.

Baby’s eyes narrow.

Daddy burps baby. Baby is wide awake.

Daddy tucks baby in.

Baby begins to fuss.

Daddy looms over baby and invokes Daddy Voice.

“No. It is time to sleep.”

Baby goes quiet.

Baby closes eyes.

Baby goes to sleep.

Dream time.

Daddy is pleased that Daddy Voice works.

Fully awakened by a screaming baby, and drunk on his new power, Daddy can’t sleep.

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News and Reaction, Sundry, Technology

Redundant BART Employees on Strike

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2013/07/04/redundant-bart-employees-on-strike/

A reaction I posted to a friend’s Facebook with regard to the present BART Strike:

Fremont BART

I’m a pro-Union Liberal who thinks it is wrong to beat up on public-sector employees. I have heard that BART staff get 40 PTO days per year and there’s a scheme where you can take PTO, then take a shift, and get overtime for that. That’s something we can fix.

The train operators literally sit on their ass and watch the train drive itself. I talked to a guy who said that he did an important job of every once in a while mashing the buttons to fix something, and if he and his comrades weren’t there, BART would have to evacuate the passengers, shut the doors, and run the train empty to its terminal. Horrors!

In NYC, they’ve been laying off station agents where possible and using video cameras to aggregate agent services remotely.

I keep hoping that one of these days a labor action will be an excuse for BART to just fire the train operators and let the system run on automatic as it was designed to do. Spend the money on more frequent service so when a train occasionally has to be taken down, its replacement appears that much more quickly. Spread some of that money to the best station agents and start installing remote presence equipment to make the most of their labor.

. . . and if those train operators are even half as as good at mashing buttons in an emergency as they think they are, they can make the same salary as an entry-level SysAdmin.

Seriously, it is sad when your job is obsoleted by technology. It is even sadder when your job was obsoleted by technology before it even existed. Saddest when your skills are in extremely high demand at higher pay, but we keep paying you to do an obsolete job of extremely marginal public benefit.

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Sundry, Technology

Flickr Provides Old Users with “Closure”

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2013/06/03/flickr-users-closure/

Thea Lamkin, from Flickr’s customer support, has been busy. At long last, we are getting some clarity from Yahoo:

Landscaping
“Hit the road, Jack!”

I am hearing the following: 


– you want the option to see Flickr in a “classic” view

– textual information around your photos (and sets in particular) is too hidden in the new design

– user’s organizational choices are limited and not surfaced enough, particularly with the Collections, Set, Photo hierarchy
– you want more customizability of content and layout in your photostream and home page

[ . . . ]



To put an end to speculation, and to hopefully give some people closure, the old site is not coming back. However, we will continue to improve upon the new pages . . .

[ . . . ]

We are focusing on making Justified view better and more performant, instead of supporting multiple different views.

So, basically, the full-screen view of photos without explanatory text is here to stay, and anyone who wants to view their photos in a different format should find an alternative photo sharing service.

I guess the “closure” is nice.

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Sundry, Testimonials

Scalia Resigns as Scoutmaster

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2013/05/26/scalia-resigns-as-scoutmaster/

My Red State Relative Posted this to his Facebook Wall:

Justice Scalia quit his post in a terse resignation letter that read, in part: "Some of the happiest memories of my adult life have been as a scoutmaster. Huddling under blankets around the campfire, and so forth. But now, all of that has been ruined. Ruined."

“Scalia Resigns Post as Scoutmaster”

Justice Scalia quit his post in a terse resignation letter that read, in part:
“Some of the happiest memories of my adult life have been as a scoutmaster. Huddling under blankets around the campfire, and so forth. But now, all of that has been ruined. Ruined.”

I quipped that “if enough bigots quit they’ll have to start recruiting gay adult leaders.” To which my relative responded asking how I might feel about my son on a campout with the gays, or an alcoholic, and that safety, righteousness and common sense should prevail.

Turns out, this story is satire from the New Yorker, which makes it all the more delicious. I wrote back:

I thought it sounded like The Onion.

[Relative], I hope Tommy takes an interest in scouting, and I feel better to know that if he joins, he will not be denied the friendship of a fellow scout simply because one of them is gay. I hope they go camping together, and I know from first-hand experience that when Scouts exhibit a gross failure of ethical or moral conduct, their behavior is reported and disciplinary action is taken. (Like the boys who got expelled from the Scouts for shoplifting during a camping trip.)

And, for what it is worth, our Scoutmaster was a combat Veteran and a Recovering Alcoholic. He told some good stories that I think probably helped a few of us young men make smarter decisions in our adult lives. It was always hard to get a sufficient number of adults to join our outings, which is why I will be glad to see the eventual end of the exclusion of gay adult leaders.

I never made it to Eagle, but a friend of mine who did resigned his badge and sent the pin back to HQ because of the exclusion policy. I was really really proud that he would make a sacrifice for what he knew to be correct. A lot of Eagles have resigned their rank for the same reason. There’s even a blog at http://eaglebadges.tumblr.com/. It is nice to see those sacrifices have not been in vain.

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Sundry, Technology, Testimonials

And So It Goes . . .

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2013/05/24/and-so-it-goes/

You would think that turning a computer off would be a simple ask. But on my corporate laptop, Windows 7 is ever concerned that I am an idiot.

Me: Okay, we’re done. Shut down.
Windows 7: Okay. Hey, wait, some programs are still running.
Me: Kill them. Force shut down.
Windows 7: Bu-bu-bu-bu-buuuut you could lose your work!! Are you sure you want to shut down?
Me: Yes . . . I’m always sure . . . but thank you for your heartfelt concern.

So it goes.

(I do 98% of my work from Linux, which thinks shutting down is a grand idea.)

3 Comments


Politics, Religion, Sundry, Testimonials

Shen Yun

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2013/01/06/shen-yun/

Some weeks back I saw a poster for “Shen Yun: Reviving 5,000 Years of Civilization” at work and thought “Excellent! The wife digs artistic performance and bonus points for digging some traditional Chinese culture.” I grabbed some tickets and mentioned to a coworker. “Shen Yun? That’s Falun Gong.” I know very little about Falun Gong, except that the Chinese government views them as a threatening cult. Of course, the mainland government is easily wigged out over any perceived threat to stability, so I figured that doesn’t tell us much. We’re seeing a performance sponsored by an oppressed religious minority. That could mean anything, really.

The performance was pretty cool. Lots of dancers in colorful costumes evoking stories from Chinese history. I’d say it is like watching a Chinese version of the Nutcracker Suite. Lots of color, lots of movement, and good music. Although they’re telling mostly ancient stories they make effective use of a modern prop of a projected backstage. This saves not only on set design, but the characters at various points jump off the back stage and fly up into the screen as digital avatars. The first time I saw this I thought it was a bit gimmicky, but by the second instance I thought “hey, that is pretty neat, and I bet really magical for the kids.”

And then there’s the Falun Dafa bits. They have some solo singers come out and sing in Chinese, which is cool. They even put the lyrics on the back screen in Chinese and English. I am sure some of the poetic nuance is lost in translation, but the songs lament that we are … most of us, anyway … Gods from the Heavens who have come down to Earth for some reason, something about breaking the cycle of reincarnation and restoring the cycle of creation and destruction. To the disinterested observer it comes across as Buddhist Scientology, and the cycle of creation and destruction sounds like the sort of thing that would raise the ear of a mainland censor.

Two of the dance performances are set in modern China. In one, a tourist gets sent to jail when he unintentionally takes a picture of an innocuous Falun Dafa protest. The guy is tossed in a cell with the Falun Dafa kids, whom he wants nothing to do with, but after the guards treat him contemptibly, everyone in the cell identifies their common predicament. I thought “alright, the Chinese government overdoes it, and many social reform movements have found strength in the jails. Right on, brothers! Fight the power!” In the final dance, the Falun Dafa are having a great time protesting in Tienanmen Square. Right on, sisters! Let us see your “tank man” performance! As soon as the Chinese police come out to bust some heads, a massive earthquake starts to destroy Beijing. Huh? That kind of sucks! But, no worry, the Gods come down and restore Beijing … everything except the Great Hall of the People … ah!

Yeah, I can see how even a reasonable government might not be super enthusiastic about that sort of performance.

The show was overall entertaining. I would still hope that people can practice their religion freely. But whatever innate sympathy I might have had for the Falun folks is diminished, especially by their last performance. When it comes to resistance movements, I am most sympathetic to the non-violent, and to those who aren’t fantasizing that apocalypse is an element to their eventual success.

1 Comment


Linux, Sundry, Technical, Technology, Testimonials

Smoothing Out Fonts on kubuntu-desktop

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2012/09/13/make-kubuntu-kde-fonts-pretty/

So, I really like Ubuntu. Its Linux and it just mostly works. Except when they try to force everyone into some experimental new desktop environment. That is pretty awful, but I’m happy again now that I switched to kubuntu-desktop. (apt-get install kubuntu-desktop)

Kubuntu is Ubuntu with a nicely set-up KDE environment. They try to get you to use their own home-grown web browser, and the file manager takes some getting used to, but you can pretty quickly get under the hood, set up all your little window manager preferences, and get back to jamming. (Focus Follows Mouse in my house!)

The only thing that was missing is the fonts were rendering . . . not as pretty as regular Ubuntu. Kubuntu is set up to use the Ubuntu font, but in KDE things render kind of pixelly looking, like I was still in the 90s. A bit of searching and they seem to look nicer:

System Settings > Application Appearance > Fonts
Use anti-aliasing: Enabled
Configure…
Use sub-pixel rendering: RGB
Hinting style: Slight

Now things feel a little more 21st century.

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Photo-a-Day, Sundry

Liberty Dime

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2012/08/14/liberty-dime/

We recently purchased a home, which was originally built in 1948. I was just puttering in the back yard when I discovered a sheared metal post in a cement foundation. I figured I would dig the post out. This wasn’t easy but it was gratifying. At the end I had a 1′ deep hole in my back yard and some angry ants. I saw what looked like a white button at the bottom of the hole.

A silver “Mercury” dime from 1943, which I just found in my yard.

After cleaning it off, I found that it was a 1943 US dime, with a bust of MercuryLiberty. Neat! I’m not sure what purpose the metal post must have served, (I reckon it was the base of a clothes line) but it must have been installed around the time the house was built.

I have to wonder if whomever dug the original hole left this souvenier to the future on purpose, or if the dime just slid out of his pocket.

Correction: per Wikipedia, this isn’t Mercury, God of commerce, but “the mythological goddess Liberty wearing a Phrygian cap, a classic Western symbol of liberty and freedom, with its wings intended to symbolize freedom of thought”

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Photo-a-Day, Sundry

Snooze

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2012/06/22/snooze/

A quiet morning with Maggie.

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Sundry

Am I British?

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2012/06/12/am-i-british/

I think toast is an underrated pinnacle of gustatory pleasure, and I frequently put different types of food on top of different types of toast. I just figured, hey, that’s just me, but apparently there is an entire nation that thinks this is a great idea:

Imran Ahmad is shocked to discover that Americans do not put food on toast.

From Imran Ahmad’s memoir “The Perfect Gentlemen”

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Photo-a-Day, Politics, Sundry

Voting Day

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2012/06/05/voting-day/

Voters in Mountain View, CA

I haven’t done any research, but I figured I would put in a vote for the cigarette tax, as well as local school bonds for asbestos removal. At current interest rates, government borrowing just sounds like an obvious thing to do.

I also got to vote for Obama for the Democratic Presidential Primary. His was the only name on my registered-Democrat ballot.

I am also hoping that the Cheeseheads give Governor Walker the boot.

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Sundry, Technology, Testimonials

Way to go, Facebook!

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2012/05/22/fb-got-it-right/

I am skeptical of Facebook’s long-term prospects, but as a guy who has worked at his share of Silicon Valley startups, and as a guy who has taken a modest loss on FB by betting on an opening-day bounce, I have got to give them credit: their IPO “flop” means they got it right, and hopefully made the stock market a slightly better place:

1) By setting their price at, or in this case, above what the market will pay, the company’s investors make the most money off their stock. If there’s an opening-day bump, that means they left money on the table for the underwriting bankers to profit from.

2) By being such a “dud” hopefully they dampen future expectations that a hot IPO should “pop” on the opening day. The true value of the stock market is as a mediator of investment. Speculative trading is just white collar gambling.

And unless the company totally implodes before their lock out period, I am not worried about the rank-and-file employees either. In pre-IPO companies employees are typically awarded options at a very modest fraction of the stock’s future public price. Most Facebook employees are probably looking forward to some windfall in the near future; Some will become rich, many others will be able to afford a house on the peninsula, and more still will be able to zero out credit card debt, student or car loans.

Valley companies that want to succeed look out for their employees. Even at an old public company like Cisco, we get to purchase our public stock at a 15% discount, which means the employees get some nice equity action even in a down market. I won’t be crying a river for Facebook employees any time soon.

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Photo-a-Day, Sundry, Testimonials

Daily Routine

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2012/04/19/daily-routine/

image

Daily Routine

In a hospital room, the Daily Routine consists mainly of waiting.

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Photo-a-Day, Sundry

Hospital Cafeteria

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2012/04/17/hospital-cafeteria/

image

The green beans were good.

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Excerpts, Good Reads, Photo-a-Day, Sundry

We are the supermen . . .

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2012/04/14/we-are-the-supermen/

image

“We are the supermen who sit idly by and laugh and look at civilization . . .”

I am reading a book by W.E.B. Du Bois, based on this quote which was captured in a photo of New York graffiti.

Even as America’s race problem has evolved since Du Bois published Dusk of Dawn in 1940, his perspective is valuable. A fuller excerpt from Chapter 6, wherein he conducts a Socratic dialogue with a pair of composite “White Man” colleagues, and delivers an excellent perspective on world history, and modesty: (more…)

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